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tv   The Lead With Jake Tapper  CNN  December 15, 2015 1:00pm-2:01pm PST

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welcome to "the lead," live inside the gorgeous venetian theater in beautiful downtown las vegas. we're here on debate day. todayiums set up behind me, all days candidates walking through to take a final look before they take the stage altogether. the debate starts in just two hours. all of the republican candidates have what may be their last, best chance to impress voter before the christmas holidays and election year begins in january. this will be, no doubt, a much different republican debate than we've seen before with the conversation shifting dramatically to protecting the united states and its people from terrorism. since the last time republicans gathered on stage to debate, we've seen the terrorist attacks in paris, terrorist bloodbath inside the united states, in san
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bernardino, california. in fact, today more than 600,000 students were forced to stay home in los angeles after the nation's second largest school district reported receiving an electronic threat from an i.p. address in germany. now, the l.a. school district found that threat credible, new york and other districts reported getting similar threats but concluded it was a hoax. either way, another indication of the high level of caution and concern and anxiety facing americans across the nation. well, over the next hour, we're going to be bringing you the best political pregame on tv with the best political team on tv. plus, former vice presidential candidate sarah palin will join us live, she knows a thing or two being the outsider. helping us understand what is confound everybody in the republican be establishment, the appeal of the two guys on top in the republican race, donald trump and senator ted cruz. but i want to start with cnn
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sara murray, she's offstage behind me. that's been a busy location all afternoon now. >> reporter: you're right, jake. it has been a very busy location. continues to be busy. you see here dr. ben carson has taken to the stage, doing his walk-through. this is what we've been seeing from candidates all day, a better sense where they'll see timing lights, facebook questions, getting acquainted with the stage. there were a couple of candidates who opted not to go through this ritual, donald trump, jeb bush, rand paul. so it just depends on what kind of candidate you are. but like you were saying, this is going to be a very different kind of conversation today. it's going to be a conversation focused on national security. when we talk about ben carson, being here right on the stage right now, this is a big debate for him. a candidate who has seen his numbers slip in the wake of the paris terrorist attacks, in the wake of san bernardino and he has to be on the stage and prove to voters they can trust him as a commander in chief, if he
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wants to see his numbers go back up. >> he's been criticized his own campaign advisers for his grasp on issues but he put out a tweet with a video to his supporters saying he wants questions on international affairs and national security. if so, it will be a slam dunk. but, you point out that donald trump has not come on to this stage. why exactly does he not want to come on the stage? >> well, i think donald trump is one of those candidates who likes to roll up at the event last possible moment and take the momentum of his day with him. but he also packs some other things into his day. you know, he is meeting with the mega, gop megadonor, sheldon adelson, an interesting meeting for a guy self-funding his campaign, doesn't want money from billionaires but want the support of adelson. it's not a far trip for trump. he's staying at his own las vegas hotel, doing a little
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debate prep, forgoing this ritual of doing the walk-through. >> sara murray, thanks so much. we'll be checking back with you throughout the hour. i want to game out tonight's debate with three people who have seen a lot of the events, gloria borger, cnn chief national correspondent, john king and cnn senior political commentator david axelrod. david, let me start with you. you went through so many of these when you were adviser to then-senator barack obama. >> pleasure to be an observer. >> much more pleasant. and barack obama had a mixed record in debates. pretty good but hillary clinton probably bested him a few times. >> i think so. >> what would you tell the front-runner here, donald trump, if you were advising him? you have a good relationship with him. he's given money to the foundation that you work for, that you've started. what would your advice to him be? >> well, other than -- i think a difficult candidate to prepare for a debate. i'd suspect he goes with his instincts. the truth is, he hasn't done
