Return to Transcripts main page

NEW DAY SATURDAY

Campaigns Lower Expectations Ahead of Iowa State; Clinton E- mail Controversy is Back Again; Black Voters Feel Ignored in Iowa Campaigns; Zika Virus Concerns. Aired 7-8a ET

Aired January 30, 2016 - 07:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

[07:00:00] DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Will I get more votes, will I get less votes, nobody knows.

SEN. MARCO RUBIO, (R-FL) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We're not going to beat Hillary Clinton with someone who's willing to say or do anything to win an election.

TRUMP: Look at all the cameras like the Academy Awards. This is like the Academy Awards.

JEB BUSH, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I kind of miss Donald Trump. He's a little teddy bear to me.

RUBIO: Hillary Clinton does not want to run against me. But I cannot wait to run against her.

HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I should have made a different choice because it's proven to be quite difficult.

SEN. TED CRUZ, (R-TX) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: If she's indicted, we're not talking about speeding tickets. We're not talking about, you know, taking the mattress tags off her mattress. We are talking about serious offense.

BERNIE SANDERS (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The eyes of this country are going to be on Iowa. And if we win this election, it's going to be a very, very close election. It will depend on voter turnout.

TRUMP: You may be in a state of major, major depression. Get up and vote. I will get rid of your depression. You'll be happy.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: 7:00 on a Saturday morning and always so grateful for your company. Good morning. I'm Christi Paul. My co- host Victor Blackwell in Iowa covering the big weekend ahead. The final push for the Iowa caucuses. It feels a little lonely here, Victor, but I know you've got a lot of work to do there.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: There is a lot of work to be done, Christi. Good morning to you. Good morning to you at home from Des Moines. Let's take a look here. The front-page of the Des Moines register counting down to the last 18 hours on the trail.

One day, nine campaigns. Taking a look at the campaigns and the candidates who are dashing across the state to get that last minute support. Let's take a look at the map. The political candidates and the campaigns all over today.

Starting with the Republicans, frontrunner Donald Trump. I mean, you can barely even make out all of this because there are so many stops on the campaign. Trump holding three rallies in eastern Iowa. His rivals, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio will be hitting multiple stops as well.

Democrats now take a look at their map. A few hours from now, Hillary Clinton will rally with former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords and her husband, Mark Kelly in Ames. They have endorsed Clinton's campaign.

Bernie Sanders holding a series of canvassing events and ends the rally with a rock concert in Iowa City. Now for all of these White House contenders, time of course is running out to the race, to the finish line. Monday night when the caucuses begin.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BLACKWELL (voice-over): Now, just two days before voters head out to caucus. The nation's first true electoral test hovers above Iowa and the final weekend push for candidates to get out their message.

CLINTON: I'd rather under promise and over deliver than the opposite. I want you to know what I intend to do and have you help me do it.

BLACKWELL: Democrat Hillary Clinton to close the day with a rally featuring her two biggest supporters, husband and former President Bill Clinton and daughter, Chelsea.

BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We need a president who can restore broad-based prosperity and take us all along for the ride.

BLACKWELL: Bernie Sanders holds a series of rallies before capping the night with a concert in Iowa City.

SANDERS: I hope that you will come out. I hope that you will give thought to supporting my candidacy, because the eyes of this country are going to be on Iowa.

BLACKWELL: On the other side, Republicans Donald Trump and Ted Cruz continue their epic battle.

TRUMP: Ted Cruz may not be a U.S. citizen, right? But he's an anchor baby. No, he's an anchor baby -- Ted Cruz is an anchor baby in Canada.

CRUZ: Now, next week, he may have a different position, but that's the position he's in.

BLACKWELL: Headlines this week still impacting the race. Clinton's e-mail controversy continues to haunt her on the campaign trail. The State Department said Friday it will not release 22 e-mails because they contain top secret information.

Meanwhile Ted Cruz is coming off a rough debate, one that Donald Trump boycotted. And despite recent polls, other G.O.P. candidates are hoping to pull off a win.

RUBIO: There's a reason why Hillary Clinton spent so much time and money and effort attacking me, because she doesn't want to run against me.

BUSH: I'm Jeb and I'm proud -- I'm Jeb! Proud to be a Bush.

(APPLAUSE)

GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE, (R-NJ) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You know that I'm serious about Iowa because of one very, very important factor. I have brought with me the first lady of the state of New Jersey, my wife Mary Pat is with me tonight.

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BLACKWELL: All right. So this morning, we are getting a clearer picture after that Thursday night debate, the fallout or lack thereof for Donald Trump having skipped it. It's really has not proven to be the game-changer that some of the other candidates hoped it would be or predicted it would be.

Trump is solidifying his place at the top of the latest "CNN/ORC" polls. His rivals now bracing for a Trump win here and planning for the aftermath. What to do next?

CNN senior political reporter Manu Raju joins us now. You've spoken with campaign officials, the managers of both the Cruz campaign and with the Jeb Bush campaign. A Trump win in Iowa means what for them and how do they rebound?

