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Bernie Sanders in Virtual Tie with Hillary Clinton; CNN to Host New Hampshire Town Hall on Wednesday. Aired 12-1a ET

Aired February 2, 2016 - 00:00   ET

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


[00:00:00] (CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT) DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Now, I have been criticized during this campaign for many, many things.

(LAUGHTER)

SANDERS: Every single day, that's okay; that's okay. But -- but, let me repeat what I believe. I believe that at a time when every major country on Earth guarantees healthcare to all people as a right, that I believe that we should do the same in the United States of America.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

SANDERS: So for all of my critics out there in "The Wall Street Journal" and "The Washington Post" and in Corporate America, wherever you may be, let me tell you straight up, yes, I believe that healthcare is a right, not a privilege.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

SANDERS: And that is why I believe in a Medicare for all, single- payer program, which will not only guarantee health care to all, it will not only end the pharmaceutical rip-off of the American people, but it will save the middle-class family -- the average middle-class family thousands of dollars a year in healthcare costs.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

SANDERS: Let me conclude by saying what no other candidate for president will tell you, and that is that no president, not Bernie Sanders, not anybody else will be able to bring about the changes that the working families and the middle-class of this country, that our children, that the seniors -- our seniors deserve; no one president can do it because the powers that be, Wall Street with their endless supplies of money, Corporate America, the large campaign donors are so powerful that no president can do what has to be done alone --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Speak Bernie!

SANDERS: -- and that is why -- and that is why what Iowa has begun tonight is a political revolution. (CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

SANDERS: A political revolution that says, when millions of people come together, including those who have given up on the political process, they're so dismayed and so frustrated with what goes on in Washington, with young people who before had never been involved in the political process, when young people and working people and seniors begin to stand up and say loudly and clearly, enough is enough that our government, the government of our great country belongs to all of us and not just a handful of billionaires. When that happens we will transform this country. Thank you all very much.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: A powerful speech by Vermont Independent Senator Bernie Sanders, now a Democrat and in a virtual tie with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton here in Iowa. The latest vote count 95-percent of the votes in, 49.8-percent for Clinton, 49.6- percent for Sanders. Sanders essentially declaring a moral victory this evening regardless of how it turns out. He said it was a virtual tie and it looks like his campaign and Clinton's campaign will end up with roughly the same number of delegates.

This is a bad night for the establishment, I would say, Wolf Blitzer. Both the democratic establishment, you will have Bernie Sanders, somebody who describes himself as a democratic socialist, basically tying with the ultimate insider figure, Hillary Clinton, here in Iowa and on the republican side, outsider candidates really winning the day in that contest.

[00:05:01] Jeff Zeleny is with the Sanders campaign and has some news for us. Jeff, a powerful speech from Bernie Sanders. What's next for him?

JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Jake, it was a powerful speech and, of course, he said that Iowa started the revolution here. So he's going to take that energy on to New Hampshire where he is already leading so much in the polls, has so much energy; but I am told by a senior strategist for the Sanders' campaign that they do not expect a final result tonight. They have been told by Iowa Democratic Party officials that there are 90 precincts across the state of Iowa, out of some 1,800 precincts, that do not have results. So never mind that. Senator Sanders said that it's basically a tie. They will split the number of delegates here and they will go forward to New Hampshire.

But, Jake, I can tell you the most important element of this speech, at least in the short term, is the fundraising possibility of it. Senator Sanders has built an enormous online fundraising capacity, more than Barack Obama, more than any other politician of this era. So this is going to be a very big moment for him going forward and again, it ensures that this race is going to keep going. If you look at the contrast between Secretary Clinton's speech and Senator Sanders' speech there really are differences here that have to be worked out in this Democratic Party so that's where this race is headed, a contest for the fight of the Democratic Party. You can be sure the Clinton campaign is going to start more directly pointing out some of Senator Sanders' flaws that they believe his ideas can be a conflicts. So this race moves to New Hampshire a tighter race than ever, Jake.

TAPPER: That's right; Jeff Zeleny and the latest polling in New Hampshire has Senator Sanders from neighboring Vermont ahead by quite a bit, more than 20 points against Secretary of State Clinton, although who knows what the effect of this virtual tie in Iowa will be.

Wolf Blitzer, back to you in Washington.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: It's amazing how close it's been among the Democrats, almost all of the votes in: 49.9-percent for Hillary Clinton. 49.6-percent for Bernie Sanders. It's -- I want to go back to Jeff Zeleny quickly. You're there with one of Bernie Sanders' top advisors?

ZELENY: Wolf, that's right; I'm joined by Jeff Weaver, the campaign manager for Senator Sanders. Jeff, what do you make of what is still remaining out there and are you satisfied with all the information you've gotten about this?

