tv CNN Tonight With Don Lemon CNN February 17, 2016 11:30pm-1:01am PST
mischief on it, but as a legal matter this is clear and straightforward. >> there are just to follow up, some legal scholars who say donald trump would have standing to bring a lawsuit, is that something you would look into? >> look, you can never discount donald trump filing a lawsuit. if he wants to file a lawsuit, he can file it and lose. but the legal merits of the matter are clear. >> we're going to take a short break, we'll have more questions for senator cruz when we come back. more questions for the voters. we'll be right back.
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and welcome back, we are here once again with senator ted cruz. just a couple of quick questions before we go back to our audience. you are on the senate judiciary committee, if president obama sends up a nominee, should they confirm a nomination? >> they have not confirmed a nomination made during an election year. we should not make an exception now. >> should they get a hearing? >> i don't think they should, because it's not about the
particular nominee, i think it would be very politicalized. i don't think it would be fair for the nominee. this is a policy that during a lame duck period we should not confirm a nominee. particularly, you look at justice scandal lia's passing. he was a lion of the law, someone i knew for 20 years. he was brilliant and principled. he singlehandedly changed the course of american law, like ronald reagan was to the presidency, so was justice scalia to the law. his passing leaves a huge void on the court. this could dramatically shift the balance of power of the court. and so i believe we should have -- we have an election coming up in november. i think 2016 should be a referendum on the supreme court. and you know, it was striking, the last republican debate occurred the same day that we learned justice scalia passed. and i think that shifted.
it really made people focus on the gravity of the stakes here. you know, you mentioned the poll that has us in first place nationwide. it's the first time donald trump has not been in first place in many, many months. and i think this is an important reason why. people were looking at that stage saying who do i know beyond a shadow of a doubt would nominate and fight to confirm principled conservative jurists who would defend the constitution? i mentioned before in answer to the pastor's question, the cases i defended, regarding religious liberty and life, almost all of them are 5-4, we are one justice away from a justice striking down every liberal decision on abortion. we are one liberal justice away from writing the second amendment out of the constitution. we are one liberal justice away
from the supreme court orders religious items to be torn down. one of the biggest questions in this election is who understands and is prepared and committed to fight for principled supreme court justices who will follow the constitution. and i have to tell you, anderson, i cannot wait to stand on that debate stage with hillary clinton and bernie sanders. and take it to the american people. their vision of the supreme court and the constitution. it is a supreme court that mandates unlimited abortion on demand. that takes away our second amendment right to keep and bear arms. that takes away our religious freedom. if democrats want to nominate, they need to win the election. one of the reasons conservatives are uniting behind my campaign is that they're coming to the
conclusion that i have the experience, the background and commitment to the constitution to make that case against hillary clinton and bernie sanders and then to follow through and put principled jurists on the court. >> donald trump and marco rubio said you're lying, are they lying about that? >> you know, i have to say, anderson. this is a strange election season. in many ways. both donald trump and marco rubio are following this pattern that whenever anyone points to their actual record, to what they have said and what they voted on to what they have done they start screaming liar, liar, liar. it is the oddest thing. i can't think of any precedent in any previous election, from my end, i will not respond in kind. if they want to engage in personal insults, i'm not going to the mud. i think people of south carolina
deserve more than people throwing mud at each other. let's take for example on saturday. i mentioned that donald trump for 60 years of his life has described himself as very pro choice, has supported partial-birth abortion. has supported abortion. his response was to bellow, liar, liar. and he said when did i ever say that? and i responded i said well, when we were debating de-funding planned parenthood, you opposed me. you said on national television you think planned parenthood does wonderful things. and then, anderson, donald trump says he thinks planned parenthood does wonderful things. the very thing he called me a liar for he agreed with on the stage. you know, a few minutes later we had an exchange with marco rubio, i like him, he is a friend of mine.
very, very talented. what i said, my focus is on record and substance and issues and vision for the country. i think that is what the voters are interested in. i made three statements during the debate. i said number one marco rubio right now supports granting citizenship to the 12 million people who are here illegally. now, that is a fact. he said that on the debate stage two or three debates ago. and fin fact, with chuck todd o "meet the press," he said that on television looking into the tv camera. the second thing i said when he was in florida, he supported in-state tuition for illegal immigrants. that is a fact, he said that. i went on univision, and in spanish, he said he wouldn't
recer rescind the president's executive action. marco followed the same action, he screamed liar, liar. you remember what he said at the same time well, how would you know what i said on univision, you don't speak spanish. well, marco was incorrect on that. look, truth matters. everyone of these issues, donald and marco are on video and national television stating their positions. and just yelling liar doesn't make it so. i would note, by the way, if marco is right that i'm lying. then i tell you who else has to be lying. jeff sessions has to be lying, mike lee has to be lying, mark levine has to be lying, rush limbaugh has to be lying, because every one of them has said the exact same thing i did.
