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Analysis of the GOP South Carolina Debate. Aired 12-1a ET

Aired February 14, 2016 - 00:00   ET



[00:00:21] ERIN BURNETT, CNN NEWS ANCHOR: I'm Erin Burnett, and welcome back to the special coverage of tonight's GOP Debate.

Tonight's breaking news, a crucial debate, it was in Greenville, South Carolina, just one week before South Carolina's primary.

Now, let's welcome back our panel.

We've got our Chief Political Analyst, Gloria Borger, Jeffrey Toobin, our Legal Analyst, Senior Political Reporter Nia-Malika Hebderson, our Political Director, David Chalian and our Presidential Historian, Douglas Brinkley. Also joining me, because we have a full house tonight, Jeffrey Lord, a Donald Trump's supporter, Amanda Carpenter, former Communications Director for Senator Cruz, S.E. Cupp, Political Commentator and Marc Lamont Hill, also Political Commentator.

So, thanks to all. Let's go to the winners and the losers.

The bottom line was, it was nasty, it was down, it was dirty.

Marc, win or loser?

MARC LAMONT HILL, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Jeb Bush actually won something. He looked strong. He put Donald Trump on defense, which rarely happens. And he looked that he lured him in the places that he don't want to be. I think he might hit (ph) you.


S.E. CUPP, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes, I think the governor took the governor off, race car fans will know what that means.

But, I think, he really did come out swinging. It was a great debate night. But I'll say it again I think Ted Cruz had the winning moment when he took on Donald Trump on the importance of appointing a Supreme Court Justice.

AMANDA CARPENTER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes, that was the most important task to accomplish tonight. It will look the best in the T.V. clips going forward and also to the broader updates of voters. Ted Cruz is the only one who went toe-to-toe with Donald Trump tonight into your blood. Nobody else accomplished the task.

JEFFRERY LORD, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Of all these things that have been said about Donald Trump tonight that have been said before, I think he wins and he's still standing his message of strength and everything to sort of radiate.

I think the interesting loser tonight was Governor Kasich. I mean, I just -- I mean, he wants everybody to be nice, and all I'm suggesting is that, Republicans were so frustrated, they keep nominating nice guys and then they go out there and they get ripped to shreds. So, they want some fight and Donald Trump is giving them fight.

BURNETT: And they got a fight tonight. OK. You're a winner or loser?

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: I think -- well, I think Jeb had his best debate ever. And I think Trump may've had his worst. And I think what Trump was due, and I could be wrong because I'm not so sure that if you're a Trump supporter, this would be fine. But down the road, if you want to get from 35 to 50, I'm not so sure it works.

BURNETT: In terms of the percentage of voters who are willing to vote.

BORGER: In terms of -- but what Trump was doing tonight, I think, was doubling down on what's worst for him in the past, except that he had to swing at more people because they were swinging at him. And what the others were doing is to double down on their strategy of saying, "You're not really conservative enough to be the republican nominee." That hasn't stuck in the past. So the question is, "Will it stick at some point?"

BURNETT: Winner or loser?

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: A week ago we knew, I think everybody knew Marco Rubio had a disastrous debate.

Tonight, there is no equivalent person who had a -- that good at debate or that bad at debate. There were good moments for some, bad moments for others.

Donald Trump is ahead by a lot in this race. And the fact that there's nothing dramatic that comes out of this debate in terms of the rising and, you know, or the lowering, that's good for him. You know, if it ain't broke, don't fix it, and he is winning.

NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: Yes, I think Marco Rubio win into this, really needing to kind of change the subject from his terrible debate last week. He really want to reset his campaign. I think that he was able to do that.

At this debate, he looked good. Yes, I think he's still kind of struggles with everything he says, just like a speech. So, he's still going to work on that, but I think he was able to reset his campaign. BURNETT: The first person who really say, Rubio, I mean, I know you're not going so far as to say he was the winner, but that he did what he needed to do.

HENDERSON: Right, yes. I think he met his goals tonight.

BURNETT: David Chalian.

DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: I think, you know, Donald Trump, I agree with what Jeffrey said. And to Gloria's point, Donald Trump doesn't have to go from 35 to 50 yet. There're still six people in this race, right.

BURNETT: Not yet, not yet.

CHALIAN: So, the part of what tonight felt me almost (ph) -- it felt like a small debate in a little bit. And it felt almost like a Senate race debate in a multi-candidate field rather than a presidential debate, because once the voting begins these debates tend to become very small. Get the (inaudible) out. Make the point you just need to make to get to the vote a few days ahead, to try to impact that when rather than the larger ...

BURNETT: And then you've another debate the next week.

CHALIAN: Exactly. Even the -- rather than the larger. Here's my message, here is why I'm running for president kind of things.

So, I think it was the small mess to the debate tonight, so I think everybody was sort of just trying to make their mark in that way.

BURNETT: Right. That's an interesting point. Douglas?

DOUGLAS BRINKLEY, CNN PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: I think that Donald Trump is like Godzilla on top of the building and somebody has to rip him down and he stayed, that he bled a little hilarious, a little bit dented. I don't think it give him a lot of damage in South Carolina. So, I think he has to feel pretty good that he survived this as well as he did.

But Rubio did well and Rubio is back in the game now, and Ted Cruz did have some great moments. So, it's still very interesting, but still I go win Trump and the big loser, Ben Carson, he almost seemed to be not even beyond the stage and it might be time for him to step down.

[00:05:07] BURNETT: It was hard to get his kindness. Yes?

BORGER: I wonder how much of the risk it is, and I don't know the answer to this because Trump is so far ahead. And we'll have polls later this week. But to take on the bushes in South Carolina, that's frontally to say they lied, they lied about the weapons of mass destruction, which as you pointed out earlier, its sounds like the most liberal Democrat.

