tv Americas Choice 2016 Flint Debate Pre- Show CNN March 6, 2016 2:00pm-5:01pm PST
backdrop for tonight's presidential face-off. the stage is now set. three hours from now. hillary clinton and bernie sanders go ahead to head right here on cnn. hillary clinton comes in with the significant lead over bernie sanders in the critical delegate count. sanders riding high on the morale. and they will step up on the stage tonight just as caucuses close in maine. which candidate can harness the momentum today. first we have to begin with some very sad breaking news. the death of the former first lady of the united states, nancy reagan. wife of the 40th president of the united states. she passed away today of congestive heart failure at age 94. tributes to mrs. reagan are pouring in across the country and around the world. anderson cooper is here with me. he knew the former first lady
personally. anderson, you knew her thanks to your mom. >> i did. i grew up knowing nancy reagan. my mom and her became very close friends when she was first lady. and she used to stay at our house in new york when she wanted to get away from washington. and over the years we kept in touch. i saw her in, i took her to lunch in los angeles not too long ago. just a very sad passing. she, i think, everybody, you know, knew about her elegance, her grace. and her fierce protective nature of the president. they had this incredible love story. ease left the presidency and his all-time alzheimer's took its toll, she was his primary care giver for about a decade. it is a very sad day for everyone who knew her. >> and your mother, gloria vanderbilt, is on the phone with us. >> yeah, surreal. my mom. >> i would love to hear her thoughts about nancy reagan.
>> hey, mom, are you there? >> hi, darling. such a sad day. nancy and i had similar upbringings, which brought us closer. she said to me, we were bound at the hip. and it was true. we had a friendship. she was a loving devoted friend. and when carter died 29 years ago, she came from washington it attend the funeral, to be by my side. i don't know if you remember it, but at the funeral at st. james's, we were sitting in the front row at carter's funeral and this strange woman came in from outside from the street and boldly came down the aisle to where mrs. reagan and you and i were sitting. and it was really frightening. but she handled it, the unfortunate situation, with such grace, as if the incident, you know, not even happening, and
then of course an attendant jumped forward quickly to usher the intruder out. >> mom, what was it about -- what was it about -- >> i admired her so much. >> what was it about her -- i remember you used to go to state dinners at the white house. i think you went to one where princess diana was there and she danced with john travolta. you often talked about how trust worthy she was. >> yes. i would trust her with my heart in her hand. she had such fun and halama eum beauty and a true romantic p. which of course, i'm all for that. i would trust her with my life. >> she was fiercely protective
of her husband. and the love affair is something that everybody could see. >> it was absolutely the real thing. there was nothing about it that was -- that was put on or for the public or anything and they just absolutely adored each other. >> you know what was so amazing and gloria vanderbilt, you will appreciate this, how she became his protector, especially after the assassination attempt during his first year of president. he survived the assassination attempt. all of us remember that. but it seemed to have made her even more devoted to protecting him and can you talk more about that. >> well, i think that -- i think that's a -- true. she was absolutely, concentrated on protecting him. and it was as if she had a wall around her which projected him
and it was absolutely something that nobody could break or get through at. she was fiercely protective of him. >> i also think, mom, a lot of people don't sort of know just what she went through in the later years as president reagan was declining. the toll that that took on her and the strength she was and strength she had to have to get through that is the strength many families have to deal with. >> yes. and you know, she was so instinctively intuitively tuned into him, that she was by list side and she could anticipate, as he got more and more into alzheimer's, she could anticipate and be there by his side to help him get through that. she was really just extraordinary. >> one of the things i remembe, wolf, she wrote, i think she
said publicly or wrote publicly, i believe she said ronnie has gone to a place where i can no longer reach him. and i thought the wording of that was just so touching that though he was still alive toward the end, apparently didn't recognize her or communicate in that way and yet you know, to have the bond they had and then reach the point where she could no longer reach him -- >> gloria borger is with us as well. you covered those years. and she became so devoted later in her years to alzheimer's research because of her husband, but earlier the whole effort to prevent alcohol and drug abuse really dominated from her first lady perspective. >> she became devoted to stem cell research. and she took on a lot of republicans from that issue, including george bush. >> with the embryonic -- >> the embryonic stem cell
research. she wanted funding. and when president obama came in and funded stem cell research, she was a push. and with these old larry king interviews we had with her, and maybe your mom can speak to this, she said so poignantly that everyone said you get over someone's death. your spouse's death. and she said, i never did. >> of course. that word closure is something you see on tv. there's no such thing. just two little quick stories about the last two times i saw her. she invited me to speak at the reagan library. of course it was an honor to do so. i went and spoke. she had a dinner for people from the library afterward. she knew there was a bakery in new york that makes something called crack pie which is some sinfully delicious pie made out of butter and stuff. and she had someone from the library make crack pie and she joked she was giving me crack pie. and the whole just say no thing. but she had a real sense of humor about herself which i
don't think often came across. and also, just for the last, i spent an afternoon with her one time and i took her out to lunch at a friend's house, and she was just remarkably engaged in the world of politics at the time she was reading game change, the book by mark halperin. she was asking me about, you know, various candidates, about my thoughts on various individuals, what they are like personally. and she was just so sharp politically, you know, even at the age of 91, 92, 93. she bass very deeply engaged and very, you know, fascinate bid it all. >> that was her life. >> yeah. >> and she was very engaged in the white house and very protective of her husband when he was in the white house and very -- >> and at the time came under criticism for it. >> she did play a significant role, maybe your mom can talk about this, the fact that she pushed ronald reagan as president to establish that personal relationship with gorbachev when he came to power
and the then soviet union, to work towards end willingiing th war. we know in the 8 '80s, it came it an end. she wasn't just involved in social activities, she helped him every step of the way. you saw that, gloria wvanderbil, didn't you? >> absolutely. she was 100% there for him in every way. and politically, i think she is a great, great significance. >> anderson, i remember eight years ago exactly one moderated a republican presidential debate at the reagan library. she was the host. she took you around. >> she was. it was so nice, she took me around out and you know, i have known her for quite a long time and i remember the debate began, we stood next to each other and she, you know, i had my arm and she had her arm in mine and she was just so -- so proud of that library and such a part of it and you know, just so in the dna
of it. and she will -- i'm assuming be laid to rest next to the former president at the reagan library. i was there for the funeral. i remember covering it for cnn. and you know, it's an extraordinary thing. ed this they had been separated and it is nice know that they will be together again very soon. >> gloria vanderbilt, stay with us for a moment. let's talk about this debate tonight, you are moderating our cnn presidential debate. i assume we will pay tribute at the beginning -- >> absolutely. we will talk about her a little bit and have a moment of silence. and i remember my mom would get notes from her about me from mrs. reagan watching on television. watching various news reports. >> cute. >> mom, she would always say very nice things. >> let me ask gloria vanderbilt, gloria, what do you think gloria vanderbilt, i should say mrs. vanderbilt, what do you think?
how is your son doing? proud of your little boy? >> i tell you, i'm so over the moon proud that i'm speechless, you know. i just -- and i am his biggest fan. i watch every single show. every night. every night. everything he does. and you know, i'm just -- i don't know -- i'm just speechless one know. and i'd like to think i had something to do with it. >> i think you did. i'm sure you did. you have every reason to be -- that sound like my mom talking about me. we have something in common. anderson, anything else we should know about this debate? >> no. it is a fascinating debate. focused on the beginning is really what is happening here in flint. obviously there's a lot of national issues to discuss as well and what happened here frankly is echoed in what is happening in communities throughout the country. and it is interesting to hear about what candidates say is happening in flint and other issues we will discuss.
