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Clinton, Sanders Answer Questions in CNN Town Hall; 44 Percent of Registered Voters in New Hampshire are Undeclared; Marco Rubio is the GOP Candidate the Democrats Are Most Worried About. Aired 12-1a ET

Aired February 4, 2016 - 00:00   ET



DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: And here we go. It is midnight on the East Coast. This is a special "CNN TONIGHT." I'm Don Lemon.

We are counting down to New Hampshire, to the primary, just days away. The race for the democratic nomination, up for grabs. Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, each trying to make their case, or their cases, to voters at our Town Hall tonight. So who is up? Who is down? And what happens next? So let's discuss with the dream team, the political dream team.


LEMON: Wait, what did you say? I'll introduce you. What did you say, it's what?

No; this is CNN after dark. We're ready to go.

Tell the boss to turn the TV off.


LEMON: Let me introduce you first.

BRAZILE: I'm Donna.

LEMON: A lot of people don't know. Donna is here; Bill is here; Van's is here; Gloria is here; Kevin is here; and Bakari is here. What's the name of your book? Let's get it in before --

BILL PRESS, POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Oh, thank you. It is "Buyer's Remorse",

LEMON: Go, Donna.

BRAZILE: I'm going to leave that book alone.


BRAZILE: Yeah, yeah, yeah, but you talked about mojo. One of the things we saw eight years ago when we had a competitive democratic race, is that Barack Obama, one hour. Hillary Clinton walked into New Hampshire, an underdog, 11 points behind, and she got her rhythm back. She got it back that afternoon on a Friday and she talked about why she was in it. I think tonight both Hillary and Bernie had an opportunity to really soften themselves; not come across as politicians, but people who care about ordinary folks with their issues, whether it's heroin addiction or that end of the life question. And for democrats, I thought this was a good night, just to figure out which of the two candidates will have what I call the "momentum" to get through the --

LEMON: Let me ask Gloria this, as a person who does the analysis here on CNN, do you expect Bernie Sanders to keep his big lead, to keep his lead in New Hampshire?

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: It's so hard to know. You've got 44-percent of the registered voters in New Hampshire are undeclared.

LEMON: 57-percent to 34-percent.

BORGER: So there are people who are undeclared, could go either way and there is a large group of undecided voters. We had our questioner on before who said she's still got some days left. I think Bernie Sanders goes in with an obvious advantage. It's a regional primary to a degree. It's his home state but you never know. You never know.

VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: He did something tonight that I thought was good, and I want you to tell me if you think it will help him. He talked about his own spirituality.


JONES: And he talked about how religion and his religious views informed his public view.

BORGER: His politics.

JONES: I have never heard them him do that. Will that help him?

BORGER: He's not -

LEMON: Let's listen. Before you answer, let's listen and then Gloria will answer that. Go ahead.


SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (D-VT) DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I would not be here tonight, I would not be running for president of the United States if I did not have very strong religious and spiritual feelings. I believe that as a human being the pain that one person feels if we have children who are hungry in America, if we have elderly people who can't afford their prescription drugs, you know what? That impacts you. That impacts me. I worry very much about a society where some people say spiritually it didn't matter to me. I got it. I don't care about other people. So my spirituality is that we are all in this together, and that when children go hungry, when veterans sleep out on the street, it impacts me. That's my very strong spiritual feelings.


LEMON: The question, is did he help himself, Gloria?

BORGER: Sure. You know, he's not quoting 2 Corinthians, right?


BRAZILE: He was Old and New Testament with that argument, that's right.

BORGER: He is a secular candidate. He is a secular candidate, and what he is saying is whatever I do is informed by my spirituality because I care about the human race, and I care about people and I don't want to see people die and I don't want to see veterans that are homeless and on and on and on. So of course. Of course he helped himself. It's not a natural -- it's not his natural turf, just like foreign policy is not his natural turf. I think we saw that today on his answer in ISIS. His natural turf is income inequality.

LEMON: Also, Bill, he had the -- Hillary Clinton had the moment that Anderson showed earlier, in the 11:00 show, when she talked about humility and so forth.

PRESS: Which is a very powerful moment for her, and I was very moved by that. Here with Bernie, I think what we saw for the first time, and I know him well, and I saw for the first time, is, what is driving that passion of [00:05:04] his or -- about inequality and about people who don't have health care, about kids who can't afford college or end up with these $100,000 in loans afterwards, I mean, that passion is driven by his faith. He has never talked about it, and tonight he did. Again, I come back to his format.

[Cross Talk]

BAKARI SELLERS, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: But let me tell you something we saw with Bernie Sanders tonight, which I was really impressed with; we saw the evolution of a candidate tonight.


BRAZILE: Mm-hmm.

