Return to Transcripts main page
CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL
Sen. Bernie Sanders Leading In New Hampshire Primary; Joe Biden From Being Front Runner To Fifth Place; Race Tightens Between Buttigieg And Sanders At New Hampshire Primary; Mayor Pete Buttigieg Speaks To Supporters At Close Of New Hampshire Primary. Aired 10-11p ET
Aired February 11, 2020 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: So, you're looking at the map now. And you're at 63 percent and you're saying OK. Is it mathematically possible? Well, of course, it is. Under 5,000 votes. It is mathematically possible. So, watch out. And what you're looking for and what's happening.
This one stretch this map out a little bit. If you're in the Sanders campaign that's not the margin you want. And you're trying to figure out what's missing. Durham, University of New Hampshire. Go back in time. Senator Sanders won this pretty big. The expectation is he will again. But that's the expectation. Let's see.
When Durham convene tonight does Senator Sanders win it as big as he did? It's obviously more than two -- it won't be the same as four years because that's a two-candidate race. But does he win it big he can pat it there another college town across the state on the Vermont border. Hanover. Still no votes in here.
Again, go back in time. This was more competitive. But it was a play Sanders won four years ago. The question is, can he deliver it there tonight? So, we come back, and those are two places just obvious. Younger voters and college towns they tend to be for Sanders that if you're in the Sanders campaign you're thinking, we should pad some votes there. Emphasis on should.
Now I just want to stretch the state out for a little second here. Excuse me for turning my back for a second. And this come across the bottom. Buttigieg is in play because again, a multi-candidate race is very different than a two- candidate race.
But you see here the light green is Buttigieg, the darker green is Klobuchar. The light blue is Sanders. There's more Sanders than anything else. But if you go back in time, he owned it. Right? Two towns for Hillary Clinton four years ago.
Again, it's complicated in a crowded field. But Senator Klobuchar and Mayor Buttigieg especially in the final weekend --
WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: It's only 2.5 percent separating the two.
KING: Two point five. Forty-seven hundred votes now as you see 47 and change. So, both Buttigieg and Klobuchar spent a lot of time in the final weekend down here. Which is a, where you find Democrats, b, where you find undeclared voters who are available. A lot of Massachusetts converts up here, and c, more population.
Some of these towns are quite small. But more people live down here than live up here. There's still some business to be done up here. You see the blank counties that's where you see these counties where we have none of the vote in. We just -- towns -- I'm sorry. Where we have no votes. Jackson right here.
So, you see. But I just want to make a point, in a close race, every vote count. But if you just go in some of these other counties -- towns, when they come in, they tend to be very small vote counts.
So, if you're trying to make it up -- if you're Buttigieg you certainly want to win more up here. You see some Buttigieg. A lot of Sanders. A little bit of Klobuchar. You want to win these. But even if you do the likelihood is, you're going to gain two votes here, five votes there. The action is going to be down here.
BLITZER: Show us the population bubbles because it's significant.
BLITZER: Most of the people in New Hampshire they live down south.
KING: Let me clear that off and come off with this and I'll bring this down here. Again, the smaller these dots, the larger the dots, the larger the population. The smaller the dots, the less people up there.
The gray is where we don't have votes yet. So, again, every vote count. If you pick up six here, eight here, 10 here and 12 there, you start to catch up. But you see the bigger circles down here. This is where the people live.
There's no large cities in New Hampshire, giants cities in New Hampshire. And the ones that are in. The interesting thing about this, Wolf, as you turn this off, the largest population centers are in. If you look here -- I'm going to stretch it a little bit so people can see it a little better at home.
Manchester is the biggest city. Hundred percent reporting. So, there's no business to be done there.
Back in 2008 this is where Hillary Clinton came back when Obama was leading early on. You come back up here conquer the state capital a 100 percent reporting.
So, what we're looking for now is the smaller towns predominantly down here along the Massachusetts border or close to the Massachusetts border. And again, you come over here, 100 percent in. In Portsmouth Sanders winning quite narrowly. Just worth watching the margins because when you go back in time, --
and I'm a broken record, two-candidate is different. But this was relatively competitive compared to the blow out that you had statewide four years ago.
