and 45% don't believe he's legally the president, of course, a trump or a cruz is going to emerge. but ultimately, when you get into the general election, the rules are very different. and the standards are very different. >> robert zimmerman, thank you very much. thanks to all of you for watching "legal view" today. wolf starts right now. hello, i'm wolf blitzer. it's 10:00 a.m. in las vegas, 1:00 p.m. here in washington. 8:00 p.m. in acura, turkey. wherever you're watching from around the world, thanks very much for joining us. we begin with a very dramatic escalation in the battle for the race for the white house. ted cruz is now calling out donald trump over a threatened lawsuit. cruz saying trump's threat stems from a cruz tv ad. the ad uses comments trump made to nbc back in 1999 when he said, he was, quote, very pro choice. ted cruz's message to trump, sue
me. >> donald's lawyer sent our campaign a cease and desist letter. and this letter, i will say, having practiced law for many, many years, this letter is one of the most remarkable letters i've ever read. mr. trump's lawyers contend that that advertisement you just saw is, quote, material -- is an attempt to materially mislead the public. and indeed provides more detail. he says that this attack ad, is what he calls it, is, quote, not only completely disingenuous, but replete with lies, false, defamatory and destructive statements and down right fabrications. mr. trump's lawyer's letter goes on to say, the ad, quote, blatantly misrepresents to the public that mr. trump is pro choice.
and nothing could be further from the truth. and the letter concludes, by threatening if we will not pull down the ad, that mr. trump will seek immediate legal action to prevent the continued broadcast of this ad, and to hold me jointly and severally liable to the fullest extent of the law for any damages resulting therefrom. you know, i have to say, that mr. trump, you have been threatening frivolous lawsuits for your entire adult life. even in the annals of frivolous lawsuits, this takes the cake. so donald, i would encourage you. if you want to file a lawsuit challenging this ad, claiming it is defamation, file a lawsuit.
>> our chief political analyst, gloria borger, is with us you no. she was over there at the cruz conference in seneca, south carolina. gloria, let me play a bit of that ad that cruz is
talking about. and then we'll discuss. >> sure. >> i'm ted cruz and i approve this message. >> life, marriage, religious liberty. the second amendment. we're just one supreme court justice away from losing them all. >> would president trump ban partial birth abortion? >> look, i'm very pro choice. >> but you would not ban it. >> no. i am pro choice in every respect. >> we cannot trust donald trump with these serious decisions. >> all right. gloria, the -- cruz went on to say, if there is this lawsuit, he would welcome the fact to depose trump under oath. and he said look what it did for
bill clinton when he was under oath. he was making a similar analogy to donald trump right now. a really dramatic escalation in this war between these two republican front runners. >> reporter: it was. you know, and cruz's argument is, as he said, quote, repeating someone's own words, you know, cannot be defamation. and you see the ad, which is an old tim russert interview from a sunday morning i believe in 1999. and what this is all about, wolf, is cruz wanting to portray donald trump as someone who cannot be trusted on the social issues. our poll yesterday showed that ted cruz is 20 points behind donald trump with evangelical voters. evangelical voters, while not a monolith, certainly care about the issue of abortion. and this is one way for cruz to say, wait a minute, look at his
own words. point attention to his own ad, and say to donald trump, bring it on. you know, he also took the opportunity to take a whack on my dad at marco rubio. saying marco rubio in calling him a liar is behaving like donald trump with a smile. so he managed to take on both of them in one presser. get some advantage here by getting this kind of attention. and pointing out this lawsuit, which he says, of course, is frivolous, just like he believes donald trump's candidacy is. >> stand by for a moment. i also want to bring in our senior white house correspondent, jim acosta in bluffton, south carolina, where trump held an event a little while ago. also joining from us greenville, south carolina, our political director. first of all, any reaction yet from the trump campaign to this latest cruz challenge? >> reporter: no, wolf. and it is rather surprising that donald trump's legal team would send a cease and desist letter
to the ted cruz campaign and yet the donald trump campaign has not put out any statements. their top officials have not responded to e-mails saying what this is about. all we have really to go by at this point is this letter that the ted cruz campaign has released, saying these are donald trump's lawyers saying to cease and desist, to stop running this ad. so we're waiting to hear from the donald trump campaign on that. but i can tell you, wolf, that this has been a burr in donald trump's saddle all week. he has been very, you know -- he has been very outspoken about these attacks coming from ted cruz on the issue of abortion. and earlier this morning here at this event in bluffton, south carolina, donald trump once again described ted cruz as dishonest, that he was lying about his record on abortion. we should point out, donald trump did once describe himself as pro choice in the past. he did so in an interview with tim russert back in 1999. he says he has evolved on the
