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Christie On The Attack; Who Were The Big Winners Tonight?; Ted Cruz Accused Of Stealing Iowa Vote. Aired 11p-12a
Aired February 6, 2016 - 23:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[23:00:14] ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: Just hold on one moment.
I'm Erin Burnett and welcome to our special coverage of tonight's GOP debate, the final debate before Tuesday's crucial New Hampshire primary. Joining me, again, our Chief Political Analyst, Gloria Borger; our Senior Political Analyst, David Gergen; Senior Political Reporter, Nia-Malika Henderson; and David Axelrod, our Senior Political Analyst. Also here with me tonight, our Political Commentator's Jeffrey Lord, Donald Trump Supporter; Amanda Carpenter, the former Communications Director for Senator Cruz; Matt Lewis, the author of "Too Dumb to Fail: How The GOP Betrayed the Reagan Revolution to Win Elections"; and Kevin Madden, of course, the Senior Advisor to Mitt Romney's 2012 campaign.
It was a very big night for a couple of the candidates and a particularly bad night for others. You could say this really moved the needle for some. Let's get started with tonight's winners and losers. Okay, so let's start with you, Gloria, this time. The winner?
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANYALYST: I didn't change my mind.
BORGER: So I think Marco did not have a great night. I thought he had a debate that he lost with Chris Christie on the question of his experience. I think the governors all did well. I think Kasich, Bush and Christie did well. Christie was on the attack and I think he probably ended up helping others more than he helped himself, but we'll have to see.
DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: I thought the big winner tonight were people who had executive appearance, that included the governors as well as Donald Trump. They - New Hampshire has more independents and it's supposed to be a more moderate state. I think the fact that they're more pragmatic than people in Congress, both Cruz and Rubio, I think, plays well to the New Hampshire voter. People are looking for answers. They want leaders who can actually get something done. I think tonight we saw experience does matter in how you think about things. It makes you more pragmatic. BURNETT: And the loser?
GERGEN: The loser was Marco Rubio.
NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: Agreed. Marco Rubio, I think, you know, he's now got something hanging over his head, this narrative about not being prepared, being canned. So I think he's got to figure that out going forward.
The winner? I thought Trump kind of won by not losing. He didn't get in the middle of big fights. People still seem to not really want to take him on. There was that moment with Jeb around eminent domain but whether or not that will resonate immediately here, with New Hampshire, hard to see that happening immediately.
DAVID AXELROD, SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: You know, Cruz was the winner in Iowa and he isn't a big player in New Hampshire because there isn't that base of conservative voters that he's hoping to find in South Carolina. I thought there were moments when he looked a little uncharacteristically indecisive, like when he was asked to repeat what he had said on the trail about Donald Trump -
AXELROD: -- not being able to -- not being prepared to have his finger on the button. I thought he, frankly, kind of wimped out on that and I wonder how his supporters felt about that.
BURNETT: Yes, he wouldn't take it - he wouldn't repeat it and he was given multiple --
AXELROD: They gave him a button and he didn't push it.
BURNETT: All right, now, you all, obviously some of you have dogs in this fight. You're a Donald Trump supporter.
JEFFREY LORD, TRUMP SUPPORTER: Right. Right.
BURNETT: You're the former Communications Director for Ted Cruz. I mean, you could go anyway, but let's go down the line here. Winner/loser.
LORD: I do think the governors had a good night and I think David is right about executive experience. For the first time that I've heard at length, Donald Trump talked about his own executive experience, which I do think is propelling some of his support. One of the losers, if I can say, I
think was Ben Carson. I just think we're rapidly seeing this disappear. He's such a nice guy -
BORGER: And he barely made it out of -- BURNETT: It may be telling that you're the first person who's mentioned his name in the past couple of (inaudible). Amanda, winner/loser?
AMANDA CARPENTER, FORMER COMMUNICATION DIRECTOR, TED CRUZ: I mean, he's down -- Chris Christie is the winner. I mean, he was in such complete control in this debate. At one point I was wondering if he were the moderator, but I don't think it will help his campaign because he was so vicious to Marco Rubio. I think there's some blood that spattered back.
AXELROD: It could be after Tuesday he will be available to be the moderator.
CARPENTER: Going on the attack, I pictured him as VP in a vice presidential debate because that's one of the big tests when you pick a VP, can they perform in that very important debate, and man Chris Christie could mess somebody up.