So, you're looking here, when we get to Rye, we don't have anything yet. Right? This is a place where you want to watch. Sanders winning here, Buttigieg winning here. More affluent voters here along the coast. We'll see how that one goes.
We're waiting for North Hampton to come in. Hampton to come in. Just to go back in time again, Sanders won these but much more -- much closer. Much closer. So, you have his vote same with North Hampton up here. Sanders won them but they're closer.
That's the multi-candidate race -- if come back to 2020.
BLITZER: Let me ask you a question.
KING: I just want quickly.
KING: If this part of the map as you see it and it's easier to stretch it out since we're in this part of the state. You just see the light green. The question is will that be a swath? If so, watch the math or Senator Sanders start to fill that in. Sorry.
BLITZER: Four years ago, he beat Hillary Clinton by more than 20 -- 20 points.
BLITZER: Are you surprised that it's this as close as it is right now? This is four years ago. Are you surprised it's as close as it is right now between Sanders and Buttigieg? You got a moderate in second place and a moderate in third place with Bernie Sanders.
KING: After being briefly in New Hampshire this weekend, no in the sense that Democrats were just simply anguished. They want to beat Trump. That's the thing that unifies them. And they were all over the place on who's the best candidate to do that.
Surprised to the degree that it was such a blow out last time. Surprised to a degree that Senator Sanders is overwhelmingly favored because he's from the neighboring state of Vermont.
Remember though, throughout the summer he had competition from Elizabeth Warren from neighboring Massachusetts. She has slipped into single digits tonight and now trying to figure out can she rebound as she moves on. These two candidates that debate, David Chalian showed you the exit
poll, Senator Klobuchar especially. And Mayor Buttigieg came out of Iowa with some guess (Ph) behind him. In this big candidate field, yes, I'm surprised that Senator Sanders does not have a bigger lead in New Hampshire tonight.
But having been there this weekend you just sensed it that people wanted to keep looking. They had not decided yet. By picking a new car they were outkicking the tires all weekend long. And this will be the big conversation now as this race moves on.
They were the people -- you hear the candidates who are under performing like Warren and like Biden tonight. Saying, hey, we're just getting started, this is two states.
You here the analysts saying where's the turn out? If Senator Sanders is this turnout engine why didn't he turn up more voters tonight? Well, that's a fair question to ask. The other thing in defense of Senator Sanders you're running against a quality field of a lot of candidates.
And so, the vote is being spread and the voters this weekend I encountered a lot of them weren't looking at this as liberal or moderate. They were looking as who is best to beat trump. Or they said, you know, he has some appeal to liberals and to moderates. She has some appeal across.
He -- and if you look at the exit polls, Bernie -- in the pre-election polls, Bernie Sanders doing fairly well among voters who say they are moderate to conservative. How is that happening? They know him. They're familiar with him. They find him authentic. They think he is different.
So, this just -- this just -- this shows you four or five candidates coming out of New Hampshire who are going to say they're going to stay on. We'll see how they do. But this is incredibly competitive. Forty- six hundred votes as we get into the end.
And again, I'm just waiting here for these counties -- I just want to -- the towns to come in. You go across them. This is of the ones that are outstanding where we have nothing. This is one of the larger ones here. Derry. Again, if you look at the Massachusetts border and you come up, you're in a place where you come up this way. As a kid when we should drive off from Boston into New Hampshire you came straight up through here.
And if you look at Derry here and you go back in time, this was a blow out for Bernie Sanders the town of Derry four years ago. So, it's one of the places we're going to watch as we're waiting to count votes. Can beat -- look at Pete Buttigieg has it surrounded. Can he keep it that way? If he can keep it that way in a place that should have a decent number of votes, then we'll see if the math gets closer.
BLITZER: And 65 percent of the estimated vote is now in. That's a significant number. But there's still 35 percent that's still outstanding. KING: Yes. More than a third of the vote out, 4,500-vote margin.
Again, I'm looking at this --
BLITZER: The gap is not only 2.4 percent --
BLITZER: -- between Bernie Sanders and Pete Buttigieg.
