Return to Transcripts main page

CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL

Most Polls In New Hampshire Closed; Awaiting Results; Biden On His Way To South Carolina As NH Begins Vote Count; Klobuchar Aide: "For Us, It's About Anything In The Top Four"; Sanders Tells CNN "We're Feeling Good" About NH; Exit Poll: 81% Say They're "Angry" About Trump Administration. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired February 11, 2020 - 19:00   ET

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


WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: We're getting some live picture from Nashua, New Hampshire where folks are still voting. We see the late surge of voting in key polling places in New Hampshire as we await the first results of the lead off presidential primary.

We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm Wolf Blitzer in the CNN election center. We're less than an hour away from our first chance to potentially project a winner once the last polling places close across the state.

The 2020 Democrats are in a volatile race featuring showdowns between centrist and progressives. Bernie Sanders and Pete Buttigieg are both aiming for victory tonight after the muddled results in Iowa where they were neck and neck. Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren, they are eager to stem the momentum for Buttigieg and Sanders by raising the bar on their own performances.

Amy Klobuchar, maybe a wild card in all of this, as she tries to peel off moderate votes. The Democrats fight to defeat President Trump and win back the White House will be shaped by what happens tonight.

Jake, most polling places in New Hampshire are about to close. We'll start getting some numbers very soon.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: That's right, Wolf. And as we wait for the first votes, let's check in with our correspondents inside the candidates' headquarters.

First, we're going to go to Jessica Dean. She's at Biden headquarters in Nashua. And Jessica, Vice President Biden has already left. He's flying to a different state.

JESSICA DEAN, CNN WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Right. He's not even in the state. Right, he's not going to be in the state of New Hampshire when the polls closed, Jake. He was already en route to the airport before polls closed here in New Hampshire. I've got an empty ballroom here behind me.

To be fair, the doors haven't opened yet. But certainly it tells you all you need to know in terms of expectations from the Biden campaign and the fact that he is not here and won't be in this ballroom tonight but will instead be appearing via video. We know that his sister has been dispatched to talk to the crowd that gathers here.

But instead, the campaign looking very much to South Carolina where he has that swell of African-American support. They've considered it his firewall and, again, super telling tonight, Jake, that he will not be in the state of New Hampshire when the polls close.

TAPPER: All right. Jessica Dean at Biden headquarters in Nashville.

Let's go now to Klobuchar headquarters where we find Kyung Lah. And Kyung, Klobuchar, the Senator from Minnesota seems to be riding some momentum based on her performance in the debate. What is her message this evening?

KYUNG LAH, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, she's being quite cautious. This campaign is saying, look, we want to finish in the top four that they are feeling very good about their chances to reach that top four. But I want to turn to some of the actions that we're seeing out of this campaign, which I find quite significant.

This is a scrappy campaign that has really just focused on the here and now, because they haven't had much infrastructure. We are seeing a shift. The campaign just announced that they have placed a seven figure ad buy in the state of Nevada, 30-second ads will run in Las Vegas and Reno. That is the next state.

The campaign also saying that they are going to plan on some Super Tuesday swing visits, visiting these various states to include California. A campaign that finally is planning for the future, which should inform us about how they feel they will do today in New Hampshire. How did this all turn?

It was the debate. The debate this campaign says shifted things here in New Hampshire. They had 3,000 volunteer shifts suddenly sign up. They are feeling a shift on the ground. They are hoping, Jake, that it will spell some good times tonight and to the next stage. Jake.

TAPPER: All right. Kyung Lah with the headquarters of Senator Amy Klobuchar.

Let's go now to Sanders headquarters where we find Ryan Nobles. And Ryan, Sanders totally destroyed four years ago. Four years ago, he won the New Hampshire primary by more than 20 points. They are expecting Sanders campaign officials a much tighter race tonight.

RYAN NOBLES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. No doubt about that, Jake. They do expect it to be a close race here tonight and we point to those exit polls that David Chalian was talking about earlier that said about 12 percent of the folks that have voted so far tonight are new voters and that's a pool of voters that the Sanders team is really counting on. They want to expand the electorate.

I've been in touch with Jeff Weaver who is a top aide to Senator Sanders. He said that they've been tracking these new registrants at a couple of key precincts that they believe are stronghold for the Sanders campaign, including the University of New Hampshire and he said there was a long line of new registrants who are voting for the first time.

And he also said in two of the key precincts that they're Tracking.

[19:05:00]

There are at least 700 new registering.

So perhaps that's not a huge number across the state, but the Sanders campaign right now taking heart that in those key areas where they know they are strong, where he's drawn big crowds and they have made a lot of voter contact, they have seen positive numbers in terms of new registrants.

But you're right, Jake, they still expect this to be a close race, although they are still hoping to come out with a victory, Jake.

TAPPER: All right. Ryan Nobles with the Sanders campaign. And as we await, the poll is closing. We are getting more exit poll results. David Chalian has those for us.

DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: That's right, Jake. These are some of the big findings out of the exit poll. Interviews we did with voters as they're leaving their polling places today. These are still early numbers and they will change as the evening goes on.

But it tells us who showed up and what was on their mind and what is the animating force in this race? It's Donald Trump. Take a look here, we ask people what are your feelings about the Trump administration, 81 percent of New Hampshire Democratic primary voters say they are angry. That's their feeling about the Trump administration.

We also ask the question we've been tracking all election season long, are you looking for someone who agrees with you on the issues? Are you looking for someone to defeat Donald Trump? Overwhelmingly, Democrats in New Hampshire today, 62 percent of them say they are looking for a Trump defeater more than the 34 percent saying, I am looking for someone who agrees with me on the issues.

