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Candidates Making Final Push For Indiana; Trump Rails Against Rigged System; Cruz Vows To Stay In Race; Trump And Cruz Campaigns Discussing Indiana; Sanders Tries To Woo Super Delegates; Five Years After Bin Laden; Sanders Courts Super Delegates; Trump and Cruz Battle for Indiana. Aired 1-1:30p ET
Aired May 2, 2016 - 13:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: Hello, I'm Wolf Blitzer. It's 1:00 p.m. here in Washington, 6:00 p.m. in London, 8:00 p.m. in Baghdad. Wherever you're watching from around the world, thanks very much for joining us.
We start with battleground Indiana. One day away from the important Indiana primary. Both the Democratic and Republican frontrunners, they're certainly hoping the Hoosier state deals a knockout blow to their opponents.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: By the way, if we win Indiana, it's over. OK? And if we win in (INAUDIBLE), it's over.
SEN. TED CRUZ (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: And I think the entire country is looking to Indiana and really depending on Indiana to pull us back from this cliff that we're starting over.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: Here is what's at stake, 83 delegates for the Democrats, 57 for the Republicans. You heard Donald Trump say Indiana could end the race. He's at 1,002 delegates right now. He needs 1,237 to clinch. If he shuts out Ted Cruz, it certainly puts him a big step closer to the Republican presidential nomination. Trump needs to capture just 47 percent of the remaining delegates at stake in places like Nebraska, New Jersey, California, and, of course, tomorrow in Indiana.
Right now, Trump leads the race in Indiana with 49 percent in this new NBC News-"Wall Street Journal" Marist poll. Ted Cruz in second place with 34 percent. Donald Trump has been playing up those poll numbers during rallies in the state, but Senator Ted Cruz says it's a dead heat heading into tomorrow's primary.
Joining us now is our own Phil Mattingly. He's joining us from New York, and Sunlen Serfaty, she's in Indianapolis. Phil, here is what Donald Trump said this morning, talking to CNN's Chris Cuomo. Listen to this.
(BEGIN AUDIOTAPE) TRUMP: The bosses are trying to run it. You know, it's a rigged party. It's a whole rigged situation. The bosses -- like in Arizona, the bosses -- like in Arizona, the bosses -- I win Arizona in a landslide. I beat Cruz so badly it's almost ridiculous.
And then, the bosses have delegates. They have a delegate, a crooked delegate system, where they go in and they try and get delegates so they can play games.
But I tell you what the voters wouldn't stand for. You now when you win by millions of votes. And that's what I've been saying. It's a rigged system. The bosses want to pick whoever they want to pick.
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: So, --
TRUMP: What's the purpose of going through the primaries?
BLITZER: Trump's talking about delegate fights over the weekend. As you know, delegate fights won by Ted Cruz. So, what effect will these so-called, quote, "zombie delegates" have on the outcome, Phil?
PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think if you look at what's going on right now, if Donald Trump secures the nomination before the Cleveland convention, absolutely nothing. If he is blocked from doing that, if the Republicans head into a contested convention, potentially everything. And that's why you've seen the Cruz campaign work so hard behind the scenes to win these fights.
Most recently, this weekend in Arizona which Donald Trump is so upset about, also in Virginia. And the idea here is this, Wolf. After the first ballot, state by state, delegates start to become unbound. You've seen the Cruz operation, a very strong grassroots operation, work state by state to make sure Cruz supporters are elected as delegates.
Now, a lot of these people are going to have to vote for Donald Trump on the first ballot, specifically in Arizona where Donald Trump won by more than 20 points.
But as the ballots move to second, third and fourth round, those delegates will be become unbound, can vote for whoever they want. And, Wolf, if they are supporters of Ted Cruz, they can head that way and potentially push Ted Cruz over the top. It's why Donald Trump's team has made it very, very clear, they need to win this thing on the first ballot and that's why Indiana has become so important.
BLITZER: Break down, a little bit more for us, Indiana. How it will factor into the delegate fight, Phil.
MATTINGLY: Sure, Wolf. Well, you laid it out perfectly at the very beginning. As it currently stands, 502 delegates left. If Donald Trump wins 47 percent of those remaining delegates, he becomes the Republican nominee and avoids a contested convention. Now, let's look at Indiana and kind of break it down a little bit. There are 57 delegates at stake tomorrow. Thirty of those delegates will go to the statewide winner, the other 27 by congressional district.
So, if Donald Trump just wins the state, no congressional district delegates, he, more or less, stays on that path, which is a very winnable path, 46 percent of delegates going for that he would win. That's what happens if he just wins the Indiana win or take all the votes.
