tv Americas Choice 2016 Nevada Republican Caucuses CNN February 23, 2016 7:00pm-8:01pm PST
welcome to our viewers in the united states and around the world. i'm jake tapper in the cnn election sen center. it is a big, big night in the presidential race. moments ago hillary clinton and bernie sanders just wrapped up a special cnn town hall. more on that in a moment. our other top story tonight, a bumpy start. everything in nevada is
reportedly not going according to plan. a republican source telling us the campaigns are complaining of irregularities at some caulk us sites. a source says the state was not ready for this big of a turnout. we are on the ground checking, trying to verify all of this. donald trump has been gop brass on notice sending a letter saying if they see evidence of intimidation tactics inside precincts, it will, quote, not be toll rated. an open brawl between trump and senator cruz. trump called cruz sick yesterday after cruz's campaign resorted to what others called dirty campaign tactics. let's turn back to the democrats now. you just saw it right here on cnn, hillary clinton and bernie sanders nar gating a mine field of tough questions from our own chris cuomo and undecided
voters. listen to sanders talk about the supreme court and getting in a shot at senate republicans. >> what you are seeing today in this supreme court situation is nothing more than the continuous and unprecedented obstructionism that president obama has gone through. and this is on top of the birther issue, which we heard from donald trump and others, a racist effort to try to delegitimize the president of the united states. can you imagine that? they say, well, he's not really the president, he wasn't born in
the united states, which is nonsense. you know, it's a funny thing on that issue. i was -- my dad, as i mentioned, came from poland. i'm running for president. no one has asked for my birth certificate. maybe it's the color of my skin. >> when it was hillary clinton's turn, she did not get any time to ease into this. chris cuomo asked her whether she would release transcripts of her speeches to wall street. >> why is there one standard for me, chris and not for everybody else? i'm on record, i have a record, it's far different from the republicans because they think actually and have said that the cause of the great recession was too much regulation on wall street, which is an absolute joke. i have been up front and strong on this issue for a long time, as strong, i would argue, as my
esteemed opponent. if people are going to ask for things, everybody should be on a level playing field. >> let bring in dana bash and david chalian to talk this over. david, hillary clinton saying -- asking core questions about this, this is a one standard for clinton and nobody else is being asked to do the same. >> this is not an uncommon theme that you hear from the clinton campaign and, quite frankly, there's some truth to it. i do think that hillary clinton probably is held to a different standard at times. but my question to her there is why do you have to follow on this? why can't you lead and put out these speeches and have others come behind you. bernie sanders was asked about it as well. he was inviting this contrast, that he'd be willing to put stuff out, knowing hillary clinton's previous answer was she wanted everyone to put it out and she made it clear, tonight, jake, that includes all the republicans now there are only two people
people running for the democratic nomination, giving speeches where you're paid a lot of money to wall street banks, doing so just months before you announce is a really big deal. bernie sanders department idn't she did. as much as she wants to make it all about other people, that's completely understandable, she does have a point she in many cases is held to a different standard. in this case her actions make her -- make it so that she has to be held to a different standard. >> while she was speaking, bernie sanders send being out a tweet saying republicans are not the standard by which the democrats should set themselves. i want to go to chris cuomo. as you saw, he moderated the action tonight, doing a great job. chris, whacht was your impressi? what did you think of clinton's answer and what did you think of bernie sanders? >> i think dana is making a good point and you're ask being the right questions, as always. i think this is a tricky one.
the secretary is still in the crowd. senator sanders has left already. i think asking everybody to put out their speeches sounds right, sounds fair. not everybody is receiving equal scrutiny for cause. i think that matters. i think that has to be said here. there are real question, there was a judge today, there are things that the secretary herself has admitted as mistakes. to imply an equal standard would also have to require equal basis for that standard and i don't think that's the case. whether or not these questions are fair or not or are there too many, is it too much, that's for team to decide. for senator sanders to put out that's not our standard, look, if you want to lead, can you go first. secretary clinton's point is, jake, i don't think these are real questions. i think these are just designed to undermine me, they're not real.