issue like ronald reagan. here's how donald trump described it at this event earlier this morning. here's what he had to say. >> what cruz said, he's not pro life. i'm not? you can't lie about people like that. it's just incredible. and, again, i've been in business. and i've dealt with some pretty rough hombres, much tougher than cruz. but i've never dealt with anybody that lied so much. and then he says he's religious. no wonder i'm winning the evangelicals by two to one. >> reporter: now donald trump also had choice words for lindsey graham. he talked about george w. bush. but it seems that this fight -- this very personal fight between donald trump and ted cruz is sort of overwhelming everything else inside the trump campaign right now. and at this point, wolf, we're just waiting to hear from the candidate himself. he has not tweeted. he goes on these tweet storms. he have not heard from top campaign officials confirming this has indeed happened and explaining what they think their
legal standing is because donald trump, being a public figure who is running for president, obviously what he has said in the past is fair game. so what donald trump thinks he can gain by all of this is something that the campaign has not explained at this point, wolf. >> stand by. david chalian, this comes on the heels of trump earlier saying he was going to file a suit saying cruz isn't even eligible to run for the presidency, because he was born in canada. the allegation being he's not a natural-born u.s. citizen. this is a separate lawsuit he's filing now that this ad is in effect defamation. why is this escalating so dramatically right now? >> reporter: well, what donald trump is trying to do here, he's clearing making a calculation. because what -- on the negative side for him, he's giving now free media attention, lawing ted cruz to go out there and highlight this letter and bring up the issue of donald trump's past, pro choice positions. so in one sense, he's giving oxygen to one of his opponent's argument. on the flip side, what i think
trump and his team is calculating here, wolf, is that, hey, i'm not going to take this lying down. i'm not going to let ted cruz sort of unanswered, just advertise about my past when that is no longer my position. so what trump tries to do by sending this cease and desist letter is muddy the waters with cruz. don't give cruz a clean shot, trying to portray him as pro choice when he no longer holds those positions. and now get into battle with him, where the free media will be about the battle between them instead of simply about ted cruz's accusations that donald trump was once pro choice and can't be trusted as a true conservative. i think that's the calculation going on here. >> and it comes also, gloria -- gloria, it comes at a time when trump is way ahead of cruz in south carolina, according to our latest poll, in nevada, according to our latest poll. and take a look at this. among -- these are likely republicans, 38, 22. but a 16-point advantage there for trump. and among evangelicals, as jim acosta pointed out, he's beating
cruz by 19 points. trump 42, cruz 23, among white evangelicals in south carolina. so clearly, this is irritating cruz. >> reporter: well, this is exactly, i think, what this press conference was about. you know, to point out that, in fact, whether it's current or in the past, donald trump was on the record saying i'm very pro life. now he is not. but it is something that cruz wants to point out, that donald trump has kind of evolved and can you trust him. in what cruz also did this morning, i might point out, wolf, is that he also had a pretty detailed list of donald trump's previous political contributions in recent years. and said, look, you can't trust somebody who helped fund the democratic takeover of the congress. so on those two points, a., he
was pro choice and b., he gave an awful lot of money to democrats, can you trust him to name somebody to this supreme court who would be a reliable conservative if he were to become president of the united states. again, hammering that home. you can't trust him, he's not who he says he is. so watch out. and i think he's talking to those evangelical voters who really clearly in this state prefer trump over cruz right now. >> jim, i suspect it's not going to be long before we hear directly from donald trump. what is the schedule for the rest of this afternoon? >> reporter: right. he does have an event later on this evening. and so we'll hear donald trump at that point. i can't imagine we're going to go through the afternoon, though, and not hear anything from the trump campaign about this. and i just want to add one more thing to what gloria was saying. the other thing that ted cruz was responding to, and this has been a key element of the donald trump strategy here over the
last couple of weeks. is that ted cruz engages in dirty contribution, that he can't be trusted. donald trump does not miss a chance at every campaign rally. he goes after ted cruz. or almost every campaign rally, goes after ted cruz, accuses ted cruz of pulling a fast one in iowa, and that was the reason why he was able to siphon votes away from ben carson and that was the reason why donald trump did not win the state of iowa. trump mentions that at just about every campaign rally. and when i was listening to that press conference that ted cruz was delivering, he was almost lawyerly going through all of these various accusations, because you not only hear them from the trump campaign, you have marco rubio almost echoing nearly word for word the exact same accusations against ted cruz. he's even going after ted cruz on ben carson. so i think that that is something that is clearly -- gotten under ted cruz's skin. and it is something that is working for donald trump at this point when you talk to donald trump supporters, they often point out, they don't like what ted cruz or they say they don't
