JOHN DICKERSON, CBS HOST: Today on FACE THE NATION: A blizzard paralyzes the nation's capital and parts of the Northeast, but the campaign marches on. Voting in Iowa starts in eight days.
For once, there's less snow on the campaign trail than there is here in Washington. We will have the latest on the monster storm that pounded the East Coast.
Then, with just over a week until the Iowa caucuses, the candidates are making that final push for support. Donald Trump is not ending on a modest note.
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DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody, and I wouldn't lose any voters, OK?
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DICKERSON: We will talk to him about that and also hear from Bernie Sanders, who is poised to upset Hillary Clinton in the Hawkeye State.
Plus, a brand-new CBS News Battleground Tracker tells us how voters are making their final choices.
We have got the snow cleared off the satellite, so it's all coming up on FACE THE NATION.
Good morning, and welcome to FACE THE NATION. I'm John Dickerson.
At least 19 people have died as a result of the storm that has crippled the East Coast. Some 80 million people have been affected.
We begin our coverage with Kris Van Cleave here in Washington.
KRIS VAN CLEAVE, CBS NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, John.
The story of this storm really varied by geography, but here in Washington, it brought us more snow than we typically get in an entire year.
VAN CLEAVE (voice-over): When the blizzard conditions finally lifted, the nation's capital was blanketed in roughly two feet of snow, turning the usually green National Mall to a sea of frigid white.
One western suburb reported 39 inches of snow from the monster storm that pounded the Washington, D.C., area for 36 hours. Maryland's governor closed stretches of three interstates overnight, banning all nonemergency vehicles.
The blizzard hit the South first, dumping snow and ice and knocking out power to thousands. More than 10,000 flights have been canceled since Friday, as the blizzard made its way north. Flights to Washington and New York aren't expected to resume until sometime Monday.
Washington's subway and buses aren't running, as the great dig- out finally begins. Further north, the storm caused a huge 500-car backup on the Pennsylvania Turnpike. Among those stranded for entire day was a bus carrying the Temple University girls gymnastics team.
VAN CLEAVE: Here in Washington, a region not known for its response to snowstorms, the big question is, will the city be ready to open for business on Monday, or will weather gridlock mark the start of the week?
DICKERSON: Kris Van Cleave for us in Washington, thanks, Kris.
Marlie Hall is in New York City this morning, where storm hit harder than first expected -- Marlie.
MARLIE HALL, CBS NEWS CORRESPONDENT: John here in Central Park, snow totals reached 26.8 inches, just shy of the record set back in 2006.
Cars are back on the roads this morning. Bridges and tunnels are open, but, yesterday, the city was on lockdown.
HALL (voice-over): New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio banned travel on roads, bridges and tunnels until 7:00 a.m. this morning. And this is why.
BILL DE BLASIO (D), MAYOR OF NEW YORK: This is a very big deal.
HALL: Service on buses and most trains were also stopped. More than two feet of record-breaking snow and ice blanketed New York City. Hurricane-force winds created whiteout conditions.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo declared a state of emergency, then jumped into action to help a motorist stuck in the snow. But not everyone was so lucky. There were more than 400 accidents, none of them fatal. There was some disappointment on Broadway. Shows were canceled yesterday and ticket holders had to find other ways to weather the storm.
HALL: Officials said more than 2,500 snowplows were deployed around the city to clear roads. While there has been a lot of progress, the mayor says things won't get back to normal here in the city before the start of the workweek tomorrow.
DICKERSON: Marlie Hall for us in New York, thanks, Marlie.
And out on the Jersey Shore, Jericka Duncan is standing by -- Jericka.
JERICKA DUNCAN, CBS NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, John.
This historic blizzard brought more than just snow. Look at this water behind me. It is rising here along the Jersey Shore, and that is what a lot of people were concerned about. Some of the streets in the neighborhood I'm standing in are flooded. And you can barely see there's actually a bench underwater behind me.
Now, the ocean waters reached high tide last night and this morning, causing the water to rise at a nearby inlet and bay. That put hundreds ever homes at risk. Coastal flooding remains a concern this morning. The National Weather Service expects road flooding and minor to moderate property damage.
Conditions have improved since yesterday, when large chunks of ice flowed down this street in Ocean City, and officials in at least one shore town issued a mandatory evacuation. Governor Chris Christie, who left the campaign trail Friday in New Hampshire because of the storm, said this was his 17th snow emergency in six years, so, "We know how to do this."
Right now, a state of emergency is still in effect here in New Jersey. The waters are expected to recede. The issue today is cleaning up the snow and, of course, assessing the overall damage -- John.
DICKERSON: Jericka Duncan for us on the Jersey Shore, thanks, Jericka.
And we turn now to campaign 2016 and our new Battleground Tracker results. Donald Trump is back on top in our Iowa tracking. He's at 39 percent. Ted Cruz is behind him by just five points at 34 percent. Marco Rubio is running third at 13 percent. And the rest are at 5 percent and below.
In New Hampshire, Trump has a big lead, with 34 percent, compared to Ted Cruz at 16 percent, Rubio at 14, Kasich at 10, the rest of the field at 7 percent or less. And in South Carolina, the story is much the same, Trump ahead at 40 percent, Cruz in second with 21 percent, Rubio in third with 13, the others all at 9 percent or less.
The bad weather kept us snowed in here in Washington and unable to sit down with Donald Trump in person.
So, he is joining us by phone this morning from Pella, Iowa.
Good morning, Mr. Trump. Thanks for joining us.
