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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES

Sarah Palin Endorses Donald Trump; Governor of Iowa Denouncing Ted Cruz; New Poll: Sanders Surging in New Hampshire; Doctor Sanjay Gupta Honors His Mentor; "The Person Who Changed My Life" Airs Sunday Night. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired January 19, 2016 - 20:00   ET

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


[20:00:11] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Good evening. Thanks very much for joining us tonight.

Less than two weeks until the Iowa caucuses and nearly eight years since first making mark on the national stage. Sarah Palin is back and standing with Donald Trump.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SARAH PALIN, FMR. GOVERNOR OF ALASKA: God bless you. God bless the United States of America and our next president of the United States, Donald J. Trump.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Endorsement came at a rally late today in Ames, Iowa. The two will campaign together tomorrow. There are a lot of superlatives to describe what we saw on stage. Less than an hour ago, the superlative you choose to describe the scene will probably dotted by your political leaning. So, all we can do is offer some of the highlights and say to you, enjoy.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

PALIN: When ask why I would jump in into a primary, you kind of stir it up maybe and choose one over some friends who are running and I have endorsed a couple of others in their races before they decided to run for president. I was told, you know, warned left and right, you are going to get so clobbered in the press. You are just going to get beat up, and chewed up, and spit up. And, you know, I'm thinking, and? Yes? You know what, you guys haven't tried to do that every day since that night in 2008. When I was on stage nominated for VP and I got to say, yes, I'll go. Send me. You bet you. I'll serve.

We are ready for a change. We are ready and our troops deserve the best. A new commander in chief whose track record of success has proven he is the master at the art of the deal. He is one who would know to negotiate. Only one candidate's record of success proves he is the master of the art of the deal. He is beholden to no one, but we the people. How refreshing. He is perfectly positioned to let you make America great again.

Are you ready for that, Iowa? No more pussy-footing around. Our troops deserve the best. You deserve the best.

He is from the private sector. Not a politician. Can I get a hallelujah? For the GOP establishment to be coming after Donald Trump's supporters even, with accusations that are so false, they are so busted the way that this thing works. We view a diverse dynamic needed support base that they would attack. And now some of them even whispering they are ready to throw in for Hillary over Trump because they can't afford to see the status quo go. Otherwise, they won't be able to be slurping off the gravy train that's been feeding them all these years. They don't want that to end!

Well, and then, funny - ha, ha. Not funny. But now, what they're doing is wailing, well, Trump and his Trumpeters, well, they're not conservative enough. My goodness gracious. What the heck would the establishment know about conservatism? Yes, our leader, a little bit different. He is a multibillionaire. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

But it's amazing. He is not elitist at all. I just hope you all get to know him more and more as a person and a family man and what he has been able to accomplish with his -- kind of this quiet generosity. Yes, maybe, he is more just kind of, I don't know, some would say gets in the way of that quiet generosity and his compassion. But if you know him as a person and you will get to know him more and more. You will have even more respect. Not just for his record of success and good intentions for America. But who he is as a person.

He is not an elitist. He builds big things, things that touch the sky, big infrastructure that puts other people to work. He has spent his life looking up and respecting the hard hats and the steel toed boots and the work ethic that you all have within you. He, being an optimist, passionate about equal opportunity to work. The self-made success of his, you know that he doesn't get his power, his high off of opium, other people's money, like a lot of dopes in Washington do. They're addicted to opium, where they take other people's money. And then their high is getting to redistribute it, right? And then they get to be really popular people, when they get to give out your hard money. Well, he doesn't do that. I want you to try to picture this. It's a nice thing to picture. Exactly one year from tomorrow, former President Barack Obama -

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

[20:05:16] PALIN: He packs up the teleprompters and the selfie sticks and the Greek columns and all that hopy-changy (ph) stuff he and heads back to Chicago. Where I'm sure he can find some community there to organize again.

There, he can finally look up. President Obama will be able to look up. And there, over his head, he will be able to see that shining, towering Trump tower. Yes, Barack, he built that. And that says a lot.

Iowa, you say a lot, being here tonight, supporting the right man who will allow you to make America great again.

God bless you! God bless the United States of America and our next president of the United States, Donald J. Trump.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: What's interesting, that wasn't the only potential boost for Trump supporters today. Iowa governor Terry Branstad called on fellow Republicans to defeat Ted Cruz on caucus day. No endorsement for any other candidate. More like a loud anti-endorsement for Cruz. A call from the state best-known Republican, America's long-serving governor to pick anyone but Cruz. Some are calling it a rough day for the senator from Texas.

We begin, though, with the real estate developer from New York. Joining us with some quick thoughts is chief national correspondent John King, chief political analyst Gloria Borger and CNN political director David Chalian.

So John, I mean, the big question, obviously, how much impact does Sarah Palin's endorsement have in Iowa and elsewhere?

