Return to Transcripts main page
ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT
Coming Up, Democratic Debate on CNN; Kasich Looks To Keep Momentum Through South Carolina; Clinton, Sanders Making Final Preps for Tonight's Showdown; Trump Camp Pulls Anti-Cruz Ad, Running "Positive Campaign". Aired 7-8p ET
Aired February 11, 2016 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[19:00:10] ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: Next, the stakes could not be higher. Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders one on one, a debate you'll see right here on CNN tonight.
Plus, Donald Trump says, he's going to positive. Is he taking a page from John Kasich's playbook? Governor Kasich OUTFRONT tonight.
And when Bill Clinton attacks, could he actually hurt his wife's campaign? Let's go OUTFRONT.
And good evening, I'm Erin Burnett. OUTFRONT tonight, showdown in Milwaukee. Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders about to face off in the PBS News hour democratic presidential debate which will air right here on CNN at 9:00 Eastern. As we count you down to that debate stage, two podiums tonight. The stakes could not be higher for both candidates. They will meet on this stage at the University of Wisconsin. It has been just 48 hours since Sanders landslide victory over Clinton in the New Hampshire primary, beating her by 22 points. For Clinton, not long ago considered the presumptive democratic nominee, she is now locked in a battle for every vote as she looks ahead to Nevada and South Carolina, states that she expects to win.
Sanders now approved that he can win in the South. But the African- American vote will be crucial. He cannot win without both of that. Both candidates won major endorsements today. The Congressional Black Caucus pack throwing its support to Clinton. And actor and civil rights activists Harry Belafonte endorsing Sanders. Both endorsement crucial in the battle for the black vote.
And I'm joined by this distinguished panel tonight. All joining me right here in New York as we count you down. And we're going to get into the details of tonight's debate in a moment.
I want to begin though with Jeff Zeleny OUTFRONT at the debate site in Milwaukee. And Jeff, tonight truly is a very crucial night for both Clinton and Sanders.
JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: It certainly is, Erin. And this is why the New Hampshire outcome, that big victory by Bernie Sanders really rattled the Clinton campaign. It shook the confidence of donors, of staff members even the candidate herself. This is a chance on this stage right behind me here to get back in the groove. And we know one thing about Hillary Clinton. She does very well at debates. There's not a debate this cycle or the first time she ran for president that she, you know, did not shine in. So what she's trying to do tonight is to get back to the issues, to focus on foreign policy, a strength for her, to highlight other issues of her experience, her record.
Bernie Sanders is expecting a lot of attacks tonight. I'm not sure that he's going to get as many as he expects though. The Clinton campaign knows that they have to improve their likeability. Their trustworthiness among voters. So, the Sanders campaign I think has a burden here to keep this in the driver's seat. Bernie Sanders has fallen into this moment a bit. He wasn't expecting to now be driving this campaign. He is now, so he needs to be able to show that he can perform at this level here. He's been very good in debates as well at least recent ones, but on some issues, on gun control, on immigration, he'll have to defend his record here tonight. So, Erin, this is going to be a substantive debate. Perhaps more than others we've seen. And it will set the tone for the next phase of this campaign -- Erin.
BURNETT: Crucial night. Thank you, Jeff Zeleny.
And turning to the GOP race in a moment, Donald Trump expected to take the stage in just moments in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. That's nearly 700 miles from where his fellow Republican candidates spent the day in South Carolina which of course is the site of the next major GOP contest in just nine days. Now, trump may have been out of sight, but he was certainly not out of mind.
Sara Murray is OUTFRONT tonight with the Trump campaign.
SARA MURRAY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In the rough and tumble South Carolina primary, Donald Trump is trying out a positive tone, pulling this ad that takes on Ted Cruz.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What kind of man talks from both sides of his mouth on amnesty for illegals on national television and still denies it.
MURRAY: And airing this sunny spot instead.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's really cool to hear him speak the truth.
MURRAY: It's a stark contrast to Trump's harsh jabs from the trail.
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: His political (bleep) do you understand?
MURRAY: But his campaign now says it believes Trump's friendlier tone gave him a boost in New Hampshire.
TRUMP: New Hampshire, what a great place.
MURRAY: As Trump tried to play nice, Jeb Bush fans are pushing him to hit harder.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How do you plan to combat Donald Trump's silliness on stage when he tries to back you up or tells you to shhh?
FMR. GOV. JEB BUSH (R-FL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The shhh-ing part of it, the more he does it, the less presidential he appears, I think. And as long as I stand up to him because I'm the only guy going after him, I assume that the -- hopefully I'll get credit for that.
MURRAY: A playbook Marco Rubio is adopting as well.
SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R-FL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Donald Trump has zero foreign policy experience. Negotiating a hotel deal in another country is not foreign policy experience.
MURRAY: And in a state that could prove to be another showdown between Trump and Cruz, Cruz isn't backing down.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But it stood in Donald Trump's way.
