Return to Transcripts main page


Donal Trump Raises Doubts About Ted Cruz's Citizenship; Obama Hopes to Reduce Gun Violence; Flood Of Attack Ads As Iowa Caucuses Loom; Ad Wars Heat Up As Iowa, N.H. Approach; Trump Blasts Bill Clinton's Sexual History; Oregon Standoff; Lesson From Waco Siege; Racking Up Strip Club Tab On The Lam; Will Ethan And Tonya Couch Face the Music?; New Trump Interview on Cruz. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired January 5, 2016 - 20:00   ET


[20:00:04] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Good evening.

We begin tonight with breaking news. Donald Trump who raised such big and false doubts about President Obama's citizenship now seems to be doing the same to his former BFF Ted Cruz. Trump is campaigning tonight in Claremont, New Hampshire. The remarks first came before an appearance last night in Lowell, Massachusetts, and hit the web last today, where Trump telling the "Washington Post" that Senator Cruz is Canadian heritage could pose difficulties.

He said and quote "Republicans are going to have to ask themselves do we want a candidate who could be tied up in court for two years? That would be a big problem."

Senator Cruz was born in Calvary to an American mother. Trump denied he is launching a personal attack. We will see what happens tonight.

CNN's Sara Murray is in Claremont where we understand the candidate was given an AR-15 rifle before going on stage. She joins us now.

Big Trump news in the last few hours is now calling Ted Cruz's citizenship apparently into question. Is that right?

SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL REPORTER: That's right, Anderson. It's been sort of an interesting day on the trail with Donald Trump. It started with us chatting with the local gun owners earlier today who said they had an AR-15 ready to give Donald Trump backstage as a welcome gift. As you can imagine, the secret service showed up a little early to disarm that weapon and make sure that it was secure. That's what Trump was doing backstage.

Now, the big question is now that his event has started is whether he is going to go after Ted Cruz directly on the stump in that "Washington Post" interview. He questioned whether this would be a problem for Ted Cruz, the fact that he was born in Canada. And the interesting thing is, this is a change of tune for Donald Trump. Just a couple of months ago, he said he believed that lawyers had checked this out and Ted Cruz was on solid ground. He was fine. So this different tone, the sense that it could be a problem for Cruz. That could be part of the shifting of the race.

We are now seeing the polls tightening in Iowa. We are Ted Cruz leading in some of them. And so, it's possible that Donald Trump is getting a little bit worried that his one-time, you know, bromance with Ted Cruz could be coming to an end and this is a guy that gives him a real challenge in Iowa.

COOPER: Yes. Sara Murray, thanks. We are obviously going to those are live remarks he's making right now. We will obviously listen in if he mentions or repeats what he said to "the Washington Post" today at all in the stamp's speech. We'll bring that to you.

Joining us now is former 2012 Romney campaign strategist, Stuart Stevens. He is the author of "the Last Season, a father, a son and a lifetime of college football." Also with us tonight, CNN political commentators Amanda Carpenter and Jeffrey Lord. She is Ted Cruz's former communications' director. He is a Trump supporter, former Reagan White House communications director.

So Jeffrey, you hear Donald Trump said about Ted Cruz's citizenship. And that Cruz has respond that on twitter by implying that Trump has "jumped the shark," that's a quote, complete with the You Tube link to a Ponzi, literally, jumping to shark on happy days. Is this how the piece between them has finally broken? Another birther battle?

JEFFREY LORD, FORMER REAGAN WHITE HOUSE POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Well, Anderson, what he said, and read the Post article, and frankly, he said this last year in March, not that he is ineligible but that they would be somebody who might file a legal challenge to his eligibility and there's a difference there.

Let me just read you two sentences from Florida Democratic congressman Alan Grayson who said last month, and I'm quoting directly here.

"I'm waiting for the moment that he, Ted Cruz, gets the nomination and then I will file that beautiful lawsuit saying that he is unqualified for the job because he is ineligible. Call me crazy but I think the president of America should an American," unquote.

I think Alan Grayson is wrong. I think Ted Cruz, who I have terrific admiration for is more than qualified to be president. He is not unqualified by his Canadian birth to an American mother. Donald Trump's point is that there is always some nut like Alan Grayson out there that will try and challenge things and, frankly, we already know that this guy anticipates doing that.

COOPER: Amanda, is that all that Trump is doing here, just kind of raising the possibility?

AMANDA CARPENTER, FORMER COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR FOR SEN. TED CRUZ: Listen, in September, Donald Trump and Ted Cruz appeared together at a rally to stop the Iran deal. And there, Donald Trump was asked by ABC News about the citizenship question. Donald Trump said, hey, my lawyers have looked at this. Ted is essentially good to go, putting the matter to rest. Now that we see Cruz climbing in Iowa, climbing up the national polls, Trump is bringing it back up. It's pretty obvious what Trump is doing here. I think it's really

funnily, quite frankly. You know, Trump was the original Obama birther. Now he is going birther against Ted Cruz. I think it's really funny. I loved the Cruz response. It's another just conversation ender saying, you know, Donald, if you want to talk this talk, go ahead and do it and we're just going to laugh and have fun it. That's a perfect response.

