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tv   Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer  CNN  February 1, 2016 2:00pm-4:01pm PST

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was not able to get here on time but hopefully he'll show up in the next hour with wolf blitzer. that's it for "the lead." i'll be back with special coverage at 7:00 eastern. i now turn you over to mr. blitzer in a place we like to call "the situation room." right now in iowa, candidates are making their closing arguments as voters get ready to make their opening statement in this, 2016 presidential election. i'm wolf blitzer and you're in "the situation room." >> i'm anderson cooper. i've always want to be in the situation room. thanks for inviting me. >> what do you think? >> it's ice cold and minty fresh. together we have the latest developments along with the best analysis in this crucial first in the nation contest. >> with the doors opening at caucus sites now in less than two hours, the final push is on. republicans stumping across the hawkeye state.
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donald trump leading in the polls but not by much. ted cruz looking for evangelical support. marco rubio expected to visit caucus sites later this evening. democrats bernie sanders and hillary clinton, though, are staying off the trail, at least for now. let's get the very latest, starting with sara murray and the gop candidates. >> tonight gop candidates are leaving nothing on the table. scrambling in the final hours before the iowa caucuses to rally the troops. >> i must say win, lose or draw, i love you folks all. >> and turn out supporters. >> we're excited to be here with all of you. i'm going to be brief because i want you to call people. >> polls suggest it's ted cruz and donald trump vying for a win in iowa. >> we are, with this stop, completing the very last stop of the full grassley. >> trump is pinning his hopes on voters' anger and frustration with the political establishment. >> i am angry. i'm angry that we're being -- and you're angry too. >> and sending his children on a
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last-minute blitz across the state. >> he wants to win it badly and i think our biggest focus is we want to win this early and start going up against the other side right away. >> as for cruz, he's been woog iowa's stalwart evangelical voters. predicting trump will turn on iowans as soon as his jet leaves the tarmac. >> i think that the iowa people deserve more and the american people deserve more than a battle of petty insults. >> one x factor could be marco rubio, whose poll numbers are on the rise. >> if i'm our nominee, i will unite not just the republican party and the conservative movement but this country. >> tomorrow morning all eyes will be on new hampshire. >> i'm not going to talk about polls today. today we have our ultimate poll so i don't have to talk with polls. but the one that just came out in new hampshire has us way, way up. >> for at least three candidates, that push starts tonight. chris christie, jeb bush and
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john kasich all plan to leave before the caucuses even begin, hoping new hampshire might give them a shot at victory. >> sara murray is joining us now from west des moines. sara, you're at the election of donald trump's election night party later. what has his mood been like all day? >> wolf, i think what we saw from donald trump and from his family members today is cautious optimism. they know that their numbers look good in this state but they want to leave iowa feeling like they did everything up until the last minute to win here. that's why you're seeing donald trump having an unconventional day for a candidate holding two rallies and then saying he's going to appear at some caucus sites later and his entire family is sort of spread out across the states getting in these last visits and hitting up some caucus sites. they do not want to take anything for granted. they want to work until the very last minute. we'll see donald trump here in just a couple of hours, whether that is a victory speech or concession speech, who knows, wolf.
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>> we'll know soon enough. sara, thank you. >> yeah, a lot to talk about in the next couple hours. first, let's take a deep breath. some introductions. two brand new members, bill press is a bernie sanders supporter and author of "buyer's remorse, how obama left progressives down." also clinton supporter, michael nutter. welcome to you both. gloria borger and david gergen are here as well. amanda carpenter. with us as well cnn national security commentator mike rogers and last but not least jeff ery lower. let me start with you. donald trump's ground game. how confident are you as a trump supporter about his ground game? >> i'm confidence in chuck laudner who put this together for rick santorum.
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he knows his stuff and insists they have got their act together. we will see. this as donald trump's campaign manager said this is the super bowl for chuck laudner so i'm sure he's prepared. >> chairman rogers what are you watching for? >> i think if the snow can push back the newer voters, that would, you know, give one to ted cruz going into the effort. but what we found is and we talked to some folks on the ground today, they have never had so many calls in an election year for new voters trying to figure out how to get to the rip polls. i would argue if that continues and they actually show up, it's going to be a trump night. but at the end of the day, that evangelical, organized ground game of ted cruz i think will be hard to beat. snow or gnnot, those folks will show up. >> i talked to a cnn meteorologist and he didn't think weather would be a factor tonight but a lot of schools will be closed down tomorrow. the question he was raising, is that going to matter for college students. is that going to -- that they
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have the day off tomorrow, they're going to be all the more encouraged to go out and caucus tonight. >> what i've seen with cruz supporters, these are people that will crawl through a blizzard if needed to caucus for ted cruz. as we arrive at this iowa caucus day and think about where things were a year ago, from my vantage point working for ted cruz when everyone said he would never be able to be successful, the fact that he is a strong number two in the polls if not poised to win this thing speaks to his tenacity and strategy to get there because he has had everything thrown against him ever since he came to the senate. the establishment has tried every trick in the book. win or lose tonight, i think this is a strong finish for ted cruz. >> the same could be said nobody expected donald trump to be in this position, everybody counted him out from even before he rode down that gorgeous escalator in trump to your. >> that's right. this is a test of the new versus the traditional. it's a lot more elusive to build a campaign on free media and momentum, but donald trump has
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done exactly that to a very strong position right now. and we'll see. does that traditional ground game, grassroots conservatives getting to the polls not only showing up themselves but bringing five of their friends, is that enough for ted cruz to take on. >> it is incredible, though, we'll talk more about the democrats in our next block, but on the republican side if you had said six months ago that on this night we were going to be focusing on, you know, a 74-year-old self-proclaimed democratic socialist, i think he's 74, and donald trump as, you know, potentially winning tonight, people would have said you're crazy. >> if you'd been on cnn, you would have been fired. i think this is a remarkable night. and think about it this way as well. iowa is just a small slice of america. and the people who are voting tonight could hold the fate of the country in their hands or a small slice of iowa. in 2008 barack obama won the
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caucuses with just 4% of the registered votes in iowa and that propelled him to the presidency. that could happen again sgloent can i just say iowa is also more important than it usually is. we all like to say, oh, iowa doesn't matter. look, rick santorum won iowa, mike huckabee won iowa, they didn't go on to be president of the united states. but we have this confluence of events in which both parties, it's going to make an important difference. if hillary clinton does not win iowa tonight, she's going to have eight days of hell going into new hampshire. she's going to have to prove that she can win there, and that's -- you know, if she wins, she can say, oh, new hampshire is a regional primary and i'll just move on. and if cruz, amanda, doesn't win tonight, i think it's kind of do-or-die because he's never going to get more evangelical voters than he has tonight in iowa. and if marco rubio is a close
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third somehow, that breathes life into his campaign. and if trump wins, of course, of course he's doing well in new hampshire and he's well on his way. >> mayor nutter, if donald trump wins tonight, he could just clear the decks from here on out. he gathers a big momentum. >> well, it goes back to what was said earlier. it would be a truly stunning moment in american politics. to go back to what gloria said and david and others, there are so many ifs this evening, that that's what makes this such a big night. it's not theory anymore. people will start voting soon. >> and they know what's going to happen. >> whatever it is, it will be reality and it starts tonight. >> i just want to say i think for the whole panel and everybody watching, i'm really glad to get rid of the rallies and the ads and get down to some real stuff, right. >> actual votes. >> the actual votes, right. and this is a moment of truth. it's a moment of truth for bernie sanders to see if all that enthusiasm turns out into votes and for donald trump to see if all the pizzazz turns
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into actual votes. and i think the other thing we're grateful for is that iowans love to upset the apple cart. i'm counting on them for doing it again tonight. >> it's interesting, david, on the gop side, iowa has not had a great track record of picking the eventual nominee for people in the gop in iowa, is this a particularly important night to show that they are still relevant? >> i think what all of this adds up to is that in this small group of caucuses tonight, the fate of the country could really be shaped by a very small number of people tonight. this is a very important decision. if it comes out one way, if hillary wins this, we all agree he's going to be the presumpive nominee of the party, no matter what happens in new hampshire. so it has so much to do. but we're putting a lot of reliance on it but i think it brings a drama to the evening that you rarely see in politics. >> on the gop side, who has a ticket beyond iowa?
