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First GOP Debates Reviewed; Debate Highlights Examined. Aired Midnight-1a ET

Aired August 6, 2015 - 00:00   ET


[00:00:00] ANDERSON COOPER, AC360 SHOW ANCHOR: The first republican debate of campaign 2016 now history, history and a whole lot of headlines to talk about tonight. Donald Trump made plenty of them, but by no means, all of them. Here are some of the most important moments. Take a look.


BRET BAIER, FOX NEWS SPECIAL REPORT SHOW HOST: Is there anyone on stage, and can I see hands, which is unwilling tonight to pledge your support to the eventual nominee of the Republican Party and pledge to not run an independent campaign against that person?


BAIER: Again, we're looking for you to raise your hand now.


BAIER: Raise your hand now if you won't make that pledge tonight.


BAIER: Mr. Trump.

DONALD TRUMP, 2016 GOP PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I cannot say I have to respect the person that if it's not me the person that wins. If I do win, and I'm leading by quite a bit, that's what I want to do. I can totally make that pledge if I'm the nominee.


RAND PAUL, FORMER TEXAS SENATOR: And this is what's wrong. He buys and sells politicians of all stripes. He's already...

BAIER: Dr. Paul.

PAUL: Hey. Look, look. He's already hedging his bet on the Clintons, OK? So if he doesn't run as a republican, maybe he supports Clinton or maybe he runs as an independent.


PAUL: But I'd say that he's already hedging his bets because he's used to buying politicians. (APPLAUSE)



CHRISTIE: Megyn, that's a -- that, you know, that's a completely ridiculous answer. I want to collect more records from terrorists, but less record from other people. How are you supposed to know, Megyn?

PAUL: Use the fourth amendment.

CHRISTIE: What do you supposed to -- how are you supposed to...

PAUL: Use the fourth amendment.

CHRISTIE: No, I'll tell you how do...

PAUL: Get a warrant.

CHRISTIE: Let me tell you something. Do you know...

PAUL: Get a judge to sign a warrant...

CHRISTIE: When you...


MEGYN KELLY, THE KELLY FILE SHOW HOST: Wait. Governor Christie, make your point.

CHRISTIE: Listen Senator, you know, when you're sitting in a subcommittee just blowing hot air about this, you can say things like that. When you're responsible for protecting the lives of the American people, then what you need to do is to make sure...

PAUL: Here's the problem.

CHRISTIE: Is to make sure that you use system...

PAUL: Here's the problem, Governor.

CHRISTIE: The way it's supposed to work.

PAUL: Here's the problem. I don't trust President Obama with our records. I know you gave him a big hug. And if you want to give him a big hug again, go right ahead.




KELLY: Go ahead, Governor.

CHRISTIE: And you know -- you know Senator Paul?


CHRISTIE: Senator Paul, you know the hugs that I remember, are the hugs that I gave to the families who lost their people on September 11th. Those are the hugs I remember. And those had nothing to do -- and those had nothing to do with politics. Unlike what you're doing by cutting speeches on the floor of the Senate that putting them on the internet within a half hour to raise money for your campaign...

KELLY: All right.

CHRISTIE: And while still putting our country at risk.

TRUMP: With Iran, we're making a deal. You would say, we want him, we want him. We want our prisoners, we want all these things. We don't get anything. We're giving them $150 billion plus. They are going to be -- I'll tell you what. If Iran was a stock, you folks should go out and buy it right now because you'll quadruple. This is what happened (BELLS) and Iran is a disgrace.

KELLY: Dr. Carson. In one of his first acts as commander in chief, President Obama signed an executive order banning enhanced interrogation techniques in fighting terror. As president, would you bring back waterboarding?

BEN CARSON, FORMER DIRECTOR OF JOHNS HOPKINS PEDIATRIC NEUROSURGERY: Well, thank you, Megyn. I wasn't sure I was going to get to talk again.


KELLY: We have a lot for you. Don't worry.

CHRIS WALLACE, FOX NEWS SUNDAY HOST: Mr. Trump, I'll give you 30 seconds.


WALLACE: I'll give you 30 seconds to answer my question, which was what evidence do you have, specific evidence that the Mexican government is sending...


WALLACE: Criminals across the border? 30 seconds.

TRUMP: Border patrol -- I was at the border last week. Border patrol, people that I deal with, that I talk to, they say this is what's happening because our leaders are stupid. Our politicians are stupid. And the Mexican government is much smarter, much sharper, much more cunning, and they send the bad ones over because they don't want to pay for them. They don't want to take care of them. Why should they when the stupid leaders of the United States will do it for them? And that's what's happening, whether you like it or not.


JEB BUSH, FORMER FLORIDA GOVERNOR: I want to win. I want one of these people here or the ones at 5 o'clock to be the next president of the United States. We're not going to win by doing what Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton do each and every day, dividing the country. Saying -- creating a grievance kind of environment. We're going to win when we unite people with a hopeful, optimistic message.

PAUL: News flash. The Republican Party's been fighting against a single payer system for a decade.


PAUL: So I think you're on the wrong side of this, if you're still arguing for a single payer system.

TRUMP: I'm not -- I'm not and I don't think you heard me. You're having a hard time tonight.

BAIER: All right...

TRUMP: Most of the people on this stage, I've given to -- just so you understand -- a lot of money.



MIKE HUCKABEE, FORMER GOVERNOR OF ARKANSAS: But you're welcome to give me a check, Donald, if you'd like.

