tv Early Start With John Berman and Christine Romans CNN December 15, 2015 2:00am-3:01am PST
theater. the site of the republican debate. it is tuesday, december 15th. it is 5:00 a.m. in the east. as you can see, we are ten seconds away from cracking the psychological barrier. 13 hours until the debates begin here tonight at 6:00 p.m. this is the venetian theater at the venetian las vegas. nine candidates will walk on the stage. empty right now. tonight it will be full of drama. donald trump is out in front. ben carson beside him. a new neighbor for donald trump is ted cruz. also up there is marco rubio, jeb bush, carly fiorina, chris christie, john kasich and rand paul. as we said, donald trump is out in front. way out in front in some cases in national polls. the cnn poll of polls shows him at 33%. ted cruz in second place. marco rubio in third. in some polls, as i said, trump
holds an even bigger lead. including this from monmouth university. trump at 41%. 27 points ahead of his closest rival. that would be ted cruz. this is one of many things that trump was bragging about at the raucous rally in las vegas. cnn's sara murray inside that loud hall. >> reporter: good morning, john. hours before the cnn debate campaigning here in las vegas last night, donald trump approached ted cruz with kid gloves. he could not help but mention the poll shows him far ahead. leading 41% to ted cruz's 14%. >> i heard today when they announced the poll. 41 to 14. i like cruz. good guy. here's how they announced. cruz surging. so what i heard is, this was on television, cruz surging.
i said i don't know. that's sounds bad to me. coming up, cruz surging. then they said the monmouth poll was just done. cruz surging. trump, 41. cruz, 14. >> reporter: there have been sharp elbows, but trump called cruz a good guy. we will have to see if that carries over to the debate stage. donald trump was not sticking his head in the sand. he expects his competitors to come after him. >> we are watching television and announcers are saying who will hit trump hard. i say bring them on. who cares? what difference does it make? this will not be like an evening in paradise for me. >> reporter: after a speech that wound for an hour and interrupted by protests and trump tried to say he was
toughest on national security. that is how he left. to cheering fans. back to you, john. >> all right. joining me it help figure out what this all means, the managing editor is zach wolf. zach, for those who had the temerity to go to sleep last night, they went to sleep with the national poll that shows donald trump way out in front. at 38% in the poll. ted cruz in second at 15%. ben carson and marco rubio tied at 12%. they were both taken after trump proposed banning all muslims from entering the united states. trump has seen a bump. he has seen a bump in national polls since that statement which was widely seen as controversial. >> you could say more than a bump. if you go from 33 to 38 or 41, that is showing that people and
the message is resonating with more people. it is once again proven political laws do not apply to donald trump. >> we don't have a graphic, but 60% of republican primary voters say they approve of the muslim ban. he is playing to the base. nationally, when you deal with democrats and republicans, it is the opposite. 60% against the muslim ban. republican primary voters, the one who nominate their president, they support it. >> he fires up the base. this is the story for him. in the fall and winter. he fires up the base and gets them going. with hillary clinton in the same poll, he does do as well. >> and behind us is the stage where it happens tonight in less than 13 hours. donald trump, we just heard him there. it will not be an evening in paradise. who does after donald trump the hardest? >> i think ted cruz might have
found trump's kryptonite. he seems to be doing things where he doesn't criticize trump. trump is starting to come after cruz. he will say something, but mock him or he is not doing what other people have done in the past. >> look, ted cruz rising to second place nationally. rising to first place inside iowa. we have the cnn poll of polls out of iowa. the first voting state. ted cruz up by two points in the cnn poll of polls. other polls show him up by more. he has been in every debate. tonight will be more focus on him as a candidate than he has had yet. in some ways, it will be the first best chance for americans at large to see ted cruz. >> that's right. he is somebody who has not been doing nearly as well in the polls. he has surged largely because in iowa and other places his social conservative message is doing well. it is the first time for people to get a look at him. another look at chris christie.
he is not doing nearly as well in the new hampshire polls, but he might be seeing movement in the national polls. he may see movement in new hampshire. he is someone who needs to make a big move. >> we have a poll of polls out of new hampshire to give people a sense of what the landscape looks like. good state for donald trump at 26%. marco rubio in second place in new hampshire at 12%. carson, cruz and bush. christie is at 7%. it is a tough slog for chris christie. back to ted cruz. we talked about the cruz/trump dynamic. more interesting is ted cruz/marco rubio. >> this is where you can make a play for the nomination. cruz and rubio. they are both young. they are both hispanic. they both have interesting followings. rubio is mired at 12%. he hasn't been able to see a bu bump.