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obviously trump, obviously cruz, rubio clearly does. who do you start to see dropping out right away? >> i think right away, you'll probably see rick santorum, mike huckabee and even rand paul said that he would re-evaluate after the iowa caucuses. the thing most interesting to watch is where rubio finishes. i think people are expecting, maybe wanting this race to come down to cruz and rubio. because rubio hasn't been able to step into the gap, to step it up with the fund-raising, with the endorsements, with the ground game, they have moved towards cruz/trump. so where he finishes will see what it comes down to. >> the campaign has never run out of ideas or reasons to run. they oftentimes run out of money. so i think after tonight if you're santorum or if you're mike huckabee, you're going to have a hard time making the case to your donors, to your supporters that you have an ability to go on. we'll probably see the field shrink probably by three or
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four. >> i think kasich and christie, they're not going to get their ticket and they're already in new hampshire as we speak. >> well, there are those people who didn't expect to get a ticket and so they have already moved on. because they have lowered expectations to such a point that they have discounted iowa and for the governors mostly, that's -- you know, that's the case. >> one other interesting thing on this and i would watch this going in. so the first and second place is going to be critically important. you will have committed delegates or voters walk in for santorum or huckabee and the dynamics will change. this isn't going in and pulling a lever and walking home. you might see some movement inside the caucuses in a way you wouldn't see. >> and who do you think they move to? >> i think that they go to rubio. >> santorum or huckabee people go to rubio? >> i think they go cruz. >> i think they go to trump. >> they're looking for a momentum change because those voters have selected those candidates for different reasons other than they would be with
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cruz already. >> we are going to continue this discussion. let's go to wolf right now. >> anderson, thanks. so much more ahead as we count down to the caucuses and watch the candidates make the final appeal for votes in iowa. up next, a closer look at the democratic race and hillary clinton's effort to republican here before facing voters in strongly pro-sanders' new hampshire. and throughout the night we'll be hearing from all the top campaign insiders, democratic and republican, so you can get the best picture possible of what they're thinking on this, the most important night so far of this campaign. and on top of all of that, we'll take a closer look ahead at the next big night to new hampshire. that's chris christie right there campaigning in new hampshire right now. he has all but written off iowa. >> mary pat and i were never going to engage in that contact and i never spent a lot of time thinking about it. so i was kind of what i would call -- ork st tomorrow starts today. all across the state the economy is growing,
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less than two hours until the doors open at about 1800 caucus sites around iowa. less than three hours before voters get down to business. who shows up, are they young, are they old, will it snow? any or all of that could shape the outcome. for democrats the race between hillary clinton and bernie sanders simply could not be closer. brianna keilar reports. >> thank you for everything you're doing. >> both bernie sanders and hillary clinton visiting campaign offices in des moines to thank their volunteers. >> i can't stay long because i've got to get back to work, but i thought i'd bring some unhealthy -- >> encouraging them to give their all in this crucial contest. >> what is our job today is to
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make sure that we have the highest voter turnout possible. that happens, we win. let's go get 'em. >> the two candidates locked in a dead heat, crisscrossing the hawkeye state, making their final cases to voters. >> and what the issue is, is not just hillary clinton versus bernie sanders, it goes deeper than that. it is whether the people of iowa are prepared to lead this country in a very different direction. >> and i promise you this, i will stand up and fight for you every single day of this campaign and then when we win, i will fight for you in the white house. >> polls show the democratic race as close as it can be, but tonight's results in iowa will come down to who shows up to caucus. regular democratic caucus goers who tend to support clinton -- >> sign up for some, go to caucus shifts. don't worry about the weather. >> or caucus newbies who gravitate toward sanders and eight years ago helped propel then-senator barack obama to the white house. >> what the people of iowa did
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is said, hey, we're going to judge this guy not by the color of his skin, but by his ideas and his character. and you allowed barack obama to win the caucus. >> and brianna keilar is joining us live from des moines. i understand you bumped into senator clinton just a little while ago. what was her mood like? >> she was in very good spirits, wolf. i bumped into her after she was coming back from her day out where she did visit with volunteers and she did go to a coffee shop. but she seemed to be in a very good mood. in talking to aides close to her, they're looking at the indicators, where the polls are, where they have been over time, the trajectory of those polls, what they're expecting in terms of turnout, and they're feeling really good about it. but the other thing is there are many people who were with her back in 2008 or they have heard certainly the tales of what it was like, iowa 2008 for hillary
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clinton, where they also felt like things were going well going into caucus night and it didn't turn out well, so there's still this not really taking it for granted, really wanting to see what the results are and not counting their chickens before they hatch. they want to know what the results are so they can let go of some of that anxiety even though they do have some confidence, wolf. >> good point. thanks very much. >> only in iowa and new hampshire do you bump into a presidential candidate. we're back with the panel. how young did then candidate obama look. that was incredible to see him walking around in iowa. david, we talked about this a little bit before. but if hillary clinton does not win in iowa tonight, again, you're going to hear time and time again, well, look, same thing as 2008. people said she was an inevitable candidate and look what happened. >> she's no longer inevitable. she goes into new hampshire, will probably lose there. i think she'll still lose the
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nomination but i think she comes out wounded. it matters in politics whether you have that aura of a winner. whether people think, wow, i want to get with the winning team. if she comes out and is still struggling, it's going to cast a shadow over her campaign. i still think she's going to be very strong in the fall as the nominee, but it makes it more winnable. >> bill, if your candidate, bernie sanders, comes in a second strong but second nonetheless, do you think that seriously hurts him? do you think he's set it up that if he's not winning, it's -- there's some people who can set up a second place finish as a win. >> you know, there are a couple of scenarios here. first of all, i think if bernie wins tonight and he has a good chance of doing so and he wins new hampshire it's a whole new ball game and who knows what can happen. i think if bernie comes in a strong second, who would have thunk it. we were talking a year ago that scott walker as going to win the primary. scott who? if bernie comes very close to hillary, i still think that's a -- it's not as good as a win,
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let's not kid ourselves, but he'll be very strong in new hampshire and could go beyond that. i have to say bernie sums it up perfectly, turnout. if there's a big turnout tonight, he wins. if there's an average turnout tonight, hillary clinton wins. it's all getting those people out to vote. >> he and trump are on the flip sides. they both need the turnout. trump needs it and he needs it. >> and they both need new turnout. >> millennials. >> well, for bernie sanders it's younger voters. for trump, it's people who haven't gone to caucuses before. and for bernie sanders as well, there was one number that struck me in some poll that i read which was that 65% of sanders' supporters say they have never caucused before. so on a cold, snowy, whatever it is evening, they're going to have to get out. >> mayor nutter, if hillary clinton does not win tonight, doesn't win in new hampshire,
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how confident are you about south carolina for her? she's obviously got a big african-american support, there's not a big african-american population in iowa or new hampshire. south carolina obviously does, we all know this. >> i was in iowa two weeks ago and i was in south carolina about a month or so ago. senator clinton will be -- secretary clinton will be very strong tonight. we'll actually see what happens and we won't have to speculate on it. certainly new hampshire is new hampshire, very strong in south carolina and then you start running into super tuesday, all throughout the south. when i was in iowa a couple of weeks ago, they are waiting not only for senator clinton -- secretary clinton, but also for senator sanders down south. that's a whole different story. >> and how has bernie sanders' ground game in these other states, in the southern states? we've seen him have big rallies in various states around the country, but so much focus has been on iowa and been on new hampshire. does he have an organization
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beyond? >> he does have an organization in nevada. he's got an organization beginning of one in south carolina, nowhere near. but a lot of that and i think david made this point earlier. iowa and new hampshire can propel you like you wouldn't believe, propelled barack obama. and it can turn. ryan grim had a piece in the huffington post about how quickly the african-american vote in south carolina turned from hillary clinton in 2008 to barack obama once he had won iowa. it wasn't just that he was an african-american, he was winning and they love that, they want to be with a winner. >> hillary clinton has a history there now and she believes she has a firewall and they have organized, correct me if i'm wrong, they have been organizing in the south for a very long time. >> longer than bernie. >> although, mayor nutter, what bernie sanders does have, $20 million in donations, the vast majority, according to his campaign, are donations up to $27. that's an extraordinary figure to makeup in small donations.
