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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES

Coverage of the Republican Presidential Debate. Aired 11-12p ET

Aired October 28, 2015 - 23:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[23:00:00] JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Amanda is dead right. They have a plan for the southern states and the SCC primary. But in most elections if you go 0-39 bottom falls out, so you're testing history.

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Here's another question I have. So if you have a bad debate and the you're Carson and you have a bad debate and you're Trump or have kind of non-debate debate, but if -- it's OK. But if you're Jeb Bush and you have a bad debate like tonight or it's not a great debate. You don't seem joyful. You attack Rubio, it backfires. It's killer. It's more --

(CROSSTALK)

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Before we continue this. It's 11:00. I just want to welcome to the viewers who are just joining us at top of the hour. If you're joining us, you're watching a view in the spin room, there Donald Trump talking to some reporters. We'll see if he comes close to our cameras. We heard from him. Dana Bash interviewed him a short time ago.

We are also going to shortly play you some of the key moments from the two-hour debate that just occurred, some of the most contentious moments, some of the most interesting moments and most important moments from tonight. That's about five minutes worth or so. It will really give you a good sense of what occurred over this evening in case you didn't watch the debate or you went out for, I don't know, a smoke or something. I don't know if people do that anymore.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Colorado.

COOPER: Let's listen in to just see -- see where Trump is going right now.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: They said you're promoting hate.

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: No, no, no. I promote love.

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Mr. Trump, can I ask you a question about the debate? Reince Priebus came out before --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Appreciate it.

BASH: Before you all came out and ripped into CNBC saying that it was a gotcha game and he was upset about the way they handled it. You're a politician but you know TV. What do you think?

TRUMP: I was very happy with my performance and everybody seems to be very happy with what I did. I think it was much different than the Hillary debate. They were all softballs. This was much different. But I actually enjoyed it. I mean, I had a good time. It was tougher than probably the other debates in a certain way, but I loved it.

BASH: How are you going to get back on top in Iowa?

TRUMP: I am on top. In Iowa? I was there the other night. I think we are going to be on top. If you saw my speech.

BASH: I did, I did.

TRUMP: It was a love fest. I think we're going to win Iowa and I think we'll do great with Iowa.

BASH: What do we not know about what you all are doing there and should know that makes you so confident?

TRUMP: Well, it's not just Iowa. I love the people in Iowa. I just got -- I just left last night. I'm going back in three days. Now I'm going to Nevada, going to Reno, going to New Hampshire, going to South Carolina. We're going all over, Virginia. We're all over and we get, by the way, by far, the biggest crowds, so we're having a good time

BASH: You know, watching the debate, you didn't -- you weren't sort of center and central to the conversation as you have been in the past. I'm just going to say where you are right now are you relieved?

TRUMP: Well, I was really happy with what I did. Every online poll says I really won big. Every single online poll. They just told me. I mean, 70 percent, 80 percent, but it's not even that. I actually think everybody did well, and I thought there was a great camaraderie between the different players. You saw it. I mean, there was no - I mean, there was some little skirmishes as an example Marco and Jeb.

BASH: What did you think about how that went down?

TRUMP: You know, I've been saying they can't love each other that much, but the fact is they had a skirmish, but generally speaking there was a lot of like on that dais.

BASH: What did you think about the way that the skirmish went at the end? What came out on top?

TRUMP: I think it was fine, between the two of them. I think they both did fine.

BASH: Thank, sir.

COOPER: All right. Dana, thank you very much.

He killed it, he says. You heard Donald Trump bottom line. Interesting, he seems to have changed his opinion on the democratic debate because I remember a tweet afterward where he said I was tough but fair. He is now saying they are softballs. But whatever, we can all evolve.

I do want to welcome anyone who is just joining us, a crucial Republican debate now in the books. The headlines being written and voting opinions being formed even as we speak. This was the first debate in which Donald Trump was not the undisputed GOP poll leader. It was the first opportunity for Dr. Ben Carson to speak at length about economic issues. It was an opportunity for Ted Cruz to displace his well-honed debating skills and for Jeb Bush to show he's still a potential nominee if and when Trump and Carson fade.

Now, for many as well, it was an opportunity to take aim at the media. There is a lot to cover. But here are some of the highlights from tonight's debate.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Where did I read this and come up with this --

TRUMP: Probably, I don't know. You people write this stuff. I don't know.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I didn't write this stuff.

SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The Democrats have the ultimate super Pac called the mainstream media.

MIKE HUCKABEE (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I don't think it's so much about when the government orders corporation to do something. In fact, that's part of the problem. If you saw that blimp that got cut loose from Maryland today, it's a perfect example of government. I mean, what we had was something the government made, basically a bag of gas that cut loose, destroyed everything in its path, left thousands of people powerless but they couldn't get rid of it because we had too much money invested in it so we had to keep it. That is our government today. We saw it in the blimp.

[23:05:11] GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We have $19 trillion in debt. We have people out of work. We have ISIS and Al-Qaeda attacking us, and we're talking about fantasy football.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Would you feel more comfortable if your employees brought guns to work?

TRUMP: Yes, I might feel more comfortable. I would say that I would and I have a permit, which is very unusual in New York, a permit to carry, and I do carry on occasion. Sometimes a lot, but I like to be unpredictable so that people don't know exactly when I'm carrying.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you carrying right now?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Governor Huckabee, you've written about the huge divide in values between middle America and the big coastal cities like New York and Los Angeles. As a preacher as well as a politician you know that presidents need the moral authority to bring the entire country together. The leading Republican candidate when you look at average of national polls right now is Donald Trump. When you look at him, do you see someone with the moral authority to unite the country?