that definition of real is subjective. >> then of course bernie sanders raising some eyebrows, tying the questions of republicans trying to block an obama picked supreme court nominee, tying that to racism and efforts to delegitimize president obama, suggesting he wasn't a citizens -- obviously he was a citizen, we don't have to go into that again -- is that's really what's motivating republicans trying to block a sport pick? >> the senator asked to refine that remark chose not to. seeing an underlying and undertone of racism in these
judgments, that's going to be a very incendiary comment to be sure. race always is. the senator's statement seems to be that's what i think. some people will like it, some people won't. in these town halls, jake, as you've seen as well, a different dynamic often emerges. when they're talking to real people who are living situation, they often say things different live and to different degrees than they would to you and to me and they would to each other. a blessing and curse of these town halls. >> great job, chris. super, super job. you're looking right now at some live pictures out of nevada. we've gotten reports from sources that there have been irregularities at caucus sites, being overwhelmed, some say unpreefd to deal.
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that's the word out of nevada. you're watching live pictures where the republican caucuses are already under way. we want to welcome our viewers in the united states and indeed around the world. i'm jake tapper in the cnn election stern. pheiffer candidates are vying for votes in the wild west. the real question of course is can anyone stop donald trump. marco rubio and ted cruz say this is a three-man race. rubio arguing he's the candidate that gives republicans the best chance to unify. cruz insisting he's the conservative who can get the reagan coalition to the polls in november but donald trump is again the polling favorite in nevada. and after stomping the competition in south carolina and before that new hampshire, trump looks, frankly, unstoppable. let's go to anderson cooper right now who has a panel there to talk. >> we're going to turn from nevada, we're going to go back there shortly, check in with all
our correspondents at polling locations. as jake was reporting, campaigns say they are not happy based on what they are seeing, high voter turnoutle b turnout. let's discuss a little bit about what we just saw in south carolina, the democratic town hall that cnn just put on. i'm join by michael smerconish and mallika henderson, gloria borger. michael smerconish. >> steve: do y-- >> do you think there were any minds changed tonight? >> no. we're sitting here when a federal judge appointed by bill clinton it's okay to question aides to secretary clinton about
whether public access to information m thwarted. it's an issue of transparency. bernie sanders has no problems raising issues of transparn sif pertaining to dark money, but he just won't go there with regard to, quote unquote, the damn e-mails. i think it's a tactical mistake if he doesn't. these are questions she needs to answer. >> how did you see it? >> i thought in some ways bernie sanders was a little flat tonight. i think there were moments he missed when he could have made more of a connection with the people in the audience and beyond. the question someone asked she knew a relative in the charleston shooting. he then started to set his rating with the nra instead of sympathizing with her.
and even when someone stood up and talked about his father dying of cigarette smoke. he did talk about his dad but he didn't really show compassion i thought in that moment. for me it seemed like the audience was stacked for hillary clinton but it was only because she used those moments and those interactions so well i thought. >> there was a particularly effective moment for hillary clinton of a young law student who is not voting for her, said her mom was going to vote for her and she was leaning to sanders. hillary clinton got very specific and almost seemed to know more about the loan program that this law student was facing than she herself knew. >> that's right. you wonder if that young woman there even changed her mind. she was so detailed, hillary clinton, in terms of -- and i also thought that the woman who stood up, the african-american woman who stood up and talked
about natural hair, talked about ferguson, talked about black lives matter. you saw hillary clinton turn that moment and then those five women who lost sons. i thought that was a very interesting moment. >> the whole subtext of this discussion was race. and that is very important in the south carolina primary. half the vote is going to be african-american. hillary clinton got three quarters of that vote in nevada and she stands to do the same in south carolina. i think it's why bernie sanders was so animated and this is something that resonates deeply with african-american voters. i think the best moment she had in tho th whole evening was when that young african-american woman addressed her. she spoke with race in a very i think honest and comfortable way that reflects a life time of example in dealing with that
