Return to Transcripts main page


Trump Wins Big, GOP Fracture in Clear View; Clinton Wins Seven States, Sanders Wins Four; Major Discovery in Search for Missing Flight 370; Aired 11-11:30a ET

Aired March 2, 2016 - 11:00   ET


[11:00:07] COSTELLO: Thanks so much for joining me today. I'm Carol Costello. "AT THIS HOUR WITH BERMAN AND BOLDUAN" starts now.


DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We're going to make America great again.

HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: America never stopped being great.

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This is not a general election. It's not winner-take-all.


JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: I'm just wondering if there's a certain amount of denial that you're in about this race.


DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: If you think Donald Trump is so antithetical to conservatism, what took you so long to say so?

SEN. TED CRUZ (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I've been taking Donald on directly.



JONES: You don't play games with that.

LORD: You don't hide and say, that's not part of the base of the Democratic Party.

TRUMP: We're going to start winning a lot, folks. Get used to it.


KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. I'm Kate Bolduan. JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: I'm John Berman. It is the first day of the

rest of the 2016 race. Super Tuesday giving way to what just happened Wednesday.

For Donald Trump, this happened. Republican voters turned out in record numbers giving him big wins in seven states from Alabama to Vermont. Ted Cruz took Oklahoma, Texas and Alaska. And Marco Rubio won Minnesota. Won as in actually first place as to all -- as opposed to all the second and third place victories he has claimed.

Trump is building a substantial delegate lead but there are some crucial big delegate primaries ahead and a lot of big prayers being said by establishment Republicans hoping to stop it.

BOLDUAN: For the Democrats, Hillary Clinton comes up big on Super Tuesday winning in seven states, further expanding her delegate lead. But Bernie Sanders says he's not going anywhere, folks. He won four states including his home state Vermont.

There's little time, though, for celebration. The next round of contest is just three days away and another big debate right around the corner.

CNN's political director David Chalian is joining us now.

David, you were up late all night looking at all the exit polls, watching all these results coming in. What do you think is the big headline this morning?

DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Well, let's just start with Trump's massive victory and the breadth of his support. And take a look, guys, his two strongest states, the states where he performed the best, couldn't be more different. Alabama and John Berman's native Massachusetts, right? I mean, these two states couldn't be more different. But he wins them both big. Massachusetts has many more voters in the Republican primary with a college degree, many fewer white evangelical voters.

Alabama, lots of white evangelical and many more people without a college degree. Donald Trump wins both those states going away and wins all those categories. So his breadth of support is really impressive here and I think that is one big takeaway.

My other big takeaway, guys, I don't think we are now in a battle of Donald Trump versus Ted Cruz or Donald Trump versus Marco Rubio. I think we are now in the next phase of this Republican nomination which is Donald Trump versus the elite leadership establishment of the Republican Party refusing to accept his dominance and trying to do anything possible to prevent him from getting those 1237 delegates.

And by that I mean -- look at this, guys, if this was anybody else, I think the Republican Party would be holding a unity press conference today somewhere on a big stage, balloons would be falling and this guy would be declared the presumptive nominee of the Republican Party. The fact that that's not happening is indeed Donald Trump's next hurdle now to bring the elite, the leadership, the establishment into the understanding that they need to get behind his candidacy.

BERMAN: You know, one piece of evidence that Donald Trump has in his battle with the establishment to prove that he is doing something big here is to talk about turnout, which is up across the board for Republicans, not the case with Democrats, David.

CHALIAN: It is amazing, John. I mean, take a look at this.

BOLDUAN: Yes, that's amazing.

CHALIAN: Look at all of those states. Every single red arrow for Democrats down. Every state you're looking up there, turnout way up among Republicans. This is astonishing. It's a complete role reversal from 2008 when Democrats had the historic turnout in the primary season, I think on Super Tuesday they had some five million votes compared to Republicans with three million.

Complete reversal to what we saw last night.


CHALIAN: Republicans now have all that turnout and to quote one Donald J. Trump, who do you think they're coming to see? Jeb Bush? He once said that about the debate ratings and I think we can point to him as obviously bringing people in, bringing voters out and getting enthusiasm going on the Republican side.

