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ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT
Trump Warns of "Riots" if GOP Denies Nomination; Nikki Haley is "Praying" For A Cruz Win; New Trump Ad: Clinton is "A Punchline"; Carson on Role in a Trump Administration; GOP Doubles Down on Opposition to Obama Choice; Latinos Applying for Citizenship to Vote Against Trump. Aired 7-8p ET
Aired March 16, 2016 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[19:00:10] ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: Next, Donald Trump after a big Super Tuesday win warning of riots if his party blocks him at the convention. And Ben Carson saying, Donald Trump promised him a position in his administration. Dr. Carson is my guest tonight. And Hillary Clinton crushing Bernie Sanders on Super Tuesday. How long will Sanders stay in the race?
Let's go OUTFRONT.
Good evening. I'm Erin Burnett. OUTFRONT tonight, the breaking news. A warning from Donald Trump coming off the heels of a major win at the polls. Decisive victories in Florida, Illinois and North Carolina. Trump is speaking to CNN saying that if the party denies him the nomination, even if he is closed to the number of necessary delegates, there could be dangerous repercussions.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think you'd have riots. I think you'd have riots. You know, I'm representing a tremendous many, many, many millions of people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Trump picked up 200 delegates last night. His only loss was to John Kasich in Ohio. CNN estimates he needs to win of just over half of the remaining delegates to win the nomination outright and prevent any sort of a fight at the convention. Now Trump landed his promised knockout punch on Marco Rubio who suspended his campaign last night after a distant second place finish in his home state of Florida. Also breaking tonight, South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, she obviously recently endorsed Rubio, was a very high profile, significant endorsement. She has switched now to Ted Cruz saying in part, quote, "My hope and my prayer is at Senator Ted Cruz can come through this."
Much more with all this with my panel who is here with me throughout the hour. But first Sunlen Serfaty is OUTFRONT. And Sunlen, it was a very big night for Donald Trump last night, but this contest is still anything but over. Obviously, mathematically, there's a lot of ways to go. SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's absolutely right, Erin.
And you know, Donald Trump tonight really is trying to look ahead, looking ahead to securing the Republican nomination, even predicting that there will be a healing process that the Republican Party will go through after this very rough nominating period, but certainly it is far from being over yet. And some are preparing now for this potentially to go all the way to the convention.
SERFATY (voice-over): Donald Trump is making clear he's ready to bring the nominating process to a close.
TRUMP: The fact is we have to bring our party together. We have to bring it together.
SERFATY: The GOP frontrunner saying he's done with GOP debates and would skip the next one scheduled for next week.
TRUMP: I will say this. I think we've had enough debates. We've had 11 or 12 debates. I did really well in the last one.
SERFATY: With no Trump, John Kasich saying he wouldn't show up either, leaving FOX News to cancel the debate. That as Kasich fights to complicate Trump's glide path to the nomination.
GOV. JOHN KASICH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We put one foot in front of the other.
SERFATY: Winning his first state, his home state of Ohio, and promising to bring the fight to the convention.
KASICH: We're going to go all the way to Cleveland and secure the Republican nomination.
SERFATY: Trump today with an ominous warning, telling CNN if he is denied the nomination while having the most delegates going in, there could be violence.
TRUMP: If we're, you know, 100 short and we're at 1100 and somebody else is at 500 or 400, because we're way ahead of everybody, I don't you can say that we don't get it automatically. I think it would be -- I think you'd have riots. I think you'd have riots.
SERFATY: After last night, Trump continues to hold the most delegates, but he still has a tough path to get to 1237, making the chances of a contested convention more likely. Trump needs to win a little more than half of the remaining delegates to clinch the nomination outright. While Cruz would need about 80 percent of the remaining delegates to do so. After losing his home state of Florida, Marco Rubio using his exit from the race to blast Trump.
SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I ask the American people do not give into the fear. Do not give into the frustration. SERFATY: Emboldening Ted Cruz to intensify his argument that it
really is a two-man race based on the math.
SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Only two campaigns have a plausible path to the nomination. Ours and Donald Trump's. Nobody else has any mathematical possibility whatsoever. Only one campaign has beaten Donald Trump over and over and over again.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
SERFATY: Already out campaigning in Pennsylvania today, John Kasich not dissuaded.
KASICH: Neither those guys can win a general election, so maybe they're spoiling it for the Republican Party and for the conservative movement.
SERFATY: Turning into a thorn in the side for Ted Cruz.
CRUZ: John Kasich might take just enough votes to give those states to Donald Trump. If he sticks around, Kohn Kasich will become Donald Trump's best friend.
SERFATY: And the Cruz campaign tonight is arguing that it is mathematically impossible for John Kasich to win the nomination before the convention, so get ready to hear a lot more of this coming from Ted Cruz and his campaign that Donald Trump is the only one that benefits from this splintering of the field with Kasich in the race -- Erin.
[19:05:20] BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Sunlen. Although I do have to say, they keep complaining about the splintering of the race and someone drops out. And then you hear the same complaint again.
