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Early GOP Voting Shows Cruz & Trump In Tight Race; Early Dem Votes Shows Clinton Leading In Caucuses; Sanders: "Very Proud" Of The Campaign; GOP Source: Turnout On Pace To Set Record; Sources: O'Malley To Suspend Campaign Tonight. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired February 1, 2016 - 21:00   ET


[21:00:03] WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: On the Democratic side, they are much more quickly coming in. 25 percent of the caucus sites reporting Hillary Clinton maintaining her lead, 53 percent to 47 percent for Bernie Sanders. Martin O'Malley not doing so well right now, zero percent uncommitted to say number. Hillary Clinton doing well so far but a quarter of that votes now in on the democratic side.

Let's go back to Jake and Dana for more. Jake?

JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Thanks, Wolf. Well, obviously, all eyes on the Democratic side on Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton and our own Jeff Zeleny is in Des Moines at Sanders' campaign headquarters and just spoke with Senator Sanders.

Jeff, what did he have to say?

JEFF ZELENY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right Jake. We just spoke with Senator Sanders and his wife Jane who are surrounded by their family in their hotel suit. I'm here in Des Moines. He was watching this results come in very, very carefully. Let's take a look.


ZELENY: Senator, what do you think because you're watching some of these results come in?

BERNIE SANDERS, (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Surely, we will find out in an hour or so, I think, but we are very proud of the campaign that we run. We run a positive campaign then we'll find the results out soon enough.

ZELENY: Regardless of win or lose, what do you think you've accomplished here because we're only at the beginning of the race, not at the end of the race.

SANDERS: Well, I think what we have shown is that, the American people are very dissatisfied with the situation with the middle class continues to shrink while on almost on the wing coming wealth goes to the top 1 percent.

And I think even more, regardless of people's political persuasion, people are really angry about a campaign finance system which is corrupt and allows billionaires to buy elections.


ZELENY: So, of course Senator Sanders there is upbeat as he watches these results. And it's important to remember, this is the beginning not the end.

He raised $20 million in January alone. He is -- his aides expect him to raise as much as that possibly in the next couple of days, win or lose here in Iowa.

So, the Sanders campaign is still encouraged by the long lines they are seeing across the state in college towns as well as other towns in rural areas as well. So, Senator Sanders did not have a lot of time for us because he wanted to get back to watching these results. He's one-- a lot of elections. We'll see if he wins this one tonight. Jake?

TAPPER: All right Jeff and Dana, we don't ...

DANA BASH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That was pretty cool.

TAPPER: That was cool. We don't usually see Bernie Sanders in a low key kind of setting with his family around in a small room.

BASH: Yeah, exactly.

TAPPER: We see him speaking loudly to crowds. But, it's really anybody's race and the large numbers of people who turned out to vote, especially first time caucus goers certainly suggest this could end despite the number at the bottom of the screen there with only 25 or 27 percent of precinct reporting. It could end a good night for Bernie Sanders.

BASH: Absolutely. It is still early. We're not sure. I don't know who struck by how, you know, he was -- just staying on message in terms of substance, so what he's talking about. He didn't want to just talk about and that's involved of the results. He wanted to talk about what he has been campaigning about.

TAPPER: And no matter what happens this evening, of course, Bernie Sanders still far in the lead in New Hampshire which is one week from tomorrow.

Let's go back to Ankeny, Iowa where Brian Todd is watching the results come in at the precinct of Republican precinct. Marco Rubio ahead with 35 percent, Ted Cruz, 32 percent. Brian, fascinating to watch democracy in action.

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It really is Jake. I can't tell you how exciting this is. We're watching them count. They're doing it very deliberately. They're kind of pausing to let each other, you know, register the count. And we believe that right now, they're about halfway through this count. More than 230 votes counted at our last tally. That would put us a little over halfway we believe because we believe that there were at least 450 people in this hall, many more. So they might not quite be well at the top of the hour now a little over halfway.

And really, shocking not necessary that Rubio and Cruz are battling it out but the Donald Trump is basically getting tumble in this precinct. We did not expect that. This is a business conservative precinct, fiscal conservatives, not many evangelicals here. Donald Trump is -- he's taking it pretty hard in this precinct, Jake. That's what surprising to us about halfway through this count.

TAPPER: That's right. Although we should caution people that one precinct and one county is not necessarily determinative of what's going to happen. In fact in Johnson County -- I'm sorry, in Polk County where Ankeny is -- that's a county that the person who won the Iowa caucus in 2012, Rick Santorum. He came in third there.

BASH: That's right.

TAPPER: So, this is not determinative but it is very interesting as to what's going on watching the votes come in. Anderson, back to you in Washington.

[21:05:02] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Yeah, it's cool to watch that. We'll continue to watch that and then a lot of -- the other counties as well in caucus sides.

But as you look at the -- not only the early voting results coming in, but also the entrance poll and what stands out to all of you?

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: What stands out to me is that, evangelical voter seem to be just like regular Republican voters who are angry about what's going on in the country. They're not voting their ...

COOPER: On massive political candidate.

BORGER: ... faith one way or another. They are saying, "Look, we're mad and we're" -- and that I think is where Trump really makes his inroads with evangelical voters and why it's so tight with Ted Cruz? And you have to give Donald Trump a huge amount of credit ...

COOPER: Absolutely.

BORGER: Honestly on that front. There are another, a few other things that's strike me. One is the voters who say so far in our entrance polls who've say that they want a candidate who shares their values. They tend to support Ted Cruz, as you would expect.

The voters who say they're interested in electability, its Marco Rubio, its Marco Rubio. Late deciders, Marco Rubio.

Donald Trump, voters who are mad as hell and who want immigration policies are change, Donald Trump.

So these story lines are playing out very much.


COOPER: They reflect just for our viewers. These are actual votes right now. And here with Ted Cruz, there you see on the Republican side with 30 percent. Donald Trump, 28 percent. A very tight race there. Marco Rubio, 19 percent and Ben Carson in fourth place with 10. Again, that is just with 14 percent.

But it's also tight on of the Democratic side as well. Hillary Clinton, 52 percent. Bernie Sanders, 47 percent, Martin O'Malley with 1 percent, but with 32 percent on the votes. So a lot more to vote in already on the Democratic side.

NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: And our Jaime Bengala's confirming that Tim Scott, as the South Carolina senator is going to endorse Marco Rubio tomorrow. And that's a big deal.

And we saw similar thing happening with Barack Obama in 2008 getting more endorsements. This brings his total endorsements from senators from four to five. I think it's a really big deal.

And underscores his idea that he is the establishment candidate but also kind of the face of the new Republican Party in South Carolina, Tim Scott, has got about a 70 or 80 percent approval rating. So this will be a big deal for him.