this is the first time we see cruz ahead of him. they have different views on a lot of stuff. rubio is a notmoderate. >> there is a split on immigration. cruz will go after marco rubio for supporting what ted cruz calls amnesty. the gang of eight in the senate. marco rubio was part of that. marco rubio will go after ted cruz on national security. saying cruz voted to stop the nsa intelligence gathering. that is at the forefront after what happened at san bernardino. >> that is right. that mind set has taken a real turn in the country with the terror attacks. you see somebody like rand paul who was big early on. he has fallen off. that was his signature issue. that could come back to hurt cruz. >> it will be interesting to see, particularly with donald trump out in front. including donald trump saying it is not an evening in paradise.
in some ways, these candidates might be better served going after not donald trump or going after people in second or third. chris christie might need to go after marco rubio. the side battles may be more important. >> that's right. one person who you have not mentioned, the frontrunner earlier on. jeb bush. will he do the presidential bush level properformance? >> we have said that. will jeb bush do more? will we see "x" from jeb bush? i'm not sure that exists for him. >> he needs to show everybody it's there. i think probably chris christie is the person to look at to really come out and have a moment here on the main stage against all these people. then, you know, as you said with cruz and rubio, rubio has done really well in these debate like settings. you know, it's a question of how
he carries it further. >> this is the last debate of 2015. how important is it to get in the news in the next two weeks? >> a lot of people will go home and have family conversations. you want a good head of steam. >> marco rubio and ted cruz and chris christie want to be in the stockings of the iowa voters. zach wolf, thank you. the action begins here at 6:00 p.m. eastern. the undercard in the venetian theater. 12 hours, 50 minutes and 40 seconds. 8:30 p.m. eastern time is the coverage of the main stage debate begins. wolf blitzer is the moderator. dana bash is asking questions. hugh hewitt asking questions. it will be a big important event. christine romans. >> it will, john berman. there are so many choices for republican voters.
they look at the crowded debate stage. these names, many people on the stage with a lot of experience. is there a point where that field starts to get smaller? when is that? >> that's a great question. a lot of speculation over the last several days that some party leaders, mitt romney and paul ryan. maybe it is time for you to get out. there's no one singular force in the party. there is no one singular intervening factor except money that should force someone from the race. jeb bush. he has a lot of money in the bank. he will not run out of money before iowa or new hampshire. there is nothing to force him out. there is emerging two groups of people. four front runners with trump, cruz, rubio and carson. everybody else in single digits.
>> jeb bush has the money. he has said it is a long game and he will stick it out. so fascinating for republican voters with so many interesting choices this time around. the rule book is out. there is no rule book. no guide book this time around. so interesting. john, thank you. president obama trying to reassure americans the battle against isis. what he says is working and what he says still needs to be done. i have that next. right when you feel a cold sore, abreva can heal it in as few as two and a half days when used at the first sign. without it the virus spreads from cell to cell. only abreva penetrates deep and starts to work immediately to block the virus and protect healthy cells. you could heal your cold sore, fast, as fast as two and a half days when used at the first sign. learn how abreva starts to work immediately at abreva.com don't tough it out, knock it out, fast. with abreva.
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president obama is calling on the american allies to do more in the war against isis. the president is growing frustrated with saudi arabia. he wants the saudis to help him form an arab coalition of ground forces to fight the terrorists in syria and iraq. we get more from cnn's jim acosta. >> reporter: christine, with the public growing anxious about the plan to destroy isis, president obama stopped by the pentagon where he offered the commander in chief image with war time rhetoric. he met with the national security team for a deep dive into the campaign to defeat isis. so far, the president said t tth the coalition delivered 9,000 air strikes against isis. the progress is not coming fast enough, but he sharpened his
message warning leaders of the group they will be destroyed. here is what he had to say. >> we are hitting isil harder than ever. the point is isil leaders cannot hide and our next message to them is simple. you are next. >> reporter: the next part is tolerance. something advisers preached on the conference consult with other religious leaders. in response to donald trump who blasted the president for not condemning extremists. the president will talk about tolerance with the ceremony later today in washington, d.c. he will return on the sales pitch to isis when he visited the counter terrorism center on thursday. jim at the white house. thank you. a maryland man arrested by the fbi for allegedly taking thousands of dollars from isis operatives overseas to fund a terror attack in the u.s. 30-year-old muhammad shinaw received thousands of dollars. he was arrested after a
five-month operation. agents said they uncovered no plans for a specific attack, but the case is significant because of his terror contacts. details about clues missed by law enforcement in the case of san bernardino shooter tashfeen malik. authorities say malik sent at least two with private facebook messages to friends in pakistan in it 2012 and 2014 expressing support for jihad. she told them she hoped to join the fight one day as jihadist. on the day of the san bernardino massacre, she and her husband declared allegiance to isis on facebo facebook. when she was reviewed for her visa, no one asked about her political leanings. bowe bergdahl could be sentenced to life in prison. bowe bergdahl spent five years in captivity until the obama administration brought him home in the prisoner swap for five
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monday night football. giants fighting for their playoff lives against the miami dolphins and when they needed a big play, the giants turn to odell beckham. coy wire has the highlights in the bleacher report next. alnuts. the best simple veggie dish ever? heart healthy california walnuts. the best simple dinner ever? heart healthy california walnuts. great tasting, heart healthy california walnuts. so simple. get the recipes at walnuts.org.