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>> no question about it. they all add up. the money is the money. and -- but it does speak to who's making those contributions and where those folks are coming from. again, organization does make a difference. there's a serious hillary clinton organization in south carolina and many other places. i would go back, though, and say with every respect to you that senator sanders is not barack obama. >> oh, no. i didn't say that. >> in south carolina in 2008 and suddenly people are going to go running over there. that was a game-changer election. and things changed between iowa and south carolina with then senator barack obama winning iowa. >> with all due respect if bernie does win iowa and new hampshire, we are in a game-changing primary. >> it's different, there's no question about it. >> you're not so sure, david? >> i think once this turns south that bernie sanders is going to have a very, very hard time beating hillary clinton in any major southern state. i mean the clintons had been so deeply rooted in the south for
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so long with the minority candidates. you go into the cities like atlanta, she's going to be far better organized than bernie sanders. >> more history there. a lot to watch for tonight. regardless of what happens, we'll have an ac 360 democratic town hall wednesday night, 8:00 eastern right here on cnn. hillary clinton, bernie sanders, martin o'malley in new hampshire. we are very much looking forward to that. i hope you join us for that. wolf. just ahead, donald trump's moment of rec koning in iowa. will his crowds turn out to caucus for him tonight? i'll talk to his campaign spokeswoman. that's just ahead.
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show me funny movies. watch discovery. record this. voila. remotes, come out from the cushions, you are back. the x1 voice remote is here. just a few hours from now, donald trump will find out if his undisputed knack for drawing huge crowds translates into actual votes in iowa. he spoke at two rallies today. his wife and daughter joining him on stage in waterloo. as we've said, the latest cnn poll shows trump with a seven-point lead in iowa over ted cruz with marco rubio in third place. the wild card, of course, as you've heard will be turnout. will donald trump's devoted supporters actually show up in big enough numbers to deliver a victory tonight? joining us now is katrina pierson, national spokeswoman
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for the trump campaign. thanks very much for joining us. >> hi, wolf. >> polling shows first-time voters do put donald trump ahead of ted cruz but is your get out to vote effort strong enough to turn out a win for donald trump in iowa tonight? >> you know what, wolf, yes, absolutely. everyone is so excited to get out there and support mr. trump. iowans care about their country too, they care about national security, they care about the economy and jobs and we're very confident that all the hard work with many of the iowans here, not people bussed in, have done to get the vote out for mr. trump are very excited. >> as you know, donald trump is calling ted cruz a total liar, in part because of what ted cruz says about trump's record. listen to this. >> his position on health care is the same as bernie sanders. they both support socialized medicine, expanding obamacare to put the government in charge of our health care. his position on cronyism and corporate welfare is the same as
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barack obama. >> all right, katrina, has donald trump taken a more liberal stance on these issues than ted cruz? >> no, not at all. mr. trump was specifically talking about obamacare because senator cruz is saying that a vote for trump is a vote for obamacare when in fact this entire campaign he's been talking about getting rid of obamacare and putting in something a little bit less federally intrusive in place. this is the kind of thing that has really been turning off voters, particularly with some of the other candidates that have really been trying to tear down mr. trump, by putting out false positions. yes, they are false, which means they are lies. mr. trump is not going to be politically correct about this, he's going to call it like he sees it. >> but at the same time i've heard donald trump say this, if someone doesn't have health insurance, they're lying in the middle of the street and potentially dying, he wants people to be taken care of. those are his words. >> absolutely. >> does that mean universal health care? >> absolutely not. what that means is the federal government needs to be more responsible with how they spend money.
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that's really a state responsibility and that's happening today. we do not let people just die in the streets. you can go into a state hospital, you can go into an emergency room and no one is refused care, wolf. what he's saying is we need to be more responsible and push it down to the state level, like medicaid, which is something conservatives have been talking about for a very long time. that doesn't mean single payer or obamacare. >> what's your prediction for tonight, katrina? >> well, we are very excited, wolf. we are so proud of our candidate to have come out, put his entire life and business on the line to fight for this country. we feel very good in iowa. as you've seen in the latest polls, he's back on top and we feel like we'll pull it off tonight. >> katrina pierson, thanks very much. >> great to be with you. just ahead, ben carson one on one, his caucus night expectations right after this. ♪ melodic, calm music
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raul: i noticed that she was i reshaving issues with her sad joints.kly. liz: honeybelle just decided to stop eating. debra: i found freshpet. emily: she absolutely loves it. raul: it's natural. dexter: there's real chunks of vegetables and chicken in it. raul: and, if the food is in the fridge, you know it has to be fresh. irina: i see a difference in his energy level.
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erin: it's helped with his allergies. marcy: his coat is about as shiny as they come. brady: thank you for making our dog the happiest dog in the whole entire world. in the latest cnn poll, dr. ben carson is in fourth place in iowa at 9%, seven points behind marco rubio, who's in third place. back in november, dr. carson was actually the front-runner in iowa with strong support, especially among evangelicals. the ground has shifted a lot since then. dr. carson is joining us now live from iowa. dr. carson, thanks very much for joining us. what do you think would be a win for you tonight? how well do you have to do?
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>> better than expectations. obviously would like to move up one, two, three slots and obviously get a greater percentage of the votes. and certainly i think there's a strong chance that that's going to happen. >> you think you'll emerge in the top three, is that what you're saying? >> i think there's a very strong chan of that, absolutely. from what i've been seeing, from what i'v been hearing, every place i go, people say i'm caucusing for you. and even when i stop in, in places that are not on the schedule, a bunch of people come up and say that. so it makes me think that maybe there are more people than we're thinking. and also when polling is done, it's frequently done with likely voters. and many of these people are people who have never voted before, never donated to a campaign before, and thus are not being counted. >> so if there's a big turnout, if we get indications early in the evening a lot of people are showing up, more than usual, you
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think that bodes well for you? >> i think that would bode very well for me. even if we have a small turnout because there's bad weather, i think the people who support me are extremely enthusiastic. >> because as you know, they used to have a saying, there were three tickets out of iowa, the top three people in the iowa caucuses that move on to new hampshire, south carolina and nevada, every place else. if you come in fourth or fifth, are you still going to continue? >> i will always -- even if i come in first, i'm going to reassess always the situation. that's a continuing process. but also recognize that traditionally when they say there are three tickets out, there have not been 12 people running. >> good point. what do you think, who is more qualified to be president of the united states, donald trump or ted cruz? >> well, i don't think i'm going to fall for that one. that's a good try, though, wolf.
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>> why not? >> i believe that anybody who is running on the republican side could do the job. but what we really need to ask ourselves is do we want to continue down the same pathway with a slight variation or are we tired of the inside politics, the buying and the selling of influence. the very things that have frustrated the american people. is that really what we want to do again and expect a different result? >> bottom line, dr. carson, i just want to reiterate, you think you'll emerge in the top three tonight in iowa? >> i would be very pleased and believe that that's a very strong possibility. >> all right, dr. ben carson, thanks so much for joining us. >> it's good to be with you, wolf. >> thank you. >> tonight's democratic and republican caucuses are run very differently from one another. i want to check in with the democratic side first. tom foreman is at a caucus site in coralville, iowa.
