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Face the Nation transcripts January 31, 2016: Trump, Rubio

GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump talks with "Face the Nation" moderator John Dickerson during an interview on January 29, 2016.

Ed Forgotson / CBS

This is the January 31, 2016 edition of Face the Nation. Guests included Donald Trump, Marco Rubio, Ann Selzer, Nancy Cordes, Major Garrett, Ezra Klein, Ed O'Keefe, Ben Domenech, and Kim Strassel.

JOHN DICKERSON, CBS HOST: Today on FACE THE NATION: The Iowa caucuses are here. The voting starts tomorrow.

With just a day to go before the before the voters speak for the first time in campaign 2016, Iowans are digging out from under a last- minute blizzard of campaign craziness. The presidential-like photo- ops have reached Hollywood heights.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Welcome the next president of the United States, Donald J. Trump.


DICKERSON: And the pleas from the candidates have reached a wacky urgency.


SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I want to ask everyone here to vote for me 10 times.


DICKERSON: With some candidates promising to do just about anything for a vote.


SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R-FL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I can do whatever you want, but -- almost anything. I don't -- I don't...


RUBIO: I don't dance and I don't sing.


DICKERSON: One candidate did sing.

We will sit down with Republican front-runner Donald Trump, plus the candidate some say have the hot hand going into the voting, Marco Rubio.

We will also have lots of political analysis on both races.

With just one day to go before voting in Iowa and New Hampshire a week away, it's no time to duck out.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, let's call Donald Trump and try to get him to do the debate.


DICKERSON: It is all coming up on FACE THE NATION.

Good morning, and welcome to FACE THE NATION. I am John Dickerson.

The final pre-caucus numbers are in. And according to the Bloomberg Politics/"Des Moines Register" poll, Hillary Clinton is up over Bernie Sanders 45 to 42 percent among likely Democratic caucus- goers. On the other side, Donald Trump is on top with 28 percent support. Ted Cruz is next at 23. Marco Rubio is at 15, Ben Carson at 10 percent support. The rest of the field is in single digits.

We caught up with Donald Trump on the campaign trail in New Hampshire earlier. We began our conversation with his boycott of the FOX News debate.


DICKERSON: In 2011, you were going to participate in a Newsmax debate, and you said of the Republicans who weren't going to show, you said: "We are not seeing a lot of courage here, are we? Not a lot of courage. These Republicans, they are supposed to be brave."

Why can't that be said about you?

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, they should have shown, because there was no reason. Now, I was doing the moderation.

It was for a Newsmax thing. And I just said, if they ask me -- the owner is a friend of mine, Chris Ruddy, a very good guy. And he said, would you do it? I said, I have never done that before. I guess I will do it.


DICKERSON: What about the bravery charge?

TRUMP: No, no, but here is the difference. I was treated very unfairly by FOX.

I was treated badly. They weren't treated badly -- I mean, I was treated very, very badly by FOX. They issued a statement that was an inappropriate statement. Now, what happened is, since then, they have been very nice and they tried very much to get me to do the debate. By that time, the event, my counter-event had taken off. And, you know, you saw thousands and thousands of people standing out of the building. It was amazing.

DICKERSON: What about this charge, though -- it is a press release? Like, if you can't...

TRUMP: That's OK. That's OK. No.

DICKERSON: But you were offended, but isn't that you being a little too politically correct about...


TRUMP: I went out. You know what I did? I went out and I raised $6 million for vets. That is more important, frankly, than doing a debate.

DICKERSON: "The Washington Post" had a poll that said seven in 10 voters have a high level of anxiety about you. Why do you think that is?

TRUMP: Well, look, I am a strong guy. I am going to make our country great again, which is what we want.

And I would say that, you know, I can think of people that maybe they would have a little bit less anxiety about, but they won't get anything done. And, well, we are in trouble.

DICKERSON: You have talked about how you like to be unpredictable.

Is that unpredictability what causes people anxiety?

TRUMP: Yes, I think so. I think we have to be unpredictable. Our enemies know what we are going to do, whether it is battle, whether it is war, whether it is finance. You have to be somewhat unpredictable.

As an example, if I win -- I mean, right now, I am the leader by the lot in terms of the Republican side, and I am beating Hillary in the polls. I hate to give you, as an example, an answer. You will ask me a question, a very strategic question, maybe a military-type question, and I have a very strong answer in mind.

But there is something about giving you that answer that bothers me very much, because, basically, the enemy is getting that answer.

DICKERSON: But what about -- if you are president, people have this anxious feeling about you. What are you going to -- you have got to fix this. You can't -- people can't be all anxious about the president.

TRUMP: I don't think they do, though, John. I really don't.

I think that, once they know me -- in fact, I was listening to one of your cohorts recently, last week, and they said they have never seen favorables go up so much so fast as my favorables.

DICKERSON: But there is a lot of drama around your campaign. You are occasionally in Twitter wars. Is that presidential, do you think, these Twitter back-and-forth...


TRUMP: Well, I'm in Twitter wars before really I was a politician. And now I am carrying it out.

Don't forget, I started out with 17 people, including myself. Now a lot of them are dropping out and many more will be dropping out. And we will get it down to a normal number. But I was being barraged from all different sides. Having Twitter is great.

And between Facebook and Twitter and Instagram, I have 12 million people, more than 12 million people. So it is a great way of getting the word out. But, certainly, I mean, look, I went to great schools. I was a good student, all of that stuff. I am very capable of slowing down Twitter or doing whatever I want to do, but Twitter is actually -- I found it to be, and Facebook, a wonderful modern way of communicating.

DICKERSON: In Iowa -- your campaign is based around idea you are a winner. Does that mean you have to win Iowa?

TRUMP: No, I don't have to win it. And right now, you and I are sitting in New Hampshire. And, as you know, I have a very substantial lead in New Hampshire.