TRUMP: Many of them.

RUBIO: Actually, to be clear...

TRUMP: That's right. Not...

RUBIO: He supported Charlie Crist.

TRUMP: Not Mike, but I have...


JOHN KASICH, OHIO GOVERNOR: Donald, if you end up your campaign, I hope you will give to me.

TRUMP: Good.


TRUMP: Sounds good, sounds good to me, Governor.


COOPER: Just moments ago Donald Trump spoke with reporters in the spin room. Listen. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Well, I really enjoyed it. It was something I've never done before. And everybody tells me I'm winning every one of the polls, so I'm very happy about that. It's an honor. But, you know I thought their questions to me were much tougher than to other people, but maybe I expect that. But I really enjoyed the evening.


[00:05:10] COOPER: He was quoted by a TIME Magazine reporter as saying he also thought some of the questions were unfair. We didn't get that on camera, though, that's according to a TIME Magazine reporter, who just sent that out over Twitter. A lot to talk about, joining us some new and important voices. Republican strategist Rich Galen, also Amanda Carpenter, former communications director for Senator Ted Cruz, and Donna Brazile, CNN political commentator, democratic strategist and vice chair of the DNC voter project. Rich, you've been involved in republican politics a long time. Everyone's looking to see what Donald Trump did tonight, if he would do anything that hurt his lead. How do you think he did and who else stood out to you?

RICH GALEN, FORMER PRESS SECRETARY FOR REPRESENTATIVE GINGRICH: Well, I think everybody sort of agrees. Trump obviously decided. Trump was gonna be Trump, in spite of what geniuses like me thought he should do. Whether he pulls it off or not, as you pointed out, we'll see how it plays out over the next week or so. I thought some of the stuff was kind of cringe-worthy, but we'll see. But without question, I think in the second debate, the later debate, John Kasich, governor of Ohio, introduced himself very well to people. I've known him. You talk about being in politics a long time. I remember him as a freshman in the Congress, but I think he's a very talented guy and he's going to be a serious player in this campaign.

COOPER: Amanda, your former boss, Senator Cruz, a lot of people saying he's competing for the same voters that Donald Trump does. How did you think he did tonight, because some people had scored him as not doing so great? So what do you think of it?

AMANDA CARPENTER, FORMER COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR FRO SENATOR TED CRUZ: I think Senator Cruz did a fine job. I don't think he got nearly as many questions as some of the other candidates, but he made a really incredible use of his time. When he was able to talk about his senate record, how he thinks it's important to tell the truth, and more importantly, taking on the republican establishment. I think this election at the end of the day in the republican primary is going to come down to a battle between the grassroots and the more establishment-type candidate. Cruz is vying for that grassroots mantle, and he's making positive inroads to that. It's going to be a long debate cycle. So there will be many more opportunities for him to answer more questions.

COOPER: Amanda, is there anyone you thought did much worse than you thought they were going to do?

CARPENTER: You know, I think Christie's exchange with Rand Paul really hurt him.

COOPER: Hurt Christie?

CARPENTER: Yes, absolutely because -- at the end of the day, the libertarian base is so important to the republican primary. You cannot disrespect those voters. So when he goes after Rand, he's going after that vibrant Rand Paul basis (ph), that's been very active since the 2008 election. And it's going to be very hard for any of the Rand Paul supporters eventually, pull the trigger and vote for Christie, should he advance in this republican primary.

COPPER: It's Donna -- I mean, to the flip side of that, is do you think Rand Paul did anything for himself beyond that libertarian base? Do you think he expanded his base?

DONNA BRAZILE, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: I think Senator Paul came into the debate, needing to pick a fight with somebody, either Donald Trump or someone else, maybe Jeb Bush. Someone to allow him to get back on stage as that lone libertarian voice...

COOPER: And he clearly tried to do that from the get-go. He jumped on Trump immediately.

BRAZILE: That's right. But it fell flat because Chris Christie, as you know, loves to pick a fight and loves to end a fight. So I don't think Rand Paul did himself any good by picking that fight. But you know what? In looking at the clips again, Anderson, you know, I think Donald Trump made a huge mistake in being a little mean to Megyn Kelly. Also, his statements about Rosie O'Donnell and repeating it, I think he did himself -- I think he made a problem with women voters with that statement. Not just about Rosie O'Donnell. Criticize Rosie O'Donnell, calling her fat and some other rude names, but the fact that he said to Megyn Kelly, I've been nice to you. You know, women are not going to take that from a man in the 21st century. Why are you being nice to me? What do you mean? We're the majority of voters?

COOPER: We also...

GALEN: I've never been nice to Donna. I'm not guilty of this.

COOPER: But your Rich, I mean to Donna's point, you know, I thought the questions frankly were very good. And you know you had Chris Wallace trying to get Donald Trump to answer a question. I've been trying to get him to answer about where is the actual evidence about the Mexican government.

GALEN: And he didn't do it again.

COOPER: He did not do it again because clearly, he doesn't -- you know, he's intimated that he has the evidence and that he'll show it. Clearly, if Donald Trump had it, it would be, you know, he would have taken it out of his wallet and shown it. In fact, let's play that SOT for viewers right now.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) WALLACE: You say that the Mexican government, the Mexican government is sending criminals, rapists, drug dealers across the border. Governor Bush has called those remarks quote, "extraordinarily ugly." I'd like you -- you're right next to him, tell us -- talk to him directly and say, how you respond to that. And you have repeatedly said that you have evidence that the Mexican government is doing this, but that you have evidence you have refused or declined to share. Why not use this first republican presidential debate to share your proof with the American people?

