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Can Bernie Sanders Win?; Flight 370 Search; Interview With Utah Congressman Jason Chaffetz; Trump Triumph; Top GOP Leaders Coming Out Against Trump; Sanders Stays in Race Despite Clinton Super Tuesday Results; U.S. Commandos Targeting ISIS Operatives in Iraq; New Plane Debris May Be From MH370. Aired 6-7p ET

Aired March 2, 2016 - 18:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[18:00:11]

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Happening now: Trump's triumph. A huge night for Donald Trump, winning the bulk of Super Tuesday delegates and now looking ahead to upcoming primary contests later this month, winner-take-all states that could help him clinch the GOP nomination.

And now Ben Carson is poised to drop out. Will the rest of Trump's rivals fight to the finish?

Republican remorse. The Trump juggernaut sending chills through the GOP establishment. Party leaders increasingly panicked, now dispatching Mitt Romney to try to stop Trump's march to the nomination. Will their desperate effort work?

Still fighting. Hillary Clinton wins big, but Bernie Sanders takes enough Super Tuesday delegates to keep his campaign alive. He's vowing to go all the way to the convention, but the Clinton camp says the math makes it impossible for Sanders to catch up. Will the next round of primaries change that equation?

And piece of the puzzle. A plane part washing up on a beach in Mozambique may be from the tail of the missing Malaysian Airline Flight 370. The debris now being sent to Malaysia for analysis, what clues might it reveal about the fate of the vanished plane?

We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm Wolf Blitzer in the CNN Election Center.

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

BLITZER: We're following the breaking political news. Growing worry inside the Republican establishment right now following a string of Super Tuesday victories by Donald Trump.

GOP leaders desperate to take the wind out of Trump's sails dispatching their former presidential nominee Mitt Romney to give a major speech tomorrow. Sources tell CNN he will go after Donald Trump and paint him as the wrong person to lead the Republican Party in November.

We're also following the Democratic race and the Hillary Clinton campaign more confident than ever after the strong Super Tuesday showing. In a new memo touting Clinton's delegate lead, the campaign says it would be "mathematically impossible" for Senator Bernie Sanders to catch up. But Sanders tonight vowing to go all the way to the convention.

And there's a stunning new development in the search for Malaysia Flight 370 which disappeared almost exactly two years ago. A piece of debris that experts believe could be from the missing jet has now washed up on a beach in Mozambique.

We're covering all of that and much more this hour with our guests, including Congressman Jason Chaffetz. He's chairman of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee and a Marco Rubio supporter. Also, our correspondents and expert analysts, they are standing by.

Let's begin with our political reporter, Sara Murray.

Sara, establishment Republicans right now, they seem to be more worried than ever about Donald Trump. What is the latest?

SARA MURRAY, CNN NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, there is no doubt Donald Trump came out the big winner last night out of Super Tuesday. Now if you think that means establishment Republicans are going to rally behind him, think again. They are now continuing to throw out alternatives, whether it be Marco Rubio or Ted Cruz.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MURRAY (voice-over): Riding high on a string of seven Super Tuesday wins...

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I feel awfully good.

MURRAY: ... Donald Trump, now with a wide lead in the delegate fight, may be on the cusp of locking down the Republican nomination.

TRUMP: It's only too bad that winner didn't take all, because, if winner took all, this thing is over. We're just having a celebration.

MURRAY: As he steels himself for a potential general election fight.

TRUMP: Look, I am a unifier. I know a lot of people are going to find that a little hard to believe, but, believe me, I'm a unifier. Once we get all of this finished, I'm going to go after one person. That's Hillary Clinton.

MURRAY: Trump is vowing to cut deals and work more closely with the Washington establishment than President Obama.

TRUMP: Does he ever go and deal with Congress anymore? Does he ever speak to the Senate?

MURRAY: But the establishment isn't having it.

REP. BOB DOLD (R), ILLINOIS: I will not support Donald Trump now and I will not support him should he move on. MURRAY: Republican leaders are still hoping someone can mount a

challenge, as some suggest Ted Cruz, who won three states last night, could be the Trump alternative.

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: I'm anybody but Trump. Ted and I are in the same party. Donald Trump is an interloper. I don't trust him.

MURRAY: And Ohio Governor John Kasich faces increasing pressure to step aside, including from supporters of Marco Rubio.

SEN. CORY GARDNER (R), COLORADO: There's no honorable mention in the nomination. John Kasich has run a good race and he will continue to run a good race, but there's no path to victory for him.

MURRAY: The field does appear to be winnowing. Today, Dr. Ben Carson put out a statement saying: "I don't see a political path forward," adding he will not attend Thursday's debate.

While Rubio, trailing Trump and Cruz in the delegate fight, still insists there's time for a comeback.

SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R-FL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Usually, in race like this, you have a front-runner. And at this point people would be saying you need to drop out and rally around the front-runner for the sake of the party. They're saying the opposite now. There will never come a time in this race where our supporters are asking us to get out and rally around Donald Trump.

[18:05:08]

MURRAY: All as Trump takes aim at the Florida senator.

TRUMP: I know it was a very tough night for Marco Rubio. He had a tough night.

MURRAY: Hoping to finish Rubio off right here in his home state.

TRUMP: But you know what? We're going to go to Florida. We're going to spend so much time in Florida.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MURRAY: Even though the Trump campaign did not expect to have this nomination locked down as of last night, you get a sense from Donald Trump that he's a little bit irritated to continue to see this pushback from establishment Republicans.

He took to Twitter today to vent his frustration, saying, "Why can't the leaders of the Republican Party see that I am bringing in new voters by the millions? We're creating a larger, stronger party."

You see there, Wolf, Donald Trump still trying to cast himself as the unifier in the face of this opposition from establishment Republicans.

BLITZER: Yes. There has been record Republican turnout in these contests so far. He has a good point there. Thanks very much for that, Sara.

Sources telling CNN that Mitt Romney will praise Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz while speaking out against Donald Trump tomorrow.

Let's go to our national correspondent, Jason Carroll. He's with the Rubio campaign right now.

Jason, Marco Rubio, he won Minnesota last night. That's his first, so far only win so far. What's his messaging out on the campaign trail today?

JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, this speech today, Wolf, shorter than what we have heard in the past. It's basically the same speech we have heard before almost word for word. Same speech we heard in Texas, heard in Virginia, Minnesota yesterday and here again today, that he is the one that can unite the party and Donald Trump for his part nothing more than a con man.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RUBIO: And if we choose Donald Trump as our nominee, he will have carried out the most elaborate con job in the history of American politics. And the stakes aren't just a worthless degree. That was bad enough. The stakes are the very future of our country. So what is the alternative?

AUDIENCE: Marco Rubio.

RUBIO: Well, obviously.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARROLL: He also went on to say in terms of issues he stands more with Hillary Clinton than with the conservative movement. The question is, Wolf, will that message resonate with voters here in Michigan like it did with voters in Minnesota? The campaign certainly is hoping that it does.

BLITZER: What is their path to victory? What do they say to you about what their strategy is right now?

CARROLL: Well, much of the strategy has to do with a strategy they used in Minnesota, which is hitting the suburbs like where we are right now in Shelby Township, about an hour or so outside of Detroit. They did that in places like Nevada. They are going to continue doing that, continue to just build on delegates.

But the polls really aren't working in their favor, not even the polls here in Michigan. The most recent polls show that Trump leading with 29 percent, Cruz at 19 percent, Rubio at 18 percent. Even in his home state of Florida, Wolf, he's trailing in the polls there far behind Donald Trump. But they're saying, look, we're not going to pay attention to these polls. We have a good ground game in Florida. We know how to win Florida. We will win Florida.

And, as you know, it's a must-win state for him -- Wolf. BLITZER: Certainly is. That's March 15. All right, Jason. Thanks

very much.

Let's get some more on all of this.

Republican Congressman Jason Chaffetz of Utah is joining us. He's the chairman of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee. He's also a supporter of Senator Marco Rubio.

Congressman, thanks very much for joining us.

So far, he's won one state, Minnesota. Do you realistically believe he has a path to capturing the Republican presidential nomination?

REP. JASON CHAFFETZ (R), UTAH: I do. I really do. Rather than just counting the number of states you win, you got to remember this election is a little bit different, because so many of these states are proportional.

And so even though you may come in second in some states, you're going to still gather delegates. That's different than the winner take all. Even Donald Trump said he wished it was winner take all. He'd be further ahead. But he's not. So, yes, I'm optimistic.

BLITZER: He didn't have a great night last night. Only won one state so far, Minnesota. He's got to win the March 15 contest in Florida, his home state. But you saw the polls. The polls show that he's about 20 points behind Donald Trump in Florida right now. If he doesn't win Florida, it's over for him. I assume you agree?

CHAFFETZ: I think he has to win Florida.

He's got a machine there. He's from Florida. I think it's expected you carry your home state. So, yes, I have got an expectation that he, Marco Rubio, carries Florida.

BLITZER: What do you think of Mitt Romney's decision in your home state of Utah? He's going to be delivering a major speech at the University of Utah tomorrow on the future or the current state of the race for the White House. Apparently, according to sources, he's going to criticize Donald Trump, praise some of the other candidates. What are you hearing about that?

CHAFFETZ: He will be speaking at the Hinckley Institute of Politics. And he's been very quiet in this campaign thus far. He has been a gentleman. He's stood off on the side. But he's got a voice and he's got a lot of support. And he influences a lot of people.

