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Republican Candidates Trade Barbs in New Hampshire; Clinton and Sanders Battle for Votes in New Hampshire; Zika Threat Looms over Rio Olympics; Nine Dead in Germany Train Collision; People in Damascus Feel Government is Winning; Syrian Government Making Gains around Aleppo; Voting Underway in New Hampshire Primary; Dixville Notch Has Spoken. Aired 10-11a ET
Aired February 9, 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, it's decision day for voters in New Hampshire.
Two trains collide in Germany, killing at least nine people.
And we're seeing the first pictures of debris from North Korea's rocket.
CURNOW: Hi, there, welcome. I'm Robyn Curnow at the CNN Center.
We start with the first primary in this year's U.S. presidential race. The polls are now open in the state of New Hampshire. Voters are casting
ballots after weeks of frenzied campaigning and, towards the end, plenty of mudslinging.
New Hampshire is considered a fiercely independent state and the results could be a surprise. For some candidates, it could be their last stand in
the race as well.
On the Democratic side, New Hampshire could be Bernie Sanders' best chance to score a big victory over Hillary Clinton. The latest CNN Poll of Polls
shows him with a double-digit lead.
In the Republican race, Donald Trump has more than double the support of his closest challenger, Marco Rubio. They're followed by Ted Cruz and John
Kasich in what could become a key battle for second place.
Trump's campaign strategy since his surprising loss in Iowa has run the gambit from humble to hostile. On the eve of the primary he was back in
attack mode as Sara Murray now reports.
SARA MURRAY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Hours ahead of the first votes, name-calling in the GOP reached a fever pitch.
DONALD TRUMP, REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: She said he's a (INAUDIBLE). That's terrible.
MURRAY (voice-over): Donald Trump repeated a voter's vulgar jab at Ted Cruz Monday night. And the front-runner was relentless in attacking Jeb
Bush throughout the day.
TRUMP: We have to get rid of the Bushes of the world. Jeb is a lightweight. Jeb is having some kind of a breakdown, I think. And you
know, look, he's an embarrassment to his family.
MURRAY (voice-over): Bush continuing the battle, trading insult for insult, after tweeting at Trump, "You aren't just a loser, you are a liar
and a whiner."
JEB BUSH, FORMER GOVERNOR OF FLORIDA, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, he is a whiner. I'm a joyful warrior.
Imagine a guy like Donald Trump, for example, being President of the United States during difficult times.
MURRAY (voice-over): Now in the final hours, candidates are vying to win over legions of undecided New Hampshire voters.
Marco Rubio trying to bounce back after a debate gaffe, repeating the same phrase four times Saturday night, something Christie is capitalizing on.
GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), N.J., PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: He's sitting across the table from Vladimir Putin. You don't want to repeat the same thing
four or five times over again.
MURRAY (voice-over): But awkwardly, Rubio repeated himself yet again Monday night during a stump speech.
SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R), FLA., PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We know how hard it's become to instill our values in our kids instead of the values they try to
ram down our throats.
It's become harder than ever to instill in your children the values they teach in our homes and in our church instead of the values that they try to
ram down our throats.
MURRAY (voice-over): This, as Trump downplayed his wide lead in the final polls before today's primary.
TRUMP: I hear we have a lead. It doesn't matter to me. It doesn't matter to me.
Who the hell knows what the lead is?
MURRAY (voice-over): After admitting his ground game fell behind in Iowa, his campaign has been playing catch-up.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hi, how are you doing?
MURRAY (voice-over): On the snowy eve of the primary, Trump made a final push in his unconventional style.
TRUMP: If you're going to drive like a maniac, do it tomorrow after you vote. And I promise I will come and visit you in the hospital. I promise.
CURNOW: Well, that was Sara Murray reporting there.
For the Democrats, a better-than-expected showing for Hillary Clinton could solidify her standing going forward. Jeff Zeleny has the candidate's final
push in New Hampshire.
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I), VT., PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You look beautiful.
JEFF ZELENY, CNN SR. WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's your turn, New Hampshire.
HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Thank you, New Hampshire.
ZELENY (voice-over): Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders delivering last- minute pleas.
HILLARY CLINTON: This is an important milestone in this campaign.
ZELENY (voice-over): And 11th hour pitches.
SANDERS: I'm here today to ask your support to join with us in making that political revolution.
