tv The Last Word With Lawrence O Donnell MSNBC January 21, 2016 10:00pm-11:01pm PST
part of it is against trump. this goes live in about a minute. they're hoping this is going to dominate the headlines on the republican side of the political equation. i'm sure it will. until the exact opposite thing happens five minutes after. that's what politics is like this year. that does it for us tonight. we will see you again tomorrow. now it's time for "the last word" with lawrence o'donnell. >> i think the lesson for the last hour is in both parties -- the word establishment has no agreed-upon meaning anymore. >> it's like judicial activism. what's that? it's bad, i know, but i have no idea what it is. take it easy. >> we will have another hillary versus debate tonight with representatives from each campaign and we're told that donald trump is about to take questions -- which is rare for him -- questions from reporters in nevada. no word on whether he's going to keep them in one of those little pens. when he does that, we will go to that as the battle between
donald trump and ted cruz gets more intense by the day. >> i've been criticized by a lot of people. i' not interested in ideas that sound good on paper but will never make it in the real world. >> you're seeing a head versus heart argument playing out. ♪ >> in theory, there's a lot to like about some of his ideas. but in theory isn't enough. >> it is just too late for establishment politics and establishment economics. >> a president has to deliver in reality. >> she is a mechanical candidate. people like people who have vision. they're not really into plumbers. >> i haven't even started on her yet. >> we have an election cycle that's beyond strange. >> we're seeing the washington establishment run behind donald trump. >> oh, give me a break. >> they said, he's someone we can make a deal with. >> guys like ted cruz will never make a deal. no, you can not have that.
>> with vigor! >> i think donald trump's domestic and foreign policy is gibberish. >> no more oreos! no more oreos! it's gong to be tough getting off oreos. >> if it's between trump and cruz, what does the establishment do? >> it's like being shot or poisoned. it doesn't really matter. >> in the campaign for president, it's come to this -- donald trump being accused of being part of the establishment and ted cruz of being ted cruz. >> you know, his new line of attack is that i've become establishment. give me a break. because bob dole who is a terrific guy said trump will do better than cruz, which is -- you know, believe me, i will do better than cruz. cruz is going down. he's going down. he's having a hard time. he looks like a nervous wreck. he's going down. he had hi moment. he had his moment. he had his moment and he blew it. here's a united states senator,
republican, doesn't have support of one other republican senator. there's something wrong there. and i can tell you, they like me, those guys. and there's nothing wrong with that, folks. i told you, he's trying to paint me as part of the establishment. and somebody said establishment? well, how commissary ra palin just backed him? and you know what, there's a point at which, let's get to be a little establishment. we have to get things done, folks, okay? believe me, don't worry, we're going to make such great deals. but at a certain point, you can't be so strie gent. we've got to get along with people. >> and here's ted cruz's updated stump speech in new hampshire today where he has magically transformed donald trump into now the leader of the republican establishment. >> donald just a couple of days ago drew the difference between me and him. and he said look, ted won't go along to get along. he won't cut a deal. so if as a voter you think what
we need is more republicans in washington to cut a deal with harry reid and nancy pelosi and chuck schumer, then i guess donald trump is your guy. i guess that's what the washington establishment is saying. if you want someone to continue the cronyism, to continue the corporate welfare, to continue the corruption of washington, from washington picking winners and losers, then we're seeing the washington establishment run behind donald trump. >> "the new york times" reports that washington republicans are ready to get behind donald trump if it means stopping ted cruz. quote, the report say, in the minds of these republicans, it would be better to effectively rent the party to mr. trump for four months this fall through the general election, than risk turning it over to mr. cruz for at least four years as either the president or the next in line leader for the 2020 nomination. but the "national review" is
uniting tonight against donald trump. tomorrow's issue, as rachel mentioned, will carry this cover. with 22 prominent conservatives from glenn beck to bill kristol coming out against donald trump. in a new cnn poll in iowa, donald trump is now at 37 and ted cruz is 11 points down at 26. marco rub know is at 14, carson at 6 and jeb bush at 3. the publisher of "the cook political report" tom davis from virginia, also with us joy reid, and jonathan altar, msnbc political analyst and columnist for "the daily beast" charlie cook, you've seen a lot. you thought you've seen everything maybe, but then comes this week, which i think we can say every week of this campaign. this is an unprecedented kind of