>> and we will anchor every step in the way and we look forward to -- >> now can i say my mom has been in the situation room? >> sort of. >> can i say i'm thrilled to be in "the situation room"? >> thanks a lot, mom. >> gloria vanderbilt. >> thank you. i'll be fwlud glued tonight. lots of love to you all. >> don't leave yet. we have 2 1/2 more hours before anderson picks it up at the debate. gloria vanderbilt, thank you very much. anderson, thanks to you as well. gloria, don't leave. head this hour the democratic debate is what a little bit plor than 2 1/2 hours from now. what we are expecting to see on the stage tonight. we will update you on that. plus the war within the republican party. could tuesday's races change the game? cnn coverage continues. stay with us. hi i'm kristie. and i'm jess. and we are the bug chicks. we're a nano-business. windows 10 really helps us get the word out about how awesome bugs are. kids learn to be brave and curious
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. welcome back to cnn special coverage of our democratic special debate that's about to take place right here in flint, michigan. the city of course gaining national attention after very dangerous amounts of lead were discovered in the tap water. a little bit more than 2 1/2 hours from now the democratic president candidate hillary clinton and bernie sanders are here. we have all coverage. we will break it all down for our viewers here in the united states an around the world. now to jeff zeleny. this is a critical moment in this contest, jeff. >> it is. earn bernie sanders is coming with two wins in nebraska and kansas. he lost louisiana but their eyes are pointed toward maine. they think they will do very
well in maine which is voting today at this hour, actually. they think by the time this debate begins, he may have been victorious in maine. of course we will see that. but he is coming into this with a bit of, he has seven wins in his column right now. seven state wins. for bernie sanders, this is a time to show he is still in the race and show why he is still in the race. wolf, i was at a big rally with him friday night in grand rapids and some 5,000 or so people that are really responding to his economic message. and wolf, if there is a state in the country that's a laboratory for the dualing economic messages, i think it is here in michigan. that's why this primary in just a couple of days is going to be central to bernie sanders. now he is happy he has this debate at all. it wasn't originally on the schedule. the clinton campaign believes this could give bernie sanders one last lifeline to make his case to democrats here. but he is not holding back on
pointing out differences between he and secretary clinton. i asked him when he was campaigning in nebraska, actually, if he was going to respond to any of this concern for democrats who believe his tone is too sharp against his rival if he is going to tone it down at all and in pointing out differences on her paid speeches on wall street. he said that's what campaigns are about. he shook me actually, that's what campaigns are about. i look for him to point out differences again tonight. i don't think he will talk about the e-mail controversy. he is pointing out with increasing frequency to turn over those goldman sachs. >> i think he was making fun at her expense, getting $250,000 for one of those goldman sachs speeches, saying they must have been shakespearean for the amount of money she was getting. he seems to be stepping up the
rhetoric. stand by, we want to bring in brianna keeler. she is watching hillary clinton's campaign for us. what the latest on that, brianna? >>. >> reporter: wolf, where hillary clinton is preparing for what jeff just laid out right there. the thinking of the campaign is that bernie sanders is going to come out swinging and last night i was in detroit at the michigan democratic party pb preview to this debate night. and both hillary clinton and bernie sanders spoke. hillary clinton stayed away from dinging bernie sanders but he was drawing a lot of contrast. so i think that hillary clinton is expecting that. you look at this new nbc news wall street journal poll where you see that she has a lead of 17 points among likely primary voters. it's only an eight-point lead among democratic voters, however, so it is in bernie sanders favor to try to make a splash in order to energize people and get folks who may not good out polls on tuesday night to go ahead and do that and
narrow his need with hillary clinton there. i will tell you i think this is going to be a special debate just because of where it is taking place in flint, michigan. both bernie sanders and hillary clinton have come to flint and tried to raise awareness about this problem. and also reach out to the community here and say we're listening. we care about what is happening in this community. the national director saying the water crisis in flint would not have happened in an affluent white community. they are talking obviously to the people of flint but are also talking more widely to americans. saying we feel like you have been mistreated or are more apt to be mistreated and we're listening to your concerns. that's also going to be something that i think we expect hillary clinton to appeal to tonight here in flint. >> i think you're absolutely right. brianna, we will get back to you as well. bernie sanders, he entered tonight's presidential debate with morale boosting super saturday wins. hillary clinton has said she is looking past bernie sanders
welcome back. i'm wolf blitzer in flint, michigan. about 2 1/2 hours from now, bernie sanders and hillary clinton all taking the stage. going toe to toe for q & a. anderson cooper will moderate. let's talk about what we can expect from tonight's presidential debate. joining us, the former obama administration official, dan jones. also our cnn democratic strategist, donna brazile. david chalon is with us and gloria borger our chief
political analyst is with us as well. what does hillary clinton need to do on the stage behind us tonight? >> i think she needs to do no harm. she has to be a little bit careful here because she is starting to talk more general election messaging on her victory nights when these results come in and yet, she is keenly aware that she still has a primary contender to deal with. so i think what you will see is she probably won't jump to contrast with bernie sanders. but she's not going to let his contrast go by. you will see her respond when she has to. but listen, look at where we are. beth candidates will be eager to talk to the community here. that is going to be what they are so focused on. different kind of debate. in a very specific location and they are going to want to talk directly to the communities. >> this is a real crisis going on here in this community tonight. how important is this debate tonight for bernie sanders and his presidential campaign? >> i think it's very important
for both candidate for obvious reasons we're in flint, very distressed community but very resilient community. van knows as well as i know about environmental justice. when communities like flint are preyed upon by people who are poor. both candidates have discussed this in ways that will resonate not just here in flint but across america to distressed communities that really want to know how government will help them. you know, we hear from republicans, cut taxes but the government has a small role. here the government needs a large role in making sure that people here have been boysoned by able to rebound and come back and especially those children, wolf, walking down the street, seeing children with rashes. people yesterday when cnn had a service project, they wanted neosporen. i kept asking, why? rashes. wolf, if that doesn't make you fight ant want to help people, what will? >> it is a heart breaking situation. i've just been here today and to see the enormity of the crisis,
it is a real crisis here in the united states. bernie sanders is behind in the michigan polls and michigan primaries this coming tuesday. i want you to listen to what he said about hillary clinton and the speeches that she made a lot of money in. >> if you're going to be paid, $200,000 for a speech, it must be a fantastic speech. a brilliant speech. which you would want to share with the american people. right? i assume he wants her to release the transcripts of all those speeches she game, says she will do it if everybody else releases the transcripts of all of their speeches. >> he has to walk a tight rope on that. i think he may have a whole bunch of those zingers ready to go when he gets here. and he looks at this community, they don't want the zingers. we have spent a couple of days here, cnn, all over this
community, what happens when you wake up and can't brush your teeth because it might poison you. can't make a cup of coffee. can't take a shower. can't make similac for your baby. because someone thought it was a good way to save money. so it is time for bernie sanders to show that heart of his and not that sharp tongue. >> they will make the same argument which is, there is what happens when you don't fund government properly. this is what happens when you want to take short cuts. this is what happened when you don't have the proper oversight pointing to republican controlled congress and the larger point of course, both of them will make, is this is what happens when republicans run the government. and there's not going to be a lot of -- >> the current epa is not without blame here also. >> and so -- >> there will be blame for
everyone. >> so the big challenge here, is the big challenge here is that local control was taken away. all of the jobs left. they got really deep in the hole economically. people don't know this. so the state stepped in. they didn't have a mayor or city council, they had an emergency manager. emergency manner reports to the governor and governor says save money. that's how they ended up with bad water. i think you will hear hillary clinton say, you want to run government like a business? bernie sanders, you want ceo? this is the kind of stuff that happenes with that mentality. and republicans will come back and say where was the epa. you will hear them saying, running the government to save as much money as possible, you will hear about this. >> and with infrastructure that needs to be made in this country, because in urban areas, infrastructure is falling apart. >> in every one of the speeches, you have to fix infrastructure,
roads, bridges, everything else. one of the main talking points. >> this is case number a. letter a. >> when government loses sight of the common good, when you lose sight of the common good, when you see people suffering or the government, state, local government, when you don't step up and provide resources, letting kids get poisoned with toxic water. water, basic simple, you know, quality that we need, that's when government has to play a large role. so the epa is now here. hhs is here. all of the acronyms are here. when residents are in their homes and cannot get water, they have no way to get on a bus to carry a case of water, that is when you step up. you stop pointing fingers and -- >> david, this debate tonight was never scheduled originally. this is an add-on, so how does that play politically in terms of the front-runner hillary clinton versus challenger, shall we say, bernie sanders, the fact
they have a two-hour debate tonight. >> if you look at the context of where we are in the race, hillary clinton is obviously as you mentioned earlier, very significant delegate lead. clear front-runner and burden is on bernie sanders continually, even though he can raise a lot of money and draw crowds, to proof he is a path to win. he will have that burden for the next several months if he stays in this race because the delegate lead is that far ahead of his. i doubt, when hillary clinton agreed to add on debate, in the midst of her tough time in new hampshire, if she can do it all over again, i don't think she would want to be right now two debates this week with the michigan primary. i think she would rather be doing other things. >> smart to do them for obvious reasons. and i know the rules. we still have over a thousand delegates on the table. 28% of the votes have been taken. 28% of delegates, there's a lot of votes and you have to walk and chew gum.
bernie sanders has a credible path if he is able to win big. >> that's why she didn't want it do the debates. because donna, what this does, this is an amazing opportunity for bernie sanders. it gives him oxygen. his ability to raise money -- >> the front-run rs never want to do debates. challengers want to use debates as an opportunity to argue, guys. stand by, we will have a lot more coming up. still ahead, he remains the front-runner. donald trump didn't clean up in the super saturday voting. but there are signs of momentum maybe, maybe, starting to shift a little bit in the republican race. well talk about that. our panel is standing by. much more special coverage from flint, michigan, right after this. dad, you can just drop me off right here. oh no, i'll take you up to the front of the school. that's where your friends are. seriously, it's, it's really fine. you don't want to be seen with your dad? no, it's..no.. this about a boy? dad! stop, please. oh, there's tracy. what! [ horn honking ]
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this is the site of tonight's presidential debate. showdown between hillary clinton and bernie sanders starts just 2 1/2 hours from now. the two candidates will use this debate to court minority working class voters among others. it comes ahead of the michigan primary this tuesday against the backdrop of the massive toxic water crisis gripping this host city of flint. which candidate can harness the momentum today? you will see the debate live here that's coming up less than 2 1/2 hours from now. donald trump meanwhile wraps up another week of campaigning. still the front-runner in the republican race for the nomination. ted cruz turning up the heat. cruz stealing some of trump's super saturday thunder. winning two of the last four contests. in the process narrowing the gap in the delegate count. meanwhile, in the last hour, cnn projected the marco rubio is the winner of today's prt reek primary and it 3 delegates at
stake. four more states will host presidential contests this coming tuesday including here in michigan. all of these developments joining us. executive editor mark preston. cnn senior reporter nia-malika henderson. also, republican consultant margaret hoover. and cnn political commentator, former reagan white house political director, jeffrey lured. mark, explain the wins by ted cruz, mark. especially in maine. not necessarily supposed to win m maine, right? >> he certainly wasn't supposed to win in maine. what makes it interesting is that when donald trump had a string of wins through iowa and down south, he did well. and people said out west he had a geographical grip on the country. now, at a time when there is talk about consolidating behind
one candidate and establishment wanted marco rubio and marco rubio really faultered yesterday. he did terrible. and you can lift him a little bit and you have to wonder if that's enough. >> he did win puerto rico massively winning puerto rico today. margaret trump calls for rubio to get out of the race. so what is rubio's argument after a rather poor showing on super saturday? >> look, wolfing with the one thing we always have to keep in mind is that roughly 42% of delegates -- 32%. after march 15th, 50% selected. so you have a much better sense of where the duration is going but far too early for any right-thinking candidate that has their major stake ahead of them. last night's map was made for ted cruz, made for donald trump. marco rubio never thought he would win in the deep south. he has every reason to stay in. frankly, for ma matter, so does
john kasich p. cha what is interesting is kasich said he would be dropping out if he didn't win, running basic lie gubernatorial campaign. going all over the state. he's even going to stand tall in ohio. nobody should get out yet. that's when you really start to see where the tea leaves will fall. >> turnout in kansas, republican contest, 70,000 plus voters showed up compares to 30,000 who showed up four years ago, 2012. but trump did lose there. even though turnout was huge because the assumption was he is bringing out a lot of people who will vote for him. what happens? >> this is something he says in every rally, bringing millions and millions of new voters to the republican valley. but here you see in kansas, this is state where they are expecting maybe 60,000 folks to show up double last time. printing more ballots but had to go to kinkos and print more.