And for him to give a State of the Union, so to speak, on where this presidential race is, he's going to tell it like it is. I don't think Mitt Romney will do anything, than that. He will just give you his perspective.

[18:10:10]

BLITZER: Is this his decision or did the establishment, the leadership of the Republican Party say to Mitt Romney, you have a responsibility, it's getting very late, may already be too late, if the party is going to stop Donald Trump from being its nominee, you have got to go out there and speak tough right now?

What are you hearing about that?

CHAFFETZ: I don't know. Mitt Romney isn't the type of personality who is going to do some poll testing and put his finger to the wind and say what should I do? That's just not his style. He doesn't need this at this point in his life.

But he's got a great affinity for the University of Utah. And I think a lot of eyeballs will be watching that. A lot of ears will be open to hear what he says.

BLITZER: I'm sure we will have extensive coverage of that tomorrow.

Donald Trump just tweeted. You heard it. Let me read to you what he tweeted: "Why can't the leaders of the Republican Party see that I am bringing in new voters by the millions? We're creating a larger, stronger party."

What do you make about that? There have been record turnouts in almost all of these contests this year so far.

CHAFFETZ: Well, look, I give a lot of credit to him. He's gone out and the number of people voting has increased.

But I am fighting for Marco Rubio because I really want a conservative to be in the White House. I want to find the person that can be the most conservative person that can actually win in November. And I still to this day, the reason I'm supporting Marco Rubio is I think he matches up better against Hillary Clinton.

It's all for naught if we don't actually win in the White House. So that's what we're after here. And I want a conservative. And I don't think Donald Trump is nearly as conservative. If you go issue by issue, he's just not.

BLITZER: You think he is a conservative, though?

CHAFFETZ: You take a lot of these issues, I don't see a whole lot of daylight between him and the Democrats. And so I want to be fair. I want to have that discussion with him, but if you ask yourself, what principle does he stand up for other than wanting to fight, which I agree we need to fight, but let's actually get the public policy right.

I think Marco Rubio has been right on foreign policy. Marco Rubio is right on the direction of what the federal and the role of the federal government is. I want the chief executive who understands as president of the United States we don't need more executive power. We need less executive power. We need to push that back down to the states. I never hear Donald Trump saying I'm not going to do that. I get the sense that he wants to have the single most powerful chief

executive we have ever had. I just lived through that for seven years, and it doesn't work.

BLITZER: We are learning that the Trump campaign has reached out to the Speaker of the House Paul Ryan's team. Are you aware of these efforts to reach out to the speaker and to other GOP leaders now that he seems to be moving forward, getting closer and closer to being your party's nominee?

CHAFFETZ: I heard and have seen no gesture. Maybe he's done with the speaker.

But there are 435 of us, all of which have a vested interest in who we're going to be on the ballot with come November. And I have got to tell you, most of us that want to push the conservative movement forward, we're supportive of Marco Rubio and a lot of us are also supportive of Ted Cruz.

But he's the least conservative person in this race at this point, maybe next to Kasich, but compared to Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, those are the two conservatives. And I happen to support Marco Rubio.

BLITZER: We're learning that Senator Ted Cruz will continue arguing that if Rubio stays in the race, he would be directly responsible for a Trump win. What do you have to say to Senator Cruz about that argument? He clearly wants Marco Rubio to drop out.

CHAFFETZ: Look, they each want the other guy to drop out. I understand that.

If you look at the map and where we're moving forward, Marco Rubio I think has a much better path. Ted Cruz created an expectation, a rightful expectation that he was going to do so well with the evangelicals, do so well in the South, and that never materialized.

Give him credit for winning his home state of Texas and pulling off Oklahoma, but if you look at where we're going next, Marco Rubio is your best bet. That's -- we're all reading the own tea leaves here. But I'm telling you, I think Marco Rubio has got a much better path forward if you look at it on how you're actually going to accumulate those delegates.

BLITZER: But Cruz has now, what, won four states. He's got more delegates to Rubio, who has only won one state.

CHAFFETZ: Again, I think it's a count of delegates as opposed to states. But we have some big states coming up. And like I said, part of my assumption here is that Marco Rubio is going to pull it off in Florida. And that's going to propel and put this place going in a different direction.

I also think Marco Rubio is exceptionally good in debates. There's a debate tomorrow night. There's another one March 21 in Salt Lake City. These are critical things in the path. The country really -- particularly Republicans really do focus. With just four people on the stage, you can actually have a real debate.

By the way, you have done a great job moderating those debates. You do exceptionally well there, Wolf.

BLITZER: Thank you very much.

There has been 10 debates so far, and it certainly hasn't propelled Marco Rubio to the top yet, but you're saying he has still got a shot. Is that what you're saying?

