Return to Transcripts main page
Donald Trump Holds Event During GOP Debate; Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders Out Campaigning a Few Days Before the Caucuses; Bill Clinton Out Campaigning for Hillary. Aired 10-11p ET
Aired January 28, 2016 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
(JOINED IN PROGRESS)
[22:00:00] DON LEMON, CNN TONIGHT SHOW HOST: I'm Don Lemon.
Four days to go until the Iowa caucuses and Donald Trump is holding an event just about three miles away from the GOP debate. The debate that he refused to attend. It's a twist that could only come from guess who, Donald Trump.
But will it cost him votes tonight? Well, that's the question. A lot is going on tonight. So, let's get right to it. Our Sara Murray is at the GOP debate, and also Maeve Reston is at the Donald Trump event.
I want to start with you, Sara, you're at this event. How much have they mentioned Donald Trump up on that stage?
SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL REPORTER: Well, I'm sure Fox News is definitely missing Donald Trump. But I will say the overall tenor of the debate has been a little bit tamer. But I think there are a couple of very combative people on the stage. Ted Cruz is one of them. As you might expect he's trying to defend his turf here in Iowa as one of the frontrunner.
But the other very reason who's been combative on the debate stage tonight and really seems to be punching up is Rand Paul. He's really is trying to move his numbers up here in Iowa. And right now taking place right behind me Marco Rubio and Megyn Kelly are getting into it over immigration.
This is one of the things that could be a really kind of feel for Marco Rubio in a republican primary. His past co-sponsorship of an immigration bill that included an oath to citizenship. So, there are still some fireworks in this debate, but maybe not quite as wild as they have seen with Donald Trump on stage, Don.
LEMON: What are the other candidates saying about him, Sara?
MURRAY: Well, you know, it's interesting. Most of the debate has been not focused on Donald Trump, although they did sort of kick it off in the beginning with the question about him. And I think that's what been a little bit more interesting is in the past debate because Donald Trump has been on stage. We've really seen the monitors -- or the moderators press all these other candidates to respond to Donald Trump that this about you or that about you.
And I think we're seeing a little bit less of that tonight, maybe that's why it's not quite as wild as they usually is, Don.
LEMON: All right. I want you to stand by. I'm going to go with Maeve Reston. Maeve, you have been, you know, talking to the people who are at this Trump event all night. What do they telling you?
MAEVE RESTON, CNN'S NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER: Well, people got here hours and hours before Donald Trump got here tonight. And so, we were outside talking to them. There were people who have driven in from Minnesota from Kansas City. A lot of different veterans who are saying that they are volunteering for Donald Trump this week. They're ready to make phone calls for him in New Hampshire.
And they love that, in their words, that he stood up to Fox News, you know, in terms of the mistreatment that he thought he was getting, it's the very thing that has endeared to Trump to them. And there were so many people here who just love what he's doing, don't think that this is going to hurt him in Iowa.
I did also talk to a number of independent voters who say that they are going to show up and register and try to caucus for him on Monday, as well as other people who said that they've never participated in the caucus before that this is the first time that they are excited about politics.
So, it's going to be fascinating to see whether they actually turn out on Monday. But his Iowa organizer who spoke to the crowd before Trump got here tonight, said, you know, what you sent through to get in tonight to this rally is a lot harder than what you're going to have to do to come out on caucus for him on Monday. So, we'll see if they show up.
LEMON: All right. Maeve and Sara, thank you very much. Stand by. We'll get back to you. A two big events tonight.
I want to discuss what's going on now with Andy Dean, CNN political commentator, Van Jones, Ryan Lizza is a Washington correspondent for The New Yorker, and Bob Beckel, the author of "I Should Be Dead, My Life Surviving Politics, TV, and Addiction." What do you think of this, Mr. Lizza.
RYAN LIZZA, THE NEW YORKER CORRESPONDENT: I think the Trump event so far is, look, Trump is known for cruising deciding events, right? Where we all want to be glued to it. Have you guys felt like you want to be glued to these events?
LEMON: But let me -- OK. Since you said that, let me say this.
LIZZA: So, my -- you speak to strange night to please the most boring event of his campaign.
LEMON: So, this was, what I want to say is, so, by himself. You see much more dynamic when he tries to incorporate other people into an event, let the veterans speak. And of course, they should. It's very important.
Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum, does it lose the oxygen?
LIZZA: It loses a little bit. I mean, the networks were cutting away, right, because it wasn't all that interesting. He wasn't there the whole time. Now, look, maybe there are some strategy...
LEMON: You also have to get to commercial break.
LIZZA: Yes, the commercial breaks, right.
LEMON: Because that's what keeps us on the air.
LIZZA: I was trying to watch both in the green room on the two TV's out there. And frankly, he debate was more compelling. I think it will be interesting to see what the ratings show tomorrow, right?
Who, you know, I'm a CNN person so I want the CNN to be Fox. But that will -- that will be very interesting. That's going to be the first metric. If he -- what if he loses? What if he loses in the ratings battle against the debate, how is he going to handle that?
LEMON: Well, I don't -- I mean, I think it would be sort of naive to think that, you know, you could take away from a debate because, I mean, people are interested in that. If you get anywhere close or if you get great numbers.
