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Trump's Momentum Slows On Super Saturday; Sanders Wins Nebraska, Kansas, Clinton Wins Louisiana; Mayor: Flint Needs State, Federal Support; Democrats To Caucus In Maine Today. Aired 6-6:30a ET

Aired March 6, 2016 - 06:00   ET



[06:00:20] VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning to you. I'm Victor Blackwell live in Flint, Michigan, counting down the hours to the Democratic presidential debate here in Flint.

And this morning, Ted Cruz and Hillary Clinton, they are waking up the big winners of Super Saturday. You're asking how can that be? Cruz and Trump split wins in four states and Sanders won two states the Clintons won.

But in this contest margins matter, of course, because they won the delegate counts. Republican Ted Cruz took Kansas and Maine in unexpected fashion. Donald Trump captured narrow victories in Kentucky and Louisiana.

Now let's go to the Democratic side. Bernie Sanders won in Nebraska and Kansas, but Hillary Clinton scored a major win in Louisiana topping Sanders by 50 points there.

Trump and Clinton continue to lead in the all-important delegate counts. Clinton now 1,131. Sanders with 479. Donald Trump maintains his lead at 385. Cruz with 298 and Marco Rubio there with 126.

The election calendar now is at a critical point. Today there are two more contests taking place. Democrats in Maine, they are weighing and Republicans in Puerto Rico.

Jim Acosta is following the Trump campaign where Donald Trump celebrate his two wins in West Palm Beach at his golf club there. He also called for Marco Rubio to concede defeat and step out of the race.

JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Donald Trump declared victory in two of the four contests that were up for grabs after winning in both Louisiana and Kentucky. Donald Trump said that was a testament to the organization that he's put together in this campaign and also the movement that he's leading in this country.

As for Ted Cruz who also won two states on this Super Saturday, Trump said that the victory for Ted Cruz in Maine was due to the fact that he was born in Canada. As for his other big rival in this race, Marco Rubio, Donald Trump suggested that he should drop out. Mere is what he had to say. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think Marco Rubio had a very, very bad night, and personally I'd call for him to drop out of race. I think it is time now that he drop out of race. I really think so.

You know, I don't think it's probably time. You know, I don't think tonight he can get up and rant and rave and he comes in third. He comes in fourth. Every time he comes in third or fourth he says you have to be able to win. And he has not been able to win and I think it is time that he drops out.

ACOSTA: Trump also defended the level of discourse he's bringing to the campaign saying that the occasional scuffles that break out at his rallies are due to the fact that his events are larger than those of the other candidates. Jim Acosta, CNN, West Palm Beach, Florida.

BLACKWELL: All right, Jim, thank you so much. And Donald Trump appears to be taking a break from the campaign trail today. His public schedule is empty this Sunday. He has a rally in North Carolina tomorrow.

CNN politics executive editor, Mark Preston, joins us now for more on these results. Let's start with Ted Cruz because he had an impressive win in Maine, which is demographically and geographically, of course, pretty far from where he's racked up wins before.

MARK PRESTON, CNN POLITICS EXECUTIVE EDITOR: Right. And certainly Ted Cruz's path to the nomination, has always been Evangelical voters. He was supposed to do well in the south. He told us he was going to. He did not do well in south. But for him to win in Maine last night and Kansas as well certainly gives him fuel for his campaign.

BLACKWELL: So we heard Donald Trump call for Marco Rubio to concede defeat, get out of the race. We understand why Cruz wants Rubio out but it seems counterintuitive that Trump would want one less competitor dividing, you know, I guess consolidating the anti-Trump vote.

PRESTON: Yes, so if you look at the path for the nomination right now for Donald Trump. If Donald Trump is able to go in on March 15th, OK, you know, just a week or so from now, and he is able to win Florida and is able to win Ohio, then you can effectively say that the race is over because it would be almost impossible for the others to catch up to.

Marco Rubio staying in the race in Florida would actually be good in many ways for Ted Cruz because perhaps if he's able to win Florida, it would deprive Trump of that victory. It doesn't look like Ted Cruz is going to win Florida.