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take us through how a democratic caucus actually works, because it's a little more complex than it is on the republican side. >> absolutely, anderson. the democrats of precinct 7 here in coralville, iowa, will gather in this room, about 250 to 300 of them. and they will divide themselves physically to represent their candidates. what we mean is they look at these candidates, different areas will represent different camps. for example, hillary clinton's camp is going to be over here. martin o'malley's is going to be right here and then bernie sanders is going to be here and the undecided voters will be back there until they decide whom they want to vote with. when they get into place, we will have an automatic read out here from our cnn counters to show you what percentage of voters is in each place. then comes the first realignment period. what that means is if some of hillary clinton's voters wanted to go to bernie sanders' camp, they could walk over and our numbers will change accordingly.
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likewise, if some of bernie sanders' supporters wanted to go over here, they could do so and, again, our numbers will show it in the instant that it happens, anderson. and nobody in this room wants to drop below 15% of the total vote, anderson. >> so what happens if a candidate doesn't get 15% of the caucus? >> if they don't get 15%, for example, if you took the "des moines register" numbers in their poll and if martin o'malley came in, based on those numbers, he would then be declared invalid or unviable as a candidate. so he would essentially disappear as a candidate. and then his supporters would have to decide if they were going to go home or if they were going to go off into these other camps. again, as they go, if this were to happen, we would have an instantaneous reading as they moved on, anderson. once all of that is complete, once you have all of these people in place for the final count, then there is a measurement of the percentage
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that each candidate gets and that is the final vote for precinct 7 for the democrats. that goes to the state level and that's how we will later on tonight for the first time have a sense of who is leading that race for real. anderson. >> all right, tom, that was cool. thanks very much. now let's check in at the republican caucus site. brian todd joins us from there. the republican caucus is a little simpler than the democratic ones. explain. >> simpler, anderson. we'll show you how it's working. first we'll tell you that we're at the 13th gop precinct about 15 miles north of des moines. the weather is good now but snow coming later, much later. we don't think that's going to affect the vote. as we walk in we'll tell you how it's going to work. the voters will line up here, they'll come inside. the registered voters who are already registered will check in at this table. unregistered voters voting for the first time will be at this table. this is a table we'll be watching closely because, of course, donald trump has implored his followers to get out for the first time, many of them, and vote. he wants a lot of first-time
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voters. he's pounded that on social media. we're going to be watching this table very closely. once they check in here at the baptist church, we go into the sanctuary where the vote is going to be held. you heard tom foreman explaining the democratic caucus. it is much different. first they will sit in these rose, do the pledge of allegiance and elect the caucus chair and co-chair. then representatives from each campaign will get a chance to stand up, speak for three to five minutes and make their final pitch, try to sway voters over to their side. when those speeches are done, it's go time. this is how it differs from the democrats. these people will sit in these rows and vote in secret. it's very simple, they just put a name down on a piece of paper, fold it up, then put it into a basket. that is secret but the counting is in public. so once the votes are cast, we will be up here watching a table set up over here where they will count the votes. that count can be done in public. we'll be filming that. that's what makes it so much fun tonight, anderson. these ballot cams will show you
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how the votes are being tallied in realtime on live tv. we're really looking forward to this. >> and it really can come down to last-minute decisions by caucus goers. >> absolutely. and as we've been talking about, this is really going to be a test case, especially this precinct. it's going to be a test case for ted cruz. can he lure some of the more mainstream conservatives that really are a feature of this district. this district just north of des moines is known for fiscal conservatives. it is not heavy on evangelicals. can ted cruz pull in some of the more fiscal conservatives that are away from his base in western and northwestern iowa. also a test case for donald trump. are his supporters going to actually show up to the polls. we're going to be watching that table of first-time voters and see if there are a lot of them. again, you're right, it could come at the last minute, some people could change their minds and based on the speeches that are given here, and then cast their ballots. so this could be a very tight race in this precinct. >> yeah, it's a really exciting night to watch. brian, thank you very much. just ahead, for hillary
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clinton, tonight's caucuses are a do-over in a sense, a chance to get it right after 2008. the race closer than anyone expected. take a look at how high the stakes are for her. i'll talk to the clinton campaign ahead. also we'll check in with the cruz campaign. senator cruz holdings a campaign right now in merion, iowa. >> who understands the nature of our enemies, has the clarity of vision to take on radical islamic terrorism and to utterly and completely defeat our enemies? rootmetrics, in the nation's largest independent study, tested wireless performance across the country. verizon, won big with one hundred fifty three state wins. a t and t got thirty-eight, sprint got two, and t mobile got, zero. verizon also won first in the us for data, call speed, and reliability. a t and t got, text. stuck on an average network? join verizon and we'll cover your costs to switch.
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it had no mouth, but it spoke to me. it said, "rocky mountaineer: all aboard amazing". all right. it's finally the real thing tonight. in iowa, you can feel the energy, not to mention the uncertainty. as we said, the democratic race
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is about as close as it could be. that fact alone is something few predicted back in april when hillary clinton and bernie sanders announced their presidential runs. joining us now is brian fallon. he is the press secretary for the clinton campaign. brian, thanks very much for joining us. how badly does hillary clinton need to win tonight? >> well, we feel really good, wolf. today through our first two shifts out canvassing throughout neighborhoods across iowa, we had some 1500 volunteers knocking on some 37,000 doors. we have 150 staging locations throughout the neighborhoods across iowa. and going into tonight at 7:00 p.m. here at local time in iowa when iowa democrats go into their caucus sites, we're going to have 4200 trained precinct captains and other team members ready to consolidate that support for hillary clinton. because we're seeing her message resound in terms of the need to have a proven fighter that can protect the gains we made under president obama and build on that progress on the issues that
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keep americans up at night. >> because if she doesn't win tonight, next week, a week from tomorrow in new hampshire, all the polls she is way behind bernie sander there's. what happens if she loses these first two contests? >> well, look, again, we feel confident about today in iowa. that's the first contest. there is no question that we've seen some headwinds in the last couple of weeks in new hampshire. but lot can change in eight days. and the reality is that we have multiple pats to the nomination. that is why the plan that has made strategic investments not just in the first four early states, but across the march states, the primary and caucus states that will vote in march loom so large. i think that we have a good reservoir of support for hillary clinton across the country, including throughout the march states. there really are multiple pacts available. we're ready to wage a contest for however long it takes to win the nomination. >> one wick final question.
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if you agreed to bernie sanders' demands for three specific debates following new hampshire? and if you don't agree to the timeline that they put forward, they say they're not going to do the debate before new hampshire thursday night. >> so this is a matter of the sanders campaign continuing to move the goalposts. hillary clinton has consistently said she wants to have additional debates. we wanted to lock one down for next week in new hampshire. we're still hopeful that is going to take place. it's looking increasingly like it will. we agreed to three additional debates after that. and now the sanders campaign keeps changing their demands in terms of dates and locations. i'm confident we can work it out. if there is a will to actually debate. hillary clinton has the will to secure these additional debates and lock them down on the calendar. i'm quite frankly perplexed as to why senator sanders won't take yes for an answer. >> all right, thanks very much. >> thanks, wolf. >> wolf, just over an hour from now, the doors will open in roughly 1800 caucus locations
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across iowa. from that moment until the results are in, we're going be bringing you a lot of action there is going to be a lot of it. the latest from the caucus headquarters of all the leading candidates. we'll see what the mood is when we come back. then, woosh, it's gone. i swear i saw it swallow seven people. seven. i just wish one of those people could have been mrs. johnson. [dog bark] trust me, we're dealing with a higher intelligence here. ♪ the all-new audi q7 is here. ♪
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we want to welcome our viewers in the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." >> i'm anderson cooper. we are now just one hour from when the doors open to caucus sites across iowa, and just two hours from when they close and the voters inside get down to
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the business of picking a candidate and perhaps making history. >> we have correspondents and cameras at all the major events and prime locations. expert analysis left, right, and center. plenty to talk about. by the end of the night, a billionaire with no political experience whatsoever could be one big winner in a self-proclaimed democratic socialist could be the other. or a canadian born freshman senator or former senator and former secretary of state hillary clinton. the polling is tight on both sides. so get ready for a surprise or two. we begin the hour with sara murray. she is over at donald trump caucus night headquarters in west des moines. sara, what is the latest from the trump campaign? how is mr. trump making his final push? >> wolf, i think that everyone is realizing this could be a truly incredible night. and that counts donald trump as well. they do not want the take anything for granted. donald trump held two campaign rallies today, which is a bit of an unorthodox move for a candidate on caucus night.