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particularly well in the debates, he hasn't gained from the debates. but i don't think he's a guy who's going to change things up. you know, i think my main instruction would be, don't go after people gratuitously, don't shoot behind you, and just make points that have gotten you a boost in the polls, go after, you know, point on muslims, your point obscuring the borders from terrorism, go after the muscular points that have lifted you in the polls recently and stay out of trouble. >> what would you advise, senator ted cruz, gloria? he's in first place in one poll in iowa and neck and neck in another poll. clearly, even donald trump is still way ahead of everybody else. >> sure. >> he's still seems to represent the strongest challenge to trump right now. >> sure, particularly iowa, right? i would say to cruz, don't go after donald trump front ily, talking to his campaign, i can tell you, they don't intend to do that. >> why not? >> they feel it doesn't work for
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them. eventually they'd like to get donald trump supporters so they don't want to attack him. but if trump attacks him, he's going to try to deal with it with substance, with a little bit of humor, as we saw, as he's done, and he's expecting attacks from the other side. so he knows that marco rubio, for example, will go after him. chris christie might go after him. he knows he's going to get a lot of assaults. he's going to be fending off assaults more than going on the offense, i think, tonight. >> but there's a remarkable moment for ted cruz here, because you do now have the word that, in private, he has said things about donald trump. in public, i love him, he's great for the race. in private he says i don't think he has the judgment to the nuclear football. ted cruz made his name saying, i tell it like it is, i'm a truth teller, i'm not a typical politician who goes in one room who says a and another room says b -- >> that's all of the time.
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>> that's all of the time. >> just -- >> they're practicing the bell here, rehearsal. happy hour debate. >> i do think -- i don't know if it's a character question but a credibility question. are you a truth teller? we saw -- i was at a debate when tim poll lenity said something about mitt romney, i said, there he is, say it again. >> obamney care. >> chris is not shy, we know that. >> he's a polished debater. >> a great line -- sorry. >> go ahead. >> a great line here for trump, because he has the ability to say, you know, one of the problems with politicians they say one thing in one place and one thing in another. i'm not a politician. i say what i mean and i mean what i say. you ought to say what you say behind closed doors here, let's talk about it. one 0 of the things trump wants to do portray cruz as a politician, not as a real change agent. >> i was on the campaign tral with donald trump last week and donald trump, it was -- we had
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already started to hear that cruz was going to be in first place in the des moines register poll. coming out the next day, and trump knew that. he took shots at "the des moines register" and shots at ted cruz, unprompted in a town hall meeting. went after him opposing subsidies and being in the big oil and after him for other things in terms of his being a politician, not having judgment, not having the kind of temperament to be president, as he does. it's an interesting situation you're in when donald trump is heroing his temperament. >> he made a mistake. >> trump did. >> in attacking cruz. rush limbaugh was the person who pointed this out, saying, why do you attack cruz as being a maniac for not being able to get along with other republican senators, right? that means he's anti-establishment. and that's what conservatives want. >> right. >> why did you attack him that way? cruz can go back at you and say, wait a minute, i'm the real conservative here, do you want me to get along with those
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establishment republicans? >> a little bit. a little bit. >> a little bit. >> here's the question. >> donald trump is an expert at branding. his own brand, and then others, he's branded jeb bush, low energy. that's really hung around his neck like an albatross. does labeling ted cruz a little bit of a plain yak, in this environment hurt cruz or help him? >> no, i think cruz -- cruz's appeal like trump's he's an anti-establishment republican. i think that certifying that helps him. i think branding him as a politician hurts him. i think branding him as a guy who plays the typical political games hurts him. and that's if i were trump where i would go. >> one person we haven't talked about yet senator marco rubio, the favorite of the establishment in washington, d.c. who see him as the best chance to defeat hillary clinton, because of his raw political talent, because of his heritage, he's cuban-american, because of his youth. but he's still -- he really
