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Trump Wins South Carolina, Clinton Takes Nevada. Aired 1-2a ET
Aired February 21, 2016 - 01:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[01:00:53] KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. I'm Kate Bolduan. We want to welcome our viewers here in the United States and around the world.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: I'm John Berman. It is great to see you.
We are live, yes, live. This is CNN's special live coverage of the big, big night in the presidential race, a race that has changed a lot over the last few hours.
On the Republican side, Donald Trump had a huge win in South Carolina, and now, clearly, the frontrunner, and seemingly by a lot. For the Democrats, Hillary Clinton really reasserted herself into the race, and she won the Democratic caucuses in Nevada, a decisive win there.
BOLDUAN: And looking at the Republican field, it is leaner tonight. Does that mean it will get meaner? We will see.
Jeb Bush, was once considered the man to beat on the Republican side with his multimillion war chest, he is now out, announcing this evening he is suspending his campaign in a way that couldn't be, quote, "classier". That's quoting his parents, that's quoting --
BERMAN: I think that's a Bush family representative.
BOLDUAN: That is a Bush family representative. Exactly. Thank you very much.
Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz, they are right now battling for the second place, but the night belongs to billionaire from New York, Donald Trump. That is where we are going to begin now.
So, let's begin with our politics reporter Jeremy Diamond. He's standing outside Trump headquarters in South Carolina.
So, Jeremy, big night for them. Where are they heading next?
JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN POLITICS REPORTER: Absolutely, Kate.
Donald Trump tonight clinching a major victory here in South Carolina. You know, this is going to help to give him some momentum going forward. I talked tonight with his South Carolina chairman Ed McMullen that told me, well, this kind of dispels all the myths.
You know, Donald Trump's game ground constantly scrutinized here, as it was in the past. But Donald Trump offering some fighting words as well. Look what he had to say tonight about the pundits.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: And some of the pundits, and, you know, overall fair, but not too much. But a number of the pundits said, well, if a couple of the other candidates dropped out, if you add their scores together, it's going to equal to Trump.
These geniuses, they are geniuses, they don't understand that as people drop out, I'm going to get a lot of the votes also, and you don't just add them together.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DIAMOND: And there you have it. Donald Trump talking about how going forward, he thinks that he is going to be able to get some of the votes as more candidates drop out of the race tonight. Jeb Bush dropping out, though -- Donald Trump on the stump time and again attacking him and not making any mention of him tonight.
BERMAN: All right. Jeremy Diamond for us in South Carolina.
The race has moved on from South Carolina already. Let's talk about where it goes next and what this all means.
Joining us, CNN political analysts Kevin Madden and Amanda Carpenter. Kevin used to work for the Romney campaign, both of them, Amanda Carpenter used to work for Ted Cruz.
Kevin, I want to start with you. You know, Donald Trump defies political convention so much. You would think that coming out of New Hampshire and South Carolina, those winds would give him momentum. You know, is he impervious to even since he's impervious to everything else?
KEVIN MADDEN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, you know, this goes back to the discussion that we are having earlier on the panel about whether or not this scrutiny coming from the media is going to have an impact or slow down Donald Trump. What has been fascinating about Donald Trump sup potters is their ability or their tendency to rationalize or compartmentalize what they don't like about Donald Trump in order to convince themselves why they continue to support Donald Trump.
You know, you will hear people down in South Carolina saying, you know, I don't like what he said about George W. Bush and 9/11, but I like him on immigration. I like him on the economy.
I don't like the fact that he got into a skirmish with the pope, but he is strong, and he is somebody who tells it like it is, and so I respect that. And so it is hard for me to see that a lot of the ideas that there is going to be a new stream of information that's going to radically transform Trump's supporters' opinions, you know, over the next course of these upcoming contests.
BOLDUAN: What about the other supporters that could go to any candidate if they drop out like Jeb Bush supporters?
[01:05:03] I mean, there is -- what do you make, Amanda, of Donald Trump, where we heard here in that bit of sound, where he basically laughed off anybody else as they drop out, his supporters are going to go to anybody but Trump, and I will pick them up, too?
AMANDA CARPENTER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes, I'm probably one of the ones that he would send to the pundit gulag for, you know, believing, and there are a lot of points on the field that could go on another candidate that could take on Donald Trump.
Listen, there is time left on the clock. We, I do believe Marco Rubio is framing -- I think we are moving into the three-person race. A lot can happen. Donald Trump has been covered relentlessly in the media, but it is largely about what he says, he is not probed on what he believes what he will do as the president, how he will do that.
I mean, just look in the last week, he said Bush lied on a national debate stage and then walked it back, and said, well, I don't know. He said that he was for the Obamacare mandate and he says, oh, I don't know. These things have to be fleshed out with the attention that a frontrunner deserves.