HUCKABEE: There is few questions I've got the last one I need is to give him some more time. I love Donald Trump. He is a good man. I'm wearing a Trump tie tonight. Get over that one, OK?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What is it made in Mexico?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is it made in China or Mexico?

HUCKABEE: I have no idea.

TRUMP: That's such a nasty question but thank you, Governor.

HUCKABEE: You're welcome.

Let me tell you, Donald Trump would be a better president every day of the week and twice on Sunday rather than Hillary. I've spent a lifetime in politics fighting the Clinton machine.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What should we do?

CHRISTIE: What we should do is be investing in all types of energy, John, all types of energy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The government?

CHRISTIE: No, John. John, do you want me to answer or you want to answer? How are we going to do this? Because I've got to tell you the truth even in New Jersey what you're doing is called rude, so.

CARLY FIORINA (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I may not be your dream candidate just yet but I can assure you I'm Hillary Clinton's worst nightmare. And in your heart of hearts you cannot wait to see a debate between Hillary Clinton and Carly Fiorina.

TRUMP: These folks, CNBC, they had it down to three, three and a half hours, I just read today in the "New York times" $250,000 for a 30- second ad. I went out and said it is ridiculous. Nobody -- I could stand up here all night. Nobody wants to watch three and a half or three hours. It was a big sacrifice. And I have to hand it to Ben, we called Ben. He was with me 100 percent. We called in. We said that's it, we're not doing it. They lost a lot of money. Everybody said it couldn't be done. Everybody said it was going to be three hours, three and a half, including them. And in about two minutes I renegotiated it down to two hours so we could get the hell out of here. Not bad.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: All right. A lot more to talk about. Let's get reaction from viewers with the biggest stake in this. Randi Kaye is with a group of voters in Miami. She joins us now.

Randi, what stood out to the voters you're with tonight? What stood out to them? RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A lot of different things. We're in

the town of Haleigh (ph) which is just outside Miami, Florida, and a lot of the viewers -- a lot of the voters we were watching with tonight, about 100 of them or so, they were trying to make sense of the tax plans that were mentioned. They were trying to make sense of a lot of things. Many of them within our group undecided including this couple right here. Mimi and Isis, married couple, still undecided the. Who are you leaning towards and are you any closer after watching the debate?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, you know, I've always been leading towards Carly Fiorina, but Marco Rubio is also at the top of my list. But there's no clear winner tonight. I didn't see a knock it out of the ballpark winner. So, you know what, it remains the same. Still undecided by leaning towards Carly Fiorina.

KAYE: Carly Fiorina. How do you think Rubio did, though, with Jeb Bush coming after him for not going to work, not doing his job basically?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He did great. You know, Rubio has a knack for defending himself and he does a good job doing it. And he's just, you know, he had all the right answers, that's for sure.

KAYE: Isis, what about you, any closer?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You know, Rubio is looking better and better but Carly, again, you know, seems like the one person that can really go head to head with Hillary. But I think that he was really classy in how he handled Jeb Bush and preserved the integrity of the party.

KAYE: And what did you like about Carly Fiorina tonight?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, I think tonight -- the last debate I thought she had a lot more zingers. And I mean, it was just a nice energy to have, a little different than, you know, typical, you know, old boys club that we have. But tonight she just, you know, she remained steady and she didn't disappoint.

KAYE: Yes. But you actually took a quiz online. This is how undecided voters are handling this. You took a quiz to try and see who you should vote for. And what did it tell you?

[23:10:00] UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, it said how Republican are you? And I said, well, you know, as a gay woman, you know, it's always good to make sure that, you know, I'm still staying strong and sticking to my conservative values. And it actually had Ben Carson up at the top for me and Carly Fiorina in second, and it was actually a very interesting poll.

KAYE: Very enlightening for you. A couple more insiders here. We have Ray. And you're undecided, but you're a member of the Miami young Republicans.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right.

KAYE: Who are you -- did you like what you heard tonight from anybody?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, as a young person I think that our party needs to strive to have a better younger image. And those candidates have to be a young candidate who will spark a sharp contrast between Hillary Clinton and the Republican Party. There's big differences and we need to show that. That's why I think Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz did a great job. And those one-liners that they did were excellent. I think also in responding to Governor Bush, Marco Rubio did a fantastic job. He ran on his own resume without attacking another candidate.

KAYE: So you don't necessarily want an outsider. You just like the idea of just a younger candidate.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, I think that being conservative is a big plus. We don't want any more of these candidates who are going to tout big value and liberal values that don't represent the will of the American people.

KAYE: All right. So that's just a couple of a sample here of many of our undecided voters that were in our group, Anderson. But they are still, as you can see, turning to the internet to a quiz to try to decide who to vote for at this point.

COOPER: And if you look at polls, there is a lot of voters who even though they may indicate, you know, one candidate that they prefer, a lot of them are still -- it's anybody's guess who they may finally vote for. They still may change their opinions.

I want to introduce all our panels. We have some new panel here. Jeffrey Lord is here, Trump supporter. S.E. Cupp, CNN contributor, Ana Navarro, Jeb Bush supporter, friend of Marco Rubio, Donna Brazile, DNC official, ran Al Gore's 2000 campaign. Also joining us David Gergen, former presidential adviser for Nixon, Ford, Reagan, Clinton. CNN senior political analyst Carl Bernstein, author of "Hillary Clinton, woman in-charge," also CNN contributor. Nia-Malika Henderson, CNN senior politics correspondent and Gloria Borger CNN chief political analyst all here at table.

David, we haven't heard from you so far tonight. Who stood out?

DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, first of all, I think the important of the debate was it may have given some heart to the Republicans. You know, after the Benghazi hearings ended, Carl and I were on the air. We were both looking. She sees a clear path to the nomination. She has to be the front-runner for the White House. This showed that they have arguments in another area, in the economy, that if they push and weren't well developed arguments tonight, I think it gave the Republicans some sense, you know, we're still in this race. In terms of who stood out, clearly, Marco Rubio.

