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Syrian Government Making Big Gains around Aleppo; 30,000 Syrian Refugees at Turkish Border; Russian Syria Campaign Compared to Chechnya; Bill Clinton Bashes Bernie Sanders; U.N. Security Council Vows Action against North Korea; Final Push for Support before New Hampshire Primary; Predicting the U.S. Election with an Old Tradition. Aired 10-11a ET
Aired February 8, 2016 - 10:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ROBYN CURNOW, CNN HOST (voice-over): Ahead at the INTERNATIONAL DESK, Syrians flee as government forces press forward around Aleppo.
Bill Clinton goes on the attack.
And the world reacts to North Korea's missile test.
CURNOW: Hello and welcome, I'm Robyn Curnow at the CNN Center.
We start with the deepening crisis along Turkey's southern border. The Turkish prime minister says 30,000 Syrian refugees are amassed at that
border and that they will be let in, quote, "when necessary." They're fleeing intensified fighting around Aleppo in Northern Syria.
Syrian government forces are making big gains there with the help of Russian airstrikes and Iranian-backed Shia militia. The renewed regime
offense has transformed the battlefield in Syria in just a matter of weeks. The fight for Aleppo could be a defining moment for the future of the civil
Rebel fighters are desperately trying to hold on to the eastern half of the city. But as our Fred Pleitgen reports, many people in Damascus believe
Aleppo may soon be back in government hands. Here's his report from Damascus.
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Here in Damascus, the mood among supporters of President Bashar al-Assad is more
optimistic than we have seen it probably in the last couple of years.
People here are seeing the gains that the Syrian military has been making on almost all fronts of the battlefield. Of course, very much backed by
Russian airpower and pro-Iranian militias as well.
And while the United States and also the United Nations continue to say that there can only be a political and never a military solution to this
conflict, there clearly are some Assad supporters who believe that indeed there could be a military solution in their favor.
They believe that if the Syrian military continues to make gains, especially around Aleppo in the north of the country, they could deal the
rebels a decisive blow and therefore then cement their power.
Of course, there are still many question marks.
How solid are the gains that the Syrian army and its backers have made?
Are they fragile or can they hold?
And also could some other country still intervene here in the conflict on the part of the rebels?
So while there are still many question marks, certainly the mood that we're seeing, the amount of people who are on the street, who are coming out
indicates that the Syrian government believes that, at this point in time, it is winning -- Fred Pleitgen, CNN, Damascus.
CURNOW: Well, thanks to Fred for that perspective.
The fighting in Northern Syria is taking an unimaginable toll on civilians. As we said earlier, tens of thousands of people are now trying to cross
into Turkey. Let's talk to our Arwa Damon, she joins us now from Kilis on the Turkish side of the Syrian border.
Hi, there, Arwa. We've just heard the prime minister saying that these people would be let in "when necessary."
What does that mean?
Is there any understanding of a timeframe here?
ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: There isn't, Robyn, and all indications are at this stage that Turkey is planning on setting up
something of a more permanent camp on the other side of the border.
We heard from local officials earlier that they would be sending in toilets, showers, mobile kitchens and they're planning on building up to
2,000 tents. So for those who were hoping to reach some sort of safety, it's not going to be in Turkey, at least not for now.
DAMON (voice-over): They can see Turkey's flag fluttering in the distance. Tens of thousands have fled in recent days, the safety they long for
painfully near but closed off.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (Speaking foreign language).
DAMON (voice-over): "What is this life?" this woman cries out from one of the packed tents.
"Have mercy on us. Have mercy."
But so far, there is none.
DAMON: Turkish authorities continue to insist that they have an open-door policy. But, being here, that most certainly does not really seem to be
the case. They say that they are providing the refugees with everything that they would need to be able to survive on the other side.
DAMON (voice-over): And while the camp seems to be taking on more of a permanent feel, there is nothing here to protect them from the violence.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Speaking foreign language).
DAMON (voice-over): "We did not come here to get tents," Fahmat (ph) says.
"We don't need food or water. We want to get through and provide security for our children."
He, like many of the others, has already been displaced by serious, relentless violence -- multiple times. These are the people who held out
hope, who didn't want to make the impossible decision to leave everything they have and life behind.
