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tv   Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer  CNN  January 25, 2016 2:00pm-4:01pm PST

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say fix these conditions. >> all right. >> and if we can't get that done, we'll do other things as well. >> thank you so much for your time. i'm turning you over now to wolf blitzer in "the situation room." thanks for watching. happening now, digging out. a crippling blizzard leaves dozens dead. now with roofs collapsing, 85 million people coping with a mess and roads refreezing overnight, could one or even two new storms be just over the horizon? digging in. donald trump sits down with me for a one-on-one interview. he's spoiling for a fight with michael bloomberg. said his critics got his latest joke all wrong. and savages his closest competitor, senator ted cruz. making their case. we're only hours away from the democratic presidential candidates squaring off with iowa voters, taking questions on the most important issues facing the country. with just one week to go until the iowa caucuses, how could cnn's exclusive town hall impact
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this race for the naum nas. and mystery man. new details about the american almost nobody knew iran was even holding until he was released. was he an fbi informant? i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." we're following breaking news. forecasters are keeping their eyes on developing storms that could be over the snow-packed eastern u.s. by midweek and again this weekend. more snow would be the last thing 85 million americans need, but even rain could cause new problems if it freezes on the roads and highways. we're standing by for a live update on the struggle to clean up the mess left behind by this weekend's record-setting blizzard. we're also following breaking news in the presidential race. with just one week to go until iowa caucuses, the democrats will face iowa voters tonight, exclusively right here on cnn. and donald trump sits down with
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me for an eye-opening and news-making interview. our correspondents, analysts and guests are standing by with full coverage of the day's top stories. let's begin with the blizzard cleanup. brian todd spent much of the weekend on the hazardous roadways around washington, a city still largely shut down. brian, where are you now and what is it like tonight? >> reporter: wolf, we're in northeast d.c. this is d.c.'s biggest snow dump, the parking lot at rfk stadium here in northeast washington. mountains of snow everywhere you look. it is loud, it is dirty, you could pass out from the smell of exhaust fumes but it is necessary. this is one of the biggest logistical headaches following the snowstorm, where to put all of it. this is where they're putting it for the moment. but d.c. officials are telling people stay off the streets. they have got to have time and space to clear the streets tonight. this is happening as officials up and down the east coast are still assessing the damage from this massive snowstorm.
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the big dig, up and down the east coast. major highways cleared, but smaller roads and the people who live there still buried. >> it's just wet and heavy. and it's two feet, almost two feet tall. >> reporter: the damage throughout the region is still being tallied. roof collapses like this church in silver spring, maryland. crashes and spinouts over the weekend, like this accident between a snow plow and a train in stamford, connecticut. and more than two dozen fatalities, including an ohio teenager killed sledding and a woman and child who died in this car in new jersey of carbon monoxide inhalation while trying to stay warm on a street as the father was shoveling the car out. severe coastal flooding that wrecked shoreline towns in new jersey and connecticut, but also stories of rescues of the motorists who are spun out in snow banks, stranded for hours on highways in kentucky and pennsylvania. officials in washington are upset with comparisons to new york and assertions that d.c.
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hasn't bounced back as quickly. >> we're doing everything we can down here to get our city back where it needs to be. i see the efforts of all the crews that are out there day and night, 24 hours a day. >> reporter: airports are offering at least partial service in new york, philadelphia and washington. >> my flight looks good so far. >> reporter: but still hundreds of cancellations or delays, and many suburban train and metro stations are still closed. >> things are not entirely normal today, but a lot of the city is operating well. >> reporter: but not problem-free. this empty school bus got stuck in queens, new york, and it took several people to push this car out in d.c. officials in washington are warning residents not to risk their health shoveling, not to push snow into the street and not to walk in the streets. d.c. officials say there are large temporary snow piles on street corners. motorists have little or no visibility rounding those turns and suddenly encounter pedestrians or vehicles right in
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their path. some pedestrians say they have got nowhere else to go. >> the sidewalks out there are totally unshoveled, so it's not like you have a lot of choice. >> reporter: with so much snow, a huge logistical problem is where cities will put it all. d.c. is putting some of it into dump trucks and then creating small snow mountains in a stadium parking lot. >> oh, it's a horror show. there's no way to keep it with it right now. >> reporter: tons of snow still being dumped here at rfk stadium since the predawn hours creating small snow mountains as far as the eye can see. line upon line of dump trucks coming in tonight. they have been doing this since yesterday. but officials tell us they are not going to let this stuff sit here. they are bringing in a large snow melter, a big machine mounted on a truck that can melt about 60 tons of snow per hour. they are going to need it here, wolf. >> they certainly are. brian todd reporting for us, thank you. we'll have more on the forecast a little bit later, but let's get to the breaking news and
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some of the harshest attacks yet in the presidential race. donald trump is beginning a last-minute campaign sprint through new hampshire and iowa, but not before sitting down with me and calling senator ted cruz a liar. before we get to my one-on-one interview with the republican presidential front-runner, let's go to our senior white house correspondent, jim acosta, who's in new hampshire for trump's upcoming campaign rally. what's the latest there, jim? >> reporter: wolf, taking a break from iowa, donald trump will be here in new hampshire in a few hours. trump has a big lead in both of these crucial early states, giving his rivals a growing sense of urgency as they are running out of time to catch up. one week until the iowa caucuses and boasting a commanding lead, donald trump is warning his supporters in a video posted on facebook, washington political establishment is out to get him. >> they are really trying to stop me. everybody knows it, everybody sees it. >> reporter: but this ultimate outsider is now charting a more conventional path. instead of flying back to new
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york over the weekend, he spent the night in an iowa hotel and stopped at a local church. >> it was really good. i learned something. we talked about humility at church today. >> reporter: trump showed that humility can only go so far at a rally, bragging his voters will back him no matter what. >> i have the most loyal people. i could stand in the middle of fifth avenue and shoot somebody and i wouldn't lose any voters, okay? it's like incredible. >> reporter: trump's main rival in iowa, ted cruz, is confident he will catch the gop front-runner, poking fun at the tycoon's recent biblical slip-up. >> two corinthians walk into a bar. >> reporter: to slow trump's momentum, the cruz campaign is point to some high-profile endorsements. former texas governor rick perry. >> ted is the leader that we need to reignite the promise of america. >> reporter: to talk show host glenn beck. >> donald trump, i really truly believe is a very dangerous man.
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if you disagree with him, he destroys you. >> reporter: but the texas senator has no shortage of critics, who dug up this video of cruz as a teenager joking about taking over the world. >> world domination, rule everything, rich, powerful, that sort of stuff. >> reporter: looking for a last-minute surge, marco rubio is campaigning with iowa's popular senator, joni ernst, after picking up the endorsement of the des moines register, although that was hardly the most talked-about endorsement of the week. >> the next president of the united states, donald j. trump. >> reporter: as tina fey proved on "saturday night live." >> i'm just here because he pomised me a spot in his cabinet. i belong in a cabinet because i'm full of spice and i've got a great rack. >> reporter: and trump heads back to iowa tomorrow, but he will spend some time in south carolina later this week showing trump is feeling so good about his chances that he's already looking ahead to these battles
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looming ahead and there are many more to come. >> jim acosta, thank you. i sat down with donald trump this morning just before he left on his latest campaign trip. mr. trump, thanks very much for joining us. >> thank you. >> all of a sudden in iowa, you've got double-digit leads according to the cnn most recent poll. is this now a two-man race? >> i don't know that it is, i doubt it is. you never know what's going to happen. i'm working very hard in iowa. that's the one where somebody is closest to me but i took a pretty big lead over the weekend if you saw the polls that came out, including yours. we've taken big leads everywhere. nationally big leads. in new hampshire very, very big. in south carolina, amazing. so iowa is very important to me. >> what do you have that ted cruz doesn't have? >> well, look, i don't want to knock anybody, but he's got a lot of problems. he's got a problem with his canadian birth. he was born in canada. it's a real question. as you know many lawyers are saying he can't do what he's doing. he's not allowed to run.
