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Hillary Clinton Wins Nevada; Courting The Millennial Vote Aired 6:30-7a

Aired February 21, 2016 - 06:30   ET



VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: All right. It's the bottom of the hour now we continue a special election coverage.

AMARA WALKER, CNN ANCHOR: Yes and Nevada last night belong to Hillary Clinton and what a disappointing moment for Bernie Sanders.

He has now lost two of the first three contested states and is likely to lose next week in South Carolina. Now in his speech last night he was already looking forward to Super Tuesday. Take a listen.


SEN. SANDERS (I-VT), DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDDIATE: So Nevada, our volunteers, our supporters, our staff, thank you all very much and now it's on to Super Tuesday.


BLACKWELL: All right. Let's bring in Nomiki Konst, Democratic strategist and Bernie Sanders supporter.

So Sanders lost Nevada we were talking about this time yesterday about the momentum that he had developed in the last couple of weeks there. What happened?

NOMIKI KONST, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Listen, as we discussed yesterday Nevada is a very difficult state to poll perhaps the most difficult state to poll partly because of the caucus, partly because of the new caucus, and partly also because it's a new electorate, as (ph) an electorate that has been changing over the past 10 years and the census reflects that.

But what happened last night was that Bernie Sanders proved that he does have momentum at his back. Don't forget just a month ago he was 25 to 30 points down below Hillary Clinton who setup her operation. She had a very good ground game and as did Bernie Sanders, but her ground game really focused on rural areas which she neglected in 2008 if you recall when she won the popular vote but still lost the caucus to Barack Obama. So she invested heavily, you know, six months out, two months before Bernie Sanders. And even though he really fought it to the end and it got very close, you know, that is really what's important here. Is that in these states with exception to South Carolina, which we're fully aware of the situation there, he needs to come in very close or a win. She can't get away with losing big numbers the way she did in New Hampshire. So the electoral math could work very well to the end all the way up to the convention in August.

BLACKWELL: OK. So I think we're skipping an important contest.

You talk about the March 1st. We've got to get through South Carolina. You say he's got the wind at his back. That's what the senator said yesterday in his concession speech but it seems like -- he lost here. He is expected to lose in South Carolina and then the contest heads south where there is a larger amount of African-American voters than he's faced in Iowa, than he's faced in New Hampshire. It seems like the winds he's facing are head winds.

KONST: Some but there's also states here. You look at some of the southwestern states. Look at Arizona. You look at New Mexico. I mean, these are states with high Latino population. And if you saw the numbers last night he did very well with Latinos. So when you look at working class voters, when you look at young voters, when you look at minorities under 45 he's doing very well.


I think the message that he needs to deliver to increase that African- American support so he does keep that momentum in that he is an electable candidate. Because when you match him head to head with every single Republican candidate. He beats them. Hillary Clinton does not. And that is the message that she's sending out is that she's the electable candidate but the reality is she's really not. And this is a real tough fight here.

BLACKWELL: So Hillary Clinton as we saw in 2008 she became a better candidate as that primary went on. We're seeing now that although in the early contest she said -- you know, there was mostly about I and me and my, yesterday she ended by saying -- and I jotted it down here, "The future that we want is within our grasp." So now a collective.

Is Bernie Sanders changing his strategy to become a better candidate? And how does he get those minority voters that he has been unable to engage thus far?

KONST: Well I think that, you know, this is what primaries do to Democrats. They argue at the issues, and they see what the voters want and what they care about. And, you know, I did think that the speech sounded very Sanders-like last night coming from Hillary but that's good. That's good for our party.

You know, Bernie probably needs to connect the dots a little bit more for the African-American community. I mean, we all know and the Sanders team knows, the Sanders supporters know that economic issues hurt women of color the most, the minority communities the most. But I don't know if that message is really connecting to those communities partly because those communities do respond to the surrogates. They respond to the endorsements.

You know there is still a lot of machine politics playing out in African-American communities that aren't playing out in Latino communities, that aren't playing out in the working class communities anymore. And so I think Sanders probably needs stack up some more endorsements and deliver his message and connect the dots so that minority communities understand that the economy is the crucial core issue of this campaign.

