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Trump Wins South Carolina; Clinton Takes Nevada; Cruz, Rubio Battling for Second; Ben Carson Stands Firm; Serial Shooting in Michigan; Trump and Clinton Take Nevada. Aired 12-1a ET

Aired February 21, 2016 - 00:00   ET




KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, once again. I'm Kate Bolduan and we want to welcome our viewers here in the United States and around the world.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm John Berman and we are live, yes, live 12:00 am Eastern time. This is CNN special live coverage of the race in South Carolina, the race in Nevada, so much has happened tonight, the race truly changed.

Donald Trump won South Carolina big. There is still a fight for second place, Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz fighting out for second there, And in Nevada, Hillary Clinton prevailed in the Democratic caucuses, a margin of about 5 points over Bernie Sanders.

BOLDUAN: An important note, another big story coming out, former Florida governor Jeb Bush, the man once considered the front-runner to win the GOP nomination, he offered an emotional goodbye this evening as he suspended his campaign as the votes were coming in.

(INAUDIBLE) this is now (INAUDIBLE) race though. He and Ted Cruz are battling for second place but tonight, as we've said for the Republicans, belongs to the billionaire from New York, Donald Trump.

And that is where we want to continue the our coverage with CNN Politics reporter Jeremy Diamond, standing by live inside of Trump headquarters in South Carolina. So Jeremy, a big night for Donald Trump. He says quickly, thank you,

South Carolina, on to the next. Here we go.

What are you hearing from the Trump campaign late this evening?

JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That is right, Kate. Donald Trump tonight with a huge win in South Carolina and this is something that is going to allow him to go forward with the momentum here going into the next contest in the Southern states.

His campaign is sounding confident tonight and the South Carolina top officials with the South Carolina campaign said that South Carolina is a bellwether for the next states in the SEC primary that will vote on Super Tuesday.

They are feeling confident but Donald Trump is a fighter, tonight talking about the pundits on TV and what they are talking about as far as the coalescing around other candidates. This is what he had to say.


DONALD TRUMP, REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Some of the pundits and overall fair but not too much. But a number of the pundits said, well, a couple of the candidates dropped out and if you add their scores together, it is going to be equal to Trump.


These geniuses, they are geniuses, they don't understand that as people drop out, I'm going to be getting a lot of those votes also and you don't just add them together.


DIAMOND: And there you have Donald Trump there and you know, always fighting, always with some fighting words but that is the fight now going forward is what is the coalescing going to happen.

Jeb Bush dropping out tonight and a lot of folks believe that support maybe goes to Marco Rubio or John Kasich as the two potential establishment favorites now but Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz are also tonight going neck-and-neck for second and third place.

And Donald Trump not even making a mention of Jeb Bush dropping out tonight. He is certainly losing his foil in the race with Jeb Bush gone now. So it is going to be interesting how it goes forward but the race is narrowing and it is going to be a whole lot more contentious.

BERMAN: All right, Jeremy Diamond for us, who's been kicked out of the indoor Trump campaign headquarters. They shut the doors there. He is now outdoors.

DIAMOND: Right outdoors.


BERMAN: All right, Jeremy, thank you so much. On to -- what is the next state for Donald Trump, Georgia and then Nevada?

All right. I want to bring in the panel.

Amanda Carpenter is here and she is CNN political commentator, used to work as communications director for Ted Cruz.

Also with us, Kevin Madden, CNN political commentator, worked a lot for Mitt Romney among other people.

We joined again by Doug Heye, former communications director of the RNC.

I see Margaret Hoover here sitting at the table also with us.

Former mayor of Philadelphia, Michael Nutter, and Bill Press, CNN political analyst.


BERMAN: Kevin Madden, I want to start with you because Donald Trump won the South Carolina primary by 10 points after winning the New Hampshire primary by a lot more than that. And as we know no Republican has ever lost the nomination after winning both New Hampshire and South Carolina.

What does this all mean for the Republican Party?

What does it mean for this moment?

KEVIN MADDEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, for Donald Trump, one of the most valuable commodities you have in a campaign like this, particularly in a presidential campaign, is momentum. And right now, he has a lot of it.

If I'm the other campaigns, one of the things that I would continue to worry me is the fact that --


MADDEN: -- when you ask Republican voters not who they are voting for but who do you think will eventually be the nominee, Donald Trump continues to win that question.

Now if you are going back to 2012, when we saw the ascent of Michele Bachmann and ascent of Rick Perry and all of the other candidates against Mitt Romney, the question of whether or not you thought that Mitt Romney would ultimately win the nomination was something that Romney won hand over hand time after time.

And eventually what happened is that when the campaign shifted back to a race between Mitt Romney and one other candidate, Mitt Romney actually won, so one of the big problems is that the other candidates have is that the momentum is on Donald Trump's side.