You said yesterday you could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue and wouldn't lose voters. You're that confident, huh?
TRUMP: Well, I have a very great group of people, John.
I have people that are so loyal, and it's been so reported, and even in your poll. But in a lot of polls, they do that, the loyalty factor. And my factor is up -- when you add it all up, it's pretty much close to 90 percent. These are people that just won't leave. They will not leave.
I love my people. And it's a great thing. I mean, it's a great thing, far greater loyalty than any other candidate by double, triple, quadruple. And I love my people.
DICKERSON: And on the one hand, you have your people. And then this week, on the other hand, you had "The National Review" putting out a special issue trying to convince people not to support you, not to vote you. Why do you think they did that? What was their reasoning, do you think?
TRUMP: Well, it's a failing magazine, number one. They need publicity.
They are people that most of whom, I don't know, most of whom -- don't forget, I have been in business. I have made a lot of money, which I'm going to do for the country now. I have been focused on jobs and money and deals, and that's what I do. And that's what the country needs.
These are people for the most part, I don't know. I don't even know who most of them are. I don't want to know who most of them are. And they are just people that are, I guess, trying to save a magazine that is close to closing up. And they are going to get publicity.
And I actually think it plays into what I'm saying, because it shows the divisiveness. They backed Romney. He lost. They backed McCain. He lost. They lose. And they don't know how to win. And I'm not sure they even want to win. They just want to stay relevant. And they're very irrelevant.
DICKERSON: They make an argument in the magazine that Ted Cruz has also made, which is that you're not -- and this is the phrase -- a consistent conservative, that you have changed your positions on some things over time. What is your response to that critique?
TRUMP: Well, usually, I just evoke the name Ronald Reagan. I mean, Ronald Reagan was a fairly liberal Democrat, and he evolved over years and he became more and more conservative. And he was not a very conservative person, but he was pretty conservative. And he ended up being a great president.
And I have evolved on many issues. And there are some issues, I'm very much the same. I have been constant on many issues. But I have evolved on certain issues, and I think evolved through experience and through, as you grow older, you see things, and you watch things, and you study things.
But Ronald Reagan was the exact same thing. He was actually much more liberal than I was. He was fairly liberal as a Democrat, believe -- a lot of people don't know that. And he became a fairly conservative person, but he did become a great president.
DICKERSON: What is your definition of conservative?
TRUMP: Well, I think it's a person that doesn't want to take overly risks. I think that's a good thing.
I think it's a person that wants to -- in terms of government I'm talking about, a person that wants to conserve, a person that wants to, in a financial sense, balance budgets, a person that feels strongly about the military. And I feel very strongly about the military.
And you have some of these people, they don't even want to focus on the military. Our military is falling apart. I feel very, very -- and I have always felt very, very strongly about the military.
By the way, if you look at vision, when you look at the word vision, I was the one that said take the oil. I have been saying that for years. And I said take the oil, let's take the oil. And nobody would listen. Then, all of a sudden, after Paris, they started saying, maybe that's right, we will take the oil.
They still don't do it the proper way.
DICKERSON: You mean from ISIS.
TRUMP: And I was -- which is a little bit different than a normal conservative, but I was very much opposed to the war in Iraq.
A lot of these guys were all for the war in Iraq. Look what's that has got us. We spent $2 trillion. We lost thousands of lives. We have nothing. We're now handing Iraq over, just handing it over to Iran. Iran is going to take over Iraq. And I said that was going to happen. I said that years ago, 2003, 2004, that Iran will take over Iraq with the largest oil reserves in the world.
And that's not a conservative position. When I was saying, don't go into Iraq, I'm a very militaristic person. I'm very much into the military, and will build our military bigger, better, stronger than ever before. But -- and that's safe. That's actually the cheapest thing to do, as opposed to what we have right now. But I was opposed to the war in Iraq. Most conservatives were, let's go, gung-ho. These guys, just about all of them, every one of them wanted the war in Iraq. Look what it got us.
DICKERSON: Let me ask you about Ted Cruz. You said yesterday you wouldn't vote for Ted Cruz if he were the nominee. But you pledged to support the party's nominee.
TRUMP: Well, it depends on where he's from.
In other words, he's got a problem. He -- in my opinion, I mean, it's looking more and more -- as you noticed, a number of very top constitutional lawyers have come and said, he was born in Canada. He didn't tell people. He said he didn't know about it. Until 15 months ago, he was a Canadian citizen. He was joint with the United States, but he was a Canadian citizen until 15 months ago.
He was a United States senator, I guess nobody figured this out, and he was citizen of Canada. And there are lot of people now that are saying he was born in Canada, he was born on Canada's soil, on Canadian soil, and he cannot run.
And, as you know, I guess you probably heard last night Illinois is looking at it very seriously. They may not even let him run in Illinois. They feel strongly about it. But other states are looking at it very seriously.
And he may not be able to run. Yes, if he got the nomination, and if everything was fine, I would vote for Ted Cruz. I would go for Ted Cruz. But...
DICKERSON: You would vote for him?
TRUMP: ... I was putting -- I was putting that in relationship to his place of birth.
There's a real question as to whether or not Ted Cruz is allowed to run for president. And I will tell you, the first thing, if he got the nomination, the first thing that would happen is that Democrats will bring a lawsuit against him. Laurence Tribe of Harvard and many other people -- I mean, many people beyond Laurence Tribe have come down and said he's not entitled to run.