most of those folks have not endorsed me. they're not supporting me. but they have spoken the truth and it cannot be -- look, one of the things i love about the people of south carolina is how seriously they take their chance to vet the candidates. you can see marco and donald state their positions and i'm just going to state my positions. and yelling liar is not a way to state your position. and robert tucker is a liar, still deciding between you and senator rubio. >> hello, welcome back to greenville. from time to time, we see articles written in the paper or on television to you don't get along with some of the republican senators. your colleagues in washington. if you are going to have a problem with them, what are you going to say to them as president to get them on board so that we can get legislation
passed? >> it's a great question, robert, thank you for asking it. >> let me focus on two levels, let me explain how we actually change the direction in washington. it's not that i speak with a lack of civility or respect, you have seen in the presidential campaign as other people insult me, i don't respond in kind. the bible talks about if someone treats you unkindly, repay them with kindness. it's like keeping coals on the top of their head. that is the standard i have tried to follow. i have not attacked my colleagues in the senate, democrat or republican. even if i disagree with them on the issues i'll tell you why they say ted is unlikable in washington. because i'm actually honoring the commitments that i made to the women and men who elected me. for example, on planned parenthood, i used the fight with the budgetary congress to
stop giving funding. what the republican leadership wanted to do was have a show boat, lose the show boat, and then fund all the obama issues. you stand and say how about we do what we say we'll do. when i stood up and led the fight against the rubio/schumer amnesty bill, they said that was unlikable. you know why? because all the money and the washington wanted amnesty. if you look at wall street, amnesty they think is great. they want cheap labor. by the way, the way we won these fights is that i stood up and tried to shine a light on them. shine attention on them and empower them. rubio passed the senate. every democrat voted for it and a whole bunch of establishment republicans. it was headed to the house to
pass. house leadership, john boehner, intended to take it up. pass it with all the democrats and a handful of republicans, roll over about 200 house republicans. and i stood with jeff sessions and steve king and we took the case to the american people. and what happened is millions of american people rose up and lit up the phones to congress and said don't do this. we defeated the rubio/schumer amnesty bill in the house. and in the world of washington, that is considered unlikable. when republican leadership -- i wrote a book last year called "a time for truth." the opening chapter describes what happened on the debt ceiling where republican leadership wanted to make it easier for harry reid to add trillions to our debt. and i objected to that. the act of objecting, the promise i made to the men and women what elected me caused
more unhappiness to the time i have done. you know, jim dement, he addressed this question, he said listen, ted is a friend, anyone who says he is unlikable is being ridiculous. they said the same thing about me, jim dement said, because jim honored the commitments he made to the people of south carolina and the republican leadership hated him. not that he spoke mean about them but that he actually said let's do what we said we would do. so let's take the second half of your question. how do we fix the problems? because we actually need to fix them, not just talk about them. we need to change the direction of this country. a president really has three levers to change the country. number one, executive power, that is the one that barack obama has abused so many. everything with executive power
can be undone with executive power. that is why i pledged to instruct the department of justice to open an investigation into planned parenthood and prosecute any and all criminal violations. it's why i pledge to end persecution of religious liberty and why i instructed the department of justice on day one, the second avenue of executive power to change the direction of this country is foreign policy. it's why i pledged on day one to rip to shreds this catastrophic iranian nuclear deal. and on day one to begin the process of moving the embassy to jerusalem. both of those, the president can do on foreign policy. this same nation, iran, released
our hostages the day that ronald reagan was sworn in. and then, the third avenue to change the country's direction, a legislation is not easy with this broken congress. i'm running on two big legislative issues. number one, repealing every word of obamacare, and number two, adopting a simple flat tax and abolishing the irs. can i get this done in this congress? no, but think about the last time we beat the washington cartel. it was 1980. it was the reagan revolution. remember, reagan in '76, primaried gerald ford. you want to make republican leadership hate you, come within an inch of beating an incumbent president in the primary. you think they disliked me? they hated reagan with the heat of a thousand hot suns. he was unlikable.
and yet what did reagan do? he didn't fly to washington and sit down with the old bullings and say come on, guys, instead, the reagan revolution stepped in. when you go to the people it transformed them. you cannot find a republican who will not swear that ronald reagan is tattooed somewhere on their body. but the reason is he took the case to the people and changed the incentives. how do we abolish obamacare? repeal obamacare and adopt a flat tax? we make the election a referendum so that we come out of november 2016 with a mandate from the people. and that is exactly what i intend to do. >> thank you for your questions. >> thank you. >> this is susan harvey, a local travel agent still undecided. susan? >> good evening, senator.