[07:05:00] MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: Well, it affects both of them, differently. I mean, right now, what you're seeing is a dramatic lowering of expectations from a number of campaigns. Not just those two, Marco Rubio's camp as well. Nobody wants to say that a win or a loss in Iowa for their respective candidate would be a death knell to their candidacy.

They all say we're here to play the long game, which is pretty remarkable if you're someone like Jeb Bush because back in June, he said he wanted to win the state. He had a bunch of paid staff in the city. He hired a top operative to win. But, right now, where's he going to be on Monday night? He's going to be in New Hampshire, which is a sign of where his focus is going to be.

For Ted Cruz, clearly, they still want to win the state. They're relying on a pretty extensive ground operation, but they're looking over their shoulder right now. They're worried about Marco Rubio, potentially sub-planting this second place position. So now he's dumping a lot of money; his final resources to try to stop Marco Rubio's rise.

And if you're Marco Rubio, you want to prevent Ted Cruz from getting into first place, because you think you can eventually knock him out and become that alternative Donald Trump and Marco Rubio is actually gunning for third place. So all this candidate campaigns in their own respect are just trying to be the Donald Trump alternative coming out of Iowa.

BLACKWELL: All right, Manu, stay with us. We want to expand this conversation into the Democratic primary as well. And this news coming out late Friday that the e-mail controversy is back again.

Chris Frates in Washington is joining us now.

Chris, this is, obviously the worst possible timing ahead again to the Iowa caucuses and the voters' questions about honesty, about trustworthiness, still haunting the Clinton campaign.

CHRIS FRATES, CNN INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT: That's exactly right, Victor. And it's not what the Clinton campaign wants to be talking about just a few days before Iowa.

Just yesterday, the State Department announced that it will not release 22 e-mails from former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton because they contain top secret information.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHN KIRBY, STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESMAN: The documents are being upgraded at the request of the intelligence community because they contain a category of top secret information. These documents were not marked classified at the time they were they sent.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

FRATES: The Clinton campaign has long argued that same point. That the e-mails were not marked classified at the time they were sent, adding that government bureaucrats are now retroactively over classifying her e-mails.

Now, the State Department has released thousands of pages of Clinton's e-mails that she kept on a private server while secretary of state. And the news that some of those e-mails won't be released comes only days before the Iowa caucuses and could serve as a reminder of what some voters see as one of Clinton's biggest weaknesses, that she can't be trusted.

Republicans, no surprise here, pounced on the news that Clinton kept top secret information on a private e-mail server.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RUBIO: Hillary Clinton put some of the highest, most sensitive intelligence information on her private server because maybe she thinks she's above the law or maybe she just wanted the convenience of being able to read the stuff on her BlackBerry. This is unacceptable. This is a disqualifier.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

FRATES: So the Clinton campaign says it opposes the State Department's decision to hold back the e-mails. A campaign spokesman said in a statement that it appears the e-mails had been overly classified and said the campaign will, quote, "Pursue all the appropriate avenues to see that her e-mails are released in a manner consistent with her call last year."

And on a separate note, Victor, the State Department also announced it would not release 18 e-mails between then Secretary Clinton and President Obama in order to protect the president's ability to receive blunt advice, Victor.

BLACKWELL: All right, Chris Frates for us in Washington. Thank you so much.

Let's join -- bring into the conversation, rather, CNN senior political analyst Ron Brownstein and CNN politics executive editor Mark Preston.

I want to start with you, Ron, on these e-mails, because obviously the suggestion that this disqualifies Secretary Clinton is red meat for Republicans.

RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Right.

BLACKWELL: What role is it playing in the Democratic primary because polls show that most of the Democrats don't really see this as a major issue?

BROWNSTEIN: Yes, I know I think obviously it's less important, far less important to the Democratic primary. But I do think there is a sense among some Democratic voters that there's a hesitation about going down the road, of another Clinton candidacy that would embroil the party in a series of ethical controversy.

I mean, there is Clinton fatigue in the Democratic Party. That's it. You want to re-litigate all -- and the e-mail that you really -- so many issues from the '90s with Republicans bringing them up. So, I mean, I don't think it is a big weight on her in the Democratic primary. Clearly, it is affecting her standing with the general public. But (INAUDIBLE) primary, she can survive it, but it's not inconsequential either.

BLACKWELL: Mark, let's talk about the Republicans and this Cruz Vs. Rubio fight coming down the second place potentially if everyone is bracing for this potential Trump win and the ground game that Trump has put together. We'll see if that proves beneficial for him.

But is it possible? What's the likelihood of a second place Rubio finish and a third place Cruz finish? Is he dropping that quickly? MARK PRESTON, CNN POLITICS EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR: Well, we don't actually know that. And that's what's so interesting about the Iowa caucus. Before I -- I know we've talked about this over and over again. It's very cliche. It is all about ground game. It is about momentum. If you go back in 2012, these final days are critical.

46 percent of caucus voters have not made up their mind, you know, in the final closing days. 18 percent on the day of -- decided who they were going to choose.