AXELROD: What's among the other side of the other senator from South Carolina ...


AXELROD: ... endorse Jeb Bush.

MICHAEL SMERCONISH, CNN HOST: I don't know that there's really any surprise about Rubio does far because I just reminded myself how was he performing according to the 538 extrapolation of all the polls. How well was he running according to the Des Moines register?

And frankly, he's performing exactly where they said he would perform. But to look at social media and to hear some of the analysis it's to say "Wow, Rubio is really having a hell of a night does far.''

The way it helps them is going into New Hampshire where tonight Jeb Bush is having an event. And John Kasich is having an event and they're all clustered together at about 10 percent. So it may give him wind at his back going into New Hampshire which is the most significant part.

BORGER: I think he want to look when this evening is over, that margin between Cruz and Rubio. I think that's going to be very important for Marco Rubio to launch a credible bid.

We see that he's got this important endorsement going into South Carolina. And I also think you have to give Donald Trump a huge amount of credit here because nobody thought months ago as Anderson, you keep saying that he was going to do anything in Iowa.

COOPER: Now, we just saw Donald Trump at a caucus site in Des Moines.

SARAH ELIZABETH CUPP, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: And some blame to Carson who's got 12 percent or evangelicals. Huckebee's got 5 percent of evangelicals. And Santorum's got 2 percent. So they're -- and surely occupying almost 20 percent of the evening ...

COOPER: We're now down to -- by the way, a 4 percent difference in the Democratic side. 52 percent for Hillary Clinton, 48 for Sanders.

CUPP: Well, and to add to what Gloria and you were saying about the evangelical. These numbers coming in are fascinating and they are early.

First just a sheer volume, 63 percent of Republicans ...

BORGER: Right.

CUPP: ... turning out say they are evangelicals. To give you a sense nationally, it's not 26 percent of the country are evangelicals.

So that's -- if anywhere is Ted Cruz country, it's Iowa.


CUPP: So the idea that he split -- essentially splitting the evangelical vote not just with Trump, but with Marco Rubio, a Catholic who a lot of analysts kind of wrote off or where suggested had just recently come to the evangelical sort of platform when actually he's been camapaigning for evangelicals all along right under everyone's noses, is really, really remarkable that he is doing so well with these voters in Iowa. And that Ted Cruz is having to share all of these evangelical voters with Marco Rubio and Donald Trump. It is fascinating.

PAUL BEGALA, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: I think what's happening with Christian evangelicals which is so important, is rather than simply saying I'm going to vote for the guy who shares my religious beliefs.


BEGALA: They're looking for defender of the faith, that's probably I'll call (inaudible). Right.

[21:10:01] They -- the 81 percent and there's a Fox News poll so it couldn't be wrong. 81 percent of white Christian evangelicals said they believe Christianity is under assault.

CUPP: Right. BEGALA: 67 percent think they're losing that assault. So these are folks who feel very put upon and they're not stupid. They don't think Trump is going to be a great pastor for them or a preacher.

CUPP: Exactly.


BEGALA: He's not fooling anyone what he's saying is, "I will be strong and defend you." And there's a lot power in that. I give him a lot of credit for that for knowing how to maneuvering that.

COOPER: Yeah. Let's go back to Wolf and John King at the magic wall.

BLITZER: All right guys, thanks very much. John, let's take a look at the Republicans first. Right now, 16 percent of the Republican caucus sites have reported that Ted Cruz maintaining his slightly 30 percent, 27 percent for Donald Trump, 19 percent for Marco Rubio.

JOHN KING, CNN HOST: That it's interesting when you look ay the map because that's stressed we're only at 16 percent, higher in some counties, lower in other counties.

At the moment, the map is filling in almost a counter intuitive way. What do I mean by that? In Polk County right now, the largest urban area, the suburban area where you think mainstream established that Republicans are going to win. Ted Cruz is ahead at the moment. But again, it's only 12 percent of the vote right there.

But if this stays orange throughout the night, I will be shocked because that would be Ted Cruz inroads and what -- if you go back four years ago was Mitt Romney country. So that's an interesting been watching and again, it's only 12 percent. So, you can't say it's definitive yet and sometimes Polk County takes its time counting some vote.

Another interesting thing, this is the dark red here, that's Donald Trump. Now look at the part of the state, this is him. We go back four years ago, that's all Rick Santorum country. This is small towns evangelical voters and some Tea Party voters where at the moment, Donald Trump is taking away votes here that Ted Cruz very much needs. Unless he can hold on to that which would be a great shocked to me.

Now let's come over to eastern part of the state. On the Republican side and I want to point two things. We have nothing from Dubuque and nothing from Sioux (inaudible). Those two counties are critical to Marco Rubio, to Donald Trump and depending on how Ted Cruz does to the margins. Why do I say that? Because when Mitt Romney got 25 percent of the vote four years ago, he won them both.

As again, places with suburbs, more establishment mainstream Republicans critical to the Rubio campaign as an organize, we'll wait to see how the results come in here.

At the moment though, I would tell you, this is a surprise here. Ted Cruz winning Iowa City, that's the college town, very close, 24, 22, 22. That shows you the tightness through the race. Not just younger voters here ...

BLITZER: Only 19 percent.

KING: ... 19 not just younger voters here but that's an interesting number to watch right there. Also some suburban voters there.

When you pop out state wide, what do we going to watch, we'll watch and see if Des Moines changes and we'll watch to see if Ted Cruz can turn some of this red back to orange. He needs to turn some of this here to run up in the small towns to be more competitive because we do expect this will change in time.

Now let's flip, look how fast the Democratic counties coming in. We're up to 38 percent right now. Just focus on the percentages. These are state delegate equivalents. The Democrats have a complicated process. So let's just focus on the percentages. Close race, 52 percent to 48 percent. As you noted Governor O'Malley seems to be having trouble precinct by precinct, getting up to the viability numbers.

If you're Hillary Clinton early on, 40 percent almost so far, you're thrilled with how the map looks. A few question marks out here. But most important to Secretary Clinton, she's loving this and she's loving up here. Why? Because in 2008 she ran very well up here in the small rural areas of the state putting this one but Obama, but Obama beat her in Ames and beat her badly in Polk County. Secretary Clinton winning where the votes are in the central part of the state.

Now, let's come back in time. She's winning here this time. Out here, she's splitting with Bernie Sanders at the moment.

But again, I just want to show you, let me take this yellow out and give it you, you can see it once white. This part of the state critical. If you go back in time Wolf, because this is where Senator Obama ran it up pretty good against then Senator Clinton back in 2008.