At some point, at some point, there won't be enough to call it a splintering. OK. OUTFRONT now, Bill Kristol, editor of The Weekly Standard. Hogan Gidley, senior advisor to Mike Huckabee's 2016 presidential campaign. Donald Trump's supporter Pastor Darrell Scott, and Buck Sexton, host of "The Buck Sexton Show" in TheBlaze. Buck, can Donald Trump still be stopped?
BUCK SEXTON, HOST, THEBLAZE'S "THE BUCK SEXTON SHOW": Donald Trump can only be stopped I think at the convention. I don't think you're going to see anyway or any of the other candidates. It's really one other candidate. This is sort of a two plus one situation. I don't know what Kasich is doing other than perhaps using the leverage that he has right now to angle for a Trump V.P. slot, I don't know. I can't speak for the man. But he clearly has no mathematical way to do it. The only way that Ted Cruz can do it is at the convention unless he wins 80 percent or so of the delegates that remains. So --
BURNETT: Right. SEXTON: That's feasible, but that's not realistic. And so, the best
thing you could hope for is for Cruz to dramatically close that gap and go to the convention and say, look, the only reason Donald was ahead of me was because of this tremendously fractured field. The voters are -- on my side. Look at the negative Trump has nationally.
SEXTON: Get behind the Cruz train.
BURNETT: All right. So, Hogan, you know, to this point, you know, I sort of roll my eyes when people say, oh, if more people just got out of the race it would go against Trump, because it hasn't been happening. People have been dropping like flies and the guys still coming up on top. However, head to head match-up for the most recent polling. Cruz would be ahead of Trump 54 to 41 percent. That's a significant margin. OK. It's just one poll but still possibly significant data point. Cruz needs to win about 80 percent of the delegates from here to actually win it outright.
HOGAN GIDLEY, FORMER SENIOR ADVISER, MIKE HUCKABEE 2016 CAMPAIGN: Sure.
BURNETT: Does he have a shot?
GIDLEY: If and buts were candy and nuts then every day would be Christmas. That's not just the way it works.
We can't just hope these things happen and then pretend, you know, that he's going to somehow come out of the ashes and win this thing. Look, I think no one is talking about this yet. Hate get wonkish here. But the Ron Paul rule that the Romney campaign put in place at the convention when he was the nominee which basically said, you have to win the majority of the vote in eight states before your name can even be considered even put into the nomination process, which means no one right now can even be voted upon, and that's not the first reading or the second reading, that's at all. So, there's a sweet irony here --
BURNETT: Donald Trump is the only one who gets that.
GIDLEY: -- that the establishment put that into stop Ron Paul. And that's the very rule that may sink the establishment.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's a guideline, not a rule.
BURNETT: Ted Cruz of course only meets that in four states at this point. Right? I mean, you know, Bill, Cruz says Kasich is helping Trump by staying in the race, this whole argument. Right. OK. Now, if Kasich gets out, it is a head to head and he'll win. Kasich responded to the accusation today though. And here's his spin on the whole situation.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) KASICH: Neither of those guys can win a general election. So maybe they're spoiling it for the Republican Party and for the conservative movement.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Are they the spoilers?
BILL KRISTOL, EDITOR, "THE WEEKLY STANDARD": This guy should spend more time explaining why they should be president of the United States and less time being campaign strategist and campaign managers on speculating on whether one of them say, it is going to help or hurt them. I think it hurts all of them when they make these stupid comments. The fact is, I mean, I will stand by for it that I think the fact that John Kasich is advertising now apparently says it's going to in Utah, where I do think the only chance where I think Cruz has a good chance to beat Trump and could actually sweep the stage, that's a 50 percent plus one winner-take-all if he gets to 50 percent.
And Cruz has a decent chance in Arizona and the best chance to stop Trump is for Cruz to win those two states. That's for Kasich to stay out of them. Unless Kasich just wants to be Donald Trump's vice president which I sort of agree maybe what he's doing. Kasich is not going to win anything in Utah. Why doesn't he go and fight in the states he could fight in the northeast, in Pennsylvania and neighboring Ohio but he doesn't seem to want to do that. So, these guys are showing a certain amount of self-destructiveness, which is benefitted Trump early on, the Bush campaign dropping all that money against Rubio --
KRISTOL: Rubio and Cruz fighting each other --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right.
KRISTOL: Trump has sailed free until pretty recently and finally he's being attacked some. He's done pretty well even though being attacked you got to say.
GIDLEY: His numbers went up in Florida after the attacks.
KRISTOL: Yes. But, you know, I just don't know what would have happened six months ago if he was under attack. But as you say, that's, you know, that's --
GIDLEY: But nobody saw this coming.
KRISTOL: No, absolutely. And look, he deserves credit for being where he is, but for him to start saying there'll be riots at the convention if I -- delegates, that's ludicrous too. What about the 62 percent of Republicans who haven't voted for Donald Trump? They've elected delegates -- candidates.
KRISTOL: Those delegates have a right not to be for Donald trump.
BURNETT: Pastor Scott?
PASTOR DARRELL SCOTT, ENDORSED DONALD TRUMP: The Trump train is rolling. And you roll or you get rolled over. It's as simple as that. They act like they want to see Donald Trump. I want this to drop out. I want that to drop out. Everyone that's contested him mano-o-mano has gotten knocked out.