I also want to show you the ideological makeup of the electorate and I think it's significant here, 21 percent of those voting today say they're very liberal. That's down five points from four years ago and look at the moderate number, 36 percent say they're moderate that's up nine points from four years ago.

So ideologically, this electorate, at least according to these early numbers, and we'll see as the vote comes in and we get more exit poll information. But at this early look, Jake, this looks to be a bit more moderate of an electorate than it was four years ago. And finally, the issue that mattered most to voters, well, just like

it was in Iowa last week, it's health care, 37 percent say health care, 28 percent say climate change, followed by income inequality and foreign policy. Jake.

TAPPER: All right. David Chalian, thanks so much.

And Dana, it's fascinating. First of all, the idea that you have more moderate voters voting in New Hampshire primary this time than four years ago and fewer very liberal. But no matter what, 81 percent of them are angry with President Trump, angry.

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: So angry and the question that even they have had trouble answering both as evidenced by this poll, but also just anecdotally by myself and our colleagues who have been up in New Hampshire talking to them is they're not sure how to channel that anger. Obviously, they want the person who's going to beat Donald Trump, but they don't know who that is.

And it's been really interesting to talk to voters, our Abby Phillip was mentioning this and I found this too, you almost hear them talking like pundits. Like they're trying to game out how their vote is going to impact the election, how their vote is going to decide not just who the nominee will be, but how their vote is going to maybe ice out another candidate and so on and so forth.

So people are thinking strategically, but they're also not sure what that strategy should be and it has led to a lot of frustration and in some cases paralysis when it came to deciding who to vote for, which is why there were so many late breakers.

TAPPER: And also, as we've seen in different polls, these are exit polls, polls of individuals who have just voted. But as we've seen in polls, telephone poles, 62 percent say that it is more important that the candidate they vote for beat President Trump then that they agree with a person by almost a two to one margin.

BASH: That's right. And, again, OK, so they know that that is the goal, but how do they get there. And look, there is ideology. There is the position that matters to a good chunk of the people who are talking to pollsters in this exit poll, but the fact that it is so big, that number is so big, it's fascinating.

The only other thing that I wanted to point out is something that we heard from Kyung and others about the impact of the debate, the last debate Friday night and how Amy Klobuchar did incredibly well, again, anecdotally, but also if you look at the polls, if you look at the money that she raised, and the fact that she's already planted her flag in the next state in Nevada for the caucus, shows that they're bullish in that campaign about their chances tonight, so we'll see if that pans out.

TAPPER: We'll see. We'll see if the voters agree. Wolf, you're at the magic wall, what do you got?

BLITZER: All right. I got John King over here and we're going to have a night data that we're going to be going through. A lot of the numbers, these numbers will be misleading only a couple dozen or so people voted around midnight last night.

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: My first time using my friend here was 12 years ago. Obama-Clinton in 2008 New Hampshire primary was a fun late night, a close race. So we'll see how this one plays out.

[19:10:04]

What are we going to watch for? You see some of the early votes here from the small towns that vote after midnight. They're on the map. We have some votes counted already. That's encouraging. I'll just leave it at that.

As we go through, what are we looking for tonight? Bernie Sanders is the favorite. The reason he is the favorite is because of this, a blow out four years ago. He's from Vermont, this is New Hampshire. One of the things we'll look at tonight, can Senator Sanders deliver in a more crowded race?

These towns here are where he ran strongest, where his margin of victory was largest against Hillary Clinton. Some are bigger than others. But can Bernie Sanders run up the vote and you will notice the pattern, he did very well close to home along the border with Vermont. We want to watch that.

Another thing we'll watch, I'll turn that off and come back to 2020 here, the Bernie Sanders vote. I'm going to stretch this out a little bit. Where does it come from?

Well, we're going to check some college towns, the University of New Hampshire is here in Durham. We'll want to see Sanders running it up there, younger voters coming up for him or Senator Warren, maybe Mayor Buttigieg are they cutting it over there. If you come over here to the bottom corner. Keene State is here. Again, college town where Senator Sanders hopes to run it up and hopes to get big turnout from young people. Is that happening? We'll know that as those results come in.

There's someone in the room. I'll let him speak up later who understands Hanover. Another college town, Senator Sanders, again, looking to run up his vote here. You look for clues, is the young Sanders base coming out and are young voters coming out and are they voting for Senator Sanders in those big numbers?

They'll be a lot we look at throughout the night. Well, there's one thing I want to do as we start to wait for the first votes to come in. This just show most of the population in New Hampshire is to the south, suburbs, smaller cities down here. People have left Massachusetts for tax reasons. Moreover, the economy is down here.

One of the things I'll be looking at is in this corner, straight down here. Why is that? Concord is the state capital, a political establishment town, let's see how that one plays out as one candidate getting more of the people who are professional politicians involved in government, things like that. Then, you move down the corridor a little bit, you come down here to

Manchester. You just saw Athena Jones at that polling place. This is where Clinton came back late against Obama. Gritty, blue collar for the most part, Democratic, let's see if that stick.

Months ago we would have said this is a Joe Biden constituency. Is it? Does Bernie Sanders win again? Is Amy Klobuchar - does her I'll fight for you in the debate, does that help her here? We'll watch that. And as you move down to the south, Londonderry here more suburban. Come over here, Bedford, more affluent.

This is where Hillary Clinton did well against Sanders in one of the very few places she did well against Senator Sanders tends to be Republican, but we have seen affluent suburban. Remember a lot of undeclared people voting in New Hampshire, they can vote in the Democratic Party. This, we thought months ago, would be for Elizabeth Warren. Is there any movement there as we come down?