COOPER: Stuart Stevens, how do you see this?

STUART STEVENS, FORMER ROMNEY CAMPAIGN STRATEGIST: Listen, I think Donald Trump is stark grieving mad. He has changed the party five times. He has no consistency here. He, himself, you excite Donald Trump to repute what Donald Trump is saying. He just lashes out. There is no coherent thought here. Listen. I think this is best going to end up a murder-suicide pact between Trump and Cruz. And it is where it's headed.

[20:05:00] COOPER: So you think he -- Stuart, do you think he plans out the kind of these comments or do you think they kind of come up, he goes with them, and then either plays catch-up or runs with it?

STEVENS: I think he says for pops into his head. No one would logically go out and say something that contradicts exactly the position that you had couple months ago. It makes no sense. It makes you look like, you know, inconsistent idiot. And I just think he loves the crowd. He will say anything to get a rise from that crowd. And the first thing -- the dangerous thing that politicians do is play to a crowd because you're not just in front of that crowd. You're in front of everybody with a television camera. And that's particularly true with Donald Trump who seems to have his rallies broadcast live all the time.

So, listen, I don't think that there's any premeditated grand scheme here. I think it's just sort of random things that pops in his head.

COOPER: Jeffrey, there's this article in Politico basically says the GOP establishment is panicking over the possibility that Trump or Cruz could be the nominee. But I mean, the party hasn't won with a more conventional nominee, whether it was senator McCain in 2008 or Romney in 2012. I guess the argument is why not go with someone outside the box, so to speak.

LORD: That's right. You know, Anderson, I'm holding up an article from "The New York Times" in March of 1980. And it's headlined "Ford declares Reagan can't win." And it's, you know, all through here, he says he is too conservative, he is too extreme. We have been down this road. This has been going on since Thomas C. Dewey. So there's nothing new for establishment moderate Republicans to be saying this. And meanwhile they keep putting up candidates who are good people like Mitt Romney and they lose. So I think perhaps it's time to get back to the Reagan model and try something else.

COOPER: Amanda, you're hearing what Jeffrey is saying. How are you going to respond? You're bullish on your former boss Ted Cruz. CARPENTER: Sure. Well, to that point, I think a lot of the former

establishment people like Mitt Romney, you know, the Bushes, Mitch McConnell, John Boehner, other people who had a chance to lead the Republican party for quite some time paved the way for Donald Trump to come into this primary and take hold.

Listen, there's a number of people that could have been leading this party for quite some time. Because they have failed, Donald Trump has come in and been able to exploit many of their weakness. And so, you know, when you look at a Cruz or Trump and the establishment freaking out in this political article at the concept facing a Trump or Cruz choice, take the winner.

Ted Cruz is a proven winner. He can fund raise. He's an excellent debater. He has argued the most complex issues in the highest court in the land. I don't understand what the freak out is. It may be because their preferred candidate like Jeb Bush hasn't been able to take advantage of all of the money and resources that he's been given.

But if there's really no choice to meet, I would like to see the race come down to Cruz and Rubio. I think that would be much healthier for the party. But if it comes down to Cruz and Trump, I don't think there should be any question where anyone who calls themselves a conservative should go.

COOPER: Stuart?

STEVENS: Listen, I think that Ted Cruz, the fundamental fallacy is he is running as an outsider where he is ultimate insider. You have someone who is a multi-millionaire, Ivy League, former Supreme Court clerk, White House staffer, United States senator. That person is an outsider. There's not one lever of American power that he hasn't accessed.

And just, you know, he says that for people don't like me, that proves I'm an outsider, it doesn't proof that. It just proves that people don't like you. And I think that when you really come down to it, it's that sort of hollowness at the core of it that is going to be his problem. I think he's running a very shrewd campaign. I think he's a brilliant guy. I have a lot of respect for his intellectual ability as oppose to Donald Trump, but I don't think he is a bright guy. But he really should be running as Ted Cruz, not as someone who Ted Cruz thinks Ted Cruz should be.

COOPER: Jeffrey - go ahead, Amanda.

CARPENTER: Well, here's one thing that - if I could, that ties Cruz and Trump together. And this is why the establishment can't wrap their hands around the concept of a Trump or Cruz and how they have been able to come into this primary.

They are men who are successful in their own right. As Stuart described, Cruz has a number of qualifications but he is not willing to kiss the ring of party leaders who have led this party down such a terrible path for the past few years. Look, we have an $18 trillion and growing debt. Cruz is not going to

go along the (INAUDIBLE) with that crowd. And that is a reason that crowd is so frighten at the concept as a possibility nominee Cruz because he disrupts their power base. And, quite frankly, me and I think many other people who have come in post-Bush administration, feel that these people don't deserve that place anymore and we are ready for new leadership. And that is the reason Ted Cruz is getting traction and also why Donald Trump is because he represents such a significant change.