JEFF WEAVER, BERNIE SANDERS' CAMPAIGN MANAGER: Look, there's still some of the vote out. It's very, very, very tight. I mean, who knows whether one of us or the other will be a couple delegates up or down but this is a tremendous victory for our campaign tonight. We started here in single digits and we fought our way up to a tie, and maybe a win. So this is really going to be a springboard for us into New Hampshire and the states beyond.

ZELENY: What do you think is the fundraising possibility of this tonight? Senator Sanders raised $20 million in January online. What's your estimate of what this will do?

WEAVER: Well it's hard to estimate but I, you know, I expect the people who have supported us online will see this as a really great sign for this campaign and the future of this campaign and I'm confident that, you know, that they'll be generous again. You know, we're really grateful to everybody who's given to this campaign in amounts of an average of $27. We're going toe-to-toe with the Super PAC's and the Wall Street funding and the big donors and we're showing we can win.

ZELENY: As you know we'll see both candidates in the CNN Town Hall on Wednesday night. Is it time for Senator Sanders to start showing more distinctions, particularly on those email controversies? He did not do that here. Will we see a new tone on Wednesday?

WEAVER: No, we're going to -- look where we came. We went from 5- percent to 50-percent. So, you know, we're going to keep doing what we're doing. We're going to talk about rigged economy. We're going to talk about a corrupt campaign finance system and we're going to talk about the needs of the American people. We'll let the e-mails deal with themselves.

ZELENY: Okay; Jeff, we'll see you Wednesday in New Hampshire. Thank you very much. Wolf, back to you.

BLITZER: Yeah, that Town Hall Wednesday night is going to be huge. Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton, they'll be on the stage. Anderson Cooper will moderate questions coming in from voters in New Hampshire. That primary a week from Tuesday. A week from now. It's after -- it's already Tuesday on the East Coast of the United States; so one week from tomorrow is the -- excuse me.

The Town Hall is Wednesday night. The New Hampshire primary is one week from Tuesday. A week away, the New Hampshire primary, the Town Hall Wednesday night in prime time. Anderson Cooper will moderate.

Let's take a close look at the votes right now, 95-percent of the votes in. Only three-tenths of one percent separates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. 49.9-percent, 49.6-percent. They are very, very close in what are called the state delegate equivalents. These are the representatives that will go to the Iowa Democratic Convention, and let's take a look at the state delegate equivalents. They don't release the hard numbers on the democratic side but 665 state delegates for Hillary Clinton; 662 for Bernie Sanders;

[00:10:02] Martin O'Malley who has suspended his campaign, he's got 7 so far.

Let's go over to John King right now. John, it's about as close as you possibly can be. If you take a look at those delegates, 665-652, it's 50/50 when you round it off.

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It's not hard, given how far ahead when she began this race, especially in Iowa, for Hillary Clinton to call a tie with Bernie Sanders a win; but it's not hard for Bernie Sanders, who started so far behind to say, as he did tonight, I beat the machine or I tied the machine. So this is a big night for Bernie Sanders. As Jeff Weaver, his campaign manager just noted, we don't know the final numbers yet. It's likely one will win one or two more delegates than that.

So 90 precincts are still out. Wolf, where are they? They're all spread around the state, but the bulk of them here, we still only have 88-percent of the vote in the largest county in Iowa, Polk County, so that's a big thing. Now Secretary Clinton has been winning by this margin about all night long. There's no guarantee when the others come in they'll be consistent, but she has had that roughly 7-point margin throughout the night. So they would assume that although there could be some Sanders' precincts; we still don't know.

Where else are they? Over here in Linn County you see 95-percent of the vote, that means there's still a few precincts out. Bernie Sanders winning quite handily out here in the Cedar Rapids area and the suburbs around it. We're waiting for some more votes there. Up here in Dubuque, in Dubuque County, 97-percent; that's gone up in the last couple of minutes. So they're getting close to finishing up here. Secretary Clinton with a lead up there. Senator Sanders though running pretty competitive.

Down here in Scott County, in Davenport, now up to 98-percent. That's gone up in the last couple of minutes too, where Senator Sanders is leading narrowly there. So you can find a few more if you go through some of these rural counties up here. That one's at a 100. This one is at 100. So it's getting pretty full if you go through those. So the bulk of them are down here in Polk County, in Des Moines, scattered a little bit in the east.

Again, you've got 90 precincts out. We've got 95, so that means 95- percent of the vote counted. You're unlikely to shift the votes in any dramatic way. One of them will win by a little, tiny bit; we just can't tell you at the moment, because the bulk is here, because she's been leading here all night and if you're in Vegas you'd place it in her winning by this much, but I don't know if that's a safe bet the way the night's going.

