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Source: Officials Hope For Results Some Time Tuesday; Biden Adviser: Iowa Dem Party Holding Another Call with Campaigns Now. Aired 1-2a ET

Aired February 4, 2020 - 01:00   ET



JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Well, Chris, I'll say good morning to you. And the sign behind me, I don't think you can see it, but it says results are coming soon. I'm here at the Iowa Democratic Party Media Center. That's obviously not happening. There are no results coming soon.

In fact, I am told by two officials that the presidential campaigns have been notified that there will not be any results, even preliminary ones coming yet at this early morning hour. They are expecting them anticipating results sometime Tuesday. We will see if that happens. One official tells me this, is that at this point, now we need to get it right. That is an understatement.

But Chris, this is how we got here. There -- you know, a year-long campaign, a multimillion-dollar campaign, but at one point featured a couple dozen candidates in this race, and in an era of uncertainty. It seems to be because of an app, a reporting app that did not work. We heard reports throughout the day that this app was not working.

And you'll remember these results are you know, essentially reported from a local officials in almost 1,700 precincts across the state of Iowa. So they switched to an old telephone system. Well, that was all fine and well except the phones were jammed. We heard reports from across the state, election officials across the state saying they were on hold for up to 90 minutes at a time.

We also heard some reports saying some of the reporting was just fine. Some people were able to get through. So there was an inconsistency there. The state party has not spoken about this extensively. They said that they're trying to, you know, essentially wait until these numbers are accurate and with integrity. But there was a late-night conference call with presidential campaigns to advise them of this but they are not happy about this at all. The campaigns are not.

So most of the candidates flying on to New Hampshire as we speak, but leaving behind so many questions of uncertainty about what actually happened here in Iowa.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: You know, it's interesting, this is not the first time we've had a problem in Iowa in terms of delays. 2016 we didn't hear until 2:00 in the afternoon in the next day. Obviously, when Santorum won here, right was a two-week measure. But we have never seen anything like this. And the reason they're being quiet, Jeff, seems pretty obvious. They don't have a good explanation. They're embarrassed and they're hiding.

But here's the problem. Why should anybody have confidence in the results that they put out? They clearly got over their heads. They said they had a backup to the backup to the backup and that was obviously B.S. How do they restore any confidence?

ZELENY: Well, this is the reason why they say they have a confidence. I was actually in a precinct this evening and I was actually watching how this process is working. And there are new rules in place. There is actually a paper trail that people have filled out, their first choice and their second choice. So the paperwork exists for that. That is different than four years ago.

Four years ago, the race between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders so close, the Sanders campaign was furious, so it inspired a lot of these new rules. Remember, we were supposed to get the popular vote if you will, the raw result tonight as well as the delegate equivalent. So that was one of the confusions here. But there is a paper trail and party officials say they want to get this right.

But Chris, as you said, it is going to leave the campaigns who didn't do so well to question these results. So of course, that diminishes the results for the campaigns that did well. So this will be sorted out in the morning, but it will certainly not be resolved. And more than one person here I've talked to, in fact, a lot of people say, is this the death of the Iowa caucuses? We'll see.

CUOMO: Yes. I mean, look, there are already questions about the caucus structure. There are pluses and minus. The level of dedication, the access to the 99 counties and person to person politicking is unique here. But how often can you screw something up when there's so much money and so much time to get it right, and still be the stepping off point for something as important as the presidential election? Jeff Zeleny, thank you very much.

And in terms of one we're going to hear, there's one report out there from a precinct captain, you know, the person who's in charge of the count for that particular area, who said, yeah, tomorrow morning, but I have a doctor's appointment. So it may not be till about 10:00 in the morning when I put the results in. True story. All right, that's what we're dealing with.

Arlette Saenz right now is at Biden H.Q. He came out earlier, enthusiastic, Arlette. He's already on his way to New Hampshire. What was the mood like in that room tonight? How do they think they did?

ARLETTE SAENZ, CNN POLITICAL REPORTER: Well, Joe Biden was here trying to rally his supporters in Iowa, and he said that he wants the Iowa Democratic Party to be very careful in their deliberations over these results. He predicted that he will emerge from Iowa with a delegate slate, but he didn't know exactly where that would fall, just saying that he believes that it will be close here. Now the official line for the campaign is that the issues with the results tonight should be a cause of concern for voters, that they should take that into consideration. Now the Biden camp started to feel like there could be issues with the results around 7:45 or 8:00 p.m. local time. They just hadn't started to see any of reporting from precincts including smaller precincts which typically could come in a little bit earlier in the evening.

And they have been in contact with the Iowa Democratic Party and felt like they were not getting answers about what was going on. They stayed in contact with other campaigns as well as they try to sort out what was happening.

Now, as we are waiting to see how these results will eventually be reported, Joe Biden is making his way to New Hampshire. He's slated to have two events there Nashua and Concord later this morning. But as one Biden advisor summed up this entire situation to me, they said, this is like when the lights went out at the Super Bowl. Chris?


CUOMO: Well, that's an interesting take from them, Arlette. Because you could make the argument, if anybody should be OK with this result tonight, it should be the Biden campaign, because they may have been spared a very tough result to sell to the donors that they're still trying to get. Thank you very much for the reporting. I appreciate you for the long night.

Let's go MJ Lee. She's at the Warren campaign. You know somebody else who may have been able to toot their horn with some numbers and some understanding of where they are in the race. They don't get to do that now. How was it there tonight?