COOPER: Stuart, I want you to be able to respond and then we've got to go.

[20:10:01] STEVENS: Yes. Look, when Ted Cruz and Mitt Romney were both on the ballot in Texas, Mitt Romney didn't spend a dime in Texas. He got more votes than Ted Cruz. So this notion that somehow Ted Cruz is going to tap into this great conservative upswing, it's just not there. I think this race is going to come down to Ted Cruz and whoever is going to win. We are just not sure who that person is going to be.

COOPER: Stuart Stevens, Jeffrey Lord --

LORD: It could be a ticket, Anderson.

COOPER: It could be a ticket. There you go. Amanda Carpenter, thank you very much.

A lot more ahead tonight including more on gun control. We will show President Obama's emotional appeal for his new plan, discussed the facts of it, for and against.

Plus, new demands from the leader of that armed takeover of a federal facility out in Oregon, he joins us tonight on 360.


[20:14:14] COOPER: Tonight, two nights before joining us in a "360" town hall conversation on guns in America, we are talking about President Obama's passionate appeal today for steps that he believes will reduce gun violence. This morning, the White House rented (ph) by mass shooting survivors, he laid out a series of executive actions, including closing the loophole that allows firearm purchases without background checks in gun shows. Now, wherever you come down on gun control, this was, on a human level, a remarkable moment and, at times, a tearful one.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Because of our right to worship freely and safely. That right was denied to Christians in Charleston, South Carolina and that was denied Jews in Kansas City. And that was denied Muslims in Chapel Hill and Sikhs in Oak Creek. They have rights, too.

(APPLAUSE) [20:15:12] OBAMA: Our right to peaceful assembly. That right was robbed from movie goers in Aurora and Lafayette. Our inalienable right to life and liberty in the pursuit of happiness, those rights were stripped from college kids in Blacksburg and Santa Barbara and from high schoolers at Columbine. And from first graders in Newtown. First graders. And from every family who never imagined that their loved one would be taken from our lives by a bullet from a gun. Every time I think about those kids, it gets me mad. And, by the way, it happens on the streets of Chicago every day.



COOPER: Joining us now from the White House with more is CNN's Jim Acosta.

The president's announcement today, talk to us a little bit about it, about what it was like being there. I mean, obviously, we have not seen the president that emotional I don't think ever.

JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Anderson. He has gotten emotional before. We have seen him sing, we have seen him well up with emotions in other events, but this was clearly one of the most emotional moments if not the most emotional moment of the Obama presidency. He was crying openly, as you saw there, wiping away tears as he made the case for new executive actions on gun control. But officials here say that's because he really believes in this. And we will show you what the president is talking about under the president's new executive actions, a warning to nearly all gun sellers across the country to conduct background checks or risk prosecution, new FBI and ATF agents $500 million for mental health care. A lot of people say, the issue is mental healthcare. Well, the president is calling for $500 million to tackle that and a new push to develop smart gun technology.

We should point out, this new executive action package is not a gun grab. This off short of a law mandating universal background checks across the country. They tried that in Congress a few years ago. It didn't work out. But the president felt it was necessary to once again defend his position on the second amendment. We heard that today.

But getting back to this emotional moment, Anderson, aides were not surprised by his raw moment here at the White House. The president has said that the failure to pass gun control is the biggest frustration of his presidency. And that the Sandy Hook school shooting that he talked about there when he was tearing up that claimed the lives of those 20 children and six adults, that that was the darkest day of his time in office. You talk to anybody here at the White House, they all agree that that is the saddest moment of this presidency.

COOPER: And does the White House feel that they got their message across? ACOSTA: They do. But keep in mind, Anderson, this is not stopping

today. As you know, you have the town hall on Thursday evening. But much of the president's ability to enforce these new actions depends on Congress. They have to spend the money on the mental healthcare, to hire the new investigators at the ATF and FBI. So they have a full press plan on this.

Tomorrow, vice president Biden will be sitting down to do a round of interviews with local TV stations. One of those TV stations is in Roanoke where reporter and photographer were gunned down the same station, then employ those two journalists who were killed by a deranged shooter.

And the president will be selling his actions, of course, in the state of the union address next week. He will be asking for money for those ATF agents and FBI agents and also in his upcoming budget proposal to Congress. So we are going to be hearing this time and again, Anderson. This will all be previewed with you on Thursday night at the town hall meeting in Northern Virginia just outside of Washington, D.C., but expect the president to stick with that emotional plea that we saw today.

Anderson, today, he is as fired up as I think I have ever seen him covering him as president of the United States -- Anderson.

COOPER: Jim Acosta, appreciate the reporting. Let's get some reaction now from CNN political commentator and former senior Obama adviser Van Jones, also Blaze TV and conservative radio talk show host Dana Loesch.