But I think it would be really good to win Iowa. I would like to win Iowa. I am doing really well with the evangelicals and -- in Iowa, but I'm also doing tremendously well all over the country with the evangelicals. I am leading by a lot. I am doing great with the Tea Party. I'm doing well with all groups.

I now have a fairly substantial lead in Iowa. I think we have a good chance of winning Iowa. I would like to.

DICKERSON: Weeks ago, it was tighter in Iowa. Now you are ahead by a little more. Why do you think that is?

TRUMP: Well, I think that Ted Cruz has been severely affected by the Goldman Sachs loans, which he didn't disclose. And it was on his personal financial form, and the Citibank loans he didn't disclose.

DICKERSON: Couldn't that have just been a mistake?

TRUMP: No. It could have been, but it is -- two loans, give me a break, OK? And he is supposed to be Robin Hood for everybody. He didn't disclose them because he didn't want to say that he is dealing with the bankers.

Don't forget he said he sold his assets. But I think much more important is this whole fact that he was born in Canada. And he was a citizen of Canada until 15 months ago. And there is much law right now, and a lot of constitutional lawyers are coming out. Laurence Tribe is sort of middle ground.

In other words, he says it is untested. But there are many lawyers coming out, top constitutional lawyers, that Ted Cruz cannot run for president, he can't be president because of the fact he was born in Canada. I think that has a huge effect.

DICKERSON: At your rallies, you say things. And I talk to people who attend your rallies, and they like that you are uncompromising.

I also talk to Washington insiders, some lawmakers, who are overcoming their skepticism about you by thinking, he is going to compromise, he is going to make deals in Washington.

Which one is right?

TRUMP: I think everyone is right.

I mean, honestly, I think they are both right. I am a tough guy to make a deal with. I'm a deal maker. We have to make deals. It is sort of funny. When I see Ted Cruz standing in the Senate and nobody else is with him, he's standing all by himself, and you have got all of these other politicians, senators, and congressmen generally, and he is trying to -- he is by himself.

It is wonderful. And I can understand how a radio show host could say, oh, isn't that wonderful? You're not going to get anything done. You have got to be able to get things done. Ted doesn't have an endorsement from one United States senator.

DICKERSON: But he would say that is great, because, as you have said...

TRUMP: That is bad. No, no, it's bad.

DICKERSON: You have said such terrible things about them in Washington. Why would you want endorsements from them?

TRUMP: Sure, but you have got to have -- they're not bad people. A lot of them are very good people.

And some are people that won't get it done. I mean, the recent budget that was passed is a horror show. It should have never been passed, et cetera, et cetera. But when Ted doesn't have one senator, like a Mike Lee, who is a very conservative guy, good guy -- why isn't he getting these endorsements?

And then I get the endorsements from Sarah Palin and I get the endorsements from Jerry Falwell Jr. And I get -- I have incredible -- even Sheriff Joe endorsed me. That means I am the best on the border.

DICKERSON: But those are not senators. Those are outside- Washington types.

TRUMP: No, no, but, still, they are very important people and very important -- as an example, Sheriff Joe, Arizona. DICKERSON: Joe Arpaio.

TRUMP: Toughest guy. He endorsed Trump. You know what that means? I am toughest on the border.

DICKERSON: Why do you think -- you have a lot of working people at your rallies. You are -- more than any other candidate, you live a life that is most distant from them. Why do they support you?

TRUMP: Because I am a job producer. I have produced tens of thousands of jobs over my lifetime. Right now, I am producing thousands of jobs. That includes health care, education for families, you know, et cetera, et cetera.

And I grew up -- my father was a builder in Brooklyn and Queens. And I grew up working with people that worked on building houses and building whatever. I mean, I relate to them. I love those people. Those are my people. I love those people. I really do.

I love the policemen. I love the firemen. For whatever reason -- it is strange. I mean, Romney...

DICKERSON: Even though, to get to your job, you don't ride three buses and have a second job and all that.

TRUMP: No, no.

I have the ultimate bus, right? It's called a 727. And now it is a 757, actually, when you think of it. But, somehow, I have always had great relationships with the workers. I work with them. I used to work during summer building houses in Brooklyn and Queens.

I mean, I just work with them. These are incredible people. They have been hurt very badly. The middle-income people in our country have been hurt very badly. That's why I am doing a big tax cut for them.

DICKERSON: Bernie Sanders says he can appeal to some of your voters and has made a pitch to them. Would you make a pitch to Bernie Sanders voters?


TRUMP: Yes, I think I would. And I think will appeal to his -- well, one thing we sort of agree on his trade.

We are getting horribly beaten on trade. The difference is, I will make great trade deals. He is incapable of doing that. He is incapable of doing it. And, you know, he just won't be able to do that.

But he does at least acknowledge that we are getting just absolutely ripped by China and all of these other countries. So, in that way, we are the same. I think a lot of his people are going to come over. One of the reasons that I will win and I think none of the other guys will win is because I'm going to get states that they will never get. I have a good chance of getting New York, as an example. I have a good chance of getting Virginia. I will get Pennsylvania. I will get Ohio. I will get Michigan. I will get Florida.

You know, my numbers just came down. I am at 48. The sitting senator is, I think, at 11 or 12. And a former governor is in the 8's. But I think I will win Florida. And I win a lot of states. And one of the reasons I will win them, a lot of Democrats are going to cross over to me, because they are tired of what is happening.

DICKERSON: When you were in Iowa, you went to a church service. The sermon was in part on humility. What did you take away from that?

TRUMP: Well, you know, they didn't know I was coming because of security reasons. OK?

And so we just so sort of showed up. Maybe they changed quickly. But -- or maybe it was coincidence, but it was actually on humility. I don't know. It was very good. It was very a nice service, beautiful church. I liked it.