issue. i think that was her best moment of the night. >> gloria? >> i think bernie sanders came in knowing he has a problem, he only won 22%. african-american vote in nevada and each has to do better. i think he embraced obama the way we've seen hillary clinton embrace barack obama, particularly the way republicans are trying to delegitimize his presidency pip thought he was as passionate about that as he was about anything else and i think it plays into your point about south carolina and what he's facing there. >> let's turn to our commentators, van jones, former obama station official, paul g begala, amanda carpenter. . >> van, what did you think about
tonight? >> i think they were both in a zen mode. >> does that mean tired? >> i'm not trying to say ageist. both can be kind of shrill. they maybe have found an inner peace. one thing is i do think bernie sticking up for the president was important. he's been defined as anti-obama. i don't think her answer when it comes to the speeches is going to work for a bunch of people. >> she's saying not just sanders turns over speeches but republicans as well. >> she's saying ben carson has to turn over -- so so i don't think it's going to work for a bunch of already people who don't like her. i think sanders wasting a bunch of time on that doesn't help him. the people who are already mad at her on that are already with him. a lot of people just don't care. he missed an opportunity to
contrast on things that matter. talk about the military and keeping these kids out of war. >> paul, very briefly? >> bernie, i thought he did broaden. hillary connected better tonight than i've seen in this whole campaign. >> we want to take to you nevada. we'll take a short break and be right back from the latest from the nevada caucuses. i'm hillary clinton and i approve this message.
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you're looking at live pictures from nevada. campaign sources saying the state party has been apparently caught flat-footed and a rush of voters is overwhelming the proceedings. we will keep checking these reports. i'm jake tapper in the cnn election center. we're chasing down reports of irregularities tonight. if donald trump win, he could ride the momentum all the way to
the gop presidential nomination. donald trump is again the polling favorite in nevada. and stomping the competition in new hampshire and south carolina, trump looks unstoppable. jim, tell us about this letter that the trump campaign sent. >> donald trump is feeling confident but warning his supporters to be on the lookout for dirty tricks. he sent out a tweet saying ted cruz campaign forces are bad, watch out. his comment like live stems from this letter his lawyer sent to the nevada republican party earlier today complaining about reports that cruz supporters were planning to videotape some of the proceedings at caucus sites. let's put up a quote from that letter. it says, quote, we further urge the nevada republican party to ensure the rights of all
registered republicans who seek to exercise their right to cast a vote in the upcoming caucus are maintained, including those of first time caucus goers and those who may be unfamiliar with the process and make sure voter intimidation tactics will not be tolerated. that did prompt the campaigns to warn no videotaping at these sites. the state campaign director, charles munoz, told meal this is a caucus so you have to be careful, they're not taking any chances but one state gop source told me they are getting reports of confusion at caucus sites saying they don't think nevada was prepare for this big turn out tonight. is this a situation like in iowa
where there were dirty tricks or something like we saw in new hampshire or south carolina, there are reports but it didn't really seem to interfere with any kind of results in the end? and i think in the days to come we'll get the answer to that, jake. >> jim acosta in las vegas. let's go to sunlen serfaty. >> a cruz adviser tells me they'll be satisfied with a third place win tonight. of course the cruz campaign is watching like a hawk where marco rubio comes in tonight. if they say if he avoids a win, comes in second place or below, they'll be basically breathing a big sigh of relief because that will keep their argument up that they are the only candidate, ted cruz who has scored a win against donald trump. if marco comes anywhere above that, if marco rubio is able to
beat donald trump, of course that really destroys the core argument that the cruz campaign largely thinks is working and wants to ride all the way into super tuesday. >> sunlen serfaty, thank you. right now we have caucus cams throughout the state. let's check in with brian todd the desert oasis high school in las vegas. are there a lot of first-time caucus goers there tonight? >> reporter: jake, first-time caucus goers were out in force tonight. just in the first 30 minutes after the doors opened, i counted 119 first-time caucus goers between 5 and 5:30 p.m. local time outside the door. the overwhelming majority of them supported donald trump. but that's why they're coming to the caucuses. a lot of people are coming here to stee if their minds can be changed. this is what's really cool about covering caucuses. you're seeing these people caulk us here if real time. some intense debate going on at these tables here.
