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New Poll Numbers on Republican Presidential Candidates; Sanders Gaining on Clinton in New Poll; Chelsea Clinton Takes Heat for Sanders Obamacare Remarks; Nikki Haley Goes After Trump in SOTU Response; Rep. Patrick McHenry Talks Presidential Race, Iran; National Guard Headed to Flint, Michigan. Aired 11:30a-12p ET

Aired January 13, 2016 - 11:30   ET


[11:30:00] ANA NAVARRO, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: That being said, I think Ted Cruz is running a very complete campaign. He's checking off all the boxes, has got the money. Good debate performances, on- the-ground troops, evangelical support, right-wing media support. I don't like the guy, but the guy's running an impressive campaign.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Well, it is interesting because he has begun -- even though he says he isn't going to respond to Donald Trump for going on the attack, he sort of has begun. He's been on the radio now, you know, Donald Trump mentions that Ted Cruz was born in Canada. Now Ted Cruz is saying Donald Trump, you know, even worse than Canada, New York. Let's listen to this sound clip.


SEN. TED CRUZ, (R), TEXAS & PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think he may shift in his new rallies to play on New York, New York. Because Donald comes from New York and he embodies New York values.


BERMAN: He embodies New York values. My word, Jeffrey. What are New York values?

JEFFREY LORD, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I must say, from personal experience -- I love Senator Cruz, but I am a little perplexed and disappointed at this. My 96-year-old mother in the other room is from New York and has plenty of New York values, and they are pretty good, I think, and so are those of my entire extended family who all come from New York.

BOLDUAN: But, Jeffrey, what is Ted Cruz trying to suggest there?

LORD: I'm sorry?

BOLDUAN: What is Ted Cruz trying to suggest there, then?

LORD: Well, I guess, you know, New Yorkers are wild and crazy guys. And ladies. I really don't know. But from my personal experience, they seem to be pretty God-fearing, hardworking Americans.

BERMAN: But they're different than -- (CROSSTALK)

NAVARRO: What he's trying to suggest is very simple.


NAVARRO: He's trying to suggest is New Yorkers -- New Yorkers are not like Iowans. You know, what he's saying is Donald Trump is a liberal New Yorker who's now trying to pretend to be a conservative who shares your social values. Hey, folks from Iowa, don't be fooled. This guy is a New Yorker.

Look, I was born in Nicaragua. You live in Miami. I don't know anything about New York values, but it seems to me they can be very different from those of the people in Iowa.

BOLDUAN: You fight like a New Yorker, though, Ana, I'll tell that you much.


BERMAN: Quickly, one-word answer from each of you. Who needs to do the most? Who needs to do the most in tomorrow night's debate?

Jeffrey, you first.

LORD: Actually, I think it's probably Marco Rubio. I think Donald Trump and Ted Cruz have now established themselves as the sort of alternating one, two here. So it's got to be somebody else that's got to break through.

BOLDUAN: Ana, what do you think?

NAVARRO: To me, the real race right now is for who comes out on top in the establishment lane in New Hampshire. I think it's a battle between Kasich, Jeb and Christie. And I think you're going to see a lot of cross fire between them. Marco and Ted Cruz, we've seen that already, and both of them are excellent debaters.

BERMAN: Ana Navarro, Jeffrey Lord, thanks so much. Appreciate it.

BOLDUAN: Thanks, guys.

LORD: Thanks.

BOLDUAN: A quick programming note for all of you. Donald Trump will be on "Erin Burnett OutFront" tonight, that's 7:00 eastern right here on CNN.

BERMAN: And they'll play that music.

BOLDUAN: There you go. You will get that music as well.

Still ahead for us, Chelsea Clinton in her first week on the campaign trail already taking some heat for her comments she made about Bernie Sanders. This, as her mother's lead nationally is slipping. BERMAN: Plus, did President Obama channel his inner coach during the

State of the Union? Yes, he made a vague "Friday Night Lights" reference there.


UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: In the midst of that battle --



[11:37:35] BERMAN: All right. New this morning, objects in the mirror are wicked close! Bernie Sanders now just five points back of Hillary Clinton in a new national poll from CBS and "The New York Times." It's now 48-41. I did the math wrong. It's actually a seven-point difference right there. Just one month ago, Clinton enjoyed a 20 percent advantage nationally.

BOLDUAN: The big gains for Bernie Sanders fueled largely by younger voters now swinging his direction from last month's poll.

CNN's political director, David Chalian, is joining us now to discuss.

So, David, as John said, she is slipping. She led by 20 points a month ago in that very same poll. What has happened in these intervening days?

DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Well, I think what's happened here is "A," there is a natural tightening of these things. There's no doubt about that. But remember, the polls in November and December that showed Hillary Clinton's wide lead -- her lead widening came off of a really great October. Remember, she had that Benghazi testimony. She had the debate. Joe Biden didn't get in the race, and a lot of his support went to her. And so she jumped out way ahead from a really good October. And now I think the race is sort of reverting to where it actually probably naturally is, which is a really close contest in Iowa. Bernie Sanders with a pretty significant lead in New Hampshire. And nationally, Hillary Clinton, you know, a bit ahead but clearly, a competitive race. And I think that's, you know, what the polls are reflecting now.

BERMAN: You know, it's interesting. You can see Hillary Clinton and the Clinton campaign beginning to respond to this. Hillary Clinton talking about Bernie Sanders a lot more on the trail.

And her surrogates talking about Bernie Sanders a lot more on the trail, with varying degrees, I think, of accuracy. This is Chelsea Clinton talking about Bernie Sanders. Watch.


CHELSEA CLINTON, DAUGHTER OF BILL AND HILLARY CLINTON: I never thought that we would be arguing about the Affordable Care Act or Obamacare in the Democratic primary. Senator Sanders wants to dismantle Obamacare, dismantle the CHIP program, dismantle Medicare, dismantle private insurance.


BERMAN: That's a lot of dismantling that I'm not sure Bernie Sanders actually wants to do, David. And in a way, Hillary Clinton sort of walked it back this morning on "Good Morning, America." What do you think's going on here?

[11:39:51] CHALIAN: Right. He may want to dismantle those things because he wants to construct a single-payer system, Medicare for all, where all of the goals of those programs that Chelsea Clinton was just speaking about would be achieved in a Bernie Sanders vision of what he wants health care to look like. Here's Hillary Clinton, her point now and her campaign's point, which is that they're trying desperately now to move this conversation from grandiose ideas to brass tacks specifics. She says it's time for generalizations to end and specifics to take place, which is why she is hitting him on his record on guns, his proposals for health care. She is really starting to tick off a list of things that she thinks sort of Bernie Sanders now needs to put up and put some red meat around his policies. Such as, John, the Clinton campaign is so focused -- Bernie Sanders has promised to release his plan of how he's going to pay for all of his proposals by the caucuses on February 1st. Well, Hillary Clinton just said to Alisyn Camerota in that interview yesterday, hey, you've got to put it out not just on the eve of the caucuses but enough time for people to look at it and analyze it, really drawing to draw Bernie Sanders out.

BOLDUAN: Where's the beef, maybe?


David, great to see you. Thanks so much.


Ahead for us, talk about politics, folks. On the other side, Nikki Haley, she's taking heat for laying some blame on her own party. The governor, after she took a jab at Donald Trump over his rhetoric. Moments ago, she defended herself on CNN. We'll discuss.

BERMAN: And our breaking news, this video of Iran detaining 10 American sailors. Our Barbara Starr says Pentagon -- all eyes at the Pentagon right now looking at this video with a certain degree of concern. A Republican lawmaker reacts next.



[11:45:57] UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: This game is not over. This battle is not over. So let's hear it one more time, together. Clear eyes, full hearts. Let's go!




BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: That's the American I know. That's the country we love. Clear-eyed, big-hearted, undaunted by challenge. Optimistic that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word.


BOLDUAN: President Obama may have had somewhat of a "Friday Night Lights-esque" moment during his State of the Union speech last night. But going from the president's address to the Republican response, Nikki Haley, a rising star, future running mate or enemy of the Republican right? Right now, the South Carolina governor used the opportunity in her response last night to speak out understandably from her perspective against the president, calling him divisive and also criticized Republicans and Democrats for not working together.

BERMAN: Yeah. It had a lot of people talking, though, a lot of people talking are when she really seemed to directly reference Donald Trump without actually naming names. Listen.


NIKKI HALEY, (R), SOUTH CAROLINA GOVERNOR: During anxious times, it can be tempting to follow the siren call of the angriest voices. We must resist that temptation. No one who is willing to work hard, abide by our laws, and love our traditions should ever feel unwelcome in this country.


BERMAN: I want to bring in Republican Congressman Patrick McHenry, from North Carolina, deputy whip in the House of Representatives.

Thank you, Congressman, so much for being with us.


BERMAN: Nikki Haley said there were a lot of angry tweets immediately from conservatives. And Trump supporters saying hey, you're saying bad things about Donald Trump? What do you make of it?

MCHENRY: We've got a lot of angry voices on the left and the right in this country. And it's the economic reality that most Americans are facing. Wages are stagnant. You haven't seen them rise in this president's time in office. We have people very frustrated on both the left and the right. And I think what Nikki Haley spoke to was attempting to speak to people's hearts, not just their guts. And I think that's an important thing to raise the level of discourse, the type of discourse we have in America today. And I think it's an important thing.

BOLDUAN: When people say she shouldn't have been weighing into politics so directly and obviously suggesting Donald Trump was the problem in terms of his rhetoric, you think that's OK?

MCHENRY: Well, that's not what she said. She said we shouldn't take the siren call of the angriest voices. And then answered it --


BOLDUAN: So you don't think she was talking about Donald Trump?

MCHENRY: No I think she was talking about the politics in America today. People think that just being angry is enough, and that's both not just on the right, in my party, but on the left as well. That's what Bernie Sanders is speaking to. Why isn't this interview about not Donald Trump but Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump and --


BOLDUAN: Because she's taken a lot of heat from the right on this. And this morning on CNN, she was talking about Donald Trump and other candidates and how they respond.

MCHENRY: Yeah, but it's both the left and the right, is my point here. I don't have a problem with an optimistic vision here. With somebody saying let's not simply react to anger. Let's actually try to channel that into positive outcomes and raise the type of discourse. What I heard from the president last night is he spent the final 25 percent of his speech saying that he was, you know, one of his regrets was that he couldn't, you know, bridge the partisan divide in Washington.


MCHENRY: Well, the first three-quarters of his speech was paying Republicans. So he's part of the problem here in terms of his discourse. And that goes to all of us, all right, all of us in public life. And we are responsible for how we talk, how we speak to our constituents, how we speak to the politics in America, and whether or not we're going to answer with an optimistic vision, optimistic agenda on how to tackle some of these societal challenges that are making people angry.

[11:50:14] BERMAN: And obviously, if Republicans do that, Congressman, you will grow the party. Growing the Republican Party, the Republican brand has been something of interest in Republican leadership for some time right now. Donald Trump says he's doing exactly that. He says, "My whole campaign has been focused on expanding the number of people who want to and will participate in this election cycle." That's in an op-ed in "USA Today" this morning. Do you think he's growing your party?

MCHENRY: Well, look, you know, every candidate can do that in their own way. I think Rand Paul and Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio are speaking to that. And I think on the left, that's what Bernie Sanders is trying to do, to expand the politics on the left to the further left. And so, look. Everybody has to do that in their own way. And I hope that our Republican nominee for president expands the electorate and is in the business of addition rather than subtraction. That's my hope.