BURNETT: Matt Lewis?
MATT LEWIS, AUTHOR, "TOO DUMB TO FAIL: HOW THE GOP BETRAYED THE REAGAN REVOLUTION TO WIN ELECTIONS": I think it was sort of a murder/suicide with Chris Christie. He tried to take out Rubio, but it's not going to help Christie right now. I do want to (inaudible). I think Rubio finished strong, but in the beginning it was disastrous for Marco Rubio and I think the problem was, put this in context, Rubio comes out of Iowa in third place but he might as well have won. He had all this momentum going into New Hampshire and if he finishes ahead of Kasich of Jeb and of Christie in New Hampshire, he then owns the establishment lane. It then becomes clearly a [23:05:04] three-man race but Rubio had a bad night for a bad debate.
BURNETT: And Kevin?
KEVIN MADDEN, SENIOR ADVISOR, MITT ROMNEY: Well I think if we're going from first to worst, I would definitely agree that Christie had a very strong debate. I think he controlled the tone and the tempo of the debate. He definitely beat Rubio on points with that head-to-head exchange that they had. Carson was almost nonexistent. He's a nonfactor now. I think he's - clearly he's -- this may have been one of his last debates. Rubio - I'm sorry, Rubio, while he did start slow, got much stronger during the course of the debate. I think he recovered very nicely. I think momentum is a very valuable commodity, particularly at this time in the campaign. I don't know if he will continue to keep that momentum. It could have stopped him now. So that's one thing to be factor.
To agree with something Amanda said, Chris Christie is probably the most effective surrogate we have in going after Hillary Clinton in the general election. So he's going to be around even if the campaign may end on Tuesday night.
BURNETT: But it's interesting how on this side, this table thought it turned from okay, Rubio had a bad night and then you all started to turn it to at the end he got better.
MADDEN: He did get better.
BURNETT: Hold on one moment. We have John Kasich, Governor Kasich with Sarah Murray in New Hampshire. Sarah?
SARAH MURRAY, CNN CORRESPONDENT, via satellite: So how do you close the deal? Yes, Erin, we have Governor Kasich here, telling us how to close the deal in New Hampshire.
GOV. JOHN KASICH (R-OH) REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well we close the deal, what we've been doing we have an army of people here. We're going to knock on every door in this state. I'm going to continue to do town halls, massive amounts of media. Closing the deal is just running through the tape. I mean, this was important tonight but not the only thing that matters but I think we had a good night.
MURRAY: You feel pretty good about where you're sitting? If something was to change in the next couple of days, where do you think you need to finish to guarantee that you will go onto South Carolina?
KASICH: We're going to be fine. We're going to be just fine. We'll tell you on the Tenth.
MURRAY: Now the other thing, there are lot of independents here in the Granite State, and this is wide open election. They could go to Trump. They could go to Bernie Sanders. They could go to you. Why do you think they will turn out for you? What in your message is different from the other --
KASICH: Well because I've been in the - I've never been in the establishment, but I'm not in the anti-establishment. I know how to get things done and I know how to bring people together, and I have a positive message. I mean, people like the fact that I've been positive. All of our commercials are positive. It paints a vision. It paints hope and opportunity. So --
MURRAY: Do you ever worry that you'll get lost in the shuffle of Republicans going at each other's throats on a debate stage like that?
KASICH: The last thing I want to do is be in the middle of going at each other's throats. I'm not interested in that. I think tonight went very, very well and I'm extremely happy and so is everybody in our after-debate party room. People are going crazy. We've got - we've got so many volunteers here. We're going to keep knocking on the doors. If it snows, if it rains, it doesn't matter. We're going and we're going to have a great night on Tuesday. And we'll see you all then.
MURRAY: You think you have the big momentum in this state right now?
KASICH: I know we do. We have a lot of momentum here and it's driven by people. It's not - look, it's people who have a sense that things could be different - I'll tell you something, all the press says how can you win by being positive? If we do really well and get out of here with a strong finish, you'll be talking about this positive campaigning and positive politics works. I think you're going to find that it is and it's going to be a very interesting story.
MURRAY: Just one more question, Governor. You've done this once before. People might not remember; it was a long time ago you ran for president. How much different does this time feel?
KASICH: Well I was just a kid back then. Look, I was at a house party and I talked to this lady for 15 minutes. She looked at her watch and said when do you think the candidate will get here? You can't even compare the two.