[18:15:02]

CHAFFETZ: I'm optimistic. I want the most conservative person, a person I can trust to be the person to take on Hillary Clinton. And I want to win in November.

It's one thing to get all excited and huff and puff, but if you don't actually win in November -- and poll after poll, the majority of the polls show that Marco Rubio is our best bet to beat Hillary Clinton in November.

BLITZER: All right, Congressman Chaffetz, we have more questions to discuss, including these rumors out there maybe about a tag team, the Cruz and Rubio tag team, if you will, going up against Donald Trump. Stay with us. More to discuss right after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[18:20:00]

BLITZER: We're back with the Republican Congressman Jason Chaffetz of Utah. He's a strong supporter of Senator Marco Rubio.

Congressman, I want to play something that Donald Trump had to say about Mitt Romney recently. Romney getting ready to deliver a major speech tomorrow on the state of the current race for the White House. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: This guy, what a terrible -- I endorsed him, and about two weeks later, I said, he's never going to win.

Number one, when you walk into a stage, you cannot walk like a penguin. He walked like a penguin. I said this is a problem. Somebody tell him, take some steps. Anyway, Romney turned out to be a disaster. But I know he will support Rubio. He probably has no choice. Honestly, if he wanted to support me, I would not accept his support.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: All right, so what do you say? You know Mitt Romney well. You live in Utah. Romney is from Utah. What do you say when you hear that kind of talk from Donald Trump about Mitt Romney?

CHAFFETZ: Well, it's just disgusting. Today, Donald Trump is saying that he's going to be a uniter.

What in his background would lead us to believe that he's going to help unite us when his go-to, you know, method of operation is just tear down the other person? And when you are on the receiving end of that, what do you think that's going to do internally with the party?

Now, I understand there are a lot of people that are frustrated with the so-called establishment and whatnot, but we do need to unite and we do need to come together. And attacking a person who has been on the sidelines, is one of the most decent human beings I know, Mitt Romney, and suggesting that he walks funny, I mean, seriously?

That may be funny and it will show up on one of the late-night TV shows. But what does that really get us? We're not going to insult our way to the White House. That's not the path to victory.

BLITZER: You have heard all these stories out there, these murmurings that Rubio and Cruz, Rubio, your candidate, and Cruz should agree to some sort of unity ticket to double-team against Donald Trump. What are you hearing about that?

CHAFFETZ: Well, look, I think they're going to fight vigorously for what they believe in. I think they actually are more similar than they are different in terms of their policy.

I find Marco to be somebody I'm obviously very much supporting. As long as -- and what I'm excited about in this next debate, the next two debates, is that I think they are going to be much more policy- oriented. You are not going to be able to have Donald Trump just skip one of the debates, and he is actually going to have to sit there and answer policy questions.

And it won't get defused because we have too many people on the stage. Talk about policy, that's ultimately what people want. They want a president to actually solve problems, not just give lip service to it.

BLITZER: If Donald Trump -- I know it's a tough question for you -- if he were the Republican nominee, and you are a Republican, could you support him for president of the United States?

CHAFFETZ: I'm going to want to have a conversation. I want to understand where he's going. But I also want to do everything I can to make sure that Hillary Clinton is not the next president of the United States.

So, in that context, if she's the nominee, yes, I think that's going to be the right choice. But I am not giving up on Marco Rubio. So, I kind of undercut the whole assumption of where you're going.

I really do think we're still in the first, second quarter of a very long ball game, and we haven't even come out of the chutes at halftime yet here, Wolf. I'm not throwing in the towel.

BLITZER: But from your perspective, you believe Hillary Clinton would be worse for the United States as president than Donald Trump? Is that what I'm hearing? CHAFFETZ: I can't think of anybody worse for the nation than a

President Clinton. I just -- she has shown time and time again she is not trustworthy. She is I think disqualified from being the president of the United States the way she's handled herself.

But we have to make that case to the American people. And that's -- again, I don't mean to sound like a broken record -- Marco Rubio is our best voice in terms of showing the contrast and the difference and providing an aspirational message to the voters, because they want to be inspired. They don't want to be just insulted.

And it's not some comedy routine. Marco Rubio has that in his soul, and that's why I support him as our nominee.

BLITZER: One final question, Congressman, before I let you go. It seems the entire Republican establishment, the party has been in denial over these past several months as far as Trump's capability of becoming the nominee of your party.

Did the party, did the leadership, did the folks out there drop the ball?

CHAFFETZ: No., letting the process move itself forward. You have had some people that have gone out and done endorsements. Most of them have not gone out and done endorsements. It's up to the people to make this decision.

We have been nothing but accepting of the fact that the people get to make this decision. And it has not been a heavy-handed push one direction or another. That's what I like about the Republican Party. You didn't have people coming in browbeating and saying you better get in line or else. The people are speaking.

And so far Donald Trump is doing exceptionally well. So is Ted Cruz and so is Marco Rubio.