This is a statistic that keeps the Clinton people concerned no matter how much they believe Trump may activate sort of the Obama coalition of young people and people of color that they need to win if indeed Hillary Clinton is the nominee. This still is a major point of concern for them.

[11:05:10] BERMAN: Yes. Because the numbers are up even in states that Donald Trump didn't win. The numbers are just plain flat-out up for Republicans right now.

David Chalian, thank you for bringing it this morning.


BERMAN: Really appreciate you being here.

Let's talk about this more and the road ahead. Joining us right now, Barry Bennett. Barry Bennett is the former campaign manager for Ben Carson, now a Donald Trump supporter. CNN political commentator Amanda Carpenter is Ted Cruz's former campaign -- sorry, former communications director. Also with us CNN political commentator and conservative writer Matt Lewis who's also a senior contributor to the "Daily Caller." And Doug Heye is a former communications director for the Republican National Committee and a contributor at the "Wall Street Journal."

Matt, you just heard David Chalian right there. Donald Trump won more states than anyone, more delegates than anyone. He won Massachusetts, he won Alabama. Why isn't there a unity press conference this morning? Why are you not ready to say, Matt, that Donald Trump is the Republican presumptive nominee?

MATT LEWIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I think David is right when he says that turnout is up. I think that Donald Trump will drive turnout if he's the nominee and also drive turnout for Hillary Clinton. It will be people coming out of the woodwork to vote against him and to stop him. And I think David was also right when he said that if this was any -- other Republican who had won these many states, there would be a unity -- there would be a coalescing around him.

The difference is that Donald Trump is a unique candidate. This is a guy who supported or supports, it's unclear, subsidizing Planned Parenthood. It's a guy who supported or supports single-payer universal health care. This is a guy who has made shall we say racially insensitive remarks? The things that conservatives who care about defending the cause of conservatism cannot in good conscience abide.

So Donald Trump is very unique. And so I think that this is going to be a fight to the bitter end, probably to the convention.

BOLDUAN: Yes. Could bitter end be just March 15th, way before that convention. We will see.

Barry Bennett, yes, Donald Trump won big. I see your smile there this morning. But he did lose four states. What a lot of the conversation going into Super Tuesday was he might only lose one. And Sarah Palin's endorsement did not help bring you Alaska. Why are there not warning signs there?

BARRY BENNETT, FORMER CAMPAIGN MANAGER FOR DR. BEN CARSON: Well, you know, I think the difference between winning and losing those four states came up to about eight delegates. And it wasn't a big deal, especially when you look at what happened in Virginia and Georgia, and Alabama and Massachusetts. I mean, you know, I would have liked to have win all of them, of course, but I mean, it didn't really make much of a difference.

I mean, there's 1700 and some delegates left -- total, left. In order for Marco Rubio to be the nominee, you know, he has to take a huge percentage of them and you know, Saturday that number gets even bigger. Next Tuesday it's bigger, and on the 15th it gets to be impossible. And, you know, there's going to be a period of mourning, there's going to be a period of grieving. There are a lot of people in Washington who have their powers, you know, contrived by access to power. They are all threatened by it. But reality is reality. Math is math. And people have just got to get over it.

BERMAN: I sense no sympathy from Barry Bennett in this period of mourning and grieving if it in fact exists.

Amanda Carpenter, you were smiling, though, for a lot of last night. Ted Cruz did better than people might have thought the last few days. He did win three states. That's the plus side. But if he asked anyone two months ago, Ted Cruz would have won way more than three states. The south was supposed to be his firewall and not just that, it doesn't get any easier for Ted Cruz. The map doesn't get any more favorable for Ted Cruz. So how is he going to move forward with any reasonable strategy to win?

AMANDA CARPENTER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Sure. Well, here's the argument. I mean, kind of looking at the Republican field right now, you have the establishment, which we've talked about, the Donald Trump wing which is kind of new and attracting a lot of Democrat moderate voters and the conservatives.

I disagree with what David Chalian was saying earlier, is that the establishment is going to mount a challenge to Donald Trump and try to take him out. It's going be the conservatives. The establishment has never really cared about principles and policy, they just want a winner. So Ted Cruz's task going forward is to convince the establishment that, hey, Donald Trump is not going to win against Hillary. Donald Trump provided a lot of evidence to that end in making those comments about the KKK. The bimbo comments.