[07:10:20] I've got to tell you, three weeks ago, I was in New Hampshire. Ted Cruz had come up there for a couple of campaign events. All the talk then was Cruz is going to do so well in Iowa. He could come into New Hampshire. He could do well in New Hampshire, come in second place, which would be astounding because New Hampshire is not his kind of politics.

However, Marco Rubio who has been criticized for not running a very robust strong campaign here in Iowa or in New Hampshire now seems to be turning it on. While we talk about the e-mail scandal has nothing to do necessarily in the Democratic primary, it does -- as Ron says does have some doubt cast.

Where it does go is you're going to see these Republican candidates try to talk it up because they want to look like they are fighters and that they can take on the Clinton machine.

BROWNSTEIN: And, Victor, to Mark's point. Tonight will be an important indicator when "The Des Moines Register" poll comes out. It will give us a real clear sign on whether how big that Rubio surge is right now. And if he actually performs pretty well in that poll, then he's going to have to live up to those expectations come Monday. It's a very significant moment.

(CROSSTALK)

PRESTON: And the most significant thing. Even if he finishes as a strong third, he really doesn't have to come into second. Whether that breaks the log jam in New Hampshire because, I mean, the big story in this race is that -- one of the big stories is the center right lane of the Republican Party has remain tremendously fragmented.

This is the lane that usually picks the nominee. But now they are divided between John Kasich, Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, Marco Rubio. If he gets a tap on the shoulder out of Iowa, maybe consolidate that in New Hampshire and their goal is then go forward from there. Cruz on the right, Trump in his own place and then Rubio is the candidate.

BLACKWELL: All right. Mark, Ron, Manu, thank you so much. We'll continue this conversation throughout the show. And, of course, after all the campaigning and the debates, time now for the real votes.

We will look ahead to that poll, but the vote that counts, those come on Monday night. Iowa caucuses are here. We are all over it. Complete coverage of the caucuses all Monday, only on CNN. And, of course, it will be difficult and Iowans know this. To go out anywhere today without running into a presidential candidate or a surrogate. The campaign for all these candidates, they are somewhere today, especially for the Republicans battling for voters. We've got details on how the G.O.P. will be working to pull out those last- minute voters.

Also, the forgotten voters here. There are, of course, the images of a rural Iowa, corn fields across this beautiful state. But there are urban areas here, minority neighborhoods and the people who live here say that they are being ignored. But could those people pivot the outcome of Monday's caucuses?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[07:16:21] BLACKWELL: 16 minutes after the hour now. I'm Victor Blackwell live in Des Moines in the final hours, the final stretch before caucus night here in Iowa.

And for all the time that political candidates spend in this state, you may be surprised to hear that there are some areas that they really never visit. Over the last two days, I spent some time in these neighborhoods to ask the people there why they feel, in their words, that they've been ignored.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CRUZ: God bless the great state of Iowa.

CLINTON: Thank you so, so much.

RUBIO: Thank you. Thank you very much.

BLACKWELL (voice-over): In the final hours before the Iowa caucuses, candidates are crisscrossing the capital city to build support.

SANDERS: Iowan Democrats, are you excited about the future?

BLACKWELL: But after scores of events in Des Moines over the last several months, there is one community that is still waiting for candidates to ask for their votes.

REV. BOBBY YOUNG: They avoid this neighborhood like maybe there may be an Ebola around some place. They never come here.

BLACKWELL: In a state that's more than 90 percent white and covered in cornfields, Reverend Bobby Young's neighborhood is mostly black and Latino in Des Moines inner city and the people here are poor. In their months of campaigning across the state, Reverend Young says the top tier candidates in both parties have largely ignored their votes.

AKO ABDUL SAMAD (D), IOWA STATE REPRESENTATIVE: This is my district.

BLACKWELL: Ako Abdul Samad represents this district in the State House. ABDUL SAMAD: We have two schools here that receive 100 percent free lunch. We have an area where you won't find any businesses like restaurants and that type of thing here.

BLACKWELL: The disparity between white Iowans and black Iowans is stark and state-wide. While Iowa's unemployment in 2014 was 4.4 percent. For black Iowans, that number was 12 percent.

YOUNG: You think if a candidate is going to go anywhere and talk to anybody, you talk to people that's hurting the most.

BLACKWELL: The younger members of his congregation believe that candidates are not coming because their community cannot afford to contribute.

YOUNG: If we were able to donate, hundred, a thousand, two thousand, then they will come by and shake our hands, too. But when you're working at McDonald's and you're paying a rent, you don't have $100 to give to a candidate.

ABDUL SAMAD: There's another side to that. The other side to that, we have to show our value. You know, we're in my precinct which is the lowest voting turnout. It's not that we don't have the voters. They lack hope. You know, they don't see hope, so they don't come out to vote. And when you have individuals who don't come out to vote, what happens with candidates? They focus on the areas that do.

BLACKWELL: They say there is one exception, Republican Senator Rand Paul. He spent more than an hour at Platinum Cuts barbershop talking about criminal justice reform. Blacks are just 3.4 percent of Iowa's population, but they fill 25.5 percent of the state's prison cells.