>> hi, susan. >> hi. if you're elected, what position in your cabinet will be the most important to fill first and why? >> that is a very good question. i would say it would be a three-way tie between secretary of state, secretary of defense, and attorney general. and i think all three are critically important. listen, state and defense, when it comes to defense we need to start rebuilding our military immediately. when it comes to state, we have abandoned our friends and allies nationally. it's part of the reason i mentioned before ripping to shreds the iranian nuclear deal and moving the embassy to jerusalem. both of those are within the power of the president but also powerfully symbolic. you know, moving the embassy to israel tells israel, our allies, tells our enemies, america is back. you know, obama in his opening weeks he sent back the bust of
winston churchhill to the united kingdom. if i'm elected president, winston churchhill is coming back to the united states. so if i am president, we need somebody strong to represent the country. i'm not in the position right now of naming a cabinet administration, a secretary of state in a cruz administration would be somebody like johnabilijohn bolton. and attorney general, the lawlessness of the obama administration has been one of the saddest legaciylegacies. anderson, if you ask reporters in washington, off the record, you get them at the bar and get them a couple of drinks and say is hillary clinton going to be indi indicted? and the inevitable answer is, it
depends if the obama administration wants to keep her, if they decide they're done with her, she will. now how sad is it that the media accepts as a given that whether someone is prosecuted under the criminal laws depends on what some political hack in the west wing thinks. you know, i used to be an associate deputy attorney general at the department of justice, law enforcement and the administration of the law is critically important. and i give you my word that the attorney general in my administration will be blind to party or ideology. it will not be a partisan position. instead, the only fidelity of the department of justice will be the law and the constitution of the united states. that is the way it is meant to work. >> senator, you still have a few minutes left. do you want to tell me what reporters you're having drinks
with in d.c.? i guess not. what is your favorite cocktail? >> i'm a scotch man. >> i understand you're also kind of a night owl. what do you do late at night? do you watch television? are you reading something now? >> look, back when i was not running for president. i would watch tv. i used to remember what that was like. i love movies. i like video games. one of the things -- if you asked my wife, if you asked heidi what drives her crazy about me the most it is my iphone. if she could fling my iphone out the window and into the trash she would be thrilled. because i'm on my iphone, playing plants versus zombies or candy crush. my girls like that. we'll sit there, the three of us, playing games on the iphone and heidi wants to throw
something at us. >> i know you have done impersonations, what is your favorite one? do you want to grace us with it? >> part of it is you have to have fun. a lot of times i get the questions in town halls. how do republicans reach young people? and in answer for that part of it is substance. hammering young people, for several years, they can't get a job coming out of school. they don't have a future. the national debt is hammering young people. part of getting young people is having fun loosening up. would it kill republicans to crack a joke? actually some of them, i think it might. so look, i'll give an example. so the impersonations is part of that. sort of having fun. but you know i'm reminded of a few years back i was out in l.a. traveling out there.
and the week before i arrived, these posters began appearing all over town. and they're posters of my head on a shirtless torso that is ripped. and it's covered with tattoos. a giant eagle on my chest. two six shooters on my ab, which are a perfect eight-pack. winston churchhill on my right bicep, which is massive. a cigarette out of my mouth, and above it, the legend, blacklisted and loving it. we had nothing to do with these posters. this was a local street artist who just put them up on his own so we decided to have fun with temp them. and we said for whatever reason these posters are printed all over hollywood. i have to say i noticed a glaring error, i don't smoke
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ah, the breaking news, everyone, as we look at live pictures from columbia, south carolina. you just saw the first night of the republican town hall, excuse me, greenville, south carolina. we are three days away from the south carolina primary. ben carson, marco rubio and ted cruz each trying to make their case, who's up, who's down and what happens tomorrow when john kasich, donald trump and jeb bush take that stage. amanda carpenter's here. donna brazile. guess who else is with us but in the field in south carolina?
none other than our own gloria borger. what's your reaction to tonight's town hal? what did you think? >> reporter: first of all, i love these town hall formats, they're terrific. it gives the candidates a way to present themselves. i've been out on the campaign trail today. i was at ted cruz's now infamous presser in which he talked about the lawsuit that donald trump has filed against him for defamation because of his ad. and tonight, i think, while there was clearly politics and cruz was complaining and, about donald trump calling him ridiculous, i do think you got to see another dimension of these candidates. you got to see ben carson saying, you know what? i have the experience to be president, and here's why i'm qualified, which is a question a lot of people ask about him. you saw marco rubio try to define himself as the unifier in the party.
and you saw ted cruz positioning himself very much as the pro-life, anti-trump, constitutional scholar who is the best equipped to pick the next supreme court justice. and you didn't see it in sound bites, don, you saw it in really, length thiy segments th voters can bite and chew on. >> we were saying, my gosh, it's like a filibuster. kevin, did you say that? did you agree with that, and were there any surprises for you, gloria? >> reporter: well, there really weren't any surprises to me, other than i think marco rubio was the candidate out there who really decided not to kind of get deep in the muck again, i mean, he said he would defend his record and he accused, you know, he spoke about why he thinks ted cruz isn't telling
the truth about him. when anderson asked about that. you might call it a filibustefi but honestly, we're not used to hearing candidates in more than 30-second sound bites, so i actually kind of find it refreshing to hear them explain how they feel about the issues and how they came to their positions. i mean, i think, look, there's a big fight going on here now in south carolina. marco rubio and ted cruz are engaged in a war for the second spot. and cruz is engaged in a war against donald trump. there is no doubt about it. but i think we got to kind of understand where these candidates come from, and also, by the way, as i'm sure you noticed, we learned that a little bit more about rubio and electronic dance music and carson playing pool at home. when he likes to relax. >> cruz singing.