SELLERS: Because Bernie Sanders tripped up over his tongue and shoe and everything else on questions of race at the beginning of this campaign. There were a lot of people who were hoping that he would match up the inequality vein that he was in with understanding that racism does exist in this country. Fundamental --

LEMON: Did he trip up over race or did he trip up over the "Black Lives Matter" thing?

SELLERS: No, he tripped up over the context by which we discuss it today -


SELLERS: -- and it's vastly different from the context which he discussed it a decade ago or two decades ago because when Bernie Sanders began this campaign, to speak to black people, Bernie Sanders introduced himself and said I marched with Dr. King. Take that and I'm out.

What you saw tonight was Bernie Sanders pivoted very well and Bernie Sanders did something I have been waiting on him to do. So when he was posed with the question, he eloquently talked about demilitarizing the police. He talked about independent investigations when we have -- he talked about recidivism. I mean, these are things that Bernie Sanders talked about and Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders tonight, they actually took a large part of this opportunity and actually looked towards South Carolina --


SELLERS: -- because this message that Bernie Sanders talked about, that wasn't a New Hampshire message. When Hillary Clinton started preaching, now I understand that may be okay in New Hampshire but my mom has a book of prayer, Daily Word, by her bed every day and she is reading it in the morning and Hillary was talking to those women, especially those black women, in South Carolina. So I thought both of them got an A+ for being able to pivot and look forward.

LEMON: Go ahead, Van.

JONES: No; I was moved. I was moved by Sanders. Listen, I spend a lot of time in California. You have a lot of secular liberals. They will not talk about it any of these spiritual or religious things in public, as a matter of principles. He did it in a way that felt very authentically.

Hillary Clinton also -


JONES: -- usually you say, talk about your faith. Pander. Talk about your faith. Neither of them felt like they were pandering. I thought that was important. Also, I do think this issue of, again, moving young people.

This racial issue is not just playing for African American young people. Young people travel in multiracial packs that looks like Skittles bags now. You've got every color in the Skittles bag and all these young people are concerned about that. I thought it was important that Bernie Sanders, you were exactly right, he evolved on that issue beautifully.

And to talk about this a little bit more, how you're going to pay for all these things: college, community college, public colleges he wants a lot of that --

SELLERS: He has a good answer.

LEMON: How you going to pay for it and the question of raising taxes. Here he is answering.


CHRIS, TOWN HALL QUESTIONER: Senator Sanders, the first thing I hear about you is that you're going to raise taxes on the middle-class. I support my family on a salary of $41,000 a year. I'm wondering if you raise my tax, how does that help me?

SANDERS: Can I stand up?

ANDERSON COOPER, MODERATOR, CNN TOWN HALL: You can do whatever you want.

SANDERS: Chris, thanks very much for that good question. This is what we are going to do: the United States is the only major country on Earth that doesn't guarantee healthcare to all people, and we end up spending far, far more per capita on healthcare as do the people of any other country, Canada, UK, France, whatever. What we are going to fight for is a Medicare for all, single-payer program, which would provide comprehensive healthcare to your family and every family in America.

So, let me tell you what we do. We raise your taxes if you're - you're somewhere in the middle of the economy, about $500; but you know what we're going to do for healthcare? We're going to reduce your healthcare costs by $5,000. So you're going to pay a little bit more in taxes, but you're no longer going to have to pay private health insurance premiums.

Now I've been criticized for this but I believe that healthcare is a right of all people; that we should not have these deductibles and copayments; we should not be paying the highest prices in the world for prescription drugs; and our Medicare for all program will guarantee comprehensive care to all people and save middle-class families some thousands of dollars a year.

COOPER: Chris, let me just ask you, does that math work for you?

CHRIS: I mean, if it saves me on health insurance premiums, I will gladly pay more taxes.


LEMON: Does that math work for you, Bakari?

SELLERS: I don't know if that math really works for anybody, if you look at it honestly and objectively. I mean, I think the problem a lot of people have is it goes back to the question of how do you pay for it.

I mean, we talk about free college, and we know how Bernie Sanders wants to pay for his free college plan. He talks about the fact that you're going to tax speculation on Wall Street, correct? But one thing that we saw today, actually had a great piece out there that said of the $70 some odd billion that is going to be spent on it, 23 of those are going to have to come from the states. I come from South Carolina. Nikki Haley is not [00:10:01] pitching in anything so everybody can have free college for all. We're going to have these conscientious objectors, or whatever you want to call them, throughout the country. I just don't think that many of the things he is talking about is practical.

What I do know is that Hillary Clinton did come out with a plan that talked about her college affordability, and things of the sort, where she (inaudible) about $25 billion going to HBCU'S and how she was going to pay for it and practical.


SELLERS: Oh, I forgot. Historically Black Colleges and Universities which are fundamentally struggling today.

LEMON: I heard Bernie Sanders say something, parents don't want to - parents will say I don't want my kid to have a $100,000 college bill.