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you have some lawyers that say definitively he cannot run. >> is that why his numbers have gone down in iowa? >> i think it has an impact. 36% of the people agree he can't run for president, he was born in canada and born in canadian soil. now, he can run for prime minister of canada, but i honestly don't know if he can run. and there's a question mark. and you know if he ever got the nomination, the first thing that will happen the first day, the first week will be he will be sued by the democrats. that's going to be it. you know, what are they going to do, go two years and it would take years to go through the court system. so he should solve that problem. in addition to that he has the goldman sachs problem where he borrowed a lot of money and never said it. he borrowed from citibank and never told anybody. >> he did disclose it to one entity of the federal government but not to another. >> he didn't put it in his personal financial disclosure form. you've got to do it. he's got two banks. but he didn't do it for a reason. he didn't do it because he doesn't want people to see that he's par rborrowing from banks
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he's supposed to be regulating. the establishment candidates, marco rubio, chris christie, jeb bush, john kasich, who do you see as your biggest threat? >> i don't really view anybody. i just want to do my own thing, wolf. i could say this one, that one, what difference does it make. we're really resonating and doing great with evangelicals in iowa. nationwide i'm leading with evangelicals boy a lot. we're doing fan tasically with the tea party. we're doing great with the tea party. we're doing great with everything. i'm leading every national poll by a lot and now i'm leading every single state. in most cases by a lot. >> you just posted a facebook video. you say the establishment is against you. why do you say that? >> well, i think the establishment actually is against me but really coming online because they see me as opposed to cruz, who is a nasty guy who can't get along with anybody. you know, look, at a certain point you've got to make deals.
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we can't have a guy who stands in the middle of the senate floor and every other senator thinks he's a whack job. you have to make deals, you have to get along. that's the purpose of what our founders created. and ted cannot get along with anybody. he's a nasty person. you don't see that. and even when he was supportive of me, i kept saying watch what's going to happen, he's a nasty guy. he started it, i finished it. but he started getting very bad at the debate. and then he tells lies. he said i knocked down some woman's home. i never knocked down her home. she didn't want it. and the words 'em nant domain. you wouldn't have roads, hospitals, schools. the keystone pipeline is all based on eminent domain. he makes a big deal out of that. you wouldn't have a country or have one highway. you wouldn't have a railroad. you wouldn't have anything. so they make it because most people don't know what it is.
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then they have me taking a woman's house. i never took the woman's house. i never knocked down anybody's house. but they show a bulldozer knocking down a house. it's really false stuff. >> you have very loyal supporters. >> i do. >> in fact i think you were joking but you said it's getting a lot of buzz. you say you could stand in the middle of fifth avenue and shoot somebody and that wouldn't affect the support you're getting from your supporters. >> you don't think i was joking of course i was joking, the whole room was laughing and i was laughing when i said it. >> you got some chrriticism. >> from dishonest press. i'm laughing, everybody is laughing. of course i'm joking, you know that. and the purpose of that is to say the people love me. they want to stay with me, they're loyal. they're tired of seeing our country being led by people that are stupid people. they're tired of it. we're tired of the iran deals. we're tired of the sergeant bergdahl deals. they're tired of dealing like this. we're just -- we can't take it
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anymore. and people are looking at it and they're looking at me and they have confidence in me. you know, i built a great, great company and i'm going to use that talent now to do it for the united states. >> another new yorker who's built a great company is michael bloomberg, the former mayor of new york city. he's now toying with the idea as running as a third party independent. if he were to do so, would you beat him? >> i'd beat him and i would love him to do it actually. i love the competition. i would love for michael to do it. we used to be friends. i guess we're not friends anymore, i don't think we are. but we used to be friends, good friends. when i had a problem, he had a big problem in the bronx, i cleared up the problem. it was a big project that was -- they were unable to get it built. it was under construction for like 25 years. way, way over budget. i took it over, got it knocked out in one year and now it's a tremendous success. michael asked me if i'd get involved in it and i got it done and did a great job. i hope he's going to do it. i don't know that he is. >> there's a lot of murmuring that he might do it.
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you listed your net worth at about $10 billion. forbes says, we just checked it, $36.5 billion for michael bloomberg. >> i don't believe that. >> you don't believe it? >> it's a technology company. if somebody came in, frankly, and comes up with a better machine than him, people stop using his machine. >> what do you think he's worth? >> i have no idea. i don't know why other companies haven't come up with a better machine. it's so simple. but for some reason they haven't come up with a machine, i don't know. maybe because he was the mayor of new york? i don't know. but they haven't come up -- and it's so easy to do you would think. so i think it's very fragile. i like real estate better. >> if he says he's ready to spend a billion dollars of his own money to be president, are you ready to match him dollar for dollar? >> i don't know. i don't think he's going to do that. i don't think he's going to run actually. i'm the only -- so far if he comes in, he'd self-fund. i'm the only person self-funding. everyone else -- ted cruz is totally, totally conditioned down to the oil companies.
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the oil companies contro him and others. you look at jeb bush, poor jeb. here's a guy that spent $100 million already and he's almost last. what he's done to the bush family and doesn't even want to use the bush name. he's ashamed of the bush name. what jeb bush has done to the bush family is very sad. then he brings out his mother. i said, jeb, your mother can't help you with isis, she can't help you with china, she can't help you with these people, jeb. you've got to do it yourself. here's a guy that spends over $100 million and he's nowhere. i mean he's -- i think he's disgraced himself to be honest with you. but you have all these people. whether it's jeb or hillary or anybody, they're all controlled by the people that give them the money. i'm putting up my own money. i'm self-funding, which is very nice. >> we have much more to hear from my interview with donald trump. up next he talks candidly about what happens if he were to lose in iowa, and i also ask him who he'd rather run against, bernie sanders or hillary clinton.