Good to have you both here.

Van, I want to start with you. You say when it comes to Obama's announcement today, Republicans should know how to take "yes" as an answer. What do you mean by that?

VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, what I mean is that if you listen to Republican conservatives yesterday, they were saying this is going to be the apocalypse, this is going to the overreaching president. They said they don't want him to go out and make new law. Come to them to make new law. They just want him to stay within the existing law and to what maybe double down and force the existing law.

That's exactly what this president just said he's going to do. He's clarifying the existing law. He is doubling down. He wants to be able to enforce it more. And for everything new he is going to Congress.

So I would think Republicans would take "yes" for an answer from a president who is literally doing exactly what they said they wanted yesterday and yet we hear all of this sort of hemming and hawing.

I have to say. I have never been prouder of this president than today. I think he was speaking for not just those families behind that he was speaking for and two millions of other families that have been crying, watching CNN for years now seeing too many funerals, too much violence, too many memorials. I've never been prouder of President Obama than I was today and I think a lot of people feel that way.

[20:20:37] COOPER: Dana, I mean, is this an overreach by this president? Is this trying to make new law through executive action?

DANA LOESCH, THE BLAZE: Well, where it concerns redefining what is or is not a deal. I think it does. And I have to say as well, I appreciate the president's emotion. I have kids and I see my kid in every single thing, and you know, as we all were. I was a kid once and when I was a child I had my life protected by a firearm which is why I'm very impassioned about it now. And I talk about so much.

In terms of making a new law, the thing that is left a vague, and I believe I have the greatest concern about is in those executive orders, Anderson, where he talks about redefining with the ATF who is or is not a dealer. If you're in the business of selling a firearm, it's left very, very vague. So the question and becomes, was that just mean, just one private sale? Well, I guess, if a grandmother sells a firearm to her son? I mean, that's a question that I have. Or if you sell, if you do a trade-in, a firearm to a dealer, to an FFL, what that does, Anderson, is it been thereby requires every single person, every man and woman in America to be a de-facto federal firearms licensee and with that to maintain and be compliant that FFL, that's a backdoor national registry.

COOPER: Van, what about that?

JONES: Well, you know, it's funny because the language that you are describing as being vague is unfortunately the language in the legislation itself. And so, what the executive branch has to do is to interpret the legislative language which was, to your point, very vague. Up until now, it's been interpreted in a way that let a lot of shenanigans go down, that let people, you know, go to gun shows and buy stuff. You are buying stuff online. That --

LOESCH: Not true. Not true. I need to correct that moment.

COOPER: Let him finish.

JONES: You'll get your turn.

People argue about the online stuff. There's no argument about the gun show stuff. There's no argument at all about the trusts that are being set up, phony trusts to trade guns. And so, that's the stuff they are cracking down on and that is very popular and it is within the framework of the existing law.

COOPER: Dana, I want you to respond. Because there is concern among those that buy guns at the gun show, certainly.

LOESCH: Well, the ATF is pretty explicit. A teen U.S. have to reach 21, I believe it is. I mean, it has that regulation. But Van Jones just said something very interesting to me where he was talking about online sales. And I don't know how many firearms you have purchased. I've purchased four firearms online. JONES: I purchased zero.

LOESCH: You must have a background check - I'm finishing up. It is my turn. But you do have to actually have a background check to purchase a firearm on online. They don't just ship it to your house like amazon prime. You have to go through a federal firearms licensee and the transaction is not considered complete until you passed your background check. That is a fact. And so, you always have background checks.

Now, certain states, Anderson, actually can even go more. Now, in California, you can't do a single private transfer until you go through an FFL. There are a number of states that have those laws. They have regulated them further beyond what the gun control act of 1968 and Brady Bill have already required in the mid-90s. So, I mean, it depends on state by state that you always have a background check and you can't just buy a gun online.

COOPER: So Dana, other than the concern over what you believe is vagueness in whether it's in the law or in the executive action about who is exactly a gun dealer and who has to go through a background check, were you expecting more from this president in terms of an overreach? I mean, was there were certainly a lot of concerns in advance. Were you surprised by some of what you read?

LOESCH: I tell you, Anderson, what surprised me and because, look, we all want to reduce gun violence. We all want to stop repeat offenders, which are the biggest drivers of gun homicides by the way, from keeping to do it, we need criminal justice reform and stop reducing sentences. I was really hoping, Anderson, that the president was going to say that. We have a different means to achieve our objective, but we both care and we're both emotional about it.

But to that effect, I was really hoping that the president would speak to that, that he would talk about how it's repeat offenders. And we need to stop -- look, if somebody commits a crime, is somebody is illegally possessing a firearm, they carjack somebody, they rob a store, they commit a violent assault, you know, I don't want the minimum mandatory. I want the full sentence. I want this to stop because you have repeat offenders that see no penalty. Look. If somebody is going to commit mass murder or if somebody is going to commit murder, Anderson, they are not going to be deterred by a gun charge.