SELLERS: It sucks.

LEMON: But I heard conservatives all over the country going well, isn't that part of parenting, that you sort of figure out how you're going to pay for your kids so you don't have to have that $100,000 loan?

[Cross Talk]

KEVIN MADDEN, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: I mean, if you really want to see - if you really think healthcare is expensive, or college tuition is expensive wait until it's free and then it becomes really expensive. Where the government -- when the government steps in and starts to guarantee that they're going to take away or they're going to pay your loans because you start working for nonprofit, then you take away a lot of the profit incentives of people that are coming out of college to make more money and to widen the tax base. So there's a lot of problems with some of these plans. To tell you the truth, to the answer to the question of, does that math work for you, there wasn't any math involved. It was just a big giant promise from Bernie Sanders that he is going to come in.

[Cross Talk]

Bernie Sanders to come in on his unicorn and give everybody $5,000 in savings.

LEMON: Let Bill go. Go ahead.

PRESS: Look, I just want to say, look, I disagree on this too. This is Bernie's Achilles heel. I'll admit that, right. How you going to pay for the college? How you going to pay for the health care?

BORGER: Raising taxes? PRESS: But I think if you look at Obamacare the private insurance companies are still in charge, they're still raising rate, and people are still paying these high premiums. That's the math. If you don't have to pay an insurance premium, you're going to save -- pick a number, $4,000, $5,000 a year.

LEMON: You guys have to hold on, we have someone waiting. We have a lot of time left.

PRESS: So if you pay $500 as opposed to $5,000, or whatever numbers you use, that is a saving. It convinced that guy. I don't know why you guys can't believe it.

LEMON: I want to check in now. We're going to get a "Reality Check" on some of this stuff. The "Reality Check" team takes on what the candidates are saying in all of our town halls and tonight that "Reality Check" team is headed by Mr. Tom Foreman. Tom, what do you have?


TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, don. Bernie Sanders got hit on this question about healthcare for veterans throughout and whether or not he has done a lot for it. He says he has always been helping out the veterans, and he pointed to a bipartisan bill. listen.

SANDERS: But it was the most significant piece of veterans' health care legislation passed in modern history. We put some $16 billion into veterans' healthcare as well as in taking care of veterans in a number of other areas.

FOREMAN: So there is the claim. What is he talking about? He is talking about a 2014 bill that did build more V.A. medical facilities, hired more doctors and nurses, increased funding for veterans' healthcare in private facilities and so on; and it did cost over $16.3 billion. So this claim is true.

FOREMAN: Hillary Clinton went after the Republicans saying they didn't care when the auto industry was in trouble but the Democrats came along and they bailed it out. Listen.

HILLARY CLINTON (R-NY) REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: All of us paid for it. They paid back the Treasury, so we didn't lose any money and we saved millions of jobs.

FOREMAN: U.S. taxpayers did not lose any money during the automaker bailout, saved lots of jobs. Well, they spent about $46 billion bailing out GM, actually lost about $10.6 billion in that deal in dollars. Another billion or so for Chrysler, but about 1.5 million jobs were saved. So that was benefits not being paid out, taxes being paid in. It may have been a bargain, but in the end we have to say that her claim about the money is false; but her claim about the jobs is true.

And the last thing is Bernie Sanders, musical genius? well, Anderson asked him about this album that he made some time ago and Bernie Sanders said this -

SANDERS: It's the worst album -- actually, it's selling very well because people are buying it. It's the worst album ever recorded. People can't believe how bad it is.

FOREMAN: The worst album ever? Let's listen.

(Sanders singing "This Land Is Your Land")

FOREMAN: Wow. The worst album ever? I don't know about that, but he also said you can't believe how bad it is. I can believe how bad that is. We're going to say that claim is false.


FOREMAN: You can find out a whole lot more. Go to our website: check.

LEMON: Tom Foreman, we had some people here, Van was doing the dab.

[00:15:04] [Laughter]

JONES: That was my jam! That was my jam!

LEMON: Thank you, Tom Foreman, appreciate that. When we come right back, more from our New Hampshire Town Hall and what it means for the race in general. We'll be right back.


LEMON: Democratic candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders answering questions from voters tonight in CNN's Democratic Town Hall in New Hampshire, just days before the first in the nation primary. Can you believe it?

BRAZILE: Hey, I'm ready.

BORGER: Yes, I can believe it.

LEMON: Bill Press, Van Jones, Gloria Borger, Donna Brazile, Kevin Madden and Bakari Sellers. So here is the question: Hillary Clinton is banking on her southern firewall, right? But Bernie Sanders says that - Bernie Sanders campaign has plenty of money to burn. That's a whole lot of momentum. Can they -- can he -- look -- you want to continue that momentum?

BORGER: Look, first of all we have to see what happens in New Hampshire.


