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Sarah Palin Blames President Barack Obama for Son's Alleged Domestic Abuse Incident; Nearly 65 Million Americans Facing Winter Storm Threat; Trump Slams Cruz In Iowa; Cruz Campaigns in New Hampshire; Less Than Two Weeks To Iowa Caucuses; Poll: Clinton, Sanders Neck-And-Neck In Iowa; Pres. Obama On Flint Water Crisis; Jamie Foxx Saves Man From Burning Truck; At Least 19 Dead In Attack On Pakistan University; FBI Investigating Professor With Alleged ISIS Ties; Dow Gives Again After Crude Oil Crash; Deadly Explosion At Fireworks Plant. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired January 20, 2016 - 20:30   ET


[20:00:11] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Good evening.

A very busy night in politics with Sarah Palin out on the campaign trail linking President Obama to her son's alleged domestic abuse incident.

We begin, though, tonight with breaking news. If you are one of 65 million Americans tonight, you could be in for a crippling winter storm. No exaggeration. That's the national weather services' word, crippling. Snowfall measured in feet, not inches, and potentially the kind of flooding only seen in hurricane. The danger zone is evolving.

Right now, Washington D.C. is in the cross hairs. This is what the last big winter storm did to D.C. nearly 18 inches in 2010. Take a look. Now, at as much as another foot of snow to the picture and that is what could be in store.

That's why we begin tonight with Tom Sater in the CNN severe weather center. How bad is this expected to get, Tom?

TOM SATER, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Well, Anderson, the records in Washington D.C. go back 132 years. There have been three storms that have been over 18.5 inches and this is probably going to be in the top three if not surpassed the 28-inch total of 1922.

So blizzard watch is in effect. And this is going to become a warning. In blue are winter storm watches. There are several states, as you mentioned, 65 million. I think a conservative side would say maybe a million people lose power, conservative. Because the storm we are watching is still pushing out of Colorado.

Now, there has been a little precursor here, some light snow just to kind of remind everybody old man winter means business here. Coming out of Colorado doesn't look impressive yet. We are still waiting, Anderson, for the storm to get its act together and define itself and the icing sets up from Arkansas to Tennessee and Kentucky. Maybe a third of an inch to a half inch of ice in the Carolinas. That's going to be bad enough with downing of power lines and trees before the snow even really starts to ramp up on Friday evening and through the day on Saturday. This is going to be a big mess. A lot of records will be broken here.

COOPER: It isn't just the snow, though, it's the wind speed, as well, right?

SATER: That's true. That's where the energy from the storm out that moves across the southeast will transfer its energy, become a nor'easter. Now, think about it. When you have a foot, two feet of snow, maybe isolated three and we are getting wind gusts over 40 miles per hour, 50, 55, maybe 60 in a few locations.

So again, that will aid to more in the way of power outages. But then again, we got a full moon on Saturday with high tides Saturday morning. So significant coastal erosion and coastal flooding.

Again, when I show you the models of the amount of snow, they have been consistent for several days putting the bull's eye in the northern Virginia area from D.C., I-95 corner to Philadelphia. But it really cuts off in New York City. In fact, to give you an idea of what the latest model, and this just came out in the last five minutes, Anderson. The American model, that is the GFS model, dropped from 32 to 30 inches. New York City's model dropped from about ten down to seven and in Boston two down to zero. But again, that is just one model.

The European model drops a good 20 inches as well as Washington D.C. So we need a couple more days to refine and get that forecast more accurate. Because of significant ingredient and cut off from the snow from parts of New Jersey and to New York City.

Still, it is pretty good, though, I think for Boston. But this is going to be a colossal storm to the nation's capital.

COOPER: All right, Tom. Well, keep on it. Thanks very much.

Now, to stormy weather out in the campaign trail and Sarah Palin, she made a big headline obviously last night endorsing Donald Trump. She was supposed to make big headlines campaigning with him this morning in Iowa. Instead, her son, Track, legal troubles kept her from hitting the stump until later in the day in Tulsa, Oklahoma where she made big headlines anyway, in part for what she said about her son, Track and who she blamed for his troubles.

CNN Jim Acosta is there for us and joins us now.

So, Sarah Palin's second day on the campaign trail for Trump, what did it have in store? What happened?

JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, you are right, Anderson. She is sort of a force of nature herself. And she wasn't only spending her time on the stump with Donald Trump here at the (INAUDIBLE) University in Tulsa, Oklahoma to talk about the GOP front runner. She was talking about her son Track arrested on domestic violence charges this week. But Palin blamed that on her son's post-traumatic stress disorder and said that was in part due to President Obama's policies. Here is more of what she had to say.


SARAH PALIN (R), FORMER VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: So when my own son is going through what he goes through coming back, I can certainly relate with other families who kind of feel these ramifications of some PTSD and some of the woundedness that our soldiers do return with and it makes me realize more than ever it is now or never for the sake of America's finest that we have that commander in-chief who will respect them and honor them.


