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Post-GOP Debate Coverage; Debate Highlights; Discussion of the Debate. Aired Midnight-1a ET

Aired January 29, 2016 - 00:00   ET



ANDERSON COOPER, CNN NEWS ANCHOR: It's a matter of political life and death. Tonight in Des Moines, every candidate did except Donald Trump. So in the hour ahead, we're going to talk about his competing event, his Feud with Fox news, how that shaped the debate tonight and how all of it might shape the outcome on Monday. First, a look at the key moments from the debate he boycotted.

TED CRUZ, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Bernie Sanders is a socialist. I think Bernie Sanders is a good candidate for president of Sweden. We don't want to be Sweden. We want to be the United States of America. And Hillary Clinton is disqualified from being the commander in chief of the United States. In fact, one of her first acts as president may very well be to pardon herself because Hillary Clinton -- Hillary Clinton stored classified information on her private server and Hillary Clinton lied to the families of those four brave Americans who lost their life in Benghazi. And anyone who lies to the families of Americans who have died in the service of this country can never be commander in chief of the United States.

CHRIS WALLACE, FOX NEWS SUNDAY HOST: Two of your former top aids go on trial in May for fraud and conspiracy in the bridge case, the politically motivated closure of lanes to the George Washington Bridge. Another former aid who has already pleaded guilty and will likely testify for the government as you know, says that you knew about this whole deal. Can the GOP take the chance of nominating you with this scandal out there sir?

CHRIS CHRISTIE, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Sure because there's been three different investigations into proving that I knew nothing. And the fact is that what I did do from the beginning, Chris, as soon as I found out about it I fired the people who were responsible. And that's what you expect from a leader. And you know why the Republican Party will want to take a chance on me? Because they know that Hillary Clinton will never be prosecuted by this justice department and they're going to want to put a former federal prosecutor on the stage to prosecute her next September. I guarantee you one thing, she will never get within 10 miles of the White House. The days for the Clintons in public housing are over.

MEGYN KELLY, FOX NEWS POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: You have suggested that former president Bill Clinton's history with women is fair game in this campaign. How do you answer those who say you don't hold the sins of the husband against the wife? RAND PAUL, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You know, I've never really

brought this up unless asked the question, that I have responded to the question. I don't blame Hillary Clinton at all for this. I don't think she's responsible for his behavior but I do think that her position as promoting women's rights and fairness to women in the workplace that if what Bill Clinton did, any CEO in our country did with an intern, with a 22-year-old -- 21-year-old intern in their office, they would be fired. They would never be hired again.

JEB BUSH, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: First of all, I think it's important that when we're running for the highest office in the land, that we recognize that we're living in dangerous times and we have to be serious about it, that our words have consequences. Donald trump for example, I'm glad -- I mentioned his name again if anybody was missing him, Mr. Trump believed that in reaction to people's fears that we should ban all Muslims. Well, that creates an environment that's toxic in our own country.

We need a strategy to destroy ISIS there. You can't do that without the cooperation of the Muslim world because they're as threatened as we are. And so, I think it's important for us to be careful about the language we use which is why I've been critical of Donald Trump, disparaging women, disparaging Hispanics. That's not a sign of strength. Making fun of disabled people? We're not going to win elections if we don't have a broader more unifying message.

PAUL: I was there and I saw the debate. I saw Ted Cruz say, "We'll take citizenship off the table and the bill will pass." And I'm for the bill, the bill would involve legalization. He can't have it both ways. But what is particularly insulting though, is that he is the king of saying, "You're for amnesty," everybody's friends except for Ted Cruz. But it's a falseness and that's an authenticity problem.

This is the lie that Ted's campaign is built on and Rand touched upon it. That he's a conservative guy and everyone else is a, you know, everyone else is a rhino. The truth is Ted, throughout this campaign you've been willing to say or do anything in order to get votes. Ted, you even worked for George W. Bush's campaign. You helped design his George W. Bush's immigration policy.

COOPER: Joining us again for the hour is chief national correspondent, anchor of Inside Politics, John King, chief political analyst, Gloria Borger, senior political commentator and former Obama Advisor, David Axelrod, chief correspondent, Dana Bach, also to our political commentators Jeffrey Lord, a Trump supporter, Amanda Carpenter, a former communications director for Senator Ted Cruz, Ann Navarro, a Bush supporter and a friend to Marco Rubio. And Kevin Madden is a republican strategist.

In terms, I mean, now we're over the midnight mark here on the east coast. You now have three days until the caucuses begin. What are these guys going to be doing over the next three days? I mean, who is in within striking distance? Marco Rubio has been doing quite well in the polls. He's going up a lot over the last month in Iowa. Who really has a shot on these last few days? [00:05:01] GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: It's Cruz and

Trump and they're kind of neck and neck. Rubio sort of back there in the third and the rest are down somewhere else. And I think, you know, right now this is a fight about getting out those evangelical voters which are so important to Cruz. Trump is to get out his solid supporters. You know, he's the one with the most solid support. More than half of his voters say they're not going to change their minds, I think it's 60 percent, maybe 70 percent. They're solidly for Trump, no matter whether he appeared at this debate or not.