ballots because it was just that packed at the caucus sites. caucus different from primary ares and this show that cruz has been very good at organizing p. this something that trump hasn't really dwun. he doesn't have much after ground game. certainly momentum from all of the wins he racked up. this does show strength for cruz in terms of the organizing ability with that kansas win. it is a state that santorum one last time. almost the same margin. and that way sort of not surprising but again, it sort of shows i think another flaw in the trump campaign. >> by all accounts cruz does have, from the political perspective, very well organized highly efficient -- >> right. >> very state of the art, if you will. jeffrey, you're a trump supporter. i don't know if you heard the republican party chairman reince priebus say this week that the tone for the republicans needs
to improve. has all of the rhetoric we've been hearing, in the last week or ten days, had a negative impact on the overall republican brand? >>. >> well maybe momentarily. but language and presidential campaigns, though certainly i can see it's been tougher than usual here, but it can be tough in a lot of the presidential campaigns. and you know, people are accused of being liars and you go back in american history and they've been accused of being lives and i think anderson was pointing out the other night on the air that the andrew jackson john quincy adams campaign, they called the andrew jackson's wife, the less delicate name for prostitute. things can get tough. i think that can change as time moves on here. >> jeffrey, stand by. i want everyone to stand by. jeffrey, margaret, kneea malik
he kneea malik henderson. everyone stand by. all her aches and pains. and i said "come to class, let's start walking together" and i said "and i bet you money you'll be able to do that senior walk". that day i said "ok it's me and you girl, me and you!" i said "if you need to stop, there's a bench we'll just hang out in the shade." she said "absolutely not! we are going to finish this race!" and we were the last ones in, but you know what? we finished the race. and she goes "desiree, i'll never quit walking. ever"
he was an action hero when he went to washington. >> then when he ran for governor, i said to him, i'll be back. and i was there again. and john kasich can now take charge and be at the house. and this is why i endorse john kasich, our great governor. >> former california governor, arnold schwarzenegger, endorsing john kasich for president. he was out there today on the
campaign trail with the ohio governor. remember, march 15th, that's not very far from that's a key date for both john kasich and his rifle marco rubio. that's when their primary winner take all as far as delegates are concerned. mark preston, ohio for john kasich who's not doing well so far. he's got to carry his home state of ohio. he himself acknowledges it's over for him if he doesn't. >> make or break. he's the governor. he's won reelection here. he needs to do well here too. he is all in on michigan in many ways as well. his argument on this campaign is that he is the grown up, he's the one who's balanced the budget and he is the centrist who can appeal to voters.
marco rubio, if he doesn't win florida, he's out as well. >> governor kasich getting the support of former governor schwarzenegger even though schwarzenegger is going to be the new host of "celebrity apprentice" succeeding donald trump. were you surprised swa schwarzenegger endorsed kasich? >> not at all. i think they have a longstanding relationship that goes back quite a number of years. politically speaking, though, i mean it is sort of amousing the host of celebrity apprentice squaring off in ohio. but i have to say the political glow has worn off of the governor, governor schwarzenegger. he's a good soul, but as we all know he got into a personal situation there. and i think his fan base as eroded a bit.
politically speaking, i'm not sure he's got the clout that he had. >> marco rubio is going to get all 23 delegates in puerto rico. that's going to give him a little boost in florida. if he doesn't win florida, though, for rubio it's got to be over. >> yeah. it's got to be over. it's a surprise that marco rubio is at this point where it's basically do or die in his home state. he's won minnesota. it's odd. here's a guy who came in with so much potential, the republican savior. he was supposed to be the one that the map favored. and here he is at this point really down to ted cruz, down to donald trump. and really having to fight for his political future in his home state. and you have ted cruz encroaching on his territory and people in florida saying he
doesn't have much of a ground game. >> margaret, as you know, the cruz campaign now opening up offices. they want to be aggressive in florida. and some people are wondering what's going on. is there a new strategy here? how do you interpret it? >> it looks to me that ted cruz is trying to make this a two-man race and he thinks he can elbow marco rubio out in his home state. there is way more overlap between cruz voters and trump voters. if you go to florida, and you think where are those voters, they concentrate in the panhandle. that's where the evangelical and moderately conservative voters are. it could happen that ted cruz makes some inroads there. but he takes them away from donald trump. that helps marco rubio. ted cruz, you know, i'm sure he thinks he's doing it for his best, but there's a possibility it could have unintended consequences. the other thing about marco rubio winning in puerto rico, a
million puerto ricans in florida. that gives him some momentum this week. >> the debate between the two democratic presidential candidates here in flint, michigan, what is going to be the impact on the republican contest in michigan, let's say, on tuesday? >> well, i think that, you know, after listening to whatever they have to say tonight, which i'm sure in many respects -- i mean, after a number of these debates, you get the core of each person's argument here. i don't really think it will do anything other than sharpen the republican attacks on the democrats in general and hillary clinton specifically and to some degree bernie sanders. i mean, they will be dishing out in effect material opposition research as it were for these republican candidates to use. so i'm sure that there are lots of people with dvrs running tonight in the republican party. >> they're going to be listening
carefully to see what hillary clinton and bernie sanders have to say. and i suspect the republican candidates, their names will be coming up often in this debate, now a little bit more than two hours from now. all right. thanks to all of you. as we've seen already, this election season, one bad night can spell the end of a presidential campaign. it's one of the themes explored in the brand new cnn series a revealing look at six of the most hoteated and ruthless presidential debates in history. join in to "race for the white house" na "narrated by oscar wi kevin spacey. when i went on to ancestry, i just put in the name of my parents and my grandparents. and as soon as i did that, literally it was like you're getting 7, 9, 10, 15 leaves that are just
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we want to welcome our viewers in the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer. we're counting down to the debate. hillary clinton and bernie sanders coming face to face in a bid to win minority and working class voters among others. the host city's devastating toxic water crisis will certainly be center stage. residents here in flint still cannot drink what comes out of their faucets. pl plus, we're following the death of the former first lady of the united states nancy reagan, wife of the nation's 40th president. she passed away from congestive heart failure at the age of 94.
let's begin with the presidential debate that's coming up. donna brazil,brianna keilarkeil. brianna, you're already there in the spin room at this democratic presidential debate site here in flint, michigan. walk around a little bit. show us what they do there, what we anticipate will happen following the course of this debate. >> reporter: this is the media row here in this room, wolf. you can see all of the different networks. this is cnn's live shot location. we actually have two here, fox and cbs here at the end. we're actually on a basketball court. this is the rec here at the university of michigan flint. what is really going to be a special debate, it's certainly
one that has an emotional element because of the national consciousness that flint, michigan, has come into because of their toxic water crisis. actually chelsea clinton came by to thank volunteers who have been out and about in flint, michigan, and the surrounding areas. that's not something that happens very often. i think we're going to be hearing from these candidates some specific proposals for how to deal with the flint situation, also how to stop it from happening in other places. i think this spin room is going to be busy tonight, even busier than usual because of the over tones of this debate. >> we're going to get back to you brianna. stand by. gloria, hillary clinton is doing well in the delegates. she's ahead, especially if you add the super delegates, way ahead of bernie sanders right now. one of the problems in the exit polls is this level of trust voters have for her.