KRISTOL: Why did he pull out of the debate Monday night? Isn't he scared of debating Ted Cruz? He's tired of debates? Maybe the voters would like to see a couple of --
SCOTT: What more do they want to hear out of him? He's going to build a wall. He's going to deport the illegal immigrants. He's going to do everything he says. They don't want to see --
KRISTOL: Of course, he's not really going to deport the illegal immigrants.
[19:10:07] SCOTT: It's a secret tape. Oh, yes, it's secret of the record tape but it got leaked. If I tell you something off the record, you're going to leak it?
SEXTON: I think it all will come down to this notion of who does win it in a head to head though. Because Trump is saying, I win, I win, I win. Well, but let's see if he wins now that the field has winnowed down. You've mentioned the splinter and we've finally there. Now we can actually see.
SCOTT: We said that when there was eight candidates.
SEXTON: There were a lot of people who were sort of maybe for Rubio, maybe for Cruz, Jeb, something that's other candidates in there. Now that that has all been cleared out, you can see that the polling all suggests that more than half of the GOP is absolutely not OK with Donald Trump being the president. Now that can actually play out.
BURNETT: OK. But here's the thing. That's been the truth all the way along, but people have dropped out. So, some of the people, the voters who supported the people who dropped out are going to Donald Trump. Mathematically, that is happening. You are seeing some of that.
(TALKING OVER EACH OTHER)
KRISTOL: But even on Trump's best night it was a good night Tuesday night, last night. He won four out of five states. He got 40 percent of the votes cast. I do not think -- that is a train, you're right -- the Trump train is ahead of --
SCOTT: It's 40 percent. The other option has to get more than half. (TALKING OVER EACH OTHER)
SCOTT: Let me quote Mohammad Ali. You know what he said one time, I'm knocking out all bums. That's what Ali said and Trump is knocking out all bums. That's what he's doing.
KRISTOL: He's scared to actually debate Ted Cruz on Monday night.
GIDLEY: If 60 percent of the people in the Republican primary process are rejecting Donald Trump, then that means 70 to 80 percent are rejecting everybody else. That's just the way the playing field works out. OK? You can't play games with percentages like that. Most of the people supporting Donald Trump have pushed him through this process. He's won states. And at this point because so many have voted for him, way more than Mitt Romney at this point, about a million and a half by my account, you're no longer deriding Donald Trump. You're mocking the American people. They're the ones who are putting him in this position.
BURNETT: And he's got a point. Will there be riots?
(TALKING OVER EACH OTHER)
KRISTOL: Forty seven percent --
SCOTT: So, let's not the race go ahead. Let's not say there should be riots if I'm not the nominee. Right now he's getting 40 percent of the delegates. Let's see if he goes over 50, he goes over 50, he'll be the nominee. So, fine. All of this threatening riots and pulling out of debates and gaming the thing, it's really --
(TALKING OVER EACH OTHER)
SEXTON: -- that comment is a giant checkmark in the column of he should not be the nominee. I mean, the notion that he would even bring that up at this point --
SCOTT: It will going to be a lot more. I'll tell you that much.
BURNETT: Quick final word, Pastor Scott.
SCOTT: The Trump train is rolling. There's going to be an uproar if they try to -- him out of his rightful position as the Republican nominee. Everybody is scared. When Trump is styled up, it was amusement, they laughed at him. It went from amusement to concern from concern to worry from worry to fear from fear to panic. Now it's a terror alert. And the terror alert colors are escalating every time we have another --
(TALKING OVER EACH OTHER)
KRISTOL: Sometimes it's good to have a terror alert if what's out there is terrifying.
SCOTT: The Trump mojo is going to work. Whoever comes against him -- Bernie needs to send him a check. BURNETT: Thank you all. Thank you all.
All right. OUTFRONT next, after the big wins on Super Tuesday, it is already Trump versus Clinton. As you mentioned Pastor Scott, wait until you see Trump's latest attack ad. You cannot make this up people.
And leading Republicans already slamming the door on the President's Supreme Court nominee. Does Merrick Garland have a chance? And special report you see only OUTFRONT. Insurgent immigrants becoming American citizens for one reason, so they can vote against Donald Trump.
[19:17:20] BURNETT: Tonight, the war escalating between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. The true frontrunners unleashing new and blistering attacks against each other after dominating Super Tuesday. And if the latest attacks are any indication, we could be looking at a knockdown, drag out, battle for the presidency like, wow, you've never seen before.
Brianna Keilar is OUTFRONT.
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Hillary Clinton fresh off a sweep last night.
HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This is another Super Tuesday for our campaign.
KEILAR: The Democratic frontrunner bringing home victories in four states, adding to her delegate lead over Bernie Sanders.
CLINTON: We are moving closer to securing the Democratic Party nomination and winning this election in November.
KEILAR: With the math and the momentum in her favor, Clinton is looking to the general election.
CLINTON: Our commander-in-chief has to be able to defend our country, not embarrass it.