And Hillary Clinton may not want to talk about the single issue but that is the root issue. And partly she doesn't want to talk about it because let's be real here. She's supported by Wall Street and who is driving this economy and driving it so that the wages stay down for working class voters? It's Wall Street.

So, you know, I think he needs to connect the dots a little bit more.

BLACKWELL: All right. Nomiki Konst, thank you so much.

Next hour we're going to have --


BLACKWELL: Certainly.

Bakari Sellers who is a CNN commentator, also a Hillary Clinton supporter to talk about yesterday's contest in Nevada.

All right. Also a reminder the Democratic town hall is this Tuesday night, 8:00 p.m., Columbia, South Carolina. Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders will face the voters one final time before South Carolina votes. That's Tuesday at 8:00 p.m. eastern right here on CNN.

WALKER: All right. The all important millennial vote, the Democrats and Republicans are all courting the young. Up next find out exactly what millennial are looking for in a candidate.



WALKER: Welcome back.

Traditionally they turn out in smaller numbers than their elders. But in a tight election their support can make all the difference. And I'm talking about the millennial.

In this election we've seen both parties eager to woo this increasingly powerful group of young voters. I'm joined now by Alex Smith. She is the national chairman of the College Republican National Committee and is a millennial herself. And I should mention she has not endorsed a particular candidate.

Alex, welcome. I want to first begin by asking you about, you know, what the presidential candidates have to do to attract young voters. There was an op-ed piece that was published on by Julian Zelizer, a CNN contributor and he puts it pretty clearly that, 'The political leaders of the parties are not talking about the issues that matter to this generation. For many millennials the kinds of social and cultural issues that have so animated American politics since the 1980s just don't resonate."

So what do young voters want to hear? What are the issues that are important, Alex?


Absolutely at this point in time it is the economy for young voters and that is true of young voters across all demographic segments. I mean, this is a generation that has dealt with double digit youth unemployment for the last eight years under this president. It's also a generation of dealing with skyrocketing credit card and student loan debt. So they really want to know if they are going to have a job outside of college that's going to pay well and help them pay back their loans and pay their bills.

WALKER: Yes. Someone who's talking a lot about the economy and, you know, college debt is Bernie Sanders, right? In some ways Hillary Clinton as well. You know, what is it about his message? Because when you look at his rallies you are seeing the youth turn out in droves to Bernie Sanders. And what can the Republicans do to have that kind of appeal?

SMITH: Well, what I'd say about Bernie Sanders message right now is that it's particularly attractive to young liberals who are tuned into the process. What we know about the general election is young independents are the most important group to reach and they are skeptical of Bernie Sanders' policies. In the focus groups and the research we've done they are not sure that his kind of policies are the way to get us to a better future.

What I will say about this generation though is that this is a generation that is hurting. As I mentioned before it is dealt with terrible economic consequences over the last eight years. And so I think when you are hurting and scared a message of free sounds great. What they don't know of course is what it's going to cost down the line and I think that is where conservatives need to come in and show that we have a better alternative. Because for a millennial everything that works in their lives works because of free market principles and open systems that empower us to make our own choices. And so we need to get out on to campuses and make that message clear to young voters ourselves.

WALKER: And who do you think amongst the Republican presidential candidates are carrying (ph) that message that the youth the young voters want to hear?

SMITH: Well you know, I've heard everyone from Donald Trump to Ted Cruz to Marco Rubio talk about important issues to young people like student loans and creating jobs. So they are definitely talking about the issues. Of course we'd like to get them more on to campuses to get them communicating that message correctly to our votes.

But you know, I think that they are talking to about it and particularly someone like a Marco Rubio is using the language of this century and this generation to describe the economic policies that I think are going to resonate with young people. He talks sort of an Uber economy. He talks about the start up culture which is really appealing and really relevant to voters.

WALKER: So why do you think the Marco Rubios and Donald Trumps, you know, are not getting that turnout amongst the younger generation at their rallies?