KING: Right. So, you're looking at a town like Derry, you're looking at Durham and Hanover. Derry, as I said, Buttigieg seems to be putting a little bit of a ribbon across the southern part of the state. We'll see if he can keep that going. Or is that like a checker board with blue and green.
KING: And I'm going to -- I want to watch Hanover and Durham the two college towns not only for to Sanders win them but the whole question, is he turning out his base --
BLITZER: You see the light green is in the southern part of the state.
BLITZER: That's where the people are. Most of the population is in the southern part of the New Hampshire.
KING: This show you that again. Yes. This is -- this is where most of the people are. And it's also where you have -- you know, oops -- it's more of a -- you have Massachusetts converts. You have people here for the low tax environment. You have some growing suburbs here.
If you went back to New Hampshire 20, 25 years ago there's a lot of growth in here. And so, there's a mix of an electorate. And remember, in New Hampshire it's an open primary. A lot of the voters in the primary today call themselves undeclared. Some -- they may tend to vote Democratic more often, but they call themselves undeclared. They can cross in and this is 4,500 votes.
BLITZER: Since we started getting 3, 4, 5 percent of the vote Bernie Sanders has been in the lead. But it's a lead of 4,500 votes or so over Pete Buttigieg. Thirty-five percent of the votes still outstanding. Can Buttigieg potentially overcome second place to become first?
KING: Mathematically, yes. Again, if you look at the places that are out. I want to see those college towns. You feel a lot more strongly about how it's seeing how those play out.
But I just want to -- just to get into the math you're asking about. So, you go to Chester. Pete Buttigieg wins. Bernie Sanders is here. But you're talking 80 votes, the margin between the two of them. Klobuchar in the middle.
So, the question is can you have enough of the small-town wins to make up the math? And you look at it and you say 4,500 votes that's not a lot of votes. It's not. Except a lot of these towns are pretty small. So even if you win, you get net gain of 20 or net gain of 50.
The question is in some of the bigger places, like a Derry, can you get a net gain of a couple hundred. Several hundred to close the gap and that's why we're going to wait --
BLITZER: Take it out.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: I just want to ask. So last September, October. Senator Elizabeth Warren from neighboring Massachusetts, was in the lead in polls in New Hampshire. And we've talked about Biden's collapse in New Hampshire and Iowa. We haven't talked a lot about Senator Warren.
How is she doing in these border states on border counties and towns when it comes to her performance? Because as of right now we're projecting she's not going to win any delegates. Is she at least coming in second or third?
KING: This is where it's disappointing. And you know, if you're a Warren supporter, you're disappointed tonight, you're trying to figure out can we regroup. Again, a strong organization yet didn't out the votes. You ask yourself how did that happen.
KING: Why did somebody eclipse. So, let's go through and look at this. And you're looking this is -- this will pop up statewide. But just look along the border in places, you know, you start here. Does she come in first? Nowhere. Second, nowhere. Third, nowhere.
You might find one or two up there, one or two towns up there. But south of Concord is where most of the people of New Hampshire live and Elizabeth Warren was a non-factor in these towns. Critical cities, suburbs. This is where it is. Especially the corridor right down through here from Concord down in Nashua.
This is where New Hampshire primaries are won and lost come this way from here. And she's from Massachusetts.
TAPPER: A lot of -- I mean, a lot of those people in the southern part of the state are in the Boston media market.
TAPPER: They get Boston TV more than they get New Hampshire and there isn't as much TV when it comes to local news coverage.
KING: There's going -- there's obviously will be strategic conversations. I showed the memo from her campaign manager today, was it just that Sanders went back in there, kicked in to gear. He's well organized, he's in every state as well. She had her hiccups on Medicare for all in that debate. There was the story about the Sanders-Warren dinner and did Sanders say to her I don't think a woman could win. Sanders denied that he said that.
There's going to be a lot of analysis in the Sanders campaign to try and figure out --
TAPEPR: She still has a path going forward absolutely.
KING: It's hard. We have two contests in. That's embarrassing. It's two contest in. She has a strong organization. The question will be can she raise the money?
KING: And can she get to Nevada and regroup.