So let's look and see how she's doing here. Up in Dubuque, about 30 of the vote counted just 31 percent, 57 percent for Secretary Clinton. If we go back in time, she had only 31 percent in that county, eight years ago. So she's happy with the turn out here of traditional Democrats.

Just want to come down and check real quickly. This is big important county, Linn County, 7 percent of the state population, it is Senator Sanders running ahead there by a 10 point margin. So, just like in 2008, bit of a slug fast out in the eastern part of the state, Secretary Clinton winning in the middle of the central part of the state here, where some people are holding around. Sanders doing OK up at in the rural areas. At the moment, if you're looking at this map, the Clinton headquarters, they're happy.

BLITZER: Just change only 3 percent now, 51 percent for Hillary Clinton, 48 percent for Bernie Sanders. And that's 41 percent of the caucus sites.

This could tighten even more dramatically. KING: Absolutely. As we count the vote, it could tighten even more. And remember, no matter who's on top, if it stays about that close, they're going to come out of there roughly not that big of an advantage among delegates but we're the first state tonight. Tonight was about momentum. It's about trying to get away and Hillary Clinton wants this win very much because of Senators Sanders' lead in the State of New Hampshire.

It's just on the watch so far. I want to just check Iowa City. Again, college town in Iowa City, University of Iowa, Senator Sanders ahead there by a healthy margin. That's key to his ...

BLITZER: All Right. John, if you're Bernie Sanders, what do you looking for right now with 41 percent of the caucus sites reporting where do you got to do well to narrow that 3 percent?

KING: Well, you need to change your numbers here. Number one, only 20 percent of the vote, just shy of that counted in the biggest basket votes in the state big as basket of delegate's right here. He needs to get closer. He can't have a six point gap here ...

[21:15:03] BLITZER: So in Polk County, he's got to win Polk County, is that what you're saying?

KING: Doesn't have to win Polk County but his delegate closer. He can not be that far behind Secretary Clinton in a place where because you have more votes, more delegates here. If she gets a big lead there, it helps her offset other places. That's how Mitt Romney stayed so close in the Republican side four years ago and it's how Senator Obama, eight years ago, got a lead over -- if we go back to that eight years ago and just look at President Obama, Hillary Clinton was third. They got a 10-point lead over John Edwards back then.

So if you can get more eggs in the bigger baskets, if you will were more voters are, that helps you. So Bernie Sanders needs to close the gap here. He would like to change this number. Story County, everyone focuses on Ames because the university is there but down here, a lot of Des Moines suburb as well. You're fighting for suburban voters but you just have to watch as the count comes in. We're over 41 percent. It's a very, very close race. Sanders needs to run up some numbers again as they count here.


KING: He needs to maintain that lead in the east, maybe stretch it out a little bit. And he needs to do a stronger job in the central part of the state.

BLITZER: They're getting close almost half of the vote counted already of the Democratic caucus.

I want to go to Tom Foreman right now. Tom Foreman, go ahead. I understand they've counted the numbers where you are in Coralville. This is a Democratic caucus.

TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Well, this was the final count here. It came out to be 55 percent for Hillary Clinton over here with a real time voting. 45 percent for Bernie Sanders over here. But this is really important Wolf and it's speaks to what John was talking about a moment ago.

Because of the maps here, because they have eight delegates to divide here, the fact that she beat him by this, by this 55 percent of 45 percent margin that we're showing up here in real time, makes no difference in the delegates. He walks away with four delegates, she walks away with four delegates.

There was another Democratic caucus meeting downstairs where Bernie Sanders edged her out by a few votes and that also split evenly. So for all the people who showed up, all the passion tonight, all of the real struggle here to get everybody on their side, both candidates on the Democratic side here, Democratic -- Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton, Martin O'Malley was ruled out but of those two they are walking away from this night in two precincts here with the exact same number of delegates. Wolf?

BLITZER: All right. Tom, thanks very much. John, show us where Coralville now where Tom Foreman would just reporting from.

KING: It's in Johnson County, eastern part of the state. Coralville is just right up here, a little bit to the northwest of Iowa City. Eventually, Wolf, we've got to get the other spy cam, it take you right into Tom Foreman sure of the.

But he's right, it's the key county in the state. Again, it's -- the campus is here, Coralville is a suburb right outside there, just a few minutes drive from the University of Iowa. And it's the key part of the state when it comes to Democratic politics. Again, that's Barack Obama, 52 percent in this county, eight years ago. Bernie Sanders with 57 percent right now.

If you go county by county, where did Obama win. Bernie Sanders need to win. So far, he should be happy in this county. The question for Senator Sanders at the moment is mainly here in the center part of the state and just to the north here in Story County where if you go back in time, that was a bit Barack Obama win.

BLITZER: All right. John, we're getting some results now from Republican caucus sides.

Let's take a quick break.

We'll share those results with you right after this.


[21:21:17] BLITZER: This is a Key Race Alert, very exciting on both sides right now. Take a look at this almost half of the votes counted on the Democratic side, 48 percent for some of the caucus site reporting only a three-point difference between Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton with 51 percent, Bernie Sanders 48 percent, Martin O'Malley only 1 percent. Very, very close on the Democratic sides, similarly on the Republican side a quarter of the vote now in Ted Cruz maintaining the lead, he's got 30 percent to 27 percent for Donald Trump, 19 percent For Marco Rubio, 10 percent for Dr. Ben Carson. Ted Cruz ahead by 1,100 votes still very, very, close, very close on both sides. Let's go back to Jake and Dana. Jake.

TAPPER: Wow incredibly tight. Democratic race and still anybody's game on the Republican side as well. Dana.

BASH: Absolutely. You know, look we went into this thinking that it was going to be a no fighter. You know, again we're still not entirely sure what -- the county we're pretty early on but shows that it is.

TAPPER: Let's go now to, well I think we have two reporters and two caucuses where events are coming to a head. I believe we're going to Brian Todd who in Ankeny, Brian what's going on where you are?

TODD: Jake an extraordinary scene and this is what makes our ballot can coverage so exciting. Look at this they are double checking the votes now here in Ankeny, they just making sure that their counts match with what they had earlier, and I'm going to ask our photo journalists John to where going to kind of pen around the table here. Look at this, crowds of people just pairing over the counters.

They're very intent on their work, they're focused, they're concentrating. But look at all the people here just hanging around. They've long since voted. Some people have left but a lot of people are hanging around here, because they want to see this count. And what's make -- what also make makes this so exciting. This looks like a very close vote. By our unofficial estimates Marco Rubio with a slight lead over Ted Cruz right now. Again unofficial estimates Donald Trump in just been third at the moment. They have not finish the final count yet. It is not final. It is certainly not indicative of how the entire states going to go, but it's extraordinary.