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: We don't know exactly much, Anderson. And in this un-orthodox, a political year where a guy is not ideological like Donald Trump is the national Republican front- runner, I don't want to overstate the value of any particular endorsement, even that of Sarah Palin.

But Donald Trump is under attack right now from where? Ted Cruz says he is not a conservative. Sarah Palin, someone who has a great relationship with the conservative base says, of course he is a conservative. The establishment is attacking Donald Trump saying he is not a Republican. Sarah Palin, who is the vice presidential nominee for the Republican Party and governor of Alaska says of course he's a Republican.

And I think most importantly, what does Donald Trump do what no other candidate can do? Dominates the media, on television, on the internet and social media. And who else in America, if you're thinking about a big political figure that can do that? Sarah Palin. In a crowded race if you can take up so much oxygen, trust me, that helps.

COOPER: And Gloria, I mean, it's not just an endorsement. Sarah Palin has agreed to campaign with Donald Trump in the coming days which signals much more active support.

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes. She is going to be there to mobilize the Republican base, to energize conservatives and evangelical voters who have had questions about Donald Trump, particularly ones raised by Ted Cruz and others. And so I think what she does is she commands the vast audiences. She mobilizes the voters and she's another celebrity. So, you have a star and another star.

COOPER: David, I mean, Sarah Palin didn't throw a direct jabs at Ted Cruz. She kind of gave a shout out to Rand Paul. How much do you read into the fact that she didn't even mention Cruz directly? Because obviously, Palin/Cruz had been allies up until now. She endorsed him and he credits her with helping him win the Senate. DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: That's right. And there's no

doubt that she was a big help to him. In fact, I think he was trying to sort of preempt any attacks coming his way when he tweeted out earlier when there was speculation that she was going to endorse Trump tonight saying no matter what she decides in 2016, you know, he still has great respect for Sarah Palin.

She's not going to throw -- she is not going to be sort of the Donald Trump attack dog, I don't think, and throw attacks towards Ted Cruz. I just think she is an enormous momentum halt at the moment for Ted Cruz. Just as talk radio conservatives were starting to get a little itchy about Donald Trump and his attacks against Cruz. She sort of is just able to jump in and halt all of that for a moment.

Now, Cruz isn't going to concede the ground, obviously. And he is going to fight like heck and get back on his message and taking his attacks to Donald Trump. But my God, Sarah Palin is going to be a great validator in these final 13 days before the caucuses for Donald Trump.

COOPER: I also want to look at what's in this for her, doing this right now. But everybody stay right there. We'll take a quick break. We are going to talk more after the break.

And also talk about the long political romance that led up to this moment and shared responsibility Trump and Palin, at least, seem to have.

Later, there's new polling that shows a truly striking lead for Bernie Sanders in New Hampshire. Hillary Clinton says she is ready for a long, tough campaign. We will look at whether the numbers in New Hampshire and elsewhere are now pointing to that direction and what each candidate has to do to have to win.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[20:13:35] COOPER: Before we talk more with our panel about tonight's breaking news and the impact of it, I just want to play you another moments in the event Sarah Palin endorsing Donald Trump amplifying the message that he is pointing us in.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PALIN: He knows that main thing. And he knows how to lead the charge. So troops, hang in there because help is on way because he, better than anyone -- isn't he known for being able to command fire. Are you ready for a commander in-chief who will let our warriors do their job and go kick ISIS' ass?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: And clearly, the ex-candidate and the current candidate share a tone in a political sensibility. And as Randi Kaye reports, some of the signs were pointing to see nearly eight years ago.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The political romance between Donald Trump and Sarah Palin began during the campaign of 2008.

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: She has made a tremendous impact. The impact that she has had on rejuvenating almost the Republican Party, it has been unbelievable.

KAYE: Palin needed that vote of confidence, coming less than three weeks after her announcement, as McCain's VP. She was already facing tough questions about her experience.

PALIN: You know, I'm the new --

KAYE: Questions that would hit critical mass a week after Trump's praise of Palin during this now infamous interview with Katie Couric.

KATIE COURIC, JOURNALIST: What newspapers and magazines did you regularly read before you were tapped for this, to stay informed and --

[20:15:08] PALIN: I read most of them, again, with a great appreciation for the press for the media.

COURIC: But what specifically, I'm curious?

PALIN: All of them.

KAYE: Palin did not go on to become vice president and resigned as governor of Alaska in 2009. She became a full-time pundit and released two books.

Then in 2011, at the height of Trump's so-called birther campaign against President Obama, the two had a highly publicized pizza date while Palin flirted with her own run for president.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How about a Trump/Palin ticket?

PALIN: That's sounds good.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I got time for you, Donald.

TRUMP: Sounds very good.

KAYE: Palin, in turn, had Trump's back on the birther issue.

PALIN: I respect what he's doing and putting his money where his mouth is. He is actually investigating his speculation there on Obama's birth certificate.