TRUMP: It's got to -- whether he gets it done, whether he gets a declaratory judgment from the courts or does something, he's got to straighten that problem out, because there's a big fat question mark.
DICKERSON: All right, so, just to be clear, you would vote for Ted Cruz if he were the nominee.
Let me ask you somebody else who is thinking about getting in the race, Michael Bloomberg. You said yesterday, "I love it" if he -- speaking about him getting in the race. Why would you love it?
TRUMP: Well, I would love it. I know Michael very well. I would love to compete against Michael. And I know him very well.
And I think he might very well get in the race. And I would love to have him get in the race.
DICKERSON: One of the reasons he...
TRUMP: He's very opposite on me with guns, and he's opposite on pro-life, and he's opposite on lot of things.
So, I would love to have Michael get in the race. But I don't know if he's going to do it. But I hope he does. I would love to compete against Michael.
DICKERSON: One of the reasons he would get in the race, he's thinking, is because you're doing so well. It would be to counterbalance you.
TRUMP: Well, that would be good. That's a good thing. I would love to have Michael get in the race.
And Michael has been a friend of mine over the years. Perhaps we're not friends anymore. He's wanted to do this for a long time. And he never pulled the trigger, and we will see if he does right now. But I would personally love to compete with Michael Bloomberg.
DICKERSON: Speaking of New York mayors, you supported Bill de Blasio. A lot of conservatives look at him and think...
TRUMP: I never supported Bill de Blasio. I never supported. I said I think he's going to win, because I saw the kind of competition that he had. I never supported Bill de Blasio.
I never supported -- you saw that Glenn -- Glenn Beck said I supported Barack Obama. Then he had to apologize, because he picks up somebody's phony Web site where they do these joker Web sites. They said Donald Trump supported Barack Obama. So, he retweeted. And he's going around for two years saying I supported Barack Obama.
Yesterday -- we came down very, very strong on him last week, because I was on John McCain's committee. I raised a lot of money for John McCain. And I was 100 percent behind him. And I kept hearing that this -- this stupid person -- I mean, he's a failed person. He's a mess.
But he was going around saying I was voting for Barack Obama. Do you believe that I would vote for Barack Obama? Believe me. So, he -- didn't do it. So, he actually issued apology when he found out he got duped. He got duped by some trickster.
DICKERSON: The de Blasio quote I was looking at is, you said: "I think pretty strongly that he will end up being a good mayor, maybe a very good mayor."
I just wondered why you thought that, if he's...
TRUMP: Well, I did say that, because I deal in New York. And, frankly, I hoped he was a good mayor. He's turned out to be a terrible mayor. He doesn't know what he's doing. I mean, the guy is incompetent.
But when he first got elected, I didn't -- but that's not supporting him. Obviously, I have many buildings in New York. I have a tremendous business in New York. It's nice to see a guy, if he gets in -- but I never supported him. I would never support him, with his issues.
But what I did say is, good luck. Congratulations. I hope he's going to be a good mayor. I hope. I wish he would be a good mayor. He's not a good mayor. He's a terrible mayor.
DICKERSON: All right, well, thanks very much, Mr. Trump.
TRUMP: But that's not supporting somebody. I mean, that's rooting somebody on. I have to live with him. I have many, many buildings in New York. I have a big business in New York. I wish he were good, but he's not.
DICKERSON: All right. Thank you very much, Mr. Trump. We look forward to seeing you...
TRUMP: Thank you very much. Thank you, John.
DICKERSON: Look forward to seeing you in person next week for the broadcast.
And we will be back.
TRUMP: Very good. I look forward to it, too.
DICKERSON: We will be back in a minute.
DICKERSON: And we're back with some new Battleground Tracker numbers for the Democrats.
Iowa has tightened to a tossup. Bernie Sanders is up by one point over Hillary Clinton. He's at 47 percent and she's at 46 percent. In New Hampshire, Sanders has a comfortable lead. He's up 57 percent to 36 for Clinton.
But, in South Carolina, the numbers are totally reversed. Clinton is far ahead of Sanders with 60 percent of Democrats expected to support her in the primary vs. only 38 percent for Sanders.
Senator Sanders joins us now from the campaign trail in Dubuque.
And, Senator, I want to start with that difference between Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina. The Cook Political Report looked at the rest of the states after Iowa and New Hampshire and found they didn't have as many liberals as in those first two states.
So, the question is, can you go the distance, even if you win in Iowa and New Hampshire?
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT), DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, John, let me just say that that poll in South Carolina was 60 to 38.
If that's the case, it is showing us making huge, huge gains. And I feel confident that, if we can win here in Iowa, if we can win in New Hampshire -- and those are going to be tough races -- I think we stand an excellent chance to win in South Carolina and in Nevada.
But if you look at the polling recently -- and I can tell you, because I have been to South Carolina -- we have a lot of momentum on the ground. I think we're picking up more and more African-American support. Frankly, I think we can win there.
DICKERSON: You have a new ad out this week, which is you and the Simon and Garfunkel song "America."
DICKERSON: What does that ad mean for you?
SANDERS: What that ad is about is to talk about the fact that, as we come together as a country -- and we have so much strength, so many extraordinary people -- that, as we come together as a people, there is nothing that we cannot accomplish.
We are the wealthiest country in the history of the world. We should not have massive levels of income and wealth inequality, the highest rate of childhood poverty, the only country on Earth that doesn't guarantee paid family and medical leave.
And when we come together -- and it is -- that is what it is. It's a beautiful song. And I think the photography is beautiful. Let us stand together and tackle the real problems facing our nation, and we can accomplish enormous things.