COOPER: And it's interesting because he actually hit Hillary Clinton on her Benghazi testimony saying that as far as he was concerned it pointed her out to be a liar.

GERGEN: Well, and that's right. And he -- he's the smoothest out there. I mean, we have now seen, what they have had seven hours of debates and we have seen this is not Jeb Bush's medium, I agree with Ana. By far and await most qualified, but it's not his medium. He doesn't handle this in a sparky way. And Marco Rubio does. And I think if there's any change in the dynamics tonight it's that a second-tier candidate, all these people at the bottom may have broken out tonight.

COOPER: Interesting. Carl Bernstein, we haven't heard from you?

CARL BERNSTEIN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I agree with the Republican National Committee. I thought it was a disgraceful performance by the sponsors of CNBC and the way they conducted it. And it was got you. And we need in the mainstream media, as Ted Cruz said, to start paying attention to the right wing media. I read it. I think we need to know what is going on out there. It's not for nothing that there's a Republican Congress and there may be a Republican president.

And we're not paying enough attention. What we saw tonight was the real Republican Party. And it's very interesting and it is a big threat to the Democrats, Miss Brazile.

DONNA BRAZILE, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: You're not scaring me.

BERNSTEIN: But I'm saying it's a big threat, and there's huge appeal in it's over simplicity perhaps, but people need to pay attention. This was a powerful night and particularly because it went against the media as its target, as well as a contempt for government that is really extraordinary. That is the message. And the Democrats are going to have to show that government has a reason to exist.

COOPER: S.E. Cupp, we haven't heard from you.

S.E. CUPP, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes. You know, frankly, I'm not sure why Reince Priebus is mad at CNBC. If I were Reince, I would send CNBC a big old care package. CNBC and their questions and in their disorganizations managed to elevate a lot of these candidates. They looked substantive. They looked like they were clamoring to talk about issues after months of being criticized for going after each other personally. They looked reasonable. They looked rational. They looked polite. So, and they finally started to -- they finally decided to go after Hillary Clinton.

So I think this was a great night for the Republican candidates. As Carl said people should be a little nervous. If these are the guys that are going to show up at the next few debates, this is a different -- this is a different crew. For the most part, there was some exceptions.

[23:15:05] COOPER: Does anybody drop out after tonight? Does anybody now drop out, or does everybody, you think, even the candidates who weren't on the main stage, are they in it until Iowa?

BORGER: I don't think so. I mean, look. I think you saw the undercard debate. You have you to wonder, Rick Santorum, why -- it's so yesterday, OK? The undercard debate almost doesn't seem like it ought to exist anymore. COOPER: I mean, David Axelrod, you're also joining us. I mean, do

you see anybody dropping out at this point? Because again, if it remains an undercard debate, if some drop out who were on right now, then you wouldn't have maybe quite so many people on the stage during the main debate?

DAVID AXELROD, CNN SENIOR COMMENTATOR: Yes. I'm a little doubtful as to whether this debate will provoke people to drop out. I just want to return to a couple of points. One is Bush in the poll on Monday in the "New York Times," Monday or Tuesday, had 18 percent of the supporters said they were enthusiastic as compared to 48 percent for Ben Carson. Everyone was higher. Nothing that happened tonight would increase their enthusiasm. So he's got the problem.

The second -- the second thing I want to raise is there were two hidden issues in this debate or two issues that can be ticking time bombs. One is Marco Rubio smacking aside the suggestion that his tax plan was very generous to people at the top. He under his tax plan reduces all investment income as he said to zero. It would a tremendous windfall for the wealthy, and that's going to become an issue down the line should he become a more serious candidate.

And then for Ben Carson, I think this issue of his relationship with this supplement firm, he maintained in this debate that it was a passive relationship. He did a couple of speeches for them. If it turns out to be more and it turns out that he had been recommending that product to patients, I think he has a big problem.

COOPER: Let's listen to Dr. Carson right now.

BEN CARSON (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: What they do based on their faith. Now, even atheists and secular progressives have faith. Their faith may not be what mine is but they have faith. And that informs how they think. It informs how they relate to other people. So that's important.

BASH: And how much do you hope that your faith and talking about your faith more and more will bring evangelicals your way, particularly in Iowa where that tends to matter more in the caucuses?

CARSON: Well, I'm actually hopeful that our whole nation will not reject our faith in God. You know, it's on our money. It says in God we trust. Our pledge of allegiance says we're one nation under God. Our founding document, the declaration of independence, talks about certainly unalienable rights given to us by our creator. And in our courtrooms it says in God we trust. So, it's throughout the fabric of who we are. So why would we deny that?

BASH: But it's not just God, obviously, it is your particular religion, Donald Trump talked about it and kind of questioned it, you know.

CARSON: I don't think it's necessary for us to talk - re-dissect the 400 different religions that there are in our country.

BASH: Thank you, Dr. Carson. COOPER: OK. Dana, thanks very much. We are going to take a quick

break.

Up next, we will fact check some of what the candidates said tonight. Back in a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[23:22:11] COOPER: Welcome back. There were a lot of bold and brash statements on the debate stage in Colorado tonight, but was it all completely true?

Tom Foreman tonight joins us with a reality check - Tom.

TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, there is one particular exchange that was very interesting. What happened in this moment in this whole debate was that the Trump issued a couple of denials of some statements that were made by Becky Quick, the moderator. She asked him specifically about his attacks on Marco Rubio over these special visas for immigrants to come in and work. And he denied ever attacking Rubio, not once, but twice. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You have been very critical of Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook who has wanted to increase the number of H1B.