>> that is no doubt her achilles heel. i think there's no easy answer. i think she's got to point back to history and say to people, i've been on your side for decades and decades. i'm not new to this game. i'm somebody who's fought in the civil rights movement. i am somebody who's been on the side of economic justice. and so, you know, i think she has to remind people of what she has done in the past. and you kind of have to earn that trust back. but there's no sort of easy answer to say, oh, suddenly, trust me. she understands she's got this trust deficit. they're very well aware of it in the campaign. and there just isn't any answer. should she become the nominee, she can always say compared to what. bernie sanders is better trusted with this electorate right now. so it's an issue for her. >> the fact of this debate
taking place here in flint, michigan, where there's been this awful, awful toxic water crisis affecting tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands. hard to believe this is happening here in the united states, but it is happening. how does that play into this debate? >> i think there's going to be a lot of emotion here in the room tonight. we'll have audience members asking questions of these candidates and really asking these candidates to argue why they should be president, why they can make a difference in the lives of these individuals voters. i think we're going to see an emotional and intimate debate tonight. you saw bernie sanders for instance coming to michigan, trying to make an issue of nafta and trade and trying to have daylight here with hillary clinton who historically has been on a different side. she's trying to reframe that debate too. i think we're going to see fireworks on the one hand but also intimacy and emotion as
well. >> jeff, tell our viewers where you are right now and what you're seeing. because we do anticipate hillary clinton and bernie sanders fairly soon arriving here at the debate site. >> reporter: i'm in the debate hall. you can see behind me here, i believe, the crowd of people starting to come in, starting to take their seats in anticipation of this debate. a lot of debates happen in states that are having primaries, but few less than 48 hours before an actual primary. this michigan primary on tuesday is a critical moment of this campaign. in fact, the whole week is. we have the debate tonight, our big round of campaigning tomorrow, the michigan primary on tuesday, another debate. the week is critical for both sides. bernie sanders is coming off of a strong super saturday. he won in kansas. he won in nebraska. hillary clinton, of course, won in louisiana and netted more delegates because there are more delegates in louisiana.
tonight is an opportunity for bernie sanders to remind democrats why he's in the race. he's been saying don't write us off, we are still in this race. only 28% of the delegates have been chosen. so the sanders campaign is really going to great lengths to try and put the brakes on this assumption that this democratic dom nainat nominating fight is over. he needs to show he can win a more diverse electorate. and michigan is a great state to do this. tonight he's going to talk about how he is outraged by the crisis here in flint. he's also going to press his economic message. he'll be talking about the trade policies, how they have not been good for michigan workers. the challenges, though, trade is not at the center of the agenda here. he will try and make people pay attention to those trade pacs. you can see the people taking their seats, taking pictures of
this great debate stage behind me, wolf. it will be a moment for bernie sanders to try and reassert himself in this democratic race. >> it's a beautiful hall where this debate is taking place. and the people are now walking in. they're gathering. you can hear that arrival. don donna, you're a vice chair of the dnc. this was not supposed to happen, this debate. it was recently added. bernie sanders is a very good debater. hillary clinton is a very good debater as well. these front runners do not want additional debates. >> think about the voters out there looking for real solutions. unlike the candidates, they're in a turmoil. they've been doing a little of fighting. i think it was a kindergarten type conversation.
we offer opportunities for americans to hear cogent ideas. they're going to talk about job creation, preserving and expanding obamacare. and that's really needed in a town like flint where so many have been poisoned. they're going to talk about how to protect abortion rights, gay rights, voting rights. this is the anniversary of bloody sunday. i'm looking forward to the debate next week in florida and any other debates that cnn will hold so we can once again get our message out. >> the fear that the front runners usually have is the person that's coming up will be aggressive and expose weaknesses. in this particular case, bernie sanders going after weaknesses of hillary clinton. but the question is how tough will he be? for example, he's avoided the whole e-mail controversy. he says i'm not get into that. i don't know if he's going to change his strategy or not. >> that was on the debate stage
where he made that clear that he didn't want to touch the e-mail controversy. bernie sanders has to walk a line here. he's still got to make an argument for why he's staying in that race against hillary clinton. and yet he has to be wary of democrats who probably see hillary clinton's significant lead now and don't want her to take too much incoming from her democratic opponent. he has to really calibrate how aggressive he wants to get with her. because if he starts a slash and burn, i think he would hear from a lot of democrats who would say, you know what, this is not what we need right now. we've got to keep the focus on the republicans, is what the democrats would say to him. he also has to make a raltional and argument for why he's keeping up this fight against her. >> just remember -- and i have
to say this. she has received more votes than any of the other candidates. >> she likes to say that too. >> she should. >> on the trust issue, one of the ways bernie sanders can play into it is say look at how your positions have shifted to the left to agree with me, as bernie sanders. and maybe that kind of plays into the trust issue without him having to come out and say -- >> all right, guys. stand by. we're getting ready for this debate. we'll take a quick break. much more coming up. also, we're watching all sorts of news here in flint, michigan, including what's going on in the republican race for the white house too close to call and far nastier what we've seen from the democrats at least so far. now there are sharp calls for marco rubio to actually drop out of the republican contest. we're going to assess that and a whole lot more. also, why flint? how this city's crisis has
become a symbol of governor incompetence and mistrust. how that is playing out in this democratic presidential contest. and both par-- and both parties of the nation mourning nancy reagan, the first lady of the united states, an icon in her own right. much more right after the break. hi i'm kristie. and i'm jess. and we are the bug chicks. we're a nano-business. windows 10 really helps us get the word out about how awesome bugs are. kids learn to be brave and curious and all kids speak the language of bug. "hey cortana, find my katydid video." oh! this is so good. if you're trying to teach a kid about a proboscis. just sketch it on the screen. i don't have a touch screen on my mac, i'm jealous of that. you put a big bug in a kids hands and change their world view. hi i'm kristie. and i'm jess. and we are the bug chicks. we're a nano-business. windows 10 really helps us
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jeffrey lord worked in the white house. jeffrey, let's talk about the legacy of nancy reagan, what she meant to the country. you worked with president reagan. row rememb you remember her. what memories stick out in your mind on this day? >> well, there are a couple, wolf. one, i was there during the iran contra scandal and she most decidedly had come to the conclusion that don regan should not be the white house chief of staff. and i think he was absolutely right and was pushing for the president to fire him. she certainly wasn't the only one. don regan who was a very smart guy and very talented, he was not the guy to be white house chief of staff. and i confess, aside from being in the white house staff at that point, i came from a little bit of personal bias because my earlier boss in life was drew lewis, who just passed away
quite recently. in the fall of 1984 s, after th elections, it was said that drew lewis was going to be the choice to be the new white house chief of staff. and he called me into his office and we watched the regan and ji baker switching jobs. he said it might be a good day for you, jim, but i'm not so sure it's good for the president, because he didn't really think regan was the right guy for the job. his relations with the immedime his relations with congress were just terrible. and president reagan came to share that view and he was gone. >> she was certainly a forceful influential figure behind the scenes in the white house. gloria, as far as her work on behalf of just say no, that
cause that she created to deal with drug abuse and alcohol abuse, by the end of the reagan administration in january 1989 there were more than 12,000 just say no clubs that had been formed world wide. she really put her heart and soul into that while she was in the white house and then she worked for alzheimer's cures afterwards. >> you know, we're now used to first ladies taking up causes. you know, we have michelle obama talking about veterans. we saw hillary clinton getting very involved in health care reform, obviously. when nancy reagan did this, it wasn't such a regular thing. lady bird johnson did parks, right? and she put her heart and soul into this question of stopping drug abuse among children. and it was really for me sort of the first time that i actually sort of saw a first lady stand up and say, oh, i'm going to actually take an affirmative
public role on something. and so not only did she have that role, but as jeffrey was just talking about, behind the scenes she was quite a powerful. when people wanted to get a message to the president of the united states, very often they would go through his wife, which was kind of smart because she wanted to protect him. and after he died she protected his legacy as well. >> she was his biggest protector, biggest backer. no doubt about that. thanks very much. we're going to continue to watch what's going on here in flint, michigan. we're also watching the state of the gop. marco rubio wins puerto rico today. that's the second victory in the presidential primary season. is it too little, is it too late? be good.
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welcome back to our special coverage. just ahead of tonight's democratic presidential debate here in flint, michigan, one of four states to hold presidential contests this coming tuesday. for the republicans, the stakes couldn't be higher. donald trump still remains the front-runner. but the pressure is clearly building. ted cruz stealing some of trump's thunder on super saturday, winning two of the four latest contests. both trump and cruz are calling for rubio now to get out of this presidential raise as rubio picks up his second win today with a victory in the puerto rico primary. let's discuss all of this and the state of the gop. joining us are jeffrey lord, our chief political analysis gloria borger, nia malika henderson and
buck sexton. gloria, cruz clearly seems to be chipping away a little bit. he did well, relatively speaking, yesterday. is he making significant inroads in trump's armor? >> he did well in kansas and maine last night. the problem for cruz, he is chipping away at trump. but the problem for cruz is he was supposed to have been further along that he is right now, because he had a southern strategy, a huge amount of evangelical support. and all of the republican candidates right now are heading into the rust belt, right here in michigan. trump is very popular with blue collar voters in the republican party. and cruz is going to have to see, as well as rubio, going to have to see if they can make inroads with those voters. don't forget this is a place where john kasich, who didn't
play at all last night -- this is a place where john kasich actually believes he can make a play. >> twice elected governor of ohio, not very far away from michigan. jeffrey, you think we'll see hillary clinton on this stage behind us here try to make some clear contrast between herself and trump pivoting ahead of a democratic contest to a general election? >> absolutely, absolutely. i think she's going to do that. and from her perspective, there's reason to do it, not just because it appears at this point donald trump might be her opponent in the fall. but she's in michigan, and if i'm correct in my geography, relatively near where you are is a place called birch run, michigan. cnn carried a trump rally there some time this summer that was filled to capacity, one of these big trump rallies in the early stages. and we learned at the time that it was reported in the
"washington post" and other places that this is a democratic area. it has a democratic congressman, it has a lot of union members, a lot of working class, blue collar folks. and they were very enthusiastic about donald trump. she really needs to get on the ball if she thinks she's going to carry michigan, because i think donald trump represents a real threat to her. >> i suspect trump's name is probably going to be mentioned on this stage booehind me in an hour and a half or so. rubio did win impressively today puerto rico. he won the caucuses in minnesota earlier. is it too little too late for the florida senator? >> it certainly looks that way, wolf. there's no way that marco rubio has any clear path to the nomination right now. all he can hope for is a long, drawn-out war of attrition to essentially deny donald trump a majority before the convention. i know he and the campaign are
pinning their hopes on a big win in florida. the cruz campaign has been trying to prevent that big win from happening. marco rubio realizes that florida is essentially waterloo for his campaign. at that point it may be too late. there's a lot of pressure building from the other campaigns and for a lot of republican voters and strategists and everybody watching this to say, look, we need one person to stand up and try to be the hope of the non-trump voter. marco rubio won puerto rico, minnesota. he hasn't won anywhere else and doesn't look like he's going to win anywhere else until florida. and there's even a chance he might not win that. if that's the case, he will have denied trump achance to get ahead of this thing before trump becomes the de facto nominee. >> seems like trump and cruz both want rubio out of this contest. they're not even worried that
much about kasich presumably because they think one on one they could do better. >> they kind of have a case. because if you look at all these returns from this contest, if you look at the share of the vote, these outsiders, trump and cruz just do so much better. they're getting a big plurality in the establishment, doesn't even add up to over taking those two. you had last night donald trump actively calling on marco rubio to drop out of this race in saying he wanted to take ted cruz on one on one. and marco rubio's case -- saying that he's a threat and that beyond florida he sees a real path to victory. john king has done the math. he would have to pretty much
clear florida to get trump those 137 delegates. >> what we learned last night is that suddenly cruz has set up a dozen offices or so in florida. he's decided to contest florida. whether he's going to be the spoiler, i think, is an interesting question. trump is leading in a lot of polls in florida. the question now is does rubio get out if he doesn't win his home state and could cruz actually finish very close to rubio or even ahead of him. and i think that would sort of be the final blow that the cruz people want to make against marco rubio. but we just don't know yet. >> trump keeps calling marco rubio little marco. he keeps calling ted cruz lying ted. all that presumably is going to continue as well. don't go too far away. thanks to all of you very much. here in flint, flint's toxic water crisis expected to take
center stage at tonight's debate just an hour and a half from now. it's also played a critically important role in the presidential contest. could this devastated city make or break a presidential contest? out on the town or in for the night, at&t helps keep everyone connected. right now at at&t, buy one get one free on our most popular smartphones. no matter how you hang out, share every minute of it. buy one get one free on our most popular smartphones. and right now, get up to $650 in credits per line to help you switch to at&t. isn't it time to let the real you shine through? e to severe plaque psoriasis...