Maybe it's going to take a long time to get there, and maybe it is going to be happening in Houston at the CNN debate, but there is going to be more moments where people can see what Donald Trump is really going to stand by and what he thinks. But at the same time, there is at lot on pressure on Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio right now, because the GOP is panicking. By all measures, Donald Trump is the frontrunner. So, these guys are both going to have to step it up, take it to Trump, quit fighting each other, and prove why they should be president and quit fighting among themselves.
BERMAN: Guys, standby.
I want to bring in Lou Gargiulo, who is the campaign manager of Trump in Rockingham, New Hampshire. Trump obviously won in New Hampshire.
Lou, great to have you with us.
To the question being asked here tonight, and going forward. Do you think -- and you worked on the campaign in New Hampshire that Donald Trump is winning in New Hampshire and South Carolina, in spite of the things that he says, you know, George W. Bush is responsible for September 11th, taking on the pope, is he winning in spite of these things or is he winning because of these things?
LOU GARGIULO, CO-CHAIR, TRUMP, ROCKINGHAM COUNTY, NH: I think it's a combination of both. I think that he is probably most likely winning because of the vacuum in leadership that has existed for past seven years and not having a firm decisive president who is inspirational, and Mr. Trump inspires people by taking a hard-line on a lot of the topical issues that people are concerned about, thing likes the immigration issue and the wall.
Even though people would like to ridicule the question of the wall, we have in New Hampshire especially huge heroin issues with the drugs coming across the border, killing our youth. And I think that those are the kinds of things that people are focusing on when they support Mr. Trump. He is going to do something that's important to a vast number of people.
BOLDUAN: With all of that in mind, John Avlon, is Donald Trump -- is Donald Trump unstoppable going forward? As you look at the map, it gets easier, you know, kind of the conventional wisdom is, it looks good for Donald Trump going forward?
JOHN AVLON, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, unstoppable, no, but it would be naive if you look at the polls in the upcoming states, Super Tuesday and March 1st, beyond Nevada. Ted Cruz is leading in Texas, but that's about it. Donald Trump has strong leads in all of the polling in the upcoming states. That is a reality you need to confront.
It's not just enough for Marco Rubio to say he is going to have the establishment around him, what's the first state he can actually win? And, look, Donald Trump got in a fight with the pope this week, a couple of days out from this primary, and he won in Buford County, South Carolina, where Catholics are the largest denomination, only county in the state where that's the case.
That speaks to this quality of his supporters lining him because of his fights, and making deep discounts because he wears the black hat, because he has the narrative of being the negative guy, and, they say, oh, that's just Trump as part of telling it like it is.
BERMAN: You know, one of the things that happened an hour ago is Rick Tyler, a national spokesperson for Ted Cruz, said that Texas is a must-win state for Ted Cruz.
AVLON: Well, it's easy to say. I mean, it certainly needs to be the case, but he's also got to lead in Texas. Yes, if Ted Cruz can't win Texas, he is toast.
DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, I was down in Houston the other day, and down there again, and I must tell you, it felt competitive there. And from Ted Cruz's point of view, he has to win Texas partly for his reputation.
GERGEN: So, he may I mean, he has to spend time and money there. he has to defend that state. And there is a whole bloc of additional southern states, you know, if you go from Georgia to Alabama to Arkansas to Tennessee to Virginia, and you've got a lot of states there in play.
And Trump -- the polling is not very good in those states that are coming out, but it appears that Trump has been there and he's definitely going to have momentum coming out of South Carolina and New Hampshire. Kevin Madden is absolutely right about that.
[01:10:00] BERMAN: And, Carl Bernstein, let's bring you in on this. I mean, you talk about Donald Trump going forward, but looking at two and three. You've got Marco Rubio saying that it is a three-person race, and obviously other candidates are going to be disputing that, but is that just the facts at this point this is.
CARL BERNSTEIN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: No, I don't think it's just the facts. I think that there is a dynamic of stop Trump that you are going to be seeing some candidates coalescing on, that's going to be the message.
Carson is going to be out at some point, and he is still in there because he likes the publicity among other things. I don't think it's just because he wants to be a politician and thinks he can win anything.
But I think we have to look at the dynamic of Trump's people pushing him forward with great momentum. He is maintained his 30, 35 percent, but we still always come back to the numbers of he hasn't yet won a majority in the state. And it is at some point, he's going to have to, and at some point, he is going to have to get a majority of the delegates and get into that convention with enough to win. That is still by no means a sure thing.
I keep coming back to this, and the possibility that we are going to see a -- you know, the Republican Party, you are talk talking about somebody who is here eight weeks ago said that he was not sure that he would support the nominee at a Republican Party. The Republican Party are or good parts of it are tying themselves in knots over what's happening here and the future of the Republican Party. We are about to see something that the likes of which we have never seen whether Donald Trump wins or loses, this is going to be as bloody a fight that we have ever seen in our modern politics.
BERMAN: Errol, Carl said that the other candidates will coalesce, you know, against Donald Trump. Do you see Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz coalescing, you know, in this presidential campaign?
BOLDUAN: Coalescing means to fight it out.