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hasn't had a huge success. >> your expression summarize where the centrists feel. who is it at the moment? a lot of them decided they're probably not going to make their mark in the debates. it survival of the centrists. marco rubio is the ascendant of the rubio-bush-christie-kasich. carly, her views are in that sense. they're all struggling. rubio is the ascendant. he will go after cruz for his vote to curtail surveillance, he'll say you're not fit, you don't get it, you're like rand paul. look for chris christie to do the same thing. if you talk to those campaigns, they have come to the conclusion that have a moment or two, survive debates, keep money coming in and hope to get to the votes. >> it's a risky strategy. one of the reasons why, chris christie will be on the stage. long-term prospects may not be good because of the freight of new jersey, he's doing very well
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in new hampshire. >> third place. >> he could edge rubio out in new hampshire and rubio could be the odd man out. rubio's tried something no one else has try and it's hard to do in the environment. three factions in the republican party, social conservatives, tea party republicans, and then there's the center right establishment republicans. and he's riding all three horses right now. it seems to me he has to make a choice here. he is the centrist candidate? he has to stake out ground somewhere. >> he has to win somewhere. right now, if you look at the polling, he's not winning anywhere. he's a lot of people's second choice, a lot of people's third choice. but ted cruz seems to be moving up. >> absolutely. >> a tough road for rubio. >> gloria borger, john king, david axelrod, thank you so much. appreciate it. rand paul arrived here at the hall within the past hour. what the kentucky republican says tonight on the main stage in prime time may determine the future of his campaign. we'll ask rand paul what issues
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back to "the lead," i'm jake tapper, live from the venetian hotel where in fewer than two hours, the final republican debates of 2015 will get under way. this could be a make or break moment for some republican presidential hopefuls. one of them is kentucky senator rand paul. senator paul, thanks so much for being here. >> glad to be with you. >> you are in the bubble but you are going to be here. tonight's debate focused on national security, issues where you have strong disagreements with the other eight republicans on stage. how do you hope to get your message out tonight to distinguish yourself. >> i think there's an important debate not only in our party but the country, whether or not regime change makes us safer.
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toppling assad in syria, would we be safer or less safe? if you were to topple assad two years ago or now, it allows isis to grow stronger. the same with gadhafi, when clinton, rubio, wanted to topple gadhafi, it created chaos. isis now pledges allegiance a third of libya pledges allegiance to isis. there should be a debate whether or not we're better with regime change or without. >> another issue you disagree with competitors on stage has to do with surveillance and the national security state here at home. right now a big discussion how tashfeen malik, applied for fiancee visa, nobody detected things she had written on social media. private messages and she was writing under a pseudonym. how much ability do you think the u.s. government should have to go into the social media accounts of noncitizens?
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>> you know, it's public record, i don't think it should be hardly any limits to public record. if you want to look at an intern, we look at your twitter account we don't want somebody who is saying outlandish stuff. >> what about the private messages? >> if you want to look at something you don't have access to, not part of public record, you have to get a warrant. a warrant is not proof. all you have to do is have suspicion in a person's name. my main obz with the christies and ub rubios they want everybos information without listing a person's name, without suspicion or a judge's warrant. i'm all for getting records of potential terrorists. if i'm a judge and asked me, can we look at boston bombers' records two months beforehand, yes, i'm all for individualized searches i'm not for general sweeping dragnet. >> what a about a general sweeping dragnet who are not american citizens. >> outside the country there are no constitutional protections
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and a lot of people misconceive, even on immigration, if you're not in our country, there are no constitutional protections. >> you don't have a problem with facebook should offer if the government asks for it access to private accounts of anybody who is applying to come into the u.s.? >> i can't tell private companies what to do. they have businesses worldwide. if facebook said we'll give private information to the u.s. government all of the time, people would quit using facebook. it's not good for their business model or apple to say, we'll give the government -- in fact, it's hurt them in recent times. they've lost a lot of international baz everybody thinks that the government is spying through facebook all of the time. they have to be very careful. i wouldn't force facebook to do it but public open social media forums, sure we should look at them. >> since the san bernardino terrorism, you and i have talked about the fact you have a proposal to stop the flow of individuals from 33 different countries, most muslim, not all of them.