But there are lots of undecided voters in Iowa. Trump has to get out all his voters if he's going to win and he doesn't need those undecided voters. Cruz has to get those people to go to him and maybe to leave Ben Carson who appeals to evangelicals or Huckabee or Santorum or whoever it is. So, it's a cliche but sometimes cliches are actually true, which is turnout. It's all about turnout.

JOHN KING, CNN INSIDE POLITICS ANCHOR: In the final days, they'll be everywhere. They'll be campaigning everywhere, they'll be busy. You try to use the rallies to pick up the undecideds if they're out there. But you're in a caucus environment whether, you know, you're not in a big primary thing, your main thing is, and in especially in the age of big data politics, touch base again and again and again and again and again with the people you know you got. Make sure they got their time right, make sure they got their caucus site right, make sure they're committed. Do you need a ride? Do you need baby-sitting? Because yes, you'd like to pick up more if you can in the final days but the one thing is you can't do is lose what you got and lose touch with who you got.

DAVID AXELROD, FMR OBAMA SENIOR ADVISER: There's one big event that is going to happen on Saturday which is the Des Moines register poll which is the most watched and respected poll in the Iowa caucuses comes out and it will send a signal as to where this race is at. And if someone is shown as having momentum in that poll, I think it will propel that momentum. There's one big story line which is Trump versus Cruz.

If Cruz loses in Iowa, I think his candidacy is in deep trouble. If Trump wins, I think he could be on a roll. But the other story is, does Marco Rubio have a really good night and emerge as the clear alternative of the sort of establishment republicans and rolls into New Hampshire and has a good night there. And does he insinuate his way into the thick of this race?

COOPER: And do all of them survive through Jimmy (ph) Hampshire?


AMANDA CARPENTER, FMR COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR FOR SEN. TED CRUZ: I think there is one thing that makes Iowa different this year especially for Ted Cruz. Iowa, when Santorum and Huckabee one Iowa, they did not face the onslaught of negativity in a way that Ted Cruz or even a Marco Rubio has. So, if this race is truly between Trump and Cruz, the fact that Cruz is standing where he is today, that is much steeper climb. And if he does in fact win or even if it's close, the fact that he's in that position despite all the nonsense that Donald Trump has thrown at him, also from the establishment given the unprecedented anti-endorsement by the Iowa governor and others, that really speaks to the standing power that Cruz has.

ANA NAVARRO, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: I think that's a rather ineffective argument for Ted Cruz. I think one of his worst moments today was when he stood up there and then said to the moderators, "You're getting Jeb to pick on Cruz. You're getting Marco to pick on Cruz. You're getting Christie to pick on Cruz. You're getting Rand to pick on Cruz." He sounded whiney. Dud, you're running for president of the United States. Man up.

CARPENTER: After having worked for Cruz and seeing how this energizes his supporters, when they view an attack on Cruz among movement conservatives, it's an attack on their values. And so, when they see all this coming after Cruz, they're more encouraged.


COOPER: Let's play that moment though just so viewers know what you're talking about. Let's play it.


CRUZ: Chris, I would note that the last four questions have been, Rand please attack Ted, Marco please attack Ted, Chris please attack Ted, Jeb please attack Ted. Let me just say this --

WALLACE: It is a debate, sir.

CRUZ: Well no, a debate actually is a policy issue. But I will say this, if you guys say, ask one more mean question, I may have to leave the stage.


COOPER: Ted Cruz attacking the moderators though is nothing new. It was insinuated that it actually didn't seem to play all that well in the room tonight. I don't know if that's ...

AXELROD: When he with attacked them before he attacked them for attacking other people. Now he was whining about his own treatment which comes with being the frontrunner. But I want to make a point where he is positioned here. The fact is that Ted Cruz went after the evangelicals and social conservatives, that was his base and that's what generally wins the Iowa caucuses. Santorum won, Huckabee won. That's been the history of the Iowa caucuses.

Until a few weeks ago, the assumption was that he was going to win. If you Donald Trump who culturally is completely alien to Iowa in many ways, walks away with the caucuses, I think he comes out with a tremendous ...

COOPER: But let's think back. I mean, it's so incredible that he's leading with evangelicals in national polls. [00:10:01] You think back to the faith and values forum. The first

one that was held, I remember reading Erick Erickson, Red State after that event where Donald Trump talked about drinking a little wine and the cracker and not really talking about, you know, that he seeks out forgiveness. Erick Erickson said, he's basically written off the evangelical vote. He's leading the polls.


BORGER: But that's why you got Jerry Falwell, you know, Trump and Sarah Palin by the way. So, he's tried to bolster his credibility through other people if he could not do it himself and even speaking at liberty with something he clearly was trying do. I think the thing we ought to be watching too is Rubio in third. And the point about going on to New Hampshire, sometimes New Hampshire is a little contrary and cranky about what happens in Iowa. It doesn't necessarily mean ...

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Before we get to New Hampshire, can I just make one point about what you are all -- what we started this conversation about, about get out the vote very quickly which is that, Cruz has a very traditional get out the vote operation that you were talking about John. That, you know, make the call, touch back two-three times, know where they are, get them a ride.