And just as you come down through the population centers here, you come down here, you get to Merrimack. This is one of the bellwether towns going back to the '50s, it's always right. The person who wins Merrimack wins the Democratic primary going back to the '50s. We'll see if that holds up tonight.

And then you come down here at Hudson, is another one of those bellwether townships and then Nashua of this - none of the cities in New Hampshire are huge, but this is like Manchester more of a population center, suburbs around it, down right along the Massachusetts border and it has a little bit more diversity than most of the state, another place we'll watch as we count votes and pretty soon we'll actually be counting votes.

BLITZER: And we certainly will and we're going to get to know a lot of these townships a lot better ...

KING: We sure will.

BLITZER: ... in the course of the next few hours. We're getting a readout of the first votes at key New Hampshire polling places. Our correspondents and our ballot cameras will bring us the results live. It's all ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:17:19]

BLITZER: We have our first key race alert of the night very, very early. Less than 1 percent of the vote is in, but you can take a look at the numbers that have just been announced. Bernie Sanders in first place with 28.8 percent, he's 98 votes ahead of Amy Klobuchar in second place with 25.7 percent, Pete Buttigieg 18.6 percent, Elizabeth Warren 13.1 percent, Joe Biden 6.5 percent, Andrew Yang 2.5 percent, Tulsi Gabbard 2.4 percent, Tom Steyer 2.3 percent.

Remember very, very early, less than 1 percent of the vote is in. Let's go to Concord and Dover. But first Brian Todd, he's getting a readout on the results in Concord, New Hampshire. What are you learning, Brian?

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Right. Wolf, the tabulator just put them out. The moderator Jay Whitelaw, just read out the numbers. Here are the numbers from Ward 10 in Concord. We have to stress this is one of 10 wards in the City of Concord, New Hampshire, so not reflective of how the city is going to go or how the state is going to go. But here are the numbers from this ward.

Amy Klobuchar does very well, she comes out with 419 votes. These are the numbers you're seeing on the left side of your screen from Ward 10 here in Concord. Amy Klobuchar with 419 votes, Pete Buttigieg with 337, Bernie Sanders in third with 289, Joe Biden in fourth with 141, Elizabeth Warren in fifth with 117, then Tom Steyer at 63, Tulsi Gabbard at 42, Andrew Yang at 32, write-in votes tallied 31 and Deval Patrick had six.

Again, Klobuchar with a very strong finish here in Ward 10. We had sampled voters coming out of the polls, she was giving Bernie Sanders a good run for his money and it's evidenced here in this tally, they still have some write-in votes and others to count. Not many of those, Wolf, but Klobuchar coming out ahead here.

BLITZER: All right. One ward in Concord.

Let's go over to Dover right now. Miguel Marquez, you've got a readout on one ward there.

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: A very specific readout, it looks like a grocery receipt, 1926 votes cast in Ward 1 here. Here's the breakdown on the Democratic side. At least the top contenders.

Bernie Sanders 658 votes, Buttigieg 317, Klobuchar 201, Warren 200 votes, Biden 84, Yang 50, Steyer 47, Gabbard 40, Bennet 2 and they were 14 write-ins, some of those are probably for Michael Bloomberg as I spoke to a couple of his supporters today. They will hit around 50 percent, 53 percent, 54 percent turnout in this ward. We're going to try to figure out now how the other five wards in Dover did today, Wolf.

BLITZER: Very early, but very interesting numbers indeed.

John King, you're looking closely at what were the numbers are going to start coming in pretty rapidly, so far very, very early.

[19:20:05]

KING: Right. The votes are starting to come in, which is fun. We're actually counting votes on election night. That's the fun thing.

Senator Sanders for the very tiny lead, everybody just strap in at home. Whatever you do to entertain yourself on election night, so strap in for a bit because we're just getting started. But it is fun to see the votes come in. If you're Senator Sanders, your ahead by 137 votes, if your Senator Klobuchar you were wondering will that momentum turn into votes, early on - emphasis on very early on, that's the case.

Let's go see that. We just saw some new votes come in here. Let's just go up to Loudon here, this is the first time we've seen Pete Buttigieg on here. This is his color, the lighter green. Amy Klobuchar is the darker green. He is leading. This is probably just one ward here, 265 to 244 over Senator Sanders.

I just want to go through an important point. If you were listening to Miguel Marquez just a moment ago, the numbers he read are these numbers. So the numbers that have been reported officially into the system and kicked out by the state where the numbers from his Ward, they match up exactly.

If you remember Brian Todd's numbers from Concord, this is different. So this is clearly a different ward in Concord, Amy Klobuchar are still winning - she won again in this ward, so we have two of 10 wards coming in. I just want to make clear, as we get these numbers in, we get them live sometimes from a polling site. Those numbers have not necessarily been fed into the system yet that we have in the wall as we go through.

But if you just come out, take a look at it, again, very early on in the night, but we're starting to fill in the colors here. So far one town Sanders, one town Buttigieg, one town Klobuchar leading, we got a lot of counting to do.

BLITZER: Is it surprising those two wards, Concord and Dover, not too far away from each other, they're voting differently in those two wards?

KING: Well, you raised a great point. We should get this out early. This is a crowded field. This is many candidates. This is, as David Chalian said the exit polls in the race they broke really late. Klobuchar had that good debate Friday night. Buttigieg had to bounce out of Iowa. Sanders is the known entity. What would happen?

