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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL
Special Coverage Democratic Caucuses In Washington State, Alaska and Hawaii. Aired 3-4p ET
Aired March 26, 2016 - 15:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[15:00:37] JAKE TAPPER, CNN CHIEF WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: We are taking you inside the Democratic caucuses out west. You can see this site in Anchorage, Alaska, is packed. We're waiting for final results there.
And in Washington State, we have been watching this site in the city of Seattle, where voters have been caucusing for a couple of hours now. Democrats are holding contests in three states today. Washington State, Alaska and also Hawaii. A total of 142 delegates are on the line.
Bernie Sanders looking for new wins and a fresh shot of momentum against Hillary Clinton. She has a significant lead in the delegate race. And this round of voting, well, it's critical for Sanders to have a chance at catching up.
There's no voting today for the Republicans. The Republican candidates are looking ahead to the next big battleground for both parties, the Wisconsin primaries on April 5th.
We have correspondents inside the caucuses, digging for new information. First, let's go to Sara Sidner. She is in Seattle, Washington.
Sara, tell us what's going on?
SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: So we got some new numbers, and these are final totals. But it is just a snapshot because it's still just 13 of the 17 precincts that are here. The number is 28 percent for Hillary Clinton, and 72 percent for Bernie Sanders. Clearly swaying very much for Bernie Sanders.
I want to get you a look inside of the last of the four. There are four tables left here. So four precincts left who are still trying to divvy out who is going to be the folks that they were choose to go to the next round of voting. And you're seeing the papers right there. Those are the ballots. Those things that folks use to decide who is going to be their candidate is going to be. They are counting them again. And like I said, we have 13 of the 17 districts or precincts in at 28 percent for Clinton, 72 percent for Bernie Sanders. And now they're going to decide who their delegates are. So once they are finished with this counting, this will be the final count for them and then they will figure out who the delegates are that are going to the convention.
TAPPER: All right. That's just one small snapshot, but if Bernie Sanders continues with a 70-30 margin of victory, that's the kind of margin that he needs in order to be able to overtake, or at least catch up, with secretary of state Hillary Clinton.
Let's go to Jason Carroll now. He is at a caucus site outside Tacoma in Sill Com, Washington.
Jason, what's going on where you are?
JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, we keep talking about snapshots. Here is another picture for you. Let me give you some updated numbers that we have here. In Pierce County, so far, Clinton at 39 percent. Bernie Sanders at 61 percent. That's with eight precincts reporting so far. You can hear some claps over there.
Behind me here, you can see this is precinct number 555. They are all wrapped up, basically, Jake, like many of the precincts here. They are just in the process now of assigning some of their delegates to move on to the next step.
In terms of what's happening at the Silicom high school, there is still a few precincts that are trying to get their numbers into the official count. One precinct that we heard from precinct 576, they did one count, as you know, there are two counts before they release the official one here, where they gave 16 to Sanders and 17 to Clinton, 2 undecided there. Again, they just did one count. But then some of the people got confused and left. And so they can't have their second count until they get those people back inside to finish up their particular vote.
So most of the precincts here are getting their tallies in, getting their votes in. A few loose ends here, as I mentioned, with precinct 576, still trying to get their people back inside so they can do their second vote, but things looking very good for Bernie Sanders here in Pierce County - Jake.
TAPPER: All right, Jason Carroll, just outside Tacoma, Washington.
Let's head north to Anchorage, Alaska, where we find Paul Vercammen.
Paul, what it's going on where you are?
PAUL VERCAMMEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Jake, it is absolutely jammed here at West Anchorage. Look over here. These people were not even able to get into the doors to watch the video presentations by the presidential candidates. It feels like, from the inside/out, that this will be a record-shattering turnout for the Democratic caucus in Alaska. So much so that the fire marshal came in here just a short time ago and told everybody in here they need to clear these halls. There are more than a thousand people inside this auditorium. And throughout this high school we've got 14 of Alaska's 40 districts voting here.
So, really a strong representation of all of Alaska in here. And if all of Alaska follows suit here, as we said, it looks like it will be a record shattering turnout. They're trying to get all of this under control to make sure that everybody votes, Democratic leaders have already said, Jake that they are behind. Nobody has gone off or fanned out, as the term they used here and voted in their individual caucuses yet.
Now, don't forget, we have a total of 20 delegates at stake. Four of them are super delegates, and Alaska Democrats are actually given two more delegates because they moved their caucus off Super Tuesday to this now western Saturday - Jake.