MURRAY: Meantime, John Kasich is trying to preserve the positive methods that carried him to second place in New Hampshire.
GOV. JOHN KASICH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It's all negative. How the heck can you sell negative? You know, I want to talk about what I'm for, my vision, my view, my positive.
MURRAY: But even he says when attacked, he's ready to strike back.
KASICH: Somebody wants to poke at me and they do, they're already starting, that's okay. I'm not going to be a pincushion, though. I don't take crap from anybody.
[19:05:28] MURRAY: Now, it's interesting to see the two top guys out of New Hampshire embracing this message of positivity, but tonight Donald Trump is not in South Carolina. He is here in Louisiana. And we'll see if that promise to play nice holds across state lines -- Erin.
BURNETT: Sara, thank you very much.
And OUTFRONT now, the 2016 Republican presidential candidate Ohio Governor John Kasich. And Governor, thank you so much. I mean, this has been a great week for you to say the least. You're in South Carolina now, a state you've said you don't expect to win. So, I'll ask you this question. Where do you think you'll finish?
KASICH: Here we go again, Erin. Look, we're scrappy. And we've got a lot of people coming here. Our town halls have been exploding. You know, we expected about 50 today where I am tonight. We probably had 400. We can't fit everybody in the building, so it's really fun. And we're doing well. And I've got to say, you know, the fact is that I got, you know, absolutely blasted in New Hampshire and beat all the negative ads up there. Donald Trump saying he's going to go positive, I sort of predicted that if we could show that positive works, might change the tenor of the campaign. So, all these people that want to go negative, I mean, you know, how
are you going to sell anything? How are you going to bring people together when all you're doing is trashing somebody else? Why don't we just have people talk about what they're for, about, you know, what their view is of the sun coming up over the horizon? Not all this stuff we hear. Let's just try to be inspiring people with what we want to do.
BURNETT: So, Governor, I mean, obviously when you have talked about going positive, that's worked, right? It worked for you. It worked for you in New Hampshire. You know, you say, oh, here we go again, but we haven't seen polls for a while. New ones in South Carolina. I mean, do you think your message is working enough if Donald Trump is copying your playbook with the positive ad? That you could win South Carolina? Are you being undercounted again?
KASICH: No. When I say here we go again, Erin, I mean predict how you're going to do. I don't know. I don't know yet. I'm going to be a scrappy candidate. We're connecting down here. There's no question about it. And where I'm going to finish, I don't know, but we're in South Carolina. We're headed off to the rest of the country too. We're going to be in the Deep South. We're looking forward to get to Virginia. I'm going to go to Michigan. And wait until we get to the Midwest. So, look, it's just not a one play thing. It's going to be do your best here and move to the rest of country. And you know, I feel really great about things. You know, so that's what I was saying about here we go again.
KASICH: Because I'm not like Mohammad Ali. I can't predict what round, you know, somebody is going to go down in.
BURNETT: So, you did bring up the Midwest. And I know you're counting strong performance when the primaries hit the Midwest. I was looking through the calendar though today. And, you know, we've got, you know, day after day, state after state. On Super Tuesday there's only one Midwestern state voting. Of course, as you're well aware, Minnesota. So, that's putting you well into March before you have a lot of those key Midwestern states. Are you really waiting on the Midwest? Can you afford to do that?
KASICH: No, no, no, no, no. We're very aggressive here. And we're going to get to the Deep South. And let me tell you, I believe we can win Mississippi. And I've got the great Trent Lott who's for me there and Gregg Harper, the congressman, we are building a great team in Mississippi. In Alabama, the governor has endorsed me. We're starting to get a lot of traction in Tennessee. No, no, we're not -- we're just not going to lay back. I think my message will really work in the Deep South and I'm happy to be here in South Carolina. So, no, no, no, it's not going to be like we're waiting. We're just going to do the best we can everywhere we go. But actually the Midwest should be a really good place for us, particularly Michigan. If I can get the people in Michigan to forgive those of us who live in Ohio and we can get together for this election, I think we'll do well in Michigan, you know? BURNETT: Yes. So, you talk about the Deep South and how you think
you can win Mississippi. You have the governor of Alabama endorsing you. You know, one thing that might help you in that region and in South Carolina of course specifically is your tough stance against abortion. Planned Parenthood as we all know is a lightning rod in this election. There's a bill on your desk right now to cut all the funds to that group in Ohio. I know you have vowed you're going to sign it. When are you actually going to get up there to sign it?
KASICH: I'll be signing it probably this weekend, and -- but I want to make it clear to everybody. While we don't support Planned Parenthood, we do support a robust funding of women's health. We just can't operate through that organization anymore. They've lost credibility. And so, but women's health is really critical. And we're going to make sure that we have the places where women can go to get the treatment that they need the same way that we've been working aggressively to try to overcome the problems we've had with infant mortality. And, you know, we believe in things like the early childhood education which is really important. So, look, at the end of the day, I'm going to sign that bill, but we'll make sure that women have a place to go.
