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tv   NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt  NBC  February 1, 2016 5:30pm-6:01pm PST

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4:00 and also 5:00. >> it's a biting wind outside right now. >> it's chilly. >> for our east coast friends, this is cold for us. thanks for joining us. lester holt is next. breaking news. tonight the voting begins in iowa as the nation takes its first step toward electing a new president. after months of campaigning, tens of millions spent, the final polls show just how close it is on both sides. can trump close the deal, or will cruz take down the front-runner? and can marco rubio surprise with a strong showing? and for hillary clinton, can she fight off a surging bernie sanders, or will 2008 repeat itself in another devastating loss? it's all about turnout. the ground game, and a wild sprint to the dramatic finish tonight. "nightly news" from iowa begins right now. >> announcer: decision 2016. the iowa caucus.
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this is "nbc nightly news" with lester holt, reporting tonight from des moines. good evening. for weeks the polls have spoken. now it's the people of iowa's turn. the presidential caucuses are now under way at sites across the state. the doors closing a half hour ago. we have a very early snapshot of these races based on entrance polls. on the republican side, it's trump, cruz, and rubio at the top. the race that right now we determine is too early to call, but there are indications of a trump lead. on the democratic side, also too early to call between hillary clinton and bernie sanders, but early entrance polling showing indications of a clinton lead. again, all very early. also tonight, we're watching a new potential contender, the weather. a big winter storm is expected to begin hitting here later tonight. will it be a factor? especially as we went into the weekend, a major poll showed close races among the front-runners on both sides. let's set the table for a dramatic night ahead. our team is in place
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covering the candidates, the voters, and the things to watch. let's go first to katy tur who is following the trump campaign. >> reporter: good evening, lester. well, this is only the first contest. it is significant because it will show just how reliable all of that polling has been. right now, donald trump is visiting a caucus site in des moines, waiting to find out if his rule-breaking and expectation-defying campaign has worked. donald trump is trying to whip up a victory tonight. >> i want to win iowa. it's going to send such a great message that we're not going to take it anymore. we're not going to take it. >> reporter: but the get out the vote effort, a potential weak spot for the renegade campaign. trump with a slight lead is pushing hard with evangelicals, trying to peel off enough support from ted cruz. even bringing sarah palin back to iowa. trump also showing the strength of his wallet, pumping nearly $11 million of his own cash into his campaign
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coffers. 230 days since donald trump descended a golden escalator and declared hez bid for the white house. >> they're bringing drugs. they're bringing crime. they're rapists. >> reporter: and he posed a ban on muslims while ataking anyone and everyone who stood in his way. >> who pays for that wall? >> mexico. >> how do you get mexico to pay for that wall? >> only if i'm president. >> reporter: despite a distinction lack of policy details, trump has consistently been atop the polls. the billionaire quickly becoming a messenger to the establishment that the people are mad as hell, and they're not going to take it. at the heart of trump's pitch, himself. the deal-maker who can make america great again. >> my whole life i've been greedy, greedy, greedy. i've grabbed all the money i could get. i'm so greedy. but now i want to be greedy for the united states. i want to grab all that money. >> reporter: right now polling in new hampshire has trump up by 18 points, which means if he wins here
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in iowa, he could be unstoppable. >> we're going to have a tremendous victory. >> reporter: katy tur, nbc news, des moines. >> reporter: i'm hallie jackson. marco rubio may have started his day with blueberry pancakes, but it's ted cruz hoping for the sweetest end to his night. >> if we stand together, united, we will win. and i got to tell you this race right now, it's neck and neck. it's all about turnout. >> reporter: cruz needs evangelicals to show up for him tonight. if they do, new polling shows that could put him in a dead heat with donald trump, even after facing fire for weeks about his canadian birthplace and attacked from all sides at last week's debate. but cruz's campaign feels confident in what it describes as a sophisticated get out the vote effort. >> that's got to feel good. >> don't stop calling, people. >> reporter: marco rubio's campaign publicly lowering expectations but privately signaling a second place finish