[15:05:49] TAPPER: And, Paul, we're not holding you to it, but you have any impression whether or not Clinton or Sanders supporters are out in if you're talking to me, I've lost communication.
VERCAMMEN: And if you are talking to me, I have lost communication.
TAPPER: All right. We lost IP with Paul.
Let's go to David Chalian and Brianna Keilar here.
We have not seen contests where the Democratic turnout has been record breaking, but at least anecdotally we're hearing about it potentially in Washington state and Alaska.
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's right. In fact, actually I think in Washington during 2008 it was 250,000. I think it might -- what we're going to see, if that's going to crest above that, certainly. But I think, you know, you can almost say, how is it shaping up where Paul Vercammen is? Even though he wasn't able to answer us. Probably doing pretty well for Bernie Sanders. Right?
This is a contest here in Washington, also Alaska and Hawaii. This could be actually one of best days of Bernie Sanders's campaign. And I think this possibly could go into what we could see as the best couple of weeks for Bernie Sanders with some of these other upcoming contests.
The Clinton campaign is making the case that, OK, but our math overall is better. Not really a sexy argument. That's part of the issue. And what it does it that it also reveals I think one of the vulnerabilities that she has, which is just to show that the enthusiasm is for Bernie Sanders and it's not for her and Washington state. This was something that we felt this week. I actually at her rally, I was blown away by how much enthusiasm there was for her. But what I understand from other reporters who were at Bernie Sanders' rallies in Washington, it even was beyond that. I think you're seeing that in the caucus results.
DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: But think about what you're seeing there. And this is why I think the Clinton campaign is not alarmed by this being a Bernie Sanders big day potentially is because it very well may be his best day as you just said and she still may emerge from these contests this evening with a larger pledged delegate lead than Barack Obama ever had over her in 2008. So they just feel a sense of security in their position for the nomination that, although, I think the Clinton campaign firmly, completely realizes Bernie Sanders can raise a ton of money off of today, Bernie Sanders gets a rationale and argument to march on from today. They don't feel threatened for the nomination from today.
TAPPER: And we haven't seen any evidence that the contest is hurting her the way it might potentially be doing on the Republican side.
CHALIAN: That's right. I don't think we have seen evidence of that. Yet I mean, she is still competitive in the general election besting Donald Trump or tied with Ted Cruz in our most recent poll out this week. We -- her negatives, yes. There is something that they have to work on, her unfavorable. But that is something Hillary Clinton's had to work on for much of her career when she is running for office. As she said so, her ratings tend to be better when she is in office. They tend to be a little less better when she is running for office.
KEILAR: And it might be more of a vulnerability in contest against Bernie Sanders than it would be against a Donald Trump or even a Ted Cruz.
TAPPER: We'll see.
Stay right with us. We are expecting results out of Washington State. And in Alaska, the caucuses are about to begin.
We will be right back after this quick break.
[15:00:00] KATE BOLDUAN, CNN HOST: Welcome back. You're looking at Anchorage, Alaska, having some fun as they're getting ready to caucus on this western Saturday. Continuing with the theme that Angela Rye wanted to bring up, as you saw on that very specially decorated flag right there.
That's Anchorage, Alaska, for you folks, and Angela Rye. I'm just kidding, Angela. Just kidding.
DONNA BRAZILE, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: A high turnout. We have a high -- turnout. That's all we talk about.
BOLDUAN: We have Bernie Sanders. We have high turnouts.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Very effective.
BOLDUAN: This table, you are going to have to start bringing it.
All right, talk about bringing it. Yesterday on the eve of these states going to vote, Bernie Sanders, one of his big, big rallies. A lot of supporters turning out. He did not turn his attention though to Hillary Clinton at one point. He turned his attention very specifically on one Donald Trump. And this is what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It would be an unmitigated disaster for our country if somebody like a Donald Trump became president of the United States. Now, the thought of Trump in the White House makes -- brings forth rather strange reactions in our stomach, leading to nausea and other symptoms, but here's the good news. Donald Trump is not going to become president of the United States.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOLDUAN: Bernie Sanders is also now a medical doctor. So you can also go to do him for things like that.
But Bill, let me come to you with this. I mean, as we were talking about a lot of the conversation is of Hillary Clinton making a pivot to the general. How does this help Bernie Sanders on taking on Donald Trump?
BILL PRESS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: A come ways. First of all, I think both Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton have an immediate job to do which is to win the nomination and they are not going to lose sight of that. And I think that going after Donald Trump actually helps them, because it energizes Democrats. It helps them, you know, direct their message as to the difference between what the Democrats propose and what either Ted Cruz or Donald Trump put forward.
