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Live Post-Debate Special. Aired 11:06p-12a ET

Aired December 15, 2015 - 23:06   ET



[23:06:28] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Wolf, thanks very much. Good evening everyone from the Venetian in Las Vegas. I'm here with my colleague Jake Tapper and a panel of experts. The next few hours, the debate now, history. The smoke just clearing. The impact just beginning. The spin, well, that well is underway.

Candidates now just starting to make their way off stage into our microphone. Each one have spending the evening making the case that they and only they would be the best commander-in-chief at a time when the focus on national security is so intense including a bomb scare today, a hoax, shutting down the Los Angeles public school system, the entire public school system.

Here with me CNN national security commentator is joining us, former Republican congressman Mike Rogers, the chair of the house intelligence committee.

Actually, let's go to Chris Cuomo who has Donald Trump standing by -- Chris.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: All right. Thank you, Anderson.

So Mr. Trump, you came in as the front runner. You were treated that way. People had a lot of targeted questions for you, both from the panel and the other candidates. How did you think it went?

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I thought it was great. I really enjoyed it. I thought CNN was a little unfair. But that's OK. I thought really we had a great debate. I think it was one of my better ones. We have done very well in the debates. I wouldn't be on the position I am in. And I really enjoyed this one in particular. I had a good time.

CUOMO: What made this one special for you?

TRUMP: Well, I think I'm getting a little more used to it. You know, I have never debated before. I have been producing jobs all my life. I have been building buildings and doing lots of other things and creating businesses. And now, I'm all of a sudden in the world of debating. And I really enjoyed doing it. I have really had a great time and look forward to the next one. But I thought this was an elegant group of people. I though the last one was very elegant also. It is an interesting word to use, but this is elegant and that was very elegant.

CUOMO: Who was second best?

TRUMP: Well, I don't want to say who did well, who didn't. I mean, you people make that judgment. But I just felt that we had a very good night. And everybody is telling me based on all of the polling that is going on right now that we had a very good night.

CUOMO: You were unusually quick to not have any static with Ted Cruz when you were given the opening by one of the questioners. Why?

TRUMP: Well, I just think he didn't say anything that I particularly disagreed with. And I thought he was nice as to his statement that took place behind closed doors. I though he was very respectful and nice. And I have respect for that. So, you know, I get along with Ted very well, actually.

CUOMO: He did not say what he had said to the group of fundraisers. Is that what you mean by nice about him?

TRUMP: I just think he was very nice and very respectful and I have a lot of respect for Ted.

CUOMO: What didn't you like? You said you thought it was a little unfair. A lot of the questions came at you, this, the undercard. What did you expect?

TRUMP: Well, I thought the undercard was very unfair. And I thought, frankly, a couple of the questions to Jeb were very unfair. They were leading with him like, you know, come on. Let's fight with Trump. Let's fight with Trump. And the undercard, the first big part of the debate was all questions about Trump. And I was watching that undercard. And frankly, I thought that Governor Huckabee did a great job and I thought Senator Santorum did a really good job.

But I was watching. And every question was like a lead let's go after Trump. And I thought it was inappropriate. And then you started doing it with Jeb tonight. And I thought that was not right. But the end result is, you know, I had a really good time considering we have a tough subject. You know, the subject is we are not doing very well as a country. But I had a really good time doing the debate.

CUOMO: The burden of being a front runner. As you say, you set the agenda on some big issues. Certainly, you brought immigration into the foreign way it hadn't been before. You could argue, you did that about how to deal with radical Islamism. You are going to be taken the heat when you set the agenda. Aren't you?

TRUMP: Well, I don't think there is ever a burden to be front runner. I would like to have that burden for the rest of my life. I like to be front runner. And frankly, to me it's a great honor. It is not a burden. It is great honor. Having that center podium is a great honor to me.

[23:10:06] CUOMO: Now, I want to make sure that we got something right tonight. You were asked by Hugh, will you promise to honor basically the pledge that you will stick with the party no matter what. You said yes.

TRUMP: Well, number one I'm in first place, not by a little bit, by a lot. You see the polls that came out today. "Washington Post"/ABC came out with the big one. And I mean, it's been amazing. Monmouth came out with one that was 41 to 14 or 15. So number one I'm the front runner.