DICKERSON: Here is how Bill Clinton characterized your campaign. He said -- quote -- "This other guy's madder than she is," referring to his wife, "and that feels authentic. And, besides, his slogans are easier to say."
SANDERS: Well, I am angry. And the American people are angry, John.
People are angry because they don't understand why they have to work longer hours for lower wages and almost new income and wealth is going to the top 1 percent. They are angry because their kids are leaving school $40,000 or $50,000 in debt. And they're angry because they are seeing the United States having a nation in which elderly people are trying to make it on $12,000, $13,000 a year on Social Security. People are asking why.
So, there is anger. And I share that anger.
DICKERSON: What President Clinton is touching on is something that liberal writers, Jonathan Chait in "New York" magazine and Paul Krugman in "The New York Times" are -- they say there's too much idealism in your campaign.
Krugman writes -- quote -- "Don't let idealism veer into self- destructive self-indulgence."
What is your reaction to this idea that you're just -- that you're offering too much here?
SANDERS: I am not offering too much.
You know, John, and I think that's really an unfair criticism. To say that we should make public colleges and universities tuition- free and do what many other countries around the world are already doing, and pay for that through a tax on Wall Street speculation, that is not a radical idea.
To say that we should do away with loopholes that allow corporations to put their money in the Cayman Islands, pay nothing in federal income taxes, and invest that money in rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure, that is not a utopian, pie-in-the-sky idea. That's exactly what we should do.
We are the only major country on Earth that doesn't guarantee health care to all people as a right. To say that have a Medicare- for-all single-payer system, that is what every other major country on Earth is doing, guaranteeing health care to all of their people.
What has happened over the years is, we have become so conservative, we have been dominated so much by Wall Street and big money interests, that people are forgetting what we can do and what we should do. Yes, I do believe that the wealthiest people and the largest corporations should finally start paying their fair share of taxes. That's what the American people want. That's not utopian.
DICKERSON: Let me switch to policy.
I was struck by reading a 2004 quote from Howard Dean, who was another liberal Vermont Democrat who campaigned on understanding the gun culture. And he said this about gun control. "Just let the states do what they want and get it off the Democratic agenda."
Do you believe that, basically, that, in the end, that the gun control issue is not really one for the president, but it's something for the states to decide?
SANDERS: No, I don't believe that. I don't believe that at all. And way back when, back in 1988, when I first ran for Congress, I may have lost a statewide election by three points because I said I thought it was a bad idea for us to be selling military-style assault weapons in this country.
Look, when we have these horrific mass killings, when people walk into a church and start shooting people or walk into a school, this is an issue that we have got to deal with. And I support what President Obama is trying to do and deal with this gun show loophole. We have to strengthen the instant background checks.
Our goal as a nation -- and I think there's overwhelming support for this, John -- is to make sure that guns do not fall into the hands of people who should not have them, people who are -- have criminal backgrounds, people who are mentally ill. The federal government does have a very important role to play.
DICKERSON: Let me ask you about health care.
You put some forward some details about your health care plan. One of the criticisms of a national health care plan in other places is, maybe people can be covered, but the waiting times to get to actually see a doctor can be long and excruciatingly long. What is your solution to that criticism?
SANDERS: Look, fact of the matter is, it's not only in America today that we have 29 million people without any health insurance. And, John, they wait a very long time to get health care. Sometimes, they just don't get it at all.
The other crisis that we face is that we have even more people who have large deductibles and co-payments. They also hesitate about going to the doctor. We are now spending almost three times more than the British, 50 percent more than the French, who guarantee health care to all of their people.
In my view, a Medicare-for-all single-payer system can guarantee quality health care to all of our people, and at the same time save middle-class families thousands of dollars a year.
So, if you want comprehensive health care, if you want to make sure that people can go to the doctor when they need to go to the doctor, I think a Medicare-for-all program is the way to go.
DICKERSON: OK. Senator Sanders, we will have to leave it there. Thanks for joining us.
We will be back in a moment.
SANDERS: Thank you.
DICKERSON: And we're back with more of our CBS News Battleground Tracker.
Anthony Salvanto is our director of elections.
Anthony, give me on -- let's start with the Republicans. Below the top-line number, what's the most important thing happening in that race right now?
ANTHONY SALVANTO, CBS NEWS ELECTIONS DIRECTOR: Trump coming back in Iowa to retake the lead. Cruz had had it last month. He does this by, number one, hanging on to his own support, which, he is right about this, it has been remarkably durable.
And then he's gained with evangelicals. He's gained with Tea Party voters, interestingly, doing better throughout the week of polling, maybe those endorsements earlier in the week, maybe the Palin endorsement. The criticism of Cruz certainly didn't hurt.
DICKERSON: So, he's holding on to his base and taking a little from Ted Cruz's base.
Let's now switch over to the Democrats. What is your big takeaway, other than those top-line numbers? What is really driving voters on that side of the race?
SALVANTO: Behind Bernie Sanders catching up is a feeling there among voters that his critiques of Hillary Clinton about too many ties to big donor money seem to be resonating, most Democrats feeling that she might side with big donors over regular people, so it appears that his line of attack there is catching on, at least in Iowa and New Hampshire.
DICKERSON: All right, we will be right back with much more from Anthony Salvanto.
And all of you, please stay with us. We will have lot more. 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 a lot more FACE THE NATION.
Stay with us.
DICKERSON: Welcome back to FACE THE NATION. I'm John Dickerson.