But the other thing is, I think it's important that they start focusing on Donald Trump because to me people - my fellow Democrats who think Donald Trump is going to be a piece of cake. He is going to be walk over. He is going to be a walk in the park. It is not. So I think when they focus on the threat of Donald -- present to the nation, it helps get the message out early on and will help in the general election.
BAKARI SELLERS, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: It also highlights one thing that Democrats have an advantage over Republicans with, in that the gulf in the Democratic Party is not that large. In fact, the gulf between --
KEILAR: Don't tell Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton that.
SELLERS: The gulf between Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton from someone who is very, very active in 2008 with Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton is much narrower. I mean, there was a, a lot of disdain between the Obama campaign and the Clinton campaign in 2008. But right now, not only that, but we also have a unifier in chief when the race gets to that point with Barack Obama able to come out and bring these party together. But I thought what you saw was Bernie Sanders devoting some attention to making sure we keep the energy up and the number one entity, the best entity the Democratic Party has for get out the vote for energy is Donald Trump.
BRAZILE: When you have the leading Republican candidate talking about waterboarding. Something that is totally against -- not just our own values as a country but the Geneva conventions. I think that's the reason our candidate on the Democratic side felt a need to speak up. And it's incumbent upon the Republican now, I'm looking at my two sisters over here, one I'm with tissue, the other one -- you know, two-thirds of Republican delegates have already been allocated.
There is not a lot of time to stop Donald Trump. They have to be worried on the Republican side that they want their standard bearer to be someone who goes out there and calls for (INAUDIBLE).
BOLDUAN: And Kayleigh, just as quickly as they say, the best get out the vote operation will be Donald Trump. Donald Trump will welcome. Donald trump supporters will welcome hearing Bernie Sanders say something like this.
KAYLEIGH MCENANY, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Absolutely. It just strengthens him. Because any negativity just feeds Donald Trump. And you know, I would resists a notion that Donald Trump's policy though. The problem right now, the problem is with the Republican Party is this bickering. That is so insignificant and it mimics a reality show. That's the problem. And it is not the policy because Americans are very scared right now. They look at Barack Obama doing the tango in Argentina, laughing it up at a baseball game, talking about terrorism on ESPN and a lot of Americans are in their homes afraid that they are going to be the next victims of the terrorist attack. And they look at Donald Trump as someone who is strong. This is why Donald Trump needs to get back on that. He didn't talk about waterboarding and talk about these policies.
BOLDUAN: One second. Go ahead.
SELLERS: Waterboarding is not something you should talk about flippantly. His foreign policy is not only illegal, but it is unconstitutional. Their discussion is that we should not be having as a civilized country --
MCENANY: The Supreme Court has never declared that. Read the --
SELLERS: I'm going to say, the one step further and simply say that if we're going to stop this terror that we are facing, we can't isolate ourselves from the rest of the world and we can't disrespect the largest religion in the entire world.
MCENANY: You know what we can't do, when Abdeslam stops talking, we can't say sorry, we're not going to inconvenience him --
SELLERS: So waterboard him?
MCENANY: We are not going to inconvenience him because we are afraid to make him feel bad a few moments to save American lives, to save Brussels lives, to save Parisian lives. A 139 people died, Bakari, and if he needs waterboarding to it protect those 139 people, by all means.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Wow.
PRESS: What difference do you think it would have made if they waterboarded this guy?
MCENANY: I can tell you this --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ask John McCain.
SELLERS: That's not who we are as a country.
PRESS: Somebody who has been tortured. He said it doesn't work.
BOLDUAN: Go ahead, Bill.
PRESS: I'll make it again.
MCENANY: Sheikh Mohammed was not talking. He was waterboarded a number of times. The reason we were able to identify the courier that led us Osama bin laden was because he pointed out the significance of the name. He was not talking before --
BOLDUAN: S.E., go ahead.
S.E. CUPP, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Whether it's torture or internment camps or operation wetback, the problem is the policies. The problem is that Donald Trump wants to return to the darkest chapters of American history to solve problems. And these are not the ways to solve problems. No one should be defending, an Eisenhower policy that left hundreds of Mexicans dead in the middle of the desert or Japanese-Americans imprisoned for no reason, or an entire religion banned from entering a country. The problem is the policies, Kayleigh. The policies that don't work. The policies they're unconstitutional. They are illegal.
NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN POLITICAL REPORTER: And the policies that Americans don't like. I mean, if you look at the head-to-head matchup, hypothetical matchups at this point between Trump and Clinton or even Trump and Sanders, both of those people beat -- beat Donald Trump. Sanders by 20 points and Clinton by 12 points. I mean, what is working for now in the Republican party primary is hurting Donald Trump among the general population.
[15:20:09] RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: And (INAUDIBLE) stabilized opinions. But the fact is there is not majority support for mass deportation. There is not majority support for a Muslim temporary ban on immigration. And Donald Trump is facing historically high negatives at this point among the key groups in the Democratic coalition. If you look at minorities, millennials, and college educated white women, all of them are going to be a bigger share of the vote in 2016 that they were in 2012. And in all of those groups, he is looking at a negative -- unfavorable rating of 70 percent or above. Now, maybe part of that is exacerbated by the bickering now. But Republicans are in this extraordinary position where he is steamrolling towards the nomination and yet there all of these warning signs about his viability. He is trailing Hillary Clinton in every national poll now among college educated white voters. In the history of polling going back to 1952, Democrats have never won a majority of college educated white voters --
BROWNSTEIN: And he is not ten points behind.
BOLDUAN: Does that worry you?
MCENANY: The unfavorability worries me when I see bickering going on. And I think that is responsible for it. I don't think it is the policies. And just to quickly address on S.E. said. Donald Trump doesn't want internment camps. Donald Trump has said he wants the policies to be within the bounds of the law. And I don't consider the Bush administration to be a dark age. I consider the Bush administration to be an age where the United States emanated strength. And age where we did what it took to keep this country safe. And a lot of people want to go back to that time and that is what Donald Trump is wanting to go back to.
CUPP: No. Donald Trump says he wants to change the law. He wants to change the Geneva Convention.
MCENANY: Within the bounds of the law.
CUPP: He wants to change the laws. He says expand them, so that we can do things that would make us just as bad as is.
SELLERS: You also see how Donald Trump ignites this fury, how Donald Trump - and even as Democrats, he is going to drive Democratic turnout. Donald Trump is getting destroyed amongst college educated women as Ron said. But even more importantly, black and brown women in this country are going to come out in droves to make sure that Donald Trump does not beat back a lot of the progress that we made as a country.
BOLDUAN: You know what, guys, hold on a second. Let's continue this conversation. We are going to take a quick break.
You see on the side of the screen we are watching anchorage, Alaska, watching Washington State. Caucuses happening right now. Votes are coming in and some very important conversation going on with these panels.
We'll be right back with much more of our special coverage.
[15:26:34] BOLDUAN: And you are looking live right now in Anchorage, Alaska. Just look at that pact room there where the caucuses are about to get underway. Everyone in there in Anchorage, Alaska. We are also watching Washington State what waiting for more results to come in. We are here on Western Saturday - caucus at big Saturday. That is everyone forcing me to say or else they are going to kick me out. You stop right now. Let's continue our conversation here as I clearly lost control. No
surprise to anyone involved but I want to talk about the impact of terror on this race, on this election. Especially as we are looking at votes right now. And in that vein, here was Hillary Clinton earlier this week at a rally in Seattle. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: In the face of terror, America doesn't panic. We don't build walls or turn our backs on our allies. We can't throw out everything we know about what works and what doesn't and start torturing people. What Donald Trump, Ted Cruz and others are suggesting is not only wrong, it's dangerous. It will not keep us safe. This is a time for America to lead, not cower.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOLDUAN: Hear that from Hillary Clinton. Again, Donald Trump and Ted Cruz there.
Kayleigh to you. I mean, Donald Trump is no problem responding. And he is now tried to already brand Hillary Clinton as incompetent Hillary. What do you say?
MCENANY: I think it's important for Donald Trump to pivot and turn to Hillary. It is a way for him to emerge from the Cruz fiasco, from the reality that is show happening in my party now. If he turned to Hillary and took her same tactic against her, I'm coming after you. I'm going to leave Cruz behind. He has got a hard math coming forward, it would really serve him well.
CUPP: I agree 100 percent. I mean, there is a lot to criticize over the past eight years of failed foreign policy. There is so much meat there. Unfortunately, and every time there's a terror attack, whether Paris, or San Bernardino or Brussels, if reaffirms that people who support Donald Trump have every right to be worried and scared and afraid. And so Donald Trump, while I don't agree with his proposals, is absolutely right to be pivoting to Hillary Clinton. And I wish he would get a lot more focused on some of these issues rather than dealing with Ted Cruz and his wife. It's silly.