like. what they think ted cruz did in iowa. and you heard it during that press conference. an explanation that has somehow to do with cnn. in terms of what went on in iowa. which isn't true. but at the same time, this is something that donald trump has done methodically for the last couple of weeks to get under ted cruz's skin. and i think that this -- if this cease and desist letter is confirmed by the trump campaign, when it's confirmed by the trump campaign, wolf, it is -- let's just call it what it is. it is basically a stunt. it has no legal standing. it's not as if that ad is going to come down because of this cease and desist letter. donald trump has said himself he was going to take down ads that have not been taken down. you see them on television here. clearly, this is something that irritates donald trump, this issue of abortion and where he stands on abortion. he has said it time and again, he considers himself pro life, but he's evolved on the issue, wolf. >> let's see if he backs away from filing a lawsuit on this issue of the ad. but goes forward with a lawsuit
on the issue of the eligibility of ted cruz to even run or serve as president, because he was born in canada. we'll see if that lawsuit were to go forward. guys, stand by. an important note to our viewers. tonight and tomorrow night, you can hear the republican presidential candidates, all six of them, make their pitch directly to the south carolina voters in live -- in two live town halls, moderated by our own anderson cooper. ben carson, marco rubio and ted cruz. they'll be live tonight followed by kasich, ted cruz and donald trump tomorrow night. he called donald trump a poor man's imitation of michael moore. now peter king is standing by and will join us live to tell us how he really feels about the front runner. and democratic candidate hillary clinton won nevada eight years ago. but a new poll suggests she may have lost some of her appeal. we'll discuss the latest. our panel, our reporters, our
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i'm spending too muchs for time hiringnter. and not enough time in my kitchen. (announcer) need to hire fast? go to ziprecruiter.com and post your job to over 100 of the web's leading job boards with a single click. then simply select the best candidates from one easy to review list. you put up one post and the next day you have all these candidates. makes my job a lot easier. (announcer) over 400,000 businesses have already used ziprecruiter. and now you can use ziprecruiter for free. go to ziprecruiter.com/offer5 so is the donald trump campaign going to respond to senator cruz calling out trump, basically suggesting he's a liar. let's bring in katrina pearson,
national spokeswoman for the campaign, joining us on the phone right now. so your immediate reaction, we are just getting in a statement, katrina, from donald trump. let me, in fact, read some of that statement to our viewers. then we'll discuss. here's what your candidate, donald trump, just said, responding to what senator cruz said. ted cruz has already had one of his ads pulled off the air, concerning senator rubio, because it was totally false. additionally, he was forced to apologize to dr. ben carson for fraudulently stealing his votes in iowa. and was embarrassed by his phony voter violation form. trump adds, he is a liar in these ads and statements made by cruz are clearly desperate moves by a guy who is tanking in the polls, watching his campaign go up in flames. finally explains cruz's logic. i guess that's what he meant to say. i do not support taxpayer funding for planned parenthood. this is what trump says. as long as they are performing
abortions. i have been clear about my position on this issue for years. i am also a strong advocate of the second amendment and a proud member of the nra, as are my sons. finally, trump says this. i will repeal and replace obamacare, and i would nominate a very conservative justice to protect our freedoms and conservative values. if i want to bring a lawsuit, it would be legitimate. likewise, if i want to bring a lawsuit regarding senator cruz being a natural-born canadian, i will do so. time will tell. donald j. trump. that's the statement from trump. so is he going to go forward, katrina, with two separate lawsuits? is that what i'm hearing? >> well, you know, we're going to have to see. this was quite an interesting stretch for senator cruz. and i'll just mention, it wasn't even just a rubio ad that was false. cruz's campaign admitted that one of the imminent domain ads they ran in iowa was false. so you have a tradition here of senator cruz trying to gain back
some ground he's lost. the cnn poll that came out showed that donald trump is winning heavily with evangelicals, which is, you know, something that ted cruz just does not have a path without. so what we're seeing today is senator cruz desperately trying to get his message out, which tends to be a message that no one is buying into, because many of the voters have already heard from some other candidates. >> so -- but i want to be precise. what donald trump, the man you want to be the next president of the united states, is saying, that he might go ahead and file two separate lawsuits. one against this ad that's out there, that the cruz campaign put out, referring to an interview he did back in 1999 with tim russert of nbc news, in it which he said he was pro choice. and a separate lawsuit on his eligibility. cruz's eligibility to serve as president, because he was born in canada. i guess the bottom line question is, is he going to go file two separate lawsuits, and if yes, when? >> well i think the answer is