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isn't out of reach. >> if you do come in third, do you expect people to cheer for third? >> i think ultimately for people what they want to see is your campaign is growing and showing real strength. >> reporter: some still deciding. >> i'm making up my mind between trump and cruz. >> my vote is still up for grabs. i have not made a decision yet. my husband has decided for cruz but i have not. >> it certainly puts in motion everything that happens next. >> reporter: and next, new hampshire. some establishment republicans already there like chris christie, who left iowa this afternoon. >> what does that say about your campaign and strategy moving forward? >> it means i'm not going to win here, and i have a chance to do very, very well in new hampshire. >> reporter: this ted cruz rally feels pretty empty, but the potential for a photo finish is triggering a lot of interest in this race. party officials hear in iowa tells me state republican headquarters received for man 130 calls an hour today, more than they typically get
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from people trying to find out more about how and where to caucus. things are getting closer for the top democrats, clinton and sanders neck and neck with the vermont senator trying to score what was deemed a highly improbable victory just months ago. hillary clinton trying to avoid a repeat of a nightmare that played out for her here eight years ago. kristen welker, what are you hearing from the clinton campaign tonight? >> reporter: lester, good evening. clinton campaign officials tell me they feel confident today. still they are bracing for a close race. memories of her defeat here in 2008 are still very fresh, but after more than 100 campaign events, her aids tell me she is determined to make history. hillary clinton in the fight of her political life, hitting the ground one last time today after months of relentless campaigning. >> i hope you will stand up for me! . i will hope you will fight for me! >> reporter: today an army of volunteers making a final push,
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registering first-time caucus-goers on this college campus. a group clinton has struggled to win over, but the key to winning iowa. >> we're just trying to get as many students to go out and express their views. >> reporter: it was not supposed to be this way. clinton began the race last april with a 40-point lead here. and now she's neck and neck with bernie sanders, her campaign sidetracked by the ongoing controversy over her e-mails. >> bernie sanders! >> reporter: and by a surging sanders tapping into voters' hunger for an outsi outsider. clinton eastern left iowa to fund raise in philadelphia. with the threat of a long battle ahead and her opponent raking in big dollars. her campaign haunted by what happened here eight years ago when another insurgent outsider, barack obama, turned a seemingly inevitable victory into defeat. this time, her campaign is using obama's play book. nearly 9,000 volunteers, more than 1,600 precinct captains, one for each caucus location, and tonight with the help of an app, using
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complex data and math to steal a delegate here and there from sanders. >> so the great thing about this app is it will give you suggestions on the best way to try and gain another delegate. >> reporter: clinton looking for redemption in a race that's anyone's to win. kristen welker, nbc news, des moines. >> reporter: i'm kacie hunt with the bernie sanders campaign, where against all odds, he has a chance to beat hillary clinton, spending the day pushing for one last charge from a young volunteer army. >> we will win tonight if the voter turnout is high. [ cheers and applause ] >> reporter: boarding the bus that's helped carry him from 14 to 42% in iowa polls. he said today he has no regrets. did you do everything you could do to win? >> i think not doing ugly negative ads is the right thing to do, and you know what i think? i think it's good politics. >> it's an improbable rise for a 74-year-old from brooklyn with unusual politics. from a quirky campaign
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announcement nine months ago. >> we're in this race to win. >> reporter: to thousands of people packing his rallies this summer. part of what supporters say is not just a campaign, but a movement. powered by young, wind-blown volunteers canvassing iowa neighborhoods. small $5 and $10 donations adding up to millions, and even the alt rock band vampire weekend. ♪ singing along with his wife, jane. >> i didn't expect the fervor, which has been wonderful. >> reporter: but sanders may have missed an opportunity in the first debate. >> the american people are sick and tired of hearing about your damn e-mails. >> reporter: changing his tune this weekend. >> i think this is a serious issue. >> reporter: the independent senator now hoping his issues are enough to win in in an upset the democratic party establishment never saw coming. the sanders campaign telling me they're encouraged by some early anecdotal signs of very high turnout. doors open late.