ACOSTA: Now, there is no question about it, Anderson, a lot of veterans deal with PTSD. But one top veteran leader was on twitter earlier today Paul (INAUDIBLE) who represents Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans saying that President Obama hasn't done everything for veterans but he didn't cause this.

[20:05:04] COOPER: Wasn't at Trump's earlier event today. Was the tone of that event any different?

ACOSTA: It was notable. You know, the campaign put out the statement when they announced Sarah Palin was endorsing Donald Trump and she would be with him today and she was not there. It was notable she was not there this morning in Iowa and Donald Trump's stump speech was a little different. He went after Ted Cruz when Sarah Palin was not at his side. And yet, when he and she came to the University later on in the afternoon, Donald Trump made no mention of Ted Cruz.

We should point out Ted Cruz has been endorsed by Sarah Palin in the past when he ran for the Senate. So it was interesting that he was tailoring the speech somewhat. But the GOP front runner did go after Bernie Sanders who has been really giving Hillary Clinton a run for her money in the polls and Donald Trump talked about that and wondering what Democrats are up to is one of the big moments of Donald Trump's speech day. Here is what he had to say.


DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Sanders, can you imagine this guy a socialist/communist is doing well? No, no, he is beating Hillary Clinton. Can you believe this? This guy is a whack job. He's a whacko. He is beating Hillary Clinton. Boy, I tell you what. I really want to run against her but I really would like to run against Bernie Sanders.


ACOSTA: Now, the question is, if he does run against Bernie Sanders or Hillary Clinton or whoever, will Sarah Palin be the running mate? Seems to be sending the signal all day long that's not going to happen. And the question I think Anderson, in the coming days while this has really fired up the conservative base and you should have heard the crowd inside the auditorium earlier today, it was quite something. Whether or not Sarah Palin's endorsement actually translates into votes and I think we will have our first indication of that when we start seeing some state by state poll numbers later on in the week -- Anderson.

COOPER: All right. Jim Acosta thanks very much.

In New Hampshire, one more poll tonight for Donald Trump to brag about. A CNN/WMUR survey showing him with a huge lead among likely Republican voters 20 points ahead of Ted Cruz. Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio tied for third at 10 percent each. What are all these also rants have in common is that each and every one of them has been attacked by Donald Trump, of course, most recently Ted Cruz and so far this attack seemed to only hurt them and help him.

Joining us to talk about that and a whole lot more tonight including the Palin factor, CNN political commentators Donna Brazile, Ana Navarro and Jeffrey Lord. Donna is Democratic strategist, Democratic Party official. Ana is a Bush supporter and Rubio friend. And Jeffrey is a Trump supporter and former top Reagan political advisor.

So Donna, the comments from Sarah Palin linking her son's domestic violence arrest to President Obama and what she perceives is his treatment of veterans, what do you think of that?

DONNA BRAZILE, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Anderson, you have known me for a long time, so I'm just going to say it. She's a liar. That's a damn lie, in fact. Look, last year President Obama put billions of dollars in his budget bill. And we know that most budgets are dead on arrival. But the Republicans in Congress cut out $1.6 billion in services that could have gone to veterans, 70,000 veterans are receiving less care because they, of course, cut the budget. So I don't think she should blame the president. We should try to seek help for veterans regardless of if they have famous parents.

I care for all veterans. I'm a daughter of a veteran. I think to go out there and I insinuate somehow that the president of the United States Barack Obama is trying to hurt veterans when in fact he is trying to put more resources so that we can give our young and old veterans the care they need, that's just a damn lie. You can say Donna Brazile said it. I approved this message.

COOPER: Jeff, I mean, Trump, he already has the support of a lot of non-establishment types, it is member of the establishment yet to rally around him. Do you think teaming up with Palin further alienates him from that establishment? Because a lot of them hold him partly responsible for the republican loss in 2008. A lot of people who certainly support John McCain and feel, you know, he deserves some loyalty from Sarah Palin are probably surprised to see her linking up with Trump.

JEFFREY LORD, FORMER REAGAN WHITE HOUSE POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Well, notably senator McCain himself recently came to the defense of Donald Trump over the issue of Senator Cruz's citizen ship. So perhaps that was a signal to her that it was OK for her to allow herself with Donald Trump.

Look, Sarah Palin is an absolute asset to Donald Trump or frankly to Ted Cruz had she endorsed him or to anyone else in a presidential primary in Iowa as I think it was Ralph Reid today with the Christian coalition said that she was like the gold standard or something to that affect with a lot of these folks. And that's true. She's very, very popular with these folks. So I understand that she's not popular universally all throughout the country. She does have her fans. A lot of them will be voting in these caucuses and primarily in the caucus and in the primaries yet to come, and so she's a big asset for them.

[20:10:11] COOPER: Jeff, do you believe her when she links her son's, you know, arrest and domestic violence charges, which I believe have been inside her house if I'm not mistaken.