But I've really gotten to respect so many of the people in the party that I didn't know on the other side. They have been in the party but I had been a contributor, I had been sort of a fair-haired boy. Now all of a sudden, I'm a little bit different. But I have gotten to know so many of the people, including many of the people on the stage. I have a lot of respect for a lot of the people on the stage. And so, I just decided I didn't know that question was going to be asked. But when they asked it, I did not hesitate. I decided to just say, yes. I'm a Republican and I'm going to be a Republican. I'm not going to be doing a third party.

CUOMO: No matter what?

TRUMP: No, no matter what.

CUOMO: Not no matter what?

TRUMP: No matter what. Look. It's like a Boxer. The only way to win a home decision is you have to knock them out. If I get the votes, nobody can do anything. If I get the delegates, nobody is going to do anything. And I'm leading in a lot of states. You probably just see PPP just came out with I'm leading in Iowa now and I'm leading in a lot of states. And you know, it's on my shoulders. I hope I get the votes. I will be trying very hard and I will make our country great again.

CUOMO: What if you have some delegates not enough. It goes to convention and you feel they box you out?

TRUMP: I want to really just do it the old fashioned way. We are going to run as a Republican. I'm going to try and win as a Republican. I hope I am going to be treated fairly. FOX, as you know, just came out with the poll and I beat Hillary Clinton head. There are couple of other, once I have said that. And I haven't even really gone after her yet. You know, I have been focused here, 15 people here, and I have been focused here as you may have noticed. I haven't really focused on Hillary. When I do, I think she's going to fall because when she does as poor job as she -- if he is allowed to run. I mean, I don't even know that she is going to be allowed to run.

CUOMO: Why wouldn't she be allowed?

TRUMP: What she did with email is a problem for her, I think. However, probably she will be protected because she is a Democrat in a Democrat administration. But on the assumption that she is allowed to run, I think I will beat her soundly. I hope. And if I do, we will make this country so great again and we will have such great spirit and happiness. And we're just going to have victories. We don't have victories anymore.

You know, in my closing statement I said we don't win anymore. And that's the case, Chris. Our country doesn't win. We don't win with ISIS. We don't win with health care. We don't win with anything. We don't win with trade. China is eating our lunch. Japan is eating our lunch. Vietnam eating our lunch. They are just taking money out of our pocket. If I win, all of that is going to change.

CUOMO: Mr. Trump, thank you very much for speaking to us. Congratulations on tonight.

TRUMP: Thank you.

CUOMO: All right. Anderson, there you have it. Back to you.

COOPER: All right, Chris, Donald Trump, thank you very much.

We are expected to hear more from candidates shortly. We will bring you their comments as soon as we can.

Again, here with me, CNN national security commentator, former Republican congressman, chairman Mike Rogers who chaired the house intelligence committee. Also CNN political commentators Ana Navarro, Paul Begala, Amanda Carpenter, Jeffrey Lord and Van Jones. Ana is Bush supporter and Rubio friend. Paul is Clinton supporter, a long- time friend, Amanda served as communications director for Sen. Ted Cruz. Jeffrey Lord was a White House political director during the Reagan administration. Van was a senior Obama adviser. Very long intro for a very long night.

Chairman Rogers, what did you think of tonight?

MIKE ROGERS (R), FORMER HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: You know, it's always hard when you are watching a family fight. So there were periods of the debate, you as a, you know, where as a loyal Republican you cringed a little bit. But we are going to get through this.

I thought that there was a lot of great and interesting discussion on the way forward on a national security plan. You're not hearing that from Hillary Clinton in a detailed way like you are seeing here where people impressed a little bit on their positions.

What does it mean to put troops on the ground? I thought that was all very healthy to the debate. And you will see candidates move. You know, I saw some candidates tonight in their answers move a little bit on their foreign policy and national security positions. I thought that was interesting. And I think that will be a great outcome for the party and for all of these candidates who will be tested on national security. It is now the number issue. And certainly the first round, Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, Nevada, and it is going to continue to be important as this race unfolds. And I think this has been an important discussion.

COOPER: And Ana, I mean, substance differences between some of these candidates and we saw that tonight. ANA NAVARRO, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: I thought it was a great debate.

You know, for the longest time, I think so many Republicans like me, like us, have been ping for a policy, focused substantive debate where, you know, things are debated seriously and the exchanges are feisty but fair and not offensive, not about personalities and that's what we saw tonight.