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and we're also expecting him to appear at some caucus sites. which ones we don't know. and the same goes for his children. they have been all over the state today, doing some retail stops. and they too will appear at caucus sites. wolf, this is a shrewd move. a lot of people have said will donald trump supporters turn out? going out to caucus is not the same as going to the rally where donald trump is the entertainment. but by fanning himself and his children out to these caucus sites, they're guaranteeing some celebrity appeal, at least at a couple of the precincts around the country, wolf. >> sara, how confident are they that trump will emerge the victor tonight? >> when donald trump was holding his rallies earlier today, he said he wanted to emerge victorious. he has made it clear that he really wants to win this state. but i would say he and his team are cautiously optimistic right now. they know that the poll numbers look good for them. they feel confident in their ground game, even though they've been really tight-lipped about it. it's been very much behind the scenes. but i think they feel that they are in a good spot heading into this night.
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as you know, though, better than anyone here, it all just depends on who shows up tonight. and there is no guarantee until they open the doors at the caucus site, wolf. >> so far the weather is pretty good that should encourage turn south. sara murray, thanks very much. ted cruz is holding a precaucus rally right now at baptist church in marion, iowa. he is planning on a evangelical turnout. but not an overall high turnout that would men caucusgoers many to go with trump. at sunlen serfaty is joining us now. this is cruz's last push for voters, sunlen. what is his game plan? what has it been like on the ground so far in iowa? >> well, wolf, the cruz campaign is touting that they have blanketed this state. 12,000 volunteers were deployed today to really get out the vote. for the candidate himself, it's no coincident that his last formal event before coming here to this rally later is about
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evangelicals, speaking and rallying evangelical voters at a church nearby. he has always been about appealing to evangelicals. but he needs to see the numbers perform for him tonight. in his final pitch, it was a very direct message to evangelical voter, all about character. questioning to point-blank people on the trail saying the person you plan to caucus for, do they have integrity? do they have character? really trying to make that direct contrast with donald trump with evangel calls on the trail. >> sunlen, you're in des moines where cruz will be rallying as the votes come in. what is the expectation tonight realistically? >> well, they have been really downplaying expectations for days. and this is significant and a notable shift. because for months ted cruz himself predicting a win here in iowa, saying that he didn't even think he had peaked at one point in december. so it is a pretty significant shift that they're now kind of
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downplaying expectations. ted cruz himself today, you can sense a little bit of doubt. he says he is at peace where he is in iowa. although he does feel good, he went on to say this is in god's hands. this is in voters' hands. if donald trump wins here tonight, he will happily congratulate him and then move on. wolf? >> sunlen serfaty, thanks very much. now to marco rubio. he is running a third in most of the polls, contending at least in the eyes of election watchers to be the leader of the alternatives to both trump and cruz. he'll be campaigning right to the very end with a string of visits scheduled tonight to caucus sites. even as the voting again. cnn was over at rubio caucus night headquarters in des moines. he is joining us now. several of rubio's opponents are having rally events. but rubio's final push for iowa voters is a face-to-face approach. that right? >> that's right. in addition to that, wolf, he has also dispatched hundreds of volunteers to make thousands of
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phone calls to uncommitted voters. and what the campaign is hearing back is good news according to campaign officials that i speak with. they feel like they're doing well in the polls, probably even better than what the des moines register said that they were at last week, which is about 15% of the vote. they think it probably surpassed that. but they are still managing expectations. they believe that they are probably almost certain to get third place. they do not think they are going to get into second place at this point, wolf. and it's noticeable where marco rubio is going tonight. he is going into polk county. that's here in des moines. that county a very populous part of the state in order to get the strong third place finish. >> what are they realistically expecting in the campaign? >> they believe if they have a third place finish and are much higher than the other establishment type favorites in this race, the governor specifically, if they are 10 points, 15 points higher,
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they'll have a strong message to tell out of iowa and they can go into new hampshire trying to be that unity candidate. we'll see if they're able to do that in a few hours. >> thanks very much. >> i want to get a first quick take from our panel, wolf, on what to look for in this next hour as the doors open at caucuses one hour from now. kevin, in terms of you look at donald trump. you look at ted cruz. they have campaigned so differently in iowa. ted cruz has gone to all 99 counties, really reached out to evangelicals, reached out to local officials. donald trump has had big event there's obviously. he has been spending more time there lately but has not spent the time that ted cruz has and has not really advertised until just the last couple of weeks. >> that's right. i think what he is trying to do is he is taking a new approach to what is usually a traditional process which is trying to build up a whole lot of buzz, trying to get a whole lot of free media, and then build a new coalition. some evangelicals, some independent new voters that he expects to come and support him because he is a very untraditional candidate, someone
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who can challenge the status quo. that's what is going to be put to the test. thing is a big test on whether or not momentum is going to be able to beat grassroots infrastructure. >> how effective do you think donald trump's attacks against ted cruz has been? ted cruz was higher up in the polls. he then went after donald trump, suddenly pivoted, went after him on the canadian birth issue and other issues. >> i think it leafs a bit of a mark, but i don't think it's fatal by any means. and it's going to come down to turnout. i think that rallied ted cruz voters to go out and grab a friend and bring them to the poll. i'm not sure that was help informal that round of attacks. but beyond that, donald trump did something pretty interesting. about a few weeks ago, started having smaller group meetings where he was walking people through exactly his campaign team, taking the new voters and walk them exactly what to expect, how you go into a caucus, how you vote and how it works. that can be very intimidating if you have never participated in politics to any degree that
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could be a switch that you're going to see here in little bit. but as far as the give and take on cruz and trump, most of those folks, i think most of those folks have already committed. it may fire up the wrong crowd. >> admitting your former boss ted cruz, in order to win, he doesn't have to get his largely evangelical supporters to come out. he has to hope the donald trump's new people don't come out, right? >> i think that's why ted cruz has made such an aggressive play to go to the 99 counties, to pick up and win the places that huckabee and rick santorum have won before. he has been very up-front saying i want to be the candidate that conservatives coalesce behind. he is not necessarily interested in taking on and stealing voters from donald trump. but everyone else in the field, think about ben carson, cruz went up in the polls when carson went down. and cruz could still benefit a lot from the demise of ben carson. >> you think a lot of carson supporters would go to cruz? >> yeah, i think it's very likely. huckabee, santorum, even rand paul people. if they're in the caucus and they see where the momentum is and they want to get behind a candidate to win, cruz can be their guy. cruz has been very up-front in
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the race saying this is between me and donald trump. if you don't vote for me, a candidate who has a chance of at least slowing down his momentum, you're voting -- >> a good point real quick. there is an anybody but trump caucus out there. >> rubio. i think rubio. >> they don't want their vote wasted. >> here is the fascinate thing about ted cruz. here is a man who was against nsa surveillance. and he is the most data-driven candidate bar none. even including barack obama. this is somebody who knows everything about every voter in all of the 99 counties of iowa. he knows where you shop, what you do, who you're likely to vote for, whether you go to church every sunday or just twice a month. he is so data-driven. and that will in the end i believe help him if he is close to trump. >> one of the things, i think they have learned a lot of lessons from the barack obama campaign, which one thing broadly we should all recognize. before it was conventional
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wisdom, a senator could not win. now we have not only ted cruz doing well, but also senator sanders. i think it's because the senate has become a proving ground of sorts where people can show where they are on the positions and prove to voters where they stand. >> i guess ted cruz knows almost as much about us as google. >> more. >> probably so. >> but what i find fascinating about this is ted cruz is playing the game that barack obama did to a very large extent. he is running a terrific ground game. and trump has been engaging in an air game. and that's very new to politics. it was really interesting story came out of politico today that he got together with people back in christmas of 2013 and started planning this out. and said i'm going to do an air war. i can keep the media's focus. but there is an interesting question. i don't want to stretch this analogy too far. but if you're rung an air ground, do you need boots on the ground to win? >> right. >> do you need boots on the ground. i'm not sure. >> well, he needs a lot more boots. let's put it that way. >> you always need people on the