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some caucus sites running out of registration forms, and one caucus so big, they had to move it to a parking lot. lester. >> all right. kacie, thank you. let's bring in chuck todd and andrea mitchell. andrea, you were here eight years ago, that devastating loss to barack obama. how does 2016 compare? >> reporter: well, she hopes certainly it it light years different from what happened in 2008. look, she wrote that it was excruciating. it was devastating not only because she lost to barack obama, but she came in third behind john edwards. so this time, she has organized. she launched her campaign by driving out here, by having listening tours, by talking to iowans, trying to show she really cares, that this was not the clinton machine, but this was hillary clinton, a warmer and kinder and more compassionate person but more experienced. then i think they were caught off guard. they knew that bernie sanders was going to run but i don't think they had any idea that
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he would be this successful in generating the kind of passion. college kids have told us it is their heads versus their hearts trying to decide between the passion and the experience, and that will determine what happens, whether these kids come out, whether they go and caucus, or whether she does have her organization and can win the day. lester. >> let me turn now to chuck if i can on the gop side. trump and cruz, what are you going to be watching closely tonight? what should we be looking for? >> well, look, what i'm watching and seeing, how conservative is this electorate going to be? we have early indications that this electorate is actually going to be less conservative, traditionally conservative, than iowa tleeks from 2008 and 2012. why does that matter? well, donald trump is bringing in unique folks. already we see that are not necessarily ideological. they're moderates or independents that haven't participated in a while. if this indeed is a less conservative electorate, that's good news for trump,
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bad news for cruz. oh, by the way, it might be good news for marco rubio. looking at that makeup, how conservative is this electorate is a big deal. by the way, big picture, lester, we have to realize sanders and trump, if they pull these upsets and they pull off these wins, these are political earthquakes that are gigantic for the american political system. >> chuck and andrea, thanks to both of you. for all the importance placed on what's happening here in iowa, it can be awfully difficult to understand what the process is inside those caucus rooms we saw a little bit ago. it's much different than a primary, and there are different sets of rules for democrats and republicans. nbc news national correspondent peter alexander explains it all for us. >> reporter: as the sun sets on iowa tonight from downtown des moines to the sprawling farms across this state, iowans gather for the first in the nation votes. here caucus dade is more like caucus hour. be there by 7:00 p.m. or get left out. more than 16 hunl precincts in all, churches, schools, even a gun shop and a
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grain elevator. the republican caucus is pretty simple. listen to speeches from all sides, then write your candidate's name on a secret ballot. the winners announced and delegates divvied up. but for the democrats, it's a different deal. a representative from each campaign first makes their pitch to everyone in the room. then caucus-goers break-in to groups by candidate with an area for those still uncommitted. at most locations, the candidate needs at least 15% support in that room to reach what they call viability. if your candidate doesn't make the cut, things get messy with two choices. realign with another campaign or join the uncommitteds and get rerecruited from there. professor rachel call field is an expert. >> people get up out of their chairs. there's bargaining, interaction, family members trying to persuade each other. >> this is where the heavy yet jockeying will begin. whichever side can scoop up martin o'malley supporters could gain a significant advantage. when only viable candidates with 15% remain, delegates are
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awarded. >> this complicated system and that 7:00 p.m. cutoff explain why even the all time high turnout here eight years ago was still so low. just 16% of iowans. that means only a few hundred thousand people in this state set the political table for the rest of america. peter alexander, nbc news, des moines, iowa. still ahead, the excitement building. we talked to voters shortly before they go into caucus as they prepare to cast the very first votes in the nation in the race for president. we'll be back.
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welcome back to our headquarters for the night, west end architectural salvage and cafe in des moines. many of the people with us right now will be caucusing tonight, so let's take a moment and talk to a few of them. first of all, how many of you folks are tired of politicians and media right now and are ready for this to be over? now that i'm feeling the love. renee, let me talk to you. you're a small business owner. you have caucused before. you're a democrat. explain to me this process, what it's like to go into a room with a bunch of people and declare your allegiance and almost horse trade. >> well, it's a fun process. it's very interactive. it's very engaging, and you are really standing there convincing undecides that the candidate that you're there for is the best candidate for the job. >> does it get testy at all? >> it can, but my experience that it hasn't. but you have to be real tough to kind of stand in there and
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really fight your ground and really express why the person that you're there for is the most experienced and can do the job. >> let me turn to dave nagel, you're 74. you've lived in iowa your whole life. it's different on the republican side. you cast your vote. give me your observation of what it's been like here for the last several months and why this may be different. >> well, it's always been a meeting process that has a caucus rather than going and getting in a voting booth and drawing the curtain and all of that, which makes it more personal. and discussion and opportunities to visit with your neighbors, co-workers, et cetera, that come together make this a very -- >> very grassroots in its nash. tabby, this is your first time caucusing. why now? why this year? >> there's a lot at stake. there's a lot of issues that i'm hearing about that i care about this year. i think before i would say i didn't care that much about politics, that i was kind of distant and just removed from it. this year, i'm older.