KAYE: Fast forward to June 2015. Donald Trump announces he is running for president and says this.

TRUMP: They are bringing drugs. They are bringing crime. They're rapists. And some, I assume, are good people. KAYE: It ignited a firestorm. Palin defended him on Facebook writing

Mr. Trump should know he is doing something right when mouth intense go ballistic in the press. In July, Trump got another taste of presidential campaign backlash for saying this about Senator John McCain.

TRUMP: He was a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren't captured. That's I hate to tell you.

KAYE: Many wondered if it would be the beginning of the end to Trump's meteoric rise. Palin called both men heroes in an email to CNN writing Sen. McCain dedicated his life serving our country, putting it all on the line to defend freedom is heroic. And Donald Trump is a hero in another arena.

In December, another Trump firestorm.

TRUMP: Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering our United States until our country's representatives can figure out what the hell is going on.

KAYE: And another defense by Palin.

PALIN: He's talking about a temporary ban because we do have a very screwed-up system that is resulting in the bad guys coming on over.

KAYE: And today, the political love affair continues. It's anybody's guess just how far it will go.

Randi Kaye, CNN, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Well, the Trump campaign got a reminder late today that Sarah Palin also brings her share of complications to the table. Her son, Trapp arrested Monday in the spring of charges, domestic violence, assault of female, inferring with domestic violence report and possessing a weapon while intoxicated. He is being held without bail until arraignment.

Back now with panel, John King, Gloria Borger and David Chalian.

So John, when you hear Ted Cruz say he still a huge fan of Sarah Palin. He owes a lot to her, which obviously he does. I mean, he's trying to take the high road, I guess, what else is he is going to say but still this endorsement has to hurt. He has got at least frustrated.

KING: Sure, it stings. Again, what are we talking about tonight, right? When you have 12 candidates in the race, even if one of them, Ted Cruz, is in the dead heat with Donald Trump in Iowa, all of them are desperate to get attention. I just had a leading Republican strategist emailed me. The other guys would have to get arrested to get nearly as much attention Trump is now getting for the second week in a row. This now because of Sarah Palin. Look. Ted Cruz is taking the high road. Ted Cruz thinks he has the

organization in Iowa. He thinks he had enough evangelical support, already in his corner that he can win or come in a dead heat with Donald Trump. But already you do see some -- this was on the books, I'm sure already. But now Donald Trump has Sarah Palin and guess what? Ted Cruz is going to roll out Glenn Beck in Iowa later this week.

So you try to bring in the celebrities you can to gin up some attention. I'm betting in camp Trump tonight they prefer to have Sarah Palin. But Ted Cruz will do it. Don't count Cruz out. He has a great organization on the ground. But again, this complicates -- and Cruz needs Iowa. If Trump can win Iowa, a lot of people are saying the Palin endorsement, Anderson, could be more valuable down the road if Cruz falters, Sarah Palin could help Donald Trump with skeptical evangelicals in the south perhaps. So let's watch this play out.

COOPER: Gloria, john is saying Cruz need Iowa. What does Sarah Palin want out of this? I mean, she has been kind of out of the mainstream spotlight for several years. She has obviously got a lot of clout among conservatives. She has, you know, published successful books. She has had television shows. But, you know, as the years stood by, she becomes, you know -- the distance grows between when she was actually in the mix as a candidate or even as a governor which, you know, didn't complete her term. So what does she get?

BORGER: Well, she gets to be a player again. She gets to be back in the mix that she wants to be in. And Donald Trump provides the perfect role for her. I think that most interesting part of her speech tonight was the kind of anti-establishment rift. And I think that's what we are going to hear a lot of from Sarah Palin. She said they are so busted. And she said, you know, we are mad because we have been had. And that's what she's going to talk about. She is going to talk about political correctness, which Donald Trump talks about.

So I think they're singing from the same page. He is a star. And I think she adds to his star power. And, you know, it's going to be important to see the kind of crowds that she draws. Because that's going to be key for Donald Trump. Because she will bring out those voters for him. And if he wins, she is going to be an important part of that. And he is going to owe her something.

[20:20:28] COOPER: It's interesting, David, to have Sarah Palin saying that the establishment is claiming Donald Trump is not a conservative. But he really is. I mean, it is Ted Cruz who is claiming Donald Trump is not a conservative, among others certainly.

CHALIAN: That is true. I mean, the establishment, I think, did it early on. Remember, Jeb Bush tried that line of attack. And it wasn't working when it came from Jeb Bush. What may work for Ted Cruz in Iowa is that it's coming from somebody who is perceived to be a real conservative and of that element of the party. It could have a little more sting for Donald Trump. And trust me, talking to the Cruz campaign today, they are going to continue that line of attack, that Donald Trump was, you know, for gay marriage or that he was pro- choice. That he supported tarp, the bailout in 2008. That he supported Barack Obama's stimulus package. These are all things that Ted Cruz started sprinkling in to his stump speech. They rolled out that 1999 interview with Tim Russert. That's where they are going to continue to press the case that Donald Trump is not tried and true. And that is why Sarah Palin being out there, day in and day out for these next two weeks for Trump to try to push back on that is clearly going to be helpful to the Trump campaign.