BRINKLEY: Yes. BORGER: I don't know how that plays exactly. I mean, the Trump supporters are the Trump supporters, but people who may be deciding, I'm not sure.

BURNETT: Well, you have George W. Bush, 88 percent approval rating ...


BURNETT: ... among Republican is 52 percent, among American is overall. I mean, that's a pretty strong numbers. They're stronger than Barack Obama, and he's going to be speaking in South Carolina on Monday at 6:00, an hour before Donald Trump, on behalf of his brother for the first time in the campaign track.


HENDERSON: And I do think, you know, once Presidents are out of office, it sort of a natural thing that their approval ratings go up, it kind of a respectful thing. But I think if Donald Trump is going after the establishment which is what he is doing, he has to go after the bushes. They are the embodiment of the establishment in the Republican Party and in South Carolina too. I don't think that, you know ...


HENDERSON: ... South Carolina exempts from that.

TOOBIN: And one more thing, there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. I mean, he's right.

BURNETT: Yes, great.

TOOBIN: So that -- I mean, I don't know about his right about lie. But just to point out that this war didn't go well, that's not really a very controversial assertion at this point.

CHALIAN: But George W. Bush's visit at South Carolina on Monday ... ] BURNETT: Yes.

CHALIAN: ... which is going to be huge, even that you have to remember, he really has disappeared from the political arena ...


CHALIAN ...since he left office. This is not like on the Democratic side, you see Bill Clinton campaign for every state auditor or dogcatcher possible, that is not what George W. Bush's sound. This is going to be a big moment.

And remember, when it was announced to the other day that he was going to give this rally, Donald Trump said, "I'm going to say what I have to say about George W. Bush until he comes out on the stage", but I think that he tried to bait George W. Bush a little bit tonight ... TOOBIN: Yes.

CHALIAN: ... by making this argument of WMD, I think he's trying to say, "Welcome to the arena, Mr. President, and let's see how you do."

BRINKLEY: It's a mistake though.

BURNETT: Right. All right so that -- and Donald Trump was the primary target and we can all agree that everybody was hitting at him tonight. He gave as good as he got, though. I think you have to admit.

Let's listen to this exchange between him and a very feisty Jeb Bush.


DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: George Bush made a mistake. We can make mistakes, but that one was a beauty. We shouldn't never been in Iraq, we have destabilized the Middle East.

JOHN DICKERSON, CBS NEWS MODERATOR: But so you -- so I'm going to -- so, you still think he should be impeached?

JEB BUSH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think it's a my turn ...

TRUMP: You do whatever you want, you call it whatever you want. I want to tell you, they lied.


TRUMP: They said there were weapons of mass destruction, there were none, and they knew there were none.

BUSH: I am sick and tired of him going after my family. My dad is the greatest man alive and my mom.

And while Donald Trump was building a reality T.V. show, my brother was building a security apparatus to keep us safe, and I'm proud of what he did. He's had the goal to go after my mother.

TRUMP: The World Trade Center came down under your brother's reign, and don't forget that.


BUSH: He has had goal to go after my mother.

TRUMP: That's not keeping it safe.

BUSH: But I won the lottery when I was born 63 years ago and looked up, when saw my mom. My mom is the strongest woman I know.

TRUMP: She should be run ...

BUSH: And this is not about my family or his family.


BUSH: This is about the South Carolina family that needs someone to be a commander in chief that can lead, and I'm that person.

DICKERSON: Governor Kasich, will you weigh on? Governor Kasich, please weigh in.

GOV. JOHN KASICH (R-OH), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I got to tell you, this is just crazy. This is just nuts, OK.


BURNETT: Doug is saying, that is the best line of the night for Governor Kasich.

All right, all jokes aside, you're sitting here saying, "Who brought your mother and father into it?"

TOOBIN: Actually, I love -- I didn't hear it when it happened, but did you notice that when he start that -- when Jeb starts to say, "Oh, my, I was so lucky to have my mother", Trump goes, "Yes, she should be running". I thought that was pretty a funny line.


TOOBIN: And I thought that was so off key by Jeb in this like no one said anything about George Herbert Walker Bush. He said "My dad is the greatest person alive". Well, so? That was no one said anything about him. And then he was so lucky to have Barbara as a mother, well so? But I mean that wasn't -- it wasn't a subject. It's odd.

BURNETT: Does anyone think that that moment was a success for Jeb?


BRINKLEY: Yes, because of ...

CUPP: Why can't -- wait a second. Why can't a guy who is not able to run from his family, I mean, that's a stupid enterprise we've all seen that fail.

Why can't he embrace his family in an endearing way without being cut up for it. I mean I thought that was really, I thought that was charming.


HILL: What Bush says, "And I came out of the womb and looked up at my mother." Everyone in the room jut went, "Ew." And there was nothing endearing about that.

[00:10:01] Marco Rubio made a better connection to the Bush administration than Jeb did when he said I am happy to have George W. Bush as President when 9/11 happened.

LORD: At 2004. Yes, that was a great line. HILL: Instead of that's how you do it. The problem is Jeb Bush keeps going to this primate, talking points, because he doesn't naturally connect with voters or people.

LORD: Two things here.

BORGER: Well, we also have that problem on Iraq war by the way.

LORD: Yeah, you're right.


BURNETT: Go ahead, Jeff.

LORD: Two things, there is such a thing as what I called the Reagan/Bush divide and there are a lot of Republicans and conservatives out there that they like the Bushes, yes, but they loved Ronald Reagan and they know there was a very distinct difference between Bush world and Reagan world.

And the second thing is, when George W. Bush comes into the state, he is also the father, if you will, of Comprehensive Immigration Reform back in 2006, whenever. And the base of the party so hated it that they more or less tossed out their own party and gave control to Congress to Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid.