I think, you know, CNN said this was going to be a foreign policy national security focused debate. They stuck to it. I think Wolf Blitzer did a very good job herding these cats, shutting them down when they tried to break the rules. So I think, you know, for those of us who been wanting to hear policy, who have been wanting to hear substantive exchanges, we got it tonight and we have got a lot to choose from and a lot to digest.

[23:15:14] COOPER: Paul Begala?

PAUL BEGALA, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: I thought that done the emotion that all of the candidates were trying to tap into was fear. Republicans, especially, in America are fearful especially after the attack in San Bernardino, the slaughter in Paris. I understand that, I really do. But they fed that fear. And they hyped that fear so much so that Donald Trump, this is amazing moment. I have never seen this before in the presidential debate. Donald Trump said he would purposely kill the family members, innocent family members of a terrorist. That's extraordinary.

Ted Cruz called for carpet bombing which is by definition, indiscriminate killing of everybody in that region. And then later he said he wanted to target perfect bombing.

So the fear, I found remarkable. And for the party of Ronald Reagan who I though was terrific at invoking opposition to Soviet Union without giving into this kind of remarkable fear, they have come a long way from Ronald Reagan.

COOPER: Amanda Carpenter?

AMANDA CARPENTER, FORMER COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR FOR SEN. TED CRUZ: Yes. I would have liked to hear a little more happy warrior and a little less war. But I think was a hugely positive debate for the Republican Party. And largely because of the exchanges that came between Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio. They fought on the issues. They largely fair. Although I might disagree with the characterizations. But the three main things, immigration, military intervention, surveillance, those are the things that we, as a party, really have to sort through. And through the lens of Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz you saw that beginning to happen. And I think people could see the field eventually winnowing down to those two as many people have forecast. And so, we got a preview of what that might look like next year.

COOPER: Also interestingly, the exchanges with Rand Paul and Chris Christie as well.


of the things that struck and listen through it all, and Governor Christie touched on it at one point, where he said, you know, if you are listening to these senators that, you know, your eye eyes glaze over.

What Donald Trump and to some extent Governor Christie were doing was delivering a message and the others were debating in a senatorial fashion, if you will. The weeds of the policy. I think that that, on its way, illustrates why Donald trump is doing so well because he communicates message. And these other folks are sort of lost in the weeds.

That said, I think it was a great debate. I mean, I personally, like everybody here, like to hear the weeds of policy stuff. I like to go through it. I like to hear them do it. And one thing I would say about Paul and the families, in all of this sort, if you recall in the early 1980s, Mr. Gaddafi blew up the West German Distech (ph) and killed a number of American servicemen. President Reagan sent the military to attack Gadhafi's home. They didn't killed one of his family members (INAUDIBLE).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Not doing the same thing --

LORD: Not purposefully. But the point is, you don't send them over there to bomb somebody's home without that being there.


VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, two things. First of all, I thought that this is the first time I saw Marco Rubio rattled. Listen, there was a competition -- for some reason a lot of times they let it go with Trump. You would expect with Trump being the front runner and having said shocking things about Muslims, you see more fire power directed to Trump. We saw, in fact, more crossfire between Rubio and Cruz.

I thought -- you want to go? OK. Listen, I thought that Rubio for the first time on a debate stage lost. I thought for the first time on a debate stage he looked rattled. He was getting hit by Cruz. He is getting hit on the other side by Rand Paul and he lost his cool. So I think if there is a competition between these two young rising stars, not only is now Cruz beating him in Iowa and beating him on the ground game, he beat him on the stage tonight. That's bad for Rubio.

COOPER: There is a lot more for our panel talk about. But I do want to toss it over to our Jake Tapper who has more -- Jake.


Let's continue the conversation. Here with me here, Michael Smerconish. He is host of CNN's "SMERCONISH" and the Michael Smerconish program on Sirius XM satellite radio. Also with me, chief national correspondent John King, host of "INSIDE POLITICS," also senior political commentator and former top Obama advisor David Axelrod. And chief political analyst Gloria Borger.

There is so much to digest. But let's just start with what you think are - is a key moment from the debate.

MICHAEL SMERCONISH, CNN HOST, SMERCONISH: I would say Jeb Bush saying to Donald Trump you are not going to insult your way to presidency of the United States. Jake, it is the first night of all these debates that I have been able to say, I think that Jeb Bush turned in a strong performance. I think there were a number of strong performances on the stage, Rubio and Cruz at the top of the list. But Jeb had a good night.