BLITZER: No, the numbers actually, right now, 49.8-percent, 49.6- percent. It doesn't get much closer than that. We'll watch -- we're going to watch this very, very closely to see if we get some final numbers in the course of tonight. Let's take a quick break. Much more of our special coverage when we come back. Maybe we'll find out the actual winner of the Iowa Democratic Caucus.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[00:16:06] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: And welcome back to our continuing coverage of the Iowa caucuses. Let's take a look on the democratic side: Hillary Clinton's got 49.8-percent right now with 95-percent reporting. Bernie Sanders 49.6. It does not get much closer than that. Martin O'Malley has already said he is going to be suspending his campaign.

And, of course, this coming Wednesday night in New Hampshire I'm going to be moderating a CNN Town Hall with Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton, the first time they are going to be on the same stage, on the same night, just after just two nights after tonight's dramatic close finish.

Peter Beinart, Contributor to "The Atlantic" we haven't heard from you so far. Do you expect Senator Clinton to now start coming after Bernie Sanders even more aggressively in the coming days?

PETER BEINART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think she has to because she's always been weaker in New Hampshire and her biggest problem, and you saw this in the two speeches, there is a huge passion gap here, between the two candidacies. This is not only a problem for Hillary Clinton in the primaries, it's going to be a problem for her if she wins the nomination. Presidential campaigns are built around passion, around inspiration. She has a lot of strength as a candidate, but this is one serious weakness.

COOPER: Michael Nutter, former Mayor of Philadelphia, you're a Clinton supporter. Do you see that passion gap?

MICHAEL NUTTER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I appreciate Peter's perspective. I think passion is a component of it, but you also have to be practical and be able to get things done and we certainly saw that in 2008 and you know, with Senator Obama --

COOPER: That's the message Hillary Clinton has been saying now for quite a while that she's the pragmatic candidate. That's not getting a lot of excitement in the room.

NUTTER: I think she was pretty passionate tonight. Hillary Clinton is a fighter. She demonstrates that time and time again. She's going to fight for America. This was a close race. Everyone always said it was going to be close. The two candidates made great speeches tonight. They're now moving on. We'll go to New Hampshire. We'll go to. You'll see this race change over the course of the next couple of weeks. So Senator Clinton, if she has to show more passion she'll show more passion, but I think people want to know what are you ultimately going to do? What are you going to get done and on that count Senator Clinton shows the practical experience of making things happen.

COOPER: It's so interesting though, you see the generational divide in the support for Bernie Sanders, so many younger people, older people for Senator Clinton and again, that, I guess the younger people see a lack of passion perhaps in Senator Clinton.

AMANDA CARPENTER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: In watching Hillary Clinton tonight, before I've said I think Bernie Sanders would be easier for Republicans to beat, but when I saw Hillary Clinton give her victory speech, there's nothing happy about it. I mean, she was shouting her lines and came off so angry. This is the candidate the Republicans want to face and think they can beat. So if Hillary Clinton -- if that's where she's going to go and how she's going to campaign in New Hampshire and South Carolina, bring it on.

But I did think it was very interesting that while they're fighting over tenths of percentage points she was immediately pivoting to the town hall saying Bernie Sanders we're going to meet in New Hampshire again because she's ready to shift to the next fight because she did not win this one.

COOPER: David?

DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: I think it's not only the enthusiasm gap but I think the strength that Sanders has shown here is going to pull her further to the left, substantively. She's going to have a hard time. How do you make compromises with the Sanders people? How do you get that enthusiasm back? You start moving left; and what we've seen tonight is the Republican Party voting for the far right candidate in Cruz and the Democratic Party voting for the far left, and the moral victory, in Sanders.

COOPER: And Senator Clinton very clearly tonight saying she is a progressive and wants to get things done --

GERGEN: Exactly.

COOPER: -- but clearly the Sanders' audience does not buy that. GERGEN: But the Democratic Party -- she's -- it used to be a sin as a Democrat to say you're a liberal.

COOPER: Right.

GERGEN: That was something people chased you around about. Now she's fully embracing this and he comes out and talks about let's be radical.

COOPER: Right.

GERGEN: And he gets votes.

COOPER: Revolution. We've got to go back to Wolf and John and look at more numbers.

WOLF: All right, guys; thanks very much. John, I want to go precisely -- this is about as close as possible. Hillary Clinton slightly ahead of Bernie

[00:20:01] Sanders, with about 95-percent of the vote now in: 49.8- percent, 49.6-percent. Doesn't get much closer -- what's taking so long for these remaining precincts, counties to come in with their vote?

ZELENY: We're on the phone. Iowa Democratic officials statewide, and also going through some of these counties, most of the missing precincts are here in Polk County, 88-percent of the vote. Wolf, we've been stuck on that for well over an hour. We've been stuck at 88-percent. I just looked at a smaller map, the precincts are scattered around the county that are still outstanding. We're trying to get the reasons from the state party and some of the state party officials are saying we may not have this tonight; we may have to wait until the morning. But we'll keep asking, where are the votes here? That's the biggest chunk of votes, here in Polk County, where Des Moines is, but also some other areas. Again, consistently Secretary Clinton has been leading Senator Sanders throughout the county vote. That doesn't mean what's still out will come in at the same rate, but we're keeping an eye on that.