(on-camera) Have you made a decision?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He made me look at him different.

BLACKWELL: How so?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because he was willing to come into my shop and talk to us. And like I said, a lot of candidates ain't going to do that.

BLACKWELL (voice-over): Young and Abdul Samad plan to caucus and are leading aggressive voter registration and caucus training programs. And they're encouraging young people here to participate, too, because they treasure their votes even if they believe the candidates for president do not.

YOUNG: I'm from the south where, you know, it costs us dog bites and fire hoses and everything else just to get our name on that paper and carry that little bit of card. We pay a dear price for that vote. I've got to vote, but maybe it will be for an independent or somebody. It maybe won't be for a Republican or Democrat, because they don't seem to care.

(END VIDEOTAPE) [07:20:13] BLACKWELL: They don't seem to care. Well, let's discuss now. Bring in Andy McGuire, chair of the Iowa Democratic Party.

You listened to that story. The black voters who live here in Des Moines believe that the candidates at large have ignored their neighborhood.

What's your response?

ANDY MCGUIRE, IOWA DEMOCRATIC PARTY CHAIR: Well, I know all the candidates certainly have talked about social justice issues. We recently had the brown/black forum for all three of our candidates. You saw Representative Ako Abdul Samad in that briefing.

He's really been a representative of the minority community along with Wayne Ford and Mary Campos. I think they are trying to address the issues. I certainly hope they go everywhere and I know the candidates have a lot of places to be, but I think they are addressing the issues that are really important to minority community.

BLACKWELL: I heart that. And we heard, of course, that the reverend there said that there are mailers that come and their surrogates that come, but why aren't these candidates, especially candidates who are trying to put together the Obama coalition, as it's called. President Obama went there in 2008 and 2012, where total vote turned out.

Why aren't they going to the people where they live to talk about poverty, incarceration, job opportunities, education in their community?

MCGUIRE: Well, and I think they should. And I think it's probably a matter of logistics of where they can go. We certainly have encouraged them to go all over Iowa. And I've been very impressed with all three of our Democratic candidates. That they really have been all over Iowa.

I know we sound like a small state, but we're really big at that point. And I know they would like to get there. But more importantly, I do think they're addressing these issues which I think is the -- you know, if you look at the broader issues of what they're talking about, they're talking about incarceration that is really skewed racially. They're talking about the prison issues. So I think they're talking about social issues and then that may be more important.

BLACKWELL: OK, let's expand the conversation and talk about the news that broke on Friday, these e-mails that the Justice Department says will not be release, or the state Department, rather, says will not be released.

How big of a deal? We know that it's a talking point for the Republicans. How big of a deal for the party?

MCGUIRE: You know, I go all over Iowa talking to people. I was all over Iowa yesterday. I don't hear anything about this. I hear about college affordability. I hear about when you were talking about social justice issues. I hear about income inequality and health care. I don't hear about this issue, so I'm not sure that it's really something that's resonating with the voters.

BLACKWELL: But we have heard, of course, repeatedly and we've seen it in polls the questions about Secretary Clinton's honesty, her trustworthiness, and this plays into that narrative. Of course, the timing is terrible, just hours before the start of the caucuses, but this doesn't help or quell those concerns.

MCGUIRE: I have no doubt that all three of our candidates are very trustworthy, that any of them would make an excellent of the United States. So I think that's what I'm hearing when I'm going around Iowa. That we are really proud of the candidates we have. The experience they have. The judgment they have. I don't think that's the issue really people -- most people are thinking about right now.

BLACKWELL: Let's talk about health care. The Sanders campaign putting out his plan to expand health care to more Americans. Hillary Clinton saying that that plan will never be put into place. That is something that some of the Sanders supporters believe is just cynicism, the same cynicism that would have prevented the Affordable Care Act from being enacted.

What do you say to those voters who believe that maybe Hillary Clinton is being a cynic here?

MCGUIRE: Well, I would say all our candidates are for health care for everyone. I mean, they have different ways of going about it, but they're really about everyone having health care. The real difference is the Republicans who want to repeal the Affordable Care Act and not have any solution for what to do about healthcare.

You know, we have 19 million people who are now ensured on the Affordable Care Act that were not before. I think that's the big story here and not the nuances, really, between our candidates.

BLACKWELL: Senator Sanders have said that if there is a large turnout, something like what we saw in 2008 or something close to it, that that would be a good night for him. Any indicators that this will be a big turnout night for Democrats?

MCGUIRE: I do think it's going to be a good turnout. 2008 was a very unique year. So I don't -- I'm not sure it will get to that level, but it could. I will tell you. Predicting turnout on the caucuses is not a good thing to do, so I won't try to do that. But I do think it's going to be a very good turnout.

And one of the things for the Democratic Party, the turn out like that really helps our party. This is about party building and winning in November. So we really appreciate when we have good turnout and all three of our candidates have great organizations all throughout the state. That's what drives turnouts. So I'm looking forward to a really good night.

