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Trump Wins South Carolina; Clinton Wins Nevada in Close Race with Sanders; Bush Suspends Floundering Campaign. Aired 7-7:30a ET

Aired February 21, 2016 - 07:00   ET


[07:00:00] AMARA WALKER, CNN ANCHOR: This morning, we're covering it all for you. Including new reaction from the candidates today, and what comes next?

First, here is the how the dramatic night played out.


HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Some may have doubted us but we never doubted each other.

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT), DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You have a corrupt campaign finance system.

CLINTON: We aren't a single issue country.

SANDERS: Now, it's on to Super Tuesday.

CLINTON: The fight goes on. The future that we want is within our grasp.


SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R-FL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This country is now ready for a new generation of conservatives to guide us into the 21st century.

SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The Washington cartel in full terror that the conservative grassroots are rising up.

JEB BUSH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The people of Iowa and New Hampshire and South Carolina have spoken. So, tonight, I am suspending my campaign.

BEN CARSON (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: There are only six now and I'm still one of them.

GOV. JOHN KASICH (R-OH), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It's down to the final four.

RUBIO: This has become a three-person race and we will win the nomination.

TRUMP: As people drop out, I'm going to get a lot of those votes also.


WALKER: All right. So, here is how they finished in South Carolina. With 32.5 percent of the vote, Trump solidified his status as front runner among the Republican candidates. And Marco Rubio rebounded from the poor showing in New Hampshire to edge out second place over Ted Cruz.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: For the Democrats now, a crucial win for Hillary Clinton, blunting the rise of Bernie Sanders and helping ease anxiety among her supporters.

WALKER: And more on the Nevada caucuses in just a moment but we begin with Donald Trump's commanding victory in South Carolina and now the shrinking Republican field.

CNN's senior political reporter Manu Raju joining me now from Columbia, South Carolina.

So, I would imagine the Trump campaign feeling very good about this. This was a solid win, despite his comments about the pope and about George W. Bush lying.

MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: It's really amazing, a big win for Donald Trump. Who would have thought a year ago that Donald Trump would have driven out a man who hailed from the dynasty in Republican Party politics? That, of course, being Jeb Bush.

What a night that really reordered the Republican race and put Donald Trump on solid footing to win the Republican nomination. Now, he has taken two of the top first three contests, he heads to Nevada for Tuesday's caucuses there and has a very good chance coming out the winner in Nevada ahead of Super Tuesday.

Now, what was very encouraging for the Trump campaign was just how resounding a victory he had here in South Carolina. There were questions about whether or not he could pull off enough support from evangelical Christians who are very important in this southern state and he did absolutely that, even though Ted Cruz, his biggest rival in the state had been aggressively courting the same voters.

Now, last night when Donald Trump addressed supporters in Spartanburg, he did not hold back his excitement.


TRUMP: I love you all. Again, South Carolina, we will never forget you. We will never forget you. We will never ever forget South Carolina. We will never forget our great volunteers. We love our volunteers. We'll never forget all of the people that have helped us so much.

My family and, folks, let's go, let's have a big win in Nevada. Let's have a big win at the SEC. Let's put this thing away.


RAJU: Now, the question for Trump going forward is now that this field is narrowing, how will he do when the competition really gets intense, when increasingly he becomes a target? He's done pretty well so far, even though those attacks have been flying from Ted Cruz. But what about when Marco Rubio, who did surprisingly well last night and coming in second place, what will happen when Rubio increasingly focuses on Donald Trump?

Last night on his campaign plane as he left South Carolina, he started to showcase what will become an increasing line of attack against Donald Trump, whether or not he is ready to become commander in chief.


RUBIO: I think Donald now, that the race has narrowed, really needs to step up and outline his foreign policy vision, and it can't be that he relies on experts you won't name. I mean, presidents have no know on day one about the difficult issues that confront this country on the global stage, and presidents have to be uniters, people that are willing to serve all the country, all American, even people that don't support you. So, now that the race is going to be narrower, I think we'll have a chance to see those differences in a respectful way.


