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Some Advisers Telling Rubio to Drop Out Before Florida; Rubio Campaign: We Are Not Dropping Out; Governor Bryant Backs Cruz One Day Before Mississippi Primary; Poll: Kasich and Cruz Essentially Tied For Second in Michigan; Clinton, Sanders Attack Ahead of Michigan Primary; New Terror Fears. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired March 7, 2016 - 19:00   ET


[19:00:11] ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: Next, breaking news. CNN learning that some advisers to Marco Rubio are urging him to drop out of the race before the Florida primary, a move that could completely up-end the Republicans.

Plus, excuse me. Bernie Sanders drawing fire for dismissing Hillary Clinton during CNN's debate. Sanders fighting back against charges of sexism saying Clinton was the rude one. And Donald Trump famously said, he could shoot someone of Fifth Avenue and a supporter would still vote for him. Well, we went out and found those voters. Let's go OUTFRONT.

Good evening. I'm Erin Burnett. The breaking news at this hour, it's time to go. That's what some Rubio advisers are telling the candidate tonight telling our Jamie Gangel that Rubio needs to drop out of the presidential contest before Florida votes next Tuesday. Tonight, the campaign pushing back, insisting Rubio is staying in the race through Florida and beyond. This is a new poll tonight shows Trump leading Rubio in his home state by eight points.

Rubio himself not admitting to any turmoil today.


SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R-FL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'm going to be on the ballot. We're going to win Florida. This is going to be a very long process.


BURNETT: The Rubio's two main rivals are turning up the heat already calling it a two-man race.


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 the race. I think it's time now that he drop out of the race. I would love to take on Ted one on one.

SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We started with 17 candidates. As the field narrows more and more and more, we're getting closer to a two-man race. I believe this race will end up with a two man race between me and Donald Trump.


BURNETT: All this could well be decided by the voters in just a few hours. GOP voters heading to the polls in four crucial states. Michigan, Mississippi, Idaho, and Hawaii with 150 delegates up for grabs. I want to begin with the breaking though.

Jamie Gangel breaking the headline about Rubio's advisers. And Jamie, what is going on?

JAMIE GANGEL, CNN SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT: So, Erin, let me preface this by saying that Marco Rubio himself is very bullish about his chances of winning in Florida. You just heard him say that, and he and his campaign have said he's staying in through the Florida primary no matter what. That said, we were told that there's been a serious internal debate by a very knowledgeable source, and that debate is about whether or not he should drop out before Florida. That source told us that top advisers have told Rubio that they do not see a path to the nomination and they're advising him to get out of before Florida.

First simple reason. They don't want him, quote, "To get killed in his home state." And they're afraid that a poor showing would be a risk and hurt his political future whether someday he might want to run for governor or being considered for Vice President. Now, for the record, Alex Conant, the communications director for the Rubio campaign came on our air last hour. He was very upset about this report. He said it was not true, that there is no dissent within the campaign. And once again, repeated that Rubio was staying in, but we double checked with our source who confirmed that our story was 100 percent correct.

So, the Rubio campaign may not be happy that the story is out there when they're fighting for their life and trailing for the polls. They don't want people to know there's dissent in the campaign, but the reality is that we were told there has been a serious debate about whether he should drop out before the Florida primary and also because they're very concerned that tomorrow he's not going to do very well in any of those states -- Erin.

BURNETT: Yes. And I know that that's going to be a crucial question, right? He's got to get more wins or else this talk is going to get louder and louder, Jamie. Before you go though, there's been a lot of speculation about Jeb Bush, whether he's going to jump in and endorse Marco Rubio despite obviously the tension they had in the campaign trail. They had an historic relationship, mentor, mentee. And you have something -- some news about that as well.

GANGEL: Right. So, Jeb has been sitting out very quietly. And I'm told that as of now he has not made a decision, but a source very knowledgeable again about the Rubio campaign told us that Rubio and Bush have had three conversations. That in the first one, Rubio did not ask for Jeb's backing, but in the last two Rubio raised it and that he walked away feeling that Jeb was, quote, "Vague about his interest and that he did not think Jeb was going to endorse." So the Rubio campaign is moving ahead thinking they're not getting that endorsement. Obviously, things could change, but my understanding is tonight Jeb has not made a decision.

[19:05:11] BURNETT: All right. Jamie Gangel, thank you very much with that significant breaking news tonight. I want to go straight OUTFRONT now to the Republican Senator from Idaho, of course -- votes tomorrow James Risch. She has endorsed Marco Rubio for president.

Senator Risch, you heard Jamie Gangel's reporting --


BURNETT: That there's been conversations within the Rubio campaign about whether he should drop out before the Florida primary. What do you think?

RISCH: Erin, you know, this really isn't fair. With all due respect to you and Jamie and to CNN, who I respect tremendously, this really is not fair. Look, I was really with the campaign this weekend. Indeed yesterday I traveled with the campaign. We did a number of events with the Senator. In addition to that, I am, as you know, a senior surrogate for the campaign.