[19:10:14] BURNETT: Your record on abortion is consistent. You have enacted at least 16 anti-abortion measures since you became the governor. You've actually joked, though, of course that you should be running as a Democrat. I know you were making a joke there, but the point is, a fair one, right? Moderates are crucial for you. Independents like you. A lot of moderate Democrats like you. According to a recent Quinnipiac poll though, 60 percent, nearly 60 percent of Independents support funding Planned Parenthood. Is your conservative stance on abortion, which is clearly is a personal and passionate one for you, worth losing over?
KASICH: Well, look, you know, I don't make a lot of speeches about this. I am pro-life with the exceptions of rape, incest, and life of the mother. And I'm going to sign the bill and I mean, so you know, you can't sit around and put your finger in the air to figure out who is going to like everything you do. I hope that I have a message that's broader than that, that can attract people. And somebody doesn't agree with me. I respect them. But I have to do what I have to do. And frankly, look, I don't even -- the Deep South, they've got a lot of concerns. The same thing people have in New Hampshire and Minnesota and everywhere else.
They're worried, you know, can they keep their job and have a good life. Can they keep their job? Can wages go up? These are all the things that I've tackled. I've tackled them before. I can tackle them again. And what I can really do with this, with these Democrats is I believe I can bring the blue collar Democrats like Reagan did to the Republican Party. Because when the Democrats are spending their time talking about which one of them is a better socialist? I mean, are you kidding me? The blue collar Democrats, that's repulsive to them. So, I think we have an opportunity to be able to bring them in the party and win in the fall.
BURNETT: All right. Well, Governor, thank you very much. A pleasure to talk to you again. Thank you, sir.
KASICH: Erin, thank you. Thank you very much.
BURNETT: And OUTFRONT next, a prominent African-American leader questioning Bernie Sanders' civil rights record as the fight for black voters heats up tonight. And Hillary Clinton's most thrusted adviser, her husband Bill Clinton has gone on the attack against Sanders. Will that backfire? And we're counting you down to that big democratic presidential debate that you will see right here on CNN. Our special coverage continues right after this.
[19:16:12] BURNETT: All right. Welcome back. We are going to show you the University of Wisconsin where in less than two hours Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders will go head to head in a pivotal debate. They'll be right there on that stage and you will be able to watch it right here on CNN. This high stakes showdown comes as Clinton picks up a crucial endorsement from a key Democrat group the Congressional Black Caucus PAC.
Congressman John Lewis, a civil rights icon also took a swipe at Sanders saying, he never saw the Senator at any civil rights event.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JOHN LEWIS (D), GEORGIA: Well, to be very frank, I don't want to cut you off, but I never saw him. I never met him. I chaired the student nonviolent coordinating committee for three years from 1963 to 1966. I was involved in the sit-ins, the freedom ride, the march on Washington, the march from Selma to Montgomery and directed a voter education project for six years, but I met Hillary Clinton. I met President Clinton.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: And as the battle for black voters heats up, Sanders today nabbed the endorsement from Harry Bellefonte who was close to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Bellefonte saying, Sanders represents opportunity and a moral imperative.
Brianna Keilar is OUTFRONT live in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Of course the site of tonight's debate. And Brianna, this is a crucial night. The two candidates are now moving into the Deep South, into these key southern primaries and are trying to shore up their support among minority voters who are such a huge voting block there.
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN SENIOR POLITCAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, certainly. You see this run-up with this endorsement race going on today, Erin. A really tough day. I think tough words from John Lewis for Bernie Sanders. I spoke to an aide to Bernie Sanders who said John Lewis is a great American hero that Bernie Sanders respects. That just goes to show you, you really don't push back against an icon like John Lewis, but we've heard supporters of Bernie Sanders trying to back him up here saying, look, he was an activist. He was arrested. And today on this day where he got these harsh words from John Lewis, he's out with an ad starring Erica Garner, who is the daughter of Eric Garner, that man who died in Staten Island when a New York City police officer after he had him in a chokehold.
It's a very moving powerful ad. She tells her personal story and she says that she wants to support Bernie Sanders because he's a protester and that he is someone who is going to stand up for criminal justice reform. Perhaps reflecting a generational divide. Eric Garner's mother Gwenn Carr has endorsed Hillary Clinton. But Erin, I think what we're going to see tonight having spoken with a Clinton aide is she's going to try to focus on some issues that she thinks are going to resonate with black voters, with Hispanic voters. Immigration, crime for instance, and also key the Clinton campaign sees is they're trying to paint Bernie Sanders as an opponent of President Obama and Hillary Clinton as his heir apparent. I think we'll be seeing some of that tonight as well.
BURNETT: All right. Brianna, thank you.
