Return to Transcripts main page

WORLD RIGHT NOW WITH HALA GORANI

New York Votes In Presidential Primary; Dozens Killed In Kabul Blast; Rocky Relations Between U.S. And Saudi Arabia; Cruz Trying To Close Delegate Gap With Trump; Ninety Five Republican Delegates At Stake In New York; Sanders Could Capitalize On Hometown Advantage; Quizzing New Yorkers On The Candidates; Obama Heading To Saudi Arabia Amid Arising Tensions. Aired 3-4p ET

Aired April 19, 2016 - 15:00:00   ET

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


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(HEADLINES)

HALA GORANI, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. I'm Hala Gorani. We are live at CNN London. We've got you covered for U.S. politics this

hour on this important primary day. This is THE WORLD RIGHT NOW.

As we mentioned, it is a showdown in the empire state. Three of the presidential candidates can claim home court advantage in New York's

primary. Hillary Clinton represented the state as a senator, of course. Bernie Sanders was born in Brooklyn, and Donald Trump lives in Manhattan.

(VIDEO CLIP)

GORANI: This is some of the newest video of Trump voting today surrounded by a scrum of reporters. He's looking to sweep the state's delegates while

continuing to claim the Republican primary is rigged.

Clinton is hoping to snap Bernie Sanders' string of primary victories. She cast her ballot today in Chappaqua, New York. She then headed to a trade

union event in Washington where she discussed there the economy and security, among other things. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: And at a time when terrorists are plotting new attacks and countries like Russia, China and Iran are

making aggressive moves, protecting America's national security cannot be an afterthought. Our next president has to be just as passionate about

defending our country as she is about fixing our economy.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GORANI: Here's what's at stake today for the Democrats. New York has 247 delegates up for grabs. Hillary Clinton has a 700-delegate lead when the

superdelegates are factored in. You see it there.

For Republicans in New York, 95 delegates are at stake. Donald Trump leads in the overall count right now, but Senator Ted Cruz has been closing the

gap with a string of victories at 553 delegates.

Let's get straight to the center of the action tonight. Jason Carroll is at a polling station in Staten Island, New York and joins me with more on

what's going on. What have you seen today at that particular polling station, Jason?

JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, first, I noticed that you said that Ted Cruz is trying to close the gap. He still has a lot of work to do

because as you know, Hala, Trump is way up in the polls here.

I know that saw him voting in Manhattan, but you know where he has more of the support, places like here in Staten Island and Long Island.

Here in Staten Island, they've set up polling booths here. You've hit one of the lull at this point because there is a work day, a lot of folks are

still at work. We expect more folks to come in after work.

Donald Trump sounding very, very optimistic and confident earlier today, but his campaign has hit a few bumps in the road. He's replaced a few of

his key folks there running his campaign in order to have a better ground game.

He was heavily criticized for not having a good ground game and letting someone like Ted Cruz sweep in and take Colorado, take Wyoming. Going

forward, he's hoping to have a better ground game.

He certainly had a better ground game in the state of New York where once again he holds a commanding lead not only over Ted Cruz but over John

Kasich as well. He is looking for a big win tonight come time the primary is over and the polls here close.

GORANI: You were talking about how Donald Trump is hoping for a big win, but Cruz is way behind in the latest polling. He's third. Even behind

John Kasich who's only won one state, one primary, and that was his own state. What is it about Cruz in New York? Is it his comment about New

York values or what specifically is it that's not getting him the kind of numbers he really needs right now?

CARROLL: Well, it is a couple things. First, you have to remember that Donald Trump in some ways is the hometown hero, born in Queens, has a

number of his properties here. Trump Tower a number of apartment buildings here as well.

Donald Trump has been a fixture in the state for quite some time. Ted Cruz is the outsider coming in here. When you make a comment about New York

values, I mean that is not something that, as you can imagine, is going to go well with New York voters.

[15:05:01]Looking forward, it is not just New York where Donald Trump does well, but in a lot of other northeast states. You think about

Pennsylvania, polling well there. Rhode Island, Connecticut, Maryland, polling well in all of those places.

Cruz has to get through all that and get to places like Indiana where he seems to be doing a little bit better. But for now, the Trump campaign is

predicting, Hala, that if they can do well here tonight in New York, take those 95 delegates.

Then gather that momentum and go forward and do well in places like Pennsylvania and the other states I mentioned, they might have that 1,237

number of delegates needed before the convention this summer -- Hala.

GORANI: All right, if not, it will be certainly an entirely different scenario in July in Cleveland. Thanks very much, Jason Carroll in New York

for us. We'll be reaching back out to Jason throughout the coming hours as we continue to follow the primary.

There is a lot more to come from the U.S. campaign trail this hour. Coming up, we will hear directly from the Ted Cruz and Bernie Sanders campaigns,

their spokespeople will join me live in just a few minutes. Do stay tuned for that.

But turning our attention to more tragic news out of Afghanistan. It is a security situation that appears to be getting worse and worse by the day

there. Kabul once again reeling after a suicide blast killed at least 28 people and injured more than 300.

The Afghan Taliban claiming responsibility. The target was a security team that protects government VIPs according to a police official.