quite possibly. again, this would be a decision made specifically by mr. trump himself. i would also say, this is one of the reasons, wolf, why good people don't run for office, because you have so many falsehoods and lies, and character assassinations. and this would be a way to sort of set a precedent for voters to reject this type of campaigning. if a politician were to reject this type of campaigning, as well. >> as you know, cruz also said -- he's a former solicitor general in the state of texas. he's a lawyer. he's argued cases before the supreme court. he said he would welcome the possibility of personally deposing donald trump in any lawsuit, getting him under oath, making him answer certain specific questions. and he referred to the fact that when president bill clinton was president of the united states, he was deposed under oath. and we all know how that wound up. is -- that's a direct challenge from cruz to trump. how do you think trump is going to respond to that?
>> well, you know, maybe we can have lawrence depose cruz when it comes to his naturalization case. getting back to the point here, wolf. we're talking about a senator calling out donald trump for being anti second amendment. when mr. trump is a member of the nra, his sons have gone hunting, phil lawrence himself said donald trump is a better shot than cruz. someone had the conceal/carry permit in the state of new york is anti second amendment. he's still saying donald trump would not support appointing a conservative judge to the supreme court of the united states when, in fact, donald trump is the only candidate that's even offered names. someone like bill pryer who has said roe vs. wade is the worst bottom nation in history. someone endorsed by senator jeff sessions. senator cruz is reaching and grasping, as his poll numbers
drop. donald trump will continue to fight for what he believes will make america great again. >> katrina, thanks very much. katrina pearson, national spokesperson for the trump campaign. that last line from the trump statement that was just released. he said, likewise, if i want to bring the lawsuit regarding senator cruz being a natural-born canadian, i will do so. time will tell. teddy. yes, kaulz senator cruz teddy in that statement. trump's tone on the campaign trail has earned him a lot of critics. among them now, the new york congressman, peter king, he's a republican, a member of the house homeland security committee, the intelligence committee. he was thinking of running for the presidential nomination but decided last summer not to do so. let me get your quick reaction, congressman, to this fight -- it's a brutal war under way between senator cruz and donald trump. but where do you stand? are you with cruz or are you with trump? >> well, on this issue, listen, i'm no fan of ted cruz, by any means. but he's 100% right on this.
you have an absolute right to show past appearances by a candidate where he took a different position. in 1999, donald trump was pro choice. and ted cruz has the absolute right to show that and let the voters decide whether donald trump is being honest then, being honest now or why he changed his position over the years if he is being honest now. that is very, very fair comment and for a guy like donald trump who says he's so tough and he can't even take, you know, seeing himself 19 years ago, 17 years ago, you know, shows he's not that tough at all. so this is just part of -- to me, like a goon squad mentality that donald trump has. when you see something he doesn't like, he's going to bring a lawsuit, you can't show it. in a free society, in a democracy, i've been in campaigns, many of them over years. people say a lot of things about you. some true, not untrue. this is true. and a lot of times you just have to explain why you said something in the past. apparently, donald trump doesn't want to do that. so, again, this is part of the heavy-handed tactics he's been
using. and it shows, again -- like i've said, he's always saying what a tough guy he is. i don't think he's tough at all. if he can't take this, it really shows he doesn't have the guts. >> what about the second lawsuit questioning the eligibility of cruz to serve as president because he was born in canada? do you think trump has any legal standing there? >> are yeah, i think -- there could be a basis for that. it has not been decided. obviously, before. i think it's something that may have to be litigated. it would be unfortunate. i know, for instance, a former chief judge of the new york state court of appeals, he has come out and said he thinks ted cruz could have real problems, because of where he was born, going through the distinctions of natural-born and how the founding fathers treated that entire issue. so that -- yeah, that could be a very legitimate issue. but it shouldn't be used as a threat by donald trump. like, if you don't take down this ad, i'm going to sue you for not -- to say you're not eligible to run for president. again, one has nothing to do with the other. if you feel that strongly about it, bring a lawsuit.