Now, if you add congressional delegates in there, say he wins six of Indiana's nine congressional districts, that's an extra 18 delegates there, then you see that number drop significantly to 42 percent.
And, Wolf, here's the reality. With Donald Trump up in some polls by double digits, this is a very doable number, at the moment. This is why Indiana is so important.
Now, if you flip that a little bit. If Ted Cruz proves the polling wrong and, say, he wins 48 of the 57 delegates or maybe even more, you see that number for Trump rise. All of the sudden, ticking up to 51 percent of the remaining delegates. It's why Ted Cruz and his campaign have spent so much time on Indiana. Why the focus is here.
[13:05:09] This state sets Ted Cruz up going forward. Nebraska is a win or take all state next weekend. The campaign has been focused on that as well. All the way into California where there's 172 delegates at stake. All but 12 of those, Wolf, are by congressional district where the Cruz campaign feels like they're organized to do well. But none of that matters if they can't perform well in Indiana. Clearly, a big blitz today but they have a lot of work to do.
BLITZER: They certainly do. Sunlen, Senator Cruz making the final push today for votes in Indiana. With John Kasich not campaigning in Indiana at all, he walked away from that state, has Cruz seen the expected boost?
SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, not yet, Wolf. You know, a series of polls really show him well behind Donald Trump here in Indiana. One poll over the weekend showed him 15 points behind Donald Trump. And Cruz continues to try to downplay the importance of polls, saying, you know, we've seen polls all over the place. He says he thinks, at least publicly, the polls have him neck and neck with Donald Trump here.
That said, the Cruz campaign is very obviously working into overdrive to avoid any potential embarrassment for their campaign tomorrow here. But also, real questions about the viability of him, as a candidate, going forward. I found it so notable that just a few minutes ago, Senator Cruz's was meeting with voters at a cafe here in Indiana. And some voter came up to him and said, you're behind Donald Trump, man. So, clearly not -- never a good narrative around your campaign when voters are confronting you about the status of your campaign. And that's something that Senator Cruz continues to be peppered with questions from reporters. Today, reporters asking him point-blank, if you lose here in Indiana, will you keep going? Here's how he responded.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CRUZ: I am in for the distance. As long as we have a viable path to victory, I am competing to the end. And the reason is simple. Listen, this isn't about me. It isn't about Donald Trump. It isn't about any of the candidates. This is about our country and our future.
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?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SERFATY: So, an indirect jab there at Donald Trump. Such a core part of Senator Cruz's closing message here in Indiana. And in this final campaign day here in Indiana, the Cruz campaign is really blanketing the state.
Senator Cruz is holding five events. He's sending out Governor Pence, Carly Fiorina, his wife, really, the full contingent of Cruz surrogates blanketing the state. They very well know, Wolf, how much is riding on tomorrow.
BLITZER: Sunlen Serfaty in Indiana for us. Thank you. Phil Mattingly, thanks to you as well.
Let's talk a little bit more about the battle for Indiana, the strategy for the Trump and Cruz campaigns. Joining us from Dallas, Katrina Pierson. She's the national spokeswoman for the Trump campaign. Joining us from Houston, Ron Nehring, the National Spokesman for the Cruz campaign. Guys thanks very much for joining us.
Katrina, Donald Trump, once again, railed against what he calls this so-called rigged system after delegate battles over the weekend in Arizona and Virginia. Here's the question. If Trump doesn't get to 1,237 on that first round, will these so-called zombie delegates be your downfall on the second or third round or maybe even the first round?
KATRINA PIERSON, NATIONAL SPOKESWOMAN, TRUMP CAMPAIGN: No, not at all, Wolf. And it's simply because Donald Trump can win over the delegates. Even those who came out for Cruz in the beginning, we're seeing reports now that they're reconsidering Donald Trump.
And the reason is very simple. People want a candidate who can win, who can challenge the machine, who can challenge the media and move forward. Just today, Rasmussen put out a poll showing Donald Trump is now leading Hillary Clinton in the national polls and even polling 15 percent of Democrats. Delegates are paying attention.
BLITZER: Ron, Senator Cruz, you heard him say, this morning that he's in this for the distance, as long as there's a path to victory. For you, is that the path to victory only if Trump doesn't get the necessary ballots on the first round and there's a fight on the second or third ballots of the convention?
RON NEHRING, NATINOAL SPOKESMAN, CRUZ CAMPAIGN: Well, we believe that no candidates going to get to that number of 1,237. It's very, very unlikely that that would be the case. In which case we go past one ballot and Donald Trump will get every single delegate vote that he's entitled to, that he's won throughout the process on that first ballot.