RAJU: Now, what was a very good news for Marco Rubio last night was seeing Jeb Bush drop out. That was so significant because not only do they both hail from Florida and have a long history together, but also that they have courted similar donors, similar profile and voters -- those moderate establishment leaning voters, right of center voters.

Now that Jeb Bush is out of the race, presumably that the Rubio campaign feels that they can really consolidate that level of support.

[07:05:06] and also Right to Rise, which is Jeb Bush's super PAC, spent tens of millions dollars on the air attacking Marco Rubio. Those attacks no longer will be on the air waves.

So, we'll see how much that helps Rubio, as he tries to emerge as the alternative to Donald Trump. But he still has to worry about Ted Cruz and John Kasich, the Ohio governor, is not out at race yet.

WALKER: Yes. You know, more on Jeb Bush, I mean, he pulled out all of the stops in South Carolina, campaigning with his mother and, of course, his brother, George W. Bush.

What went so wrong for Jeb Bush?

RAJU: You know, he was almost a candidate who is not in the right time of Republican Party politics. I mean, looking back, you know, he was one of the most conservative governors in the country when he was a Florida governor. But he had been out of Republican politics for a long time. He, you know, wasn't a fire brand, a bomb thrower, the way that Donald Trump has and he wasn't able to top into that angst in the conservative base the way that Trump and Ted Cruz have. Jeb Bush didn't really have that same kind of temperate. More sober minded, more policy oriented, more nuanced, and that just was not enough to get him the nomination at the end of the day.

WALKER: All right. We'll just have to wait and see if Marco Rubio really does benefit the most from Bush's exit.

Manu Raju, thank you.

BLACKWELL: Let's bring back CNN political commentator Ben Ferguson, and Republican writer and commentator Kayleigh McEnany. She's also a Trump supporter.

Good to have you back with us this hour.

And I want to start at the top here.

Kayleigh, you are a Trump supporter and Trump really won across the board here. I mean, he won with those who had less than high school education, some college, college educated, across the income spectrum. Is he unstoppable as we move to the south?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She might lose this and for her to win it by --

KAYLEIGH MCENANY, REPUBLICAN WRITER AND COMMENTATOR: -- for Marco Rubio and for Ted Cruz, but I do think it is going to be difficult because Donald Trump forever we've had the establishment telling us that his support is just not really there. That they won't show up. That they won't vote up. That they will be too embarrassed to vote for him when they get to the polls.

But that's proven not the case. He won commandingly in New Hampshire. He won commandingly last night. His support is staunch, it is strong and it is showing up. So, I think it is going to be very hard to stop him in his tracks. And I would venture to say the only person maybe to do that is Ted Cruz but I really don't think so at the point.

It's an outsiders year as we spoke about before, and I really think it's Donald Trump's year.

BLACKWELL: Before we get to Ted Cruz, Ben, I want to talk about Marco Rubio coming in impressive second place here. But he had all of the cards, right? He had Tim Scott, he had Trey Gowdy. He had Nikki Haley, and of the people who decided to vote for Rubio many of them made the decision in the last few days.

Now, he's got to take it too Donald Trump, doesn't he? He's got to be a little more aggressive. Can he now look towards Donald Trump? Or does he still have to fight off Ted Cruz?

BEN FERGUSON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Right. You have to do both at the same time, and also try to court Jeb Bush supporters now that he is out of the race. So, he has a very unique dynamic that he's going to have to carry moving forward, which is you have got to focus on Donald Trump. There was so much fighting we saw between Rubio and Bush. The good

news is he's not going to have to deal with those attacks anymore if you're the Rubio campaign. You are not going to have to deal with it, the super PACs coming after you.

You did get the big endorsement you need in South Carolina and it gave you very, very close second place win there. But Ted Cruz is also there in a virtual tie and Ted Cruz is going to tell his supporters as he goes on the road that I'm the only guy that's beaten Donald Trump this far. You are going to hear a lot of that I think in the next week as well.

And ultimately, Rubio right now what he has to do is he has to go after I think Donald Trump on policy. Foreign policy, you heard it there a moment ago. That is where he has the best chance I think to win against Donald Trump is really now with the stage getting smaller, fewer people there.