BLITZER: But Trump is doing even better than the other two, at least so far.

CHAFFETZ: Yes.

BLITZER: All right, Congressman, as usual, thanks very much for joining us.

CHAFFETZ: Thanks, Wolf.

BLITZER: The breaking news tonight, a desperate move by establishment Republicans increasingly very worried that Donald Trump will win the party's presidential nomination.

[18:25:01]

They're dispatching former nominee Mitt Romney to give a major speech that sources say will attack Trump while praising both Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz.

Sunlen Serfaty is covering the Cruz campaign for us.

Sunlen, what are you hearing about Cruz's messaging tonight?

SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, for the Cruz campaign , Wolf, it's all about framing this as a two-man race. Aides say Ted Cruz will continue to argue in essence that if other candidates don't have a viable path forward that they should basically step aside.

And we saw Cruz start to make the early hints of that argument last night when he said rather bluntly if the field remains divided, Donald Trump will be the nominee. But besides the politics of this moment, Cruz aides also say that Ted Cruz will bring a much more policy- centered address and bring that argument against Donald Trump, specifically centered on the economy.

We have seen Cruz in recent days really bring up some vivid imagery of workers there, his struggle of workers, talking about the calloused hand of truck drivers and the struggle of single moms out there. Cruz aides say that he will draw a contrast with Donald Trump specifically on the economy in these coming days -- Wolf.

BLITZER: What is his path towards victory? What are the folks that work with you telling you?

SERFATY: It certainly is an uphill climb for him. The terrain looking forward, the states going forward are much less friendly terrain for him than the states he just got through. Cruz aides say they're confident in the path forward. They say they don't think they have a bad state ahead of them, but the said, in that same breath, they cannot name a single state they believe they can win in the next few days.

That said, they are focused right now on collecting delegates wherever they can. So they will be focusing on caucus states, on smaller primary states. The Cruz campaign also of course has a big financial strength here that they think will keep them going. Today, the Cruz campaign just out touting they raised $12 million in February alone -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Sunlen Serfaty covering the Cruz campaign for us. Sunlen, thanks very much.

Let's get some more on all of this.

Joining us, our chief political analyst Gloria Borger, our senior political analyst, senior editor of "The Atlantic," Ron Brownstein, and our CNN politics executive editor Mark Preston.

Mark, you say Republicans, they are evaluating how they can distance themselves from Trump right now. What are you hearing?

MARK PRESTON, CNN POLITICS EXECUTIVE EDITOR: A couple of things.

Wolf, first of all, you have a super PAC right now that is willing to spend millions of dollars to try to take out Donald Trump as we head into the summer, assuming he's the nominee. But what we're also hearing now is that Republican strategists are looking at ways to try to derail his candidacy.

One way they're looking at is how do you deny him the requisite number of delegates to actually become the nominee. You would do that by trying to keep the current field intact and to keep this motoring along through the summer.

The other thing they're talking about, Wolf, is they're talking about running a third-party candidate. Mitt Romney's name has come up for this, but I have been told by a Mitt Romney associate that in no way would he do so, but you would do this they say in order to give a safe haven for House and Senate candidates who are running as Republicans but are afraid of being too close to Trump if he's nuclear.

BLITZER: Gloria, the establishment Republicans, as they're called, they clearly are running out of time. Have you heard? Is there a date out there when this fight against Trump won't even matter anymore?

GLORIA BORGER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: They don't think there's a date. I think there is a date. I think coming up to March 15, you're going to see how Trump does in winner-take-all states like Florida and Ohio. If he can beat Marco Rubio in the state of Florida, that's a huge problem.

I would also like to say to Republicans who are thinking about running a third-party candidate right now to give safe haven, as Mark puts it, to those Senate candidates, then that all but means they are willing to say, OK, we have to get past this election. We will probably lose it and then we will reconstitute the new Republican Party.

And, you know, it wasn't so long ago, Wolf, when Republicans were trying to get Donald Trump, remember, to take that pledge that he wasn't going to run as an independent? And now the tables are turned. The Republican Party is thinking, OK, who can they put up to run against Donald Trump?

BLITZER: It's a strange twist of developments.

Ron, the Republican leaders seem to be melting a bit right now over a likely Trump nomination. But it could get worse from their perspective. How devastating from their perspective could it be for the party if he does become the nominee?

RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, Wolf, first, Mark's reporting is exactly right. I think the shift we're seeing is for months Republicans have talked about a strategy of consolidation as the best way to stop Trump, the idea of uniting behind one candidate.

It does not appear any of these candidates by themselves are strong enough to stop him. And so I think you're hearing increasing discussion of fragmentation as a strategy, keeping multiple candidates in the field trying to deny him that first-ballot victory, and then somehow having the convention turn away from him, even if he arrives with the most delegates.