>> reporter: ted cruz likes a good scotch once in a while. >> don't we all, especially on late nights like tonight. thank you, gloria. >> reporter: thank you, guys, have fun. >> we will. let's get started now with our dream team. who wants to start? >> since i'm the resident democrat here. gloria's right. we got a chance to learn their musical tastes and perhaps they're not ready to make a joyful noise. ben carson did, i think, using scripture, try to appeal to christian conservatives to let them know that he is the one who understands how to put these values in action. on the other hand, marco rubio says i'm an example of these so-called christian values. ted cruz, i think you're right. he talked a little longer than the other two in terms of his answer, but, again, tonight was about trying to appeal to christian conservatives. i was in south carolina a few
years ago with the conservatives, and thank god i know a little bit about scripture. but tonight they were trying to appeal to that vote, and i don't know if there was a winner, but i think some of the undecideds -- >> as someone who is just watching as a viewer, i appreciated marco rubio's shorter, more suck since answers rather than the longer answers. am i the only one who felt that way? >> what i was struck by the two different approaches that both cruz and rubio took. clearly because of the platform, i think rubio tried to offer a bit more of a relatable candidate, he tried to talk directly to these voters with a much more common touch. whereas i think because ted cruz was taking more of a pr prosecutorial approach -- >> he kept going, okay, okay. that's right. i wanted him to address the viewer. i love my colleague, anderson
cooper, but he kept saying anderson, anderson, anderson. but if i'm speaking to kevin, i want to say kevin rather than the moderator. >> it was less of conversation, much more of a prosecution of donald trump. >> it was manu e manu. he brutally attacked donald trump and sadie ronically, truth matters, and he went on to list of donald trump's qualities. >> he had 30, 45 minutes of uninterrupted opportunity to offer negative attacks on donald trump, right? >> he ended with trump. >> the down side of that is, the more negative candidate always ends up losing, and whereas rubio looked a lot more positive, he did come off as somewhat -- >> stylistically, i think the other big difference between ted cruz and marco rubio who are basically vying for this
secondary spot, marco rubio's answers were all of for a general electorate. they checked the box for social conservative. but they were also palatable to the broader electorate. ted cruz, no qualms about it, is going for the values voter in south carolina and he brought up social issue after social issue after social issue which is very hard to translate. this makes marco rubio's case for him that he's the guy that could win in a general. >> tonight seemed to be all about liar, liar, liar. let's listen to some of it, and we'll discuss. >> if you say something that isn't true, and you say it over and over again and you know it's not true, there's no other word for it. and when it's about your record, you have to clear it up, because if you don't, people say it must be true. he didn't dispute it. we saw what he did to dr. carson. we saw trey gowdy came up with a fake facebook page saying trey gowdy was no longer endorsing
me, a very popular senator here. if i say something that's not true, and i don't clear it up, people may think it's true. >> donald trump, marco rubio both have said you've lied, that you're a liar. are they lying about that? [ laughter ] >> you know, i got to say, anderson, this is a strange election season. in many ways. both donald trump and marco rubio are following this pattern that whenever anyone points to their actual record, to what they've said, to what they've voted on, to what they've done, they start screaming, liar, liar, liar. it is the oddest thing. i can't think of any precedent in any previous presidential election, now, from my end, i have not and i will not respond in kind. if they want to engage in personal insults, if they want
to go to the mud, i'm not going to say the same thing about them. i think the people of south carolina deserve more than just that. >> tonight certainly didn't have the fireworks of debates. you know, and sometimes it drags a little bit. but i thought the town hall format was much more revealing about the human beings involved running for the presidency. you had a chance to see them, as gloria said, in a more three-dimensional way, and it also is really important, you know, when you make a judgment aout these things, you think, do i want that person in my living room for the next four years? do i want to be listening to that person for the next four years? it's a major part of how you respond, how people talk. and i think ben carson was the most comfortable person you want in your living room. marco rubio has the youth and vitality, but the rat-a-tat-tat
way he talks, my goodness. i thought cruz made very strong arguments about christian values and far more articulate than anyone else in the group about the supreme court. this is giving him an opening that i think he's used well tonight. do you want ted cruz in your living room the next four years? that's a harder question. >> we talked about voices and long-winded answers or short, concise answers. and that's what the audience will take away, that's a take away for voters, amanda. >> here's the thing, too. he has to answer these questions in full. when he has two other candidates, you know, gop front runner and another figure who's really loved within the republican party, calling him a liar, he has to take time to answer that question. these people are using that charge all over the place. republican voters who don't follow the tick-tock of every campaign spat need to know what's going on.
that's why ted cruz had to do a press conference and lay it all out like facts and charts. >> like watching the old court tv. and here's the first evidence i will present. >> court tv between tid cruz and donald trump, i would watch that. so he has to take the time to do that, because it may be the deciding factor in the gop primary. >> speaking of that, i want to tell you, you can see part two of our cnn gop town hall tomorrow night at 8:00. it will be very similar to this except the players will be different. it will be john kasich, jeb bush and donald trump. who will come out on top tomorrow night? don't miss the cnn president alta al town hall. ted cruz had to send a cease and desist. has that ever happened? >> we'll talk about that. want to get their hands on.