Now as we are going to into March 1 with multiple contests on one day, we may find out on one day whether or not there is going to be that consolidation of the rest of the field to take on Donald Trump. And by then, Donald Trump may have a very big delegate lead.

BOLDUAN: And maybe too big, a lot of folks say.

Amanda, you have worked for Ted Cruz in a past life and when it comes to -- and we are still waiting to find out who is in second and who is in third and both Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio declaring victory, if you heard the post-vote speeches and they both said they won.

And what did you say? BERMAN: Rainbows and unicorns.

BOLDUAN: And yes. It is anyway.

And moving on.

This is a state that was tailor-made for Ted Cruz and he had 70-plus percent of the evangelicals of the GOP electorate.

What went wrong if you could go that direction?

AMANDA CARPENTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Ted Cruz had a lot of negative attacks thrown at him by both Rubio and Donald Trump and that has an effect.

But this is politics and you can't cry about the way that you lost and Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio are a draw but that's still first loser to Trump.

At this point if it is a three-person race -- I will buy into Rubio's framing on that -- it does not matter if Rubio beats Cruz or Cruz beats Rubio, Trump is still winning.

So at this point Rubio has a big test.

Can he go toe to toe with Trump?

How does Trump attack Rubio?

And if I'm Donald Trump I turn it into the race where he is running against two senators. So I think the challenge for both Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio is how do they break out of the argument role of essentially taking each other down?

They have to stop that. They have to take on Donald Trump and make the case for themselves to win and no more playing for second place or third place. And you have no other choice but to go for the gold at this point.

BERMAN: No more participation ribbons?


CARPENTER: Those are done and we don't believe in those anyway, because we are Republicans.

BERMAN: I want to bring in Margaret Hoover here.

Margaret, I want to pick up on one point that Amanda made about Marco Rubio.

Do we know how he is going to be standing up head-to-head with Donald Trump?

He hasn't done it. Other candidates have done it and had more success than others many have had no success at all. But mano a mano, Marco Rubio against Donald Trump, what does that look like?

MARGARET HOOVER, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: You are right. We haven't seen that. And Marco Rubio has spoken much more broadly in scenes that are going to resonate. If you look at the town hall from last week, they resonate more with the general electorate than a conservative base or a Republican primary.

And he was speaking about reforming the -- criminal justice reform, talking about themes much more broadly resonate to a general electorate; whereas, frankly, Donald Trump is not even speaking to general electorate right now. Donald Trump is talking to the Republican primary.

So we haven't seen what is that going to be looking like. I would just say Ted Cruz had premised the entire campaign on doing well in South Carolina and he had 11,000 volunteers in the state and 7,000 doors that he knocked on every day and 50,000 phone calls they made every day.

And the whole strategy was to win South Carolina and have that inertia going into the SEC primary. Since that did not happen the reason for his campaign begins to be crumbling here.

BERMAN: And isn't he better off, still, Doug?

Isn't he still well positioned, relatively speaking, in many of these Southern states?

DOUG HEYE, FORMER DEPUTY CHIEF OF STAFF TO ERIC CANTOR: Yes, sure he is. This is essentially March Madness and we have advanced another round and if you are still surviving, you are still in the tournament but he has a big problem. And we have focused so much on the evangelicals it is not just evangelicals.

If you look at what happened in South Carolina tonight, he got 15 percent of non-evangelicals, which raises the question we've talked about whether or not Donald Trump has a ceiling.

The question is also does Ted Cruz have a ceiling. And that's where Marco Rubio may be able to put a wedge between the two and then finally we'll start to see some real substantive attacks on Trump.


HEYE: I say completely biased.


BOLDUAN: Thank you for the disclosure.

Something that is so different when you look at the entrance polls from Nevada for the Democrats and you look at the exit polls here in South Carolina, when it comes who can win, the electability question and who can win in November, Rubio gets the 47 percent and Donald Trump comes in second and, of course, these are going to be moving around --


BOLDUAN: -- and we will see.

But Rubio is in the lead and Donald Trump took that and ran with it. Took South Carolina and ran.

What is going on?

What do you see?

MICHAEL NUTTER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I think it is a continuation of quote-unquote anti-establishment. Whatever the establishment is anymore but people want something different and he is saying whatever he wants, which seems exciting and dynamic and new for someone who has maybe kind of sort of been a business person and has failed and come back and all this, has no real political experience.

The country is completely falling apart in his view and he is going to make America great again, which from my perspective, is complete code language and anti-President Obama and may have some racial overtones. So we'll get into that as things go on.

But he is just throwing it all out there and -- which we kind of see a little bit on the Democratic side to some extent with Senator Sanders -- and people are running to it.