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i'm in charge of it all. business expenses, so i've been snapping photos of my receipts and keeping track of them in quickbooks. now i'm on top of my expenses, and my bees. best 68,000 employees ever. that's how we own it. welcome back to this special cnn coverage from flint, michigan. this is the site of tonight's democratic presidential debate. the showdown between hillary clinton and bernie sanders starts in just a little bit less than 90 minutes from now. the candidates undoubtedly will use this debate to court minority and working class voters, among others. that comes against the backdrop
of the massive toxic water crisis dplgripping this city of flint, michigan. let's talk about the role of the devastating toxic water crisis in flint, how it's playing out in the presidential election. joining us now, the host of cnn's reliable sources brian stelter. gloria borger with us. van jones is here. and cnn politic's executive editor mark preston is here. why did the democrats decide to have this debate here in flint? >> this was a late add. the democratic national committee only scheduled six debates. they thought this race was over, that bernie sanders wouldn't have the burn. guess what? he had the burn. they needed to find a place to do it. hillary clinton an bernie sanders both suggested they would like to do it here. it made sense. it dropped in the schedule.
what better place to have one than a place found by the local government and the state government -- >> all of our hearts go out to the people of flint. but they also have a political ration rationale to try to under score how the republicans and the democrats might handle this crisis. >> no doubt. i think you'll see from the stage behind us tonight you'll hear bernie sanders and hillary clinton talk about how they will, if elected president, will do what they can do to try to make water palatable again, that you can actually consume water. it's amazing that you can't do this. it's a different message. >> gloria, are there significant differences between bernie sanders and hillary clinton on how they want to deal with this water crisis here? >> look, i think bernie sanders and hillary clinton believe the government has a role in trying to fix the problem here and trying to make sure that it
doesn't happen again. and the big argument in congress is some republicans are saying that the state ought to pay for this. and the democrats are saying this is an emergency and it ought to be funded by the federal government, like emergencies are. like tornados, like hurricanes. but hillary clinton and bernie sanders are on the same side of that argument tonight. and i think when they talk about this, they're going to be talking about the republican party's different reaction to this. >> this is part of a much bigger problem, van, that the infrastructure in the united states is crumbling. it's not just here in flint. this is a much bigger problem. >> it is a much bigger problem. you also have to realize that, i think that if you're bernie sanders or hillary clinton, you want to make an argument against a certain style of
snyder said i'm a business guy. with a business you make money by cutting costs. sometimes you cut costs, you wind up undermining the ability of the government to protect kids from being poisoned. they want to make it a political argument. once they get here and hear from folks here, turning this thing into a political football is not going to work. they might have zingers lined up. they may get some applause lines attacking this governor. but there is real pain here. you see people coming in here, little kids, people on walkers. that will impact this debate. >> i was watching reliable sources this morning. the media has played a significant role in highlighting this crisis, the local newspaper. but not just the local newspaper, that's one of the reasons we're here right now. >> there's almost a literal spotlight on flint thanks to this debate.
in many ways national news outlets were slow to realize the enormity of this crisis. the local news media was on it from the beginning. he says he is happy to have a moment where the whole nation has to pay attention to how the government failed the people here. often times in campaigns we hear about the middle class, all about the middle class. we don't hear as often about poor people, about lower income people. this is an opportunity to have that conversation in a sustained way. there is only one question at the gop debate the other day about this water crisis, this ongoing disaster. here i would expect we'll hear much more than one question. >> it's not just state and local governments. but you can also make the case that the federal government failed here. that the environmental protection agency should have been more robust in policing this, in overseeing this. and congress should have been. so this is a failure at every level. and the epa is a democratic
administration. >> what's so striking is you have a local government that goes bankrupt because all the jobs leave. then the state government takes it over and appoints an emergency manager that has power over the mayor, even over the city council. that manager reports to the govern who says let's save money. they overrule the city council. that's a government thing from the state level with the republicans, yet the epa doesn't come in. >> plenty of blame to go for this crisis. they've got to fix it, make sure it doesn't happen any place else. that's the challenge. thanks very much, guys. just ahead, america was stunned when it learned of this lead poisoning of the tap water here in flint, michigan. why is a bill to help flint, michigan, stalled in congress right now? we'll explain when we come back.
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the federal document has been asked to pitch in to help the people in flint, michigan, stem its water woes. it might seem like a no-brainer. but as cnn reports, approving a bill that members of both parties can support is a whole lot easier said than done. >> so far what we've had is bandaid fixes. >> the mayor of flint, michigan, made a desperate plea last december, federal help to deal with the city's toxic water crisis. >> i karen w. weaver, mayor of the city of flint declare a state of emergency in the city of flint. >> for congress, lending a hand
has turned into hand bringing. a bipartisan bill making its way through has stalled. still supporters are optimistic that congress will help flint and say the time to act is now. >> well, the residents of flint are hurting. >> this is as much a national crisis as a hurricane or tornado or flood or anything else. >> in february, republicans offered their own plan, but democrats shot it down, disagreeing with how it was structured. democrats are now holding up a separate energy bill unless a more sweeping proposal to help flint and other communities passes at the same time. >> this is about trying to embarrass republicans and to try to make us look bad and portray us as having no compassion for the poor people of flint, which is exactly the opposite of true. >> 13 senators from both parties are now pushing a bill that
would provide 2$250 million to flint and other communities. but there's a problem, senator mike lee, a tea party favorite, is holding up the bill because he disagrees with how it would be funded. lee and some conservatives don't believe federal aid is needed because michigan has a rainy day fund. in a statement lee said, what's really happening here is that washington politicians are using the crisis in flint as an excuse to funnel taxpayer money to their home states and trying to sneak it through the senate without proper debate and amendment. >> there's a systemic failure of government at pretty much every level. >> yet other conservatives who support the plan believe lee will ultimately relent. >> it's been highly publicized. so it's to his political advantage as well as just to do
the right thing to do that. i think that will happen. that's the kind of guy he is. >> for now, though, patience is wearing thin and the political pressure to act is mounting. >> the crisis here in flint, much longer if not for the efforts of a doctor who made the link of health problems seeing the health problems and water they were drinking. joining us is pediatrician at the children's hospital and michigan state university. we have congressman representing the people of flint, michigan. i know you like to be called dr. mona. you put two and two together and discovered the enormity. people didn't believe you did they? >> so right when we released our research i was attacked just like the people of flint were attacked for 18 months.