BERMAN: Coalescing means a bloodbath, yes.
ERROL LOUIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: If they have a little chat in the closet, it's not going to be nearly as friendly as what we've heard about with Dr. Carson.
I mean, look, I think in some ways, what we are going to see is, in some of the states, it's really to important to look at it, state by state, and rule set by rule set, and like in Texas, if you don't have 20 percent, you get no delegates. So, it literally does become a three-person race, because anybody who doesn't make 20 percent gets nothing, and that logic as it starts to plays itself out, and it's deliberate, you will start to see that there are candidates whether they think they are competitive or not, you know, John Kasich or anybody else, you can think that you are competitive and you can say, oh, I almost, you know, I am doing better and I got 15 percent -- well, you got zero delegates.\
And as that starts to play out, who is going to the convention with delegates and a voice is going to start to matter, and that as in so much of the race, Donald Trump is very much in the lead.
BOLDUAN: All right, guys, standby. We've got much more to come.
Big night for Hillary Clinton in Nevada, a big night for Jeb Bush for a very different reason. We have much more of the special coverage coming up.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[01:16:59] JEB BUSH (R), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: But the people of Iowa and New Hampshire and South Carolina have spoken and I really respect their decision. So, tonight, I am suspending my campaign.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOLDUAN: Jeb Bush, an emotional Jeb Bush when he was announcing to the roomful of supporters, his family all standing around him that he is dropping out and suspending his campaign, that announcing this event.
Let's continue our discussion. Let's bring in Matt Lewis right now for much more on this.
Matt, what do you think is the real impact of Jeb Bush dropping out?
MATT LEWIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, look, it's funny. Clearly, Donald Trump is the frontrunner here. I think everyone would concede that. But, you know, Trump said, well, if these other candidates get out some of the support is going to go to me. Really? Does he think that Jeb Bush's support is going to go -- some of Jeb Bush's support is going to go to Donald Trump, I don't think so.
I think that what we have here is a case where I think Donald Trump has a ceiling. I don't know that he can get more than 40 or a couple more of the percent of the vote. So, if you can get him one on one, and candidates like Jeb Bush drop out, and if you can get Donald Trump one-on-one, I think somebody can beat him. That's a huge if, because it does not seem likely.
But the last point I would say, the last point that I think that I would make about this is that, you know, Donald Trump basically, you know, he keeps basically saying that, again, just to go back, that if Jeb Bush gets out, the support is going to go to him. All of these candidates, if you look a look at the list who is likely to get out -- John Kasich is likely to get out, I think that goes to Rubio. Ben Carson is likely to get out, I think that goes to Ted Cruz. So I really think that Trump has a ceiling.
BERMAN: Can I -- I want you guys here just to take a moment on Jeb Bush, you know, to eulogize the campaign that was. And let me pose this question: Was Jeb Bush's biggest problem Donald Trump, Marco Rubio or Jeb Bush?
MARGARET HOOVER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think C, Jeb Bush. And, frankly, it was the last part of the moniker, Bush. I mean, part of it is that he was the third Bush, and the Republicans -- you know, frankly, Americans are not so into the dynasties, right? By the time you got third time around, I think the name Bush was a drag on him.
And then I think the other part is that he is the policy wonk that doesn't have the kind of charisma that his brother had when his brother was president. He is much more like his dad as a candidate who is frankly successfully won the presidency as Reagan's third term rather than in his own right in the beginning.
So, my view of it, Jeb Bush was asked a few days ago, what did you learn from Jon Meacham, the book that Jon Meacham just wrote about your dad? This wonderful, wonderful biography, actually, and he said, I learned how hard it hurt to lose in 1992.
AVLON: But, look, I mean -- yes, being a Bush was not an asset in this election, but he was trying to run a campaign at ideas and ideals at a time when the energy is much more towards economic and cultural resentment and populism and the Bushes cannot sell populism. Even if you are a campaigner like his brother.
BERMAN: W. did.
[01:20:00] AVLON: Yes, but his brother is an exceptionally good campaigner.
And the other thing is I think so much, this is about the last Republican family. You know, the Yankee Lone Stars who were able to build together broad coalitions, and usually, Lee Atwater at time, but still preach a politics and civility and service. And that has passed the Republican by because they've killed their center right.
GERGEN: Jeb Bush remains an admirable figure, but he is the embodiment of the establishment in an anti-establishment year. He ran a conventional campaign at a year when the anti-conventional campaign, the unusual, the unique kind of campaign, you know, was far more interesting. I don't think that it is the last that we have heard of the Bushes. The dynasty has not come to the end.
There is George Prescott Bush in Texas. He runs the Land. He is up and coming player. So I don't think that we have seen the last of the Bushes, but I do think that this is a family who served the country with enormous decency, and George Bush Sr. looked better and better as president.
BOLDUAN: And when you kind of -- to David's point, that this is the anti-establishment -- if this is election cycle is anything on the Republican side especially, it is anti-establishment. You look at the exit polls, everything going for Trump, or people angry at the government went for Trump. People who wanted an outsider went to Trump, top equality and the voter that someone who could bring about change.