RISCH: I sat at the table with the advisers, including the senior advisers to the campaign. I can tell you there was not even a hint that that was the issue. Indeed we had deep and lengthy discussions about Florida, the strategy there, how they're going forward in Florida, and the good things that are happening in Florida, which you didn't mention and that is that he's closed a 20-point gap down to eight in a very short period of time. We all know it's a great closer. He's going to win Florida and he's going to be in it. There's really, you know, to repeat a rumor like this without having foundation and naming the person who is supposed to be putting this out really just isn't fair because these rumors get started and people repeat them.

BURNETT: OK. You're going to sit as the anchor of the show, a stand by CNN's reporting. This has been vetted through our political desk.

RISCH: Of course, you do. Of course, you do.

BURNETT: They're going with the story. But Senator, let me ask you because you raise a narrowing of the gap in Florida. That is one way to put it. Of course, there's one poll, a Quinnipiac poll had Donald Trump ahead by, what, 16 or 18 points. A Monmouth poll today eight points. So, it's two different polls. Really shouldn't compare them. But if you want to call that narrowing, certainly go ahead and do so. There's still the question though as to why Marco Rubio is not polling ahead in Florida. Why isn't he?

RISCH: Well, he is actually. You're comparing those polls, two ones, that had him 20 or better points behind less than a week ago. We all saw what happened in Virginia. It was the exact same way. He closed that gap and came very close. If Kasich hadn't been in the race, would have won in Virginia. But look, I understand that you stand by your reporting. But I'm telling you, I was there. I was sitting at the table. We had lengthy discussions about the various states and how we were going to go forward and about what was happening in Florida. And not one person made even a hint that this wasn't going to happen. And there is no reluctance. And there isn't -- this isn't really going on. I don't know who your source is, but I can tell you they weren't sitting at that table or they're not telling you the truth.

BURNETT: So, let me ask you Senator about his chances in Florida. Because you talk about that he's gained, OK. He's gained but he's still not ahead in the polls. Donald Trump is still ahead and outside the margin of error. Today a major Florida paper, "The Sun Sentinel," which endorsed Rubio when he ran for Senate, right? So, they were predisposed to like him. Chose not to endorse any GOP candidate this time around. Their reasoning on Rubio was, and I quote, remember he has almost no experience and has done little bit run for office. Then when he gets in office, he doesn't go to work very much. He holds the worst attendance record in the U.S. Senate. Senator, as a fellow senator, how do you respond to that? That's a pretty damning summary.

RISCH: Well, look, I've spent hundreds of hours with Marco Rubio recent years on National Security issues. We've both sit on the Foreign Relations Committee, we both seat on the Intelligence Committee. Whoever wrote that and says that he doesn't know what he's doing or he's incompetent or inexperience does not know what they're talking about. He and I have gone head to head over and over and over again on dozens of occasions with the administration on their foreign policy and on their intelligence initiatives. This guy is ready to be president not on the first day but on today.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Senator. I appreciate the --

RISCH: Thank you, Erin. I appreciate it.

BURNETT: -- and defense of the man that you were to defend. And I thank you.

OUTFRONT tonight, Ted Cruz's campaign chairman in New Jersey, Steve Lonegan. Donald Trump supporter Carl Higbie, a former Navy SEAL. Editor of "The Weekly Standard," Bill Kristol. John Avlon, editor-in- chief of "The Daily Beast." You're all going to be with me for much of this hour. But Bill, let me just start with you.

You know, this is heated on both sides now of what's happening with Marco Rubio, but the bottom-line is, there is a lot of pressure on Marco Rubio. And he has been steadfast in his determination that he'll win Florida.

BILL KRISTOL, EDITOR, "THE WEEKLY STANDARD": I mean, by pure chance, I was with as we can see here Rubio adviser today at a totally non- political event, kind of family occasion for another family. And he was awfully busy making plans, to debate prep, conference calls. Taking -- for the next week. Didn't sound, didn't feel we have been around campaigns that have crashed and I have been around campaigns that stayed in.

BURNETT: And you didn't get that feeling?

KRISTOL: No. I mean, look, he's getting phone calls from people. Donors especially, who tend to get frantic when they're down 20 points in the polls or even down eight points. Oh my God! Maybe I should get to cut deal with Cruz which is all ridiculous. At this point I think Marco Rubio is going to play out the hand he's got. He has closed well in a state like Virginia where he made up 10, 15 minutes.


[19:10:10] KRISTOL: Look, we're all obsessed about this, well, eight points with eight days left. What happened in Louisiana? Trump is up 25 points. He ended up -- by three. Now, Rubio could have a tough night tomorrow. Maybe he'll rethink on Thursday before or after the debate.


KRISTOL: But I think a lot of people can speculate about getting out. But my sense is this is a campaign that's fighting hard in Florida and focus totally on Florida --

BURNETT: Right. It is do or die. There's no question about that, John. But it is interesting. You know, Senator Risch was raising a fair point. I mean, they're different polls. We don't compare one polling company to another polling company. It's not the right way to do it but there has been a steady move to a narrowing gap in-favor for Marco Rubio in Florida, but still he's not ahead.

JOHN AVLON, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, THE DAILY BEAST: No, no. And the home state of the Senator is a non-poll positional states. That is significant. He does seem to have momentum and that's a big deal.


AVLON: This is no question, it's do or die. Look, there's two things that works here. If this is about stopping Donald Trump, the best way to do it mathematically is to have the home state senators and governors win. Rubio and then Kasich in Ohio.