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think of it as a seven seat for an action packed thriller. and we are back, everyone. look at those live pictures. this is an old cigar factory, right? it's getting close to midnight. any cigars, kevin? >> not me. >> that's down in greenville, south carolina. and that's where they held the town hall, ben carson, marco rubio, ted cruz taking part
tonight in the first of two cnn republican town halls in south carolina. tomorrow night is trump's turn, bush's turn, kasich's turn. back with me now my dream team. amanda carpenter, kevin madden. donna brazile, david gergen and margaret hoover. a lot of people here. you think that ted cruz had the most command of the issues. >> not only command of the issues, but i think in terms of south carolina, who votes in a republican primary. his arguments, i think, would resonate more than anybody else's and resonate better. >> you were talking about yef evangelicals. but they're not all values voters. many of them are sort of, they're white, blue collar, non-college educated, and they're also college-educated evangelicals actually a smaller number of college-educated.
the non-college educated vote on kitchen table issues. that's why he's doing well on this cohort. he talks about immigration, trade. these are things that resonate with a part of the electorate that has been left behind in an economic stagnation. while cruz does speak about values voters and speak to those themes, it doesn't resonate with all evangelical voters is why trump's doing so well, i think. >> cruz is doing very well, too, doing well among evangelicals. >> and marco's doing well against them. >> he's okay. but there's a reason why cruz in the first national poll is a tiny bit ahead. >> we saw this play out in iowa, that ted krcruz had a very effective strategy. he went to the itty, bitty corners of those iowa voters. he's not interested -- you know, donald trump attracts a new kind
of voter who hey not care about the constitution as much, really just cares about america isn't great again. but if cruz can get to those people who really will walk through glass to save their liberties, because they feel like the country's in crisis, they will turn out and vote and deliver a good showing. >> there's a reason that donald trump currently in the cnn poll is outpolling cruz and evangelicals by 20%. while ted cruz appeals to them, he resonates with them, evangelicals really want a fighter. i'm an evangelical, i look at donald trump, this is someone who's not just going to profess for what i believe, but fight for what i believe. i think ted cruz would, too, but there's something that appeals to people about this rogue outsider. >> you're an evangelical. >> yes. >> if you look at someone like a donald trump, who has evolved on issues. you look at the two krcorinthia, whether it's fair that he gets hit on that.
ted cruz probably knows bible versus back and forth and probably knows that it's second corinthians rather than two corinthians. >> this primary is like none other. the reason being because trump came out and moved the entire field to the right. we are talking about potentially temporarily banning muslims from this country. he set that as the stake and now we're debating on that margin instead of debating somewhere along the middle on the establishment line. we're debating way out here because trump came out and shook up this primary. >> did it make anybody uncomfortable, the whole lying point of. i'm not calling anybody a liar. did it make anybody uncomfortable? >> this is south carolina. >> we're talking about this cease and desist letter. you're lying about your ad, and you must stop it. you want to listen to ted cruz about this letter that donald trump september him achbts him l
discuss. >> you got a cease and desist letter from the donald trump. i don't think i've ever heard of that happening in a race, one of many firsts that we've seen. what did you think when you got that letter? >> i'll confessed, i laughed out loud. this has not been a typical race, i don't think it's any surprise that donald has threatened to sue people, he's done that practically all his life. this letter really pressed the bounds of the most frivolous and ridiculous letters i've ever seen. >> anderson said i'm not sure it's ever happened. i don't think it's ever happened, david gergen? >> listen, i'm a methuselah. it has not happened in our lifetime. but people do informally cease and desist. i mean they say that stuff all the time. but send a legal document is very unusual. it doesn't make any difference, i don't think it makes a lot of difference. what i do think we miss tonight
is after these town halls we need tom foreman. we need someone to come out and call these guys on what they're saying. >> later in the show. >> good. >> something for why this is dangerous, donald trump has an enemy's list. he has issued these kinds of letters to people like the club for growth. he has threatened to sue reporters for writing stories that he does not like. this guy is not representing any kind of conservative values. he is an enemy of political free speech. he does not like the ad run against him because it hurts his political aspirations, and he's using the court system as legal warfare to take it down. >> he's doing this because he wants to distract ted cruz from his core message. and ted cruz keeps walking right into this trap. today's press conference, and then he spent a good 20, 25 minutes talking about it in this town hall, which is an extraordinary opportunity to talk to the voters about the issues they care about.