So, for him to come in there, he is a symbol of many things other than the Iraq war and that can play in a lot of different ways.

BURNETT: And that was the point that I am trying to remember, which of you made that point that this possibly could play well for Donald Trump.

HENDERSON: Yes, that's the thing, I mean, I think if we look at Jeb Bush, himself, he has been ambivalent about Bush's legacy and whether or not to name drop him, or embrace him, or sort of run from his family's legacy. So, I think in South Carolina, it's very likely that some of that ambivalence is they are among those Republicans as well.

Again, it's anti-establishment. If you look what Gingrich was able to do in 2012, he ran as the anti-establishment candidate. He won 40 percent. I think Rand Paul won something like 13 percent. And so, I think Jeb -- I think Donald Trump is trying to go after that same audience.

BURNETT: And Donald Trump tried at one point to say, to try to take on that Reagan legacy in a ravish-specific way, David Chalian, he said, "Look, yes, he changed his point of view, as have I. Yes he was a Democrat, yes I was a Democrat." Being a person of flexibility is not necessarily a bad thing. Did he succeeded?

CHALIAN: We came from outside the politics. I come from the outside of the politics. He's been doing this for the better part of the year. He is really trying to clean the mantle of Reagan, there's no doubt about that Erin.

And one of the point of George W. Bush that we should not loose here of what Donald Trump is doing too, as -- you're getting idea.

Remember, the bailout under George W. Bush, the Immigration Bill under George W. Bush, these are things that were the spark to this moment of the Republican Party of the base feeling, so as the exit polls showed us in New Hampshire, betrayed by their own party.

This is the very fuel of the Trump candidacy ...

LORD: That's right.

CHALIAN: So, taking on George W. Bush in some quarters inside of the Republican nominating electorate, even though he's a popular figure, it's not necessarily anathema to where bonus.

CUPP: But David, I think you're absolutely right. But just as we've seen, Hillary Clinton cannot run from Obama, she can't run from Bill Clinton. It is impossible for Jeb Bush to run from George Bush.

And even he tried, it wouldn't look believable, so I don't know, but he has an alternative but to say, "This is this is my brother, I'm going to defend him to death, I love my family." And especially in South Carolina where he has great name still, of course, I'm going to invite him up.

BURNETT: All right, so hold it, hold on one moment there because in defendant to the death, there was something that happened tonight, where he absolutely did not do that, and I think everybody sort of, "This was really strange". So, let me play that for you.


BUSH: There're all sorts of intrigue about where I have disagreed my brother. There'll be one right there. You should not use eminent domain for private purposes of baseball stadium or a parking lot for limo ...

TRUMP: You shouldn't use it then, Jeb.

BUSH: It's going to different. Transmission lines, pipelines, bridges, highways, all of that is proper use of eminent domain, not the take an elderly woman's home to build a parking lot so that high rollers can come from New York City to failed casinos in Atlantic City. That is not the appropriate thing to do.



TOOBIN: I thought that was Trump's weakest moment in the debate, because his position on eminent domain is not very popular, it is not -- he didn't defend it particularly well and he ...

BURNETT: Well he brought it up himself.

TOOBIN: Which was odd.

BURNETT: He was not asked about it.

HENDERSON: Knowing he have to.

BURNETT: I think that significant. He brought it up himself, and he said this is a place in which I disagree with the conservative thinking, and his wife.

TOOBIN: Right. And I thought that was odd to point out something where people disagree with you. But then Jeb, I thought, exploited it in a pretty clever way. I mean, in the larger scheme of thing.

BURNETT: So, you think he was true that he said I did agree with my brother?

TOOBIN: Yes. I mean, it's hard to imagine that the U.S. presidential election is dealing with the question of eminent domain, which governors don't even usually deal with. It's usually like city council and the mayor-level-like decisions.

BORGER: And it's a big theoretical issue about government taking your private property. And I bet he got permission, you know, to say, "OK, I'm going to disagree with you publicly on this." I mean it wasn't ...

BURNETT: So, you think that they already (ph) to discuss it?


CUPP: Exactly.

[00:15:00] CHALIAN: George W. Bush last spring told (inaudible) Jeb had stated, "Throw me under the bus, what are you doing? Deal with same thing here, but as Donald Trump -- he went after Jeb on this eminent domain issue by trying to attach him to George W. Bush last week. So, this was foreshadowed and it was clear that Jeb was not going to standby George W. Bush on this. And that's exactly what he says.

BORGER: And that's another way of Jeb saying that Trump is not conservative enough. Again, will that stick? It hasn't stuck so far, but it was one more way to say, OK, eminent domain, the government should not take your property for private use and I'm conservative and you are not.

CUPP: Jeffrey's right, it is not a single issue.



BURNETT: They aren't issue voters on eminent domain. There are a few but it's not going to move ...

CUPP: There are very few issues about which conservatives agree, so wholeheartedly. There're a lot of nuance within our party. On a lot of issues, you got libertarians, you got (inaudible) and eminent domain is pretty sacred.

So, I think if Trump bringing it up himself was odd and a little tone deaf, and then Jeb going in reminding people besides they're all supposed to be on, I thought, was smart.

LORD: They have the same position in New Hampshire. And according to the CNN Exit Polls, Donald Trump was 12 points ahead of Ted Cruz from voters who self-described as "very conservative". So, that's number one.

And number two, Jeb Bush, I don't he realized he did it. He was talking about Vladimir Putin and said everybody knows Vladimir Putin is a bad guy as he was trying to respond to Trump. Well of course, who famously said that I looked into his eyes and saw his soul? That was George W. Bush.

So, in other words you got one brother over here saying "Vladimir Putin is a really good guy." And the other guy said, "No, no, no we all know he's a bad guy."