Biden and Warren more established. Would they lose support to the newcomers Buttigieg and Klobuchar for the most part. If you go back in time and look now we see more votes coming in up here, another township coming in with Sanders in a lead up here in Thornton, relatively small. Look at the 0.2 percent of the state population up there. But as you see, Senator Sanders is pulling up some votes.

I just want to go back a little bit just to show you something. When you have more candidates in the race, look at the margins. Go back to 2016, these were blowouts. Sanders ran it up in the state against Secretary Clinton. But four years ago, you had two candidates, you have bigger margins.

One of the challenges for Senator Sanders this time, he's a known face, he's expected to win, because it's next door and because he won there last time, is what does he do with the margins. You see these small Klobuchar townships up here, that's the midnight vote. That's Dixville Notch, that heart's (ph) location there and you see these other votes coming in. So is it different? Again, you're going to come over here. This is

Dover, very early on, Sanders with 40 percent, 41 percent to 20 percent there if you go back in time and look at it. Again, this was a blowout in the two candidate race.

But Dana was talking about this earlier, you'd go to a rally in New Hampshire with these voters especially late in the campaign, they were anguished. They agree they want to beat Trump, but they're all over the place. You had liberals at Buttigieg events, you had more moderate in other events and they were trying to figure this out.

The more crowded race and the early results, we're seeing it play out. It was a tough choice for New Hampshire Democrats and the early results play that out.

BLITZER: This is 2 percent of the vote now in. Bernie Sanders, Amy Klobuchar, very close to each other. The numbers will be coming in much more quickly, much more right after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:27:17]

BLITZER: All right. We got another key race alert right now, 3 percent of the vote in New Hampshire now in, Bernie Sanders remains on top with 25.9 percent, he's 311 votes ahead of Amy Klobuchar. A very tight race, at least, right now for second place. Amy Klobuchar at 22.2 percent, Pete Buttigieg at 22.1 percent, Elizabeth Warren she's down at fourth place with 10.5 percent, Joe Biden in fifth place 8.6 percent, Tulsi Gabbard 3.3 percent, Tom Steyer 3.2 percent, Andrew Yang 2.7 percent, 3 percent of the vote in.

John King, you're looking a lot more closely at these numbers, where they're coming in from?

KING: And the numbers just jumped as you're walking over, Amy Klobuchar was in second place, Pete Buttigieg just jumped to the second place again by a small margin and we are very early in the vote count. But that's the fun and the excitement of election night, especially in a close race with a crowded field is we're going to see the wall filling in, number one. You see the different colors, study that at home.

The light blue is Sanders, the light green is Buttigieg, the darker green is Klobuchar. We'll see if anybody else gets on the map in any of these townships in terms of winning as we go through it. Again, 625 votes ahead. We're very, very early in the vote count. We got a long way to go. But what do we see?

I'm just going to pull this up and stretch it out just a little bit as we go. What do we see so far? Number one, I talked about this earlier, this is Keene State. This is a college town. This is where Bernie Sanders must run it up. This is where he runs very well with the younger people. Are they turning out?

He'll be happy to be in the lead there. It's very early. If this margin holds up, there will be questions about, are some young voters looking for another choice in these college towns? Are they looking at other choices as Bernie Sanders replicating in this campaign what he could do four years ago?

It's hypothetical right now because this is so early, but just something to keep an eye on. Leading where he's supposed to lead, let's see what the margins are as we get through the night on that one. You move over here to the eastern part of the state, Portsmouth, very important, progressive town. One of the great places to visit in New Hampshire, interesting mix of voters.

A lot of independents out here, undeclared voters, they call them in New Hampshire. Again, Sanders is on top. This is a very different race. It was just Hillary Clinton four years ago, Bernie Sanders was the Democratic socialist, but he was also the opposition to the Democratic establishment. He was the place you went, if you didn't want to be with Clinton, you didn't have choices.

Now, people have more choices and you see it spread out a little bit. Again, it's very early, if you're a former Vice President of the United States, you do not want to be in single digits. You don't want to be in fourth or fifth either, but you especially don't want to be in single digits.

Elizabeth Warren from Massachusetts, just into double digits. We'll see how this one plays out. The top three right now, very early. This is a very interesting race. The progressive, the two moderates who are trying to say we can appeal to liberals and progressives as well.

Portsmouth is, again, very important. But again, look at the margin 26 to 23 to 21 at the moment. If you go back in time, in a two-person race, 13 points.

[19:30:02]

This is more competitive. This is not one of those college towns where Sanders had a blowout.

[19:30:03]

This is more competitive. This is not a college town where Sanders had a blowout. This is more competitive. But it is still a bigger margin as you rack up votes.

We'll come back in, I'm going to do a lot of this. Jus pop out and see if anything filled in as we go. This part up here, you get into the lake region up here. A lot of people in New Hampshire said watch to see how Mayor Buttigieg does up in the lake region. Not quite there yet.

You see Senator Sanders in Thornton, very close race. We'll keep counting votes there. Come up here, Moultonborough, again, early on, close race.

What does it tell you? It just tells, we're going to have to go through this carefully, and go through the night. We're very early on. But you see as results come in, Buttigieg in the center of the state, this is important for Senator Klobuchar if she can keep it. We're early on.

I talked about it earlier, state capitol, it's a political establishment town. We know a lot of people decided late. Is this a sign she had some of that energy come down. We're waiting, the bulk of the votes, want to stretch it out a little bit. You see light blue filling in, this is critical for Senator Sanders. More progressive part of the state here.

