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tv   CNN Newsroom With Fredricka Whitfield  CNN  February 14, 2016 11:00am-12:01pm PST

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largest change in the history of our federal government, which includes the eventual outsourcing to the public sector. thanks for being part of my program this week. i'll see you next week. happening now in the "newsroom" -- >> i do solemnly swear -- >> remembering supreme court justice antonin scalia. >> he was a larger than life presence on the bench. >> his powerful voice, a remarkable life and some unexpected friendships. >> we had dinner together and justice kennedy -- >> well, that's the first intelligent thing you've done. >> his death already creating partisan clashes. >> i think it's up to mitch mcconnell and everybody else to stop it. it's called delay, delay, delay. >> if donald trump is president,
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he will appoint liberals. if donald trump is president, your second amendment will go away. >> hold on. >> hold on, gentlemen. i'm going to turn this car around. >> i just don't think it looks good that the republicans with an eye on this president has a right to voice its constitutional responsibility. >> the president needs to appoint someone with a proven record similar to justice scalia. >> all in the "newsroom." hello, everyone. thank you for joining us. i'm fredricka whitfield. the leading ideological conservative, justice antonin scalia, is being remembered today. headlines calling him a force in the courtroom, a powerful force on the bench and memorializing the lasting legacy that he leaves behind. he skied in his visit to a hunting retreat in texas. his body is at a funeral home in
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el paso. officials say they have no reason to suspect anything other than natural causes. and the immediate question is what it will mean for the u.s. supreme court and the cases the justices for a liberal majority and democratic appointees have not held the majority in the high court for more than 40 years. let's talk about this more with cnn supreme court reporter arian devoe. there's a large number of cases before it this term on very controversial issues. let's discuss some of those cases right now and how the death of scalia just might affect the outcome. >> well, you know, this is a monumental shift in the court and we're halfway through this
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big term and there are big cases being heard. affirmative action, abortion, immigration and when the court is split 4-4, what happens is the lower court ruling is upheld. that's what stands. so in the cases before the term, for instance, there's a big labor case and going in, the lower court ruled in favor of big labor here but after oral arguments, the supporters of labor were very concerned that the supreme court justices were poised to strike that down. now we're 4-4 and that really looks unlikely. there's another big case, an akor abortion case concerning a texas law. abortion rights, people say that it's one of the most strict laws in the country. the lower court put it -- ruled in favor of the law and now if the supreme court is 4-4, that ruling, of course, would be upheld. so in all of these big cases,
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the death of scalia is going to make a big impact and the court could put these cases over and not decide them but then the big question is, how long would that take? how long will they be with a less than full court sitting on the bench. >> all right. ariana, thank you. appreciate that. republican presidential candidates paused for a moment of silence to honor justice scalia during last night's debate in south carolina but then during the debate they squared off on who should replace scalia and when. >> we need to put people on the bench that understand that the constitution is not a living and breathing document. it is to be interpreted as originally meant. >> the next president needs to appoint someone with a similar record similar to justice scalia, a lover of liberty and then fight and fight and fight for that nomination. >> we ought to let the next president of the united states decide who is going to elect
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that justice to the supreme court. >> we are one justices from the supreme court that would undermine the religious liberty of millions of americans and the stakes for the election this year, the senate needs to stand strong and say we're not going to give up the u.s. supreme court for a generation by allowing barack obama to make one more liberal appointee. >> this is a tremendous blow to conservativism. it's a tremendous blow, frankly, to our country. it's up to mitch mcconnell and everybody else to stop it. it's called delay, delay, delay. >> scalia's replacement is quickly escalating into a major issue on the campaign trail, as you saw right there. ted cruz went so far as to say that he would filibuster the president's nomination on the floor. >> we should not allow a lame duck president to essentially capture the supreme court. >> the president can appoint whoever he wants but we're not moving forward on any nominees until after the election. >> he clearly has the power to