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wire. >> christine, the nfc east. dolphins and giants with 5 wins and 7 losses. playoff hopes on the line. the g-men would not be denied. eli manning with four incocom incompleti incompletions. he was on fire. so was odell beckham. he snagged two of manning's four touchdown passes on the night. he kicks open the playoff door for the giants. they are just 6-7, but tied with washington and philly for the division lead. the dolphins are now mathematically eliminated from the playoff scenario. that is a record for the franchise. after rajon rondo shouted
slurring this month, he revealed he's gay. he said i'm following in the footsteps of others hoping it sends a message to men and women in sports, you must not allow anyone to make you feel ashamed of who you are. rondo sat out becoming the first to be suspended for shouting anti-gay slurs. finally, pete rose's appeal was denied from commissioner rob manfred. he said letting rose back into the game is an insult to integrity because rose still bets on baseball. he was banned in 1989 while playing and managing for the cincinnati reds. the decision has no impact on rose's eligibility for the baseball hall of fame which is not run by the mlb. >> coy, i'm actually surprised when you are doing the story about the ref. i was surprised.
the guy only had to sit out one game for gay slurs and insults. >> i don't think that is the end we will hear. it is a great point. many people think it should have been more. moving forward, maybe similar actions will happen. >> you have kids playing sports there is zero tolerance. thank you. in hours, republicans take the cnn debate stage. new polls shaking up the race. who is gaining traction and who is falling fast. that's next. what makes this simple salad the best simple salad ever? heart healthy california walnuts. the best simple veggie dish ever? heart healthy california walnuts. the best simple dinner ever? heart healthy california walnuts. great tasting, heart healthy california walnuts. so simple. get the recipes at walnuts.org.
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in just hours, republicans running for president take the cnn debate stage. 12 and a half hours from now. the last final critical debate of the year. just weeks before early state voting begins. who will come out swinging tonight? welcome back to "early start." i'm christine romans in new york. >> i'm john berman live in las vegas in the venetian theater. the site of the republican debate. it is 30 minutes past the hour right now. tonight is the night. behind me is the stage. it is quiet right now. yes, completely empty. tonight, some 1,400 people will be in the hall.
more importantly, there will be nine candidates on that stage. the last debate of 2015. the first debate since the attacks in paris and san bernardino. and national security will be the focus in the room. donald trump, ben carson, ted cruz, marco rubio, jeb bush, carly fiorina, chris christie and john kasich and rand paul on the stage for the primetime debate. trump is way out in front in the national polls. the cnn poll of polls shows him at 31%. ted cruz in second place at 17%. some polls have trump up by more than 20 points. including this from monmouth university. 41% for donald trump. ted cruz at 14%. i'm not good at math, but i think that is 27 points behind donald trump. this is one of many things trump was bragging about here in las
vegas overnight. cnn's sara murray in the hall. >> reporter: good morning, john. hours before the cnn debate campaigning in las vegas last night, donald trump approached ted cruz with kid gloves. he could not help but mention the monmouth university poll shows him far ahead. leading 41% to ted cruz's 14%. >> i heard today when they announced the poll. 41 to 14. i like cruz. good guy. i heard. here is how they announced. cruz surging. so what i heard is, this was on television, cruz surging. i said, i don't know, that sounds bad to me. coming up, cruz surging. the monmouth poll just done. cruz surging. trump 41 and cruz 14. >> reporter: there have sharp elbows lately. you saw trump with none of that last night. calling cruz a good guy.