This is an incredible experience. I want to say this, regardless of what happens, this has been a fantastic period of my life. It's just been remarkable. I'm a happy man. We all are. On the bus, traveling around, we just have a great time. So, New Hampshire, I need you; please. See you.
MURRAY: All right, Erin; you heard him there. He sounds very positive about his momentum in the state now. At a minimum, I think he seems pleased with this experience even if, for some reason, things don't go his way in New Hampshire. Erin?
BURNETT: Certainly very confident with his momentum, talking there with our Sarah Murray. Very confident. Very confident about his momentum, Gloria.
BORGER: Yes, I think their internal polls are showing them doing better than our polls do. I think they think they're in second place, perhaps. I don't know -
BURNETT: They definitely do.
BORGER: I interviewed them on Friday night and he was categorical. So he's the happy warrior; right? You saw that all night tonight. You just saw it now. We saw it. Look, I think Kasich's appeal is that he's the only one who's not criticizing anyone else; you know? Some people say that's because he wants to be vice president.
BORGER: He told me I would be the worst vice president in history. I don't want to be vice president. I'm not that kind of guy. I'm just playing for this. So -
BURNETT: So all of you have mentioned that he had a good night, and he [23:10:01] always says in interviews, whenever I interview him he goes no one knows who I am. But when they get to know who I am, if I get a little name recognition, I'm going to be able to build on it. Perhaps moments like he had to tonight, on immigration, may help. Let me just play that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KASICH: Americans would support a plan like this. I think Congress would pass a plan to finish the border, guest worker, pay a fine, a path to legalization and not citizenship and we have got to get this done. I will tell you this, within the first 100 days that I am president, I will put that proposal to the Congress and I will tell you as a former congressman and an executive in Ohio, I can promise you that I believe you'll get the votes to pass that and we can move on with that issue and protect our border.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: David, how effective was he in having people around the country now know who he is?
AXELROD: Look, I think he has executed his strategy very effectively. That's not the question. The question is, what does it yield in a party that may not be in sync with him? There may be enough votes for him to finish well in New Hampshire then the question is where -
AXELROD: -- would he go after that because he's running a great general election campaign, honestly. Everything he says would play well with independent voters in a general election. The tenor of his campaign would play well with voters in a general election, but it doesn't seem to match the mood of the Republican Party.
BURNETT: And, Matt, of course, he got endorsed by the "New York Times" on the same day the "New York Times" endorsed Hillary Clinton.
LEWIS: Listen, I just wrote a book criticizing the Republican Party and, having said that, John Kasich is trying to win a republican nomination by being this cantankerous curmudgeon who is criticizing the Republican Party. He is the - John Kasich is what liberals think the Republican nominee ought to be.
LEWIS: He does not play. Maybe in New Hampshire -
BORGER: He might in New Hampshire.
LEWIS: -- is the only hope the guy has, but there's no -
BURNETT: -- because of the independents, they're able to vote.
LEWIS: But there's no second act.
CARPENTER: There's some people trying to make Kasich happen. I can tell you, among conservative activists, they know one thing about John Kasich: he extended Medicaid under Obamacare. That is a death Nell. Nobody likes it. Put on top of it that Kasich's people like to complain about the conservative movement, donezo. It's not going to happen.
AXELROD: It's okay to attack the Republican establishment from the right. It's not such a good idea to be attacking it from the left, if you're a moderate republican.
BURNETT: Does anybody think John Kasich, if he does come out of New Hampshire with a very strong Number Two, really, really surge, does he have a future after that?
BORGER: He says, look, he's not -- South Carolina is not his natural terrain.
BORGER: Michigan, you know, maybe; but the south is not natural terrain.
BURNETT: Go ahead, David.
GERGEN: Given the expectations game going into this, if he comes out ahead of Rubio, number two, it will scramble the race. He will become the alternative. Not that he's going to go on and win, but he's got a chance. I think he's become a much better debater. A few weeks ago when he was debating, he was frustrated. He was angry. It was very uncomfortable to watch him.
BURNETT: You could see his anger and frustration.
GERGEN: It just felt -- the Trump thing just disturbed the hell out of him.
BURNETT: He is, of course, also the governor of Ohio, which is a crucial state for the Republican Party.
HENDERSON: Very successful governor and he has done well with African-American voters. He won 26-percent of African-American voters in 2014; 33-percent of Black men, 20-percent of Black women.