LEMON: And considering, you know, he's -- you know what he's going to do. He's going to average out all networks who are not caring and input it all together and say, if you average this out then you put them together. So, there you go.
LIZZA: It's always the metric that would show claim their rate.
LEMON: OK. So, this is -- this is for Bob. Bob Beckel.
[22:05:03] BOB BECKEL, "I SHOULD BE DEAD" AUTHOR: Bob Beckel, yes, that's fine.
LEMON: We know that Donald Trump and Roger Ailes finally spoke tonight. You heard the statement from Fox News. So, is this Trump battle over, who wins it?
BECKEL: I don't want -- I don't think -- I don't think that either one of them must win. I mean, you better off if you have a debate to have a frontrunner, that's obvious. And I think Ailes did exactly the right thing to try to get him on. Trump, I don't think he's intended to go in the first place. But just keep in mind here. The Evangelicals that they talked about they've split over this. The Christian Coalition for Home Supervision (ph) is dead. There are a lot of people and Jerry Falwell commitment endorses Trump...
LEMON: Jerry Falwell Jr.
BECKEL: Junior, that's right.
BECKEL: If Jerry Falwell had, then we would have been on entirely different world.
BECKEL: But, you know, the Evangelicals in the south particularly, came out very strongly against that.
LEMON: Yes. I want to get back to Donald Trump. Let's listen.
DONALD TRUMP, (R) U.S. PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This two incredible women, this two beautiful women and they were going rap and back forth.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Amazing.
TRUMP: All right. Thank you. I don't know. Yes, I really believe that if we took them into a room and just talk to them it would be fine.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
TRUMP: We want strength, we want good health care, we want protection, we want borders, we want the wall. We want the wall, but -- if we could sit with them for about 10 minutes, maybe they don't understand. Say, hello.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hey, how you all doing?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And you know, it really amazes me how people from the other camp want to come in here and mess us up because their stuff is boring.
LEMON: So, you have seen those two ladies everywhere. You'd seen them on our network. They are the stump for Trump ladies. Again, and they are very passionate about Donald Trump. And it just says, Ryan Lizza and I were talking about, the oxygen being taken out of the room. But that was more interesting which hasn't...
(CROSSTALK) LIZZA: The protestors, yes.
LEMON: ... that wasn't protestors and what's happening at the big -- Rick Santorum was on that stage for the earlier republican tonight. And then he was at Donald Trump's competing event just three miles away. He was up on that stage. I got your joke about not standing in front of the Donald Trump for president sign, but yet, and still you were up on that stage. Why was it so important for you to attend this event?
RICK SANTORUM, FORMER PENNSYLVANIA STATE SENATOR: Well, look, would someone put an event together and invites you is that can raise money for veterans and highlight the real serious problems that our vets are facing now. You know, I'm going to take advantage of the opportunity to come and help our vets.
As I mentioned in the speech, you know, I grow up in a VA grounds. I mean, my parents worked all their lives for the Veterans Administration and, you know, I grew up and everybody I knew worked for the VA, and I grew up, you know, volunteering and helping veterans being at the hospital. And so, it's just a -- and when someone says come and help vets, well, the answer is always yes.
And so, I just thought, people say, well, there's political re- precautions. And I said, you know, in the end I'm going to do what I think is right for the right reason. And the other people who want to ascribe other reason, that's their problem, not mine.
LEMON: You're not concerned that this may be viewed as a tacit endorsement of Donald Trump.
SANTORUM: Boy, I think it was pretty clear in saying that I didn't want to stay in front of the sign because I'm supporting other candidate.
LEMON: But you're there.
SANTORUM: Yes. Well, I'm there to support vets and to get a message as I did across about some of the things we knew -- need to do in Washington in transforming the VA to make things better. And I, you know, I thought I get in front of that audience and say, is to turn in front of a national audience and say the same thing.
That's a -- that's an opportunity I'm not going to pass up. If I can help vets and deliver a message of how we in Washington, well, they, in Washington, and hopefully, we in Washington in a year from now can begin the transformation of the Veterans Administration to make it a better place.
LEMON: It's interesting because people are, you know, have spoken of this sort of sarcasm between the republicans in the Republican Party this fissure, so to speak.
But this is one thing that you guys were able to come together on. Should this be an example of other things that you can come together even while you're out in a campaign trail instead of name calling and lack of civility?
SANTORUM: Well, you know what, yes, I said this during the debate, Don. And that, you know, I'm just not going to get engage in personal attacking people or calling into question their beliefs and all those things.
[22:10:01] And look, Donald Trump and I have a lot of differences on issues. We have a lot of -- we certainly have a lot of differences on the way we conduct their campaigns and how we -- how we go, you know, we contrast ourselves with different -- with different people in the race. I tried to stick to the issues, talk about differences on everything from social security to immigration to tax policy to health care.
All of those things to me, a fair game to make those contrasts. You know, I don't like the mudslinging. But, you know what, pretty much everybody else in this race seems to be doing it. So, if you're going to only, you know, stand with people who are conducting the campaign like you are, you're not going to be with the very big crowd.
LEMON: Are you -- are you OK with where the proceeds are going, with where the money is going for these veterans, are you OK with it?