MJ LEE, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Chris. I think you can see over my right shoulder, the stage is being taken apart. This election night is over for Elizabeth Warren. She spoke to supporters as we saw earlier tonight. She took photos with her fans. But now she is getting on a plane to head to New Hampshire to start campaigning in the next state.

And this is certainly not the evening that her campaign or any of the other candidates campaigns wish to have tonight. I don't think any of them expected that there would be this much uncertainty and confusion heading into tonight. As one of the advisors that I spoke to earlier in the evening told me they very much worry about the credibility that gets weakened, the more time that passes before we have these results.

And you know, so much hinges on Iowa. Politically speaking, this state is so incredibly important, as we've talked about all day. So the fact that this was a campaign that felt good about the kind of campaign that they have been running in Iowa all year, and they were hopeful that all of those efforts would pay off to leave physically for New Hampshire in the next state without knowing how they did. And with the credibility of the Iowa Democratic Party now on the line, this again is not the evening they wanted. I will just make a quick note about that speech that Warren gave to

supporters here earlier. She explicitly drew contrast between herself and President Trump. So the message was clear. She wanted to send the final message to Iowans and anybody else that might be tuning in from across the country that she believes she is the best candidate to take on Trump and the best female candidate she emphasized to take on President Trump. So we expect that to be her message going forward as we continue on to these other states past Iowa. Chris?

CUOMO: MJ, thank you very much. And just three quick points as we check in with the Bernie Sanders campaign. The first one is this is not about being nitpicky, OK. This mattered. These campaigns put a lot of money, a lot of resources that they could have put in other places. They were making big bets on Iowa, who's going to get talked about and in what way between now and New Hampshire.

You know, this is very much domino effect especially with media and narratives, and that's now been stalled. And people put a lot of money and they put their lives out there for months and months, so it matters. And literally, this state had one job, they had one job, and they blew it at the most important time in the election. The criticism should not be mitigated by any means.

Now, Ryan Nobles, we'll go to him. He is with the Sanders campaign. And if there is one metric that we can rely on tonight for enthusiasm as a campaign is that you're the only person at a shop where there's still a ton of people behind you.

RYAN NOBLES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's right, Chris. It was actually a pretty interesting scene here because Bernie Sanders came out and spoke earlier in the evening when it became clear that the results were -- maybe not going to come out tonight. And you would think that this crowd would have just exited at that point. But then one of his campaign surrogates, national co-chair Nina Turner came out on the stage and told this crowd that they were still prepared to declare victory at some point tonight, and there was a good chance that Sanders might come out. And this crowd actually grew after that point.

It was a very buoyant crowd. It was a crowd that clearly was in the mood for a celebration tonight. But it was something that just never came. And I can tell you, you know, behind the scenes, there's a lot of frustration with the Sanders campaign and their aides because they really feel that they were in a strong position here tonight in Iowa. And they really had Iowa as the first step in what they believed was a lot of momentum heading into the rest of this Democratic primary.

So (AUDIO GAP) yet on these results coming out, and then be -- then being able to go to Democratic primary voters and say, we've won this first contest. But now it's just a matter of being patient. And to the point that you made earlier, this does make that case to be made much more complicated because these results will always have the taint of what happened here tonight associated with it.

But you know, I did talk to one pretty high-level Sanders aide throughout the night tonight, Chris, and I said, you know, what are you going to do if at the end of all of this, these results are in question? And he looked at me and smiled, and he said, we're just going to go win New Hampshire.

So these campaigns, they've dealt with adversity and hardship before. This is another example of it. They seem pretty prepared to just roll up their sleeves and move on to the next contest if that's what it comes to.


CUOMO: Right. Ryan, you make a lot of good points. And one of them is, you know, they changed the rules and streamline the process because of what happened the last time to Bernie Sanders. So if anybody wanted to come out on top -- you know, if he finished at the top here tonight, that's one more day of being on top. That's one more day of momentum. It's one more day of raising money and attention, and he has been denied that by this process. But we'll see. New Hampshire is just days away. Ryan. Thank you very much.

Abby Phillip at Pete Buttigieg. That's what they were chanting behind him, Buttigieg. They're still in that struggle to make that name as easy to pronounce as possible. Now he came out, Abby, and he was the most full-throated to say, I won. He came out last, but his message was pretty clear, I was first.

ABBY PHILLIP, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's absolutely right. Here, I think the sense in this room was that the people in the room felt like there was a victory to be claimed. Pete Buttigieg came out claiming victory saying he's going to New Hampshire tonight, actually. And he's going to campaign tomorrow, after in his view being victorious in Iowa, even though as everyone knows, at this point, there are no official results.

What is interesting about how this chaotic night really unfolded is that the Buttigieg campaign has not been particularly focused on these discrepancies in the results. They've acknowledged them, they said that they're waiting, but they've been getting all of these data points from their precinct captains, where they have precinct captains all over the state. And those are the results that they're saying they're using in order to claim victory.

So the speech that he gave here tonight is the speech of someone who believes that at the end of this process he can -- he'll be able to say that this was a good night for him. You heard in his speech, a lot of references to the historical nature of his candidacy and the historical nature of this night, frankly, regardless of how it ended up for him.

I mean, he came out on this stage and gave his husband Chasten Buttigieg. A huge hug. And I think that that in and of itself is something that gets lost in all of this process, but I think it was not lost on the people here in this room tonight. The question is going forward, despite the claims of victory from Buttigieg, does he get the boost that he is looking for? Does he really get to say that at the end of the day, this is -- this is what he says it is. The campaign is really emphasizing they feel they did really well is

showing that they could put together a diverse coalition of voters, people from rural areas, suburban areas, people from all across the state. They think that is proof positive that they have a coalition that can go into November election against Donald Trump and win.

