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AT THIS HOUR WITH BERMAN AND MICHAELA
Trump Holds Double-Digit Lead in Indiana; Trump: Cruz, Kasich "Hanging by Their Fingernails"; Cruz: Trump as President Would "Make You Embarrassed". Aired 11-11:30a ET
Aired May 2, 2016 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
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[11:00:14] DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: If we win Indiana, it's over, okay?
SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Have we sold our democracy down the river?
CRUZ: I have to tell you, I have faith in Hoosiers.
HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I have to tell you, I have a lot of experience dealing with men who sometimes get off the reservation in the way they behave and the way they speak.
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (-VTI), DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: She will need super delegates to take her over the top. The convention will be a contested contest.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everybody. I'm John Berman.
KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Hi, everybody. I'm Kate Bolduan. Thanks for joining us.
And get set for the big day in big country. Indiana voters head to the polls in less than 24 hours. Donald Trump and Ted Cruz hitting the pavement hard with big rallies today. At stake, 57 delegates. But it is much more than just a number. It could equal the last stand for Ted Cruz.
BERMAN: A new "Wall Street Journal"/NBC News poll shows Donald Trump with a 15-point lead over Ted Cruz in the Hoosier state. Cruz, who has already named his running mate, made a deal with John Kasich and picked up the endorsement of the governor there. He might now need to run the picket fence at them. Don't get caught watching the paint dry.
We have officials from both camps joining us in a moment.
But first, let's bring in CNN's Phil Mattingly to set the stage -- Phil?
PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: John, pretty frankly --
MATTINGLY: We're at the point now for Ted Cruz where we're trying to figure out what viable path forward means. That's not a good place to be. Particularly in front of a primary that you and your teams have raised the stakes for in the weeks leading up to this. Everybody baked in that Donald Trump is going to have a good two weeks the last two weeks. There was New York where he pulled 90 of 95 delegates. Clearly, over performing a week later in the five primaries that occurred. All the while, Ted Cruz's team pointing to Indiana. The polling not cooperating with those efforts at that point and that lead to this just a few hours ago, a question, what happens if you lose Indiana? Take a listen.
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CRUZ: I am in for the distance. As long as we have a viable path to victory, I am competing to the end.
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MATTINGLY: Now viable path to victory, what does that mean going forward? A couple of components that are important for the Cruz team. First and foremost, Indiana is not over yet. He will be blitzing the state today. 10 total events between Cruz and his surrogates. Mike Pence, after that very tepid endorsement last week will be on the campaign trail with him. But Ted Cruz started April with $9 million in the bank. He has a ground operation across the country that's unmatched in the Republican field. We've seen what he has been doing with potential 2nd and 3rd ballot delegates if he can get to a contested convention. So his argument for staying in the race, even if he loses Indiana, might still exist, but 57 delegates at stake. And, guys, no question about it. If Donald Trump wins the winner- take-all, winning the state and a large proportion of those congressional district delegates, Ted Cruz is going to have to have a moment in his campaign to decide is there a viable path forward besides the one that they've created -- John and Kate?
BOLDUAN: As long as they have a viable path to victory. It will be a more well-defined path maybe after tomorrow.
Matt, great to see you.
Donald Trump, he is adamant that if he wins Indian, it's over. He says Ted Cruz and John Kasich are barely holding on. Listen to Donald Trump right here.
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TRUMP: The two last ones are like hanging by their fingertips.
They're choking, don't let me fall, don't let me fall.
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BOLDUAN: There you have him, Donald Trump's words.
Joining us now to discuss, Cruz campaign national chairman, Chad Sweet.
Chad, great to see you. Thank you for coming in.
We just heard this --
CHAD SWEET, NATIONAL CHAIRMAN, TED CRUZ PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN: Thank you for having me.
BOLDUAN: Thank you. This viable path to victory. What does that mean? You're 15 points down now in Indiana, that viable path to victory. Are you guys changing your strategy?
SWEET: You know, there's only two ways for anyone to win this nomination. It's to win a majority of delegates before or after the convention. It's incumbent upon Senator Cruz and Donald Trump to do that. If we look at the polls -- and there's another poll that's come out that shows us up 16 points so they're all over the place and they have been off during this entire primary process. But the key point is this is not over until one of the candidates actually wins the fundamental point of democracy, which is a majority of the delegates. So that is what the Senator is talking about. We're very excited. It's unlikely anyone will be able to do it before California.
BERMAN: It's impossible that you'll be able to do it before the convention. Ad the viable path language is different language than we've heard before. It sounded like Ted Cruz was putting a new definition on how long he might stay in the race. You can get there before the convention. You don't have the math. You could get there if Donald Trump doesn't get the 1,237 before the convention. Are you saying you're in, no matter what, unless or until Donald Trump reaches 1,237?