GERGEN: And he can appeal to Hispanics.
BURNETT: Go ahead, David.
AXELROD: Here's the deal - and you're right it's going to scramble the race if he does well there, but what it will also do is prevent clarification in the race. The establish republicans are eager to have one candidate around whom everyone can rally. If John Kasich wins, it's not going to be him because of all the reasons that these guys have mentioned. So what it's going to create is kind of continued glut where certainly Rubio will go forward. I don't know if anybody else will, but it's not going to be as neat as the establishment would like.
CARPENTER: If Kasich beats Rubio in New Hampshire, it is worse for Rubio than it is good for Kasich in the end.
BURNETT: Yes, I agree. What about Jeb Bush? We talked about coming out in a crowded establishment area. If you have Kasich, if you have Rubio no matter what, what about Jeb Bush? Is there any scenario in which Jeb Bush is not in this race after New Hampshire?
LORD: I actually think he could do better in New Hampshire, you know, enough to survive and go on.
AXELROD: It's possible.
MADDEN: What happens then is people start looking less at the polls and they start looking more at resources and Jeb Bush -- somebody like Jeb Bush comes out of New Hampshire and says I've got the resources, in a five-person race, to continue through all those March 1 through March 15 contests on the calendar. John Kasich then will be forced on Wednesday, to wake up Wednesday morning and try to raise $10 million.
BORGER: He doesn't have the money.
MADDEN: Does he have the ability to do that? That will be the first big test. So I think David's right. This would prevent a consolidation of the establishment.
LEWIS: But if Rubio comes ahead of the establishment lane then I think -
BURNETT: Okay, hold on one moment. We have Donald Trump now in the Spin Room with Sarah Murray. Sarah?
MURRAY: Mr. Trump, we're live on CNN. Thanks very much. Mr. Trump, so you did not lob any attacks at your opponents tonight. You were much more disciplined. Are you trying to show that side of yourself to the voters in New Hampshire?
[23:15:02] TRUMP: It just worked out that way. I mean, I thought it was a very good debate. I thought the moderators did really an excellent job. It was really a good debate. I was very happy with my performance. Many people - you know, it's, in the world of the Twittersphere, they're all saying I won the debate. So, I'm happy. I had to do well tonight and it was a lot of pressure tonight.
MURRAY: Why did you have to do well?
TRUMP: Because, you know, I have a lead, I guess, if polls mean anything, I have a lead. I don't know that I had to be outstanding but they're all saying I really did well.
MURRAY: You got a bit burnt by the polls in Iowa.
TRUMP: I did? I got burned by the fact that, you know, Ben Carson lost another votes. if those votes didn't go over to another person, I would have won Iowa. So, you know, that would have been nice, but I'm not thinking about Iowa any more. I thinking about New Hampshire.
MURRAY: Right; so in New Hampshire does it feel like you have double- digit lead, like ten points, 20 points, or does it feel close to you? How do you feel here?
TRUMP: I don't know and we're not going to know. it's easier to poll New Hampshire because you don't have the caucus system. The caucus system is very complex and very tricky. You saw that by what happened to Ben but I think we're going to do really well here and, you know, I've had a relationship with New Hampshire for many, many years. Many, many years and have so many friends up here, beyond the political stuff, so I think I'm going to do well. It was very important that I do a good job at the debate.
MURRAY: And you said after Iowa that you guys could have done better with a stronger ground game. How have you sharpened your ground game in New Hampshire? How confident are you that it's better?
TRUMP: Well I'm spending a lot of money on ground game. I think prob - you know, personally, I think the debate tonight is more important than the ground game because in New Hampshire the people they like you and they're going to go out and vote and they're going to go back. There's not so much of a ground game. I think that our ground game's good but I really think the debate tonight was more important than the ground game.
MURRAY: Are you surprised more of your rivals didn't go up against you? Jeb is the only one that tried the take you on on stage?
TRUMP: Well, actually, if you look, Ted Cruz, they said did you say that and will you say that now, essentially, to his face and he didn't want to do that. I appreciated he didn't do that. Jeb tried to go, but Jeb is easy.
MURRAY: Now, what was going through your mind when you saw Marco Rubio give eventually the same response over and over again as Chris Christie was criticizing him as being too scripted?