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ground. >> yes. >> the air game gets you the attention. the ground game wins elections. that's really my perspective. >> if trump wins tonight, it's because he has a better ground game than any of the people -- >> if trump wins tonight, it will be because he had a better ground game than many people thought. >> this is a time, this is a time, organization, organization. 100 years ago, i was democratic state chair of california. i learned the hard way. you can do all the advertising you want, all the rah-rah-rah rallies. come election day, if you don't have the old v-o-t-e, you got to get them out. but one other quick point. as complicated as the democratic caucuses are, it's even more complicated than we learned. because they're weighted. so based on the turnout the last time, if you have 200 people at once caucus, you don't get as many delegates as you do if you have 200 delegates at a different caucus. if bernie has to get his young
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people not in the college towns. but he is asking them to go home. >> explain that. that's very confusing. >> well, again, they're weighted. they're based on how they voted, how many turned out the last time. so bernie supporters are mainly, a lot of them, in these college towns. the college towns you could have 500 people. you'll not get even 23 you win it, you don't get as many delegates if you have maybe 300 people back home. so he has been telling his students go home and caucus. don't stay in your college town. >> but the republican caucuses. >> that's a challenge. >> but the republican caucuses are much more straight forward. >> right. they're different. we should point that out. they are different from the democratic caucus. you vote and leave. >> we'll get two sets of results. we'll get a delegate count plus a voter count. >> eventually. >> won't we get a voter count? >> eventually. it takes long time. >> county level and work their way up. >> but what we know for how many vote for cast. one person could win the
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delegate count and somebody else could win the popular count on that basis. >> i doubt it. >> but if the college kids -- [ overlapping dialog ] >> one note of caution on this. remember, they are folding up pieces of paper with names written on them and putting them in shoe box. some of them are bedazzled with the jewels. i'm not kidding. stlal to open the box and count them. if you remember the santorum-romney issue in the last presidential race came down to a few problems in actually folding out the pieces of paper and counting em. it's not going to be instantaneous electronic. >> i just love that you know what a bedazzler is. >> the teens have i at home. >> we'll take a break. even watching infomercials. we've got to take a quick break. a lot more to get to. we'll get the latest from clinton night caucus headquarters where the pressure could not be any higher. and late reporting from the sanders and o'malley camps as well. we'll be joined by a top cruz campaign official about expectations for his candidate. the senator doing a little q&a
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to give you some idea of how drastically the race in iowa has changed since the outset, hillary clinton once held the nearly 30-point advantage over bernie sanders. in the polls tonight they're neck and neck. and because senator sanders holds a big polling edge in new hampshire, it really puts a lot of pressure on secretary clinton to secure a victory tonight. given that, are they feeling that pressure over at clinton caucus night headquarters? let's check in with our breanna keeler who is there. breanna, what is the latest? what is secretary clinton's final push looking like? >> well, wolf, today is so much about the waiting game after hillary clinton made her case
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last night for why she thinks iowans should caucus for her. where she said that she is basically more electable and more capable of getting things done. we saw a number of events yesterday. today was about going out, seeing volunteers. she brought them treats on the south side of des moines, thanking them for all of the work that they have put in for her. and then she relaxed a little bit, had some coffee with her daughter and her son-in-law, some coffee and pastries before getting ready to wait for these results to come in tonight, wolf. >> breanna, secretary clinton, i know you ran into her earlier today. how is she feeling about tonight? >> i ran into her. i wasn't expecting to see her, wolf. and she was in really great spirits. she was smiling. so it seems like certainly she seemed relax and perhaps confident going into this, which is really what we're hearing from some of her aides. they feel good. they're looking at the indicators. they're looking at the polls over time here in the last
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couple of weeks. and they feel like the numbers are on their side. they feel like they have done everything they can when it comes to organizing, when it comes to getting people out to caucus. but so many of them also remember back to 2008. and this is what they say, wolf. they saw we thought things were good going into that night too. and of course she was given a stinging third place defeat. so there is really i think this sense for them of anxiety a little bit, that even though they're feeling good, they don't quite trust it. they want to see what the results are before they're really going to feel confident. >> barack obama came in first. senator, former senator john edwards came in second. she came in third. breanna, thanks very much. workers at the sanders headquarters got a pep talk today from the boss. listen to this. >> we will struggle tonight if the voter turnout is low. that's the fact. so what is our job today is to make sure that we have the highest voter turnout possible.
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that happens, we win. let's good get them. thank you all. >> jeff salame is there for us tonight. what is the center's campaign telling you about how they'll determine if iowa turns out to be a success? >> wolf, in a word, it is turnout, again. even more important in the caucuses than the elections. everyone who has come to see senator sanders in the closing days of the campaign has been contacted by text, by e-mail, by phone call. they're trying to turn out their number ones. they organize people by one, two, three. one is the most committed supporter. they believe they have enough number ones to have a big turnout here. the number that they're eyeing is this. if it's more than 160,000 people who turn out tonight, they believe that they're in good shape. it's more than 170,000 people, the clinton campaign i'm told believes that that is essentially close to being out of reach for them. to put it in some context here, this would be in between the 2004 turnout and the 2008 turnout when there were some
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240,000 people here. but the sanders campaign is doing something new. they're trying something new, wolf. and this will be a test of it tonight. social media. well, social media through snap chat, facebook, instagram be able to turn out supporters rather than a brick and mortar organization that they have used so many years here. getting the younger and newer voters out to caucus in about an hour and a half's time. wolf? >> what else are they trying to do, jeff, to get people mobilized and get out there and caucus? >> well, one of the things they're trying to do is the supporter to supporter network. there are so many volunteers here from outside of the country. for all campaigns. but the sanders campaign in particular is using a lot of out of state volunteers as well as in-state volunteers to go back and redouble up their effort here. the specter of 2008 is not hanging over them. a tiny bit of 2004 is hanging over them that was howard dean. well famously saw him crash in
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the iowa caucuses. we finished third place. he was soaring for so long. and crashed. all the sanders advisers believe that so much is different now because the social media, how we communicate is different now. so that is one sort of benchmark that bernie sanders wants to beat, that howard dean crash here in iowa. >> the hillary clinton campaign is doing that social media. new development as well since then as well. all right, jeff, thanks very much. >> wolf, thanks very much. i want to talk tower panel. my understand ogg tonight howard dean thing is that campaign did not sort of in the final moments continue to check in with their caucusgoers and push them to go. and a lot of people they thought were going to come out to caucus didn't. and that lesson has been learned by all of the candidates. >> absolutely. they had a lot of younger voters from out of state who came in and didn't organize the way they needed to. i remember them walking around in their bright orange caps. remember that? so a lot has been learned from the mistakes from the campaign of howard dean by the likes of
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bernie sanders' campaign. what jeff was just saying, they're figuring it's around 160,000 that they need to get out. i mean, barack obama had 239,000 people turn out in 2008. so they don't need anything like, they believe, this is their analysis, what obama had to beat hillary clinton this time around. >> but a much lower turnout overall. >> right. they believe that. >> but to bill's point earlier, the fact that if you have all these younger voter, if they're voting by their college, that's not a good thing. if they're caucuses by their college, that's not a great thing for bernie sanders. he has to get them to go to their home districts. >> spread it out. >> the right number of people in the right caucuses to really get the delegates that you need. and to win these caucuses. and in the course of the campaign, tad devine and jeff weaver are real pros. they know this. and the clinton people know it too. and enthusiasm, as you said,
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gloria, is great. and bernie's got it. but that's not enough. >> you have to show up. >> you're a clinton supporter, the clinton campaign says they have learned the lessons of 2008. they have taken iowa a lot more seriously. they have a lot of small meetings and smaller groups where they felt she really shines as a candidate. she has said she is a different candidate. do you think the voters in iowa see her as a different candidate or do they see the same person she was back in 2008? >> well, as they say, you only get one time to make a first impression. they know senator clinton. they know first lady clinton. they know secretary clinton. she is not a new person. but you can change campaign styles, campaign tactics, and the things that you do on the ground. again, as has been one of the themes of the campaign, i think experience does matter. and you learn from the things that have happened in the past, and see what others have done. secretary clinton knows how to do that. >> she is more experienced. but there is a pass night generational split here. >> right. >> in hillary's case.
