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GOP Rivals Gearing Up For Nevada Fight; Trump Rides Momentum In Nevada Caucus Campaign; John Kasich Live Tonight; Cruz Looks To Build On Third Place Finish In South Carolina; Rubio Says The Cruz Tea Using Dirty Tricks; Giuliani Advising Donald Trump; Republican Presidential Debate Thursday; Hillary Clinton's Southern Strategy; Apple Versus The FBI; Clinton Carrying Big Lead Into South Carolina; Clinton in South Carolina; Accused Uber Driver in Court Today. Aired 1-1:30p ET
Aired February 22, 2016 - 13:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Thank you for watching, everyone. Nice to have you with us. Stay tuned; "WOLF" starts right now.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, I'm Wolf Blitzer. It's 10:00 a.m. in Las Vegas, 1:00 p.m. here in Washington, 8:00 p.m. in Damascus, Syria. Wherever you're watching from around the world, thanks very much for joining us.
We start with the presidential race here in the United States with the Republicans and the Democrats switching battlegrounds. The Republicans hitting Nevada, the Democrats looking ahead to South Carolina. Three of the five remaining Republican hopefuls there in Nevada today. That's the short-term focus. Long-term, it's the March 1st Super Tuesday primaries.
Meanwhile, on Democrat side, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, they're getting ready for their battle in South Carolina, and the next test of how African-American voters are going to break. We'll get to that a little bit later this hour.
But first, let's check the pulse of the Republican race for the White House right now. Donald Trump is riding high after his 10-point win in South Carolina. In a stop in Atlanta, he ticked off the groups that gave him the win.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES: So, we won with everything. We won with highly educated, pretty well educated and poorly educated, but we won with everything. Tall people, short people, fat people, skinny people. Just won.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: Florida Senator Marco Rubio collected his best finish so far, a second-place finish in South Carolina. Now, he's taking his message to Nevada.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MARCO RUBIO (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We will win this election because of the people left in this race -- of the people left in this race, no one can unite this movement or this party faster than I can. And we have to unite. If we're still fighting with each other in September and October, we're going to lose. If we're still divided, we're going to lose. There aren't enough of us.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: We're following the action in Nevada today ahead of Tuesday's caucuses. Our National Political Reporter Maeve Reston is in Elko, Nevada for us. That's where three of the campaigns are hitting the ground today. Why so much emphasis made on Elko?
MAEVE RESTON, CNN NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Elko is one of the biggest cities in rural Nevada. And, of course, that will be really critical to whoever wins here on Tuesday. This is a caucus state. And if these candidates can come in and sweep up some delegates in these rural areas, that's what they want to do.
So, literally, within a one-block radius, we have Ted Cruz here today. Marco Rubio has a strong crowd inside. It's about to get speaking in there. And Donald Trump, the voters here were expecting to see him, but he's sending his son instead, today.
BLITZER: Maeve, talk a little bit about what happened in the GOP contest in the Nevada caucuses. Back in 2012, when Mitt Romney won the state, what lessons can the current candidates learn from that?
RESTON: Well, this really is the wild west out here, Wolf. You know, you had only 33,000 voters show up to caucus in the Republican caucus in 2012 when Romney won here. And he won by virtue of a really strong ground organization. So, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, Jeb Bush, they were all hoping to do the same thing this election year, but Donald Trump has kind of swept in with his momentum, not as much organization, and it really feels like Trump country out here. We've been driving these rural counties for the last week, and almost every Republican voter that we've met is saying that they're supporting Trump.
So, the question tomorrow night is whether or not the organization of these other campaigns, Cruz and Rubio, who clearly are competing for second here, can overtake that momentum, turn their people out, and hope for, you know, less of a big turnout for Donald Trump here tomorrow night.
BLITZER: All right, Maeve Reston in Nevada for us. Maeve, thank you.
Later, by the way, in "THE SITUATION ROOM," I'll be interviewing the Ohio governor, John Kasich. He's one of the five Republican candidates still standing. We'll talk about the results in South Carolina, the upcoming votes in Nevada and beyond. That's later today, 5:00 p.m. Eastern.