TRUMP: I was not at all critical of him. I was not at all. In fact, frankly, he is complaining about the fact that we're losing some of the most talented people. They go to Harvard. They go to Yale. They go to Princeton. They come from another country and they are immediately sent out. I am all in favor of keeping these talented people here so they can go to work in Silicon Valley.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So you're in favor of increasing it?

TRUMP: I'm not at all critical of him.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Where did I read this and come up with this that --

TRUMP: Probably, I don't know, you people write this stuff. I don't know.

You had talked a little bit about Marco Rubio. I think you called him Mark Zuckerberg's personal senator because he was in favor of the visas.

TRUMP: I never said that.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This was an erroneous article.

TRUMP: There's another gentleman in Florida who happens to be a very nice guy, not.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My apologies. I'm sorry. TRUMP: Really doing some bad fact-checking.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

FOREMAN: Really doing some bad fact checking, twice here he's saying no, didn't attack Rubio. I didn't attack Mark Zuckerberg and never said anything about this. So where on earth did she get this idea? Funny enough, you know where she got it, she got it the from Donald Trump's Web site where he says Mark Zuckerberg's personal senator Marco Rubio has a bill to triple H1Bs, the visas that we're talking about, that would decimate women and minorities.

The bottom line is Trump tried to bluff her. He tried to do it twice. She called him on the bluff, and she was right. His claim was false -- Anderson.

COOPER: TOM, thanks very much.

Jeffrey Lord, a diehard supporter of Donald Trump.

JEFFREY LORD, FORMER REAGAN WHITE HOUSE POLITICAL DIRECTOR: I believe he did not say it was on -- it was never on my website. I'm I think he said I never said it.

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: It depends on what the definition of is, is.

LORD: Right. But that again, he's a very popular man that said that. So. You know, in truth though and seriously, I really do think that stuff like that is seen by the larger public as nitpicking. I mean, all candidates have these kind of moments, and I just don't think in terms of major policy and major issues dividing the Republican Party or the country that something like that --

COOPER: Just as though, as the moderator, if she's going to, you know, quote something to him, she should have the quote with him. If he's going to attack her for making something up and then it turns out he in fact did say it.

[23:25:15] CUPP: Well, especially the problem for Trump is he doesn't have a political record. So all we have from Trump are things that he has said, things that he has written. So if we can't take Trump at something that he's posted on his Web site I think, you know, the bar is set a little low.

BRAZILE: Blame an intern.

ANA NAVARRO, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Can we just roll back the tape a little bit. This is modus operandi for Donald Trump. This is what he does over and over again. You know, he talked bad about POWS. No, I didn't say that. He says something about Megyn Kelly, that's not what I meant. He says something about Carly Fiorina's face. I was talking about her persona. I mean, you know, it's over and over and he gets away with it.

LORD: Let's just -- let's --

COOPER: Let Jeffrey respond.

COOPER: Let's just go back to Hillary Clinton's Benghazi testimony. Same sort of situation. She was out there with a videotape, you know, saying one thing and yet in private she was saying another and she sits there and where was the call saying, other than Marco Rubio tonight saying, you know, she didn't tell the truth.

BORGER: How is that the same?

BRAZILE: You lost all of us on that one.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you comparing Trump to Hillary?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't think that's a good move, my friend.

BRAZILE: That's another sign of desperation, Jeffrey, to try to inject --

LORD: What I'm saying is no fuss was made about it, none.

BERNSTEIN: Let's look at a different element of Trump tonight. He was lethargic and did his usual thing I'm going to build a wall. We're going to do this. We're going to do that. We're this. We're big. We're down. We're up. Nothing substantive. Nothing specific, and the he differentiated himself from the rest of the pack and not for the better in that way.

NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: You're describing --

COOPER: One at a time. Nia, go ahead.

BERNSTEIN: I think tonight we really saw it begin to fade.

HENDERSON: Well, that's what we said, you know, almost every single time.

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: Nia, go ahead.

HENDERSON: I'm not so sure Trump or Carson need these debates. They are kind locked in with their audience. The audience like this. The home-schoolers love Carson.

COOPER: The question of guns came up tonight and Donald Trump talked about that. Let's listen in.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Trump, you've said you have a special permit to carry gun in New York.

TRUMP: Yes. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: After the Oregon mass shooting on October 1st you

said, by the way, it was a gun-free zone. If you had a couple of teachers with guns you would have been a hell of a lot better off.

TRUMP: Or somebody else.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right. Would you feel more comfortable if your employees brought guns to work?

TRUMP: Yes, I might feel more comfortable. I would say that I would and I have a permit which is very unusual in New York, a permit to carry, and I do carry on occasion. Sometimes a lot, but I like to be unpredictable so other people don't know exactly.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you packing right now?

TRUMP: By the way, unlike our country where we're totally predictable, and the enemy, whether it's ISIS or anybody else, they know exactly what we're doing because we have the wrong leadership.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We called a few Trump resorts, few Trump properties that do not allow guns with or without a permit. Would you change those policies?

TRUMP: I would change them.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: It's interesting, David, because, I mean, to Nia's point, does it matter what kind of a debate performance Donald Trump or Ben Carson have? I mean, is there support so solid among those people who they have?

GERGEN: I think there's a big distinction between Carson and Trump. I think it was important that Carson was in the national spotlight tonight. People are looking at him saying he may be the front-runner. He may be the guy who is taking down Donald Trump. I think people are looking at him with fresh scrutiny.

COOPER: How do you think he survive this.

GERGEN: I don't think very well. I mean, I thought it was OK. But it was sort of this vague, it was in the clouds, and, you know, you just -- it's not chief executive, you know, who is going to move a big country.