DICKERSON: But humility, a lot of people don't think -- your name is on everything. You have often talked about sometimes braggadocio is part of your pitch.

TRUMP: No, I know, but there is more humility than you would think, believe me.

DICKERSON: Hidden humility.

TRUMP: We are all the same. We're all going to the same place, probably one of two places, you know, but we are all the same. And I do have actually much more humility than a lot of people would think.

DICKERSON: But you don't want to show it?

TRUMP: I would rather not play my cards. I want to be unpredictable.

DICKERSON: Who do you like in the Super Bowl?

TRUMP: Well, your Carolina team is sort of a hot team. And the quarterback is doing great.

I very much have always liked Peyton Manning. He is a very good guy. I know him. And he is a very, very good guy. So, I have to go with the person I know and I like. I like the other team. I think the other team looks fantastic. Probably, they would be favored by something. But I will stick with Peyton, because he is a very good guy.

DICKERSON: All right, Mr. Trump, thanks so much.

TRUMP: Thank you. Thank you very much. (END VIDEOTAPE)

DICKERSON: Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio joins us from Des Moines.

Senator, there is a lot of chatter that you may be getting a lot of the last-minute votes going your way. How does it feel?

RUBIO: Well, we have always felt great about our campaign here.

And we continue to feel that it is growing in our support. We will see what it leads to on Monday night. I mean, Ted Cruz is clearly the front-runner going into the night. He has 10,000 volunteers on the ground. He has spent an exorbitant amount of time here, tremendous amount of time here, and has gotten every endorsement he wanted.

So, we know it is a tough hill to climb, but we feel very good about our campaign and very positive about what it means going into New Hampshire. We will be leaving as soon as the caucus is over. And we will be in New Hampshire early Tuesday morning ready to work.

DICKERSON: Sounds like you are setting expectations for your opponent there.

He is calling you the Republican Obama. What do you think of that?


RUBIO: Well, other than the fact that I oppose virtually everything Barack Obama stands for.

And what's happened here, it is kind of bizarre, because Ted is leading in a lot of the polls. He has a vast organization here and has spent a lot of money. And his campaign has bragged repeatedly about how well they are going to do here. So it is kind of strange that, at the last minute, they have pivoted all their attacks against me, and disingenuous attacks.

They took a video of an interview that I did in 2007 in Florida, and clipped it, so that my full statement wasn't heard. And it makes it sounds like I support cap and trade. And this has already been lampooned and mocked for years, because others have tried to do the same thing.

So, it is kind of a weird and strange last-minute desperation attack. It is not really -- I really don't understand why. He has got such a strong organization here in Iowa. But it is all fine. We are going to be OK. We feel good about it into.

DICKERSON: But maybe it is a good sign he is attacking you. It means you must be doing something right.

RUBIO: Well, we have taken more than anybody else in attacks.

Jeb Bush's super PAC has spent now close to close to $30 million on television, which is more than every attack on every other candidate combined. And then you add Ted Cruz's attacks. Yes, when -- people don't attack a candidate that has no chance to win. So we feel very good about it. And we feel even better about the fact that it is having no impact, and that we are continuing to work and move forward with our message.

So we are going to close. We are going to close strong here with our message. We like where that leads. And then we look forward to moving on as well to New Hampshire and South Carolina, which comes up shortly after that.

DICKERSON: Let me ask you about those Jeb Bush attacks from his super PAC. It spent a lot of time attacking you. Stephen Hayes of "The Weekly Standard' said the lasting legacy of those attacks may be to make Donald Trump the nominee.

What do you think of that?

RUBIO: Well, Donald Trump, I don't believe, is going to be the nominee.

That said, yes, Jeb has a right to spend his money on -- any way he wants. I think people have noticed that it is close to $30 million of attack ads against me. And I knew that when I got into this race that the establishment, many people in the Republican establishment didn't want me to run. They thought I needed to wait my turn or wait in line.

But I just felt that, after seven years of Barack Obama, this was no time for patience. It was a time for action. And so I ran. And I knew that I would face some of this. This is big-dollar checks that were written in to that super PAC.

I am sure some of the people that wrote those checks are disappointed, and others perhaps, this is what they intended all along. But, in the end, this election is in God's hands, as everything is. And we're going to do our very best. And we are confident about where that leads.

DICKERSON: You said the establishment doesn't want you, but when I talk to people who would be considered good members in good standing of the establishment, they do want you.

They -- "The Des Moines Register" endorsed you. They -- you are the hope against Ted Cruz and Donald Trump.

RUBIO: If that was the case, I wouldn't have raised only $6 million in the third quarter of last year, and I would be the one with a $100 million super PAC.

But it is fine. Look, in the end, we have to unify the Republican Party, in essence. We're not going to be able to succeed if we can't unify the Republican Party and the conservative movement. And then we have to grow it. We have to reach out to people that haven't voted for us before and convince them that conservatism is the right approach for America. I believe that -- I know that I am the candidate that can best, most quickly unify the party, unify the conservative movement, and grow it. And I know that, if I am our nominee, I defeat person Bernie Sanders or Hillary Clinton.

And so that's why I know in the end we will be successful. We feel very positive about our campaign.

DICKERSON: Let me ask you about the question of immigration. There was a very sharp set of exchanges between you and Senator Cruz during the debate last week.

And you said of Ted Cruz, you said it is built on a lie that he is more conservative than the other candidates.

But, on the key piece of legislation on immigration, isn't the voter who cares about immigration, don't they just need to know that you voted for it and he voted against it?

RUBIO: Well, Ted portrays himself as some sort of purist. And that's not the fact.

The fact is, Ted helped design George W. Bush's immigration platform when he was working on his campaign. And there's memos that show that. And then, as a senator, on CBS, in a national broadcast, Ted said there had to be a compromise about the people that are here illegally, something he now calls amnesty. But that's what he was for.