We're back with Anthony Salvanto, director of elections here at CBS.
So, Anthony, let's go back to Iowa, where they're going to start voting in eight days. I can't believe it. Cruz was up nine points in December. Now Trump is up five. Cruz has been making a lot of attacks on Trump, saying he's not a consistent conservative, he doesn't believe what you believe. If that would work anywhere, it would seem that it -- Iowa would be the place. But it's not working. SALVANTO: It's not except that this is not necessarily an ideological election. This is about who can change things. This is about who can fix things. And Trump is ahead of Cruz on those measures. If you look at people who say they want the economy fixed, that's the number one thing behind Donald Trump's support.
Cruz's support is more concentrated in people who say (INAUDIBLE) a president who will defend their faith and defend their religion. That's important in Iowa, the evangelical vote, always important in Iowa, but it's not quite a large enough (INAUDIBLE). It's not quite enough of a voting block to put him now past Donald Trump. Plus, you add in the fact that Trump has cut into Cruz's lead with evangelicals, cut into it with the Tea Party support and that adds up then to that Trump lead.
DICKERSON: What do we know about the Trump voters, their characteristics?
SALVANTO: Well, they've been remarkably durable. And there's one thing he said in your -- in your interview with him about the -- the loyalty. He is right about that. In fact, we've been re-interviewing people on this panel throughout the fall. You and I --
DICKERSON: Tracking them over time.
SALVANTO: Yes. You and I sat here in September and we talked about Donald Trump's support. Well, we've re-interviewed some of those same people and they're still with him. In fact, over 90 percent. Once they come to Donald Trump, they stay there. And -- and even as the other candidates jockey around, he keeps his.
DICKERSON: That number, 90 percent, put that in context say relative to somebody else. I mean is anybody that -- up in the 90s anywhere close?
SALVANTO: No, because they've all then shifted around, right? Cruz took from Carson and others, you know, down in the -- Rubio has pulled from Bush, et cetera, et cetera. But nobody has matched that.
At the same time, though, you know, Trump (INAUDIBLE) perhaps need to grow that base a little bit and maybe he has some challenges there.
DICKERSON: Yes, is that -- is -- what are his challenges?
SALVANTO: Yes, I think that when you look at people who aren't with him, as has often been the case, you know, they say they have a hard time considering him. And many of them find him to be out of the mainstream. So, if he's going to get -- if the rest of the field were to consolidate a little bit and he needs another five or 10 percent, how does he get those people? That remains, I think, a challenge for him.
And, of course, turnout is always a big challenge in Iowa. We did ask people, do you know where your caucus location is? That's kind of the first thing to know. And Trump's people say that they did. DICKERSON: Now, that's crucial because if you know where the caucus is, you're likely to go. And that's the big question for somebody who's bringing in new voters presumably.
SALVANTO: Exactly. Exactly.
DICKERSON: Let's talk about the other states that -- that you looked at. Florida, Texas, where -- how's it looking in other (ph) states?
SALVANTO: Well, it looks like the rest of the nation, which is a lot of Trump. A lot of Trump lead. So in Florida he is up big. In Georgia he is up. And in Texas he is -- it's Ted Cruz. That's his home state, right.
When you look at Florida, that looks a lot like what the rest of the country looks like, where Marco Rubio then, who's from Florida, of course, he's down there. He's in -- in third place. So competitive.
But the big picture here, John, is that you want to look at this whole thing as a delegates fight that is going to go on for a few months. We're going to make a big deal out of Iowa, out of New Hampshire. But as we get into March, these things, all these delegates are going to be up for grabs and this is -- this is the early part of February only like 5 percent of the delegates we're looking at here.
DICKERSON: Right. Let's switch over to the Democratic side. Bernie Sanders, it's neck and neck, but Bernie Sanders has got the momentum. What's behind it? You said basically they -- they're listening to his attacks about Wall Street on Hillary Clinton.
SALVANTO: They are. And they seem to be finding resonance. So I mentioned earlier that a majority of Democrats in Iowa think that Hillary Clinton might side with big donors over regular people, whereas 91 percent of them feel that Bernie Sanders would side with regular people over big donors.
You know, there's another part of this, too. You notice, of course, the race has gotten a little more heated in recent days, right? They each have been critiquing each other. Well, marginally, Iowa Democrats feel that Bernie Sanders critiques on Hillary Clinton have been fair, whereas less so that Hillary Clinton's attacks on Bernie Sanders have been fair. In fact, even many of Hillary Clinton's supporters feel that Bernie Sanders makes fair point about her.
DICKERSON: What is -- does she have something that she does that she can hang on to that if we were -- that she should talk about that voters seem to be listening to when it comes to her?
SALVANTO: Absolutely. And it's electability. When you look at the people who want, most of all, to win in November, they are overwhelmingly with her. Like 75 percent, OK? But then we also look at who wants to shake up the system. Bernie Sanders gets those voters. Who wants to get progressive things done. And Bernie sanders gets those voters. So in very liberal Iowa and also in very liberal New Hampshire, those things really have appeal, and that's what's bolstering him at this point.
DICKERSON: What about -- so electability suggests there is a realistic mindset among Democrats. They're trying -- the Hillary Clinton camp is trying to paint Bernie Sanders as too idealistic, too pie in the sky. Do they have any chance to make inroads on that argument?
SALVANTO: For her voters, that's working. They actually -- we ask this, and they actually see Bernie Sanders as -- as idealistic, right, as idealistic, actually.
