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Nancy Reagan To Be Laid To Rest; Carly Fiorina Endorses Ted Cruz For President; Trump Says He Is A Uniter; Trump Widens Lead As Republican Frontrunner; Sanders Upset In Michigan; Trump Ahead Of Rubio In New CNN-ORC Poll; Clinton Loses Michigan as Sanders Scores Upset. Aired 1-1:30p ET

Aired March 9, 2016 - 13:00   ET

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


[13:00:03] WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: Hello, I'm Wolf Blitzer. It's 10:00 a.m. in Simi Valley, California, 1:00 p.m. here at the University of Miami, 2:30 a.m. Thursday in Pyongyang, North Korea. Wherever you're watching from around the world, thanks very much for joining us.

We're keeping an eye on California at this hour. Take a look at this, live pictures coming in from Santa Monica where a private prayer service for the family of the former first lady, Nancy Reagan, has just wrapped up.

The late first lady's casket is about to begin its journey to her final resting place at the Ronald Reagan presidential library in Simi Valley. There, Mrs. Reagan will lie in repose for a public viewing this evening and tomorrow.

We're going to checking in throughout the hour as this procession makes that final journey.

Our other big story, the race for the White House, presidential politics here in the United States. Donald Trump defies the Republican establishment once again. And Bernie Sanders scores an upset win against Hillary Clinton. All of this as the candidates look ahead to crucial primaries next Tuesday.

In yesterday's critically important contest, Donald Trump took three of four states. He won Michigan, Mississippi and Hawaii. Senator Ted Cruz won Idaho. On the Democratic side, Bernie Sanders stunned Hillary Clinton by winning Michigan, while Clinton took Mississippi. Despite losing Michigan, Hillary Clinton still picked up more delegates than Bernie Sanders did. She now has 1,238 delegates. that includes 472 super delegates. Sanders has a total of 572 delegates, that includes 23 super delegates.

Among the Republicans, Trump leads with 461 pledged delegates. He's ahead of Ted Cruz by more than a hundred delegates. By the way, the next big date on the calendar, next Tuesday. That would be March 15th. Both parties hold primaries in key states, including Florida, Illinois, Missouri, North Carolina and Ohio. While Republican presidential frontrunner, Donald Trump, certainly has widened his lead in this race. his rival, Ted Cruz, he's trying to close the gap. He's closing it a little bit. Cruz picked up a surprise endorsement just earlier this morning from one of his former Republican rivals.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. TED CRUZ (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I am very pleased to introduce to you somebody you know very well, Miss Carly Fiorina.

CARLY FIORINA (R), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATRE: When the establishment says Ted Cruz is too conservative. He's too much of a fighter. He won't get along. I say, you go, Ted.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: All right, let's discuss what's going on in this race for the White House. Kayleigh McEnany is joining us. She's a CNN Political Commentator and a Trump supporter. Kaylee, thanks very much for joining us. Carly Fiorina, do you think that's a big endorsement for Ted Cruz?

KAYLEIGH MCENANY, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Look, it's important in a sense of anytime one of your colleagues, who you stood on the debate stage with and sparred with endorses you, it's an important thing. It sends a signal, despite disagreeing with this person, I still want them to be president. I think they're the best man for the job.

That being said, it doesn't broaden the Cruz constituency. And that's what Cruz needs to do. He needs to make plays for northeastern states like Connecticut and New York and out in the west coast, California. I'm not sure that this endorsement does that.

BLITZER: I want you to listen to something that Donald Trump, the man you want to be the next president of the United States said here on CNN earlier this morning.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I am a uniter but I have to finish off the project. We should be talking and unifying because I'll tell you what, with all of the new people that have come into the Republican Party and that have come to vote, you know, during all of these -- during this last session, I mean, it's been incredible, during the primaries. With all of these people that have come in, we have something that's special. We have something that the Democrats can't beat us.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

BLITZER: So, how does he become a unifier? Given all the animosity, the bitterness, the dump Trump movement out there. We're not talking among Democrats. We're talking about Republicans who don't want him to be the nominee. MCENANY: Look, he definitely has to reach out to the establishments

for the other side, at some point. And I think it's very important. He has to unify this coalition. And by saying, look, if you don't get behind me, Hillary Clinton is the alternative if he becomes the nominee. That's a powerful message that I think will unity the party.

But I do think he has been a unifier in the sense of unifying ideology. Democrats have never come to the Republican Party and the numbers. We see them come to the Republican Party now. He's brought in the platform and he's uniting ideologies which I think is a big deal.