[18:30:03] And the reason you're seeing all this discussion is because he does represent -- he is a destabilizing force in the general election, as well as in the primary. He could significantly increase the Republican turnout and performance among working-class whites, but his negatives are astronomical.

In the '70s among millennials, among minorities and at about two- thirds among college-educated voters and women, which means he risks alienating, potentially for an extended period, the groups that are growing -- the fastest growing groups within the electorate itself.

And I think that is the fear. Not only the impact on one election but whether he stamps the Republican Party, essentially, as a party of racial backlash to the growing groups in society.

BLITZER: You say, Ron, that Cruz's coalition is too narrow.

BROWNSTEIN: Right.

BLITZER: Rubio's coalition is too narrow. What's the strategy in these Republican -- if these Republican candidates stay in the race? Does that fuel Trump's success?

BROWNSTEIN: Right. Well, actually, I think Cruz is too narrow; and Rubio is too shallow. And that is the big lesson from last night and why we are hearing talk -- more talk of the strategy that Mark mentioned. Because neither one of them, I think, by themselves has the capacity to stop Trump.

I mean, Cruz, one problem Cruz has is he's not holding his evangelical base. Trump is beating him in some states among evangelicals. But the bigger problem by far, Wolf, is that he is simply not winning enough voters who are not evangelicals.

Outside of Texas, his home state, he has not won more than 18 percent of evangelicals anywhere. Look at those numbers. Tennessee, 18; Georgia, 17; Virginia, 13; Massachusetts, single digits; New Hampshire, single digits. And that is especially important, because the states with -- most of the states where evangelicals are a majority of the vote have already voted. There are very few more of them coming.

Rubio, on the other hand, has broad support, but it's shallow. It isn't that deep. And if you look at what happened on Super Tuesday, college-educated voters have been his best group, but he only won them in three states out of the nine for which we have exit polls.

And as you look, his numbers fall off pretty fast in states that he should have done better with those college voters: 28 in Georgia, 21 in Massachusetts. And among non-college voters, he didn't win anywhere.

So Rubio looks a little like -- Gloria will remember this and Mark, too -- Lamar Alexander in 1996. He has a little bit of support everywhere but not enough anywhere. And so I think, when you look at the weaknesses of each of them,

that's why people are saying maybe we need all of them to stay in, including Kasich, to try to bleed Trump in different ways on different fronts and somehow hold him below that first ballot majority.

BLITZER: Gloria, where do Dr. Ben Carson's supporters go, assuming he drops out?

BORGER: Well, I think the conventional wisdom, you know, is that they may go to Cruz. But -- because a lot of them are evangelical, for example.

But there's such bad blood between Cruz and Carson, because of what occurred in Iowa, that they may not. And so it's hard to say. Some of them could go to Donald Trump.

I think, Wolf if we take a step back now, what we're seeing is something I think we haven't seen in the Republican Party since 1964. You have a party elite that is having a fight with its own base, with the grassroots of its own party. And suddenly, it's as if they're saying, "Oh, the house is on fire, but we didn't pay any attention to it. so now we're going to try and do something about it."

This is a party that has to search for what it stands for, and Carson dropping out and giving some evangelical voters to Ted Cruz is just not going to fix their problem.

BLITZER: Yes, 1964 is when Barry Goldwater emerged as the Republican nominee.

BORGER: Exactly.

BLITZER: We know how that election turned out.

All right, guys. Stand by. There's a lot more going on, including on the Democratic side. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[18:38:30] BLITZER: The Democratic race for the White House far from over tonight, with Bernie Sanders insisting he will go all the way to the convention. But Hillary Clinton's campaign is insisting there's no way he can overtake her delegate lead after her strong Super Tuesday showing.

Our senior Washington correspondent, Jeff Zeleny, is out there on the campaign trail, covering the Democrats.

Jeff, Hillary Clinton won seven states. Bernie Sanders won four. It's by no means over.

JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: It's not, Wolf. But this is a case where the politics and the math don't necessarily align here.

Now, the Clinton campaign released a memo today, saying this race is all but over. Bernie Sanders would have to run the table to win any more delegates here. But he could win a few contests as early as this weekend. And on top of it all, the Sanders campaign is starting to sound like another campaign we remember from eight years ago. Why get out before the race is over?

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CLINTON: I am so delighted to be here with you in Florida.

ZELENY (voice-over): Hillary Clinton is eyeing the Florida primary in just two weeks as one of the key contests that could wind down the Democratic campaign.

CLINTON: What a Super Tuesday!

ZELENY: A big night sending seven states and more than 500 delegates Clinton's way. Bernie Sanders' path may be narrowing, but after winning four states Tuesday night, he said any talk of Clinton locking up the nomination is premature.

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

ZELENY: But the Democratic race is sounding more and more like just that: a general election fight.