Donald Trump's people claim that he has a very mysterious master plan. But we don't know much about it. He has a very seasoned veteran, a couple of them who are working there. But I talked to a lot of people and I was there on the ground, there's not an over get out the vote effort. He is hoping that the same kind of excitement that draws people out and waits three hours ...

KING: They're probably sitting next to his policy agenda. Same mysterious policy agenda.


COOPER: We're going to take a break. Everybody stay here right now. Just added tonight told our Brianna Keilar when sat down with her shortly before his event and the debate tonight. Also next, did the candidates have the facts straight? We got a reality check on a claim Ted Cruz made, ahead.



COOPER: Welcome back. We certainly heard a lot of bold claims on the debate stage tonight, a lot of strongly voiced statements, no question there. The real question is, how well did the words honor the fact? Jim Sciutto joins us now with the reality check, Jim?

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We had our best reality check team and television is always looking at these claims. Let's start with the first one, this one from Ted Cruz on Obamacare. It's one we've heard often, that it was a big job killer. Here's what he had to say tonight.


CRUZ: We have seen now, in six years of Obamacare that it's been a disaster. It is the biggest job killer in this country. Millions of Americans have lost their jobs.


SCIUTTO: Millions of Americans have lost their jobs, biggest job killer in this country. Is that true? Well, groups who study it using the Kaiser Family Foundation. They found very small percentage of employers shifted staffers to part time, another small percentage might have not hired folks, they would have otherwise. That offset by people who were hired full time from part time. Our judgment on this one is that, claim is false.

Let's go to Rand Paul on Meta data, bulk data collection. This is a big issue for both parties in the last year, year and a half. Here was his claim tonight.


PAUL: The bulk collection of your phone data, the invasion of your privacy did not stop one terrorist attack.


SCIUTTO: Did not stop one terrorist attack. You may have remembered early on when bulk data was revealed by Edward Snowden. The administration talked about at least 50 terror threats thwarted. That talking point actually disappeared over time through a lot of hard questioning from people like Senator Patrick Leahy. But even the president's own intelligence reform commission found it not to be true. Just one case of material support for terrorism that was prevented, we judge this as a true claim by Rand Paul.

Let's see if Marco Rubio cap and trade, another hot button issue in this election. Here's what Marco Rubio said tonight about his own record on cap and trade.


RUBIO: If they're going to impose this on us, we better prepare to protect the state from it. But I have never supported cap and trade and I never thought it was a good idea.


SCIUTTO: Never supported, never thought it was a good idea. Let's look at his record in the state. In fact, in 2008, he told the Florida television station, he believed cap and trade was inevitable and if Florida should act quickly to become an early complier. Later he proposed giving the Florida department of environmental protection a mandate to decide cap and trade. Later they voted unanimously to pass that mandate. We judge this claim as false. Final one, Ben Carson towards the end of debate, talking about

government regulations, something the GOP candidates like to talk about. He made this claim about the number of new pages of regulations.


BEN CARSON, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: There was an additional 81,000 pages of government regulations.


SCIUTTO: 81,000 pages, in fact there are groups that count this kind of stuff. It was 81,611 pages. He went on to claim that would be as tall as a two story building. So, we like to do math here. We did some measuring. 500 sheets of paper in here, that's two inches, 30 feet is 360 inches. Picture 180 of these stacked on top of each other, low and behold, that adds up to 90,000 pages. Not to put too fine a point on it, we'll round it up a little bit here. We'll give him that 8,389 pages and rate this claim as true from Ben Carson. Anderson, back to you.

COOPER: All right, Jim Sciutto. Thanks very much. I'm terrible at math. I'm glad somebody else did that.

JEFFREY LORD, POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: That'll sell the Carson campaign.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: At least he's winning something, right.


COOPER: What has happened to Ben Carson?

BORGER: I asked him that two weeks ago.

COOPER: I hope you phrased it more politely.

BORGER: No, not really. I sort of said, "What happened?" And he was very honest about it. He said, "San Bernardino and Paris." He said, "Foreign policy."

CARPENTER: But you know what, everybody says that.


Yeah, I know why he would say that but if you look at what was happening right before those terrorist attacks, he was coming under a lot of scrutiny over his own biography. At that time, he was promising that he will produce people who will verify the account in my book. He will produce that there's evidence of the Chinese military in Syria. He never did that. The terrorist attacks happened and people forgot about him.


KEVIN MADDEN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: He actually weathered the Bio part and I've never seen candidate air charges against himself like Ben Carson's case. Every time he was asked, "Why are you slipping in the polls?" He kept saying, "Well, it's because foreign policy and national security have come to the top of the issue list." What candidate does that? I think that showed a lack of polish and it really did where it ...


NAVARRO: Financial organization melted like sugar cubes. You know, right in front of him. His campaign has disintegrated. He's a gut who's really gotten this far based on personality. People liked the guy.

[00:20:00] They like him. He was so likable. But at some point, you need an organization. You need troops. You need somebody that helps you do crisis management and communication and all of that fell through.

CARPENTER: Well, it is very sad what happened I think to Ben Carson on that front. His people abandoned him and a lot of people made a lot of money off of his name in bad way.