But then, when it goes beyond that, the delegates have to make their own decision. And then, at that point, it's up to Senator Cruz to put together a coalition that reaches a majority of the delegates who are assembled there.
And Donald Trump is making that job easier for us, because he constantly, even today, continues to insult the volunteers and the grassroots activists for the Republican Party, like those who gathered at the California Republican party convention this weekend. He calls them, you know, party bosses and insiders and so on. These aren't party bosses. These are people who walk the precincts or people who make sure the phone calls get made, that the yard signs go up, sometimes they run for office. And Donald Trump has been spending weeks throwing them under the bus, insulting these people who have volunteered their time, energy and effort for the Republican Party.
[13:10:12] Our biggest ally when it comes to the delegates --
BLITZER: All right.
NEHRING: -- is Donald Trump constantly insulting the base of the Republican party.
BLITZER: Katrina, you want to react to that?
PIERSON: Let me be clear. Of course. Let me be clear, these are the party bosses in charge of the party in these states that do put together these delegate selection process and create the slates and those to be voted on. These are not just the grassroots people on the ground because those people, which we have seen, get left off the ballots when it comes to delegate selection.
But if you want to talk about insults, what about Senator Cruz saying that the other voters who aren't voting for him are somehow evil people and don't have good judgment? And now, in Indiana, he's telling Indiana, we have to stop the evil, as if all of those southern voters are evil, all the evangelicals are now evil.
So, Donald Trump might be going up against the establishment and the party insiders, but Senator Ted Cruz is going after the actual voters and that's a problem.
BLITZER: Ron, I assume you want to react to that.
NEHRING: Oh, give me a break. You know, Senator Cruz has been someone who's been challenging the Washington cartel which has produced more problems for this country, you know, than we can recall in this particular interview right now.
And that, when it comes to these delegates, when it comes to the volunteers who are gathering at the Republican Party, at conventions around the country and will continue to vote, I'm -- that it's clear that, at the end of the day, they're not going to choose a candidate who's going to go down to defeat, you know, at the hands of Hillary Clinton and someone who's been bankrolling, you know, the Democrats.
Even in my own state of California. We've pointed out this weekend that Donald Trump has funded the most liberal Democratic leaders in the state, including Jerry Brown, the Governor; Gavin Newsom, Lieutenant Governor; and Kamala Harris, the Attorney General, who's running for the United States Senate there. You now, while the -- while the volunteers of this party have been working hard to elect Republicans, Donald Trump has been bankrolling the other team. And --
PIERSON: But what about the voters, Ron? But what about the voters?
NEHRING: He, ultimately, has to pay a price. Well, fortunately, --
PIERSON: But what about the voters? Are the voters that vote for Donald Trump or anyone other than Ted Cruz evil?
NEHRING: -- fortunately, in this election --
PIERSON: Are they evil, Ron?
NEHRING: -- fortunately, in this election --
PIERSON: Are the voters evil?
NEHRING: -- fortunately, in this election cycle --
BLITZER: One at a time. One at a time.
NEHRING: -- in this election cycle --
BLITZER: Go ahead.
NEHRING: -- in this election cycle, the exciting thing is that every voter in every state will have the opportunity to impact this process, because it's going to go all the way to June 7th when California votes, --
BLITZER: All right.
NEHRING: -- and New Jersey and Montana and (INAUDIBLE.)
PIERSON: Senator Cruz said they are evil, Ron. Are the voters evil? Are they evil? That's the question I want to know. Are Trump's supporters evil?
BLITZER: Ron, you want to answer that? NEHRING: Oh, give me a break. The American people are good, hard-
working people. The American people are participating in a process now that winds up today in the state of Indiana. Indianan's are going to go to the polls right now. No one's paying more attention to this contest than people in Indiana today. And then, we're going to go forward. And we're going to go forward and we're going to come a convention in Cleveland.
BLITZER: All right, Ron, very quickly.
NEHRING: And we're going to come to -- yes?
BLITZER: If Cruz does lose tomorrow, he go -- he continues onto California, is that right? Or is he going to drop out?
NEHRING: No, we go all the way to California. We've been organizing California since August of last year. We had a tremendous response, both for Ted Cruz and for Carly Fiorina this past weekend at the state Republican Party convention. We're very excited about the fact that my state of California, that we actually have an opportunity to have a voice in this process. We haven't had a voice in the Republican nominating process in a long time, and Carly would be the first Californian on the national ticket since Ronald Reagan. So, we're really excited to have this --
BLITZER: All right.