Donald Trump right now a distant third in this precinct. He is expected to do better because it's a precinct of business conservatives, fiscal conservatives not too many evangelicals. Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio right now battling it out. Rubio with a slight lead and what were told by local GOP officials is to them, not all that surprising, because Marco Rubio spent a lot of time in this district. They joked that he was running for mayor of Ankeny. And that looks like it might pay off in a few minutes, Jake. Again these are unofficial estimates not indicative of how the state is going to go. But right now very close, very tight between Marco Rubio with the slight lead over Ted Cruz. Jake.

TAPPER: All right we have about half the vote in on the Democratic side half to vote in on the Republican side. Brian Todd, just reporting from Ankeny Iowa where Marco Rubio was taking a lead in that precinct indicative of what we've seen the Rubio search. Looks it looks as though he's going to come in third this evening.

Marco Rubio having a strong showing. He was he just edged ahead of Ben Carson in the polls at the end of December. And now looks like he's going to have a good night there. He has a 19 percent with about 28 percent of the vote in.

Let's now go to Greenfield, Iowa where Jim Sciutto is at another Republican caucus. This caucus is one where I believe Donald Trump has taken the lead. Jim, what's going on in Greenfield?

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right in fact as we are standing here, they are announcing the final results of this particular precinct. There actually five precincts in this high school here.

[21:25:02] We are giving a snapshot form this one and you see the numbers on your screen 28 percent to Donald Trump, 26 percent to Rubio him coming in second here Ted Cruz at 21 percent.

We talked a lot about this just being the three way race. We just learned from another precinct down the hall that Donald Trump won that one as well. We'll get you those numbers as soon as we have them and you can hear them reading out the exact final figures here.

The man who handed out little sheets of white piece of paper for everybody here, they wrote down the name on it and they counted it once and twice to get those figures right.

It is -- and Jake, you notice, we've seen that it's a great little window on American democracy. This is a band room, a high school band room during the week. We have the ballots handed out simple white sheets of paper.

The pencil handed out by a grade schooler here to mark those ballots and now we're just getting those results in. So, two out four precincts here in Greenfield, both of them going Donald Trump's way, Jake?

TAPPER: All right, Jim Scuitto in Greenfield, Iowa.

Let's go to Sunlen Serfaty who is at Cruz headquarters. And Sunlen. only about a quarter of the vote in but Senator Ted Cruz in the lead as of now.

Well, how are they feeling? Is it -- are the numbers that are coming in from the precincts that they are expecting to have support?

SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, the Cruz campaign, Jake said that they feel like they are in good shape of course that it is still early so things could change. But when asked about the specific numbers of evangelicals, the split that seems to be happening based on this early numbers. These voters that seem to be going to Trump to Huckabee, to Santorum within sent to Marco Rubio rather than consolidating as the Cruz campaign wanted around him.

The Cruz campaign really trying to downplay this notion. They say that they're not purely reliance on evangelicals. There numbers are showing that they are posting strong numbers around conservative of course of so much of Cruz strategy here in Iowa has been on evangelicals.

So this is a -- could be a big blow if it's evangelicals do not consolidate down here -- around him that would cast him serious out for his straight as a candidate going forward especially in southern state. Jake?

TAPPER: All right Dana, your thoughts on what we're seeing right now?

BASH: It is so incredible tied as someone was talking. I was texting with a Cruz source saying that they are -- at this point feeling a little bit better with their modeling.

Remember, either watching the numbers in these campaigns, but they also have all of their own data. Their own an analytics on both sides of the aisle. So, they are saying that they are feeling a little bit better. And you see those hard numbers there, Ted Cruz at 30 percent, Donald Trump, 27 percent but only a quarter are reported.

TAPPER: These are early numbers but I have to say, Ted Cruz 30 percent, Donald Trump, 27 percent, that is 57 percent voting for somebody who would be establishments, Republican Party ...

BASH: That's true.

TAPPER: ... in Washington D.C. loads. 57 percent of the voter so far saying Republican Party in Washington, we don't care what you think. Anderson, back to you in Washington.

COOPER: Look at this numbers come in. You have 25 percent there on the Republican side. Let's look over on the Democratic side, we'll put that on the screen coming up next. On the democratic side, you've got 54 percent of the vote now in with Hillary Clinton with 51 percent, Bernie Sanders with 48 percent. Back to our panel then. Van?

VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: It's extraordinary to see Bernie -- you got to blink, blink, blink, Bernie Sanders, 48 percent. Bill Bradley, 35 percent and that was considered an incredibly respectful showing, he's at 48 percent.

He may not win tonight, but the idea that you got the people powered model, remember, no big donors and no Super PAC. The people powered model going all the way to the finish line ...

COOPER: So you think this could be a strong second for Bernie Sanders and ...

JONES: 48 percent would be strong for anybody in any circumstance. So when you're talking about somewhat when like Bernie Sanders who was a joke three months ago, with no big money and no Super PAC. This is -- that the vindication not just of him but of the model.


COOPER: Paul Begala, you're obviously a Clinton supporter, do you believe that? BEGALA: I am. Well, that the Bill Bradley model is certainly not with Bernie Sanders much. Bill Bradley lost every single primary in every single caucus. He was all for life.

So that's not what Bernie is hoping to do. You have to win this. It's essentially two person race. God bless Martin O'Malley. Most precincts we're hearing he's not even going to be viable.

So in two person race, you know, it's close but not regardless. Single go on, he's going to, you know, we'll go to New Hampshire and that will be next but tonight, if Hillary can't survive that the thing I want to quote with -- was there's no rebellion again sort of there's rebellion use rebellion.

There's a massive rebellion for Republican side. Jake just pointed it out, 57 percent of Republican caucus attendees want to stick a thumb any either establishment. 56 percent of Democrats in the entrance polls say they want to continue the policies of present (inaudible).

COOPER: If you had person and then at 67 percent.

BEGALA: Well, it's a good point.

CUPP: Oh, but maybe not.

BEGALA: But, who is very in establishment build up with two different parties were very different race.

[21:30:01] JONES: We're still early. This is what these numbers say to me. If Elizabeth Warren had gotten into this fight, you were talking about Hillary Clinton essentially, possibly, spinning up like a Jeb Bush. I just think we have to be clear that there is a huge discontent within this party. And the establishment doesn't want to deal with it. They keep on pulling.

If Bernie Sanders can get this close, I think it's important for the Clintons to say, there is pain this party ...

COOPER: By the way, 57 percent of the voters of the Democratic side now and 51 percent for Clinton, 48 now.

CUPP: But the map gets very tricky for Bernie after this. But he's good ...

COOPER: Well, after that ...