COOPER: So Van, what about that? I mean, you talk a lot about criminal justice reform. I don't think that's exactly what you mean by it.

JONES: That's true. Well, listen, we all want safe streets and part of the problem here is that people who say they want to see progress are not sitting down and working together on either side. I mean, we have a big problem at this point when you talk about what's going on in cities like Chicago. There are commonsense solutions that we can come together around.

First of all, plain people in jail for longer period of time actually seems to be having a negative effect, people are coming back more damaged and less able to get jobs. So we have got to actually get people coming home from prison and get them employed. That is something I think once you pay your debt, I think most of us would agree on.

The other thing I want to say is simply this. Nobody has a monopoly at this point on the concern. But right now, there is a monopoly on taking action. And right now, the president has taken action. If Republicans want to take action now, it's their turn.

[20:25:46] LOESCH: Yes, there's nothing that he has proposed that would prevented anything. Expanded background checks were already in fact in Colorado and in Oregon and California. They already have -

JONES: That's not true.

LOESCH: Then tell me what crimes that the expanded background checks prevented San Bernardino.

JONES: I will tell you. South Caroline. Sure. In South Carolina, that guy, he was supposed to --

LOESCH: Dylann Roof, a murderous thug.


COOPER: Van, respond. You were answering the question. Van, answered the question and then Dana respond and then we've got to go.

JONES: Listen, what the president is trying to do is get more resources on the table I think you would support so people like that guy would not have gotten that gun. And so, when you say nothing that the president is doing would make a difference, that's an over statement. In fact, in South Carolina, these ideas would have made a difference.


LOESCH: Actually, it was incompetency, according to FBI director James Comey, who said that the FBI made an error, and he said and I quote, "I wish we could go back in time but we can't." He made an error. The system didn't work. He said the laws have to be followed and administrated properly. It's not an issue of money or manpower. The people need to be who we trust to enforce these laws and administrate them, they need to do so. And I think you would agree with me on that, Van.

COOPER: Dana Loesch --

JONES: The Republicans need not to step up to make that more possible.

COOPER: Van Jones, good conversation. Appreciate it. Thank you both.

LOESCH: Thank you, Anderson. COOPER: As we mentioned, we are going to be having this conversation

Thursday night. This morning, President Obama explained why.


OBAMA: This has become one of our most polarized partisan debates. Despite the fact that there's a general consensus in America about what needs to be done. That's part of the reason why on Thursday I'm going to hold a town hall meeting in Virginia on gun violence because my goal here is to bring good people on both sides of the issue here for an open discussion.


COOPER: That's exactly what we plan to do. President Obama voices from across the spectrum, also myself. It all gets under way Thursday night, 8:00 eastern right here live on "360".

Up next, the clock is running at the campaign trail, the Iowa caucuses, less than a month away and the mudslinging ramping up. Ahead, what a new flood of attack ad says about who is up and who is down.


[20:31:00] COOPER: Well, in case you're counting, the Iowa caucuses are just 26 days away. You don't need a calendar to know this crunch time, a plot of new attack ads is dead giveaway. The gloves are certainly off, punches are flying.

CNN's Jeff Zeleny looks who is hitting hardest and who isn't taking any hits at all.


JEFF ZELENY, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: In living rooms, presidential campaign is already going nuclear.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Chris Christie could well be Obama's favorite Republican governor.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You want someone who read one hell of a bedtime story? Ted Cruz is your guy.

ZELENY: The barrage of T.V. ads from campaigns and Super PACs is a circular firing squad for Republicans and the targets are telling, Marco Rubio taking aim at Chris Christie.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Chris Christie could well be Obama's favorite Republican governor. Why? Christie's record.

ZELENY: Ted Cruz firing at Rubio.

SEN. TED CRUZ, (R-TX) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I know I have a debate but I've got to get this fantasy football thing right. OK. ZELENY: Donald trump is the Republican to beat, but you'll hardly find him in any attack ads, his closest rivals, so far at least, afraid to sling arrow his way.

DONALD TRUMP, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We will make America great again.

ZELENY: Trump started running his own ads today, but the real war is taking place beneath him, as Republicans try to break out of the crowded field. Cruz is making his point on illegal immigration in an ad he calls "Invasion", showing business men and women crossing the border.

CRUZ: The politics of it would be very, very different if a bunch of lawyers or bankers were crossing the Rio Grande.

ZELENY: You can tell who is up by measuring the number of attacks coming their way. As Cruz climbs in the polls, he suddenly wearing a bigger bullseye. Rick Santorum is taking on Cruz's record in the senate, and using Dr. Seuss to help.

CRUZ: I like green eggs and ham.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ted Cruz is wonderful in reading children's fairy tales on the Senate floor.

CRUZ: Same I am.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You want someone to read one hell of a bedtime story, Ted Cruz is your guy. If you want to protect America and defeat ISIS, Rick Santorum's your president.