NEHRING: -- process. And we're fully organizing in the state and look forward to it.
BLITZER: And we'll cover it every step of the way. Ron Nehring, Katrina Pierson, thanks to both of you for joining us.
PIERSON: Thanks, Wolf.
NEHRING: Thank you.
BLITZER: And coming up, Bernie Sanders makes a direct plea to the Democratic Party super delegates, support me, he says, in states that I beat Hillary Clinton. Will he sway any of those political insiders?
And it's been five years since President Obama ordered the raid that killed Osama Bin Laden. Peter Bergen spoke to the president about that day in the White House situation room. Stay with us.
[13:18:17] BLITZER: Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz is campaign in Indiana today with the governor, Mike Pence, who endorsed him on Friday. And just a few moments ago, Senator Cruz was speaking to Trump supporters. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEN. TED CRUZ (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, I appreciate you coming out. I appreciate you coming out and standing up. And I think this entire process, I think anyone that wants to be president owes it to the people of this state to come in front of you and ask for your support. And I'm running to be everyone's president, those who vote for me and those who don't vote for me.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We don't want you.
CRUZ: Well, you're entitled to your view, sir, and I will respect it. In fact, I will respect -
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do the math.
CRUZ: I will respect your right.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do the math. You asked Kasich to drop out. It's your turn.
CRUZ: Well -
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Take your own word.
CRUZ: Now, I'm curious, sir, when -
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Time to drop out, sir.
CRUZ: When Donald doesn't get to 1,237, are you going to call on him to drop out?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Donald's - Donald's definitely going to get to 1,237.
CRUZ: No. No, he's not. No, he's not.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, he's going to get more than 1,237.
CRUZ: Let me ask you something, sir. What - what do you like about Donald?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everything.
CRUZ: Give me one.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everything.
CRUZ: Give me one. Anything.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Donald Trump (INAUDIBLE) too.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The wall.
CRUZ: OK, the wall.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's the main thing. Immigration.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ted's building the wall.
CRUZ: All right. All right, hold on a second. Now, did you know on the wall -
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hillary Clinton's -
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (INAUDIBLE).
CRUZ: That Donald told "The New York Times" editorial board he's going to build a wall and he's not going to deport anyone?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're lying. Once again, lyin' Ted.
CRUZ: Well - well, sir, no, actually -
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He'll take down ISIS. He'll take down the whole damn mess of them.
CRUZ: Civilized people don't just scream and yell at each other. I'm not yelling at you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm not (INAUDIBLE).
CRUZ: Do you know that Donald Trump (INAUDIBLE). "The New York Times" recorded the whole thing. (INAUDIBLE).
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE). Career politicians (INAUDIBLE).
CRUZ: Oh, lyin' - OK, lyin' Ted.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: Tough exchange there.
Let's get to the Democratic contest as well. He's not buying them flowers and chocolates, but Bernie Sanders is courting the so-called super delegates pledged to support Hillary Clinton. Hillary Clinton holding an event in Kentucky focusing in on jobs. That's going on right now. It's part of a two-day campaign swing through Appalachia. Sanders admits he faces an uphill climb in his quest for the Democratic presidential nomination, but he says he has no plans to drop out of the race and try to convince super him.
[13:20:19] (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The way the system works is you have establishment candidates who win virtually all of the super delegates. It makes it hard for insurgent candidacies like ours to win. But you know what, we're going to fight for every last vote.
(END VIDEO CLIP) BLITZER: Donna Brazile is a CNN political commentator and Democratic strategist.
I want to get to the Democratic contest, but that exchange, that pretty remarkable exchange, you've got to give Senator Cruz some credit. He was willing to go to those Trump supporters, confront them and you heard that back and forth. What did you make of it?
DONNA BRAZILE, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Ted Cruz is fighting for, as you know, this is a key state tomorrow, Indiana. If he loses this state, Donald Trump's path to 1,237 is very clear. There's no question that Ted Cruz right now is running as if he's governor of Indiana. He is going to every county, every region in that state trying to get those last minute, you know, voters to come his way. It's an uphill climb, but I, you know, applaud anybody who goes in front of quite a passionate supporter and confronter.
BLITZER: Not just one there, but a few, several of them over there as well.
BLITZER: I just said it, yes, it takes political courage to do that kind of stuff.
BRAZILE: And he was willing to do it.
BLITZER: Let's talk on the Democratic contest right now. Bernie Sanders. Does he have a credible path to securing the Democratic nomination?