he was acting, it seemed to me he was acting more like a staffer and less like the presidential candidate. >> you think donald trump got into his head? >> a friend of mine said it was like watching a fisherman. he throws that bait out there to see if that fish will catch it, and cruz went right for the bait. he went right for the bait. >> if i may, if i may -- >> and describing the letter and giving us all of the legalese. he wasted almost an hour going line byline when he should have said, laughed, he said i did this and -- >> a lot up for grabs when it comes to this election, who's going to be in control of the senate as david gergen has said, who is going to be the next supreme court justice, and who is going to sit in the oval office. this is a very important election. did they get that message across? especially when it comes to who is going to be or possibly be the next supreme court justice. we'll talk about that.
you! >> we're back with the dream team. donna brazile, david gergen, can we talk about this a little bit longer? you guys were so animated in the last segment and in the break. you guys think it was donald trump getting into his head. i think he came out and said that he got into his head, i think it was ego as well, that he's, like, i'm a constitutional -- i'm a lawyer, so i'm going to get up here and talk about the law, and i don't know if it worked. >> for a minute it looked like he was arguing to the supreme court and not speaking to the american people, but how brilliant for donald trump to send this record. my record is being falsified by ted cruz, what better to make that point. >> put up or shut up. >> look, he did fall into a trap. he did start, you can see him arguing in front of justices. and look, these are one of these credentials, right? he knows the constitution.
he's argued in front of the texas supreme court, the u.s. supreme court. he is this legal expert, great. but the genius of anderson's questions, especially at the end when you get to know the person. i had no idea marco rubio was colorblind. i learned ted cruz can't tell a joke. so it wasn't personal at all. the real ted cruz you get is this sort of litigator who's like this hard core, furrowed brow. >> you're speakig to the voters in south carolina. >> you're not suppose the to be the solicitor general of the state of texas or the united states, you're supposed to be the presidential candidate. >> this is analysis, people. >> we're giving him free advice. >> he took a moment about his wifi wife being the love at first sight. that was a great moment. but one thing i find very funny, half the time he is criticized, oh, you didn't take on donald trump enough.
now in a town hall he takes the time to answer the charges, why would you do that? ted cruz is not going to win with some of the people on this panel. but i do agree with you, don, this is a sign of strength. ted cruz can't take this lying down. he has to show that he has the strength to take on donald trump one on one. >> but it is called a town hall, not a debate, like you're speaking to the town folk, right? >> that's over. don't play to that. >> if he wants to be ronald reagan, he was closer than trying to walk in his footsteps. he did it with humor, with stilettos, in a way that -- there you go again, kind of line. and it was much more effective than a legal brief. >> i mentioned the supreme court. so here is ted cruz talking about the polls, the supreme court and donald trump, listen. >> a new poll out saying that on
the national race you are actually now in the lead. how does it feel out there for you? >> look, it feels fantastic. what we're really seeing, we're seeing that old reagan coalition come together. you know, it was interesting, anderson, in iowa, all the pundits in iowa said that we didn't have a prayer. every person on television was saying donald trump was going to win. donald trump was going to win. and then we saw record-shattering turnout show up. and you know what was so encouraging is the folks that came together, it was that old reagan coalition, so we won among conservatives, but we also won among evangelicals. we won among reagan democrats and young people. that's coalition it's going to take, i think, to win the nomination, but also to win the general election, and we ended up, our campaign earned more votes than any campaign in the history of the iowa republican caucuses. it really was a testament to the grassroots. this nomination has a potential
to really shift the balance of power of the court. soy believe we should have -- we have an election coming up in november. i think 2016 should be a referendum on the supreme court, and, you know, it was striking. the last republican debate occurred the same date that we learned justice scalia passed, and i think that shifted -- it it really made people focus on the gravity of the stakes here. you mentioned the poll that has us in first place nationwide. it the first time donald trump has not been in first lace in many, many months, and i think this is an important reason why, that people were looking at that stage and saying, who do i know beyond a shadow of a doubt would nominate and fight to confirm principled jurists who would defend the constitution. >> that was a very strong moment. does anyone disagree with that? >>, i would agree. and just to show that we are not hard-hearted on ted cruz, he is
his strongest when he pleads to his voters, that he is not the status quo. that's when he is the strongest. >> now ben carson, marco rubio talking about the supreme court as well. >> i probably would. i probably would take the opportunity to nominate someone. doesn't necessarily mean that that person is going to be acted on or confirmed. but why not do it. but here's the real problem. you know, the supreme court, a very important part of our governing system, was originally intended to consist of jurists who were people who loved america, people who fully understood our constitution and were there to make sure that america preserved its constitutional traditions.