SANTORUM: What I've been told is that the Trump Foundation will be distributing money to various charitable organizations that meet certain qualifications for charities to make sure that they're, you know, they're legitimate charities where the money actually goes to the veterans not to these, you know, organizations that sometimes eat up a huge amount of money.
So, you know, we were given that assurance. And, you know, like I have no reason to believe that they are not going to follow through with that.
LEMON: Rick Santorum, if you see Mike Huckabee tell him to get over here. We'd love to come in front of the camera. We'd love to speak to him. Or you can go in and talk to your - if, you know, your new friend, your new 'bromance' Donald Trump. Tell him we'd like to talk to him as well.
SANTORUM: Well, I think it's a little chilly out here for some of these guys. But, you know, those of us who grew up in Pennsylvania we walk around like this all night.
LEMON: Yes. As a former Philadelphian I have to say you're exactly right. Thank you. Thank you very much, Rick Santorum. I appreciate it.
SANTORUM: Take care.
LEMON: All right. Van Jones, there you go. There's one thing that they could, you know, sort of come into an agreement on Van Jones and that's that.
The question is though, if people at home with the voters will say, well, why can't you come together on other things except for something that, you know, may look politically expedient.
VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I mean, first of all, I cannot even describe the level of damage that Donald Trump is doing to the country with these kinds of shenanigans. We're not talking about unemployment. We're not talking about income inequality. We're not talking about ISIS. We're not talking about the things you would ordinarily be talking about just a few days before the caucus.
Instead we are talking about his PR stance. And I think that's very, very telling. I think a lot of people misread Donald Trump and people have underestimated the power of this guy. We though Donald Trump was going to leave the world of reality television, leave the world of entertainment and climb the wall over into politics.
Instead, he's pulled the entire world of politics over the wall into reality television. We are now living in a Donald Trump reality TV show and we can't get out of it. And so, I think that it's fine for us, you know, underrated in some ways that, you know, politics always have an entertainment component to it but this is just gone so far away from what you would ordinarily expected.
It used to be, Don, and do you remember these days, I don't know, a couple of years ago, where a politician would fight to get on a debate stage. And they would fight to get on the debate stage because they wanted to be able to engage to the public.
This is the first time in American history a politician has said, I'm not going to debate and got more attention than everybody combined.
LEMON: Van Jones.
JONES: Something is terribly wrong with the system.
LEMON: Stand by. I just want to -- I just want to check in just for a moment at Donald Trump. It looks like he's leaving the stage to pause. And the music is, you know, that send him off Adele "Rolling in the Deep"
So, I think he's probably going to go over to the spin room, Ryan, and, you know, to Van Jones point. We can talk about the spin room or whatever. But has he fired to -- has he fired the Republican Party, has he fired Fox News?
LIZZA: The seas of war with the establishment and Republican Party no doubt he's not just fighting, he's doing at analyst. He's unafraid at attacking every important tower center in the party and that's new.
LEMON: Is he going to go to the spin room before you do that?
LIZZA: I don't. If you're asking me, I don't know. But can I make one point if I -- yes.
LEMON: Andy, hang on. Andy, is he going to the spin room?
ANDY DEAN, FORMER TRUMP PRODUCTIONS PRESIDENT: Sorry, what's that?
LEMON: Is he going to the spin room?
DEAN: Sorry, Don, he's -- OK. I don't know if he's going to go to the spin room. But can I just say one thing about Van Jones because Van Jones had so many crazy things. I don't know where to begin. But the idea that Trump is dangerous, I mean, look at Van Jones' old boss, Barack Obama, who's releasing these Guantanamo Bay terrorists back into the field where they go wild and they commit more terrorist acts.
And one thing that it's just so historically inaccurate...
JONES: But that's true.
DEAN: Well, van Jones, thank you so much. But I have to correct a lot of things you said. Because speaking of dangerous, you say dangerous...
LEMON: Van, let me say. I'll let you respond.
JONES: I'll correct. You're correct.
LEMON: I'll let you respond. Go ahead, Andy.
DEAN: Van Jones, hold on. Van Jones, hold on. Van Jones says Donald Trump politics is dangerous and things are so different than the way that they were. Look, politics has always been difficult, that's the point. We want to see how tough people are.
And if you look back to 1804, politicians engage in duels when Aaron Burr, the Vice President shot the Secretary of the Treasury in 1804 and killed him.
[22:15:05] So, this idea that Donald Trump is destroying American democracy is laughable. Van Jones need to take a long work -- look inward and see that his former boss has done more damage to this country than any president ever has.
LEMON: Van Jones, go ahead.
JONES: Look, actually, it's not true. It turns out that if we had to deal with facts. It turns that the people who were released from Guantanamo under George W. Bush had a much like -- much bigger rate or returns on battlefield than under Obama.
Much more importantly, there is this weird thing and I appreciate you're bringing up, Andy, what people say that Obama has done all this terrible stuff. Mitt Romney said he was going to be at unemployment down to 6 percent. We're at 5 percent. Newt Gingrich said if you were president he get gas to $3. We're at $2.
The republican said they want you something about immigration. We now have a net negative immigration for Mexico. We want to talk about safety. We had 3,000 people died under 9/11, George W. Bush. We had 14 die under Obama with San Bernardino.