They are going to need to exploit Donald Trump's weakness on understanding and being able to truly explain I think foreign policy decisions and that's where that is in the wheelhouse of Marco Rubio. So --


FERGUSON: It's also in the wheelhouse of Ted Cruz as well.

BLACKWELL: Go ahead, Kayleigh.

MCENANY: I would argue that is not his strong suit. Rubio's been wrong on foreign policy. He stood with Hillary Clinton on invading Libya, which is now a disaster and overrun by terrorists. You know, he's for toppling these dictators in this interventionist foreign policy that people are fed up with.

I think he's really going to be hurt with both Ted Cruz and Donald Trump flanking him if either side and as we've saw in New Hampshire, Marco Rubio can't weather attack. He couldn't handle Chris Christie and he has really hard questions to answer about why did he want to topple these dictators and these countries are now overrun by ISIS. I think that's going to be very difficult for him.

BLACKWELL: Ben, let me come to you about Jeb Bush. Jeb Bush out of the race now. Obviously some pressure on him to endorse.

[07:10:02] Is the contest -- was the contest too contentious for Bush to endorse Rubio moving forward?

FERGUSON: No, I don't think so. A lot of the bad blood was staffers. And when you are working for a campaign and you are on one staff, I've been in this position before. It becomes very personal with the other staff.

These guys once everything settles down after this week, I this I they will probably have a nice conversation. Ultimately they have known each other for a long time. It's obvious that Jeb Bush did not like that Rubio has, you know, many

have called him the apprentice, has done so well. But I still think if I had to choose somebody who has the leading edge here to get the endorsement from Jeb Bush it is probably Marco Rubio, definitely over Donald Trump, probably over Ted Cruz.

And is Jeb Bush going to, you know, endorse Ben Carson? I can't imagine that. Would he endorse John Kasich? Possibly. But I also think when you endorse you want to endorse a winner and those two campaigns are so low in the polls I don't see that happening.

BLACKWELL: Kasich the only governor left in the race, Kayleigh. Could an executive say you need that executive experience? That was Jeb Bush's case for the last several months?

MCENANY: Yes, but it is ironic because now that experience kind of hurts you in this political season. Experience doesn't carry as much weight as it did. People want a nominee outside of the political circle.

So, I don't know that is going to help him. But look, I know his eyes are geared towards Ohio. Ohio is now a winner take all state. He could perform well there and probably will win. Ohio is the best, really the only path in Kasich's mind is picking up the smaller states and driving home the message of "I'm an executive," although I don't know that's a fruitful message now and trying to get Ohio.


FERGUSON: If he wins Ohio it reminds me a lot of Newt Gingrich staying in Georgia. Yes you should be able to win your home state, but does that mean you even have a shot at the White House afterwards? Obviously, Newt Gingrich when he was able to stock it in there, OK, I'm going to go all the way to my home town, or my home state, it doesn't mean you have a path forward and that's what voters going to have look at as well.

BLACKWELL: However, Ohio more crucial than Georgia for Republicans.


BLACKWELL: It is a difficult path to the White House without Ohio.

So, we'll see what happens over the next few days. We understand from people who are close to Governor Bush that he's taking a few days to exhale and then he'll think about any potential endorsement.

Ben Ferguson, Kayleigh McEnany, thank you both.

FERGUSON: Thanks, Victor.

MCENANY: Thank you, Victor.

WALKER: And coming up at 9:00 a.m. Eastern, do not 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.

Now, when we come back, Bernie Sanders momentum failed in Nevada as we saw.

BLACKWELL: Now, his focus is on South Carolina, the primary there coming up on the 27th. But are black voters with him? Has he begun those inroads that he needs to win there? Or at least come close?


[07:16:22] WALKER: Well, a big win in Nevada for Hillary Clinton, propped up by the support of minority voters and casino workers. She defeated Senator Bernie Sanders.

Take a listen.