TAPPER: John, what do you think?

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I think it may be wishful thinking, but a lot of Republican strategists who don't like Donald Trump think he will like a Rudy Giuliani or like a Howard Dean at the top of the polls now, but when Iowa votes and somebody else win, so they think Cruz will win Iowa, that the race will change. And a lot of Republicans think it's going to come down to a Cruz-Rubio race.

So I think if it does, and even if it doesn't, but there are major players, we saw tonight at beginning of some deep-seeded animosity intention between them. Rubio scored some points in going after Cruz for his votes to curtail surveillance, having a national security big with Cruz. And Cruz put Rubio back on his heels on the immigration debate where Rubio's position. And he tried to explain it is a little different now because he can't sell now to the American people what he tried to sell then to the Republican base where Rubio was on immigration was a bad place. So I think the bad blood between those two started to bubble up tonight and it will boil.

[23:20:38] TAPPER: They are definitely anticipating that is going to be a showdown between the two of them. Of course, it will be up to the Republican voters. We are not sure if that is going to happen. But we saw some of that.

David, what about you? What really struck you?

DAVID AXELROD, CNN SENIOR COMMENTATOR: First of all, let's say a word about the front runner. If you hold the candidate to sort of the fact check and linear thinking test, Donald Trump would never do well in these debates. But Donald Trump was in character. And I think probably did what he need to do tonight. And it was interesting that none of those sort of prominent candidates, Cruz, Rubio, and in New Hampshire, Chris Christie, were willing to tangle or eager to tangle with Donald Trump. They navigated around him. Jeb Bush went after him and he has been doing that. But it hasn't really redounded to his benefit. We will see if it does tonight.

TAPPER: Although, David, you said to me earlier on "the LEAD," you said that you thought Trump should go after Ted Cruz as a politician for saying one thing behind his back that other than what --.

AXELROD: He had an opportunity. And he took a pass. He may live to regret that because I think --

TAPPER: Cruz is beating him in Iowa.

AXELROD: A serious contender. One thing we ought to note, though, is Chris Christie has the ability to define this race by doing well in New Hampshire. I don't think he can win. I think he has a lot of baggage from New Jersey. But if he emerges as the center right candidate in New Hampshire, that's trouble for Rubio. It's probably the end of Bush, the end of Kasich and I think he had a pretty strong debate tonight.

TAPPER: We have that sound. Let's just play that one bite in which Trump decided to not go after Ted Cruz.


DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Mr. Trump, just this weekend you said that Senator Cruz is not qualified to be president because he does not have the right temperament and acted like a maniac when he arrived in the Senate. But last month, you said you are open to naming senator Cruz as your running mate.

TRUMP: I did.

BASH: So why would you be willing to put somebody --

TRUMP: Let me just say. I have gotten to know him over the last three or four days, he has a wonderful temperament. He is just fine. Don't worry about it.

BASH: OK. Senator Cruz, you have not been willing to attack Mr. Trump in public.

TRUMP: You better not attack.

BASH: But you questioned his judgment in having control of America's nuclear arsenal during a private meeting with supporters. Why are you willing to say things about him in private and not in public?

SEN. TED CRUZ (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Dana, what I said in private is exactly what I'll say here which is that the judgment that every voter is making of every one of us up here is who has the experience, who has the vision, who has the judgment to be commander- in-chief. That is the most important decision for the voters to make. That's a standard I'm held to and it id standard everyone else is held to.


TAPPER: Gloria, it's not exactly true that what he said behind close door is what he said tonight. He was much more leading in his comments behind close door suggesting that because of the gravity of San Bernardino and Paris and terrorism, it was going to be tough for Donald Trump and Ben Carson.

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Look. I think Trump decided not to take him on tonight because he is thinking about Iowa. And Cruz is doing really well in Iowa. He doesn't want to alienate people who might vote - who like Cruz, but who might vote for Trump.

And what I noticed overall tonight, particularly in terms of Cruz, is that I think that he is playing to that primary pool of voters on immigration and on every other issue. And I think that when you look at Rubio and you look at Christie and you look at Jeb Bush, they are looking towards a general election or New Hampshire, where independent voters can vote. So they were playing different games tonight. Trump was being Trump.

TAPPER: All right. We have to take a very quick break. We are expecting to hear from more of the nine candidates. Jeb Bush will join us when we come back.