Other votes are missing, more over here in Lynn County. This is where Bernie Sanders has been winning most of the night over Hillary Clinton, a six-point margin in the County right now; 95-percent of the vote in the County. That means a handful of precincts still that haven't reported here.

We can go around the state. The other big place where there were some a little while ago, let's check. No, Dubuque is now up to 100- percent. Secretary Clinton beating Bernie Sanders there. So the two main areas -- let me just check down here. Scott County, where Davenport is, Senator Sanders running just narrowly ahead, 51-41; got a precinct or two out there. There you're at 98-percent. And then, if you go around some of these rural areas, there's one or two.

But, the bulk of the mare here in the Des Moines area and then over where I just showed you, in the Cedar Rapids area and that's what we're asking. This has been over for a long time. Somebody has the votes. The question is, and we went through this, remember, in Clinton County last time, sometimes you've got to double- check the math, but we're asking in Polk County, we're asking in Linn County and we've got a razor tight race, 49.8 to 49.6.

BLITZER: So close; two-tenths of one-percent. If it's that close, we don't know who's going to win yet; we cannot project a winner. We're watching very, very closely. We know right now, for all practical purposes, it's a virtual tie.

We're going to take another quick break. When we come back we're going to New Hampshire. A week from Tuesday the New Hampshire primary. We've got a focus group there. They were watching all the candidates tonight. We're going to update you on what's going on in New Hampshire when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL GROUP)

[00:25:54] BLITZER: Welcome back. Doesn't get that much closer than this on the democratic side. The Democratic Causes, right now, Hillary Clinton slightly, very, very slightly, ahead, 50 to 49-percent when you round it off. 669 delegates to 666 delegates. One of the counties where they're still, John, some votes out there Linn County where Cedar Rapids is right now, 95-percent of the vote is in?

KING: 95-percent is in, that means you've got three or four or five precincts that are still out. (Inaudible) it's obviously important for Senator Sanders. He's trying to catch up. He's in a statistical tie, but he's hoping to come out on top and he's been leading by 6 points all night, pretty consistently in this county. The question is, will that be the case when we get the final precincts?

BLITZER: Well let's go -- Brenton Ellis is joining us on the phone right now. He's the Democratic County Chairman; Brett, thanks very much for joining us. So what's the problem the remaining, what, about 5-percent of the vote; what's happening with that?

BRENTON ELLIS, DEMOCRATIC COUNTY CHAIRMAN, IOWA (via telephone): We just turned them in to the Iowa Democratic Party. The issue was with regards to using volunteers to be able to get all the detail in without confirming that the results were there.

So can you give us the final results in Linn County, because we only have 95-percent the state democratic party hasn't given us the final numbers yet.

ELLIS: What it would be, from what we've just submitted, is just one additional delegate, proportional, to what we have here in Linn County compared to what was there before.

BLITZER: So what's the percentage for Hillary Clinton? What's the percentage for Bernie Sanders?

ELLIS: I'm sorry, Wolf. I don't have that.

BLITZER: Was the additional delegate for Sanders or for Clinton? ELLIS: For Sanders net wise for the ones that weren't there.

BLITZER: So that's -- so that brings, John, a certain advantage right now. That's good news for Bernie Sanders, obviously, in this important county, Linn County.

KING: Yes, we've been tracking it mostly by percentages all night because it's easier to explain to our viewers. But for the campaigns they track them by delegates to the state convention, it's a multi- tiered process. They go to the state convention and then they elect at the state convention delegates who go on to the national convention. So if Sanders picked up one more from Linn County that puts him more in contention as you pull out, you know, we come to the whole state, if he gets one more, let's -- you know, one more that would get him 667 to 670 and then we're still over here in Polk County -- we're still over here in Polk County where the bulk of the votes still outstanding is. But when you're in a race this close, you get one, that's a place.

BLITZER: All right, Brenton Ellis, thanks very much for that update. We're going to check in with Polk County. There's some outstanding votes there as well. We're getting closer and closer to a final result. Let's take a quick break. Much more right after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[00:32:17] BLITZER: Welcome back. We're still waiting a few more results from Iowa. Right now it looks like a virtual tie between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. This is what we know right now: 49.8-percent for Hillary Clinton. 49.6-percent for Bernie Sanders. That's with 96-percent of the vote now in in the state of Iowa.

Polk County, that's the largest county in Iowa, the home of the capital of Des Moines, right now, you see that county, you see there's Hillary Clinton parts, there's Bernie Sanders' parts. The white parts are still undecided. We don't have numbers yet for Polk County. We're watching that very closely. We hope to get those numbers soon. Hopefully we'll be able to find out who is the winner in this very, very close race between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders in the Iowa caucuses.