KEILAR: She's taking aim at GOP frontrunner Donald Trump, treating him as the presumptive Republican nominee.
CLINTON: Our next president has to bring our country together so we can all share in the promise of America. We should be breaking down barriers, not building walls.
KEILAR: Trump firing back at Clinton on CNN today.
TRUMP: She's under federal investigation. She doesn't have the strength or the stamina to be president. She talks about defeat our enemies. Where she's been for the last year? We can't even beat ISIS. She's not defeating our enemy. She doesn't know how to defeat the enemies. It's ridiculous. So, I think she's an embarrassment. And we'll see what happens.
KEILAR: He followed it up with a video post slamming Clinton as incapable of taking on leaders like Russian's Vladimir Putin.
CLINTON: Aw, aw, aw, aw, aw, aw, aw, aw!
KEILAR: The back and forth a preview of a potential general election matchup even a Sanders presses on with his campaign.
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Next week Arizona has a very important election. We will win if the voter turnout is high. Let's make it high.
KEILAR: So Bernie Sanders really acting as if nothing had happened for his campaign last night, Erin. And he is just going to continue on. We've been hearing from his aides that he's going to go through to the convention. He has said that as well and that hasn't changed. While this is really shaping up to be a Trump versus Clinton battle, both of these frontrunners still very much have primary battles on their hands and that's very expensive. You'll note that Hillary Clinton big emphasis on fundraising here in the coming days as she tries to build up her general election war chest.
BURNETT: All right. Brianna, thank you very much. And OUTFRONT now, former presidential candidate, Dr. Ben Carson. He's endorsed Donald Trump. And Dr. Carson, good to have you on the show again. You know, our last poll found that --
DR. BEN CARSON (R), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Thank you.
BURNETT: -- registered voters chose Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump 52 to 44 percent. Do numbers like that make you worried about backing Trump as the nominee?
CARSON: No, because it's early days and you know, the nomination process needs to continue and of course as more candidates fall out, you know, more of those will go to both of those candidates.
BURNETT: You know, there's concern there could be a contested convention here. Obviously, that's been the talk of the day. Right? Donald Trump talked about it on CNN this morning and said that if he gets close to the majority of delegates more than anyone else but not a full majority that there could be an uproar, there could be violence if he is blocked at the convention and here's exactly how he said it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: We're way ahead of everybody. I don't think you can say that we don't get it automatically. I think you'd have riots.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: He says, I think you'd have riots. Do you think he's right, Dr. Carson?
CARSON: Well, there's no question that there would be a lot of turmoil if the establishment tries to thwart the will of the people, recognizing that millions of new voters have come into the Republican fold largely as a result of Donald Trump. And it's very unlikely that those people would maintain their enthusiasm if in fact some shenanigans resulted in someone else being the nominee.
BURNETT: So, turmoil is the word you would use. Do you think it's fair when he uses the word riots there?
CARSON: Yes. I think it much to do about nothing. The point is that, there would be a tremendous disturbance. And it would be a typical move for Republicans who have this penchant for snatching defeat out of the jaws of victory.
BURNETT: Now, you recently spoke about Donald Trump obviously and your decision to endorse. And I just want to play back to you Dr. Carson one specific thing that you said. Here you are.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CARSON: Even if Donald Trump turns out to be not such a great president, which I don't think is the case -- I think he's going to surround himself with a really good people. But even if he didn't, we're only looking at four years. Is there another scenario that I would have preferred? But that scenario isn't available.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[19:22:23] BURNETT: Now, Dr. Carson when you went along to say, you know, even if he didn't do a good job or we're only looking at four years, you know, people interpret that as OK, that's not the most ringing endorsement from a candidate as you worry yourself now endorsing Donald Trump. What is your biggest fear about him? What is the one thing that makes you worry?
CARSON: Well, the thing that makes me worry of course is not Donald Trump. It's the alternative because, you know, we're facing a situation where we're making a gigantic decision about the direction of our country. Are we going to be a country that was designed of, for and by the people? Are we going to morphed into a country that is up for and by the government? But the government taking control of our lives from cradle to grave. And we're giving them increasingly more authority over our lives? You know, that's the model that may, other countries in the world may have adopted. Do we want to go that way? Or do we think that there is something unique and different about America? Now the system that allowed us to rise faster to the pinnacle of the world faster than anybody else into a much higher pinnacle? These are the kinds of decisions that are going to be made at this election.
BURNETT: And Dr. Carson, there is increasing discussion online about an op-ed that Donald Trump wrote. The Daily Caller first wrote about this today noticing a number of similarities between this op-ed that Donald Trump wrote and an op-ed written by you. Now, yours was published in the Northern Marianna Islands. Trump's was later published in Guam. So, this isn't something a lot of people notice but it is now getting pick up, the Daily Caller noticed it.
So, you wrote in your op-ed, here is just one quick clip. "Many Americans do not appreciate the patriotism exhibited by our brothers and sisters in the territories of American Samoa Guam, the U.S. Virgin Island. You then continue. Trump's op-ed published in Guam reads, throughout the history of our nation the patriotism exhibited by our brothers and sisters in the territories of American Samoa, Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands and he continues. What do you say?