Let's get the very latest from our senior international correspondent, Nick Paton Walsh, who's recently returned from reporting in Afghanistan.

On that very subject, Nick, and that is the Taliban's resurgence in Afghanistan when you reported and hear of news of yet another big suicide

attack in the capital, what's that tell us about the Taliban in Afghanistan now?

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it is a common tactic Taliban have to try to penetrate inside what's known as the

ring of steel that surround the capital of Kabul. They've done it relatively regularly to remind those in the government held capital of

their potency.

We haven't had a death toll like this since 2011 or so when a mosque was attacked, 30 killed today and over 300 injured, a staggering number

generated by the fact that it was a private parking lot behind this security apparatus building where the first bomber detonated a suicide

truck.

That blew a hole in the wall that let his accomplice in. Took a number of hours for the security forces there, the heart of their infrastructure to

kill him.

The key thing of course being that this was part of a bodyguard unit for Afghan VIPs. You couldn't really more to the heart of what should be safe

in Kabul. This is part of a broader strategy by the Taliban.

This particular fighting season ahead, that's what the warmer summer months are known as, to be seen to be on their front foot, they're much more

prevalent in Helmand where they've taken a lot of territory.

They are pressuring the northern city of Kunduz which they briefly took entirely late last year. So many fears Afghan security forces, unlike the

promise from U.S. officials before they withdrew, aren't really up to the job of suppressing that particular insurgency.

I think if you listen to the U.S. National Security Council's statement today in response to this attack, they actually called the Taliban to the

peace negotiation table. Well, Taliban have no real sign of wanting to do that at this stage.

I think they see their success on the battlefield as more prevalent here. It shows the lack of policy options in the White House, maybe even in

Kabul, too. They both believe a negotiated settlement to the Taliban is the ultimate end goal.

But it seems the Taliban judging from this morning's horrifying attack, many civilians, women and children amongst those dead, see peace talks

really as not on the table right now -- Hala.

GORANI: So is this a sign of more to come? Clearly you're saying the Taliban are registering this as some sort of military victory. They have

no incentive to be talking to anyone right now.

WALSH: I think the real fear is, yes, we are in for some very bleak months ahead in Afghanistan. Perhaps with the territory falling back into Taliban

hands. They've not controlled so much of Afghanistan as they do now since 2001 since before U.S. forces intervened.

In fact even top U.N. officials have stated that if the (inaudible) government merely survives this year, that will be a success. The

expectation bar is set so low, Hala, as we move in to this more violent summer season.

I think many are deeply concerned that Kabul will see more of this and lives of ordinary Afghans already taken in record numbers through the

violence will continue to be in jeopardy -- Hala.

GORANI: All right, thanks very much, Nick Paton Walsh is live in Beirut. He's just returned from Afghanistan. Thanks very much.

Now will this trip repair a strained relationship or will it deepen the rift? Just minutes from now, President Barack Obama is due to leave

Washington for Saudi Arabia. And when he steps off the plane in Riyadh, he could be stepping into a diplomatic storm.

[15:10:09]Saudi Arabia is furious over a proposal in the American Congress that would allow people to sue the Saudi government over the 9/11 attacks.

The kingdom says that if this becomes law, it will have to sell hundreds of billions of dollars in assets in America.

Like Saudi Arabia, President Obama opposes that legislation but apparently not for the same reason. Let's bring in Nic Robertson is live in Riyadh

for the details.

So are the Saudis reassured that President Obama has said that he would veto that bill if it in fact makes it to his desk because it would open up

the possibility that other citizens of other countries would sue the United States for instance?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: I mean, look, certainly that's the step in the right direction as far as Saudi Arabia is

concerned. However, the reality is that Saudi trust in President Obama has been waning since his presidency began.

You could even argue that it goes all the way back to 2002 when President Obama before he came president made a speech in Chicago saying our so-

called ally, Saudi Arabia. That kind of set the Saudis against Obama. He became president. The relationship has pretty much gone downhill since

then.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: I am honored to be in the timeless city of Cairo.

ROBERTSON (voice-over): In 2009 and just in office, President Obama came to Egypt.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: We meet at a time of great tension between the United States and Muslims around the world.

ROBERTSON: Talks of reshaping U.S. relations with Mideast nations. The crowds loved him. Less than two years later, the same city, his host,

President Mubarak, overthrown in the Arab spring uprising. How Obama responded to the fall of his allies set the tone of his relationship with

the region since.

NAWAL OBAD, SAUDI STRATEGIC ACTIVIST: It wasn't so much that they fell, it was so much how the U.S. went about it. That was really the beginning of

this schism.

ROBERTSON: A schism that grew to rupture with the U.S./Iranian nuclear deal. The Saudis were furious.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They believe that Barack Obama has sold them at the altar of Iran, their arch enemy.

ROBERTSON: In response to all this, Saudi Arabia has ramped up its armed forces. Overtaking Russia to become the world's third-largest defense and

security spender. And last year, formed the 34-nation Sunni-Muslim coalition to follow Saudi's lead.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As a result of their mistrust to Barack Obama, the Saudis now have adopted a more muscular foreign policy, they are on the

attack in Yemen and other places, and they are trying to counter balance Iran in the region. The Americans really have lost control.