COOPER: Yes. I mean, this is just raise to sky even more fascinating.

David Chalian, Gloria Borger, John King, stay with us. We are going to have more on where all of this and Governor Branstad's anti- endorsement leaves Ted Cruz who John King mentioned has its own very strong following in Iowa.

We will be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[20:25:48] COOPER: Well, the breaking news, Sarah Palin endorsing Donald Trump. The other potentially big news, some might even say bigger news in Iowa. Governor of Iowa denouncing Ted Cruz saying he would be bad for the state calling for his defeat.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. TERRY BRANSTAD (R), IOWA: I believe it would be a big mistake for Iowa to support him. And I know he is ahead in the polls. But the only poll that counts is the one they take on caucus night. And I think it could change between now and then. I think this event is an important, significant step to helping educate the voters in this state. And this state is where it all begins.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: The question now, will this be a big boost or as big a boost as it appears for Donald Trump? Our next guest Sam Clovis, two of them has high hopes. He is Donald Trump's campaign co-chair and veteran of Iowa politics. He knows better than most. Also with us, CNN political commentator and former Ted Cruz communications director, Amanda Carpenter. And Republican strategist Rich Galen.

Sam, how good was today for your candidate?

SAM CLOVIS, CO-CHAIRMAN, TRUMP NATIONAL CAMPAIGN: It was a great day for us. We had three big events. We were down in (INAUDIBLE) for John Wayne's hometown. Then we did the (INAUDIBLE) summit and then came up here for a great event here in Ames tonight with good Governor Palin joining us in the venue.

COOPER: How important is not only Sarah Palin's endorsement but also the anti-endorsement of Ted Cruz by the governor?

CLOVIS: Well, I think it's really a matter of which segment of voting population each might appeal to. I think with Governor Palin, she is a rock star still in the state of Iowa. She has a tremendous following here. If you ever see social media associated with her, she has maintained a very high level -- high profile here in the state. So it really helps. And I think for us, it helps to galvanize voters for us. We already working well on that track to get people out to vote. And I think this is huge.

The other part of it is, I think it softens the support for some of the other candidates. If we see Governor Branstad came out here, talking about some very important to the state of Iowa, renewable fuels. And we know the record of Senator Cruz. And so, it's not anything that we ought to be surprised by because we have a governor who served longer than any other governor in the history of this country. And he loves Iowa. And he is here to support Iowa. So he is going to do all he can to make sure Iowa is taken care of. And part of that is to keep after the renewable fuel for us here in the state.

COOPER: Yes. Amanda, I mean, conversely, how big a blow is this, both these things, for Senator Cruz, your former boss?

AMANDA CARPENTER, FORMER COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR FOR SEN. TED CRUZ: Well, I checked in with aides at the Cruz campaign. And here is how they put it. They said, you know, one day, Donald Trump gets his day in the sun. But tomorrow he is going to have to quit standing behind Sarah Palin and Governor Branstad and explain to voters what kind of Republican he is. And frankly, I think this comes to why Sarah Palin's endorsement is so baffling to many conservatives.

Sarah Palin came from the tea party movement. She was embraced at a time when we were all supporting conservative values, the constitution. And, you know, Donald Trump doesn't -- he hasn't shown to have those same principles. Donald Trump has been for the stimulus, the bailouts. He uses litigation as warfare against political opponents. He supports eminent domain and he thinks he can tell private business where and how to do business.

To me, that doesn't line up to what the tea party stood for. And so, you know, either Donald Trump is going to be supporting ethanol subsidies and not fighting for those tea party values or he's not. But frankly, he has never been made to explain it. And at some point he is going to have to do that and explain what he does stand for aside from Donald Trump.

COOPER: But, I mean, Rich, jumping off Amanda's point, I mean, Sarah Palin -- he is going to be able to stand by Sarah Palin for the rest of the time, release for a-while because she is going to be out campaigning with him. How significant of a day do you think this was for Donald?

RICH GALEN, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Well, on the Sarah Palin's front, let me just say, first, that I'm in full curmudgeon mode. I hate them all. So I don't have --.

COOPER: You're in full, what did you say, curmudgeon?

GALEN: Yes.

COOPER: OK.

GALEN: But I think -- I don't think that Sarah Palin brings very many new voters to Trump.

[20:30:00] I think what Amanda was saying may have some -- what everybody's been saying. It may harden his support for people who will vote for him anyway. But I find it hard to believe that somebody who is not going to vote for Trump will now vote for Trump because of Sarah Palin. I may be wrong about ...

