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Bush Family Comes Out for Jeb; Interview with Judd Gregg; CDC Issues New Guidelines For Pregnant Women; Tackling The Exploding Costs Of Student Loans; Goodell Talks About NFL Concussion Crisis. Aired 4:30-5p ET

Aired February 5, 2016 - 16:30   ET


DREW GRIFFIN, CNN SENIOR INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): To be clear, the American National super PAC says it has nothing to do with the official Trump campaign and has had no communication with Donald Trump.

[16:30:04] Its white nationalist members just like Trump and are willing to support him, whether the candidate welcomes them or not.

(on camera): Just to button this up --


GRIFFIN: All those views that you hold.

TAYLOR: Right.

GRIFFIN: Donald Trump is your man?

TAYLOR: Well, he is the best man so far.

GRIFFIN (voice-over): Drew Griffin, CNN, Washington.


JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: Our thanks to Drew for that report.

As you can imagine, the robocalls are not going over well here in New Hampshire. An attorney with the group says he has received scores and scores of angry phone calls from voters in this state.

Coming up, she's 90 years old but that is not stopping Barbara Bush, the enforcer, wife of a former president, mother of another, hitting the campaign trail for her other son and taking on Donald Trump while she's at it. Barbara and Jeb will talk with us, next.


[16:35:06] TAPPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper at Dartmouth College, where you can see the students are feeling the Bern and feeling the Hillary and all the whatever, all the stuff with all the candidates, Cruz, whoever. We're continuing now with our politics lead. The first in the nation

primary is just four days away. It could be make-or-break, frankly, for Jeb Bush's presidential bid.

In an effort to resuscitate his struggling campaign, the former Florida governor is now bringing out some famous historical figures, ones who support him wholeheartedly, a former president and former first lady. They happen to have the same last name as him, if you could imagine that.

His brother, former President George W. Bush, featured in a new TV ad promoting Jeb's foreign policy credentials and now his mom out on the trail stumping for her son.

CNN special correspondent Jamie Gangel just sat down with Jeb and Barbara Bush and asked the former first lady about Donald Trump's impact on the race.


JAMIE GANGEL, CNN SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT: Have you ever seen a race like this?

BARBARA BUSH, FORMER FIRST LADY: No, but as Jeb says, every race is different. But it is slightly shocking to me.

GANGEL: Because?

BUSH: Because he doesn't give many answers to how he would solve problems. He sort of makes faces and says insulting things. He's said terrible things about women, terrible things about military. I don't understand why people are for him for that reason.

I'm a woman. I'm not crazy about what he says about women.

GANGEL: Mrs. Bush, what do you think of Donald Trump? You are known for being blunt and plain spoken.

BUSH: I don't think about him at all. I think about Jeb and the qualified candidate.

GANGEL: You dodged me on Donald Trump. Do you want to --


GANGEL: Do you want to go full New Jersey on Donald Trump?

BUSH: No. No, I do not. I don't even think about him. I'm sick of him. That's very strong.


TAPPER: Our thanks to Jamie. You can catch her full interview this evening on "AC360" at 8:00 p.m. Eastern.

Joining me now to talk about Jeb Bush's campaign from Manchester is a long-time Bush family friend, former Republican senator and governor from New Hampshire, Judd Gregg. He's a Jeb Bush supporter. He also teaches here at Dartmouth College on occasion.

Senator Gregg, thanks for being here.

JUDD GREGG (R-NH), FORMER U.S. SENATOR: Jake, thanks for having me on. Nice to see you up at Dartmouth, it looks very pretty.

TAPPER: It is very pretty. Very cold also. Was it a mistake for Governor Bush to wait -- to wait this long to bring in the big guns, to bring in his family to campaign for him?

GREGG: Oh, I don't -- I don't really know. I think -- I've been attending a lot of Jeb's events and he does an extraordinary job on his own talking about why he would be a very strong president. He really meets the three criteria I think most New Hampshire people are looking for, which is one, he can win, two, he's very substantive on the key issues like national defense and how to straighten out our economy, and three, he knows how to govern. He doesn't stand on the corners and shout. He's willing to go to the middle, mix it up and reach agreements.