TRUMP: So if it weren't for me, you wouldn't even be talking about illegal immigration, Chris. You wouldn't be even talking of that.


[00:10:10] TRUMP: This was not a subject that was on anybody's mind until I brought it up at my announcement and I said we need to build a wall. And it has to be built quickly. And I don't mind having a big beautiful door it that wall, so that can come into this country legally. But we need Jeb to build a wall. We need to keep illegals out. (BELLS)

WALLACE: I'll give you 30 seconds to answer my question.

TRUMP: I was at the border last week. Border patrol, people that I deal with, that I talk to, they say this is what's happening because our leaders are stupid. Our politicians are stupid. And the Mexican government is much smarter, much sharper, much more cunning, and they send the bad ones over because they don't want to pay for them, they don't want to take care of them. Why should they, when the stupid leaders of the United States will do it for them?


COOPER: Rich, what's interesting, I mean, you know, now I interviewed Trump twice and prepared extensively for it by reading everything he has said in every interview he's given in the last -- I don't know, four months or so. He does repeat himself. Once you are on to what he says, he repeats the same things over and over and over again. And so you can kind of predict what that answer was going to be. At a certain point, does that have to change?

GALEN: I thought it had changed a couple weeks ago. And again, I was wrong about that, but it's not only what he says, it's how he says it. Did you notice in the rebuttal that he was allowed for himself, he said that I deal with these borders -- well...

COOPER: Right.

GALEN: Then he stopped and said, "Well, I met with them." But that's typical Trump to say I deal with these people. Like he's got them in his office, he's calling them from his plane. But the fact is...

COOPER: Which is a line he's also used about veterans, by the way, that he's kind -- you know there's meeting with them repeatedly and that they're crying to him, which may be the case, but that is something he has said also.

GALEN: But the thing -- we'll see what happens with Trump. I still believe he's a summer fling. And as we've talked about before, four years ago everybody from Michele Bachmann to Herman Cain to Santorum to Newt, all led the polls at some point and then they kind of drifted off.

COOPER: Amanda, I asked you about anyone else you thought was, you know, didn't do themselves any favors. Anybody else you thought on that stage that stood out?


GALEN: Yeah, I thought Rubio --

COOPER: No. Sorry, Amanda.

GALEN: I'm Sorry. I thought you were asking me.

COOPER: Amanda.

CARPENTER: Like you want to read this that the Trump issue just for a second...


CARPENTER: Because I think his first two big answers, number one, the fact that he pledged not to run -- or excuse me, not to support the republican presidential candidate. If you heard the boos...


CARPENTER: In the audience. I mean, the republican base so badly wants a win in 2016. We've been in the wilderness, been locked out of the White House. The fact that he would potentially sabotage that chance because of essentially his ego, I think he's going to tank in the polls because of that, and you couple his horrible answers about the insults he's levied toward women. As a -- you know, as conservative republican woman, I was dreading the fact they hit the potentially be the nominee given his history of saying things against women. I mean, talk about two huge weapons you could be giving Hillary Clinton to win the White House. The fact that he would potentially run a third-party bid and that he stands by his terrible comments by women, and threatening the female host of the debates. I mean, that's just paving the way for Hillary Clinton to go into the White House.

COOPER: Interesting. And Amanda, it's great to have you on the program, Rich Galen, always and Donna as well. There's still a lot to talk about. There were so many moments in this debate, a fascinating two hours. Tom Foreman has a fact check on some of what was said tonight. That's coming up.


[00:15:53] COOPER: We brought you a bit of a -- before the break, Donald Trump is assessing his performance in the spin room tonight. We know have a full version of this remarks. Listen.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Trump, (inaudible)?

TRUMP: Well, I really enjoyed it. It was something I've never done before. And everybody tells me I'm winning everyone at the polls. So I'm very happy about that. It's an honor. But, you know I thought their questions to me were much tougher than to other people, but maybe I expect that. But I really enjoyed the evening.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Give me some substance. How do you make America greater again?

TRUMP: Well, you have to go out and you have to make much better trade deals. We're just getting beaten at everything. We have to terminate Obamacare and come up with something much better for the people and for the country. What we have to do would be strong borders and we have to increase our military. We have to take care of our vets. There are so many things, but in the end, we're going to make America great again.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Economics, that's one thing. But if you're talking to people who are at home who don't live your lifestyle, how could you go on their level? How can you relate to them?

TRUMP: Well, we are going to bring back the American dream because a lot of people say the American dream is dead. But the American dream, I'm going to bring it back at bigger and better and stronger than ever before.


TRUMP: Through this. See what that is?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Your head. You're pointing at your head.

TRUMP: Through intelligence, through doing the right thing, through negotiation with other countries that are ripping us -- we're being ripped off by every single country in the world. We don't make good deals anymore. We're going to make fantastic deals.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Donald Trump, thank you so much.

TRUMP: Thank you...


COPPER: Let's dig deeper, CNN Senior Washington Correspondent Jeff Zeleny, CNN Senior Political Reporter Nia-Malika Henderson and CNN Political Analyst Carl Bernstein. Carl, I'm wondering, it seemed -- Donald Trump on that stage, side by side with all these other people, did it change do you think people's perception of him?