When he was in the Senate, he talked about wanting to pass immigration reform, about bringing people out of the shadows, et cetera. And so that is -- he is not what he portrays himself to be.

The bottom line is that this is an issue that does need to be confronted and does need to be fixed. It cannot continue the way it is. And it will not happen comprehensively. There is no way to pass a comprehensive bill. That has been tried. I saw it, and it doesn't work.

The only way forward is to do this by beginning with border enforcement and winning the confidence of the American people that illegal immigration is under control.

But I think that the lie is that Ted continues to try to portray himself as the only conservative in the race and every -- Rand Paul made the same point, and on this issue and others, that Ted has been very calculated, taking one position in one place and a different position somewhere else.

And voters see through that. And in time, it will catch up with him. It already has started to, I believe.

DICKERSON: So, your point is, this is not about immigration. It's about something big. You are making a character attack here.

RUBIO: Well, it is not a character attack. It is his record. I mean, he used to support doubling the number of green cards. Now he is against it. He used to support a 500 percent increase in guest-worker visas. Now he is against that. He used to be in favor of birthright citizenship. Now he is against it.

I mean, on issue after -- he goes around talking tough on China, but he leaves out the fact that he defended a Chinese company that stole an invention from an American, a Floridian, a constituent of mine. And he was a defense counsel for the Chinese company.

So, just on issue after issue, you see incredible calculation. He goes to New York and raises millions of dollars, and then goes to the rest of the country and attacks New York values. These are the things that over time people start to realize that there's a real calculation here politically. And it just catches up with you.

DICKERSON: All right.

Senator Rubio, we are going to have to end there it. Thanks so much for being with us.

RUBIO: Thank you. Thank you for having me.

DICKERSON: We will be back in one minute with a closer look at where the race in Iowa stands.


DICKERSON: We are joined now Selzer & Company president Ann Selzer, who is here to talk about her new Bloomberg/"Des Moines Register" Iowa poll.

Ann, let's start with the Republicans. What did you learn in your -- what do you see in the numbers about Trump voters?

J. ANN SELZER, PRESIDENT, SELZER & COMPANY: Well, one of the things we love about getting fresh data about a race, and especially this close to the caucus, is it starts to put some interesting puzzle pieces together.

As you can see, Donald Trump is leading the race by five points, but the constituencies of that lead are very interesting. So he does especially well with moderates. He does especially well with people who consider themselves predominantly mainstream Republicans.

But he also does very well, his strongest showing is with people who say the system is rigged in favor of the rich and powerful. So you kind of have an interesting group of people who have come together to support Donald Trump as our leader in our poll.

DICKERSON: And what about Ted Cruz? He is not too far behind Donald Trump. What do you find about his voters?

SELZER: He is not too far behind, but he has slipped out of first place. So we always think about the momentum. On caucuses, it is always important to get hot at the end, so you have that enthusiasm.

Ted Cruz does very well with people who consider themselves very conservative. He also does and has done traditionally well with the evangelical community. We know from caucus history that this is a group that is more likely to show up on caucus night.

So we ran a little scenario test in our data to say, well, what if they show up in higher numbers than our poll would suggest? He can bring that number a lot closer on caucus night with a good turnout among that constituency.

DICKERSON: Speaking of turnout, the big -- one of the big questions is whether Donald Trump, who is doing it a very different way than normally is done in Iowa, whether his enthusiastic supporters who show up at the rallies are actually going to go to those gyms and churches and caucus. What do you think about that?

SELZER: Well, there are a couple of data points on that.

First of all, he has the most -- highest percentage of any candidate of his supporters saying they are locked in, that they cannot be moved. So that is a very nice thing for a candidate to have.

But we also asked respondents about how enthusiastic would you be if candidate X were the nominee? And Donald Trump's numbers are not that enthusiastic. Much higher for Ted Cruz. Much higher for Marco Rubio.

So that is just a little hint. Is there enough enthusiasm among his core that they will go out on caucus night, show up and support him?

DICKERSON: And what about, quickly, on the Republican side, late-deciding voters? Are they going any way, do you think? How many of them are there?

SELZER: Well, the way that I look at late-deciding, it is a relatively small group for Donald Trump and for Ted Cruz, but it is closer to half of the people supporting every other candidate who would say, I could still be -- change my mind.

And what is different about caucuses is that that can happen in the caucus room. When you go up to show up to vote at a primary, there is a law about how far back any electioneering can happen , but there will be electioneering in that caucus room.

And all of those candidates with two or three percentage point support may be courted to come on board with someone who you think has a chance to win. And that might be Marco Rubio or it could be Ted Cruz, or possibly Donald Trump, although he is a more isolating character.

DICKERSON: Switching over to the Democratic side, also very close between Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton.

What do you see underneath the numbers that is interesting to you?

SELZER: What is interesting to me is that that is a three-point race right now, but Hillary Clinton's numbers show kind of an undergirding of strength.

She has a very strong number, 83 percent of her supporters who say they are locked in. Her issue -- and this is kind of a good thing/bad thing -- she does very well with older voters. Bernie Sanders does very well with younger voters. He kind of has that Obama coalition of first-timers, people who consider themselves independent, rather than Democrat, and the youth vote.

Those are all less reliable. But he has got an enthusiasm going for him that, if he can get those people out on caucus night, we could see a surprise in those rooms.

DICKERSON: All right, Ann Selzer with the wonderful "Des Moines Register"/Bloomberg poll, thanks so much for being with us and giving us all those insights.

We will be right back with more politics.


DICKERSON: Stay with us. We have got a lot more coming up.

And to keep on top of all the political news during the week, please describe to our FACE THE NATION 2016 "Diary" podcast. You can find it on iTunes or on your podcast app. We will be right back.


DICKERSON: Some of our CBS stations are leaving us now, but, for most of you, we will be right back with our campaign reporters and with our panel.

Stay with us.