You just talked to Miguel Marquez a short time ago, this polling place in Dover, that's a healthy lead, two to one over the second one. We'll see if it stays. And then most of the people, if we're having a late night, if you go back, remember the great 2008 contest, this is Manchester, we have nothing yet.

If you go back to the 2008 Democratic contest between Hillary Clinton and Senator Obama, this is Manchester, this margin. We were up late.

Lot of people thought Obama was win, had early lead, Secretary Clinton came back late. Blue collar tends to vote late. You saw those lines there, people showing up late. Blue collar city, they vote late there.

Now, let's come back in time, this was -- remember how close that was.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: I just want to point out, from Manchester, we're about to get results from Manchester. Our Athena Jones is there.

So, fairly soon, we're told we're going to get some results from Manchester, the largest city in the state.

KING: And that will tell us a lot. I did this quickly. Try to get some results. This corner here, especially for Manchester south, more people, suburban. Some of the suburbs, some areas are Republican in a general election. But we'll see how the Democrats do. Suburban women that might be independents in New Hampshire moving away from the president, you do Manchester, you do Merrimack, you do Nashua and Hudson, these are places they can be won or lost.

I am fascinated as we go through this is do we continue to see close margins from town to town to town, whether we see a candidate start to pull away in any regions of the state.

BLITZER: Are you surprised that Elizabeth Warren is single digits, still very, very early, and Joe Biden also in single digits, in fifth place. Want to point out, still very early.

KING: The very early part is very important. I was in New Hampshire over the weekend, there are a lot of Democrats, remember over the summertime, Elizabeth Warren was surging not just nationally but in New Hampshire. People thought she would grab the progressive man tell from Bernie Sanders. A lot of people thought it could come down to Vermont versus Massachusetts, Sanders versus Warren, the two neighbors of the state.

That's a disappointing number for Elizabeth Warren who was well- organized, had the good staff in New Hampshire, owned the summer among the Democratic candidates. Democrats over the weekend questioned why she wasn't more active and busy. She had some events but not as busy as Mayor Buttigieg or Senator Klobuchar.

So, early, if that holds, of course, it would be disappointing. The Warren campaign says it has a plan, as a deep organization. It's going on. It would be very disappointing if two Midwesterners come in ahead of you in your neighboring state. The fact I have to reach down and scroll, we only fit four candidates to get to the former vice president, again, it is early.

Watch Concorde, watch Manchester area, there are some older establishment, Clinton campaign veterans with Joe Biden. You know how they turn out votes in the state. We'll see what happens, but the fact he moved onto South Carolina tells you they understand numbers.

If you're in single digits, one, two -- one, two three, four, five, not a good place to be if you have former vice president ahead of your name.

BLITZER: I want to go to Athena Jones in Manchester.

You got have results from one ward in Manchester out of 12. Is that right?

ATHENA JONES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Wolf. This is the 12th ward. This is led by Bernie Sanders with 555 votes. Second place, Pete Buttigieg at 401. Amy Klobuchar is third with 342 votes. Elizabeth Warren is fourth with 182 votes. And Joe Biden comes in fifth at 162 votes.

So, that is the totals for those top five candidates here at this ward in Manchester. It falls in line with a lot of what we were hearing from voters through the day, people talking about Bernie Sanders, Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar specifically about being impressed by the last couple of debate performances. That's how this breaks down -- Wolf.

BLITZER: All right. It's one of 12 wards in Manchester.

All right. More numbers are about to come in. We're going to stand by for that.

Much more coverage right after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:18:59]

BLITZER: Numbers are coming in from New Hampshire. Six percent of the vote now in, 6 percent of the vote in. It looks like a three way race for first place.

Bernie Sanders, 27.2 percent. Pete Buttigieg, 22.4 percent. Amy Klobuchar, 21 percent. Elizabeth Warren in fourth place, distantly, at 9.6 percent. Joe Biden in fifth place, 8.5 percent. Tulsi Gabbard, Tom Steyer,

Andrew Yang, they round up the field.

Let's go over to John King over at the magic wall. He's taking a closer look at all this for us.

Bernie Sanders still maintaining his lead with 6 percent of the vote in.

KING: Right. And you see he is light blue on the map. You see towns with his light blue. It is pretty close. We're very early in the count as we go through.

I mentioned earlier, Keene is one of the college towns, Portsmouth over here, in the eastern part of the state is progressive. Sanders winning where he should win, the question will be margins, especially in this complicated, more crowded race, different than four years ago.

One thing to show you, this came out a short time ago, this is Laconia. This is a small bit of the vote, 17 percent reporting so far.

[19:40:03]

Why am I pointing it out, I said earlier, the lake region, a lot of people said, watch Mayor Buttigieg up there. But this is one of the six bellwether towns that I talked about earlier, it has been right. The winner of Laconia has been the statewide winner of the Democratic Party going back to 1950s. So, we'll keep an eye on that through the night.

BLITZER: Seventeen percent of vote in.

KING: Right, right, don't know if that's going to hold up or not. And we also don't know if that record will. Sometimes records are broken.

BLITZER: That's right.

KING: That's why election nights are fun.

So, one way to look at this. Again, it is very early on in the vote. Where is Bernie Sanders running first, where is he running second, where is he running third. So, you see all these. You see some Klobuchar green here, that means she's leading, Senator Sanders is second or third. Lighter green is mayor Buttigieg, Sanders is second or third. Light blue is where he is running first.

That's how you stay competitive, if you're not winning everywhere, you come in second or third to keep the margin statewide. That's one way to watch this to see to plays out to see the strength, the strength. This is what we saw with Mayor Buttigieg in Iowa, for example, leading in so many counties, come in second and third to get more.