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we're following breaking news in the presidential race. with just one week to go until the iowa caucuses, i sat town with donald trump this morning to get his candid assessment on where his campaign stands. >> you've called bernie sanders a total whack job. you've said you don't know if hillary clinton will make it legally. who would you rather face in a general election contest? >> i don't care really. i don't even focus on them. i only focused on hillary for a couple of days last week as you saw. i don't even think about hillary and i don't think about bernie sanders. the first thing i have to do is we had 17, now we're down to about 12 or 13. i've got to get rid of them. i've got to win against them. a lot of them i like, they're good people. there's some really good people
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in that group, i mean it. people that have become friends of mine. you won't see that because you won't report on that stuff. the conflicts are more fun, right? but i can't tell you really who i'd rather have. i give it a lot of thought actually, but i don't think it matters. i will say this, i will win. i'll bring in states that nobody ever thought of. i think i have a chance to win new york. i defended new york. nobody else was going to defend new york last debate and got good credit for it but the people in new york love that i defended them because nobody ever defends new yorkers, right? i'm going to win pennsylvania. i'm going to win west virginia. i'm going to win virginia. i'm going to win michigan. because i protect the car industry. nobody else protects the car industry. >> you really think you have this republican nomination in the bag? >> no, i think i have a good chance. iowa is very important to me. i should say to you, well, i'd like to do well in iowa. i don't want to do that. i'd love to win iowa. if i don't win it, i don't win it. i'll go to new hampshire where i have a very big lead and the
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people have been unbelievably good to me. but iowa is very important to me and i have a great bond with iowa. you know, there's a big move to move iowa to the back of the pack in the next election cycle. i'm not going to let that happen. you look at cruz and he came out totally opposed to ethanol. well, that affects many, many farmers and many, many jobs in the state of iowa. if i was in iowa and somebody said i'm opposed to ethanol, i would absolutely not vote for him. and then the governor came out and said you should not vote for him. he said it wasn't like vote for somebody. i've never even see that. don't vote for this guy, he's really bad for iowa. so i think i'll going to do well in iowa. i bonded with the people. i bonded with the evangelicals, i baonded with the tea party an the people of iowa. coming up, donald trump is renewing his attacks on debate moderator megyn kelly. will the gop front-runner participate in the next republican debate? there's a whole lot more coming up in my sitdown interview with
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donald trump. plus, the democrats are making their final pitches in iowa with just one week before the caucuses. hillary clinton and bernie sanders are in a frantic scramble for support. every day you read headlines about businesses
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during my interview with donald trump, the gop front-runner explained he was only joking when he said he could shoot someone in the middle of fifth avenue and still not lose his loyal supporters. let's get reaction to that and more from our political experts. we're joined by ron brownstein, the editorial director of the national journal, david is an assistant editor at the washington post and gloria
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borger. react to what donald trump is saying that he's only joking about that statement. he does have very loyal supporters. >> you know, he's saying what a lot of people in the media have been saying all along, which is no matter what he says, he seems to just defy gravity and continue to go up in the polls. and so, you know, he said it was a joke. we have to take him at his word on that. but he's absolutely right, because he is continuing to go up in the polls. when you look at the national polling, say from november when he was in the high 20s n, and don't forget this is in an extraordinarily large field, now he's at 34 or above nationally. so whether he talks about not letting muslims into the country or firing a gun in the middle of fifth avenue, it doesn't -- it doesn't seem to matter, wolf. >> ron, if the former new york mayor, michael bloomberg, decided to run, how would that impact the dynamic, the numbers of this race? >> it would -- by the way, just
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to amplify gloria's point, six polls out in the last week, all of them trump between 31 and 37, around 40% among noncollege republicans, 30% among college republicans. his vote has converged in a striking way. look, for bloomberg, the challenge of the third party is winning states. i think if you had a polarized enough set of choices at the republican and democratic level, for example, bernie sanders and donald trump, there's a lot of popular vote that a centrist third party candidate could get. the problem, wolf, is winning states. as a third party candidate you have the risk of finishing second to the republican in all of the red states, second to the democrat in all of the blue states. where you can win enough states to truly contest this i think would be a big hurdle that former mayor bloomberg would have to cross in his own mind before he invests the money. >> david, donald trump also says he doesn't care if he were to
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run against bernie sanders or hillary clinton. do you buy that? >> i buy it for now, wolf. right now trump is trying to present himself as someone who's comfortable and strong taking on any and all comers. so he's going to say to republican voters right now, the ones who are actually going to be casting ballots in iowa and new hampshire, that sure, he's comfortable with clinton or sanders. he's consolidating strength in the republican race and not worrying about the demographic realities of facing a democrat down the road. down the road he will probably favor one or the other candidate depending on how the democratic race shapes up. >> gloria, trump also keeps painting ted cruz as untrut worthy and nasty. you heard him telling me he tells lies. how effective is this about cruz's character? >> it's been very effective. it's another one of those talking points that everybody kind of says, oh, really, at the
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beginning and then eventually it seems to take root and flourish. and that's exactly what's happened with this. and, you know, trump is a man with his eyes on the prize. the prize is iowa. cruz stands in his way. cruz needs to win iowa to become a really viable contender, okay. and trump knows it. and so right now he's looking to knock out ted cruz any way that he can. and so this was one shot he took and it's been working. >> everyone stand by for a moment. we're going to have much more on my interview with donald trump coming up. first, there are important new developments in the race on the democratic side as well. we're just days away from the iowa caucuses and hillary clinton's once formidable lead in that state has vanished. both clinton and her closest challenger, senator bernie sanders, are now in a desperate battle to win over supporters as time runs out.
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brianna keilar is in iowa right now. are the candidates making their final pitches now? >> reporter: yeah, they certainly are, wolf. in fact both -- or all of them having final -- final days of campaigning before this town hall tonight that they are going to be doing on cnn, a number of events they are doing trying to eke out every last bit of support in what has become a very tight race here in iowa. >> let's build on what we have. >> the energy, the excitement is with our campaign. >> whoa, well -- >> reporter: tonight just one week before the iowa caucuses, hillary clinton and bernie sanders make their closing arguments. clinton's, she has the experience to be president. >> the truth is i need your help. i'm out there making the case that i have the experience, the judgment and the vision and plans to really move our country forward. >> reporter: sanders' closing
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argument, he has the enthusiasm to win. >> when people have turned their backs on the political process know that now is the time they're going to have to stand up, fight back and get involved in the political process. that is our campaign. we are the campaign that can defeat right wing republicans in november. >> reporter: the race in iowa a dead heat. clinton getting a boost with an endorsement from the des moines register editorial board. president obama waiting to endorse until there's a nominee, but noticeably talking up clinton in a politico interview. >> i've gotten to know hillary really well. and she is a good, smart, tough person who cares deeply about this country. and she has been in the public eye for a long time and in a culture in which new is always better. that's a disadvantage to her. >> reporter: a potentially huge shakeup, a source tells cnn
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former new york city mayor michael bloomberg is seriously considering an independent bid, willing to spend up to a billion dollars of his own money. >> the public at the moment thinks the government is not working. >> reporter: the source says he'll decide by early march. both democratic candidates are downplaying their concerns about a bloomberg run. sanders saying especially if the general election race shapes up to be him, donald trump and bloomberg. >> the american people do not want to see our nation move toward an oligarchy. >> the reason i read what he said is if i don't get the nomination, i'll consider it so i'll relieve him of that and get the nomination so he doesn't have to. >> reporter: but actually, wolf, a bloomberg confidant telling cnn that's not really the case, that he would actually consider a run even if hillary clinton is the nominee. he is expected to make up his mind on that in march.
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but another potential dramatic twist in what's shaping up to be a battle here in these final days before iowa on the democratic side. >> it's already a pretty amazing race to begin with. if bloomberg throws his hat into the ring, it would be very, very intriguing. wow. the only word i can think of right now. sand by, we have a lot more coming up, including much more of a interview with donald trump. we'll take a break. we'll be right back. biaho potato truck. our truck? it's touring across america telling people about idaho potatoes. farmer: let's go boy. again this year the big idaho potato truck is traveling the country spreading the word about heart healthy idaho potatoes and making donations to local charities. excuse me miss, have you seen our truck? you just missed it. ahhh! aw man are you kiddin' me? can a a subconscious. mind?