LORD: Right.


COOPER: Do you believe her when she links that to President Obama?

LORD: Well, I mean, what she's doing is I hear this is we have had a huge scandal in the V.A. And contrary to my friend Donna, the Democrats ran the Congress and thus the budget situation for the first two years of the Obama --

COOPER: I guess I'm asking --

BRAZILE: We are talking about the 215, 216 budget. If you want to go back to 2008, 2009 --

LORD: Donna --

BRAZILE: We're talking about the budget --

LORD: Donna --


LORD: Donna, we're talking about structural deficiencies in the VA.

We both agree about that which has been bipartisan terms. Look, I'm a daughter of a veteran. You know, that Jeff.

COOPER: But it is just a simple question. Do you believe it is fair to make that length?

BRAZILE: Sarah Palin's son should be held responsible for his own behavior. Whatever happened to personal responsibility?

COOPER: OK, Jeff. I want Jeff to go on.

LORD: Of course he should be held responsible for his personal behavior. But we have been told time and time and time again that there is a serious problem within the VA treating veterans and I think that's the point she's trying to make.

COOPER: No, that's not the point. She's directly linking to Obama. BRAZILE: Drink the water, Jeff.

COOPER: I'm just wondering do you personally believe that's fair to do.

LORD: Anderson, respectfully I just don't agree. I mean, I think she is saying the government is not treating these veterans right. Her son has this problem. It should be dealt with and she's extrapolating that to the larger treatment of veterans.

COOPER: Ana, what do you think of what she says?

ANA NAVARRO, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Look, Anderson, I traveled with Sarah Palin some in 2008 during the McCain campaign. I observed her to be very close to her children. This son was serving, but her daughters and the younger son would travel with her. You know, I think what you're hearing is what is going to be the legal defense. I think we got to be careful when we talk about this stuff. We cannot under estimate or under value the importance of PTSD. We also cannot under estimate under value the seriousness of the issue of domestic violence. I think that --

LORD: I agree.

NAVARRO: You know, that so. It needs to be treated with incredible seriousness. I wish that they would be treated without it going into a political food fight and without a being part of a presidential campaign. These are serious issues. There is a lot of people suffering. Veterans are suffering with PTSD and so other families. There is a lot of spouses suffering today, tonight as they watch this from domestic violence for the love of God, let us not politicalize these two very serious issues.

COOPER: And Ana, I want to play clip from the "Today" show this morning where Donald Trump was ask about what role Palin might play in the Trump administration. Let's listen.


TRUMP: The question always asked of me, who do you have in mind and I didn't think about V.P. right now. And I just want to win. As far as Sarah is concerned, never ask me about that. Never asked me about anything else, just wanted to support and it's such an honor because as you know very badly so many people are so disappointed that she didn't support them. But certainly, there would be a role somewhere in the administration, if she wanted it and I'm not sure that she does want that. But there would certainly be a role.


COOPER: So clearly, Ana, leaving the door open to some kind of a role in a Trump administration.

NAVARRO: Well, you know, what is old is new again. Look, I will tell you I think having machine in the McCain campaign that Sarah Palin ended up being (INAUDIBLE). I think that it did cost him some votes in some areas of the country. I also think it brought him some votes from some of the sections of the Republican base.

That being said, I will tell you this, the Sarah Palin I saw last night did that speech was not the same performer at the same level of the 2008 Sarah Palin. The convention speech she gave in 2008 was out of the ballpark. She was able to connect with audiences. Last night to me, she sounded incoherent. She sounded disjointed. It was just the word salad going on. You know, I think can she get her bearings again and she get into fighting shape again? Yes. But I think that this Sarah Palin today is just not at the same performance level that she was in 2008 and well, you know, she lost.

BRAZILE: Hey, Ana, look, I hope I don't cause you to have problems or discomfort with the Republicans. But I want to say I agree with you both on domestic violence and the seriousness of the illnesses that many of our veterans come back with. And I also want to agree with you that I thought Sarah Palin was rusty.

Look, Anderson, I was at the Republican convention and it was a four- car funeral until Sarah Palin was selected and she really energized. I have said good things about Sarah Palin. I support women in American politics. And the fact that she is a highly-prized, you know, supporter of Donald Trump, that will help him. I think it will help with tea party types. I think it will help with evangelicals and others. But, you know, I just think that this connection to Obama with her son, that was just totally, I don't know, maybe she was just having a moment.

[20:15:27] COOPER: All right. We got to leave it there.

Donna Brazile, Ana Navarro, Jeffrey Lord. All thank you.

Coming up next, Jim Acosta brought up this question a moment ago when Sarah Palin talks. Do voters really listen? We will look at who she has endorsed over the years and how they have done with her track record? Certainly, Ted Cruz credits her with his victory.

Coming up later, Children poisoned by the water they drink. This story just extraordinary. Water tainted with lead. We are talking about the Flint crisis. A 360 investigation, what people knew about the danger and how long they knew without doing anything to help?