COOPER: But doesn't it sort of suck the air out of what everybody else's room?

GALEN: That's right. That is true. The other side of that is suffocation of the two candidates -- of both of them. If you got Trump, Palin, Trump -- now, I practiced this all the way to the studio -- you have a Palindrome of snorkiness.

And I think -- we'll soon see if Sarah Palin is given the same Teflon treatment that Donald Trump has been given when she starts spouting off. I'm not sure that's going to be such a good thing. They may find that they -- it's the old saying, be careful what you wish for.

COOPER: Sam, can you give us any sense of sort of how this endorsement came about? I mean, I assume they haven't necessarily been meeting a lot given, you know, Donald Trump's schedule. But perhaps they had. Can you give us any sense of how -- the back story on this?

CLOVIS: Well, I think you ought to look at who we have employed in the campaign and I think that will give you a clear insight as to how the introduction may have occurred. And I think that there's also something that we're not talking about and that's the appeal of the message -- this popular conservative populous message that we have.

And I want to take exception to this because we have some of the strongest conservatives in the State of Iowa and around the country working on this campaign. So I'm a little bit taken aback by the fact that, we're accused of not being conservative because this campaign is staffed with conservatives and people who have a very strong sense of what the populous message is. And that's exactly where we're going. America and Americans first.

So I think that this is really what the appeal of this is been all about out. And I don't think that this is out of sync with the Tea Party values at all. When I ran for the United States Senate I was endorsed by the Tea Party patriots and so I think that we understand what those values are. And I think also if you take a look at how people evolve over time, and, you know, we could sit here and talk about flip-flops. We can do all of that. And I think we ought to just leave it at the fact that people evolve over time.

And particularly when they get older, they see their children grow and have grandchildren, suddenly things start to settle in on them and they start to realize, "Hey, things aren't going in the right direction. I better start paying attention...

AMANDA CARPENTER, COLUMNIST FOR THE WASHINGTON TIMES: But it ...

CLOVIS: ... to this. Maybe i can do something about it."

COOPER: Amanda, you can respond and then we got to go.

CARPENTER: Yeah, I was just going to say one of the things that I like that Sarah Palin talked about in that speech was standing up to special interests. The biggest special interest in Iowa is ethanol. If you're not willing to tell the truth how you'll stop those subsidies in Iowa, how are you going to stand up to the hundreds ...

CLOVIS: Yeah. Let's stop right there.

CARPENTER: ... of subsidy interest everywhere else?

CLOVIS: There are no subsidies. There are no subsidies for corn ethanol in this state. The only part of the ethanol ...

CARPENTER: The mandating...

CLOVIS: ... that gets any subsidies at all is biomass and that has been with the ...

GALEN: Yeah, but there's -- that's not ...

CLOVIS: ... that's the only subsidies ...

GALEN: ... that's not fair, though. That's not fair. There is a requirement that fuel almost everywhere crude and gasoline have an ethanol component. So it may not be a direct subsidy but there is a federal requirement that ethanol be used.

CLOVIS: And that's controlled by the EPA.

(CROSSTALK)

CARPENTER: ... and if Donald Trump won't stand up for it he should not be trusted to fight special interest. That is my main point.

CLOVIS: No.

COOPER: We're going to have more on ethanol.

Also, later on this week ...

CLOVIS: I'm not buying that.

COOPER: Sam, always good to have you on. Amanda carpenter, Rich Galen, thank you all.

Just ahead, we have more breaking news tonight. A surge for Bernie Sanders in New Hampshire, a surge putting it mildly, according to new polling, his lead over Hillary Clinton is getting even bigger. John King is going to break down the numbers next. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BERNIE SANDERS, (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Good morning everyone. There's a lot who have seen this ...

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[20:37:41] COOPER: More breaking news tonight. A big surge for Bernie Sanders in New Hampshire. New CNN/WMUR poll that has just come out shows Sanders' lead over Hillary Clinton growing. When it comes to amorphus yet ever so political concept known as the favorability rating, Sanders is off the charts compared to Clinton. The new poll was mostly conducted before Sunday's Democratic Debate.

CNN "Inside Politics" anchor John King's back to break down the numbers. Just how big of a lead does Bernie Sanders have in New Hampshire according to this poll?

JOHN KING, CNN INSIDE POLITICS ANCHOR: Anderson, you don't need a calculator. We'll just take a pick at this. These numbers are stunning. Bernie Sanders now up according to our numbers by 27 points. 60 percent Democrats and Independents who say they're likely to vote in the Democratic primary in New Hampshire, 60 percent now for Sanders, 33 percent for Hillary Clinton.

Look at this. This compared to just a month ago when Bernie Sanders was at 50 percent and Hillary Clinton was at 40 percent. So Sanders still leads. And with growing momentum, one top Sanders' ally in New Hampshire joked with me tonight, "Can you please just say it's 15 or so," because they don't want their team to get over confident. But 27 points according to this poll.