[11:35:14] SWEET: That's correct. If there's one thing Donald Trump and Ted Cruz agree on is what Donald Trump was whining about in the process. He's claiming that some of the caucuses or primaries didn't let every voice be heard or didn't let every vote count, so the one thing that we do agree on is that every voice should be heard, every vote should be counted and, therefore, there's millions of votes still to come in the final stretch here. Those voices need to be heard. And we agree with Donald Trump, let the voices be heard and let the voters speak.
BOLDUAN: Which state is more important to you guys right now, Indiana, because you guys built it up really big after the loss in New York, or California?
SWEET: I'm sorry, Kate. Do you mind repeating the question?
BOLDUAN: After the New York loss, you guys put all of your eggs in the Indiana basket, saying it was all about Indiana. But which state is more important to you guys, your viability right now, Indiana or California?
SWEET: We have built thought the campaign to go the distance so we didn't put all our eggs in the Indiana basket. We put multiple eggs spread throughout the field. We're very excited about the next series of states. If you look at the Midwest, it's been very good to Senator Cruz. He dominated in Utah, Colorado, Wyoming, Wisconsin, North Dakota. In fact, the majority of the west supported Senator Cruz and has not supported Donald Trump. So this is more friendly and we're excited to go all the way. At California, it will be the key decisive moment. Neither candidate is likely to be able to get there, and certainly Donald Trump can't get there until going all the way to California. And that's where we will see both races come down to June 7th.
BERMAN: You picked up the support of Governor Mike Pence on Friday. Some people call it endorsement. He used creative language. He went out of his way to say how much he liked Donald Trump and what a great candidate Donald Trump has been and how much he has added to the discuss, while also saying people should vote however they want, but he's going to vote for Ted Cruz. Do you wish you got more out of the governor?
SWEET: The governor is a fantastic leader and a true conservative and he's voting for Ted Cruz. He's out on the trail. He's cut ads supporting the Senator. So all of the talk about not getting a strong endorsement is not true. We feel he has been extremely supportive of the Senator and we're proud to have his support. And the reason he's supporting is because, you look at the true conservatives, we have already seen in Iowa, for example, how these two leaders might act if they were president. One of them basically bought into supporting wasteful taxpayer subsidies for ethanol and the other one, Ted Cruz, stood on principle and said, no, I didn't support taxpayer subsidies for my home state or Texas, and I'm not going to do it here to pander to voters in Iowa. And in the end, the voters saw of those two leaders they chose the leader that stood on principle and was consistent. That's why Governor Pence is backing Ted Cruz. That's the kind of leader that we need, is somebody that will go to Washington and fight the bipartisan crony capitalism that's destroying this country and keeping debt on our children and grandchildren.
BERMAN: All right, Chad Sweet, thank you for being with us. Good luck tomorrow, a big day for everyone left in this race.
SWEET: Thank you, John and Kate. Appreciate you having us on.
BERMAN: I want to bring in the Trump campaign right now. Elizabeth Emken is a spokesperson for the Trump campaign.
Thank you for being with us. You just heard Chad Sweet say Ted Cruz is in it unless and until
Donald Trump reaches 1,237 delegates. Do you think that if Donald Trump wins Indiana tomorrow that Ted Cruz should get out of the race?
ELIZABETH EMKEN, SPOKESPERSON, DONALD TRUMP PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN: Well, everything you need to know about the state of this race is in the half-hearted endorsement of Governor Pence. You saw the shift. You see the shift happening. The establishment and the grassroots are making that transition to the acceptance of the inevitability of Mr. Trump.
BOLDUAN: Are you saying if Ted Cruz doesn't win tomorrow he should get out?
EMKEN: In California, which I just heard Mr. Sweet reference, Mr. Trump is up by 27 points in California. I can't imagine that Senator Cruz wants to get blown out in California. I think it would be a logical move. What we have now is the impossible campaign of Donald Trump. It would be impossible for him to win. The nomination has now become the inevitable. It's a very quick switch. You can see it happening all over in the last probably 48 hours. We sure felt it at the California convention this last Friday. And I would not be surprised to see either Cruz or Kasich or both decide it's time to unite around the inevitable nominee.
[11:10:12] BERMAN: Donald Trump, the candidate you're supporting, has been talking about Hillary Clinton a lot. He's been saying that Hillary Clinton is playing the woman card or woman's card, language he likes to use. He used it again this morning on "New Day." Let's listen
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TRUMP (voice-over): Are you ready? Are you listening? She is playing the woman card, and if she didn't play the woman card, she would have no chance whatsoever of winning, and she would have absolutely no chance of winning. She is playing the woman card.
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BERMAN: So, Elizabeth, as someone that works in the Trump campaign, and as a woman that has run for political office yourself on several occasions, are you comfortable with this line of attack?