BLACKWELL: Well, we know that the rough weather is not coming in until after the caucus night. MCGUIRE: Thank you.

BLACKWELL: Yes. Although, I mean, Iowans would come out anyway. You're sitting here without a coat on and I'm all bundled up.

Amy McGuire, thank you so much.

All right. Christi, back to you.

PAUL: Yes, you can tell who is used to it, Victor. No doubt about it. Thank you.

[07:25:00] Listen, up next, it is a global house scare. The Zika virus, spread by mosquitoes, causing severe birth defects. We have some details now on the fight to get this epidemic under control.

And we're following a developing story in California. One of three inmates who escaped from a California jail has been captured. The two others are still on the loose. But what officials are learning from that lone escapee who surrendered?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

PAUL: 28 minutes past the hour this Saturday morning and a developing story that we're following. One of three fugitives on the loose in California is behind bars this morning after turning himself in, but the other two are still on the run.

43-year-old Bac Duong was arrested in Sta. Ana yesterday, a day after a woman who taught English as a second language at the jail was arrested for possibly aiding the three escapes.

Nick Valencia joining us now.

So the man who surrendered, a lot of people are probably wondering what is he telling authorities now.

NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Bac Duong, he was apparently with the -- the three were together as recently as Thursday. And he probably left the two others, traveled back to the same county where he escaped from that prison in Orange County, California.

Bac Duong apparently telling investigators specifically about this 2008 GMC white van that the trio apparently used for their getaway vehicle. He says that they've changed the license plate, tinted the windows, and removed some decals as to avoid authorities. They maybe using this van to live out of. The two spotted at a motel in Northern California. That's where the investigation has taken a focus.

[07:30:00] VALENCIA: changed the license plate, tinted the windows and removed some decals as to avoid authorities. They may be using this van to live out of. The two spotted at a motel in northern California. That's where the investigation has taken an focus.

Now, more on how they got out. These three escaped last week, apparently with the help of an English as a Second Language teacher. Investigators spoke about the relationship between the apparent ring leader and this ESL teach at the prison at a press conference on Friday.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LT. JEFF HALLOCK, SPOKESMAN, ORANGE COUNTY SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT: It was personal. It wasn't the -- the relationship that we would expect between a teacher and an inmate in a custody setting.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VALENCIA: So I just mentioned -- and you just saw that map -- that the focus is in northern California, about 400 miles away from where Bac Duong turned himself in. Investigators believe the apparent ringleader has ties and connections to San Jose and Fresno. I mentioned that they were spotted outside of a hotel earlier this week. That teacher is now being held on a $500,000 bond. She was arrested and is facing criminal charges. Those two other fugitives, violent criminals, and they're still on the run. Christi?

PAUL: You know, I'm intrigued -- and I think a lot of people are, too -- that somebody would become so close with someone as violent as this man is and actually help him escape. I think of Joyce Mitchell.

VALENCIA: Yeah, sure. That New York --

PAUL: In New York.

VALENCIA: In New York.

PAUL: Right. So what else -- I mean, you gave us a little about her, but what else do we know about this woman?

VALENCIA: Well, with Joyce Mitchell, in that case with the New York escaped inmates, it was a romantic relationship. Now, authorities haven't gone so far as to say that there was a romance between the apparent ringleader of this escapee and -- her name is Nooshafarin Ravaghi.

They don't know if it's romantic, but letter that have been revealed, law enforcement official telling us that there was a flirtatiousness between these two. She says she provided Google maps to these inmates who escaped, but that she didn't provide tools to them.

Now Joyce Mitchell did provide -- helped provide some tools --

PAUL: That's true.

VALENCIA: -- to those inmates. So it -- rings some parallels to this, what happened in New York. Investigators still peeling back the layers on, in fact, what their relationship exactly was.

PAUL: Was. All right. All right. Hey Nick, thank you.

VALENCIA: Thank you. All right, you bet.

PAUL: We appreciate it so much.

Still to come, the Zika virus is causing severe health problems and birth defects around the world. We're going to tell you where officials say the virus has arrived now.

And CNN is live in Des Moines, Iowa. New caucus-goers are going to be important for Democratic and Republican candidates this time around. We're talking to a first-time caucus-goer to hear what she's expecting from the process.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[07:37:25]

BLACKWELL: All right, just past the bottom of the hour here. I'm Victor Blackwell live in Des Moines, Iowa as we approach the Iowa caucuses Monday night. And first-time caucus-goers, I mean, they're really going to be a key group for any candidate hoping to secure a victory Monday night, especially Bernie Sanders, Donald Trump who have to turn out new voters.

But what does it take to sway someone who is caucusing for the very first time? Well, let's ask. We're joined now by someone who has to make the decision who to support. Elena Dietz -- Elena Dietz, I apologize. And you told me right before we went on. Elena Dietz, my apologies again. Drake University student. Will caucus for the first time on Monday.