HILL: But I don't think that lingers the voters, I don't think the average voter is remembering that George W. Bush gave (inaudible) endorsement of Vladimir Putin.

I think what they're going to walk away within this, where Donald Trump wins, this is pounding at the podium saying, "We're going to bomb all of them, we're going to wipe off them of the map, right?"

It has no nuance ignore the role of Syria, ignores the role of Assad. But it plays to the cheap seats and that's what Donald Trump continues to do, he continues playing to the cheap seats.

BRINKLEY: Even if the (inaudible) ...

HILL: Yes -- no, he's definitely at cheap seats. No, no, that's the donor's place right?

CARPENTER: Have the donor seat, yes.

CUPP: I'm wondering Jeffrey just went over (ph) here, why do you think Donald Trump in this exchange ran away from the fact that he once called for W's impeachment? He wouldn't say, "Yes, I did." He said, "Well you decide." I'm just wondering, you know, his mindset, what ...

BURNETT: It did come up.

LORD: I think, yes.


LORD: Yes, it did come up. I mean, he might have just decided this is not a good avenue to go down.

BURNETT: Maybe or maybe not.

BRINKLEY: I'm just going to float in assumption there.


BORGER: I will take on the WMD.

BURNETT: All right let's take a brief pause. And we still ahead more fireworks between Donald Trump and Jeb Bush and on reality check on whether Donald Trump really openly opposed the Iraq war before it started.


[00:21:28] BURNETT: Welcome back to our special coverage of the GOP Debate tonight.

Donald Trump repeating something, he has been saying on the trail for months. He keeps saying he was against the war in Iraq before it started.

Tom Foreman is back with the reality check and the verdict. Tom.

TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Erin, he really does love saying this. He said it on the stamp. He said on the trail. He said in the debate. He said it begin tonight. Listen.


TRUMP: I'm the only one on the stage who said, do not go into Iraq. Do not attack Iraq. Nobody else on the stage said that and I said it loud and strong.


FOREMAN: Said it loud and strong. Well, he absolutely was an opponent of the war.

The earliest reference we can find to him talking about all this was when we told The Washington Post in an article that was published on March 25th, "The war is a mess." This was five days after the war began, later, it was more expansive with the Esquire Magazine, he said, "I never would have handled it that way." And he said other things against the war.

But here is the key that was 2004. Everything we can find about him speaking out loud and strong about the war happened after the war was under way.

What he's claiming is that he said this before the war that he warned against it. And we can find absolutely no evidence of that, this claim is still false as it has been false every time we've checked it, Erin. It doesn't fall into our reality check reality.

BURNETT: Oh, I'm surprised. So, it doesn't somehow become true, the more he says it. All right. Thanks very much.

FOREMAN: No matter how many times you say it. BURNETT: Thanks very much to you, Tom Foremans.

All right. Here's the thing, though. He has said this and sometimes the specificity of whether it's true or false, Gloria, does not always matter. He did come out after the war started and he was against it. And so now he says it before and does that, it's obviously an important nuance, but it is a nuance to some voters, right? Do they care?

BORGER: No, because the message is, "I opposed the war, period."

BURNETT: That's right.

BORGER: And I think, blood and treasure were wasted there. There weren't weapons of mass destruction. The Bushes lied about it, as he said tonight.

So, I think, you know, that is his, you know, that's his point. And he, you suck and chew (ph) it. And I really think that the nuance of when he actually said he was opposed to the war is something that another candidate could attack him on potentially. But in the grand scheme of things, I don't think it matters to him before.

CUPP: Well, and also it was an opportunity for another candidate to say, "Well that's great that's, you know, that's great that you've opposed the war from the beginning, that puts you in the company with Bernie Sanders, and no one really went there. I mean we heard from Sean Spicer talking about who these Republicans are ultimately running against, the socialist or a woman under investigation from the FBI, and ...

HILL: I think that's not.

CUPP: ... they didn't come up tonight. And that I thought was a huge failure.

HILL: I think that's the next phase of this battle, though. It's that you begin to see Donald Trump get painted as a Democrat. He painted himself with that corner a little bit now.

Now, all of the sudden the shift that happens because of the Scalia tragic passing, it means that now the stakes are higher, and people are going to say, "Hey, you got a Democrat, you got us a Democrat in the Republican's clothing here", that's going to be begin to happen, I think within the next three months.

BORGER: They've been trying.

BURNETT: Yes, they've been trying and it is not going to be working.


BURNETT: OK, there's one thing I want to ask about this front, because he did talk about how he had been a Democrat, he said he wasn't afraid of that. One thing that came up was Planned Parenthood. And that Planned Parenthood which is one of those sacred things in the Republican Party, is that have to be against which on John Kasich, who has talked about himself being a Democrat basically has defended it in Ohio and Donald Trump came up tonight and said, "I don't like what it does in abortion, but it does lot of great things for women's health.

How big is the deal with it David Chalian that he actually would say that and go against the core Republican grain on Planned Parenthood?

[00:25:02] CHALIAN: Today is Saturday, I tell you by Monday in mailbox in South Carolina that will appear in some mailers by the Cruz campaign there.

BURNETT: The Planned Parenthood does a lot of great things, right?

BORGER: That's right.

CHALIAN: Yes, I mean, I think -- and that was a strategic blunder? Speaking that way I think he just gave his opponents such a clear opening there to take as, you know, as you said, this is -- this organization is anathema right now to the Republican Party base. And now to have Donald Trump defending portions of what it does, it just provides an opponent that he didn't need to do.

BORGER: And Cruz. Cruz said, he's going to appoint liberals. That's exactly what is.

TOOBIN: By the way, this is another area, where the Republican Party is moving farther and farther away from what a majority of Americans think.

Planned Parenthood, despite these endless attacks, is been more popular now than it's been in sometime.