A week from today, the New Hampshire primary takes place. Randi Kaye joins us from Manchester, New Hampshire right now. Randi, you've got a focus group there of New Hampshire voters, Democrats and Republicans, who have been watching all of this very closely.

RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely, Wolf. A lot to see and a lot to watch here in Manchester, New Hampshire as everything was happening in Iowa. The important thing about this focus group, Wolf, is that they're all undecided. So we have about 60 folks here gather here in Manchester and they all had one of these into their hands, it's the Microsoft Pulse App on the phone. What they were able to do as the speeches were happening and the caucus results were coming in, they would hit, on this phone, strongly agree for the big thumbs up, and hit the button with the thumbs down if they strongly disagreed what they heard. They did that every five seconds. So we got real results, they're real sentiment as it's happening.

So, as I said, many of them undecided here, but they did have some strong reaction to Donald Trump, when he came out tonight. They were pretty neutral when they said he was hoping for a victory in New Hampshire, but they had a strong reaction to this; listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, (R) REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I don't know who's going to win between Bernie and Hillary. I don't know what's going to happen with Hillary. She's got other problems, may be bigger than the problems she's got in terms of nominations, --

[Cheers and Applause]

TRUMP: -- but we've had so many different indications in polls that we beat her and we beat her easily, and we will go on to get the Republican nomination.

(END VIDEO CLIP]

KAYE: All right; so they strongly agreed there, but you -- you, Lisa, you didn't really like what Donald Trump was saying.

LISA, UNDECIDED VOTER, NEW HAMPSHIRE: No, I didn't. When he came out we anticipated him being more grateful and to have some sort of party platform and talk about his politicking and his hopes for coming to New Hampshire.

KAYE: Was he too divisive for you?

LISA: And he was very divisive when he spoke about Secretary Clinton.

KAYE: So the group as a whole seemed to like what he was saying, but as I [00:35:02] mentioned they're all undecided here; but on the Republican side of the room, all undecided coming in tonight. Did anybody get any closer? Did anyone pick a candidate? Raise your hand. You did? Okay, and I know there are some Cruz and Rubio. Rubio? Rubio back there. Cruz back there and another Rubio. Another Rubio. okay.

So let's see how the Democrats on this side, democratic voters on this side of the room feel, because they also got a chance to listen to Hillary Clinton and she really did talk quite a bit about policy. Watch their reaction to this sound bite, Wolf.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEC. HILLARY CLINTON, (R-NY) REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I know that we can finish the job of universal healthcare coverage for every man, woman and child.

[Cheers and Applause]

I know we can combat climate change and be the clean energy super power of the 21st century.

[Cheers and Applause]

I know we can make our education system work for every one of our children, especially those who come with disadvantages. I know we can make college affordable and get student debt off the backs of young people.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KAYE: All right; so they've really liked that. They strongly agreed. They kept hitting that strongly agree button. Pulsing, pulsing, pulsing; you guys on this side of the room. Raul, why did you like that so much?

RAUL, UNDECIDED VOTER, NEW HAMPSHIRE: Because it just demonstrated a breadth of policy understanding and I think, for me, I'm still an undecided voter because I think there's a lot of -- a lot of inspiration coming from both sides. I still haven't made up my mind.

KAYE: Let me ask Mary, next to you, what did you think of Hillary talking policy?

MARY, UNDECIDED VOTER, NEW HAMPSHIRE: I thought Hillary Clinton did an excellent job tonight but I think Bernie Sanders ended up beating her, hands down. He not only spoke about policy, what he plans on doing, but he has done this without any Super PAC behind him and I think it's time for Bernie to stop being marginalized and I say, go Bernie.

KAYE: I know that's a big deal coming from you because you told me earlier tonight that you've been following Hillary and supporting Hillary for a long time. So let me ask on the democratic side of the room, all of you coming in tonight undecided, did any of you decide on a candidate tonight? All right; this is big because you're only a week away. Who did you pick?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hillary.

KAYE: Hillary? How about back there?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bernie.

KAYE: Bernie?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bernie.

KAYE: Bernie? Okay; and the rest of you still undecided? All right; obviously Wolf a lot more work to be done by the candidates here in New Hampshire when they step foot in this state and also by these folks here. They've got to make their minds up, Wolf.

BLITZER: They'll have an opportunity Wednesday night with our CNN Town Hall in New Hampshire, Randi. Our Anderson Cooper will moderate Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton. We'll take questions from voters in New Hampshire, also from Anderson as well. Prime time, Wednesday night in New Hampshire, just days before the New Hampshire primary. Let's take a look and see how close it is here in Iowa right now.