COOPER: Let's listen to him talk about the economy actually. This is Dr. Carson.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CARSON: Let me just say if you're talking about an $18 trillion economy, you're talking about a 15 percent tax on your gross domestic product. You're talking about $2.7 trillion. We have a budget closer to 3.5 trillion. But if you also apply that same 15 percent to several other things, including corporate taxes and including the capital gains taxes, you make that amount up pretty quickly. So that's not by any stretch pie in the sky.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CUPP: I mean, Ben Carson said it himself tonight. He only started thinking about running for president when people asked him to. It's very clear from a lot of his answers on substantive policy issues, he has not spent a lot of time thinking them out. Whether that's guns, whether it's foreign policy, immigration, gay marriage.

I thought what was really sort of alarming was he could barely answer the question on what he would do to curb pharmaceutical prices. In fact, Chris Christie and Carly Fiorina came in and answered that question a lot better than the only doctor on the stage. So I think Ben Carson for the first time as David said was the front-runner I don't think he stepped in to front-runner status.

[23:30:28] NAVARRO: Until now Ben Carson and Donald Trump have been held to a different scrutiny.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

NAVARRO: Than everybody else. So the question is, if and when is that going to begin to change?

BORGER: You know, I think it's dangerous for Carson because if you look at the "New York Times" poll this week, 60 percent of his support is really soft.

COOPER: Right.

BORGER: His supporters say I could imagine being with somebody else.

CUPP: Yes.

BORGER: So I think he had to impress tonight, and it had the ring of somebody who had studied for the test. And really hadn't internalized what he believes particularly on these economic issues on which he is known to be weak. And so, I don't think he succeeded. I agree with David and I agree with S.E. He didn't succeed on that front and he needed to. Trump's supporters, 55 percent, say they are going to be with him no matter what.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Right.

BORGER: So whether he succeed tonight or not, they still love him.

COOPER: So, one thing to look for in the days ahead in the next polls is how does Carson do and where do, if his support starts to drop, does it go to Cruz? I mean, is the Cruz plan --?

BRAZILE: Yes. I think both Donald Trump and Mr. Carson, they got lost in the shuffle because they don't come to these debates with all of what I call the substance and the sound bites of an ordinary politician. But the voters who are backing them, they are not looking for politicians with sound bites or with sound plans. They are looking for people who they believe carry their values, speak the language that they understand.

But I have a question, Anderson. Fantasy football, during the break, you know, Chris Christie had that moment when he slammed everyone for talking about fantasy football. Apparently this is week eight. I don't have a team.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you going to ask Anderson about fantasy football.

COOPER: Are you looking at me?

BRAZILE: Yes. Because --

NAVARRO: The look of sheer terror in his eyes right now.

COOPER: You had me at fantasy, but football you lost me.

BRAZILE: Let's not get there, babe.

All right. But, you know.

BERNSTEIN: That was best.

BRAZILE: OK.

COOPER: Somebody had to tell me the World Series is going on right now.

BRAZILE: The royals won, 7-1, beat the Mets game two. Fantasy football.

COOPER: We've got to take a quick break, though. We are going to dig deeper on who had the most at stake tonight by the numbers. John King joins us after this break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[23:36:26] COOPER: Welcome back. Tonight's debate featured front- runner with some big-name candidates who have been having tougher time, one of them Mike Huckabee was given the chance to take on Donald Trump and instead he turned his fire on the media. Let's listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Governor Huckabee you've written about the huge divide in values between middle America and the big coastal cities like New York and Los Angeles. As a preacher as well as a politician you know that presidents need the moral authority to bring the entire country together. The leading Republican candidate when you look at average of polls is Donald Trump. When you look at him do you see someone with the moral authority to unite the country?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's unreal.

HUCKABEE: You know, there is few questions I've got the last one I need is to give him some more time. I love Donald Trump. He's a good man. I'm wearing a Trump tie tonight. Get over that one, OK? Now --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is that made in Mexico?

HUCKABEE: I don't know?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is it made in China or Mexico?

HUCKABEE: I have no idea.

TRUMP: Such a nasty -- such a nasty question, but thank you, governor.

HUCKABEE: You're welcome.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Mike Huckabee tonight. And speaking candidates with a lot at stakes, I want to bring John King who has been crunching some of the numbers to say a lot about that subject -- John.

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, a couple of different ways to look at it. And let's just start - I want to skip the national polls and just show the Iowa polls. This gets very confusing because it list all of the candidates.

This is over the last six months. I just want to bring it up for the last, you know, 30 days if you look at it this way. Ben Carson on top. You could say Donald Trump has a lot to lose, and the question, he is second in Iowa right now. His full campaign is predicated on I win. So if these numbers keep dropping it could be a problem. But these are the guys who have a lot to lose and it is so much at stake tonight.

And Jeb Bush is the green down here. He needs to move up whether it's in Iowa or New Hampshire. How long can you stay down here with everybody else, including the guys on the second-tier debate? That's one way to look at it. I wanted to come at it this way because as you watched the candidates' debate tonight, even Republicans, this is from the CBS/"New York Times" poll the other day, 75 percent of Republicans say their party is divided. You saw that in the debate tonight.

It is not just about who should lead the Republican Party, it's about what the party's posture should be on issues and how it should approach its strategy. Seventy-four percent of Republicans say the system is not working because of infighting. This is a very interesting number. Remember, Republicans control the house and the Senate. Seventy percent of Republicans, Republicans, when you add it up, say the Republican Congress gets some of the blame for the dysfunction and the gridlock in Washington. And when you ask them well, what should they do about it? Fifty-six percent say compromise, a bit at least, to get some things done. But 40 percent, just shy of that say stick to your positions. That's why you see John Kasich saying fantasy land. We have to compromise to get things done. And people like Ted Cruz saying no way. And rand Paul saying I'll filibuster the budget deal. There is a great divide in the party over what the party should be about. Never mind over who should lead it. One other way I want to look at this, this is the poll David Axelrod

mentioned a bit earlier. If you're Jeb Bush you're in trouble. This question from the CNBC/"New York Times" poll was not who do you support today? It's if any of these people Carson, Rubio, Fiorina, Trump, Cruz or Bush, if they are the Republican nominee, what would you think? Only 18 percent of Republicans say they would enthusiastically support Jeb Bush, 25 percent say they would not support him, even if he's Republican nominee. Now, they may think differently if he's on the ballot against Hillary Clinton. But that's a pretty damning number at this point in the campaign shows how hard it is for Bush to grow so he can't afford bad debate performances.