CLINTON: America never stopped being great. We have to make America whole; fill in what's been hollowed out. We have to make strong the broken places, re-stitch the bonds of trust and respect across our country.

[18:40:18] ZELENY: The patriotic cheers show that Donald Trump can fire up Democrats, too. She didn't mention his name, but he's already invoking hers.

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I watched Hillary's speech. She want to make America whole again, and I'm trying to figure out, what is that all about?

ZELENY: Before any Clinton-Trump match takes shape, she has Sanders to contend with. He's pledging to stay in the race until the convention, with friendlier contests coming up in Kansas and Nebraska, Maine and Michigan.

The Clinton campaign released a memo today, saying its rival might win more states but called it "mathematically impossible" for Senator Sanders to catch up.

It's a delicate dance for Clinton, who eight years ago bristled at calls for her to step aside.

CLINTON: And people say to me all the time, "Well, are you going to keep going?" Well, yes, of course, I'm going to keep going.

ZELENY: Most presidential candidates either leave when their support or money dries up. And neither applies to Sanders. He arrived in Maine today making a long-term argument of his own: He's

the better candidate to take on Trump.

SANDERS: We will defeat Trump, because the America people understand that our job is to bring people together. And that togetherness trumps divisiveness.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ZELENY: So Donald Trump is at the center of both campaigns, both Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, adding him into their campaign argument there, saying who would be the better to ultimately challenge him, should he become the nominee.

But Wolf, I can tell you this next week or so is a very busy and important stretch in the Democratic nominating contest. There is a debate on Sunday here on CNN with Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton.

But more importantly, on Saturday, the contest in Nebraska, in Kansas, in Louisiana, and on Sunday in Maine. This could help Bernie Sanders regain some of his losses from yesterday and, Wolf, it may not all be over until Florida right here when that primary happens in two weeks' time.

BLITZER: Yes. Less than two weeks now, March 15. All right. In Miami, Jeff Zeleny, reporting.

Gloria, Hillary Clinton, she won last night. Not necessarily by the huge margin she originally wanted. What does she need to do going into the contest that Jeff just mentioned this coming Saturday?

BORGER: She needs to keep winning. I mean, Bernie Sanders believes that his salvation might be the industrial Midwest. And she needs to prove that that's not the case.

I also think the key for her is to keep up those margins, which are an average of 60 percent advantage with African-American voters. That's the key to her success. She can't let him cut into that at all, Wolf.

BLITZER: Mark, I want you to listen to what Tad Devine -- he's a strategist for the Bernie Sanders campaign -- said about Hillary Clinton and her successful effort in recruiting African- American/minority support.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TAD DEVINE, STRATEGIST FOR BERNIE SANDERS CAMPAIGN: We have to do better with African-American voters between now and the end of the process. And Hillary Clinton has done really well. She's got a strong and a long-term record, both she and president (ph), with African-American voters. But we think we can do a lot better.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: How do they do that? PRESTON: Well, you know, the interesting thing about Bernie Sanders

and the African-American vote is that black voters don't dislike Bernie Sanders. They just don't know Bernie Sanders, even though a lot of his policies would seem to be embraced by -- by the black community, certainly, the black urban community.

How do they do that? You know, in many ways, they don't need to do that or they don't need to expend all their effort. As Gloria was saying, they're heading into the industrial Midwest. They're looking at states right now such as Michigan and Ohio; Missouri, Illinois. These are all states that have larger white voters and that they're going to do better with.

So in order for them to stay in the game right now, they think that they've at least gotten past the South. Mississippi still needs to vote. Florida still needs to vote. But they think they've gotten past the South, which was her firewall. They think they've blown through it, which I think is a little bit of an exaggeration. They've won -- they've won some contests, but they really need to do well elsewhere.

BLITZER: All right, guys. Stand by, because we have more coming up. An important note to our viewers, as well: the Democratic contest moved to the Midwest. The next debate live from Flint, Michigan. Please join us for the CNN Democratic presidential debate this Sunday night, 8 p.m. Eastern, only here on CNN.

Just ahead, a piece of plane debris washing ashore. Could it help solve the mystery of the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370?

Plus, U.S. Special Operations forces secretly capturing and holding an ISIS operative in Iraq. What terrorist secrets is he revealing to interrogators?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[18:49:30] BLITZER: CNN is learning new information about a special unit of elite army American troops that recently begun fighting ISIS in Iraq. U.S. officials are keeping many of the details secret. But we now know that the operations include targeting and capturing ISIS terrorists.

Our Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr is learning more information.

Barbara, what's the latest?

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Good evening, Wolf.

It was just about three weeks ago when they captured their first suspected ISIS terrorist. This is someone they wanted to get very badly.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

[18:50:00] STARR (voice-over): U.S. special operations forces have secretly held an ISIS operative in Iraq for days after capturing him on a raid. The Pentagon's new targeting force, commandoes with orders to capture or kill top ISIS personnel.