BORGER: If Bernie Sanders is -- and margins matter here. I mean, the polls that we were looking at before Iowa showed him ahead what, 23 points.

LEMON: Right. BORGER: Hillary Clinton can't lose by 23 points in New Hampshire -

JONES: Not going to happen.

BORGER: -- that would be really bad for her. I don't think she will either. [00:20:01] I do think that she's got the organization, the strength, the history in the South that Bernie Sanders campaign does not have. So I think it's very, very difficult for him. I think it's uphill; they know it. They're not -- they're making inroads, as we were talking about earlier, but it's a tough slog.

LEMON: He's pulling in a lot of money. Let's listen, he talked about it.

BORGER: Yes, he is.


SANDERS: We're feeling really great. I think the message that we are bringing forth is resonating with the American people, and you talked about money. One of the things that has happened at our campaign, Anderson, which has blown me away, it really has, is he have received 3.5 million in the individual contributions. That is more than any candidate in the history of the United States. up until this point and you know what the average contribution is?

COOPER: $27.

SANDERS: Hey, you heard, and in a day of Super PAC'S, where people are raising huge amounts of money from Wall Street and the drug companies, the fact that millions of individual contributions, from working people and the middle-class, who want us to go forward and to transform this country in very significant ways is very moving to me.


LEMON: Is that -- remember 2008, right, when it was small donations that were --

BRAZILE: Fueling Barack Obama's --

LEMON: Is this a revolution? Is this a Bernie revolution similar to a Barack Obama revolution of 200 --?

BRAZILE: Well, look. It's refreshing to see the amount of money that Bernie is able to raise. He is not going out there doing a lot of fundraising, so that's refreshing. On the other hand, as you well know, the Democrats, you know, and the Republicans compete for big dollars and Super PAC's and other things. I'm not a big supporter of Super PAC's as well, but I want to talk about, we talked a little bit about South Carolina and of course we started having church. it's so -

I like this process. we start off in two small states and then we move on to states that are more diverse, especially for Democrats. 56-percent of our votes will come from white voters but 44 from non- white voters. We're about to head into a part of the country in the part of the electorate that many Americans don't hear from. So it's very important that we have two candidates who are willing to engage on these issues, whether it's criminal justice reform or in Hillary's case talking about, you know, economic issues, but we're about to head into a discussion that I hope we're ready for because there are a lot of people in this country who are hurt --

LEMON: Go ahead, Kevin.

MADDEN: Here is the thing: if I'm a Hillary Clinton supporter, I'll grant you everything on the organization. She definitely has a great organization. She is about to go into a part of the calendar that probably better suits her profile as a candidate. But here is the thing about Bernie Sanders, he has outperformed expectations every single milepost along the way.


MADDEN: Whether it's been the money, whether it's been his performance as a candidate, whether it's been his message, his crowds. That kind of momentum where people feel that they're a part of it and that they have an incentive to go out and find, not only go to the polls, but bring ten of their friends with them. That's really powerful right now.

LEMON: I want to ask you a poll question, because the polls were wrong in Iowa. So do you think that the same thing can happen in New Hampshire when it comes to these polls?

BRAZILE: Are you talking about Donald Trump?

LEMON: Yes, Donald Trump.

MADDEN: Sure, we've seen it. We saw it happen in 2008 where I remember actually giving a briefing when we were up there. I was working on the Mitt Romney campaign and I kept saying well, I expect Barack Obama to win tonight, Senator Obama to win and a reporter had to stop me and say he is losing by ten points tonight. So there -- New Hampshire, just like Allison, the New Hampshire voter we saw before, they take this process very seriously. They wait until the last minute. She probably thinks there's is a long time from here until Tuesday to make up their mind and there is a whole host of other New Hampshire voters -

BORGER: And their contrarian

LEMON: -- something about this so-called "firewall".

JONES: If you had asked me 24 hours ago, 48 hours ago is it possible for Bernie Sanders to catch fire or do something with African Americans in South Carolina, I would have said I don't think so.


JONES: I would have said I think it's highly unlikely. something is happening out there and we may miss this again. First of all, we just had a whole conversation about how he is disqualified because he is talking about tax. I'm going to tell you something right now -

LEMON: We didn't say he was disqualified.

JONES: People were really banging on him saying listen, he is talking about taxes. That's going to be a complete non-starter. K through 12 education is free in America. That was a very controversial idea a long time ago; now it's not. When Bernie Sanders says a high school diploma doesn't get you very much, you should be able to get a community college diploma as well for free, for us all, that's (inaudible). A lot of people, you know what, that makes a lot of sense.

The other thing that I think you've got to understand is the frustration with this economic elite is so high. It's like why can't they give something back to the country? And I'm going to tell you right now, I'm starting to hear from African Americans who are saying you know what? What Bernie Sanders says makes sense. Now, I don't know if it cracks the firewall, but I think the assumption that the elite has now that he cannot gain traction I think is wrong.