we will see if that carries over to the debate stage. tonight, donald trump was not sticking his head in the sand. >> we are watching television before we are hearing all of the announcers saying, who will take on trump tonight? who will hit him hardest? yeah, i would say bring them on. who cares? what difference does it make? i would say this will not be an evening in paradise for me. do we agree? >> reporter: after a speech that went on for an hour and trump tried to cast himself toughest on national security, that is how he left it. a crowd of cheering fans. back to you, john. >> that was overnight here in las vegas. sara murray in the loud room. what does it all mean? joining me now to figure it out is mark preston. the executive editor for cnn polit
politics. mark, i don't know if you got sleep last night. the abc poll shows donald trump out in front at 38%. ted cruz in second place 15%. another poll. monmouth and abc/"washington post" poll taken after donald trump announced a ban on muslims. >> john, no matter what he says that is controversial that people think is immoral, that it would kill any other candidate, donald trump capitalizes on it. one of the biggest things of donald trump, one of the strengths in the campaign is the fact he never has backed down. if you go back to the summer, john mccain, he said he not a hero because he is a p.o.w. he said strong words about megyn kelly. he continues to grow.
he is talking about banning all u.s. non muslims from coming to the united states. where is he right now? >> it may be because of it. 61% of the abc/"washington post" poll support it. we heard in sara's piece he does not expect an evening of paradise in the venetian theater. which candidate will actively go after donald trump? >> no question we will see rand paul. they do not get along. expect rand paul to go after him. somebody who needs to go after him is jeb bush. he was the frontrunner at one point. he had the name and money and politics. he is so far down in the polls. he needs a moment. >> it is interesting. jeb bush got to nevada early. he met with the las vegas newspaper. he had some strong words for donald trump.
let's listen to that. >> he's not a serious person. he's a masterful politician. he, as i described it, uses dog whistle language to divide the country. i cannot imagine donald trump becoming president because he would never win. he would never win. hillary clinton would clean him. >> so, jeb bush using stronger language than he used on the debate stage until this moment. can he bring it? can he bring it tonight? >> not only did he use stronger language, john, he did not have a lot of emotion. that was donald trump's criticism. he said jeb bush doesn't have the energy. he is not donald trump. he is not a player. he is not a character. very much focused on policy. somebody who is more inward than donald trump is outward. jeb bush needs to show he is deliver it tonight here on the stage. >> he needed to show that the
last three debates. he has not shown it yet. it is interesting to see if tonight is the first night it happens. the new story line here. the next door neighbor to donald trump on the main stage is ted cruz. he vaulted into second place in national polls. in the iowa cnn poll of polls, he is two points over donald trump. the big question for ted cruz. he said he is giving a bear hug to donald trump. playing nice with the donald. does he need to draw contrasts? >> keep your friends close. keep your enemies closer. ted cruz has made a calculated decision. if donald trump falls off, where does that support go? ted cruz thinkis he can take tht support. if he goes after ted cruz as we have seen, donald trump called
ted cruz a maniac. how do you not address that? ted cruz has to show he is able to fight donald trump. where that will happen, john, trump indicated he will bring it to ted cruz. he thinks ted cruz is ready to bring to him. >> cruz posted a link to "man c "maniac" from "flashdance." marco rubio. a lot of people in the mainstream saying this is marco rubio's race. long term, you will see marco rubio emerge. he has had strong debate performances, but he hasn't seen the type of bump that we have seen from ted cruz or ben carson or carly fiorina. he hasn't had the spotlight surge. >> they want to be the tortoire
toys tortoise. they try to bring the structure in key states. they thought their biggest problem would be jeb bush. that is not the biggest problem. that is not the biggest problem. the question is can marco rubio get enough momentum to come out of iowa because we don't think he will win it. what can he do in south carolina and nevada? >> cruz/rubio, chris christie/rubio. those four guys going after each other could be the drama. mark preston, i'm excited to share this with you. >> thanks, john. >> the action begins here at 6:00 p.m. inside the venetian theater. the undercard debate. four candidates. 8:30 p.m. eastern, the primetime debate. the main stage debate. donald trump front and center. ted cruz next to him for the first time.
what will happen? you will not to miss it. this could be the most important debate for the republicans. the last debate in 2015. the first debates since the attacks in san bernardino and paris. we will break down what the debate means for the key early voting states. iowa, new hampshire. stay with us. the great beauty of owning a property is that you can create wealth through capital appreciation, and this has been denied to many south africans for generations. this is an opportunity to right that wrong. the idea was to bring capital into the affordable housing space in south africa, with a fund that offers families of modest income safe and good accommodation. citi got involved very early on and showed an enormous commitment. and that gave other investors confidence. citi's really unique, because they bring deep understanding of what's happening in africa.