revolution we're seeing in the republican party. "national review" out to stop trump. we're hearing reports of so-called establishment republicans out to stop ted cruz. where are we, charlie? >> tom davis and i were just talking before the show. you can study politics for 30, 40 years. it's not of a whole lot of value. i think the key phrase, the key thing that new york times piece has said the establishment would rather nominate donald trump than to see him lose in november than potentially nominate ted cruz and cruz wins for four years, but it's a matter of -- they don't think the establishment, i think, generally speaking, they don't think that trump has the faintest idea how to governor, but they don't think he would win a general election. with ted cruz, there's a personal animosity. bob dole, for example -- i love
bob dole -- but cruz led the charge basically against the disabilities treaty that meant a great deal to bob dole. so this is personal between many people in the establishment and ted cruz. it's not about pragmatic politics. >> tom davis, i have last year's list of the republican establishment here in front of me. and your name is under the d's. i don't have the updated version where donald trump is now your leader. can you guide us through what's happening here and where you expect this to be after iowa? you've got the national review here where their only mission, it seems, as of now, the only thing they care about is stop trump. and then we see everything else that's going on in this campaign, the very personal back and forth now between ted cruz and donald trump. where does this go? >> first of all, i don't think the national review folks really get this. this is really an
anti-establishment revolt on the part of grassroots republicans and "national review" is the conservative establishment. when donald trump went after megyn kelly at fox news, it didn't hurt him at all. the more they isolate him out there, it just spikes up his people. and i think he'll get a lead in iowa over this. i think it really backfires on them. the voters don't trust anything big. that's seen as the outsider who stands up against political correctness and is riding that. and the republican establishment doesn't know what to do, but the conservative establishment doesn't either. the more these guys go after this vote, i think it makes them much more marginal in a general election, where republicans have to win iowa -- i mean, they have to win ohio and florida and probably virginia. and the way they're talking right now, they're not going to
be viable. >> let's get the national review cover up in a full screen. will you look at that is it possible that donald trump purchased that as a front-page ad as his answer of ted cruz's accusation that he's the leader of the establishment? >> well, you know, he couldn't have done better if he had. the former republican turned independent, you've had the releets of the republican party amass a large enough coalition to pass the things the elites wanted. namely low taxes for themselves and deregulation for business. in terms of their religious
faith and promising that they would legislate around that. promising that they would beat back the liberalizing of the culture. by feeding them even with their deep down gut feelings that there was something really inherently wrong with barack obama. to be able to hold that together with the help of the entertainment complex with the help of movement conservatives. immigration is where the bargain just broke down. and that base, the base of the party is no longer willing to go along with any part of the elite. not the movement conservatives. not the money elite part of the party. they're just not willing to go along with it. and they are gone. they cannot be brought out. none of the people are going to read that and listen to those people. they are not listening. >> lindsey graham is now leader
of the stop trump and stop cruz campaign. >> if you nominate trump and cruz, i think you get the same outcome. whether it's death by being shot or poisoning, does it really matter? i don't think the outcome will be substantially different. here's my take. dishonest, which is hillary clinton in the eyes of the american people, beats crazy. >> jonathan altar, you remember everything, so please remind me the last time a senator in a party criticized the two front-runners in his party, two front-runners for the presidency as one being death by being shot and the other one being poisoning. i'm having trouble remembering the last time that happened. >> you have to go back to 1968 when the democratic party was just run asunder. in some ways, bernie sanders reminds me of gene mccarthy, the kind of pied piper quality of his campaign against the
establishment in the democratic party. but it's much fiercer on the republican side. you have a real crack-up. it did not happen overnight. you remember pat buchanan's campaign in 1996. we've had 20 years now of very frustrated, blue collar republicans who do not find, as joy indicated, that they're being represented in today's republican party. but i also think we shouldn't get ahead of ourselves. it looks like we're headed for three lanes in these republican primaries. you've got, you know, the cruz lane, the hard core traditional lane. you've got trump and the populist/republican lane. and then i think you do have a country club republican, classic establishment lane which hasn't been filled yet. if john kasich finishes a strong second, you know, heck get a tremendous am of new support very, very quickly.
it could be jeb bush, chris christie, whoever n that particular lane, because there are still a lot of traditional republicans who are not, you know, quite as angry as the trump supporters. and they may yet still be heard from as we move beyond iowa and new hampshire. >> this is going to break into a three-way race at some point. we are waiting for donald trump to speak to reporters. we'll take that live when it happens also. another hillary versus bernie debate without hillary or bernie. but representatives of their campaign will be here.