[20:19:10] COOPER: We talk before the break about the headlines that Sarah Palin makes and the buzz she generates. The real question, though, is how many votes does she get for the candidates that she endorses?

Taking a look at the record. CNN's Jake Tapper.


PALIN: I love that Donald Trump does go rogue.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN CHIEF WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): She's always been supportive. PALIN: I'm on Trump's side.

TAPPER: But now, Sarah Palin has made it official.

PALIN: The next president of the United States, Donald J. Trump.

TAPPER: Last fall I asked the former Alaska governor about a potential cabinet position with Trump who had praised her.

Is there a particular area that would line up with your strengths, a position you would want to serve in?

PALIN: That's a great question. I think a lot about the department of energy, because energy is my baby, oil and gas and mineral, those things God dumped on this part of the earth for mankind's use. I think a lot about department of energy. And if I were head of that, I would get rid of it.

TRUMP: We'll give them hell.

[20:20:05] TAPPER: The bigger question now is whether Palin's endorsement will make a difference.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He got the endorsement of Sarah Palin.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, when he heard John McCain said well, you're all set.

TAPPER: Conan O'Brien aside for those candidates running against Trump. Palin support during their congressional campaigns was no joke.

SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Sarah Palin jumped in early and supported Rand Paul. She supported Marco Rubio. Let me tell you something. I would not be in the U.S. Senate today if it were not for governor Sarah Palin.

TAPPER: Congress is full of Palin beneficiaries including Arizona's Jeff Flake and Iowa's Joni Ernst. According to data from open secrets, of the congressional candidates who received the most money from Sarah Palin's pact since 200 ten, about two-thirds have won the seats.

ERIC TRUMP, SON OF DONALD TRUMP: It's a major, major endorsement. And you know, she is kind of the anti-establishment candidate.

TAPPER: But can this famous friend of the underdog really boost the current top dog?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Palin-type voters are already with Donald Trump and it's not going to mean a lot of momentum.

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: It probably hurts Cruz more than it helps Trump. TAPPER: In a conversation that we had with Sarah Palin last month, it

seemed clear that she identifies with Trump in the way that the Republican establishment sneers at him.

PALIN: If we want to restore what's great about America, we have to win this thing. So shame on the GOP establishment if they essentially boot a top tier candidate out.

TAPPER: Jake Tapper, CNN, Washington.


COOPER: Well, joining us is Rick Davis who managed the 2008 McCain Palin campaign.

Rick, thanks very much for being with us. You certainly know Sarah Palin. I wonder, first of all, what went through your mind as you watched her up in the stage with Trump last night and today, as well.

RICK DAVIS, FORMER CAMPAIGN MANAGER, MCCAIN-PALIN 2008: Well, you know, she continues to garner a lot of attention wherever she goes. And frankly, we haven't seen much of her lately on the national stage. So it was interesting that they packed the venue they did and timing. I thought it was smart on behalf of the Trump campaign to turn her loose. And obviously two days later we're still talking about it so it must be effective.

COOPER: Yes. I wanted to get your reaction something Nicole Wallace who worked with you, obviously in 2008, basically becoming Palin's handler during the campaign. What she said in the "Today" show this morning. Let's listen.


NICOLE WALLACE, SARA PALIN'S HANDLER DURING 2008 CAMPAIGN: Listen, I think Sarah Palin is interested in Donald Trump's career as a television star as she might be in his future as a politician. I think Sarah Palin squarely straddles the world of reality TV and the world of politics and I think she is probably equally interested in maybe replacing him on "the Apprentice" if Donald doesn't work out or following him to Washington.


COOPER: Do you think she is right that at this stage of the game, Palin has little desire to actually hold any kind of office, elected or appointed?

DAVIS: Well, she hasn't certainly indicated an interest in running for anything. She has really not haven't played any role in this election cycle so far this year and didn't hint that she would, I mean. And I think you got to sort of believe what you see with her and that is, you know, she took this opportunity pretty late in the game to come help one of the many people who she has supported in the past that are part of this, you know, pressure trove of Republican candidates. So, you know, I think it was probably as much Trump's ability to persuade her to jump in as it was her own desire to be a part of process.

COOPER: You know, when she tells Jake Tapper she might like to be secretary of energy in a Trump administration. Do you think she would seriously take that job?

DAVIS: Who knows? I mean, you know, who knows if there will be a Trump administration? Who know if he is going to be the nominee? Who knows if he is going to win Iowa, right? I think you got to just sort of keep focused on what is in front of you.

I think for the purpose of what this has been all about, which is try to boost his numbers in Iowa. You know, I think it actually will be helpful to him. And it's not just so much how to help Donald Trump but, you know, there is a lot of votes at stake. There is a lot of votes at play. Ben Carson's numbers are going down and those people want to find a place to go. And by inserting her into that scenario, you know, her connection with evangelicals and her connection with the tea party certainly is a good gateway to getting some of the Carson votes to Trump.