TAPPER: So, Governor Bush is out with a new ad here in New Hampshire, hammering the lack of accomplishments of one of his chief rivals and former protege, Marco Rubio, who's gaining ground here in the Granite State according to local polls. Take a listen.


JOE SCARBOROUGH, MSNBC ANCHOR: What do you list as Marco Rubio's top accomplishment that made you decide to endorse him?

RICK SANTORUM (R), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I guess it's hard to say there are accomplishments.

SCARBOROUGH: And I'll ask it one more time. List one accomplishment that Marco Rubio has achieved in four years in the United States Senate.

MIKA BRZEZINSKI, MSNBC ANCHOR: Jeb Bush ran Florida. Marco Rubio, finish the sentence.


TAPPER: I know this is just politics, but in the past, Governor Bush has called Senator Rubio, quote, "dynamic, joyful, disciplined, principled". He suggested Rubio should have been Republican vice presidential timber.

This might sound like to some voters to be sour grapes since Rubio is rising in the polls.

GREGG: Well, I'm not big on negative campaigns. Honestly, the events I've been to with Jeb he talks about his own record and how he intends to lead this country in a very positive and inclusive way, which I think is critical to our party. So I'm not going to get involved in that.

I do think that politics obviously involves contrast and that's what you're involved in when you're running a race, so I don't hold anything against folks who run those ads but I'm just not involved in them.

TAPPER: Senator Lindsey Graham, who also endorsed Jeb Bush, said that if Jeb loses badly to Rubio here in New Hampshire, Jeb, quote, "is toast". Do you agree?

GREGG: No. I think -- first off, I don't expect him to lose badly to anybody here in New Hampshire. I think he's coming up fast on the outside. I actually think and the way I see this primary is that Donald Trump has a ceiling of 25 percent, 30 percent, which means 75 percent to 70 percent of the vote is going to go to somebody else.

[16:40:08] I do think it's going to go to one or two or three people. I think one of though is going to be Jeb. I think you're going to see some vote coalesce very quickly, as it always does in New Hampshire. New Hampshire decides late and moves sort of en masse. And I happen to think they're going to move towards Jeb because he's really a qualified guy who would be a great president.

There are some other people who are talented in this race and they may also be in that mix. But my view is this is going to be a different result than what the polls say. New Hampshire historically, the one thing you can predict about it, it's going to be unpredictable and I think this will happen again.

TAPPER: Lindsey Graham also told our own Wolf Blitzer yesterday, quote, "if you're a Republican and your choice is Donald Trump and Ted Cruz in a general election, it's the difference between poisoned or shot. You're still dead," unquote.

GREGG: Yes, I heard that. I heard that.

TAPPER: How bad do you think it would be for your party if either Cruz or Trump would be the nominee? Is it really that bad?

GREGG: If Cruz were, it would be horrible. I mean, I don't think he's an ethical individual and I think it would be very bad for the country to have him head up a national party.

Trump, I can't really say. I mean, we don't really know what Trump stands for other than a lot of -- a lot of good theater. I haven't seen anything substantive coming out of him beyond his theater and, therefore, I really wouldn't say we know yet. And I don't think he's going to be the nominee anyway, so I'm not too concerned about it.

TAPPER: Former senator and New Hampshire governor, Judd Gregg, thanks so much. I'm going to tell these kids to sign up for your class, sir.

GREGG: I'd love it. Thank you. Tell them to do that.

TAPPER: All right. So much still unknown about the rapidly spreading Zika virus. Now new concerns as researchers are looking to see if the virus might be linked to other developmental disorders.

Plus, college flashback. Do you recognize these presidential candidates? A lot has changed since they left college. That story next.


TAPPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD. In our Money Lead, Twitter just announced that it shut down 125,000 accounts for, quote, "Threatening or promoting terrorist acts, primarily related to ISIS."