BURNETT: Well, even among, I mean, I was talking to Governor Kasich about this on Friday, even among Republicans, there were still a majority support for Planned Parenthood.

TOOBIN: Right. And you want to talk about criminality. They're always talking about how Planned Parenthood, you know, is this criminal organization.

The only criminality has been the people who were trying to trap Planned Parenthood, they now have been charged with crimes in that great liberal bastion of Houston, Texas.

So, I mean, you know, let's keep that in mind about Planned Parenthood.


CUPP: That was exactly, Mr. Toobin, to defend Planned Parenthood. That's great. You're not running as a Republican. And when Donald Trump defends Panned Parenthood, that is a huge problem within the Republican Party.

You're right, his supporters have not seemed to care when he steps out of line but Planned Parenthood is the rights of NRA which is also, by the way, very popular.

So, I can see this being used over and over and over again in ads.


BURNETT: Even though -- but what about when you look at the polls, where it says the majority of Republicans do support it. Is it possible that he's making a bigger picture smart move or no? Because the people who vote the primaries ...


BURNETT: ... don't go with (ph) primary.

HILL: He's got to get through this. As the pool get smaller, he needs the majority, not a plurality. And when you do that at this moment, he has to make different moves that he's made for the last year.

And again, he's looking more -- he sounded like a Democrat and they're emotional, you know, Donald Trump then sounds entirely crazy. He supported Planned Parenthood. He had different position on environment ...

BURNETT: Well, he won you over.

Well, I want to play another moment when we talk about George W. Bush, we talked about 9/11. Jeb Bush, Donald Trump and Marco Rubio, this was one of the central moments of the debate. Here it is.


RUBIO: On behalf of me and my family, I thank God all the time that it was George W. Bush in the White House on 9/11 and not Al Gore.

And I think you can look back in hindsight and say a couple of things, but he kept us safe. And not only that he kept us safe, but no matter what you want to say about weapons of mass destruction, Saddam Hussein was in violation of U.N. resolutions, an open violation in the world wouldn't do anything about it.

And George W. Bush enforced what the international community refused to do it again. He kept us safe. And I am forever grateful to what he did for this ...

TRUMP: How did he keep us safe when the World Trade Center came down?

The World -- excuse me, I lost hundreds of friends, the World Trade Center came down during the reign of George Bush, he kept us safe? That's not safe. That is not safe, Marco. That is not safe.

RUBIO: The World Trade Center came down because Bill Clinton didn't kill Osama bin Laden when he had the chance to kill him.

TRUMP: And George Bush -- by the way, George Bush had the chance also and he didn't listen to advice of his CIA. DICKERSON: All right. Dr. Carson, we have ...

BUSH: Can I just ...

DICKERSON: We have a cleansing?

BUSH: I'm not going to invite Donald Trump to the rally in Charleston on Monday afternoon.

TRUMP: I don't want to come.

BUSH: But he's coming to speak.

And I'm rescinding the invitation, I thought you might want to come, but I guess not.


BURNETT: All right. Gloria, you're saying there is one part of it that's specifically ...

BORGER: It's sort of liberal theology, you know. I mean, that, you know, if George W. Bush didn't keep us safe, and they lied about the weapons of mass destruction, the towers, you know, Trump said, how did he keep us safe when the World Trade Center went down, and he didn't listen to advice of ...

BURNETT: Well, he even went further, he said you not listen (ph) to Michael Moore?

BORGER: Michael Moore, yeah. I mean, it's -- and again, to the whole point of, is Donald Trump sufficiently conservative to be the Republican nominee, in this little exchange, he sure didn't sound like it, but again, nothing seems to stick.

TOOBIN: It was breathtaking. I mean, it was really breathtaking to hear him talk that way, because the liberal Democrats don't even talk that way. It's like, you know, he had a way ...

LORD: Yes, they do.


TOOBIN: I mean, Barack Obama didn't talk that way during the 2008 campaign. He didn't say that George Bush lied intentionally about weapons of mass destruction. He didn't say that, you know, that George Bush did a bad job after 9/11.


HENDERSON: But Donald Trump is all ...

[00:30:01] BRINKLEY: And Trump said that. He said this before. That's just old news that the whole 9/11 clip there.

So, you know, I've always felt that Donald Trump's unfair to George W. Bush on that point. I was shocked and came on CNN when he first did it. But people didn't seemed to care the idea that certainly tonight, they're going to care that he said that again. I don't think so like we've been through that. That's an old sound bite.

BURNETT: And this is something -- I mean, S.E., you know, you're talking about the Republican base primaries, who always seems so far is the Donald Trump voter does not seem to care.

CUPP: No ...

BURNETT: They don't care whether he's conservative or not conservative. They care that he says what he thinks and that he's authentic. It hasn't been about conservative credentials.

CUPP: They don't even seem to care that he's not really anti- establishment. I mean, someone prove to me how a billionaire, real state mogul with the media empire and levers of power on Wall Street incorporate America in the media, is anti-establishment.

Donald Trump is 100 percent the establishment, all of the establishments. He supports establishment candidates, from Hillary Clinton to Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi. None of it seems to matters.


HENDERSON: Yes, yes.

CHALIAN: I don't even get with all these politicians before I got ...

CUPP: No, but he has concocted this new facade and his supporter seemed to be unflinchingly, unquestioningly bias.

LORD: S.E., his position on illegal immigration, and open ...

CUPP: What she invented I know, you defend to ...


LORD: I mean, no one will discuss it before I got here.

HILL: No, but the establishment doesn't work, the Chamber of Commerce, not to mention the Democratic Party. The Democratic Party wants these folks provost. The Chamber of Commerce wants these folks for business.

They are the establishment. And he is obviously very much opposed to him and the people get that. So, they see that divide there and they see the establishment on one side and Donald Trump on the other.