So that's the key message they want it to come out of this caucus with. The big question for all of us is going to be tomorrow, do the actual results verify that? Do they show that that claim is actually true?

CUOMO: Well, it's a good test for the campaigns because there's opportunity in the unknown. So Pete, you can argue he should have come out sooner when we're watching everybody wait for results. You know, if he wanted to declare a winner, he should have probably come out sooner, but that's a style point. At the end of the day, Abby, what's the downside?

He says he won. As long as it's close, you know, a reporter like you comes and says, hey, you know, the official results, you are actually second, he says, says who? You trust those results. So he's probably going to get his victory if he wants to define it that way, as long as it's closed, and hopefully, we'll know sooner rather than later. Thank you very much.

Let's take a quick break here. When we come back, how do you play this situation as the campaigns? You can only talk about the Iowa State Democratic Party for so long, right? They screwed up there in the history books. It winds up what happens the next cycle. We'll talk about that years from now. But what are the campaigns do with this? Who was helped? Who was hurt? What does it mean and the next big race? Stay with CNN.



DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: And we're back with CNN special coverage. You can say really special coverage of the Iowa caucus. Look at that. You see that magic wall right there? John King would be all over it, but he's not right now. Look, zero, it is 1:00 in the morning here, past 1:00 in the morning on the East Coast. And guess what? We have zero results coming in from Iowa.

I'm Don Lemon. Thank you so much for joining us. We have so much to talk about. Originally, initially, Chris was supposed to be there giving the results of what was coming in. We would usually be at about 90 or 95 percent right now, but not so. We're at 100 percent of nothing, meaning zero in.

So let's bring it our folks now. Laura Barron-Lopez is here, Andrew Gillum, Jen Psaki, Mitch Landrieu, Rick Santorum. Thank you all for joining us. I appreciate it. Did I say Mitch Landrieu?


LEMON: I did or did I?

LANDRIEU: You did.

LEMON: I did. OK, I just want to make sure.


LEMON: I want to make sure I get you know, my homeboy correct -- to get the treatment. But listen, we -- this is not what we expected.


LEMON: So I feel and I think most people do that Pete Buttigieg got -- right, he's sort of -- the host. In a sense that -- in the sense that --

RICK SANTORUM, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, it depends. It depends where they actually won or not.

LEMON: That's good, right. But if he -- well, if he won --

SANTORUM: If he didn't win, he had a great night because he went out there and claimed he won even though -- even though he may not have won.

LEMON: But Rick, it was important for him to either come out on top or come on closer to the top. And if he either way, it was -- it was --

SANTORUM: It's not the same. As someone who could tell you from experience, who lost the Iowa caucuses on caucus night by eight votes, winning is much better than losing by eight votes.

JEN PSAKI, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Winning is better than --

LEMON: but you actually won.

SANTORUM: Well, but yes, two weeks later -- no, no, it makes a difference whether he won or not. Particularly for Bernie. I mean, Bernie has look at the same situation that Romney was in. Bernie actually won tonight, and then looks to be well ahead of New Hampshire. I mean, if he wins Iowa and Hampshire, it's you know, the trains were on it.

LANDRIEU: But that speaks to why -- I mean, to me, tonight is such a shame. It was so chaotic. It was handled very, very poorly. It should have never happened this way for all the people that spent so much time working on this. For this thing to turn out this way and for us not to have any results is really -- it's really tough.


ANDREW GILLUM (D), FORMER GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE, FLORIDA: Well, the only -- the only winner for tonight is the state of Florida. We have been replaced in our election chaos by the great state of Iowa. But to your point, Mayor, it really is unfortunate that so many people put not only time, resources, and effort, but some of these campaigns went for broke trying to come out of Iowa impressive with enough of a lead to give them momentum going into these next set of states.

And given the news that we're all going to be talking about tomorrow. You have the President's State of the Union, there'll be conversation about how that goes especially under the fact that we're still within this impeachment process --

LEMON: And how the Democrats are performing because it's certainly going to be a talking point for the --

GILLUM: Well --

LEMON: But Jen, these guys spent millions, millions of dollars. What does this say about Iowa? Is Iowa's still -- I mean, is it -- is it losing its luster when it comes to the President's reelection?

PSAKI: I mean, Don, I think even without this, there'd be some big questions about whether Iowa should be first, whether the caucus system and process makes sense because of the issues that we've been talking about for a while which is the lack of diversity, it's a fact that it is obviously quite way very rural, is this representative of the Democratic electorate?

LEMON: How do you argue that though after tonight? I mean, I don't think there's any arguing if you watch the pictures you saw. And many people texting me and calling me saying hey, listen, I've never watched the process this closely. It's not very diverse. I don't see -- hardly see any people except for maybe sitting watching behind Pete Buttigieg.

PSAKI: Well, no. Watching the process probably made people question it more at home because you're watching and you're thinking what's happening here. They're kind of --

LANDRIEU: Well, the caucus process -- the caucus process is peculiar to begin with. But there are couple issues. One of them is competence, and it was not run very competently the night. Secondly, Iowans -- and I was there a couple of weeks, and you know this, they take their responsibility very, very seriously. So for it to have turned out for the Iowans is really tough.