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but information sigh yesterday farouk, he was an american citizen born in the country, so it wouldn't have stopped him. >> but if we look at most terrorist attacks since 9/11, everybody seems to be using our legal immigration system. we had 20 hijackers, 19 that committed 9/11 and one that we caught, but they all came here using the legal system. we didn't do a very good job of vetting them. if someone wants to go to college, we should find out if they're in college. we have a system that is overwhelmed. 11 million people said to be illegal in the country 40% came legally and overstayed their visa, we have no idea who they are, where they are. we have a system that is so broken i don't think we can stop any terrorism. we have to fix the system. i think the system of global entry, like our frequent flyer system, it could be applied almost universally around the world. people would get a background check. i'm not against everybody coming. there are egyptian business men,
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iraqi businessmen, yemen businessmen, and women, who can and should be able to come to our country but we need to did a background check, know who they are, and they would come back pretty easily. i'm not for saying let's not allow anybody come and visit but we need more scrutiny to figure out who might be coming to attack us. >> you have to be better when the buzzer goes off. let me ask you about the fact that saudi arabia announced a coalition with 34 other muslim countries to take on ice isis. in a recent cnn poll majority of the american people support the idea of u.s. combat troops fighting isis. and i know you are opposed to it. what if that majority muslim country coalition asked for u.s. help, saying we are doing the brunt of this but we do need what you are able to provide in no other country. would you then support it? >> i think boots on the ground need to be arab boots on the ground, particularly sunni
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muslim. saudi arabia, qatar, u.s. pours millions of tons of weapons into the war all into isis and radical islam. you saudi arabia does need to step up and do more. frankly, saudi arabia's done things for decades that have made it much worse. they have funded radical islam throughout the wolf. saudi arabia, you know, the attackers came from saudi arabia. >> most of them did on 9/11. >> the missing 28 pages from the 9/11 report that i've tried to get publicized, i just finished reading senator bob graham's book, from florida, it's a book that everybody should read because it lists 20 different failures to stopping the 9/11 hijackers, some of which include immigration, but in those failures i don't think we fixed any of them because we spent a trillion on surveillance of americans but we haven't done anything to fix the surveillance system and that's where a lot of the problem came on 9/11. >> good luck this evening. we'll be watching.
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>> thank you. >> fewer than two hours away from the start of tonight's republican debates. you can watch it all here on cnn, the undercard debate starts 6:00 p.m., followed by the prime time debate 8:30 eastern. cnn wants to know what you think will happen next in the quite unpredictable election. go to cnn.com/play. there, you can make predictions. couldn't be any worse than our own predictions. enter for a chance to one a trip to join cnn in florida in the republican debate in march. most of the candidates have arrived to check out their stage positions. they're now in their own workspaces in hotels, with campaign teams. a look at what will happen now as candidates prepare for this evening. stay with us.
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welcome back to "the lead," live from vegas where we are counting down to tonight's republican presidential debates here on cnn.
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over the past few hour we've watched a parade of candidates streaming into the venetian hotel on the vegas strip. now most are in their workspaces now, making final preparations, drinking some water, relaxing. they will walk by our cameras one more time before taking the stage. cnn's jeff zeleny joins me now, live in front of the house. you've been catching the candidates as they've come in. how are they doing? are they nervous? >> well, jake, all of the republican candidates have been through this before, they're certainly not as nervous they were at the first debate, at the reagan library. the stakes have gotten higher for them. all of the conditions seem to be in fairly good spirits. right outside the debate hall, to give you a sense of where we are. the crowd is beginning to slowly come in. there will be 1400 people watching this live inside this phantom of the opera theater, where it was performed for about six years or so. but the candidates, to a person,