DICKERSON: Welcome back to FACE THE NATION. I'm John Dickerson.

We're joined now by CBS News chief White House correspondent, Major Garrett, who's on the campaign trail following Republicans, and CBS News congressional correspondent, Nancy Cordes, is covering the Democrats. They are both in Des Moines this morning.

Nancy, I want to start with you.

Hillary Clinton has been working hard in Iowa for a very long time in this election. How's that going to pay off for her at the end?

NANCY CORDES, CBS NEWS CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I think what it means, John, is that her campaign knows exactly who they need to get to the caucuses and how many people they need to get to the caucuses. They have been working on this not just for the past year, but really for the past eight years, if you think about it. They've got all the knowledge from the Clinton campaign back in 2008, the Obama campaign back in 2008, which was victorious here. All of those people, all of those wiz kids are now working on her campaign here in Iowa.

And I think beyond that, when we talk about the fact that Bernie Sanders has a lot of enthusiasm at his rallies, a lot of people at his rallies period, if it seems like there's lessen enthusiasm here for Hillary Clinton, I think it's in part because people have known for such a long time that she was running. They know her about as well as any Iowan can know a candidate. So they made up their mind about her one way or the other a long time ago. A lot of her supporters have told us here in Iowa, yes, I like Hillary Clinton, I'm going to vote for her, I don't need to go to one of her events because I already know what she's about and I heard her three times the last time she ran.

DICKERSON: That makes Bernie Sanders the new kid on the block then in Iowa. If that's the case, and Bernie Sanders does well on Monday, why will he have done well?

CORDES: He will have done well because there have been a surge of young voters who fulfilled their promise to get out and caucus, who beat the statistical odds and came out in larger numbers than they typically do. He has been saying for several days, like a broken record, I will only win if turnout is larger than normal. There's a very specific reason that he is saying that. He is saying to his supporters, look, it's not enough to love my message, it's not enough to come to my rallies, you actually have to go to the caucuses.

And that's kind of a heavy lift, especially for young people. It's not like going to vote in a primary. You go there for two hours, you talk to your neighbors, and so it really requires a great deal of devotion and an understanding of how the system works.

And so his campaign is trying to educate young voters. They've been putting out videos online. They're offering to drive them from their college towns back to their hometowns to caucus. The question is, how many of these young people will take him up on the offer?

DICKERSON: All right, on the question of turnout, Major Garrett, let's go to the Republicans now. The guy who's at the top of the polls is Donald Trump, but in terms of turnout, is he going to be able to convert that enthusiasm from those huge rallies into actual caucus participation?

MAJOR GARRETT, CBS NEWS CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: You know, John, the central question for the Trump campaign is, can you win an Iowa caucus by making politics, for lack of a better word, fun? There is a showmanship like quality to the Trump rallies. The crowds form long before the event. People wait patiently. These are people who are not typically involved in politics. They come to see Trump. They laugh at all of his jokes. And afterward, the rope line is absolutely rapturous. In Clinton, Iowa, last night, I saw a man, big , burly, huge biceps, like a body builder with a bandana on his head. He got an autograph from Trump. He walked away almost in tears. That's the kind of reaction that Trump elicits.

So, that's all great for Trump and the theatrical side of politics, but this is a ground game operation in Iowa. I have met people who tell me that they are either precinct captains or making phone calls for Trump, but they acknowledge they've never done it before. They haven't made as many phone calls as the campaign would like. So the bottom line question is, does all of this energy translate to caucus attendance? The Trump people believe, in the end, it will, and it will come not just from Republicans, but from some Democrats who have been drawn to the Trump message.

DICKERSON: What about Ted Cruz then. He's in neck -- that neck and neck race with Trump? What -- tell me about his organization.

GARRETT: All right. So Trump is fun. Ted Cruz, fundamentals. And what do I mean by fundamentals? Identifying. And I mean really identifying at the granular level, Tea Party enthusiasts, social conservatives, evangelicals. Who are they? The most reliable voters in Iowa Republican caucuses over history. The Cruz campaign has spent months identifying these voters, sending them not just one or two mailers, or different kinds of communications, but sometimes three or four in the same day, all about issues they care about.

Cruz events are much quieter. There's much greater conversation about the crisis of conservativism and how you need someone who is a true believer, who has walked with you, who has all the convictions you share because that, they believe, is what will get these most reliable voters to all the caucus sites all around the state, 99 counties, more than 1,600 precincts, and they believe by taking care of Mike Huckabee, Rick Santorum and Rand Paul, all competitors for these voters, they're well positioned to pull a surprise over Trump come Monday night.

DICKERSON: Nancy, among the Democrats, you've been out there a while following them, give us a little flavor for what's different about a Hillary Clinton event and a Bernie Sanders event.

CORDES: You know, it's interesting, John, Iowa has always been a retail politics place. As you know, voters want to get to know their candidates, they want to shake their hand, look them in the eye, talk to them. Bernie Sanders is not a retail kind of guy. He gets up there, he gives his speeches. The audience is moved. They love listening to him. He's clearly very passionate. They find him very authentic. But then he exits stage left. He's not the type to stick around and glad hand and take a selfie.

But they don't really seem to mind. In fact, I've been at some of his rallies where they literally sort of part and allow him to walk past and exit. It's as if they know that, you know, he's there to sort of talk about these issues they've been waiting to hear about for a long time, but he's not really, you know, one on one type of guy.

Hillary Clinton, the exact opposite. Her events may be smaller, they may be a little less raucous, but she sticks around for sometimes half an hour, 45 minutes, on the rope line, shaking hands, talking to people about their problems, offering to take selfies with them and asking them point blank, I really need you to come out and caucus. And that is an area where she seems to be far more comfortable and yet, even though they have these very, very different styles, they are neck and neck in the polls.