Meanwhile, Ted Cruz, he finished a close third in South Carolina but stands second in the current Republican delegate count. He's also in Nevada today trying to gain support ahead of tomorrow's caucuses. Let's discuss a little bit more about what's going on. Joining us, our CNN Chief Political Correspondent Dana Bash and our Chief Political Analyst Gloria Borger.
Cruz has got to make his case. A disappointing third-place showing in South Carolina.
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: He does. And, you know, I think that he was disappointed with evangelical voters, and I think he's got to start appealing to evangelical voters. He understands that Donald Trump is way ahead there. He's got some money to spend. He's been organized. He's got a really well-organized campaign.
So, I think Cruz will continue to make his case, that he's the constitutional conservative and the values candidate. I mean, the one area we saw in those exit polls that Cruz does badly is on shares your values. I mean, that Trump does badly. Cruz does well on that.
BLITZER: When they say values, they mean, like, the social issues, right?
BORGER: Exactly, exactly.
[13:05:00] BLITZER: Yes, marriage, gay marriage, --
BLITZER: -- stuff like that.
BLITZER: Stuff like that.
BLITZER: Abortion rights for women.
The Jeb Bush decision to suspend his campaign, effectively dropping out of the race, the supporters, the money, where are they heading?
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, the Rubio campaign is trying to get them big time. Not everybody has really decided where they're going to go, if they're going to go anywhere else. I'm sure most of them will, eventually. But that is really the race right now.
John Kasich would probably like to have some of them. They tend -- they are the more establishment Republican supporters and donors. And that is the key right now.
But I think to your point about Ted Cruz -- first of all, I don't think a lot of them are going to go for Ted Cruz or Donald Trump. I mean, Donald Trump is self-funding.
But that's a different -- that's a different story.
BASH: But to your point about Ted Cruz, you know, as the night was going on and on and on, on Saturday night, the one thing that the Rubio campaign was starting to push already is, Ted Cruz doesn't have a lock on the south. Never mind a lock, I mean that he didn't get any delegates. Nobody got any delegates in South Carolina, except Donald Trump which is pretty astonishing.
BLITZER: He got all 50.
BASH: But -- yes.
BASH: Which is really remarkable.
But Ted Cruz has spent a lot of time going through -- I mean, campaigning in the so-called SEC primaries, the ones that'll happen on March 1st. He's did a bus tour there in August when everybody was thinking, what are you doing?
BASH: So, I think that there should be and is a lot of focus on those March 1st states and it will tell us a lot about Ted Cruz's viability. the reason why that's important is to figure out whether or not Marco Rubio can be the only guy left standing, effectively, against Donald Trump.
BORGER: Can I say something, to add to what Dana is saying about the donors? I was talking to a bunch of donors over the weekend --
BLITZER: Bush donors?
BORGER: Jeb Bush donors. And, first of all, they say, Jeb Bush hasn't sent any kind of a signal to anybody. He's taken some time off and he's not going to send a signal. There is this kind of Shakespearean fight that we've seen between the mentor and his student, you know, Bush and Rubio. So, there still are some hard feelings.
So, people aren't flocking to one candidate or another. Somebody said to me, many will go to Rubio. Obviously, Rubio campaign says they've gotten a lot. But in Texas, for example, there may be some donors who decide to go to Cruz. And also, Kasich is making a play for some -- for some Jeb Bush donors.
BLITZER: We just got a clip in. This is Senator Rubio. Dana, listen to this. He was asked about Ted Cruz's so-called dirty tricks that are -- that he supposedly is playing out there against some of the other Republican candidates. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'm saying, someone -- at some point, there has to be some level of accountability. Otherwise, they're running an operation where you're sending a message to the people that work for you, go out and do anything you want. And if you get caught, we'll just apologize, but we'll keep doing it. That seems to be what's happening here.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: It seems to be what's happening here, he says there. This whole notion of dirty tricks, what was going on maybe in South Carolina, or Iowa for that matter, potentially could be plaguing Senator Cruz.