Since the middle of last year the Obama administration applauded the move and posted a six-step tutorial for users to report inappropriate accounts. ISIS has used social media to spread its propaganda and lure impressionable youth to wage jihad in both Iraq and Syria.

In national news, U.S. health officials are out with new guidelines today to prevent the Zika outbreak from spreading any further. The virus may be linked to a condition that could cause brain defects in newborns.

As the Centers for Disease Control and prevention looks to stop the virus from spreading, it's out with a warning to pregnant women and couples at risk.

CNN chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, joins me now live from the CDC headquarters in Atlanta where he just spoke with the agency's director. Sanjay, the CDC is making pregnant women its priority here?

SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: No question about it. For the vast majority of people who get this infection, they'll have little or no symptoms. It's really women who are pregnant and specifically this link between the Zika virus and birth defects. They do have some new guidance.

First of all, men who have gone to one of these countries where Zika is spreading, if they come back, if their wife or their girlfriend is pregnant, they are being told you've got to have protected sex or no sex for the duration of the pregnancy.

This is pretty specific guidance. They're also saying for the women themselves, if your pregnant, you go to one of these countries, if you have any signs of illness, you've got to get tested while you're still sick.

If you don't have signs of illness, you've got to get tested as early on as possible during your pregnancy and then another test just a few months later.

So they're really getting specific on the sort of testing now that they're advising for women who are pregnant. Despite that, though, I talked to Dr. Frieden, the head of the CDC, about the tests, the availability and the accuracy. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DR. THOMAS FRIEDEN, CDC DIRECTOR: Unfortunately, we don't have any perfect test about Zika. We don't know how long this particular antibody remains in the body. Usually it would be up to three months. So if she was potentially exposed six months ago and got tested now, that test might not show it.


GUPTA: So you get an idea, Jake, of just how complicated this is. This is a fast-moving situation and is happening realtime. There wasn't a test for this even a few months ago.

I just talked to one of the doctors who actually developed this test. They did it in response to so many demands to be tested, but this is just happening.

Hopefully, the test will get better, but right now there's still a lack of precise confidence in whether or not they're going to be positives or negatives and what they're going to mean.

TAPPER: All right, a frightening story. Dr. Sanjay Gupta, thank you so much for that update.

Also in national news today, a major issue here at Dartmouth College and on campuses all over the country, student loan debt. It's a huge issue on the campaign trail with student loan debt exceeding more than $1 trillion among 40 million Americans.

The candidates have lots of proposals as they seek the youth vote. Bernie Sanders just discussed this issue a few hours ago in Exeter, New Hampshire.

But how to solve the problem without adding to the national debt we all owe, which now exceeds $19 trillion. That's our focus on this week's look at "America's Debt and the Economy."


HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I had debt. I bet a lot of you had debt.

SENATOR TED CRUZ (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I just paid off my school loans, five, six years ago.

TAPPER (voice-over): Student loans are a bipartisan burden, affecting 40 million potential voters.

[16:50:07]DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It's one of the biggest questions I get from young people, because I go all over, and it's student debt.

TAPPER: The average school loan debt is close to $30,000. As the need for higher education grows, more students will end up taking on tuition costs each semester. So what are these former students turned top candidates hoping to do about it?

BERNIE SANDERS (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I believe that in the year 2016, public colleges and universities should be tuition-free.

TAPPER: Senator Bernie Sanders is hoping to pay for that $75 billion a year idea by imposing a kind of Robin Hood tax on Wall Street.

CLINTON: I also will not tell colleges, universities and states that the federal government is going to pay for college because then the costs will go up.

TAPPER: Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton wants to use federal grants to offset tuition costs, while asking students to contribute with part-time jobs.

CLINTON: We can offer debt-free tuition and help with living costs.

TAPPER: How will she compensate for the price difference? By taxing the wealthiest Americans more.

CLINTON: I will not pay for Donald Trump's kids to go to college free on your tax dollars. Absolutely not.

TAPPER: Billionaire candidate, Donald Trump has not announced a formal plan, but he says he'll help students pay off debt by boosting the economy.