Now, there are others showing a closer race. But there's no question at the moment that Bernie Sanders has momentum. Why does he have that momentum? Look at his issues portfolio. 26 percent of Democrats in New Hampshire now say jobs and the economy are number one. 10 percent now say income and equality. Those are big issues for Bernie Sanders.

Let's compare this to a month ago when important policy was the number one issue. So the economy is now back at number one. Income inequality has gone from 3 percent to 10 percent in just a month, Anderson. So the issues portfolio among New Hampshire Democratic likely voters has tilted in Bernie Sanders' way. And no surprise the economy is the number one issue to voters and by 57 percent to 33 percent they think Bernie Sanders is better able to handle the economy.

So you do see Secretary Clinton maintains her edge on foreign policy but jobs and the economy. Now if she won, and the voters -- the Democratic voters in New Hampshire think Bernie Sanders is the guy to handle that.

COOPER: And the Sanders have other things working in his favor in New Hampshire beyond just sort of economic issues?

KING: Yes, and that is a key factor in his momentum as he makes the case that he's a movement candidate, that he's the change candidate. Hillary Clinton is has been trying to say "I'm a better president, more electable. I don't need the tour of the oval office," for example.

But New Hampshire Democratic voters, those likely to vote in the Democratic primary, where asked who has the qualities you want in a president? The personal characteristics, look at this 58 percent. Nearly six in 10 say Bernie Sanders. Only one third say Hillary Clinton.

[20:40:00] So New Hampshire Democrats are now viewing the upstart candidate, the underdog candidate at the beginning of this race, Bernie Sanders as more as a president. That's helping him quyite a bit in these polls.

Also favorability, likability matters in politics. And look at this. There's no question, New Hampshire Democrats, that's two-thirds, they like Hillary Clinton. But 91 percent have a favorable rating of Bernie Sanders. They love Bernie Sanders in New Hampshire right now among the Democratic electorate.

And here's one other thing to take a look at. Democratic voters were asked "Of your candidates who is the least honest?" 55 percent said Hillary Clinton. Only 2 percent said Bernie Sanders. 5 percent say Governor Martin O'Malley.

Again, this is not Democrat saying Hillary Clinton 's dishonest but they're saying she's least honest of their candidates. No question, Anderson, not only the Sanders Attacks but remember, a lot of those Republicans were in New Hampshire all the time, attacking Hillary Clinton.

COOPER: Right.

KING: It's taken a toll.

COOPER: Yeah, John, thank you very much. Fascinating numbers. Joining us now to talk about this, CNN political commentator and the New Yorker's Washington correspondent Ryan Lizza, also Paul Steinhauser political director and anchor at New Hampshire 1News.

Ryan, I mean this poll -- the Clinton Campaign I saw on Erin's Show, you know, were saying "Look, this is an outliner but you -- an outlier. What do you make of it? I mean Secretary Clinton has half the support Senator Sanders has which is three weeks to go.

RYAN LIZZA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yeah, look. As John pointed out you don't want to look at one poll. You want to look at the trend. But it is eye popping, right? Now, he has some built-in advantages in New England. He's from neighboring Vermont so voters in New Hampshire know him.

But that favorability rating is -- suggests that the Clinton campaign, by not going after him, by allowing his favorability to be in the high 90s among democrats and by not giving New Hampshire voters alternative information about Bernie Sanders, to raise some questions about him, you know, to go negative, as the political consultants would say, may have been a big mistake, just as a lot of Clinton veterans thought it was a mistake not to go more negative in Barack Obama in 2008 until it was way too late.

And I wonder in the final stretch here if they're going to start to, you know, bring out the -- go a little bit harder against Bernie Sanders. They have to do something to bring his numbers down. She is in danger of losing Iowa and New Hampshire at this point.

COOPER: And, Paul, in terms of New Hampshire voters, I mean you pointed out in the past that they don't necessarily make up their minds until closer to the actual vote. Could the end result end up being much different than we're seeing now?

PAUL STEINHAUSER, ANCHOR, NEW HAMPSHIRE 1NEWS: It could be dramatically different. That's the history up here, the tradition. We've got three weeks to go, Anderson, until the primary. You look at the Exit polls from 2008, the last time we had a contested Democratic Primary up here, almost half the Democratic Primary voters didn't make up their minds until last week. That's kind of the tradition up here on both sides, both the Republican and Democratic Primaries

The big question, you had a lot of Independents in your poll. Where are the Independent voters here in New Hampshire? They make up 40 percent of the electorate. Where are they going to go, are they going to go? Are they going to vote on the Democratic Primary or Republican Primary?