BILL PRESS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I just want to say I think the person who said, I heard earlier say if you added up all of the others up, they don't beat Donald Trump, that Donald Trump referred to.

I just want to give credit to Michael Smerconish here on CNN so we know what network Donald Trump is watching.


PRESS: I don't know, I don't have a dog in this fight but it seems to me, looking at the arithmetic, that Donald Trump is the nominee. I mean, who is going to be stopping, particularly, because Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz are going to be staying in and they both had 22 percent today and so Donald Trump wins but he is only 33 percent but he wins.

If they both stay in, I think that he is the nominee.

BOLDUAN: And this is a important question to look forward -- Kevin, you know the electoral map very well and when you look at it, what states going forward are -- is anyone other than Donald Trump going to win?

Because the terrain, a lot of the folks say, it is only starting to look better and better for Donald Trump.

MADDEN: Well, that is the thing, if you look at places like Arkansas, Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, these states that are next up on March 1, they are very similar in a profile to South Carolina. So when you see a 10-point win from Donald Trump, that could cause a lot of other campaigns concern.

If when you get later into the calendar and looking at April, whereas traditionally we see the tipping point when the actual nominee, the eventual nominee locks up the nomination, somewhere around the middle of April, when states like Pennsylvania and New York and Delaware and Connecticut come online, those are also states where, if you look at Donald Trump, how he won in South Carolina and New Hampshire with a coalition of somewhat conservative and moderate voters, those are voters are going to be fitting the same profile for those states in the Northeast.

Donald Trump may have an appeal in a place like Massachusetts. Now I think that John Kasich and Marco Rubio will tell you that Massachusetts and Vermont are states that they could also compete in. But those are two very small delegate states, so they may not have enough of the delegate, they may not have the math to continue to argue that they have a path to 1,237, which is what you need to get the nomination.

BERMAN: And John Kasich was in Worcester, Massachusetts, today, campaigning, looking for some of those delegates.

Carl Bernstein, I want to bring you into this because if you start talking about the delegates, it is proportional for at least a little while longer but even proportional delegate allocation in South Carolina, Donald Trump won them all. He won at least 44 and looking like he's going to win 50 delegates in South Carolina.

Everyone else gets zero, zero delegates out of South Carolina. That is -- that is a big result for Donald Trump and if he can continue anything like that and you know, Nevada is Tuesday; it looks like he is doing well there, too.

CARL BERNSTEIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And the calendar and the nature of the states ahead on Super Tuesday are a big advantage for him. I talked to a major Republican officeholder in the Bush administration a couple of hours ago and he said, look, you have to look at this as Trump having 75 percent chance of getting the nomination as a result of what has happened here.

And at the same time, there is a real movement now that we are going to be see to stop Trump among the so-called -- and it is a very loose term -- establishment figures.

But you still can't see absolutely how Trump gets a majority of delegates going into that convention. There could be a deadlocked convention, in which case you could see someone like Rubio or Kasich, for instance, coming together at the convention with, quote, "establishment" Republican figures, trying to keep Trump from getting the nomination, giving their delegates and votes to each other and having a exciting convention.

You could see a ticket perhaps with Rubio and Kasich, some kind of different form but we will see now a huge "stop Trump" effort in the media, as David Gergen --


BERNSTEIN: -- was saying earlier, we will see some real serious overdue reporting on Trump.

We will see the Republican regulars at this point take out all the stops to try and halt this train, because they see the destruction of the Republican Party ahead.

And also, we have ended the so-called dynasty of Bush tonight. I think that we might see Bernie Sanders start to make an argument that it is a time that we end all of these dynasties, including the Clinton dynasty, because, in a way, he, too, is the outsider who has a chance to start a movement. He has already.

It could keep going but he has to come up with some new angles to keep moving on what he had before his momentum was broken tonight.

BOLDUAN: Let's bring in Scottie Nell Hughes, who is a -- Scottie is a Trump supporter.

You are shaking your head.


SCOTTIE NELL HUGHES, TRUMP SUPPORTER: Well, because I'm listening to that answer right there and I am not going to be insulting every journalist as Mr. Trump has made himself more available to journalists for questioning and everybody has talked to him and they have been asking him the hard question and has handled them.


BOLDUAN: We've definitely asked the questions. The answer we get sometimes is debatable, as you well know.

BERNSTEIN: About reporting, with all due respect, it is about reporting, it's about real reporting. It's not about asking tough questions.

HUGHES: That is a part of the reporting and that is questions and Anderson Cooper the other night --


BERNSTEIN: And he is great. Trump is great at answering the questions in the way that he wants to and he is very, very effective.


BERNSTEIN: That is one of the reasons he is ahead.

HUGHES: He has gone on more media, both friendly and non-friendly and let them open up questions to him.