NAVARRO: He got swindled.


CARPENTER: ... and that was unfair to that candidate.

MADDEN: Every organization is a reflection of it's principle. And when the candidate lets the campaign, let that happen, that's a sign that he's probably not ready to be president at all.

AXELROD: I think what he's proven is that, politics isn't brain surgery. Politics is harder than brain surgery.

LORD: He said to me on one occasion when I first met him that there was no problem with his background. He says, "They're going to look all they want and they're not going to find anything." And I thought as this has gone on is occurred (ph) as the old Sun Tzu saying that that if you're going to, you know, win in a battle, the first person you should know about is yourself. So, while maybe other -- he thought that, clearly there's lots there in terms of his knowledge base and foreign policy this that he just didn't have and organization and ...

COOPER: So, in terms of -- we talked a little bit about people over the next couple of days before Iowa, how many people -- everybody automatically goes on to New Hampshire.



BORGER: Huckabee doesn't. (CROSSTALK)

LORD: The trump rally may be on a way to their vacation on Tuesday.

BORGER: Huckabee has said he would drop out.

KING: If two passed Iowa winners, it's pretty hard if they're way -- I mean if somehow Huckabee and Santorum surge up into the top four or five maybe. But that doesn't look like that was going to happen. You've won this state before, how do you keep going on? I think Carson will be a question. He has said he's not going anywhere. Iowa is his strongest state right now.

AXELROD: Although he has the money, he's raised a lot of money.

NAVARRO: He's also spent a lot of money.

KING: But still, that's a conversation for very late Monday night or Tuesday morning. Until then, whatever they get, whatever, I keep saying this, but because of where Cruz is and Trump are so close, whatever Carson who's been at eight I think, around 8 percent, 10 percent, depending on which point you look at. And Huckabee and Santorum are one and two each. That's 10 or 12 or 9 or 10. If they get 9 or 10 or if they crack in to double digits, the three of them, that's coming from something.

COOPER: How many dropped out after New Hampshire? I mean, how many moved forward ...

AXELROD: One thing we should discuss in this regard is the guy we haven't talked about who was on that stage who actually has become consequential is John Kasich. John Kasich has had the greatest momentum in New Hampshire, as you pointed out, he's been endorsed by seven of the eight newspapers there. He's moving up in the polls. He is actually a big problem for Marco Rubio right now because Rubio has to dominate that lane of the Republican Party, that center right lane, if John Kasich should move in front of him in New Hampshire, that's a big problem.

COOPER: Let's actually just hold that thought. I do need to take another quick break. Also coming up next, what Donald Trump told our Brianna Keilar just before he went on stage, a really fascinating news making interview. We'll bring that to you ahead.



COOPER: And welcome back. Before the break we were talking about John Kasich. David I know you were saying about it that basically, he may be the one to watch in ...

AXELROD: Well, he's been very disciplined, you know. He'll get the safe driver award in this campaign because he just stays in his lane, focused in the on New Hampshire. He has a different tone than all the other candidates. It's more suited to New Hampshire where independents vote in that primary. And he's slowly moved up there in a way that I think is menacing to certainly to the other sort of center right establishment candidates. And so, you know, he traveled to Iowa for one reason tonight which was to talk to New Hampshire. He was no the talking to the people of Iowa.

BASH: It's true. I spent some time with him last week in New Hampshire. He was there with his wife and his daughters were with him. And it's very true that he is -- he's talking their talk and speaking their language. Chris Christie is too but for some reason, he's not -- I mean, they're both following the John McCain 2008 model, right.

Move to New Hampshire. Don't leave. Talk to everybody you can. Have town hall after town hall. Just be out there and let it all hang out,

NAVARRO: I think the bar though for Kasich and Christie at least of the New Hampshire is higher than for let's say, Rubio or Jeb. Why, because Jeb and Marco have put resources in South Carolina. The only way that Kasich or Christie can move on to South Carolina is propelled by the momentum of a big, big night there.

BORGER: And, you know, Christie used to be the so called truth teller in this race, but.

AXELROD: Right, overshadowed the debt.

BORGER: ... right, by Donald Trump to a great degree.

AXELROD: Let's not ignore the obvious. It was mentioned tonight. I mean, he was considered right after the 2014 election, the front- runner for the nomination and then they shut the bridge down.

BORGER: Right.

AXELROD: And they shut down his ambitions in many ways. He's done a great job of rehabilitating himself in this race but that's still hovering.

NAVARRO: But, you know, timing could be so important.

COOPER: Let's play that sound just so viewers know what we're referencing.


WALLACE: Governor Christie, two of your former top aids go on trial in May for fraud and conspiracy in the bridge case, the politically motivated closure of lanes to the George Washington bridge. Another former aid who has already pleaded guilty and will likely testify for the government as you know, says you knew about this whole deal. Can the GOP take the chance of nominating you with this scandal still out there, sir?

CHRISTIE: Sure because there's been three different investigations into proving that I knew nothing. And the fact is that what I did do from the beginning, Chris, as soon as I found out about it I fired the people who were responsible. And that's what you expect from a leader. And you know why the Republican Party will want to take a chance on me? Because they know that Hillary Clinton will never be prosecuted by this justice department and they're going to want to put a former federal prosecutor on the stage to prosecute her next September.