ZELENY: Rubio, also on the rise, is weathering sharper attacks. Supporters of Jeb Bush, who spent tens of millions of dollars with little success, are reminding voters the freshman Florida Senator in his national security meetings to raise money.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And where was Marco? Fundraising again.

ZELENY: The biggest boogie man of all is President Obama. He's featured in T.V. ads from morning until night.

SEN. MARCO RUBIO, (R-FL) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Barack Obama released terrorists from Guantanamo and now they are plotting to attack us.

ZELENY: Election law requires candidates to take responsibility for their ads.

RUBIO: I'm Marco Rubio. I approve this message because America needs a real commander-in-chief and a president who will keep us safe.

ZELENY: In less than a month, voter will have the final say of whether they approve.


COOPER: So question, of course, is will this barrage of attack ads make a difference in Iowa or New Hampshire, the first contest of the battle for the White House.

Joining me, CNN's Senior Political Commentator and former Senior Obama Advisor David Axelrod.

David, it's amazing when you think that Donald Trump is now running really his campaign's first ads given all of the free media attention ads, he hasn't need to. What do you make of the ad that he's running and the fact that he's running them now?

DAVID AXELROD, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think the fact that he's running them now is very interesting. He's gotten very far just using earned media. Nobody has done it better than Donald Trump. He's been a ubiquitous presence in our living rooms for the last six months and he's made quite a bit of gains as a result of that.

But the question was always how far would that take him? And I think this is an acknowledgment that he actually has to fight for the nomination here, and that there are challenges in front of him.

(20:35:05) And I think this ad went to his two hot button issues to try and both win new supporters but also arouse his base to make sure that they actually come to the caucuses, come to the polls.

COOPER: And sone of these ads, they are not just pushing that Cruz, for example, is going to keep the country safe. They are pushing the idea that Rubio would not or vice versa. They are not just issue ads. They are also attack ads.

AXELROD: Well, listen, we are -- as soon as you dropped the ball on New Year's Eve, A|nderson, the whole situation changed. We're into the final stretch. And now, the real thing to watch is who is doing what to whom and why.

And there all kind of subplots here, Rubio and Cruz are running ads against each other, including their PACs. Bush is going after Rubio because if Rubio emerges as the choice of the establishment Republicans, that's the end of Bush.

Rubio is going after Christie in New Jersey because Christie has rehabilitated himself by camping out in New Jersey for the last eight months.

COOPER: New Hampshire, you mean?

AXELROD: So you see a lot of subplots going on now.

COOPER: New Hampshire, you mean?

AXELROD: New Hampshire, yes. In New Hampshire.

COOPER: Do you think Donald Trump's recent, you know, mentions of Bill Clinton's past indiscretions have been effective because essentially he's saying that it's a weapon that he can wield against Hillary Clinton if she brings up kind of the war on women idea.

AXELROD: I don't know whether it's been effective or not in the general election. You know, Donald Trump isn't terribly popular in the broader electorate but among base Republicans, it problem hasn't hurt him. And what it has done is certified him.

He's designating himself as the nominee of the party. He says, if he's saying, "I'm not going to bother with these other guys. I'm moving right to the main event".

And so -- and, you know, the audacity of the attacks, particularly coming from someone who earlier defended Bill Clinton against the same charges, is consistent with what we've seen throughout this campaign. And, in some ways, you know, he's impervious to criticism over it because people give him a pass on a lot of this.

COOPER: David Axelrod, thanks for being with us.

AXELROD: Good to see you.

COOPER: It's been quite a day in the armed standoff in Oregon, that is until now, we're going to show what just changed while we were on the air and why this could soon jump to a new level entirely.


[20:41:07] COOPER: Well, there's breaking news in the Oregon standoff tonight. In just the last couple of minutes, it had been quiet all day with the armed activists occupying a national wildlife refuge. We actually have been planning to talk to the group leader, rancher Ammon Bundy, about his new demands. He agreed to be on the program tonight, around this time.

And just minutes ago, as we said, they called an impromptu news conference. And suddenly, all bets were off, all bets off and perhaps, a new phase for the arm standoff just beginning.

Sara Sidner joins me now with the latest.

So what happened? Bundy came out, what did he say?

SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Just moments he came out, there were several other protesters with him, one of whom had a large rifle on his lap. And they said they had received new information, information we have not been able to confirm yet with the FBI. But they said they had received new information from a source that said that the FBI has finally made and gotten some arrest warrants. Several people's names on those arrest warrants, at least four of them according to the protesters here.

And their response to that has been two fold. One, they say that they will break apart and some of them will go to the Hammond Ranch, those two ranchers who ended having to go back to jail after sentenced for arson, spending time in jail, and then having to return because of a federal judge's decision that they did not serve enough time.

So they have broken off some of them going to that ranch and some of them staying here on this federal land here at this wildlife refuge.