Take a look at this. Hillary Clinton with 49.8-percent; Bernie Sanders 49.6-percent. About as close as you can possibly -- in Polk County right now, that's the largest county in Iowa right now. There's still outstanding votes there in Polk County. You can see the white parts of Polk County

those are still outstanding right now. We're trying to figure out why those votes are still outstanding in Polk County. Once we get those votes in maybe we'll be closer and closer to a final decision in Iowa right now. In the meantime, much more of our special coverage will come up right after this quick break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[00:42:09] BLITZER: -- outstanding votes in the Iowa Democratic Caucuses. We're waiting for those results. In the meantime, looks leek a virtual tie between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. Right now, take a look at this 49.8-percent for Hillary Clinton, 49.6- percent for Bernie Sanders, two tenths, just changed. 97-percent of the vote now in; two-tenths of one-percent. If you look at the state delegates to their Iowa Democratic Convention, 681 state delegates or they're called, technically, State Delegate Equivalent for Hillary Clinton, 677 for Bernie Sanders. Very, very close in Iowa right now.

There are some counties where votes are still outstanding, like Polk County for example. That's the largest county in Iowa right now, the home of Des Moines. There are still some parts of Polk County, we're waiting for those numbers. We hope to speak to the Democratic Party Chairman to get a better answer why some of those areas of Polk County, the white areas you see in that map over there of Polk County, still are undecided. We're going to get some answers, hopefully, soon. I'll update you on that. In the meantime, a virtual tie.

Anderson, as I've been saying all night, it doesn't get much closer than this.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It certainly doesn't and an exciting night in the republican side as well. Chairman Mike Rogers joining us tonight. We haven't heard from you in a while. In terms of the Republican race, as they move now to New Hampshire, how do things change on the ground with Ted Cruz coming in first?

MIKE ROGERS, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY COMMENTATOR: Well, two things. I think first of all, anybody that thought that Ted Cruz was a one- horse, you know, town in Iowa I think they're wrong. It shows that he can put an organization and over-perform. When those numbers top 180,000, many people, me included, thought that's probably going to benefit Trump.

COOPER: Right, the idea that there was going to be a lot of new voters.

ROGERS: New voters, that was probably 30,000, maybe even 40,000 new voters, he was able, through organization, which, I tell you a lot of folks who look at politics for a long time thought we'd lost touch with how it works in presidential campaign, this is good old fashioned ground game, organization and he worked to get out the vote. So that worked, and it will work in South Carolina as well.

COOPER: It also raises questions about Donald Trump's ground game. We didn't know a lot about it, frankly, in Iowa. They didn't allow cameras in. There was kind of a lot of secrecy around it. The question is, in New Hampshire, --

ROGERS: Not sure there was. I think they went in with an air game. I think they thought you could win it with an air game and if you've been in politics you have to follow it up with a ground game.

COOPER: So the question is, in New Hampshire is it the same problem going -

PETER BEINART, CONTRIBUTOR, "THE ATLANTIC": I think the question is how matched does Trump fall now? I mean could Marco Rubio possibly win New Hampshire? Sure. I think it's not out of the question now. I mean, given that Trump's entire identity has been based on him being a winner, I think we could see a dramatic shift there and I don't think it's possible to imagine this even becoming - moving towards this becoming a two-person race.

[CROSS TALK]

ROGERS: This was a big night for Rubio though, by the way;

COOPER: No doubt about it.

ROGERS: That was the other part. This was a huge night -

COOPER: Third place win - and also equal number of delegates --

[00:45:06] ROGERS: He almost beat Donald Trump for second place, and by the end of the night --

[Cross Talk]

AMANDA CARPENTER, FORMER COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR, TED CRUZ CAMPAIGN: One thing that I think is worth pointing out, that Ted Cruz was able to win by a good percentage, even while Ben Carson took 9-percent of the vote. Rubio, going into New Hampshire, I think you can argue he did indeed consolidate a number of establishment support, in the Iowa win, with a third place finish. How much more support can he get from that lane if Ted Cruz does indeed pick up the 9-percent from Carson? That will be the most interesting thing to watch going forward.

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: if you look forward to New Hampshire so we've had three governors who are sitting in New Hampshire tonight who, weren't really factors in Iowa, who believe that New Hampshire is their ticket forward.

COOPER: Kasich, Christie and Bush.

BORGER: And Bush. So they're there. Rubio, then, moves in now with a lot of momentum as does Cruz. I was e-mailing with a senior Rubio advisor and I said, can you possibly win New Hampshire and of course they say well, we possibly can, but from their point of view, I think if they placed second in New Hampshire, then they feel they can go on to actually win a contest March 1.

CARPENTER: 3-2-1, that's been their strategy. Come in Third in Iowa, Second in New Hampshire --

BORGER: And One -

VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: Well they've got Nevada and South Carolina before they ever get to March 1.