[00:25:01] SELLERS: Just to put a point on that, to come back where you started with the money, that's where the money I think is so significant because, and Kevin, I heard you say this so I'm going to steal your thought last week. Candidates drop out. They don't drop out just because they're tired. They don't drop out because they need to go to Florida to get a change of clothes. They only drop out because they run out of money. Bernie Sanders is not going to run out of money.

LEMON: Let's talk about another issue, the use of military force; and I thought this was a very good answer by Hillary Clinton when asked about that. Listen.


MICHAEL, TOWN HALL QUESTIONER: You have a history of interventionist foreign policy that is troubling to many democratic voters, including myself. As a voter who is opposed to the United States being the world's policeman, can you assure me that as president you would not expand our military involvement abroad?

CLINTON: No, I can't, Michael. I mean, I'd like to be able to say I could, but here is what I can say: I have learned and have been, you know, really in the crucible of making a lot of hard decisions over the last years and military force must always be a last resort, not a first choice. That is one of the biggest differences between me and the Republicans. I will be a very careful, deliberate decision-maker when facing hard choices because I know what's at stake and I know you can understand why there can't be from me, anyway, a blanket statement but I want to assure you I will be transparent. I will be open, and I'll explain to the American people, if any occasion arises, where we do have to take military action to protect ourselves or our close friends and partners.


LEMON: I got to tell you, I like that because -

SELLERS: Honest.

LEMON: It's hard to tell people what they don't want to hear. She was very honest and respectful.

BORGER: But everybody knows - Hillary Clinton is steeped in foreign policy.

JONES: She wasn't pandering.

BRAZILE: She wasn't pandering.

BORGER: She wasn't pandering. She said no, I can't. It's a last resort and that's obviously her answer.

SELLERS: That's with her wheelhouse. That's her bailiwick. That's where she feels the most comfort -

BORGER: Right.

SELLERS: -- and where Bernie Sanders feels the least.

BRAZILE: And that's where voters feel comfortable with her and trust her as well.

SELLERS: And trust her.

BORGER: (Inaudible) asked the question about ISIS, you know, he said we're going to demolish or destroy them or crush -

JONES: Crush. Crush was the word.

BORGER: Thank you, crush was the word, but there is not a lot of meat on those bones at this point, and I think that's his -- she is really

comfortable with this.

[Cross Talk]

LEMON: A very busy day when it comes to the GOP candidates as well. Two more drop out. What's wrong?

BRAZILE: We're crying.

LEMON: Two more drop out, while Trump and Cruz, they fling the mud at each other. We'll talk about that when we come back.

BRAZILE: Oh, we cry. We cry.


[00:31:42] LEMON: And we are back; so that means everyone has to stop. You should hear these guys. They don't stop on a commercial break.

BRAZILE: We stop crying. LEMON: There is a lot going on today in the Republican race in the

days before voters in New Hampshire cast their primary ballots. So back with me, my political dream team, the talkers, the people I don't get a word in edgewise with.

BORGER: Speaking of -

BRAZILE: We allow you to stand up while we're sitting.

LEMON: You want to stand here?

BRAZILE: No, I'm Rosa Parks. I have my seat.


BRAZILE: I have my seat. You know I'm not giving up my seat.

SELLERS: At the front of the bus, too, right?


LEMON: Trump was in Little Rock, Arkansas tonight, and not in New Hampshire. Was that a good idea?

BORGER: No, I don't think it's a good idea.

LEMON: Really?

BORGER: I think before the New Hampshire primary, there is only one place you ought to be -


BORGER: -- and its New Hampshire, and it ought to be Manchester or Derry or wherever, you know. You just have to be in New Hampshire. The thing about Donald Trump is that he is not a retail politician. He is wholesale. He does the air war, not the ground.

LEMON: So what is he doing? Why did he do it?

BORGER: Well, I think it was probably prescheduled.

LEMON: Was this schedule thinking that after he wins Iowa --

BORGER: Yeah, I think so.

LEMON: -- he'll go to Arkansas and gets a Mike Huckabee endorsement?

BORGER: Well, it could be.

JONES: That was the rumor.

MADDEN: That's the only real logical explanation.

BORGER: Could be, and I think -

MADDEN: It's a March 1 state, but --

BORGER: So they've added more events on their schedule tomorrow. So he can maybe shake some hands or -- but, you know, I went to --

SELLERS: Does he shake hands? I've never seen him on a rope walk. Has Donald Trump ever done a rope walk?

BORGER: Not that I've seen, but I think you're going see it more and more because this is what the people in New Hampshire demand. you saw it tonight.

JONES: If he didn't learn from Iowa --

BORGER: Right.