When you kind of look at that, and that is the one singular theme throughout this Republican primary, is there really a chance for a Ted Cruz or a Marco Rubio who is -- who are both members of the federal government?
LOUIS: Well, in part, because they are just gifted politicians, and they can start to feel their way towards. You know -- even in the Marco Rubio's rhetoric has really sort of shifted. You know, this whole meme about him being scripted and so forth, but he's actually very good on the stump, he listens during the debates, he adjusts where he is coming from. I think that will probably see him through.
One thing worth pointing out though, if you pick through the wreckage of the Jeb Bush campaign, one thing that you will give people -- pro- reform people a little bit to smile about is that he raised over $100 million for the super PACs, and it did him no good. So, the notion that the super PACs would buy all of the elections and candidates and even somebody like him way ahead in the polls at the beginning, it just didn't work out. You can't sell people what they don't want to buy, and all of the money in the world or in this case, most of the money in the race can't change that.
BERMAN: Kevin Madden, if you're still with us, I want to pose this counter-intuitive notion to you. Donald Trump is going to be missing Jeb Bush. Jeb Bush is a good foil for Donald Trump. Jeb Bush is a good thing to put himself up against, represents the things that Donald Trump is fighting against in this campaign. And with him not there, it may not be as easy for him.
MADDEN: Well, he is going to be trying to draw the same frame around the rest of the opponents, that the folks like Marco Rubio are getting the money from the establishment, and the same people now that are backing Jeb Bush are now going to be backing these other candidates, and he'll continue to draw that frame, and post-up.
But you're absolutely right. That -- early on in that campaign, for him to draw contrast with low energy Jeb Bush and high energy Donald Trump, and self-funded Donald Trump versus the heavily funded by business interests Jeb Bush, that was something that really did work to his advantage, and that he exploited every chance that he got.
BOLDUAN: And, guys, stick around, we've got much more to come.
Hillary Clinton with a big night in Nevada. What is the path forward now on the Democratic side as it continues? Hillary Clinton already holding a campaign event in Houston, Texas, this evening. She is moving onward. We'll be right back. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
[01:27:21] BERMAN: An important win for Hillary Clinton today in the Nevada Democratic caucuses -- Nevada Democratic caucuses.
BOLDUAN: Thank you.
BERMAN: You're welcome.
About five point win there, the race now moves to South Carolina for her. What is the future though of the Democratic race, the so-called path forward?
Our John King has a fascinating look. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: She just won Nevada. This assigns for South Carolina next week at 55-45 margin. She wins 55-45.
Let's assume, again, this is a hypothetical, let's assume she wins everything else, right? She wins Super Tuesday, 55-45, and then she would start to pull away with delegates. Let's assume throughout the month of March, Hillary Clinton won everything.
Now, the Sanders campaign thinks it's going to win some of these states, right? They think they're going to win Vermont, for example. This is a hypothetical. Let's assume she wins 55-45 all through there.
And then we get to May. She's continuing to win 55-45, and finish out the final primaries. If she won 55-45 all of the way out, she would still be short of what she needs to clinch, because of the Democratic Party rules.
But she has over 400 super delegates right now and she actually has more, people who have pledged to support her, and keeping it private for now in case they want to roll out maybe when their state is up or if she has a bad week and wants to roll out the endorsements.
So, if she won 55-45, and again, Bernie Sanders may win some of these states, Hillary Clinton may win some states by 65 percent, but if you just hypothetically play it out in a long contest, it is conceivable she gets to the convention, even if she won 49 states, she could end up short of the delegates, the pledge delegates from the primaries and the caucuses, she needs the super delegates.
The way to keep the super delegates is to keep the party support by winning contests. This isn't winning beautiful, Iowa and Nevada, some people say it's winning ugly, or it's winning close, but it's winning. And that's how you keep the party establishment on your side.
BOLDUAN: The shorthand of that is that it is going to be interesting for a while, folks. So stick around because if delegate math -- if that's not keep you awake -- anyway.
BOLDUAN: Let's discuss this.
So, in the path forward, Mayor Nutter, first to you: changes -- what adjustments do you want to see from Hillary Clinton going forward so that math does not turn out that way?
MICHAEL NUTTER, FORMER PHILADELPHIA MAYOR: Well, I think we have been seeing over the course of the past few weeks, Iowa to New Hampshire, to now tonight in Nevada. Some of the language has changed, the issues have not. Hillary Clinton still detailing a variety of plans about supporting children, public safety, immigration, and how we support people moving into the middle-class, but I think we have heard a much more inclusive message, and certainly even tonight.
[01:30:01] And so that is a part of a -- I would say a shift in language but not so much message. The message has consistently been the same about her record supporting people. She has a demonstrated record over a long of time, but I think has tried to give people something that they can feel much more a part of, and it's appropriate.