COOPER: And to your earlier point, I mean, certainly sucks about the oxygen from other candidates out there who end up having to respond to talk about Sarah Palin.

DAVIS: Yes. Trump is pretty good about doing that on his own, but you ignite him with Sarah Palin on a stage and I suspect tomorrow night we'll talk even more about this duo.

COOPER: Do you think we are going to see Sarah Palin on the campaign trail over the course of the next several months? Or do you think her appearance this week, I mean, that it is critical for Trump at this point, but down the road, I mean in a more -- say he does become the nominee in a general election, how do you think she plays?

DAVIS: You know, it's hard to say in a general election. I think in the primary it's pretty clear. There are certain states at her appeal is undeniable. I mean, you heard Ted Cruz talk about how there are so many elected members, both in Washington but also in the state houses that feel like she was the ignition that got them their nominations.

Nikki Haley in South Carolina one of the key early states was in third or fourth place, I think, last place in her primary three weeks from the primary and Sarah came in and boom she wins. So will I see her in New Hampshire? Gee, I don't know. But I would bet good money she would show up in South Carolina.

[20:25:23] COOPER: Do you think - I mean, looking back to the 2008 campaign, Ana Navarro earlier was saying she thought it was kind of some game benefit, you know, worked in some places, hurt in others. What do you think?

DAVIS: Well, you know, she was having crowds of 60,000 people at her rallies until the day before election. So I have a hard time, you know, believing that there is any lack of appeal for her in the election. With her introduce into the campaign ten days later, you know, we were

up by five after being down by 15 and we stayed there until, you know, global economic failure. I'm not blaming anybody or anything on a loss. A loss is a loss. But I have a hard time pinning any blame on Sarah Palin for what happened in the election in 2008.

COOPER: Hey, Rick, I really appreciate you being on. Appreciate your prospective. Thank you very much.

DAVIS: Yes, sure thing. No problem.

Just ahead, why Donald Trump says Ted Cruz is worse than Hillary Clinton. Republican rivals are certainly ramping up their attacks. The latest from the campaign trail in Iowa as well as New Hampshire.


[20:30:10] COOPER: Welcome back. As we've said Donald Trump has new poll numbers to tout tonight a new CNN/WMUR poll. He's now leading in New Hampshire by 20 points. Campaigning in Iowa today, kept up his attacks on his closest competitor Ted Cruz.


TRUMP: And he said with being a Canadian citizen, he said, "Oh, I didn't know that." How did he not know that? Then he said with the loans, "Oh, I didn't know that." Smart guy. He doesn't know that? Yeah, that's worse than Hillary when you think about it.


COOPER: Mr. Trump wasn't the only one taking shots at Cruz today. Former Senator Bob Dole told "The New York Times", "His party would suffer cataclysmic and wholesale losses if Cruz is the Republican nominee."

CNN's Sunlen Serfaty joins me now form New Hampshire where Cruz has been campaigning today. I mean it's been a rough couple of days for the senator, dodging various attacks and snobs, did he mention any of that on the trail today?

SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's interesting, Anderson. Ted Cruz today really seemed to may to go out of his way to present this image that everything is OK. Really trying to tailor his spin and capitalize in his own way on this bad news cycle that he's had for the last 48 hours.

But specifically on Bob Dole's take down that coupled with the Iowa of Governors take down yesterday. We've really seen Ted Cruz really shift into his comfort zone to this peak as a candidate, someone who can argue that this is just proof that he is the real anti- establishment and Republican in this race. Here's how he responded here in Hollis earlier tonight.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) CRUZ: And we're seeing something remarkable happening in this Republican Primary. Right now, the Washington establishment is abandoning Marco Rubio. They made the assessment that Marco can't win this race and the Washington establishment is rushing over to support Donald Trump.

We're seeing that happen everyday and Mr. Trump is welcoming the support of the Washington establishment and indeed Mr. Trump said that they should support him because he said Ted won't go along to get along. He won't make deals with the Democrats.

Well, I don't think there are a whole lot of Republicans who think the problem with Republican leadership is that they're unwilling to make deals with the Democrats. The problem with Republican leadership is that they make deals on everything. They surrender at the outset, they stand for nothing.


SERFATY: So this is the argument Ted Cruz is trying to make and really you saw him there really trying to say down Marco Rubio and Donald Trump tie them both in the one-two punch of the establishment wing at the party at the same time of course holding up his badge of honor as the anti-establishment badge within the party, as well. Anderson.

COOPER: And I mean, his momentum, does he still have, I mean, I assume he's still getting good crowds, people come out to see him.

SERFATY: He is. He has had a big crowd here in New Hampshire today. He canceled two campaign events. He had to return to D.C. today to cast a vote in the senate and certainly that coupled with his bad news cycle for him is really knocked him off his message in the last 48 hours. It's never a good idea as a candidate to have to be explaining on something or really reacting to something that somebody else has said about you.