CLINTON: Some may have doubted us, but never doubted each other. This is your campaign and it is --


It is a campaign to break down every barrier that holds you back.


WALKER: Clinton is already moving forward, attending an event in Houston late last night as she looks forward to the South Carolina primary next week in which she's already the crowd's favorite.

CNN senior political correspondent Brianna Keilar live from Houston.

Brianna, a very crucial win for Hillary because it was important to blunt Sanders momentum, right?

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: That's exactly right. He had won New Hampshire and for this campaign, the Clinton campaign from the time he had won New Hampshire until yesterday in Nevada where honestly they thought that they might be losing to Bernie Sanders last night, it was really tough going. A few top aides saying that there was consensus that this was the best day of the Clinton campaign since she declared her candidacy back in April. This was a key win and partly because even though there is a sizable minority voting bloc in Democratic electorate in Nevada, it's only 30 percent -- 15 percent African American, 15 percent Hispanic, and with so many white voters there was a possibility that Bernie Sanders really could have closed the gap on Hillary Clinton.

So, looking at that state, it seemed like one state more favorable to him especially with the caucus format, there was a thought that it would favor him and ultimately he did not only not prevail, but he fell six points short of Hillary Clinton so it is this decisive win for her going into the South Carolina which is friendlier terrain.

WALKER: So, what about Bernie Sanders? Where does he go from here? I mean, clearly, Hillary Clinton has the upper hand into South Carolina and, of course, on Super Tuesday.

KEILAR: Yes, that's right. On Super Tuesday, you have South Carolina next Saturday. Super Tuesday in a week in change, and then you're going into a lot of contests March 15th there is another bunch of contests.

He's going to try to keep doing what he seems doing, which is attracting African-American support. He's really been looking at young African-Americans and we see this generational divide even in minority voting blocs in the Democratic Party that he's trying to attract. But he really has an uphill climb.

I don't care you can over state it. He needs some sort of game- changer and so we're going to be seeing what his attempt at that is in terms of his messaging here in the coming days. It's a little unclear at this point, but he said certainly he feels like this is a win because he closed the gap on Hillary Clinton. Nevada had been a race that seemed locked up by her even a month or so ago and he really did close a bit of a gap, but he's going to have to try to do something. So, we'll be waiting to see what that is.

WALKER: Yes, it's been very challenging for him to attract the non- white voters. We'll see how things move forward.

Brianna Keilar, CNN senior political correspondent -- appreciate that. Thanks.

BLACKWELL: So, what can we take away from last night's win there in Nevada?

Let's bring in CNN commentator Bakari Sellers, who's also a Hillary Clinton supporter.

So, Clinton won Nevada. However she had to work much harder to win the state than she did eight years ago. Why?

BAKARI SELLERS, CNN COMMENTATOR: Well, I think you saw a better candidate as well last night and over the past few days victor. One of the things that we saw was we saw Hillary Clinton campaigning very, very late into the night, speaking to culinary workers in the casinos and restaurants along the Strip.

[07:20:01] We saw Hillary Clinton just outworking Bernie Sanders over the past few weeks in Nevada, because she needed it. Look, the fact of the matter is the Clinton campaign needed this victory and the candidate rose to the occasion.

BLACKWELL: Well, the firewall held up. She did really well with African American caucus-goers. However, she did not do so well with Latinos in Nevada. What happened here?

SELLERS: Well, I think what we're seeing -- and the Clinton campaign would actually push back on that and say that they actually did very well with Hispanic voters. But we did see African-American voters pushed by African-American women kind of carrying the day. And that is a good narrative going into South Carolina. What happened yesterday though was we can dispel with a few myths.

The first is that Hillary Clinton has a woman problem, because she clearly does not. She won women yesterday. She won African-American women huge yesterday.

And we found a few narratives to be true. One is which the firewall has all of its bricks in place and the firewall has all its bricks in place heading into the South Carolina where I anticipate a rough day for Bernie Sanders in about a week.

BLACKWELL: So, we've seen here in Nevada that she does really well with voters who are 45 years or older. And Sanders does well with young voters.

How does she increase that appeal to young voters?