CARL BERNSTEIN, JOURNALIST AND ANCHOR: I think this debate shows us that the republicans have a huge Donald Trump problem. And where we saw it was the reaction in the republican chairman and the party spokesman not willing to say hey, this guy, we can't have him if he says he won't be a republican.

COOPER: They say they're not worried about it.

BERNSTEIN: Well, but they're terrified. That's because he's a loose cannon. And they know that if he were to go, as I said to you last night, as a third-party candidate, Hillary Clinton is elected. And one of the things about Donald Trump is what does he really want? He's always -- I've known him for years. He's always wanted to be the most famous person in the world and to have real power. He used the word, Leverage, in one of his answers there. He now has leverage and he now is about the most famous man in the world next to the pope for a while. So he's realizing his objectives, and they want to ease him out, that party chairman, and they want to ease him out or he'll go to the side when he can't prevail. But what are they going to do? They, you know, they got to deal with Trump's ego. You didn't see Jeb Bush attack Trump because Jeb bush knows what a third-party candidacy did to his father when Ross Perot ran.

COOPER: And Nia, I mean, you're there in Cleveland. I'm wondering what you're hearing. So many people have their own horse in the race. At this point in the night, are you sensing a theme, some consensus about who gets a bounce out of this? Obviously, from the earlier one a lot of people were certainly highlighting Carly Fiorina.

NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: Yeah. People were talking about Kasich, people also talking about Marco Rubio. Here's a guy who came in, he's about 5, 6 and 7 percent in the poll. You flashback two or three years ago, he was supposed to be the republican savior. He, I thought came across as so articulate, so well spoken tonight. Jeb Bush obviously, making that argument that he's the adult in the room, but he also has trouble sort of completing the deal and making the final sale. I think Marco Rubio, so articulate, so on point. Such a breath of fresh air tonight, people are certainly buzzing about him as having the best performance and having a kind of breakout performance that should make people give him a second look as sort of a Bush alternative. COOPER: Jeff, you've been talking to folks, the sources in key early states tonight. What are you hearing?

[00:19:56] JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: I have, Anderson. I've been in touch with republican operatives and just voters in Iowa, South Carolina and New Hampshire. And the reality is this -- I mean, these conservative activists in these early states are going to have considerable's say and sway over what happens in this republican primary fight. And when Donald Trump did not pledge to support the nominee, to a person I talked to across the board, they're deeply, deeply troubled by that. So the party may be afraid of him. Reince Priebus and the chairman may be afraid of him, but activists find that off-putting. You know, you have to throw out all the rules when we're talking about his candidacy because, you know all of us have been a predicting sort of the wrong things are happening. But voters took a lot away from him tonight in terms of the questions that were asked. They learned a lot about Donald Trump that they frankly didn't know. So what some republicans now believe will happen in the coming weeks or months as this goes along, will there be a third-party group? Will there be a group that will start reminding these conservative activists that Donald Trump, you know, may not be the conservative you think he is? So I think coming out of this, he did not implode by any means at all. I mean, he certainly didn't soar, but he didn't implode. But he -- I think set the wrong tone for a lot of those activists. But on the positive side, John Kasich across the board seemed to get very, very strong reviews. He's the newest candidate in the field. He certainly showed that he deserves to be on that primetime stage. So John Kasich, I think, you know, from Ohio. You have to win in Ohio if you're going to win the White House. So I would say he, tonight, had the strongest, strongest night.

COOPER: It's interesting Carl, because we heard from Amanda Carpenter, former spokesperson for Ted Cruz, saying she was upset or angered by Trump's comments to Megyn Kelly and how he answered the question about some of his past comments about women in the past. You know, Eric Ericsson wrote a thing about his comments to groups of evangelicals at a values voter forum and saying that many evangelicals maybe had written off Trump based on his comments about not asking God for forgiveness. So I'm wondering if as the days go by, he's sort of alienating various blocks and that's all gonna add up or, as to Jeff's point, to the regular rules not apply and his popularity continues to grow.

BERNSTEIN: The answer is we don't know.

COOPER: Right.

BERNSTEIN: And this is -- that's why this is so fascinating. What we did see, though, is his shallowness. It was revealed. It was revealed in a lot of his answers. There were no substantive answers. When the questioners pressed him, he couldn't come up with...

COOPER: But he hasn't given a lot of specifics before and that hasn't hurt him...


COOPER: I'm wondering if people think, well, you know what, there were people who made the same criticism of Ronald Reagan and said you know what, he had a vision and other people filled in the details.

BERNSTEIN: Absolutely. And that's what he's banking on. And there is a big -- look, 60 percent about of the Republican Party according to our CNN poll as I remember it, believe that all, quote, "Illegal aliens, illegal immigrants should be deported." That's basically Trump's position. So there's a lot of sympathy in the party...


BERNSTEIN: A lot of anger for the positions that he embraces. But when you get down to it, what you've heard from Kasich especially and from Jeb Bush, as stiff as he was, people in the country have got to look at some republicans who have some thoughtful things to say about where they see their party and hands-on practical governance.

COOPER: Right.

BERNSTEIN: Hillary Clinton...

COOPER: There was meat on the bone.

BERNSTEIN: Hillary Clinton will take them on substantively and try to get ahead of them on where the country is and she thinks...

COOPER: Right.

BERNSTEIN: They're with her on the issues. But those two candidates did have...


BERNSTEIN: Some substance tonight.

COOPER: Is that Jeff, your turn to get in or Nia?