BERMAN: Literally, tonight, she made a point of saying much more about the we, we, all of us need to work on -- not just me, me, me.
We were talking -- John King was talking about superdelegates right now. We're joined by superdelegate tonight, you know, Mayor Michael Nutter is superdelegate for Hillary Clinton.
The superdelegates, Bill, were overwhelmingly for Hillary Clinton right now. That's an issue that the Sanders campaign will have to deal with.
BILL PRESS, AUTHOR: And they are -- well, the organization, some of the organizations supporting the senator are dealing with it right now.
Can I say just one quick point -- I think -- don't take me wrong here -- I think the best thing that happened to Hillary Clinton is Bernie Sanders. I really believe he's made her a better candidate. She's focusing more I think on issues that really are the issues of the moment.
That little clip we had, what was it, five hours ago when we started here, when she was in Houston, I wrote some notes down. She said, "We have to break up the banks, create jobs, give the middle class a raise and we have to talk about criminal justice." Those are all elements that Bernie Sanders talks about -- the single-issue candidate, by the way -- in every one of his hour and a half speeches. I think we are seeing a broadening of the message.
PRESS: Just a second. I made former super delegate. I think the super delegates are an outrage. I don't know how they came about. These are people who have honorific titles, mayors, governors, or members --
BERMAN: You need to thank George McGovern for that.
PRESS: In Congress -- there were 712 of them. There's a movement to save the super delegates, and some like Christine Pelosi from San Francisco, I happen to know her. She said that she vows as a superdelegate, she will vote for the candidate who gets the most votes through the primary system. The most delegates through the primary system rather than trying to anoint somebody that the people in the states --
NUTTER: Did you think it was outrageous when you were a superdelegate?
PRESS: Yes. I did.
NUTTER: But served anyway.
PRESS: No, I was -- it came with a title.
BOLDUAN: Go ahead, David.
GERGEN: I respectfully disagree about the superdelegates. May be the Republicans are wondering about whether they should have superdelegates.
What the superdelegates are good for is that there has to be some peer review in any organization about deciding who will lead that organization. And when you -- when you have only primaries and only have voice of the voters and you don't have people who know Ted Cruz or know Marco Rubio or know Donald Trump, having a voice in this, I think that you wind up -- I think sometimes a smoke-filled room produce better candidates than we do through the primary system, and the Democratic Party has been smart to have a --
BOLDUAN: You're going to get a lot of people who disagree with you. A lot -- why not let it be --
NUTTER: It's not created just now, right? It has been going on for some time. Let's not try act like this is actually --
BOLDUAN: We're changing it tonight.
NUTTER: The second is, all the issues that you mentioned and certainly, Senator Sanders has been excellent in putting out many of those issues. Again, for our conversation here, let's not act like Hillary Clinton has been talking about the same things. PRESS: I think it's something to hear you say -- you know, we just
can't depend on the people voting. We have to have these poobahs, these establishment people come in and say, no. This is --
BERMAN: On the Republican side, if we get the brokered convention, we'll get back to the smoke filled -- I guess the vapor-filled room. I don't know.
BERMAN: Errol, just one more point on the Democrats here, because many of the Democrats that we have on like to say, you know, however tense the race is getting, it's nothing like the Republicans. The Republicans is mean and nasty. Look at the really responsible discussions.
Well, how long will it stay if it is close and the battle goes on?
LOUIS: That's right. Look, I think it is going to get ferocious. You probably noticed on social media and other places that the Bernie Sanders supporters have kind of an edge to them. They seem to be a little bit more upset than you might think.
It's not just the difference between we want $15 an hour minimum wage and Hillary Clinton is only arguing for $12. There's something more fundamental there. When you see young people want to throw her overboard wholesale simply because she has some dealings with Wall Street banks. They don't want to know the details, they don't know what other candidates have done. They just don't like it.
That points to something fundamental. And there are a number of movements out there. Black Lives Matter movement, some of the climate change movement, the $15 an hour minimum wage movement. There were people in the streets marching, and they were doing this long before this campaign season started off.
The real question is going to be -- not so much whether the candidates like each other, but will the party accommodate these movements and find something for them, or just beat them down in, you know, sort of a series of races that leaves a lot of people dissatisfied and heading for Philadelphia?
[01:35:10] NUTTER: Well, Errol, I'd say here tonight, everyone would do well to listen to these various voices out here. A, they're Americans. B, people are trying to figure out how to get engaged, how to get involved. And certainly, you know, I would encourage Secretary Clinton to not only listen to these voices, but also more importantly, try to address them in concrete, substantive ways, to address the serious issues that many groups are raising.
BERMAN: We want to get a couple of more voices in now and look forward a little bit. Carl Bernstein, Scottie Nell Hughes joining us now. Guys, we want to talk about, look at the front-runners now, Donald
Trump on the Republican side, Hillary Clinton having won two of the contests, not only the front-runner in the Democratic race.
Carl, what is a Trump-Clinton match-up look like?