Thank you all very much.
ZELENY (voice-over): The first-in-the-nation primary will set the tone for the rest of the campaign and help determine just how long that will be. A
strong Sanders win will guarantee a long Democratic race ahead.
SANDERS: The eyes of the country and a lot of the world, by the way, will be right here in New Hampshire.
ZELENY (voice-over): The Clinton team bracing for a tough night and a possible campaign shake-up if things don't go well tonight.
HILLARY CLINTON: We're going to take stock, what is going to be of the campaign that I've got.
ZELENY (voice-over): CNN has learned much of the discontent is coming from allies of Bill Clinton, who believe the campaign underestimated Sanders.
On Election Eve, the former president held his tongue -- or tried to.
BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Sometimes, when I'm on a stage like this, I wish we weren't married. Then I could say what I
ZELENY (voice-over): The race hinges on New Hampshire's --
ZELENY (voice-over): -- famously fickle independent voters and whether they will choose their heads or their hearts.
Beth Riley came to a Bernie Sanders rally.
BETH RILEY, CLINTON SUPPORTER: I really love Bernie. He says all the things that we would like to have this country be so much better.
ZELENY (voice-over): But says she'll vote for Clinton.
RILEY: I'd love it if he could win but I think I'm probably going to go with Hillary because I think she can win.
CURNOW: Jeff Zeleny reporting there.
Well, New Hampshire's secretary of state has predicted that a record number of voters will turn out for this primary. Let's get right to the wintry
northeastern state in question. CNN's Chris Frates joins me now live from a polling place in the town of Hudson.
This record turnout; also, you've been speaking to voters.
What are they saying?
CHRIS FRATES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, good morning, Robyn. So, we have about 1,200 voters who have come through the door in the first two hours
here. They expect they'll get about 9,000.
And what's interesting when you talk to voters here, there are many independent voters. Those voters aren't registered as a Democrat or a
Republican. When they come to the voting center, they can decide which primary they'd like to vote in and I've been talking to voters who have
made that decision; I talked to a gentleman, Bruce Atwood (ph). He's a registered independent, considers himself a Goldwater Republican but he
voted in the Democratic primary and he voted for Hillary Clinton.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRUCE ATWOOD, INDEPENDENT VOTER: My Archie Bunker line is, yes, my son is gay and my daughter's Jewish.
FRATES: Is that a fact?
ATWOOD: That's a fact. So, obviously, I'm sensitive to the views of the evangelicals about gay rights, of course.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FRATES: So there you have social issues being very important to some voters here. Mr. Atwood, I asked him, well, if you are a Republican, why
not vote for Jeb Bush, why not vote for Chris Christie, why not get into that establishment lane?
And he made the point that the president will make a Supreme Court justice pick and he wants to make sure that that pick is socially progressive.
So it's very interesting here. You never know what you're going to get, Robyn. And it's fascinating to talk to voters as they come out of the
polls and have made a decision after months of phone calls, mailers, television ads bombarding them, trying to get them to make the choice.
Today is judgment day and it's been really fun to talk to folks as they're making that decision.
CURNOW: Yes, a lot of thought has gone into this.
However, what does the weather play in terms of turnout?
We know that a big turnout is expected.
Iowa, it felt like perhaps the snow impacted on the results -- or maybe not.
What's the outlook?
FRATES: Well, you know, I was talking to some of the folks who run this voting center and they thought because of the snow it might be a little
slow today. But s you can see behind me, it's a little after 10 o'clock here on the East Coast of America and there's still a good stream of folks
coming through the door.
They haven't seen a dropoff because of the weather. Although they do wonder if they'll see even more folks tonight as the weather gets clear.
But keep in mind, you're in New Hampshire. They know how to deal with snow here. The roads were largely clear, even the side roads, as we made our
way to the voting center today. So they still expect they'll get about 9,000 people out to this one voting center. And they do expect that they
might get records across the state tonight. And so far, the weather is not playing much of a role -- Robyn.
CURNOW: OK, hardy folk. Thanks so much, Chris. Appreciate it.
Well, next at the INTERNATIONAL DESK, two trains, one track; a horrible crash. We're live from Germany with more on this deadly collision.
Plus, it's being called the Fishbowl Revolution in Hong Kong. Street clashes erupt during Lunar New Year's celebrations. We'll have more on
that at the INTERNATIONAL DESK.