DICKERSON: Major, finally to you. The third place finish may matter a lot in Iowa. Is -- how's -- it looks like Rubio's going to finish there?

GARRETT: That's what it looks like. And the Rubio camp feels very good about that. And it's sort of an interesting question, when does third place equal first? Well, when with the first place finisher is third place and represents either mainstream Republicans or so-called establishment Republicans. That's where Rubio wants to land.

The most recent poll has him 15 percent. That's consistent with internal Rubio campaign data. They believe they can get to 17, 18 percent here. Their crowds in the closing days have been getting larger and larger. A lot of enthusiasm on the ground. And for Rubio's campaign, it's all about the distance between ever else vying to be that establishment or mainstream alternative. A lot of distance between Chris Christie, John Kasich, Jeb Bush here, because they believe that will translate to momentum into New Hampshire, where the Rubio camp hopes to vanquish all of those and emerge by South Carolina as the central alternative to either Ted Cruz or Donald Trump.

DICKERSON: All right, Major Garrett, Nancy Cordes, out there on the campaign trail, thanks to both of you.

CORDES: You're welcome.

DICKERSON: We'll be right back with our politics panel.


DICKERSON: And we're back with our panel. Joining us today, "Wall Street Journal" columnist Kim Strassel, Ben Domenech is publisher of "The Federalist," Ezra Klein is the editor of, and Ed O'Keefe covers politics for "The Washington Post."

Kim, I want to start with you.

Finally some voting is going to happen.


DICKERSON: What are we going to learn?

STRASSEL: So I think the million dollars question, or maybe you should say the billion dollar question because its Donald Trump is what Major was talking about, does he have an operation out there? Are the people who are lining up for five hours to get tickets, are they devoted celebrity watchers or are they devoted caucus goers? And I think it's particularly interesting because we had some numbers out this week where people were asked, had the campaign contacted you and who were you contacted by? A lot of people said that they've been contacted by the Cruz campaign, even by the Bush campaign, by the Rubio campaign, not so many people said that Trump had reached out to them.

DICKERSON: They're all reaching out to him, though.

STRASSEL: Yes, they are.

DICKERSON: Ezra, what do you make of -- what are you looking for out of Iowa?

EZRA KLEIN, VOX: I'm actually watching Rubio. So I think that we know that it's going to be Trump or Cruz running through what people are now calling the conservative lane. I think we're not exactly sure what's going to happen with the more establishment Republicans. I think for a long time now the conventional wisdom has been that at some point Rubio's going to break out of the pack. And so now there's this feeling that he's surging a little bit at the end in Iowa. That as -- as it was said before, maybe gets to up to 17, 18 percent. If he'd get a very strong third in Iowa and go into New Hampshire, then you could begin to see the establishment coalesce around him, a big infusion of money into his campaign. A lot of work on behalf of Republicans who are afraid of Cruz or Trump around him. If not, then you're going to have the same dynamic you've had for some time now where you've got Rubio, Christie, Bush and not (ph) Kasich and potentially a couple of others all fighting for the same lane in the primary and no real ability for the establishment to -- to unite.

BEN DOMENECH, "THE FEDERALIST": But Rubio's problem there is that -- is that Donald Trump actually has the most support among moderate and mainstream Republicans. The support isn't actually coming from the conservative wing of the party. It's coming more from the mainstream, which is a real challenge from him.

I feel like the lesson that we're going to learn over the course of the next couple of weeks, not just from Iowa, is, is Donald Trump's historical analog more something like Pat Buchanan, who won four out of the first six contests in 1996, or is this a situation that's a little bit more like the 19th century and the bourbon Democrats who backed the gold standard and free trade and would be writing with Kim at "The Wall Street Journal" today and then saw William Jennings Brian come along and take over their party with a speech, which is something that should, I think, make the establishment and those in the mainstream, in the elites of the party, very afraid.

DICKERSON: Because William Jennings Brain had a terrible presidential success record.

DOMENECH: Yes, exactly.



DICKERSON: Go ahead, Kim.

STRASSEL: Well, I mean, the other thing though here too is, you talk to any of the candidates out there, the other cane, other than Donald Trump, they are eager for a one-on-one match with Donald Trump. DICKERSON: Yes, they sure are because they keep splitting the vote (ph).

STRASSEL: No -- right. They -- I mean they -- no, they really do think he's beatable. I mean, and I think this goes to Ben's point is that he seems to have a ceiling on his support. He is getting moderate Republicans. But there's a -- a limit to the number he gets.

DICKERSON: Ed, you've been spending a lot of time with the non- Trump and Cruz candidates in New Hampshire.

ED O'KEEFE, "WASHINGTON POST": It's lonely and quiet.

DICKERSON: Yes. Well, talk about that a little bit because they -- they need -- they need to find their moment or it may pass them.

O'KEEFE: That's why none of them will be, with the exception of Rubio, will be in Iowa tomorrow night. Kasich has been in New Hampshire all weekend. Chris Christie and Jeb Bush get to New Hampshire tomorrow. Those three guys certainly see New Hampshire really as their last stand. Bush, to some extent, has operations in the other states and probably has the money to keep going, but the other two, certainly, if they cannot finish well in New Hampshire, they go home. They're done.

And so I think, back to Ezra's point, if Rubio has a very good night in Iowa on Monday, I think the clamoring for consolidation, for getting out, for telling that Jeb Bush super PAC, stop hitting Rubio and focus more on consolidating behind one or two of these guys will really step up. And we've seen a lot of that in the last few weeks. There's been calls for the -- for the Jeb Bush PAC to back off. Their argue is it's working because it's keeping Rubio down. It's keeping him down in Iowa. It's keeping him down in New Hampshire, as Jeb Bush starts to creep up with about ten days to go.

DICKERSON: Ezra, what do you make of -- (INAUDIBLE) mentioned that of those voters who think the system is rigged, Donald Trump, the wealthiest person running, is getting the most of that vote on the Republican side. Why do you think that?