BLITZER: Two-thirds of the vote is now in. A third still remains outstanding. But 180,000 -- 186,000 votes already have been counted. The question is can Pete Buttigieg take on the lead? Are there enough votes left out there?
We're going to have much more right after this.
BLITZER: Here with another key race alert. Right now, 66 percent of the estimated vote is now in. Bernie Sanders maintains his lead over Pete Buttigieg at 26.4 percent to 23.9 percent. He's got a lead of 4,764 votes. Amy Klobuchar in third place with 20 percent. Elizabeth Warren, 9.3 percent. Joe Biden, 8.5 percent.
Jake, let's go back to you.
TAPPER: All right, Wolf. Thanks so much. Well let's check in with the campaign headquarters of the two front runners in New Hampshire. And let's start with Ryan Nobles who is at Sanders headquarters in Manchester.
And Ryan, the race is tightening a bit, but still Senator Sanders in the lead. If he pulls this out this will mean he won the popular vote in Iowa, he won the New Hampshire primary. He will be, I believe, the undisputed front runner for the Democratic presidential nomination.
RYAN NOBLES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's right, Jake. And there's no doubt that that's what this crowd is hoping to see. But it is safe to say that within the last 45 minutes or so, as we're starting to see these numbers tighten up a little bit. That there's been a bit of nervous anticipation here in this room where earlier tonight, we saw them cheering loudly at many different moments of a kind of buoyant atmosphere, almost like a party-like atmosphere.
Now that the numbers have tightened up, they are a little bit more concerned about how this is playing out. Now to be clear, the Sanders team still feels pretty confident that this is going to end up in the Vermont Senator's favor.
They're certainly not ready to declare victory. But they do believe that there are a couple of key areas where they know that their candidate is strong that have yet to come in. One of them being Derry. They expect him to do well there. Plymouth is another one.
And then of course the college town of Durham. That's where Sanders concluded his campaign here in New Hampshire last night with a massive crowd featuring the band The Strokes. That's where the University of New Hampshire is.
So that is another place where they expect to do very well. And those returns have yet to be recorded. So, yes, there's no doubt this race is tightened up, there's no doubt that it's made people here nervous. But they still feel when all the votes are finally counted that Bernie Sanders will be able to walk away here with a victory. But they're not ready to declare victory quite yet. Jake?
TAPPER: All right, Ryan Nobles at Sanders headquarters in Manchester. Let's go now to Nashua, New Hampshire where we find Abby Phillip at the headquarters of Indiana -- I'm sorry -- of South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg.
And Abby, it's getting tighter and tighter. The Buttigieg team already looking to finish in the strong second place. but it's getting closer and closer. It's a 2.2 percent gap as of right now.
ABBY PHILLIP, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. And pretty much the polar opposite reaction from the crowd here in this room. As the race has gotten tighter, they have been getting more and more excited. Now, you know, this is exactly what the campaign really had been hoping for.
I spoke to a senior adviser earlier this morning who said what they are looking for is the same thing that they were looking for in Iowa. It's all about the delegate count. All about getting this race as close as they can possibly can get it.
And considering that we are now talking about something like a two- point margin between the two of them, that's something that they think is better than what the public polling had been showing. But it's about where they had hoped to be all night long.
Now one of the things that I'm also hearing from the Buttigieg campaign is that they are looking at, you know, how the southern part of the state is coming in. There are still parts of the state haven't gotten any results yet and they're expecting and hoping that he will do well to continue to make this race as close as they could possibly make it. Also I want to point out, just to give you a sense of their thinking,
they are looking at some of these exit polls showing that the Buttigieg voters really decided in the last few days, maybe even the last day or so, they think that's a great sign for them that he's able to do that persuasion part of it. Convincing people to come over in the final days before voting begins, Jake.
TAPPER: That's right. And we know Hanover, New Hampshire home of Dartmouth College has not reported yet. And Buttigieg is up there that has some reported. It is 2.1 percent, Anderson, separating Sanders in the lead. Buttigieg right behind him. Only 2.1 percentage points with 69 percent in. Anderson.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Yes. Thirty -- more than 30 percent of the votes still to be counted. Governor McAuliffe, what does it -- what does it say that yet again, second time in a row, we now have a Sanders-Buttigieg race for the top spot.