CURNOW: Welcome back, look at that, a flat open for U.S. markets right now, the Dow is barely up, 6 points there. This follows drops in Europe
and Japan where the Nikkei lost 5 percent and the Dow's steep plunge during the day on Monday.
We're just months away from the kickoff of the Olympic Games in Rio. And the Zika virus is looming large over the event. We meet the residents of
one community living in the shadow of Olympic Park, where Zika is now a threat. Here's Nick Paton Walsh with the story.
NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SR. INTL. CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Pedro is driving us to his home. That's inside Brazil's nearly completed Olympic
Park. He's no builder or developer but someone for whom the making of this Olympic dream means they will lose their own dream, their home.
He still lives inside the Olympic Park, referring to move out of the way for bulldozers, refusing to take the public's buyout.
There are forms of pressure, he says; the most common, to cut the water. What water is here is stagnant and that could mean Zika. This was once a
lakeside paradise but now stagnant water brings with it the risk of mosquitoes.
The construction site has taken away so much of the greenery they used to know. And now the reluctant new neighbor of the Olympic Park.
WALSH: I see a lot of mosquitoes here.
You're not worried about Zika?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, I do not have fear of mosquitoes. I have fear of my manager.
WALSH (voice-over): He means the city mayor, whose office did not return our calls. Just outside the park's fence, Luis heads one of 50 of what was
once was 500 families living here.
"This was our little corner," he says, "a paradise for us."
Yes, they've been offered new homes but won't leave their corner of Brazil. And it's one, he shows us, where demolition means more still water for
Zika-carrying mosquitoes to breed.
Like all of Rio, during Carnival, they're partying but they're not leaving home, worrying that, if they leave, they'll come back to find their homes
In the rubble, noise and Zika threat, Rafaela (ph) gave birth seven days ago.
Here fever when pregnant spells panic.
"The water pipes broke down," she says, "and my children all got fever. So we went to see the doctor but he told us it was from the bad water we'd
drunk and not Zika."
Still so much medical uncertainty meant only little Sofia's (ph) birth let them feel totally safe.
"I was happy," she says.
"What mother isn't when their daughter is born healthy?"
The idyllic water is where Brazil's Olympic dream it's held a nightmare and its most disregarded growth and struggle in sight of each other -- Nick
Paton Walsh, CNN, Rio de Janeiro.
CURNOW: Thanks to Nick and his team for that.
Now to the search for answers after two trains smashed into each other in Southern Germany, leaving at least nine people dead. Chilling images there
as the trains remain wedged together. CNN's Atika Shubert joins us now from Berlin.
Hi, there, Atika.
How did it come to be that two trains came to be running directly toward each other on the same track?
ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, this is what investigators are looking at. So far, they've recovered two of the three
black boxes in the wreckage. And they're trying to determine whether it was an issue with the train itself, whether it was human error by the
drivers on both trains or a technical malfunction on either or both of the trains or whether this was an infrastructure issue.
If for example, there was a signal failure that gave the green light to both trains to travel on the same track at the same time. According to the
federal transportation minister, it appears that they were both traveling around a bend. And so they --
SHUBERT: -- weren't able to see each other until it was too late. And they were probably traveling at a top speed of 120 kilometers an hour.
In his words, it looked as though one train had literally drilled into the other.
CURNOW: Yes, horrifying, these images give us a real sense of just how devastating this crash has been. We know there are nine fatalities, a
number of people injured.
What do we know about their injuries?
SHUBERT: Well, we know that there were at least several -- there were more than 14 that were critically injured. As you can imagine, with something
like this, it's just horrific when responders arrive at the scene.
But what made it even more difficult was that because it was a very wooded and mountainous terrain, they couldn't bring the ambulances straight up to
the wreckage. So they actually had to helicopter a number of the victims out. And they brought in about more than a dozen helicopters to do this,
bringing them to hospitals, not only in Germany but in Austria as well. It was right on the border.
The death toll now stays at nine. But there are still another two missing. It is believed, from the train operator, Meridian (ph), that the drivers
are among the dead although, at this point, the wreckage is so mangled it's impossible to identify still. They're still trying to see what DNA
evidence they can get.
CURNOW: OK. From Germany, Atika Shubert, thanks for that update.