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♪ i've got some real estate here in my bag ♪ ♪ counting the bars on the new jersey turnpike ♪ ♪ they've all come to look for america ♪ ♪ all come to look for america ♪ all come to look for america ♪ all come to look for america >> i'm bernie sanders and i approve this message. >> simon and garfunkel have picked a side.
looking for a changed candidate. that's the challenge that bernie sanders really faces in this psych. obama democrats aren't looking to rip up his affordable care act. they don't necessarily believe bernie sanders' version of health care, this sort of complete socialized health care he's proposing is practical. bernie sanders definitely represents those liberal democrats who see great unfinished work in the obama era. he was disappointed there wasn't enough retribution against wall street. they would love to see the banks broken up in those kinds of things. voters of color are really more obama democrats than they are changed democrats. that's a real uphill challenge. i think hillary holds the stronger hand going into these caucuses and early primaries, except for new hampshire, of course. >> jonathan altar, it seems to me the hillary campaign or the bernie campaign could have made that ad with almost identical visuals. you just had to get simon and garfunkel's permission for the music.
and bernie got the music and so far he's got the best ad of the year. >> yeah. you know, simon and garfunkel democrats are still a force in the party. this ad went right at the marrow of democrats. a feeling of lost promise of lost youth, that for anybody who ever experienced the 1960s for instance, it's a powerful ad. but i also think it works for younger people, too. right new, obviously, sanders is very hot and even cool among younger americans. i do think that, you know, the basic point is that these elections really aren't about the past. so for all of the nostalgia that this invokes and these very warm feelings for sanders, people do recognize that the kind of
liberalism that he represents is part of america's past more than its future. and that the future is really about making very hard pragmatic decisions. even if they're hard to sell and make romantic and sexy in the middle of a campaign. i think over time hillary will be able to convince people in the democratic parties to use their heads more than their hearts. >> charlie cook, i heard that song since the day it came out more times than i could count. i never thought of it as a campaign ad until it was bril kbrantly put in that ad. it seems to address all the issues bernie sanders has to be able to encounter, including his age. that doesn't feel like an ad for a candidate who's old and out of it. >> i kept waiting for sanders to come out and play acoustic by gar. different people can read different things into that. but let's get down to reality here.
outside of number one caucus states, number two new england and number three college towns, bernie sanders has nothing going his way. you can't win with that narrow a base. until he breaks into into african-americans, latinos, down-scale whites, this isn't going to ha. it's just way too narrow. you know, you look at front part of the calendar and there are places that sanders will do really well, but you get deeper into the calendar, this is not a very sanders friendly calendar. >> tom davis, i know republicans are obsessed as they should be with the republican side of this race. but how does the democratic race look for the republican side of the fence? >> a good news from the republican perspective, this thing is going to go on for a while. it doesn't look like it will be settled early. the irony is that bernie sanders
is polling higher against the republicans than hillary clinton. it's very clear hillary clinton has some problems with the electorate that she is vulnerable. the question for the republicans is, you know, can they nominate what i call a mammal. somebody who could sit up there and be acceptable to a wide va rye/of voters as to somebody who strikes a responsive cord to the republican base. the he's not been as vetted at this point. he appears to be something new. he's a likable person. if you look down as the campaign progresses in some of his earlier statements and ideas and they become more public, that may change. >> all right, quick break here. when we come back, we're gong to get to our hillary clinton versus bernie sanders debate. tonight's issue is foreign
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campaign, former assistant secretary of state in the george w. bush administration. the sanders campaign could not provide a representative, but we are joined by a bernie sanders supporter and a very able one, tom hartman, host of the nationally syndicated show "the tom hartman program." thank you both very much for joining us tonight. really appreciate it. >> thanks, lawrence. >> ambassador hill, what is the most important policy difference between hillary clinton and bernie sanders. >> you know, i think secretary clinton has made very clear this opening to iran, this nuclear deal is a positive development. she worked on it very hard herself. but then the issue is all the other stuff. i mean, iran is a country, a work in progress. and i think we need to be pretty cautious of a country that really continues to be run by people whose values, to put it mildly, we don't share. so a lot of work to do. and yet on the bernie sanders