BOLDUAN: But S.E., how does he respond to what Hillary Clinton is saying, though? You say should be taking on her, but the wall. Turning our backs on our allies. I mean, these are things that she is going to keep saying, keep saying, and keep saying and keep saying.
CUPP: Well, and she should. I mean, as I have said, his policies really make no sense. I have called a foreign policy gibberish. I mean, for one thing he says the terrorists like those in Brussels are actually -- already here and then says he wants to shutter the border effectively locking him in. I mean, it makes no sense. And when you try to connect the dots between all of Donald Trump's sort of utterances on foreign policy, it makes a mess.
(CROSSTALK) MCENANY: Just quickly, the FBI has said that ISIS is in all 50 states. And I think his foreign policy does makes sense. And evidence of that is the APAC speech where everyone said we were going see rabbis walk out.
BOLDUAN: Terror investigation in all 50 states. I don't think they say ISIS.
MCENANY: Terror investigations in all 50 states. But when he spoke in APAC, it was coherent. It was smart. It was on point. He got standing ovations for that speech.
PRESS: That is -- apologized for the state.
[15:30:06] BOLDUAN: One at a time. Go ahead, Bakari.
SELLERS: I was actually present at APAC and present at APAC and actually spoken. I think that a lot of people who are there -- first of all, it was a very low bar for Donald Trump going into. A lot of people were surprised he could finally read off a teleprompter. But yes, there was a lot of an applause. In APAC he even took a step back and said wait a minute. You know, we apologize for the tenure of the tone in the politicization of this issue. But that doesn't go to say that Donald Trump is going to be strong on foreign policy because your foreign policy can fundamentally not be rooted in hate and bigotry. It simply cannot. There is nobody right now in Brussels who is saying, hey, we need more hate. That's not what anybody is simply saying. And it does not make sense. And the only person who has out done Donald Trump in that facet this week has been Ted Cruz.
BROWNSTEIN: You know, if we were to say a year ago that a raise with Hillary Clinton as the Democratic nominee, she would not be the central point of the referendum. That she would be kind of secondary. Who to say that would be unimaginable? But the fact is that, you know, as David Chalian pointed out before, she is looking at historically high negative ratings and yet she has not the focal point of a potential general election. It's Donald Trump.
You' looking at - you are looking a Donald Trump is essentially betting (INAUDIBLE), betting the entire party, probably control of the Senate, certainly control of the Supreme Court and control the White House, on this theory that there are enough conservative for principally working-class whites to reverse the democratic popular vote pictures in the past six elections.
The problem they have got, as I said before, is the groups that are growing are the groups that are most negative towards him. Minorities and college educated white women alone could be half the total vote in 2016. And in the CNN poll last week, his unfavorable rating with each group was 82 percent. So yes, he could do historically well on working fast white men as well as Reagan did in 1984, but that half as much of the vote as they were in 1984. So this is a big bet.
MCENANY: But here is a thing. Terrorism is becoming increasingly important. And the victims of terrorism don't have a color, they don't have an age, they don't have a specific name or group. This is emerging as "the" most important defining issue and this will unite voters around Donald Trump. I think - Bakari, I want to ask you really quick. So we hear this all the time that his policies, they are rooted in hate and bigotry. You really believe his temporary Muslim ban of non-U.S. citizens is because he hates those people so much? Do you really believe that's rooted in hate? Do you?
BOLDUAN: I'm sorry. Go ahead.
SELLERS: I mean, I have to think about the best way to answer that in front of millions of people watching. But is it root in? I think it's rooted in blatant ignorance. I don't think that Donald Trump is a racist. I think that Donald Trump does something which is even more distasteful. And that he utilizes racism and he utilizes this vein of bigotry to actually drive turnout in his election. I think he is much smarter than being radios, I really do.
MCENANY: So, his voters are rooted in hate and bigotry.
SELLERS: No. I think he is playing to a vein. I think he is actually playing to a vein of hate. And you can't deny that.
HENDERSON: I mean, I think it is also true that there was a terrorist attack obviously in Brussels. He could have taken the opportunity to make a serious statement on terror, make a speech in the way that Hillary Clinton did, but he didn't. He spent more time engaging about Ted Cruz and Ted Cruz' wife rather than talk about terror.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And a time where he's comfortable.
BOLDUAN: Go ahead, Bill. Real quick.