if not, keep your mouth quiet. >> last summer, when we spoke back on august 24th, you said some nice things about donald trump. let me play a little clip of what you said about him at that time. this is shortly after he was running for the republican nomination. >> he's appealing to real people. and i'm saying this as a new yorker. he may be a billionaire from the east side of manhattan, but he talks like the guys i grew up with in queens and brooklyn. he talks like i real person. and that's resonating. how this is going to play out between now and the primaries, i don't know. i think he's forcing the other candidates to be more real and to get off their talking points and address issues the american people are concerned about. >> and now you've obviously evolved since then. now you don't think he's fit to be president, right? >> no, in fact, wolf, i guess i should sue you and threaten you to take that down. you shouldn't be showing things i said that are different from what i'm saying now. if i were donald trump, that's what i would be saying. seriously, i did have hope for
donald trump until recently. galvanize reagan democrats and some of his foolish remarks with john mccain that these are statements he made. but when i saw what he did over the weekend, that was the finale for me, when he lied about george bush about 9/11, about weapons of mass destruction. either he lied or he's dumb, one or the other. and that to me was a flagrant disregard of the truth and the shouting and yelling and carrying on and also this tough guy act. i grew up in queens, i knew a lot of tough guys. a lot of tough neighborhoods. where he grew up in jamaica estates, i can tell you, that was the rich kids. no tough guy has ever come out of jamaica estates. and tough guys don't have orange hair. >> have you endorsed any of these republicans? which one do you like the most? >> i would think that as far as qualifications, i think jeb bush would be the most qualified. again, a lot depends on how he does in south carolina. other than that, i would say marco rubio. john kasich is also -- he served in the house.
all three of them are more than qualified to be president. again, i would -- my -- closest vote would be for jeb bush. but we have to see what happens in south carolina and then i think it's probably people are going to have to start making a decision to get behind one candidate who has the best chance. because, again, between cruz and trump, to me, it's like two tarantulas in a bottle. >> strong words from peter king. congressman, thanks as usual for joining us. >> wolf, thank you. and tonight, remember, cnn is hosting its first of two republican presidential town halls. it's a chance for the candidates to get their message out directly to the folks in south carolina. but with donald trump's big lead in the polls, what will it take to close the gap? we'll discuss that with our panel. stay with us. you both have a perfect driving record. >>perfect. no tickets. no accidents... >>that is until one of you clips a food truck, ruining your perfect record. >>yup... now, you would think your insurance company
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this just in. the white house now says president obama and the first lady will go to the u.s. supreme court on friday to pay their respects to the late justice, antonin scalia. scalia will lie in repose. his funeral is saturday. the president says it's his constitutional responsibility to nominate a new u.s. supreme court justice to replace scalia. listen to this. >> the constitution is pretty clear about what is supposed to happen now. i intend to nominate somebody, to present them to the american people, to present them to the senate. i expect them to hold hearings. i expect there to be a vote. i'm amused when i hear people who claim to be strict interpreters of the constitution suddenly reading into it a whole series of provisions that are not there.