side -- and i have great respect for him -- you have the impression that he thinks now that the nuclear deal is done, we can move ahead very quickly with iran. so i think there's a real concern there that we could be causing even bigger problems in the middle east than we've been solving. >> tom hartman, your response? >> well, that was lacking any specifics. i remember back in 2007 -- or 2008 when barack obama suggested that he would talk to iran and hillary clinton spoke poorly of thought. i think she called him naive, as i recall. to the best of my knowledge, bernie is not calling for a u.s. embassy in iran. he said we need to move into a direction of normalizing relations. but for me, i think the biggest difference between the two is one of judgment. senator sanders opposed the iraq war. he got that, he got that early on. secretary clinton, then senator
clinton listened to the exact same evidence from the bush administration. she voted for the war in iraq, he voted against it. i think that some of the other foreign policy issues that have been problematic for secretary clinton have been, for example, libya and syria. i'm more confident in bernie sanders' judgment than i am in hillary clinton's frankly. although i think both of them are excellent candidates and i would in a heart beat vote for either one of them for president. >> ambassador hill, what about that? i think we can agree in this discussion that the single most important foreign policy decision of the 21st century was whether to go to war in iraq. bernie sanders says he got that right. he says hillary clinton got it wrong. and that's of lasting importance and also explains much of the chaos that we see in the region today. what would you say to that?
>> i agree there's chaos in the region. i wouldn't just make it about what the united states did. there's huge problems in the region of historical proportions. but of incredible complexity. if you look at that chess board in syria where you have 60% sunnis, bashar al assad, it's a complex thing. it's hard to talk about these issues in very broad strokes, should we or shouldn't we? clearly we need to be engaged in this part of the world. we need to be engaged with diplomacy. we've done a good job on this nuclear is deal with iran. i respectfully disagree with what i heard senator sanders say the other day, which is we ought to invite more, or support more iranians in syria. i think that kind of thing -- i mean, we need to really focus on the complexity of the diplomacy and be very careful about suggesting that proxy troop
where is another country are somehow going to solve this problem. >> but there are iranian troop in syria right now fighting isis successfully. both in syria and iraq. and hillary clip ton suggested we do the same thing we did in libya, put in a no-fly zone. it end led to the end of gadhafi, but that's a direct relation to libya in large chunks of syria. i think they have the lrnlest naval base, maybe the only naval base in the mediterranean. i'm sure the ambassador would know better than me. it seems more aggressive, frankly, than would be -- just speaking for myself, not speaking for senator sanders. >> i understand. these are pretty complex issues, there are a lot of kurds who are alive today because of the no-fly zone the u.s. had in iraq.
the same goes for libyans. i don't suggest that these are easy calls, but they are tough calls and they are also complex calls. we need to be thoroughly engaged on these issues and we need to understand the nuances of them. >> i totally agree. this isn't something where you can talk broadly. >> ambassador, would you not acknowledge that the no-fly zone in iraq during the clinton administration led to the death of 500,000 iraqi children. that and the sanctions. preventing them from bringing chlorine and what not into the country. >> that's certainly what saddam hussein said. i respectfully disagree. if you go to kurdistan, you will
see an amazing development there. and that was created by the u.s. no-fly zone. so i don't buy the line that somehow u.s. planes were used to kill children or whatever. that certainly was not what was going on. >> that's not what i said. >> it's to give innocent people the right to exist. i think there's a lot of good use of no-fly zones, but at no time would i suggest this is an easy call and we ought to just do it. but we need to be prepared to take measures of that kind in these kinds of nasty issues that we have in this very tough part of the world. >> but secretary clinton argued for a no-fly zone in syria. president obama argued against it and we're not doing it. she argued for a no-fly zone in libya, and there was a debate within the administration, but in retrospect, that was a mistake as well. our intervention in libya. >> we're going to have to break it there. go ahead, a quick last word.
go ahead. >> if you look at libya, i think it's an issue where time will tell. but i'm not sure the problem was a no-fly zone. i think the problem was the capacity of the u.s. government broadly to sustain engagement. i think you have to bring in congress when we started talking about what we need to do to sustain this thing. ambassador chris hill and tom hartman, thank you both very much for this tonight. thank you both for joining us. >> coming up, president kennedy's grandson doesn't think ted cruz knows very much about what president kennedy actually did or what his legacy means.