What they are also saying, one of the ranchers, if you want to take a look at some new video in from your show tonight, saying to us, "Look, I'm not going to be arrested. I will not spend any of my life in jail so that the FBI comes to arrest us, I may not leave here alive.

He is a rancher that's from out of town, out of state. His name is Lavoie Finnakim. He's been talking quite a bit about the situation here. And the struggles he says, that ranchers and farmers have been going through, with the federal government namely the land managements group of the government.

And he is frustrated. He has talked to his family and told them that he loves them and they know that but he's going to stand his ground and that's the situation right now, Anderson.

COOPER: A couple things, Sara, first of all, they said some are going to the Hammond Ranch. The Hammond family attorney, as I understand it, earlier said that this group doesn't speak for them, doesn't represent them in any way. So do we know what they are going to do once they get to the Hammond Ranch?

And also, I know, because we accidentally just played video, I think, of you talking to a lady. You've spoken with some people that say the group is no longer welcome because all along, Ammon Bundy and others in this group have said, "Well, if, you know, the community doesn't want us here, we will leave." The sheriff says they are not welcome. What are people you're talking to saying?

SIDNER: It's interesting. In the local community it is a mixed reaction to this group. There are people saying they should go home. They are not from here, we didn't invite them here. They said they were going to be peaceful and now we are hearing differently. We do not want them here.

They are on land that belongs to the people already and they should go home. However, most people we spoke with do support the Hammonds and they are very disturbed by what happened with the Hammonds because the Hammonds ended up serving time coming out, spending a couple years out of jail. Then, all of a sudden had to go back to prison because of a federal judge's decision and that frustrates them.

But they do not necessarily support what is happening here. There are others, though, you have come forward, have been bringing food to this group and who say that they are welcome here but nobody, nobody that we've spoken to wants to see this turn violent, including some of the members who have come out here to help this group.

COOPER: All right. Sara Sidner, thank you very much.

Instead of escalating the situation, authorities appear to be basically kind of running out the clock, hoping the cold and harsh conditions will eventually force the gunmen to go home. It's an approach shape by standoff nearly 26 years ago that ended disastrously with more than 80 people dead.

Dan Simon tonight reports.

DAN SIMON, CNN: It's perhaps the most infamous raid in U.S. history.

[20:45:03] February 1993, the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms storms a large compound in search of illegal guns. It is home to a Christian cult called the Branch Davidians, an offshoot of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. The leader is David Koresh, who describes himself as a sinful messiah. Authorities said Koresh was having sex with underage girls in his compound. He also had multiple wives and fathered at least 13 children. Koresh, who made money selling guns...


DAVID KORESH, LEADER OF BRANCH DAVIDIANS: It's not against the law to buy anything that they sell at a gun show.


SIMON: ... was not about to surrender peacefully when his home was raided. And along with his followers, took up arms against the authorities. Four ATF agents were killed, at least 15 were wounded. Five Branch Davidians were also killed in that initial raid and Koresh himself took fire.


KORESH: Do you want to see one of the holes here? Here's one of them.


SIMON: The federal agents retreated. It was now a very tense standoff. FBI negotiators trying unsuccessful get Koresh and followers to surrender. On April 19th, 1993, patience had finally run out. Specially modified tanks and grenade like canisters, federal agents launched a tear gas attack to force the Davidians out.

What happened next was a total disaster. Flames engulfed the compound, killing nearly everyone, including Koresh. Seventy-six Branch Davidians dead, 24 of them children. Only nine people made it out alive. Critics blamed the FBI's tear gas for the blaze but an independent special council ultimately found Koresh ordered the setting of the fires and there were also some suicides and mercy killings inside the compound. Twenty-three years later, it is a powerful reminder that those who say they will die for a cause could very well be serious. Dan Simon, CNN.

COOPER: So many children killed. Just ahead, an update on the teen drunk driver who got probation for killing four people and then fled to Mexico with his mom. He was in court in California today. He's still in Mexico. We're talking about the affluenza defense kid. He's no longer a kid so much. We're getting disturbing new information about how he spent his time on the lam including reports of $1,000 strip club tab he couldn't pay. That is next.


[20:51:26] COOPER: The mother of the so-called affluenza case was in court in California today. Tonya Couch is sent to be extradited to Texas where she's been charged with hindering apprehension of a felon. She and her 18-year-old son Ethan were caught in Mexico last week. They fled to Mexico as you know while Ethan was on probation for killing four people in a drunk-driving accident.

The case of course got national attention after Couch's defense argued he was too rich and spoiled to understand consequences. He was 16 years old at the time. His probation officer couldn't get ahead of him after -- or a hold of him after a video allegedly showed him at a party where people were drinking. He wasn't supposed to be around drugs and alcohol during probation.

Now, ABC is reporting that while he was in Mexico, he racked up $1,000 bill in booze and alcohol at a strip club and couldn't pay the bill so his mother had to pay it for him.