>> joining us now from salt lake city in utah is the republican senator, or ren hatch, a former chairman of the senate jush judiciary committee. you obviously have a lot of historic unique perspective on this whole confirmation process. the notion of going forward. the president is going to nominate someone to succeed antonin scalia. will you, should you hold hearings before the judiciary committee for this nominee? >> well, he has an absolute -- he has an absolute obligation and even right to nominate whoever he wants. now, the second part of that is the united states senate has an absolute right to handle it when it comes up to the senate. and it's going to be up to -- it seems to me senator grassley and senator mcconnell to determine whether they have a hearing or whether they don't have a hearing. but senator mcconnell is right. he wants to get it out of this tremendously political brouhaha
time that this presidential candidate the situation is in, and get it to where it will be decided by whoever wins the presidency next year. in fact, this is the first time, really, the first time that anybody has nominated somebody -- will have nominated somebody during a presidential year who wasn't nominated in the year before. you know, in the last 80 years. so it's a serious set of problems here. >> the chairman, senator grassley, says he's open to the possibility of holding hearings. he wants to see who the nominee is. out of procedural matter, though, would you be among those who would be in favor of a filibuster, requiring 06 votes to break a filibuster to not even allow a vote for the nominee? >> no, i don't think we should filibuster supreme court nominees or any judge nominees. we wouldn't have to filibuster. just -- all it would take is for senator grassley to just say,
look, we're not going to confirm anybody this year. the reason we're not going to confirm is because we value the court, we don't want it to be in this political atmosphere. we value the integrity of the court, and we're going to put it over until next year, which is fair, because whoever wins the presidential election is going to have the right to nominate. and at that point, a senate will be in a position -- greater position outside of all this controversy and brouhaha going on to confirm whoever the president puts out. >> but don't you think the right thing to do is wait to see who the nominee is, and then make a decision as opposed to some of your republican colleagues who say as a matter of fact, doesn't make any difference. he could nominate orrin hatch to be the next supreme court justice. we're not going to go along with that. >> well, they have a right to feel that way. and i don't have any problem with that. and, you know, i can't wait to find out who the president is going to nominate. i have some ideas that, you know -- of who he might nominate. and some of the people may be very good in some ways. but there is a real value in
protecting the integrity of this court, which i've done my whole 40 years in the united states senate. by not letting it be in this tremendously volatile brouhaha called the presidential elections of this year. and i personally believe it ought to be put off until next year. and whoever is president will have the right to nominate whoever they want to. >> are you passing along any suggested names to the president? >> no. i'm afraid he doesn't consult with me on those -- he will when he finally makes a decision. and we'll just have to see what he's going to do. apparently, he's going to go ahead and he's going to make a nomination. he has every right to do that. but the senate has every right to say, well, we think to hold hearings and to confirm somebody with less politics involved will be the first 1st of next year.
and frankly, if you look over history, you know, at least over the last 80 years, nobody has been basically confirmed in the -- in the year of the last year of the president. >> justice kennedy -- justice kennedy was confirmed, but he was nominated the previous year, but confirmed in february. >> i had said that before. that the kennedy was confirmed. but that was after bruising battles over senator -- excuse me, robert bork. and others. and i have to say that it was quite a bit different. everybody was kind of happy to have it over with at that particular time. but as a general rule, they don't call them up during the presidents last year. and there is good reason for that. because they know it's going to just smear the court, and be -- you know, a great big brouhaha that the court doesn't need that
the reputation of the court doesn't need. the court's integrity doesn't need. and i think the that mcconnell is right on this and most republicans feel the same way. whether there is a hearing or not is decided by senator grassley, my chairman today. and senator mcconnell, who he'll consult with. >> very quickly. one final question to put on your constitutional expertise hat. donald trump is suggesting he's going to file a lawsuit against senator cruz, raising the question of his eligibility under the constitution as a natural-born citizen to run and serve as president of the united states. does trump have a legal case against cruz on this issue of the constitutionality of his being born in canada? >> well, i admit, that issue hasn't been decided by the supreme court over the last group to decide the issue. but my personal belief is that there have been too many people who have run for president who were born outside of the nation, especially, you know, senator mccain is a good illustration of
that. and -- but cruz was born to an american mother, therefore had a right to an american citizenship. he's reannounced his citizenship in canada. so i think it's a pretty tough case to try and bring. but i can't say that in this raucous day and age that the supreme court might agree with me. they may think otherwise. >> senator hatch, always good to have you here on cnn. thanks very much for joining us. >> great to be with you. keep up the good work. >> thank you orrin hatch, as a member of the judiciary committee. up next, there is a dead heat apparently in nevada right now. the new cnn poll shows hillary clinton has lost her lead now, neck and neck with bernie sanders. should her campaign be worried? we'll assess when we come back. [plumber] i need to be where the pipes are. so i use quickbooks and run my entire business from the cloud. i keep an eye on sales and expenses from anywhere. even down here in the dark i can still see we're having a great month. and celebrate accordingly. i run on quickbooks.that's how i own it.