JONES: -- that you either spend the dime or you spend the time. You either put the money into a real operation or you show up and you stand there and talk. He didn't do either. He didn't spend the time with people. He didn't spend the dime. If you didn't learn that from Iowa -

[Cross Talk]

LEMON: Let's talk to someone who has actually run a presidential campaign, Donna Parks here, whether it was a good idea for him not to be. Where should he be? Where should the candidates be?

BRAZILE: You know, I would advise him to stay in New Hampshire and try to make the sale and close the deal with voters. Look, they really want to kick the tires, look under the hood, they want to talk to you. You know what they like to do, because I know this. It used to bother me at first and then I learned the game. They want to say, you want to say don, I met the candidate and that's why we're going to support him because we talked about these issues; it's very personal to them.

The fact that you can just fly in and make a speech insulting half of his friends on the republican side and fly away, that's not going to cut it.

LEMON: Kevin, I've been asking this question for a long time.

BRAZILE: By the way, I didn't charge him.

LEMON: Is it time to thin the herd because you had Huckabee who suspended his campaign and now you've got Rand Paul. So it is thinning.

MADDEN: Yes, we're seeing natural selection now take place.

BRAZILE: Santorum.

LEMON: Santorum as well.

MADDEN: Right; Santorum, Rand Paul is now dropping out.

JONES: Huckabee.

MADDEN: I think there are a number of the folks up in New Hampshire that have gone all in this one state. So they don't have much of --

LEMON: Right.

MADDEN: -- they don't have much of an argument to go on and to Bill's point, they also won't have the resources to go on, unless they win New Hampshire.

SELLERS: But there is Jim Gilmore.

MADDEN: Jim Gilmore.

SELLERS: There is -- he is still standing. stand with Jim. stand with Jim.

LEMON: Who is the best -- Marco Rubio says he is the best to run against the democrats.

PRESS: I'll just tell you, as a democrat, right, he is the one that I fear the most --

JONES: Me too.

PRESS: -- as a candidate.

JONES: Marco Rubio.

LEMON: You as well?

JONES: Bakari's got better ideas than I do about it but I'll tell you right now, he is my nightmare because when he stands up there and talks about his dad being a bartender, I started crying. I'm like, when you have to remind yourself not to like somebody.

SELLERS: There is a flyer going around right now in New Hampshire that it's like Bill Clinton and Bakari Sellers say that Marco Rubio is the scariest one because you know what? He is. Marco Rubio just has this thing. It's something that you just can't teach. It's something that you wish your candidate could do.

BORGER: He is good.

SELLERS: He is good.

JONES: He's good.

SELLERS: Now I don't think he'll be a good president of the United States, but he does have that oomph.

[Cross Talk]

JONES: (Inaudible) is looking for an outsider; he's not an outsider.

MADDEN: Don, it usually takes me a lot of beers with democrats to say all this and admit it. Just so everybody knows I didn't give these guys drinks.

Here is to your point: he is very good at harnessing this middle- class aspirational economic message that we've heard before and a lot of republicans are very easily put in the box of only favoring the rich, or only favoring the business class and I think with Marco Rubio has an ability to connect with the middle-class and he talks about it from a very personal place.

LEMON: So this personal (inaudible) thing won't stick -


LEMON: -- because he is too young?

MADDEN: There are challenges. Like you'll hear so many people you'll hear so many folks say he is a republican version of Obama but remember, Obama won, and he was very good at reaching people with an economic message.

BORGER: And here's what we learned tonight, these Democrats like Marco Rubio more than a lot of Republicans.

LEMON: Donna, don't respond. We're going to rip on the Democrats, what they said about the Republicans tonight. We're going to give donna a chance to respond and everyone else a chance to respond as well. We'll be right back.



[00:40:55] LEMON: So they don't know I'm going to say this, but here is what we talked about on the break:


LEMON: When the candidates eat on the campaign trail, who is in shape, who is doughy, who needs to work out, who needs to eat better, campaign food is terrible.

BRAZILE: Of course.

MADDEN: Campaign food is awful. You start to -- you start to go for comfort foods which is they're all fried. They're all sugary.

SELLERS: The photo op with the hot dogs.

MADDEN: And they're everywhere. Everywhere you go. when you're in the green room.

BRAZILE: You're on a seefood diet: you see food, you eat it.

BORGER: Didn't Romney exercise every day?

MADDEN: He did. We used to make sure we had an elliptical put in whatever hotel room we were staying in.

JONES: Inside the room?

BORGER: So here is a thing about a woman candidate that is very different, because guys can go out and they can go jog in the morning.

JONES: Right.

BORGER: And then they don't have to do their hair and they go in and shower and they get ready out there. if you're Hillary Clinton and you're exercising in the morning, it's a whole thing.

LEMON: It's true. What did you guys see me do before the show?

BORGER: It's a whole thing.

BRAZILE: She could barely go to the bathroom without people talking about her.