And Elena, I want to start with your question to Hillary Clinton at Monday's town hall. All right, let's watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ELENA DIETZ: Secretary Clinton, earlier this month, Vice President Joe Biden said you are a newcomer to the issue of income inequality while praising Senator Sanders for his authentic voice on the issue. How do we know that you will keep this issue a top priority?

HILLARY CLINTON, DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I was on the Legal Services Corporation, I chaired the board. Inequality is also about not being able to get a lawyer; you can't afford them, you can't stand up and have your voice heard and have your case adjudicated. So I have a really long history of taking on all kinds of inequality.

And when I went to Beijing in 1995 and said human's rights were women's rights and women's rights were human rights, that was a statement about inequality, economic inequality, education inequality, health care inequality, every kind of inequality you can imagine.

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP) BLACKWELL: All right, so that was Clinton's answer. And Elena, you shared with me that going into that town hall, you were undecided but leaning toward Senator Sanders.

DIETZ: That's right.

BLACKWELL: What did you think of Secretary Clinton's answer?

DIETZ: I liked her answer, although it didn't quite answer my question. I liked point she made about all the great work she's done with different kinds of inequality, but like I said, she didn't really answer my question about income inequality specifically.

BLACKWELL: Did she have an opportunity? Was there a shot for her to win your vote, to persuade you there?

DIETZ: I think that if she gave a strong answer about income equality specifically, which is an issue that I really care about, it's very important for me, that she would have had a chance to sway me. But because she really didn't touch on income inequality specifically, I think that I made my decision in that moment.

BLACKWELL: OK, So you made your decision there at the town hall. What is the decision?

DIETZ: I think that I will be caucusing for Senator Sanders.

BLACKWELL: OK, so you're going to support Senator Sanders. What is it about his platform, his record that you believe is the reason that you're going support him?

DIETZ: Well, like I said, income inequality is an important issue for me. It's something that Senator Sanders has had a strong stance on for a long time. I like his platform on income inequality as well as women's issue, campus sexual assaults, minimum wage, all those things I just -- Bernie -- or Senator Sanders really speaks to me with his platform.

BLACKWELL: So it's interesting that you picked Senator Sanders because of his views on women's issues over Secretary Clinton.

DIETZ: Yeah.

BLACKWELL: Why?

DIETZ: That's a question I've actually got a lot. While it would be really amazing to have a woman president, as a woman, Senator Sanders has a 100 percent pro-choice voting record, and that's something that's really important to me. And I know that he'll continue making those decisions that are important to me.

BLACKWELL: Anecdotally, you're a student at Drake University. Many of your friends are going to caucus for the first time. How excited are your peers, because we know that Senator Sanders needs that group to turn out if he's going to do well on Monday night? DIETZ: We're all really excited. I would say, though, that my peers are split almost equally between Secretary Clinton and Senator Sanders. But we're all really excited, we're all going to go together. We're in the same precinct. Everyone is really pumped up.

BLACKWELL: All right. Let's bring in CNN politics executive editor Mark Preston. Young voters, a group that, Mark, every cycle, one candidate, maybe another, says we are going to bring out, we're going to activate them, and they are historically unreliable. Are we seeing any indication that things will be different?

[07:40:00]

MARK PRESTON, CNN POLITICS EXECUTIVE EDITOR: Right. We're going to bring out the youth vote. And if you go back to 2008, when Barack Obama came out of nowhere -- an African-American coming to a state that is predominantly, predominantly -- did I say predominantly -- white...

BLACKWELL: Yes.

PRESTON: ... he comes in and wins Iowa, which really propels his campaign. But to your point -- you know, that was, in many ways, because of the youth vote.

I gotta tell you, I was back here about nine months ago -- I was here in the state. Elizabeth Warren was being drafted to run. Of course, she didn't run. And I had gone to one of their campaign headquarters. They already had in place campus organizers on every campus, trying to get the young votes, like Elena here, to try to come out from them.

They understand that not only is the young vote important when it comes to the caucus -- you know, to have them there, but they're volunteers. These are the kids who make telephone calls, who knock on doors, who try to persuade others to do so.

What's interesting about Bernie Sanders is not only the fact that she has decided now to go with him instead of Hillary Clinton at a time when Hillary Clinton is really relying on the women vote, but Bernie Sanders is 74 years old, you know? And the fact that he has this appeal to young voters is -- is really amazing. But in a year where Donald Trump -- I'm not sure what isn't amazing.

BLACKWELL: Yeah. And Donald Trump, of course, expected to -- I mean, of course his model is based on bring out voters who've never participated in this process.

PRESTON: Yeah, correct. And -- and -- and if you -- if you look at his rallies, he gets thousands of people. The question is, will those people show up on caucus night? And for Bernie Sanders on the democratic side to be successful, he's going to need a lot of Elenas to show up.

BLACKWELL: OK. Let me ask you about that element that Mark brought up. Bernie Sanders -- approaching 75 years old, and he is exciting young people. Beyond the specific issues that appeal to you, what generally do you believe is the reason that he's getting so much support from the younger demographic?