TRUMP: Well he was scripted there. I don't know what happened. I mean, he said it after the fourth time I said I disagree with you. I think it's the exact opposite, about President Obama but it was a great debate. People really enjoyed the debate. It's getting high reviews. It's an honor for me to have been involved.
MURRAY: Do you look at Marco as your closest competitor here in New Hampshire?
TRUMP: I don't know. I mean, who knows? Maybe the one last, maybe the last place winner, whoever that may be, will be my closest competitor. I look at them all. They're all very smart people. they're all good people. I look at all of them as my competitor.
MURRAY: When you hear them asking you questions about eminent domain; do you think that's something voters in New Hampshire are listening tom that they care about? Do you think that could affect you here?
TRUMP: I was so happy they asked me that question because eminent domain is a very important thing for a country. I mean, wouldn't have highways. You wouldn't have schools. You wouldn't have bridges. You wouldn't have airports. You wouldn't have anything. The other things is, when the government takes your property, they pay you a fortune for it. You know, they said, Donald Trump likes eminent domain. I don't like it, it's a necessity. They also said it's called a taking. I'm in real estate. I'm very good at real estate, but it's called a taking, a taking of the property but people don't realize a taking means you get paid. They don't just take it. They take it and then they pay. If you're smart, you'll get much more than the value of your property.
MURRAY: Now one of the issues they put Marco Rubio on the spot tonight was about his view on abortion, that there should not be any exceptions for rape, incest, life of the mother. Do you think that's too extreme of a stance, even in a Republican primary?
TRUMP: He said no exceptions. I do believe in the three exceptions, yes.
MURRAY: But do you think it's too extreme?
TRUMP: I thought it was a tough question for him and he said he doesn't believe in the exceptions but then he came back and said well maybe he does. I'm not sure what his answer was because he actually answered it in two ways. First he didn't, you know, he talked about the exceptions then he came back and sort of indicated he did believe in the exceptions.
I have the Ronald Reagan - you know Ronald Reagan believed in pro- life. He was pro-life with the exceptions.
MURRAY: I'm curious, in the wake of the loss in Iowa, have you made any changes to your staff?
TRUMP: Excuse me, it wasn't a loss.
MURRAY: The second place -
TRUMP: It was second. 17 people started and some went out. It's the first election I was ever involved in. I came in second and probably came in first. I mean, if you take away --
MURRAY: How do you probably come in first?
TRUMP: Because all you have to do is take way the Ben Carson that you people sort of slipped up on, but I'm not blaming CNN because actually CNN - it was not CNN's fault.
MURRAY: It was not. CNN did not report that Ben Carson was suspending -
TRUMP: You also came out with a tweet a minute later, in case there was any question, but you take away those thousands of votes - in fact, one of the big shows on FOX did a study, it was "Bill O'Reilly" and they said if that doesn't happen, Trump probably wins Iowa.
MURRAY: So you think you would have won if the Cruz campaign had not done that.
TRUMP: You know what it amounts to? Four votes per precinct. But I don't care about that anymore because I'm totally into something else. You know what it is? New Hampshire. So I hope you had a good time. MURRAY: All right, Erin; so you heard him, just there. He wants to get past Iowa. He wants to move onto New Hampshire. He's being a little more [23:20:02] careful in his expectations here for state but clearly a state he would like to win.
BURNETT: Yes, making that very clear and a much calmer Donald Trump in that interview with Sarah. Although we did hear him at one point say, I'm very good at real estate. II mean, the real Donald Trump is still in there somewhere.
But Gloria, it was a much calmer Donald Trump, a more humble -
BORGER: Yes, I think he understands what New Hampshire wants and the, I think, kinder, gentler, Donald Trump although Donald Trump -
GERGEN: Except for waterboarding and -
BORGER: Waterboarding - I was just going to say that. Waterboarding and this whole question of he said --
BURNETT: He said he would do much more than water boarding.
BORGER: I think Trump understands that he wants to keep a lead. If you want to keep your lead, you just don't want to do anything that's going to upset people one way or another.
BURNETT: All right; we're going to take a brief break and when we come back we're going to do fact check of one of the most important things said tonight by Ted Cruz and an important one to get the facts right on because what he said was wrong. We'll be right back.