BURNETT: In Ohio. Right.

AVLON: That's becomes really important. If it's simply about killing off the other guy then you try to throw in all in and stop Marco Rubio. Look, there are discussions in campaigns and gaming things out that are political. It will be a political malpractice. Not to say, what are the implications if he loses Florida? But then there are serious high level discussions. And it looks like, while this is -- I'm sure Jamie sourced this well, you know, the idea that this is a strategic conversation about polling the flag, you know, that might be different than a source saying, it's been talked about.

BURNETT: All right. And I think it been talked about in an accurate way that she's characterizing. All right. Thanks to all of you. You're all going to be with me of

course right after this. Because next, Ted Cruz is turning up the pressure on Donald Trump after Cruz's big win on Saturday. Should Trump be scared?

Plus, the poll out today from CNN's democratic debate. Bernie Sanders getting criticized for being rude to Hillary Clinton. Sanders firing back saying she started it. And it doesn't matter what he says or whom he insults. Trump supporters simply do not care at least some of them. We have a special report.


[19:15:47] BURNETT: Tonight, a major endorsement for Ted Cruz. The governor of Mississippi officially backing Cruz for the GOP nomination just hours before voters head to the polls in his state.

Also tonight, a new poll showing possible major surprise in Michigan, the most delegate-rich state voting tomorrow. There are 59 Republican delegates up for grabs. Well, there's a new poll and Donald Trump is ahead, but John Kasich is surging.

Tom Foreman is OUTFRONT. And Tom, you know, the big question is, is there time for someone to stop Trump?

TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's the only question. Take a look at the map. All the states that have voted so far and look at the delegates that have been won by the four remaining Republican candidates there. You can see that Trump is OUTFRONT. Yes, Cruz has surged up particularly with some wins lately. This is the number that any one candidate has to get to, to seize the nomination. One thousand two hundred and thirty seven. So, with Cruz surging, why on earth would Trump be looking down here at Rubio? Why would he be talking so much about Rubio right now? Because next week this enters the winner take all phase of this election.

Meaning whomever wins a state gets all of the delegates and Florida is coming online. Florida is Rubio's home state. Ninety nine winner take all delegates, that's a whooping amount. He's advertising more, spending more than Trump in that state, and he's still in striking range in the polls. So, if he were to win all 99 of those, even though it would not put him in the lead, even close to it, it would help deny Trump the surge he needs to win -- Erin.

BURNETT: All right. So, the possibility keeps coming up of a convention, a contested convention, where Trump may not get the nomination. He doesn't have quite enough delegates. Maybe he's still the closest to the number but doesn't have the actual numbers. So, what else caused as a contested convention?

FOREMAN: Well, obviously, if Ted Cruz keeps pecking away at Trump out there, that can hurt his chances. But again, Trump may be looking further down the line here at John Kasich who has 37 delegates. Why on earth would he care about that? Because the same day Florida comes online, Ohio comes online. Kasich is the governor. He's polling relatively well there. Sixty six winner take all delegates. Remember this number above all else.

Right now remember this number, 848. Donald Trump needs 848 delegates to clinch the nomination and avoid that contested convention. If Kasich, Rubio, and Cruz collectively can get that many, then you go to a contested convention. If not, then you'll hear a lot more of a drumbeat for a lot of people to get out of this race, Erin in any event. Next week -- next week we will get a lot closer to knowing whether or not this is Trump's game or whether or not it will keep playing on.

BURNETT: And it's going to be crucial. Of course, you got those states next week and these four crucial states tomorrow.

Back with me now, Ted Cruz's campaign chairman in New Jersey Steve Lonegan. Donald Trump supporter Carl Higbie, former Navy SEAL, editor of "The Weekly Standard" Bill Kristol. And John Avlon, editor-in- chief of "The Daily Beast." Donald Trump and Ted Cruz have both been calling for a two-man race. You heard them at the top of the program, Bill. Is it a two-man race at this point? I mean, it doesn't seem like it when he lays out the math like this, you might not have one for quite some time.

KRISTOL: Yes. I know, you might not. I think John Kasich will do well in Michigan tomorrow, which is proportional. And that will help him in Ohio. He may do well in parts of Illinois which also is complicated mixture of a beauty contest and delegate --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Michigan and Ohio are always at odds sports wise. I think --


KRISTOL: You're probably right. So, I think Kasich could get votes. And look, I'm a big nation state. And fight their fight. Rubio will fight in Florida. Cruz could do well tomorrow in Mississippi and Idaho. So, Trump is clearly plateaued. He's lost some momentum. He is losing the same day vote in states that he got a lot of early votes.

On the other hand, Trump is the frontrunner. So, you know, he's the frontrunner, he's getting 44 percent of the delegates just to add to what Tom has said there so far. Forty four percent. That's close to 50. And then if you start to drift out -- of 40. Suddenly you don't have a presumptive claim to the nomination if you'd go in to 39 percent and Cruz has 35 let's say and Kasich has 15. So, it's really open -- the game is still on.