And, Anderson, I was talking people close to both the Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders campaigns tonight in New Hampshire. And both were saying that they thought it was -- the poll was an outlier, that it was too big a lead. So Both campaigns are saying that they don't believe the numbers. But I will say, Anderson, on a very bitterly cold night in New Hampshire, your poll is making a lot of hot news.

COOPER: Ryan, again, the numbers, 58 percent of those polled said Sanders had presidential qualities. He got much higher marks on handling the economy than Clinton. His favorability 91 percent.

LIZZA: Yeah.

COOPER: Granted he has the advantage of being, you know, as you said, from a neighboring state. These numbers, do they point, do you think, to specific weak spots that Clinton has in the minds of voters?

LIZZA: I think two things. One, the trust question, of course, suggests that even Democrats have questions about her trust, even Democrats that like her. The second thing is, as you point out, people are starting to see him as presidential material. That was a big hurdle starting off in this race. He's an independent. You know, he's self-identifies as a socialist. You know, he's an older candidate. All these things that were sort of burdens at the start of the Sanders' campaign that he is overcoming.

Now, remember, he is the kind of candidate that matches up very well with a certain type of Democrat, right? COOPER: Right.

LIZZA: Liberal, white progressives, upper midwest in New England. They're plentiful. Once the race leaves New Hampshire and gets to the south, conventional wisdom has been, well, nonwhite voters, Latino voters, African-American voters, they have never shown an inclination to support Sanders.

And the next thing is to watch for those numbers change. Does Sanders break through that wall? And then Hillary Clinton has a very big problem.

COOPER: Yeah. I kept wondering what Joe Biden thinks, looking at this poll in particular. Does he regret not jumping in the race?

LIZZA: Absolutely. It's showing some real Clinton weakness.

COOPER: Yeah. Exactly. And, Paul, just quickly, I mean if you look at the democratic makeup in New Hampshire, it doesn't really represent democratic makeup of the rest of the country, 94 percent white. How accurate of an indicator is it in terms of how the rest of the race will play out?

STEINHAUSER: Well, you know, you make a good point. But the first two states, Iowa and New Hampshire, are overwhelmingly white, and that plays to Bernie Sanders' advantage. So momentum matters, Anderson.

[20:45:00] So if he does well in Iowa and does well in winds here, momentum could make a difference.

COOPER: It is, again, just fascinating numbers. Ryan Lizza, Paul Steinhauser, good to have you on.

Just ahead, this week, we're bringing you stories from CNN anchors and correspondents about the people who changed their lives.

Up next, Dr. Sanjay Gupta introduces us to his mentor and tells us how she's made a lasting impact on his life and career.

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COOPER: Well, this week, CNN anchors and correspondents are honoring the people who've made the -- the great impact on their lives, people who've changed their lives. It's leading to a special airing this weekend called "The Person Who Changed My Life".

Tonight, CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta's story of strength and perseverance and the lasting influence of a truly extraordinary mentor.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KARIN MURASZKO, UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN, PROFESSOR, NEUROSURGERY: My job is going to be to take off all of these bone here and even some of the bone back here. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: OK. So it isn't hard to see why this woman is high impact. I mean right now she's operating on the brain of this 2-year-old boy, training a team of surgeons. And nearly 25 years after we first met, Dr. Karin Muraszko is still teaching me about the wonders of the brain.

MURASZKO: Now, our job is to kind of recapitulate which should have happened in nature.

GUPTA: And, yes, she's doing all of this from a wheelchair.

[20:50:01] I remember the first time I met her. We were walking down the hall and just talking. And she wore a brace on her leg. I didn't know how fast to walk. I didn't know if I should walk more slowly, but I didn't want to be disrespectful. So I was kind of lingering along. And I'll never forget of the at some point she looked at me and said, "Why are you walking so slow? Let's go."

That set the tone for us right from the beginning.

MURASZKO: Hey.

GUPTA: You see, Karyn isn't just the person who changed my life ...

MURASZKO: Sanjay?

GUPTA: Yes, Ma'am.

She's changed thousands, most of them her patients.

MURASZKO: Everything's gone very well so far.

UNIDENTIFED FEMALE: Thanks Dr. Muraszko.

MURASZKO: OK. All right, guys. Take care.

GUPTA: There is no doctor I have ever met that can truly understand the experience of her patients like Karyn.

MURASZKO: This kid has two frontal frame now.

GUPTA: Born with spina bifida, a malformation of her spinal cord, expectations were not high for Karyn as a little girl, to put it gently.

MURASZKO: My grandmother and mother used to have these philosophical conversation about what would be good for me. And my grandmother would say to my mother, "Don't push her so much. You know, a handicapped girl, the most she's ever going to do is sell pencils on a corner or be able to maybe help out in the library." And my mom would say, "No, no, no. That's not true. You never know what kids can do."

GUPTA: But even her own mother couldn't have predicted how quickly Karyn would excel on the conventional playground of men.