CUPP: Right.

HILL: But something's going to change. And that's I notice in his four-year. But at some point, I want this bonus to let me get serious, right.

CARPENTER: If the (inaudible) has taken in South Carolina next Saturday.

HILL: And I agree at S.E. that the Donald Trump base is not going to change. You could say anything in there, that 26 percent, 27 percent, 35 percent is going to vote the same way.

BURNETT: That's a lot.

HILL: But again, you got -- it's not a bunch, but at some point, you got to get over the hump when you started attacking secret accounts from entitlement to 9/11, to Planned Parenthood.

If you keep doing this sub-consistently as the poll gets smaller, people are going to say, "Wait a minute. Do we really want this guy with his hand on the button?" And then again, when you add the Scalia issue, where people are saying, "Wait a minute. This affects the Senate? This affects the actual Supreme Court? This affects the direction of the country for, maybe, the next 30 years?"

BURNETT: OK, OK, right.

HILL: They could go back to warn our ...


BURNEET: All right. So, Obamacare did come up tonight, and one of the most heated exchanges on it was actually between Jeb Bush and John Kasich. Let me play it.


BUSH: Look, I admire the fact that Governor Kasich is supporting, spending more money on drug treatment and mental health. I think that's a high priority all across this country.

But, expanding Obamacare is what we're talking about. And Obamacare's expansion, even though the federal government is paying for the great majority of it, is creating further debt on the backs of our children and grandchildren.

We should be fighting Obamacare, repealing Obamacare, replacing it with something totally different.

KASICH: And when Jeb was governor, I heard his first four years as governor, he expand -- his Medicaid program grew twice as fast as mine, OK. It's just the fact.

Now, with Obamacare, I'm not only sued the administration, I did not setup an exchange and he knows that I'm not for Obamacare and never have been.

But, here's interesting about Medicaid. You know who expanded Medicaid five times to try to help the folks and give them opportunity so they could rise and get a job? President Ronald Reagan.

Now, the fact to the matter is we expanded to get people on their feet, and once they're on there feet, we are giving them the training and the efforts that they need to be able to get work and pull out of that situation


BUSH: South Carolinians need to know this because the Cato Institute, which grades governors, based on their spending, ranked him right at the bottom. And Governor Haley is ranked at the top.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let me get a question.

BUSH: So, you questioned my name.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I understand, I understand.

BUSH: No, let me finish this. Wait, wait. Hold on major, hold on major. I just want to make sure that they elect the most conservative governor or candidate that can win.

KASICH: Let me -- I'd like to ...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'd like to tell you a question that's on the growth Senator.

KASICH: Major, we can't, we got to look. They got to correct the record. And the fact of the matter is, we went from an $8 billion hole to $2 billion surplus, we're up 400,000 jobs, our credit is rock- solid. And I don't know, but the bottom line is, the people of this country and this state want to see everybody rise and they want to see unity and I don't want to get into all these fighting tonight.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Understood, understood.

KASICH: Because the people are frankly sick at the negative campaigning, and I'm going to stay positive.


TOOBIN: You know what, major is a cool name.


BURNETT: Referring to major ...


TOOBIN: You know, I just think it's cool to be named major.

BURNETT: That's all? I mean, this is what happens at 12:34 ...


BURNETT: But John Kasich -- OK, he has been ardent and he has been consistent in being positive. OK. He has been.

[0:35:00] Now, is it working? Tonight that was, everybody was nasty, but him. Did he rise above it?

HENDERSON: It's nice that he's sort of the Mr. Rogers of the neighborhood.


HENDERSON: No. I like Mr. Ralph Rogers, I watched him a lot growing up.

I don't really think it works necessarily and this is -- and I think the most telling thing about that exchange, is that Jeb Bush clearly wants to win the Governor's ball.

BURNETT: All right.

HENDERSON: And Kasich is the last governor standing and everybody else has dropped out.

So, I think that was the interesting. What -- I mean, Kasich, I think, in most of polls is what? In single digits or something in South Carolina, but that -- I think that's what he's trying to do.

BURNETT: And is it trying to ...

BORGER: And is Jeb is attacking Kasich?

HENDERSON: Yeah, it was ...

BORGER: I mean, honestly, it sort of like he's the nice guy.

BRINKLEY: He should cop to be everybody's V.P., but not to get the nomination. You know, he doesn't have a lot of the bad sound bites against the other candidates. So in the end, he'll be on everybody's short list for vice president.

HILL: I think he's been playing for this.

BURNETT: No one is taking down ...

HILL: They go in the whole data routine so that people will say, "Hey, he's nice and he's principled, he knows the stuff, he's been a governor and he has keep those all, that he checks all of the boxes."


BURNETT: Even though he ...


HILL: The Ohio, any at Ohio.



CARPENTER: John Kasich will not be the president or the vice president when he goes around bragging about the fact that he expanded Medicaid through executive over the will of his GOP legislature.

That is not a winning argument anywhere. He's not to be winning in South Carolina, not to be on a V.P. ticket, not as president, he's not going to ...

HILL: Well, in the Ohio ...


CARPENTER: ... with that I think this is a bad exchange also for Jeb Bush.

BRINKLEY: Also Ohio and I've been shocked at how popular Kasich is. All of my friends around Toledo and -- where I grew up, I talked to and there with my Democratic friends say, "He's been a good governor. The poll show is very popular. He's been come off, his very likable." But can he rip Donald Trump or Ted Cruz or even Rubio down? It doesn't seem likely.

BURNETT: All right, yes.


TOOBIN: He did well in New Hampshire. I mean, that he's in second.


TOOBIN: I mean, so it's not like we're all like...

BURNETT: Stunning as well in New Hamsphire.

TOOBIN: ...just like having a pity party here about John Kasich, because he did well.