BERNSTEIN: I don't think we know the demographics favor the Democrats. But look, all bets are off in this election.
I think we're missing one important fact. That is most of the time, Hillary has run a very bad campaign this season. Shoes have been dropping left and right, and then she manages to pick herself up. She is a hugely polarizing figure in the country, and now has been in her party.
I don't think the dynamic is going to disappear. We have an FBI investigation that is ongoing. We have Republicans going after her and making some of Bernie Sanders' case for him.
So, we got look at all of these factors. I spent seven years writing a biography of Hillary Clinton, "A Woman In Charge". And if there's anything I learned during the process," it's that she is a very complicated woman who's done wonderful things and also has the ability to turn people on and off in a minute. And I think she's got about six intense weeks here, and we don't have a clue what's coming up.
And in terms of Trump -- look, he has defied all the laws of political gravity, and there's no reason we have to think that he can't continue to do that. He's made monkeys out of the press. He's made monkeys out of his fellow Republicans or Republicans who thought he was an impossible figure. And yet, there, too, we've had nothing but surprises. So, let's just operate in real time and see what's coming here.
BOLDUAN: Yes, it's -- we can never operate in real time. We always have to fast forward into the theoretical and hypothetical. That's how this goes, Carl, come on now.
BERNSTEIN: No. Let's look at the records. And I think -- I not that's what we're going to see a lot of now. I think we're going to see some serious delving into the records of all of these candidates, and it might have some effect on the race.
BOLDUAN: Scottie, weigh in on this. As Carl was describing, his description of Hillary Clinton, complicated and can turn people off and on in a minute. Sounds like a similar way a lot of folks would describe Donald Trump.
What does that -- go ahead.
SCOTTIE NELL HUGHES, CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT, USA RADIO NETWORKS: No, it does. It's funny that he brings up the idea of looking at the record. I agree with that. I think quickly for both parties, this is quickly coming down to about the economy and jobs. We're having manufacturing billion absolutely crushed. Both parties,
you want to know where the power is coming from, it's from people that are still hurting on Main Street.
Now, on the Democrats, Hillary Clinton tonight missed a great opportunity. She praised her urban votes but forgot to praise the unions. We're talking about the unions not getting involved. That's a huge base.
And the culinary union endorsed Hillary Clinton in Nevada, but at the same time, she could have used this to maybe encourage other unions to get involved. On the right side --
BERNSTEIN: She did it earlier in the day, though.
HUGHES: She did a little bit. But she could have praised them more. Maybe that might have encouraged unions to come back to her side and endorse.
On the Republican side, it's very hard to sit there when we've been dealing with jobs and economy being the number-one issue addressed within the GOP that people are concerned about with politicians who have been in office that have done nothing. We're still seeing manufacturing running outside of the United States, and when you have Mr. Trump who has created thousands upon thousands of jobs right now, when you talk about records, that record there means more than any legislation, that any type of person up in Washington, D.C., or the Beltway has tried to pass.
BOLDUAN: Now, Scottie, you bring up endorsements. How much do endorsements matter in this election cycle do you think?
NUTTER: Endorsements always matter --
HUGHES: Interesting. Look at South Carolina, what did it mean for Rubio? Rubio had the best list of endorsements --
BOLDUAN: That's who came to mind.
BERMAN: Sarah Palin did not bring Iowa to Donald Trump which I know you know as well, Mayor Nutter.
NUTTER: As someone who has run for office, you know, you'd always rather have an endorsement if it's possible.
[01:40:04] And it is not true that the culinary workers endorsed Secretary Clinton.
BOLDUAN: I thought they had --
BERMAN: No, they did --
NUTTER: But she addressed them. And you know, I think they were helpful but not by way of endorsement.
BERMAN: It stings worse when it doesn't go your way and almost helps when it does go your way.
PRESS: I think in this day and age, endorsements are less important than they used to be. The politics of the past, I think we've seen that frankly on both sides.
NUTTER: In many instances, the rank and file members making their own decision based on how we get their information, whatever the case may be.
I do want to go back to one thing, at the risk of ever disagreeing with someone I've admired for a long period of time --
BERMAN: Talking about you, Kate.
BOLDUAN: I'm waiting for it.
NUTTER: Mr. Bernstein. I would take a slightly different view.
Hillary Clinton has been one of the most scrutinized and I would say at times media-abused public official of anyone in the last 30 some odd years and still has to deal with issues of gender which in many instances male candidates do not have to deal with at all.
So, everyone will get a certain extra level of scrutiny here. Records do matter. Details matter. And let's go forward and hear more about the facts.
BERMAN: We want to go forward now, guys. We want to talk about the next step of this campaign looking at the Nevada caucuses --
BOLDUAN: Like overdrive at this point.
BERMAN: Yes, John King has a quick look at the math, then we'll talk about it. >
KING: 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 margin we had tonight, 35 percent, the other candidates getting 20, 20, 20, splitting the delegates there. That's what you would have after Nevada, four states in.