BERNSTEIN: I agree with you.


BERNSTEIN: No, I agree with you. I'm saying it is about reporting.

BERMAN: One at time.

Scottie, go ahead.

HUGHES: When you are looking at the numbers everybody's talking about, you're looking at Texas, who Ted Cruz is counting on for 155 votes, Alabama, Tennessee, Georgia, anywhere from 50-76 votes, what you're missing in there is Marco Rubio having a hard time in that area based on immigration.

Senator Jeff Sessions is extremely popular in Alabama and that is 50 votes right there and he has not wavered either way.

When you're looking at Texas, If Ted Cruz does not win 100 percent, which I don't believe he will, going into the states right now, you will have a -- there's a threshold that these people have to get at least 15 percent, 10 percent to 15 percent of the voter totals.

That going to be taking away all of that Kasich away. It's going to take Carson away. It's going to all those extras.

And if we go into a brokered convention, I guarantee the GOP will not survive. There is going to be such a revolt on the hands, because the people don't care necessarily what the GOP establishment wants.

If the people have the numbers and I promise you, they are not going to be happy with the Republican Party if we go into a brokered convention.

BERMAN: All right, Carl and Scottie, stand by. We have so much more to discuss.

One more programming note and if you want to talk about the Republican race and where it is going to be really hot, Houston, Texas, Thursday night, CNN hosts the next Republican debate, a debate where a whole lot can happen based on the past.


BOLDUAN: You saw the last debate. I can't wait to see this.

BERMAN: A whole lot of influence over what happens next in this race.

We will also, tomorrow on "STATE OF THE UNION" at 9 o'clock and 12 o'clock Eastern time, like virtually every major candidate in this race --

BOLDUAN: If you're not on "STATE OF THE UNION" tomorrow, I'm sorry, you are probably not even in the race, I'm kidding because that is how many people are on. So you want to join that as well.

We have got a lot more coming on still tonight. Stay with us. We will be right back. (MUSIC PLAYING)




DR. BEN CARSON (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: When this thing started, there were 17 candidates. There are only six now and I'm still one of them. And I'm not going anywhere.


BOLDUAN: "I'm not going anywhere," and that is Ben Carson this evening after coming in last place in South Carolina and right now, he has just over 7 percent of the vote there.

BERMAN: Tonight, Carson, as you heard, refused to say that he is leaving the race and refused to give a concession speech and he says that he is just getting started.

Joining us now Ben Carson's senior communication strategist, Jason Osborne.

Jason, a lot of people today, if you are on the Twitter and if you're talking to a lot of the political strategists, say that Ben Carson should get out of the race.

Why won't he?

JASON OSBORNE, CARSON COMMUNICATION STRATEGIST: Well, I think they you have to look at the bigger context of this, like Dr. Carson said, when we started this race we were at 17th place in most polls. Everybody was talking about Dr. Who and now they are talking about Dr. Carson.

Now we are in fifth place and in some polls we're in fourth place and I think as we move along, we have got three states that have already made decisions and they've voted. We still have another 53 to go and there is a pathway here for us to move forward and Dr. Carson's message of being positive and not attacking the other candidates and actually getting out there to talk about the issues.

I think they do resonate. And I think we will see a lot of turmoil in the other folks in the race and they will continue to attack each other and we will still be standing.

BOLDUAN: Jason, what is the path that you all see forward, because Jeb Bush clearly did not see a path anymore and he suspended his campaign this evening.

OSBORNE: Right. Well, I think you have to look at a number of factors. One is we're still -- Dr. Carson still has the highest favorability and the lowest unfavorability (sic) of any candidate out there and we still have a number of donations that are coming in. Last month was a great month for us and the current month that we are

in, we are raising even more than last month. Our average donation is about $47.

So as long as we continue to have the money and we are still going and we're moving forward into the caucus states, where Dr. Carson has a little bit more of the opportunity to talk directly to the voters one- on-one and we have got a huge schedule or a packed schedule this week in Nevada with a number of town halls, starting tomorrow in Reno or outside Reno. So I think as we move along --


OSBORNE: -- we will see more and more voters coming out and recognizing that, you know what, we need somebody who is not part of the problem right now, which is Washington.

If you are looking at the results here in South Carolina, 43 percent of the voters went with somebody who has never been elected into a political office. So Dr. Carson's message of, you know, heal, inspire and revive is something I think that a lot of the voters are still wanting in their president.

BERMAN: All right. Jason Osborne with Ben Carson, Ben Carson still in the race, not going anywhere as he said. Thanks for being with us. Appreciate it.

Joining us again, Matt Lewis from "The Daily Caller," also a CNN political analyst and Errol Louis, CNN political commentator.