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do it, but given his position of supreme court justices in the past, the senate should not appoint someone out of the mainstream. >> joining me to talk more about this, republican strategist kayla kennedy and brian. will it matter if the president tries to find a more moderate justice nominee? kaylee? >> i don't think so. i think any justice he would appoint would be palatable on the hill. you know where it does matter, fred, in that all of a sudden this is going to be a recurring issue until november. how can republicans delay? all of a sudden where isis was the top issue, where the economy was the second issue, all of a sudden these social issues become very important because they are wrapped in who the next supreme court nominee will be that replaces justice scalia. >> brian, you have to wonder whether that will backfire for the gop because this kind of continued delay, isn't that the
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sent meant that you're hearing from voters who say they are tired of the gridlock? and so if we're seeing one more example of potential gridlock over the president's nominee, then why would this score big points for the gop presidential candidates? >> well, it depends on the voters you're speaking to because conservative voters are tired of president obama running over the constitution and using executive action on immigration and on gun control and they believe that the health care case was wrongly decided by pokery and want to prevent more of that and it's this president and his track record that have created a sense of angst and desire to block his nominees. it's not just any president. it's not just being the obstructionist party. it's, in particular, the outrage among conservatives and president obama's track record. he's forfeited the right to
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swing the supreme court into his direction based on his past actions. >> we've heard from the republicans during the debate. this is what bernie sanders had to say about the idea of mitch mcconnell asking president obama not to name a nominee. >> i just don't think it looks good that for very overtly political reasons that the republicans would deny this president the right to exercise his constitutional responsibility, which is to appoint members to the supreme court. i don't think the public will look kindly on republican actions to try to thwart what is he supposed to be able to do. >> kayleigh? >> as you heard ted cruz last night, i believe he said it's been 80 years since we've had a lame duck president appoint and get a nominee through. i disagree with senator sanders and i'd ask him to look within his own president.
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you see the president abusing his executive power all the time and appoint members to the national board of relations during a recess in an appointment. that was struck down by the supreme court. lindsey graham said that the president has abused power and you can't abuse power without repercussions. he's not compromised and this is a consequence of that. >> brian, isn't that apple and oranges, though? we're talking about 11 months to go. he's still the president. it's a four-year term, not a three-year term. why shouldn't he exercise what gives him the authority to make an appointment for the supreme court in 11 months? >> well, fred, to answer that question, i'm going to give you an historical example of what might be an outcome here in that the republicans starting from this posture of saying no justice is similar to what the democrats did to ronald reagan in the '87, '88 time frame when
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robert bourque was nominated and the posture, similar -- >> but the process was under way and that's the difference, right? that's opposed to mitch mcconnell saying don't even engage in the process. >> and i think the difference is the president. and as we said, this president is in a different posture from reagan at that time and he had not abused and so this isn't happening in a vacuum saying, no, no, no to obama. it's because of what obama has done that they have said enough is enough and that's how we've gotten here. >> stick around. the candidates battling over a lot more than the supreme court at last night's debate. next, i'll show you just how nasty it got. and later this week, cnn will host two republican presidential town hall events in south carolina. all six republican candidates will participate. marco rubio, ted cruz, ben carson will appear on wednesday
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night. donald trump, jeb bush and john kasich will appear on thursday night. both events being hosted by cnn's anderson cooper and will take place live at 8:00 eastern time. the town halls will give south carolina voters an opportunity to question the candidates themselves and, of course, the passing of supreme court justice scalia will also be addressed. the republican presidential town halls on wednesday and thursday, 8:00, right here on cnn. we'll be right back. think of it as a seven seat theater...