But the bigger issue is should they be a caucus or should it be like a regular election? And secondly, does Iowa as important as it is to them, does it really reflect the breadth of the Democratic Party? And if it started someplace, what other kinds of candidates emerged rather than there? And I think we're going to continue to have that debate which we've had from time to time.

LAURA BARRON-LOPEZ, NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER, POLITICO: Also, I was just in Iowa. I just got back actually, tonight. And so many Iowans -- what is happening tonight is actually a big fear of theirs. In the lead up to the caucus, a lot of Iowa voters were telling me, were telling my colleagues, we're so afraid that if we do not get this right, whether it's the process, whether it's picking who the ultimate nominee is, or picking someone who likes Iowa, that we're going to lose our first --

LEMON: But I think Iowa or is it the Democratic Party?

BARRON-LOPEZ: No, it was voters. There was a legit concern among Democratic voters.

LEMON: No, but I mean, who do you blame for this. You can't blame the entire state of Iowa. I think it's the Democratic Party.

BARRON-LOPEZ: Well, process now is the Democratic Party --

PSAKI: Is Iowa Democratic --

BARRON-LOPEZ: -- it's what they decided to do with the app and not being fully prepared, and knowing earlier in the day that maybe that app was not working which Politico reported, and so not addressing those concerns early on.

LEMON: Did they take on too much by rolling out a new app and new roles all at the same time?

PSAKI: They may have but I will also say that I think part of their stress you're talking about is maybe reflected in they're waiting to report and go through the actual process of counting the paper -- the paper here, and making sure they have the right results, because they know they're holding on for dear life of being first in the nation with the caucus, right.

And the DNC and the Democratic National Party also knows that they are under kind of a watchful eye because last cycle, they were accused of rigging the election and putting their, you know, thumb on the scale for Hillary Clinton. So I think it's smart to be careful. Of course, we'd love to have results. Of course, it's -- it would be better for candidates to have the results, but at the same time, better to be right and be tomorrow --

LEMON: Rick, let me ask you. We're coming off of -- we're coming off of 2016. We're talking about you know, the integrity in the election, the Russians and what have you. You've got the Biden campaign putting out saying listen, before you announce any results, we want to know about what standards you --

SANTORUM: It sounds like running --

LEMON: But how do people have confidence in the process after this?

SANTORUM: Well, I think, you know, I think that's just someone running fifth. I think that's someone who had a bad night and is trying to cast a poll over the legitimacy of the election. I think that's punching down. I think it's not a -- not a good look.

LEMON: We've been beyond Biden. I mean, how do people have confidence because they're sitting around watching this saying, listen, this is a caucus. This is the first in the nation, the first people voted, and we don't even have the results.

SANTORUM: Well, I mean, they created -- they created a punchline for President Trump. He said, you know, these are the -- this is the party that wants to run your healthcare and they can't run a caucus. So I mean, they're -- this is not a good look for the Democratic Party tonight.

GILLUM: But I but I do think, you know, to Biden statement, and frankly, to some of the other candidates trying to pour cold water on the efficacy of the results. I have not seen yet real reporting that says that what we're ultimately going to get from these respective precincts is the accurate reflection of what voters --


LEMON: CNN has learned right now that the Democratic Party is holding another call with the campaign's right now. Obviously, they know that this is serious. I mean, what good does that do at this point. We're not expecting results until some time later today.


PSAKI: Well, the campaigns were clearly understandably dissatisfied with what they heard on the first call, because --

LEMON: Some, some.

PSAKI: Well, many of them -- many of them spoke out and said there were -- now I will say, the ones who are complaining the most are the ones who may not do the best, right? So we'll have to look at the results. And if that is how the rank order ends up being, Biden's letter, or Warren's complaints, if they're not the ones winning or getting one, two, three, it may decrease the importance of that.

LEMON: But here's the point. If you're -- if you're a smart campaigner and you have good people behind you, right, you have a good ground game, can't anybody declare -- everyone declare some sort of victory tonight? I mean, clearly I thought -- I thought Amy Klobuchar was brilliant. She came out right at 11:00. She was the first one. And she said, hey, listen, here's where we're going --

PSAKI: We punched above our weight.

GILLUM: That's right.

LEMON: And so to her, to most people at home, it looks like she did really well, she may have won, and then you have Biden --

LANDRIEU: I mean, they're all picking up the ball where they find it. It is critically important though, for the country for the Democratic primaries and for the general election, for Iowa to get this right. And whenever the votes come out, that they're accurately counted, that people know that their votes mattered, and that that they're actually accurate. That is important. You can't get past the fact that it's 1:00 and we still don't have the numbers though.

LEMON: You got to see that magic wall for us. It's 1:00 in the morning --

LANDRIEU: You can't pay for over that. That's a -- LEMON: And our magic wall shows --

SANTORUM: I have no doubt that they have all sorts of redundancies in these counts just to make sure that something doesn't happen like it happened in 2012. So I've no doubt when the numbers are reported they're going to be accurate. There's too many people --

LEMON: I had someone from one of the campaign who's telling me, clearly the system was compromised.

SANTORUM: No, that's --

LANDRIEU: But I agree with Rick. I mean, the President -- the President got a good line. I mean, they can't -- they can't run the caucus, how are they going to run the country.

PSAKI: Even with --

LEMON: Now, listen, the Trump campaign officials at the highest levels already suggested that the votes could be rigged here. So that's giving them a talking point.

GILLUM: Well, he's -- first of all, that's rich coming from anybody within the Trump atmosphere. But I do think -- but you know, just to make the final point that this is a very, very, very important part of the process. People have to have a belief and the integrity of these elections are going to be run and run fairly.