ZELENY: No, Anderson...


ZELENY: I was just going to say that I think -- I was just gonna say that I think Carl's right. I mean, this is a very strong field, so much stronger than four years ago. So much, you know, stronger than eight years ago. A very strong republican field, but I think you have to say at the end of the day, perhaps more losers than winners. It's just very difficult to break out. Scott Walker, he is still sort of driving this conversation in Iowa. He has a lot of conservative support there. But boy, he did not break out of this...


ZELENY: Pack at all. So I think, once this campaign goes along, you know -- a single debate is not going to be a make or break moment for someone. But we did learn a lot about these candidates tonight. And there is a widening gap between these candidates, between their skill sets...


ZELENY: Between what --


ZELENY: Voters are actually seeing.

COOPER: And Nia, I mean, for candidate Scott walker, who is doing well in some of those early states, he didn't really make a huge impression on that stage tonight, at least for many of the commentators we've talked to so far.

[00:24:50] HENDERSON: That's right. I think, he -- you know, he talks about being aggressively normal. I think somebody might say that he's sort of aggressively boring. And that's part of I think what he's kind of trying to sell himself that way. He talks about shopping at Kohl's and things like that, but it's very hard to break through if that's sort of his demeanor. So I thought he had a pretty flat night. And in that way, I thought Rubio sort of showed him up, was much more charismatic, much more telegenic (ph), much more -- just sort of being able to sort of breakthrough that screen...

COOPER: Right.

HENDERSON: That is television, which is the way that politicians communicate and sell their message. So I do think you're going to see from democrats, try to basically say that the Republican Party is Donald Trump. But I thought tonight, he seemed to be kind of a man of his own party -- or not any party, right?

COOPER: Party of one, yeah.

HENDERSON: I mean they smoked him out early on -- exactly, party of one.


HENDERSON: So I think you're going to hear that message from Hillary Clinton and the democrats, but I think it's deemed (ph) more difficult to make after tonight, after he said he's a man apart, a man, you know a party of one.

COOPER: It was very interesting that they start -- chose to start off the debate with the hand-raising question, which really did isolate Donald Trump. And I'm wondering, sort it would have been fascinating to be a fly on the wall in the debate preparation when's they came up with that idea and sort of what the reasoning behind it was. Nia- Malika Henderson, thank you, Jeff Zeleny, Carl Bernstein as well. Up next, what if the anything the democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton gains or lose from the debate tonight? And that the debate helps any undecided voters make up their minds? Randi Kaye was watching with a group of republican women who were undecided when the debate began. Find out where they are now.






[00:30:08] COOPER: Several (ph) Republicans and women voters, Donald Trump got some tough questioning tonight on some of his statements on women including Rosie O'Donnell.


MEGYN KELLY, THE KELLY FILE SHOW HOST: Mr. Trump, one of the things people love about you is you speak your mind and you don't use a politician's filter. However, that is not without its downsides, in particular when it comes to women. You've called women you don't like fat pigs, dogs, slobs, and disgusting animals. Your Twitter account...

TRUMP: Only Rosie O'Donnell.


KELLY: No, it wasn't. For the record, it was well beyond Rosie O'Donnell.

TRUMP: Yes, I'm sure it was.

KELLY: Your Twitter account has several disparaging comments about women's looks. You once told a contestant on "Celebrity Apprentice" it would be a pretty picture to see her on her knees. Does that sound to you like the temperament of a man we should elect as president and how will you answer the charge from Hillary Clinton, who is likely to be the Democratic nominee, that you are part of the war on women?

TRUMP: I think the big problem this country has is being politically correct.


TRUMP: I've been challenged by so many people, and I don't frankly have time for total political correctness. And to be honest with you, this country doesn't have time either. This country is in big trouble. We don't win anymore. We lose to China. We lose to Mexico, both in trade and at the border. We lose to everybody. And frankly, what I say and oftentimes it's fun, it's kidding, we have a good time, what I say is what I say. And honestly, Megyn, if you don't like it, I'm sorry. I've been very nice to you. Although, I could probably maybe not be based on the way you have treated me, but I wouldn't do that.

COOPER: Randi Kaye watched the debate with a group of mostly undecided Republican voters in Florida, all of them women. She joins us from Key Biscayne. So what did you -- what did they think? What did you hear from them tonight?

RANDI KAYE, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT: They're a pretty punchy group, Anderson. They had a lot to say, a lot of thoughts on this debate. And they certainly spent a lot of time talking about Trump, and certainly, about that sound bite that you were just mentioning. But we're here at the home of Marili Cancio, and you said that you were -- you were a little bit surprised by Trump's performance tonight. How do you think he did?

MARILI CANCIO, UNDECIDED GOP VOTER: I think he did well for Trump. It was very entertaining. We had a lot of fun watching him. You know, it's funny. Most of us here, he's not our favorite, but he says how it is. He's not a politician and he's very appealing to a lot of people just like Dr. Carson is.

KAYE: Yeah. But even as a woman you said you would probably still vote for Trump over Hillary as a Republican.

CANCIO: Oh, absolutely.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We'll vote for Kermit the Frog over Hillary.

KAYE: Kermit the Frog, OK. What surprised you most and who was it tonight?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Kasich surprised me the most. He had the best answers. You know, I'm with the gay Republicans, and he had a great answer for that question on the recently passed law. He was -- I think all of his questions were great. He was a big surprise.