So, let's turn this off. Come out here, do it a different way. Where is Mayor Buttigieg. First, add in second, add in third. There you go.

You see again, just like Senator Sanders in places he is not in first, lighter green for Mayor Buttigieg. Places he is not in first, saw some votes come in there, stayed lit up, he is running second or third. That's how you stay competitive in a place that's not your stronghold, you're still getting some votes to keep yourself in the margin.

Let's come out again, close it off. Take that off. Let's see Senator Klobuchar. Can she match it up the same way. You see where she's first, those towns there. Second, and third. Again, Sanders, Buttigieg, Klobuchar.

The reason the race is close is because some towns are leading, other towns they're second or third.

BLITZER: Take a look at Warren and Biden.

KING: That's the hard part in the sense that if you go ahead and turn these off, come back up here to the former vice president, former vice president of the United States, you're not first anywhere, you're not second anywhere, I'm sorry, he was second here, way up in north country.

Look at that. This is deceptive. I don't mean to overstate this, this is Dixville. It is third. Let's move here, Millsfield, running second here, one vote so far. These are very small. In the North Country up here, all adds up.

BLITZER: What about Elizabeth Warren?

KING: You count every vote. Most of the votes, population is here. Same with senator Warren for Massachusetts. Turn off Biden, move down to Warren. She is not first anywhere. She is not second anywhere. Second right there, again, I will show you in a second.

Again, the only place she's running second or third are tiny two towns that voted at midnight where you have three, four, five votes count --

BLITZER: Take a look know, 8 percent of the vote is in, and Bernie Sanders is at 28.3 percent, Pete Buttigieg is 22.2 percent, Amy Klobuchar --

KING: Oops, sorry about that. That's my bad.

BLITZER: Amy Klobuchar, 20.2 percent, Elizabeth Warren, she's down at 9.3 percent. Joe Biden is in fifth place right now, not doing very well, at least with 8 percent of voting in.

KING: Right. So, we're early. If you're the Sanders campaign, start to stretch it out, you like that. The question is, what will the margin be?

And, again, the light blue is filling in. Check in Dover to see if we have more. We do not. We saw the numbers come up here.

This is again one of the bellwether towns. I will get used to that. Here we go, back to that, you see up here, you see the competition up here, Buttigieg and Sanders up here, come down to where Senator Klobuchar is, small margins as we go through it. Some towns are very small, again, in a close race every vote counts.

We're waiting for first results from Manchester. In Manchester, Sanders, Buttigieg, Klobuchar, good for Sanders, blue collar, largest population center. I just want to say, again, Manchester, if someone will catch him, sometimes it is when the vote comes in late.

BLITZER: What was the margin four years ago in Manchester?

KING: Here we go. Sanders winning by bigger margin, hard to look at the two candidate race, it is different. The point I made earlier, here's Manchester, Sanders wins big. This is Bedford -- Republican, affluent, was red in November for Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, narrow victory there.

This is one the things we're going to more of the gritty urban area. You start moving away from centre city to the suburban area, more affluent suburb here. Is there a difference tonight coming into the 2020 scenario?

We don't have anything from Bedford just yet. Is there a difference from the urban areas to suburban areas because of the open primary, because undeclared voters can come in and vote tonight, and we know there's a decent percentage who did so.

Do we get all of the different colors here, go town to town, rock 'em or sock 'em or do you get Sanders blue.

[19:45:00]

We'll see as it fills in, just to emphasize, no offense to smaller towns up here, bulk of your people in New Hampshire are here and down, I don't want to leave Nashua out on the Massachusetts border.

BLITZER: Yes, that's important point, 10 percent of the vote now in. There it is. Ten percent of the vote now in. Bernie Sanders is still ahead, 27.8 percent, 22.3 percent for Buttigieg, 20.8 for Amy Klobuchar. Elizabeth Warren down for 9.6 percent. But that's 10 percent of the vote is in.

So, it's coming in relatively quickly.

KING: The secretary of state, Billy Gardner, has been the job long time in New Hampshire. They know how to count votes. They also learned a lesson from Iowa, double checked, triple checked, to make sure they did the best they could do. And again, you go, just for those of you that are fans of other candidates, Joe Biden down at 8 percent, Tom Steyer, Tulsi Gabbard, Andrew Yang, round it out, pretty low vote so far as we go.

But as I say pretty low vote totals, one of the other issues in the crowded field, as long as they stay in, 3 percent, 3 percent, 4 percent, they come from somebody.

BLITZER: Yes.

KING: The issue is the other candidates, the more they stay in, limited appeal, but these are votes. These are votes.

And so, Biden and Warren at the moment, at the moment are in single digits. Very troubling for two candidates who early on in the race were viewed as serious contenders, prime contenders. It's only New Hampshire, it's only one state, but this is a trouble sign if they stay here. Up here, nice tight race at the top for Sanders starting to stretch it a little bit.

BLITZER: Yes, with 10 percent of the vote in.

Anderson, numbers I suspect are coming in more quickly.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Yes, 10 percent in right now. Wolf, thanks very much.

Gloria, three-way race at this stage.

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Exciting, we just don't know what's going to happen.

I think, look, the question is if Bernie Sanders remains ahead, how large is Bernie Sanders' lead going to be, and the other question is, is there Klobmentum, is that what they call it? I don't know. You know, about half the people in exit polls decide in the last few days, many of them watch the debate.

I mean, I was in New Hampshire over the weekend, I went down a line of people, did you watch the debate, every person waiting to get in a Pete Buttigieg rally told me they watched the debate carefully. We know that Amy Klobuchar did well in that debate. I believe now she's in a battle with Pete Buttigieg for second which would be incredibly surprising.