SMITH: Yes -- I mean I think it is early in the process and millennials are simply just not tuned in at this point but they are watching closely.

And what I will say is that, you know, if you go to of course a university or a campus you are going to get a turnout like that. We haven't seen our candidates go to a lot of those places yet. I hope to get them there (INAUDIBLE). We need to get them there.

But I think that millennials on the Republican side are absolutely tuned in. They are following the process closely. And I think that really shows through the youth exit polls and different states we've seen so far. We've seen young people support Cruz in Iowa, Trump in New Hampshire and Cruz again in South Carolina. And, you know, the others aren't too far behind in those polls either. So really young people are considering many different candidates and really I think taking this decision very seriously.

WALKER: You mentioned exit polls. You know, according to I think, millennials could make up 36 percent of the eligible voting poll in 2016. And our exit polling from yesterday in South Carolina primary found about 10 percent of the turnout -- 10 percent was young voters ages at 17-29.

What do you think about that turnout? Are you happy with that?

SMITH: You know, we'd like to see of course our younger Republicans participate more. But what I will say about the general election is that we know that young voters as a whole are going to decide the election. They decided it in 2012 and they are going to in 2016. They are going to make up 20 percent of the vote.

So our party has to reach this generation. We have to be able to peel off some of the young voters if we ever hope to take back the White House and that is a bell I've been ringing the last three years. Unfortunately I think our candidates are starting to see through, you know, watching the Bernie Sanders rally, watching sort of what's going on on campuses today with the increasing intolerance from the last -- in the pre-speeches (INAUDIBLE) that we see there that they really need to get out there and make that message heard come the general election.

WALKER: Yes, the young voters can definitely make a dramatic difference in this election.

Alex Smith, great having you. Thanks for that conversation.

SMITH: Thanks so much for having me.

BLACKWELL: Coming up at the top of the hour we'll talk about Senator Ted Cruz. He's the self described Christian conservative who wants to break up what he calls the Washington cartel. Well the South Carolina exit polls show that he did not win with Christian conservatives. And those who are either angry with or dissatisfied with the federal government chose other candidates.

So what's next for the Texas senator after losing to Donald Trump in South Carolina? We'll ask Rick Tyler, national spokesperson for the Cruz campaign coming up in the next half hour.




SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R-FL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: So how am I feeling about South Carolina? We feel great.

We feel we've got this race down probably to a three person race now and we feel real good about what that means. It is going to be a very clear choice now for the American people. We gave us a chance in this campaign to unify this party and to grow it. Take our message to people that haven't traditionally voted for us. And if we do that we're going to win. We're going to win the election. And we're going to be able to turn this country around. So we feel really good about it.


BLACKWELL: So for the Republican presidential candidates time is short. The stakes are high. We're coming up on the SEC primaries coming up on March 15th. There is a lot happening in March and they have to get out the message and be a little more assertive (INAUDIBLE).

WALKER: Yes. In fact for those who are not Donald Trump they will have to pick and choose the states they want. CNN's John King explained that earlier to Wolf Blitzer.


JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: On we go. Into -- Nevada next here for the sake of this hypothetical we're assigning this to Donald Trump, saying he's going to win essentially with the margins we have tonight, 35 percent. The other candidates getting 20, 20, 20. Splitting up the delegates there. That's what you would have after south -- after Nevada. Excuse me, four states in (ph).

Then ahead to Super Tuesday.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST, THE SITUATION ROOM: Which is a week from Tuesday. KING: A week from Tuesday when you've got a dozen states voting and you watch it under this scenario Trump wins them all. Again essentially 35-20-20-20. I know some of you at home are saying, no way.

But let's just say if he won them all under that relatively close to that split he would start to pull away in the delegate chase. So say let's say you are a Ted Cruz supporter. You say, no way, Ted Cruz is going to win in Texas. So let's give Ted Cruz first in Texas and give the other -- sorry -- keep (ph) them (ph) at (ph) one, three and four. Decide (ph) it (ph) that way Cruz catching up a little bit.