And OUTFRONT now, our political contributor Michael Nutter, the former mayor of Philadelphia and Hillary Clinton supporter. Jonathan Tasini, Bernie Sanders' supporter. Marc Morial, president of the National Urban League. And our senior political analyst David Gergen, former presidential advisor to four presidents of both parties.
Jonathan Tasini, let me start with you. Congressman Lewis, I mean, that was a big statement. It was a pretty damning statement, I mean, essentially suggesting Sanders has misrepresenting what kind of a role he played or how much he was committed in the civil rights movement. Sanders has said he was arrested for protesting desegregation in Chicago public schools. He said he went to Washington to hear Martin Luther King, Jr. speak. When Congressman John Lewis says he doesn't remember Bernie Sanders, never saw Bernie Sanders, but he did see Hillary Clinton, how hard is that to hear? How damning is that?
JONATHAN TASINI, BERNIE SANDERS SUPPORTERS: Well, the first thing is, I think everybody here at this table and everybody watching has enormous respect for John Lewis for what he did for the movement, the personal sacrifice he made. But I will say that I don't think Bernie Sanders has ever said that he was a leader in the civil rights movement or that he was at the level of John Lewis. He was like many thousands of young people who were inspired by the civil rights movement.
I've seen a picture of him leading a sit-in at the University of Chicago trying to force the university to desegregate housing there. A friend of mine was actually in that picture as well. And so, I think that both John Lewis as an icon, I respect that, but there's no question that Bernie Sanders was engaged in the civil rights movement. He was inspired by that. And I think that's one of the things that inspired him to get into public office and be active in public life.
BURNETT: Mayor Nutter, you know, today Bernie Sanders did get some crucial endorsements. We mentioned Harry Bellefonte who is also an activists but the Ohio State Senator Nina Turner, former NAACP President Ben Jealous, Colonel West, the lawyer for the family of Walter Scott who was shot and killed by a South Carolina police officer in that horrible video that we all saw. Is Hillary Clinton taking the black vote for granted?
[19:21:06] MICHAEL NUTTER, HILLARY CLINTON SUPPORTER: No. Not at all. But, you know, we've talked on many occasions about the fact that African-Americans, like any other constituency, it's not a monolithic group of folks. Everyone is not going to margin the same direction. We're not held to a different standard than any other American. White Americans can be for whomever they want to be for and African-Americans can be whomever they want to be for. So, Hillary Clinton is not taking the African-American vote or any constituency for granted. She has a long history. She has a record. It is well known and well established, but she's going after every possible vote in the African-American community and every other community around.
BURNETT: Is it fair to look back at history and say, oh, oh, you know, John Lewis knew Hillary Clinton and saw her, we didn't see Bernie Sanders. So, therefore Bernie Sanders not as committed, he's had a fair thing to say?
NUTTER: Well, it sounds like Congressman Lewis was answering a question.
NUTTER: And if you're going to put out that you were involved as Senator Sanders has said in the civil rights movement, then you can't be surprised that someone who's in the movement has asked a question and answers it honestly, I don't think you can comply when they tell the truth.
BURNETT: Fair game. Marc?
MARC MORIAL, PRESIDENT, NATIONAL URBAN LEAGUE: I mean, look, it's a fair game. Two hundred and fifty thousand people where on the Washington mall in 1963. But the more important issue is, which candidate offers to the African-American community a significant role in how they would govern if they become president of the United States. So, it's about message. It's about messenger. I met Bernie Sanders for the first time when he came to the National Urban League conference. I think what clear is that, there really has not been a significant relationship historically between Bernie and African- American civil rights -- and I spent 15 years as an elected official.
So, he's starting from scratch with, if you will, trying to engage. And this is a distinction that I think Congressman Lewis was seeking to make. The good news for the African-American community is that the African-American vote is competitive. And the candidates are going to pay attention. We would hope that even the Republicans would pay attention to the African-American community and address the issues. And I think this is what this is really all about.
BURNETT: So, I want to play a little bit of that ad from Eric Garner's daughter. And I think it was interesting that Eric Garner's mother endorsed Hillary Clinton. His daughters endorsing Bernie Sanders. His generational divide. But it's a three minute video that the Sanders' campaign put out. Here's a brief clip from it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ERICA GARNER, ERIC GARNER'S DAUGHTER: I'm behind anyone who is going to listen and speak up for us. And I think we need to believe in a leader like Bernie sanders.
BERNIE SANDERS (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It is not acceptable to me that we have seen young black men walk down streets in this country, be beaten and be killed unjustly.
GARNER: There's no other person that's speaking about this. People are dying.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: David Gergen, you know, Congressman James Clyburn is a prominent African-American leader in South Carolina. He has yet to endorse. He has said he will do so next week. He talks about his own family, his middle-aged daughter for Hillary Clinton, his grandson for Bernie Sanders. Is this more about age than it is about race?
DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: I think it is largely about race. There is a generational gap where we've seen running all through the country. You know, we just talked last night about young women versus older women and Hillary. And so, I do think you have a generational change, but I'm not at all surprised that African- American leaders would be drawn to Bernie Sanders, especially someone like Cornell West. That makes absolute sense. What surprises me is the African-American leaders who are essentially saying Bill Clinton wasn't a very good president for blacks.
That's not the way blacks saw it at the time. Bill Clinton won 83 percent of the vote of blacks in 1992. When he ran for re-election, he got 84 percent of the black vote. In the last three years of his presidency, he had 89 to 90 percent approval steadily in the Gallup polls. Toni Morrison called him the first American black president. That was before Barack Obama came along. So, I was there with Bill Clinton. Whenever you may think about Bill Clinton, he was very good on civil rights. He was very good about advancing the African- American community. I ran into African-Americans who said, I got my job through Bill Clinton.
I haven't heard anyone criticize Bill Clinton except in the context of trying to gain some political advantage. But he has a point.
BURNETT: About --
Bill Clinton is not the candidate. Hillary Clinton is the candidate.
BURNETT: All right. Well, not note, I'm only going to hit pose as we're going to be talking about Bill Clinton whether he's the candidate or not the candidate. But it is a crucial question. Bill Clinton, after months of staying above the fray, has started to attack Bernie Sanders. And he is on the campaign trail big time. Could it backfire? And after Donald Trump's big win in New Hampshire, the other GOP candidates are turning their toughest attacks on Trump.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUBIO: Donald Trump has zero foreign policy experience. Negotiating a hotel deal in another country is not foreign policy experience.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[19:30:00] BURNETT: Tonight, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders facing off in the PBS News hour democratic presidential debate. It's just an hour and a half away and it will be right here on CNN. A debate that could turn the democratic race for president upside down taking place on that stage at the University of Wisconsin. Hillary Clinton, of course, needs to reassure supporters that she is still the frontrunner after her blowout in New Hampshire, the loss there. She's no doubt getting advice from her husband, the former President Bill Clinton. But could one of her closest advisers be hurting her campaign?
Jeff Zeleny is OUTFRONT.
JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Bill Clinton loves the campaign trail.
BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT: This state has been so good to me and to Hillary.
ZELENY: He's still the biggest name in Democratic politics, one of the most popular former presidents.
But Clinton nostalgia is facing a fresh test in a year where being part of the old guard carries new liabilities.
In his wife's second presidential campaign, he started with a soft touch.
CLINTON: She's still pretty much the same girl I fell in love with in law school. She really is.
ZELENY: He even refrained from responding to Donald Trump's attacks on his wife.
CLINTON: I have no interest in getting involved in their politics or doing anything except trying to help Hillary.
ZELENY: But the former president's tone has gradually crescendoed into directly confronting Bernie Sanders.
CLINTON: When you're making a revolution, you can't be too careful about the facts. You're just for me or against me. Her opponent, a champion of all things small and enemy of all things big, voted for that bill.
ZELENY: Sanders took exception to the criticism. SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I was
disappointed in President Clinton. I've known him for 25 years and I like him and I respect him and I hope that this campaign does not degenerate.
ZELENY: Some Democrats are starting to have flashbacks to 2008 when President Clinton became an unwelcomed center of attention and harsh critic of Barack Obama.
CLINTON: Give me a break. This whole thing is the biggest fairy tale I've ever seen.
ZELENY: That fairy tale line stuck with Clinton and made him seething mad, but he made matters worse by diminishing Obama's victory in South Carolina.
CLINTON: Jesse Jackson won South Carolina twice in '84 and '88, and he ran a good campaign and Senator Obama has run a good campaign here. He's run a good campaign everywhere.
ZELENY: There are few better advocates for Hillary Clinton than the former president. But as this campaign escalates, some Democrats wonder if he'll be able to hold his tongue. He knows his words are magnified.
CLINTON: Sometimes when I'm on a stage like this, I wish we weren't because then I could say what I really think.
ZELENY: As both sides furiously tried to win over black voters, President Clinton is in the spotlight again, a high wire second act.
CLINTON: The hotter this election gets, the more I wish I was just a former president and just for a few months, not the spouse of the next one.
ZELENY: But, of course, he hopes he will be the spouse of the next one. That's why he's involved in almost every aspect of this campaign. Now, most people inside the campaign tell me they welcome his input. He's actually very strategic. One of the sharpest minds in politics.
One adviser told me tonight with the good, sometimes you get the bad, but it's all worth it. We'll find out as this campaign goes along. He's on the road in Atlanta on Saturday to campaign for Super Tuesday states -- Erin.
BURNETT: All right. Jeff Zeleny, thank you very much.