We can go through all that stuff. So Cruz has to win the argument saying, you have to back me if you want to have any reasonable chance in the general election. You have to stop Trump to stop Hillary and the best vehicle to do that is me.

In between he has to deal with Marco Rubio. Marco Rubio, you know, he's not winning his home state of Florida. He has a hard road to go forward. But, you know, Cruz has a very good argument to make. People who would never have considered him before are reconsidering him in light of facing a Donald Trump nomination. People who are Republicans, who care about the party and cannot even face the prospect of having to defend some of his outrageous comments going forward.

[11:10:08] BOLDUAN: Yes, one of those people that we heard from last night was even Senator Lindsey Graham saying that the party is going to -- possibly going to have to get behind Ted Cruz and we know how -- what a bitter pill that would be for Senator Lindsey Graham.


BOLDUAN: Doug Heye, we're going to call you one of the founding members of the "Never Trump" movement. You still have all five of these candidates remaining in the race, no signs that anyone is going to be dropping out. Can you -- isn't there an argument that this race now -- this party, the party, the race is more divided rather than less divided now post-Super Tuesday?

DOUG HEYE, FORMER RNC COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: Sure. I think so. And if you talk to folks with the Cruz campaign or the Rubio campaign, they'll tell you this is a delegate fight, they're in this for the long haul. The Rubio campaign is talking about Cleveland very loudly now. But that's also is what frustrates me and I think so many other people who want to win in November. We saw I think a real foreshadowing of what the general election debate would be like last night. And it wasn't Hillary Clinton, it wasn't Donald Trump. It was frankly Jeffrey Lord versus Van Jones. And for somebody like myself who wants to win in November, who thinks

a Trump presidency would be dangerous but also a Hillary Clinton presidency would be dangerous, to see the defending of racially caustic comments and, as Amanda alluded to, misogynistic comments, it seems that there's no minority Donald Trump isn't willing to defend. That makes it harder and harder for Republicans to win in November, not just on the presidential level but Senate races, House races, governor's races, state Houses, state Senates.

It's a real problem for Republicans moving forward if that's the conversation we're going to have for the next eight months.

BERMAN: You know, Barry, you're sitting here listening to a lot of people, you know, knock down a guy you're supporting right now, Donald Trump. There were some warning signs last night, though, in terms if the party is going to coalesce around him. Two states he won. Virginia and Arkansas. The exit polls show that voters were not satisfied. A majority of voters, at least a plurality of voters in those states were not satisfied with the Trump win.

There's the yes number. The no number is bigger in Virginia. It was the same case in Arkansas where more people were not satisfied with the Trump win. So there are some signs there the party won't coalesce around your guy. And if it doesn't, Barry, if the party doesn't coalesce around Trump, you know, what do you -- what do Trump supporters do about that?

BENNETT: Well, first of all, they will. I mean, a lot of probably on this program were not terribly thrilled about the McCain nomination, right? I mean, I was one of those people who said never McCain, I voted for him in the end and I gave him money. Just you've to get through this process. Right? In the end, we're all Republicans in the end. And if you don't want to be a Republican, that's fine. But I mean, we want you to be a Republican and everybody is invited and we want to beat Hillary Clinton and we want to advance our causes and make America much better if not great again.

But, you know, there's so much spin and so little fact. I mean, how many times does Donald Trump have to disavow David Duke? I mean he's done it, you know, every time he's been asked since Friday. This is ridiculous.

HEYE: He should do it quickly and loudly, and then be able to move on. But he hasn't done that, Barry.

BENNETT: He did it -- he did it before Saturday. He did it on Friday.


BOLDUAN: Amanda, let ask you something.

BENNETT: This is ridiculous. This is a spin.

BOLDUAN: Amanda, let me ask -- I'm going to spin you, Barry Bennett.


BOLDUAN: Let me ask you this. Ted Cruz's almost entire speech last night, we heard him basically saying in a very Ted Cruz way, it's time for everybody except me to drop out of this race. The way he put it was that he hopes that everyone in the race prayerfully considers coming together, meaning drop out. Who do you think he's hoping, he's praying the hardest right now?