And that's exactly what Ted Cruz for the last 48 hours has had to do, respond to Sarah Palin, respond to Bob Dole, respond to the Iowa Governor. That's not the position where the candidate wants to be in. They want to be pushing their messages especially in the final lead up here in New Hampshire and especially in Iowa for Ted Cruz.

COOPER: All right, Sunlen, thanks very much. We showed you today's polls the big mystery, the big question really is what's happening on the ground that the polls might not be measuring? Will voter enthusiasm and turnout surprise everyone in the Republican race?

Our Chief National Correspondent John King is on the ground in Iowa talking to his sources and reporting that out. Senior Washington correspondent Jeff Zeleny is also there digging into what could be the shifting sands in the democratic race. John, the people you've been talking to in Iowa, what are they telling you? What are you hearing?

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: First and foremost, Anderson, everybody, Democrat, Republican, Clinton, Sanders, Cruz, Trump, they all know the clock is ticking. We're 11 days and five hours away from caucus day. When you go to a phone bank, you see it, the bigger crowds at the phone bank, bigger urgency. We were in Clinton fall back Davenport today. That scenario where back in 2008 she thought she was going to win. Barrack Obama stunned her.

Hillary Clinton is inside this hall right now. You hear it in her voice. She's attacking Bernie Sanders quite vigorously. But let me take you inside the fascinating move. You were just talking with Sunlen Bob Dole's decision say to come out and say that Cruz would be worse than Trump. Remember Boll Dole has a history here in Iowa. This is not a national calculation the establishment is making. They want to beat.

They want to kill Ted Cruz right here in Iowa because they believe if he doesn't win here and they said they have polling to back it up that they think Trump will be stronger in the south and Cruz will not be able to rebound in those March primaries that his counting on.

They have made this calculation, Anderson, mostly in establishment figures, not all but most have made this calculation that they believe both Trump and Cruz would be harmful to the party in the general election.

[20:35:02] But they think if it's Trump, it's just one cycle. If he loses this time, they wash their hands of him and he's gone. Ted Cruz is there nominee and hurts them, he will blame the establishment and try to run again. So this strategy, Bob Dole has a history here in Iowa. Chuck Grassley the Iowa Senator came out today -- remember it was Governor Branstad yesterday, they are trying to stop Ted Cruz from winning Iowa, hoping that destroys his campaign.

COOPER: And Jeff, you've been following Clinton and sanders this week neck and neck in the polls there in Iowa. Clinton really pushing the electability argument. How is that resonating with voters?

JEFF ZELENY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, it reminds me so much of eight years ago. She in the final days of that campaign was pushing electability, as well.

And we saw that in a new television ad today. It went all the way back to her time as first lady. She went through all of her experience from first lady to senator, to secretary of state in a 60 second ad trying to drive home to Iowans that she is the most electable. She is the one who can stop Republicans from winning the White House, but the problem here is for her, the challenge for her is Iowa Democratic Caucus goers are true believers.

You talk to voters that Bernie Sanders rallies and say, "Look, we like what he has to say, we like his ideals. We don't hate Hillary Clinton. We like her fine, but we love Bernie Sanders." That's what Hillary Clinton is trying to cut through here the ideals, these true believers. So, a pragmatic argument does not always work. She tried it eight years ago, and didn't work of course.

Senator Sanders is not Senator Obama, but there is that same sort of sense here, the excitement that I see attending all these rallies is right now on the Sanders side.

COOPER: And John, when it comes to GOP candidates and evangelical out reach, you've also been talking to people about that. What have you heard? Because it's fascinating when you look at the numbers?

KING: Anderson, perhaps the biggest slice of the elector or the Republican side four years ago, 57 percent of caucus goers said they were born-again evangelicals. In 2008, it was closer to 60 percent. So, we do know that more than half and maybe as many as 60 percent as caucus goers on the Republican side are going to be white born-again Christians.

I'm just about an hour away from a conversation with Pastor Joe Brown. He is leading these 99 pastors for Ted Cruz. There are 99 counties in Iowa. He says they will have about 160 pastors in all, but they wanted to have a pastor in each county he believes and they have a phone call tomorrow. They have a prayer meeting with Senator Cruz coming up next week.

He believes they can deliver 30,000 voters on caucus day and they believe that can make the difference, but trust me, they understand the establishment attacks, they understand the power of Trump's appeal here and Anderson, as the Cruz evangelical movement tries to geared up on additional notch because they feel that urgency, and also told that next time, Trump is here in Iowa, he has some private meetings planned as well with some other evangelical leaders. He doesn't think he can beat Ted Cruz about the evangelical, but in a close race, it's all about the margins.

COOPER: Yeah. John king, Jeff Zeleny, guys thanks.

Just ahead to paper trail, the shady light on the man-made disaster in Flint, Michigan. The city's top water was toxic. The question is who knew and when did they know it?


[20:41:46] COOPER: Today in Detroit, President Obama talked about the public health crisis unfolding about seven miles to the North, the toxic tap water in Flint, Michigan.