KAYE: And I know, Angela, you said that if all of these candidates, even the ones who participated at 5:00 p.m., could have a child that would be your candidate, right -- because they're -- you want something from all of them. Don't you?

ANGELA VASQUEZ, UNDECIDED GOP VOTER: Yes. Yes. Because I think a lot of them have issues which are fantastic, that express how most of us feel, and then some of them have other issues that push them over to the side, and that if we could get a conglomeration of them it would be phenomenal.

KAYE: And you are one of the few who's actually decided. You're for Jeb.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm for Jeb Bush. He was our governor. He did a great job as our governor. And he looked -- he's a statesman. Let's face it. He's got a good background. He has two of -- one of the -- two of the best presidents that he can have on speed dial. So I'm definitely for Jeb Bush. Although I have to say that John Kasich also surprised me. I didn't know he had it in him for somebody that recently announced, and you really didn't hear much about Kasich until today.

KAYE: Yeah.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So I think perhaps tomorrow we'll be -- we'll be hearing more about him.

KAYE: So were any of you any closer to deciding because so many of you are still undecided?




UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No. I don't even thing -- I've been looking at clear breakout winner tonight, you know, one that you could say, "Wow, that's the one."

KAYE: At 5:00 p.m., though, you all liked Carly.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. Carly. Carly, Carly.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm a big Carly fan. Carly Fiorina is just -- would be a great choice. She should be up on that stage with the rest of these guys.

KAYE: And why do you like her? What is it about her?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Who wants to go first?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She's a leader. She's a proven leader. She's worked with one of the top Fortune companies in America.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She's done work internationally, not just nationally. And just she's presidential, you know, her -- the way she carries herself, what she knows, not just in business, in politics. She's well-rounded. So certainly...


[00:35:07] KAYE: So certainly, a mixed group -- a mixed group with a lot of opinions. And Anderson, just so you know, they did bring this in your honor here, some 360 vodka.

COOPER: Oh, wow.

KAYE: To honor you and the show. Isn't that amazing? We have yet to open that.

COOPER: Well, do some shots for me. I wish I was there. Thank you all. I appreciate you letting us into your homes. Thank you. Great to hear all your perspectives.

For Democrats, the most noteworthy moment tonight may have been when Donald Trump said he could not rule out a third party run if he doesn't get the Republican nomination. Joining me now is Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz, chair of the Democratic National Committee. Congressman, when Donald Trump said he wouldn't rule out a third-party run, RNC chairman, Reince Priebus just said last hour that he's not that nervous about that at all. Do you believe that?

DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ, CHAIRMAN DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL COMMITTEE: Well, I mean, no. Right out of the starting gate, you know, Chris Wallace asked all the candidates to raise their hand and rule out running as an independent. And the only one that wouldn't rule it out is Donald Trump. I mean I think if anything all these people have been saying that Donald Trump is a truth teller, that what he's saying, you know, speaks to the people in their party. Well, I mean I think they should take him at his word. He may run as an independent if he isn't eventually the nominee. That just is emblematic, Anderson, of the chaos that continues to rule in the Republican Party today. They are still in the midst of a civil war, and that causes them huge problems.

COOPER: Well, I mean, you say chaos. They would say they have a number of very qualified candidates and were very early in the election process. Where do you see this as a civil war?

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Well, I mean, right out of the starting gate of the first Republican debate, you have the candidate that is the front- runner, raise his hand and say that he might run as an independent, you know, if he's not the nominee. I mean, that shows you that unity is not something that they're finding easy to come by and then you have only to have listened to their debate tonight to see how they took really hard pot shots at one another. And I feel for Reince Priebus, my counterpart at the RNC, because the reason that he initially wanted to shrink the number of debates is so that he could reduce the exposure that the American people have to the extremism that was on full display by the Republican candidates for president tonight.

COOPER: Is Donald Trump's comments to Megyn Kelly about -- when she asked him about some of his past comments about women, is that something you think is going to be used by the -- by Hillary Clinton, by the DNC against Republicans?

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: I mean, absolutely. The misogyny that was on full display, that not a single one of the other Republican candidates for president criticized or called Donald Trump on, you know, or any one of the other comments that they made that were troubling to women, you know, the fact that they want to roll back women's access to health care, the fact that they aren't for equal pay for equal work, they're not for focusing on making sure that, you know, everybody has an opportunity to reach the middle class. Those are all issues important to women, and add layer on top of that, the misogyny that none of them criticized. You know, for me the winner of tonight's debate was the eventual Democratic nominee because I think they will ultimately go on to be president of the United States when we have a general election in which the contrast is very clear. Our nominee will be for working families and helping people reach the middle class and the Republicans will continue to double down on the extremism that we saw tonight.

COOPER: All right. Congressman Wasserman Schultz, I appreciate you being on. Just ahead, a fact check on some of what was said on stage tonight. Tonight, Tom Foreman joins us with that. Iowa, the first state to hold caucuses as the campaign season heats up. Joe Johns watched the debate with voters there. We'll hear from them next.


COOPER: Ten candidates, two hours course of questions, some heated (inaudible). In a nutshell was the first Republican presidential debate. A lot of statements were made tonight on that stage. Tom Foreman has been busy fact checking some of them. He joins me now. Tom?

TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Anderson. You know, all of these candidates wanted to talk about their experience and no one likes to talk about that more than governors and former governors, and that is what Jeb Bush wanted to do. He wanted to talk about his time as governor of Florida.