And back with me now, former Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, a Clinton supporter, Jonathan Tasini, Bernie Sanders supporter, Marc Morial, president of the National Urban League, and senior political analyst David Gergen.
All right. Marc, let me start with you on this. You know, President Bill Clinton obviously caused some problems for
Hillary Clinton the last time around, caused some real problems. The fairy tale just being one example of that. Is he a liability or an asset to her this time?
MARC MORIAL, NATIONAL URBAN LEAGUE: I think he can be an asset. I think he was a good president. I was mayor of New Orleans and the cities progressed. We had lower crime. We had stronger jobs. We had jobs for young people. Those are the absolute facts and those are what the experiences are.
Was it a perfect time? No, but it was a good time.
But I really believe in this race the voters' focus should be on in the Democratic primary Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. And while President Clinton is an important factor in and important part of who Hillary Clinton is, I think her record should stand on its own, should be evaluated on her own, her words, her vision.
This is her time to either demonstrate she's prepared to be president or her time to demonstrate that she is unprepared to be president.
So, I think that's a very important element of this. And so, Bill Clinton's best when Bill Clinton is positive. Bill Clinton is best when Bill Clinton talks I think about his vision. And as president, he was a positive, if you will, communicator.
So, I think he's best with that, but let's face it. No one likes to see someone they care about and it's tough on family members to see family members attacked or under duress. So, there's a natural instinct to want to react.
BURNETT: And he knows that his words are magnified.
MORIAL: So, I take what he said in that context.
[19:35:00] But let's play again, Mayor Nutter, what he said most recently about Bernie Sanders saying he exists in a hermetically sealed box on "The View." Let me just play that sound bite one more time.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SANDERS: I was disappointed in President Clinton. I've known him for 25 years and I like him and I respect him. I hope that this campaign does not degenerate --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He's fighting for his wife.
SANDERS: Right, I understand that. But nonetheless, let's keep it on the issues. Not making personal attacks.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: So, could these attacks backfire? When Bill Clinton, to Marc's point, should he go negative at all?
MICHAEL NUTTER, HILLARY CLINTON SUPPORTER: I didn't hear the exact thing that President Clinton said, but I get the point. I agree with Marc certainly. You generally want a positive campaign.
Hillary is his wife. He's the former president. He's one of the best political figures in modern American history.
So, I think that President Clinton is smart enough to know what happened back in 2008, being much more disciplined here in 2016, but he's really good.
And quite frankly, the flip side of that coin is if he was not out on the campaign trail for Hillary Clinton, we'd be having a different conversation at this table. Why isn't the president out? Why isn't he doing more for Hillary Clinton?
So, you know, I mean, you're caught in between. He's good and he's really good when he's on his game and keeps things positive.
BURNETT: Well, it's interesting. You know, you think he's a very popular ex-president. Actually, George W. Bush is also, and George W. Bush is only going to be starting on the campaign trail on Monday. So, I mean, there are different models for when to go out. I mean --
NUTTER: That's his brother. This is his wife.
BURNETT: OK. But I mean, it's still someone you love dearly. If Hillary Clinton were not married to Bill Clinton, let's talk about the specifics of this relationship. If they were not married, would she be as formidable a rival to Bernie Sanders?
JONATHAN TASINI, BERNIE SANDERS SUPPORTER: That's a good question. I actually think he's harming for her a couple of reasons. If he wants to advise her privately, that's fine. The problem with Bill Clinton is that once you put yourself in the center, it allows those of us who support Bernie and those of us who are progressive to ask Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton, they do support NAFTA? Do they support trade agreements that Bill Clinton push through, that Hillary Clinton has supported all along the way, that have hurt working Americans?
It raises the question of Glass-Steagall, which Bill Clinton for the sake of his bankrupt friends, Citibank friends took basically repealed, which many people feel led to the crisis, the financial crisis. You can go along a whole set of issues. And, unfortunately, then, Hillary Clinton gets tied to some of the things that aren't that popular with Bill Clinton.
BURNETT: So, David Gergen, what's your view, being married to Bill Clinton, is that positive or a negative for her?
DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: I think you get her in the White House. I think it made a major difference.
And, by the way, you were saying that you weren't sure some of the best Sanders people were attacking Clinton, Hillary Clinton. (LAUGHTER)
GERGEN: But let me come back to this for a second. Look, I think there's a danger he will speak up and say something sharp because he's angry right now. He's frustrated.
He thinks they should never should have lost New Hampshire by 22 points and he gives credit to the Sanders campaign. But he's angry about what's happening inside and he's actually a force for changing things inside the campaign.
Having said that, you know, it's instructive when she became secretary of state in 2009, there were a lot of people wondering the same thing. Will he say something that will interfere with her capacity to diplomacy?
He led a very disciplined life. He has, since 2009, he's been very careful about what he says. He's personal life has not been an issue. He's been a much more discipline person in recent years.