BLACKWELL: So let's talk about the Democrats now because last night Bernie Sanders racked up two wins to Hillary Clinton's one. But the win in Louisiana was so lopsided that she wiped out of any delegate advantage that he earned in those two states. PRESTON: Yes, so we'll look at this race in two ways. There is the race for delegates and then there is a race for momentum. And Bernie Sanders needed to have a couple wins last night and did so with those caucus states in Nebraska and in Kansas.

And today is going to be very important as well in Maine. If Bernie Sanders can come out of the weekend having won three contests, the perception is important.

But to your point more delegates, of course, down in Louisiana, a large African-American population, which Hillary Clinton does well with Bernie Sanders does not do well with in many ways when you boil it down to it was kind of a split.

[06:05:11]BLACKWELL: So I wonder as we look forward in the calendar and bigger states come, and you get to Florida, of course, are we seeing any momentum, any progress in Bernie Sanders' effort to make inroads into minority communities?

PRESTON: Right. So a couple of things, you know, I think the big misconception about Bernie Sanders is that African-Americans don't like Bernie Sanders. I don't think that is true at all.

What I think is true is that they don't know Bernie Sanders. And if you look at his policy proposals in fact they probably align very well with urban communities, right.

You know, with his ability to say the government needs to go out and help people and lift them up. Hillary Clinton is a known quality. I mean, you go back to her husband back in 1992 when he was quote/unquote, "the first black president" when he was not.

So you know, there is a relationship there. What Bernie Sanders people will tell you is two things. One, Hillary Clinton was going to win the south because of the African-American vote. They knew that.

So the month of March might be Hillary Clinton. Bernie Sanders thinks April and May is the month of Bernie Sanders. And when we look at the delegate count, we are talking about delegates for that pledge delegates, which is what you win in a contest (inaudible) super delegates, right.

And the Bernie Sanders people will say once we start winning then those super delegates are going to start peeling off. Those aren't real support right now. I don't necessarily agree with it, but that is what they will say.

BLACKWELL: Quickly, how good of April and May does Bernie Sanders need to have to overcome Clinton?

PRESTON: He needs to do well in New York and Pennsylvania, two very big states in April. He needs to do well in Wisconsin. Look, he needs to start winning. That's the bottom line. He need to start racking up wins.

BLACKWELL: All right, Mark Preston, thanks so much. Coming up next, we've got Hillary Clinton and the question is, is she unstoppable? Some are asking that question. We just heard from Mark.

Can Bernie Sanders gain enough momentum over the next couple of months to take the lead here?

Plus, show me the money? That's what the mayor here in Flint, Michigan is saying to leaders across the state and across the country. She says this city needs cash. Here what Flint's mayor tells CNN needs to be done to fix the water crisis?

And also Congressman Dan Kildee joins me live. He represents Flint in Washington. We'll find out why Michigan wants federal government money to pay for this and why the state funds have not come in.



BLACKWELL: Bernie Sanders takes Kansas and Nebraska in Super Saturday voting. Hillary Clinton hits back with a huge win in Louisiana. Well, today Democrats will be caucusing in Maine.

Brianna Keilar joins me in Flint, Michigan. She is here with me, just a stone throw from where I am. She's at the site of tonight's Democratic presidential debate.

Brianna, good morning. And I wonder with a caucus on the calendar and we know Bernie Sanders does well with a caucus and also with this demographic, what is the expectation from the Clinton camp?

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's right. And it is in New England as he's being from Vermont. I think the Clinton campaign thinks Bernie Sanders really has a shot at the main caucuses and really just a few dozen delegates at stake.

I don't think they are really worried too much about it and they are really pointing to what happened on Super Saturday. There were three states up for grabs. Bernie Sanders won two, Hillary Clinton won one.

When you break it down to the math problem, which is the number of delegates that are awarded to each candidate, Hillary Clinton actually did better. She won Louisiana which has almost as many delegates as Nebraska and Kansas combined.

And she really blew Bernie Sanders out of the water in Louisiana. His edge in Nebraska wasn't quite as large as her margin in Louisiana. So overall what she ended up doing was widening her delegate lead.

And the line that you are hearing over and over that's being emphasized from the campaign, Victor, as they say her delegate lead over Bernie Sanders at this point is larger than any lead that Barack Obama had over her in 2008.

So implicit in that statement although they are not outright saying it, is that they don't think Bernie Sanders can win the nomination. So they are saying that privately they feel that way, but publicly they are saying it would be very difficult for him to win the nomination.