So, I don't understand this idea that Obama is tearing up the country. He's actually outperforming what the republicans has promised us they would in 2012.
LEMON: Our conversation continues right after this.
[22:20:00] LEMON: All right. Donald Trump shaking hands, taking pictures, signing autographs in the crowd at Drake University in Iowa where he held an ultimate -- or alternative, right, where he put an event to the big debate that's going on there just a couple of miles down the road.
It's not the only one out tonight. But he's putting this out, something for his wife. His wife is out something for herself, and also Bernie Sanders out as well.
A big night for politics in Iowa, with the Iowa caucuses just days away.
Let's talk about this Trump event -- event now, shall we with our panel. I want to ask you guys about this. He says, Ryan, he says, he raise, five million. At one point, he says almost $6 million.
LEMON: But I think the official tally according to the web site is about 4.3, $4.4 million. A lot of that came from some very rich friends and Donald Trump himself.
LIZZA: Yes, which is great, raising money for veterans. Who could -- who could ever oppose that. I guess I'm not a huge fan of politicians who want to make a -- who, as a part of their political strategy, his political strategy was to get out of this debate using a cause like veterans to further their own political strategy, you know, in a line up to a caucus.
I found that a little bit unsavory. If you want to give to money to veterans causes, if you want to raise money for veteran causes, just don't do it. Don't make veterans a pawn in your battle with Fox News. So, I put a high words on that one.
But let's look at the goals he had here, right? In his battle with Fox we had two goals. One, to get Megyn Kelly out of that moderator's chair. Two, according to Roger Ailes with the Fox statement today, he went back to Fox instead of Fox gave $5 million to the veterans h would come back on that debate stage. Well, he loss on both accounts.
LEMON: It neither happened. Yes.
BECKEL: It's outrageous he would ask. I mean, what organization in the world is going to pay for $5 million. Now the guy combats. I mean, you know, again, he defies everything we know about presidential politics. I would say in Iowa that they are watching this thing and they and tomorrow, you to remember, there is a lot of information in Iowa that just us.
LEMON: That's true.
BECKEL: And there are a lot of local newspapers, a lot of local radio stations, they're going to respond to this and they are really going to begin to waiver about -- I think you're going to begin to waiver about it.
LEMON: But is that what's missing from politics. And, Andy, maybe you want to weigh in on that is that, you know, politicians may not want to ask and they want to ask when it comes to raising campaign contributions. But it comes to raising money for things that are important, you know, most people will say if you're from business, it doesn't hurt to ask, all they're going to say is no. Or yes.
DEAN: No. It's a great point. And look, the idea that Ryan, the pundit in the studio what you said, like Donald Trump just started talking about veterans 24 hours ago, and that he's using veterans, that's actually inaccurate. Donald Trump for decades has been a huge contributor to veterans and veteran's charities.
And more importantly that, since the August 6 debate, months ago, the first Fox News debate, Donald Trump has been asking for all the commercial revenue from every network to go to the veterans time and time again. And he asks again from Fox News. And it's the media networks that are saying no. So, this idea that...
LIZZA: No, I didn't say that he's use veterans for the first time...
DEAN: ... Donald Trump is using veterans as pawn.
LIZZA: Yes, you're absolutely right. He has used the veterans for this campaign...
DEAN: No, he don't
LIZZA: ... repeatedly as a political tool to advance his campaign, to advance Donald Trump. What I'm saying is, if he want to give money as a philanthropist to a cause just do it. Don't turn it into media circus.
DEAN: He donates too.
BECKEL: Andy, let me ask you a question.
LIZZA: You think that's a good president, you really want politician to use...
DEAN: I don't think it...
LEMON: Hang on.
DEAN: Go ahead, Don. Yes.
LEMON: No. Go ahead. I want Ryan to...
LIZZA: No, I just want to -- I just -- I don't think that's a good president. I don't think we want philanthropist...
DEAN: I don't think it's very cynical.
LIZZA: ... very serious causes being trusts into the middle of politicians...
DEAN: You're part of the main stream media and it's very cynical that Donald Trump you always think has ulterior motives. This is a guy that just veterans. I mean, I work with him for seven years...
LIZZA: I think if you have read the "Art of the Deal" you know that Donald Trump always does have ulterior motives.
DEAN: He loves veterans.
LEMON: But isn't everyone I mean, who's not part of the main stream, I mean, that news is part of the main stream media. Yes.
LIZZA: He's running for president, of course he has ulterior motives.
LEMON: I think everybody got this...
DEAN: This idea that -- this idea that because he want to help the veterans he's got to have all of these other reasons. No, the guy just want to help veterans.
LIZZA: What do you held against the mainstream media?
DEAN: He's going to be a great president. I don't like the main stream media.
JONES: But, Don, what's interesting is how he...
LIZZA: Well, what are you doing? And you just said this is the main stream...
LEMON: Stand by. Stand by, Van.
JONES: ... how the actable numbers here.
LEMON: Stand by, Van.
LEMON: Go ahead, what did you say, Andy?
LIZZA: I don't understand why you're coming out and attacking the mainstream media, what's wrong with the mainstream media?