[13:05:09] BLITZER: He says that he thinks tomorrow night's CNN debate, here on the campus of the University of Miami, will be a softer debate. Do you think it will be?

MCENANY: I hope so. I think it needs to be. I think Donald Trump needs to -- if he attacks Ted Cruz, do it substantively. Say, you know, this is the guy who shut down Washington and it hurt federal government workers really badly. He needs to attack but attack in that way and make it a little softer.

BLITZER: You know Donald Trump. If one of the Republican candidates goes after him, he's not going to be soft.

MCENANY: And that's the danger. We saw him strike a presidential tone in the beginning of the first debate. And when he was attacked, he attacked back at the same level. But he needs to be above the personal attacks and go into the substantive attacks tomorrow and get that softer tone.

BLITZER: All right, thanks so much for joining us.

MCENANY: Thanks.

BLITZER: Anderson Cooper, by the way, will interview Donald Trump today. You can see that interview later tonight, 8 p.m. Eastern on "A.C. 360" only here on CNN.

From Carly Fiorina's endorsement of Ted Cruz to Bernie Sanders win in Michigan, there have been a lot of political surprises over the last 24 hours.

My panel is here to discuss what's going on. Joining us, Marc Caputo. He's a Florida political reporter for "Politico," our National Political Reporter Maeve Reston and CNN Politics Executive Editor Mark Preston. Guys, thanks very much for joining us.

First of all, the Carly Fiorina endorsement. Let's talk about Florida. You know Florida well, Marc. Is that going to make much difference down here?

MARC CAPUTO, FLORIDA POLITICAL REPORTER, "POLITICO": No, what we're seeing that's made difference is Donald Trump has made a difference. And depending on the poll, your poll shows Donald Trump up 16 points, Quinnipiac shows him up like 23 points. Others ones show him up a different amount. And this is all over Marco Rubio.

If Ted Cruz plays hard in Florida, he's probably just going to siphon more votes from Rubio, deny Rubio a shot at -- a long shot at a first and give Donald Trump Florida. If Donald Trump wins Florida, it's going to be a pretty big win for this 99 winner take all delegate (INAUDIBLE.)

BLITZER: And general endorsements don't seem to have much of an impact so far in this pretty exciting race.

MAEVE RESTON, CNN NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER: They haven't. And, you know, certainly, Carly Fiorina, we saw what political capital she had from the kind of run that she ran.

At the same time though, Ted Cruz does have these personality issues, and so, you know, where people say that he's not as likable as other candidates. And people can't work with him.

And so, for the candidates who ran against him, it is probably important, from his standpoint, that people like Carly Fiorina come out and embrace him and say they would work with him in the future, that might help a little bit to kind of take the edge off some of those issues.

BLITZER: We've seen a lot of governors endorse various Republican candidates and other senators, it doesn't make much of a difference, especially when you have someone, Mark, like Donald Trump in the -- in the contest.

MARK PRESTON, CNN POLITICS EXECUTIVE EDITOR: No doubt, who sucks up all the oxygen. Look, when it comes to voters, Carly Fiorina does not matter one bit. But where it might matter on the edges is that you're starting to establishment figures coming over to Ted Cruz's side right now.

Carly Fiorina ran a presidential campaign where she pretended to be an outsider which is ludicrous. She is a -- she was an insider. She is an insider.

But probably a more important endorsement for Ted Cruz happened yesterday and that's Neil Bush, the brother of Jeb Bush and President G. W. Bush. I mean, that was very important. He joined the finance committee.

BLITZER: Let's talk a little about Florida, Marc. You know Florida well. In this new CNN poll, I'll put it up on the screen, likely Republican voters in Florida next Tuesday, Trump is at 40 percent, Rubio 24 percent, he's the incumbent senator from Florida, Cruz 19 percent, Kasich only five percent.

Looking at the -- and you see these other polls, too, that even have Trump at a bigger advantage in Florida. Is there any way Rubio, over the next few days, can turn this around? If he doesn't win this state, everybody agrees, it's almost certainly going to be over for him. CAPUTO: Yes, most people think this is the hill. He is either going

to die on or at least keep alive a little longer. Depending on the poll, you know, some show him in single digits. But the thing is that Florida doesn't have an election day. We have elections days. We cast a lot of early and absentee ballots. 750,000 Republicans have already voted. We're looking at maybe 2, 2.3 million Republicans voting.