the people had been fighting this. the water was brown, looked gross and tasted gross. i was called unfortunate that i was causing near hysteria. the numbers didn't lie. this was bucking every trend in our nation. >> how long is this going to continue? is that going to last or is there something to be done to stop this? will they pass it along? >> that is the problem with lead. we advocate for zero lead in a child. there is no lead ant dote, nothing that takes it away. >> how do you treat the kids? >> you remove the exposure, stop drinking the water. the water is still not safe. then you give them great nutrition and education and these great wrap around support services. that is what the kids need and what the federal government and our state government needs to fund. this is not a tomorrow problem. this is a multi generational
problem and we need the support. >> it is a matter of money right now. >> huge. >> you are a democrat. you want the money to come in. you heard some republicans saying michigan has the money. michigan was responsible for the problem let them fix it. >> actually, the kids in flint and none of us here care who to blame. we need the resources. >> how do you do that? >> we need to recognize that these kids are american citizens. the federal government should help. the state of michigan is responsibly for this crisis. the governor has a billion dollars unbudgeted, unexpected, a rainy day fund and unbudgeted surplus. the people in flint are in crisis. these children need help. our families need help. this is a real crisis. >> why won't he allocate those funds? >> my view is they are more concerned about their own reputations and to accept the fact that they created a crisis of this magnitude is just too
much for them to accept. it's almost impossible to believe that at this moment a senator in the u.s. senate or governor in the statehouse would actually be talking about the politics of this. >> who can put this deal together? the people here in flint have a crisis going on. they need help local, state and federal help. who can put this together? you want the president of the united states to start working with the republican leadership in the house and senate and come up with a plan and reach an agreement? >> i think the president has stepped up. expanding medicaid, for example, to an additional 15,000 people in flint. the white house has come through with what they can do. there comes a moment when people just have to act as americans or the governor as a fellow michiganen. this is a moment of truth. for example, the governor could say to the state legislature i'm going to do what is right in
flint. i'm going to fund a big part of this recovery and then call the senate, the leadership in the senate and ask them. >> they have to do something. there is a debate here coming up. what do you hope from your perspective as a pediatrician dealing with little children, what do you hope emerges tonight from this debate in. >> i want to hear investment in our children. our flint kids already suffered every disparity in the world, poverty, racism, lack of access to care. then we gave them lead. we need how are these future leaders going to invest in our most vulnerable children? this is an american city. this is not a partisan issue. this is a humanitarian issue. >> apparently they are on the same position as far as helping the people of flint otherwise
they wouldn't be here. there is a bigger struggle going on in washington. >> it is mind boggling because these are our children and not a political issue. this is a humanitarian issue. >> the u.s., the federal government comes through for hurricane relief, other disasters. those are natural disasters. >> you have people suffering in flint. we have kids who need help. what difference could it possibly make how it happened? first vote i took when i went to congress was to provide relief for the victims of hurricane sandy, not flint. we pitch in as americans. only 50 miles away in lansing is a state government who doesn't recognize the humanity of children in flint enough to step up with money they have. there is no excuse for allowing the kids of flint, the people of flint to continue to wonder whether or not their own state
government, the people who more than anyone else did this to flint will do more than just apologize. >> the kids who know they have a problem, how are they dealing with it? >> providing hope and reassurance. we put these support services and right now they are going to be okay. lots of great nutrition. early education, early programs going to your doctor. this is a city built on resilience and our kids are smart and strong. >> thank you so much on behalf of everyone for the work that you have done and are doing and will continue to do. thank you for joining us. >> good luck to all of you and all the people of flint. just a little bit more than an hour from now until the democratic presidential debate begins here in flint, michigan. we will give you a preview. we are talking to people from both camps about what we can expect to hear and see from hillary clinton and bernie sanders in tonight's pivotal
change the way you experience tv with x1 from xfinity. in the heart of michigan a city in crisis, a community suffering and the government under fire. >> the city's children were poisoned by toxic water because their governor wanted to save a little money. >> the federal government better do the right thing. >> tonight the presidential race shines a spot light on flint. hillary clinton and bernie sanders speaking out on the failures of leadership. >> let's make sure that no city ever suffers what flint, michigan has suffered. >> and debating what should come next for issues facing this country, this state and this
city. >> we can rebuild infrastructure in iraq and afghanistan we damn well can rebuild flint, michigan. >> now, the stage is set for the democrat's latest primary push. >> all of us together have the right to determine the future of this country. >> i will be your partner as well as your president. we will make progress together. >> the fight for the nomination is heating up. the presidential race is taking shape and this debate turns to flint right now. welcome to our viewers in the united states and around the world i'm wolf blitzer reporting live from flint, michigan. we are bringing you live coverage just ahead of tonight's democratic presidential debate.
the show down is about to start. hillary clinton and bernie sanders are going to be face-to-face in a bid to win minority and working-class voters among others. the host city's devastating toxic water crisis will be center stage tonight. residents here in flint they still cannot drink water. they cannot drink what comes out of their faucets, only bottled water can they drink. my first guest is ben zealous, thank you for joining us. you support bernie sanders. what is the most important thing you want to hear from both of these candidates tonight? >> i think folks want to hear how we will move our country forward. working families are hurting. this is a state that has been hollowed out by bad trade deals. folks want to know how we will build a nation and lift working people up. >> the beginning of the
activities we can hear the announcers beginning to talk about it. let's talk about the difference on this one issue. are there significant differences between the two democratic candidates? >> both have been very clear that there is a need for the government to act and if the state government doesn't act the federal government should act. bernie said the governor should resign. what is also different is we have a campaign office here. it is a trusted water distribution center but i'd say both candidates truly care about flint. this is a crisis. it is impossible to be in this town for five minutes to hear how young people's brains have been affected by lead poisoning and not feel it in your heart. >> you have no doubt that hillary clinton wants to do whatever she can to help with people. >> absolutely. we are all democrats and that is what our party is about.
>> why do you want bernie sanders to be the next president of the united states, the most important issue from your perspective? >> most important issue from my perspective are young people. they are coming out of college frankly indentured servants. we need a president who will expand the opportunity and make the american dream real for them first and bernie has been the clearest about we need a new new deal for the people of this country. >> and hillary clinton you don't think has that in her motivation? >> i think it is in her motivation but her ambitions have been tempered. when you see in a city like detroit we need somebody clear about what a good trade deal is and isn't. she has been confused on the tpp. she is not for it. we need to know if you are going to do trade you are going to do it in a way that lifts working people up. >> you are former president of naacp. she is doing overwhelmingly great with minority voters,
african-americans. we saw what happened yesterday in louisiana. all these southern states. why isn't he connecting? >> that is actually beginning to shift. she has been part of four presidential campaigns. their brand is an old brand. if you look at kansas last night and we will have won three out of four states this weekend, look at kansas last night and the six blackest senate districts we got 60% or more of the vote. you are starting to see as our campaign becomes more mature voters in the field get to know us better we are winning more and more support including more and more black supporters. >> the polls here in michigan show she is going to win on tuesday. is that what you are seeing, as well? >> polls in michigan we have seen everything. the gap is ten, 20, 17. we have seen polls in the single digits. we don't know what is going to happen until tuesday. >> she is way ahead when you
include the so-called superdelegates. >> and quite frankly as democrats we should be truly democratic. the superdelegates are the establish's way to maintain control over our party. they understand two things. they don't vote until late this summer and if they try to vote in a way not in accordance with the popular vote they will have a rebellion. we need to talk about the delegates that earned it. >> thank you for coming in. >> thank you. >> look forward to continuing the conversation. the clinton campaign gets to respond. we have a top official from the clinton campaign standing by live. on a night when one former first lady is vying to become president of the united states, we are going to bring you news of the death of another former first lady, nancy reagan, the beloved wife of the nation's 40th president.
president obama says nancy reagan redefined the role of first lady here in the united states. and former president george w. bush issued a statement saying mrs. reagan was loyal to her beloved husband matched only to her devotion to our country. she was known as the just say no spokes woman and became voice for millions of families with loved ones stricken with alzheimer's. nancy reagan will be buried next to her husband, the former president ronald reagan. our deepest condolences to the family. we'll be right back.
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we're back here in flint, michigan. we are getting ready for the democratic presidential debate. it will begin in about 50 minutes at the top of the hour. we heard from a supporter for bernie sanders. let's bring in a top official with the hillary clinton campaign. brian fallin is the spokesman for the hillary clinton campaign. thanks very much for joining us. is your candidate hillary clinton? are you ready for tonight's debate? >> this is going to be an opportunity for both candidates to talk about a crisis that we have seen on the ground here in flint talking about water contamination crisis. hillary clinton was one of the first people to speak out about the crisis and it was our request that we contemplated a debate here in flint. you see her really roll up her sleeves and get to work trying
to make a real difference. we were able to announce a public/private partnership. and with the help of hillary clinton helping to put 100 new people to work, helping deliver water and help take care of pipes that are corroded and leading to continued contamination even though they switched the water supply over to the detroit water source. >> we just heard from former head of the naacp. he says they basically agree the two candidates on what needs to be done here in flint. bernie sanders wants the governor to step down and hillary clinton doesn't. he says that is a significant difference. your reaction. >> i think that in a nut shell shows the difference in approaches. if the governor stepped down tomorrow would that make a difference in the every day lives of people who can't take showers and brush their teeth? what hillary clinton is doing is figuring out a way to make a difference. senator sanders calling for governor snyder to step down.
hillary clinton is not defending him, she thinks he has fallen down on the job, too. at the same time senator sanders is blasting press releases she is saying what should i do. >> if she were president of the united states what would she do here in flint to deal with the led crisis in the water but all over the country because the nation's infrastructure is not just in flint, problems all over the country right now. >> absolutely right. she put out a plan to leverage funds to repair crumbling infrastructure. >> where does the money come from? $500 billion? >> taxing wall street institutions that make risky bets. if you look at what she would do specifically in flint she is already doing it. another thing just today the clinton foundation took the important step they had a couple of years ago started suggesting to labor organizations how about using your pension funds to
create loans for municipal governments? today the mayor's office was able to announce a historic step in that regard to bring more crucial aid to flint. i think you will hear that we need to get the federal legislation $600 million stalled in congress because of senator mike lee of utah and she can get the results when we see that on the floor of the united states senate. >> is hillary clinton looking ahead to the general election assuming she has this democratic nomination locked up? >> we have an important contest here in michigan which is going to be tight. i saw a poll suggesting the margin of 17 points. we don't think it is right. we think the contest is down to the wire. we think it is a very tight affair. senator sanders put all his chips here in michigan. we have a strong organization here. we have local support, support from senator stabenow.