[00:30:02] I guarantee you one thing, she will never get within 10 miles of the White House. The days for the Clintons in public housing are over.

COOPER: David?

AXELROD: Here is the fundamental problem for -- Chris Christie says, "I knew nothing."

One of his top age shut down the George Washington bridge for days and he knew nothing and then he talks about the fact that governors are accountable, you're responsible for everything that happens. It is an inconsistent argument, you can't be the strong accountable leader and have one of your top age shut down the George Washington bridge and your answer be, "I didn't know anything about that."

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: But he turns it very cleverly to Hillary Clinton and says she's going to be prosecuted and I'm a prosecutor and then I will have to do that.

AXELROD: He is right for (inaudible). I think he does the best he can with it, but this ...


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They did black cloud, there -- they hang over him.

NAVARRO: Timing is so incredibly important. We are going to find out on Monday if Ted Cruz peaked too early in Iowa or if he did not. I think, you know, I think that one of the things we have not touched on today is that there was all those buzz for Ted Cruz a couple of weeks ago, and frankly, Donald Trump who is very good at finding the weak underbelly and branding his opponents, really, I think, you know, put this big question mark in the air about Ted Cruz's citizenship because then we have ...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Really we have -- It was incredible ...

NAVARRO: It's a -- Yeah. I mean it's incredible. You know, the guy through spaghetti at the wall a couple of times, first call them a little bit of a maniac back in their work, then went after him being a Cuban evangelical backed in her work and then it was, ahah (ph), the citizenship thing. And that has had an effect. And on Chris Christie, we're going to see if he peaked too early and (inaudible) ...

AXELROD:Well, the reason he peaked too, he may have peaked too early is because he was sailing under the radar as soon as he started rising, backed to endorsement of the Manchester Union leader. They started running ads against him recalling not just the bridge, not just the nine downgrades, but several other problems, including the Republican and some of his more liberal positions and he is now ...

NAVARRO: And does last week also has not been good for Christie? You know, his response to the snowstorm? Look. The best thing anybody can do that's running for any office is do their current job well.

So let's, you know, I opt ...

COOPER: We got to do the top slot. We got to take another break. I do want to get this Donald Trump interview in our Brianna Keilar, our only network correspondent to sit down with Donald Trump before he went on stage before the debate or conversation.

Right after this.


COOPER: In case you hadn't heard, Donald Trump boycotted the debate tonight. His rivals shrug it off. Trump had the stage to himself as he often does on his airliner. He sat down and answered tough questions. Here is part one of the interview.

[00:36:15] I'd heard down from Blake out of the debate tonight, his rival slugged it out before he or they took out at either stage though Trump had to stage himself as he often does on his customized bowing airliner.

He sat down with our Brianna Keilar who did not shy away from asking tough questions. Here's the part one of the interview.


BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Mr. Trump, I want to clear something up right off the bat because I have heard from people over at the debate site and I know one of them are expecting, and quite frankly, a lot of them are hoping that you'll make some sort of appearance tonight even if the thing's been (inaudible). Do you think that's something you'll do?

DONALD TRUMP, (R), U.S. PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE : Well, Brianna, what's happened is when I said we won't do the debate because, you know, as you know, I was treated not so nicely and at some point you have to say you have to put your foot down, what I said is we'll do something for our veterans and we're going to have a big fundraiser and -- so we set up and I just saw it on CNN we have thousands of people standing on line, it's a big event and it's taken a whole life of its own.

So I will be going there and I think we're going to have a great time. We're going to raise a lot of money. We've already raised a lot of money for the vets.

KEILAR: Putting aside the fact that you are upset at this point with Fox News, we are right now just a few days away from the caucuses. TRUMP: Right.

KEILAR: There are a lot of Iowa Republicans who are undecided. Do they deserve to hear you on the debate stage tonight answering tough questions?

TRUMP: Well, I think they will hear me because I'm going to be up there for an hour, an hour and a half had a bigger event and we're going to have more people than they have.

KEILAR: But getting questions asked of you by a moderator.

TRUMP: Well, I think they've been hearing me. You know, I've had six debates and according to every single online poll and most of the people and then particular in the last one, I've won every debate, then they've asked me every question they can probably ask me and I guess we have five other debates scheduled after this at least which is a lot of debates.

You know, the democrats have already finished with their debates. It's a lot of debates ...

KEILAR: I think they're having more now as we've just (inaudible).

TRUMP: Well, now, they may -- I really understand they want to do some more.

KEILAR: I hear you saying that there have been several debates but back in 2011, when Republicans had already gone through several debates, you were hoping to do a debate with Newsmax, have Republican candidates there. They started bailing on the idea, and you told actually Megyn Kelly at the time that they weren't showing courage, that they weren't showing bravery, and here you find yourself after several debates bailing on the idea of having another one.

TRUMP: Well, that was an interesting thing because Newsmax, she has called me and (inaudible), said we would love to have you do host a debate and I'm friendly with Chris right here on the Fox, we have the Newsmax, and I said I'll do that, if you want me to do that, and that's something I've never done before but I think I could do it pretty well, I don't know if I could do it like me, but I could do it OK.