Ted Cruz was accused of stealing the Iowa vote after it was learned his campaign called voters during the caucuses, telling them that Ben Carson dropped out the race saying CNN had reported this and encouraging them, therefore, to switch their votes from Ted Cruz to Ben Carson. Take a [23:25:01] listen to what Ted Cruz said when he was questioned about that at tonight's debate.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAVID MUIR, MODERATOR, ABC: Dr. Carson, thank you. Senator Cruz you have said that Dr. Carson and his wife have become friends of yours. I'm curious why you didn't call ahead of time, to either the Doctor or his wife, or have your campaign check in with the other campaign before sending out those messages?
TED CRUZ (R-TX) REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Ben is a good and honorable man, and Ben and Candi have become friends. He has an amazing life story that has inspired millions, including me. When this transpired I apologized to him then and I do so now. Ben, I'm sorry.
Let me tell you the facts of what occurred for those interested in knowing. On Monday night about 6:30 p.m., CNN reported that Ben was not going from Iowa to New Hampshire or South Carolina, rather he was "taking a break from campaigning." They reported that on television. CNN's political anchors, Jake Tapper and Dana Bash and Wolf Blitzer said it was highly unusual and significant. My political team saw CNN's report, Breaking News, and they forwarded that news to our volunteers. It was being covered on live television. Now at the time I was at the caucuses I was getting ready to speak at the caucuses, just like Ben was, just like everyone else was. I knew nothing about this. A couple of hours later I found out about it. I was told that ben was unhappy.
I called Ben that evening because I respect him very, very highly. I didn't reach him that evening. I reached him the next day and apologized. He asked me then, he said, Ted would you make this apology in public. I said, yes, I will and I did so. I regret that subsequently that CNN reported on that. They didn't correct that story until 9:15 that night. So from 6:30 until 9:15 that's what CNN was reporting. Subsequent to that initial report Ben's campaign put out a statement saying that he was not suspending his campaign. I wish that our campaign staff had forwarded that statement. They were unaware of it. I wish that they had, that's why I apologized.
MUIR: Senator Cruz, thank you.
BEN CARSON (R) REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: In fact, the timeline indicates that initial tweet from CNN was followed by another one within one minute that clarified that I was not dropping out. So what happened to that one, it's unclear. But the bottom line is we can see what happened. everybody can see what happened. you can make your own judgment based on that.
MUIR: Dr. Carson, thank you.
BURNETT: All right; so, let's give you the facts about what happened. First I want to give you CNN's statement on what Ted Cruz said just moments ago in that debate. Here it is:
"What Senator Cruz said tonight in the debate is categorically false. CNN never corrected its reporting because CNN never had anything to correct. The Cruz campaign's actions the night of the Iowa caucuses had nothing to do with CNN's reporting. The fact Senator Cruz continues to knowingly mislead the voters about this is astonishing."
Again, that's the statement out from CNN just moments ago. All right, I want to go straight to Tom Foreman now. So, Tom, you're going to give us a reality check here. You know, I've interviewed the co- chairman of that campaign and called him to account, others have as well. What Ted Cruz says here is completely false. Tell us exactly what happened.
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Erin, at no time did CNN say that Ben Carson was dropping out of this race, not online, not on-air, not anywhere. And for Ted Cruz to stand on stage, once again tonight, and suggest that CNN did is a flat out lie. This is what was tweeted shortly before the caucuses opened that evening about Ben Carson's travel plans, by our Chris Moody. He tweeted: "Ben Carson will likely speak at his victory party in Iowa before caucus results are in so he can catch a flight." Then he added: "Carson won't go to New Hampshire, South Carolina but instead will head home to Florida for some R and R. He'll be in D.C. Thursday for the National Prayer Breakfast." And then this "Ben Carson's campaign tells me he plans to stay in the race beyond Iowa, no matter what the results are tonight."
All three of those tweets came out in less than two minutes before the caucuses even opened. 45 minutes later, Moody hit it again by saying "Ben Carson is just making a brief stop at home in Florida tonight and campaign says he'll be back on the campaign trial by Wednesday."
Yes, our on-air people came on and talked about this. They said it's an unusual move by Ben Carson or any presidential candidate to not go directly on to New Hampshire. But, again, in no way, shape or form did they say that Ben Carson was dropping out of the race. Executives had been over this timeline with people from Cruz's campaign. The campaign has been called out for the dishonest handling of this information by "Politico", "Politifact", "The Washington Post" and many others and yet, once again, Ted Cruz stood on stage tonight and suggested that somehow this is based on what CNN did.