This is said to be the aftermath of just one of the Russian --
DAMON (voice-over): -- airstrikes pounding Aleppo and this countryside in recent days, the ongoing cries of agony of those who continue to lose loved
ones day and night, the never-ending, desperate scramble to save lives as the Assad regime's army gains ground under Russian air cover.
Turkey is allowing the wounded and those needing medical treatment through. At the Kilis Hospital, we meet Sadayaf Hashad (ph), a rebel fighter injured
a few months back, who came to Turkey five days ago for surgery.
Next to him, a man who arrived the day before, unable to talk. Hashad (ph) says the Russian bombing is like nothing they have seen before.
"They come with four planes at a time." He curses Putin.
Rebel commanders warn that they can only hold out in Aleppo for a few months. The U.N. fears that in the rebel-held eastern part of the city, a
force of 300,000 civilians are in grave risk.
But despite Turkey's statements that it won't abandon those in need, one more gate to safety, for now, remains closed.
DAMON: There could potentially be hundreds of thousands that end up having to flee what seems to be an imminent, decisive battle for control over
And rebel commanders say that, if the status quo continues, if they do not receive some sort of additional support, they are going to be left with
very few options and all of them are less than ideal, Robyn.
Among them is the option of surrendering to the regime, which, understandably, no one wants to do. They could ally themselves with the
Kurdish fighting force.
But there's not a lot of trust between the Kurds and the Arabs. They could ally with the Al Qaeda-linked Nusra Front and some units are even
considering, out of sheer desperation, forming an allegiance with ISIS.
CURNOW: OK. Thanks for that perspective, Arwa Damon there on the border.
Russia's air campaign is having a huge effect on the Syrian government's momentum. Let's go to Moscow. Matthew Chance is there.
Hi, there, Matt. You have spent time with Russian forces in Syria. Moscow's involvement really has reversed the tide on the Syrian
battlefield. And Aleppo seems to be the prize.
MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It's certainly the latest prize. But you're right; remember it was just in September, at the
end of September, in fact, last year that Russia made the decision to deploy its very powerful air force to Syria.
And we have seen the dramatic turnaround in the fortunes of Bashar al-Assad since then.
The Syrian president was essentially on the back foot. He was facing defeat. He was losing territory to the array of rebel groups on an almost
daily basis, ISIS and other rebel groups as well.
And really, since the intervention of the Russian air force, that situation has been completely turned around 180 degrees. And we're now seeing a
situation where the Syrian army, loyal to Bashar al-Assad, of course, backed by the elements of the Iranian armed forces and Hezbollah, the Shia
militant group from Lebanon, are making advances, significant advances, on the ground, backed by Russian airpower.
Aleppo is the latest prize in that advance, if you like. It's an extremely important city. Before the war, it was in fact Syria's biggest city and
the -- obviously the battle now is underway for that.
If it's successful on the part of the Syrian-Russian alliance, the Iranian alliance, that would be a huge bonus for them. But at the same time, it
would deal a very powerful blow to the rebel movement in Syria as well.
CURNOW: Despite the very complicated geopolitical relationships there on the ground, we also know that Mr. Putin has his own ambitions. Analysis in
a cnn.com article suggested this strategy, particularly around Aleppo, is out of Mr. Putin's playbook, that Aleppo is similar to Grozny in the
Chechen campaign led by Mr. Putin in 1999.
CHANCE: There are -- certainly seem to be parallels between the military strategy that's being employed now by the Russians and the Syrians and the
Iranians in Aleppo and the strategy that was deployed at the end of the 20th century by the Russian armed forces as they attempted successfully to
regain control over the breakaway republic of Chechnya. You're right. I was actually in Grozny at the time, when the Russians eventually took it
back in early 2000.
And, yes, it was a strategy in which all of the opposition fighters, all of the rebels were deemed terrorists by the Kremlin. There was a ruthless --
CHANCE: -- campaign, a ruthless bombardment of Grozny, not just against the military positions but against the civilian areas as well. Everybody
who was there was essentially deemed a legitimate target.
And it was ultimately, as I say, a very bloody strategy but it was a successful one in the sense that Chechnya is now under the control very
much of the Russian Federation.
There's a pro-Kremlin leader, Ramzan Kadyrov, who has been put in place there by the Kremlin. OK, he's got problems; he exercises a certain kind
of corrupt autonomy in Chechnya. But nevertheless, this is not a republic anymore that is trying to break away from the Russian Federation. And many
of Russia's objectives in that country have been secured.