We're all Burger King babies. We wanted our way right away. The truth is, is that I think we've got to demonstrate some patience, that when the count comes out, that we can stand behind it that it was done fair, adequately. We won't get the victory of being able to say who won tonight right, maybe. But certainly, we ought to have some faith on the --

LANDRIEU: But it does --

LEMON: I got to get to the break, but I just -- seeing this learning now that according to the Biden senior campaign official that the Iowa Democratic Party on the phone now giving an update to the campaigns. We're not expecting numbers until later on today. We don't know if that could be 2:00 in the morning, it could mean 8:00 in the morning, we have no idea. But what we do know is that the numbers are not out yet.

If you look at our magic wall again, the magic wall is showing there is no magic to what happened tonight. There was clearly some sort of gremlin in the system, technical glitch, if you want to call it. The apps broke down. Technology, technology did not pan out tonight. We're going to continue our conversation and our special coverage of the Iowa Democratic Caucus right after this quick break. Don't go anywhere.


[01:32:00] CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: All right. Welcome back to CNN's continuing coverage. We have some news.

We don't have results but we have news about why we don't have results. And I'm only being sarcastic because this is an epic failure by the Iowa State Democratic Party which has all but assured that no matter what the results are now, they are going to be questioned in terms of their authenticity. Anybody who didn't do well in Iowa now has a real open path to say, "says who"?

But here is the news, there is a second call going on with the state party. This is according to a senior adviser from the Biden campaign, that the state party has reached out to all the campaigns. Reporting comes with Biden camp, but all the campaigns have been invited onto a second phone call with the state party.

In the first phone call, pretty much every one of the campaign said we did not get to ask any questions, it was really quick, and they kind of hung up on us because they couldn't really explain (ph) now.

Just to take one steps sideways to reset why we are where we are, ok. Iowa has never been easy. The caucus system is complicated. We have had delays in the past. Nothing like this.

They have only given us the explanation of an app is the problem, as if an app is some foreign thing that we don't deal with in our lives every day and that we should just expect it can go down at any moment and never come back within a reasonable time.

They have to get three metrics from people in the precincts. They haven't been able to put together anything in all these hours? So that is the issue.

Let's discuss the significance of where we are right now so. Mark Preston has been working the phones, to try and get a sense of what this is.

Second call, have any suggestion of progress and that is why they are having to call? Or are they doing a good night call?


MARK PRESTON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: So, what I just heard from somebody who was on the call has told me that they are now being told that they are going to be reporting it on Tuesday. Now, we had been reporting that a little bit earlier.

CUOMO: It is Tuesday now.

PRESTON: They will reporting it on Tuesday when you and I are in bed, probably a little bit later in the morning. so we don't actually have a time but they did say that on the call that they are going to use a paper trail and they really are focusing on quality control right now.

So the campaigns have been told that the reporting will occur on Tuesday. We don't have a time yet but clearly there was an incredible amount of pressure on the Iowa Democratic Party to say something to them.

CUOMO: Paper trail -- is that new? Do they have a paper trail like what we would expect which is that people figured -- filled out things with a first choice, second choice on the backside, those were collected and kept? Or did they put a mechanism in place that is different than the last?

PRESTON: Collected and kept, write it down, paper is then held -- very much using the old system. And what has happened it seems is that the new system does not seem to have worked as well as they had wanted it to and you always rely on just the old system, right? You go back and you write it on a piece of paper and you would hope that that is being safeguarded.


PRESTON: And you know, look we should say this about all of the precinct captains out there and all the folks that are running the caucuses. And quite frankly for the Iowa Democratic Party. This is a bad mark on them but they are not bad people, right.

I think that they are trying their best and they were put into a situation that was very difficult for them. And now they're going to have to pay the consequences.

CUOMO: Does your aunt, like work as one of these --

PRESTON: No, but they -- no, but no. But yes --


CUOMO: How can --

PRESTON: -- no but I would say.

CUOMO: Of course, we're not talking about the people. Of course, they're good people. Everybody is acting in good faith. They have one job.

PRESTON: But in this day and age of criticism and attack, I just think at some point, sometimes we have to take a little step back and say, listen they are human, they made a mistake. And perhaps they didn't even make a mistake. Perhaps they just weren't as prepared for it and the numbers will come up fine tomorrow and the paper trail will work.

Listen, I'm trying to be kind and nice.

CUOMO: First of all, that is not your natural disposition --


CUOMO: Everybody on the panel is shocked --

PRESTON: In this day and age --

CUOMO: -- and I think you must have a family member that works for the Iowa State Party -- that's all I could come up with.

PRESTON: Yes. Listen how I talk. I'm sure I'm not from Iowa.

CUOMO: They had one job -- Phil.

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: They had one job. But I think it's a job that is made more difficult by how this is a different caucus than existed. I'm not on the Preston --

CUOMO: You are -- you own it now. Enjoy yourself.


PRESTON: Come on -- Phil.

MATTINGLY: I would never agree with you on anything, especially not --


MATTINGLY: But there is some substance behind the idea of four precinct captains, four people who had to report. It's different than it was in prior caucuses.

PRESTON: It doesn't necessarily mean that any -- all the precinct captains have done this before. So they had a different number of data sets that they had to input. They obviously had the app which we have heard a lot about, their people had problems with.

My understanding from talking to some of the campaigns who have been talking to precinct captains is that some of the reporting was off, in the sense that maybe the rules weren't necessarily being followed or understood through human error, not intentional.