PRESS: Look, I think this is very important discussion because this Democratic primary, which we're covering today, right, mainly about economic populism in income inequality. We get to the general, this terrorism is going to be a big issue, absolutely. And so, what we will see this way, right. They have a chance - I mean, Donald Trump doubles down in keeping almost inside the country. And then says we have to go beyond waterboarding to do even more stuff. Ted Cruz says we are going to send police patrols into every neighborhood where Muslims live in this country. The only guy that made sense was John Kasich and he doesn't have a chance. I think the Republican Party on this issue is going to be in serious trouble in the general with a Donald Trump message which is message, sorry, Kayleigh, based on hate. Certainly not based on love or understanding.
BOLDUAN: So right now, we are talking about what could and very likely how is it going to play out in a general election.
But first you can probably hear excitement in the background. You are looking at Anchorage, Alaska, right there, where all of the action is about to get underway. We are watching those important contests are the results are going to be coming in very soon. We'll be right back.
[15:38:24 TAPPER: Welcome back to CNN's live coverage of western Saturday. We are covering three Democratic caucuses in Washington State, Hawaii and Alaska.
Let's go to Alaska right now where the caucuses have just begun, and we find our own Paul Vercammen in Anchorage, Alaska.
Paul, tell is what's going on.
VERCAMMEN: Well, it is absolute mania inside here. And this is West Anchorage high school. If you look right here, this is a south Anchorage district. They have just begun to hand count the votes. That's off in the distance. This isn't a traditional caucus where everyone starts to debate. But let me give you a sense of how crowded it is in here.
Other districts were jammed up -- Hillary supporters, obviously, in front of you, Jake. Other districts were jammed in the balcony above. And it got so crowded in here, this district over to my right, they are now being asked to go outside on a soupy Alaska day, about 37 degrees and meet in the parking lot.
This district over here is East Anchorage. Very solidly for Bernie. Just anecdotally, they have been cheering all day long. As we have said, they have been delayed here. People had trouble getting inside the gymnasium. The fire marshal showed up. So at one point they said, look in all fairness, everybody gets to vote. So we are going to make sure that everybody gets inside this high school, the single biggest voting bloc in the state of Alaska, before we start to count the votes. So we are stalled right now.
But we look over my right shoulder, you can still see far off in the distance those people holding up pink cards, that's your version of democracy in action, Jake. They are literally hand counting them and they figure they will be about 300 to 400 people voting in this district alone.
This is south anchorage in the gymnasium. Reports from other parts of the state, (INAUDIBLE), lost its phones. Lost AT&T phone coverage earlier in the week here. Fairbanks reporting brisk business. This is a monumental day and perhaps a record-breaker in Alaska for a Democratic caucus.
Back to you now, Jake.
TAPPER: Paul, give us the lay of the land in the room where you are. Tell us again where the Hillary supporters are, where the Bernie supporters are? Are they roughly proportional?
VERCAMMEN: This is what we have seen. You hold up a card, literally. If we look in the back, and they ask you who you are voting for. So what we have seen is Bernie with an edge. We do not have any of these numbers counted up yet. They don't divide into sides of the room as we've seen in other states. But you can hear the Bernie supporters whooping it up, and we've been hearing that all day. There have been whoops for Hillary, too, but if you were to make just a guess, in this district that you're looking at right now, south anchorage district, seems to be running at least 60-40 for Bernie and that is an extremely unscientific pool.
And there are your Hillary supporters wanting to chime in and to make sure that they get their two cents in. Something interesting to note. There are a lot of independents here. Forty percent of Alaska, as one estimated independents. It sounds like a redundancy independent Alaskan just like (INAUDIBLE). We all know Alaska have the free spirit. But we are seeing that - we saw the GOP and the independents coming in and really wanting their voice heard.
So the Hillary folks who are up in this part of South Anchorage district and back there were the Bernie supporters. And hopefully in a few minutes here, Jake, they'll announce results of this as they literally count the votes. By the way, Chris, go ahead and turn over - I lost my cameraman, Chris.
If you look over here. This is east anchorage, and they, too, are going to start counting votes shortly. So as soon as we get anything, we will let you know. And a lot of Alaskans getting quite creative. There is a Bernie sign with a bird on it.
TAPPER: And, Paul, just to clarify those pink ballots. Are they designated for a particular candidate or is it just a general ballot?
VERCAMMEN: Not at all. They are just proving that they are a resident of that district and they are registered to vote. So it's not -- it's not color-coded at all. The only thing it represents is what district you're in. So over here, you see green. That just means you're in district 27, which is, as we said earlier, east anchorage.