And so I think if that playbook is being repeated on the battlefield in Syria, it's not good news for the civilian population. There could be a
lot more deaths than there have already been. Also we're seeing the tens of thousands of people already trying to escape the fighting in Aleppo.
But ultimately it could work if the objective is to secure Aleppo for the Syrian government. That could be the strategy. It looks like it is. It
may well be a successful one.
CURNOW: Matthew Chance in Moscow, thank you so much. You're watching CNN. And we have got it covered from all angles. Our Fred Pleitgen is now live
Hi, there, Fred. You heard Matthew saying is this strategy to secure Aleppo for the Syrian government?
What would it mean for Mr. Assad if Aleppo was secured?
PLEITGEN: Well, I think it would mean a great deal for the Assad regime. You can already feel here on the ground.
And, you know, Robyn, I visited Damascus a lot in the past couple of years. I have first seen the government-controlled part of Aleppo as optimistic as
it is right now. We have been speaking to many people here on the ground. We've been speaking to officials as well.
And many of them now truly seem to believe that there could be a military end to this conflict. Not many of them are speaking about negotiations at
this point in time but they certainly point to the recent gains that government forces have been making, especially there in the north of the
country and in Aleppo. And that is what really causes them right now to have a lot of optimism.
You can feel it here in Damascus as well. There's more people on the streets. The cafes are open a lot longer. There's a lot more traffic on
the streets, a lot fewer checkpoints. So they already feel that they've made gains here but they feel that right there, in the north of Syria, in
and around the Aleppo area, that that will be decisive.
And if the regime manages to encircle Aleppo, they manage to take Aleppo, they believe that they would all but win the civil war. Of course, there
are some who say you need to be cautious but it certainly appears there is a lot more optimism than I have seen at least in the past -- Robyn.
CURNOW: And of course this means winning via a military strategy, many in the West trying to push for some sort of diplomatic, political solution to
Is that still even on the table?
PLEITGEN: Well, I think it still is. I think that there are still a lot of people here who believe that, at some point, there should be a
diplomatic solution to this conflict. But of course at this point in time, the government here is not inclined to give way anymore than it already has
said it will do.
Now it's going to be interesting to see whether or not the process has been put in place. With Russia, the United States, basically leading a
negotiation that's been going on and other countries.
Also expected (INAUDIBLE) the Iranians on one hand and then, of course, the Saudis on the other hand.
Big questions at this point in time, what would the Syrian government be inclined (INAUDIBLE) in negotiations. And certainly, when you speak to
officials right now, they believe that they are on the march, especially in the north of the country.
They believe that they are close to going all the way to the (INAUDIBLE) border in the (INAUDIBLE) area. But at this point in time, they aren't
inclined to give very much in negotiations.
CURNOW: Fred Pleitgen, thanks so much. Slightly shaky signal there towards the end, but you are in Damascus. Appreciate you coming up for us.
You're watching the INTERNATIONAL DESK. Ahead, the U.S. presidential race, it's the eve of the New Hampshire primary. And on the Democratic side, a
former U.S. president is sharpening his attacks on his wife's opponent.
CURNOW: Welcome back. U.S. stocks are tumbling, following the lead from Europe early in the trading session.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CURNOW (voice-over): Here's a look at the Dow, down over 300 points. The Nasdaq and S&P are sharply down and lower.
Stocks are once again being hit hard by falling oil prices. Of course, we'll keep an eye on those numbers and on Wall Street throughout the day.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CURNOW: Well, it's the final full day of campaigning before the New Hampshire primary and presidential candidates from both major parties are
scrambling for votes.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CURNOW (voice-over): On the Republican side, contenders see an opening to blunt the rise of Marco Rubio after his shaky performance in Saturday's
debate. Polls show Donald Trump still holding a double-digit lead in New Hampshire.
Trump told CNN on Sunday that Rubio may have lost some momentum.
For the Democrats, Hillary Clinton is trying to cut into Bernie Sanders' lead, big lead. And her husband, already out on the campaign trail, is
stepping up his attacks. CNN's Jeff Zeleny has more on the Democratic race.
BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: When you're making a revolution, you can't be too careful about the fact. You're just for me or
JEFF ZELENY, CNN SR. WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Former president Bill Clinton, unleashing a blistering no-holds-barred attack on
his wife's rival, Bernie Sanders, going after Bernie Sanders' health care plan.
CLINTON: Is it good for America?
I don't think so.
Is it good for New Hampshire?
I don't think so.
ZELENY (voice-over): Labeling Sanders as dishonest and hypocritical in his criticism of the financial sector he so often rails against.
CLINTON: Anybody who takes money from Goldman Sachs couldn't possibly be president. He may have to tweak that answer a little bit. Either that or
we're going to have to get us a write-in candidate.
ZELENY (voice-over): The former president's words were stinging, blasting the Vermont senator and his supporters for what he called "inaccurate and
sexist" attacks, including Bernie Bros, the mobs of Sanders supporters, who use crude language to attack Hillary Clinton backers online.
CLINTON: People who have gone online to defend Hillary and explain, just explain why they supported her, have been subject to attacks that are
literally too profane -- often, not to mention, sexist -- to repeat.
ZELENY (voice-over): Sanders disavowing such tactics.
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I), VT., PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Anybody who is supporting me is doing sexist things is -- we don't want them. I don't
want them. That is not what this campaign is about.
CURNOW: Well, that was Jeff Zeleny reporting.
MJ Lee joins me now from Manchester, New Hampshire, with more on the Democratic race. We saw the comeback kid there, Bill Clinton, he's working
Will it work?
MJ LEE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, well, this is really, really crunch time now. And this is why we are seeing the attacks between Bernie Sanders and
Hillary Clinton really escalating. What we saw, what former president Bill Clinton said, really taking a harsh tone against Bernie Sanders.
And this is because both candidates and their surrogates are aware how much really is at stake here.
Of course, Hillary Clinton never expected to have such a close race with Bernie Sanders. I think she had expected things to be definitely
challenging and for things to have been competitive in Iowa.
But after finishing so close with Bernie Sanders, really by razor-thin margins, winning the state there, I think Hillary Clinton, even though she
is trailing Bernie Sanders by a significant amount in New Hampshire, she gets that it's important to have the best showing that she can.
She herself had said that she understands she has a bit of an enthusiasm problem. She gets that. She needs to do better with younger voters and I
think she and her surrogates, including her husband, are doing their best to get the enthusiasm up and to hit --
LEE: -- Bernie Sanders wherever they can.
CURNOW: Well, let's talk about enthusiasm in younger voters, in particular young women voters. Not as excited as one would have thought about the
prospect of the first woman, first female president in the U.S.
Hillary Clinton's brought out a few of her powerful friends, Madeleine Albright in particular, who was the first female secretary of state. This
is what she had to say this weekend.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MADELEINE ALBRIGHT, FMR. SECY. OF STATE: Women don't think you have -- it's been done. It's not done. And you have to help. Hillary Clinton
will always be there for you. And just remember, there's a special place in hell for women who don't help each other.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CURNOW: "A special place in hell for women who don't help each other."
I mean, I know Madeleine Albright has used this before. She's mostly referring to women in the workplace. But it really sank this time. I
mean, it sounded like a threat, didn't it, and it hasn't gone down well.
LEE: Well, look, I mean, for Hillary Clinton, again, the enthusiasm problem is a significant one when she's facing Bernie Sanders, who has sort
of -- has this cult following, especially among young voters. The Bernie Sanders momentum has been significant. You go to his rallies and there are
thousands and thousands of college students, younger voters, who are turning out for him, sometimes for the first time.
So we're seeing Hillary Clinton really wanting to remind her potential supporters and voters out there, look, I'm going to be the first female
President of the United States if I can win this time around. I think she had expected to get a little more support, just based on that front.
But because Sanders is really nipping at her heels -- and in a state like New Hampshire he is leading her, again, by a significant amount -- she's
doing everything she can to remind people, look, the woman thing is not inconsequential.
And voters should really consider that when they are trying to choose between a Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton.
CURNOW: In a chilly New Hampshire, thanks for that update, MJ Lee.
And we'll have much more on the U.S. presidential race later on in the IDESK in about 15 minutes' time, analysis on the Republican candidates,
including some of the underdogs hoping for a big night in New Hampshire. So stick around for that.
In the meantime, just ahead, Pyongyang may be celebrating its weekend rocket launch but the rest of the world is far from pleased. We'll have
the latest reaction.