DIETZ: I guess I -- I have to allude to those issues. I think that he has a stance on issues that many young people care about -- like I said earlier, income inequality, women's issues, police brutality, things like that, that young people -- at least my peers here in -- at Drake University -- what we care about. And we're all really excited to come out and caucus for him.

BLACKWELL: All right. Let me ask you something we talked about during the break. You've got campaigns there every day. Just give us a -- a snapshot of what it's like to be on a college campus in Des Moines this time of year.

DIETZ: Well, it's obviously very exciting.

BLACKWELL: Yeah.

DIETZ: It's very exhausting. It's class, homework, presidential candidate, rally, homework, class -- some people are skipping class to see presidential candidates. I can't drive anywhere. There's no parking. It's very exciting, but very hectic, too. A lot of activity.

BLACKWELL: All right. The -- the big night is coming, and you've got a break coming on Tuesday. Everybody's moving on New Hampshire.

Elena Dietz, thank you so much,

DIETZ: Thank you.

BLACKWELL: All right. Thank you too, Mark, for being with us all morning.

Now, take a turn here. If you don't trust the scientific political polling, here's something a little more basic: rodeo bulls in Cedar Rapids, Iowa casting their own votes. How do they do it?

All right, well, they put a pen down with the pictures of the candidates, and then they leave their mark on the photos. It's counted as a vote. The bulls here picked Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump to win. We'll see if they're accurate.

All right. After all the campaigning, the debates, time now for the first real votes to be cast. That's Monday night. It's all coming down to this. All the campaigns are out this weekend, and we are covering them all in the way that only CNN can. Of course, Monday, the big day, we've got coverage all day.

And of course, tomorrow, don't miss State of the Union with Jake Tapper. You're gonna hear from the candidates one more time before the voting begins. He's got Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, Bernie Sanders on the show. Again, that's State of the Union with Jake Tapper, tomorrow at 9:00 a.m. Eastern, right here on CNN.

A lot going on this weekend. We're covering all of it. Christi, back to you in Atlanta. PAUL: You're covering all of it, all right. That was a story with

the bulls that I never thought I would see. Victor, thank you so much.

BLACKWELL: You got it.

PAUL: Still to come on your new day, the development -- the latest, in fact -- on the Zika virus that is spreading around the world. Will doctors be able to develop a vaccine in time to curb this epidemic? That is the question so many people are asking. We're talking with a medical expert about the dangers of this virus and why the epidemic could get worse before it gets better.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[07:44:20]

PAUL: Forty-seven minutes past the hour right now, and Peru has become the latest country to report its first case of the Zika virus. This dangerous virus, of course, spreading, quote, "explosively" around the Americas, and the World Health Organization estimates 3 million to 4 million people across the Americas will be infected by next year.

CNN's correspondent Shasta Darlington is live from Recife, Brazil. And Shasta, I'm wondering, we know that this virus is being linked to underdeveloped brains in children. How expansive are the cases that you're seeing there?

DARLINGTON: You know, Christi, it's just heartbreaking. Ever since the Zika virus was detected last year, more than 4,000 babies have been reported born with what's called microcephaly -- these very small heads -- and brain damage.

And we've talked to a number of mothers, many of them teenagers, with very few resources. And they tell us, obviously, it's very difficult, emotionally and financially, to have a baby with special needs.

But on top of that, people are trying to push them away. They're afraid that their babies could get infected. They think it's a contagious disease. So they're just really being ostracized from all sides.

And again, the heartache and the financial burden -- many of these people may be the sole breadwinners in their families. These babies will need early stimulation, physical therapy -- they just don't have the resources to do all of this. It's just so heartbreaking, Christi.

PAUL: It is, for those families, as we -- we look at the pictures of -- of what they're dealing with there. I know that the virus is spread by mosquitoes. You talked about some of the rumors that -- that are untrue. So just to make sure everybody knows, it's spread by mosquitoes.

The thing is, the Olympics are being held in Brazil in a few months. Wondering what kind of measures are being taken to get this under control, because that's got to be a concern.

SHASTA DARLINGTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It is a concern, Christi. As we talked about, there is no vaccine, there is no cure for the Zika virus. So the real efforts are on mosquito control.

More than 200,000 soldiers have been dedicated to going door to door, to eliminating the pools of water where these mosquitoes breed, to educating families -- they've got to dump out their -- their plant water. They can't stockpile water, in these drought-stricken areas, if they don't put a lid on it.

They're also fumigating. And they say that during the Olympics, and ahead of them, they're going to step up efforts and inspect all of the venues on a daily basis. But they're also betting on weather.

[07:50:10]

This is going to be the winter here in Brazil, when the Olympics come in August. At that point, the mosquito population really does die off, so they're hoping that, frankly, weather will be on their side, Christi.

PAUL: Very good point. Very good point. Shasta Darlington, thank you so much for the update.

Let's bring in Dr. Ali Khan, dean of University of Nebraska Medical Center's College of Public Health. Dr. Khan, thank you for being with us. Help us understand, first of all, what this virus is and how it's connected to this brain damage in -- in children in utero.