BASH: It could be. Potentially, it was one of the things that hurt him in South Carolina. And the Rubio campaign is really going after him. I mean, you and I both were at a rally that Marco Rubio was having in South Carolina, when one of his top aides started to hand out a piece of paper that showed a clearly photoshopped photo of what appeared to be Marco Rubio shaking Obama's hand.
And the Rubio campaign clearly thinks that that is a negative for Ted Cruz which is why their campaign, and the candidate himself, keeps pounding away on this dirty tricks notion. Because they think that it opens up a wound that hadn't been there before, for Ted Cruz, and that he was coming across successfully as a true conservative, as somebody who was above it all and outside, kind of, a political -- the whole political idea of doing things the way that people in Washington do it. Well, he's trying to poke a hole in that.
BORGER: You know, and so, his strength is values.
BORGER: And part of values is ethics. And if they can weaken him on that, that would be a good thing for them. And, by the way, they're joined with Donald Trump on this --
BASH: They are.
BORGER: -- who keeps calling Ted Cruz, what, sleazy and a liar and everything else. So, Donald Trump is on Rubio's side in this. And this way, he can attack Cruz, be on the side of Donald Trump, and avoid for, what, maybe another week or two, attacking Donald Trump.
BLITZER: What do you make of Rudy Giuliani, the former New York City mayor, being quoted in "The Washington Post," saying he's given some political advice to Donald Trump?
BORGER: It doesn't surprise me, actually. I think these fellows go back a long way in New York. Trump says he's strong on ISIS and fighting terrorism which is the number one issue in the Republican Party.
However, I do recall that Rudy Giuliani actually ran for the presidency and didn't -- BASH: Yes.
BORGER: -- do so well. And so, maybe it's more foreign policy advice and less tactical advice that he's -- that he's giving.
BASH: And it's a perfect example of how Donald Trump just -- there are different rules that apply to him because one of the main reasons Rudy Giuliani didn't take off is he had, historically, not had strong enough position against abortion.
[13:10:07] BORGER: That's right.
BASH: You can certainly say the same thing against Donald Trump. He said it in the clip that plays over and over again but it doesn't matter.
BLITZER: He says his position has evolved --
BLITZER: -- all these years later. All right, guys, thanks very much.
Don't forget, this Thursday, the five remaining Republican candidates meet in the next Republican presidential debate. It's in Houston, Texas. I'll be moderating. The debate begins 8:30 p.m. Eastern Thursday night only here on CNN.
Up next, with a win in Nevada, Hillary Clinton prepares for the next vote in South Carolina. Will she change her strategy?
And the fight between the FBI and Apple heating up again over the San Bernardino shooter's encrypted cell phone. What would a win for Apple mean for you?
BLITZER: Hillary Clinton is spending her day in California today. She has three fund-raising events around Los Angeles, while Senator Bernie Sanders is on the other side of the country, campaigning mainly today in Massachusetts, with a surprise stop in South Carolina earlier this morning.
Clinton fresh off of her win in Nevada heads into Saturday's South Carolina primary with a formidable lead among Democratic voters in that state. A CNN
[13:15:00] poll of polls in South Carolina shows she has about 57 percent support to Bernie Sanders' 32 percent.
Our senior Washington correspondent, Jeff Zeleny, is in Charleston, South Carolina, for us.
So what's giving Hillary Clinton this impressive lead, at least according to all the polls in South Carolina? JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, there's no
question she's coming into South Carolina with a big advantage. She's had that advantage here for a long time. Not necessarily that unusual because she's so much -- you know, she's established here, she's well known here, she's been campaigning here for a long time. Bernie Sanders is hoping to cut into at least some of that support. But they're fairly realistic about the uphill battle that they have here in South Carolina, primarily because of African-American voters. You know, in 2008, some 55 percent of the electorate, of the Democratic electorate, were black voters. It's likely to be about the same this time. And of that, Wolf, even more importantly are African-American female voters.
That's exactly who the Clinton campaign is going after, the Sanders' campaign is trying to make inroads into. But the Clinton campaign, although she is fundraising today, she has quite a bit of activity going on, on the ground here in South Carolina and she will all week. She's campaigning with the mothers of children who have been shot in a -- in a -- episodes of violence, of gun battles and what not. So they are putting their support behind her as a way to say that she is stronger on gun control than Bernie Sanders. But Bernie Sanders is trying to reach out to young voters with his economic message, hoping that they respond to that here, Wolf.