CURNOW: Hi, there, welcome back.
North Korea continues to celebrate what it called a successful launch of a satellite into orbit on a long-range rocket. The launch has triggered an
ongoing wave of international condemnation.
Our Ivan Watson joins us now live from Seoul.
Hi, there, Ivan, we just got also more details on South Korea increasing their defenses. Tell us about that.
IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right, we have just learned -- CNN's security correspondent, Jim Sciutto, has just learned
from a Defense official in the U.S. that the launch of the missile, the rocket by North Korea on Sunday, has accelerated talks between the U.S. and
their ally, South Korea, for the possible deployment of missile defense systems here in South Korea that are known as THAAD, that this has pushed
WATSON: -- possible deployment within one to two weeks here in South Korea.
Now what is the THAAD missile defense system?
It stands for terminal high-altitude area defense system. And this would potentially help protect South Korea from short-, medium- and long-range
It is a defense system that China has spoken out against deployment of here in South Korea in the past. The Defense official telling CNN that the U.S.
has held back on this possible deployment to honor Beijing's wishes but that the rocket launch on Sunday has basically pushed this priority forward
to help defend South Korea.
China expressed regret about North Korea's launch of this rocket to, as North Korea puts, it, "to put a peaceful satellite into space," into orbit
around the Earth but it has been universally condemned by pretty much every other country and government involved in the Korean Peninsula conflict --
CURNOW: Indeed, I mean, all eyes now on China. Very much -- Beijing very much trying to balance how to respond to North Korea's aggression here.
There's a lot at play.
WATSON: There is and it's just days ago that Beijing sent a veteran diplomat to Pyongyang, presumably to try to convince the North Koreans not
to carry out this very controversial rocket launch.
And despite that, the North Koreans in fact pushed up the launch day by a day, basically showing real disrespect to their only real friend in the
world and that's China, their most essential trading partner.
So the question is, will China show its displeasure, beyond summoning North Korea's ambassador to Beijing to deliver a formal protest?
That we do not know. The Chinese have been developing stronger economic relations with South Korea, stronger political relations as well. But it
seems that they also view their connections with North Korea to be very important as well.
So how do they balance this relationship?
Well, the Chinese are members of the United Nations Security Council. They went along with the United Nations Security Council statement on Sunday
after emergency talks, which berated the North Koreans for this move, launching this rocket so soon after their purported hydrogen bomb test last
month -- Robyn.
CURNOW: Thanks so much for that perspective, Ivan Watson there, thank you.
Well, staying in the region, reports say at least two survivors have been rescued from a collapsed building in Southern Taiwan. A woman and a man
were pulled from the rubble more than two days after an earthquake toppled the complex. The death toll from Saturday's 6.4 magnitude quake now stands
at 38 people.
Meanwhile, authorities are investigating why the 16-story building collapsed after images emerged of cans built into the walls. More than 500
people were injured and at least 100 people are still missing.
Well, still ahead here at the INTERNATIONAL DESK, Marco-mentum seems to be slowing after Marco Rubio's performance in the last U.S. presidential
debate. We'll analyze what it means for him going into Tuesday's New Hampshire primary.
CURNOW: Welcome back to the INTERNATIONAL DESK. I'm Robyn Curnow at the CNN Center.
Back to U.S. politics now. Republican front-runner Donald Trump maintains a strong lead one day before the New Hampshire primary. And while Marco
Rubio had been riding a wave of momentum, that seems to have ended with his performance in Saturday's debate. CNN's Sara Murray has more from New
SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R), FLA., PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It's funny that the -- I don't know, people think it's a bad thing; I'm going to keep saying it
over and over again, Barack Obama is trying to change America.
SARA MURRAY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): One day until the New Hampshire primary, Marco Rubio is doubling down on his rhetoric after
Saturday's shaky debate performance.
SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: If you want to be like another country, why don't you move to another country?
MURRAY (voice-over): Under fire from Chris Christie.
GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), N.J., PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You have not been involved in a consequential decision where you had to be held accountable.
You just simply haven't.
MURRAY (voice-over): -- the freshman senator repeated the same line four times Saturday.
RUBIO: And let's dispel once and for all with this fiction that Barack Obama doesn't know what he's doing.
Let's dispel with this fiction that Barack Obama doesn't know what he's doing. He knows exactly what he's doing.