>> he says this is going to go to the convention. >> this is going to be a tight race here in michigan and he is going to be very competitive in the states to come and probably by all indications going to be able to continue to raise money. that is his right. i think democrats will ask of him not to get out of the race but watch the tone because increasingly in the after math of super tuesday he has gone more harshly negative. >> he wants her to release transcript of all speeches. why fought release transcripts of those speeches? he avoids talking about the e-mail controversy. >> that goes to my point. the idea of the wall street speeches is something that carl rove introduced as an attack line against hillary clinton and bernie sanders adopted it and started it as an attack of his. that is the kind of stuff if he continues in this race i think that stuff making republican style attacks on hillary clinton will not win well. >> not going to release transcripts?
>> she said she will but shouldn't be one standard for her and one for everybody else. you have multiple republican candidates who commanded far more in the fees they gave who are not as much as releasing tax returns. >> that issue will come up later tonight. thanks for coming in. >> press secretary for the campaign. we are moments away from bernie sanders and hillary clinton. they will take the stage behind me. they are about to go toe to toe. let's talk about what to expect. joining us are senior washington correspondent and chief political analyst. is it fireworks or very civil at least in the beginning i suspect because we are in flint. >> i think civil in the beginning because of the flint issue is how they hope to solve the problem is slightly different but they acknowledge the problem. there is no dispute that contaminated water is a crisis here. beyond that it will go to hard
cutting issues. trade is a slightly new issue here and the moment is different for bernie sanders the moment is running out for him to make his case to these democrats here. i was with him as he travelled across the state on friday. the crowds responded to the goldman sachs speech issue. i expect him to raise that again, raise the super pacs again. we do not believe he will talk about the e-mail controversy. he so famously said last fall enough about the damn e-mails. if he raises that that would be different. >> a lot of democrats like bernie sanders and think that is a missed opportunity that he is avoiding. >> there are but it would go against his narrative as the kind of candidate that wants to portray himself as. he came out in that first democratic debate and he said i don't care about your damn e-mails. i don't see how he can reverse himself on that. this state is a very important state for bernie sanders. he has to show he has strength
in the industrial midwest and this is the state that is not as heavily minority as the states in the south where hillary clinton has a huge advantage. i think if bernie sanders does not do well in this state it's not going to bode well for his campaign. i think they have a lot riding on doing well in michigan. >> you just heard brian fallin say it will probably be closer on tuesday here in michigan than this latest nbc poll suggests. >> that's what a lot of democrats on the ground here in michigan say. they believe 17 points is too high. we'll see. clinton campaign is doing lowering of expectations here. they believe on tuesday night that they will win the number of delegates. hillary clinton can go on if she doesn't win here but that would be a huge moment for bernie sanders if he would win here. the reality here is michigan could be a general election battle ground which we have not seen since beginning of the 2000
campaign. donald trump could well put michigan into play. all those union workers, unions haven't endorsed and that is unusual. that makes michigan more important here. >> she does have a huge advantage with african-american voters. we have seen that so far. >> we have seen that in louisiana was like 60 points or something. she has a huge advantage. somebody pointing out the other day bernie sanders in order to win some of these states, if she keeps her advantage with minorities at 60% he has to win white voters by 20% and that isn't happening anywhere. this was a statistician pointed this out. it is a tough haul for bernie sanders. >> you heard former head of naacp who is a bernie sanders supporter say it is unfair to add in the superdelegates when looking at pledge delegates because it is relatively close. she is ahead significantly.
when you add super delegates she is way ahead and he says that is unfair to add those in. explain what is going on. >> the pledge delegates she has a lead of about 200 which is significant. when you add super delegates who are party officials who will vote at the end of the process. he is right in the sense that super delegates can change their votes. we saw that in the 2008 campaign. john lewis famously was supporting hillary clinton and then supported barack obama. i do not expect as many super delegates to change this time. as the voting goes on the super delegates are at least morally bound to how their states voted. she has the pledge delegate lead which clinton campaign believes she will hold on to as the process goes on. >> let's not forget that hillary clinton is hugely popular in the
democratic party. bernie sanders is popular, too, but it's not as if super delegates who are party officials would flip on a dime this time around with hillary clinton. she is popular with the base of the party. >> one difference here is the california primary is in june. new york is in april. big states are at the end this time. in 2008 the california primary was february 5. that is one reason bernie sanders believes he can and should stay in the race. >> and he has this message he is trying to deliver and thinks he is influencing her in the process by getting the message out. thanks very, very much. we are only minutes away from the start of this debate. historic moment in this race for the white house. the democratic presidential debate here in flint, michigan, a devastated city because of toxic water.
bernie sanders heading in with major morale boosting wins. hillary clinton has a long lead as far as the delegates are concerned. she says she is not looking past bernie sanders right now. some are suggesting she is focussing on a republican general election. what strategies will clinton and sanders unleash tonight? stand by. ♪ i'm savin' you five hundred coming soon from progressive, it's "savin' u," the new hit single from the dizzcounts. ♪ cash money ♪ the biggest discount and understand... ♪
democrats at the same time. once we get results we will let you know when we can project a winner in the democratic caucuses in the state of maine. big turnout there. welcome back. i'm wolf blitzer in flint, michigan. this is the site of tonight's democratic presidential debate. we are only moments away from that debate. bernie sanders and hillary clinton will take the stage behind me. they will go toe to toe. the crowd is already in this beautiful auditorium. let's talk about what we can expect from tonight's debate. joining us cnn political commentator van jones. also with us democratic strategist donna brazil. buck sexton is joining us as well as gloria boesher and jeff zeleny. we are moments away from the start of the debate. what are you looking for tonight some. >> i'm looking to see really how the candidates address the
problem that is sitting right in front of us today here in flint, michigan. they both believe the government needs to solve the problem and believes there ought to be federal funding for this because it is an emergency like a hurricane or tornado and that is where they have differences with republicans on this. a question i have is how bernie sanders is going to take on hillary clinton. as jeff has said he is not going to do anything on the e-mails but how aggressively before this audience is he going to start talking about [ inaudible ] i don't know how it will play here. seems like different kind of issue. this audience wants to hear about it. and i think they are both going to probably talk about donald trump, their differences
compared to the way the republicans have conducted themselves. >> very enthusiastic audience has gathered. >> how bernie sanders conducts himself. i think he will draw contrast. we asked if he is going to tone it down as some democrats worry if he would damage her. they said no way. i'm in this to win this. i think he will by -- we have seen a crescendo. hooing we will continue that tonight. it is an opportunity for hillary clinton to broaden her base. michigan is a different electorate. it's a different kind of state. i think it is a good laboratory for economic messages here. i think it is a big opportunity for her to begin reminding democrats that maybe it is time to start closing this down and look to the big prize at the end. she can't do that too much but
ever so skillfully she has to be on the dual track strategy. >> deal with the issue of trust because she has a problem here if you listen to the exit polls we had. democrats seem to trust bernie sanders more than they trust hillary clinton. >> we have seen some states numbers have gone up on trust. people who know her better trust her to handle these difficult issues. i don't think hillary will be able to resolve these gaps whether young people or trust gap. what she will be able to do tonight is talk about the rising inequality gap and how to close that. the disparity in wages. here is a state rebounded from the great recession. millions of people are unemployed or under employed. hillary can talk about the economy. if she is able to do that she will close gaps. >> there are differences on positions on the economy. here it is a unique situation.
you have been in this community for the past couple of days cht you see what is going on. it will hover over this. >> on the politics of it of course he is going to push hard on trade. she has to learn how to defend herself on that. this community has been through hell. sometimes you have a break down that creates a break through. you see a level of community and seriousness here. there is a latino community here we don't talk about. they were last to find out because there is not enough spanish language translation. we are seeing a completely different kind of pain and need here. they need to speak to this community coming together and to our community coming together like this to come together under their leadership. if they only make it about point scoring they miss a huge opportunity tonight. >> how do you think republicans will be watching this debate tonight? >> from a conservative point of view this is a situation where
we assume that hillary clinton is going to be the nominee if you look at the map the way the superdelegates are lining up and the way the delegates are being awarded hillary is almost certainly going to be it. what role does the debate play and i think it is an opportunity if i were advising the hillary campaign, an opportunity for her to try to allow the base to have a voice here and that is what bernie sanders really is. bernie sanders gives the base a voice, the progressive base. so hillary can try to take some of that and actually use it to her advantage. she can agree with bernie sanders on a lot of things without having trouble and i think she can try to ride on some of bernie sanders' enthusiasm because at some point it will end and hillary will be the nominee for the democrats. bernie sanders and hillary don't have a tremendous amount of difference s on policy issues. there are differences on health
care, continuation of obama care. we are all familiar with what those are. tonight i think we see a lot of agreement and hillary trying to harness integrity, enthusiasm and earnestness of her opponent for her own purposes going forward because that is what she will need for the progressive base to go along with her. >> is it smart for these two candidates bernie sanders and hillary clinton tonight to not direct their attacks on each other but to look ahead and go after the republicans especially donald trump in. >> if i'm hillary clinton i'm not going to attack bernie sanders. she doesn't feel that she has a need to do that. if i'm bernie sanders. >> if she gets the nomination she needs bernie sanders' supporters. >> if i'm bernie sanders i feel like i need to continue to draw these contrasts with hillary clinton on issues like trade as jeff was talking about.