Then you come to Super Tuesday --
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Which is a week from Tuesday.
KING: A week from Tuesday when you've got a dozen states voting and you watch this. Under this scenario, Trump wins them all, again, essentially 35, 20, 20, 20. I know some of you at home are saying no way.
Let's say if he won them all under that relatively close to the split, he would start to pull away in the delegates chase. So, let's say, you're a Ted Cruz supporter, you say, no way, Ted Cruz is going to win in Texas. Give him -- keep him at one and three and four. Assign it that way. Cruz catches up a little.
Dana just mentioned a few minutes ago, Governor Kasich tonight is in Massachusetts. It's a more moderate state. We'll see what happens. But let's say for the sake of argument, either Kasich or Rubio wins. We'll give it to Kasich here, two, three, four, the -- two, three, four don't matter. The delegates come easy.
Even if you do that, if Trump wins most, he starts to pull away a little bit in the delegate chase. This is when it gets interesting when you go forward because the map, you have so many states voting at once, Donald Trump has such an advantage.
These other candidates in the race, Cruz has a decent amount of money. Kasich doesn't have that much money. Donald Trump has celebrity 100 percent name ID and money if he wants to spend it.
This is where it gets interesting because with the momentum he has now, you assume Trump is in the lead just about everywhere. And the question is, can the other candidates, they have to pick and choose. If you're Ted Cruz, you're going to have to worry about home.
BLITZER: They call it Super Tuesday, 11 or 12 contests. A quart of the delegates are awarded -- on the Republican side awarded on Super Tuesday, March 1st. That's a huge, huge prize.
KING: Right, that's a big prize. If you run it out, and again, this is a hypothetical, we're assigning states to Trump on a 35, 20, 20, if you run it out, well, that's Super Tuesday, by the end of March, 5 percent of delegates on the Republican side will have been assigned. He could pull out a stretch. Even if you took a few states away, Trump would still have a big lead.
Doesn't mean he'll be the nominee, but at the moment, the challenge for the other candidate as the calendar gets crowded, wolf, and as the calendar gets busy, pick your targets, and for several of the candidates, they've got to raise money and raise it fast, because you need resources to win when the map expands so quickly.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: All right. John King, thanks for that.
The Republicans vote Tuesday in the Nevada caucuses. March 1st is either the sec primary or Super Tuesday. Look at the states. A lot of Southern state there, you see Texas, you see Oklahoma, Arkansas, Tennessee, Georgia, Virginia.
Doug Heye, who does what where?
DOUG HEYE, FORMER DEPUTY CHIEF OF STAFF TO REP. ERIC CANTOR: Well, the first thing, it's going to be a three-way race moving forward. But we have something coming up called a debate. We've seen how important each of these has been. Each one is described as the most important debate, that's because it's always been more important than the last one. Until we see --
BOLDUAN: There really have been deep changes in some regard, as has Marco Rubio --
HEYE: The changes and as candidates have fallen out, we've had more time for more candidates to say good things, dumb things, with less candidates we'll have more time for them to say good things and dumb things again.
BERMAN: CNN --
HEYE: How's that for a non-question?
BERMAN: You brought it up, CNN, Thursday in Houston, moderated by Wolf.
BOLDUAN: What does Super Tuesday look like this time? On the Republican side?
GERGEN: It looks -- New Hampshire and South Carolina have set the table for Super Tuesday. We've got a candidate coming out of that, a lot of momentum, going into states where you should do well anyway.
[01:45:02] But you've got a whole bloc of like -- I think it's seven Southern states. Texas --
BOLDUAN: Do you see any surprises coming?
GERGEN: There are almost always surprises when you've got 50 states at risk. I think -- the question is, can Rubio or Cruz win any of those states other than Texas? And I'm not sure I see a state where you could say yes, he's got a good chance to beat Trump there.
BERMAN: Amanda Carpenter, who spent a lot of time working for Ted Cruz, where does Ted Cruz win on March 1st? Didn't win South Carolina, why would he win Georgia? Why would he win Tennessee? Why would he win in Arkansas?
CARPENTER: I think there's probably a hope that now that Trump has won both New Hampshire and South Carolina, that this is perhaps a clarifying moment for the entire Republican Party, that if they don't unite behind a strong candidate as an alternative to Trump, they will surrender to Trump.
Cruz has a strong argument in the fact that he has the resources to compete today a March 1st. Marco Rubio is going to have to get some of that together. But you know, there's a big test.
I mean, I can't overstate the importance of the upcoming CNN debate on Thursday because you'll be able to see Trump, Rubio, and Cruz square off with all this pressure on them. And they have to perform. This is their make-or-break moment for the Republican Party, because, you know, we really have to spend time talking about what the suspension of Jeb Bush's campaign means for the Republican Party. He is the emblem of the Republican establishment.
The outsiders have won. Rubio is an outsider in a lot of respects. He campaigned against an establishment candidate to win in Florida. And so, you have three outsiders now at the top of the ticket.