CARSON: I would say that many of the people that worked for me previously are now working for Donald Trump, so that doesn't surprise me at all.
BURNETT: So, in other words, it could be a direct copy, but it wouldn't be plagiarism because it could be someone who actually wrote the first one writing the second one?
CARSON: Let me put it this way. It doesn't bother me at all.
BURNETT: OK. All right. One question that I have to ask you because everybody has been talking about this one as well, you've said Donald Trump offered you a role in his administration. And at the last debate, I remember listening to him. He said he spent an hour talking with you about education. So, when people said role in the administration, they said, oh, maybe it is going to be health related. But then he emphasized education as something that you are very passionate about. What are we looking at it if Donald Trump is the next president of the United States for Ben Carson? Education Secretary, VP, surgeon general, what?
CARSON: Well, first of all, we did not discuss any quid pro quo. There seems to be a great desire by many people to try to make it seem that way, but we did agree that we're both extremely interested in saving America, particularly for the next generations. And then we will continue to work together in the process of doing that. We talked about many things. Health care as well as the security of our nation, education, which is critical. And I don't think most people have any idea how far we have fallen on the educational scale. And that actually represents a security threat to our nation.
BURNETT: All right. Well, Dr. Carson, I appreciate your time. Thanks again for coming on the show again. Good to talk to you.
CARSON: Always a pleasure. Thank you.
BURNETT: And next, a surge in Latino immigrants applying for American citizenship. What is driving this? Well, they want to vote. They want to vote against Donald Trump. Special report ahead.
Plus, Republicans said this years ago about the President's choice for the Supreme Court.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I support the nomination of Mr. Garland and I encourage my colleagues to do the same.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I believe that Mr. Garland is well qualified for the court of appeals.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: So why are they saying the opposite now?
[19:30:24] BURNETT: Tonight, a major battle brewing after President Obama announced his pick for the Supreme Court. The president nominating Merrick Garland, a Federal Appeals Court judge to fill Justice Antonin Scalia's seat, but the Senate majority leader and chairman of the Judiciary Committee are doubling down, saying they will not consider anyone the president nominates.
Michelle Kosinski is OUTFRONT.
MICHELLE KOSINSKI, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Facing the political reality that his nominee may never even get a meeting with the Republican senator, much less a confirmation hearing, today, President Obama defiantly unveiled his choice for the Supreme Court, Merrick Garland, selling him directly to the American people.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Not only one of America's sharpest legal minds, but someone who brings to his work a spirit of decency, modesty, integrity.
KOSINSKI: Garland is emotional. His voice breaking several times.
GARLAND: This is the greatest honor of my life other than Lynn agreeing to marry me 28 years ago.
KOSINSKI: Outside this perfect Rose Garden day, of course, the perfect political storm only grows.
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), MAJORITY LEADER: It seems clear that President Obama made there nomination not with the intent of seeing the nominee confirmed, but in order to politicize it for purposes of the election.
SEN. ORRIN HATCH (R), SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: Put this off until after the next president is elected.
KOSINSKI: And Senator Orrin Hatch supported Garland years ago in his confirmation to the federal bench in D.C.
Republicans today, though, are saying it's not about the person, but the principle of not putting forward a nominee who would shift the balance of the court just before a presidential election. It is now woven into the very loud fabric of this political cycle. Ted Cruz saying today in a statement, "We should not vote on any nominee until the next president is sworn into office. The people will decide." While Hillary Clinton called Republicans' stance "an exercise in political brinksmanship and partisan posturing."
No one is criticizing Garland's qualifications. His hard scrambled background in Chicago, the long time Justice Department lawyer and federal appeals judge earned a scholarship to Harvard, graduated with highest honors.
OBAMA: And he put himself through Harvard Law School by working as a tutor, by stocking shoes in a shoe store, and in what is always a painful moment for any young man, by selling his comic book collection.
OBAMA: It's tough. Been there.
KOSINSKI: As a federal prosecutor, he worked on cases against terrorists, Timothy McVeigh, the Unabomber.
Some on the left, though, feel the president's choice should have represented more diversity. It might not be great for criminal justice reform, as Garland has often cited with the government. On the other hand, some conservatives worry about his willingness to uphold restrictions on guns. The president believes much more is at stake if Republicans don't give him a shot.
OBAMA: It will provoke an endless cycle of tit-for-tat. Faith in our justice system will inevitably suffer.
KOSINSKI: From the White House --
JOSH EARNEST, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Treat Chief Judge Garland fairly. That's all we're looking for here, is just a little bit of fairness.
KOSINSKI: The White House wants to present Garland as this perfect consensus nominee, somebody so moderate, with such stellar credentials that it would make Republicans look as bad as possible if indeed they don't give him a chance. The White House wants to apply pressure coming from the public as well to convince Senate Republicans to at the very least give him a shot. If they won't, the White House would love to inflict maximum political damage from this just before the elections, Erin.
BURNETT: All right. Michelle, thank you very much.