BLACKWELL: Setting up a big night with tonight's debate. I also want to ask you about your conversation with Karen Weaver, the mayor of Flint. She said there is a specific need, I think we know the overarching need to bring potable clean water back to this community but what else did you talk about?

KEILAR: She said basically show me the money. I said these candidates are coming to Flint tonight. And a lot of what we've heard them saying is I think casting blame. We've heard Bernie Sanders say that Governor Schneider needs to go. Hillary Clinton has said over and over this isn't excusable. But both have not laid out specifics on what they would co-and that is what I talked to her about.


MAYOR KAREN WEAVER, FLINT, MICHIGAN: We continue to need water and filters, but we've really got to look at long-term solutions and what it is the people of Flint deserve to have as a result of what's happened to them.

KEILAR: What might some of those solutions be? It seems there is certainly a lot of bringing awareness to the issue, but there isn't a lot of talk about solutions.

WEAVER: And the solutions are we need some money. We need money and we need to put services and supports in place for our kids and families that have been impacted by this. Those are the solutions.

We've got to get the money because we node Flint doesn't have the money to deal with this crisis and we need money from the state and we need some money at the federal level. We need help.


KEILAR: Now both Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton have been to Flint, Victor, as you know. They have tried to raise awareness about what is going on there, but there is also a political point to be made by both of these candidates.

We heard from Hillary Clinton's national political director as the Flint water crisis really came into public consciousness nationally and she said if this were a white affluent community this wouldn't have happened.

So I think certainly there is a message and we're hearing it from both Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton. That this is something they want to raise awareness about. That they are there for African-American community of Flint and not just Flint.

But what Hillary Clinton alluded to yesterday is that there may be other Flints. So this is sort of a wider issue as they try to court African-American voters. BLACKWELL: And we will certainly have Dan Kildee, the congressman representing Flint on shortly. We'll talk more about showing this community the money and fixing the problem. It's been identified. Now we need to fix it.

[06:15:08]Brianna Keilar there, behind her the stage, the two podiums set for tonight's big debate. Brianna, thank you so much. Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders facing off on that stage tonight at 8:00 Eastern on in the CNN Democratic debate live from Flint, Michigan. Anderson Cooper moderates tonight's debate. It starts at 8 p.m. Easter, only here on CNN.

And as the Democrats get ready for that big debate, they are also preparing to battle for delegates in Maine today. Next, we'll talk live with Bernie Sanders national press secretary, Symone Sanders, about Senator Sander's plan to find the boost he needs to keep up and surpass Clinton in that delegate count.

Plus CNN is live in San Juan, Puerto Rico for the GOP primary. Marco Rubio campaigning there, hoping for a second win in this primary season, but are the voters there on board?


BLACKWELL: Live look here at the site of tonight's CNN Democratic presidential debate. The stage is set, two podiums there. Senator Bernie Sanders and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton face off here in Flint, Michigan in just a matter of hours. Live tonight 8:00 p.m. moderated by Anderson Cooper.

Bernie Sanders is hoping he can keep Saturday's momentum going as Democrats caucus in Maine today. There are 25 delegates at stake in that race.

Let's talk about with Symone Sanders. She is the national press secretary for the Sanders campaign. Simone, good morning to you.

SYMONE SANDERS, BERNIE SANDERS NATIONAL PRESS SECRETARY: Good morning, Victor. Thanks for having me today.

[06:20:03]BLACKWELL: So let's start with Super Saturday. Some momentum built certainly. Sanders taking two of the three races, but he didn't win the delegate count. Hillary Clinton's win in Louisiana overtaking his two wins. How do you gauge yesterday's contest?

SANDERS: You know what we're very proud of the wins we got yesterday. We're grateful for the win in Nebraska, and grateful for Kansas. We are hoping to do very well today in Maine and we're hoping to do well on the debate stage.

There is path to the nomination for us. We are still in this. We did amass some delegates yesterday. We're going to amass some delegates today and the fight rolls on.

Victor look, this is a nominating contest that we believes going to go all the way through to the convention. We've got Michigan coming up. We're in Michigan of course right now. We'll be here tomorrow as well.