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donald trump has some harsh remarks about george w. bush's
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handling a faceoff between candidates. >> i'm sick and tired of him going after my family. my dad is the greatest man alive, in my mind. and while donald trump was building a reality tv show, my brother was building a security apparatus to keep us safe and i'm proud of what he did. he's had the gall to go after my mother. >> i was born 63 years ago and my mom was the strongest woman i know. it's not about my family or his family. this about the south carolina families that need a commander-in-chief that can lead. >> the gloves were definitely off. republican strategist, brian
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morganstern and kayleigh are back with me. when he referred to 9/11 happening on george bush's watch, he's said this before but the south carolina audience didn't seem to like this. was this a big risk for him in such a bush friendly state? >> oh, sure. both politically and if you have any regard for the truth. remember, in 1998, bill clinton bombed iraq for weapons of mass destruction and at the time we went in, this was, you know, as george tenant said, a slam dunk. code pink activists and people way out of step with republicans, that is a huge political risk. especially, as you mentioned, in a state that loves the bushes. >> and kayleigh, people didn't
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relitigate what happened but it's here and back on the debate stage again. trump took it even further saying bush lied leading up to the iraq war. how does that potentially impact what has been his lead? >> you know, i don't think it's good. i'm a trump supporter. i think he would be a great president. i think he won the debate last night but wish he would dial back the criticism of george w. bush because this is what trump supporters are made of. it's partly conservatives and it's also democrats and independents. in south carolina, 83% of voters have a favorable opinion of george w. bush. so i wish he would rein that criticism in a little bit and stick to the criticism of the war itself. >> kayleigh, you said you think he won the debate and on what points did he win, in your view? >> overall the way he presented his closing argument and why he's resonating in the hearts of voters. he said i am here for you.
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i think his populist message on preserving social security, voters paid into this, they need to be able to take out of it. >> brian, do you agree with that? did it seem as though donald trump seemed particularly his feathers were ruffled last night? he seemed like he was about to lose his temper. >> oh, yeah. he was yelling into the microphone at one point. i will agree on one point and disagree on the other hand. the argument that he's beholdened to no one and represents the common good was used by arnold schwarzenegger when he ran for governor of california and it worked. it got him elected. the problem is, he didn't necessarily governor conservatively. you saw jeb bush get under the donald skin and marco get under ted cruz's skin.
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the two front-runners had a lot of incoming fire. in my conclusion, at the end of that, is in terms of who looked presidential -- >> who? >> -- with everybody screaming at each other, it wasn't a high bar but i think rubio came out looking well because he had been so damaged to begin with i think that exceeding expectations he had the most to gain. >> and then there was marco rubio who looked most presidential. in fact, he even tried to deflect trump's blame on george w. bush and instead said it was former president clinton who failed. listen. >> the world trade center came down because bill clinton didn't kill osama bin laden when he had the chance to kill him. >> kayleigh, did we see a more reinvented and confident marco rubio after the new hampshire debate that did not go his way? >> i don't think so.
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because everyone this morning is touting his great performance but what comes to mind when i think about marco rubio is his spat with ted cruz over immigration and where he said ted cruz how do you know what i said on univision, he said you don't speak spanish and then ted cruz spoke spanish. it looked like he was lying about ted cruz's record. i don't think we saw a reinvigorated marco rubio. >> there was a lot of name calling last night and even those calling each other liars. >> you're the biggest liar. you're probably worse than jeb bush. >> this is a disturbing pattern now. for a number of weeks, ted cruz has been telling lies. he lied about ben carson in iowa. he lies about marriage. he's lying about all sorts of things. >> so brian, is this more of a display of desperation or down
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to the wire trying to stay out in front of what could be a very pivotal race in south carolina? >> oh, i wouldn't call it desperation. it's crunch time behavior. it's the name brand, the theme of the brand and the fact is that he has not necessarily been on a number of issues and, in particular, with this immigration issue, the notion that ted cruz is this reliable conservative when basically everyone on the stage agrees that enforcement first is necessary and then we'll talk about maybe legal status or citizenship depending on the candidate and that's where they disand agree. what he's trying to do is boil it down into who seems tougher in who can come off as the real tough guy and that i think is being dishonest. >> i want to quickly respond. there's a difference in action.
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there's no doubt when you looked at what happened in the senate, ted cruz was on the side of jeff sessions fighting against the bill that rubio was on the side of chuck schumer was on. it's not just a difference in attitude but in position. one was for the schumer bill. those are the differences. >> ted cruz was in favor of legal status increasing visas by 500%, something like that. he fought passionately for legal status and now he's trying to -- >> miss characterization. >> out trump, trump. >> thanks to both of you. appreciate it. >> thanks, fred. still ahead, remembering justice antonin scalia. he's being called a hero and mentor by one of his former law clerks. we'll talk about justice scalia, next.