So, how good of a ground game has Rubio had in turning out those voters to get to vote for him? We don't know. We do know from exit polls and other polls that the people who back Donald Trump, love Donald Trump. They decided early. There was a chance they voted early. And if they did, that's bad news for Rubio.

BLITZER: Let's talk about the Democrats, Maeve, for a few moments. Bernie Sanders, you've got to give him a lot of credit. He stunned all of us by winning Michigan last night. How did he do it?

RESTON: Well, you know, it's so interesting. I thought the most fascinating thing from last night were some of the exit polls that we're looking at. And I think we have some of them. You know, among Democratic voters who are very worried about the U.S. economy, 56 percent of them went for Sanders, 41 percent went for Clinton.

And, you know, on the trade issues, of course such a huge part of that campaign, he really, you know, hit the -- a home run on those with voters, 58 percent of voters who said that international trade takes away U.S. jobs went for Sanders, 41 percent went for Clinton. So, he really connected with those voters who were worried about trade agreements. I feel like this is (INAUDIBLE) against them.

[13:10:00] Clinton was hitting him very hard on the auto bailout. That attack clearly did not seem to work very well. But he campaigned really hard there and surprised us all.

BLITZER: Does he become, all of a sudden, a bit more successful, shall we say, more competitive in some of the next Tuesday states like Ohio or Illinois, Mark, or maybe even Missouri?

PRESTON: Right. And what last night's win was, for Bernie Sanders, was a momentum win. When you look at the delegates, it was a -- it was a loss. I mean, Hillary Clinton won more delegates. But it's a momentum win, specifically when you talk about the auto industry. Hillary Clinton went after him hard. We all look at Michigan as the hub of the auto industry but there are a lot of parts manufacturers in Indiana, and in Ohio and then, perhaps, also in Missouri, as well.

What this shows to us is that her attack didn't stick and that people -- as Maeve pointed out in the exit polls, and that people, Democrats, real liberal Democrats, loyal Democrats, look at him as somebody who's going to fight for them. So, it's really important for him now heading into next week, because his whole campaign has been predicated on winning the industrial Midwest and the first win was last night.

BLITZER: A critical contest next Tuesday coming up. A very important one was yesterday and, all of a sudden, next Tuesday, probably even more important. All right, guys, thanks very much.

Up next, after a tight race in Michigan, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, they face each other in tonight's debate right here in Miami. We've got both campaigns here to give us a little preview.

Also, today, the public says good-bye to Nancy Reagan. Her casket now heading to the Reagan library in Simi Valley, California. You're looking at live pictures.

[13:11:41]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[13:15:35] FEYERICK: And welcome back, everyone.

We are watching the motorcade transporting the body, the casket of Nancy Reagan as she heads to the Reagan Presidential Library where she will be buried alongside her husband. There was a private funeral early this morning. Members of her close family were there, a well as First Lady Michelle Obama. You can see the motorcade there making its way along the highway.

I want to talk to Douglas Brinkley, a presidential historian who's joining us on the phone.

And, Douglas, the impact of this, just in terms of her as a first lady, and watching this sort of presidential race, it's kind of an interesting juxtaposition.

DOUGLAS BRINKLEY, CNN PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: Well, it is. You know, first off, the Reagan Library, where she's going to be buried, is -- it's really almost like a cathedral to Republicans. If you want to run for president, say you had to go to the Reagan Library. Many of the GOP debates have been held there. Hugh Hewitt and others have used the Reagan Library to do conservative talk radio programs. So it serves as kind of a monument really to Reagan's conservative philosophy.

And more than that, though, it's a presidential library open to the public, which captures the life and times, not just of Reagan, but really America in the 1980s when he was president. And so people that are going to be at the -- to visit there today will be surrounded by the memorabilia and documents, papers that were most valuable to both Ronald and Nancy Reagan.

FEYERICK: Yes. and it was so interesting reading all the obits in terms of just the romance that she had. And even watching this motorcade, it's almost the ending of an era. Everyone evoking Ronald Reagan as the ultimate conservative.

We turn now back to Wolf Blitzer, who is at the University of Miami.

Wolf.

BLITZER: All right, thanks very much, Deb. I want to get to presidential politics once again. Hillary Clinton

turning her attention to Ohio and the other so-called rust belt states after her surprise loss in Michigan. Senator Bernie Sanders defeated Hillary Clinton in a nail biter. So what went wrong for the Clinton campaign? Brian Fallon is press secretary for Hillary for America. He's with me right now here on the University of Miami campus.