LEMON: Just before the show, what? Went for a run and then I took a shower in the green room. Nothing, boom. no hair.

BORGER: You're a guy.

LEMON: I think so. So we mention the republicans. Let's see what the democrats said about the republicans tonight. First up, here is what Bernie Sanders said.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: While I'm inspired by your passion on the issues, one of the concerns I have is your electability in a general election, when there is less opportunity to really connect with voters --


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- and, you know, can you win in other parts of the country?

SANDERS: Good. Excellent question. Look, in the real world, there are people -- I hesitate to say this in the room but there are people who like Donald Trump. I know, but there are. Not in this room, but there are; and that's the world. We are a diverse political nation and there are people who like and respect Hillary Clinton and people who like me and so forth and so on, and I don't object.

Somebody will stand up and say I support Hillary Clinton. That's fine. But what I don't -- I object to is people say Bernie, I really like you. I like your ideas. I like your record, but I'm not going to vote for you because you can't win. So let me address that issue. Number one, I'm not a great fan of polls, not even CNN polls; but CNN had a poll, as I recall, and what that poll said is that Bernie Sanders ran significantly better against Donald Trump than did Hillary Clinton. Okay. There was another poll said the same thing because among other things, I do very well with independents and that's one of the reasons why we are doing well against republican. (END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: So, Bill Press, he doesn't like to attack Hillary Clinton. He doesn't really like to attack the other candidates. He does go after them, but he does it in a different sort of way, a more respectful sort of way. Does that work for him?

BILL PRESS, POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I'll tell you his answer on this first of all, after saying I don't believe in polls, but all the polls -- I thought it was the weakest part of his answer. What we didn't show there, he went on the say two other factors I thought were much more important. One he said look how many independents are there are out there today there are a lot more independents, almost twice as many, as there are democrats or republicans, registered today and he can appeal to those, and has already shown, he can appeal to those independents.

The second thing he talked about was turnout. Now, if he can do what he says, I don't know but he is certainly right. You've got to excite people and get them out to the polls and he said I'm doing that. I can do that in a general. I thought those were his two strongest points.

LEMON: If I'm not mistaken, the follow-up was that Donald Trump also has an appeal to independents and how would he counter that. I think I remember that follow-up.

PRESS: I think he was making the point they both have sort of tapped into the same reservoir of independents.

SELLERS: I think you saw this in Iowa, I mean, it wasn't Barack Obama 2008 turnout where you had 240,000 people show up.

PRESS: Right.

SELLERS: But there was still more democrats come out than any other general election, I mean primary election before that. So, I mean, Bernie Sanders [00:45:01] has tapped into a vein. Electability is still a question.

I mean Gloria asked the perfect question, she said is this like Barack Obama; and the answer to that is no, because when we were in South Carolina in 2008, we were sitting there waiting on the results from Iowa, and then when Barack Obama won in Iowa and we saw white people were going to vote for a black man, a skinny black man with a funny name, lights went on. We were like, this is our guy. We are not going to miss this boat. We're going to make him president of the United States.

So he does have that issue but, and it kind of meanders back into the firewall question, he is penetrating. Bernie Sanders is talking about things. His message is penetrating. It's not going to be as easy as people once thought it was going to be.

JONES: For Hillary. SELLERS: For Hillary, this is anything but a coronation and South Carolina is going to be closer than people thought it was going to be and the Deep South is going to be closer than people thought it was going to be. It's going to be a hell of a race.

BRAZILE: Let me just say this: in every election I've worked in, including for the Clintons, so if everybody - I've worked for the Clintons. Is that an admission?


BRAZILE: I've worked for the Gores. I've worked for everybody. If Bernie is the nominee, I'll work for him; but in every election, there is 25 to 30-percent of the black vote that is up for grabs, not just among traditional democrats, but also republicans, and democrats have to make the sale in order to get their support. Bernie has an opportunity because there is a sweet spot out there to galvanize those voters. Look, they didn't vote for the Clintons back in the 1990s. They didn't work on the Jackson campaign like I did in 1980.

JONES: You mean the young black voters?

BRAZILE: Yes. They worked for Barack Obama.

JONES: That's correct.

BRAZILE: So, to the extent that Bernie can tap into that feeling that Barack Obama gave so many young people to rise up and to take your seats at the table, he can find a sweet spot.

BORGER: Well -

LEMON: All right; when we come right back, remember that vast right wing conspiracy? Do you guys remember that?

BORGER: I remember that.

LEMON: Hillary Clinton says it's back and it's bigger than ever. Kevin Madden.

MADDEN: My membership card in my wallet.

LEMON: We'll discuss; don't go anywhere.


LEMON: We're talking about our first political memories. We'll try to get to that, that was in the break. Everybody is no, we don't want to do that. We'll talk about that, but let's talk about Hillary Clinton and the vast right wing conspiracy. You don't remember that, do you? Too young to remember that? No?