And OUTFRONT now, Bill Kristol and Hogan Gidley are back. Also with me, our senior legal analyst, former federal prosecutor Jeffrey Toobin, and our political commentator, Marc Lamont Hill.
You've been going through all the names and the possibilities of who the president could nominate. Were you surprised with the choice of Merrick Garland? JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: I was. I thought he was
going to pick someone who offered more of a political advantage to the Democratic Party, someone who was perhaps a minority, a woman. In fact, he picked someone 63 years old. Not someone who is going to rally the troops, but someone who is impeccably qualified to be on the Supreme Court.
And basically, he took off the table for the Republicans any argument for whether he is qualified. And so, the Republicans have the argument that this is too important.
BURNETT: They don't want Obama's person.
TOOBIN: Exactly. And --
BURNETT: It's all about that, right?
TOOBIN: That's what the people have to decide, whether that's a legitimate argument or not.
BURNETT: And, you know, Bill, it's amazing. It's not just the White House saying this guy is incredibly qualified. Republicans themselves have said he is incredibly qualified. Let me play a clip here of Republicans saying this at prior nominations for Merrick Garland.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[19:35:04] HATCH: Based on his qualifications, I support the nomination of Mr. Garland and I encourage my colleagues to do the same.
SEN. JON KYL (R), ARIZONA: I believe that Mr. Garland is well- qualified for the Court of Appeals.
SEN. CHARLES GRASSLEY (R), IOWA: I can find no fault with the person the president has put forward.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BILL KRISTOL, THE WEEKLY STANDARD: Democrats said similar things about John Roberts, for example, when he's been nominated for the same circuit court, the D.C. Circuit of Appeals. I think he was also confirmed unanimously --
BURNETT: Did he just suddenly become unqualified?
KRISTOL: And Barack Obama voted against him for the Supreme Court because it is different from the appellate court. And it is a more, unfortunately, I think this is bad for the country, it's a much more political part of the judiciary. And I think one is entitled to weigh someone's constitutional philosophy as well as pure qualifications.
Having said that, I thought it was a smart, for his own point of view, it was a clever pick by President Obama. It does put a little more pressure, as Jeffrey said, on Republicans because a lot of people respect Merrick Garland. He is a little more moderate of a liberal. I think they're entitled to deny him a hearing at this point and to have a vote.
But you know what? It's interesting, if September and October, what if Hillary Clinton is ahead of Donald Trump by 25 points, because I personally it's likely if Trump is the nominee? Do -- does Mitch McConnell and Chuck Grassley and Orrin Hatch --
BURNETT: And then go and bring us Merrick Garland.
KRISTOL: Well, not back. His nomination will be pending. They just have a hearing, they both withdraw, and you get a better moderate liberal judge than you would get if you let Hillary Clinton make the appointment. So, I think --
KRISTOL: I just make this up. I kind of think this is fairly clever, but I just made this up. But I don't know if Mitch McConnell is thinking this way or not.
BURNETT: But the majority of the people think there should be hearings, Democrats, Republicans, and independents. They do think this is the job of the Senate to do this.
HOGAN GIDLEY, FORMRER SENIOR ADVISER, MIKE HUCKABEE 2016 CAMPAIGN: Sure. This is political gamesmanship, right? I mean, I tend to agree with you. I think it's kind of a lose-lose situation for the president.
He was -- I thought he would be put someone in more progressive and liberal. He didn't. Republicans were out front on this and said, we're not going to hear anybody. We're not going to have hearing for anybody.
BURNETT: He put someone up who is real. How is that a lose?
GIDLEY: Here's the thing. Republicans have been rolled by this president on so many things. The GOP, the base is saying, could you just stand up just this one time? And, sadly, Merrick is the political pawn in all this.
But -- I just don't think -- keep this in mind: it's not -- it should -- I think we all think the Supreme Court is a serious issue. It's not even a top ten issue for voters. They may want him to have hearings on it, they may think it's a job. But this isn't going to define the election.
BURNETT: Well, not until they realize the import of what the Supreme Court does.
The thing is, Marc Lamont Hill, is that Democrats do this -- have done this before, right? We talked about Chuck Schumer. But Joe Biden back in 1992, he stood up and said, don't move ahead with the nominee. Here's what he advocated at the time.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN (D), THEN-U.S. SENATOR: It would be our pragmatic inclusion that once the political season is under way, and it is, action on a Supreme Court nomination must be put off until after the election campaign is over. That is what is fair to the nominee and essential to the process.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Well, this is what the American people hate about politicians. So, that's what he said. Now, he's on the other side. Now, he's saying you've got to hear our person.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MARC LAMONT HILL, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, let me begin by saying Democrat or Republican, both sides make the same argument if they're in a different position. Let's be honest about that.
HILL: But one could make a distinction here. This is June of 1992. Bill Clinton is elected in November. We're talking about five months, the moment Joe Biden made that statement. Scalia dies a month and a half ago. I mean, we're talking about 11 months without a Supreme Court justice versus two months --
BURNETT: But the president took this long to name someone and we're now almost in April. So, I get it. It's a couple months. But I mean, you can say it's a whole different thing --
HILL: I'm not saying it is a whole different thing, but the Democratic argument is we can't have a justice for a significant amount of time.