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a live picture of hillary clinton, holding a rally in chicago right now. she is looking ahead to the illinois primary there, next month. she's also meeting with many women there in chicago. unfortunately, have lost their sons to gun violence. we're going to continue to monitor what she is saying. the democratic presidential front runner right now, hillary clinton, in chicago. she did lose a solid lead to bernie sanders in recent days among democratic voters in nevada. she's way ahead in south carolina, but in nevada, it's a very, very different story. let me be precise. take a look at our new cnn poll. clinton and sanders in nevada, they are in a dead heat. she leads by one percentage point. 48-47%, well within the margin of error. more recently, she was way ahead in nevada. she is still way ahead in south carolina right now by a about 18 points, according to our latest cnn orc poll. let's bring in democratic
strategist, maria core doana and tara set mayer. thank you for joining us. back in october, maria, hillary was ahead of sanders in nevada, 50-34%. now it's neck and neck. what happened? >> i think what happened is we have a real primary on our hands. i've been saying from the beginning is actually great for the democratic party. look, her campaign absolutely needs to focus on the fact that she needs to continue underscoring her message of lifting barriers for everybody. of making sure that this economy works for all communities of color. the speech she gave in harlem yesterday was fantastic. and those, i think, are the themes that will resonate in communities like nevada, which has a lot of latino voters there. latinos have traditionally been backing her, and i think will continue to back her. and is she needs to continue to focus on this message of economic prosperity for
everybody. that's where i think she'll start to get the younger voters and also focusing on how to it actually get things done as opposed to just talking about what everybody likes and sounds good. but how are you going to deliver for everyday americans. that's where i think her strength is. >> tara, let me get your reaction to this battle, this war that's now under way between the republican presidential front runners, donald trump and ted cruz. you heard this back and forth. ted cruz now saying bring it on as far as lawsuits by trump are concerned. whether to pull on a negative anti trump ad or to go ahead and raise questions about his constitutional eligibility to run as president because he was born in canada. have you ever seen anything like this before? >> no, this is insanity. you have donald trump, who is basically like a vexatious litigant. any time he gets hit back when he goes after people, he gets hit back, he decides he's going to sue them. he's like a rich bully on its playground. that's what he's doing because he doesn't like the fact that ted cruz is running powerful ads
against donald trump that talk about his actual record. so he screams liar, liar, pants on fire and i'm going to sue you. and that's not very presidential. now i don't know whether this is going to be successful, necessarily, for cruz. trying to come back at trump like he did today. i think the strategy there was to get some free media time so he could have a one-on-one, uninterrupted to combat what donald trump is doing and he'll have that opportunity again tonight in the town hall. but i don't know if getting into the mud with donald trump is necessarily ted cruz's forte. >> maria, why do you think donald trump right now, according to our latest cnn orc polls in south carolina, as well as in nevada, is crushing cruz and everyone else? >> well, according to the poll, which i thought had some terrific information in it, what he is focusing on is on what all slices of the republican electorate want to hear. which is a candidate with strength. a candidate that focuses on how to get the economy going for everybody. a candidate who will be strong,
you know, frankly, in the republican electorate will be strong against undocumented immigrants and illegal immigration. and so trump has topped all of that, including foreign policy, how to be strong with isis. so what seems to me to be happening is that all of the other candidates are trying to hit trump, but when he hits back, he actually underscores exactly all of the qualifications and the qualities that voters like about him. which is that he's not going to take it from anybody. he is going to fight back. and that -- that does not bode well for the other candidates. and frankly, cruz -- >> hold on, hold on, go ahead. >> well, i >> hold on. >> i think to a lot of voesers it is, tara. why would he be ahead by so much, especially among evangelical voters, which should be cruz's strong point and he is leading by 20 points. >> can i get a word in. >> yes, go ahead, tara.