DICKERSON: All right.
SALVANTO: OK. Whereas his voters do tend to see him as realistic. So they've bought -- they've bought into this. They've bought into this. But at the same time, then you look at where Bernie Sanders is doing well. He's doing well across a very broad spectrum of voters. Of course young people, to your point. They might be first time voters. And I think we -- one of the things we really have to watch here, as always, is turnout. If his support is too concentrated in eastern Iowa --
SALVANTO: Right, this is a delegate fight. And as folks watch this, they should -- they should note that in Iowa you're competing for delegates all across the state. And if his support is too concentrated among young people in eastern Iowa, he could fall short with delegates.
DICKERSON: All right, Anthony Salvanto, thanks so much for being with us.
DICKERSON: We'll be right back with our panel.
DICKERSON: Now for some analysis, Ruth Marcus is columnist for "The Washington Post," Matt Lewis is a senior contributor for "The Daily Caller" and has a new book out, "Too Dumb to Fail," Nancy Cordes is our congressional correspondent and Ed O'Keefe is with "The Washington Post."
Matt, we'll start with you. Let's start with Cruz and Trump.
MATT LEWIS, THE DAILY CALLER: Yes.
DICKERSON: What is the nature of that conflict right now with eight days to go before they start voting in Iowa?
LEWIS: What's fascinating, both of these guys are populous conservatives. So the establishment -- it's not even the establishment versus a grass roots thing. These are two populous conservative kind of grass roots guys. And they're really two heavy weights in the middle of the ring duking it out over Iowa. I think if I had to bet right now, I think I'd still go with Ted Cruz in Iowa because of the ground game and because he fits so well with the evangelical thing. But they hugged each other for so long and refused to throw punches, and I do wonder if Ted Cruz might have been better off had he gone after Trump a little bit earlier.
DICKERSON: Nancy, they -- they're now throwing punches at such a rate, they may have thrown punches since I started talking in this (INAUDIBLE). But they're not really working for Cruz really against Trump, at least as far as our polling and other polling is showing.
NANCY CORDES, CBS NEWS CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: They're not, because he's now saying that Donald Trump is part of the establishment, which is hard case to make when the establishment has spent most of this campaign essentially being openly horrified by Trump. And so, yes, to the extent that they're now marginally more supportive of Trump than Cruz, that's, a, because, you know, their dislike of Ted Cruz is so personable, and, b, because they believe that Trump might be slightly better at winning over some independents in a general election than Cruz. But it's not as if, you know, they're -- they're embracing Donald Trump against Cruz.
DICKERSON: Well, it is weird, we had this last week. We're used to endorsements. We know what those look like. But there were more anti-endorsements this week than I've ever seen before. You had the anti-endorsements of Cruz from a number of Republican senators and -- and -- and then you also then had the "National Review," Ed, anti- endorsing Donald Trump. What's going on here?
ED O'KEEFE, WASHINGTON POST: Well, I -- I think it's people panicking. And, frankly, I think there are some Republican who are saying, where were you months ago. You should have done this in October or November. You shouldn't be doing it eight days before the caucus. And they've got a point. I think at this point it's pretty clear, it's a two-guy race --
O'KEEFE: And it's -- it's two people that the establishment Republicans cannot stand and are going to have to live in one room at some point soon.
LEWIS: I -- I think there were -- there were plenty -- there were plenty of good conservative writers who were calling out Donald Trump earlier. But I don't think that they really took him seriously enough. And, in fact, a lot of them actually empower him. I think the talk radio hosts, the Rush Limbaughs, the Mark Levins, were -- really helped by ignoring Trump and, in some cases, empowering him, this monster grew, and now they -- it's too late to stop him.
RUTH MARCUS, WASHINGTON POST: Well, I'm not sure it's too late to stop him because I -- but I do think that it's important for us to understand, we're talking about two different Republican establishments here. And actually I hate to disagree about conservatives with Matt, but I think that Trump and Cruz are two -- two very different candidates. There's the Republican conservative establishment, encapsulated, epitomized by the 'National Review," that we saw rising up against Trump as not a true conservative. And then we have the, for lack of a better term, Washington establishment, because they were all stuck at home in the snow yesterday. I spent a lot of the day talking to them. They are much more horrified by Cruz than by Trump because Cruz would take them down a road of extreme conservatism in the party that Trump would not, would have the potential -- Trump would have some potential, a, to be elected and, b, to attract some more moderate voters because he is a much less mainstream movement conservative candidate than is Ted Cruz.
DICKERSON: Nancy, you know The Hill well, you've covered it. Bob Dole and former Majority Leader Trent Lott, former majority leader of the Republicans, both said maybe Donald Trump, to Ruth's point, might make some deals in Washington. He might kind of work. Explain the antipathy for Ted Cruz among his colleagues, because that's -- when -- when Ruth talks about the establishment in Washington, a lot of these establishment figures are senators who work with Ted Cruz who were not fans.
CORDES: Right. What really angers them is that he has made even the most conservative members of the Senate look insufficiently conservative to their own voters. And they feel that he has sold Tea Party voters a bill (INAUDIBLE) in the sense that he railed against Congress saying, they're not being true to you. They could be doing this. They could be defunding Obamacare if they wanted to. They could defund Planned Parenthood if they wanted to and they're just not doing it because they're afraid. And what the -- most conservative members of the Senate say, we'd love to do that but it's just not legislatively possible. So -- and beyond that, beyond the fact that they -- they think that he essentially misled voters, they feel that he did it for his own self-interest --
DICKERSON: Right. Right.