look over here, our photojournalist ken boylen and i are going to take a sampling. little kids here.ringing their - i'm going to sneak over here. a lot of people in this room, jake, have the option to come here, cast their ballots and leave between 5 p.m. and about 9 being 9:30 p.m. pacific time, you can come in here, cast your ballot and you can stay and caucus or you can leave. at least 50 to 70 people in this room have stayed to caucus in is the hanson family, they brought their 11-year-old son lee, liam, and 10-year-old son, roland here to see the action. that's really cool. the ballots will be brought to these tables oaf here in about an hour and they we're going to start the counting. >> things seem to be going smoothly there. but there are reports of confusion at other precincts in the caulks, reports of turmoil in nevada as republicans are making their choice tonight for president of the united states.
we're starting to get a sense of how things are shaking out. we're going o get a glimpse at our entrance polls just ahead after this quick break. stay with us. to h&r block. but this year, i can go to block and pay half, what i paid my other guy. you can switch to block and pay half too. half price is a better price, when you think about it.
i'm jake tapper in the c nn election center. it has been a busy night for the state republican party caucus far from over and many complaining of irregularities across the state due to high vote are turnout. our entrance polls are providing the first indications of how things could play out in nevada. let's bring in dana bash and david chalian for more. dana dana, what are the entrance polls saying? >> we like to look at when did they decide. nevada is very hard to poll. >> these are early arrivers to
the sites right now. these numbers will change throughout the course of the evening. but one really key thing that we're seeing is that nevada has fewer late deciders than we saw in iowa, new hampshire or south carolina. take a look at this. when did you decide to vote? in the last week, 31% of voters showing up to caucus sites tonight. those that decided earlier than that, 69%. so this was not as fluid of a race, dana, as we saw in iowa, no. and south carolina where it was nearly half the electorate or more than 4 this 10 said they decided in the last week. here people had really already made up their minds. >> which if the polls have been accurate leading up to today could be beneficial to donald trump. a big if. but another thing that we should maybe sort of hit home is that the nevada caucuses are a relatively new phenomenon. this is only the third presidential election that the republicans have been doing this. and a big reason why they wanted to add this was to have an opening to the west and to try
to build back the republican ability to lure and appeal to hispanic voters. how is it going tonight? >> well, this is the most diverse electorate thus far that the republicans have faced. take a look at the breakdown by race. 86% of caucus goers tonight are white, 1% black, 8% latino, 2% asian and 3% of another race. the 8% latino is higher than we saw in 2012, it's back to the 2008 levels in the republican side. this is not as diverse as the electorate we saw on the democratic side but the republican primary electorates in iowa, new hampshire and south carolina were in the mid 90s in terms of the white population of the electorate. now it's down to 86. how that plays out, it will be interesting o see who has that appeal. it's only 8%.
it's a new conversation republicans are having with a more diverse electorate. >> and you have candidates who are hispanic, marco rubio and ted cruz who are of cuban dissent. and in the case of marco rubio, he's playing that ub big time. >> and he spent some of his youth in nevada. >> there's actually democratic state senator in nevada who is marco rubio's cousin and for what reason has not endorsed any of the democrats because his cousin is running for president on the other side. let's go to anderson cooper for more discussion. >> we'll start with our republican commentator, kevin madden, amanda carpenter. how do you explain that people who made up their minds are coming out to the polls much
earlier. >> one thing i would be worried about on the opposing campaigns is voters seemed to have calcified in their support months ago, they seem to have dug in. if these entrance polls start to hold up, it could end up being a very big night for donald trump money. >> which is interesting. what that sort of translate into, no matter what happens in the interim, comments that will be made, those who say, oh, look, he really crossed the line this time, it doesn't seem to matter. >> we assume that donald trump is leading the polls. kevin is right. his supporters are very hard for someone else to peel off. the fight for second place to be the donald trump alternative is even more intense. especially going into the debate on thursday where the field is completely reset with the absence of jeb bush now. it is essentially a three-person race. so the dynamics between marco