Well, just days after North Korea launched a satellite into orbit, evidence is emerging that the mission wasn't as successful as Pyongyang claims.
South Korea has recovered about 270 objects from the sea, including this one, believed to be part of the rocket that fired the satellite into orbit.
A senior U.S. Defense official said the satellite is, quote, "tumbling in orbit and unable to function."
And security is beefed up in Hong Kong's Mong Kok district following violent clashes between protesters and police. Tensions escalated when
police tried to clear out illegal street vendors, who were selling food for the Lunar New Year holiday. At one point, police fired warning shots.
More than 50 people were arrested, more than 100 hurt.
And protesters marched outside South Africa's highest court, where judges were hearing a case involving President Jacob Zuma, an issue whether Mr.
Zuma should pay back $15 million in taxpayer money that he used to renovate one of his personal homes.
Last week he offered to repay some of the money but the opposition is still calling for him to step down.
Ahead at the INTERNATIONAL DESK, flashpoint Aleppo: how the battle for the city could upend the course of Syria's five-year war. More on that after
CURNOW: Welcome back.
NATO's secretary-general says Russian airstrikes are undermining efforts to find a peaceful solution in Syria. In recent weeks, those strikes have
helped Syrian government forces retake territory in the north around Aleppo. As our Frederik Pleitgen reports, people in Damascus feel the
regime is finally gaining the upper hand.
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The Syrian army's recent advances against rebel groups have bolstered the
Assad regime's position and they have clearly also had an impact here, in government-controlled Damascus.
More traffic, more people out on the streets and more optimism among --
PLEITGEN (voice-over): -- regime supporters.
"Things are getting better, thanks to the leadership of President Assad," this man says, "and thanks to the Syrian army and the paramilitary forces."
And this man adds, "Our army is winning. It's a strong army and it's protected by God."
But for much of last year, the Syrian government was losing ground; various rebel factions closed in on government strongholds in the north and the
south of the country. But Russian airpower and help from pro-Iranian militias appear to be turning the tide in this five-year conflict, leading
some to question the point of diplomacy.
PLEITGEN: While the U.N. and the United States continue to say that only diplomacy can solve the Syrian crisis, an increasing number people here in
government-controlled territory seem to believe that there could be a military solution to the conflict. That is, if Bashar al-Assad's army can
build on the gains it's made in recent weeks.
PLEITGEN (voice-over): But the government's offensive comes at a high price, tens of thousands fleeing toward the Turkish border, looking to
escape the onslaught.
Meanwhile, speculation that Assad's main adversaries, Turkey and Saudi Arabia, might be planning incursions into Northern Syria, leading to this
warning from the foreign minister.
"Any troops that invade our territory will go home in wooden coffins," Walid Muallem said.
And even on the streets of Damascus, not everyone is sure the government's momentum will carry on.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't think it's going to end like any soon and I don't think anyone is willing. I think it's a no-win. I don't know. It's
my personal opinion.
PLEITGEN (voice-over): Even with the optimism brought on by the recent gains, one thing remains the same for Syrians, the uncertainty of what the
future will bring -- Fred Pleitgen, CNN, Damascus.
CURNOW: Great having Fred there in Damascus. Let's talk more about this battle for Aleppo and how it could mark a major turning point in the Syrian
civil war. Tim Lister, one of our producers, wrote an article on cnn.com about the shifting battlefield. He joins us now from Cordoba, Spain, via
Hey, there, Tim. We heard Fred there give us a real understanding of what's being said on the ground, concerns that some of these gains aren't
But still, do you believe this is a tipping point?
TIM LISTER, CNN PRODUCER: It's potentially a tipping point, Robyn, yes. I think a lot depends on what happens to Aleppo in the coming weeks.
Do they attempt a siege that just gradually starves the city to death or do they go for an all-out assault to reduce the city to ruins?
And that's the big question, what will the rebels do?
Will they stay and fight in Aleppo?
Will they retreat to what remains of the territory they control, which is largely really inland?
And if they do that, it plays into the hands of the more merchant (ph) group which are strong in an area like Idlib. Jabhat al-Nusra, the Al
Qaeda affiliate for example. So an awful lot of moving parts over the next few weeks and months and that's excluding what Turkey, Saudi Arabia and
their allies might be doing -- Robyn.
CURNOW: Let's get back to that in a moment. I just want to unpack these rebel groups.