ROBERTSON: Where they needed control the most, solving Syria. Saudi's new king is a very impatient ally. He wants Assad gone now and Iran's

influence removed.

OBAD: Is that course going to change now if there is a new president that's more amenable to Saudi interests, I don't think so. It's dead. The

ship has sailed.

ROBERTSON: But for all the strains, both sides still need each other. Saudi Arabia needs U.S. weapons. Obama wants regional stability. His time

in Riyadh will not be about divorce, but easing the estrangement.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ROBERTSON: So it is that common ground that really President Obama hopes to maximize here. His Defense Secretary Ash Carter is already in Riyadh

talking to the defense minister here, the deputy crown prince.

They're trying to work out what common ground they have. So that is something that's going to help President Obama. But it is, and I have to

stress, a very strained time in the relation.

GORANI: All right, thanks very much, Nic Robertson in Riyadh. He'll be covering the presidential visit there.

Still to come tonight, the Ted Cruz campaign speaks to CNN. I'll ask his national spokesman what his hopes are for today's New York primary and what

Ted Cruz's next move might be as he's trailing in the polls in New York. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[15:16:42]

GORANI: He's practically royalty in the world of New York politics. No, not Donald Trump, former mayor, Rudy Giuliani. Well, Giuliani has thrown

the weight of his big name behind Donald Trump. Telling CNN that he's supporting the Republican frontrunner. It could be one reason Trump is

sounding so confident as New York voters head to the polls today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think I'm going to do well. I mean we'll see. Who knows? It's politics, right. You know that better

than I do, but I think we'll do really well. Feels good. Great support. You see all the people over there, all positive. No hecklers, no nothing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Trump --

TRUMP: So I think we're going to do really well.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GORANI: One man trying to check Trump's delegate count is of course Ted Cruz. He's third though in the latest New York polling, but he's fresh off

a string of wins.

Ron Nehring is the national spokesperson for Ted Cruz's campaign. He joins us now from Houston, Texas. Ron Nehring, thanks for being with us.

Your committee has of course had many victories in the last few primaries, but in New York, you must be hoping for a miracle at this stage, right?

RON NEHRING, TED CRUZ NATIONAL SPOKESPERSON: Well, it's an uphill battle in New York. Even John Kasich was able to win his own state of Ohio. Of

course, he didn't win anything before and hasn't won anything since. But there is a tremendous bias in this process toward people winning their home

state.

Senator Cruz won his home state. Donald Trump should do very well today. But it is only about the bottom of the fifth inning now. I think we start

at the top of the sixth tomorrow going into the April 26th states. Then May, and then finally wrapping this up in June. Still a lot of this game

left to be played.

GORANI: But he must be regretting that line about New York values. That played terribly in New York. He made the front cover of tabloid newspapers

who went after him. That must have hurt him in New York. Does he regret it?

NEHRING: No. Because Senator Cruz was clearly referring to the ultra- liberal leadership in New York, in particular, Mayor Bill De Blasio and such. Other people will seize upon that and do what they will.

But that didn't stop Senator Cruz from going into New York, asking New Yorkers for their support, going into places that would be an uphill battle

for him. That stands in stark contrast to Donald Trump who refused to go to the Colorado Republican Convention even though he was confirmed there,

refused to go to the Wyoming convention.

So Senator Cruz is waging a 50-state campaign asking everyone for their support. Some states are going to be the home team advantage for Donald

Trump. But this is really the last state where he's going to have that type of advantage and then we move on.

GORANI: Wait. You talk about Donald Trump not necessarily making as many appearances as Ted Cruz. Does he really need to? He's leading by more

than 200 delegates. What is the hope now for Ted Cruz? That this becomes a contested convention, that Donald Trump doesn't reach the 1,237 number,

in which case then it becomes an open competition in Cleveland? Is that the strategy?

NEHRING: Well, Donald Trump is not going to get the majority of the delegates because he's not getting the support of a majority of Republicans

in the country. We've had many, many states that have voted so far, not in one case and not a single case has Donald Trump won a majority support in

any state.

The Republican Party requires that the nomination goes to a candidate who can assemble a majority of the delegates who are the representatives of the

Republicans gathered from throughout the country. That's how it's worked since Abraham Lincoln.

[15:20:07]Donald Trump is not going to be able to do that. He's not gaining the --

GORANI: But even Rudy Giuliani says Trump should get the nomination if he's nearest to the number, 1,237. Obviously, you're going to tell me, you

don't think that's fair.

NEHRING: Rudy Giuliani doesn't get to set the rules of the Republican Party. The rules have been since the beginning of the founding of our

party that it takes a majority support in order to be the Republican nominee.

Now Donald Trump if he were a different type of person would be able to do that but he can't do that. That's why five former candidates for president

have rallied behind Senator Cruz. Donald Trump can't do that because he can't unite this party.

GORANI: And you talk about going forward after New York where you'd expect someone who's campaigning in his home state would win. But look at

Pennsylvania, for instance, that's a very important primary contest. That's next Tuesday. Donald Trump is also polling way ahead there.