Ben Carson, on the other hand, nearly half of Republicans, Anderson, say they would enthusiastically support him if he wins the nomination. Only 13 percent say they would not. So maybe Carson can afford a flat debate because he's viewed as much more likable, more favorably by the Republican Party.

I will just mention one more candidate, Marco Rubio, a lot of people say he could be a sleeper. Other people say that sleeper could be Ted Cruz. Look at them, 30 percent or 26 percent say they could enthusiastically support if they win the nomination. The reason you say they could grow, only 15 percent in Rubio's case say no way, a higher number, 24 percent, in Ted Cruz's case. So like Jeb Bush, Ted Cruz faces the how much more can you grow question. Marco Rubio has more of an upside. We will see if he gets a bounce out of debate tonight.

[23:40:26] COOPER: John, stay with the wall because I know some of our panelists have a question. I also want to bring in David Axelrod because you specifically mentioned him.

David, when you look at numbers that John was showing, what jumps out at you?

AXELROD: Well, first of all, I think one of the reasons why Marco Rubio is getting a lot of chatter among Republicans right now is he is one of the few guys who has a favorable rating among both factions of the Republican Party. He's seen as a guy right now who could unify both factions. And he probably didn't hurt himself in that regard tonight.

One point I want to make about Donald Trump, Gloria mentioned earlier that 55 percent of Trump's supporters said they will stick with him through thick or thin. The problem that's on a 22 percent base in that poll and the real question with Donald Trump has always been, can he stand? Can his makeup stand being number two, number three, and if he starts to slip in these polls will he hang around for that?

I have some doubts about that. He's so, you know, I've never heard anybody revel in his polling more than Donald Trump. If the polling starts turning a little bit sour on him, he's only second or third or fourth, will he hang in there? I have real doubts about that.

COOPER: Yes. I mean, Jeffrey, what do you think? If is it t stops being fun for Donald Trump because clearly he's having the most fun out there and has so all along, not to the downplay his seriousness but I think he is clearly enjoying the process.

LORD: Right. He is clearly enjoying. The one thing that I think is important and we should always remember, Donald Trump or anyone else, what's actually happening, not on the debate stage but on the ground and the organization.

I spoke to somebody who is organizing for Donald Trump in Iowa just a couple of days ago. And he went through chapter and verse with me about the technicals that they are doing to get people to these caucuses. And I think you're seeing that replicated in states like South Carolina and New Hampshire so this counts. And beyond that because I think this will be a long march no matter who emerges here, and I think, you know, they are prepared for that.

NAVARRO: Actually, I think the guy who is having the most fun out there and it's something we haven't talked about at all is Lindsey Graham who was again the clear winner of the undercard debate. And frankly we should have him on the big stage just because he is so darn funny, and America needs to know Republicans can laugh.

COOPER: I want to stick with John King mainly because we rented that magic wall again.

(LAUGHTER)

COOPER: Carl, go ahead.

BERNSTEIN: John, Fiorina and Cruz through this thing tonight, sounded a lot like Bernie Sanders, attacking the rich, the powerful, the well- connected. Their solution, of course, is no government, but they were talking about plutocracy. The Republicans have embraced the notion with those candidates that we now have a plutocracy. Does anything in your figures indicate that element of the debate? Because it's fascinating because we never had the Republicans say we have a plutocracy and we have to do away with it.

KING: Well, you do see, Carl, forgive me for interrupting, you do see more white blue collar workers coming to the Republican Party. That's been the success of the party across the Midwest. And of course Iowa votes first and then you can find some of those voters right there. New Hampshire votes second. Independents can vote in New Hampshire. You do have some blue collar Republicans there.

But to your point about that is when they talk about these economic issues, why they talk that way is impart because they are trying to play to Republican populism. But impart they are trying to play to this fact.

Republicans are more pessimistic about the economy than Americans as the whole. Is the country going in the right direction? All Americans, 26 percent. That is still a pretty sad number. But 26 percent of all Americans say the country is going in the right direction, only 12 percent of Republicans. In fact, 84 percent of Republicans say the country is on the wrong track so they are pessimistic. That's one of the reasons why you try to play to a populism argument. How would you describe economic conditions today, again, that's a sad

number, four percent of all Americans, but only one percent of Republicans say things are very good. Fairly good, 34 to 27. You keep looking at these numbers. Republicans are more pessimistic.

I'll move on to just one more. Is the economy getting better or worse? Republicans are much more pessimistic. I scratched these numbers earlier, let me see if I can get them to come up. There you go, 38 percent of Republicans compared to 30 percent of all Americans say it's getting worse, about the same and treading water.

So part of the play to the populism, Carl, is that Republicans perhaps because we have a Democratic president, remember, they do have 31 governors, they do control the house and Senate. Some Republicans are much more pessimistic about the economy than the electorate as a whole.

COOPER: David?

GERGEN: Yes, John. David Gergen. Let me ask you this question about Jeb Bush. I thought he had the most at stake tonight and he was in a situation where he is, you know, he spent money on advertising in New Hampshire. It didn't seem to work. He had his first debate, wasn't good. His supporters looked to him for a second debate and that didn't turn out very well. Now, he is at a third debate, hasn't turned out the way they had hoped.