EMKEN: Absolutely. First of all, it's Secretary Clinton who has put this out. She has been very vocal about how this sets her apart. And really, when you think about it, any other candidate, male or female, with her record as secretary of state, would have been disqualified by her party a long time ago. You have the Benghazi incident. I think probably the top secret information that was clearly compromised through the e-mail issue. And by the way, we are still missing an indictment. But actually, the one I don't think we talk enough about is you have a former president and a woman that is clear that she wanted to run for president accepting huge sums of foreign money through the Clinton Foundation. There's so many elements --
BERMAN: I'm just not sure what this has to do with the woman card though, what Donald Trump has been saying.
EMKEN: I think it's very relevant. The point is a male candidate would have long been dismissed by their own party as being unqualified to be the nominee. You heard Bernie Sanders say it, and he is right. Any other candidate would have been told this is not going to be your time. With the super delegate system that the Democrats use, they have been unwilling to do that and you have to really ask yourself why.
BOLDUAN: Elizabeth, I do want to ask you, because previously you were an executive with Autism Speaks, one of the leading advocacy and policy groups with regard to autism. Donald Trump, this is not an issue discussed often on the campaign trail, an important issue though obviously. During the Reagan -- the debate at the Reagan Library, Donald Trump was asked about a link between the -- existence of a link between vaccinations, vaccines and autism. He said that he was very concerned about it. He even brought up an incident where he suggested there was a link. Especially with your background in this area, have you spoken to him about that?
EMKEN: No, I haven't. But I can tell you Mr. Trump has been a tremendous supporter of Autism Speaks since it's inception in 2005. That's how I got to know Mr. Trump and that is how my boss, Bob Wright, who founded Autism Speaks, along with his wife, Suzanne, that's how I first got to see him in action. You don't hear a lot about what Mr. Trump has done in the community and in the non profit community. He's been a tremendous help and supporter. And --
BOLDUAN: But when you hear it, and I'll read you the quote from debate, he said, "We had so many instances. A child went to have the vaccine and got very, very sick and now is autistic." And he went on to say, you know, he supports certain vaccines but, under current procedures, he thinks it's dangerous to the public. That doesn't seem to be necessarily in line with the position of Autism Speaks.
EMKEN: The position of Autism Speaks has been for quite awhile that we need to find out what's happening. Why are we losing an entire generation of children to this disorder? And certainly we know more today. We know there's a genetic component and there's an environmental trigger. And until we get to the bottom of what's happening -- no one knows what causes autism. Anyone that tells you what does or what doesn't cause autism is simply not basing that on facts. We don't know. We have to keep looking. I have not discussed this with Mr. Trump. I understand things are said in the community, like any issue. But the bottom line is vaccines are the most successful health program in the history of the world. So I don't believe that's at all what he was saying. What we do know is we need to get to the bottom of what's happening with autism, certainly.
BERMAN: Elizabeth Emken, thank you for being with us. Appreciate it.
EMKEN: Thank you. Thanks for having me.
BOLDUAN: Thank you.
BERMAN: Tough but not impossible. Bernie Sanders vowing to fight until the end and promising a contested Democratic convention.
[11:15:07] BOLDUAN: And also new this morning, Prince, his family, in court to decide the fate of the music icon's fortune and the contents of a vault.
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CRUZ: Now ask yourself, do you really want to go through the next four years with a president who, if your child came home and simply uttered the words coming out of that president's mouth would make you punish your child, would make you embarrassed for your child. We need a president that unifies us and speaks to our better angels, who speaks to our shared values.
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BERMAN: That was Ted Cruz in Indiana moments ago taking direct aim at Donald Trump saying Americans would be embarrassed to have him as president. Cruz vowing to stay in the race as long as he has a viable path to victory, but according to Trump, that won't be much longer.
BOLDUAN: Let's discuss this with CNN political commentator, Errol Louis, political anchor for Time/Warner Cable News; and Susan del Percio, Republican strategist and former aide to Rudy Giuliani; David Wasserman, house editor and political analyst of the "Cook Political Report; and Doug Heye, the newest CNN political commentator -- welcome, Doug -- and former RNC communications director.
Great to see you all.
[11:20:09] So, Susan, what do you make of this? It looks like a shift in messaging that we were just hearing from Ted Cruz talking about he is going to stay in as long as there's a viable path forward.
SUSAN DEL PERCIO, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Well, and to Senator Cruz, that viable path is a second ballot. That's what he has now shifted his message to. There's no way he's going to win this. It's impossible for him to get on the first ballot. That's what he has been doing. The problem with Ted Cruz is that no one has been buying into what he has been selling lately. This whole strategy of the Kasich/Cruz alliance was a huge mistake at the same time that Donald Trump was speaking to the systems rigged, and it looks like they're in cahoots together. As he was going to get all the delegates this weekend and coming out of that, it plays into the system's rigged, so his messaging is all wrong, and I don't think this is going to help him one bit.