BRAZILE: Get my tissue out again.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEAN, TOWN HALL QUESTIONER: Once you become the nominee and become elected, how are you going to defend yourself against right wing attacks?

CLINTON: Well, Sean, I've had a lot of practice.


CLINTON: You know, I could laugh up here, but it's not easy. It is a brutal experience and when it first started happening to me back in the early '90s when I was working on healthcare and -- you know, I was unrecognizable to myself, what talk radio was saying, what republican members of congress and their allies were saying. I was just stunned. I could not understand how they got away with it and I have had to learn to take criticism seriously but not personally, and by that I mean this. the very fair question for Rebecca; people ask you questions or criticize you. Think about it

seriously. There are lessons to be learned, often from people who don't agree with you but don't take it personally so that it just paralyzes

you, literally stops you in your tracks.

So now that I've been through this for so many years, Sean, my -- my understanding of the political tactics than the other side uses is pretty well versed. They -- they play to keep. They play to destroy. They are constantly doing whatever they can to win.

ANDERSON COOPER, MODERATOR, CNN TOWN HALL: Do you still believe there is a vast right wing conspiracy?

CLINTON: Don't you?

COOPER: I'm asking you.

CLINTON: Yeah. It's gotten even better funded. You know, they've brought in some new multibillionaires to pump the money in. Look, these guys play for keeps. They want to control our country.


LEMON: The First Lady, we were trying to remember - she was the first lady when she said that, and you remember the moment when she said that.

BORGER: I do. it was on the "Today Show". Matt Lauer was doing this interview with her. It was during the Lewinsky mess and she talked about the right wing conspiracy. It was clearly something she and her staff, we were just talking Sid Blumenthal probably.

PRESS: Naming names?

BORGER: I don't know for sure but, you know, it was clearly something. It was clearly her defense and that of course paved the way for Bill Clinton to survive because she was defending him.

PRESS: You've got to say -- I'm sorry.


PRESS: One of the reasons that she does handle things so well is she's been -- they have been at her for a long time.

JONES: Go ahead.

PRESS: My previous book was called "the Obama Hate Machine." I don't think anybody has had more attacks, personal attacks against them than Barack Obama, except for the Clintons because it's been going on longer. so she can handle it.

LEMON: I always say that to younger people when they say this president. I always say, but you don't remember the Clintons.

JONES: I thought tonight she showed real wisdom. I mean that was not a calculated answer. When she talked about take it seriously but not personally. You can take that -- you can take that to the bank. You can preach on that and she also showed I think it hurts. Most of us up here had some of those moments where the media has turned against you. You can't describe the pain. It feels like somebody ripped your face off, stapled somebody else's face on you and now are throwing darts. She spoke about that in a very authentic way. That was important tonight.

BAKARI SELLERS, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: And then she went somewhere else too when she had the answer where she said I'd been through personal issues. Now everybody who has been watching this said I know what you're talking about.

JONES: Right.

SELLERS: And this answer that she gave, she went down this path of having to live with Bill Clinton and having to live with this genius of political structure and having to learn those things.

JONES: That was beautiful.

SELLERS: And being a mother, and that's what she wanted to do and she [00:55:02] started out volunteering. I think the people got a chance to see. she knows that trustworthiness is her issue but they got a chance to see -

BORGER: But she never said --

MADDEN: Here is the problem: a lot of criticism for Hillary Clinton also comes from the left whether it was her vote on the war, whether it was her authenticity on things like gay marriage. But the other thing you have to point out is there is a hypocrisy here. The Clintons have gone out and personally targeted and attacked anybody whoever brought up criticism of her husband or her, and they have done it with a vigor and they have done it with an aggression that can only be matched by some other critics that she has on the right. So let's just remember that when she tries to play the victim.

BORGER: And what she didn't say -

BRAZILE: She wasn't playing the victim.

BORGER: I thought it was a good answer, but she didn't say that yes, we made mistakes.

MADDEN: Right.

BORGER: You know, the e-mails may have been a mistake. Bill Clinton certainly had his share of mistakes when he was in the White House. So it was a good answer as far as it went; it could have gone a little further.

LEMON: All right; final thoughts after this. We'll be right back.


LEMON: All right; first political memory, Bill Press?

PRESS: Junior in high school, I interviewed John F. Kennedy.

JONES: Shirley Chisolm, first black woman, '72, running for president.

BORGER: Elementary school, the president's been shot.

LEMON: Wow. Mine was, Watergate and the President leaving office.

BRAZILE: Barbara Jordan, Keynote Convention, 1976.

MADDEN: Jimmy Carter addressing the Iranian Hostage Crisis.

SELLERS: '88, 4 years old, being held by Jesse Jackson on the campaign trail. You're a baby.

LEMON: You two were fantastic, will you please come back again?