TOOBIN: What is really different here is that there are now four Democratic appointees on the Supreme Court, four Republican appointees. This is the most critical Supreme Court vacancy in more that a generation.
And the Republicans I think recognize that they're going to take somewhat of a political hit for not giving this person a hearing, but it's worth it. It's worth it to them to keep the possibility of a Republican appointee to that seat.
GIDLEY: I think at the end, he's right. I think at the end, they come in. If Hillary is ahead and they get scared, they just can push him right on through.
BURNETT: So, there's no question, this nominee will be better as far as they see it than a Hillary Clinton nominee.
BURNETT: All right. Thanks to all.
OUTFRONT next, Donald Trump spurs Latinos to citizenship. They won't to vote to stop Trump. Talk about unintended consequences, a special report ahead.
And with Hillary Clinton dominating Super Tuesday on the Democratic side, how much longer will Bernie Sanders fight it out?
[19:43:24] BURNETT: Tonight, a spike in Latino immigrants applying for American citizenship. Why? Why now? Well, they're mobilizing to stop Donald Trump.
Here's Kyung Lah with the story you'll see only OUTFRONT.
TRUMP: Number one with Hispanics.
KYUNG LAH, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Visible and loud, the protesters at Donald Trump's rallies, many of them Latino holding and wearing their outrage.
More subdued, but just as powerful, Edgar Ripoll's protest, a native of Colombia and legal resident for ten years. It's only now where Ripoll feels the need to naturalize in time for November.
(on camera): Do you have Donald Trump to thank for bringing you out here?
(voice-over): "If I could become a citizen, I can vote against him," he says.
Across the U.S. from Florida to Nevada to Illinois, to North Carolina, Latinos once content to carry green cards now set to seek citizenship, because when Trump head off his presidential candidacy with this --
TRUMP: They're bringing crime. They're rapists.
LAH: And this --
TRUMP: And who is going to pay for the wall?
LAH: The federal government says naturalization applications jumped 14.5 percent compared to the same six months last year.
(on camera): If all of those with green cards become naturalized citizens, what happens politically?
RAUL HERNANDEZ, CATHOLIC LEGAL SERVICES: You want a cliche? It's a game changer.
LAH (voice-over): The numbers reveal that political power, swing state Nevada has 73,000 Latinos who are eligible to naturalize. Arizona holding its primary next week, 146,000. Florida, 637,000. [19:45:02] Nationally, the U.S. is home to 4.5 million Latinos
eligible to naturalize.
MARIA ELENA SALINAS, UNIVISION ANCHOR: The very same group he's been attacking is the one who is going to stop him from getting into the White House.
LAH: There's no love lost between Univision anchor Maria Elena Salinas and Trump. Univision, a powerful media organization owned by a Hillary Clinton donor, has joined with grassroots groups to get out the vote in November.
The national response overwhelming.
SALINAS: You feel it. You know that Donald Trump is your enemy because he declared war, because he's the one that declared us enemies.
LAH: That's the main motivator. Why Cuban (INAUDIBLE) is getting her citizenship after 22 years in the U.S. when we bring up Trump's name, this reaction.
"I can't stand him. He's like a punch to the gut", she says.
Donald Trump's unintended consequence, a pathway to their political power.
LAH: The Trump campaign says his proposed immigration reforms, the deportation of 11 million undocumented immigrants, the wall, will actually end up benefitting legal Latino immigrants. No one we spoke with believes that -- Erin.
BURNETT: All right. Kyung Lah, thank you.
And next, after Hillary Clinton's big wins, how long does Bernie Sanders fight her?
And Jeanne Moos on Hillary Clinton's so-called yelling problem.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: More faith in our future. If we work together, if we go forward in this --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[19:50:01] BURNETT: Tonight, Bernie Sanders vowing to push ahead despite a string of disappointing losses on Super Tuesday. Sanders trails Clinton by about 800 delegates, nearly that, as she inches closer to the magic number on the Democratic. That number is 2,383. Sanders, though says he's not going anywhere.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Phoenix, are you ready for a political revolution?
Next week, Arizona has a very important election. We will win if the voter turnout is high. Let's make it high. Thank you all very much.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: My panel is back with me.
And, Marc, the numbers here, let's go through them. Obviously, Hillary Clinton has this incredible advantage when it comes to the super delegates. But betting senators by nearly 800 delegates. And sure, he's fighting it really close in a lot of these states, but she's inching out the win and that's giving her all of these delegates. Is he hurting her by saying it?
HILL: No, at this point, because Hillary is able to pivot and say, look, I'm moving to the general elections. The stakes are high. She's not acknowledging Bernie Sanders anymore.
Does she alienate small sector of the extreme left wing of the party who feel like she may be disrespecting Bernie and his agenda? Perhaps. But those people may not vote for Hillary anyway, they may stay home. I think Hillary is wisely moving forward based on her politics and I don't think it hurts her in the general.
BURNETT: Does it hurt her, though -- he's the one with the passionate supporters who want to go out and vote. Let's just remember here, when it comes to unfavorables, the two most unfavorable candidates running are Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.