All of anchorage voting in one place. They did something different this year, as we said. They moved 14 districts into one spot. And because of it, Alaska, which is traditionally a very red state, got an extra two delegates. If you want I can give you a sense, Jake, some of the passion here. Excuse me, sir. We've been seeing you cheering all day.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, sir.
VERCAMMEN: You in east anchorage, seem to have quite a few Bernie supporters. What has energized you?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What has energized me is coming out and making sure Trump doesn't win. I was an independent. I was a Republican caucuser. I was an alternate delegate. I switched over to the Democratic Party, because Sanders is our only chance to beat Donald Trump. All of the polls show it. The super delegates are going to flip, and when it happens, Sanders will run away with it. It's happened in 2008. It will happen again in 2016.
VERCAMMEN: We thank you for your insight. So that was I was talking about, Jake. He is independent that have jumped in here to vote on a Democratic side for this caucus. It will be interesting to see how all of this plays all.
TAPPER: All right. Paul Vercammen in Anchorage, Alaska. Very interesting.
Let's chat all about this. First of all, I am constantly amazed how sophisticated the voters are. They really dissect this. You heard that voter talk about, he was first alluding to the fact that Bernie Sanders says this all the time, that he does better in the head-to- head matchups against Donald Trump than Hillary Clinton does.
And then second of all, he talk about how the super delegates are going to flip and that is true. We saw that happen in 2008. It didn't matter that Hillary Clinton led among super delegates, because once it became clear the pledge delegates were going in Obama's direction, they all flipped in Obama's direction.
CHALIAN: But that's the biggest difference, right. There is no sense that the pledge delegate lead that Hillary Clinton has right now is going to flip to a Bernie Sanders lead. That's what allowed the super delegates to say, hey, this is where the voters in the Democratic Party are going in 2008. And so, they felt that they could move in that direction. That's a very different scenario than we're seeing now.
And in fact, our friend Ron Brownstein across the room that was looking at the calendar ahead. He is lighting up twitter right now. I urge you to follow him. But he was looking - we tend to look at what the percentage of the white vote in these Democratic contests, because if the white vote is a very large percentage, it tends to be more fertile ground for Bernie Sanders. I mean, look at the states of Sanders target ahead versus Clinton targets ahead just based on that. And then looked at delegates.
In the states where it is like 83 percent or higher a white vote, going forward, those pledge delegates are worth about 210 delegates in those contests, just to get you a sense of terrain and how tough it is for Bernie Sanders ahead. If you look at the states that are Clinton targets, that are 73 percent or below white turnout in these Democratic contests ahead, that makes up 998 delegates at stake in those states. So this contest is moving from a delegate perspective into much more fertile ground for Hillary Clinton.
[15:45:42] TAPPER: And Bernie Sanders is still had trouble delivering on those non-white voters, Brianna.
KEILAR: Yes. No, he certainly has. I do want to note something that really struck me about what that man said was that he is motivated completely by making sure that Donald Trump is not elected. And this is something that I have been noticing a lot out on the campaign trail. It used to be you would talk to Democrat who would come to the rallies, Bernie rallies or Hillary rallies and they would sort of go, Donald Trump. They are following it. They sort of were, even amused by it. And it's shifted now. Now they say, my goodness. Donald Trump? You know, he could -- looks like he's going to be the nominee and this is why I am really supporting my candidate. It's this additional thing.
On the Hillary Clinton side, you know, she does look certainly in a better position moving towards the nomination. When this started in April it was a combination, I think that the campaign was relying on demographics being in her favor, which they still are. And then also that she would be the first female nominee and then president. That actually hasn't motivated voters as much anecdotally from what I have been hearing. Now the big thing they are relying on is it is very divided Republican Party and this anti-Donald Trump sentiment. It is why you hear her hitting him over and over on the trail.
TAPPER: And in fact, enthusiasm among the Democratic electorate but also among women has been a real problem for Hillary Clinton.
KEILAR: And young women especially.
TAPPER: Yes. And Donald Trump could be in the views of some Democrats, could be the antidote to the fact that she hasn't been able to excite the party. People turning out against Donald Trump. Of course, Donald Trump and his supporters say the exact opposite about his supporters coming out to vote against Hillary Clinton.
We're going to take a very quick break. When we come back, more of CNN's coverage of the western Saturday primaries. Back after this.