So, I think the risk is small. Is it there? Yes. But I think you do have to look back in what's happened.
TASINI: Marc's point was very important. I think really it does come down to the difference between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, whether whatever influence Bill Clinton might have certainly on the side.
GERGEN: But people are going to be reassured -- there are some people that are going to be reassured if Bill Clinton is in the White House.
BURNETT: Yes, there are.
GERGEN: There'll be some people who won't be.
MORIAL: You've got to talk about Glass-Steagall, you've also got to talk about 1999 and 7 percent black unemployment. I mean, you can't talk about -- this is a point that really -- look.
MORIAL: Debating Bill Clinton's record -- what about Hillary Clinton's eight years as a member of the United States Senate and four years --
TASINI: Actually six years.
MORIAL: Six years as U.S. senator and eight years as the --
NUTTER: She has her own record.
TASINI: But if he inserts himself, he runs that risk. It's good for him to be on the side --
NUTTER: He runs the risk by the Sanders people.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you.
TASIN: Whether he likes it or not.
BURNETT: People care about what he has to say, for better or for worse. I'm sure he would rather they care than they not care.
Thanks very much to all of you.
And OUTFRONT next, Donald Trump going positive. Yes, I just said that.
And Bernie Sanders railing against super PACs, but he still benefits from them. Our special report is next.
And you're looking at a live picture of the debate hall in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
[19:40:02] Our countdown to the debate on CNN continues.
BURNETT: All right. Live pictures of the University of Wisconsin on our screen. Just about an hour from no, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders will be face to face at those two podiums for a debate right here on CNN.
On the Republican side, the remaining candidates are all taking aim, in the meantime at, you see him, Donald Trump.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R-FL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Donald Trump has zero foreign policy experience. Negotiating a hotel deal in another country is not foreign policy experience.
JEB BUSH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We need a president that knows what he's doing. Not talking cheap talk. If we elect, nominate Donald Trump, we're going to be destroyed in the general election.
SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The only way to beat Donald Trump is to highlight the simple truth of his record. It is not conservative.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: OUTFRONT tonight, the national spokeswoman for Donald Trump's campaign Katrina Pierson, and the editor of "The Weekly Standard", Bill Kristol.
Katrina, your response, zero foreign policy experience and talk is cheap. And he's not a conservative.
What do you say to the attacks?
KATRINA PIERSON, NATIONAL SPOKESWOMAN FOR DONALD TRUMP'S CAMPAIGN: Well, it sounds like some of these Republican candidates want Hillary Clinton if they're focused on foreign experience, or even a record for that matter.
[19:45:06] Donald Trump has never cast a vote in his life on this policy. He is just a businessman that sees an opportunity for him to give back everything he's acquired during a life experience to make America great again.
BURNETT: All right. Bill, Katrina, that's her job to spin this. I want to ask you about the negativity here. There's been a lot of negativity. They're now all hitting Donald Trump.
Donald Trump has been tweeting some things like Ted Cruz's campaign was doing sleazy and dishonest things. But Donald Trump switched and decided he was going to go positive. And John Kasich, governor of Ohio, was just on this show, and he took credit for that change in tone from Donald Trump.
Here he is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. JOHN KASICH (R-OH), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Donald Trump is saying he's going to go positive. I sort of predicted if we could show that positive works, might change the tenor of the campaign. So, all these people that want to go negative, how are you going to sell anything? How are you going to bring people together when all you're going is trashing somebody else?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Bill Kristol, you have been no fan of Donald Trump, but do you think he's actually changing his tune thanks in part to the governor of Ohio who has ran a positive campaign?
BILL KRISTOL, THE WEEKLY STANDARD: No, no. Let's watch Donald Trump Saturday night.
First of all, going, quote, "negative", Ted Cruz saying that Donald Trump is not a conservative in all kinds of ways he was pro-choice, he was using eminent domain for private use, he's a vulgar man who uses profanity in the way that presidential candidate should, is that going negative or is that just telling the truth about Donald Trump?
They haven't been negative enough. Trump has had almost negative ads against him, you know? Let's have an honest debate. Let's talk about Donald Trump's business record. Let's talk about Donald Trump's public record, his close friendship with the Clintons. He says --
BURNETT: Which they all now deny for mutually beneficial reasons. KRISTOL: Let's look at the wonderful photo of the Clintons and the
Trumps. The Trumps gave money to Hillary Clinton. I mean, that's all legitimate. Those are legitimate things to raise I think.
PIERSON: But he also gave money to Ted Cruz. I mean, let's not just do this one sided thing.
KRISTOL: Right. He is a business --
Donald Trump is a businessman. He's talked about these things from the beginning. The negatives on Mr. Trump are baked in.
They're talking about positions he held almost 20 years ago. They're not talking about the Donald Trump who he is today, or they'd be talking about things for themselves and how they want to make America great again.