KLEIN: I think -- I think this is genuinely (INAUDIBLE) appeal. So if you watched Trump's counter rally, as I did (INAUDIBLE), he had this great line in the middle of it. And you can go back and look at the transcript and find it. And he says, I am really greedy. I'm a really greedy person. I've been greedy all my life and now I want to be greedy on behalf of America. And there's something perfect in its encapsulation of his appeal because if you think what's going on is the economy's become unfair. If you're struggling, if you're economically struggling, and you think what's been happening is the rich guys like Trump are kind of screwing you over and have been for some time now. And now here comes one of those rich guys with all those powers and all that capacity to rig the economy in their favor and he's promising to rig it in your favor, that, I think, one, it's a kind of stunning indictment of people's belief about what's going on in the economy right now, right. That they think that what they need is someone to rig it in their favor. But, two, I think it's very, very significant as part of his appeal and it's an appeal he understands about himself, which is one reason he's such a strong candidate.

O'KEEFE: Well, having been there myself, I was in the rafters, and what was stunning is talking to veterans who were at the event beforehand, I said, isn't he taking advantage of you guys? And he said, they all do. Every politician takes advantage of veterans. But this guy's actually putting money behind it.

KLEIN: And this --

O'KEEFE: And all these other guys, when we asked them for -- to spend money in Washington on our behalf to help the V.A. hospitals and what not, they drag their feet, they don't do it. This guy's going to raise money. And if you look, you know, $6 million he says raised, most of it from his friends in New York and Las Vegas that night, but there are 22 organizations across the country who are going to get this money, apparently. They're very small. They're in Iowa. They're in Massachusetts. They're all over. I mean he can -- he can say to them, I -- I took advantage of my power, doled out the money and help you, you know.

DOMENECH: And this is (INAUDIBLE) appeal in the sense that he's a trader to his class, which -- which really is, you know, something that we've seen in politics before and is -- and is enormously powerful.

KLEIN: It's a bumper sticker. It's Donald Trump.

DOMENECH: Exactly. Exactly. And -- and -- and -- and that -- that makes him very effective. It makes him very powerful. But it's also a sign of a situation where the Republican Party has failed to address the fact that they are out of step with significant portion of their -- of the voting electorate when it comes to the issues of immigration, when it comes to the issues of foreign policy and when it comes to these issues, to these core sort of the economy is rigged in a way that does not benefit us. Now a man comes along who promises to rig it in your favor and it's a message that's connecting with those voters.

DICKERSON: Kim, what's your feeling about Ted Cruz? Has he -- if he doesn't win Iowa is that a fatal blow for him? Where's his place in this?

STRASSEL: I think the stakes for both Donald Trump and Ted Cruz are incredibly high because they have staked so much on Iowa. And Ted Cruz, in particular, his entire message has been geared toward saying, I am the most conservative person in the race and he's tailored it very specifically to that grass roots activists there and to the Tea Parties and to the evangelicals. So if you can't win Iowa, where do you win, you know, and -- and that's going to be the big blow to him if he doesn't come out on top going into New Hampshire. And no one wants to go into New Hampshire with negative momentum, you know.


KLEIN: So to -- so to that point, though, I think it's an interesting question about Trump. You are asking him a varying of this, but his entire campaign is based on this idea that he's a winner. He brags about it on the stump. Everything's about his high poll numbers, how he's doing well over (ph) everyone. And something I'm really fascinating to watch him, if he loses an early primary like Iowa, does it collapse in on himself. Does the fact that he is manifesting now not a winner, that he got beat in by Ted Cruz, how much does that actually hurt the very fundamentals of his appeal. And also, how does he react to that because, you know, you can -- you can react very badly to a loss and where does he make the next --

STRASSEL: He does not like to lose.


KLEIN: (INAUDIBLE) make the next loss much more likely.

DICKERSON: That may be a fact too hard to get around.

Ben, quickly on the fight over immigration between Cruz and Rubio, during the debate and afterwards, does that illuminate anything about immigration in the Republican Party or is it just two guys fighting?

DOMENECH: I think it's just two guys fighting and I'm not sure that really any -- either of them got hurt that much or benefited that much from their responses to those questions in the debate. I think the problem that has really dogged Marco Rubio throughout this race is that the last thing that Republican voters know about him is that he supported the gang of eight bill. And I think that that's something that's fundamental and sort of easy to explain in a way that Cruz's flip flop on in the -- on this sort of amendment issue is not as easy to explain. The question is whether that's so big of a drag that Rubio can't get momentum coming out of Iowa in southern states and in sort of future contests. And that's something that I think we're going to find out over the next (INAUDIBLE).

DICKERSON: Quickly. Last point.

O'KEEFE: Very quick. It is a long-term problem to have the two Cuban-American Republican senators continue to fight about immigration. Hispanics are listening. Democrats are listening. If one of them emerges, it will be a huge problem for them.

DICKERSON: And we'll hope you'll all be listening as we take a break right now. Stay with us for more of our panel.


DICKERSON: And we're back with our panel.

Ezra, I'm going to start with you. On the Democrat side, some people who have supported Hillary Clinton said they really wanted her to have a challenge in the primary. Well, she got one.


DICKERSON: So where do things stand in Iowa. What are you looking for there?

KLEIN: So what's fascinating in Iowa is that there's a replay in a way of an argument that happened in '08 too, which was that Hillary Clinton is much more of a political realist than most people who run for president. Barack Obama, that year, ran promising hope, he promised change, he promised that there was a way to change and transform the political system, such would friendly to progressive priorities. He won that argument with Hillary Clinton then.