But first, we want to hear from you, did Donald Trump do a good job defending his plan to ban all non-American Muslims from entering the U.S.? You can weigh in by going to We will go to Don Lemon later in the program. He is in the Facebook lounge and he will bring us the results of this and other Facebook questions we asked viewers during the debate.

Back after this.


[23:28:21] TAPPER: Nine candidates here in Las Vegas. One very free- wheeling CNN debate. A crucial one, many believe, for Florida governor Jeb Bush. He came out swinging against Donald Trump. Take a listen.


JEB BUSH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Look. Two months ago Donald Trump said that ISIS was not our fight, just two months ago. He said that Hillary Clinton would be a great negotiator with Iran. And he gets his foreign policy experience from the shows.

TRUMP: Honestly, I think that Jeb is a very nice person. He is a very nice person. But we need tough people. We need toughness. We need intelligence and we need tough. Jeb said when they come across the southern border they come as an act of love.

BUSH: You said on September 30th that ISIS was not a --

TRUMP: Am I talking or you talking, Jeb?

BUSH: I'm talking right now. I'm talk.

TRUMP: You can go back. You're not talking. You interrupted are you going to apologize, Jeb? No. Am I allowed to finish?


TRUMP: Am I allowed to finish? When Jeb comes out and talks about the border and I saw it and I was witness to it and so was everyone else. And I was standing there. They come across as an act of love. He is saying the same thing right now with radical Islam. And we can't have that in our country. It just won't work. We need strength.

BLITZER: Governor Bush?

BUSH: Donald, you are not going to be able to insult your way to the presidency. That's not going to happen and I do have the strength.


TAPPER: Joining me now, former Florida governor Jeb Bush. So Governor, how do you think you did tonight?

BUSH: I had fun, first of all. And I thought CNN deserves high praise. Wolf, did a great job moderating this. I don't think there was a single question about process, maybe one. A lot of serious questions about national security. It was a commander in-chief debate. And I think I did pretty good.

[23:30:01] TAPPER: You do. So let me ask you a question. When you are trying to appeal to voters that respect the idea of national security officials say that it's -- you can't just ban Muslims from entering the United States.

BUSH: Right.

TAPPER: And the response from the front runner is you got to be tough. You got to be tough.

BUSH: It's not toughness to do something that would be against our national security interests. Look, I can see why people would support that idea on the surface. But the simple fact is how are we going to garner the international support to take out ISIS if the Kurds who are Muslims would be offended by this? The Jordanians will be offended by this. The Turks, the entire Arab world. Apart from the fact that you have the largest Muslim populations are even in the Middle East. They are India and Pakistan and Indonesia.

We have to lead as a nation. The United States is not going to be a follower. We have to lead. And do this, it would be an unmitigated disaster. He knows that. This is dog whistle talk. This is to try to get people who are fearful about where we are to be latched on to him. But I think tonight was a good example of why he may not be the proper guy to be commander-in-chief.

TAPPER: Were you surprised after he made his comment, and you came out very strongly against him last week, what you call him on hinge? Were you surprised that your fellow Republican candidates weren't as aggressive as you were?

BUSH: I don't know. Look, the politics of all this, I'm not an expert. I just know. Sometimes you have to take a stand. This country is a great country, an extraordinary country in every way. We are not a country of idiots. We are a country capable of leading and creating a peace and security for ourselves and for the world. And we have to act that way. And I don't think that Donald Trump understands that. He hasn't taken the time to grow. He is a gifted politician.

TAPPER: He sure is.

BUSH: I mean, he is gifted but he is not.

TAPPER: And what do you make of the fact that he keeps going up in the polls?

BUSH: I don't think it's going to continue.


BUSH: I honestly don't. I think when you start thinking about who is going to sit behind the big desk, who has to make the tough decisions, the questions of the nuke triads is really serious question relates to the fact that we have not invested in the long term things to keep us safe. And I don't think he had a clue what the whole subject was about?

TAPPER: You don't think he knew what a triad was?

BUSH: I don't think so.

TAPPER: You don't think so.

BUSH: What do you think?

TAPPER: I'm sure.

Anyway, Florida Governor Jeb Bush. Thank you so much.

Anderson, back to you.

COOPER: All right. Jake Tapper, thank you. Governor Bush as well.

A lot of talk obviously. Let's talk it now about Cruz and Rubio. There are a lot of interesting exchanges. I want to play one of them in particular and then talk about it right now.