DEAN: I don't like the mainstream media.
LIZZA: Well, CNN is the mainstream, buddy?
DEAN: Well, I think it is, yes.
LIZZA: What are you doing in that chair?
DEAN: Don is a good guy. Well, hey, look, I have to spread my message.
LEMON: Well, I appreciate it. You don't like the mainstream media. Donald Trump doesn't and that's part of what he does.
DEAN: Hey, I don't -- I don't like.
LIZZA: I hate the mainstream so much. I'm going to sit heat at 10 o'clock.
LEMON: Stand by, Ryan. Let him finish his thought.
DEAN: But look, correct. Hey, I hate to fly but I have to get to an airplane to go somewhere. It sucks but I do it.
LIZZA: That's very charitable of you.
BECKEL: Andy, a very good question. Do you think you would have -- do you think you would have put this event on tonight if they had that debate three miles away?
DEAN: Well, this exact night? No. Because he would have been at the debate, but another night doing a veteran charity fundraising.
BECKEL: But there was no -- there was no strategy decision made that we're going to put the veterans event on against the Fox News debate and now they got a lot of attention.
LIZZA: Do you think it's unrelated.
[22:24:59] DEAN: Bob, look at the timeline. Look at the timeline. He's step out of the debate and they said, OK. Well, I'm going to do two days from now where can I focus my attention or focus the cameras, and he said, let's do it for the veterans because that's a good place to do it.
LEMON: Hold that thought.
DEAN: It's not complicated.
LEMON: Andy, hey, hold that thought, everyone.
JONES: Hey, Don.
LEMON: We'll be right back.
LEMON: I think it's fair to say that this is unprecedented. What's happening in Iowa tonight and what's playing out on the television network, especially the cable networks. I want to bring in now Jeff Kaufmann. He's a chairman to the Iowa Republican Party. He is at tonight's debate. How much has Donald Trump been missed, sir?
JEFF KAUFMANN, IOWA REPUBLICAN PARTY CHAIRMAN: Well, they seemed to be moving right along. There were some exchanges about Donald Trump early on. There is certainly a few less one liners that are front. But, you know, I think -- I think all the candidates to their credit seemed to be continuing on with what they want to do with the solutions they want to put forth.
I'm actually quite impressed. I mean, this would be an opportunity I think that probably thank him about every other question. They don't seem to be doing that after that initial round.
LEMON: What's your reaction to the Trump event?
[22:29:59] KAUFMANN: You know, I think there is a whole lot of waste in Iowa that you can bring your message and actually gain people's attention in order to pass on your message to the people in Iowa.
I don't think there's any one event either that event that you missed or an event that you possibly, you know, are generating at the last minute like his event that's going to make or break. And the same way that I don't think there's a particular issue that there's going to make or break a candidate.
So, you know, I'm -- my role as a party chair is to provide an even playing field for everybody to take their message style and then put on a world class caucus vote that all of you folks in the media can follow.
DON LEMON, CNN TONIGHT SHOW HOST: So, you don't think that this event will make or break Donald Trump. Do you think it was a mistake for him not to participate in this, in the GOP debate tonight?
KAUFMANN: Well, ultimately, like people of Iowa are going to decide what they think about him missing. But to be honest with you, I think the people that like Donald Trump before still like him, the people that dislike him still dislike him.
I don't think any one event or even missing any one event is going to make a difference or going to be a make or break in the election. No.
LEMON: What is tonight mean to the folks in Iowa, was this a good night for the voters in Iowa?
KAUFMANN: I think so. I really do. I mean, we've really take this seriously out here. We know that we're kicking off a very, very important process to elect the leader of the free world. We take our jobs very seriously. And in some ways, we're starting this whole process. We're not supposed to pick the ultimate winner. Sometimes we do and sometimes we don't
What we're supposed to do is show the entire country who these folks are, put them under the microscope, put them under analysis, and then we push them on to New Hampshire and on to the other 50 states.
LEMON: Much of this, as you know, Mr. Kaufmann, depend on voter turnout. Donald Trump needs to pull out a lot of new caucus goers in order to win in Iowa. Are you expecting a large turnout of new voters come Monday?
KAUFMANN: We are. And I'll you, I would sleep a little better if I had some predictive models to know how many. Because our 1,681 precincts are all ran by volunteers. So, I'm telling them to be prepared. I mean, be prepared for a doubling. I don't know if that's going to happen or not. I would be amaze if we didn't surpass our watermark of 121,000.
Our governor has been throwing out figures of about 150,000. I think we're going to have a record turnout.
LEMON: What are you seeing in terms of registration?
KAUFMANN: We're actually seeing -- today, I can be very current on this. The Secretary of State just came out with our new numbers and there are over 3,000 democrats or no parties that have become republicans. I think that's -- I think that's an important piece of information, and so, we're -- I'm liking what I see as a party chair trying to attract new voters to the party.
LEMON: All right. Thank you very, Jeff Kaufmann. I appreciate that. So, let's go to the panel now. What does that tell you when you hear him say that we're 3,000?
BOB BECKEL, "I SHOULD BE DEAD" AUTHOR: Well, that's, you know, in Iowa, you have to be a republican to caucus with the republican. And so, up to the day of the caucus you're allowed to go in and turn in your democratic registration and you're in your independent and you can registrar as a republican.