Gentlemen, thanks so much for being with us.

Errol, you are joining us for the first time tonight and I want to give this to you, Ben Carson not leaving the race a lot of the Ted Cruz supporters saying, god he has got to get out, because they believe Ben Carson is pulling directly from him.

ERROL LOUIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I can see why they might think that. I don't know if they're right about that and, more importantly, they will have to convince Ben Carson it that is true if they have any hope for him leaving the race for that reason.

There is going to be a certain momentum that is going to be leading towards -- when we talk about the delegate counts, especially after Super Tuesday and you get through 12 additional states and these thresholds come into play where if you don't have 20 percent, you get nothing. If you don't have 15 percent, you get nothing.

At some point that logic I think is what might nudge Dr. Carson towards the exits but I don't that he ever thought that he was -- as somebody who used to be the front-runner and very popular with evangelicals, I think Dr. Carson, if you asked him, would say Ted Cruz took votes from me, not the other way around.


BOLDUAN: Matt Lewis, when you are weighing on this, do you think that is the reality that they're looking at, though?

Is it still conventional wisdom that Ben Carson is pulling votes from Ted Cruz?

MATT LEWIS, "THE DAILY CALLER": Yes, I think it is, although, of course, they have been fighting and so who knows --


BOLDUAN: And meeting in closets apparently.

LEWIS: And if -- and yes, meeting in closets and, yes, and if and when Ben Carson gets out, will there be hard feelings?

But the funny thing is hearing his spokesman there describe this race and frame it, I am old enough to remember -- you mentioned it when Ben Carson was in first or second place and it wasn't that long ago and it is not like he is the little engine that could that started off with no support and is now in fifth place or whatever, this is a guy who at one point, not that long ago, was a front-runner and has collapsed and I think that the fact that he's hanging on and refuses to get out is indicative of why both Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio are having this problem. They can't get rid of these other guys.

John Kasich is Rubio's problem and presumably those votes will go to Rubio if and when Kasich ever gets out. But Rubio had that bad debate in New Hampshire, allowed Kasich to come in second place. Now Kasich is going to be sticking around for at least a few weeks until we get to Michigan.

So the inability to consolidate support is really killing the anti- Trump candidates.

BERMAN: Margaret Hoover wants a piece of this.

Talk to me about Ben Carson moving forward in the SEC, why he is staying in and also just in general about March 1st.

MARGARET HOOVER, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Well, keep in mind that Ben Carson actually started his presidential campaign as a soft launch through a book tour that he started a year earlier than all of the other candidates and he started to accumulate all of these small- dollar donations after he gave these very inspiring speeches selling his book.

The largest states that those donations are coming are Georgia, Louisiana, Texas, Alabama, Tennessee --


HOOVER: -- all of the states that are coming up on March 4th, March 1st and March 5th and why would he quit now?

That is where his huge base of support is and he does continue to be an outsider and this is where all of the momentum is. After that -- so the best he can hope for, I think, is an accumulation of delegates and then holding onto those, maybe then bartering at the convention. But there is no reason for him to get out now. This is where his support is in the next week --


BERMAN: And he also gets a bigger platform but there are fewer candidates, you get a bigger platform at, say, a debate --

BOLDUAN: Maybe one this Thursday in Houston, Texas.

BERMAN: Thursday night in Houston, Texas, CNN is going to be hosting the Republican debate there and this going to be big, folks. Wolf Blitzer moderates and we have, we think, six candidates on the stage; I don't know if we have announced the official debate lineup. We will see on that as well. But a lot at stake there, coming two days after the Nevada caucuses, just a few days before the March 1st primaries. We will be right back.




BERMAN: John Berman here with Kate Bolduan and we want to step away from the political coverage for some breaking news and pretty disturbing breaking news into CNN.

According to authorities in Michigan six people at least have been killed in what appears to be a random shooting spree or random serial shooting spree in Kalamazoo County, Michigan. And the gunman is still at large and four people were killed at a local Cracker Barrel Restaurant and two more shot and killed at a car dealership.

BOLDUAN: And to emphasize the shooter still on the loose is the latest what we are hearing. Let's bring in CNN law enforcement analyst and former FBI deputy director, Tom Fuentes, who's joining us right now.

Tom, at least six people already dead, seemingly random shooting is how it is being described by police there, the shooter at large and this is all very troubling, especially when you look at the targets that the person went after.

TOM FUENTES, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Yes, I think it is pretty incredible, Kate. You don't normally have shootings that are just this randomly spread and this close together. Often there is either a fight or some personal issue and somebody decides to shoot someone or an argument, people are intoxicated and that type of thing.