Let's take a look at the exchange. Do we have that?


CRUZ: Marco has continued these attacks and he knows they are not true. Yes, it is true that I voted against the national defense authorization act because when I campaigned in Texas I told voters in Texas that I would oppose the federal government having the authority to detain U.S. citizens permanently with no due process.

The notion that Marco is suggesting that somehow he also has tossed more than a few insults in this direction. Let's be absolutely clear, ISIS and radical Islamic terrorism will face no more determined foe than I will be. SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Let me - three points

of distinction. The first is, if you are an American citizen and you decide to join up with ISIS we are not going to read you your Miranda rights. You are going to be treated as an enemy combatant, a member an army attacking this country. Number two, we do need our defense capabilities. It is a fact that the cuts we are facing today and the cuts that Senator Cruz would support it, would leave us with an even smaller air force and a smaller Navy than the one we are going to be left with.

And the final point that I would make is Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama's strategy is to lead from behind. It sounds like what he is outlining is not to lead at all.


COOPER: Joined by our panel, Mike Rogers, Ana Navarro, Paul Begala, Amanda Carpenter, Jeffrey Lord and Van Jones.

Amanda, I mean, you talked a lot about sort of the battle between individual rights, individual liberty and keeping this country safe. We saw it just a little bit there, Marco Rubio saying an American citizen who, you know, is joining ISIS isn't going to be read Miranda rights, isn't going to be treated as a citizen. He is going to be treated as an enemy combatant. What do you make about it?

CARPENTER: Yes. I mean, you know, after working for Ted Cruz, I mean, God, since he solicitor general of Texas. You know, he studied these constitutional issues deeply and he cares a lot that we are not going to throw away the bill of rights in order to go after these big gambit national security (INAUDIBLE). I mean, there is a number of ways. We don't have to give up our freedom in order to protect America from the next terrorist attack.

And so, when you are talking about this debate over due process, Cruz is simply saying that we are going to use the system that we have in place. We are not going to take that out, you know. When it comes to surveillance if we need to go search American phone records, go get a warrant for Go's sake.

This isn't a high standard. We are not giving up metadata collection. But, you know, I think Rubio is painting himself in a corner, sort of mischaracterizing Cruz's position and trying to make Cruz out to be the new Rand Paul. But Cruz is - got a long record standing up to the bill of rights and he is very eager to have these legal discussions.

[23:35:25] COOPER: Chairman Rogers, I mean, Rubio's position played very well certainly in the hall tonight.

ROGERS: Well, and legally, he is right candidly. So if you are talking about Anwar Awlaki, an American citizens who declare war, renounce his citizenship, the debate at the time was, these American citizens, some people wanted to extent him the criminal and constitutional privileges that would come under the U.S. law. Many, me included, argued against it. And there is great case law we learn this at World War II, when Germans were here, who American citizens who decided to fight on behalf of Germany and take orders from Germany doing sabotage efforts. They were treated as enemy combatants. And the legal standard there is that that's right. That is the correct legal standard.

And so, we are getting into this parsing of issues. I think what you have to look at that exchange is, who has that demeanor and understanding of how complex this is. How complex it is to figure out what if you do if an Anwar Awlaki is telling you, I'm going to blow up the United States. And by the way, Garner did it over Detroit, almost had that successful event. What are you willing to do within the confines the legal to be tough on this? Getting into some debate about what we should do on Anwar Awlaki, I think is ridiculous.

NAVARRO: You know, look, these guys have been telegraphing for the last ten days that they were going to come at each other on the subjects. I think they both came prepared. In my mind, I think that Marco Rubio definitely won the exchange on the NSA. And I think Ted Cruz took a ding at Marco Rubio, you know, took a nick at him on the immigration issue.

Now I think also the person that made the opening and made a good point was Chris Christie. Because what that exchanged highlighted which was a very procedural exchange, a very senatorial exchanges, these two guys are rookie senators that are debating proposals, legislative proposals. And here I am Chris Christie who is an executive and who was actually done. So I think he made them look like what they are.

CARPENTER: Can I put a bow on this, just very quickly? The thing that is going to stick with Marco Rubio actually ties it together. I mean, what conservatives have been worried for a long time is that Marco Rubio is willing to let illegal aliens come to this country, get a path to citizenship who maybe threat to national security. But at the same time, be willing to spy on the phone records of all Americans. I mean, that doesn't match up. But on the other point I lost my train of thought.