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itswhen you're engineeredct to literally to drive circles around the competition. note to candidates -- don't ever, ever, ever try to do an accent that isn't your own accent. here's ted cruz trying to sound like a new englander, a very famous new englander, describing what he would do as president. >> every one of those days is going to be spent defending the
constitution. as jfk would say, with vigor! >> oh. what ted cruz doesn't know is not one person in his audience has the accent that he is trying to imitate. the kennedy brothers did not have a new england accent or boston accent. they had kennedy accents. they were a big enough clan to have their own accent. no one else in boston sounded like them and we couldn't if we tried. ted cruz wasn't finished with his imitation of president kennedy. >> jfk campaigned on tax cuts, limiting government and standing up and defeating the soviet communists. jfk would be a republican today. he stood for religious liberty, and he would be tarred and feathered by the modern
democratic party. as jfk said, some men see things as they are and ask why. i see things that never were and ask why not. these are the principles that work -- >> why? why doesn't anyone in washington like ted cruz? of course, it was robert kennedy who was fond of using that quote as he just used. as his youngest brother ted kennedy reminded us at bobby's funeral when he was assassinated in 1968. >> as he said many times in many parts of this nation to those he touched and who sought to touch him, some men see things as they are and say why. i dream things that never were and say why not. >> for president kennedy's grandson, the unbearable part of this was ted cruz's attempt to steal jfk's legacy.
he wrote, i find this notion and the suggestion that ted cruz is somehow taking up his mantle absurd. were my grandfather alive today, he would be excited about how far we have come as a nation since 1963. he would feel a sense of urgency about the challenges that lie ahead and he most certainly would not be a republican. joining us now, president kennedy's nephew, ted kennedy's son, patrick kennedy. thank you very much for joining us tonight. i really appreciate this. >> thank you, lawrence. >> i can't imagine what it feels like to hear ted cruz say that your uncle jack would be a republican. >> well, i think anybody who was there back in those days, certainly people i've met over my public career remember president kennedy with such hope.
and they felt a sense of belonging and meaning in his leadership. i think it's the furthest thing from what ted cruz represents. it's hard to imagine ted cruz asking people to give of themselves to this country. it's hard to imagine ted cruz launching a peace corps, an alliance for progress. you know, it's hard for me to imagine him writing a profile in courage book about how people crossed the aisle and actually worked for the national interests, not the parochial or partisan interest. you couldn't almost make up someone who was further apart from the true legacy of john f. kennedy than ted cruz. so -- and the list could go on. and, of course, my cousin jack really did a terrific job with that editorial.
>> let's listen in your uncle's own words about how he talked about these things in a way that ted cruz wouldn't understand, including dealing with then the soviet union. >> there may be those who wish to hare more, more promises to this group or that. more harsh rhetoric about the men in the kremlin as a substitute for policy. more assurances of a golden future where taxes are always lean the subsidies are always high. but my promises are in the platform that you have adopted. we can have faith in the future, only if we have faith in ourselves. >> that was, of course, his acceptance speech at the nominating convention where he got the nomination. and as you said, that speech goes on. and there's just not a word in
it that's an echo of ted cruz or any republican today. >> you know, he talked about the new frontier, which, of course, his administration was known for. and it was about the hope and it was about the future and, of course, politics on that side is really about fear and distrust. it's really about taking our country back at a time when we need to look and imagine a new future. and that's what real leadership is about and ted cruz doesn't have it. >> you mentioned the new frontier. let's listen to your uncle talking about that. >> a new frontier is here, whether we seek it or not. beyond that frontier are unchartered areas of science and space, unsolved problems of peace and more. unsolved problems of ignorance
and prejudice, unanswered questions of poverty and surplus. it would be easier to shrink from that new frontier, to look to the safe mediocrity of the power, to be lulled by good intentions, and high rhetoric, and those who prefer that cause should not vote for me or the democratic party. >> that passage is there for any candidate to quote today, word for word. it would still be full of meaning if a candidate really wanted to back what president kennedy is saying there. >> well, you bet, lawrence. and, of course, not to miss this opportunity, but john f. kennedy talked about the whole cause of people with mental illness. and that cause is as relative today as we know. and he said the mentally ill need no longer be alien to our afeks.