TOOBIN: Right. But I don't understand why we have this fixation of trying to get people out of the race. You know, he just won this big primary a week, he's raised a lot of money. He has passionate supporters.
BURNETT: A lot of money, yes.
TOOBIN: He's raising issues that he cares deeply about, income inequality, which he has forced Hillary Clinton to change her position on. What is the downside for him, for continuing? And he's not really damaged the Democratic Party or the Democratic brand. So I just think this fixation we have of like, why doesn't he drop out, is just silly.
KRISTOL: And I think actually he'll go the convention and try to force some changes in the Democratic platform, make it less friendly to Wall Street, more left wing on a lot of issues and he's entitled to do that and delegates are free to vote as they wish on the platform, it's not clear that Hillary Clinton machine can control them. So, that would be something he could accomplish.
So, I think -- I totally agree with Jeffrey. He's entitled to stay in the race. But I've got to say, what you said about the unfavorable ratings, it's unbelievable. The two parties are poise to nominate, one candidate, the Democrats, Hillary Clinton with the 56 general unfavorable rating with the American public and, of course, the Republicans at 67 percent unfavorable rating.
Watching the clips of the two of them here, tonight it reinforces my belief that independent Republican candidate that I'm going to recruit --
GIDLEY: We're waiting to get --
BURNETT: It's incredible.
KRISTOL: They're also the two oldest, I mean, the 68-year-old versus 69-year-old, some young independent who is going to look forward to the future.
BURNETT: The older ones and they're the ones that voters don't like, and voters are voting for them anyway.
TOOBIN: Bill Kristol approved this message. He's working on recruiting this third-party candidate. You know, every politician's negative ratings are higher than they used to be.
GIDLEY: That's right.
TOOBIN: They say 50 is the new 40. The fact that her approval ratings negatives are in the 50s is actually not that bad compared to the run of politicians.
BURNETT: There you go. That's a pretty good --
KRISTOL: Sixty-seven --
GIDLEY: But let's also talk about enthusiasm. Bernie has a lot of enthusiasm. He's got money. He can actually drive some of the narrative in the direction that the Democrat Party, which I think he's trying to do, as you pointed out.
But look, our turnout amongst Republicans from 2012 is up 61 percent. Democrats are down 21 percent. That means we do have a chance coming in to November to actually start to build something, even though our candidates are upside down in the negatives, so are the Democrats. I think that bodes well for us for turnout.
HILL: But then there's the Trump factor, right? Some people are going to stay home and some people are going to be motivated to --
BURNETT: A lot of people are going to be voting for the people they dislike least. I mean, that's just --
GIDLEY: They are both so polarizing. They are both so polarizing.
BURNETT: Not the most aspiring situation of the nation.
All right. OUTFRONT next, Jeanne Moos on whether Hillary Clinton should smile more. Maybe that would help with the unfavorables.
[19:57:53] BURNETT: Hillary Clinton has reason to celebrate, four Super Tuesday wins. So why is she shouting? Or is she shouting?
Here's Jeanne Moos.
JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: She's used to getting shout-outs as well as shouting at her audience.
CLINTON: Thank you, Florida.
MOOS: Shouting everything from her gratitude to her website.
MOOS: But between her horse voice and her volume, critics cover their ears. "Hillary is shouting her speech," tweeted media critic, Howard Kurtz. "What's she mad at," wondered FOX's Brit Hume.
CLINTON: Without borrowing a dime.
MOOS: Last month, journalist Bob Woodward declared.
BOB WOODWARD, JOURNALIST: She shouts. There is something unrelaxed about the way she is communicating.
MOOS: But when Joe Scarborough advised, "Smile. You just had a big night", he got an earful from Hillary supporters crying "sexist."
Comedian Kate Spencer tweeted a photo with fangs captioned "Me when Joe tells women to smile." The hashtag #smileforjoe inspired women to post their unsmiling faces.
The liberal political blog Wonkette asked, "You wanna see a smile? Here's a smile. Oh you want a bigger smile? Here's a bigger smile."
And in a cameo on the show "Broad City" Wednesday, well you don't get smiles much bigger than this.
The male candidates sure aren't above raising their voices.
TRUMP: And then as soon as we left, they knocked the (EXPLETIVE DELETED) out of everybody.
CLINTON: You know --
SANDERS: Excuse me, I'm talking. TRUMP: No, no, no, no.
SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R), FLORIDA: Selling watches in Manhattan.
MOOS: Hillary herself is aware of the shouting critique.
CLINTON: I'm always being told that when I talk to you, I should talk in a very calm --
MOOS: And sometimes she catches herself --
CLINTON: And above all, above all.
MOOS: Speak softly and carry a big stick. So you can use the stick on anyone who says you're not speaking softly enough.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You want to win, here's what you got to do -- first, yell.
MOOS: Jeanne Moos, CNN --
UNICENTIFIED MALE: In fact, this phone isn't even plugged in, I'm just yelling.
MOOS: -- New York.
BURNETT: Thanks for joining us.
Anderson starts now.