But in this case, it sounds like an individual -- and they have a vehicle description that they have put out -- is driving from one location to another and then just randomly shooting people who are there. And you know, from -- [00:35:00]

FUENTES: -- a parking lot at an apartment to the Cracker Barrel Restaurant to a car dealership and is now still on the loose. And I think that it is pretty incredible story and a very dangerous situation.

BERMAN: We are hearing a white male believed to be in his 50s, driving around the county right now and, as you said, shooting innocent people.

What do you believe that law enforcement will then be doing in a situation like this?

What makes sense for them to be telling the people in that area?

FUENTES: Well, I think that what they are doing now is to tell the media to please alert the people and, at this time of the night -- I guess this started around 6:00 pm Kalamazoo time -- but at this point in time, I don't know what you can really tell people, just be on the lookout and try to be safe and be careful if someone tries to invade your home, you see something that is close to this description or if you know of somebody that matches this description, that you know about them, may have mental health issues or some type of tendency to want to do something like this, please report it immediately to the police.

BOLDUAN: And to reinforce everything, we are just hearing this breaking news, at least six people are dead in what they say appears to be random shooting, however, all of the shootings are related, is what we are hearing from law enforcement in Kalamazoo County, Michigan. They're looking for a white male who's believed to be in his 50s, driving around the county and shooting at folks. This is all happening right now as we speak.

BERMAN: Needless to say, if you live in that area, please be careful, please listen to your local police alerts to find out what you should and should not do. Thanks to Tom Fuentes for that. We have much more to come on this story. We'll stay on it all night; also our political coverage, big wins for Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton -- more after the break.





HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I am so thrilled and so grateful to all of my supporters out there. Some may have doubted us, but we never doubted each other.

(END VIDEO CLIP) BOLDUAN: Never doubted each other, Hillary Clinton after a big win in Nevada this evening, one of two big winners tonight, Donald Trump also a big winner tonight.

But there are a lot of also -- let me say big one more time -- big takeaways from tonight and for that let's bring Eric Bradner, who is a digital reporter for CNN Politics.

Eric, you've been looking into this. You've done some really great work for a piece for, kind of the big takeaways for the evening and I think there are quite a lot.

Where do you want to begin?

ERIC BRADNER, CNN POLITICS DIGITAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, absolutely. So let's start with Jeb Bush. This is the last night in the race. The man just really didn't meet the moment of this campaign.

Remember when he entered, Mitt Romney someone that his campaign was concerned about running. The assumption was Marco Rubio would defer to Jeb Bush. Donald Trump was not even on the radar. And the way that this race played out just did not work for him. It was not suited for him.

And so now the question is, where does the support go?

Sure, we are only talking about 8 percent support in South Carolina but we're talking about a lot of big donors, important staff members, influential supporters and so there is going to be a fight, especially among Marco Rubio and John Kasich, for the supporters around and the assumption is that Rubio will pick up a lot of them but Kasich is still banking on this big second-place showing in New Hampshire.

And he is hoping that now he has the opening to start really raising some money, he is the last governor of the race and he is betting a lot on states like Michigan and Ohio, which votes on March 15th and is a winner-take-all state.

And so we will watch to see where Bush's support goes. Former Senator Norm Coleman from Minnesota tonight endorsed Rubio and we will see if a lot of other people will follow suit.

BERMAN: Eric, stand by for one moment, because, as Wolf Blitzer would say, we have a key race alert.


BERMAN: The official vote count is complete in South Carolina and, at the completion of the unofficial vote count, Marco Rubio is in second place. He has 22.5 percent of the vote and Ted Cruz is 22.3 percent and again --

BOLDUAN: They really are separated by 1,000 votes almost.

BERMAN: -- yes, and it's the unofficial vote count, is over. This is not necessarily the final result. This is it for the evening but it's not final, because they will still update with the provisional and absentee ballots, some of which still need to be counted.

But as we are sitting here right now, Marco Rubio is in second place with every vote that has been out there counted so far.

Eric, I know you have some Democratic takeaways as well. Hillary Clinton winning the Nevada caucuses. Take it away.

BRADNER: Hillary Clinton had a really important night, because she stopped Bernie Sanders' momentum here. If Sanders had won Nevada, the story would have been, you know, he has managed to break the minority firewall that Hillary Clinton had and he would be in really good shape.

Now Bernie Sanders is entering a very tough four-week stretch. Tonight in his speech he said, on to Super Tuesday and, in other words, he is basically conceding South Carolina already. The Super Tuesday looks tough, too, there are a handful of states -- Vermont is one of them -- that he should obviously win.

But Colorado, Minnesota, Massachusetts, Oklahoma, those are his best shots at picking up some Super Tuesday states. But Hillary Clinton going to be picking up a swath of delegates in the South in states like Georgia, Texas, Virginia.