What went wrong, Brian?

BRIAN FALLON, PRESS SECRETARY, HILLARY FOR AMERICA: Well, look, I think that the public polls leading up to the contest yesterday in Michigan had it wrong. And we knew for the last couple of weeks that the contest was going to be very tight. I think that the Sanders campaign treated it as sort of a must-win state and they made the investments accordingly and they won. So we tip our cap to them.

But it's important to remember that Michigan was one of two states that voted yesterday. And if you look at Mississippi, in terms of the margin that Hillary Clinton won by there, I think that when all the results are in, in terms of the delegate tally, it looks like we may clear four times as many delegates based on that victory in Mississippi than Senator Sanders earns out of the victory in Michigan. And that's just a reminder that this is a delegate contest. And so even though we split the states yesterday, we actually moved closer to the nomination when you count the delegates.

BLITZER: The exit polls showed that a lot of Michigan Democrats think that international trade takes away jobs from U.S. workers. And among those who believe that, 58 percent voted for Bernie Sanders, 41 percent voted for Hillary Clinton. He -- he was -- he kept making the argument, she supports all these NAFTA, all these free trade agreements. He doesn't. he says that Americans are losing jobs. She's for free trade. Your reaction?

FALLON: Well, I think he mischaracterized her record to a great degree. You know, the truth is that she has said that we need to renegotiate NAFTA. She opposed the CAFTA (ph) deal when she was in the Senate in 2005. She, of course, opposes the TPP deal that's come out in the last few months. So she has a record where she considers those trade deals individually, has a strict approach. And when they don't help lift wages for American workers, she opposes them. But if -- if --

BLITZER: There are some -- yes, go ahead, Brian.

FALLON: No, I was just going to say, if you look at some of the exit polls, it also suggests that those that made up their mind in the last couple of days actually favored Hillary Clinton. And I think that ode to no small part to her debate performance there where she I think had the better argument in terms of having a solid record on manufacturing. Senator Sanders doesn't have a similar proposal to help get manufacturing jobs going again here in the United States. And actually, when push has come to shove on issues like the XM (ph) bank that support manufacturing jobs in the United States, he's actually opposed to the reauthorization of that deal (ph). BLITZER: Let me get your reaction to what the Republican National

Committee did today. I'm sure you're familiar with this. They filed a lawsuit seeking access from the State Department for all of her records at the State Department, including all of her e-mail. Your reaction to this RNC move?

[13:20:06] FALLON: Well, of course, it's a frivolous lawsuit, a nuisance lawsuit intended to throw headwinds into the face of our campaign and this is just the latest attempt by the Republicans to politicize this e-mail issue, to try to get maximum advantage to derail Hillary Clinton's campaign. It's not going to work. We've seen taxpayer dollars be used for the same effort with Senator Grassley mounting official investigations out of his congressional committee that he chairs, rather than focusing on important things, doing his job, like taking up the president's eventual Supreme Court nominee. He's launching taxpayer funded witch hunt investigation from Congress. We're seeing more of the same out of the RNC. It's no surprise, but among Democratic voters it's not working.

BLITZER: How's she going to do next Tuesday in the five states, very important states, including this state where we are right now in Florida?

FALLON: Well, we feel quite confident that the results next Tuesday will further add to our delegate lead. We're competing in all five states. I know that you're going to be talking to Tad shortly and I'm sure that Senator Sanders' campaign is going to try to parlay their success in Michigan to the other Midwestern states and those three contests in Ohio, Illinois and Missouri next Tuesday. I'm sure they'll be focusing a lot of investment in those three states.

We are going to be competing there, too. But even in the rosiest scenario for the Sanders campaign, let's say that they won somehow all three of those Midwestern states, we're going to challenge that and we think we're positioned to do well in those states. But even if you gave them the rosiest scenario, said that they won all three, delegate wise, we still have the potential to again come out on top in delegates based on the margins that we're seeing in states like Florida and North Carolina.

BLITZER: Right.

FALLON: So I think we're well positioned. thank you very much.

BLITZER: All right, Brian, thanks very much. Brian Fallon from the Clinton campaign. Thanks very much.

Joining us now, Tad Devine. He's from the Bernie Sanders campaign.

You want to react quickly to what we just heard about next Tuesday? First of all, how is your senator going to do?