This notion that Barack Obama doesn't know what he's doing is just not --
CHRISTIE: There it is. There it is, the memorized 25-second speech. There it is, everybody.
MURRAY (voice-over): Back on the campaign trail, his GOP rivals are exploiting his slip-up.
DONALD TRUMP, REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Did Marco Rubio do well last night in the debate?
JEB BUSH, FORMER GOVERNOR OF FLORIDA, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You cannot script being commander in chief.
CHRISTIE: We need someone who has been tested and ready to go against Hillary Clinton. Senator Rubio proves last night he can't do that.
MURRAY (voice-over): This as polls continue to show Trump way on top in New Hampshire, much to the dismay of the establishment candidates.
BUSH: Donald Trump, you're the loser.
MURRAY (voice-over): The billionaire garnering more than twice the support of his nearest competitor.
Meanwhile, Rubio is already looking past the primaries.
RUBIO: I'm coming back in August and September because we're going to win New Hampshire in the general election.
MURRAY (voice-over): As the front-runner, after his second place finish in Iowa, tries to manage expectations.
TRUMP: I think I'm going to do very well in New Hampshire. But no, I don't -- I don't think -- I want to win New Hampshire, but I don't think I
have to win it, no.
CURNOW: That was Sara Murray reporting.
Well, I want to bring in CNN senior political reporter Manu Raju now. He joins us from Salem, New Hampshire.
You heard Mr. Trump speaking to CNN there on the phone, saying he wants to win New Hampshire, it's not a big deal if he doesn't. But he still has a
Do you think he will?
MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: I think there's a very good chance he will. And let's be clear, Robyn. He needs to win New Hampshire.
If he doesn't, it's going to be a huge blow to him and it probably could be the end of the Trump campaign.
But right now he has a pretty dominant position in the polls. But I would caution that that number is soft because a number of New Hampshire voters,
about 30 percent or so, have not made up their minds yet.
And on top of that, polls show that a large number of voters here in the state have refused to support Donald Trump, far more than any other
candidate in the race, which is one reason why Jeb Bush, in particular, has been going after Donald Trump very aggressively, hoping he can pull away
some of those disaffected potential Trump supporters into his camp.
So right now I would say that Donald Trump is a heavy favorite going into Tuesday; not certain he's going to win. And there's a big fight going on
right now from second to sixth place, when all those competitors are just a few points apart.
CURNOW: Yes. A lot of independents could sway things either way in New Hampshire. Let's talk about the underdog race. You mentioned Jeb Bush.
He's also been speaking about Marco Rubio and his rather wobbly debate performance. Just have a listen to this first.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BUSH: When it's a validation of what the perception is, it's bad news. And in Marco's case, look, he's not as scripted as he came across in that
debate. He's a gifted speaker. He's a gifted person.
But he has nothing in his background to suggest that he could make a tough decision. It's possible he could. But there's nothing -- he's never had a
job where he's had to tell people no. He's never had a job where he's had to force consensus. And so that became apparent, I think, on Saturday
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CURNOW: Slightly softer in his criticism than, say, Chris Christie but, really, I mean, everybody does seem to be gunning for Marco Rubio. That
momentum went very quickly.
RAJU: It really did. And I think that you'll start to see polls showing his numbers slipping pretty dramatically. Remember, he came out of the
Iowa caucuses with a really strong momentum and a sense that the party was going to unite behind him and he was going to be that alternative to Donald
But after that debate performance, you were hearing some folks who are not quite ready to get behind him and it's given life to Jeb Bush, to Chris
Christie, to John Kasich, the Ohio governor, who all believe that they could actually be that Trump alternative.
So we'll see how much does this hurt Marco Rubio. It's been the talk of the campaign trail. I spent a lot of time talking to voters; a lot of them
are uncertain about backing Marco Rubio. We'll see how much that debate performance ends up affecting his campaign -- Robyn.
CURNOW: Well, let's talk about the winner of the Iowa caucuses, Ted Cruz, here.
How do you think he's going to play in a place like New Hampshire?
RAJU: He had actually been in about second place in the polls for some time but we have seen him slipping rather dramatically. This is a state
that is a little bit more moderate in their voting ideologically than, say, in Iowa, which has a much stronger base of conservatives, particularly
Christian conservatives. (INAUDIBLE) Ted Cruz to that victory in Iowa and Cruz has known all along that these are not his core base of supporters but
he has wanted to do particularly well.