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from the iowa caucuses and the polls show the contests on both sides to be very close. we're back with our political experts. gloria, do you think president obama's sort of embrace in that interview he did today of hillary clinton potentially could alienate some voters? how do you think this is all playing out tonight? >> well, you know, look, in the democratic caucuses, the people who are already alienated from president obama and don't like hillary clinton are in the bernie sanders camp. and we've seen that. and i think that president obama's kind of half a hug to hillary is not really surprising. hillary has an 80% approval rating, bernie sanders has 79% approval rating, according to our polls, so they're both doing pretty well among democrats. the place where it could have some impact, wolf, is not so much in the democratic party, because obama is pretty popular in the democratic party generally, except for those who think he hasn't been -- gone to the left enough. but it could really have an
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impact in a general election where republicans will be saying if you want a third obama term, vote for hillary clinton. so they could replay the president over and over again and remind voters that, you know, barack obama loves hillary clinton. >> good point. ron, bernie sanders, he's ahead right now in iowa and way ahead in new hampshire, according to all the most recent polls, but his pathway toward a nomination is still less clear. what could he do tonight in the cnn town hall to widen his support? >> well, i think, as you say, the widening is the key. you can win iowa and new hampshire on the democratic side and still not really reflect the totality of the democratic coalition, because they're both 90% white states and minorities will probably cast about 40% of the total democratic primary vote. that is the big hill he will have to climb eventually if he's going to really contest this and get beyond winning places like iowa, new hampshire, minnesota,
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oregon, connecticut, vermont, you can make the list. he has to crack into that african-american and latino support for hillary clinton. the other thing he has to do in all likelihood is expand the electorate. we saw that with barack obama in 2008. people talk about it all the time and rarely do it. but the youth share of the vote significantly increased in iowa in 2008. bernie sanders needs that again here in 2016 and probably needs it even more in states down the line. he will need those young voters where he is really trouncing hillary clinton now to show up in bigger numbers than before. >> yeah, he had a huge crowd at iowa state university today, did bernie sanders. a lot of young people were were very enthused. i interviewed a state representative who supported hillary clinton but switched and now supports bernie sanders. could more hillary supporters, let's say in south carolina, the third contest, make this move, especially if bernie sanders does well in both iowa and new hampshire? >> yeah, i think the key is will bernie sanders do well or beat
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clinton in either iowa or new hampshire or both. and if so, that will be critical when you go into south carolina, a state where the democratic base is more diverse, heavily african-american, and sanders will need to peel away some african-american support in particular, but support in general from clinton in south carolina and other southern states. i don't see that trend yet, but i think i do see a trend where senator sanders is clearly making an effort. he's been making an effort for months to get african-american support. meeting with black lives matter activists, meeting with other african-american leaders. but right now senator clinton, the polls show, at least the polls i've seen, still has much more support among african-american voters, which is a key, if not the key democratic constituency. >> especially in south carolina. >> in south carolina. >> not necessarily in iowa or new hampshire. >> correct. >> but certainly in south carolina right now. stand by, we're only hours away from cnn's democratic presidential town hall in iowa. bernie sanders, hillary clinton and martin o'malley, they will
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face the voters, take their questions live from des moines. chris cuomo will moderate that. it airs tonight at 9:00 p.m. eastern only here on cnn. coming up here in "the situation room" more with our political experts and more of my interview with donald trump, who's launching new attacks on debate moderator megyn kelly. >> i might be the best thing that ever happened to her. whoever even heard of her before the last debate?
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♪ light piano today i saw a giant. it had no arms, but it welcomed me. (crow cawing) it had no heart, but it was alive. (train wheels on tracks) it had no mouth, but it spoke to me.
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it said, "rocky mountaineer: all aboard amazing". we're following the rapidly changing political landscape. back with our political experts. gloria, how much of this election is about anti-establishment, about
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tapping into that anti-washington anger? and is donald trump walking a fine line between making deals? he says he's a dealmaker, and being an outsider. >> is he a member of the establishment as ted cruz would have you believe? or is he really an outside insurgent as donald trump would have you believe? i think that's the big question that voters have to struggle with right now, particularly in iowa and new hampshire. voters are looking for outside candidates. there is no doubt about it. when you look at all the elected officials, the governors, et cetera, the longtime serving politicians, they're not the ones at the top of the polls right now. cruz, first time senator. trump, complete outsider. for a while, carson was up there. and i think now what you see with donald trump is fascinating because the establishment believes that the devil, you don't know, is kind of a little better than the devil you know.
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and they don't like ted cruz, and they believe that donald trump is a dealmaker as you put out. he's a negotiator. they consider him to be more malleable so suddenly the establishment, which doesn't really like donald trump, is saying, okay, he's the lesser of two evils. >> i guess that's a good point. if this is a two-man race, at least right now, trump and cruz, could any of those so-called establishment republican contenders gain traction at any point in the near future? >> that really is the challenge. what we continue to see is this muddle in the middle of the fragmentation of the center right lane with no one getting anywhere near the consolidation that can truly match or contend with cruz or trump. if you look at donald trump's numbers, 40% among noncollege republicans. only about 30% or a little below
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among college republicans. the problem is that is the vote that's especially divided. that's where you'd expect a jeb bush or marco rubio or john kasich or chris christie to find their base or footing to really get into this race. but it's remained fragmented. it's unclear whether iowa is going to provide enough of a signal to new hampshire, which is where that place -- where those voters usually consolidate. it would remain federalmented after that in which case trump and cruz will be the main choice. >> trump told me you heard in the interview you think he can win pennsylvania, virginia, michigan, ohio. you really believe that? do you think that's realistic? >> i'm not going to make any predictions here that's he's going to run the table. if you're talking about the republican primaries, i don't see any state out of trump's reach. i wasn't sure if you were referring to the primaries or general. in the general election, i think the sledding will be a little tougher for him, even in new
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york because it's typically a liberal state. pennsylvania tends to be a swing state. west virginia, yeah, even in the democratic primary, went heavily against president obama last time. trump defies a lot of the traditional logic on these state-by-state contests. >> wolf -- >> hold on, gloria. what trump was clearly talking about in a general election, if he's the republican nominee, he says he could win new york, pennsylvania, new jersey, these kinds of states. gloria, go ahead. >> look, he has a benefit here in the republican primaries as well as the general election which is that the anger is not only directed by republicans against the democrats. it's also directed against the republicans. and the republican establishment. so when you look at donald trump, he kind of takes it all in that way because he's against both. he's against barack obama, hillary clinton.
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also against the republican establishment which he believes head messed everybody up in this country. and so i think he gives people a large number of people a reason to vote for him and perhaps that's why they're not going for candidates like a bush or a kasich who are more establishment, but because these voters are mad at the establishment. >> ron brownstein if trump does win iowa a week from tonight, that's a huge deal. how important would that be for donald trump? >> it would be huge because it would prevent ted cruz from consolidating evangelical christians which has been the traditional path. the winner of iowa consolidates the evangelical christians. if trump wins iowa, it shows that he is preventing that from happening. we're seeing in polls he's having strength. his blue collar strength extends along the religious boundary to include evangelicals. his voters are -- the low
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propensity voters are turning out. if he can turn them out here, he can turn them out anywhere. and that would be an ominous sign for the rest of the field. >> we have a lot more to discuss. also much more from my one-on-one interview. will he show up for this week's final republican debate before the iowa caucus? >>i i'm not a fan of megyn kell. she probably doesn't like me, and that's okay. a subconscious. a knack for predicting the future. reflexes faster than the speed of thought. can a business have a spirit? can a business have a soul? can a business be...alive?
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it's gotten squarer. over the years. brighter. bigger. it's gotten thinner. even curvier. but what's next? for all binge watchers. movie geeks. sports freaks. x1 from xfinity will change the way you experience tv. happening now. cnn town hall. bernie sanders and hillary clinton seeking an edge in their increasingly tight race.