Where does he go from here? How does a Jeb Bush now get into this fight and give his supporters the kind of spirit and inspiration they need?

[23:45:10] KING: Well, it's funny, David, that he describes himself as the John McCain in this race. He says he's going to scratch it out and work it out the old-fashioned way which you led in New Hampshire. Remember, John McCain beat his brother in New Hampshire in 2000. George W. Bush won Iowa and then John McCain stunned them in New Hampshire. So it is kind of interesting that he wants to be McCain.

Now Bush, if you will, let's just go back and look at the numbers. This is six months ago in the national polls, Jeb Bush was at 15 percent. He was, at that time the quote-unquote "front-runner." Didn't have a clear front-runner, but he was the favorite you would have to say. But then to the point you were making earlier about Donald Trump and can he sustain losing or flat-lining, this is Donald Trump.

Now, since Donald Trump got in the race, he's the blue line and plateaued a little bit here. These are the national polls. Since Trump got in, a lot of lines here but Jeb Bush is the green line. That one is easier to find. It goes flat and then it goes down and he's down here now with a clump of candidates. This is over the last six months. It's a little easier to see, I clear that up, this is over the last 30 days, Trump and Carson up top and Jeb Bush down here. That's nationally.

So you look for -- is it in Iowa? No, Jeb Bush is down here and is it where he's going to fight in New Hampshire? Well, if he's going to fight and the comeback in New Hampshire, he's going to do it from just shy of 10 percent in the polls right now. So got a lot to prove then.

COOPER: There is a lot more. We got to the take a quick break. Gary Tuchman watched the debate from possibly the most Republican county in the most Republican state. We will check in with him. And hopefully more with John King ahead. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[23:50:43] COOPER: Welcome back. We've talked a lot about how much was at stake for Jeb Bush tonight. A short time ago, Dana Bash and only Dana Bash caught up with him. Here's her exclusive interview.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BASH: Governor, thanks so much for doing this.

JEB BUSH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You bet.

BASH: You know, I'm not sure if you've seen the buzz online. But there was a lot of buzz that the moment you went after Marco Rubio turned out to be a moment for Marco Rubio and not you.

BUSH: We'll see. I mean, the simple fact is he has worst attendance record in the U.S. Senate, plain and simple. He now has an unprecedented editorial of a major newspaper saying he should resign and continue his campaign. If he's not going to resign he should show up and vote. And I just believe that's the way we should be doing this. He got elect. I supported him. A lot of other people did to serve the people of the state of Florida.

When I was governor, I had a countdown clock. I worked each and every day until the last minute serving the people that I cared for and loved. I know Marco loves the people in Florida and he should be able to show up and work. Go to committee hearings. Fight for the military families that are worried about whether there's going to be a budget or not and not consider this something that's not fun anymore and he just doesn't have to do it.

BASH: Now, when he responded to that, part of what he said was that, you know, you're probably saying things because somebody told you to say so politically.

BUSH: No, no.

BASH: You didn't get a chance to say in the debate so respond now.

BUSH: Look, his record of attendance was low prior to his announcement of his campaign. And I just think that's wrong. I think you have to have a servant's heart when you're in these positions of responsibility. And to say it's not fun anymore or it is not enjoyable anymore, you know, tough luck. A lot of people are working very hard with paycheck to paycheck. Sometimes they don't think their jobs are going great either. But they roll up their sleeves each and every day and they continue to work even if it's not the best job that they have.

I just frankly think people should resign to run for another office which is what the law was in Florida or they ought to have a deduction in their pay.

BASH: But it is one thing for you to think that, and it's another thing for you to say it publicly like you did tonight. I think that that was the argument that Rubio is making that it's just, you know, politically motivated because, you know, this has to be a moment for you to break out.

BUSH: I'm going to break out by campaigning hard in New Hampshire, in Iowa, in South Carolina where we have the best ground game, and I'm going to go there tonight. Tomorrow morning, I'm heading off to New Hampshire. I'm going to win this the old-fashioned way, the way that party nominees always win it.

BASH: Your friend and mine Ana Navarro just said on our air that she's feeling glum tonight because of the performance that you had, and the performance --

BUSH: I'm running for the president of the United States. I'm running with heart. I'm not a performer. If they are looking for an entertainer in chief, I'm probably not the guy. But if they are looking for someone who has a proven record of results, 32 years in the business sector and eight years in the most reform-oriented conservative probably in the last 30 years in the country, I'm their guy.

BASH: You seem quite frustrated.

BUSH: Nope, not frustrated.

BASH: No?

BUSH: No. I wish I had gotten questions on, you know, got to answer questions on things that are on the mind of people, you know, entitlement challenges, the debt. I got fantasy football.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Jeb Bush talking about his debate performance tonight.

Gary Tuchman is in possibly the most Republican county in the most Republican state, Rich County, Utah where he watched the debate with nine GOP voters.

What did the people there think?

GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, we're in a cabin in the picturesque bear lake in northern Utah with a very loyal and proud group of Republicans, nine of them. And they all tell us they got a lot out of this debate and I'm going to tell you why.

Five of them told us they were strong supporters of Ben Carson, raise your hands, the five of you. Raise your hands high. Now, how many of you are still strong supporters of Ben Carson? So

two of you. And what happened? We're going to find out.

This is the mayor of Garden City which is the biggest city here in Rich County. Rich County, the highest percentage vote for Mitt Romney in 2012 of all the counties in Utah. Utah is one of the top states every year in presidential elections for Republicans. That's why we picked this group.

Come here, John, you favored Ben Carson when you came in here. What happened during the debate?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I still think Ben is a great guy and I think he's a principled individual. But I didn't think he was as strong on the issues. I think this particular debate was more focused on economic things.