Where does the Republican Party go from here? Do they get behind a candidate, or do they surrender a lot of their core values to Donald Trump going forward? It's -- the stakes are incredibly high.
BOLDUAN: And Kevin Madden, weigh in. As someone who worked with the campaign, who survived a Super Tuesday contest. What does Super Tuesday look like, especially when you take into account what Amanda said?
MADDEN: Again, I go back to the idea of momentum. I think it's a valuable commodity for campaigns to have right now, particularly when we are no longer going state by state on March 1. We will be -- you'll see the campaigns competing across many states.
And that's where Donald Trump has an advantage. He has the momentum and also has this ability to command so much media attention and block out the sun from some of these other campaigns.
Now, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, they have the resources to compete. So -- but I think the big challenge for them, and this is something that Amanda has pointed out time and time again, I think it's absolutely correct. The time is over for managing expectation. The time is for meeting or exceeding expectations.
Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio have to start getting wins. There's no more silver medals anymore. It's just -- it's really important for them to get the momentum, for them to start sending message to their donors, to their volunteers, to all their supporters that they have now seized the momentum and they're the campaign to beat. That's where they want to get.
So, that's something that we're going to see break out now over these next three weeks.
GERGEN: Yes. But, Kevin, where? What states would you -- you think we ought to be watching?
MADDEN: Well, I definitely think we have to look at Georgia. Georgia is a state where if you look at some of the suburban areas around Atlanta, there are opportunities pick up some congressional delegates there.
The same goes for Texas. Not all Texas -- not all of these Texas districts are the same. Some of them are more hospitable to -- to possibly Marco Rubio, possibly Donald Trump. So those are going to be the states where we're going to have to watch.
But I think you're right, David. The overall question is, nobody has a definitive answer on the where. And that increasingly, particularly since we're running out of time, becomes a great challenge.
BERMAN: We've got one minute left, guys. Let's split the Democrats.
Bill Press, Bernie Sanders on Super Tuesday?
PRESS: I think Super Tuesday is going to be very competitive, because those states like Minnesota, Massachusetts, Colorado, Bernie's economic populism I think really does ring through. Plus, there is this dissatisfaction with the political establishment and with politics as usual that works in his favor and works against Hillary no matter how good a candidate she is.
NUTTER: Hillary will probably take six to eight states that day. The run through the south, momentum out of tonight or today into South Carolina, and then really into primarily the southern part of the United States of America will -- she will come out very, very well both in the popular vote and delegate hunt on Super Tuesday.
BOLDUAN: Errol, what are you watching?
LOUIS: I'm going to watch some the far-flung states where we don't know whether or not there's been any campaigning at all. You've got American Samoa's on the map.
[01:50:01] LOUIS: You've got Alaska. You've got Americans abroad. I mean, but this really fully -- we really are fully nationalizing the campaign at that point, starting in March 1st and that's really this means.
BERMAN: All right, guys, stand by. We do have breaking news in Kalamazoo. There was a series of shootings right there. We are getting in some new information. We will get right to it after the break.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
BERMAN: All right. John Berman here with Kate Bolduan and we want to pause from the political coverage to talk about other breaking news right now.
A, quote, "strong suspect" is in custody in the serial shootings in Michigan that killed six people. Now, according to the authorities the gunman opened up fire in multiple locations in Kalamazoo County, Michigan. Police say that four people were killed at local Cracker Barrel restaurant and one of them sadly, an 8-year-old child, two others were killed at a car dealership.
BOLDUAN: Three people are in serious or critical condition at this moment. Police spotted the suspect's vehicle, and took him into custody without incident, thankfully there.
Let's bring in CNN law enforcement analyst, and former FBI deputy director, Tom Fuentes.
Tom, you've been watching this with us as the breaking news has developed, six people killed. There are people still in critical condition. They are using the term, quote/unquote, "strong suspect". What does that mean to you? TOM FUENTES, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, it means, Kate, that
they're confident they have the suspect, but they are not going to say they absolutely are sure have him. They should figure it out quickly.
But at this point, we don't know what the basis of the arrest was, and did they get a license plate description or a vehicle description, make a traffic stop, at which case they ought to be able to search the vehicle to see if there are weapons in it or ammunition in it? They have the suspect in custody, they should be able to do the forensic examinations on him, to see if he has gun powder residue either on the hands or also his clothing.
If they have had a description of the subject and a license plate, but went to the residence and took him out of the residence, then they're going to want to get a search warrant, and examine the residents for weapons and ammunition and other indications of the evidence in the shooting. So, there's a number of possibilities. The police didn't put up a lot of detail.
BOLDUAN: Yes, especially in these early moments. Tom, thank you so very much. We're going to stay on top of this.
BERMAN: All right. Just a few minutes left until the hour right now. Again, the big political news, Donald Trump wins big in South Carolina and Hillary Clinton with a decisive win in Nevada.
John Berman here, along with Kate Bolduan. Our special coverage of this big election night continues right after this.