CORDES: To raise money and that he put that ahead of the party.
MARCUS: It's -- it's -- it's both ideological and personal the Washington establishment animus towards Cruz. But the concern that the other conservative establishment has about Trump I think is very valid and real, which is, you listen to his interview with you, and the excellent question about his definition of conservatism. What didn't he mention? Limited government. The essence of the conservative movement, he never mentioned at all. And by the way, for him to liken himself to Ronald Reagan, I really wonder what Ronald Reagan in heaven is thinking about the guy who buddied up with Vladimir Putin.
DICKERSON: Well, yes, except that in Republican politics, everybody likens themselves to Ronald Reagan. That's just --
MARCUS: Everybody does, but some with more basis than others.
DICKERSON: Ed, let's ask -- let's talk about the other candidates who are not named Trump and Cruz. What's the state of that conversation?
O'KEEFE: There's a fascinating sort of sub drama going on underneath really among one senator and three governors, especially in New Hampshire. Anthony -- Anthony's numbers there really reflect it. The idea now that you've got John Kasich, Chris Christie and Jeb Bush essentially running for fourth and viewers at home might think, well, why does that matter? Because, really, realistically perhaps, only four people are going to be able to get out of New Hampshire and make some kind of claim to continue on in this race. And so, you know, he was saying earlier that there's a real jump ball among Republicans who want to find a more main line or establishment Republican. As some voters have described it to their faces, a grown up Republican to continue on with the idea that come March maybe even into April there are races out there that those governors could do better in if those other three guys, chiefly Trump, Cruz, and Senator Marco Rubio, don't do as well.
DICKERSON: Matt, there's an old cliche, you can't beat something with nothing. And so we had the anti-endorsements. People are very clear about who they don't like. But isn't the problem that there's nobody that they do like, that they've been able to rally around, a single alternative to (INAUDIBLE) Cruz?
LEWIS: Yes, absolutely. And there's a (INAUDIBLE) my book is called "Too Dumb to Fail" for a reason. And it's because we have this weird situation where, if you say something dumb or crazy, you go up in the polls. So there's this perverse incentive and a moral hazard to do that. Then you have some people who I think are much more responsible, optimistic conservatives in -- in the vein of Ronald Reagan or a Jack Kemp. Someone like a Marco Rubio. He is -- you know, he's on the -- he's on the edges, right? He's sort of like a football team who doesn't control his own destiny. He can still make it into the Super Bowl, but he needs some different things to fall. But if people had coalesced around Rubio earlier, maybe he might be in a better position today.
DICKERSON: Ruth, we're hearing now from some of the people in the Rubio camp as well, he can wait until March 15th when Florida and Ohio are voting. The delegate math does better for some candidates when they can win (INAUDIBLE) states, but that's a long time after the voting begins.
MARCUS: I -- I think I have a few words to that, which is ask President Giuliani how that worked out for him. By which I mean, you cannot discount the significance of momentum in politics. And if that's their argument, that's not the argument I'd want to be making.
Look, there is a desire among a significant swath of voters. Anthony talked about this. The anti-Trump vote and also there is an anti-Cruz vote. He's too conservative for a big segment of the -- or even the Republican primary electorate. But there's been an inability to coalesce and there's been an inability of any of these guys to elbow everybody else out of the field. That's going to happen. But, boy, waiting for it to catch fire, that's -- that's a -- that's a tough one.
DICKERSON: Quickly, Ed.
O'KEEFE: This is the thing that people need to remember. I mean we have the first four, Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Nevada. We have March 15th in the distance. But it's everything that happens in between that is causing all this chatter about brokered conventions and the idea that someone like Cruz can still prevail, because you have all these (INAUDIBLE) where proportional contests and people are going to be able to pick up these delegates very slowly and methodically across the south and in Texas. And that is why there's so much concern still about the scatter shot nature of this race, that if you don't have three or four (INAUDIBLE) solidly competing and eventually, you know, winnowing down to one or two, that's why you might see this -- this really chaotic situation towards the end of the process.
DICKERSON: All right, we're going to --
MARCUS: And look at those Trump numbers in Florida. Winner take all.
DICKERSON: All right. All right. We'll be back in a moment. We're going to talk about the Democrats. So, all of you stick with us. We'll be right back.
DICKERSON: And we're back with our panel.
Nancy, in October people -- smart people on the Democratic side were saying Hillary Clinton had gotten past her difficulties. The e- mail story was behind her. She'd had the testimony on The Hill that went well. She did well in her first debate. Now she's in trouble. What happened?
CORDES: What happened was that she stuck with her strategy. You know, from the very beginning, the case she's been making is, I'm experienced, I'm dependable, I'm going to continue President Obama's gains. And I think that Democratic voters by and large believe that, but it doesn't excite them. And she got a challenge from the left in Bernie Sanders and she really didn't recalibrate and try to capture the love of those (ph) voters.
You know, for example, she's going after him on single payer, saying that's not realistic. Well, perhaps that's true, but 70 percent of Democratic voters support the notion of a single payer system. So that doesn't win them over any more than it would if he said, oh, well, you're gun control ideas are unrealistic. That is something that would turn off Democratic voters.
DICKERSON: Matt, we seem to be having a discussion in both parties about pragmatic, person with lot of skills, who's been in there doing the hard work, you know, various different levels and the person who just speaks to your heart.