it was not supposed to be a partisan group. it has become very partisan. so, as a result, everything that is done surrounding it, the picks, the confirmation hearing, all of it has become partisan in reaction to what has happened. >> if you were president, would you nominate somebody? >> no, i would respect that precedent. that is true. there's nothing in the constitution that says he can't nominate someone, but there's also nothing in the constitution that says the senate must immediately confirm them. there will be someone filling that vacancy, and i think the new president should be the one filling that vacancy. it may not be a republican, i hope it's a republican. but the voters will weigh in on it in november. >> he would not nominate someone as president. does anyone believe that? >> no. >> here's the thing. if he is the next president, i hope if he's in that position he
will. we have to get over the fact that we're going to rely on precedent for this. what ben carson and marco rubio, nobody cares whether barack obama is going to nominate someone. all they care about is whether the gop senate should block that nominee. i think they missed the ball on that question, because they weren't speaking to the issue on voters' minds. >> you said that's not true? >> listen, we've all been waiting for the polls to come out about how this is going to break with the public. today we had our first poll, and it showed the public is totally split on this, like 41-42 about whether the president should proceed and whether the congress should do anything. and there's more support for the republican position, don't do anything. it's basically split. my own feeling is, the president ought to nominate, and the republicans would be wise to go ahead and have hearings and take a vote. >> and that's what ben carson said. i thought that was a strong moment. >> his answer was the most pragmatic and nonpolitical.
>> clearly, he suffers so often in the debate because he's the novice in the campaign. he's never run an election before, never competed at this level in terms of politics, but that's where it's really a breath of fresh air. you just hear him say, my god, let the process work. if you don't like it, fine, go along with it, vote no. that's what outsiders find so refreshing. >> did he move the needle tonight, ben carson? >> i think he did slightly. i don't think he's going to come out and win south carolina or get second or third, but i think we might see him get a higher percentage of votes. someone on social media said i finally heard ben carson speak and i liked him. in debates they railroad over him. tonight they heard a man speak who is not a politician, who has the same refreshing qualities donald trump has and voters will be receptive. >> i agree that they are going to like him, but they are not going to vote for him. they will vote for someone else. he is extremely high positive.
>> but ben carson in general. >> ben carson said he's not looking for a job, as you know. as you know, i have very strong feelings about this whole issue of the president being able to nominate someone to the bench. if the republicans decide to shut down the process, not hold hearings, you know what? we will litigate that in the fall, but i think the president has every right to fulfill his constitutional only and duties as well. >> and i think that's basically what ben carson said tonight. >> agreed. >> it was a little muddled, but i think when you decipher it. >> and rubio said he wouldn't nominate, come on, he would. >> president reagan -- >> speaking of the perfect segue, because you, david gergen said where is tom foreman, where's the fact checker? >> tom foreman is up right after the break. >> is he in the studio tonight?
certainly heard a lot from ted cruz and marco rubio and ben carson. here by popular demand of this panel, the dream panel and by viewers, social media everywhere with a reality check. what do you have for us? >> ben carson came out and said some things about the issue of poverty. specifically, he said the government efforts to rein in poverty have been infective for many years. >> by the time we got to the '60s, lbj was saying, we the government, are going to eliminate poverty. how did that work out? $19 trillion later, ten times as many people on food stamps, more poverty. >> so let's go back to that period of time. lyndon johnson launched his great society program, things like head start, food stamps and medicaid. it was 19%, by 1973, it was
about 11.1%. the recession in 2010 was 15.1%. and now it's still about all that high. but all of this is below 19%. did he eliminate poverty? no, he did not. but it did not become more poverty as mr. carson said, so we will have to say that his claim here is false. marco rubio went after the issue of the national debt, saying this is a real threat to this country. listen. >> in less than five years, 83% of the federal budget will be consumed by medicare, medicaid, social security and the interest on the debt. that means we will only have 17% of our budget left for everything else, including the military. >> 83% of the budget. boy, that's a whopping number consumed by entitlements. that's his projection. however, other projections are more likely 60% by 2021 in those five years, and even if you
throw in all mandatory spending, it goes to 74%. this is a whopping number. it is a genuine concern to many people, but he overreached by going up to 83%. so we're going to say his claim is also false. and ted cruz went after donald trump on the issue of abortion rights, saying that donald trump is all for planned parenthood. listen. >> four days ago, on the debate stage, donald trump explained how many wonderful things he thought planned parenthood does. nobody who is actually pro-life could stand up on national stage and sing the praises of planned parenthood as wonderful. >> sing the praises. there's no question that donald trump's position on abortion has changed. but now he says he is clearly pro-life, and yes, he says positive things about planned parenthood offering medical
screenings to women. but four days ago when he made the statement, he went out of his way to say i don't support them on abortion rights. this is something that ted cruz did not mention. so while he said something technically true, it was misleading. you can see more things our reality check team looked at by going to cnn.com/reality check. i appreciate you calling me in. i was at home in my pajamas, eating nachos. >> he turned his car around? >> you're not going anywhere. we may have questions for you. the panel's going to discuss now. here we have carson on poverty, lbj. so that's false. and your point was? >> my point is, you're right. as a percentage of the population poverty has gone down since lbj, not very much, but it's gone down. but the number of people on poverty has gone up. so i think on defense of that