BERMAN: Dave Wasserman, you're one of the world's most prominent delegate counters -- (CROSSTALK)
BERMAN: -- and one of the most vocal proponents of "its all about Indiana." Why in the Republican race is it all about Indiana?
DAVID WASSERMAN, HOUSE EDITOR & POLITICAL ANALYST, COOK POLITICAL REPORT: Well, Indiana bills itself as the crossroads of the nation but it's been a huge fork in the road for a long time on the Republican side because it has 57 delegates allocated on a winner- take-most bases. There's no excuse to be losing Indiana. It has the highest share of any state yet to vote. He has Governor Pence's endorsement. And the only question tomorrow night is whether he sweeps all nine and takes all 57 delegates. If not, the race would pretty much be over. The only thing going is there's an entire month before California to turn it around but not much chance.
BOLDUAN: As the day plays out, Doug, this should be Cruz country. Not only the make up of the state but then he announces his running mate in the state and he gets the sitting governor's endorsement sort of.
BERMAN: Mike Pence's endorsement, sort of.
BOLDUAN: A little shrug. What went wrong even if -- the Cruz camp is saying it's not over, your writing us off, he has the momentum, wait until tomorrow. But it shouldn't even be a question. Shouldn't he be ahead in the polls?
DOUG HEYE, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: You would think so. He made several tactical smart moves but unfortunately these look to be smart moves when you're fouling somebody at the end of the basketball game when there's 10 seconds left on the clock and you're down 10 points. Tactically smart, but too late. And the anti Trump people will tell you privately, if they can't win in Indiana, there's nothing in California.
BERMAN: As you're trying to slam it through the basketball ring.
PERCIO: That elusive ring.
BERMAN: Errol Louis, what do you think Ted Cruz does? If the Dave Wasserman scenario plays itself out and Cruz loses most, if not all of the delegates in Indiana, it's a tough day.
ERROL LOUIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: It is a touch day but it is supposed to be, in Cruz scenario, followed by some pretty friendly states. He has a number of states coming up where he is expected to do fairly well.
BOLDUAN: Didn't he say that right after New York, going into Indiana? ERROL LOUIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Sure, but, look, when a
campaign is in the position his is in, all he has is to honorable see it through and march all the way through. One issue that's going on that explains part of his performance is he has to be exhausted. This was not the race he planned to run. He was not expecting things to go until June and having to run flat out. His campaign is exhausted both operationally and financially. They never expected they were going to have to run this kind of a race. They thought they would be swelling and they'd be the anti Trump campaign and they thought it would be one-on-one months ago, and even now he hasn't achieved that. Nothing is going right for him. If he can sort of keep hope alive, and hope somehow 1,237 is not on the table, then he still has a shot, and he's going to keep hoping for that and wait for that.
BOLDUAN: We'll see because Indiana voters will be heading to the polls soon enough.
Interesting we talk about endorsements. Marco Rubio did an interview with "Politico" on the record and talked about why he hasn't endorsed, and that he maybe would endorse -- he would only endorse Ted Cruz if he would ask and if he would be helpful, and maybe he'd hold off until the convention. But beyond what Ted Cruz said, this is a very interesting quote from an insider saying this, "What Marco Rubio isn't going to do is just endorse Ted, watch Trump win anyway, and, in four years, watch Cruz use Marco's endorsement against him if they both run for president again."
Fascinating. What do you think of that?
PERCIO: It is. At what point does Senator Cruz -- Senator Rubio's endorsement really matter that much at this point? One could argue toward California a little bit but not that much. But why endorse when right now it looks like it's going to Trump, and he said he would support the nominee of the party? It doesn't make sense for most people to do any endorsements. That's why you saw Governor Pence do the lukewarm endorsement that he did and all roads point to Donald Trump. Whether you like it or not, there's a level of acceptance that Republican are doing. I think that's little bit of what you heard from Rubio this weekend.
[11:25:34] BERMAN: Doug, we have time for a three-world answer. If Ted Cruz loses Indiana tomorrow, would you advise him to get out this week?
HEYE: Yes, I would.
BOLDUAN: You ask and you shall receive. There you go.
Thank you, guys, so much. Errol, Susan, Dave, Doug, whoever, thank you.
BOLDUAN: John Berman, thank you. BERMAN: Bernie Sanders acknowledges has a tough road or will have a tough road to climb. Looking at live pictures right now of Senator Sanders at an event in Indiana right now. He says he is going to climb that hill and fight for every delegate.
BOLDUAN: If you like buying a ticket on the Titanic, that is what Senator Lindsey Graham says about Donald Trump's future running mate. So who would the Republican front runner pick? Oh, the rumors, oh, the speculation, and who already said thanks but no thanks. We'll be right back.