And Tuesday as well because we believe that the message that Senator Sanders has of a rigged economy kept in place by a system of corrupt campaign finance is one that resonates. We're going to be talking about trade.

Hopefully we talk about trade tonight. These disastrous trade policy, many of which Secretary Clinton has supported have literally created ladders to poverty and have contributed to why Flint looks the way it looks, why Detroit looks the way it looks, why cities like Baltimore and places like Ohio. So we're going to continue to have that conversation and we intend to do well.

SAVIDGE: Symone, many of the places you are discussing where there is blight and major cities. These are places with high percentages of minority Democratic voters. And we see consistently that Senator Sanders does not do well with minority voters, or as well as Secretary Clinton.

How does he change that moving forward? He can't have too many more contest likes Louisiana or South Carolina where he loses the minority vote by such a large margin?

SANDERS: Well, we are actively reaching out to minority voters, Victor, and meeting them where they are and having these conversations. We were in Ohio yesterday. We had a community conversation and we had over a thousand people in there.

Three fourths of the crowd was African-American and we had a very good conversation. We have been in Flint. We're in Detroit. We're hosting town halls and we believe our message is resonating.

Folks in Michigan, Illinois for that matter, folks in Ohio are responding to the fact that Senator Sanders has always stood on the side of hard-working American people.

They are responding to the fact that they know these disastrous trade policies have literally destroyed these communities and they know he has fought hard against NAFTA, the North American free trade agreement, against permanent normal trade relations with China.

And he's leading the fight against the Transpacific Partnership, and I don't think voters can trust Hillary Clinton on this issue. She called it the gold standard and now she's against it so we don't know. We are out here talking to voters about those issues.

BLACKWELL: We certainly have heard that from Senator Sanders on the stump. Let me ask you quickly about Flint specifically. Senator Sanders has called for Governor Schneider to step down over the water crisis here. But I wonder, are we going to hear specifics about a solution tonight at the debate?

SANDERS: Well, I think you can expect Senator Sanders on that debate stage tonight to, yes, offer concrete things that he believes should be addressed. Now yes he has called for the resignation of Governor Schneider, what has happened in Flint should not be happening in 2016 anywhere in the richest country in the world for that matter.

So he's going to talk about the issues. I expect him to talk about some proposed solutions. But this is an environmental justice issue, Victor, and Senator Sanders has made environmental justice part of his platform.

In our racial justice platform, environmental justice is part of one of the five tenants that we have been speaking about. So Flint is that environmental justice. We have to build up those communities and we have to take care of our environment, especially for urban and underserved communities, so yes.

BLACKWELL: Yes. We'll certainly be looking for those specifics. I'm sure the people of Flint will be waiting to hear them tonight. Symone Sanders, national press secretary for the Sanders campaign, thank you so much.

SANDERS: Thank you.

BLACKWELL: Later, this hour, we'll talk to Representative Dan Kildee, a Hillary Clinton supporter and also the congressman representing this community about the water crisis in Flint and specific solutions.

All right, today, on "STATE OF THE UNION," Dana Bash talks with Senator Bernie Sanders and Senator Marco Rubio. That is at 9:00 a.m. Eastern only on CNN.

[06:25:07]And ahead on NEW DAY there is voting in PUERTO RICO for the GOP. Are Marco Rubio's chances pretty good for picking up delegates there or gaining some momentum?

Also speaking of momentum and Rubio, Ted Cruz enjoys a surge this morning from Super Saturday wins and now he's calling for Rubio and Kasich to drop out of race. We'll talk to one of his supporters about the realism of that plan.

First though, a look at this week's mortgage rates.


BLACKWELL: Good morning to you. Bottom of the hour now. I'm Victor Blackwell live in Flint, Michigan this morning, the site of tonight's presidential debate on the Democratic side for the primary.

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders won more states yesterday, Super Saturday. But this morning Hillary Clinton is in even better position to secure the Democratic nomination than she was before the first vote on Saturday was cast.

CNN estimates that Clinton secured 50 delegates from Saturday's contest thanks to her overwhelming win in Louisiana. Bernie Sanders with 46 from Saturday.

On the Republican side, although Ted Cruz and Donald Trump each one two states, Cruz ended up with a better delegate count with 64 to Trump's 49 on Saturday. This morning, the primary calendar is entering a critical ten-day stretch.