CARPENTER: Rubio. I mean, this is the thing. I mean, Rubio has the most delegates. He's at 100 right now. Of course, Kasich and Carson should drop out but they are asterisks at this point. Rubio has a decision to make. And I will say him, looking down the barrel of losing Florida, that's a hard thing. There's a lot of people -- I'm a fan of Rubio. I want him to remain a star in this party. If he can't win his home state in a presidential primary, I don't know what his future looks like.

And so I think there's a lot of people that may be thinking about coming to Rubio to say, how can we reserve your place in the party if you can't win Florida. I don't know what the answer to that is but I know people don't want Rubio to go away. But the thing with Donald Trump and Ted Cruz, listen, voters are angry. We've heard this over and over again. This race is a question of how that anger is channeled. Cruz has fired that anger at Washington. We've seen this over and over again. He's been criticized for calling Mitch McConnell a liar.

Donald Trump meanwhile fires that anger at anyone in his path, he calls everyone liars, bimbos, the list goes on and on. And so we need to recognize that that anger exists and figure out the best vehicle to channel that in a positive direction. I clearly think Cruz is a better vehicle to do that but that's something that needs to be worked through because we can't ignore the base that wants some kind of significant change and reaction to the presidency of Barack Obama.

[11:15:01] BERMAN: Barry Bennett, Amanda Carpenter, Matt Lewis, Doug Heye, we're going to give you some time to work through the issues right now.

Thank you so much for being with us.

BOLDUAN: What stage of grieving are we in? That's our topic in this next episode we call AT THIS HOUR.


BOLDUAN: Thanks, guys.

Programming note for all of you. What's that you say? You ready to move on to the next contest, John Berman?

BERMAN: Indeed.

BOLDUAN: That's right. Five states are holding contests this Saturday, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Nebraska and Louisiana. CNN will have special live coverage all day long just before you. BERMAN: Yes, actually all night long. In fact we'll be here 11:00 --

11:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m.

BOLDUAN: Exactly.

BERMAN: So don't miss any of it.

BOLDUAN: What hour are you going to be right back?

BERMAN: All right. It seems possible but Chris Christie now getting a lot of attention. Why? Well -- I mean, look when he was standing behind Donald Trump there for minutes on end. We will discuss.

BOLDUAN: Plus, after Hillary Clinton's big night, should Bernie Sanders drop out of the race? The likelihood of that happening. That's coming up next.

And breaking news in the hunt for the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. Word of a potentially big new discovery found in the waters off Africa. Much more to come.


BOLDUAN: It was a Super Tuesday indeed for Hillary Clinton. That's exactly actually what she said as she celebrated last night.

[11:20:05] She expanded her lead winning seven of the 11 contests up for grabs. She won the south and also the northeastern prize of Massachusetts, striking a blow to Bernie Sanders' northeast power base.

BERMAN: You know, but not a knockout punch to Bernie Sanders.


BERMAN: Obviously he stayed alive. He wins in Colorado, Minnesota, and Oklahoma as well as his home state Vermont. So really four out of the five states he targeted.

I want to bring in Mark Preston, CNN's executive editor of politics.

Mark, great to have you here with us. You know, a big night in Brooklyn where the Hillary Clinton campaign is headquartered. Where do they see this going next?

MARK PRESTON, CNN POLITICS EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR: Well, John, certainly there was a little boost for the Clinton campaign which if we really go back three or four weeks ago, there were in some ways in turmoil after Bernie Sanders had such a stunning victory in New Hampshire. But now they're trying to set the narrative that the race is over after last night's sweep in many ways of Super Tuesday.

One of the things that they've done just in the past few minutes is that they have sent out a memo that will try to direct people to this narrative that the race is over. Now this memo is penned by the campaign manager Robby Mook. Let me just read you just a key excerpt of the race. This is

something that is certainly going to get the Bernie Sanders campaign's blood boiling. Quote, "We have no doubt that as long as Senator Sanders remains in the primary, he will continue to win elections along the way but it will make little difference to Hillary's pledged delegate lead. Furthermore in order to catch up, Senator Sanders doesn't just have to start winning a few states but he needs to start winning everywhere and by large margins. This is why it is very difficult for him to close the large gap in delegates."