BURNETT: So, when you talk with this issue of -- let's talk about Michigan, right? And I know you both see this very differently. Michigan polls, Donald Trump is ahead. OK? So, that's good for you. But when you look at people polled on Thursday and Friday of last week in this poll, in the Monmouth poll, it was a huge margin. Thirty nine percent for Trump. Twenty two for Cruz. Kasich in third.

But Erin, it's also up in Louisiana, up in Kansas --

BURNETT: Right. But hold on. Hold on Steve. Hold on because I'm not done with my point. I think you might like were then.


Saturday and Sunday they polled and Donald Trump dropped to 32 percent. Now Ted Cruz sort of stayed where he was, but John Kasich surged. So, it seems as if Donald Trump cannot count on anything right now.

[19:20:30] CARL HIGBIE, FORMER NAVY SEAL: But he has a significant momentum. He's way up ahead. Even if he slips just a little bit more, he's still in the win.

STEVE LONEGAN, NEW JERSEY CHAIRMAN, TED CRUZ CAMPAIGN: If the momentum is losing. I mean, Donald Trump is been losing and losing and losing. I mean, Ted Cruz on Super Tuesday took Texas, Oklahoma, and Alaska. Had a terrific debate performance. Clash Trump at the debate performance. Goes into CPAC. Trump runs away from CPAC. It totals here. And Cruz takes CPAC in a big way. Then, Trump goes into Maine where he is supposed to win with the very popular governors endorsements gets killed. He didn't just lose he got crashed. Both into Kansas, very popular endorsements as senators gets crashed again.

And if you look at Louisiana, Ted Cruz beat Donald Trump on Election Day in Louisiana. Now, yesterday we all thought that Donald Trump was going to win the Hispanic vote big time. Remember Hispanics loved them? He got crushed in Puerto Rico. This guy has been losing and losing and losing. Obviously, Donald Trump is tired of winning.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't think he was tired of winning.

BURNETT: That was a diatribe well delivered.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's channeling Trump a little.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My contract negotiations next time.

AVLON: It's a big difference, all spin aside from the two campaigns right now, is that Donald Trump has been winning open primaries and Ted Cruz has been winning closed caucuses. That is a big difference in terms of tell the voters --

BURNETT: Open primaries meaning independents can come in and vote.

AVLON: Exactly. Right. And you see how the higher turnout in general? Generally more representative turnout. That also accounts for some of the blue collar working class Democrats who are crossing over in states that don't have voter registration. So, that's the big test. You have to find out, can Cruz win an open primary?

BURNETT: Let me put that question to you. Can he win an open primary?

LONEGAN: Look at Louisiana. Louisiana is a primary and he won. But now that we won on Election Day -- (TALKING OVER EACH OTHER)

Wait. Here's the story, guys. Kentucky. We didn't spend a penny in Kentucky. We came one delegate behind Trump without doing anything. Trump is losing all his momentum. If we had spent money in Kentucky, we would have won that state.

HIGBIE: But let's look at this real quick. The fact of the matter is Trump's ability to turn out on, you know, previous non-voters is unprecedented right now. And that's the thing. A lot of these polls are based on, you know, people who have voted in the past. That's how they target them is they call up and they find the data of who has voted in the past. A lot of Trump's voters have never voted before and they were never interested. That is what Trump's strength --

LONEGAN: I would say that in Maine and Kansas, people came out to stop Donald Trump.


KRISTOL: Yes. Whether there is an anti-Trump's turnout. But just to be -- Trump has won more states than anyone else and he's ahead in delegates. And he does seems to have sort of plateaued in some of the polls and seems like the debate hurt him on Thursday night. I really do think it did.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And it could even worse.

KRISTOL: See what happens in his earlier votes compared to the later vote in Louisiana. He could get worst. He could have a comeback. He's a very able candidate. Not my favorite, but he's able. Ted Cruz is very able. Rubio could do well in Florida. And Kasich I think is very attractive to an awful lot of moderate Republicans and some of Independents in the Midwest.

BURNETT: We'll see if that really does pan out. It's a fascinating thing to watch.

LONEGAN: May I explain Donald Trump's problem in the debate stage. That debate stage gets smaller. As the debate gets smaller and there's less people on debate and Donald Trump has to talk more, Ted Cruz is going to deliver sound substantial policy issues and Donald Trump is going to stand there and going, we're going to build a wall, we're going to be great again. We're going to build a wall. We're going to be great again. We're going to build a wall. We're going to be great again. He can only say we're going to build a wall so many times before people going to tune out because he has not nothing else to say.

BURNETT: Final word.

HIGBIE: You say all that. That is true, but the fact of the matter is he is still winning. He has the unprecedented voter turnout that we've never seen before in the history of --

LONEGAN: That's an illusion. Absolute illusion. HIGBIE: It's an illusion.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let's get back here tomorrow night.

BURNETT: We will let John Avlon have his final word. All right. Thanks very much to all four of you. I appreciate it. And don't miss the next Republican debate. You can see how important and momentous they can be.

Well, guess what? The next one is right here. Thursday night at 8:30 right here on CNN.

Well, Donald Trump claims he could shoot someone and not lose voters. OUTFRONT, Trump loyalists who will stand by their man no matter what. And Bernie Sanders accused of being sexist last night by some Clinton supporters. He's fighting back tonight.


SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: If you're talking about the Wall Street bailout where some of your friends destroyed this economy --


SANDERS: Excuse me, I'm talking.



[19:28:34] BURNETT: Tonight, Bernie Sanders pushing back against claims he was disrespectful to Hillary Clinton at last night's CNN debate.


SANDERS: When I was speaking, she interrupted me. I did not interrupt her. Despite the fact that she spoke longer than, you know, red lights went on. She kept talking. I didn't interrupt her. But I think in the middle of a debate if somebody is trying to make a point and somebody else interrupts you, I think that's rude.


BURNETT: Sanders' defense coming just hours before the polls opened in Michigan. And it was clearly evident last night that this is a crucial contest. And you could tell by the way Sanders and Clinton clashed.


SANDERS: Can I finish? You'll have your turn. Essentially, your position is guns in America, period. CLINTON: And that is like the NRA position.

SANDERS: Can I finish, please?


BURNETT: Jeff Zeleny is OUTFRONT with the fallout from the debate.


JEFF ZELENY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders locked in a new fight over an old issue that came roaring back on the eve of the Michigan primary.

CLINTON: I voted for the auto bailout. He voted against it. Because it also helped some other groups like the banks. Which, you know, sometimes you don't get perfect choices in life or politics.

ZELENY: The rescue of the auto industry is suddenly front and center in the Democratic primary fight. Sanders says Clinton is intentionally mischaracterizing his 2009 position.

SANDERS: There was one vote in the United States Senate on whether or not support the auto bailout and protect jobs in Michigan and around this country. I voted for the auto bailout.


[19:30:00] ZELENY: But Sanders voted against a broader bill to bailout banks, a point Clinton seized on during Sunday night CNN's presidential debate and today on the campaign trail in a new radio ad.

SANDERS: And around this country, I voted for the auto bailout.

ZELENEY: But Sanders voted against a broader bill to bailout banks. Appoint Clinton seized done during Sunday night CNN's presidential debate and today on a campaign trail in a new radio ad.

UNINDENTIFIED MALE: Michigan's economy teetering. America's auto companies asked for help.

ZELENEY: Sander's cried foul (ph) but it's the latest sign that Clinton campaign doesn't think the race is over. Tonight a new amendment University poll showed Clinton up by 13 points here, yet Michigan democrats say the race still as far tighter. On the debate stage in Flint, a civil conversation about the city's poisoned water crisis.

CLINTON: It is raining lead in Flint.

SANDERS: What I heard and what I saw literally shattered me.

ZELENEY: Suddenly gave way to a clash.

CLINTON: You know.

SANDERS: Excuse me. I'm talking.

ZELENEY: Over Wall Street, trade, and guns.

CLINTON: That is like the NRA position.

SANDERS: Can I --.


SANDERS: -- finish, please?

ZELENEY: The NRA agreeing, sending out a twit today. Senator Sanders was spot on in his comments about gun manufacturer liability.

Sanders has been on the defensive about guns, but said he and Clinton disagree whether gun maker should be held liable.

SANDERS: Not really means she is certain well in the entire gun industry. That what it means during (inaudible). If out is Secretary Clinton's position, let her state it.

ZELENEY: Some democrats worry the rancor could divide the party. A prospect Clinton said, she would work to avoid.

CLINTON: If I am the nominee, I'm going to want Bernie's help and Bernie's supporters' help.

ZELENEY: She's going to want their help Erin and she's also going to need their help. There is no question that this is cost of a bit of a divide on the Democratic Party and to complicate it even more.

All of Bernie Sanders' supporters are not in fact democrats. He's a self-avowed socialist. He has been an independent for so many years from Bermont. So that is what is different from eight years ago when Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton finally healed those wounds, but that took sometime as well. And Hillary Clinton acknowledge that today. She said that she would work with his supporters should she become the nominee just like she did with Obama's supporters.

But Erin, one thing above all that may unite this Democratic Party above anything that either than them can do, that could be Donald Trump, Erin.

BURNETT: All right, thank you very much, Jeff.

In OUTFRONT now, Bernie Sanders supporter Jonathan Tasini and Emily Tisch Sussman is Hillary Clinton supporter and campaign director for the center for American Progress Action Fund.

Emily, you heard Sanders say, it was Clinton who was being rude. You know, last night we were here during the debate. Twitter erupted with claims and he was being sexist when he was saying excuse me, excuse me, let me talk. He says it's her being rude. What's your response?

EMILY TISCH SUSSMAN, CAMPAIGN DIRECTOR CENTER FOR AMERICAN PROGRESS ACTION FUND: So I watched the whole debate. I saw that moment. It actually didn't really stand out to me because I actually thought it's to improve the entire debate. It was quite condescending towards her.

He had his hands up. He kept trying to interrupt. It felt like he was really trying to get in there. He brought with the whole new aggressive tone. I guess the result work for Trump. Want to try it himself? I don't think it's her -- I don't think -- I mean you can tell me. I don't know that it moves his supporters one way or the other. I think that they probably -- if you're already there, you probably like it. I think it hurt him with people who are undecided if they feel that he is too aggressive and he's coming towards them.

BURNETT: Condescending?