part of dr. carson, i think there was a point. >> and there's also a larger philosophical argument that federal programs in and of themselves can't end poverty. you have to have mediating institutions in our culture that have help solve these problems. you have to have institutional changes in institutions like marriage, institutions like, you know, work. there isn't work available for many men and women out there. so, you know, the point, i think conservatives often make is that government's not going to fix the poverty problem. you have to have government working in tandem with all these other elements of our culture, and i think that's what ben carson was trying to make the point of. again, he's new to politics, so you get caught up in -- >> you also have the great recession of 2007, 2008, that millions of people lost their jobs. 800,000 jobs being lost every month during that period. now we've had 71 months of consecutive job growth, but we
still have persistent problems that keep people from being able to fulfill all their dreams. >> we have to say something. let's rubio on entitlements. his assertion on entitlements claims false. >> there were a few things that rubio said that were false. first of all, he referred to obama's two unconstitutional executive orders. if ted cruz were there he would have chimed in and said those, on univision you said you would repeal those on day one. he talked about being opposed to toppling gaddafi. if ted cruz were in this debate he would have gone after marco rubio and rightly so. >> what? reagan, people didn't like reagan? >> even people who dislike reagan agree that he was likeable. this is where the happy warrior
comes in. >> that was the context of being unlikable. >> but i worked for the president, and i can tell you, reagan shocked us, it wasn't that we just liked him, we in awe. we had no idea he would do as well as he did. he almost took the nomination away from the sitting president. but everybody liked him. >> what does that mean? what does that mean to you? you think it means to the voter that his assertion, cruz's assertion on trump and abortion. it was true, but misleading. >> it was so misleading. >> tom says it was true but misleading. >> that they are an abortion factory that trades baby parts like oughauto parts. that is what trump has said. and we see something totally opposite coming out of ted cruz. >>ive thi iv think it's a legit charge.
>> that who -- >> that cruz says. many conservatives will look at that question as one, you either stand with or against. and for them to make, i think what happens is they judge donald trump very harshly when they see him making positive statements. >> it is a totally legitimate issue about whether the government ought to fund planned parenthood. that's totally legitimate. what is incorrect is that they are only an abortion factory. it does a lot of things for a lot of women in the country, including middle class women who find it to be a refuge when they leave home and go to college. planned parenthood has done a great number of good things that have nothing to do with abortion. and when you take that broad brush and smear them, that's wrong. >> does that appeal to a republican base? >> you can't separate the issue. >> yes, you can, too. you can separate the facts. >> primary voters know that planned parenthood is the biggest provider of abortion.
you can support that. i'm not arguing with you, i'm tell you what conservative voters -- >> that's donald trump's argument. >> do you think planned parenthood does nothing? nothing good for anybody? >> that they are abortion factory. i cannot surpass that fact. >> most of what they do -- >> i think it's a fundamental part of what they do. >> basic lies. basic lies. we're not goi-- they save lives they save lives. >> of ted cruz may have won the question tonight, but that answer is not going to play in november. >> you win the right to do that. >> people are discussing as they're watching the television as they are trying to figure out who they are going to vote for. okay. we're going to continue to talk about this, and also republican candidates, talking about the issue of race in this country. we'll be right back. hi, i'm leeza gibons with an amazing story about how
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back with me now. marco rubio is the only one who fielded a question about race that i can remember. he talked about his friend, his black friend, who's a cop getting pulled over and also people saying to him go home, he's cuban american. what do you think of a republican candidate saying that driving while black is real? >> i would like to hear every republican candidate answer this question. these are issues that are, you know, facing the electorate, a large portion of the populace. whenever you have a group of americans who feel that justice isn't being served to them, you have a rocky foundation for rule of law. and that's essentially the argument that marco rubio made. look, if people feel disenfranchised, the system isn't serving them. so he had his own articulation why this is problematic not just for republicans or democrats but the country. he balanced the cops, the good job they're doing with the very real discriminations that exist. >> it was powerful when he
analogized that to his childhood experience. i innocently went to school and remember a kid looking at me saying when are you going to go back to were your boat. it was understanding that racism is in play. >> would it behoove the other candidates to talk about those issues and say, you know, driving while black is real. the experiences black americans have are real. >> sure, particularly at a time when so many republicans say this is a country that's been divided and showing that they have the ability to unite people. and later on, marco rubio talked about that, how he's going to work for people who may not even work for him. that was a powerful moment. that's why this format worked for him, because he that relatebility. >> i have ten seconds. >> it shows what republicans think and makes them look more human. >> i hate to cut a man's stature off. thank you very much.
republicans running for president taking tough questions on the cnn town hall stage. who made the best case to voters? good morning. welcome to "early start." i'm miguel marquez. >> nice to see you. i'm christine romans. another late night. thursday, february 18th. 4:00 a.m. in the east. let's talk about that. republican candidates making their cases to cnn viewers in the first of two town hall events. this meet the voter town hall, two of them come as a new national poll shows ted cruz edging ahead of donald trump by a two point