CUPP: New Hampshire is probably going to be great for him. But to Paul's point, Iowa was where he really needed a decisive win to make the case that he's not just a regional candidate.

COOPER: Right.

CUPP: That he's not just a Vermont candidate. You know, after New Hampshire, it's going to get very tricky.

COOPER: Not surely in South Carolina, Bernie, you know, in the Hillary Clinton the Africa-American support.

CUPP: Sure.

AXELROD: Bernie is yet to shows that he can make inroads with minority voters. And he's -- I think I like Elizabeth Warren. I think you're being unfair to Bernie because he's run a strong campaign. And he's been a very compelling candidate.

But Paul is right. When you look at the numbers, Democrats -- Barack Obama has a 91 percent approval rating with these Iowa Democrats. They're not looking to storm the best deal here. They are looking to protect the progressive gains that were made and build on them. At least many of them are looking for that. And that's a more advantageous environment in the long run to Hillary Clinton.

SMERCONISH: If it ends up being a two or a three-point race, I think it's a legitimate question to ask, "Should he have said something more strenuous about the e-mails?" He would not have had to go full negative but he could have said something Friday night when the news broke that he's increasingly troubled about this predicament and he wonders where it's all leading.

BORGER: I don't think it would have pass him. I don't think it would have helped him because Democratic voters, like Hillary in a awful lot.

CUPP: But this debate I -- constantly having with David Axelrod my friend here. If Bernie Sanders really wants to win, I believe he has to take on Hillary Clinton frontally. That could be e-mails, that could be a million things that he is decided, he's not good ...


COOPER: Let me just tell a few words.

AXELROD: No, no, no what I keep -- what I say is though ...

CUPP: Yeah.

AXELROD: ... the candidate was an 80 percent approval rate.

CUPP: Right, right that's the point.

AXELROD: It's hard to say, so let me just try ...

COOPER: Let me just give you the new number on the Republican side. We got in 37 percent of the vote in now. Ted Cruz with 29 percent, Donald Trump 26, Marco Rubio with 20, then Ben Carson with 10. Sorry, go ahead, David.

AXELROD: What I was going to say is I want a positive different theory ...

CUPP: Yeah.

AXELROD: ... which is in a way Hillary Clinton is the victim of her own presumption. Because, this is a no cost vote in the minds of many voters. They can vote for Bernie Sanders. They can -- I have a friend who sent me an e-mail. He didn't live in Iowa, say, "You know, I'm going to be for Hillary in the end but I think I'll vote for Bernie just to annoy her."

And I think that there is an element of that. I don't think these voters actually assume Bernie Sanders is going to be the nominee of the Democratic Party. But they do want to send a message about it.

COOPER: Let's talk about the Republican side that with this numbers, what do you make of Marco Rubio? Marco Rubio is similarly on the move here, Gloria?

BORGER: I think this could be a very big night for Marco Rubio. We'll have to see how it breaks out.

Marco Rubio was -- is somebody who hasn't spent enough time in Iowa, by the way, when Ted Cruz was off doing his southern tour in August. Rubio had an opportunity to go spend a lot of time in Iowa. He didn't.

Voters I run into in Iowa who were at Rubio rallies were saying to me, "Where is this guy been?"

CUPP: Right.

BORGER: We don't really know him yet. And yet he seems to be, according to the early entrance polls, making headway here.

And he's not popular. You know, he's not a natural evangelical guy. Right? He's catholic.

COOPER: As he said, he is.

BORGER: Right, but this again is the establishment versus the outsider.

CUPP: Well but yeah. That's exactly the point. That's what we're learning tonight in Iowa.

I'm -- I think he's been courting evangelicals for quite sometime. But we all seem to have just recently discovered that he can play in Iowa. And that's my point.

BORGER: I think he just discovered it.

CUPP: I will -- Well, I will, I think it will tell us, that like I said, there is going to be a land somewhere for an establishment candidate.

If Marco Rubio is playing in Iowa, despite the fact that it has been a Cruz-Trump story for the past months, maybe two months. And when it wasn't, it was a Ben Carson story. I think that tells you that Marco Rubio and a so-called mainstream, I'd like to say, electable candidate for the general election is out there.

AXELROD: But if Ted Cruz pulls this out tonight ...

CUPP: Yeah.

AXELROD: ... and he is viable, now you have a strong Ted Cruz, you have Trump who has a lot of staying power.

CUPP: Right.

AXELROD: Because this wasn't his home field.

COOPER: Right.

AXELROD: And now you have a Rubio.

CUPP: Right.

AXELROD: How does that sort out to a two-person race between the establish candidate and ...

COOPER: You know ...

CUPP: When it winnows it will though. When it winnows ...

BORGER: But if they don't have ...


COOPER: As we look at -- as we look now with 41 percent of the Republic vote, it in -- Ted Cruz, 29, Trump, 26, Marco Rubio at 20 and Carson at 10.

[21:35:02] Let's go back to Wolf and John's to take a look at where the votes have come in and where we're still waiting to hear from him. Guys?

BLITZER: Still plenty of votes outstanding right now John King. On the Republican side, 41 percent of the caucus sites reporting. That means a lot of votes out there. Where does the Donald Trump for example need to do better to over take that Ted Cruz lead?

KING: First place you need to do better is right here, in Polk County where Des Moines is. It's 15 percent, 14 percent of state population.

At the moment, this is your urban area. And some suburbs right on Des Moines at the moment, Ted Cruz is running ahead in Polk County. He's also running ahead right next door in suburb in Dallas County. Lot more in suburbs right here in the Eastern Part of this county. Ted Cruz running ahead, but only 26 percent so far in Dallas County and 34 percent in Polk County. As we pop back up to the full view of the state, I will tell you this Wolf.

If those -- if these two counties stay orange throughout the night, I would guess that Ted Cruz gets a narrow victory because that's where the people are. And the reason I'm surprised by this at the moment, to see Ted Cruz doing so well, here can look at those two counties, is this is where you find Mitt Romney Republicans. This is your establishment, mainstream Republicans.

Ted Cruz clearly has a good organization in the state. At the moment he's doing well in the place where you might not expect it, the downside for Ted Cruz. All this Donald Trump out here. And again, let's just circle some of it.

I just want to show you most of this, remember there's the little orange in here to be fair with Senator Cruz. But look at all the red right there, right. Now let's go back in time to four years ago, almost all of that was Rick Santorum. Little bit of Rick Perry, little bit of Rand Paul, little bit of Romney.

But this is the evangelical small town Iowa that Ted Cruz needs to run up. Why does he need to ruin it up in those communities? Because when you look at them, they're pretty small, you just pick a county here, 42 percent the vote in here, Pocahontas County if your Disney fans, 41 percent to 21 percent but very small vote counts in these counties.