BORGER: Well that's right, but March 1 is there -

CARPENTER: And here's Marco Rubio's

JONES: And Trump is going to have to unload on Rubio, the way he -

BORGER: Oh, totally, and they're ready for it; yeah.

KEVIN MADDEN, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: The big question now is what does Trump do? Trump now has to fight on two different fronts. He has to fight Rubio in New Hampshire and he has to fight with Cruz down in South Carolina. And at the same time, -- I think this will be the other question that's going to get answered, does the outside money, the Super PAC world, do they start to concentrate all their fire power on Donald Trump, who has not face - who has faced very minimal opposition, when it comes to negative advertising. And if he has to fight on all three of those fronts right now, that is probably where you start to see Trump come back to earth.

BEINART: Because one of the lessons of tonight actually is negative ads against Donald Trump actually work. It turns out that was able to actually drive down his numbers among conservative evangelical Christians by focusing on his history of being culturally liberal. There was this idea among a lot of people in the media that he was somehow immune to this, and it turns out he was not.

COOPER: There's also all this -- a lot of questions about does Donald Trump have a cap on the percentage of votes he can get, on the number of supporters -- has that question been answered at all tonight?

DAVID GERGEN, SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: No, I don't think it has been answered. I think Peter Beinart put his finger on the right question, that is does the air start going out of the balloon? It is true, his brand was all about being a winner and I can deliver and I will deliver and everything like that. It was very impressive. That does not mean though he can't bounce back. we've seen candidates do that before. I think to do that it's not a question of fighting. I think it's a question of showing a different side of Donald Trump we haven't seen and that is a more mature, less bombastic, generous. He had some elements of that in his speech tonight. I think if he's humbled by this and shows that he can take it and he can take the punch and he can come back in New Hampshire, he'll get himself back on track.

COOPER: Has anybody ever seen a sign that he is Donald Trump -

[Cross Talk] COOPER: I don't say that smugly. I mean, really, has -- he says he can change as president. The question is can he change as a candidate, and will that actually help --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think we've got to put a couple of things in perspective here. Iowa was the perfect state for Ted Cruz.

COOPER: Right.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He needed to win to have a shot. He did that. He was very impressive. Iowa is Donald Trump's worst state in the entire union.

COOPER: Right.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So we have to see if he can bounce back from that. Rubio had a very good night but he has to win a state. The idea he's going to come in third in Iowa, second in New Hampshire, lose South Carolina -- someone else had that strategy, and it was Rudy Giuliani. It didn't work out very well for him. So you've got to win a state to win.

The expectations game is nice for us up here, but it gets you a few delegates. it doesn't get you momentum.

CARPENTER: And the thing to look at is the amount of cash on hand that these candidates have on hand. Rubio is waiting for the money to come. Ted Cruz is going in with more cash on hand more cash on-hand, in the field, with almost $19 million, I believe. he has more money than many of the establishment candidates combined. So how does Rubio, does he consolidate the support from him, get the big money to ultimately become competitive? That's a big gamble.

BORGER: I think the Establishment (inaudible) are coming tonight.

ROGERS: Here' show you know that Trump is act - the air is coming out of the sails, he actually has to show up for a television interview. He can't phone it in. When that starts happening I guarantee you he's in trouble.

COOPER: We're going to take a look at also the Democratic side coming up, but let's just take a look at the numbers right now. Still in Iowa, Hillary Clinton at 49.8-percent. Bernie Sanders 49.6-percent. Still some caucus results still to come in. We'll try to get some more numbers on that, see who actually won this if we can find out tonight in, say, the next hour or so.

We're going to take a short break; our coverage continues.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[00:53:26] BLITZER: They're still counting the votes in the Democratic Caucuses in Iowa right now. 97-percent of the caucus sites have reported. Look at how close it is 49.8-percent for Hillary Clinton. 49.6-percent for Bernie Sanders. Look at the number of state delegates: 682 go to the democratic convention in Iowa. 682 for Hillary Clinton; 678 for Bernie Sanders; Martin O'Malley, he has just suspended his campaign, so he's no longer running at least right now.

Jeff Zeleny is joining us on the phone right now. He's over at Bernie Sanders' headquarters. Jeff, what's the problem here? You're getting new information on why we're not getting these final numbers so that everyone knows who actually won.

ZELLENY ( via telephone): I am. I'm actually at the Des Moines airport with Senator Sanders. He's beginning to make his way to New Hampshire, but a campaign official with the Sanders' Campaign has just told us that the Iowa Democratic Party, in their words, failed to adequately staff 90 precincts across the state and they are now asking both the Clinton campaign and the Sanders' campaign to help recreate the results from what's happened tonight at the caucuses and they do not believe -- or are not sure that that can be done this evening. they said the party officials are working through the evening to do this, but that is what the holdup here is.