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u.s. supreme court justice antonin scalia may just be remembered for his most powerful voice on the supreme court and his ardently conservative interpretation of the constitution. as joe johns explains, there was also much more to the man. >> i do solemnly swear. >> the first italian american to sit on the nation's highest court, justice antonin scalia was a conservative in thought but not in personality. antonin scalia was raised in the elmhurst neighborhood of new york city, the only child of his parents. >> i was something of a greasy grind, i'd have to say. i studied real hard. >> he was a top student at public and private and catholic schools in the city. his interest in law began in college and so, too, interest in
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maureen mccarthy with whom he later married and had nine children. his embrace of conservativism attracted the attention of republicans and president reagan ultimately named the 50-year-old federal judge to the high court in 1986. there, he developed a reputation as a reliable conservative. in his own style, he helped liven the public face of the high court. >> some of the other justices, includi including the other justices already on the court, if the new guy gets to ask all of these questions, i'm going to sort of step up and ask some questions, too. >> on abortion, the death penalty, affirmative action, homosexual rights, scalia clashed often with left-meaning bench mates. if he was trying to get anybody to sign an opinion, it was harder when he would use more combative language. but as much as they would say, you know, i'd like to strangle
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him, he once referred to the junior and quoted songs. off the bench came admiration from young conservatives who wrote books and created websites and tribute but controversy, too. a hunting trip with vice president chin knee at the same time that a lawsuit was being considered over access to privileged documents. a gesture some interpreted as obscene and captured by a boston newspaper, he called it dismissive in nature. a man both respected and feared and celebrated. >> he'll be remembered in many ways. certainly this larger than life figure, larger than bench figure, someone who embraced both the law and a life beyond the court.
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>> reporter: a judge who combined street smarts with the well-calculated view of the law and its limits on society. >> i'm not driven. i enjoy what i'm doing. as soon as i no longer enjoy it, i am out of there. >> joe johns, cnn, washington. >> let's talk more about the impact of justice scalia and the influence he had on those he knew and worked with. joining me on the phone, the honorable who clerked for antonin scalia when he was a judge on the u.s. court appeals and after his appointment to the u.s. supreme court. thank you so much for joining us. >> thank you for having me. >> your reaction to his passing? >> well, it's a huge loss. i mean, he was both a great scholar and a great justice and a great legal thinker and i think, you know, he will be very
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much missed both on the court and by the country. >> can you describe what it was like to clerk for him? >> it was very stimulating and really quite splendid. it was a little scary at first because when we were working on a case, he might ask the law clerks what he thought about it and not infrequently, as soon as you described your views, he might then say, oh, that's completely stupid. or that's completely ridiculous. or, that can't be right. but the key to working for justice scalia was to understand that he didn't mean that's stupid or that's ridiculous or that can't be right. what he really meant was, explain why you think what you think and challenge me about it. because his goal was all about
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getting it right and he just wanted you to be able to defend your case and challenge him so that he would do the best job that he possibly could. >> how do you think that made you better? >> it made me very careful about what i was saying and what i was arguing, certainly, and it also gave me confidence at the end of the day that i would do this well and that i could be an effective lawyer. >> and now as you hear the tangling over the president's opportunity to appoint a nominee and mitch mcconnell, senate majority leader saying, no, wait until the next president, give the next president that opportunity, where do you stand on this? >> you know, i'm not getting
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into that, actually. i really think that for me the -- what i want to talk about is the justice's legacy and his contribution to the law and i'll leave that question to others. obviously people staked out some positions and, you know, mcconnell and grassley have laid down some markers. >> but then based on justice scalia's impact on cases that are still pending, that everything will be on hold potentially until there is a new appointment or confirmation or until the justices can rectify whether they can carry on these cases, the continued delay, how do you suppose that impacts what opinions he may have already written on ongoing cases? do you think a further delay will detrimentally impact some
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of those ongoing cases? >> well, i think you certainly -- it shouldn't affect the issued decisions. you could end up with some 4-4 ties but that doesn't prevent the court from issuing its decision. what that means is that the decision of the lower court is affirmed and that can happen anyway. so i think -- and it has happened in the past and, you know, i wouldn't -- i don't think there's anything to be too concerned about. >> all right. thank you so much for your memories of justice scalia. >> thank you. south carolina has a large population of active military and veterans. so how are they reacting to donald trump's comments on 911 and terrorism at last night's debate? did the front-runner help or hurt his chances of pulling off
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all right. one of the more interesting moments in last night's republican debates in south carolina was the exchange between marco rubio and ted cruz on immigration. >> marco went on univision in spanish and said he would not rescind president obama's illegal amnesty on his first day in office. i have promised to resend every illegal action including that one. >> i don't know how he knows what i said on univision because he doesn't speak spanish. and second of all -- >> well, what you didn't get to hear, though, is that ted cruz then spoke a little bit of spanish. this morning on cnn's "state of the union," senator rubio was asked about that very exchange.