COOPER: I'm not sure Klobmentum, I take that from my sciatica.

(CROSSTALK)

BORGER: Klobo-surge.

COOPER: I think you've got to work on that.

David Axelrod?

(CROSSTALK)

DAVID AXELROD, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Look, I think she's going to be one of the big stories tonight. Obviously, many of us were around the table on Friday night, the governor doesn't work on Friday night, he wasn't here for that.

TERRY MCAULIFFE, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I was with the nation's governors having dinner.

BORGER: At the White House? At the White House?

AXELROD: But we all agreed she had a very good night. I was up there with Gloria in New Hampshire and it was very, very clear, there were a lot of people trying to decide who could be this person to beat Trump and she took a big step forward.

But, look, one of the undeniable stories here is Vice President Biden who is national frontrunner before voting began.

COOPER: Most electable allegedly.

AXELROD: Yes, the thing is when you pitch the candidacy to electability, fourth and fifth place finishes are devastating. We'll see if it has an impact on his firewall in South Carolina where he is tonight. That has to be one of the big stories.

BORGER: He did predict he was going to lose at the beginning at that debate on Friday --

AXELROD: He wasn't lying --

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: I should also just point out, 11 percent of precincts in. Look at the numbers, keep that in mind.

NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: Biden watching the race from South Carolina, they relied on this firewall of black voters in South Carolina. I think they didn't rely on the very poor finishes in Iowa, didn't rely on the very poor finish, we'll see how he finishes in New Hampshire, they're sort of predicting that.

I think a lot of people thought Biden would do well with black voters and also thought he would do well with white voters. You've had two contests with white voters having their say on this race, having their say on Biden and so far, they don't like him very much, right? He is coming in lower than anyone expected at this time.

If you flashback to 2008, part of his appeal in pairing with Obama was he could talk to the working class white voters. And so far, he hasn't been able to measure up. Black voters aren't going to be enough for him to win any sort of nomination. And it is true that black voters don't like Biden as much as they liked Obama and as much as they like Hillary Clinton.

So, even if he wins black voters, doubtful he is going to win by some large margin.

AXELROD: Except that they don't like him.

HENDERSON: They like other people more.

AXELROD: They have affection for him, but don't like him for this role.

HENDERSON: Right.

MICHAEL SMERCONISH, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: What I think will be unique about tonight, I don't know what's to come, especially three, four, and five.

[19:50:05]

I don't know at the end of the evening, we'll have the clarity that we're normally afforded after Iowa and New Hampshire because I am forecasting ahead, thinking of the different scenarios, I can see us closer to midnight hour saying what does it mean, and frankly there won't be a clear answer because there are so many intangibles in this race, one of which is the fact you'll have a new candidate arguably on the debate stage next week that we have yet to see who is having a significant impact.

So, this is a very unique cycle. I think we thought 2016 was a unique cycle.

COOPER: Yes.

SMERCONISH: This is a very unique situation.

COOPER: Thirteen percent of the vote now in.

Van?

VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think the big excitement is Amy Klobuchar. I think I can, I think I can. You know, when is she putting cards on the table and walk away. And she's starting to catch fire.

And that's the thing about politics. You never know when your moment is going to come. The moment came on Friday, you see her, she's up there. So, that's pretty exciting.

I don't think we should miss the obvious though. Bernie Sanders is a phenomenon. He is -- he's getting attention. People talk about it, he just continues to rack up these big numbers, these big margins.

And he is doing stuff we don't talk about. He is appealing to young people and people of color increasingly, and women, and the beer track voters people talk about for Biden, they're showing up for Bernie Sanders. He's got an army of unbelievable donors.

If anybody else had that, we would say this guy is our guy. For whatever reason, we continue to talk to everybody but Bernie Sanders.

ALEXANDRA ROJAS, FORMER 2015 BERNIE SANDERS CAMPAIGN ORGANIZER: I completely I agree. I think four years ago, a lot of people weren't expecting someone like Bernie Sanders to be a national contender and he well could be the Democratic frontrunner for the nomination, so I think that's huge.

What I also think is interesting with Amy doing well in the debate, getting momentum, she's going to face the same scrutiny headed out of New Hampshire and right now, right, as Pete Buttigieg around polling zero percent with black supporters, really struggling to see a path beyond that. I think it is really critical for her campaign and several of the other ones that are down to have somewhat of a strong performance if they want to make the case to not just white voters but broad diversity we see in Super Tuesday states.

COOPER: Governor McAuliffe, what do you see in these numbers so far?

MCAULIFFE: Well, I mean, the big three are the top three that come out of this, I agree, Amy is going to be news. What I love about Amy, she sort of seizes the moment. Did the debate last week in Iowa when the air waves were empty, went out, gave a speech when everybody was watching.

Having been a candidate, running campaigns, you have to seize the moment. She's done that, have to give her credit. Big challenge coming out of New Hampshire, you had the first two states, and they really are as Gloria said testing momentum.

Now it is a test of coalition building, because we now move into states like Nevada, like South Carolina where you've got to begin to bring a broader coalition of African Americans and the Latino community. That's the challenge for these candidates leaving here. Momentum is important.

Amy has got to show she can build the field, can she raise the money? And what she needs to do, obviously, Senator Sanders has the money to do it, Pete has the money to do it. It will be a test for the candidates, next step, how do you build the coalitions as we go forward.

Remember, only 4 percent of the delegates are chosen in February, 61 percent in March. We have a long way to go.