Now we're not exactly sure where these 90 precincts are. The Sanders' [00:55:02] campaign of course is going through them. They did not say exactly where they are. We know some of them are right here in Des Moines, in Polk County, the state's most populous county; but that is why there is, you know, once you get a deadlock, an uncertainty hanging over these Iowa caucuses, this time on the democratic side, of course four years ago it was on the Republican side, but the Sanders' campaign saying they will help out and cooperate and try and recreate this.

Of course, both sides kept very good records and they had their own online app and their iPhone app to keep attendance records and things. so there is information out there, but the Party, the state party, apparently did not adequately staff 90 precincts, at least in the view of the Sanders' campaign.

BLITZER: I don't understand what that means to restage the caucus, the caucuses in those various locations. What does that mean?

ZELENY: It's just to recreate the results. so it would be to say specifically how many people came out for Hillary Clinton, how many people caucused for Bernie Sanders. So that is our understanding what the party does not have the official tally, if you will, from these precincts, at least that is our understanding coming from the -- what the Iowa democratic party has told the campaign; but again, the Sanders' officials are quite sharp in their language of this. Their language saying the state party failed to adequately staff some 90 precincts. As you know, Wolf, there are some 1,800 precincts across the state of Iowa that make up the Iowa caucus.

BLIZTER: That's shocking. Is it because they had a higher turnout than they anticipated; is that the excuse they're giving for this?

ZELENY: Certainly that could be one of the reasons, but you know, there were definitely questions about technology. Was this new Microsoft technology actually going to work in some of these places. We don't know if they're urban counties or if there's some rural counties, I'm guessing it's a mix, so perhaps that could be playing a role as well here, but it's certainly one question mark hanging over this very, very close -- too close to call, Iowa caucus.

BLITZER: It's pretty embarrassing for the Democratic Party in Iowa that they failed to adequately staff 90 or so of these caucus sites. That's pretty embarrassing. Jeff Zeleny, if I you get more information, let us know.

I want to go over to John King. John, it sort of reminds me four years ago on the Republican side where they originally declared that Mitt Romney won only three weeks later to declare, not so fast. It was really Rick Santorum who won.

KING: It was a mix-up at state party headquarters over the count in Clinton, Iowa, if you remember. Carolyn, if you're still up, sorry we didn't have to call you tonight. I guess you're probably happy we didn't have to call you tonight.

It is, it's a little bit of amateur hour or mistake and misunderstanding. You know you're going to have a packed night. You know you have a competitive race.

What Jeff means by "recreating the campaign", the campaigns keep their own tally, some on papers, some on an app. Now the question is, when they call the Sanders' person at the precinct in question, do they agree with the Clinton person at the precinct in question? As long as they agree on the count they'll figure it out. The question is, do we get any disagreements?

Where are those precincts? Well, they're all over the state. Most of them are here. we're still only up to 94-percent in the largest county in the state, the one that's closest to democratic state headquarters, you would think that maybe at least closer to home they would make sure that they were properly staffed but that's 6-percent of the votes still out in Polk County.

Remember, we were talking with the chairman in Linn County a while ago; they're up to 99-percent now. They were at 97-percent, I believe, when we had that conversation. So they've resolved most of their issues, but it was still something missing out there. I just noticed this a minute ago; out in Woodbury County, which is Sioux City, where Senator Sanders is winning, we're still missing 7-percent of the vote out there. So this could be encouraging for the Sanders' campaign if the trend continues in that county. We don't know that. We don't know which precincts are missing and what would happen there.

As you can see, that's the far western part of the state. This is the center part of the state. Still got some missing in the eastern part of the state, and then, Wolf, if you look around, if you just sort of go around the map, and see 91-percent Mitchell County, this is a very tiny county, less than 1-percent of the population, Secretary Hillary Clinton winning handily what's in so far, but still 9-percent of the vote out there is that one precinct. We don't know the answer to that question. You can find more of those if you surf around. 92-percent here,

Franklin County. Again, Secretary Clinton winning over Senator Sanders by a bit there, but you don't know the precinct or two that are left outstanding, but the bulk of them, clearly, if you're looking at 97, 98-percent of the vote counted statewide and you're still missing 6-percent in the state's largest county, that's where most of the missing votes are tonight, in Des Moines and this area around it within Polk County.

It's pretty awkward, pretty embarrassing John, I've got to tell you, that they didn't have it adequately staffed and there's 90 caucus sites; very, very, embarrassing for the Democratic Party in Iowa. We'll see if they can recreate those numbers and do it in a fair and responsible way. Even though it's about as close as you can possibly think, it's a virtual tie right now, the bragging rights are important for Hillary Clinton, if she wins, or Bernie Sanders if he were to win in Iowa, that would be significant. So clearly an embarrassment for the Democratic Party.