Then I just mentioned a few minutes ago Governor Kasich tonight is in Massachusetts. It is more moderate state. We'll see what happens. But let's just say for the sake of argument either Kasich or Rubio wins that. We'll give to it Kasich here -- two, three, four -- two, three, four -- (INAUDIBLE) delegates come (ph) in (ph) easy (ph). So it doesn't mean -- even if you do that. If trump wins most he starts to pull away at little bit in the delegate chase. So this is where it gets really interesting as you go forward because of the map. You have so many states voting at once. Donald Trump has such an advantage.

These other candidates who say they're still in the race -- Cruz has a decent amount of money. Rubio is trying to raise money fast. Kasich doesn't have that much money. Donald Trump has celebrity, 100 percent name I.D. and money if he wants to spend it. So this is where it gets interesting because with the momentum he has right now you assume Trump is in the lead just about everywhere. And the question is can the other candidates -- they're going to have to pick and choose. And if you are Ted Cruz you're going to have to worry about home.

BLITZER: They call it Super Tuesday. About 11 or 12 contests a quarter of all the delegates are awarded on -- Republican side are on Super Tuesday, March 1st. That is going to be a huge, huge prize.

KING: Right, that's a big prize and if you want it out (ph) -- again this is a hypothetical. We're assigning these states to Trump on a 35-20-20. If you run it out -- well, that's Super Tuesday. By the end of March, 50 percent of the delegates on the Republican side will have been decided.

So if you assign them all out to Trump this way he could pull out a stretch. And even if you took a few states away Trump would still have a big lead. It doesn't mean he's going to be the nominee but at the moment a big challenge for the other candidates as the calendar gets crowded -- well as (ph) the calendar gets busy pick your targets and for several of the candidates they better raise money and raise it fast because you need resources to win when the map expands so quickly.


BLACKWELL: And to raise that money they need momentum. How can they gain it? Well they can do it on stage at the debate this Thursday night at 8:30 right here on CNN. It is in Houston. Wolf Blitzer will moderate the GOP debate live from Texas only on CNN.

WALKER: All right. Coming up, see firsthand what it is like inside a caucus and the stress some people feel while trying to pick a candidate. That's next.




MAEVE RESTON, CNN NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER: So are you leaning way one or another at this final moment?

VANESSA MCCALLUM, BELLACIO EMPLOYEE: The final moment -- it really is my logic tells me go for Hillary. My heart tells me go for Bernie. I feel as though I'm going to have an affair on Bernie if I go for Hillary though.

RESTON: So are you -- which way do you feel like you're leaning, head or heart?

MCCALLUM: I'll probably most likely go for my head. I'm a little more logical person than I am an emotional person.


BLACKWELL: Well who did Vanessa McCallum end up voting for? It was a last minute decision.

WALKER: It looked like she was very much torn.

Coming up in the next hour, find out if she stood with Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders?

And the reminder, CNN Democratic town hall is this Tuesday night at 8:00 p.m. at Columbia, South Carolina. Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders will face the voters one final time before South Carolina votes. That is Tuesday at 8:00 p.m. eastern right here on CNN.

And coming up at 9:00 a.m. eastern, don't miss a very special commercial free State of the Union. The line up Donald Trump, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, that's today at 9:00 a.m. eastern only on CNN.

BLACKWELL: That is a packed show.

WALKER: Got to take a breath (ph). Yes. Right? Well, thanks so much for starting your morning with us.

BLACKWELL: We are going to continue our conversations about all that we learned from South Carolina and Nevada overnight.

Also following the breaking news out of Kalamazoo. A man in custody after the shooting spree, seven killed including children. We've got the latest coming up. Your NEW DAY continues right now.

WALKER: Good morning, everyone. I'm Amara Walker in for Christi Paul.

BLACKWELL: I'm Victor Blackwell. Good to be with you.

This towering win for Donald Trump in South Carolina, a momentum for Hillary Clinton in Nevada and the end of the road for Jeb Bush. We're waking up to a new landscape for the race for the White House.


WALKER: Yes. This morning we're covering it all for you including new reaction from the candidates today and what comes next.