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we'll get a preview from moderator chris cuomo. donald trump says the next gop debate may happen without him. >> when you say probably, you haven't 100% decide? >> i just said i'm not 100%. if i think i'm going to be treated unfairly, i'll do something else. >> trump also launches new attacks on the moderator, at least one of the co-moderateors, megyn kelly and details his vision for beating isis. and the big thaw. parts of the northeast still shut down by the blizzard of 2016. the death toll climbing. the fear of collapsing roofs is growing and a new worry. is one-third of the u.s. about to face another big chill? we want to welcome our viewers in the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." we're just three hours away
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from cnn's exclusive democratic town hall in iowa featuring bernie sanders and hillary clinton. they are locked in an increasingly tight race one week before the iowa caucuses. we'll go there live for a preview. also, republican presidential front-runner donald trump threatening to skip the next gop debate this week. in a one-on-one interview, tump tells me why he's unwilling to commit. we're also following the climbing toll from the blizzard. at least 33 deaths blamed on the storm that has large portions of the northeast united states shut down. many are told it will be days before life returns to normal. and tonight, there's threat of more snow and rain. my interview with donald trump only minutes away. also our correspondents, our expert analysts and our guests all standing by. let's begin with the gop presidential race. tonight, donald trump stepping up attacks on ted cruz calling him a liar and nasty person
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during our one-on-one interview. you'll hear more of that interview coming up next. first, let's go to iowa and cnn political reporter sarah murray. the battle for iowa is getting intense. >> that's right, wolf. all the action is happening here in iowa, but donald trump is in new hampshire. that's where he and ted cruz are battling it out in the hawkeye state. it's the final stretch in iowa. and republicans are scrambling to get ahead. >> 177 hours. that's how long we've got until the iowa caucus. >> if you lose your wife, if you lose your husband, i don't care. go caucus. >> with a week of campaigning until the caucuses, trump leads the field. the billionaire businessman is feeling confident. >> i could stand in the middle of fifth avenue and shoot somebody and i wouldn't lose any voters. it's incredible. >> reporter: so confident, he's campaigning in new hampshire today. and slamming the gop
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establishment. >> the establishment, the media, the special interests, the lobbyists, the donors. they're all against me. >> reporter: while other candidates hunker down in the hawkeye state. this weekend, trump took a shot at traditional campaigning. instead of taking his jet back to manhattan, he spent the night in a holiday inn and attended a local church. >> we talked about humility at church today. i don't know if that was aimed at me. perhaps. >> reporter: all as ted cruz tries to knock trump down a notch. today, getting a boost, an endorsement from former texas governor rick perry. >> ted is the leader that we need to reignite the promise of america. that's why i'm supporting ted cruz. >> reporter: and needling trump for botching a biblical reference when he referred to ii corinthians as 2 corinthians. and cruz isn't the only person
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having fun at trump's expense. as "saturday night live" unveiled a skit with trump and his latest surrogate, sarah palin. >> thank you. i wanted to take a break from my full-time career of writing things on facebook to lend my support of the next president of the united states, donald j. trump. >> hey, america, isn't she great? just the total package. smart, legs, yelling, everything. i haven't seen a woman this impressive since jeb bush. >> reporter: meanwhile, marco rubio picked up his own high-profile endorsement from the "des moines register" editorial board and hit the trail with iowa senator jodi ernst. >> i've always felt real good about our work here. every day that goes by, obviously, we're very encouraged by the support we're building. we'll see what it translates to a week from tonight. we're still very positive about
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it. >> reporter: while donald trump is in new hampshire, marco rubio will be right here in iowa in just a couple of hours. as for trump, he'll be back on the campaign trail here in iowa tomorrow night. wolf? >> sara murray in iowa, thank you very much. let's get more now. i sat down earlier today with donald trump in his new york office. we spoke about the race for the white house. before iowa, there's a republican debate thursday night. fox is hosting that debate. you and megyn kelly have had issues. she's one of the moderators. are you going to be at that fox debate? >> probably. i don't like her. she doesn't treat me fairly. i'm not a big fan of hers. she probably was -- i might be the best thing that ever happened to her. who ever even heard of her before the last debate? i thought she was very unfair. a lot of people said i won that deba debate. everybody said i won the last debate pooum n debate. i'm not a fan of megyn kelly. but you have to be fair. i'd like to go to the debate. i've done well in the debates.
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every single poll has said i've won every debate. we'll see what happens. >> when you say probably, you haven't 100% decided? >> no, i haven't. >> why not? >> i'm not 100%. i'll see. if i think i'll be treated unfairly, euldo something else. i don't think she can treat me fairly. she's very biased. that doesn't mean i don't do the debate. i've won every single debate according to every poll. i've won every debate. the debates have been good. after the last dedebate, i wentp 11 points. the poll came out. i went up 11 points because of the debate. so i want to do the debates. they're good for me, but i don't think she can treat me fairly, and i'm not a big fan of hers. >> you and i have been doing interviews for at least a decade. on certain national security issues, you've been remarkably consistent. >> that's true.
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>> i want to get specific on what you'd do if you were elected president. this is october 2008. this is what you said about iraq. >> hey, look, it wasn't saddam hussein that attacked the world trade center, okay? in fact, those people, when they suppo sent their families back, they went back to saudi arabia. it wasn't saddam hussein that took down the world trade center. in fact, saddam hussein killed terrorists. they had very few terrorists because he didn't want terrorists in iraq, and he killed terrorists. so we go and attack saddam hussein. now iraq now is the number one breeding ground for terrorists. all the terrorists go to iraq to learn their trade. we all have trades, right? and they go to iraq. but you didn't have that when saddam hussein was running iraq with an iron fist. now you do. now we took out saddam hussein. what have we created? a mess. and the day we leave iraq, it's going to be, forget it. and there's not one word in that
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i would change. not even a word. if you went on or i said other people, that iran will take on, and it's going to happen. just like you're sitting there. iran will take over. >> iran's influence in iraq has grown. >> they're going to take it over. it's just a question of time. they've taken over -- >> what's would you do? if you were president on january 20th, 2017, you are sworn in as president, what would you do to, a, stop isis and, b, prevent, let's say iran from taking over iraq. >> one thing i would have done a long time ago is take the oil. i would have taken the oil. when we left, we shouldn't have been in iraq. i said don't go into iraq. you'll destabilize the whole middle east. you are going to totally destabilize the middle east and iran is going to take over. now we're in because of stupid decisions. we're in. they didn't knock down the world trade center. so we're in iraq. we spent $2 trillion, thousands of lives, wounded warriors all
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over the place. now iran is taking it over. i would take the oil. but i would have taken the oil when we left. as bad as it was. shouldn't have been there. i would have taken the oil. we just left a shell. these aren't politicians. these are corrupt officials running iraq. totally corrupt people. and iran essentially is right now controlling iraq. if you look over history, they would fight but they were equal. they would fight. nobody would move. they'd fight for years and years. we decapitated their military and now iran goes in and -- >> how aggressive would you be in trying to -- >> i don't want to tell you. i want to be unpredictable. we need unpredictability in this country. you are asking a question like that. i know it's politically never good to say, i don't want to tell you. i have a good chance of winning. i don't want the enemies and even our allies to know exactly what i'm thinking. we've got to be poker players. we've got to be chess players.