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know that it's a key time to break out. i talked to ted cruz earlier, and he says, look, i know i have so many arrows pointing at me from all sides but that is a good thing because he's suddenly the person at center stage. i did catch up with ben carson a few minutes ago. let's take a listen. how do you feel about tonight? >> i feel good. very good. >> how did you prepare differently this time, if at all? >> i think you just prepare because the more you do it, the more used to get to it. now it doesn't seem to strange anymore. >> it doesn't seem strange. >> exactly. >> the phantom of the opera was performed here. did you see that? >> no, i didn't. >> good luck tonight. >> reporter: so we asked all of the candidates lighthearted questions, we're not going to grill them now. we'll save that for wolf blitzer later tonight. it's true ben carson has fallen out of the spotlight here. you can feel that when you talk to him, when you talk to his
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supporters. jake, two people to watch the top of the debate are donald trump and ted cruz. >> jeb bush, jeff, he hasn't really been in the conversation much today. have you seen him? talked to any members of his team? >> jake, i think that may be unand of the biggest changes going into the final republican debate of the year. no one is talking about jeb bush nearly as much as they have at the last debate. the last debate, it's like this is a make or break moment for him. he's largely fallen out of the conversation. he needs to create a sense of urgency tonight. he's not done a walk-through. preparing for this, i'm told. his aides say he is ready for the debate, up for it, but he's not been the best debater. it's safe to say he wants to get back into the conversation, if he wants to do that he has to have a very good showing tonight. >> with the focus on national security and counterterrorism, this is supposed to be a commander in chief moment, he's
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supposed to be the candidate, he needs to bring it. once again, cnn teaming up with facebook for tonight's debate. we'll keep a close eye on what you, the voters, are saying about the candidates and about debate topics in real time all of the interactive data monitored from our facebook lounge. that's where we find cnn's don lemon, there to take us inside the facebook lounge. give us a sneak peek of the new and upgraded social media hub. >> i like to call it the center of the universe right now. so we're here at facebook usa, and all kinds of gizmos here. i saw one of your videos up from the democratic debate. this is live, answering viewers' questions, cnn viewers live on facebook and that was our session, maybe 30, 45 minutes ago. so you can go on to facebook.com/cnn and you can look at that, you can look at jake's old video, and we'll answer questions live. remember the one at democratic
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debate. this is like a whole section of the auditorium here. i want to give you information, jake. you have been talking to -- some of the information we'll be giving you tonight -- you've been talking to rand paul. this is our data center. rand paul, talking about conversations, ben carson, you mentioned jeb bush, anybody talking about jeb bush. here is rand paul. who is that back there? ben carson is behind me, look. there he is right there. he's coming to the facebook lounge. so should we talk to him? i don't have a microphone? you want to talk to him? >> dr. ben carson, huge facebook -- >> this is rand paul. this is the conversation. look at rand paul, the heat map. rand paul, the orange, when it gets orange, that's when people are talking. people are talking about rand paul but as far as ben carson, here, a lot more people talking about him. and you mentioned jeb bush, right? jeb bush, you said jeff said not a lot of people. he's right. not a lot of conversation happening around the country when it comes to jeb bush,
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especially in comparison to everyone. there you go. donald trump, back to you, mr. tapper. >> look at that sea of orange. >> i know. >> washington outsiders have dominated the republican race so far. despite getting little love from the gop elite. there's somebody who knows exactly what that's like, a former alaska governor, might have heard of her, sarah palin, here in vegas. who she thinks will win the race and what it takes to grab hold of the nomination, live after this quick message. inthe mid-size van, from mercedes-benz. it's got small-ability and big-ability. towing-ability and stowing-ability. rack-ability and hvac-ability. it's fully customizable and sized just right to give you cupcake-ability, entourage-ability... ...garage-ability and even afford-ability.