BLITZER: You know, and she did get about 75 percent of the African- American vote in the Nevada caucuses Saturday night.
BLITZER: Which bodes well, looking ahead to South Carolina next -- this coming Saturday. The delegate count on the Democratic side --
BLITZER: Hillary Clinton, right now, has, what, 496 delegates? Most of those super delegates, compared to 69 delegates for Bernie Sanders. So from a delegate count perspective, she is way ahead right now. And that's impressive.
ZELENY: It is significant, Wolf, no doubt about it. And -- and this is the end of -- or the beginning of the phase of the delegate fight. Now, in pledged delegates they are exactly tied right now. That could change a little bit because of some new precincts coming in, in Nevada this afternoon. But right now they both have 51. But the super delegates, those party leaders who have pledged their support for her, she is overwhelmingly leading in that. But Bernie Sanders had a message today when he was campaigning in South Carolina. He was telling voters, don't let other people decide. You should decide for yourself. Let's listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We've got a lot of work in front of us. Do not allow people to say to you, think small. We can't do this. It's too big an idea. Do not. If we take that mentality, and go back in history, nothing would have ever been accomplished. If we had that mentality of thinking small, you think we would have an African-American as president of the United States today? One hundred years ago, women couldn't even vote in America.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZELENY: So specifically there asking women voters to give him a look. But, Wolf, he's going to be in South Carolina tomorrow, as well. As the Clinton campaign, they're going to be at that CNN town hall meeting tomorrow evening. But after that, he is going to have one eye at least focused on those critical Super Tuesday states who are voting one week from tomorrow. If he hopes to make a lead in this delegate fight, he needs to make inroads on that big collection of states that comes one week from tomorrow.
BLITZER: All right, Jeff, thank you. Jeff Zeleny reporting for us.
While Hillary Clinton scored an important win in Nevada and has a lead in South Carolina, according to all the polls, she's also still sharpening her message in her fight with Senator Bernie Sanders. Here's a bit of her new ad her campaign just released earlier this morning on YouTube, which talks about the water crisis in Flint, Michigan.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BILL CLINTON, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: She said, when I heard about it, I was sick. I contacted the mayor. She says, what do you want me to do? Her immediate instinct is, what can I do to make it better? And she said, the mayor did, what I want Hillary to do is to go on national television and don't do an interview about politics or anything else, just talk about why we need all this money so we can save these lives. She did. They got the money. She is the, what can I do candidate. She is a walking changemaker. You hire a president to make something happen for you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: All right, let's discuss. Joining us now is Karen Finney. She's a senior spokesperson for the Hillary Clinton campaign, joining us from Columbia, South Carolina.
Karen, thanks very much for joining us.
That ad with the former president of the United States, it hits hard on this notion that she can deliver. I guess the implication is that Bernie Sanders can't. Is that the point you're trying to make?
KAREN FINNEY, SENIOR SPOKESPERSON, HILLARY FOR AMERICA: Well, the point we're trying to make, Wolf, is that if you look at Hillary Clinton's record, she is someone who has a record of delivering change, and that, you know, what happened in Flint, Michigan, is one example where she got involved and wanted to try to make change happen and try to make things better. Obviously, folks in Flint have a long way to go because there's just so many layers, you know, of just neglect that have -- have gone on from the governor there. But that is her message.
[13:20:14] But, you know, also, I would say, you know, Hillary Clinton is a person who has been a changemaker and an agent of change her whole life. I mean you remember, as first lady, she brought a lot of changes to that role. So I see this as being, you know, a part of who she's been her whole life and the record that she has developed her whole life of really trying to deliver results that will have a meaningful impact in people's lives.
BLITZER: Because a lot of Hillary Clinton's supporters say, you know what, Senator Bernie Sanders, he's got some good talk, but there's really no action there. He can't deliver. Are you suggesting that?