TAD DEVINE, SENIOR ADVISER, BERNIE 2016: I think we'll do well. We're going to compete for delegates in every state. It's a very important day on the calendar. There's a lot of delegates up. We'll try to win a state or two if we can. You know, I think we showed yesterday that where we compete with Hillary Clinton, we can win. I think we've showed that since Iowa.

BLITZER: You were probably stunned that Bernie Sanders won Michigan, because clearly he wasn't -- he didn't himself expect it. He would have had a victory speech ready to go if he thought he had a chance.

DEVINE: I was surprised, Wolf. It wasn't just the public polling that said we were behind. You know, our own polling showed us behind. But I think what happened in the final days of Michigan is, Bernie campaigned very hard. We were all across the state and I think that helped him a lot. I think he had a very strong performance in the debate with Hillary Clinton where he got his message out. I think talking about the trade issue, which we did systematically through the course of the last week, gave him an enormous advantage in Michigan.

BLITZER: Is he going to be tougher tonight in the Democratic presidential debate against her or is it going to be this sort of, you know, very polite, forceful but polite, or is he going to -- or are we going to see a new Bernie Sanders?

DEVINE: You definitely will not see a new Bernie Sanders, Wolf. I've known him for 20 years and I haven't seen a new one and I don't think we will tonight. I think what you'll see tonight is, you know, Bernie trying to take advantage of an opportunity for people to get to know him. I mean we're going to be in front of a lot of voters who don't know a lot about him.

He's got an incredible story. He's the son of an immigrant. He grew up in an immigration community in Brooklyn. He's got a great record. He has a plan on immigration that "The New York Times," which, by the way, the editorial board of "The New York Times," which endorsed Hillary Clinton, praised Bernie's immigration plan and said it was very bold and Hillary should adopt some of it. So we're going to talk about those issues tonight.

BLITZER: The new CNN/ORC poll has Hillary Clinton leading Bernie Sanders in Ohio, next Tuesday, 63 percent for Hillary Clinton, 33 percent for Bernie Sanders. And in Florida, 61 percent for Hillary Clinton, 34 percent for Bernie Sanders. You have any hope of winning those two states?

DEVINE: We're going to try hard to win delegates in all those states. I think she has real advantage, particularly here in Florida. It's a closed system here. Independents can't come in. We saw it yesterday in Michigan when independents can vote and it was a large part of the electorate in Michigan. Bernie won over 70 percent of the independents who voted.

And that's a great test of general election strength. We saw that beginning in New Hampshire. When people can come into our Democratic process and vote independents, he does much, much better. And I think that's important for Democratic primary voters to consider when they think, who will be the strongest candidate against the Republicans.

BLITZER: Let me get your reaction to the Republican National Committee's decision to file a lawsuit with the State Department seeking all of Hillary Clinton's documents, e-mails while she was secretary of state. I know your candidate has avoided getting into that issue.

DEVINE: Yes.

BLITZER: But your reaction to this RNC move?

DEVINE: My reaction is what Brian said about it being frivolous is absolutely correct.

BLITZER: So you're with the Clinton campaign on that, as well.

DEVINE: Well, I think, you know, as Bernie said in that first debate, you know, he wants the campaign to focus on real issues that affect the lives of people in this country, and that's what he's going to give them.

BLITZER: Tad, thanks very much for coming in.

DEVINE: Thank you, Wolf.

BLITZER: Tad Devine from the Bernie Sanders campaign.

Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, they'll face off tonight in their next debate right here in Miami. CNN will simulcast the Univision Democratic presidential debate at 9:00 p.m. Eastern.

Coming up, Donald Trump predicts a nicer, softer tone at tomorrow night's Republican presidential debate. I'll ask the chairman of the Republican National Committee what he expects to see just ahead of those crucial winner-take-all races of Florida and Ohio next week.

[13:24:55] And we're also watching these live pictures of the motorcade transporting the body of the former first lady, Nancy Reagan, to her husband's presidential library in Simi Valley, California, where she'll lie in repose. We'll get a live report coming up as the tributes pour in.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: Welcome back. We're live here on the campus of the University of Miami, where tomorrow night's CNN Republican presidential primary debate is being held.

Let's take another look at, first of all, what's going on at the motorcade carrying the former first lady of the United States, Nancy Reagan, to her final resting place, the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California.

[13:30:02] Just a moment ago we saw firefighter and a fire truck on the side of the road, all lined up, paying their respects to Nancy Reagan. Mrs. Reagan will lie in repose there until her funeral and burial on Friday.