BARACK OBAMA, U.S. PRESIDENT: I know that if I was a parent up there, I would be beside myself that my kids' health could be at risk. That's why over the weekend I declared a federal emergency in Flint to send for resources on top of the assistance that we already put on the ground.


COOPER: Well, parents in Flint are beside themselves in the president's words because their children were poisoned by tap water officials insisted were safe. A man made disaster was denied and ignored for well over a year. The governor of the EPA have admitted they were slow to respond class-action lawsuits has been filed and investigations launched. Tonight, who knew what and when they knew it? That is starting to come into focus. Sara Ganim, has the latest.


SARA GANIM, CNN INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT: Melissa Mays says the ominous change in the water was particularly noticeable at bath time.

MELISSA MAYS, FLINT RESIDENT: My youngest will tell me it's a yellow and is a filmy grows foamy thing and would smell like open sewer. But we we're being told we're still getting used to the new system, it's safe, it's OK.

GANIM: But it wasn't OK. Far from it. Flint's tap water was laced with dangerous levels of lead. The state knew about it and did nothing.

The trouble began two years ago when the state decided to switch Flint from Detroit's drinking water to a new system but the new system wouldn't be ready for two years. In the meantime to save money, they switched to the Flint River water.

UNINDENTIFIED MALE: Three, two, one.

GANIM: That first decision turned out to be a mistake. As did nearly every step the state took after it. Michigan's Department of Environmental Quality shoulders much of the blame what a preliminary task force report calls an "Abysmal Public Response".

At the time the state agency told Flint it didn't have to add an anti corrosive agent to the water saying it was not necessary until two six-month monitoring periods had been conducted. In other words, they were willing to wait a year to see whether the water was safe.

All the while, highly corrosive river water flowed through the city's lead pipes leeching lead and other dangerous metals into the water supply and what came out of the tap in many homes was toxic.

Almost immediately residents started complaining. Their water was brown. Some people developed rashes, became sick. Early test revealed fecal coliform bacteria so the city and state officials added chlorine to the water supply and told people to boil their water. Both mistakes which can actually increase the level of lead.

UNINDENTIFIED MALE: I built this place with my tax money.

GANIM: At city meetings residents were repeatedly told the water was safe.

MARC EDWARDS, CIVIL ENVIRONMENTAL ENGINEERING VIRGINIA TECH.: We found the worse lead and water contamination that I have seen in 25 years and believe me, I've seen a lot.

GANIM: Residents didn't find out about the lead until this man stepped in. Mark Edwards is a Virginia Tech Researcher who tested the water early last year.

[20:45:02] EDWARDS: It was very scary to see the levels of lead that were hazardous waste the levels of lead coming out of her tap water.

GANIM: That's right. The lead levels in one home were so high water from the tap could be considered hazardous waste. His testing led to this EPA memo, an interim report which was leaked last summer. It said the high levels of lead in the water were especially alarming because the state's water testing was flawed, so the true lead levels were probably much higher.

EDWARDS: We were just waiting for the appropriate authorities to help Flint Residents to enforce federal law.

GANIM: When Flint's former mayor asked the EPA for more information, he was shut down as you can see in this e-mail exchanged obtained by CNN. The EPA regional director writes the preliminary draft report should not have been released outside the agency, and that only when the report is revised and fully vetted will it be shared with the city. But that wouldn't happen until months later.

Meanwhile, families were still drinking water poisoned with lead. The EPA blames the state saying in a statement to CNN what happen in Flint should not have happened and that the EPA's ability to oversee was impacted by failures and resistance at the state and local levels.

The state was continuing with its own mistakes, according to Marc Edwards, butchering around a water testing. They not only tested the wrong homes, but altered the reports eliminating tests from two homes that would have shown toxic levels of lead. The state says the changes were legitimate.

EDWARDS: They fabricated a report that made it appear like Flint was passing the lead and copper with flying colors.

GANIM: In the fall, the government admitted there was lead in the water and Flint was switched back to Detroit's water supply. But it wasn't until earlier this month that the state of Michigan started bringing in bottled water and declared a state of emergency.


COOPER: Sarah, the governor released several e-mails today, several of his e-mails. What did they say?

GANIM: Anderson, this e-mail showed that state officials were concerned about the state of Flint's water infrastructure even before this crisis began but they kept deflecting blame as things got worse here in Flint at times even blaming the people who live and work here in Flint. The governor's former chief of staff saying this in one e- mail, "The water certainly has occasional less than savory aspects like color because of the apparently more corrosive aspects of the hard water coming from the river. Some of the Flint people respond by looking for someone to blame instead of working to reduce anxiety. We can't tolerate increased lead levels in any event but it's really the city's water system that needs to deal with it."

Of course, Anderson, we know it was actually the state, not the city that was making these decisions and the governor earlier this week consider that it is not unfair to call this crisis his hurricane Katrina. Anderson?