You're saying that you expect there to be a lot of shifting alliances in the coming weeks?
LISTER: I think what you'll see is that the rebels will come together in very opportunistic coalitions, if you like. There's already signs of that
with Ahrar ash-Sham, which is a very important militia in this part of Syria, asking all the rebels to come together and fight on a common front
against the Assad regime -- but not just the Assad regime. The Iranian Revolutionary Guard that are there in great numbers, Hezbollah are there in
You're seeing much more now, if you like, a sectarian divide between a Shia front, supported by Russian bombing, and Sunni groups, which is becoming
more and more militant in their outlook on the other side.
So what does that mean if Saudi follows through on its offer to put ground troops?
You heard the foreign minister in Fred's piece. He didn't mince his words on that option.
LISTER: I think the Saudi details are very short at the moment. We're not quite sure what they mean.
Do they mean special operations forces that would be directed towards ISIS, who are in the east of the country?
Do they mean a more general mobilization that would seek to prevent the Syrian advance towards the Turkish border?
Similarly, what do the Turks do now?
It's clear that everyone is absolutely furious with the way that the West has been outmaneuvered in the talks. He sees the Kurds taking advantage in
Northern Syria of the failure of the other rebel groups. And he sees another massive humanitarian crisis emerging on his border.
There are no good options for Turkey. But as the next few weeks unfold, what we may see is that the Turks will begin to push even --
LISTER: -- more advanced weapons towards their allies across the border, that part of the border that is still under the control of the rebels
towards the northwest and that could include, for example, anti-aircraft missiles.
So I don't think we're going to see the Saudis, the Turks, the Qataris just folding their cards and walking away from the situation. The real danger
is that we could be doubling down for an even worse confrontation as 2016 proceeds -- Robyn.
CURNOW: Indeed. You mentioned briefly the role of the Kurds.
Where do they fit into all of this?
I know you were there, just last week with our team.
What's your assessment of how they're going to play out this scenario?
How are they going to gain this, basically?
LISTER: I think they're being opportunistic at the moment. They've had an ambivalent relationship with the regime. They've not gone head-to-head
with the regime in other parts of Syria. In fact, we were in Hasakah last week and there's a regime enclave right in the middle of the city. The
Kurds ignore it. The regime ignore the Kurds. They co-exist. They don't like each other but they co-exist.
There's an understanding there. And now as the regime pushes rebels out of that part Northern Syria, north of Aleppo, the Kurds are taking advantage
by moving in to some of those villages, which they regard as part of their Rojava (ph), their state, if you like, in Northern Syria.
And this is very bad news for the Turks. They face the possibility of the Kurds controlling their entire southern border, both in Iraq and Syria.
And this is not something that Erdogan will tolerant.
They've been very, very straightforward that if the Kurds try to create, if you like, a coherent shape south of the border, they will take military
action against the Kurds. So there are no good signs in Syria at the moment. Everything seems downward --
CURNOW: And, Tim, you haven't even mentioned ISIS yet, how they fit into this.
LISTER: Well, I think what the Syrians are trying to do with the Russians' assistance is reduce the choice in Syria to Assad against ISIS. Hollow out
the rest of the opposition, kill off the moderate rebel groups, leave al Nusra in a redoubt in Northwest Syria and then ISIS in the east of Syria.
To be honest, the regime, I don't think, cares a whole lot about the east of Syria. It wants to consolidate its heartland, which is from Damascus in
the south through Homs and out to Latakia with Aleppo in the north.
And therefore, ISIS, with whom the regime has been doing deals on energy and so forth in a very underhand sort of way, ISIS is left alone for now.
Will the Syrians and the Russians then turn their attention to Raqqah when Aleppo is done?
Who knows. But for the moment, their focus is very much on non-ISIS held parts of the country.
CURNOW: Tim Lister -- and of course all of this then bears the question, what happens with peace talks?
Really appreciate you joining us here on the IDESK, Tim.
And of course our viewers can read more of Tim's observations on the battle for Aleppo at cnn.com. We'll have much more after the break.
CURNOW: Welcome to the INTERNATIONAL DESK. Thank you for joining us, I'm Robyn Curnow. Here's a check of the headlines.