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welcome back to "the lead." live from las vegas. we are t-minus 85 minutes from lift-off. final republican debates of 2015, here at the glitzy venetian theater. stage set for nine republicans to battle it out on the main stage, four on the undercard. the fight for the republican presidential nomination seems to be narrowing to two, donald trump and senator ted cruz. the state of the race continues to perplex republican establishment types who like neither of the candidates. leaves gop brass why their base eats up whatever trump and cruz had to say, say like seven or
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eight years ago with another yo outsider. former vice presidential nominee, sarah palin. we should note, author of a new book, "sweet freedom, a devotional" a nice read and good christmas present, stocking stuffer. thanks for being here. to the people out there, majority of american people who have yet to learn about ted cruz or donald trump even though they've heard something, what's the appeal? you like them both. >> right. both of them seem to want to tend to go low, trump certainly does that, with cruz, it seems strange to characterize him as one who is extraordinary, when you consider what's extraordinary about him is he's just fulfilling campaign promises. he said that you know send me to the senate i'll do all that i can to stop obama's transformation of america and he's given the old college try
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but met with some roadblocks. too many politicians don't try to fulfill campaign prom sises. that's an appeal of cruz. plus he's so dog gone intelligent. trump, of course, it goes without saying, candidness, directive and direct answer to questions, people find that very refreshing. it's -- antithesis of the status quo in the political arena today and we like that. >> i tried to get you to say who you like better and you won't do it. i did try. your daughter said she likes donald trump. >> willow. maybe that's reflective of the younger generation also, appreciating those who aren't just typical old politician. >> well, nothing typical about donald trump, that's for sure. rush limbaugh, revered by much of the republican conservative base, he took issue with the way donald trump talked about ted cruz. here's what limbaugh had to say. >> questioning about the way
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trump has gone off cruz here, calling him a maniac, refusing to work with people in the senate. it's -- the reason i'm focusing on that, folks, that's so unlike trump. that's -- that's a huge mistake for any of you holding out hope that trump is a genuine conservative, genuine conservative, even in the republican field would not go after cruz this way. >> the issue is, the issue is, because we had audio problem on our side, is that donald trump criticizing ted cruz for be a man y mine yak taking on the republican establishment and not playing well with others. rush limbaugh says that's not a conservative critique of ted cruz. we like that. >> maybe that was a one-off comment or issue that trump wanted to bring up because, yeah, i agree with rush, that old reagan rule, you save your ammunition for who the real
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enemy at the end of the day is going to be, that's the opponent on the other side of the aisle. don't get personal with your fellow republicans. >> donald trump has violated that commandment a million times. >> does he draw first blood or defend himself like he expects a leader to defend themselves? that's something that needs to be considered, is he picking fights or bold enough to set the record straight. >> you don't like the critique of ted cruz being a maniac, because you like that about ted cruz. >> yeah. had he said that about somebody that's -- that isn't in my top tier, i probably wouldn't take issue with it. biased there. >> limbaugh said this about donald trump. take a listen. >> decided to go after cruz here, in the way the establishment republicans go after cruz in the way the media goes after cruz, in the way that democrats go after cruz. he's essentially put on his john
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mccain hat here. say, i'm donald mccain, i'm the guy that can cross the aisle of work, ted cruz can't. >> that puts you in a tough spot, you revere john mccain. >> i really respect him, he had really good judgment. >> but he didn't -- you don't like the way -- >> i know there's a better way for us to get our point across when we need to stay focused on what the real threats and the real problems are in this nation. and the real threat and the real problem is not the gop lineup who have the guts to be in the arena duking it out in that battle of ideas. >> you told me last night, when we did a politics on tap event here on the vegas strip, it's going to take independence from big money to win the white house. you don't like super pac. >> no. >> they're funding not only jeb bush but ted cruz getting a lot of support from them. >> you know, i think that it's -- it's not a good thing
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for any candidate to feel they must be beholden to even that system of the big donors and then i think it's just inherent, hume nature, if you're collecting from them, there is a bit of a string attached. normal americans, we don't like that. but now a debate tonight, hopefully that's going to reveal some of those issues, like the big donor moneys and what the expectation would be. i just hope tonight there are candid enough discussions that will reveal character and priorities with each candidate. i hope one candidate will ask other candidates for instance, hey, what took you so long to say pay off your own personal debts when you're loaded? why did it take you years take to take debts off when you're loaded? you want to manage our dollars? i like issue like that that will reveal character. >> one was a reference to carly fiorina. was the other about marco rubio.