TUCHMAN: So who were the strongest to you?

[23:55:02] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I thought Carly was absolutely fantastic. I thought that Ted Cruz was excellent as well.

TUCHMAN: So you're not saying at this point you're definitely voting for Ben Carson your mind is open now.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's correct. I'm definitely rethinking that and I think Carly had an excellent command of the issues.

TUCHMAN: OK. Two of the people here did not support Ben Carson. We have two people, these two ladies were leaning towards Ben Carson but this gentleman right here, this (INAUDIBLE) favored John Kasich. How do you feel about John Kasich's performance?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thought he did very well.

TUCHMAN: So you're still supporting him?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I am.

TUCHMAN: OK. And the man in the back there, this is Chuck Stockton and he is a supporter of Rand Paul. Do you still support him as strongly?

CHUCK STOCKTON, REPUBLICAN SUPPORTER: Yes, I do. I just wish he had more time to talk about the issues.

TUCHMAN: One more interesting comment we wanted to get here and this is from Drusy Wadsworth. Now Drusy was leaning towards Ben Carson. You feel though he didn't do that well in this debate. Who do you think did the best?

DRUSY WADSWORTH, REPUBLICAN SUPPORTER: Carly.

TUCHMAN: Carly Fiorina?

WADSWORTH: Yes. TUCHMAN: But you also told me that you were impressed with a man who

you weren't impress with before the debate and that's Donald Trump.

WADSWORTH: That's Donald Trump.

TUCHMAN: Why did you like Donald Trump during the debate?

WADSWORTH: You know what, he's likable. He's personable, even though he's cocky and arrogant, he's still personable and I think he can relate to a lot of people.

TUCHMAN: So are you considering him now for president?

WADSWORTH: I would think about it, yes.

TUCHMAN: So you don't think he's humble though?

WADSWORTH: No, no, not even close.

TUCHMAN: But you didn't really like him before you came here?

WADSWORTH: No, no, he was not even a maybe.

TUCHMAN: All right. What I'm going to ask you before we say good- bye, are all of you looking forward to the next debate.

CROWD: Yes, absolutely.

TUCHMAN: So you did get something out of this one.

CROWD: Yes.

TUCHMAN: All right. Well, in our world we like to hear that you like to watch debates.

Anderson, back to you.

COOPER: Gary, thanks very much. Please thanks them for letting us in their home.

NAVARRO: Are we all looking forward the next debate?

COOPER: Yes, I want to get quick final thoughts from our panel starting with you, David.

GERGEN: Anderson, we don't know how this is -- what impact this is going to have. We don't know what the audience size was up against the World Series. But if it did have a good audience, I think it could hit the reset button in the campaign, it could shuffle the deck in terms of the candidates and where they were standing.

COOPER: Nia?

HENDERSON: Yes. I think for Rubio, especially, I think one of the questions going forward is how does he do in that invisible primary in terms of endorsements and also money? He didn't so well the last quarter in terms of he's behind in endorsements. He has about eight, Jeb Bush has 24. So that is going to be a metric to look forward to see if Marco Rubio could capitalize on what was a big night for him.

COOPER: Interesting. Carl?

BERNSTEIN: Bush understands the issues but he can't articulate them and he's petulant and petulant doesn't work. I though the most impressive answer that Rubio gave is when he brought up vocational education. It shows that he is really deep, he is deep into what is going on policy-wise.

Kasich is the same thing, really understands the issues, but he can't get his message across in this debate format effectively enough I think to capture the imagination of voters because he is really substantive in a way that's presidential.

COOPER: Interesting. S.E.?

CUPP: I agree. Marco Rubio had a great night. I thought Carly also had another great debate performance. We'll see where she goes with it after this. I thought John Kasich, we saw a different John Kasich than we've seen before and I think that will benefit him. But more than that, I thought it was a great night for the party. I think the party looked substantive. They looked real. They looked issues- oriented. They looked like they were finally uniting around the real opponent which is the Democrat and Hillary Clinton. I thought it was a really excellent showing from most of the candidates.

COOPER: Jeffrey Lord?

LORD: I thought they all did very well. But it does seem to strike me repeated that whether tit's Donald Trump, Ben Carson, Ted Cruz and to some degree Marco Rubio and certainly Carly Fiorina, that what you have just overwhelmingly is this sentiment for the quote-unquote "outsiders" versus --

COOPER: And that still holds true.

LORD: And that still holds true, exactly.

COOPER: Interesting. Ana?

NAVARRO: Marco Rubio has had consistently good debates. He is a good debater. Ted Cruz had a very good night. I think it is co-incidence that both of them are senators and all they do is debate. They debate for a living, when they show up. I think Kasich had a good night as well. He had an off night at the CNN debate. Tonight he was back. I think we're not going to see anything change. There's an undercard debate also in the next debate which is in 12 days, November 10th. We're going to see this same cast. We may see some of the folks who are on this main stage going to the undercard debate.

COOPER: Donna?

BRAZILE: So look. Jeb Bush offered to give any Democrat $10 - no, he offered to give Democrats a warm kiss if they could prove that they could cut spending by $10. I just want to let President Obama know that he's getting a warm kiss because he's cut the deficit. We've had 13 consecutive - 13 million new jobs created. That's a lot to kids.

COOPER: All right. I want to thank all our panelist. Thank you very much. And thank you very much for watching in home.

NAVARRO: Did they say --?

COOPER: My Lord. It is getting late. That does it for us. "CNN TONIGHT" with Don Lemon starts now.

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

DON LEMON, CNN HOST, CNN TONIGHT: All right, thank you, Anderson. Everyone in Washington, D.C. This is "CNN TONIGHT." I'm Don Lemon.