NEHRING: Well, Senator Cruz will be in Philadelphia tonight for a very, very important address. And take a look at what happened in Wisconsin two

weeks before. We were down by 20 points. We wound up winning by 13.

When Senator Cruz engages and Donald Trump engages, we do very well. And in the case of the last five states, we've won. And some of those cases

we've won overwhelmingly.

So we shouldn't prejudge these contests based upon what the polls say weeks in advance because they've so often proven to be not very good predictors

of how the election will come out because they don't factor in the fact that Senator Cruz goes into the state, he holds events, he talks to people

one-on-one and he gets a terrific response.

GORANI: Ron Nehring, thanks very much for joining us, spokesperson for the Cruz campaign. We really appreciate your time today on CNN.

NEHRING: My pleasure. Thank you.

GORANI: Let's discuss this all, break it down. CNN senior political analyst and former presidential adviser, David Gergen joins me now.

Did you have an opportunity to hear my discussion with Ron Nehring? There is still some confidence regarding the upcoming contests in Pennsylvania

and elsewhere across the country next Tuesday. But realistically what is the strategy? What should be the strategy for Ted Cruz at this stage?

DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, there are two different strategies here, one by Cruz and one by Trump. Cruz is playing by the

rules Republicans have written up. He and his supporters believe that if Donald Trump falls short of the 1,237 delegates needed to win on the first

ballot.

That on the second ballot and succeeding ballot the delegates will be free to vote for person of their choice and Cruz has played a very, very strong

inside game beating Donald Trump regularly and lining up a lot of those people who are going to vote for Trump the first time, but if it goes to a

second or third ballot may well switch to Cruz.

I think for that reason the odds overall have slightly shifted for Ted Cruz. But -- but, very importantly, 62 percent of Republicans in a recent

national respected poll said that whoever gets the most votes in these primaries and caucuses should be the nominee regardless of how many ballots

it goes to in Cleveland.

And on that score, Donald Trump is ahead. He's ahead by almost 2 million votes over Ted Cruz. And after we get the results in tonight from New

York, I'm sure he's going to be over 2 million votes ahead.

So you've got almost two-thirds of the party in effect saying, wait a minute, let's respect the voice of the people. So he's going to go in say

something let's respect the voice of the people. The Cruz people will say, wait a minute, we've got these rules. It is going to be a very big

collision. That's why there are --

GORANI: Could there be -- could there be a change in the rules though? Because it is established, right? The rules are there. They've been used

in the past to determine the nominee for the Republican Party. Could we see something entirely different happen, in which case the party could

split?

GERGEN: Well, there's no question that the rule -- there is a rules committee, and it will have a chance to rewrite the rules before the

convention and put them to a vote in the convention. We'll have to see which way that goes.

That will be wild. Right now, frankly the biggest rule issue seems to be who is going to be allowed to be a nominee. Under the current rules as

written, only people who win eight states can be eligible to be the nominee. There are only two people like that. One is Trump, one is Cruz.

A lot of people from the establishment don't want either one of them, and they would like to rewrite the rules so that should open it up. Maybe Mitt

Romney could back into the fold before this is over.

GORANI: Right. Certainly you have those two frontrunners. Let's discuss a little bit the Democratic race here, Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton.

Hillary Clinton is ahead in the polling in New York. But interestingly nationally, if you look at the latest national poll, Clinton is just two

points ahead of Bernie Sanders, 50 percent to 48 percent. What are these numbers telling us about the race on the Democratic side of things?

[15:25:07]GERGEN: I think these numbers tell us that the Democrats have an issue, too, and it is going to be contentious. Hillary Clinton is going to

sweep New York, I think. We'll wait and see.

He was closing some and she's ahead in most of the remaining states. But the fact that the national polls as close as they have been, Bernie Sanders

has come up so far, suggests that there are going to be some surprises ahead for her still.

If the national polls show about a 2 percent Hillary Clinton lead as they do, that means California is going to be extremely competitive and Bernie

Sanders will do well in California. Even Pennsylvania we now see some closing and Bernie Sanders is doing better there.

What we have to watch for tonight, coming out of New York, is what the margins are. If Hillary wins by a lot, that will help her campaign

enormously. If Bernie Sanders comes in close, say five or six points back, that's going to give renewed momentum to his campaign.

GORANI: Does he have a prayer? I mean, if you look at the delegate count --

GERGEN: No. But listen, the likelihood -- very strong likelihood that Hillary Clinton becomes the nominee. The question becomes then at what

price does Bernie Sanders support her? He's not going to just say, oh, I'm going to support you. He's going to want to see changes in the platform to

favor his position.

GORANI: David, I've got to jump in because we have -- I want to thank you very much for being with us. We have Barack Obama at Andrews Air Force

base now. Of course, we've been discussing on our program this very tense relationship between Saudi Arabia and the United States.

Among other things, there is a bill in the U.S. Congress that would allow U.S. citizens to sue the Saudi government over 9/11. President Obama said

he would veto that. He is on his way to Riyadh.