JONATHAN TASINI, BERNIE SANDERS SUPPORTER: No. First of all, as Emily and I both use our hands because we're New Yorkers and Bernie has that kind of waiting his life to -- his breaks present with his hands.

BURNETT: And emotes with his hands.

TASINI: He emotes with his hands. That's the way we are. We talk that way. I don't think he was condescending at all. And I think he was very, very passionate. I didn't see anything different than the way he always explains his positions. And I think, look honestly one thing I will say that if again you and I would be compared to the Republicans, that was a pretty civil debate. The nonsense that happens on republican debates is just kind of mind boggling. And yes there were some points of clashing last night, but I think that were -- what came out was real differences in opinions. Hillary Clinton supported enough in many trade agreements ...


TASINI: ... that if she jumps broad, Bernie has -- was actually for the bail, the auto bailout. So a lot of those thing came out. I think that at the end of the day, those things came across to the supporters and the potential voters in which generalize (ph).

BURNETT: Well, you know, what interesting last night watching the debate and hearing Bernie Sanders, and he was saying, "Excuse me." and he was very riled up and passionate was the person that it reminded me. I've interviewed Donald Trump several times and I've heard him talk this ways. He's done it on the debate stage repeatedly. So here is a similarity, it appears between Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump.

TASINI: Oh come on.


DONALD TRUMP, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You're the one. You're the one.

TED CRUZ, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Can't you release the tape. Release the tape.

TRUMP: You are the one.


Excuse me. I've given my answer, lying Ted. I've given my answer.

CLINTON: But ...

SANDERS: But if you are talking about the Wall Street bailout where some of your friends destroyed this economy ...

CLINTON: You know.

SANDERS: Excuse me, I'm talking.

TRUMP: CNN just came out with a poll two days ago.

CRUZ: That national poll ...

TRUMP: Excuse me.


TASINI: What different? Yes. But what is ...

BURNETT: Excuse me. Excuse me, Jonathan.

TASINI: But excuse me, Erin. And by the way, I don't want those people interrupts all the time.

[19:35:01] So I'm with Secretary Clinton in that ways. I understand why people interrupt to jump in. But what we -- what they were debating was not with the republicans debate. The republicans were debating, you know, their -- the size of their genitals, their hands. No, seriously, we were debating last night the question of Wall Street, whether Hillary Clinton is taking money formed. There were something to thinks.

BURNETT: But do you think Bernie Sanders' tone does it says that hurts him?

TASINI: I don't think so.


BURNETT: Especially, yeah, on stage with a woman.

SUSSMAN: I mean, yeah.

BURNETT: She's not out there saying it was sexism, but some of her supporters last night where they felt that it was not the way he should have been carrying himself.

SUSSMAN: I think no matter cool he was on with, it think it was aggressive. I think whether it was woman, whether it's a man, I mean we just saw there.


SUSSMAN: It's very clearly did mirror Trump in his ...


SUSSMAN: ... tone which has only helped Trump, right? And in fact republican supporters started going more towards other republicans when they took similar tones. So I can certainly see Sanders saying, "Look, this is working. I need to breakthrough." I feel like through this whole campaign, Sanders and his supporters like a glimmer of hope is all they're going for like they know the rhythm, starts riding there, a glimmer of hope. And that he felt like that could potentially keep him in the game there.

BURNETT: All right, so what about that, Jonathan? Tomorrow Michigan obviously voting and it's crucial. We're just talking about important this in the republican side. And polls are so unreliable at this point on the democratic side, so much that taking Michigan 148 delegates. More than was up for grabs over the entire weekend when you look at what's happening tomorrow on the next Super Tuesday. So what do you say in terms of Bernie Sanders' chances? The latest poll says Clinton with the 13 point advantage in that states.

TASINI: But I think we'll see your piece said that people in -- on the ground think it is much, much, much closer. And I think that in the last 48 hours, Bernie Sanders has very clearly said to people -- and by the way, I'm a member of the United Auto Workers. I brought my union card here and Bernie Sanders said very clearly the Auto Worker's workers that Hillary Clinton supported NAFTA, bad trade agreements that shift thousands if not 10,000 -- tons of thousands of jobs abroad, I think that message is getting through. And I think if you're a middle class, a worker and auto worker in Michigan and Ohio are very concerned about that. And I think Bernie will do very well because of that.

SUSSMAN: I'm on. I think there's a possibility. I think there's a reason that Clinton has been leading. And I think she will continue to lead. You know, her margins have actually been greater in some of the statement people really expected particularly in diverse state. I think that Sanders message we saw last night in the debate, we see as continue, it is Wall Street. It is corporate agreed that is what every message comes down to.

And that's just not a great message particularly for communities of color because they don't feel like they had power to begin with. And so they really want to know what you are going to do for me, and my community, and my family? How are you going to keep in my home? How you can keep my water safe? And she was coming with real serious policy proposals. I do agree that we saw them last night. It was almost wonky at times.

TASINI: Expanding ...

SUSSMAN: When they were getting excited, it was pretty wonky.


TASINI: ... and expanding social security, free med health care, tuition-free college, raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour, those are all Bernie Sanders proposals. And those are all things actually some of them not $15 an hour because, Hillary doesn't support that, but many of those things she just copy.

BURNETT: All right.