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we're checker players and we don't play well. we always tell everything. like obama has 50 people he's sending over. why does he have to make an announcement. he's sending 50 soldiers, our finest over there to iraq and syria. why does he have to say that? why does he have to announce it? why couldn't he just let them go? notice i ha now they have a target on their back. >> donald trump says he'll destroyu sis. i'll ask him how. and he talks about his down scale state on the campaign trail. >> a lot of buzz that you slept in a holiday inn express. how did that go? >> two nights. it was actually two nights. i thought it was terrific. it was clean. it was nice. and the bed was good. that's all i need. customer trust. every day you read headlines about governments and businesses being hacked, emails compromised, and intellectual
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and absolutely nothing artificial. more now on my one-on-one interview with front-runner donald trump. national security say huge issue in this campaign. and we talked extensively about the terrorist threat to the united states. would you use ground forces to destroy isis? >> i will tell you, i will destroy isis. i will destroy isis. you know how bad it is to say that. wouldn't it be nice if we could surprise them? general george patton doesn't say, wolf blitzer, yes, i would, no, i wouldn't. you have to have some element of surprise, some unpredictable -- we are so predictable. you have to be unpredictable a little bit. when obama announced he was leaving, okay, he gave a definite day. when he said we're leaving iraq. we shouldn't have been there but he should have never announced a
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date certain when we were leaving. totally predictable as a nation. bottom line, i will do a number on isis like you wouldn't believe. but i don't want to sit here and tell you every single thing i want to do. at some point, we're warriors. at some point you have to surprise the enemy. i watch these guys like lindsey graham who is just not a smart person. he says, we have to go here with this number of people and attack them from this level and this level. wouldn't it be nice if we could surprise them and knock the hell out of them? >> another interview on september 24th, 2007, right here. you said this about america's standing in the world at the time. >> well, just look at this country. we've gone from this tremendous power that was respected all over the world to somewhat of a laughing stock and all of a sudden, people are talking about china and india and other places, even from an economic standpoint. america has come down a long
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way. the united states has come down a long way, and it's very, very sad. we're not respected. >> that was the beginning of -- >> that was the beginning of china, the beginning of india. india is doing great. i have big jobs going up in india. india is doing great. the beginning of china, beginning of india. everything i told you is all right. whether it's iraq, iran, china, india, whether it's japan. >> president george w. bush was in office in 2007. >> absolutely. i'm so fan. i've never been a fan of bush. >> more responsible for the weakening of america internationally, would it be president bush or president obama because you have been very crittal -- >> i think bush did a bad job and obama carried it out. >> who do you blame more? >> i would say that it's pretty equal. i'd say that obama has been very, very weak. it could have been stemmed at the very beginning of his administration.
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what he didn't do is he doesn't -- >> who? >> obama. the devaluation of the chinese currency has absolutely destroyed us. it's killed us. they have created one of the great thefts of all time. they have stripped our country of jobs. and i'm not only talking about china. i'm talking about mexico. that's a mini version of china. and obama allowed them to get away with it now for almost eight years. >> if you were elected president, would you move the u.s. embassy from tel aviv to jerusalem? >> i would. >> i'd do it fairly quickly. i have a lot of friends in that world. i was -- the israeli day parade, 2004, i was the grand marshall walking on fifth avenue. the worst thing that's ever happened to israel is barack obama and especially with respect to this horrible deal that we just made with iran. this is the worst thing that's
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happened to israel. i do not know. and i tell my jewish friends, how do you support this guy? he's a disaster for israel. most of them don't know. they say, we don't know. it's almost like it's a habit. >> back in 2008, you called sarah palin who has now endorsed you very impressive and you said you'd trust her with the economy. >> i would trust her, yes. >> to deal with the enormity some say we haven't seen since the great depression. >> look at what other people have been doing with a lot of experience and got us into this mess. maybe you need less experience. that was when she was chosen as the vice presidential nominee by john mccain. i backed john mccain 100%. he was having an uphill battle because he was like, what happened. the last year of bush was a disaster. and john mccain was having a hard time. yes, i always liked sarah palin. i respected her. i loved her loyalty. even her loyalty to me. she went out the other day and
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backed me in front of thousands of people. we had a packed arena. bernie does not get crowds like that. >> you get very big crowds. no doubt about that. >> and bernie is second. >> he gets big crowds. >> would you consider sarah palin for your cabinet? >> i don't want to talk about it. she said i love what you've done. you've created a movement. i would love to endorse you. i thought she might endorse -- she's endorsed cruz in the past. without her endorsement, he wouldn't have won the senate. >> did you see tina fey reprising sarah palin. >> i did. it was very cute. >> and darrell hammond plays you. >> he is great. he's very good. >> one final question. a lot of buzz that you slept in a holiday inn express. >> i did. two nights. >> two nights?
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>> i thought it was terrific. it was clean. it was nice, and the bed was good. that's all i need. i don't need mara lago. i wanted to devote my energy, . i'm a private company. people couldn't believe how successful i am. more successful than they even thought. i built a great company. some of the greatest assets in the world. i say that only in that that's the kind of thinking this country needs. we have people that are incompetent running this country. we're not going to have a country left. we're going to do something good. we're going to make america great again. >> mr. trump, thank you for joining us. >> thank you, wolf. we're counting down to the democratic town hall tonight in iowa. bernie sanders and hillary clinton are getting ready to battle it out. we'll get a preview when we in back.
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it's a night of breaking news in the fight for the democratic presidential nomination. just hours from now and only here on cnn, the candidates will take questions from iowa voters in a special town hall. our senior washington correspondent jeff zeleny is in washington for us. set the stage for usinthis particular case, jeff. >> wolf, with one week remaining before the iowa caucuses,
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hillary clinton, bernie sanders and martin o'malley are trying to win over one of the most precious commodities in iowa, the undecide voter. >> we need more respect, more tolerance, more love, more kindness. >> that may all have to wait. the democratic race between hillary clinton and bernie sanders is deadlocked. clinton presented herself as a realist taking aims at sanders' proposals starting with free college tuition. >> i don't think it's right to give me and my husband free college for our child. i think that if you can afford to pay, you should pay. >> sanders is asking voters to join him in what he's calling a revolution. a political movement to bring real change. >> nothing that i have described to you today is utopian. it is not pie in the sky. in fact, much of what i've talked to you about today exists today in other countries on earth. >> the candidates have been making their case for months.
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clinton's voice showing the strain today. >> we do talk a lot in this campaign. >> reporter: one week from tonight, voters will finally start having their say. the outcome of the iowa caucuses will set the tone for the rest of the 2016 campaign. president obama weighed in on the race in an interview with politico. >> bernie came in with the luxury of being a complete long shot. >> right. >> and just letting loose. i think hillary clinton came in with the -- both privilege and burden of being perceived as the front-runner. >> reporter: still staying neutral but stounding favorable to clinton. he understood sanders' appeal but pushed back on any comparisons to 2008. >> you are always looking at the bright, shiny object that people don't -- haven't seen before. that's a disadvantage to her. >> iowa is a test of
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organization. the real activity is taking place behind the scenes at campaign offices with clinton aides shipping out boxes to precincts and team sanders trying to capture the late enthusiasm. >> we have to find new ways to create jobs. >> the political world is keeping a close watch on iowa, including michael bloomberg. he's once again flein flirting third party run, particularly if sanders and donald trump win their nominations. clinton has a solution to that. >> if i didn't get the nomination, he might consider it. i'm going to relieve him of that and get the nomination so he doesn't have to. >> sanders said the race doesn't need another billionaire. >> the american people do not want to see our nation move toward an oligarchy where billionaires control the political process. i think we'll win that election. >> the mayor plobloomberg decis is a long way off. first are the iowa caucuses. i'm told by a clinton adviser she's trying to win over some of
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those sanders supporters who may have questions of his experience. and senator sanders is going to ask his supporters to believe as they did eight years ago. wolf, so a very interesting night coming up tonight on cnn. >> will be fascinating indeed. jeff zeleny, thank you. chris cuomo will be moderating the town hall. chris is joining us. chris, thanks for doing what you're about to do. this will really be critically important one week before the iowa caucuses. walk us through the format for the two-hour town hall. >> okay. wolf, as you know, this is very different than a debate tonight by design and intention. cnn very happy to get the ability to give the voters what they say they want the most a week ot from the caucus which is a last best chance to be face-to-face with the candidates and ask what's on their mind and in their hearts and get a direct response.