JOSH EARNEST, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I can't discuss the details of any missions, particularly when it comes to risking operational security.

STARR: U.S. officials tell CNN additional operations are in the works. The man whose identity has not been disclosed is being held in Irbil in northern Iraq. The mission to get him led by the army's elite Delta Force.

He is talking to U.S. interrogators, officials say, and has unique information about ISIS personnel and networks. But officials will not reveal whether the interrogation has yielded specific intelligence about ISIS operations or attack plots.

The head of U.S. military intelligence chose his words carefully, describing operations on the ground.

LT. GEN. VINCENT STEWART, DEFENSE INTELLIGENCE AGENCY DIRECTOR: You may have noticed an uptick in special operations intended to capture, interrogate, and gather materials that will give us greater insights into the network.

STARR: The new perfect puts the military back into the business of holding and interrogating suspected terrorists. But U.S. officials say there will be no waterboarding or enhanced interrogation. No detainees sent to Guantanamo Bay. The plan instead is to turn them over to the Iraqis eventually.

EARNEST: Any detention of ISIL leaders in Iraq would be short term and coordinated with Iraqi authorities.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

STARR: Now, so far U.S. officials have publicly refusing to say what it was about this man, his intent and his skills that caused them so much worry and concern -- Wolf.

BLITZER: All right. Barbara, thank you.

Just ahead, debris likely from a tail of a Boeing 777 found on the shores of Mozambique. Is it from Malaysia Flight 370? And what might it reveal about the missing jet?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[18:56:31] BLITZER: We're following new developments in the mystery of MH-370, the Malaysian airliner that went missing nearly two years ago. Officials now say a piece of debris that washed ashore on a beach in Africa almost certainly belongs to an aircraft. But is it the aircraft that investigators have been desperately searching for at the bottom of the Indian Ocean?

Our aviation correspondent Rene Marsh is gathering details for us.

What are you learning, Rene? RENE MARSH, CNN AVIATION CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, I just got off

the phone with a man who found the debris. He says it was lightweight and it could float on water. But is this potential clue enough to get answers about how and why this passenger plane fell out of the sky?

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MARSH (voice-over): New images tonight of debris found along the southern show of Mozambique, a potential clue for investigators looking into the mysterious disappearance of MH-370. A source tells CNN it looks like part of a Boeing 777, the same type of aircraft as the missing plane.

PETER GOELZ, CNN AVIATION ANALYST: They'll take it apart and see if there are any serial numbers on it. They'll be able to confirm whether it's from that plane or not.

MARSH: The debris appears to be a part of the plane's horizontal stabilizer, a piece of the tail that helps control the motion of the plane's nose. American tourist Blaine Alan Gibson says he made the discovery.

BLAINE ALAN GIBSON, FOUND DEBRIS (via telephone): The local people told me stuff tends to wash ashore there from the open Indian Ocean.

MARSH: The words "no step" are stenciled on the side, often seen on flat surfaces of aircraft, and it appears to be made of fiberglass, consistent with the commercial jet.

(on camera): You don't see any marine life, no barnacles on the piece. It's almost two years.

GOELZ: Yes, we don't know whether it was under water, whether it was floating the entire two years.

MARSH (voice-over): It would be the first discovery since July when a piece of a Boeing 777 washed up about 1,600 nautical miles away near Reunion Island. Investigators determined that piece called a flaperon was indeed from MH-370.

As for the new debris found, Malaysia's transport minister tweeted there is a, quote, "high possibility that the debris found in Mozambique belongs to a Boeing 777."

GOELZ: There's no other 777s that have lost this specific part in that area of the world.

MARSH: It's a fresh clue in the greatest mystery in the history of aviation, but even if the newly found debris does belong to MH-370, it may not make it any easier for searchers to find the doomed plane nor the 239 people on board.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MARSH: Of course, we want to stress there is no confirmation this is actually a piece of the missing plane. That said, the tough reality for families for those passengers who were on board is that they may never get all of the answers. Wolf, we know the search is slated to end around the summertime mid-year.

So, you know, if it ends without finding the actual plane, again, they may never know what happened onboard.

BLITZER: Heartbreaking story, almost exactly two years ago. Hard to believe.

All right. Thanks very much, Rene, for that report.

For more on this developing story, please tune into CNN this Friday night at 10:00 p.m. Eastern for a CNN special report, "Vanished: The Mystery of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370."

Remember, you can always follow us on Twitter. Please tweet me @WolfBlitzer. You can always tweet the show @CNNSitRoom.

Thanks very much for watching. Please join us right here tomorrow in THE SITUATION ROOM.

I'm Wolf Blitzer.

"ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts right now.