ALI KHAN, DEAN OF COLLEGE OF PUBLIC HEALTH, UNIVERSITY OF NEBRASKA MEDICAL CENTER: Thank you very much.

So, as you heard, Zika is a mosquito-borne virus. It's spreading explosively in the Americas right now, and it is associated with this tragic outbreak of newborns who are born with abnormally small heads and brain and other defects.

Now, this virus, for 50 years, it was a rare cause of a mild fever illness that occurred in a narrow belt in Africa and southeast Asia. And then, in about 2007, it went rogue and it spread across the Pacific into Brazil. And now, as you heard, there's been about half a million to a million and a half cases in Brazil.

PAUL: I think what's most concerning to people is the fact there's no cure. There's not even a vaccine right now. What can people do to try to protect themselves, other than just trying not to get bit by a mosquito? Because we should just clarify -- being bitten by a mosquito is the only way to contract this. Is that right?

KHAN: Well, being bitten by a -- well, being bitten by a mosquito is the main way to contract this. There is some probably rare evidence that you could also get this from blood transfusions, or potentially from person-to-person transmission. But those are real anecdotal cases. How you get infected is by getting bit by a mosquito, and how you

protect yourself is everything you do to keep from getting bit by a mosquito, whether it's for West Nile disease, or whether it's from Zika virus. So that means repellent, that means long sleeves, long -- long pants, and try to get rid of all standing water around where you are.

PAUL: And the cases here in the U.S. seem to be expanding. Of what we're seeing -- I'm sure a lot of people are looking at this, wondering, "how susceptible are we here in the U.S. to some sort of epidemic?"

KHAN: And we should expect the cases to expand, because they're expanding in the Americas. But the important thing here is that the cases we see here in the United States are not from local transmission in the United States.

These are people who have traveled to the Americas, and then have come back and have been diagnosed with Zika virus. And so we see this for malaria. We see this for lots of diseases that occur elsewhere. Obviously, a disease anywhere is a disease everywhere.

Now, within the United States, we do have these same type of mosquitoes that are transmitting the disease in, for example, Mexico and the Caribbean. But we've been very fortunate so far that these mosquitoes have not picked up the virus and are causing transmission locally.

PAUL: Okay. I only have about 30 seconds, but I did want to ask you, for people who are watching this -- and we know what happens to -- to babies in utero, and -- and who are born with this. What about young children or people who are just out and about? Is there any serious risk in that regard?

KHAN: As far as we know, except for people who are pregnant, this causes a mild illness with a fever, a headache, maybe some red eyes and some joint pains that gets better in about three to five days.

PAUL: All right. Dr. Khan, we so appreciate your expertise and your insight in this. Thank you for taking the time to be with us.

KHAN: Thank you very much.

PAUL: Of course.

And we're gonna get you some news about some other stories that we're following this morning. First of all, bond was denied for Aman Bundy and members of a group that occupied a federal wildlife facility in Oregon.

So far, 11 people have been arrested -- ten in Oregon, one in Arizona -- over the nearly month-long occupation. Four members of the protest group are still, though, inside that refuge.

The U.S. Navy has sent a guided missile destroyer near an island in the South China Sea. The waters are home to some really messy territorial claims, with China, Taiwan and Vietnam all disputing sovereignty over an island chain.

Now, the Defense Department says they sent the ship to challenge attempts to restrict navigation rights and freedoms of the United States and others.

China says it sent messages to the destroyer, asking Washington to respect and abide by relevant China laws. The U.S. conducted a similar operation, by the way, back in October.

[07:55:00]

And Angelique Kerber stunned Serena Williams and a lot of people this morning, to win the Australian Open. Just how rare is it for Williams to lose a Grand Slam final? Well, she'd won her last eight, and was 21-4 overall. The men's final, by the way, kicks off tomorrow, when Novak Djokovic plays Andy Murray for the second straight year.

Listen, we're gonna take you back live to Des Moines for coverage of the Iowa caucuses. Victor is there. We're back in a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Will I get more votes? Will I get less votes? Nobody knows.

RUBIO: We're not gonna beat Hillary Clinton with someone who's willing to say or do anything to win an election.

TRUMP: Look at all the cameras, like the Academy Awards. This is like the Academy Awards.

BUSH: I kind of miss Donald Trump. He was a little teddy bear to me.

RUBIO: Hillary Clinton does not want to run against me, but I cannot wait to run against her.

CLINTON: I should have made a different choice, because it's proven to be quite difficult.

CRUZ: If she's indicted, we're not talking about speeding tickets. We're not talking about -- you know, taking the mattress tags off her mattress. We are talking about serious offenses.

SANDERS: The eyes of this country are going to be on Iowa, and if we win this election -- it's going to be a very, very close election. It will depend on voter turnout.

TRUMP: You may be in a state of major, major depression. Get up and vote. I will get rid of your depression. You'll be happy.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PAUL: Well, rise and shine, and happy Saturday to you. I'm Christi Paul. My colleague, Victor Blackwell, live from --