JEB BUSH, 2016 GOP PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I cut taxes every year, totaling $19 billion. We we're -- we hadn't -- we balanced every budget. And the next effect was, during my years, 1.3 million jobs were created. We left the state better off because I applied conservative principles in a purple state the right way and people rose up.


FOREMAN: So you see his basic claim there that Florida was better off, and his numbers are generally right. They did create jobs. They did cut some of the spending there, that sort of thing -- but this is kind of tricky -- when you think about this, they had a long-term debt when he came in of $16.8 billion. And in an effort to contain other spending, when they wanted to build new roads and bridges and schools, they borrowed the money selling bonds and that pushed that long-term debt from $16.8 billion up to around $23 billion around the time he was leaving office. Fiscal conservatives don't like that much. And they would also argue Florida was not better off for that.

Worth noting, Chris Christie made some sort of similar claims about what happened -- what he did in New Jersey, which also didn't mention the dark cloud to the silver lining. So in the end, if you look at just the numbers, you can see that Jeb Bush did something that was true but it was misleading. And it's like so many of the things we heard tonight, Anderson. What they didn't talk about is the part that we needed to hear if you wanted a full picture.

COOPER: All right. Tom Foreman will be doing these kinds of reality checks throughout the campaign for us. Voters in Iowa, the first state to hold caucuses, were watching tonight's debate. Joe Johns is with some of them in the tonight of Pella tonight. Joe?

JOE JOHNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Anderson, this is the Pella Historical Society about 45 minutes outside of Des Moines, and we did spend the evening with 11 Republicans who are so far undecided but came into this with a few ideas. And I'd just like to ask, a show of hands from all of you, how many of you coming in had a sense that Donald Trump was the guy to beat and you expected to hear good things from? And how many of you feel that way right now? So a little bit different from what Randi Kaye was hearing in Florida. People here had sort of a strong and visceral reaction to what happened in this debate. And I'd like to ask you because we talked earlier, and some of you have said the very first moments of this debate were problematic for you as far as Donald Trump is concerned. So Lynn Henry and Alex Lee, you guys, just give me some sense of what was the problem with the first minutes of the debate?

LYNN HENRY, UNDECIDED VOTER: Well, for me, it was when he was asked if he would lend his allegiance throughout the entire campaign to the Republican Party and not run as independent, and he could not commit to that. He was the only one out of the ten candidates who would not commit to the Republican Party. Set off on a bad note right off the bat.

JOHNS: Alex, your feelings about this?

ALEX LEE, UNDECIDED VOTER: Yeah. I just felt like he was just -- had absolutely no substance to any of his answers. They were all just -- it was like he was on his reality TV show. He was just going for entertainment, there was no substance, no leadership qualities whatsoever in his answers.

JOHNS: Thanks so much. Let us step back and ask another question. This is about Bush -- Jeb Bush and how well he did. How many of you coming into these expected good things from Jeb Bush? One -- everybody. How many of you think he delivered?


JOHNS: You do.


[00:45:02] JOHNS: He did OK. All right. But all of you, virtually every person in this room talked to us a little while ago and you told us that you thought Marco Rubio did very well as well as Ben Carson. So let's just talk about that. Julie Moller, what did you think about the performance of Rubio and Carson?

JULIE MOLLER, UNDECIDED VOTER: I thought they were highlights. I was very impressed with both of them. I was pleasantly surprised. I thought going into this I was definitely a governor girl. But now maybe that's changed a little bit because I did like what they had to say, both of them.

JOHNS: All right. So that gives us some sense of what has gone on in this room tonight. A lot of people here, Anderson, thought Rubio and Carson did very well. A lot of people also reacted very negatively to Donald Trump.

COOPER: I'm wondering, did anybody come away thinking Jeb Bush was the -- and should be the front-runner because he certainly raised more money than anybody else right now on the Republican side?

JOHNS: Anderson is asking does anyone here think Jeb Bush ought to have been the front-runner because he's raised so much money, name recognition, what have you, your feelings about Jeb Bush.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think Jeb Bush is someone that -- he didn't really make any mistakes tonight, but at the same time, he didn't give the answers that the American people are needing to wow the country. And I'm looking for someone who's going to make me excited to be an American again, and I just don't think Jeb Bush delivered that tonight. I hope he can deliver that in future debates, though.

JOHNS: All right. Any other thoughts about Jeb?

HENRY: Well, as I was saying earlier when we were discussing, I got a sense that Jeb was asking a little desperate, and I understand that because he has a lot of history from his father and his brother that did not set well with a lot of people in this country. And so he's desperately trying to secure a better reputation and the Americans' vote. And so, that desperation kind of came across tonight in the debate, and that was a turnoff.

JOHNS: Steve Herma, what did you think of Jeb Bush?

HERMA, UNDECIDED VOTER: I thought that he was exactly what I expected but didn't really knock my socks off, I guess you could say. I was -- I have no problems that he got the nomination. I would have no problems with Jeb Bush. I'm just not that excited about him right now.

JOHNS: But who is it that you like?

HERMA: I like Carson. I do. I've read the book. I know who he is. I know in his life who he is. And I just was kind of worried how he was going to carry himself on a public platform. And I thought he did well. I like the guy personally. I think he's a good man.

JOHNS: For sure. So that gives you some sense of it, Anderson. We do know that Carson has been polling pretty well here in the state of Iowa. And it'll be interesting to see what happens as we get closer.