and i think on economic issues and i think that she is going to -- she needs to say his ideas are great but how are you going to get it done. bernie sanders is going to continue to draw contrast on i want to make sure we can pay for college tuition for every person in this country. they have different jobs tonight but both of them will say look at us, we are behaving. we are not like those republicans at that last debate. so you will hear a lot of that tonight, too. >> a moment that bernie sanders could exploit tonight because he needs to get his campaign on new momentum right now given the lead she has. >> i think you are right. if you do see hillary clinton going after bernie sanders gr g aggressively we know the race is tighter than we think. bernie sanders has been talking about i can beat donald trump, too. he started reading poll numbers. that is the general part of his
rallying speech. the problem for democrats is all of them are looking at the turnout at the polls. the enthusiasm is on the republican side. hillary clinton may have an enthusiasm gap here and donald trump will help fill that in as democrats will run out there. i think she knows this race is not over yet. this is not a night to let the foot off the gas. she needs to keep going forward. she knows that better than anyone, better than any of us. >> tonight is a critically important night. we have a lot more to assess. as we have seen already this election season one bad night can spell the end of a campaign. one of the themes exploring in the new cnn series race for the white house, a very revealing look at six of the most heated and ruthless presidential races in u.s. history. here is a sneak peek. >> they are asked if they want makeup and jack kennedy says no.
nixon says i don't need it either. meanwhile kennedy goes back and gets max factor applied to him and nixon sends someone down to michigan avenue to buy shave stick. which he rubs on like grease across his face. >> nixon was pacing around the studio. he was asking people questions. >> i think i better shave. >> it was past time for all of those questions. >> 30 seconds to air. >> kennedy did not present himself until he was fully ready. he wasn't going to stand around with richard nixon and chat before the main event. he was going to come in like the prize fighter he was. >> nixon made every mistake you can think of in that debate. >> look at the faces of the two candidates in this debate.
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welcome back. we are back with live coverage from here in flint, michigan where in a few minutes bernie sanders and hillary clinton will go head to head in this the democratic presidential debate. this nbc wall street journal poll shows that hillary clinton has a wide lead here in michigan. the primary in michigan coming up this tuesday. joining us former michigan governor, a hillary clinton supporter and joining us ben zealous. what is the most important point you think hillary clinton needs to make here tonight here in flint, michigan that will get support for her among the people, the democrats in michigan as opposed to bernie sanders? >> i do think that she needs to emphasize that she is going to carry on and advance barack obama's policies, that she was
here first in flint and has a comprehensive plan to invest in communities like flint, that it is not just a single issue. it is very deep and broad and it involves attracting employers to communities like flint. she has $125 billion commitment to communities under served. i think her being strong about her experience and comprehensive plan is really important. and people want to hear where she is from the heart and the kids who have been affected here in flint she has been fighting for kids like these all of her life. i think she will be able to make a very persuasive case. >> how does bernie sanders differentiate himself from hillary clinton? >> one of the things different about bernie is he has been an activist his entire life easy for people to trust him, a sense of integrity. he stays very focussed on lifting up working people. the city is in a state hollowed
out by bad trade deals. bernie has been a consistent voice that we have to put workers first. >> you say hillary clinton supports those trade deals in contrast to bernie sanders? >> she calls it the gold standard before she switched. the same time we had a campaign office here for a long time. trusted water distribution center. bernie has been very clear that the governor needs to be held fully accountable and the campaign is a bottom up campaign of organizers saying we need to make sure that when it comes to making sure that this can't happen again anywhere that we toughen up with regards to clean water, that we make sure that we invest in rebuilding our country, and that here we move as quickly as possible. >> how is hillary clinton going to deal with the clear difference on the issue of international trade agreements. many of them have hurt job
opportunities here in michigan. >> no doubt she would say nafta has not borne out the promise. her standard on trade is that she would not sign off on trade agreement that doesn't create jobs in america. the bottom line is the united states is only 5% of the world's population. we have to interact with the other 95%. if you don't have people making things stamped in america that could be exported if you don't have trade agreements that allow that to happen you want to create good paying middle class jobs in america building products stamped made in america through tough trade agreements. she wants to put a trade prosecutor in place, triple the enforcement. she wants to trade but it has to be fair trade. >> is bernie sanders going to deal with the issue of the e-mail controversy that she has hovering over her? is it going to go there at all
tonight? >> i don't think we will see him go there. we will see him stay on the issues. the issue of trade will be very big, a big issue in the state and a good issue for our campaign. bernie has been consistent about saying that nafta would do what it did and tpp would take us back in the beginning. you will see him, somebody who voted against the war in iraq for the right reasons cht what we see from bernie sanders the argument that good judgment on the front end saves us a lot of expense on the back end. >> you know he is going to say he opposed the war in iraq and she voted for the war in iraq which he says was a mistake. >> he changed positions on guns over time, too. we are all human beings and we all evolve. if you don't evolve when you get more information then you are not reacting well. bottom line is i think that you will see this debate show the
other side, the republicans, how you can have a civil conversation without insult and have an honest disagreement on some issues. democrats both sides really like the other candidate, as well. our people, our democrats are proud of our two candidates and i think you will see a debate that reflects that. >> probably will go after him on guns. >> somebody whose family has been killed by gun violence that frustrates because she ran to the left on guns in 2000 and to the right of president obama in 2008 but back to the left and taking money from lobbiest. that flip-flopping that drives a lot of people to our campaign. >> you think it will come up? >> i suspect. >> a little more civil than the republican debate? >> it will always be more civil. >> you can't get much more uncivil and much more embarrassing. >> all of us are friends. >> as a governor here in michigan you were the governor
here let's get back to this issue why we are here in flint this is devastating what has happened and what is so heartbreaking to think this could happen anywhere in the united states given the crumbling infrastructure. >> the infrastructure issue is very real. we have seen numbers out of cleveland with crumbling infrastructure and lead in the pipes. we have to invest in above ground and below ground infrastructure. you will hear democrats talk about that. republicans only want to cut. there are certain things government provides. government is not a business. we are there to provide basic services for people. what is more basic than clean water, fresh air, safe food and shelter. >> just seeing what is going on. >> i have been moved. you get calls. i got calls about flint. and when you listen to parents talk about i had a child who was a top performer and i watched their brain rust for two years
as they become poisoned by lead and now they are special ed and you know the governor knew that same water was corroding parts of gm and switched the water for the factory but not for the you can only be irate. you can't make it an issue or as democrats were outraged. >> people heard the government say go ahead, the water is okay. they were assuring people it was okay to bathe your children and give your children this water to drink. can you imagine being a parent having given your child water and the government said you find that out. >> a mottest gesture, but i am proud we distributed a half million bottles of water to the people of flint. >> thank you for coming here to show people what this is about. >> we are going to take a quick break. when we come back, we will see the democratic candidates for
president. we will have the start of the seventh presidential debate. hillary clinton and bernie sanders live from flint, michigan. anderson cooper will moderate. after the debate, a special program. i accept i'm not 22. i accept i do a shorter set these days. i even accept i have a higher risk of stroke due to afib, a type of irregular heartbeat, not caused by a heart valve problem. but i won't play anything less than my best. so if there's something better than warfarin,
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during storm season we want our customers to be ready and stay safe. learn how you can be prepared at pge.com/beprepared. together, we're building a better california. >> welcome to the flint cultural center for the democratic presidential debate. i'm anderson cooper and i want to welcome our viewers. tonight's debate will be seen on cnn, cnn international and by
american soldiers, sailors and air men and nationwide on the radio network. we want to welcome the democratic candidates, senator bernie sanders of vermont. [ applause ] please welcome former secretary of state, hillary clinton. [ applause ] ladies and gentlemen, the democratic candidates for president of the united states!
before we begin tonight, we want to take a moment to remember former first lady nancy reagan. as probably know she passed away this morning at the age of 94. her grace and elegance in the white house and deep love for president reagan and strength and advocacy for drug abuse will be remembered. we would like to pause for a moment of silence in honor of mrs. reagan. now will you please rise for the national anthem performed by the citywide choir.
♪ oh, say can you see ♪ by the dawn's early light ♪ what so proudly we hail ♪@twilight's last gleaming whose broad stripes and bright stars ♪ ♪ through the perilous fight ♪ o'er the ram parts we watch were so gallantly streaming ♪ ♪ and the rockets red glare note note note the bombs bursting in air ♪ ♪ gave proof through the night ♪ ♪ that our flag was still there ♪ ♪ oh, say does that star spangled banner yet waive ♪
♪ o'er the land of the free and the home of the brave ♪ [ applause ] >> our thanks to the first citywide choir. candidates take your position behind the podium. before we begin as the candidates take their positions, i want to set out ground rules. i will ask questions and follow-ups and guide the discussion. the candidates will have 1:15 to answer and 30 seconds for follow-ups. don lemon will join me as will members of the audience here tonight. they are democrats and independents from flint and elsewhere in michigan. we reviewed questions so they don't overlap. we came to flint because this is a city in crisis, where as you probably know the tap water is
toxic. public servants, public institutions not only failed to prevent the crisis, their decisions created this crisis. the state of michigan in an effort to save moan, switch flint's water source to a cheaper and riskier. >> al: -- for nearly two years lead leaked into the water used in people's homes. for much of that time, they downplayed the danger in the face of growing complaints and physical evidence. for 100 days the federal government knew about it and in all that time nobody told the people of flint. they bathed in the water and drank it and so did their kids. even today lead is present in some of the water. tonight the democratic candidates are here to answer questions about what they would do for flint as well as other issues facing the country. each candidate has one minute for an openi