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>> senator, were you calling into question whether or not senator cruz is a real latino? >> no, i was calling into question whether he knows what i'm saying. he points to this interview on univision. he has no idea. he's going off of what other people are telling him and it's false. it's just not true. >> another of the head-to-head battles came between trump and jeb bush. trump hammered bush on his family, mother, father, brother and bush fired back several times. this morning, the former florida governor was asked about how he really feels about the billionaire running for president. >> i don't know him well enough to not like him. i do think that he would not be the proper nominee for our party. he's not a conservative. he's not a serious person. his conversations in debates when he talks about foreign policy, it's scary to say that russia could be an ally. he basically seemed more interested in putin than my brother, for example. i mean, we shouldn't be changing
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teams here. we ought to be focused on what is the national security interests of our own country and i don't think that he's really thought it through. >> the debate in south carolina was a chance for the candidates to reach a key demographic, the military. south carolina is home to more than 62,000 troops. seven of the nation's most military bases, including ft. jackson and paris island. in the 2012 gop primary, 21% of the voters identified themselves as veterans. so let me bring in retired general mark hertling, former commander of the seventh army. good to see you. >> hello, fred. how are you? >> i'm good. >> what is this the possibility of candidates to try their harde hardest to tout their qualifications to be
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commander-in-chief? >> paris island and jackson, there is also charlotte air force base which is huge air force bases as well as charleston naval weapons system. you're talking about the first primary where a lot of military veterans are watching to see who their next commander in chief might be on both the republican and democratic side and i would suggest they are sizing them up from the standpoint of leadership, the key areas of their character, what they believe in, their presence, how they act because most military folks know that these are people who are going to be representing the united states with overseas leaders and, most importantly, they are understanding of the issues. so i think in both of the democratic and the republican debate, that's what military folks are watching, especially the intellect piece and understanding if the candidates have a real knowledge of national security issues. >> so a lot of the vets are probably looking for those qualities you just said like in
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leadership, character, in judgment. were there any standouts to you that you think will really have some of those vet voters in south carolina take notice? >> yeah, i'm not going to name any names because i'm trying to stay as apolitical as possible. but what i'll tell you, fred, i was making a check list, as i know some of my other friends, men and women in the services are doing, in terms of those areas of character presence and intellect and we are tallying the scores up, both on the democratic and republican side. there are some leaders, there are some that are falling way behind in our books and truthfully some of the key leaders are getting good advice from a stable folks who understand national security. you can tell the difference between the one who is are getting input, who are listening, who have empathy and humility versus those just espousing some views that are not based in either reality or a
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sophomoric stance. >> we need to destroy isis and dispose of assad to create a stable syria so the 4 million refugees are not a breeding ground for islamic jihadists. >> jeb bush is so wrong. you've got to fight isis first. right now you have russia, iran, you have them with assad and with syria. tough knockout isis. they are chopping off heads. these are animals. you have to knock them out. you have to knock them off strong. you decide what to do after. you can't fight two wars at one time. >> and i wonder if those with a military background are listening to these candidates and thinking about are these ideas best represented for this individual or ideas that best represent those that are advising them? >> well, i think that's the point. i think you have, often in leaders, emotional responses. the passion or the throwing out
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of suggestions that sometimes aren't based on the pragmatics of what is actually occurring. we're seeing that in many of the debates, that people are throwing out the red meat to get the cheers from the crowd when in fact many of the solutions being thrown out by some of the candidates are irrational, unfeasible in terms of their approach and show a lack of understanding of what is really going on in the region and with national security issues. >> all right. mark hertling, thanks so much. >> thanks, fred. deceptive robo calls. the fight in south carolina is known to get a little dirty and this here is no exception. the accusations are already flying, when we come back.