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it's really, really interesting. the des moines register polled over the weekend that she does so well with women over 45. but under that, sanders beats her heavily. >> right. >> and it does really raise questions. whether the -- the obama coalition of 2008, 2012 depend heavily on the youth vote. >> in iowa. >> everywhere. >> in the general election. it was hugely important. in both general elections. can she bring that along, sore the generational difference such that she is going to have a harder time? >> the thing that she has, the part of the obama coalition that she has in other states, because there is not as large at african american population is african americans. the question is young people. >> it's also is age going trump or is it going to overspeak the question of her being a woman, being the first woman? and the younger voters. >> to bernie? >> young women don't seem -- it doesn't seem to matter to them
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as much. >> people under 45, bernie sanders leads her 78-21. >> among young women too. >> under 45. men and women. >> that's why i think tonight, we'll see what happens. but i really believe hillary has much, much, much more at stake than bernie does. she has to win tonight. she lost to barack obama , fine. but he was a rock star. bernie is a 74-year-old socialist from vermont, you know, who is an outsider. and for her to -- if he is were to lose to bernie, it would be a real- [ overlapping dialog ] >> expectations over here. >> i love that. great spin. >> news to me. >> the reality is that senator sanders has run a philosophical campaign. he wants an ideological debate about a lot of things. secretary clinton is practical, pragmatic, know house to get stuff done. and people will make a decision about those kinds of things. but i want to go back to one of
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the points that david made very early on. about 1680 plus caucus locations. this is iowa. great state, great people. and it's kicking off this incredible big night. we have about 1680 plus voting divisions in philadelphia. it is as if the citizens of philadelphia are kicking off the national campaign and directing the momentum for what is going to happen over the course of the next eight, nine, ten months. >> right. >> that's the context which we're operating here. >> we're going to take a quick break. before we do, a reminder. we have something special in store wednesday night. a "360" town hall. i'll be moderating. 8:00 p.m. eastern time in new hampshire. tonight they'll all be there. tune in for that. coming up next, about half hour from the opening time at caucus locations throughout iowa. and about 90 pins minutes from
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the actual caucusing, we'll check back for a closer look at what is about to unfold. the first real contest 2406 amazing presidential election. be right back. do you love your wireless keyboard more than certain family members? is your success due to a filing system only you understand? does printing from your tablet to your wireless printer give you a jolt of confidence? if so, you may be gearcentric. someone who knows that the right office gear helps you do great things. and there's one place that has it all. office depot officemax. gear up for great.
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senator ted cruz just wrapped up a pre-caucus rally at a baptist church in marion, iowa. earlier today he spoke with the town of jefferson where he explained an accomplishment that he called the full grassley.
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>> we are with this stop completing the very last stop of the full grassley. we have now been to all 99 counties in the great state of iowa. >> grassley, of course, being the long-time iowa senator chuck grassley, who visits every county in the state every year. joining us now, the full tyler. cruz campaign communications director rick tyler. thanks very much for joining us here. what is your prediction? how is the senator going to do tonight? >> well, i think he'll do very well. we'll either win or we'll come in a close second. and i'm confident that our turnout operation is as good as it gets. we've had 12,000 volunteers working. we're making over 20,000 calls a day. yesterday we made 24,000 calls. that's been going on for weeks now. i feel pretty good. i feel like it's all come to. this a little nervous. but we've got about a half hour to caucus time starts. and so hoping that iowa will
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bring it home for us. >> listen to what donald trump says about senator ted cruz's suggestion about his policies. listen to this. >> ted cruz is a total liar. i am so against obamacare. i've been saying it for two years in my speeches. i'm going to repeal and replace obamacare. i don't know where he gets this. but he is a liar. >> so why does the senator insist that donald trump would be -- supports obamacare? >> because he has said that he would fund single payer health care system, which is where obamacare is leading to. senator cruz isn't say he supports obama care, he supports an obama-care like system which is taking us to single payer. we all know what happens with single payer. you get lower quality, higher costs, less choices, less innovation and it costs lives and money. so that's -- those are donald trump's words. you know, it's kind of sad,
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really, actually, that donald trump, you know, wants to do name-calling and invective and insults and thinks that that's really effective. i think the voters of iowa are kind of sick of that behavior. so their campaign attacked congressman king today. it went over like a lead balloon. it was not well received by the iowans who were there to see donald trump. i just think it's sad that he is going to stoop to this level. >> so how bitter is this relationship? now they used to have a so-called bromance. but it's really deteriorated. >> well, ted cruz has said over and over again he likes donald trump. he has not returned the invective. in fact, he never has. lots of people called him lots of names because he doesn't want to get along with washington. he wants to change washington. but he never returns it in kind. so i think that speaks to the character of ted cruz. so, look, it's going to be a -- i think it's a two-person race. and i hope to come out on top
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tonight. we'll see how donald trump reacts to actually losing. we'll see what happens. >> was that the full tyler, rick? >> i guess so. >> all right. the full tyler. rick tyler, thanks very much for joining us. >> appreciate it. >> wolf, the doors open in about 20 minutes for the iowa caucuses. i want to check in with jim sciutto who is at a republican caucus site in greenfield, iowa. what is happening there, jim? >> how you doing, anderson? we're at valley high school, the southwestern corner of iowa. it is rural. it is agricultural. corn is king, they say here there is also a strong evangelical streak here which would seem to break in favor of a ted cruz, perhaps a donald trump with a fallwell endorsement. darrell issa who is a surrogate for marco rubio, he has come down to the southwestern corner of the state to speak tonight to try to peel away some of the trump and cruz supporters to go the way of marco rubio. >> do we know how large of a turnout they're expecting there tonight? >> well, i spoke to the precinct
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chair, and he says they're expecting a record turnout tonight. in fact, they're prepared to accommodate as much as twice as many voters as they had just four years ago. it doesn't mean they'll get there. but they're prepared for it. but at the same time, it's very unpredictable. they've said that here in springfield -- greenfield, rather, they correctly voted for the winner of the iowa caucuses going back to 1996. precinct chair says, though, tonight completely unpredictable. he doesn't have a real sense of who is going to come away a winner tonight. >> right. a potential with a lot of new caucusgoers. jim, thanks. let's go to the democratic caucus site. pamela brown joins us from des moines. what's happening there, pamela? >> all right people are starting to come in. they just walked into the church, anderson. they've been registering here. and we've already seen both bernie sanders supporters as well as hillary clinton supporters who have arrived tonight. in fact, the hillary camp set up shop where barack obama's group was eight years ago when barack obama won this caucus site. and hillary obviously did not.