And, so I was willing to host a debate, but I think they were a little bit concerned with me as a moderator because I think I might have been a fairly tough moderator, which I would -- that would have been fair.

KEILAR: But you have an issue with certainly one of the moderators of the debate. How was it me different?

TRUMP: Well, I'm not a person that respects Megyn Kelly very much. I think she's highly overrated, but other than that, I don't care. In fact, when Fox called me, because they very much want me there, they called me just now, they called me just before you walk into the plane and they called me and in all fairness very nicely but they want me there very badly and I never once asked that she be removed. I don't care about her being removed. What I didn't like is their public relations statement where they were sort of taunting and I didn't think it was appropriate, I didn't think it was nice.

KEILAR: Don't you sometimes put out press releases that are -- I mean they're somewhat similar in tone to the one that you object to from Fox News.

TRUMP: I can understand that, but, you know, from me just listening, I didn't think it was appropriate right before the debate.

KEILAR: You do have this well-documented beef with Megyn Kelly. We've seen it kind of go back and forth at this point. You said ...

TRUMP: And I think she's fine. You know what, can I be honest? I think she's fine. It doesn't matter. She asked me a question which I thought was inappropriate. I thought it wasn't a good question, It wasn't fair. I gave her a good answer, I think it was a very -- that was my Rosie O'Donnell answer I gave it to her. And frankly, to be honest, I think that I won that debate according to every online poll and many of the respondents, I won that debate. I mean (inaudible) also asked me a question which was, you know, the raise your hands question which was not exactly an easy thing to do. But I love the debates.

[00:40:10] I will say this. I've probably given more interviews than anybody. In fact, I'm credited with that. Whether it's you or anybody else, I've given more interviews than anybody. I've been in six debates, I've done well in every debate, everybody said I won the last one, but they said I won most of them. And I've actually enjoyed the presses. I just didn't think this was a fair process. And by the time they apologized, I said, "Look, the problem is we now have a big event scheduled ...

KEILAR: They've up -- on the phone, apologized. Is that what's ...


KEILAR: ... phonecall was that ...

TRUMP: It's -- Facts that you might have been nicer.

KEILAR: You got an apology?

TRUMP: Yes, and they could not have been nicer.

KEILAR: Who apologized to you?

TRUMP: I don't want to say.

KEILAR: OK. So, when it comes to Megyn Kelly and you have had this piece, you raised the idea of the word bimbo. You said you didn't want to use it, you said it was not politically correct ...

TRUMP: I didn't use it.

KEILAR: ... but you used it. You said the word and then you've retweeted. TRUMP: No. No. I said I wouldn't want to use it because it's not politically correct.

KEILAR: You've retweeted followers who have used the word. Why?

TRUMP: I don't know. I mean, I just followed instead of retweet, that's different.

Look, I haven't had a very good relationship with her. I think she treats me very unfairly. She covers me all the time, I mean, you know, for somebody that doesn't want to necessarily like Donald Trump, I mean I'm always covered. She's some -- on her show all the time, but I just don't think she treats me fairly. And that's OK. I mean, she got to do what she's got to do. I don't think she treats me fairly and it's one of those things.

KEILAR: Ted Cruz ...

TRUMP: Right.

KEILAR: ... has been -- he not just Ted Cruz, but also those who support him have been hammering you when it comes to your previous use on late term abortion.

TRUMP: While I'm hammering him on his views in where he was born.

KEILAR: But they -- They have been ...

TRUMP: ... and he's weak -- by the way, he's very weak on illegal immigration.

KEILAR: But you said, you said to my colleague, just recently down the bash, you said I don't want to talk about that when you were asked about your previous support for late term abortion. What this ...

TRUMP: You know, because everybody now, especially this falls, I am pro-life, everybody knows I am pro-life, he knows I'm pro-life. You know, Ted Cruz also took a commercial -- wait a minute. Ted Cruz took a commercial but I ripped down an old lady's house. He said ripped down, they have the bulldozers, they say he destroyed an -- because of eminent domain which by the way is very important because you wouldn't have roads, you wouldn't have schools, you wouldn't have ...

KEILAR: But can you explain this? You said ...

TRUMP: Wait a minute, wait a minute. The house was never ripped down. I never ripped down the house. She didn't want to do it, ultimately I said let's not do it.

KEILAR: But let me ask you this question.

TRUMP: But no, wait, wait, wait, wait. Why did we mention ...

KEILAR: This is my question now.

TRUMP: Brianna, wait, Brianna. He did a big commercial. He said I ripped down a person's house.

KEILAR: But what does that have to do with you not wanting to talk about this issue of late term abortion.

TRUMP: It has a lot to do with it, it has -- excuse me, it has a lot to do with it because he's very decided (inaudible) what he is doing. He said I ripped down a house of a elderly lady, I didn't ripped it down. And he never apologized.

KEILAR: When you said that, when you said that, certainly not ...

TRUMP: But he will never apologize.

KEILAR: Was this you bailing on this debate so that you didn't have to talk about things like this issue that you clearly don't want to address.