So Ted Cruz, if you go back in time, I just going to show you to look here. This is where Santorum run it up and Rand Paul ran strong Rick Perry. Socially conservative, libertarian voters. Very key for Ted Cruz. At the moment, the map again is a little bit counter duty, what are we waiting for? The burke had just started to come in, just 6 percent of the vote. Again this is Mitt Romney, suburbs. Mainline the establishment Republicans. Rubio are running a bit ahead here but only 6 percent of the vote there. We need to watch that.

This is still out, that's very important. Linn County here, if you come down to where Cedar Rapids is, only 15 percent and again Ted Cruz can hold this county, that will be huge for Ted Cruz, you go back in time, that's Mitt Romney country.

So this is the big fight here. Trump is in here. Rubio is in here. Now you see Cruz leading at the moment. They get anywhere you have a major city, you have suburbs that's' where your Republicans live. But the shot to me at the moment, Trump is doing well pulling somebody's evangelical counties that reflexible, you would think should be for Ted Cruz.

And in the central part of the state, where you think here, aint is where the students are. We thought maybe Rand Paul would do well here. Maybe Marco Rubio he is an organizational campus. At the moment, Cruz doing well in Story County which again down the southern part as the campus here. Southern part as in Des Moines suburbs. If this stays orange, that's where people are. It's good for Ted Cruz it's just surprising. So as we wait to have more of these votes come in, up to 41 percent of Polk County. We'll see these numbers can't change. It strong at the moment.

BLITZER: Let's take a look at the Democratic side because it's getting closer with 63 percent of the caucus sites reporting. It's only a two-point race now between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders.

KING: I think the palms are getting a little bit sweaty as the counts comes in. BLITZER: Yes.

KING: In the Clinton campaign, yes. The reason she's ahead right now, again back to Polk County it's the biggest county in the state. 14 to 17 state population, she's winning with 54 percent of the vote. I want to tell our viewers, that who's throughout the night, pay no attention these numbers to the left of the Democrats and the Republican side, there vote counts. The democrats are state delegate equivalence its part of the state party county.

BLITZER: I just want to tell our viewers who are interested in, the Democrats do not release the actual numbers. Unlike the Republicans, that's why you're not seeing the actual numbers on the Democratic side because the Democratic Party doesn't release those numbers. They just released these so-called state delegate equivalence and the percentages.

KING: Right.

BLITZER: Where does the vote need to come in for Bernie Sanders right now to overtake that 2 point advantage with Hillary is currently have.

KING: One thing he likely needs to do is close the gap here as the other 56 percent of this vote comes in. He can't run 8 points behind in the biggest county in the state most likely. Now the rest of them, give it for Bernie Sanders, let's go to the eastern part of the state. Dubuque right now about half of the vote in Hillary Clinton running ahead here. If you go back in time to 2008, that was Barack Obama.

So Bernie Sanders needs from previous numbers to eastern part of the state. If you drop down here now to Davenport and Scott County, 41 percent of the vote and you see Sanders has a pretty good lead here. Six point lead, he needs to keep that lead, maybe stretch it a bit but this is 5 percent, little more than 5 percent of the state population. So more eggs in the basket. Here where the live and I just want to look and see how we're doing in the college town.

BLITZER: Certainly doable for Bernie Sanders to tie this thing up.

KING: But we still have almost 40 percent of the vote left. Yes it's more than doable. If you look at the college towns right now, yeah Bernie Sanders is running it up big. Some people might see maybe running up too big in some precincts. He wish those kids can got home. We can do stronger elsewhere in the statement. That's a good number.

I want to show you one thing if you go back in time. One of the things that's interesting to me is we forget in largely a two-person race, Clinton, Sanders, Martin O'Malley start reaching the threshold. John Edwards was a strong candidate, a very strong candidate eight years ago.

[21:40:02] I just want to show you something great quickly. I circle the John Edwards part of the map here. Circle it up here, circle it up here, and circle with here and here, and why not do it here. Now, take a peek at this when we come up to this, that's John Edwards eight years ago, almost exclusively, Hillary Clinton this time.

So, she's winning the counties that didn't go for either Clinton or Obama eight years ago which is helping her map in the, what essentially a two person race tonight again Senator Sanders.

BLITZER: So still, we are relatively only 65 percent of the caucus sides reporting, so there's no plenty of time for Bernie Sanders potentially to catch up to Hillary Clinton.

KING: There is time at the moment if this part of the state needs to change, the central part, the margins need to get better. But yes, there still votes out there. We're going to be doing map for long.

BLITZER: Now, standby, we got some breaking news. I want to go back to Jake and Dana. I understand Dana you're learning something very important.

BASH: That's right. We've been seeing all these big crowds and I've heard from a Republican source familiar with turn out. Again, just on the Republican side saying that they are on pace for a record breaking night. The last time around, four years ago was about 121,000 Republicans who went to the caucuses. Now, they're on pace two go to at least 150,000. So, that's a pretty high number. And again, we were talking about this Jake, that coming into the night that would potentially be good news for Donald Trump.

TAPPER: For Donald Trump because the theory is that he is bringing in so many new voters and we'll see, we're still waiting to see the final results, but we'll see if he was able to convert all those the rally attendees into caucus attendees. One of the other things that we've seen this evening is that a lot of the voters who made up their mind in the last month went for Marco Rubio.

So that Rubio surge that we've seen in the polls in the last few weeks appears to be real. So, a lot of these people turning up for Donald Trump some of them turning up for Marco Rubio.

BASH: And to your point, literary, I just got a text and we were both looking at it from a voter who I met at a Trump rally in Davenport earlier this week who just text me said, you know what, I ended up caucusing for Marco Rubio and, you know, perhaps it's be -- I mean, there's lots of reason but the notion of wanting somebody who can win in November. A lot of those people were kind of teetering between Donald Trump and Marco Rubio. This particular just anecdotally this particular voter went for Rubio.

TAPPER: For Rubio, interesting. Let's take a look at the Republican right now. Right now, we have 29 percent going for Ted Cruz, 25 percent for Donald Trump, 21 percent for Marco Rubio, Ben Carson holding strong at 10 percent, that's with about half of the vote and half of the hard numbers.

It's still anybody's race right now, but that is a strong showing for Marco Rubio. Still Ted Cruz right now looking as though he is exactly where he wants to be for this night to turn out the way he wanted too. Let's go back to Wolf and David Chalian in Washington. Wolf? BLITZER: Well, hi guys, thanks very much David Chalian and our political director is here. You're taking a closer look in all of these numbers right now, who showed up and what they wanted.

DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: That's right, he asked the voters as they showed up the caucus sites today, what are you looking for in terms of a candidate quality? And I think, this is going to help explain to everyone watching why Ted Cruz is where he is right now. Take a look at this. Among the voters that said, "I am looking for a candidate who shares my values Ted Cruz is demolishing the field.

37 percent for Cruz, 21 percent for Rubio and 16 percent for Carson and seven percent for Paul and that is 41 percent of the Republican electorate, that was a really important quality in the Republican caucus goers, when we asked, "What about the quality you're looking for somebody who can win in November," that is Marco Rubio territory, the electability question, 43 percent say Rubio, 25 percent of those voters went for Trump and 22 percent for Cruz, 2 percent for Carly Fiorina. But that was only 21 percent of the electorates.

So not as many Republicans caucus goer looking for electability as was looking for somebody to shares their values.

And finally, this quality, telling it like it is, well, that's obviously the Donald Trump brand, that's what he's been campaigning on, all season long, 67 percent of voters looking for a candidate who says, I want someone who tells it like it is. Go for Donald Trump, 11 percent for Cruz, 6 percent for Carson, 4 percent for Rubio but only 15 percent of the Republican caucus-going electorate is looking for that quality of telling it like it is. That's why with 4 out of 10 Republican caucus goer saying, "I'm looking for someone who shares my values", and Ted Cruz is going well there. I think that helps explain why we're seeing where he is right now.

BLITZER: It's really a tight race on the Democratic side, a very tight race on the Republican side. Let me update you on the latest numbers right now, there it is. On the Democratic side, 51 percent for Hillary Clinton, 49 percent for Bernie Sanders, 67 percent of the caucus say, showing look at how close it is on the Republican side. Top three, 29 percent for Ted Cruz, 25 percent for Donald Trump, 21 percent for Marco Rubio.

[21:45:08] Only half of the votes is that actually been counted among the Republican caucus sites. We don't know who's going to win on the Republican side. We don't know who's going to win on the Democratic side. Let's take a quick break and we'll be right back.


BLITZER: We got a Key Race Alert. It's very, very close, look at this on the Democratic side, almost 70 percent of the caucus sites reporting. Only two points separate Hillary Clinton at 51 percent, 49 percent for Bernie Sanders. This is still very close, could go either way. On the Republican side, numbers building up 57 percent of the caucus sites reporting, 29 percent for Ted Cruz, 25 percent for Donald Trump, Marco Rubio doing very well at 21 percent, Cruz ahead by 3,550 votes.

This is very, very close on the Republican side. Still plenty of votes outstanding and very close on the Democratic side as well. Shaping up to be what we anticipated close. Let's go back to Jake and Dana.

TAPPER: Thanks Wolf. Well, with all these concrete numbers coming in, we're very interested in hearing what the campaigns and the candidates are saying. Let's go to Jeff Zeleny who's at Sanders' headquarters. Jeff, a nail biter, 51 percent to 49 percent, was about two-thirds of the vote in, what is Sanders' campaign saying?

ZELENY: Jake, it is a nail biter and both campaigns are looking at the exact same neighborhoods, the exact same precincts, so lot of them in Polk County here in Des Moines. The one top adviser to Hillary Clinton, one top supporter in Iowa supporter says, "It is quite uncomfortably close."

So yes, she is slightly up 51 -- 49 with 60 percent of the delegates in, but it is very close. I'm also being told, Senator Sanders is preparing his speech this evening. Win or lose, he's going to declare victory here.

[21:50:00] He's going to move forward with his call for a revolution. The same call he's been giving out on the campaign trail and in any way you slice this, even if he comes in, nearly behind her, he has to see this is as huge achievement here and they're planning a big online fund raising push with this going forward here that will propel his campaign.

But right now, they are looking at these precincts, these neighborhoods in Des Moines. The O'Malley factor which we talked about so much is also coming into play in several of these precincts. So, we're keeping a close eye on this Jake and Dana.

TAPPER: 51 percent to 49 percent with 31 percent of the votes still due in. Hearts are pumping and palpitating all over Iowa.

And Dana, you just heard Jeff report that Sanders, no matter what, is going to declare victory. And that's one of the things we see in these contests, there are the numbers and then there is the spin.

BASH: That's right. And if you were running Sanders campaign, if I were or anybody, Republican or Democrat, just on the pure operations inside of this, you would do the same thing.

I mean, of course, he came from nowhere. This would be, you know, pretty remarkable gain, even if he doesn't come in first.

However, if Hillary Clinton wins, there is no other way to put it. Hillary Clinton wins this, especially given all of the pressure, all of the history, all of the baggage that she has.

And so, as much as Bernie Sanders, if he doesn't win, says that it's a different kind of victory, it's hard to take that away from Hillary Clinton. TAPPER: Another tight race on the Republican side, Ted Cruz right now in the lead. Let's go to Sunlen Serfaty, who was at Cruz headquarters.

And Sunlen, Ted Cruz known for having a ground game out there like no other operation. He probably has an idea of what's going on in each precinct better than most people in Iowa.

What is he telling you? What is the campaign saying about where they are right now, and where they expect to end tonight?

SERFATY: Well, Jake, the Cruz campaign is feeling good at where they are right now, they have, of course, invested a lot in their ground game here in Iowa.

I'm here with Ted Cruz's communications director, Rick Tyler. Tell me how you guys are feeling right now?

RICK TYLER, CRUZ COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: Right now, I feel a little nervous, but cautiously optimistic, it looks like more than half the vote is in. Where ahead comfortably and we hope they remain that way all night.

So, right now, it feels optimistic, enthusiastic and grateful.

SERFATY: Tell me about turnout all these talk tonight about record turnout. What are your internals number is showing?

TYLER: It looks like there will be a record turnout. I don't have any exact numbers, but it looks like there was all the reports I'm getting is record turnouts, big large turnouts.

And so, we're a little surprised that we would be leading as much as we are, but we are. And so, we're grateful.

SERFATY: In that record turnout, did that benefit Ted Cruz?

TYLER: I didn't think it would, because often, when you have someone with celebrity name, that's well known, and with a large turnouts with people that have never voted before, you would worry about that.

But right now, it looks like record turnouts are coming out and supporting Ted Cruz. So, again, I'm cautious, optimistic, we're not declaring victory yet, but hopefully we can do so soon.

SERFATY: Jake, back to you.

TAPPER: All right. Sunlen Serfaty at Cruz campaign headquarters and Dana, with 60 percent of the vote in, you see Ted Cruz ahead, 28 percent, Donald Trump with 25 percent.

Marco Rubio, with this strong is showing a 22 percent, Dr. Ben Carson with his 10 percent holding solid. Very, very strong showing for Ted Cruz as of now.