rubio and ted cruz for the best way to take on donald trump and all the background battling for who ultimately other people coalesce behind is so intense. >> i'll open up to our contributor as well. do you think these attacks by rubio, by trump against cruz calling him a liar, do you think they are having an impact? >> i do. we'll have to see tonight but i don't see how they don't have an impact. and there a lot of people who believe that, you know, cruz should just take on one person at a time instead of taking on both rubio and trump. you're not a yes, amanda. are you one of those people? >> i think you're absolutely right. what he's been doing and he's been getting back from both of them, both of them are calling him a liar. he's attacking both of them. who does it hurt but ted cruise basic rule of politics, anderson, if you have to fire your spokesperson the day before a major event, not a good sign. i think that speaks to the level
of distress that the cruz campaign feels about all these charges about his duplicity and his tactics. >> remember, he's fine when you go to a ted cruz rally, it's trust ted, right? that was supposed to be his brand, that was supposed to be his strength, that he was the true conservative and the purebred conservative and the evangelical truth teller and the fact had you have everyone piling on, not only trump and rubio but also ben carson. >> and, michael, it was interesting, donald trump even attacked ted cruz for firing his spokesman. >> he did an about face on that issue. he said something different last night. i think the proof that cruz is being harmed by these charges is that he did fire rick tyler because i don't think rick tyler deserved to be fired for what he did. if you get into the tick tock of
the "daily pennsylvanian," i think it's defensible. and tyler was completely apologetic and entirely appropriate immediately after and still he got canned. that tells me cruz is worried about this issue. >> he also made the story last longer. at the he gave it legs. it might have gone away. >> amapped a, you used to have that job. it was a mistake in. >> i do believe it was an exercise in poor judgment. rick tyler is a good guy. those mistake can't be made. the allegations have happened. i do have to say even though ted cruz is being piled on by so many people with charges that i think largely unfair, it is quite remarkable he's still in the top three. he is having everything thrown at him by everyone and he's still tied essentially for second place in south carolina. >> let's take a quick break. you're seeing the caucus cameras right now, they're still going on. a lot more ahead.
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welcome back. i'm jake tapper. we're watching the republican caucuses in nevada. caucus sites are open for a little while longer, which could possibly spell trouble for the state republican party. reports claim that the silver state gop apparatus was perhaps not ready for tonight's big turnout. there's been a lot of chatter by the campaigns and others about irregularities, about caucus workers decked out in swag from some of the campaigns. we're learning more. let's go to reno nevada. alino, what's going on there? is it smooth sailing there? >> it is smooth sailing here so far, jake. these are several precincts that are still meeting right now. most of these precincts have already voted. they're waiting to see if anybody else shows up who wants to vote. so far the site manager said they've seen a
higher-than-expected turnout. they were prepared for that. they had about 1,200 ballots on hand here. so far they have had enough ballots. there are still people showing up, last-minute stragglers who have shown up here to cast their vote. we've been talking to people here all night, people who many of them saying they're first time caucus goers, who have never been a part of anything like this. a lot of those people telling me they are here to vote for trump or rubio. we have seen chatter about cruz and also about carson. but so far things are going very smoothly here. >> good news at reno high school. >> let's go to tom foreman at centennial high school in las vegas. how are things proceeding there? >> reporter: jake, they were ready for the storm there but it was a big one. they what h to ton of people come in here and they filled this floor up entirely.
right now they're rationing ballots. they're down to just a few at each little station here now for people to choose among the candidates. they think they have enough. but they're trying to be very careful, to make sure they have them for all the people. a lot enough caucus goers. by the way, there are 4 444, 45 precincts in this room alone. i asked how many you are new? in each room i had half to two-thirds of the people raise their hands as new voters. what it really has added up to right now is a lot of scrambling here. they were ready for the crowds, they did all they could to be prepared and they registered them and moved them out fast but clearly more people than they imagined could be possible here on the west side of las vegas. jake? >> rationing ballots at centennial high school in las
vegas. brian taodd, how are things there? >> reporter: a big question has been raised about poll workers, caucus workers wearing candidate gear. there have been questions, are volunteers, people who are managing these sites, are they allowed to wear candidate gear because they have been seen doing that. just a moment ago the nevada gop issued a very important clarification. here as what they said in a tweet. it's not against the rules for volunteers to wear candidate gear. they went through extensive training and are doing a great job. that is consistent with what the previous si precinct officials told me. here are two people wearing trump t-shirts.