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welcome back. i'm fredricka whitfield.
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south carolina has a reputation for dirty politics. the rough and tumble reputation took center stage last night when donald trump accused ted cruz's campaign of making deceptive robo calls. listen. >> and today we had robo calls saying donald trump is not going to run in south carolina where i'm leading by a lot. vote for ted cruz. this is the same thing he did to ben carson. this guy will say anything. nasty guy. now i know why he doesn't have one endorsement from any of his colleagues. he's a nasty guy. >> ted cruz did not address those robo call accusations in last night's debate but in the past his campaign has said that they don't have anything to do with push pulls. there's an anonymous website
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that is asking south caroli carolina residents to submit tips of questioning campaigning. a veteran strategist from the palmetto state is joining me. you're there in south carolina. you know that state well. are voters getting these misleading robo calls right now? >> yeah. i'm hearing more and more about it. we have a fairly strict law, a fairly strict state law against robo calls that was overturned, i believe, last year. that made these things a little more easier to do. so the an total evidence is any indication that it is going on. >> so is it difficult to figure out who is behind these robo calls? >> yeah. i mean, there's no smoking gun. anybody engaging in this sort of
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thing is going to be smart enough to keep their fingerprints off of it because the juice is not worth the squeeze. getting caught using negative information usually results to be in the newspapers, the cable news shows talk about it and then you obviously get a reputation for underhanded tactics. whatever benefit you might get out of these tactics are probably not going to be worth the potential downside. >> interesting. so south carolina, you know, voters really don't like it. they find it very unsavory. if they found out there were truthful things not being said about a candidate, they would use it against them when it came down to the polling station? >> potentially. the really nasty robo calls that
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everybody remembers was the 2000 bush campaign primary. now we have something wonderful called the internet, right? it's much easier for immature sleuths to not only track down where these things are coming from but also if they are even true. we are in a phase of the information age far beyond what we were 16 years ago now when south carolina was made infamous for these tactics. i think voters would see through this and as much as it is going on, if it's coming from the campaigns, hopefully somebody will track it down. >> and perhaps you have your fingers on the polls there. six gop candidates. is there any way to determine whether voters feel overwhelmed? do they like having all of these choices? or what? >> you know, i think it's good
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that we had a widdling of the field in new hampshire. there are six candidates out there right now. it's not overwhelming but a good number to choose from. >> joe sawyer, thank you so much. >> thank you. appreciate it. stay with cnn in the final days leading up to the cnn primary. we'll host a republican town hall on wednesday and thursday. watch it right here. and we will be right back. i've been blind since birth. i go through periods where it's hard to sleep at night, and stay awake during the day. learn about non-24 by calling 844-844-2424. or visit
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welcome back, everyone. breaking news. cnn confirming that arkansas state university is telling students to stay in their rooms, sending out this tweet. two males with weapons reported near the student union. lockdown immediately until further notice. so this message from the arkansas state university telling students there in jonesboro to stay in their rooms because of two males known to have weapons according to that ta we tweet on the campus. all right. meantime, the u.s. supreme court leading ideological
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conservative, justice antonin scalia is being remembered across the country. conservatives calling him a powerful force on the bench and memorializing the lasting memory he leaves behind. he died during a texas hunting retreat. he was 79. right now his body is at a funeral home in el paso, texas. the u.s. marshals service is helping to arrange for his body to be returned to mclean, virginia. while the cause is still under investigation, officials have no reason to suspect anything other than natural causes. as the nation reacts to scalia's unexpected death, the immediate question is what it will mean for the u.s. supreme court and the cases the justices are reviewing right now. it also opens up the opportunity for a liberal majority on the bench under president obama. democratic appointees have not held the majority in the high court for more than 40


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