SELLERS: Well, this is going to sound pretty mundane and pretty simple, Victor, so I apologize. But just coming from my political background, I would simply say that she has begin to control the mediums where young people live, work and play. This is a Snapchat generation. And until Hillary Clinton actually has a face on Snapchat and she ups her Twitter game and Facebook game and does those things necessary where Bernie Sanders is dominating, I don't think she'll make inroads there.

It is a necessary inroad she has to make because going into the general election, you cannot just get pummel by any group like this. If I were to give her any advice id would say you have to make overtures to the Snapchat generation where they are.

BLACKWELL: You know, I mentioned to Nomiki Konst, who is a Bernie Sanders supporter as you know, that victory speech she gave in Nevada yesterday. It had the rhetorical "we," our, instead of the "my" and me and I that we saw earlier in this campaign.

How is Bernie Sanders and this revolution that he's calling for changing the Clinton campaign at least rhetorically?

SELLERS: Oh, it's not rhetorical. It's practical. It's tangible. I mean, it's changing it for the better.

Bernie Sanders is doing everything that the Clinton supporters including myself were thinking that Martin O'Malley would do, and thinking that Joe Biden do, and now, we have the Bernie Sanders doing it, which is making Hillary Clinton a much better candidate.

Hillary Clinton is becoming in her own now. Whether it is not the ad, the closing ad in Nevada, whether or not it's some effort she put forth in the closing days now they have the momentum and the springboard. But you can't discount the campaign that Bernie Sanders is running.

And her speech last night, the we, the our, just changing the tone, changing the messaging a little bit, twerking it a little bit. And now you have a candidate who can go into November and do some wonderful things and make history in this country. BLACKWELL: Yes. She finished that speech by saying the future that

we want is within our grasp.


BLACKWELL: Bakari Sellers, thank you so much.

SELLERS: Thank you. Good morning, Victor.


This is the Democrats' turn now to face the South Carolina voters, just days before their party's primary, the candidates make their case, the CNN South Carolina Democratic presidential town hall is coming up Tuesday night at 8:00 here on CNN.

WALKER: And we will continue with our political coverage but we do some other stories that are making headlines.

Black sludge, that is what some Texas residents are calling the black foul smelling water coming out of their faucets. We'll have the details, next.

BLACKWELL: And in Syria, twin car bombs killed dozens of students and government workers. We'll take you there in a moment.


[07:27:31] WALKER: Welcome back, everyone. We'll have more of our political coverage coming up.

But first, we want to check some of the other stories we are following.

BLACKWELL: We are starting in Michigan. Six people dead. Two others fighting for their lives in a hospital after shooting spree in Kalamazoo last night. The suspect has been taken to custody. Police say 45-year-old Jason Dalton will face murder charges tomorrow. Police say he drove around Kalamazoo just picking victims at random.

Among the dead, a father and son at a local car dealership. We'll have more from Kalamazoo in just a few minutes.

WALKER: Another town could be having problems with dirty water, and this time in Crystal City, Texas. Residents reported black sludge coming out of their faucets with no warning. The city says they drained their water tower for the first time in years. The sludge was built up sediment and the water is being tested for safety while bottled water is being trucked in.

BLACKWELL: Twenty-five people are dead, 39 people wounded at least after two car bombs exploded near a bus stop in the city of Homs. That's in Syria. According to Syrian state-run media, no group has claimed responsibility for the attack, but it happened in a neighborhood that's been attacked in the past by ISIS. WALKER: At least five dead and a curfew still in effect as Fiji is

hit with its worst storm on record, Cyclone Winston. The storm got 184 miles per hour winds, power outages and building damage. Schools will remain closed for a week as the clean up begins. Australia and New Zealand have stepped up to help with the country's recovery effort.

BLACKWELL: All right. As NEW DAY continues this morning, Jeb Bush out of the race, humbled in his speech last night. He suspended his campaign but not before criticizing Donald Trump one last time.

Plus, Ted Cruz's not so great night coming in behind Marco Rubio in third place. The challenges he's facing moving ahead.