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we're inside the venetian theater in las vegas. this is the site of the final republican debate of 2015. only here on cnn. there will be some 1,400 people in the hall. nine people on the stage for the primetime debate. nine candidates. donald trump will be front and center. he has a new next door neighbor on the stage. ted cruz. vaulted in second place nationally. first place in iowa polling. iowa, of course, the first voting state on february 1st. what happens after that? let me tell you. it is important. cnn's tom foreman has a look.
>> reporter: let's look at the early states. they go off in february and they're votes are divided based on the performance of the candidates. iowa is first. there we have been talking about it. trump and cruz are virtually tied. they split the delegates almost evenly if it happened today. in new hampshire, trump has a bigger lead. in second is chris christie and marco rubio and ted cruz. bring it down to south carolina, you have 50 delegates in play. there, trump has a lead. it is ben carson, ted cruz and marco rubio. in nevada, another equation all together. donald trump and ben carson. you can see the challenge in the debate. these candidates for that first rush have to not only try to knock donald trump down, but if they can't do that, somebody needs to emerge as a strong
second contend errer or the rac could be over fast. after the rush in february, look at march. you have 13 states in one day with hundreds of delegates in play. we don't have great polling out here to know how the candidates are doing. we know in many states, donald trump's agenda plays well. that's why this debate matter so very much. it is the last face-to-face chance the candidates have to stop his momentum if they want to keep this race alive and not have it over really fast. >> thanks, tom. christine, it is so interesting. on the stage, the different candidates are playing to different audiences. ted cruz will speak to the voters in iowa. chris christie, really speaking to voters in new hampshire. the other seven, a combination. >> the question is who can make america the safest.
who can lead america through the challenges of terrorism and isis inspired attacks and all of these new found worries after san bernardino and paris. who, i guess, has the most to prove on the front, john? >> well, ben carson says, admits he has a lot to prove. he says he is on a learning curve when it comes to foreign policy. he has dropped in the polls a lot over the last six weeks. since the attacks in paris and san bernardino. when the focus of the campaign shifted to national security. terrorism now the number one concern among republican primary voters. not the economy. that's the first time we have seen that. ben carson admitted that is not his strongest point. the problem for ben carson, his posture in debates has been to sit back. he doesn't try to get in the mix. how does he prove he is stronger on national security than we
have seen up to now? >> john, we know you are watching it for us. 12 hours until the debate. polls show republicans are anxious about the economy. who will manage it better? donald trump or ted cruz? here's the score from the tax foundation. on job creation, trump has the edge. the tax foundation sees 5.3 million jobs in the next decade. cruz with 4.9 million jobs added. cruz wins on taxes and here's why. cruz has the simple plan in the gop field. he would scrap the seven brackets and kill the corporate income tax and switch to a 16% value added tax. trump would move to three tax brackets and reduce the corporate tax rate to 15%. tax foundation says cruz's plan is one of the best for boosting growth. it doesn't add to the deficit as much as trump. almost all of the plans add to
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secretary of state john kerry in moscow trying to reach agreement on a plan to end the civil war in syria. kerry sitting down with sergei lavrov and shaking hands this morning. he meets with president putin in five hours. the situation in syria not the only item on kerry's agenda. russ russia's military in ukraine is an item for him to discuss as well. let's bring in cnn's jill dougherty in moscow with more. >> reporter: isis is an issue for one, but the other is the details of the political transition that both sides of the united states and russia are trying to work toward. there will be a big meeting in new york on friday to that purpose. so, right now, secretary kerry has met with sergei lavrov, his
counterpart, then he will go to the kremlin where he will meet with president putin. that's where the united states certainly hopes to get a lot more clarity on precisely where president putin thinks this is all going. one of the key issues of course is the fate of syrian president assad and the definition of who is a terrorist and who is not. there has been a lot of debate back and forth about that. the russians initially calling everybody but isis, let's say isis is a terrorist organization, but a lot of the other groups, terrorists. now it is more fine tuned. now they are saying elements of the free syrian army are some they may work with and air strikes. there is a lot of fluidity about this. we will in a few hours have the meeting with president putin and that should be crucial and interesting. >> it sure will. thank you, jill. we know you will watch it for