[15:51:42] TAPPER: Welcome back. We have a key race alert. We're getting percentages of delegates back from Washington State and with seven percent of the numbers in Bernie Sanders is ahead of Hillary Clinton, 75.3 percent to 24.7 percent. This is in the Washington Democratic caucuses in Washington State. There are 101 delegates at stake there. And right now Bernie Sanders on this schedule with seven percent in is going to get about three quarters of them.
Let's talk about what this all means and chow down on the numbers with John King at the magic wall.
This is the kind of margin you are talking about earlier, John, that Bernie Sanders needs if he hopes to catch up to Hillary Clinton.
JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: These early results, let's zoom out into the state. Look. These early results is very small rural counties. And so, they are not necessarily representative of the state. Let's just pop this out Douglas County less than one percent. 0.6 percent of the population, but 73 percent and 26 percent. It is 100 percent in all already there. So obviously a small caucus site here. Those results are all in.
Let's pop up. You come over here to the corner of the state back down in the corner here, you want to say that for me?
KING: Wahkiakum. I think you are about right. Let's hope we are about right. Apologies if we are not. But they are at 89-10, right a 100 percent. Again, less than one-tenth of one percent of the state population. But if this continues and from our anecdotal evidence, more correspondents who are in the Seattle area and elsewhere is that they are getting similar margins in those places which it is not exact. But you see this number. It is 101 delegates. If you see this that doesn't mean he is going to get 75 and she is going to get 25, but pretty close. It's a statewide proportion to delegates by district level for a portion of delegates. But if you win 75-25 statewide and you see these margins when you pop in in these places, roughly about the same that on track, very early results statewide, a long way to go with just seven percent but Bernie Sanders is on track, it looks like to get seven in ten, perhaps higher than 7-10 of the delegates. As noted 142 delegates today with Alaska and Hawaii still to come. But 101 from here.
TAPPER: This is the big contest to watch.
KING: Yes. If he can come out with a net gain of 50 or 60 or 70 delegates, out of this state, that means he's cutting into her lead. And that's what he needs to cut into her lead today as then the contests come back to Wisconsin on April 5th and then as everybody was talking about earlier, then you do get to places in the country, look what's not filled in. You got Bernie Sanders has done well in the west. You can expect him to continue to do well in the west. But they are smaller delegates. The key is can he get momentum out here, cut her leads some here, then the big battleground in Wisconsin. Obama won that in 2008. Hillary Clinton thinks she will this time because of the African-American vote in Milwaukee but it will be another Midwestern battle ground. And then it comes, you know, New York, Pennsylvania, places with diverse population where senator Sanders has not performed so far. So the margins today, if he can cut into her delegate lead today, she is at 304, 305. If he can shade 75 or 80 off today, that's a big day. And that's momentum coming back into more difficult terrain. But at least you got win in this battle.
TAPPER: And just to remind our viewers, this is earned - I'm sorry, pledged delegates. This is not the super delegates.
KING: It is not the super delegates. And this is where you get into an emotional conversation when you start bring in the super delegates because right now as you can see, 304 is her lead in the super delegates than Senator Sanders.
Let's just say, I'm going here, let's just say senator Sanders wins 80-20. If he wins all of these states 80-20 today, you see where he will get. He will cut - he will shave off her lead quite a bit. But this is where it gets emotional. When you bring in the super delegates she has 482 right now. Senator Sanders has only 27. Every one of these people can switch their mind. If you remember 2007, 2008 when Senator Obama started winning especially the black caucus members, especially the Democratic mayors, African-American activists around the country, primarily, they went first. They start once Obama became a credible candidate. They switched. And when once he started winning, more switched. So yes, Sanders supporters don't like when we show this number. Hillary Clinton has 482 right now. That's just a fact. But if he wins all today, and can come this way and wins again, that number will start to shrink. And that number will start to grow. That's called politics.
TAPPER: But in order for that to happen he needs to catch up and overtake her or at the very least come within some spitting distance.
KING: Let's go back to the other map. He needs -- yes. Spitting distance is a good way. He needs to do -- Obama got ahead of her and she could never catch up. So once it was clear that she was not going to catch up, they started switching to Obama.
What senator Sanders needs to do is repeat this. He won Michigan but remember, he won by that much. You look at the map. It was a win. A win is a win but it 49 to 48 right there. He needs to win Wisconsin, then he is to shock her somewhere up here. If he does something like that some of those super delegates will get the jitters and either go back to neutral or maybe switch.
TAPPER: Right now he is doing very well, but just a few rural counties are in Washington.
Stay. We are going to take a very quick break. When we come back, we expect results, more results from Washington state and Alaska. Stay with us. CNN's coverage of Western Saturday continues.