The question is will this repair somewhat the relationship between the two countries? Is it going to somehow make the rift deeper? Quick last word,

David, if you will on this Obama trip to Saudi Arabia.

GERGEN: Sure. It is a very, very important trip. I've just come back from the gulf. The expectation is that he will mollify, he will try to

smooth over but the fundamental rift will continue. What the Saudis are increasingly doing is trying to protect themselves and waiting for the next

president.

GORANI: All right, David Gergen, thanks very much joining us with more of his -- thank you for your analysis on the U.S. presidential race and that

one quick question on President Obama's foreign policy trip. Thank you.

More on the New York presidential primary in just a moment with the focus on the Democratic race. I'll be joined by a congressman who supports

Hillary Clinton and the press secretary for Bernie Sanders. Stay with us, we'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[15:30:04]

GORANI: Welcome back. A look at our top stories. New Yorkers have been streaming to the polls today to vote in Democratic and Republican

presidential primaries.

Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are looking to solidify their leads. Both are ahead in polls and both voted in New York earlier today.

Also among our top stories, at least 28 people were killed and hundreds injured after a suicide attack in Afghanistan's capital of Kabul. The

Afghan Taliban have claimed responsibility. Officials say militants targeted a security team that protects important government figures but as

is always the case, many civilians were killed as well.

Ecuador's president has bluntly outlined the stark reality his country faces following last weekend's devastating earthquake. Rafael Correa says

the quake caused $2 billion to $3 billion in damage. Tragically the death toll has risen again. At least 443 people are now known to have been

killed and more than 4,000 others are injured.

Some dramatic images here. The U.S. state of Texas is expecting even more rain over the next few days. Even as the city of Houston deals with

massive flooding. Look at that. Look how high the water is. The horses can barely keep their head above it.

The rain made for some dramatic rescues. These horses on the outskirts of the city. In total there have been more than 1,200 high-water rescues.

Officials say 240 billion gallons of rain has fallen in the Houston area in the last few days.

GORANI: Never have the words "New York State of mind" meant quite so much in an election year. Democrat Hillary Clinton and her rival, Bernie

Sanders, are battling for votes in the empire state.

Clinton is hoping a decisive victory there where she was of course a senator will help her clinch the nomination. But her rival, Bernie

Sanders, was born in Brooklyn and he could have something of a hometown advantage, as well, it can be argued.

Sanders' national press secretary, Simone Sanders, joins me now. Thank you, Symone Sanders, for being with us. It is an uphill battle, isn't it,

for Bernie Sanders in New York. He is way behind in the polls. Even though he is a native New Yorker. What's the strategy there for Bernie

Sanders?

SYMONE SANDERS, NATIONAL PRESS SECRETARY, BERNIE 2016: Well, Hala, thanks for having me today. You know, I think we can't always look at the polls.

The polls have been wrong. But what we do know is that we have a groundswell of support right here in New York state.

Look, we were out all last week with these massive rallies, 30,000, almost 30,000 people in Prospect Park, 27,000 people in Washington Square. There

is momentum for our campaign and I do think that New Yorkers are quote/unquote, "feeling the Bern."

So our strategy today is of course it is all about turnout. We know that when voter turnout is high we do extremely well. When voter turnout is not

as high, you know, we don't do as well so we are hoping that folks go to the polls in droves today.

It is unfortunate that some 3 million New Yorkers are ineligible to vote due to New York's laws. But we are optimistic that we're going to close

these gaps today.

GORANI: Because explain to our international viewers, I mean, the issue is New York state is it is a closed primary, meaning it does not allow

independents to vote. Bernie Sanders has registered many successes thanks to the vote of independents. Is that one of the issues for Bernie Sanders'

campaign in New York specifically?

SANDERS: Well, yes. The independents can't vote or that folks had to that advantaged their party registration last year. We do have tons of support

from Democrats. New York Democrats, people that have been engaged and involved, people that have not been engaged, but our campaign has reached

out to them.

We've made inroads and they want to come out to vote. I passed lots of folks on the streets today, they all had on "I voted" stickers. People are

standing in line as their polling places early.

We'll have to wait for exit poll results, but we do think that if New Yorkers come out today, if they vote in droves, we will do exceedingly

well.

GORANI: But if you look at the delegate count, any way you look at it, any way you -- even with the best possible forecast for future contests like

Pennsylvania, Bernie Sanders is behind by more than 600 delegates here. Is there still hope in the campaign that he will be the nominee for the

Democratic Party?

SANDERS: Hala, yes, there's hope. I want to correct that. We're only actually down about 200 in pledged delegates. The other delegates are

superdelegates, and those delegates we really shouldn't be counting in the totals.

I like to say superdelegates are kind of like football recruits. It is not until they sign on the dotted line and they are in practice on your team do

they know that you are with them, that they are with you. So superdelegates, they can change their mind right up to the convention.

[15:35:04]So we shouldn't be count be superdelegates in those totals. There is a path to the nomination for us, a clear path, and we think we can

close the gaps and get there. After New York there is Pennsylvania, Connecticut, there's Rhode Island, New Jersey, California.

So there is still a lot more states in this nominating contest and there is a lot more competing for the campaigns to do. And our campaign is going to

compete all the way through to the convention.