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>> a few of them. the average american, we work our butts off to make sure we're not in debt, so we don't leave that burden to our children and grandchildren. look at movers and shakers. on the left, in the democrat party, who have been contributing to the bankruptcy of america and we don't do that personally in our lives. so those who can't manage their own wallets, i have a hard time trusting them they would get us out of the debt that we're in as a nation. and of course, that's, that debt i don't know what the magic number is before candidates take it seriously. 20 trillion, 22 trillion before they say, okay, a bankrupt nation, we can't afford national security, we can't afford to get out there and beat isis when we know we must. >> one other thing you and i talked about yesterday that i thought was so interesting, there is this tension between donald trump and the republican national committee, trump has said he's going to stay a republican as long as the party treats him fairly. but he does hold out this
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prospect of leaving the republican party and running as an independent if not treated fairly. you said shame on the gop if that happens. >> they will have created that scenario you must be considered then. i'm on trump's side. i say, come on gop, establishment, don't blow it, don't marginalize trump supporters. if trump does feel -- and it's legit he's treated unfairly -- his supporters will leave with him. gop if you want to win this -- and we must win this in order to undo what obama has done in transformation of america, if we want to restore what's great about america we have to win this. shame on the gop establishment if they essentially boot a top tier candidate out. >> all right. alaska governor sarah palin, thank you. say hi to todd and the rest of the family. stay on topic or go after the competition? what strategy should the candidates use to gain traction after tonight's debate. i have a team joining me next who once advised some of the
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tand that's what we're doings to chat xfinity.rself, we are challenging ourselves to improve every aspect of your experience. and this includes our commitment to being on time. every time. that's why if we're ever late for an appointment, we'll credit your account $20. it's our promise to you. we're doing everything we can to give you the best experience possible. because we should fit into your life. not the other way around. welcome back to "the lead." i'm jake tapper. we are continuing now with our debate countdown live from the
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venetian hotel in las vegas. let's bring in our political panel, republican strategist and jeb bush supporter, ana navarro, katrina pierson, spokesman for the trump campaign, amanda carpenter for senator ted cruz and cnn political commentator s.e. cupp. katrina, you heard sarah palin, a huge fan of donald trump. but she agrees with rush limbaugh and mark leaven that the criticism that trump levied against ted cruz, he's a little bit of a maniac for the way he goes after the republican establishment, she doesn't care for that, thinks that wrong, as levine, limbaugh. is he going to continue that line of attack? >> we have to see. senator cruz criticized mr. trump behind closed doors which isn't courageous and mr. trump responded accordingly. he obviously felt like you know he had a decent relationship with mr. cruisz krit size him
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openly. his response, his personal. and he's not shy of hiding that. >> david axelrod said if he were advising donald trump, i asked him, what would you do, he said, go after ted cruz for being a politician, for saying one thing in public, another in private, which would hurt his brand and not this other attack that donald trump is doing about like you're a bit of a maniac -- >> that's a hard charge to land. saying that donald trump doesn't have the best judgment is probably the most benign thing you can say about donald trump. i do think donald trump made a mistake by attacking cruz from the left. that is what started to turn talk radio against donald trump, which is a huge, huge problem for him going forward. >> this is a very sort of sordid love triangle, ted cruz, rush limbaugh, donald trump, all on the right. it's put donald trump in a very tough position because, frankly, as loyal as trump's folks are,
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rush's supporters are a thousand times more loyal. so if rush is communicating trump is playing a dangerous game, attacking ted cruz, and saying no genuine conservative would attack ted cruz in this way, that's putting a huge group of the same kind of people in the position to have to make a choice. if they choose ted cruz going into iowa where he's already surging and now leading donald trump, that puts him in a tough spot. >> you know, it's also -- it's the first time this happens to donald trump. he's gone after marco rubio, he's gone after jeb bush, he's gone after everybody. he's gone after megyn kelly, he's gone after p.o.w.s and never had to pay a price with right wing media. the right wing media is coalescing behind ted cruz as the evangelicals. he's got to tread carefully with his attacks on ted cruz because not only will he get the