There's this great picture of you. I think at Columbia. MURASZKO: It's Columbia, I just graduated from medical school.

GUPTA: You're easy to pick out in that picture.

MURASZKO: Yeah.

GUPTA: It's all men.

MURASZKO: All men in gray and blue suits. And what you can't tell in the photograph because it's black and white. I'm in a red and white suit at the apex of the triangle, sitting in the front row.

GUPTA: How did they treat you?

MURASZKO: You know, I think that they treated me, at times, fairly. And some people were just great mentors. Some of my mentors were, I think, damn proud of the fact that they could take someone who didn't look like the mold of a neurosurgeon and make them into a neurosurgeon.

UNIDENTIFED MALE: I present you, Karyn Muraszko, the 2015 distinguished service award winner.

GUPTA: Karyn didn't just break the mold. She shattered it. Today, Karyn has been given one of the highest awards from the Congress of Neurological Surgeons not just for her work in the United States, but around the world.

MURASZKO: Thanks very much. Appreciate it.

OK. Excellent.

GUPTA: Like here in Guatemala, where she is volunteering her time to the neediest of patients.

MURASZKO: To be able to take a scalpel to another human being and leave them with a scar, you have to have an awful lot of faith in the fact that you are going to be able to do something good for them.

Things went really well.

But if you truly believe that and never constantly ask yourself, am I doing the right thing, "Oh, you're in trouble."

GUPTA: Tell me about when you guys first met. It was a blind date?

UNIDENTIFED MALE: Blind date.

GUPTA: First blind date that either of you had ever been on?

MURASZKO: He never had a blind date before then.

GUPTA: Karyn is also a wife to husband, Scott, and a mother to Paxton and Alexandria. Two amazing children they adopted from Russia. As I sat with them, the question I kept asking myself, how does a person with such genuine humility, who shattered all those molds, who redefined the rules also become the first woman chair of Neurosurgery in the entire country?

MURASZKO: Oh, lord. I never aspired to be that. I'll be very honest. I was the last person standing. This is absolutely truth.

GUPTA: Come on.

MURASZKO: No, it's true. It's true. I -- OK.

GUPTA: Karyn, the modesty is in the -- I mean ...

MURASZKO: It's the truth. It's the honest truth.

JAMES WOODSCROFT, FORMER DEAN UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN MEDICAL SCHOOL: It's not the truth. So she wasn't the last man standing. She was the first woman standing.

GUPTA: I like that. That's great.

Before I got to medical school I didn't really understand the value of mentorship, I think. And I think a lot of people who -- if you were to ask them how important is a mentor and they told you not that important, it probably means they never had a great mentor.

Karyn always told me the things I needed to hear not just what I wanted to hear.

MURASZKO: My job is to be a little bit like your mom and your dad and remind you about what also you are, which is a doctor who took an oath, who cares still deeply about his patients, who recognizes that not an insignificant part of who he is is that physician, that surgeon.

GUPTA: What I heard Karyn say throughout my residency is I don't care who you are. The person who is working in the hospital, patient, colleague, whoever it may be, everyone matters equally and infinitely. And I don't think there's a more powerful message in terms of shaping who I am and shaping a lot of people that she's trained.

I love you.

[20:55:00] This all was a great reminder of how necessary it is to take the time to tell people how much they changed your life.

MURASZKO: It took you 25 years to get here. Do you realize that? One of your hardest one interviews.

GUPTA: It probably is. You don't like to be interviewed.

MURASZKO: No.

GUPTA: Is this weird for you?

MURASZKO: Yeah. Extremely weird.

(END VIDEO CLIP) COOPER: I mean what an incredible, incredible woman. How challenging is her job, given her disability?

GUPTA: Look, you know what, when you're training -- when she was training, when I was training you're talking over 100 hours a week ...

COOPER: Right.

GUPTA: ... that's just your training part of your life. Some of the operations can take over a full day. So imagine, she was in a brace, having difficulty even walking, let alone standing that long. She would do it. And I remember as part of this interview, sometimes you get to ask questions that I otherwise would never ask and she said she just would come in earlier than everybody else and leave later. I said I never knew that. She said that was sort of the point. She just sort of did it so it was never an issue when she was training people and working extra hard.

COOPER: And she is so inspiring, for young girls just to see. You have three daughters.

GUPTA: Yeah.

COOPER: She's got to be a role model for them.

GUPTA: She absolutely is. And I think, you know, there were a couple of things. I think you'll appreciate this. Sometimes you have to be faced with a really significant obstacle to really recognize how far you can soar. I mean, I'm really lucky, I think, to have her in my life.

COOPER: Yeah, I'm so glad we now all have her in our life.

GUPTA: Yeah, absolutely.

COOPER: Yeah, thanks, Sanjay.

GUPTA: You got it. Thank you.

COOPER: Amazing woman. We'll be right back.

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