So let me just put that in plain speak for you. The way that the Democratic Party chooses its nominee for president is that each contest is decided on proportionality, meaning just because you win a state doesn't mean you win all the delegates. So in many ways, Bernie Sanders, while he has an uphill battle right now to try to reclaim the lead from Hillary Clinton, and Hillary Clinton certainly has the wind at her back, he still can remain in the race and continue to collect delegates.

BERMAN: OK. I've got to say that sounds exactly like conference calls I was on at 2008 with David Plough then working for, you know, for Barack Obama, saying why Hillary Clinton has no chance.

BOLDUAN: And Hillary Clinton was there --


BERMAN: Oh my god, it's like deja vu, the exact same argument.

BOLDUAN: Why, then, Mark Preston, if they're going to put out this memo, why don't they just say, Bernie Sanders, you should drop out?

PRESTON: Well, because if you do that, you're going to alienate the base that Bernie Sanders has been able to energize. He has all these young voters. He has women voters. He has white voters who have flocked to his candidacy. If Hillary Clinton looks like she's going to be a bully and to try to get Bernie Sanders out of the race, then that could hurt her.

Now what they will say, though, is that they would like Bernie Sanders not to make this personal, not to talk about some of the controversial scandals that we've seen Hillary Clinton immersed in or certainly Republicans are trying to push upon them. If Bernie Sanders is going to stay in, then talk about the issues. But the worst-case scenario, Bernie Sanders is able to push Hillary Clinton even farther to the left as he's successfully done. Best case scenario for Bernie Sanders is that he would win the Democratic nomination.

BERMAN: Mark Preston, great to have you with us. Thank you so much.

BOLDUAN: Thanks, Mark.

Programming note for all of you, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, they will duke it out once again on the debate stage in the CNN Democratic debate this Sunday, March 6th, live from Flint, Michigan. Anderson Cooper will be moderating. That is at Sunday 8:00 Eastern. BERMAN: All right. A leading African-American voice says, quote,

"Black America could get on the Trump train." Hear why he says that many black voters could secretly support Donald Trump.

BOLDUAN: Plus, breaking news in the hunt for that missing Flight MH- 370. Nearly exactly two years ago it went missing. We're getting word of a major discovery that may lead to some long-awaited answers. Richard Quest will be joining us.


[11:28:30] BERMAN: All right. Potentially big news this morning about the long missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 nearly two years after it disappeared. U.S. officials tell CNN that a piece of a Boeing 777, the same make and model aircraft, was found washed ashore in Mozambique on Africa's southeast coast.

BOLDUAN: If the debris is confirmed to be from the doomed plane, it would be the second piece of MH-370's wreckage picked up. What could it, though, mean for the search for answers about the fate of the 237 people onboard that plane?

Joining us now is CNN's Richard Quest who wrote the book on MH-370. That book out -- due out next week.

So, Richard, what do you make of this latest discovery? What do you think?

RICHARD QUEST, CNN AVIATION CORRESPONDENT: We don't know -- first of all, let's assume it's from the plane.


QUEST: For the purposes of the answer. We don't know how long it's been there. Has it just been discovered or is it just washed up? I'm guessing it's probably just been discovered.


QUEST: But it is exactly where you would expect it to be. Look -- you know, you've got the piece that was found on Reunion Island which is just to the east of Madagascar. It's on the opposite side of the Indian Ocean. All the oceanographers said exactly that's where it would -== the drift would have taken it over two years to the other side of the ocean.

BERMAN: Yes. The debris did flow that way in that one piece on Reunion Island. Why wouldn't there be more debris?

QUEST: And I always wondered why they didn't do more of a search down the coast of Mozambique, Madagascar, even South Africa.

BERMAN: Well, what is -- what is the current status then of the searching in Africa and/or, you know, in the ocean where they were looking before? QUEST: I'm glad you asked because only this morning I got the e-mail

from the ATSB, the Australian Transportation and Safety Board. They're organizing. There are and have been for the last two years three or four ships --