After that, March 8th, key date for Bernie Sanders, Michigan votes. That is going to be a test of whether he can play in the Great Lakes. He needs to do really well there, and if he doesn't he could be heading into -- sorry to keep throwing dates at you but March 15th, when five more big states vote, all of them look really good for Hillary Clinton.

Bernie Sanders could be waking up a month from now, looking at Hillary Clinton with an insurmountable delegate lead --


BRADNER: -- so he has to survive the rough stretch before the race moves west and on to better territory for him.

But tonight was huge for Clinton, because she stopped the momentum that Sanders had developed and it'll sort of soothe the donors and the candidate herself and she is looking a lot stronger than she would have been had she lost Nevada.

BOLDUAN: All right, Eric Bradner, thank you so much Eric, for some of the big takeaways tonight, a lot more to come for us, including despite the huge win in South Carolina, Donald Trump's campaign do not think they are getting the credit they are due.

What is behind this?

We will have much more of the special coverage coming up after this.



BERMAN: And Donald Trump, a very, very big winner South Carolina and winning the South Carolina primary by about 10 points. This after he won the New Hampshire primary by well more than that.

And if you can believe it, the reporters who cover Donald Trump tell us that the campaign feels that the media is not giving Donald Trump the credit he deserves.


Well, let's discuss this more.

Joining us is Dylan Byers, CNN's senior reporter for media and politics. Dylan is on the Vegas strip right now, where the Republican race now shifts, because they have caucuses there on Tuesday.

Dylan, what about this?

The media not giving Donald Trump the credit that he deserves; somehow the suggestion is that if he were another --


BERMAN: -- candidate and he'd won as much as he has won so far, two of the three races, people would say this race is all but over.

DYLAN BYERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, initially, it seems like a very hard argument to take seriously, because you think of the breathless coverage that Donald Trump has been given and the media has always been more than happy not just to interview him or to talk about him but to take his rallies live.

He has really been driving the news cycle on a day-to-day basis and even more so in Iowa and New Hampshire and now just in South Carolina. And the media in that way has been very favorable to him.

However, it is true, also, that if you took any other presidential candidate and any candidate from 2012, from 2008, and if they had strong showing in Iowa that he had and then the landslide victories in New Hampshire and South Carolina we would say, he is probably the Republican nominee. That is not exactly the conversation that we are having about Donald Trump.

BOLDUAN: And, Dylan, what about the scrutiny question, we heard from the Cruz campaign this evening that maybe now the media will start to ask the hard questions and really look into Donald Trump in the way that obviously his suggestion is that the media has not to this point?

Do you think that it is a fair criticism?

BYERS: Well, look, I think that many members of the media have asked Donald Trump tough questions but the problem is that Trump has proven to be a sort of Teflon Don, an exceptional candidate, all this stuff just falls off of him. The regular rules don't apply. Take, for instance, the fact that he has said he was against the Iraq

War. Now tapes have come out and, you know, BuzzFeed has gone through the archives and they found that well, actually no, he has said that he was for it and even up until the first day of the invasion.

It just doesn't seem to matter to his supporters and his voters and just he brushes it off the way that other candidates can't. So look, there's always more work to be done in terms of scrutinizing these candidates but I don't know if Ted Cruz is making a fair argument there.

BERMAN: All right, Dylan Byers, on the Las Vegas Strip, stand by. We are going to be coming back here and speak with David Gergen, who is with us and was shaking his head vigorously.


DAVID GERGEN, CNN SR. POLITICAL ANALYST: Listen, when John Kennedy won that famous 1960 race, he turned to his press secretary, Pierre Salinger, said, Pierre, that television solo, that is how we won this race. If Donald Trump wins the nomination, he has got a good chance to get there. He ought to say the same thing, because he would not have gotten there without television.

He has got more free time on television than I think any candidate in history and he has used it masterfully, you have to give him credit for that. He's been very good about -- but there's no question, he is winning because he is so good on television. He's gotten a lot of television time now.

On the scrutiny point, yes, he is asked a lot of tough questions but the scrutiny is going to come on investigative reporting, the kind that Carl Bernstein was talking about and that is what has his business career really been like?

People are going to start asking questions and we don't know the answer to that. I think that is a big mystery but I can tell you right now, the attorney general of New York State has a case against Donald Trump about Trump University. And he is won at the lower court. It's at the court of appeals. It's likely to be decided in the next 90 days.

What is that all about?

They are essentially arguing, the New York state attorney general, that Trump University defrauded a lot of students.

Now Trump has vigorously denied this and so he has got to have his day and he's got to have his share of time to rebut it.

But I'm just telling you I think the media is now going to start, because they are going to be taking him so much more seriously after South Carolina, they will start really trying to vet what exactly has his business career been like.