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i'm in my 40s, and there's a lot of issues that are really concerning. >> it's gotten pretty ix siting. finally, sam hoyt. you're 21, a student. was there any doubt that you would caucus? >> not really. i go to drake university just down the road, and it's kind of been a huge center for politics this year. they've done a really great job getting students involved. >> a lot of passion. have any of you seen any of the candidates by the way? been at any of the rallies? hard to escape them. >> they're everywhere. >> we appreciate you guys spending some time with us. it's a wonderful process to watch and we'll be watching the results. we're going to take a break. in a moment we'll have other news of the day including world health officials sounding the alarm about the zika virus. we'll be right back.
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in a rare move, the world health organization today declared the zika virus an international
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public health emergency because of its suspected link to serious birth defects. also today, the cdc added american samoa, costa rica, keir asow, and nicaragua to its growing travel alert. the pentagon is offering to relocate pregnant service members, civilian employees and families from zika affected areas. a teacher who was arrested in that jail break in southern california will be released. prosecutors say there is insufficient evidence to charge her just days after authorities claimed she had a, quote, significant role in the escape. all three inmates who escaped ten days ago from the jail where she teaches are now back in custody. authorities also revealed today the fugitives took a cab driver hostage and argued over killing him before one of the inmates drove off with him and spared his life. and good news for chipotle tonight. the fast food chain beleaguered by headlines of food borne illness outbreaks at some of its restaurants, the cdc now says the outbreak of e. coli
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that sickened about 60 people appears to be over and the agency has closed its investigation. chipotle has also taken steps to change its food preparation methods at over 1,900 locations. when which come back, our tom brokaw joins us. what he's expecting tonight after decades of covering the iowa caucuses. next at 6: chaos on an east bay
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freeway. ===raj/vo= gunfireduri commute. the ensuing police chase that sent 7 people to the hospital. ===jessica/vo=== plus, a tough decision for some local overcrowded animal
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shelters. ===next close=== the news is next. after all the months of build-up tonight, we finally find out what the people of this state, the voters who get out to caucus, really think. next to the candidates, probably no one is more eager to find out than our own tom brokaw who has covered every caucus since 1980. what are your thoughts? >> first of all, i want to say i've got my chair under control. look, what's going to go on here tonight, for the first time we're going to hear from real voters. on the republican side, this is what we want to look for. if at the top it is cruz and donald trump, the republican establishment tomorrow morning will wake up with a big hangover because they've been attacked as well. their hope is that other candidates will drop out, and then that boat will begin to consolidate around something line marco rubio or chris christie or one of the other survivors. on the democratic side, the big fear is that this will go on for a long time.
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what looked like a year ago a lock for hillary now could be a fight that becomes a family feud, and then the party is destroyed from within. there's an old saying. politics ain't beanbags. this year more than ever, it ain't beanbag, lester. >> tom, good to see you. thanks very much. that's going to do it for this monday night. we are going to be back on the air throughout the night with updates from here plus continuing coverage on nbcnews.com and msnbc. we are finally here. we're going to see real votes. we're going to get our first indication of what voters are thinking as we start down this long road to the white house. i'm lester holt. for all of us at nbc news, thank you for watching and good night. an officer is there -- to see it
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all. right now at 6:00 shots fired on a bay area freeway. an officer is there to see it all. we'll show you the damage it left behind. thanks for being with us on this monday. i'm raj mathai. >> i'm jessica aaguirre. an off duty bart officer jumps in to help out. at the exit in concord as the afternoon rush hour got underway. we are joined live in concord.
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elyce, i understand you have video of the potential shooting that almost unfolded. >> reporter: we have cell phone video from one of the witnesses, jessica. we'll show that to you in a molt. this started around 3:00 this afternoon when an off duty bart police officer was driving along the highway here behind me when he witnessed the occupants of one car start shooting at another. he quickly jumped into action and started going after that suspect and it all came to an end right at the intersection here behind me. >> yeah, the guy in the car is on the ground. >> reporter: this is cell phone video showing how a shooting ended. an off duty bart police officer with his weapon drawn. >> one of the guys, i don't know if it was the driver or passenger on the ground and pointing at multiple people. >> reporter: it started when the off-duty cop saw the occupants of a nissan altima shooting at another vehicle along the

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