us. president obama calling on america's allies in the middle east to do more in the war on isis. white house insiders say the president is growing frustrated with countries like saudi arabia. he wants the saudis to form an arab coalition of ground forces to fight terrorists in syria and iraq. we get more from jim acosta. >> reporter: christine, with the public growing anxious about the plan to destroy isis, president obama stopped by the pentagon with war time rhetoric. the president met with every member of the national security team for a deep dive into the campaign to defeat isis. so far, mr. obama said the u.s. coalition delivered 9,000 air strikes targeting oil instruction and t infrastructure. he announced progress is not coming fast enough. he sharpened miss message on isis warning the leaders they will be destroyed. >> we are hitting isil harder
than ever. the point is isil leaders cannot hide and our next message is you are next. >> reporter: another issue is tolerance. something the senior advisers breached on the conference call with other leaders in response to donald trump who blasted the president for not condemning radical extrem extremists. he will return to the sales pitch on isis later in the week when he visits the nation's counter terrorism center on thursday. christine. >> thank you, jim. a maryland man arrested by the fbi for taking thousands of dollars for isis operatives overseas to fund a terror attack in the u.s. authorities say 30-year-old muhammad shinawi received $8,700 from terrorist backers. he was arrested after a five-month investigation. agents uncovered no specific
plans for attack, but consider it significant. details about critical clues missed by law enforcement in the case of the san bernardino shooter tashfeen malik. authorities say malik sent at least two private facebook messages to friends in pakistan in 2012 and 2014 expressing support for jihad. she told them she hoped to join the fight one day as jihadist. on the day of the san bernardino massacre, malik and her husband declared allegiance to isis on facebook. a review of the visa program is under review. 56 minutes past hour. three big stories in the markets. the big show later this morning. janet yellen and others sit down for a two day meeting widely expected to finish with a rate hike. in credit debate over
the junk bonds and the oil markets with the supply boom and weakening demand and a surge in iranian oil production which can help stocks. we will see what happens today. rising interest rates won't stop home buyers according to zillow. 70% of those looking to buy a house would not change their plans if mortgage rates rise to 4.5%. historically low. about half would look for a smaller home. zillow finds the increase of mortgage payments is $25 or less a month. next year say good year for home buyers. rates still rising, but low. more inventory and fewer bidding wars and newer homes on the market. are hoverboards on your christmas list? amazon stopped selling most hoverboard models after reports
of them catching on fire. amazon wants sellers to state they are up to date on the state standards. the airlines won't let you put one on a plane. if you are brave enough to buy one, e-bay, walmart and toys r us still selling certain models. we are hours way from the cnn republican debate. "new day" has it from here. >> it's been a little over a month since the last republican debate. so much has changed. >> what a nice problem to have if it came down to cruz and trump. >> donald trump has had the impact of making ted cruz mainstream. >> donald trump breaks 40% in a national poll. >> his biggest nationwide lead ever. >> will this tightening in iowa. >> they should be thankful. i'm giving them a chance to make total fools. >> one of the two killers in san
bernardino was an american citizen. >> national security is the focus of the debate. >> people are looking for strength. trump is playing that role. >> he tapped into the compassion of the american conservative. >> this is "new day" with chris cuomo, alisyn camerota and michaela pereira. >> all right. here we are. you are coming down the famous canals that are venice-esque in vegas. good morning. it is tuesday morning. alisyn and i coming to you from the venetian in vegas. we are hours away from the republican debate. we have significant developments. first, camerota had to be pulled out of a casino this morning. >> penny slots. >> she has her hair in the hands of two people next to her.
and comments about muslims. wait for it. helping donald trump. >> two new national polls to look at this morning. >> he's now at 41%. that's a monmouth university poll. senator ted cruz also showing some progress. he's now in second place in both of those polls. he has plenty of grounded to make up to catch up to donald trump. let's kick off our comprehensive coverage with cnn's athena jones, live on the debate floor. how is it looking down there, athena? >> good morning, alisyn. the staskes are high as the candidates prepare to take this stage tonight for the last gop showdown of the year. this as the poll numbers for trump show him reaching heights many political pundits thought he'd never reach. >> [ bleep ]. >> reporter: outrage overnight during donald trump's rally in las vegas, tensions hi