NUTTER: And David, that is all -- GERGEN: -- fair stuff.

NUTTER: Absolutely, it's fair but that is all the past stuff. Just in the speech tonight, you know, doubles down, triples down on Mexico is going to be paying for the wall, this is how much it costs; yes, they are going to pay -- where?

There is never an answer. Donald Trump makes a megalomaniac look like a person with low self-esteem. So this idea that somehow he is not getting coverage, if you really want coverage and you are a candidate for office, then you really have to start answering questions.

How are you going to do this?

How are you going to do that?

It's not just sound bites and spouting things out whenever you want, you actually have to have details. They matter. It is in a chief executive job and it's the biggest job in the world.

BOLDUAN: Interesting that you put it this way -- and, Bill, answer this, when you say that the details matter and it is almost like what Jeb Bush said in his speech tonight.

He said, ideas matter.

But it hasn't though, Bill.


BILL PRESS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: They don't seem to and I just want to pick up on one thing that David said. There's no -- Donald Trump has said this been -- except for his airplane -- very little money in this whole race.

And there's only --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- $17 million.

BERMAN: Actually, we just --



BERMAN: -- $17 million by the end of January --

PRESS: -- compared to $150 million for Jeb Bush, he has spent basically chump change.



PRESS: Because he has got so much free media.

David, you are absolutely right. He owes us for where he is. We cover his speeches live and the whole thing.

And on your point, what gets me -- and one of the reasons that I can't take him more seriously, although I do think he is going to be the nominee -- is I cannot understand a word he says about -- when he talked about health care with Anderson Cooper the other night on -- he just said, we are going to do this, we're going to do that.

There are never any details and nobody pushes him and says, what the hell do you mean?


NUTTER: -- government of the United States of America is not his private company, where you just tell people what to do or you fire folks or, you know, it is my way or, you know, nothing else happens.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's no substance at all.


NUTTER: -- it's the government.

BERMAN: The question, though, is, when or if voters in the United States are going to demand that.

I want to -- because we are going to be running out of time this hour, Errol, I do want to talk about the Democratic race today because there was a big shift in the Democratic race. They released a big moment that does change things there.

Hillary Clinton won the Nevada caucuses by 5 points. And yes, maybe three months ago we would have thought she would have won by 25. But two days ago --


BERMAN: -- she might have lost, right?

LOUIS: Well, that's right.

BERMAN: And you know, that people in Brooklyn are relieved.

LOUIS: Yes, they are relieved; they are happy. Their candidate really went out and performed. There were a couple of things I think that are going on here.

One is that she really did go out and work. She was tireless in the closing days, 1:30 in the morning, she is going in kitchens and she's talking with people and trying to get the and come out and caucus for her, something that Bernie Sanders did not do. He made, I think, only three appearances in the last few days.

The other thing, though, which I think a lot more troubling for Bernie Sanders is that this was supposed to be his kind of a state. For five years in a row, in the late 2000s --

BERMAN: Economically speaking.

LOUIS: -- economically speaking, they were harder hit by foreclosures than anybody else. They have a really low minimum wage at $7.25 if you're getting any kind of health benefits, $8.25 if you are not.

Here's Bernie Sanders saying I will more than double that to $15 and they still chose Clinton so that a lot of his core arguments to a core constituency, when there weren't 11 other states that he had to worry about, all he had to do was focus on this and he still could not close the sale to the degree that he needed to.

That, I think, is going to bode -- that points to a real problem that he may have going forward.


PRESS: -- it was not so long ago when Hillary Clinton would say you wait until we get to Nevada, man, this is my kind of state, Nevada, because they're big --


PRESS: But you are saying it was Bernie's state, no, they were all saying it was Hillary's state. I still say Hillary won fair and square, right.

But Bernie had a very good showing tonight and I think the Clinton campaign has to look, you got still 83 percent of young people. He beat her in the Latino vote, there is something that is resonating about Bernie that Hillary does not get yet and she has got to get it if she is really going to be winning --


NUTTER: What is resonating is free college, free health care, everything is free. And quite frankly, Bill, very few details about any of how we are going to make this free, other than everybody around this table and a whole lot of other folks are going to be paying for it.

So who can be for that?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is not free.

PRESS: You keep putting Bernie down.


NUTTER: -- free college, free health care.

PRESS: -- you are missing the point. There's something about his -- appealing to the hopes and the aspirations of people and Hillary coming along like a wet blanket and saying, no, we can't.

NUTTER: That I'm going to agree wit. But I'm saying that the message of everything is free and everything is possible --

PRESS: That is not what he's saying there.


BERMAN: One thing that is not free, our coverage. We need commercials to pay for what we're doing right now. We're going to take a quick break, a lot more to discuss, big wins from Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. We will be right back.