Joining me is Dr. Drew Pinsky, host of Dr. Drew and HLN, CNN legal analyst and criminal defense attorney, Mark O'Mara. Dr. Drew, what do you make of this? I mean, not only does this kid flee the country skipping out on probation but while the kid is out of the country, reported racks up $1,000 at a strip club and can't pay for it.

DREW PINKSY, HLN HOST, "DR. DREW": I make nothing of this. This kid's a drug addict who failed treatment and ran from the law and now he is engaging in the behaviors of his disease. I mean, you know, wherever he goes, he will continue to be him and he will continue to engage in addictive behaviors whether he goes to the other side of the globe. This is how this guy is going to behave and his mother is going to continue to enable it.

COOPER: And Mark, I don't really understand why he's still in Mexico. Why hasn't he been sent back to the U.S. to face whatever punishment he's going to face? I mean, the U.S. has an extradition treaty with Mexico.

MARK O'MARA, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: We do. But it's quite a formalistic affair that we have to go through. So once his defense team decided we're going to throw that roadblock up, that they were going to say we want a formal extradition hearing, then that process slows down a great deal.

Now, it may be a tactical decision. I'm not certain it's the right move but they may have decided, we'll let him sit in Mexico until he gets close to his 19th birthday so by the time he comes back the juvenile court has no control over him. So there may be things working underneath the surface that we're not aware of yet.

COOPER: But does he just serve time until he's no longer a juvenile and then he's released? O'MARA: The way the Texas law is, the juvenile court has control over him until his 19th birthday, which we know is going to happen in four months it would be less now. So they can't put him in juvenile jail any longer than his 19th birthday. It seems, however, the sentence was set up so that once he turns 19, the rest of his probation will be transferred to adult probation. So he may have whatever's left, four, five, six years of probation as an adult. His real exposure is going to be if, once he's transferred to adult court and adult probation, if he violates that probation, prison's on the table.

COOPER: Right. So, chances are, if he doesn't violate adult probation, he should be fine. He won't be going to an adult facility. He only would -- I mean he only has four more months to serve as a juvenile.

O'MARA: Well, but, to Dr. Drew's point, if he's an addict, if he has lived a life where he's had no constraints on him so far, he's going to have a real tough time with probation, particularly with a probation officer that's probably going to be looking at him like a hawk.

COOPER: Right. And Dr. Drew, I mean, you talked about the mom but how much responsibility does she have here?

PINSKY: Well, she's -- Listen, I don't want to create another victim here but the fact that she's enabling so profoundly, I deal with these sorts of circumstances all the time.

[20:55:00] Adam Lanza is a case of this where the mother is in such massive denial when she has a terribly sick child, the setting of addiction, the way addiction works is that the addicted child will play upon the mom's emotion in such a way that the mom will believe if she doesn't rescue the child, the child will die when in fact the reality is, if she continues to rescue, the child will in fact die.

I'm going to make prediction, there's no way he's going to make it through his probation. No way. This guy needs long-term intensive treatment. Yeah, there's no way. This is a disaster, this poor kid. And the only thing that might save his life, frankly, is prison. In prison he might see -- gain some insight. But on the outside, this is going to be a disaster.

COOPER: Mark, you're also concerned that he and his mom basically (inaudible) the system could make judges not want to give lenient sentences to other people even when they may be warranted.

O'MARA: Well, here's the problem, you know, the affluenza event itself seems to be sort of at the far end extremes of some type of a proposed defense. My concern is he got such a deal and now that it's completely public that most judges and the prosecutors and, by the way, even juries, will look at other cases with more of a jaundiced eye and not want to give those true defenses, creative as we might make them, true defenses or mitigation to a sentence, they may just be ignored because they'll remember the affluenza kid, the kid who got away with murder virtually and then, you know, struck his nose up at the system. So, I'm very concerned that their arrogance in not accepting and taking the benefit of the extraordinary deal that he got is going to come back to haunt other people who deserve a break.

COOPER: And Drew, when you hear that affluenza term -- I mean, the first time I heard it, I mean I just thought it was a joke. But there was a professional who is using that term. It's pretty incredible to me.

PINSKY: Well, there was a professional using it on the stand and I'm sure that professional is quite embarrassed now. He should be ashamed of himself. There is no diagnosis affluenza. It was a construct to help make the case that if you're going to take issue with people that live in extreme poverty, maybe you should give a similar situation for someone who's in these other extraordinary economic circumstances. We have another name for that. Just spoiled brat.

I mean, I'm sorry, that's not a defense. And I agree, creativity from your defense witnesses may be warranted but I hope this really puts a stop to people being creative to the point of being ludicrous and, frankly, unethical.

COOPER: Dr. Drew, Mark O'Mara, thanks very much. Just ahead, another live hour of "360." It's another birther battle from Donald Trump this time taking in for Ted Cruz tonight (inaudible) from the interview in New Hampshire talked about this. We'll play you some of the interview, next.