CURNOW: OK. One of the more colorful moments in the New Hampshire race came Monday as Donald Trump blasted rival Ted Cruz. A Trump supporter in
the crowd shouted out a vulgar term to describe the Texas senator.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: You're not allowed to say -- and I never expect to hear that from you again, she said -- I never expect to hear that from you again -- she
said he's a (INAUDIBLE). That's terrible. Terrible.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
Well former New Hampshire governor John Sununu says Trump has taken the campaign mudslinging to a whole new level.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN SUNUNU (R), FORMER NEW HAMPSHIRE GOVERNOR: I think he's brought a vulgarity to it that really has disappointed a lot of people and personal
attacks of an ad hominem nature more than an issue nature. And I just think it's a very different campaign this year than I've ever seen.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CURNOW: Well, let's take a look at the New Hampshire primary. Politics reporter MJ Lee is in Manchester.
You heard Mr. Sununu there saying it's a very different game than before.
What's your assessment of the state of the game now?
These polls don't necessarily pan out the way they say they are?
MJ LEE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, look, the thing to remember with New Hampshire is, that just like Iowa, retail politics here is so, so
So for someone like Donald Trump, who is leading in the polls right now in this state, the critical question is, has he done enough retail politics?
And will voters punish him for not having done enough?
A couple of days ago, Donald Trump dined at a diner, ordered some eggs and hot chocolate and I think as that reporter who has covered him for many
months, it was one of the first times that I ever saw him make that kind of an impromptu stop.
Obviously, this was an issue that he faced in Iowa, where the voters there felt like he wasn't doing enough of the small, intimate gatherings, doing
question-and-answer sessions. And he really has tried to fix that situation here in New Hampshire by holding more campaign stops in general,
meeting voters in smaller gatherings.
But for a lot of his rivals, someone like John Kasich, someone like Jeb Bush, they have really focused on New Hampshire for a good number of months
now and focusing in on the retail politics in this state. So I think we'll find out tonight if for any of those candidates, their efforts over the
last couple of months will really pay off and give them the second or third place finish that they are hoping for going into tonight.
CURNOW: Indeed. You talk about retail politics. It's basically about how many babies you kiss, how many doors you knock on.
But let's also talk about that second tier, who comes in at second to sixth. It really is crucial. And we're going to see a winnowing out, I
think, of some of the laggers here, after this.
LEE: Right, it is so, so important for one of those candidates that I just mentioned, someone like Kasich, someone like Bush; they have spent so much
time in this state, really putting all their eggs in the New Hampshire basket. And they're hoping, if not first place, which looks unlikely, just
based on the polls that have come out recently, that they can finish a strong second or a third.
And they really badly want that strong finish here so that they can go into South Carolina, a state that has historically tended to elect more
mainstream candidates. They feel like if they have a strong showing here in New Hampshire, they could go into South Carolina and then the other
Southern states that follow soon --
LEE: -- after, in a really good place. And this is really the time in the race where the field is winnowing and you know -- and the crowded
establishment lane on the Republican side, the candidates are really vying to break out of the pack and become the candidate that can take on either
Ted Cruz or Donald Trump.
CURNOW: Yes, excellent points there. MJ Lee, thanks so much.
Well, let's explore this more; Jonathan Mann, host of "POLITICAL MANN," is right here with me.
I just want to start off with foul language, crass language, vulgarities. We thought Mr. Trump had perhaps taken it low but this is really getting --
scraping the barrel here.
JONATHAN MANN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It is by the standards of U.S. politics astonishing because --
CURNOW: For a presidential race.
MANN: -- exactly. One of the criteria that voters use is does the man look presidential, does he have a certain gravitas, does he bring dignity
to the office?
And Donald Trump seems to be doing anything but. He has no filter, no concerns, no inhibition. He will say anything.
And I think it's not entirely by accident. I don't think it's an unsteady (ph) response. This is a man who knows how to dominate the news cycle in a
How many candidates are there out there?
We're talking about Trump. We keep talking about Trump because every time we stop talking about Trump, he says something to make us talk about him
again. And so he has been dominating the crowded field of Republicans just by being outrageous.
And not only that, it's working for him in the polls. It's influencing other candidates. Jeb Bush is the latest example. But Rand Paul and
Lindsey Graham before him. It is working for Donald Trump to be the loudest voice in a crowded room; and everyone is screaming just as loud,
almost as foully as he is, trying, in some way, to get a sense -- I'm sorry -- to get a fraction of that attention.