There was a period of time in the interim when liberals were so disappointed by the -- by Obama's frustrations with Republicans that people thought Clinton's argument this was going to be a fight, that Democrats needed a fight or there would be trench warfare, had gotten a lot more traction along liberals. And what Sanders is showing this that to some degree that's not true. He's come in with this argument of a political revolution. There's going to be a way to sort of mobilize the working class, mobilize the kind of silent, progressive majority and sweep away a lot of the obstructions in American politics. And I think the thing Clinton's having trouble figuring out how is how to sell a more realistic but also more depressing vision of American politics. How do you respond to that by saying, that's not realistic but I don't have an answer that's going to make you happy either.

DICKERSON: Right. Right. Can't be --

DOMENECH: One of the most -- one of the most interesting things that's happened I feel like over the course of the past couple of years is that it became OK to be a Democratic socialist in America, in the sense that, this was not something -- you know, Bernie Sanders, when he was in the House of Representatives, was someone who was on the extremes. He was under -- understood as being on the extreme, and yet something has changed in America and it's changed in large part because of the rise of a young group of Americans who have no association, no memory of the Cold War. They do not associate socialism with communism or the Soviet Union or anything of that nature.

There was an interesting poll that came out a few months ago that asked under 30-year olds if they -- you know, who they would be OK voting for. Sixty-nine percent of people under 30 -- this is a Gallup -- said that they would be OK voting for a socialist for the presidency, compared to 75 percent who said they'd be OK voting for an evangelical Christian. That's a dramatic shift compared to previous generations and that's the kind of support that Bernie is tapping into.

DICKERSON: So, Kim, if Hillary Clinton wins in Iowa and New Hampshire, does that mean the Democrats are making a sensible choice about what it takes to govern and being practical?

STRASSEL: They're probably making a pragmatic choice about a nominee that would -- would have a better chance of beating a Republican. I mean I think everyone probably agrees with this, that there is a lot of enthusiasm for Bernie Sanders. And when you have some of these head to head matchups with Republicans, he does do fairly well against some of them. But I think maybe when his positions are better known in the country, is the country really ready to go there? Possibly not. And that's probably on the minds of a lot of Democrats who are going out to vote.

DICKERSON: Ed, what do you think -- let's play it through some scenarios here. One, Iowa and New Hampshire have a lot more liberals than my of the other contests. So let's imagine Bernie Sanders rides this wave of enthusiasm, wins in those two places. How much damage does that do to Hillary Clinton?

O'KEEFE: Well, he certainly has momentum at his back. He's probably raised a little more money. And people in South Carolina and Nevada and those other states in March start looking a little more seriously at Sanders. He then has, of course, all that money to start spending and organizing and deploy his people in Iowa and New Hampshire into those places. But the coalitions or the demographics of those other states change dramatically. We've talked about this before, that Iowa and New Hampshire and Vermont are the most liberal states of the country. Everywhere else is not nearly as liberal. And while a lot of those 30-year olds or under 30-year olds will live in these other places, there are going to be a lot of Democrats who are much more pragmatic, understand that having Sanders as the nominee would not work and probably will swing back toward Clinton.

But it would prolong the race. That's why you saw this conversation this week about debates all the way into May. I mean the fact that they're even talking about that suggests that if he does pull off, wins in both early states, this could go on for quite a while.

KLEIN: It is worth noting, I think, that one thing Hillary Clinton's team has done that they did not do in '08 is they have always been prepared, even with not that much evident opposition for a very long race.


KLEIN: They felt they lost the '08 race because they did not prepare for a delegate fight in smaller caucus states and they just did not have a strategy that was ready for it to go through June, and they do this time.

DICKERSON: That's right.

STRASSEL: But her other problem though here, and we haven't talked about it is, not just the enthusiasm problem, but the e-mail problem.



STRASSEL: And the trust thing. I mean, look, Bernie Sanders is going into Iowa and his closing argument is, let's make the world a better place. And Hillary Clinton is going into Iowa and her closing argument is, we're pretty confident there might not be an indictment. I mean that's just not a great place to be.

DICKERSON: The new round of e-mails discovered.

STRASSEL: Right. So she's got this and it plays into the trust question, and that does resonate in particular with a lot of these younger people that you're talking to as well.

DOMENECH: It also is the other side of the coin when it comes to the economic game being rigged. Hillary Clinton is not the kind of person who has the message of saying, if you believe the economy is rigged against you, if you -- if you're a disaffected voter, if you feel like you're frustrated with the situation, with -- with -- with bailouts, with Wall Street, with everything of that nature, she's not someone who's going to upset the apple cart. Both Trump and Sanders tap into that rage that is out there in the country that feels like they've been ignored by both parties and they feel that way frankly because they have.

DICKERSON: Ezra, what do you think, if Hillary Clinton does well, it doesn't seem there's the kind of animus. Remember, the Clinton and Obama voters really didn't like each other for a period of time in 2008. It doesn't -- does it feel like that at all in terms of the Sanders voters and the Clinton voters? That's the first question. The second is, what does she do if she does do well? She might have a period of time where things are going well for her while the Republicans are still fighting things out.

KLEIN: Well, I think, one, there's not going to be deep divisions in the party. And it's worth saying that even in 2008 the -- while there was a lot of talk of pumas at the elections and that there would be these big splits, there didn't end up being that. People always underestimate how much having a nominee in the other party as (ph) concentrating a Democrats or a Republicans mind.

In terms of what they do, though, in a very long period where all the attention is going to a Republican campaign that's going -- that's going for month after month, they probably raise a lot of money and they do a lot of organizing, but that may not be a good period for Clinton because it's a period in which she gets covered as a president who (ph) gets investigated.

DICKERSON: Right. All right, we're going to have to end it there. Thanks to all of you.

We'll be right back in a moment.


DICKERSON: Be sure to tune in tomorrow night at 7:00 p.m. Eastern to our digital network, CBSN, for our live coverage of the results from Iowa. Until next week, for FACE THE NATION, I'm John Dickerson.