BRAZILE: You know, Wolf, 75 percent of our delegates have been allocated. After tomorrow, it's even, you know, 72 percent, 70 percent. You know, it's - it's tough. It's really tough. But that doesn't mean that Bernie Sanders has to throw in the towel. He's going to compete for every delegate. He's going to compete for every vote. If he falls short, then Secretary Clinton, who is now winning with pledge delegates, super delegates and there's really no distinction because we only have one vote a piece and she's also winning the raw vote. So it's clear to me that Secretary Clinton is on the path to 2,383 and Bernie Sanders has to continue to compete for every vote.
BLITZER: Because he would need almost all the votes in the - in the remaining contest in order to get to a credible level, and that's going to be pretty hard given the proportional system that the Democrats have. They don't have - your party doesn't have winner take all states.
BRAZILE: If we had winner take all, given the fact that Hillary Clinton has won more states, she would also be in the lead with delegates. This is a race to win the Democratic Party's nomination. So we cannot recalculate how we choose delegates. Our delegates are chosen both at the state level and, as you well know, many of us are super delegates as well.
BLITZER: Yes, you're a super delegate. BRAZILE: Yes, sir.
BLITZER: You have not announced who you're going to support yet, right?
BRAZILE: I've been a super delegate four times. This will be my fifth convention. I've also been a pledged delegate. So I'm excited about it. D.C. will vote last on June 14th and I'm looking forward to voting on June 14th.
The polls show for Indiana it's going to be very, very close -
BRAZILE: That's correct.
BLITZER: According to this NBC/"Wall Street Journal"/Marist poll. Hillary Clinton's at 50 percent, Bernie Sanders, 46 percent. That - not that far off the margin of error. This could be a very close contest in Indiana tomorrow.
BRAZILE: It could be a close contest. And I wouldn't be surprised if Bernie Sanders, you know, he - he might pick up a couple more states. You've got a lot of states out there that are still up -- Oregon, of course, we mentioned that. We've got another caucus in North Dakota. Bernie Sanders could continue to pick up states and pick up delegates. The bottom line is, 2,383. You cannot separate pledged from super. We're all in this together.
BLITZER: Yes, 15 percent of all the delegates at the Democrats convention are super delegates. More than 700, right?
BRAZILE: Well, 14.8 percent, 714 of us.
BLITZER: Yes, all right.
BRAZILE: Four thousand and fifty-one pledged delegates.
BLITZER: And she's got most of them lined up right now.
BRAZILE: I'm on the rules committee, so I enjoy this.
BLITZER: I know you do. All right, Donna, thanks very, very much.
BLITZER: A heated battle for the hearts and minds of Hoosiers. Donald Trump and Ted Cruz, they're storming Indiana, trying to woo voters before tomorrow's key primary. How this contest could change everything potentially in the GOP race.
[13:28:33] BLITZER: Donald Trump says if he wins the Indiana primary tomorrow, it is game over, but Senator Cruz says, not so fast. Cruz says he's in the race for the long haul.
Joining us now to talk about the race, CNN chief political analyst Gloria Borger and our CNN political analyst David Gregory. He's the host of "The David Gregory Show" podcast.
Guys, thanks very much for coming in.
Is Trump right that it's over if he wins Indiana tomorrow?
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, I think it's - I think he's right. I think it's already mathematically impossible for Ted Cruz to win. I think Cruz needs Indiana more than Trump does, because I think Trump can still get to the magic number or really close without it. But don't forget, with Indiana, it's a hybrid state. But if you win, if you win the state, you get 30 delegates, you know, right off the bat of the 57. And so, you know, I think Cruz is trying to make his case to the - to these delegates that, yes, we can do this in a - in a brokered convention. But "The Times" had a great piece over the weekend showing that even those people, who might be disposed to Cruz who are Republican regulars, are saying, you know what, we don't want a big fight at the convention. And the more Trump succeeds, the more he's likely to get to that number.
BLITZER: You heard Ron Nering, the national spokesman for the Cruz campaign, just say a few moments ago, even if Cruz loses in Indiana tomorrow, they're going on to California. They're going to do whatever they can to prevent Trump from reaching that 1,237 number you need to get the nomination.
[13:30:00] DAVID GREGORY, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Sure, they'll go on. Look, he picked Carly Fiorina to try to have some game in California and get some delegates there. But the reality is, if he loses Indiana, it's all but over. And, by the way, that's Ted Cruz who's said that would be the case.
GREGORY: I mean he put it all on the line in Indiana. It's a conservative state.