GORANI: Now the Bernie Sanders campaign is making some pretty serious allegations concerning Hillary Clinton's campaign raising a fund, that

there was a misuse of campaign funds. It was a complaint filed I believe with the Democratic National Committee.

But Hillary Clinton's campaign is saying essentially those accusations simply mean that the Bernie Sanders campaign is desperate right now. How

do you react to that?

SANDERS: I react to that -- we're not desperate at all. But what is an important issue for us in this campaign is campaign finance. It is very

important to track the money, to know where the money comes from.

And our lawsuit, our lawyer has -- he's been quoted in lots of articles lately and he's been out talking about it. But we thought that there were

real concerns in what was going on with the Hillary victory fund and so on, so forth. That is why we filed this lawsuit.

Because campaign finance issues, money in election, where money is coming from, making sure that folks are following the rules is something that's of

the utmost to our campaign and voters, I would say.

This is purely about the issues. We are going to continue to speak about the issues in this campaign. Today Senator Sanders is fired up in New

York. We are now in Pennsylvania.

He just finished in Eerie talking about unfettered free trade in America and how it has really decimated communities in Pennsylvania and across this

country. Those are the issues we will continue to talk about and we will look forward to in this lawsuit playing out.

GORANI: All right, we'll see how that develops and we'll have all the results right here on CNN. Thanks very much, Symone Sanders of the Bernie

Sanders campaign for joining us. We really appreciate your time this evening on CNN.

New Yorkers have a reputation for being pretty opinionated. But are they clued in? Truly clued in on all the candidates? CNN's Randi Kaye found

out in New York.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

RANDI KAYE, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): New York City's Central Park on the eve of the New York primary. No better place to test

voters' knowledge of the candidates.

(on camera): Want to play some candidate trivia?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let's go.

KAYE: OK, who is this?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ted Cruz.

KAYE (voice-over): Armed with an iPad full of photos of the five remaining candidates on both sides, we were impressed at first.

(on camera): All right, you're in, who's this?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ted Cruz.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ted Cruz.

KAYE: You both knew it?

(voice-over): We didn't hear a whole lot of love for Texas Senator Ted Cruz.

(on camera): You know anything about him?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I know a lot of things about him that I don't like.

KAYE (voice-over): But everyone recognized him except this woman.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I can't believe I just forgot his name. Thank you. Do you just get help over here?

KAYE: All the voters who played along recognized New York's own Donald Trump.

(on camera): First word that comes to mind for you?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Unqualified. Sorry, was that too much?

KAYE: First word that comes to mind.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Kind of just a joke.

KAYE: Who's that guy?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Lord have mercy, Donald Trump.

KAYE (voice-over): Ohio Governor John Kasich's face stumped our folks the most.

(on camera): Who's this guy?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That is --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Jeb Bush?

KAYE: No!

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't know.

KAYE: You don't have to apologize.

(voice-over): Her twin sister got his name right in the end. These guys had to work at it, too.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is that the guy with the "k"?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, starts with a "k."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: K-not going to win.

KAYE (on camera): It's not George.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's Kase.

KAYE: No.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Kevin.

KAYE: No.

(voice-over): Then finally.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I give up.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Kasich.

KAYE: This woman likes Kasich and still couldn't remember his full name.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He does seem like the sanest of the three frontrunners.

KAYE (on camera): What's his first name?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Which is not nuts. I don't know.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can't remember his first name?

KAYE: Kasich.

(voice-over): Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton both scored well. Everyone knew their faces and most had only good things to say.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My man, Bernie.

KAYE (on camera): And what's the first word that comes to mind when you see him?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My candidate.

KAYE: That's two words.

What's the first word that comes to mind when you see his face?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Genuine, honest, a man of integrity.

KAYE (voice-over): And with Hillary Clinton? Who's this?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hillary Clinton, #imwithher.

KAYE: We tried to stump some with this picture of Vice President Joe Biden, who once considered joining the race.

(on camera): Is that guy running?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He is not but I wish he was.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't know who he is though.

KAYE: You don't know who that is?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No.

KAYE: What if I told you that's our vice president?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. There you go.

[15:40:05]KAYE (voice-over): And when we tried to fool the group by including a picture of our Anderson Cooper? This happened.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's Anderson Cooper! Is he running? Somebody owes somebody a Coke.

KAYE: Candidate trivia, all part of campaign 2016. Randy Kaye, CNN, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

GORANI: You can follow the voting in New York all day and into the night as results come in. Stay with us, we'll bring you full coverage today

starting at 11:00 p.m. in London, midnight Central European Time and into the night for all you night owls and U.S. politics fans.

Coming up, U.S. President Barack Obama is flying to Saudi Arabia today. We saw him aboard Air Force One minutes ago, but proposed legislation back

home could make it an even rougher ride than anticipated. We will get perspective from a Saudi affairs expert coming up next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

GORANI: Let's return now to President Obama's trip to a critical strategic ally. President Barack Obama left Washington just a few minutes ago en

route to Saudi Arabia. Controversial legislation back in America is threatening to overshadow his visit.