BURNETT: And he told me Governor Kasich, he can win Mississippi (inaudible) and I think he has to past but Michigan ...

BRINKLEY: But being a V.P. is at the pity party after saying, he's at peace this summer. In Cleveland, he may be giving the big speech, be the big surprise for this Vice President for somebody.

CARPENTER: For me, yes, it also ...


CARPENTER: It also didn't feel like the election cycle for hugs ...

BURNETT: But what ...

CARPENTER: Aren't really cutting through this election cycle.

BURNETT: OK, but there was one thing they all agreed on. There was one big group hug today virtually on the stage or maybe not. But one thing they did actually agree on, was President Obama has no business nominating the next Supreme Court Justice.

And as to now, there's a version of Hillary Clinton's plea to young voters.


HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Hillary's going nowhere. I'll see you in the south.



[0:41:25] BURNETT: And welcome back to our coverage of the GOP Debate. Tonight, it was a heated one. It was nasty at times. And one of the biggest topics of conversation was Justice Antonin Scalia and what everyone on stage would do about replacing his seat on the court.

Here they are.


TRUMP: If I were the president now, I would certainly want to try and nominate a justice. And I'm sure that frankly, I'm absolutely sure that President Obama will try and do it.

KASICH: The president should not move forward and I think that we got to let the next president of the United States decide who is going to run that Supreme Court with the vote by the people of the United States of America.

BEN CARSON (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I looked at some of the remarks that people made after finding out that Justice Scalia had died, and they were truly nasty remarks.

SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R-FL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I do not believe the president should appoint someone and it's not unprecedented. In fact, it's been over 80 years since a lame duck president has appointed a Supreme Court Justice.

And it reminds us of this, how important this election is? And someone on this stage will get to choose the balance of the Supreme Court and it will begin by filling this vacancy that's there now. And we need to put people on the bench that understand that the constitution is not a living and breathing document, it is to be interpreted as originally meant.

BUSH: If I'm president, I will appoint people. I'll nominate people that have a proven record in the judiciary.

The problem in the past has been, we've appointed people thinking you can get it through the senate because they didn't have a record. And the problem is that, sometimes we're surprised.

The simple fact is, the next president needs to appoint someone with a proven conservative record similar to Justice Scalia that is a lover of liberty that was respectful of the constitution and then fight and fight, and fight for that nomination to make sure that that nomination passes.

SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We are one justice away from a Supreme Court that will reverse the Heller decision, one of Justice Scalia's seminal decisions that upheld the Second Amendment right to keep and to bear arms.

We are one justice away from a Supreme Court that would undermine the religious liberty of millions of Americans -- and the stakes of this election, for this year, for the Senate, the Senate needs to stand strong and say, "We're not going to give up the U.S. Supreme Court for a generation by allowing Barack Obama to make one more liberal appointee."

And then, for the State of Couth Carolina, one of the most important judgments for the men and women of South Carolina to make is who on the stage has the background, the principle, the character, the judgment and the strength of resolve to nominate and confirm principled constitutionalists to the court? That will be what I will do if I'm elected president.


BURNETT: All right. Jeffrey Toobin, they all agreed that they don't want Barack Obama to name someone.

We've already fact-checked Marco Rubio mostly true on his claim that it's been 80 years. But of course, Barack Obama is the President of the United States, and it is his right constitutionally, he is the elected President of the United States to nominate someone.

TOOBIN: And he said in his brief remarks today that he will nominate someone. I don't think there's any doubt that he will nominate someone and he should. I mean, this is what presidents do.

Look, the Supreme Court is at its heart a deeply political party, body. So it is not surprising that a Democrat wants to put his stamp.

I mean, Scalia's death is so important for so many reasons, because in part that he's been such a consequential figure but also when you think about how the Supreme Court is -- the status of it now. There are four Democratic appointees, there are five Republican appointees, the court splits 5 to 4 on many important issues.

[0:45:00] BURNETT: All right.

TOOBIN: If Obama gets this appointment through, it will switch to a five Democrat majority. That would be a constitutional earthquake. The Republicans seemed determined not to let it happen.


TOOBIN: They have, they control the senate, but that's why this is so important.

HILL: So, what does that mean if Hillary Clinton -- are they suggesting that if Hillary Clinton wins or Bernie Sanders wins, that they're going to block appointments for the next four years? I mean, this is the thing. We're not going to ...

BURNETT: That's actually an interesting question.

HILL: And listen, we're not going to allow a liberal appointee, that's an absurd claim, nothings going to hurt you ...

BURNETT: Yes, pursuing that the Republican will win, of course.


LORD: What will happen is that the Republicans will do what the Democrats did to George W. Bush and did also to Ronald Reagan, is they will block at every turn one would hope the judicial nominees.

HILL: That's not true. For Harriet Myers, he was supremely unqualified.

LORD: Oh, I agree.

HILL: I am more qualified than ...


LORD: I would agree.


LORD: But I would agree if she was not qualified. No. But they blocked the W's lower court appointments.

CARLAIN: That they did.

TOOBIN: Miguel Estrada in Texas ...


HILL: Miguel Estrada.

TOOBIN: Yes, a couple of them, but there are 300 George W. Bush appointees on the federal bench and like four were stopped. So, idea that there was massive obstruction, I think, it's ...

HILL: And the four with Miguel Estrada (ph), have any -- he have no experience on the bench on any level. I mean, that it was a reasonable block. But again for me, the point here is, does this hurt Republicans? I think, it does, because now they're sending a message that they're not going to play ball.


CARPENTER: Yes. But, I mean -- and more than anything, the Republicans base wants Republicans to standup and fight against overarching Obama agenda that represents an out of control government that runs over the will of Congress at every chance. For the Republicans to stand up and say, "No, we're stopping this on its tracks. We're not giving you a nominee." I think, it will be a hugely galvanizing effort on the behalf of the Republicans and they must do this. But I have to say ...