SUSSMAN: Copying vote?



In that conversation of course, I want to have what he's telling who is going to pay for all of this, thanks. But we will come back for another time ...

TASINI: Erin, I have them all laid out for you.

BURNETT: Hillary Clinton and Bernie ...

SUSSMAN: born away.

BURNETT: ... Sanders will be back on the debate, stage no doubt talking about that on Wednesday night at 9:00. You can watch that right here on CNN as well.

In OUTFRONT next, new fears of a major terror attacked on passenger planes. The bomb likely hidden in a laptop, exploded just before being loaded onto a jet. And they've got as back, our report on Donald Trump's incredibly loyal army.


ERIC ZIKOS, DONALD TRUMP SUPPORTER: I'm 100 percent for trump. I mean even if his whole -- it is entire goal and his entire result is the destruction of the current GOP establishment, he'll still have my vote.



BURNETT: Tonight, Donald Trump's loyal supporters, he says they'd stand by him even if he shot someone on Fifth Avenue. Is he right? Chris Frates is at OUTFRONT.

CHRIS FRATES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Welcome to the church of Trump.

TRUMP: I love you people. Look at you. I love you.

CHRIS: And they love him back it seems, unconditionally.

UNINDENTIFIED MALE: Is there anything Donald Trump could say that would change your mind about voting for him?

KRAIG MOSS, DONALD TRUMP SUPPORTER: That would change my mind only if he said I withdraw, which ain't going to happen. You know that.

CHRIS: Trump brags about their loyalty.

TRUMP: They say, I have the most loyal people. Did you ever see that? Where I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn't lose any voters, OK. It's like incredible.

CHRIS: The billionaires of horizon much more likely to stand by their man.

TRUMP: Who is going to win North Carolina? Right.

CHRIS: The latest CNN poll shows 78 percent of Trump's backers say they will definitely support him. From those backing Trump's rivals, only 57 percent save their as committee.

ZIKOS: I'm 100 percent for Trump. I mean even if his whole -- it's his entire goal and his entire result is the destruction of the current GOP establishment, he'll still have my vote. They don't represent me.


CHRIS: Broad said, from Mitt Romney and the republican establishment are only further fueling his fans.


The hashtag stop the establishment is a favorite of trump nation.

KEN GWYNN, DONALD TRUMP SUPPORTER: The republican establishment got to Mitt and, you know, they're afraid Trump is going to mess up their whole little club up there. And that's what we need. We need the club shaken up.

CHRIS: Trump shifting positions, reversing his call to kill the family members of terrorists and so opening his immigration stance are not an issue for some of the faithful.

SCOTT AUMULLER, DONALD TRUMP SUPPORTER: I think it's one of the biggest promise with Cruz. It's, you know, he's a Christian conservatives. He's a good guy, but he's completely inflexible. I mean it's crazy, you can't run the country and be inflexible.

CHRIS: In his controversial statements, mocking the women and the disabled were discussing the size of his manhood are seen by some Trump supporters as a price of admission to the 2016 race.

MARY LOLI, DONALD TRUMP SUPPORTER: You know, it's just a lot of officials (ph). They are getting a lot of attention and you know what Donald Trump is getting attention that way, but he's also telling the truth.

[19:45:02] FRATES: So a lot of the trump supporters we talked to couldn't think of anything Trump could say to lose their support. But one woman told us, "Maybe, if he said, he was a crocked or a coke addict, the emphasis there Erin on maybe.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Chris Frates.

And joining me now from Oregon White House Political Director Jeffrey Lord, Donald Trump supporter and the editor of, "The Weekly Standard", Bill Kristol. So all you're with me. It just turned Donald Trump supporters. They are loyal. You just heard Chris Frates talked about the woman who said, well maybe if he was a crooked. Maybe, was where the emphasis went.

KRISTOL: Yes, very strong core support. But the real question is just how big is it? And how many enough people were not absolutely solid supporters can he win over? And I think people would have been over us. I mean, he had a huge run up to about 35 percent and that's really what is he getting in most states as his average so far. And that seems pretty solid may be go down to 30 or something like that. The real -- but they're still on this 35 as 35. It's not 50, right?

And there are people on the back wavering there. And that's where I think things like the debate, there's tonight. Even Mitt Romney's statement, questions that are being raised about Trump and his business career and everything else can make a difference. And the people over to -- he has very solid support, but he doesn't have very solid majority support.

BURNETT: Oh what do you say to that Jeff Lord? Because, you know, Bill raises a fair point, right? The loyalty is perhaps unlike anything ever seen before, but it has a ceiling.

JEFFREY LORD, WHITE HOUSE POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Well, I will see whether if it has a ceiling. Erin, I have to tell you this and I hate to do this to my friend Bill Kristol whom I'm genuinely like. It just set ...

KRISTOL: Whatever people say about me.

BURNETT: Yeah, the aftermath ...


LORD: .... that's right. That's right. I am looking at a story that was posted at 7:22 on "Huffington Post Politics" The headline at Secretive meeting tech CEOs and top republicans commiserate plot to stop Trump. Crowd world shared focused group findings that give hope to the GOP establishment. And then when you scroll down, there's a twit which reads from Bill Kristol, heading to AEI world forum. Lots of interesting guests is off the record. So please do consider my twits from there off the record. If you want to know how to expand Donald Trump's base, thank you, Bill.