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we're going to have, starting with senator sanders and governor o'malley and finishing up with secretary clinton. they'll each come up in turn, not together. we'll set the table with them a little bit and then it will be the voters and them. questions, in turn, and i'll have the best seat in the house. very different set of chores than an ordinary debate as you know all too well and do excellently yourself. this is a department of goal tonight. this is about allowing this democracy to be in its raw progress, of people who say what's going on in their lives. you'll get a different measure with the candidates. even when someone like you or me ask them a question, they may dismiss the premise. they may not like the question. you can't do that with a voter. this is their lives, their heart, what they care about. it will be interesting to see that interaction and the range of topics on people's minds will be impressive for people tonight. >> is somebody in the audience, an iowan stands up and asks a
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question. the candidate gives an answer. will you be able to follow up, if necessary? >> yes, i would like there to be as little me as possible in this. i think the goal is pretty simple to keep them on track, make sure that the question does get an answer. at least directly. sometimes if we don't like the question we seem to answer the question we'd rather have been asked. we're going to try to avoid that as much as possible. i want to be there to observe and take it in like everybody else and give everybody a chance to see with how candidates deal wuths what's actually coming out of iowa voters. >> are there time constraints on how long the answers can be if someone stands up and asks a question? can the candidate give a speech or are you going to cut them off after a matter of time? >> great question. i'll probably have to referee a little bit. it's not like a debate where they are on the clock as we usually do, because it's a town hall. we wanted it to be a little looser. a little bit more open to the
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kind of engagement by the candidate and that particular voter. but if it goes too long, we have to move them on because the goal is to get as many different questions as we can. >> finally, a question that's been asked of me. how did you come up with the order? there are going to be three candidates. each one gets a half an hour. how did you come up with the order? >> bigger brains than mine were at work on that. the cnn politics team, so excellent, so, you know, well kind of accustomed to doing this. it was all done by a big group of people trying to figure out what seemed most fair. vetting the questions to make sure they were relevant to the campaign. not designing the questions but making sure the topics reflected a range. there was no real particular methodology to who went first or second or third or for how long. everything will be as equal as we can make it. >> good work. we're looking forward to it
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tonight. 9:00 p.m. eastern. a two-hour cnn town hall. chris cuomo will do a terrific job moderating that. we'll all be watching, 9:00 p.m. later tonight. right now we're going to dive into all of this with our chief political amist glnalyst gloria, ryan lizza. mark, you say tonight is crucial. tell our viewers why. >> certainly crucial because, wolf, anything can happen on this stage. we'll have these three candidates making their final, final push to try to get these crucial iowa caucus voters to support them. if you go back to 2008 and look at when iowa democrats decided who they were going to support, if you look at those numbers, 27% of iowa democrats at this point in 2008 had not decided who they wanted to choose. when you get to the day of the caucus it was 11%. when you see a race so close, so
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tight right now, wolf, something on stage could either really doom one of these candidacies or take hillary clinton, martin o'malley or bernie sanders and put them above the rest. >> gloria, your take. how much is at stake for hillary clinton? >> look, i think a lot is at stake here. in talking to clinton advisers, they tell me, look, they can win this nomination. even if they don't win iowa and new hampshire, but let me just tell you, they want to win iowa. and they feel that they need to win iowa. they've always kind of thought that new hampshire is bernie sanders backyard as they put it. if they were to lose iowa, they're just not sure what kind of momentum bernie sanders would have. they say they've got a southern firewall, but, you know, if bernie sanders wins iowa and new hampshire, this could be a race that goes on, wolf, until april or may. and the clinton campaign does not want that at all. even though they think they would win in the end.
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>> ryan, we heard in jeff zeleny's report, president obama weighing in more assertively in the race, much more than he's done before. some are reading this as almost a tacit endorsement of hillary clinton. you see that? >> yes, i think i do. he went out of his way to be as sympathetic to hillary clinton as he could in that interview. and, frankly, to throw a bit of cold water on any arguments that the sanders campaign is reminiscent of the obama campaign. he was almost retroactively dismissive of himself in 2008 in his campaign against hillary and went on about how much harder it was for her and she didn't get the credit. and talking about the bright shiny objects. and, frankly, talking about how -- from president barack obama's perspective, sanders has not been vetted. saying if sanders wins in iowa, there's going to be more pressure on some of the costs of his proposals and a lot more
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people digging into his background in a way that obama was suggesting hasn't happened. i think there will also be a lot of pressure on barack obama to be more up front about who he supports if hillary clinton gets into a long fight with sanders. he has says he's not going to, or his chief of staff said obama is not going to endorse. if this turns into a long campaign, hillary versus sanders, you can bet obama will be pressured to say more. >> barack obama's legacy really depends on hillary clinton winning the presidency. >> absolutely. >> so it's kind of not surprising he'd give her this half a hug, as i call it. and i'm surprised in fact, that it wasn't a little more robust because it's hillary clinton saying you need to keep obamacare, for example. it's bernie sanders saying, i like a single payer plan and i'd like to kind of start all over again. the president really does need to embrace hillary clinton if
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what he has done in the past is going to be continued in the future. >> we saw that near embrace in that interview today. everyone stand by. there's a lot more going on. we're counting down to the cnn town hall. that's coming up 9:00 p.m. eastern tonight. two hours with the three democratic presidential candidates. we'll take a quick break. we'll be right back. ♪ ♪virgin islands nice ♪ ♪so nice ♪so nice, so nice ♪ spend a few days in the u.s. virgin islands and return with a lifetime of experiences. that's virgin islands nice. ♪so nice, so nice
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this is cnn breaking news. >> there is breaking news on one of the biggest political controversies of the past year. those secret videos allegedly showing planned parenthood workers talking about selling tissue and body parts from aborted fetuses. just now in texas, a grand jury said it will not indict planned parenthood on charges the organization had broken the law, but in a stunning twist, the grand jury scizz says it did find wrongdoing by the people who made the videos and indicted two people behind the recordings. pamela brown is following the breaking news for us. tell us more about this very surprising decision. >> it certainly is a twist. this houston grand jury that had been investigating allegations of misconduct against plannedparent hood after the controversial videos surfaced and went viral has indicted two
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of the anti-abortion activists who made these videos. they are charged with tampering with a governmental record, a second-degree felony, and the director of the center has been indicted on a misdemeanor count relating to purchasing of human organs. you may recall last summer the center released the secretly recorded conversations with planned parenthood officials alleging they were trying to sell fetal tissue for profit. planned parenthood denied those claims all along. planned parenthood said these cent-abortion extremists spent three years creating a fake company, fake identities, lying and breaking the law. when they couldn't find any improper or illegal activity, they made it up. the texas governors office has also chimed in and said there's still a state investigation here. this will not impact that. also the state of texas will continue to protect life.