FINNEY: I'm suggesting that if you take a look at Hillary's record, you are going to find someone who time and time again has figured out a way to deliver real results for people. Whether it was, you know, her first job out of law school, right here in South Carolina, working on a case to get teenage boys who were being incarcerated with adults, with men, to get that changed, so starting a legal aid clinic in Arkansas, to, you know, she tried to get universal health care. When that didn't work, she came back and got to work on health care for kids. To the work that she did in the Senate on criminal justice reform, on protecting our right to vote, on expanding the C.H.I.P. program.
So what I'm -- what we're talking about is, we want folks to know that, you know, Hillary Clinton is someone who is always going to work hard to deliver results for you and your family. And we think that's a really important message. You know something, Wolf, particularly here in South Carolina, where, you know, folks that are a couple of big issues, you know, number one, obviously, gun safety is a huge issue, and so that's a real point of contrast that, as Jeff pointed out, we'll be talking about. But also this idea, this larger idea, of, you know, how do we break down barriers that are holding people back? She gave a big speech about that last week. It's a big part of what we'll be talking about this week. But it's not just about how we break down barriers. How do we deliver real change when we do it?
BLITZER: What about the whole trust issue. You saw all the exit polls, the entrance polls, that they apparently trust Bernie Sanders more than they trust the voters, at least. They trust Hillary Clinton. How do you deal with that?
FINNEY: You know, Wolf, I have to tell you, my belief is that when voters are going to the polls and they are casting that vote, they are voting for the person they trust to deliver change. They -- the person they trust to get things done. The person that they trust to keep our country safe. The person they trust who is going to protect and build on President Obama's legacy, particularly when we talk about the Affordable Care Act, which is critically important in the African- American community, not just here in South Carolina, but throughout the country. That's how -- that's how I view the trust question.
BLITZER: Karen Finney, thanks very much for joining us.
FINNEY: Thanks, Wolf. BLITZER: And tune in tomorrow night for a another CNN presidential
town hall. Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, they come face to face with the voters of South Carolina. Our own Chris Cuomo moderates in Columbia, South Carolina. The town hall starts tomorrow night, 8:00 p.m. Eastern, only here on CNN.
An emotional day for the justices of the U.S. Supreme Court. It's the first session since the death of Justice Antonin Scalia. In opening remarks, the Supreme Court chief justice, John Roberts, said, and I'm quoting him now, "today marks the loss of our friend and colleague who died unexpectedly," adding Scalia was, "our man for all seasons and we will miss him beyond measure." The high court resumed work just two days after Scalia was laid to rest. The 79-year-old justice died in his sleep at a Texas ranch on February 13th.
Any minute now, the Michigan Uber driver accused of going on a killing spree while on the job will be arraigned. We're going to bring you the latest as investigators continue to look for a motive.
[13:28:28] BLITZER: Any minute now, a Michigan Uber driver, accused of going on a shooting spree, will be arraigned. Police say 45-year-old Jason Brian Dalton killed six people, wounded two others in an apparent random rampage. A source says he picked up Uber fares in between the killings, which took place over several hours. President Obama addressed the shootings just a couple of hours ago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I called the mayor, the sheriff, and the police chief there, and told them that they would have whatever federal support they needed in their investigation. Their local officials and first responders, by the way, did an outstanding job in apprehending the individual very quickly. But, you got families who are shattered today. Earlier this year, I took some steps that will make it harder for dangerous people, like this individual, to buy a gun, but clearly we're going to need to do more if we're going to keep innocent Americans safe.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: CNN's Ryan Young is joining us now from Kalamazoo in Michigan. What do we expect at the arraignment -- at the arraignment that's about to take place?
RYAN YOUNG, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, we know that this arraignment should happen around 1:30, so we're sitting here waiting to figure out the charges that they're going to lay against this man. The warrant has been issued for him.
One of the things that stands out, though, and law enforcement officials will also point this out, as the president was talking, just the idea this man had no criminal history. He did pass the Uber background check. Had no criminal history. He lawfully had that gun. He was the father of two. So a lot of people in this community are surprised by the fact that this happened.
[13:30:03] You're talking about a man who went on a shooting rampage that started around 6:00, according to police, where he shot a woman in front of several kids, her own kids. That woman survived.