Over Mr. Obama's objections, Congress is considering a bill that would allow victims of the September 11th attacks to sue the Saudi government.

But there are other sources of friction as well.

You may remember Mr. Obama was recently quoted in "The Atlantic" as saying Saudi Arabia must, quote, "share the neighborhood" with its long-time

enemy, Iran.

He also reportedly called some gulf leaders free riders accusing them of pushing the U.S. to act in global crises but failing to, quote, "put any

skin in the game themselves."

Let's get some perspective from David Schenker, the director of the program on Arab politics at the Washington Institute. Thank you, David Schenker,

for being with us. What is this trip going to achieve do you think?

DAVID SCHENKER, THE WASHINGTON INSTITUTE: I don't think it is going to achieve much. You have a king who isn't really with the program and then

you have all this real history from what was said in "The Atlantic" interviews.

Ben Rhodes just the other day saying that Saudi hadn't been keeping its eye on terrorism, which is somewhat ironic given that the Obama administration

called ISIS the JV team.

But you also have just an atmosphere with the Saudis are really upset with the U.S. reproach model on Iran and being missing in action essentially on

Syria. The Saudis basically think that the United States has abandoned their traditional allies in the region.

GORANI: Has the United States done that when you look at all the developments of the last several years, the fact that the Saudis would

have, for instance, wanted President Assad in Syria to be overthrown, certainly for the U.S. to support the rebels there more.

Then they've extended themselves into Yemen. There's the Iran deal that is absolutely petrifying them as well in terms of how the region has strategic

relationships have been altered because of it.

[15:45:10]So has the United States moved away, is Saudi Arabia right to be angry?

SCHENKER: Well, I don't know if they're right to be angry, but they're certainly correct in their assessment that the United States, this

administration, value is less the traditional alliances in the region.

Although Washington has sold something like $80 billion, or tremendous amount of weapons to Saudi Arabia, it's just not seen in the region, not

only among Saudi -- among Saudis but elsewhere in the region as being a reliable ally that Iran has been able to basically take over four Arab

capitals -- Baghdad, Sanaa, Damascus, Beirut.

And fire missiles within a mile of U.S. aircraft carriers and there is no credible response. And the chemical red line, chemical weapons red line

with the Assad regime, they don't believe that the U.S. is necessarily a reliable ally and I think that's not just the Saudis but throughout the

rest of the region.

GORANI: But also you have the issue of oil prices going down. I mean, this has been incremental, but over the last several years, Saudi Arabia is

having to change the way it expands itself outside of its own borders. It just doesn't have as much money to do so.

SCHENKER: Yes. Well, the oil prices I think are being driven by Saudis' counter Iran policy. They want to keep prices low to hurt the Iranians, to

hurt the Russians. They spend a great deal of money on their one-year military campaign in Yemen. They have cut assistance to Lebanon.

They are looking -- providing assistance to Syrian rebels. So, yes, this hurts them in terms of their revenues and the bottom line, but they view

Iran and ISIS as threats.

Whereas Washington I believe puts ISIS as the lead problem. For Saudi, it is really a matter of what they see as a predatory Iran and it is worth

spending money on. But yes, this is a critical problem for Saudi, how they're going to pay all the expenses.

GORANI: Sorry, but is this basically something Saudi Arabia has to just come to terms with? As you mentioned, the Arab capital is now more or less

under Iranian control, et cetera. This is the new reality of the Middle East. They basically lost many important strategic battles for influence.

SCHENKER: They have. I think they're looking for ways to reverse the situation which is, frankly what I think the United States should be

looking to do. But yes, they haven't given up yet.

They are still committed to this fight and they view it as a struggle for the region. Unlike what the president said in "The Atlantic" interview,

the Saudis don't believe that Iran is looking to share the region. They want to have (inaudible) in the region. That's how the Saudis see it at

least.

GORANI: Certainly the region is up in flames as a result of so many of these conflicts and battles and rivalries. Thank so much, David Schenker,

for joining us. We really appreciate your time.

Don't forget you can get all the latest news, interviews, and analysis on our Facebook page, find us at facebook.com/halagoranicnn. We will be right

back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[15:50:03]

GORANI: A presidential candidate in the Philippines is under fire for controversial remarks he made about a rape and murder victim. It happened

just weeks before the Philippines holds its national elections and could endanger his own front running status. Linda Kincade has that.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

LINDA KINCADE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A video gone rival. Philippines' presidential hopeful, Rodrigo Duterte at a recent rally,

apparently joking about the murder of an Australian missionary.

Duterte telling his supporters when he saw the woman's body raped and murdered in a 1989 Philippine prison riot, his initial reaction was --

she's so beautiful. I thought the mayor should have been first.

Duterte is a long-time mayor of Davao City, known for his profanity laced speeches and often controversial comments. Despite widespread condemnation

over his rape remark from both in and outside the country, he initially refused to apologize, but eventually gave in.

RODRIGO DUTERTE, PHILIPPINES PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'm sorry to the Filipino people. It is my style. It is my mouth. I said it in the heat

of anger, but listen to the story behind.