LEWIS: Absolutely. You've got this really interesting phenomenon where in some cases you have people like Ted Cruz and Bernie Sanders making the same exact anti-crony capitalist argument against things like free trade and adventurism (ph). It's a very interesting phenomenon. You've got these outsiders who are really gaining steam and momentum. I do think that there's a difference though.
You know, the old saw used to be that Republicans fell in line, Democrats fall in love. I think it's the opposite now. I think that this flirtation with Bernie is great in the lily-white states of New Hampshire and Iowa. I think that Democrats are going to be much more pragmatic and eventually fall in behind Hillary. I think the Republicans are in the wilderness and that's where the real action is here.
DICKERSON: Ed, the Cook Political Report did this analysis of the states and found that Iowa and New Hampshire are the most liberal -- have the most liberal voters in the Democratic process. The only other one more liberal is Vermont. So the road ahead for Bernie Sanders -- we should also note Hillary Clinton has a number of super delegates already banked. So she does have a system that benefits her the longer she goes on.
O'KEEFE: Yes. And I think South Carolina's most reflective of that right now. She has a huge lead among African-Americans, you know, in Nevada. Hispanic voters will make a big difference. The Clintons have a long history with Latino voters across the country. I was struck this week in that video that the Sanders -- actually it was an ad that the Sanders' campaign released with the Simon and Garfunkel music. It resembled the Motion Picture Association in a way that it was a little too white. And I think the problem for Sanders is that he doesn't have, you know, real deep connections with minority voters who will make a huge difference in the coming states for the Democratic Party.
LEWIS: Exactly. Yes.
DICKERSON: What did you make of that ad, Ruth?
MARCUS: So, you know, I am the person who hates ads without substance and I was transported by that ad. And I think that that ad tells you everything that you need to understand about the state of the race right now because I think the Clinton campaign is listening to you and saying -- thinking, if only, because if only those Democrats would fall in line. I think they probably ultimately will, but we are definitely in the falling in love stage of the campaign and so Hillary Clinton's ad that's up right now hits the experience, hits the ready on day one, hits the practicality argument. Right now we are seeing, as with a certain other campaign from eight years ago --
MARCUS: The transporting phase, swept away phase of the Democratic primary campaign.
CORDES: And when you talk to Iowa voters, Democrats, they say openly, we miss the magic. You know, I mean they feel like they were the ones that first identified what a superstar Barack Obama was and that they lunched him on his way. And they miss that feeling. And they want that feeling again. And the closest they can get to it is Bernie Sanders.
LEWIS: But -- but then Elizabeth Warren didn't run (INAUDIBLE).
CORDES: Exactly, you know.
DICKERSON: But they miss that magic, Ed, but even President Obama misses that magic, which is to say he knows that the magic doesn't really exist in the current state of reality in Washington.
O'KEEFE: Right, and yet that doesn't seem to matter to a lot of these people. I've been struck -- I've been to a few Sanders rallies despite my focus on Republicans -- at the -- at the --a t the young voters who show up. And you realize, these kids were too young to have even been involved in the Obama campaign of 2008. Their older siblings might have been involved. And these guys are now getting that chance to hang out with this old uncle figure essentially who, you know, is looking out for them and wants to give them free college. And that is working in these early states. And you talk to him, you say, but you realize that stuff isn't practical. They don't care. He's talking to me. Like, he understands me. And they don't' get that with Clinton.
CORDES: Right, it's the same thing -- it's the same thing on the Republican side. You know, you've got Jeb Bush and John Kasich saying, look, I'm a governor. I know how to balance a budget. You know, I can get things done. But what are voters attracted to at this stage in the race? Donald Trump and Ted Cruz making this full throat argument in favor of conservative, people don't care right now whether it's realistic.
LEWIS: But the -- but the problem with the --
MARCUS: And if it's --
LEWIS: The problem with the Republicans, though, is if they go the Donald Trump route, then they are demographically destined to this huge, long term failure and being this no nothing party, which is what I wrote about in the book. I think it's very dangerous that you could end up having a Republican Party for generations, even if they win in the short term, known as this, you know, white working class party that doesn't care about a lot of other Americans.
DICKERSON: Let me, Ruth, ask you quickly about this. We're talking about the appeal of emotionalism. Well, Michael Bloomberg is -- is noodling, we learn, maybe to get in the --
MARCUS: More than noodling.
DICKERSON: Well, more than noodling -- all right, whatever, noodling but not yet in. Post-noodle, prejumping in because he wants to be the guy who can get things done, smart -- does he have a chance?
MARCUS: They have polled it in Bloomberg world and they believe, yes. Look, here's -- here's the Bloomberg thinking, as I understand it. He is looking -- you know, the -- that Bloomberg-Trump bromance, that's going to be shorter lived than the -- than the Trump-Cruz bromance. He is looking at the possibility of Trump and/or Cruz, both of which are inasma (pH) to him, perhaps for different reasons. And the possibility of Sanders. If Hillary Clinton comes out of Iowa and New Hampshire looking a little bit stronger than she may look right now, which is to say winning Iowa, that will dissuade him. But if it's Sanders, not. He wants to run, not as take your guns, take away your sodas Bloomberg, but as fiscal conservative, socially liberal Bloomberg.
DICKERSON: All right, we're going to have to leave it there. Thanks so much, Ruth. Nancy, Ed, Matt, thank you.
LEWIS: Thank you.
DICKERSON: I want to thank our panel for trekking through the snow this morning, literally trekking through the snow. We'll be back in a moment.
DICKERSON: As we say good-bye, we want to share our favorite snow picture from here in Washington.