TRUMP: They're good students. They get out, they can't get a job. So the best thing I can do is I'm going to make sure when you get out, you're going to get jobs.

SENATOR MARCO RUBIO (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: America's education system needs a disruption.

TAPPER: Senator Marco Rubio says he's making his proposal a priority.

RUBIO: We should let students repay their loans based on what they actually earn.

TAPPER: His income based repayment plan is something he has in common with Clinton. But paying off a crushing six-figure student loan is an experience he shares with Senator Ted Cruz.

CRUZ: I had to take $100,000 in school loans to pay my way through school, work two jobs.

TAPPER: But thus far the Iowa caucus winner has not yet laid out an official plan to save today's students from that same fate.


TAPPER: You can learn more about how the candidates' college plans stack up by going to

The New Hampshire primary is not the only game people are talking about. There's this other one some people may tune in to watch on Sunday, it's called the Super Bowl.

CNN's Coy Wire is live inside Super Bowl city in San Francisco. Coy, it looks a little nicer where you are than where I am right now.

COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS ANCHOR: Jake, it is a beautiful day here in the bay, just two days away from the big game. Not long ago, Roger Goodell, the commissioner of the NFL, was forced to answer a lot of questions about concussions. We'll talk about what he had to say coming up after the break.



TAPPER: Welcome back. We are back with the Sports Lead and that are other big event, the one happening Sunday well before we get to the primary on Tuesday here in New Hampshire.

Just moments ago, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell held his annual state of the game news conference. He could not ignore the hard hits players take that can sometimes be felt the rest of their lives, sometimes resulting in career-ending concussions, dementia and chronic traumatic encephalopathy or CTE.

CNN sports anchor, Coy Wire joins me now from San Francisco. Coy, what did Goodell have to say?

WIRE: Hi, Jake. First of all, I've taken those hits. I have a titanium plate and four screws and let me tell you, I fell them every day. Goodell, first of all, remember, last week the league revealed that 271 players suffered concussions this season, a new four-year high.

That's up from 206 just a year ago. Earlier this afternoon at that press conference, Goodell addressed several questions regarding concussions and gave his thoughts on them.


ROGER GOODELL, NFL COMMISSIONER: I played the game of football for nine years through high school. I wouldn't give up a single day of that. If I had a son, I'd love to have him play the game of football.

I'd love to have him play the game of football because of the values you get. There's risk in life. There's risk to sitting on the couch.

What we want to do is get people active. The discipline, the teamwork, the perseverance, those are values and those are skills that will lead you through life.


WIRE: Now, I know Goodell can be a polarizing figure. As a former player, though, I agree with him. A lot of people ask me if I had kids would I let them play the game and I say yes, I would. It's been safer than ever.

There have been 39 rule changes in the past 10 years, penalties, heavy fines implemented for helmet-to-helmet contact, and more, Jake, all to protect the players.

TAPPER: All right, Coy, I'm about to do a Super Bowl wager with one of these kids behind me. You played nine years in the NFL. Who do you have in the game, Broncos or Panthers?

WIRE: I'm a former defensive guy. The number one ranked defense in the NFL this year, the Denver Broncos. They're the underdog too, they're going to have a huge chip on their shoulder, Jake. I'm going with them. Number one defense is 9-2 all-time in Super Bowl history.

TAPPER: All right. Coy Wire, thanks so much. NFL hall of famer, Dan Marino, will join CNN's Chris Cuomo for a "Bleacher Report" special inside the action at Super Bowl City. Don't miss "Kickoff By The Bay" tomorrow afternoon at 2:30 Eastern.

Be sure to follow me on Facebook and Twitter @jaketapper or tweet the show @theleadcnn. And don't forget to tune in Sunday morning at 9:00 a.m. Eastern and noon for "STATE OF THE UNION." My guests will be here in New Hampshire presidential candidates, Bernie Sanders, John Kasich and Chris Christie.

That's it for THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper signing off from beautiful Dartmouth College and turning you over to Wolf Blitzer in "THE SITUATION ROOM" -- Wolf.