JESS MCINTOSH, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: I was in New Hampshire this morning. I got to watch the people stream into the diner at 8:00 a.m., 8:30, having voted with the stickers. The energy was almost good enough to make up for the last time I was in New Hampshire which was four years ago for Hillary Clinton, which was not a positive evening.

This felt good, but it also felt like there was zero consensus. I asked everybody that walked in with a sticker on who they voted for, and I got different answers from every table. Seeing the early polls, showing that 48 percent of the electorate made up their mind in the last few days, I think that really underscores how very, very fluid the race is now.

We have said it tonight, we'll say it again. We had two states that have not a diverse selection of voters at all, and I think we don't know where the race is going to go. And we won't really until we see Nevada and South Carolina and the coalitions the governor was talking about.

COOPER: The fluidity is not knowing where candidates stand, it is who can beat Donald Trump.

JONES: Who can beat Trump.

MCAULIFFE: By far is the single biggest issue, and I think that's what helped Amy on the debate state. They saw her being able to be on the debate stage with Donald Trump. I mean, Trump is giving us so much ammunition every day. I mean, you

look at the budget he put out, cuts to Medicare, Medicaid. We need a fighter to take him on, say you're lying, you're doing the opposite what you said you would do.

So, we can beat this guy, but they want to see a fighter who can actually do it and that's why I think you've seen the results you've seen so far.

[19:55:00]

BORGER: So, there's debate next week in Las Vegas, and Amy Klobuchar has never had a target on her back from the other candidates.

Amy Klobuchar has been able to say, well, I'm the one who work both sides, I can do that. Nobody has been attacking her. Now I would think that since she has catapulted herself, there are going to be people draw distinctions.

JONES: And she may have a glass jaw in her prosecutor record. Being a prosecutor used to be a great thing if you were a Democratic, show you're tough on crime, in the age of Black Lives Matter, criminal justice reform not so much. She was on "The View" and got grilled on her record as prosecutor.

She's going to get challenged. But I also think this every woman from the heartland, standing up for regular values against Donald Trump, there's appeal there.

COOPER: She also won't be the only person on the stage getting grilled and perhaps for the first time, Michael Bloomberg, it will be his first.

AXELROD: What Alex said was important. We said in one of the previous get together, heaviest time on the way up, hardest time when you get there. On the way up, nobody takes shots at you. And you get to perform, but you're there, when you get there, and Pete Buttigieg learned this, Elizabeth Warren learned this.

I want to talk about the Bernie Sanders issue. I think Bernie Sanders is a phenomenal politician, ought to get his due. And he has a core support that's solid. We should also point out, 50 percent of people that voted for Bernie Sanders today, he is struggling to get to 30 percent. He got 60 percent last time.

There was turnout, apparently -- which is party-wide concern should be for Democrats, and turnout among younger voters wasn't particularly good today. So, for all those reasons, Bernie Sanders should be happy if he wins today, and frankly, Elizabeth Warren's performance here is heartening. If he can consolidate the left becomes a stronger candidate, but there's not all blue skies for him.

ROJAS: But I think important to point out that we have a gigantic field. And I think that, you know, part of the reason -- this is a state where he won four years ago by two to one. But I think with such a big field, and I think it's less actually about ideology, we all -- pundits put things into a box there. It is more about policies, ideas, defeating Donald Trump, going to center, prioritize the working class of the country.

I think he is proving through the rise in national polls, not just white working class voters, but also rising with Latinos, which is going to be a big deal heading to Nevada. Interesting that you saw Biden goes straight to South Carolina, skip Nevada, even though that's one of the most arguably diverse early primary states.

It is I think about that. That's where you see people that were Bernie-Biden or Warren-Peter Buttigieg, people want to feel --

HENDERSON: Yes, he's got real energy. I think emotional connection with those voters. He's obviously going to be able to raise a lot of money, partly because people are attracted to his candidacy.

COOPER: Also, the credibility of consistency.

HENDERSON: Exactly, exactly.

COOPER: And, you know, he takes advantage of his debate moments in a way that some of the other candidates don't.

It looks like he may not be as high as before in terms of how well he does in New Hampshire, but he does have a solid core.

AXELROD: He doesn't just take advantage of his debate moment, but he handles incoming better than any other candidate. He just escaped unscathed from these things. He's got amazing facility for throwing off attacks.

No, look, he is an extraordinarily talented --

COOPER: Do you look at the numbers with 14 percent of votes in, you have 22 percent for Buttigieg, 20 percent for Klobuchar, Sanders with 28 percent. Is there a sign that there are more moderates in the Democratic who are looking for a moderate lane?

AXELROD: Well, two-thirds or three quarters of people describe themselves as moderate, or somewhat liberal. Now, you can pair the somewhat liberal with very liberal, say it is a very liberal electorate. But reality is this is mostly center left party.

One of the reasons Sanders is in good position now, there's no coalescences around one candidate in the center left lane. This is only going to confuse matters because Buttigieg is running second, which is good for him, with Klobuchar on his heels, gives her energy to move forward. Bloomberg ready for the national debut next week on television, backed by endless amounts of money which is no small --

COOPER: He's been on TV a lot. He's actually going to be there in person.

(LAUGHTER)

AXELROD: But the funny thing about that it is a Wizard of Oz moment. COOPER: Right, exactly.

Let's go back to Wolf.

BLITZER: Anderson, thanks very much.

It's 8:00 p.m. here on the East Coast. All the polls in New Hampshire are now closed. Let's get a key race alert where things stand right now. Fourteen percent of the vote estimated now in.