KINCADE: Duterte' political party issued an apology on his behalf. The 71-year-old has since distanced himself from the statement. And in another

strange twist, his daughter revealed to reporters that she's a rape victim.

But she goes on to say she wasn't offended by her father's remarks and believes they won't affect his performance as president. Whether the

Filipino public agrees is unclear.

PIA HONTIVEROS, CNN PHILIPPINES CHIEF CORRESPONDENT: It looks like his support base is still solid at least for now. There are negative comments

all over social media, but there are those who are staunch defenders.

KINCADE: Duterte leads in recent polls, but that was before his rape remark and with national elections just three weeks away, his presidential

hopes may now be in jeopardy.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

GORANI: All right, let's return to our top story now. New York State's critical primary vote is now in full swing. Let's get some perspective

from a Clinton supporter, Congressman Steve Israel represents New York's third congressional district.

He also chairs the House Democratic Policy and Communications Committee and the congressman joins me now from the U.S. capitol in Washington. Thank

you, sir, for being with us.

I was discussing with our David Gergen just a few minutes ago the fact that national leaders, a poll out is showing Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders

only two small percentage points apart.

That nationally Hillary Clinton does not at all have the popular advantage that she has in the delegate count right now. What do you make of that?

STEVE ISRAEL, U.S. HOUSE DEMOCRAT (NEW YORK): Well, Hala, here's what I make of it. The polls have been consistently wrong. That's the narrative

of this entire election cycle in the United States.

That the polling, the pundits, the prognostications have all been completely wrong. So I've given up relying on one particular poll or two

particular polls. There's only one thing that counts and that is the vote.

Right now we're in a situation where Hillary Clinton has 2 1/2 million more votes than Bernie Sanders in the popular vote and a delegate lead of over

700. That's what counts. That's why she's doing very well.

GORANI: All right. But where she has not necessarily done well are the several primary contests before New York. Certainly Hillary Clinton is

leading in the polls. I'm sure you'd be maybe more open to looking at a poll that gives Hillary Clinton a clear lead like the one in New York.

But that being said, is there a reason to question here, do you think, her campaign when she really should have been a clear frontrunner, but she's

still very much in close battles with Bernie Sanders who was barely registering just a few months ago?

ISRAEL: Well, you have to give Senator Sanders credit for his persistence. Unfortunately, he's been doing it, in my view, in a very low-blow way.

He's been insinuating and attacking, and that's not a service to the Democratic Party.

But I think when all is said and done, everything that I have seen in all the analyses that I'm looking at, separate and apart from these polls that

are all over the place, suggests that this country is ready for Hillary Clinton.

Now on the Republican side you have absolute mayhem, you have chaos, you have an absolute mess. This morning one of my House colleagues publicly

said given the choice between Ted Cruz being the Republican nominee and drinking cyanide, he would drink the cyanide.

That's a statement by the Republican Party. Democrats for all the challenges we have right now, we're in much better shape. I really do

believe Hillary Clinton's going to be the president.

GORANI: But back to the Democrats. Look at Hillary Clinton's, for instance, favorability. There is something that Bernie Sanders has tapped

in that the candidate you support, Hillary Clinton, has not been able to necessarily embrace, which is younger voters, which is this idea somehow

that she's a rebel.

[15:55:07]That she's going to fight entrenched interests in Washington, big banks, corporate interests. This isn't something she's certainly been able

to get traction from on young voters. Where do you think her campaign needs to improve on those messages?

ISRAEL: Two responses. First, there is no question that there is a very volatile, ugly, angry mood in the United States right now in the

electorate. No question about that.

But secondly, the fact of the matter is that, even with this mood, even with Bernie Sanders attracting significant numbers of people to rallies --

and he should be congratulated for that -- on the important measure of a candidate's success, popular votes and delegate votes, Hillary Clinton is

far ahead.

And in New York in this primary, she's going to actually increase that margin both in the popular vote and in the delegate vote. Once we have

these conventions, we're going to have to make sure that we are reunifying as Democrats. That we are united against the proposition of Donald Trump

in the oval office, and we will unite against that proposition.

GORANI: And Representative, how should the idea of Bernie Sanders be integrated somehow into the platform of, if it is indeed Hillary Clinton,

the Democratic nominee? Because they represent a huge chunk of the Democratic electorate, even if Bernie Sanders is not the eventual nominee.

ISRAEL: There are two elements that go in to any campaign, whether it's local congressional campaign or a national campaign. One is ideas, the

other is ability to get those ideas done. Bernie Sanders has many good ideas. Don't agree with him on everything, but he's got some good ideas.

But at the end of the day people not only want the ideas, but they want a demonstrated ability to actually get those things done, which means that

Hillary Clinton will continue to talk about the vital need for campaign finance reform, undoing Citizens United, building infrastructure to create

jobs, removing debt from the shoulders of our college students.

Not only is she able to talk about those things, but she was able to show as a United States senator a demonstrated ability to get those things done.

Those two things are going to be very important. Those two elements, ideas and practical experience, very important.

GORANI: All right, Representative Steve Israel, thanks very much for joining us from Washington. We appreciate it. I'm Hala Gorani. "QUEST

MEANS BUSINESS" is up next.

END