KRISTO: This was the -- a conference that I think that I can recommend for my assistant Jude. A lot of people were talking about Donald Trump in the halls. They were in the panels, we're almost wrong about public policy, we're rolled up about the policy, foreign policy, domestic policy and so fort. Very interesting conference off the record. So I want to say more about it. But now, looks it different in the whole -- Donald, you got to give Donald Trump credit. A heck of a lot of the scholars and the senators and congressmen were there, governors, and backers of AEI, everybody from most of donors, the political goal campaigns, democratic and republican. Trump was the main topic of conversation. Somewhere republican ...

BURNETT: And now, are some of them going to be OK with him. That's right, that's the point. Seems like there are more and more who are actually saying OK?

KRISTOL: Well, I think so. And I think the effect is that was when times if they can go lot of them, I think in this work, you are seeing this different log of Bob Joe or some others that. You can still work with Donald Trump. As Donald Trump, he's flexible. He'll make deals. Ted Cruz is the inflexible one. So I don't think it's quite fair to say that the establishment is mass against Donald Trump.

BURNETT: Jeff Lord, how high do you think Donald Trump can go? Can he break that 50 percent in states which he has not done so far? And sure, there's been -- there are other people in the race, right? There's still three other people running, but he's not gotten above that 50.

LORD: What I remember when he's ceiling was 20 percent and then it was 25 and then 30 and, you know, and now he's running about 49 percent in the CNN poll. Of course he can do this. Of course, he can do this. You know, events will play out here. I mean, there's no question. But I think that we are, you know, reaching a stage in Michigan and Florida where we're going to have another twist in the narrative here that's in his favor.

One of the things that you can never see in a presidential race is the invisible factor is momentum. And the other night when we were on the CNN, I was talking to Paul Begala and we compared notes. Bill Clinton lost 16 primaries in 1992. Ronald Reagan lost six in 1980. And they still won because they had momentum. I think Donald Trump has that momentum. He's had a couple losses here but he's also had a couple wins and I think he's cruising along here.

BURNETT: Right. Cruising along. We'll see. Who's cruising along? Well, thanks very much to both of you and of course, they're all facing off tomorrow for those crucial votes.

The OUTFRONT next, an airport explosion. The bomb was about to be loaded onto a passenger plane. Who is behind the failed attack?


BURNETT: New tonight, terrorists may have just tried to take down a passenger jet using a sophisticated bomb. A device actually located inside a laptop exploding at an airport today. Just as American troops launched, one of the largest air strikes attacks against terrorists. Today, Jim Sciutto is OUTFRONT


JIM SCIUTTO, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: It was one of the deadliest U.S. air strikes in years. Drones and manned the aircraft striking the al-Shabaab training camp in Somalia killing what the military says were some 150 suspected al-Shabaab fighters. U.S. intelligence says the Pentagon indicated the group was in final preparations for a large-scale attack on U.S. and African union forces. The camp had been under surveillance for weeks by U.S. special operations forces. Part of a small U.S. military presence in the East African nation.

JOSH EARNEST, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The remove of those terrorist fighters degrades al-Shabaab's ability to meet the group's objectives in Somalia, including recruiting new members, establishing bases and planning attacks on U.S. in the Amazon forces.

SCIUTTO: It's part of a disturbing trend, al-Shabaab ramping up efforts to carry out terror at home and beyond Somalia's borders. And al-Shabaab claimed today that it has just tried but failed to bring down a passenger plane. A bomb hidden in a laptop and another electronic gadget exploded at an airport in Somalia today killing several. The blast detonating as security officials inspected luggage before being loaded on a flight.

[19:55:00] Somali police said they have several suspects in custody. Al-Shabaab launched a similar attack just last month, exploding a laptop bomb on this passenger plane departing the Somali capital Mogadishu. The suspected bomber killed as he was sucked out of a hole in the plane's fuselage. The airliner managed to land safely. The fear that al-Shabaab is gaining technology and know how previously believed to be the specialty of Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula or AQAP, and its notorious bomb maker Ibrahim Al Azeri.

SETH JONES, RAND CORPORATION: It is concerning because it does show that this group, including now al-Shabaab are getting a little bit more sophisticated in how they're conducting attacks. And note too that they do have an eye towards the U.S.

SCIUTTO: This has been a great concern of U.S. counter terror officials. The sharing of technology among terror groups, particularly the technology of sneaking explosives on to aircraft. Another thing that al-Shabaab shares with groups such as ISIS and AQAP, Erin it's a desire to attack beyond their borders, beyond Somalia, including into the west. That, of course, a great concern as well.


BURNETT: And of course a reminder of what's happening in the world and how much this of stake this election. Thank you very much Jim Sciutto and we'll be right back.


BURNETT: Thank you so much for joining us. Be sure to set your DVR to record OUTFRONT so you can watch the show any time. We'll see you back here.

"AC360" starts now. [19:60:06] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Thanks for joining us. Whether it's the voting tomorrow including big contest in Michigan and Mississippi or the tightening two-way race between Donald Trump, Ted Cruz or the late news, the former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg will not.