BOLDUAN: Congressman, I do want to ask you, since it's really happening really as we've been speaking, this morning, the situation with the 10 sailors taken into custody in Iran, they were released overnight. Secretary Kerry says that it is a testament to diplomacy. To diplomacy, and he called it a diplomatic victory and how it played out and really no more of an incident that what occurred and then the video was released as we are seeing, the viewers are seeing right here as this was playing out, and a astonishing video, and I want odd get your take and your response and reaction to this entire situation.

MCHENRY: Well, it is horrible. This is not what friendly nations do, especially if this was about a mechanical failure. You don't detain a friendly neighbor or friendly nation's armed forces, and detain them overnight when you have friendly relations. This is --


BERMAN: Well, Congressman, nobody is suggesting that U.S. and Iran are friends just because they have a nuclear agreement here. Do you believe that the United States and Iran are allies now?

MCHENRY: No, it goes to the bellicose nature of the Iranian regime when they are releasing this video, and clearly attempting to hold hostage and make international news based off of the mechanical failure, and this is showing the bellicose nature of the regime. This is the reason that I opposed the Iranian nuclear agreement as well, because I think it is a great failure to attempt to sit down with folks that will take actions like what we see in this video.

BERMAN: The secretary of state said that though, without the deal, without the negotiations of the deals that exist, three or four years ago these sailors never would have been released within 24 hours?

MCHENRY: And so when did this happen before? And give me an example where they --


BERMAN: The British, in 2007, and they were held for 13 days.

BOLDUAN: Two weeks.

MCHENRY: Right, right, and the British, and so -- but for us, and we have been in the gulf, as we all well know, significantly with the significant presence for a long period of time. So I am talking about our nation. So, look, look, the video is very chilling thing to see this. And it is very different than the rhetoric of our State Department to say that this is a simple peaceful act.

BOLDUAN: Congressman Patrick McHenry, great to have you on. Congressman, thank you for coming on.

MCHENRY: Thanks, Kate.

BOLDUAN: OK. Coming up for us, the National Guard is called to help toxins from preventing more people. But is this too little too late for children already exposed to tainted tap water there.

BERMAN: And breaking news involving your Powerball ticket. Here's what happens if no one hits the jackpot tonight.


BERMAN: You are going to win?



[11:58:11] BERMAN: The National Guard is headed to Flint, Michigan, to help with the tainted water crisis there that began over a year ago. Thousands of people have been told to not drink the water, not touch the water coming from the taps after tests showed elevated levels of toxic led.

BERMAN: The guard is helping with relief efforts there as they go door to door to hand out bottled water and filters. And it is a daunting task when you need water for cooking and bathing and teeth brushing.


BERMAN: The things of every day life.

CNN's Ryan Young is covering the story for us.

Ryan, what is the latest?

RYAN YOUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Guys, people are angry about this. When you think about this, you wake up every morning, you use water for something, brush your teeth, wash your face or take a bath, and this is even hard to find, bottled water, because so many people looking for it. And they feel that they have been lied to for more than a year now that the contaminated water the fact that it smells, and it is brown. And this all happened after the state took over Flint, Michigan's, finances. They switched the Detroit water system to the Flint River. That water is so corrosive it corroded it started melting away the lead pipes and that led to all this lead coming into the households. And doctors say it is a fact that it must be stopped.


DR. MONA HANNA-ATTISHA, HURLEY CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL: It is a well known potent toxin, and there is evidence of what lead does to a child, and it is a most damning thing, because it drops the I.Q., and affects to behavior and linked to criminality, and there is no such thing as a safe level of lead in a child.

(END VIDEO CLIP) YOUNG: And FEMA and the National Guard are bringing more water into the area, and obviously, citizens there are still upset with the government there in Michigan.

BERMAN: Understandably.

Thank you, Ryan Young.

Thank you all for joining us AT THIS HOUR.

BOLDUAN: "Legal View" with Ashleigh Banfield starts right now.