BASH: You know, you just heard Rick Tyler say that they thought it's the numbers overall were higher, higher turnout, it would be better for Donald Trump. That's what all of us thought.


BASH: And it looks like right now, it's not going that way. One of the things that David Kelly in was pointing out earlier in ...

TAPPER: ... one of political director.

BASH: Our of political director in the entrance polls, I think could help explain why, because on the question of what is the number one quality you're looking for in a candidate, it's traditionally what you do think of in Iowa, not what you think of for people who would go for Donald Trump. It was shares my values.

And Ted Cruz crushed everybody else on that. He was up at 36 percent and Donald Trump was way down at 5 percent. The other thing that I think that we should say right now, is that if Ted Cruz wins this caucuses, he should send a giant bouquet of flowers to Marco Rubio. Because, it looks as though, Marco Rubio is taking some of the votes that Donald Trump has. This anecdotally and then just take a look at the numbers. We were talking about this earlier, right. I mean, did you expect Marco Rubio to be at 22 percent of the polling even at this hour?

TAPPER: No, although in the last few weeks he has been surging ...

BASH: Right.

TAPPER: ... to a degree. He took third place a few weeks ago, when Ben Carson started sinking in the polls. And then for that, Rubio can send a valentine to Donald Trump, because he certainly helped bring down Carson's numbers.

BASH: Right.

TAPPER: But the idea that -- of what you do said that it turned out that "Shares my values" was the most important quality for Iowa voters and Ted Cruz won that going away.

[21:55:01] And Donald Trump wasn't even ...

BASH: Right.

TAPPER: ... in the top four of the candidates when it comes to shares my values. Rand Paul did better than he did. That says a lot about why Donald Trump at least right now, is in second place. And not doing better, because the voters of Iowa don't think that he shares his values.

But as we were just talking about, Marco Rubio, the other big story going on, the surge to third place, a strong third place showing if it continues the trend that we've seen.

Let's go to Manu Raju who was in Rubio campaign headquarters. And Manu, they were predicting a third place finish in the Rubio campaign actual ones. And they got one, and it looks like it's going to be pretty strong.

MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: It looks like it's going to be better than what public polls showed.

Remember Jake, the Des Moines register poll had Marco Rubio at 15 percent. That's considered the goal standard in polling, they thought if they can get in the high teens or low 20's that would be a big night.

And as Dana was saying earlier, that the Trump supporters have been going towards Marco Rubio in the last closing days.

I've heard from campaign officials who told me that anecdotally, when they've been talking to voters, when volunteers have been reaching out to voters. They upheard that Trump supporters are coming towards them.

Now, what does Marco Rubio campaign want to argue going-forwards? What they are telling me that they're going to make the case that this is a two or three man race going-forward.

This is either between him as Donald Trump and Ted Cruz does not win this race or it's between him, Trump and Cruz. And what that needs would be an implicit message to the governors that they're going to try to make the case, put the governors in this race, Jeb Bush, John Kasich, Chris Christie, they cannot win this race.

They're going to make that more aggressively coming out of Iowa and expect them to spend even more money on the air in New Hampshire. Well, they hope to take this momentum going forward and into South Carolina. Jake.

TAPPER: All right. Manu Raju with the news from the Rubio Campaign, and of course, the Rubio supporters are going to want the other "establishment candidates", traditional candidates, Governor Kasich and Jeb Bush and Chris Christie to drop out of the race, but those three have put a lot into New Hampshire.

And they're going to wait to see what the results are in New Hampshire. But we have some breaking news right now. Mark Preston has -- Mark, what's going on?

MARK PRESTON, CNN EXECUTIVE EDITOR OF POLITICS: Well, I just heard from a source straight close to Governor Martin O'Malley, who tells me that he will suspend his campaign probably within the next 40 minutes, 9:30 central time, we expect governor O'Malley to come out speak to his supporters, they can put this down, but he will suspend his campaign.

Obviously, he's had a very disappointing showing tonight. He has spent a lot of time here in Iowa, spent a lot of time in New Hampshire. He's ran a, you know, pretty hard campaign, but was unable to breakthrough with Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton.

TAPPER: And when we look at the numbers right now, with about two- thirds in. And Hillary Clinton at 51 percent, Bernie Sanders at 49 percent, 0 from Martin O'Malley.

We should emphasize, that's not the popular vote, that's not how Democrats do it that has to do with the caucus procedure, it has to do with delegates.

And what that shows is that Martin O'Malley had no precincts, there was no precinct where he was able to get more than 15 percent of the vote.

So, he was deemed, not viable. So, not a surprise that he's suspending his campaign.

PRESTON: No, not a surprise, but I have to tell you about eight months ago, I spent about three or four days with Martin O'Malley here in Iowa, he was an amazing an campaigner, seemed to generate a lot of enthusiasm.

But then, on came Bernie Sanders and really seemed to suck that liberal enthusiasm towards himself.

Martin O'Malley was supposed to be the credible alternative ...

BASH: That's right.

PRESTON: ... to Hillary Clinton, that space was filled by Bernie Sanders.

But, you know, listen, he was the governor of Maryland, he's been the mayor of Baltimore, he's a very young man, he's got, you know, has a strong future ahead of him.

BASH: But it is so true Mark, we are all now so used to Bernie Sanders being the biggest challenge to Hillary Clinton. And it really wasn't that long ago that Martin O'Malley was supposed to be the one who could potentially give her a little bit of a run for her money.

And that Bernie Sanders was not thought of as somebody who could be that credible. And it just never happened. Martin O'Malley could never get some ...

TAPPER: And what happens to the Martin O'Malley voters out there, because it's a small percentage, but they are there in South Carolina, in New Hampshire.

Are you going to see Clinton and Sanders who are locked in this tight race, make a pitch directly to them?

Well, there's no question. And I think we probably saw that tonight at some of these caucus precincts.

In fact, we were told that the Hillary Clinton campaign was going out to try to woe some of these O'Malley supporters.

But to your point, especially in South Carolina where O'Malley had built up, you know, a fair amount of support for himself down there.

No doubt that we will see a split here. There are a lot of O'Malley folks who are not Clinton folks and they will not go with her.

TAPPER: It's a tough game politics, it's a top scoring.

All right. Let's go back to Wolf Blitzer in Washington, D.C., who has a key race alert.

BLITZER: All right. Let's do that key race alert right now. Take a look on the Democratic side, 63 percent of the caucuses states now reporting still a very, very tight race. 51 percent for Hillary Clinton, 49 percent for Bernie Sanders.

[22:00:00] Still could go either way, we'll watch it very closely with you.

On the Republican side, more the caucus sights have reported 75 percent.