But, unfortunately, the idea is to attack Donald Trump which has not been successful in the past. And one of the reasons why Mr. Trump did pull the ad is because he does want to run a positive campaign. He's leading in the polls. He's obviously the frontrunner and everyone understands that now. He wants to move forward with his message to make America great again and the other candidates should do the same.
KRISTOL: Donald Trump wants to freeze the race where it is because he has won one of the first two primaries and won second in the Iowa caucus. He's run a good campaign. He is a frontrunner.
Frontrunners like to freeze the campaign and stop further exposure of people's records. I don't think Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio and others want that.
John Kasich has done pretty well. He got up to 16 percent in New Hampshire by running a positive campaign. It looks like he would like to be Donald Trump's vice presidential nominee. So, he's being very nice to Donald Trump.
But I think Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush will do the voters a service, will do the voters a service by having an honest debate each other's record.
BURNETT: All right. So, Bill, speaking of John Kasich, you know, he said he doesn't want to be anyone's number two. You have tweeted the single most likely ticket is Donald Trump and John Kasich. So, I know you have no love for Donald Trump, but it sounds like you're accepting that he very well may be the Republican nominee.
What do you think about that ticket?
KRISTOL: I think if you are second in Iowa and first in New Hampshire, you have a pretty good chance to win. I don't think it's by any means -- you know, he's ahead. I don't think it's by any means done or inevitable.
In fact, I think he's beatable. My editorial in tomorrow says Donald Trump is beatable, but he's only beatable if people fight him. Everyone has rolled over him.
He's insulted people. He's denigrated people. He's denigrated women. He's cursed and used profane language on the stump, and most of the other candidates so far have been intimidated by him.
All credit to Donald Trump. He's a tough guy. He's a tough businessman, but maybe these candidates should step up and fight him.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you all. Thank you very much. I will leave it there.
PIERSON: Thanks, Erin.
BURNETT: OUTFRONT next, Bernie Sanders showered with donations since his big New Hampshire primary win. Where is Bernie's money coming from? Perhaps not what you'd expect. That's next as we count you down to the big Democratic debate right here on CNN. You will see it here. Don't go away.
[19:53:27] BURNETT: An hour from now, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders will take the stage at the University of Wisconsin for a crucial debate that you will see right here on CNN. This comes as the Sanders campaign is bragging, quote, "We're going to need a bigger goal." That was the email message from the campaign after smashing its own fund-raising goal of $6 million after their big win in New Hampshire.
In fact, Sanders is leading Hillary Clinton in the money race for 2016. That's right. You heard me right.
So, how is he doing it? Tom Foreman is OUTFRONT with me now.
I mean, Tom, that is pretty stunning that he's doing this. Where is his money coming from?
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: His money, Erin, is coming from a source that ought to scare her because it's letting him stack up money at a faster rate. Look, she's still ahead in the overall race, $114 million since the race begun. He's about $75 million.
But look where the money is coming from -- 72 percent of his money is coming from small donors. People giving less than $200, only a few early in the campaign it rose to $27 per donor, according to the campaign. Now, they said it's about $34 per donor.
It doesn't take a lot of math to realize he can go back to those people again and again and again and get a whole lot more money at that rate because they are nowhere near the limit of $2,700.
On her campaign, she's got a lot of small donors, too, but a lot less, 16 percent over here. Many more in the big donor category. They may have maxed out, and it makes it hard for her to go back to them, Erin.
BURNETT: But just -- pretty amazing when you show that graphically how clear it is. You know, Tom, Bernie Sanders said loudly and often, "I do not have a super PAC. I do not want a super PAC."
[19:55:00] OK, technically true, right? But that doesn't mean he's not directly benefiting from super PACs, right?
FOREMAN: Yes, he is benefitting, in the sense that there are PACs out there that are unaffiliated with his campaign but by law cannot coordinate with his campaign, but nonetheless have raised more than $2 million to help run ads and get people to pay attention to him and hopefully elect Bernie Sanders.
So, when he keeps saying this, he gives a little false impression because there are people trying to do it. Why doesn't Clinton jump on him hard and say, look at this, you're lying about that? Because when she does that all he's going to say is let's look at your PAC money, $43.4 million pouring into your campaign.
The problem for her I if she goes after that too hard, he turns it right back around as he has all along and said, you are getting big money. You have big money interest. You are in the pocket of big money and she has to go back on the defense of that when she look at these numbers and those numbers. It's a difficult equation for her right now even though she's still technically leading in the money -- Erin.
BURNETT: That is fascinating.
All right. Tom Foreman, thank you very much.
And next, more of our countdown to the Democratic presidential debate that you'll see right here on CNN.
BURNETT: Thanks so much for joining us. And be sure to set your DVR to record OUTFRONT so you can watch us at any time. And don't miss the PBS NewsHour Democratic presidential debate at 9:00 Eastern, right here on CNN.
"AC360" starts now.