COOPER: Those e-mails versus in theory. How are they planning to fix the problem?

GANIM: Well, here is the thing. The state house today approved a $28 million to come to the city of Flint but immediately criticized as being far too low even the modest estimates what it will takes to replace the infrastructure.

Congressman Dan Kelvy telling us it will take between $50 million and $75 million to replace the damaged pipes. The mayor here in Flint saying it would cost between $1 billion and $1.5 billion to take care of all the other things that you need to combat lead poisoning like early childhood education and nutrition. This in a city that doesn't even have a grocery store, Anderson.

COOPER: Sara Ganim, Sarah thanks very much. If you'd like to help the people of Flint with donations, or by voluntarily and go to to find out how.

Just ahead tonight, an unbelievable scene from a car crash in California where actor Jamie Foxx helped save a man's life pulling him from a smashed truck moments before it burst into flames. Were here where the actor has to say about and the driver's very grateful father. Next.


[20:52:48] COOPER: A man in California is lucky to be alive tonight. Thanks to the quick efforts of actor Jamie Foxx. Foxx pulled the man from a crash truck outside his house moments before the vehicle burst into flames.

Randi Kaye has the story.


RANDI KAYE, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It's hard to believe anyone survived this. But Brett Kyle did. Thanks to the quick actions of one of Hollywood's biggest stars.

JAMIE FOXX, ACTOR: And I said, "You got angles around you".

KAYE: Actor Jamie Foxx heard the crash outside his California home and raced to help after alerting 911. The highway patrol says, "Brett Kyle had been speeding and was under the influence". He swerved then rolled his Toyota Tacoma multiple times before landing in a ditch. The driver was trapped inside and part of the truck was on fire. So there was no time to spare.

FOXX: As I'm getting him out and I said "You got to help me get you out".

KAYE: Foxx describing how with the help of an off-duty EMT, he climbed into the truck to cut the driver seatbelt just as the flames were spreading into the front seat. FOXX: As we pulled him out, within five seconds later, the truck goes up.

KAYE: Outside Foxx's home the next day, an embrace with the father of the man he saved.

BRAD KYLE, BRETT KYLE'S FATHER: It doesn't matter to me who it was or what they do for a living or whatever, just the idea that someone would do that is so much more than I can fathom. So I just -- it's all tears of joy.

KAYE: Foxx posted this picture on Instagram. The caption reads in part, "This is all that matters that a man, a son, a brother's life was spared last night. God had his arms wrapped around all of us, no heroes, just happy fathers.''

FOXX: I don't look at it as heroic. I just look at it like, you know, just had to do something, you know, and it all just worked out.

KAYE: The perfect Hollywood ending.


COOPER: It's incredible story. Do we know what happened with the driver?

KAYE: Well Anderson, the good news is that the driver was alone in that truck so nobody else was hurt or in danger. But the driver himself Brett Kyle did suffer some burns as well some trauma to his head, his chest and even his arms but he did survive. He was actually arrested, Anderson, at the scene for driving under the influence and then taken to the hospital.

And one more note about how Jamie Foxx handled this whole situation which can not be ignored.

[20:55:00] He actually invited the driver's father into his home to look at that footage from his home security camera. That's how he knew what was going on. It caught the accident, it caught the fire.

And Brad Kyle, the dad told reporters that as he watch it, all he could think was, "Oh my God, oh my God". And he was so thankful that Jamie Foxx was willing to risk his own life to save a stranger who happened to be his son. Anderson.

COOPER: Yeah. Lucky he was there. Randi, thank you. Let's get the latest on the other stories we're following.

Amara Walker has a "360 Bulletin". Amara?

AMARA WALKER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, conflicting reports tonight about whether the Taliban was behind an attack that killed at least 19 people at a university in Northwest Pakistan. At least four people attacked students and teachers with guns and grenades. One Pakistan, the Taliban's spokesman has claimed responsibility while another has denied it. The FBI is investigating an associate professor at Kent State University for alleged involvement with ISIS. Now, the university's newspaper reports that Julio Pino has been under investigation for the last year and a half. A statement from the university says the FBI has assured there is no sign of a threat to the campus.

Another bad day on Wall Street but it could have been worse. The Dow ended down 249 points after falling as much as 565 points during traded, after crude oil crashed another 7 percent, it closed at less than $27 a barrel for the first time since 2003.

And at least one person was killed in an explosion at a fireworks plant in Eastern China. Rescuers pulled out dozens of people who were trapped inside, three people are still missing. Anderson?

COOPER: Incredible. Amara, thanks.

Up next, another live hour of "360", some of the political questions looming right now, we've gathered a panel and the best political minds to try to answer them. For instance, will Sarah Palin's endorsement help or hurt Donald Trump? Can Hillary Clinton overcome the Sanders surge in New Hampshire? The e-mail scandal that just won't seem to go away. We'll get into all of that and a lot more on a special edition of "360". Coming up next.