But they weren't totally sure of the viability threshold, of how to operate in the second round so you had all of these things kind of coming together and creating a little bit of a perfect storm here when you don't have the app, you don't have the rules necessarily being fully understood. You don't have the reporting coming in properly.

I think the biggest concern that I've heard from campaigns right now is the lack of information they have for hours.


MATTINGLY: That first phone call that occurred, I know we've reported this, Mark was talking about this -- that they felt they weren't given any solid information. It was quick. They didn't --


CUOMO: Yes, because they weren't. So they certainly didn't handle it well.


CUOMO: You do have to assess Kirsten -- is this human error issue, to Mark's point, an add on to help cover what they did because a few weeks ago -- I may have Utah, by the way (ph) -- that they said they had a new system and they had a backup to the system. And if that went down they had a backup to the backup to the system.


CUOMO: This is a pretty big failure with many different reverberations.

POWERS: Yes, I don't feel -- think we should demonize anybody but this is a really major screw up. And this is the Super Bowl of politics. This is the big day. It is everything.

And this is something that everybody has been working towards for the last year at least, right? I mean all the campaigns, all the people in Iowa -- the voters, the people who were there volunteering -- you know, we have all been geared towards this.

This is usually a really exciting night. It is when the campaign completely kicks off. And so I just think you have to -- you have to be extra, extra ready.

CUOMO: Yes. That's the right way to say it.

POWERS: So it isn't -- it really isn't -- I don't feel like it is excusable. I don't think we have to demonize anybody personally.

CUOMO: No. I think there was a cheap shot by --

POWERS: But I don't think --

CUOMO: I will tell you why it was a cheap shot.

PRESTON: No, no, no --

CUOMO: I'm going to show why is it a cheap shot?


CUOMO: Go ahead. I'll wait.

PRESTON: No. I'm listening.

CUOMO: All right. And then we'll -- because he's -- you know, your boy on this, so Kirsten can be the judge.

MATTINGLY: Do not associate me with him.

CUOMO: Well, it is too late. You actually moved his chair closer.


CUOMO: So here is why. You are right to say don't demonize the people. They're good people. You understand that better than most because of how you work around the country, working with these different organizations. I grew up watching people commit their lives to party loyalty and going out in campaigning, even when they thought they could not win. They are good people, almost the exception is that you will find people who are not acting in good faith.

You know who failed these good people who gave the months, who gave the time, who took the time to do what they needed to do in these caucuses, which is a complicated structure? The party system. They failed --


PRESTON: Ok, the party system is much different than the party.

CUOMO: -- they failed the people. Us pointing out their failures, that's not criticizing the people -- God bless them for believing in the system after all the cynicism in our political dialogue to go out there and campaign and give their all. God bless them.

But screwing up the way they did nullifies their efforts and they are the ones who should be apologizing.

PRESTON: Right. Let's compare what --

CUOMO: I felt that was pretty compelling.

POWERS: I agree.

CUOMO: Thank you.

All right. Next point -- that's two people. Move on.

PRESTON: Look, if we're going to compare what is happened tonight to what has happened to Rick Santorum, as he has so eloquently described, and he really did get crude, for lack of a better term. And if you look at what happened back in 2016 with Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton -- they are different.

And they are different in this. You had Hillary Clinton in 2016 declared victory as we discussed earlier but declared victory and hadn't yet even been awarded the victory. She just declared it, everyone took it. Bernie Sanders basically got screwed.


PRESTON: The same thing happened with the Republican Party, did the same thing to Rick Santorum, went out and said Mitt Romney was the winner --


PRESTON: -- and Rick Santorum is out cold.

What we're seeing tonight -- and by the way, I'm not defending the Iowa Democratic Party.

CUOMO: You kind of are. Not so good.

PRESTON: I am trying -- what I'm trying to do is --


CUOMO: If there's ever a sign of the commitment to an argument, but go ahead.

PRESTON: There are apples and oranges my friend, ok. You have apples and oranges and that is what we are seeing here. And again, I am not saying that these folks should not be held accountable for what they did. I'm saying we shouldn't demonize them and quite frankly what we should look at more importantly is maybe the caucus system as a whole should be scrapped and it should be a primary because the states run the primary.

CUOMO: Right.

PRESTON: You know, you have paid workers who are in charge of making sure of the integrity.

CUOMO: But they said it was an app. They didn't say it was the system. Final word (ph) from you then we go to break.


POWERS: Yes. No, and just -- the other thing is this is just a heck of a way for the Democrats to kick off beating Donald Trump, right? I mean, if we look at the bigger picture, everybody is focused right now on the Democrats and this is, you know, this is what happened. We don't know who won the Iowa caucuses.

PRESTON: You know what we do know though? That Donald Trump declared victory tonight for winning the Iowa caucuses. He was really proud himself.

CUOMO: Yes. Of course, he is. And you know, Kirsten makes a good point. Look, if you look at your screen right now, we have all these different supposed metrics of what we got from people as they were walking in about how they felt about different things -- that is not what we were supposed to be doing tonight.

We were supposed to give you the actual state of the play here at the start. The first step that creates the momentum, that gets the media talking about certain people in certain ways, that raises money.

We all know how it works. That is why it mattered.

It is not about the good men and women who took their time on weekends and away from families to work on campaigns and work on state structure. It is a beautiful experiment in democracy there.

It didn't work and it is not their fault but the people who put this together want to blame it on an app -- our phones are filled with them. We figure a way around it, they haven't yet.