Three thousand -- I think when we did it, it was probably a couple of hundred. So, it's a fairly interesting to know. And you've got to assume that a lot is Trump.
RYAN LIZZA, THE NEW YORKER CORRESPONDENT: That's switcher. That's partisan.
LEMON: What does that mean? Who is that paid well?
LIZZA: Well, think about it, there are 600,000...
LEMON: Well, say it again, Trump?
BECKEL: Yes, because, look, why would democrat win and change to become a republican on one night? And yes, I guarantee that democrats are republicans the next day.
LEMON: It could be Ted Cruz? That's a little far, do you think that's a little too far to...
BECKEL: Well, with Cruz of course will have the west and they are now to report these things.
LEMON: Go ahead, Ryan.
LIZZA: And it's more likely that Cruz is going to draw from the 600,000 already registered republicans. Republicans are ideological and know, you know -- know their party. It's probably more likely that someone like Trump who's drawing new people into the -- into the system is going to benefit from some democrats who are switching registration.
But, 3,000 is not a big number. The 600,000 registered republicans in Iowa...
BECKEL: There are only 125,000 on average vote in caucuses...
LIZZA: That actually come out.
BECKEL: And in fact, the caucuses of the republicans are much different than democrats. In the caucus for the republicans you go in, they close the door, they take ballot, you can write a secret ballot somebody can come into the, say, headquarters.
Whereas, the democrats have to move around and shuffle around and all that.
LIZZA: Well, we do know that there is not a huge surge of new registered voters in Iowa that become republicans. That's not huge number. When Obama won in 2008, he had a historic burst in registration of people registering as democrats for the first. That's not, that hasn't happened this time. It doesn't mean...
LEMON: But that's the first time though, these are people who are switching over from the republican to democrats.
LIZZA: Yes, that 3,000 number. Yes.
LIZZA: But just in general registration has been basically flat or increasing a little bit among republicans.
LEMON: Someone who knows how the caucuses go in Iowa and who has won before definitely knows how to win. I want to bring in Mike Huckabee, who is the former Governor of Arkansas also running now. He was at that Trump event tonight. He too, is running for president.
I found it very interesting, sir, that you were up on that stage. Why was it important for you to be there?
MIKE HUCKABEE, DONALD TRUMP, (R) U.S. PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, you know, the reason why I'm here tonight was solely to vets.
[22:35:01] And I believe our veterans have been underappreciated, they've been underserved. They've actually been just flat-out screwed around by the VA, 22 of them a day are committing suicide. And if I could be over here to show some support for them, I'm happy to be here.
LEMON: Any second thoughts, and by the way, I should have said, good evening. Excuse my goodness. So, it's been a long evening. But, listen, is there any -- do you think that -- did you have any concern initially about going over to a Donald Trump event being surrounded by a Donald Trump for president sign in his territory stage up in that stage in that podium with his Donald Trump for president sign right in front of you?
HUCKABEE: No. I really didn't. Because it was very clear that this was an event. It was going to raise money for Veteran's Association and help them out. And as I sat on the stage tonight, Donald Trump and I maybe competitors in the Iowa caucus but we are colleagues when it comes to standing up for the veterans and I thought it was great to do.
You know, I was finished over to the debate at 7 o'clock, 8 o'clock comes by, I got nothing going on, I just go over here and show some support for the vets.
LEMON: Have you spoken to Donald Trump or his campaign about where that money is going?
HUCKABEE: No. He mentioned tonight that there is a list of the organizations being provided. But look, I got a lot of comfort that the one thing I'm pretty sure of is that he's not going to pocket it because of all the people running for anything he didn't need the money and I know it's going to go to a good cause and he's going to make sure that that's all outlined and publicly released.
LEMON: Especially after he gave over a million dollar, he says himself. he's saying though, he's raised $6 million. That has to make you feel good especially with your -- how devoted you have been to veterans.
HUCKABEE: Well, and that's really why I'm here tonight. It wasn't to endorse Donald trump. It was to endorse the veterans. He didn't ask me to come and to do anything political for him. Of course, I wouldn't have been able to do that.
I thought it was incredibly gracious of him to invite both Rick Santorum and me to come over and to be part of the event which we were happy to do. I'm sure the place was filled up with his supporters and that's fine, but I got a wonderful welcome from these people here tonight. And it wouldn't like they booed me because they knew that I was here for the same reason that they were here.
HUCKABEE: And that's to say, thank you to these folks who have worn uniforms and taken bullets and bombs for the rest of us.
LEMON: I have to ask you. You know, I do have the honor of interviewing people like you and Rick Santorum and Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, and on and on and on, but I'm not a politico. So, as an observer, watching you three on that stage tonight and you coming together and finding some common ground, I wonder why can't happen in Washington?
HUCKABEE: I think a lot of it is because people in Washington don't understand that you have to be able to put aside some of your personal differences for the greater good of your country. And what we did tonight was what? I think we all did naturally. We recognized this wasn't about us. I tried to remind them myself of that every day in the campaign this is not about me.