they're saying that's okay as long as they're not distributing leaflets and things like that. and they say that these people have all gone through extensive training o some naechd republicans expressing concerns about whether or not their votes will be honored and respected by these individuals who obviously have a horse in the race, but that of course is a matter for the nevada gop to take charge of. we're going to take a very quick break. when we come back, we're going to have some entrance polls and much, much more from the nevada republican caucuses. stay with us. the microsoft cloud allows us to access information from anywhere. the microsoft cloud allows us to scale up. microsoft cloud changes our world dramatically. it wasn't too long ago it would take two weeks to sequence and analyze a genome. now, we can do a hundred per day. with the microsoft cloud we don't have to build server rooms. we have instant scale. the microsoft cloud is helping us to re-build and re-interpret our business.
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welcome back to cnn's live coverage of the republican caucuses in nevada. you're looking at live pictures from las vegas, one of many precincts where republicans are coming in and casting their ballots for one of five candidates. in about one our and three minutes, they will officially shut down and when that happens, we'll bring you hard numbers. we're getting an idea of who turned out to vote from the cnn entrance polls. let's turn to david chalian and dana bash to talk about that. what are the candidates looking for -- i mean, what are the voters looking for in the candidates?
>> that is such a fascinating variable that really helps us figure out who is potentially going to end up on top. when you look at the candidate qualities and you have over the past three contests so far, it really has varied in determining who is actually going to win. >> you can see where each candidate draws their strength from. one thing that is consistent is what is the most important candidate quality, it's shares my value. 30% of the voters were looking for a candidate that meets that criteria. 25 are looking for a candidate who can win, 22% looking for a change candidate and 21% looking for the candidate who tells it what it is. shares my value was up there top rank again. what's interesting to me here and independent looking out for electability can win a little higher here in nevada than we saw in the previous contest in
iowa, new hampshire and south carolina. usually it doesn't drive people to the polls. i guess as we get deeper to the contest, if this holds, i wonder if as we get deeper in the contest, we're going to get more republicans that care about someone who can win. >> shares your values is one of the poll questions where donald trump does not do well, one of the few where he does not do well, though he is polling a very heavy favorites in this race. >> he hasn't completely been wiped out in that category but it's not necessarily a strong suit like telling it like it is. >> before we get to your next entrae entrance poll, the preregistration for the caucuses 42,000 people, which is almost as high as the overall turnout the first time they did those
caucuses. that could be feeding some. frenzy that we're seeing on social media about how intense the turnout is. as i mention that, i should also say that this republican source who i spoke to insisted that although there is a lot of talk on social media about worries about double balloting and so forth, they insist -- insist from the perspective of the party that they've got no official calls, nothing officially, but they're going to be watching for it tonight. >> that 42,000 numbers is pretty huge. those are new registrants who signed up before the deadline to participate. the fact that just new participants is ahead of turnout in 2008 or 2012. >> and it's a good sign for the republicans because that would be the fourth contest in a row, if this actually happens to bare fruit, where it is record registration for republican
voters. >> that's right. it speaks to their enthusiasm. there's a big enthuch in a place like nevada where in the general election has gone more republican laetly but you never know. it is moving toward swing state territory. >> barack obama won it twice. i think that if you look, iowa, new hampshire, nevada, three. four states now already, those are general election battleground states. to your point about republicans being able to turn out, big numbers have record breaking turnout in these key general election battleground states, that's something that they can work from now till november. >> speaking of enthusiasm, an unexpected moment has happened and that is the death of antonin scalia that has really led to a motivation on both sides of the aisle, which is who is going to be the next supreme court nominee. what are we learning about what the people who are going to the caulk uses tonight say about the importance of the nominee. >> it's really important. take a look at