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wolf? >> pamela, pretty stunning development. thanks for that update. we're counting down to cnn's exclusive democratic town hall in iowa tonight. a high stakes showdown with bernie sanders and hillary clinton one week before the iowa caucus. we're going to get more on what's going on. i want to bring in gloria. this decision on planned parenthood by this grand jury is going to have political ramifications. >> well, look, in the republican party, candidates jumped forward and said that the videos were tragic, outrageous, you name it, and went on and on. this is kind of a stunning reversal here in which the people who made the video are now being indicted. i think as far as democrats are concerned, wolf, look. 68% of democrats are pro choice. and planned parenthood overall, wolf, is a political issue is
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not great for the republican party. it has a 59% favorability rating overall among americans. and so i think that perhaps this will put that issue to rest, at least for now. >> i suspect, gloria, this could come up in the town hall tonight. >> it might come up in the town hall but when you are talking -- when you have democratic voters talking to democratic candidates, they will always defend planned parenthood. if this were a republican town hall, it would be a little bit different because i think for republicans, the issue will still be whether abortion, you know, the question of abortion and whether planned parenthood is at all at fault here regarding the use much fetal tissue. so i think that is still an issue in the republican party. >> just about two hours from that town hall. ryan, let's move on and talk about this new article you have in the "new yorker" magazine in
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which you say one of trump's great successes is in attracting people who are otherwise alienated. your words from the political process. how potentially could this be a game changer in these early states? >> i spent a lot of time in december and january going to trump rallies and talking to his supporters. there's no doubt, one thing that comes up again and again is people who are disgusted with politics or have never been engaged in politics before being attracted to trump. especially some people who are economically not doing very well and people in mississippi that i talk to in south carolina who, frankly, just have not been touched by the political system. and see in trump someone that maybe can fix the dysfunction in washington. i came across that a lot. i would say that is tempered in the early states, especially in iowa, by the numbers. we have not seen in crucial iowa caucuses a jump in registration
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of republicans. so at least in that state, the new blood he's bringing in, the enthusiasm he's created out there, we have not seen from the republican party of iowa, a big surge in registration. so in other places, it may be different. but again, on caucus night, you can walk into the caucus and register as a republican. it's not too late for this phenomenon to take hold. that's a bug thing to watch next monday night. do we have a similar phenomenon on the democratic side where you have a rush of new voters coming out, an army of trump supporters coming out for him? if so, we'll have a big trump victory. if not, closer to a cruz victory. or maybe a late surging third candidate we haven't been talking about yet. >> gloria, we're seeing some anger reflected in the polls. new monmouth university poll says more than 6 in 10 americans believe that all or most much their fellow citizens are angry
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with washington. how do the candidates make that anger work to their advantage? >> well, you know, they are already doing that. and that's precisely what ryan was writing about this week and trump was playing into. it's the anger against washington, the anger against the establishment. and even insiders are running as outsiders. ted cruz san elected senator. you don't get more insider than that. he's made a career in the senate of running against his republican senators. and defying them, defying his own leadership. calling the republican leader a liar. and that is sort of, you know, his stake. and he's -- this is something he is running on. so if you play to that voter discontent, which is real and understandable, by the way, on both sides of the aisle, because i believe that bernie sanders plays into that as well, because voters are angry that democratic voters, some of them, are angry
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that president obama hasn't delivered the way they would have liked him to deliver. you can be quite successful. >> mark, can a democrat lose both iowa and then new hampshire and still capture the nomination? >> you well, you know the iron we've been talking about what's going to happen on monday night. if bernie sanders is able to win here in iowa, would he have the momentum going into new hampshire to shut out hillary clinton? bernie sanders is doing very well over hillary clinton. hillary clinton would have an uphill battle of even doing well in that state, but to your point, there have only when two democrats to win. hillary clinton, there's a lot on the line for her, wolf. there's certainly a lot on the line for her as there is for bernie sanders tonight. they have two different
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messages. they've been crisscrossing the state today. they've been trying to rally their troops. we expect them to be here working the state, trying to get as many voters out because this race is really, really tight as we head into monday night. >> do you expect these democrats to be lively in criticizing their competitors? >> both of them have really stepped it up in the last week pointing out major differences. clinton is resorting to the same argument she made against barack obama in 2008. frankly, i think it applies a little bit more this time with bernie sanders because the ideological differences between obama and hillary clinton were not that great. she makes the argument, hey, pay attention, look at the details. look at what's going on with bernie sanders' agenda and see if you really believe that he can pass that in a dysfunctional congress. that's essentially what she's
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saying is that his agenda is too bold. you can't get it done and you need a pragmatist in washington who can work with both sides. now, if you believe hillary clinton can do that. that is the same argument she made against barack obama. obviously it did not work in 2008. i think it has the benefit of being true. she is historically more of a pragmatist. she's more of a moderate than sanders, but that's a tough argument for an democratic electorate. >> gloria, we have to leave it right there, but there's a lot more to discuss. later tonight at 9:00 p.m. eastern exclusively only here on cnn the town hall with the democratic presidential candidates. forecasters are keeping their eyes on developing storms that could be over the snowpack eastern u.s. by midweek and again this weekend.
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we're counting down to the democratic presidential town hall live on cnn. you're going to hear from the three democratic presidential candidates. they'll answer questions directly from iowa voters. that airs 9:00 p.m. eastern. the blizzard of 2016 still very much an unfolding story tonight with the death toll climbing to at least 34 and large portions of the northeast still paralyzed and shut down. we're now learning that many of
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those reeling from the storm could actually be facing yet more snow. jennifer gray has the latest forecast. jennifer, millions of people are still feeling the impact. what's the latest? >> it doesn't look like we're going to see near about as much snow as we did with this last storm, but this isn't what people want to hear after digging out from this last monster storm. snow consecutively for more than 30 hours. this was an epic storm, and it definitely lived up to all of its hype. let me show you what we're facing later in the week. here is the american model. as we move into midweek or so, we're basically looking at just rain across washington, d.c., new york. it all depends on how close this low gets to shore. doesn't look like we're going to have much cold air along with it. looks like it's going to mainly be a rainmaker. another model showing basically the same thing.
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we're not looking at huge snowfall totals by any stretch of the imagination. this is new york central park 26.8 inches of snow. 0.1 of an inch of snow to tie that record of the most snowfall ever in a storm. reagan ranked number four at 17.8 inches. there is a little bit of a controversy in d.c. surrounding that total. if you look at dulles and baltimore, they both had almost 30 inches of snow and then right here at reagan 17.8. there's been a little controversy with the snow measuring board at the airport. either it was blown away or it was buried underneath the snow. they were measuring. there's actually an investigation going on to look into exactly what happened. but right now they are sticking with that number 17.8. >> pretty amazing. pretty amazing. those forecasts were pretty much spot on. i must say i was pretty
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impressed by that. jennifer, thanks very much for all that good work. that's it for me. thanks very much for watching. i'm wolf blitz eer in "the situation room." "erin burnett outfront" starts right now. next, breaking news. a new cnn poll releasing at this moment. is race between clinton and sanders even tighter? plus, donald trump threatening to boycott thursday's debate. is he going to walk? michael bloomberg for president. could the race come down to the battle of billionaires? let's go "outfront." good evening. i'm erin burnett. we begin with breaking news. bernie sanders closing in on hillary clinton. this is a new national poll w

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