This is about those people that I meet like a lady in Indianola who's got two kids, no child support from her husband. She'd like to go to work but if she does, she losses all the help that she is getting for her kids. So, the government kicks in her into teeth for trying to get out of the hole.
I talked to a man in Davenport the other night, Don, and this guy makes 59,000 a year, he and his wife. He's paying $28,000 this year for his health insurance, which is half his income.
HUCKABEE: It's about them. And if we don't, you know, start realizing how really tough some Americans are living right now, then none of us deserve to be president. We all -- we all going to be just thrown out in the water somewhere. It can't be about us.
LEMON: Well, that said, let's talk more specifically about you and your -- and Iowa. How do you think are you going to do?
HUCKABEE: I think we'll do a whole lot better than people think. I surprise people eight years ago, the Iowa caucus voters are a group of people that don't make up their minds till often the day of the caucus or sometimes when they get there. And if I thought that this thing was over for me I promise we would be doing 150 events in Iowa in January, I wouldn't have worked as hard as we did, we wouldn't have everybody in our team here in Iowa.
We feel like that, you know, this is something we carry right there through the caucuses. And I think we'll show up and surprise some folks on Monday night.
LEMON: OK. You're very optimistic. But, you know, I know I have to ask you this question. I have to be the big, bad wolf here. But what happens if you don't so well, are you going to continue on, are you going to drop out?
HUCKABEE: Well, I can't answer that tonight. I mean, I'll know Monday night for a thing to stand but, you know, I think as much as it is to ask me will I drop out, what happens if, you know, the front runners don't end up being the front runners? What happens to Ted Cruz who everybody thinks he's going to win it? What if he doesn't, does he drop out? That's his legitimate question is asking me, do I get out?
[22:39:58] LEMON: Would you throw your support to vying Donald Trump?
HUCKABEE: You know, I will support the nominee whoever the republican is. Right now, I only have one candidate that I'm really thinking about, his name is Mike Huckabee and I'm going to try to do everything I can to make sure that people go out and caucus for him. And I'm telling folks, if they are not caucusing for me, they need to stay home Monday night and be where it's warm and drink some hot chocolate and watch the whole thing on TV.
LEMON: Well, I got to say, I have to -- I appreciate you coming on even as (Inaudible) Arkansas race back. I really appreciate you coming on. Thank you very much, Governor Huckabee.
HUCKABEE: Happy to do it, Don. Thank you.
LEMON: Yes. And good luck to you, come Monday. Thank you.
HUCKABEE: Thank you.
LEMON: All right. We'll be right back right after this break. Don't go anywhere.
LEMON: Back now to our breaking news. And there we go. The democrats are out tonight as well. Don't forget about them. There is Bernie Sanders on the right, Hillary Clinton on the left and don't forget probably the most respected unlike the democrat beside the president now is Bill Clinton. And he was out campaigning for his wife this evening, at something that with just days ago, just couple of days ago before the caucuses.
[22:45:03] So, my panel is back. Van Jones, I want to go to you first because, you know, as I was sitting there interviewing Governor Huckabee and as interviewing Rick Santorum, am I in ultimate universe on the night over republican debate to have them come on and talk.
But the democrats are out as well. And in his way, in his own way, Donald Trump found a way to suck all the oxygen out of room and off the airwaves, but the democrats are there.
VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: Yes, they are there and, you know, there's a lot going on inside the Democratic Party. One of the things that has happened is that because of this whole week of drama, you know, again, it's like reality television shows sometimes the villain and the reality TV show, the guy who was being the bad guy won at being a lot of attention.
Trump is playing that role inside this reality TV show, he has this all playing inside of. But don't forget, there's a major fight going on in the Democratic Party, too. Sanders was trying to not to be part of the debate, so people thought he beat Clinton. Everybody thought Hillary Clinton was afraid to debate, she actually said she's been for three debates and so would you are going to have a continued process going forward.
I'm proud of the fact that democrats are continuing to talk about issues, they're not insulting each other, they're trying to figure out ways to put forward their different programs that do it in respectful way. Very different than this three-way civil war inside the Republican Party.
LEMON: And Van, listen, let me just interrupt you and I'll let you go on.
LEMON: But if we can find it -- because Hillary Clinton spoke to Wolf Blitzer. If we can find that producers that she talked about. Do we have it? And then, Van, I'll let you continue. Let's listen to Hillary Clinton speaking to Wolf Blitzer about that very issue.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WOLF BLITZER, THE SITUATION ROOM SHOW HOST: So, are you willing to commit to three specific dates for additional debates after New Hampshire?
HILLARY CLINTON, (D) U.S. PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Oh, I said, look, I'm -- we have another one shortly after New Hampshire as I remember on the calendar. And I said we should start looking for dates and working to get those schedules. I'm perfectly fine with that. But first things first. We have to agree that we're going to debate in New Hampshire, both the governor and I have agreed and we're waiting for the senator to decide to join us.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Van, sorry to cut you off. But since you we are talking about I thought we should hear from her. So, what do you think, would you like to see additional debates, would that be a good idea?
JONES: Of course. I mean, part of the thing is that, look, there is egg on the space of the DNC of the Democratic National Committee for some reason undecided the smart thing to you and I think was to hide the Democratic Party debates under rocks and stones, a schedule one for the Super Bowl...