COOPER: It will. It's dramatic. And please thank them all for us, Joe. Obviously, it was so dramatic to see everybody's hands who went into this with Donald Trump foremost on their minds. Nobody raised their hands as far as I saw after having seen Trump through this. Did any of them actually make up their minds after seeing tonight's debate or is this still so early in the process they haven't decided?

JOHNS: An important question and we have talked about this before. Anderson's wondering whether any of you made up your minds based on this debate as to who you might caucus with when we get to early next year. Has anyone made up their minds? You have. And who have you chosen?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm going to choose to vote for Dr. Benjamin Carson. He clearly showed tonight that he has the intellectual capabilities to think out all the issues through and do what's most sensible for the American people. And I think just thinking logically is really what's going to be very important for America going forward.

JOHNS: Got it. All right. So again, it's interesting, especially contrasting this with what Randi Kaye was doing down in Florida. A lot of people here actually talking about Ben Carson, which is something we have found just walking the streets of Iowa as the candidates have started coming in. It looks like people here at least in this room, it's not a scientific poll but he comported himself pretty well.

COOPER: Joe, again, please thank them all for participating. I appreciate it. More of our breaking news coverage of the debate after this break.


COOPER: And more from our panel in just a moment, but even at 1:00 a.m., I want to play one more thing we've not heard. Donald trump's closing remarks.


TRUMP: Our country is in serious trouble. We don't win anymore. We don't beat China in trade. We don't beat Japan with their millions and millions of cars coming into this country in trade. We can't beat Mexico at the border or in trade. We can't do anything right. Our military has to be strengthened. Our vets have to be taken care of. We have to end the ObamaCare, and we have to make our country great again, and I will do that. Thank you.



COOPER: Back with our political commentators. Jeffrey Lord, Former Reagan White House Political director and current Trump (ph) supporter. Also Van Jones, a former Obama administration official.

I'm wondering, Jeff, I mean, as -- as you had some time sort of think back on -- on the two hours...


COPPER: ... do you still -- do you still think Trump will welcome as (ph)-- we just saw that group in Iowa...

LORD: Right.

COOPER: ... all of whom were very enthusiastic about Trump going into this. None of them seemed all that -- as enthusiastic after.

LORD: What is -- what was -- what interested me about that group, the woman who spoke up, what she was concerned about was when he raised his hand.

COOPER: Right.

LORD: And -- and I would just suggest this really is a problem in the Republican Party because you've got a whole group of people when you listen certainly to conservative media...

COOPER: Right.

LORD: ... when you talk to a lot of people in the base, who just feel basically what's the difference?


LORD: If they nominate one of these other people, will there really be any difference between that person, Jeb Bush...


LORD: ... and Hillary Clinton? And there's where the divide comes because they feel that these people get there... COOPER: Yes.

[00:54:58] LORD: ... and then they don't follow through or they participate in what Margaret Thatcher used to call the socialist ratchet, that the left and government moves the country this way and the government this way. A conservative gets elected, keeps it there...


LORD: ... and manages it, tries to manage it better, and then the next left -- government comes in and it keeps moving. That's I think where the divide is here.


LORD: Who is going to move the country in a different direction? And so that's why I think, you know...

COOPER: They see...

LORD: ... they see Donald Trump in that fashion.

COOPER: You know, Van, there -- there is -- this conspiracy theory the Donald Trump some sort of Clinton plant that he was talking with Bill Clinton...


... before he got into the race, that somehow this is part of some master plan to disrupt the Republican Party. Donald trump keeps calling Hillary Clinton a liar, the worst secretary of state ever. I don't see how -- I mean, how that would help her really.

VAN JONES, FORMER OBAMA ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Look, I -- I think we may be reading a little bit too much into the reaction when he -- when he raised his hand. That was shocking. That was off-putting. But if he had turned around and turned in an extraordinary performance, just a -- just a performance showing leadership, that he was trying to do something, people would have forgiven him, said, "Hey, I might follow this guy out of the party." Nobody is saying that because he -- he was horrible. He talked bad about America and good about himself.

If you go back and look at those six minutes, I guarantee you half of it is putting America down and the other half is just -- just narcissism talking about himself. He said, he abused the laws of the country or took advantage of the laws of the country to get rich. He said, "I paid Hillary Clinton to come to my wedding." He was saying stuff that just I think made it hard for people to forgive that and move on.

The other thing I think is very important is you kind of look at how this thing is going to go forward. I do think that we may now be getting to a high water mark for Trump. It's so dangerous to say that because people have said it so many times that...


COOPER: I'm going to record that and...


JONES: ... if it does...


COOPER: ... see how it goes out (ph).


JONES: It's so dangerous. It's so dangerous. But I just don't think he gave a rationale. You've got to go to those debates with a plan. How you're going to move people from here to here to here. He apparently had no plan except to give his normal speech, and whenever someone asked him a question about himself, he fell for the trap and talked about himself.


JONES: He talked longer than anybody else, only to put America down and to build -- and to build himself up. It did not work. That's why I'm saying he doesn't pledge allegiance to the party.

COOPER: Right.

JONES: It's so bad for him.

COOPER: I've got to go, but you final thought.

LORD: JFK said to Richard Nixon, "I'm not downgrading the country, Mr. Nixon. I'm downgrading America's leadership. I think that's what Donald trump was saying."

COOPER: Yes. Jeffrey Lord, thanks for being with us. Van Jones. We continue in a moment. We'll be right back.