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so they're hoping that this will give them good luck, and that things will change this time around. we're expecting a huge turnout here tonight. eight years ago there were a little more than 100 people. there were a lot of first-time caucusgoers. tonight we're expecting even more people. there are around 600 democrats registered here in this precinct. a little over 400 independents. and of course the bernie sanders camp is hoping to get the young people in, the first-time caucusgoers to cast their vote. the hot commodity will be those who haven't decided yet, who are coming here, floating in between candidates and who are here to be swayed. we're told that those who have made up their minds will be swarming around those who haven't, trying to get them into their groups. we're going see a lot of action here very shortly. anderson? >> and the weather in that area, is that going to be a factor tonight? >> only in a good way, anderson. and that's one of the reasons they think the turnout is going to be so high tonight. it's a nice day here. it's not even that cold here in iowa. the snowstorm hasn't set in yet.
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so as one person we spoke to said, there is no excuse for people not to come out and caucus here, particularly in this precinct. >> all right. good to know. pamela brown, thanks. coming up, the latest polls in iowa show bernie sanders just barely behind hillary clinton. her lead within the polls margin of error. the question is can sanders pull out a victory in the heartland. i'll speak with someone who wrote the book on him, next. also, take a look. two gop candidates who have already jumped ahead to new hampshire, john kasich and jeb bush. >> he had written two memoirs because it was all about him and his ambitions. and he is, as i said, an extraordinary speaker. and he was there for two years as the united states senator when he lost his campaign. there was nothing in his background about whether he could forge consensus. unite around the things that we agree on. nothing. and the net result is we have suffered as a -- seven.
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it's gotten thinner. even curvier. but what's next? for all binge watchers. movie geeks. sports freaks. x1 from xfinity will change the way you experience tv. the iowa caucuses are about to get under way. the first big test for the presidential election and for senator bernie sanders, the question tonight is whether he can overcome what seems to be hillary clinton's razor-thin lead over him in the polls in iowa. joining us now is political strategist jonathan tecini. the author of the book "the essential bernie sanders and his vision for america." thanks very much for joining us. i know you're hoping for a sanders win tonight in iowa.
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but if hillary clinton does win and he loses, how does that affect his strategy moving towards new hampshire and beyond? >> well, look. i think the reality is that we're sort of getting into the weeds with iowa. there are 44 delegates at stake. we feel very confident about the work that has been done. but this fight is going all the way to the convention. wolf, if you had told me back in may that bernie sanders, who was at 3% in the polls, within seven months would essentially be tied with the presumed front-runner in iowa and be closing fast in national polls, have raised $20 million just in january, which means he will be competitive in all the super tuesday states on march 1, you would have said, you know, what are you smoking? you wouldn't have believed it. this campaign is just started. we feel very, very good about the number of volunteers that are out there, the energy, the enthusiasm that is going to spread all across the country. and this will go all the way to the convention. >> i remember. i agree with you. six, seven months ago when he announced, it would have been amazing if somebody had made those predictions.
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what do you attribute to that success? >> with all due respect, the media did not catch this. it's very simple. bernie sanders is calling for political revolution. he is running against somebody who represents the status quo. the status quo is something that nobody in the democratic circles really likes, and doesn't want to embrace. the status quo represents the banks that we have to break up, the health care system that isn't working for people, and trade agreements that aren't working for people. bernie sanders represents something completely different. and he has ignited people all across the country. i've travelled to all the early states, to florida. the enthusiasm is just incredible. people sense a chance of supporting bernie sanders is changing the future of the country. >> so hillary clinton says she wants to pursue the strategies laid out by president barack obama. bernie sanders, though, he has a different idea, right? >> yeah, absolutely. look. there are a lot of good things that barack obama has done. at every rally i've ever been to
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and heard bernie sanders speak, he said barack obama has done very good work. and again, in the face of almost united republican opposition. but bernie sanders wants to expand that and essentially take apart a system that is not working for people. he says thank god that barack obama got the affordable care act passed. that still leaves 29 people not covered by that health care plan and we're still paying premiums and copays that are outrageous. bernie sanders' plan will save people thousands of dollars. that's just indicative of the way he looks at the economy in general and again, it's a political revolution and people are thirsty for that. they understand the system is corrupt and they want to change that and bernie sanders represents a movement. he says it's about a movement. it's not just about him. he will be elected, but people have to stay engaged. >> thanks very much for joining
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us. >> always a pleasure, wolf. >> these are live pictures coming in. john kasich, jeb bush, both candidates putting in a lot of work in there. they're already looking way beyond iowa. they're not going to do well in iowa, so they're looking to the next contest a week from tomorrow in new hampshire. >> a lot of the candidates, they were in iowa, but they were focused on how they are going to do in new hampshire and trying to appeal to an new hampshire contest. these folks already new hampshire trying to get out the vote there. >> we're getting closer and closer to the big moment right now. >> that's right. caucus sites around the state of iowa opening at the top of the hour. john king lays out what to look for as the night unfolds. >> you and your campaign speak in general terms about how ohio has 400 new jobs that's been
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just minutes from now doors will open at caucus sites across iowa. this is what it looks like. they'll cast the first ballots in the 2016 presidential race. voting ga voting begins about an our hour from now. we'll start to see the first
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signs of how the night might end. >> we get a sense of the composition of the electorate, how many young people turned out, how many evangelicals turned out. what we're looking for on the republican side, it's complicated because we have so many candidates. we expect marco rubio to be in play if you believe the polls. let's go back to 2012 to say what are we going to look for. see all this gold? remember how late that night was. rick santorum won very late because like mike huckabee in 2008, rick santorum won almost all the small rural counties. ted cruz needs to copy the santorum map if he is going to beat donald trump in iowa tonight. then you look for trump. number one, can he steal some of this? can ted cruz infiltrate the
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evangelical turf and take some of that -- i mean donald trump, excuse me. then the battle will be on the romney map. the dark red is where mitt romney won in 2012. between des moines, cedar rapids, they're the population centers. can donald trump win those ar s areas? watch out and see here. of course, we're going to look for surprises. >> what about on the democratic side? >> let's start in 2008. if you look now on the democratic side now -- let's come over here. hillary clinton, martin o'malley, bernie sanders have a blank slate. for bernie sanders, we're going to look in the college towns. we're going to look in iowa city. we know young people are for bernie sanders. one of the challenges could he get them to leave the college
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towns and increase his odds in other parts of the state. back in 2008, the dark blue is hillary clinton. the hillary clinton hold her own in the east, just splitting this with bernie sanders. he was huge. that's about 3%. you final traditional democrats. they tend to be for democrats, old older. hillary clinton remembers the pain of this. >> right. >> and they're much better organized. can organization overcome the sanders' passion? >> we'll be watching this as the votes start to come in late into the morning. the caucusing itself is just an hour away. then it all becomes real.
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the first votes of this primary election, the first chance to see not just what people will tell pollsters but what they're willing to do about it when it actually counts. our coverage continues right now. this is the moment when the presidential race begins. >> it is the first contest in 2016. tonight iowa really matters. >> in the heartland right now, one state has the power to shake up two parties and make or break the frontrunners. >> the stakes are so high for iowa and america. >> if i lose iowa, i will never speak to you people again. >> this is the first presidential contest that counts. it's iowa's choice. >> we're going to win. >> a critical test for donald trump in a showdown with ted cruz. >> guys like ted cruz will never


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