HILL: In that, America is not going to run. Every Democrat American is going to rush to the voting booth ...

CARPENTER: Yes and we will have a very clarifying election. They're going to run on the ideological values on both sides of the aisle and there will be resolutions in November.

BORGER: I think it will motivate the Democratic base. I think it will motivate the Democratic base. But also you have to tell me who's going to be -- if Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders were to become the Democratic the nominee, who's going to control the Senate?

You know, there's a good shot that they will then control the ...

CUPP: It's also so consequential. If you're a Republican Senator like Pat Toomey or Portman or Kelly Ayotte ...

BORGER: Kelly Ayotte.

CUPP: ... and you're worried that a nominee Trump on the top of the ticket will have a down valid effect ...

BORGER: For Cruz ...

CUPP: ... now, you're worried about retaining the Senate ...

HILL: Exactly.

CUPP: ... if you get that Supreme Court picked through.

HILL: That's my point.

CUPP: That the stakes just became so incredibly high for that exact reason. And we didn't know before this, if this was going to be a change election or hope election, an anger election.

One thing we do know now, this is going to be about the future of the Supreme Court.


BORGER: Cruz made that argument, the best this evening I think.

CUPP: For sure, he did, he did.

BURNETT: All right. We're going to take a break.

Melania Trump speaking to our producer after the debate, yes, Melania Trump, speaking to CNN about what Donald Trump says to her in private. That's next.

And an all new SNL tonight, speaks on Hillary Clinton.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hillary's going nowhere.






[00:52:32] BURNETT: We never hear from her. This is something that she said to the women's magazines, Mark, but she's not -- she says, "When he is wrong, I tell him."

HILL: I was convinced, I was persuaded. And I feel like that is the next first lady of America, I see.

CUPP: I want to hear more from her. I mean ...


BURNETT: Why is it that we haven't heard anything from her? We've heard from his children.

LORD: Right. Right.

BURNETT: But we have not heard anything from her. Will we see more -- and that by the way, to be fair, she has done all the women's magazines, but we haven't heard from her.

LORD: She is, I think, not as political as he is. And I'll tell you, and I know, I can just hear the reaction when I say this, but I look at my friend Dougl, the presidential historian. She reminds me of Jacqueline Kennedy of the 1960 campaign, who didn't say a whole lot either.

BRINKLEY: I think the challenge is good.

BURNETT: So, go ahead, Douglas.

BRINKLEY: Well, I could see what he's saying in the sense that Jackie Kennedy tried to stay out of the politics since she was a bastion icon. She tried to be demurred and didn't really become the -- you know, she was the great First Lady. But when she was running in 1960, she kind of stayed behind the scenes, and people talked about her clothes, but she was bit of a mystery woman.

BURNETT: So, there is a precedent forum for silence?

BRINKLEY: I think that's not -- I think that's fair enough point.

TOOBIN: Right. BORGER: You know, we're used to political spouses now becoming a character witness for their husbands and playing very important roles or wives, I should say in the role of Bill Clinton

And the roles have becoming increasingly enlarged over the years. And so this is a bit out of what we now see in these current events.

BURNETT: OK. So, we (inaudible) wife whose role became incredibly enlarged and is now, not the wife, but the actual person running for office.

Here is the Hillary Clinton impersonation sign on Saturday Night Live.



KYLE MOONEY, SNL CAST: Me too. Hillary is just too establishment.

VANESSA BAYER, SNL CAST: Yeah. And Bernie is an outsider who's only been in Congress for like 30 years.

CLINTON: I can't make you love me if you don't. You can't make your heart feel something it won't.


KEITH MCKINNON, SNL CAST: I like her for my sake.

CLINTON: Here in the dark in these final hours. I will lay down my heart and I will feel the power.

MCKINNON: Oh, boy. And guess what? I'm not even playing this thing.


[0:55:00.] HENDERSON: Keith McKinnon is fantastic.

BRINKLEY: He's very good.


HENDERSON: And yes, Bill there playing the piano. And I don't think she is singing a Bonnie Raitt's song, which I don't think really plays well with the young folks but, yes.

BURNETT: And that's the point.


HENDERSON: Yes, that's fantastic.


BURNETT: You know, the jacket, the kind of Downey jacket.


BORGER: Yes, exactly.

BURNETT: All right. But, you know, with the young voters, this is going to ...


BURNETT: ... at the top, Gloria?

BORGER: I don't know. I have no idea. I think she's got trouble with young women and with women generally so far. But, you know, who knows. I mean, if she gets the nomination, it's Hillary. That's Hillary.

CARPENTER: The image of Hillary Clinton writhing on the piano, and Jeb Bush mooning anybody, our two images are, you know, I (inaudible) young daughter, you should neither wants to see this election.

BURNETT: Yes, and those are images we got tonight. Jeb Bush mooning.

LORD: This is not ...

BURNETT: Jeb Bush being born looking up ...

LORD: Yes, don't forget that one. Yes, yes.

HENDERSON: Don't forget that one please.

BURNETT: We should play it back though, we're done now.

LORD: It's not a good year for Bushes or the Clintons. I think there's a reason.


CUPP: Well, we'll see, we'll see.

BURNETT: Who knows? It's very possible that it could change for Jeb Bush. We just don't know it.


BURNETT: The big event coming up on Monday. It's going to be George W. Bush hitting the campaign trail for the first time speaking for his brother. Everyone is going to be watching that.

And of course Donald Trump responding within an hour as the first polls on South Carolina will come out the next couple of days.

Thank you so much for joining us for our special coverage of the Republican debate. I'll see you on Monday night here at 7:00 for OUTFRONT.

The CNN original series, "THE SIXTIES", is next.