>> because people are enamored by a cult of personality. you hear people say he speaks for me. he has given me a voice. this is the first. but he is just a snake oil salesman. do you think he doesn't recognize how to manipulate people's behavior? he has no record to support any of the things he's saying now but it doesn't matter because he has tapped into the emotion. >> exactly. >> hillary clinton is in big trouble, huge trouble in never dachl she was up 25 percentage points a month ago. for bernie sanders to close that gap like that. she is in huge trouble, which is why bill clinton is running around being a surrogate and she is running around barking and doing things out of character for her. it is a sign of desperation. if she loses nevada, she is in trouble. >> nice segue from the republican craziness. >> that's what we do. >> it's getting exciting on both sides. >> it is. >> up next in the search of endorsements i'll talk to one key member of the house freedom
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the fight is on for key republican endorsements in south carolina where the primary scheduled for this saturday among the republicans. popular governor nikki hayley is uncommitted so far though she has said she won't endorse donald trump. the south carolina republican congressman rick mull veiny is a member of the house freedom caucus. congressman, thank you for joining us. i know you originally endorsed kentucky senator rand paul, who dropped out after iowa. which way are you leaning now? >> i'm not. i'm like so many south carolinians completely unzpooitd decided. i spent the last three days to try to meet all the candidates in person. i've had some success with that. i am dplooet completely undecide. i went to vote absentee
yesterday. walked into the building, couldn't decide and walked out again. >> the mayor said she will endorse someone but it won't be donald trump. is it possible you could vote for donald trump? >> i struggle with a bunch of different things. i like m.a. what muk is doing in terms of expanding the party, but i worry about his experience. i look at ted cruz who votes the way that i do most of the time but i worry he is turning off large s.w.a.t.s 69 voting party. then i look at trump who i think probably does have the experience but i wonder if this is one big negotiation and he is telling us one thing and we get renegotiated after the vote. i struggle as many do right now trying to figure out who i'm going to vote for on saturday. >> we are getting word that the newspaper there in south carolina is now reporting that governor hayley will endorse
marco rubio later tonight. have you heard that? >> that's news to me. in fact i just talked to trey gouty not ten minutes ago. he didn't mention that. if the rubio campaign had any knowledge of that ten minutes ago, trey would have said something to me. >> there is a lot of pressure on you to go forward with your fellow south carolinians and go ahead with marco rubio. >> i hear about it every day, believe me. gowdy and scott have both called me just about every day. i like marco. i saw him on season and thought he handles himself extraordinarily well. i could be satisfied with any of those three men taking the banner for our party into a campaign against hillary clinton. i just don't know who i'm voting for yet. it is a hard for me, wolf, to enars doris and say i think you should vote forethis person when i don't know who i'm voting for myself. >> a lot of second quarterians are undecided. the statement in the posted courier, they are reporting that
nikki hayley will endorse marco rubio later tonight. we have not independently confirmed that. you don't know that yourself. i just want to be precise that the big newspaper there in south carolina, that's what they are reporting right now. you wouldn't be surprised by this, though, would you? >> no, i wouldn't. i mean, i would be surprised if she endorsed trump but that's about it. i think nikki probably could go with just about any candidate other than donald. it wouldn't surprise me, no. >> she said she definitely will not endorse donald trump. why is he doing so well in your home state? >> we're angry. it used to be perceived that south carolina was the fire wall for the establishment. that was the case for a generation. four years ago in my election it changed. 2012 we didn't support romney. we supported gingrich. now sort of the anger that is present all across the nation in the republican party really comes to a head if south carolina. that's why you are seeing governor bush do so poorly. but that anger, that frustration is here. it's real. it's driving donald trump.
it's driving ted cruz. and it probably puts trump across the finish line saturday with a first place finish. >> congressman mull veiny thanks very much for joining us. good you have to on this show. that's it for me. i'm be back at 5:00 p.m. eastern in the situation room. the news tins right now on cnn. hi, everyone. top of the hour. i am a poppy harlow in today for my friend brooke baldwin. this is cnn's special coverage of a critical in the race for the white house. poppy i'm aaron burnett in greenville, south carolina today. top of the on cnn just hours from now where i'm standing republican candidates will face voters answering their questions in a town hall right here on cnn. this comes as an allout war has erupted between the front-runners, donald trump, and ted cruz. minutes ago cruz revealing trump