CURNOW: Yes, it's quite amazing. As you mentioned, Jeb Bush also, kind of kowtowing to this sort of kindergarten, sort of spatting, you're a loser,
you're a loser, but not really explaining why.
MANN: Well, no one is as good at being Donald Trump as Donald Trump is. And that's the problem Jeb Bush has and Lindsey Graham and Rand Paul had
him before -- they're not used to this kind of campaigning.
This isn't campaigning. It's insulting, it's bloviating, it's berating. But it seems to be working for Donald Trump. Once again, he's leading in
New Hampshire. It will be really interesting to see how this affects him, if at all, at the polls because that was about as inappropriate a thing as
you could do.
And what was doubly interesting about it is he seemed to be showing this kind of false outrage, "Can you believe what that woman just said? What
she said was this," and he repeats and says "I never want to hear that again," as if he was troubled by it.
He loved that moment. And it's been on television all over this country ever since.
CURNOW: Yes, he seemed to be relishing, mocking the process in many ways, which he has. He's kind of upended it on all sorts of levels.
MANN: There are so many angry voters out there and for them the fact that Donald Trump will break every rule --
CURNOW: Swear on national television.
MANN: -- swear, insult other candidates, insult entire ethnic groups, insult entire nations.
CURNOW: I want to talk about independents. MJ kind of touched on it. The important thing about this New Hampshire state race essentially is that it
can go any way. And there are a number of reasons for that.
MANN: Well, the number of reasons is -- I can give you the number, it's 44 percent; 44 percent of voters identify themselves not as Republicans, not
as Democrats, they are the largest single voting bloc.
And as you mentioned, they can vote in either primary. And a stunning number of them don't know how they're going to vote until voting day. And
so there's this enormous loose cannon walking around, ready to blast in someone's direction.
And it's a reason that even though we keep citing the polls, the polls in New Hampshire have a terrible history of predicting anything, especially on
the Republican side. And it's one more reason why the polls here will be key.
Watch how the candidates explain their results compared to their poll predicted results, the narrative of who did what and how it's going to be
CURNOW: Talking about spin, Marco Rubio came out of Iowa, looking like the next hope. And he managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory in
many ways. He's tanked over the past few days because he doesn't seem to being handling the media very well, the spin. And the other candidates,
Republican candidates, capitalized on that.
MANN: There's no way to explain why someone repeats themselves like a robot. There's no way to explain why someone repeats themselves like a
robot. There's no way to explain why someone repeats themselves like a robot.
The debate, the Republican debate, it was astonishing, if he can recover from that, he's going to look like the smartest guy in the room.
CURNOW: OK. We're all watching, there's polls open. And they come quickly, these numbers today, I think. We'll all get a real sense of how -
MANN: It's all going to be about the spin.
CURNOW: OK. Jon Mann, as always, thank you so much.
MANN: You bet.
CURNOW: And of course, we know Jon Mann has a show every week that covers the candidates and the race for the White House. "POLITICAL MANN" is on
Saturdays at 7:00 pm in London. Be sure to watch every week for the entire campaign.
Well, coming up, a very early boost for two presidential candidates coming from New Hampshire's northernmost reaches. Who took the votes in a --
CURNOW: -- tiny, tiny town called Dixville Notch. It's important, I promise. That's next.
CURNOW: Staying with the U.S. election, in the northern reaches of New Hampshire, just shy of the Canadian border, a tiny town called Dixville
Notch has already done its civic duty.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CURNOW (voice-over): There we go; the sleepy hamlet's nine registered voters -- yes, just nine -- gathered overnight in this brown cabin to cast
the state's first primary ballots.
At precisely midnight, the first of those voters dropped a ballot into the box. That voter is chosen by lottery. Bernie Sanders took the Democratic
side with four votes. For the Republicans, John Kasich got three, Donald Trump two; the first votes in this important primary.
And as we saw in Iowa, every vote counts.
And of course, we'll be covering the voting in New Hampshire all day here on CNN. Be sure to stay with us to keep up with the presidential primary.
That is the first in the nation here on CNN.
Well, thanks for joining me, I'm Robyn Curnow. This is the INTERNATIONAL DESK. I'll be back in just over an hour. Don't go anywhere. "WORLD
SPORT" with Christina Macfarlane is next.