TRUMP: Not at all. I'm doing an interview with you. I'm doing (inaudible).

KEILAR: But you won't answer the question.

TRUMP: ... answering every question. You're here a long time. I mean a lot longer than you're supposed to be. I'm doing interviews last night with Bill O'Reilly and he even said I was so surprised you did the interview. I did the interview, I was totally out, I have nothing to hide.

I've done more interviews than anybody. I've done the debates very happily but I was insulted by Fox, and I said it's time not to do it. And by the way, I think you're going to find that a lot of the voters and a lot of the caucus-goers, I think they're going to say he is the one person that will stand up for himself.

When it comes to this country, we have nobody that stands up with our Iran deal where instead of walking out of the room and making proper deals, we just took everything they gave us and we gave them $150 billion and it's a disaster. We didn't get our prisons back until everything was done and then they go in the -- put guns to our sailors' heads.

We need people that are going to stand up for themselves and for the country. We don't have that.


COOPER: Oh, that wasn't all they talked about. Coming up next, what he told Brianna when she asked about the Iowa voters who might be turned off by his decision to skip the final debate before they make their choice.

We'll be right back.


[00:47:44] Last night, Bill O'reilly, Charlie, and Donald Trump were making everything about himself, now whether that's true or not, not for us to say however it's certainly fair topic to explore. Listen to Brianna Keilar's questions him now and then to his answer in part two of her interview with him tonight.


KEILAR: What do you say to that Iowa voter who might have been thinking, "You know what? I like Donald Trump. I'm thinking of supporting him on Monday night," and now maybe they're backing away from that, maybe they're turned off because they feel like this is just a bunch of drama with you not going to (inaudible).

TRUMP: Brianna, say this. I wanted to fight for myself, just like I'll fight for the country. I was treated very badly and very unfairly by Fox.

Fox was very nice say -- excuse me ...

KEILAR: But Fox's side, what about the voters?

TRUMP: You know, I'm explaining something here. I was treated very unfairly by Fox. Since then they've been excellent, they've been very nice but it's too late because we have an event and we're going to make a lot of money. You'll hear that over $5 million for the veterans, but it will be more than that.

But I was treated very unfairly. Since then, fine. What I say is this. You have to stick up for yourself, you have to fight for yourself, and you have to fight for your country. And a lot of people are saying I really respect Trump because he took on the establishment, which in this case is Fox. He took on the establishment. And you know who else respects it? Fox respects it. And they told me that.

KEILAR: You've been sort of going back and forth and certainly there's been some criticism of you from Ted Cruz when it comes to immigration. You talked about sending undocumented immigrants back to their home countries and then you said allowing the "good ones" back in. Ted Cruz has just called that Touchback Amnesty.

TRUMP: Sure. I was just endorsed by Sheriff Joe (ph) of Arizona. There is nobody tougher in immigration than Sheriff Joe. He chose me because he understood me. And he understands my plan. Now, Ted who is totally in favor of amnesty, Ted didn't want to build a wall. All of a sudden, he is now saying he want to build a wall. I'm he only one that want to build a wall. Ted was saying all of -- Ted was very weak on illegal immigration. And just to go a step further, if I didn't bring up illegal immigration, it never ever would have even been a subject. You wouldn't be asking me that question right now. You would have never been asking me that question.

We are going to have boarders. We are going to have a wall. Mexico is going to pay for that wall. You know, everyone sort of smiles when I say that because they think it's impossible. The reason they're going to pay is very simple. Because they make a fortune with our country, a fortune with trade and other things coming across that boarder, that very coarse boarder. So, we're going to have a boarder and we're going to have a country again.

[00:50:09] KEILAR: I've heard -- Well, you joked about you said you could shoot people and you wouldn't lose supporters and I've heard some people say it's kind of maybe taking supporters for granted. Are you taking your supporters for granted?

TRUMP: Not at all. And frankly, that was done obviously in a very joking manner, and a lot of people loved, in fact, I was smiling, they were smiling, everybody was smiling and the truth is your report, your own polling said that by far trump has supporters that will never leave him. I was up to 69% and then it on got into the 90s. But I have great support earth. I have just amazing people. I am in love with the people. I cherish these people. They are really great. And, I'm very proud of that. I mean to me -- to me, that makes me very proud that I have people that are so strong in favor of me. By the way, far stronger than any other candidate by a long shot.

KEILAR: Before I do leave, I want to ask you more about this event tonight. Who is going to be with you on stage? If you're going to be talking specifically about the veterans groups that you plan on donating money too?

TRUMP: Well, it's a tremendous evening, it's become a tremendous evening which is really one of the reasons I just can't go to the debate now even if I wanted to. But ...

KEILAR: Would you if you didn't have the event planned?

TRUMP: Well, I might have because Fox was very, very nice to me. I mean they really worried, they could have been nicer. And I spoke to the top people and they could have been nicer, and I might have. But you know, this took on the life of the child, you covered it better than anybody in terms of the lines.

You see the thousands of people standing on lane. We're very proud of the event and it was done over about a 24 hour period, you know, which is pretty amazing.

We are going to raise a lot of money for veterans tonight. The veterans have been treated horribly in our country. We're going to take care of our veterans.