Let's take a break.

When we come back, we will give you the latest information about when the Iowa State Party is going to do its job. They said it will be Tuesday. It is Tuesday. What time Tuesday? Next.



DON LEMON, CNN HOST: This is an Iowa caucus that you will not forget. Everyone will remember where they were for 2020 when Iowa had its caucus and we got no results in for the Democratic Caucus here.

I want to bring in my guests here to talk about this. And I just want to get some new information that we are getting.

The call apparently -- that second call that we learned that they were having with the candidates, that it's just over. Leaders of the Iowa Democratic Party told campaign representatives that they will not be releasing any data tonight. That's according to a source with knowledge of the call.

Also some bullet points that I'm getting from here. I am told that the call was very contentious. That it was happening as of a couple of moments ago. And that they just finished.

And that they were basically -- they're not explaining to them why it failed. They were basically giving them talking points as to how to move forward -- just saying Tuesday, Tuesday, Tuesday. And they're not exactly sure what time it's happening on Tuesday.

As a matter of fact, I'm getting another information in. But talk amongst yourself. What is this -- they're not really explaining what happened. They said that folks on the call were extremely frustrated. They even had lawyers on from their campaign.

MITCH LANDRIEU (D), FORMER NEW ORLEANS MAYOR: If you have a crisis communication situation, the most important thing to do is to be open and transparent and clear. Whether you're talking about politics or whether you're talking whether a hurricane is coming.

I mean once you get in this mode that they're in, they need to get everybody on the phone, get all of the interested parties to start telling them what they can tell and if they can't tell them something, why they can't tell them.

And then say this is what the problem is. This is what we are working on. And this is when we expect it to be finished. If they're not doing that, it's going to get worse rather than easier.


RICK SANTORUM, FORMER PENNSYLVANIA REPUBLICAN CONGRESSMAN: Why don't have the party chair go out and make a statement?

JEN PSAKI, FORMER OBAMA WHITE HOUSE COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: I would say that's way better because I think --


SANTORUM: Why aren't they doing that.

PSAKI: I think what they're worried about on the call --

LEMON: Well, the party chair was on the call.

PSAKI: I think what they're worried about on the call is that campaigns all have their own agenda right now, of course they do. And that different pieces would drip out in different ways and would confuse the public even more.

But I think if I were them, I'd have the Iowa Democratic Party chair go out and explain.

SANTORUM: Put some presser right now.

LEMON: Every single campaign is pushing them to put the numbers that they have out, but they are not moving.

ANDREW GILLUM (D), FORMER TALLAHASSEE MAYOR: I don't necessarily buy that every single campaign -- if I had to argue, there are probably three campaigns that are pretty upset and they're haggling on this phone call. And there are probably two of them that are actually pretty satisfied with the way things are going tonight.

Much of the argument going tonight was, how many tickets are there going to be out of Iowa? Well, the truth is, there are now five tickets out of Iowa. Everyone of the major top five campaigns pretty much gets to go into New Hampshire and they declare victory.


LAURA BARRON LOPEZ, NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER, POLITICO: That was pretty much expected going into Iowa. Politico have writing, others have been writing that we'll probably going to get six tickets out of Iowa, and maybe there may not ben be clarity after New Hampshire. So we could be heading still with those five tickets all way to Nevada and to South Carolina.

Another thing from the call that we are hearing is that, you know, they say that they do have a paper trail, that they have the paper trail and so they are manually verifying these results.

LANDRIEU: But there's nothing that precludes whoever the leader of that organization to walk out and to tell the American public, this is where we. This is what happened? This is what I can tell you. This is what I can't tell you. And this is what I'm going to get back to you. And it would -- it would help a little.

LEMON: They provided no guidance on transparency -- no transparency at all.

Go ahead -- Jen. I didn't mean to interrupt. PSAKI: And that's really bad. I mean it's the Iowa Democratic Party's bad because it's going to make them look bad at the end of the day.

But if you're the campaign, you're still relieved, especially the top one, two, three that this is going to come out tomorrow.

Ultimately, yes, it's not ideal tonight, if you're Mayor Buttigieg, if you're Elizabeth Warren, if your Bernie Sanders. But tomorrow, they can make their own destiny. There's a lot of means of getting communication out of fund-raising and raising money, of doing big events. And they will all push to do that. It would be far worse if it was several days.

LEMON: I want to -- Rick I want to talk to you because I mean you have experience with this and how -- did it help or hurt your campaign.


LEMON: We're one week out now to New Hampshire. That makes New Hampshire that much more important. So what does this mean for the campaigns? You've gone through this before.

SANTORUM: Well, I mean look, I think the fact that --

LEMON: By the way, we should say that you won, but you were told you lost. I mean how long --

SANTORUM: On caucus night, it was announced I lost by eight votes and the state party chairman announced that Romney was the winner. He didn't say it was eight votes, it's too close -- we're not going to -- he said Romney won the caucus

And the fact that that has not happened -- I mean that's the worst thing to happen is to announce the wrong winner, and Iowa is not going to ever do that again. I mean I've talked to Republicans and you've talked too -- they're not going to make that mistake again, and that is why you are seeing this meticulous waiting, not putting out any misinformation. They want to double and triple.

And I give them credit for that. And look it's really bad not to win when you won. It's not that bad to get it right 12 hours later.

PSAKI: Right.

SANTORUM: I mean it's not the end of the world. In fact, there might be some actual more interest in this oddity, you know, come tomorrow when they say, we are going to announce it at 4:00 tomorrow, or 8:40 or 9:00 --

PSAKI: Or 10:00 a.m. tomorrow.