If he ends up about third, fourth or fifth place, which is very possible, it will hurt him going forward into the next primary state of South
Now in South Carolina, you do have that more conservative social, conservative element in the Republican base. So we'll have to regain, tap
into that support going forward. But he has a poor showing in New Hampshire; it will hurt his momentum. In this race, at the end of the day,
it's all about momentum.
CURNOW: It is indeed, Manu. Thanks so much.
And for more on the race for the White House, CNN has a weekly show that covers the candidates and all the conversation. "POLITICAL MANN" in on
Saturdays at 7:00 pm in London. Be sure to watch that every week for the entire campaign season.
Coming up, if you're trying to figure out who will be the next U.S. president, forget poll numbers and primaries. CNN talks to a fortune
teller, who says victory is all in the face.
CURNOW: Countless people will visit a fortune teller for the Lunar New Year, seeking advice on everything from romantic woes to business deals.
So CNN turned to this old tradition to divine the fates of the U.S. presidential candidates.
Of course, we need as much help as we can get. And Alexandra Field reports.
ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Forget pollsters and pundits. For predictions --
-- in a presidential election year, you could always come here.
Every Chinese New Year, many seek ancient wisdom to find out what the future holds. The methods can seem mysterious.
FIELD: Who wins,, between the two of them?
PRISCILLA LAM (PH), FORTUNE TELLER: It must be Hillary.
FIELD (voice-over): Hong Kong is still home to fortune tellers. They read palms, charts, even faces.
What about these faces?
FIELD: So what feature's most important in a politician's face?
LAM (PH): Usually, OK, long face.
FIELD: The shape of the face?
LAM (PH): Shape. Long faces, full.
FIELD (voice-over): That's right. By looking at their features, Priscilla Lam (ph) says she can see the outcomes of campaigns half a world away.
And take the Democrats.
LAM (PH): Hillary's the best.
FIELD: Hillary's got the best face for president?
LAM (PH): (INAUDIBLE), best face. See, sharp eyes.
Sharp eyes, long face, high nose, flexible lips.
FIELD (voice-over): In the Republican field, there's more for her to pick apart.
LAM (PH): Donald Trump the best.
FIELD: Comes in first in New Hampshire?
LAM (PH): Yes, comes in first.
FIELD: Who's number two in New Hampshire?
LAM (PH): OK. Number two, OK. So this one. Number two.
FIELD (voice-over): Of course, it isn't all about face.
TRUMP: I think she's got a beautiful face.
FIELD (voice-over): You've got to have luck on your side in 2016. And that's already decided, she says, by their birthdays and the stars.
LAM (PH): Yes, you say, OK, there's no Donald Trump, maybe she's the winner. And his birthday, OK, he's fire, is stronger than Hillary.
FIELD (voice-over): That means Priscilla's projections put the elephant in front of the donkey during in the year of the Red Fire Monkey.
FIELD: How confident are you that you can take the birthdays and the faces and predict the next President of the United States?
LAM (PH): Eighty percent.
FIELD: And the rest is up to what?
LAM (PH): Up the weather and the phase of the election and also their presentation.
FIELD (voice-over): One point, the pollsters, the pundits and Priscilla probably agree on -- Alexandra Field, CNN, Hong Kong.
CURNOW: Thanks, Alexandra, for that report.
Now Super Bowl 50 is in the books. And the Denver Broncos are the champions of U.S. football after defeating the Carolina Panthers.
But for many fans, the Super Bowl experience is all about the halftime show and the commercials. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CURNOW (voice-over): The trifecta of Beyonce, Bruno Mars and Coldplay got generally good reviews. Beyonce managed to steal some of the limelight,
announcing a new world tour minutes after this fantastic performance.
As for those commercials, a Doritos ad showing a chip-induced birth played big on social media. (INAUDIBLE) negative reviews, the ad's also getting
viewed over and over today on YouTube of course.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
Well, that does it for us here at the INTERNATIONAL DESK. Thanks so much for watching. I'm Robyn Curnow. We'll be back in just over an hour with
more on the crisis on the Turkish border for Syrian refugees.
In the meantime, I'm going to hand you over to "WORLD SPORT."