And one thing I'll say about the debates. With all of the time I debated, because I've done -- gone through six debates and done well, I don't think any question has been asked to me or almost anybody else about the veterans. They forget about veterans. The veterans are like forgotten about and even in the debates, the veterans aren't disgusted to talk about, and what I'm going to be doing is we're going to be talking it. And we're going to be doing more than talking we're going to be raising millions of dollars tonight for the veterans.

KEILAR: Mr. Trump, thank you so much ...

TRUMP: Thank you very much. I appreciate it. KEILAR: ... I really appreciate you making the time.


COOPER: Well, shortly, after Brianna's interview which you heard Trump say to Fox News they could apologize, Fox released a statement that contained their explanation of events, but no apology. Reason, part, "Roger Ailes had three brief conversations with Donald Trump today about possibly appearing at the debate. There were not multiple calls placed by Ailes to Trump. In the course of those conversations, we acknowledged his concerns about a satirical observation we made in order to quell the attacks on Megyn Kelly, and prevent her from being smeared any further. Furthermore, Trump offered to appear at the debate upon the condition that Fox News contribute $5 million to charities. We explained that was not possible, we could not engage in a quid pro quo, nor could any money change hands for any reasons."

We'll get some final thoughts from the panel when we come back.

[00:56:44] COOPER: It is definitely been quite an unusual night. I want to get some final thoughts from our panel.


JEFFREY LORD, CONTRIBUTING EDITOR, AMERICAN SPECTATOR: The whole Fox attack, and I think what people miss is in the New York, Washington access, we have a lot of people who think Fox is the conservative channel and they're seeing that way. You get outside the (inaudible) from where I live in Central Pennsylvania, you get out to Iowa and other places. There is some question marks there. You know, other than Sean Hannity and a couple other folks.

So when Donald Trump is attacking Fox, you got Republicans out there, Republicans and Conservatives saying right on and that's a very interesting thing.


AMANDA CARPENTER, FORMER COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR FOR SEN. TED CRUZ: This debate was a little flat tonight because Trump wasn't there and I think that speaks largely to the media and that Fox is become too dependent on Trump, and maybe the media as a whole. And it's the bottom does drop off for Trump which I could because that was the big event no one is upcoming while they have to rethink how we cover this race.

NAVARRO: I have no final thoughts. I have no more thoughts. I am thought out.


COOPER: I'll take Ana -- I'll take Ana's ...

NAVARRO: Let's go back to talking about the horoscopes ...

(CROSSTALK) KEVIN MADDEN, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: What I'm going to follow this time is some really boring, I guess now. Look, I think the fact that nothing really changed tonight because of this debate. One of the big trajectory that is really helping Marco Rubio is his gain in Iowa and I think that's going to be a big story coming out on Monday night.

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: I think Cruz had the big target on his back tonight and he took some water on immigration and on this question of authenticity and I think coming out of Iowa, it will be a fight between Trump and Cruz and Rubio as they head into ...

COOPER: And I think it was Kevin who earlier said, I mean of all the nights for Cruz to have a bad night, tonight (inaudible).

BORGER: Yeah, tonight is not a good ...

JOHN KING, CNN ANCHOR, INSIDE POLITICS: Yes. The third place is incredibly consequential in Iowa in the Republican side.

Look, we also have a very competitive Democratic race. We haven't talked about (inaudible) now, we have a very competitive Republican race, first and second, who knows who is going to win, very competitive. Democratic race between Sanders and Clinton. Three days or three and a half days if you want to count part of Monday before caucus. People will start voting up for the candidates who can't -- it will be interesting to see, you know, Trump has this history after when he has nongood debate performances, he went there and dropping a bomb the next day.


KING: It will be very interesting to see with three days left who -- if the closing arguments change in anywhere and there's something new and different gets thrown into the debate.

AXELROD: Donald Trump has led nine out of the ten polls in Iowa. He gambled tonight and I think he won his gamble.

COOPER: Do you think so?

AXELROD: I think he made a good decision staying away ...

COOPER: Even if the ratings for his event weren't big or anything just because he was out of the mess ...

AXELROD: He wasn't in the crossfire and the others were and I think that he was in a position to do that.

CARPENTER: And I think the point that somebody made earlier about the fact that Fox decided that they were going to go more interview style and run Numbytes (ph) from their past, I mean you could kind of pick your poison with regard to Donald Trump and there's no question they did have that planned and he would have had a very, very different kind of night.

COOPER: Yeah. And in terms of moving on beyond New Hampshire, how many people -- how many candidates can actually do that? They have been -- Who has -- How many candidates have the money ...

NAVARRO: You know, that's such a difficult question to answer because not everybody that is running is running for president. Some people are running to join us at this cable gig. Some people are running to be, you know -- and probably to be on the, you know, speaker's speech to sell books, to be on Dancing with the Stars.

COOPER: Right. We are ...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So she did have thoughts.

[00:60:02] COOPER: Yeah, she did.

You perked up with that. All right. Thanks to everybody in our panel, thanks to everybody for watching. And the big coverage continues now, John (inaudible) in Los Angeles.