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backlash, and i think ted cruz is very able and can use humor, can reflect him like a flea without going into a real battle with donald trump which ted cruz wants to avoid because ultimately, he wants to inherit those supporters. >> he wants those voters. that is an interesting part of this dynamic, katrina, the idea that so many of the candidates want trump supporters. so that changes how they go after him whether it's the bear hug that ted cruz gives or even people like chris christie, who i think, if you put sodium pent thol in would have harsher words on donald trump, we don't have to revisit that, but chris christie would be harsher if he didn't want that in the latest monmouth national poll, 41% of the republican voters. >> that's a big part of the base
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and they're solid. we spend so much time stalking about the response that donald trump gives. we don't want to talk about the attack that was waged. ted cruz attacked donald trump the exact same way the establishment attacked reagan, the bad judgment, can't trust him with the finger on the but. of course he's going to respond in kind. we're talking about his response. >> talking about a ten-second soundbyte i mean this is hardly -- the same criticism of ben carson. >> in donald trump's defense, this is something that -- i seldom say that, but in donald trump's defense, this is something that he said privately that was recorded elicitly and something he wouldn't say publicly. >> to talk about donald trump, this is a blanket cookie cutter criticism you can make of any candidate. >> doesn't it undermine ted cruz. >> absolutely not. somebody runs for president because they think they have the best judgment. no one can say that as a
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candidate. >> it was harsher than that. >> of all of the things you can talk donald trump for -- >> the middle of a republican primary, you say somebody doesn't have a judgment is a harsh attack. >> you want to see an attack -- >> surely you jest. >> the move donald trump said after i like ted cruz but he's an evangelical and i don't know a lot of evangelicals coming from cuba was a strange nonnon >> let me just say, coming from miami, a lot of evangelicals coming out of cuba, a lot of evangelical leaders who are cuban-american. >> before we have -- run out of time, anna, jeb bush, this is the commander in chief debate, that's his whole pitch. he is the one who will be steady, the one prepared to be commander in chief, unlike young senators, unlike ignore ant
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outsiders -- that's jeb bush, not me. >> sounded good to me. >> what's he going to do? >> ooh you think he needs to stand up there. not only talk about his policy which he has, he was the first guy that came out on a proposal how to fight isis. he needs to win this stylistically, make good points. i think he needs to say look where we are right now, this with isis the national security threat is where we separate the men from the boys. and you know, he needs to make that point -- >> you should go up on stage and make that point. i liked it when anna said it. >> for jeb, expectations are low. if he has a great -- one good soundbyte, i think he walks away from the debate in a better position. >> jeb bush said donald trump would be in decline today. >> he said by this day, by this day, december 15th, donald trump would be in decline, and i think it's fair to say donald trump is only ascended. >> look at all of us. >> all of us. >> with the exception of you, but you know, most people who
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don't partake of kool-aid have been making that prediction for a very long time. >> all right. thanks so much. we'll be watching with you. reminder, you can see tonight's republican presidential debate right here on cnn, the undercard debate starts at 6:00 p.m. eastern followed by prime time debate. follow me on facebook, twitter, jake tapper, tweet the show "the lead." i'm jake tapper. i turn you over to one mr. wolf blitzer in "the situation room." what makes this simple salad the best simple salad ever?
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tand that's what we're doings to chat xfinity.rself, we are challenging ourselves to improve every aspect of your experience. and this includes our commitment to being on time. every time. that's why if we're ever late for an appointment, we'll credit your account $20. it's our promise to you. we're doing everything we can to give you the best experience possible. because we should fit into your life. not the other way around.
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happening now, debate night, gop candidates are getting ready for a showdown here in las vegas, our cnn debate is it, the last of the year for the republicans, the last look before families gather for christmas and festivus or whatever and walk. and some white ouse hopefuls this may be their last chance. >> taking down trump, front-runner in national polls and his rivals need to find a way to try to cut into donald trump's lead. can they? donald trump says they will be coming after him tonight, everyone knows he can certainly dish it out. we'll see what happens on that stage tonight. terror scare, the nation's second-largest school system shut down. the fear in america is real. after the bloodiest attack since 11