or beyond the help of our communities. and that really should be the message of any kennedy who wants to address the enormous scourge of overdoses and the rise of suicide that's now twice the rate of homicide in this country. these are the real issues. and john f. kennedy was even talking about them back in the early '60s. >> patrick kennedy, thank you very much for joining us tonight. i really appreciate this. >> thank you, lawrence. coming up, michigan's governor is saying something new and very strange about the flint water crisis. shooting, burning, pins-and-needles of diabetic nerve pain, these feet were the first in my family to graduate from college, raised active twin girls, and trained as a nurse. but i couldn't bear my diabetic nerve pain any longer. so i talked to my doctor and he prescribed lyrica. nerve damage from diabetes causes diabetic nerve pain.
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about an hour ago, the networks got a five-minute warning from the trump campaign that donald trump would hold a news conference, actually answer questions from reporters right there in that hotel in las vegas. but they're living on trump time out there. so absolutely nothing's happened since. we're going to be right back with joy reid, jonathan altar to talk more about the democratic race for the president.
>> we're back with joy reid and jonathan altar. jonathan, the debate we just had here between the sanders camp and clinton camp on foreign policy, there's a big gap in the polls on shows much more confidence in hillary clinton's about to handle that. but those polls, as big as that is, used to be bigger. bernie sanders is narrowing that gap somewhat.
how do you see that issue going forward with the democratic campaign? >> what that poll doesn't indicate is how much people care about foreign policy. traditionally, the democratic primary, foreign policy hasn't been a huge issue. it's true it helped obama and hillary clinton has been for the war in iraq. it could help sanders by the same token this time. but i think what's more interesting is their attitude is not just the establishment, but the establishment in the democratic party. sanders voters are fighting the man, even though she's a woman. there's a real anti-establishment sentiment among democrats who don't like perceived wisdom, either on economic policy or foreign policy. >> what's your take? >> issues of foreign policy are not at the forefront.
democrats have one. how do they retain the white house. that's the question on the mind of democrats. the sanders wing of the party, which is an active, ardent heart of the party is thinking mbt about more existential questions about who the liberal wing of the country should be. sanders isn't actually a democrat. those questions are important. they're going to help frame the direction of the democratic party, but i just think the majority of democrats really have that prime objective, how are they going to keep the white house. >> joy, i don't know if you've been checking your twitter feed during the breaks here, but it turns out ann coulter has been watching the show tonight. and she tweeted enthusiastically about just how right you were
bying the republicans have brought this on basically by ignoring the coulter wing of the republican party on immigration. >> the cheap temptation would be to say that i'm not sure i'm happy that ann coulter agrees with me. but to be honest with you, lawrence, i am not a conservative, nor am i republican. if i am getting right what is happening in the conservative movement in the republican party, i guess that's a good thing, because i feel like maybe i have been paying appropriate amounts of attention to what's happening. and it's an important part of our politics. i'm going to say okay, ann. thank you. >> let me go to tom davis on this. when trump came down the escalator, the only thing he was talking about was immigration. the only thing he was talking about was the southern border. that's where eh got his initial surge in the polls. >> no question hp he doubled down on that. it is not a particularly
conservative platform. it's a populist platform that appeals to a lot of republican and independent voters who really feel victimized by bhoel whole immigration issue. >> what do you see as the primary issues in the democratic race? what are the top two it will come down to? >> i think it's really going to be wall street mostly. with electability the second issue. on wall street, hillary is a little bit exposed because she's taken all of these speaking fees from big wall street firms. i think you'll see sanders return to that over and over again. >> we're going to go to trump's press conference that started an hour late. he's taking a couple of questions. >> are these to be taken seriously? >> not very many people read him
anymore. people don't even think about "the national review." i guess they want to get a little publicity. but that's a dying paper. >> big numbers in iowa. let's play "hardball." >> good evening. welcome home out there to ted cruz. a new poll shows that donald trump has gotten his message across about where ted cruz is coming from. the new cnnorc poll has cruz to a halt in iowa down to 26% with trump pulling ahead to 37%, an 11 point double digit jump on the one-time canadian. bernie sanders looks headed for