I mean if you won Iowa and it's announced at 10:00 a.m. tomorrow that's actually way better than win at 1:00 a.m.

SANTORUM: Yes, it's actually going to be -- it can be an interesting -- (CROSSTALKING)

GILLUM: But I suspect you will see more of the campaigns that particularly were at the bottom maybe get in the question the efficacy, the legitimacy the longer this whole thing takes.

So I don't think that we're going to be dealing with all worlds being equal situation when the results are ultimately announced. If I were on the losing end of that whole thing, I might throw a couple of wrenches in and say --

PSAKI: That may be true but that looks a little sour grapes.

GILLUM: Well, we've already seen -- we already see statements out tonight.


LEMON: Speaking of statements, there's another statement that's going to come out from the Iowa Democratic Party. It just come out shortly.

Now that this call has wrapped, they're going to put out a further statement explaining -- at least --


LEMON: They're not going to explain what failed. They're just going to say -- you know, Tuesday or tomorrow.

SANTORUM; If you want to avoid what the Mayor just talked about here, you've got to get out ahead of this --

GILLUM: Correct.

SANTORUM: -- you've got to talk about integrity. You've got to say what you are doing.


SANTORUM: Be specific, talk about the, you know, the duplicate and triplicate forms to make sure that every --


SANTORUM: -- you've got to just lay it all out. You have to put the issue of any kind of discrepancy to bed and to say that's what's going to take time.

GILLUM: Especially if the situation is that the reporting did not work. That we relied on technology --

PSAKI: Right.

GILLUM: -- that did not fully function. However, the underlying data is absolutely accurate. These are the counts. These were humans who were actually here. We took those numbers, and here is the reporting out of those numbers.


LEMON: Let's also talk about this. Wasn't this Bernie Sanders' -- or Bernie Sanders' campaign or Bernie Sanders' idea to get this new technology rather than rely on the old way --

BARRON-LOPEZ: Well, a lot of it was -- the genesis of this was 2016 and what happened in the Iowa caucuses between Sanders and between Clinton. And so yes, there were a lot of reforms pushed for by the Sanders campaign to the DNC of which were the ones that this Iowa caucus which was ironically more transparency, adding an app, paper trails. And now that seems to be, what has those unity reforms seem to be what have led to tonight.

LEMON: Three sets of data all at once, having to release that. Did that slow it down, you think?

LANDRIEU: But we don't. See -- here's the point --

PSAKI: Maybe. We don't know.

LANDRIEU: -- we don't know what it is which back to the senator's point -- clarity, transparency, the public can handle. It's better to get it right then to get it quick, but you have to tell everybody what's going on.

SANTORUM: I think what -- you know, I mean I've gotten a couple of texts from some friends in Iowa and said, you know, one of the things in here is that because there was a change in the format, maybe some of the caucuses weren't run properly and there were some errors in the way they conducted their caucus.

If that happened, then again, transparency. If there was a mistake, transparency. That's what I'm worried about is they're going to try to hide maybe some irregularities and just say it was really a tabulation issue. And I hope that doesn't happen.

LANDRIEU: The other thing too is that you already had a tough week with the State of the Union tomorrow, the impeachment vote on Wednesday. It was already going to be difficult for the person that came out of this, who won it to really capitalize on it in a normal year. And I think this just made it, you know, that much more complicated.

LEMON: Well, I mean it certainly is interesting. I know that -- we have been talking about what it means for the voter. I think in the end the voters -- the peoples' votes will be counted. I don't think it means that much to them.

But I think for the campaigns though, here's a question for the campaigns. How do you know what to do next? How do you know what to do tomorrow morning for the news cycle? The morning shows are going to be calling you. You need to declare a victory. What do you do? That was essentially my question. What do you do? PSAKI: I think having been in Iowa for two caucus nights, I can tell you the campaigns are a lot more agile than we are giving them credit for.


PSAKI: Yes, many of them are probably angry right now, especially the winning ones, that it's not out there and they haven't declared victory. But they have been contingency planning for different options.

And I bet you their close advisers have been huddling for the last hour or two, and they've been discussing how do we get our candidate out there. How do we capitalize on this? What are we going to do on email marketing. What are we going to do with the candidate? What interviews are we going to do.

They're planning all of that right now. Or they already have.

BARRON-LOPEZ: And we're already seeing -- and we're already seeing framing. I mean the fact that Buttigieg came out with no results and said -- declared himself the victor, then it set off for a response from Sanders. It set off a response from Warren. Warren's camp and her supporters are saying that Warren far exceeded expectations and is in a three-way race, and we don't know that yet.

SANTORUM: There's also the issue of Amy, who was saying she punched above my weight. It means maybe I beat Joe Biden.


SANTORUM: And so she can go out there claiming hey, you know - so it's actually a good thing for me.

LEMON: I'm glad they've gone to realizing what I said at the beginning. Everybody is a winner.

We were sitting there and was watching Pete Buttigieg give -- and I said wait a minute, is this -- did he repeat the President right now. Like what happened?

PSAKI: We always knew this and I think he said really we knew they would do this, right, coming out. We knew that Amy Klobuchar would look at the rural counties where she did well and kind of spin that. But now they're doing it without us having the information.

LEMON: All right. We are going to take a quick break.

More of our special coverage of the Iowa Democratic caucus. The night that you will remember for a very long time I think.

We'll be right back with more of our coverage. Don't go anywhere.