LEMON: Look at the smile in Bob's face.
JONES: ... schedule one for Christmas morning. You know, just trying to -- try to -- it's almost like we were afraid to let our people speak. But what has happened is it turns out the debates have been good for Sanders and they've been good for Senator Clinton and then people were stunned today. Everybody thought Hillary Clinton was afraid to debate and Sanders want to debate.
It turns out Hillary Clinton is not afraid to debate and Sanders is now going to debate. This is how it's supposed to be.
LEMON: Hold that -- hold that thought. Hold that thought. I promise you after the break. We'll be right back.
[22:50:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: We are back to debate or not to debate. First they wanted more and they didn't want more. And Bob Beckel is following up to what Van Jones says. What do you want to say to...
BECKEL: I was going to say, Van, I would -- I agree with you about how the DNC handled the debate, but...
LEMON: Let me explain. Hillary Clinton did not want more debates and Bernie Sanders did.
BECKEL: That's correct.
LEMON: And now that she's falling behind she wants more debate and he doesn't.
BECKEL: She wants -- that's right. I mean, this is a classic. Bernie doesn't want to debate in New Hampshire because he's got a good lead and he doesn't want to make a mistake.
LIZZA: You know, the same thing Trump did tonight.
BECKEL: The same thing Trump did.
LEMON: To debate or not to debate.
BECKEL: Clinton on the other hand, now that the polls have change and she wants to have more debates. That's legitimate but it's not something that is self-righteous where you want the people to understand it is everything to add votes and strategy and tactics. And so it's going to makes sense.
Sanders is going to have a hard time getting out of the debate though.
BECKEL: Hard time.
LEMON: But it's also it's because, I mean, to by all accounts, Bernie Sanders did well and Hillary Clinton did well. But when it comes to policy, especially foreign policy, Hillary Clinton shines and she shines in the last town hall. BECKEL: That's true.
LEMON: Is that the reason, one of the reasons though? And that one of the reasons that she did so well in the debate in the town hall that they want to put her out there again.
BECKEL: Well, I think maybe part of it. But also they'd like to get a lot of questions on foreign policy because Bernie is not. And so, from Clinton standpoint, debates help right now when you do that part of New Hampshire. And if she has to lose Iowa, which I don't think she will, you know, she got to good in New Hampshire where she was save the last time. And right now, I don't know if they can save her.
LEMON: Andy Dean, as you're sitting there and, you know, just quietly talking about these democrats, who you love I'm sure, that was sarcasm by the way. So, what happens after this, is Donald Trump back in the next debate as business -- not as business as usual when it comes to Donald Trump. But is he back and better than ever, so to speak, when it comes to the next debate?
ANDY DEAN, FORMER TRUMP PRODUCTIONS PRESIDENT: yes, I think so. The next debate is February 6th in New Hampshire and then we've got another debate in South Carolina after that, you know, there are going to be four more debates for the next 30 days. So, Donald would be back in the debate stage. He's very comfortable there, you know, according to the polls he's been winning this time and time again.
And, Don, just two quick points maybe to wrap up the night. I think it's also a big deal that Rick Santorum has said with Donald because I know Rick Santorum win Iowa, he also won 11 states a couple years ago, and those were southern states and they vote March 1st.
And I think that Santorum's endorsement once he drops out is going to be a big deal. And my last point is that the biggest predictor of turnout on election day is weather.
DEAN: And it always reminds us that mother nature is in charge and the weather on Monday is supposed to be 57 degrees and partly cloudy, which for Iowa is actually nice this time of year and a large of it turnout, I think the better it is for Trump.
LEMON: Yes. People are going to be wearing shorts in Iowa, I mean, that is something. But here is the criticism, initially the criticism was that the conspiracy theory said, well, Donald Trump didn't want the debate because that's not, you know, he's ahead, so why put himself, you know, in front of the everything, in front of people and not do so well.
[22:55:01] LIZZA: Yes. But that's not -- that's not a conspiracy theory. That's just what frontrunners always do, right? If you're ahead you want to sit on your lead and you want to find a way to get of the debates. He found a way to get out of the debate by picking the silly fight with Megyn Kelly, right?
LEMON: And drumming up drama and...
LEMON: ... headlines and, yes.
LIZZA: Yes. We'll see how it works out, right. I think depending on how he does on Monday. A lot of people will look back at this last little bit of theater on his part and say it's either help him win or the opposite.
LEMON: It's very interesting though, and I just have a couple seconds left here in this particular segment. But watching Donald Trump do an interview on his plane it was like, you know, wait a minute. It was a little odd, it was almost presidential. I mean, you know, if you -- if you allow, no?
BECKEL: Yes. But you got to realize that Trump knows at CNN's career and if he brings CNN reporter and he gets an interview which is great. She did a great job but it's exactly the right thing to do. Give it to CNN, who is he going to give it to?
LIZZA: You go out and cover those guys and Donald Trump has secret service and he has a 757.
LIZZA: He looks more -- he's got the trappings of a president more so than, you know, Mike Huckabee or -- yes.
LEMON: Optics. We'll be right back.
LEMON: That's it for us. My colleague, Anderson Cooper picks it up now with our post-debate special.
[23:00:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)