COOPER: Actually, let me just jump in here because we actually have Senator Cruz standing by with Jake Tapper. So we are going to play and talk this very debate -- Jake.

TAPPER: Thanks, Anderson. Yes. I'm sitting here with Senator Ted Cruz, who is leading in at least one poll in Iowa and on in second place nationally. How do you think you did, Senator?

CRUZ: I thought it was a great debate. I thought it was a lot of fun. It was lively. And it was nice. We covered a lot of substance which doesn't always happen.

TAPPER: Interesting that there was more back and forth between you and senator Rubio than between you and the front runner, Donald Trump. Why do you think that is?

CRUZ: Well, look. I don't think that is terrible surprising because Senator Rubio's campaign has been running attack ads against me. And I think they are concerned about the momentum our campaign is getting. That we are really seeing conservatives united. And you know, just a couple of weeks ago, there is a big "New York Times" article where their campaign was talking about how very worried they were that if they didn't slow down this momentum that they were going to be in real trouble.

And so, I think that prompted some of the sparks. But what I think was most valuable about this debate is it gave people a real opportunity to see who has the judgment and experience and understanding to be commander-in-chief. And I think that's the most important question in this election.

TAPPER: You probably don't know this. But during the debate over surveillance and the reformation of the surveillance program, Senator Ron Wyden, Democrat from Oregon, very ideologically different from you except not on that bill where you supported his efforts or vice versa. He put out a fact check saying that Marco Rubio was wrong. That it wasn't that you could do anything you wanted to afterwards the things were expanded.

CRUZ: Yes.

TAPPER: Let me ask you a question about immigration where you went after Marco Rubio very strongly. What would you do with the 11 million or however many are in this country illegally? Donald Trump says deport them all. I don't know what would do with them?

CRUZ: So what I have said I have laid out in detail 11-page immigration plan. I would enforce the law. And existing law provides what you do. You start by securing the boarder. Say you are not - if, you know, you have a sinking ship, the first thing you do is fill the hole. So that you don't have people coming back in. The second thing you do is you start deporting illegal -- criminal illegal aliens.

TAPPER: People who have broken the law beyond just immigration.

[23:40:00] CRUZ: So in 2013, the Obama administration released about 104,000 criminal illegal aliens. You begin enforcing the law. So if someone is apprehended crossing illegally, if someone is apprehended by ICE, you enforce the law which is you deport them which I would note is what every other country does.

TAPPER: Right. But what do you do with the 11 million already here, some of whom who have been here for a decade or more?

CRUZ: Well, if you look at what prior administrations have done as I noted in the debate. The Bill Clinton administration deported 12 million people.

TAPPER: So you would deport them?

CRUZ: I would enforce the law. The president does not have the authority to say I don't like this law. I'm not going to enforce it. You enforce the law. And federal law, federal immigration law provides that if someone is here illegally and is apprehended, that they should be sent back to their home country. We need to enforce the law. And it's critical.

And listen. I'm also a big advocate of welcoming and celebrating legal immigrants. And those are different. I think most Americans agree with a very simple principle that legal, good, illegal, bad. And I think that is - that is a principle that really should govern how it is.

TAPPER: Interesting moment, when you were asked, pressed really, on Donald Trump's proposal to ban all non-American Muslims from entering and you quoted "FDR's grandfather (INAUDIBLE) are Democrat. Not all Democrats are hose thieves. Let's play that.


CRUZ: I'm reminded of what FDR's grandfather said. He said all horse thieves are Democrats. But not all Democrats are horse thieves. In this instance, there are millions of peaceful Muslims across the world in countries like India where there is not the problems we are seeing in nations that are controlled and have territory controlled by Al- Qaeda or ISIS. And we should direct at the problem, focus on the problem and defeat radical Islamic terrorism. It's not a war on a faith. It is a war on a political and theocratic ideology that seeks to murder us.


TAPPER: A majority of the Republican voters out there according to at least one or two polls that I have seen support Donald Trump's proposal, disagree with you.

CRUZ: Look. People are reacting to the Orwellian double speak from Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. When you have the Democratic Party as a matter of policy, refusing to even utter the word radicalism --

TAPPER: Do you know why they are doing that, the right? I mean, because it is the same reason George W. Bush was reluctant to do which was national security expert say if you do that, you feed in to the propaganda of the west versus Islam.