TERRY MCAULIFFE, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: You know, listen, it looks like Bernie could win this. But it's not the night he hoped for. I mean, I think most people thought he would have won five to 10 percentage points.
So, I mean, he's a neighboring state, he's got more money than any other candidate in the race. He won it, you know, four years ago by 22 points. So, he's got to be looking at it running against someone who had no name I.D. five months ago. I mean, it's truly extraordinary what's going on.
And you saw it in Iowa. I give Pete credit. I think he drove turn out. I think, you know, Bernie said he was going to drive turn out. I think Pete is the one that actually drove turn out and I think Amy drove some turn out. This is what we have to be looking for as we head into the fall election against Trump.
GLORIA BORGER, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: I think that's the biggest issue here, which is why aren't Democrats turning out in droves?
BORGER: I mean, Bernie Sanders said he had a huge get out the vote operation. And you can talk about that. But the voters just didn't come out. And it's a problem.
ALEXANDRA ROJAS, FORMER 2016 BERNIE SANDERS CAMPAIGN ORGANIZER: Well, I --
BORGER: I mean, I think Democrats are worried about it. And Bernie, don't forget, does a little better because you have the moderate vote being split between Buttigieg, Klobuchar, Warren and Biden. And so, Bernie can win but they're splitting that vote. And that's a, you know, that's an issue. ROJAS: Yes.
BORGER: I thought Warren in there, maybe I shouldn't have but she's the unity candidate lately. So, I'll put her in there.
ROJAS: Yes. I mean, I think that there's more candidates in the field. Bernie Sanders still beat seven of the other contenders right now --
ROJAS: -- regardless of where the vote is coming out. And I think, you know, and looking at these exit polls he's getting 40 percent of the Latino vote. He's also winning a majority of independents. And I think that there are thousands of young people like myself, who are so excited about the momentum of Sanders right now and are very confused actually, that that is not one of the bigger stories of the comeback compared to what seems to be a focus on Klobuchar and Pete Buttigieg. I think this is still a huge moment for the progressive movement --
BORGER: But what about the --
ROJAS: Well, I think that -- yes, I think that is a concern for all Democrats.
ROJAS: I think every single campaign if you are not worried that Democrats aren't turning out in droves, that's a problem. But I also think when you're looking at young people, when you're looking at working class people in this state. They are coming out. And the people that don't typically turn out are --
COOPER: But Bernie Sanders' entire pitch --
VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes.
COOPER: -- we got to get a revolution. We have to get a massive amount of new people. Young people, excited people into this in order to get this very revolutionary agenda through. In order to get Medicare for all. In order to get all this stuff. And if you don't have that --
JONES: Yes. Then you're going to get beat. His rational is there's a bunch of people who are sitting on the bench, sitting on the couch who are just uninspired by politicians as usual. But if you come forward with something different and fresh, they are going to come out of hills and hollows and vote for you. And so far, we're not seeing that.
Let's not forget though, in New Hampshire, younger people especially students are having a harder time voting. Don't forget that. They change the rules. They change the laws. You have to register your car to be able to vote. I don't know what your car has to do with the ability to vote. But students just can't go and vote.
And so that push down a little bit on the Bernie Sanders ability to operate there. He's got to be able to deal with that in other states with similar rules and similar laws.
I think something else is going on though. I think people are depressed.
DAVID AXELROD, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes.
JONES: I think people are sad. I think people can't figure out which of these people they're supposed to vote for and I think people are waiting to come out to vote against Donald Trump.
I do think that this is an aberration. We're in this weird thing where, to your point earlier, people were coming out to vote on a Wednesday for an off-election county commission meeting because they felt it was a binary choice.
This a messy confusing choice. People are sad and depressed. And people just want somebody to vote for against Trump.
AXELROD: Can I just --
JESS MCINTOSH, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think the fact that 48 --
MCAULIFFE: I just don't think sad and depressed. I just -- I don't think our Democrats are sad and depressed. I really don't. You look at turn out in '18 where --
AXELROD: Terry is never sad.
MCAULIFFE: Well, I'm never sad and depressed.
COOPER: Confused and terrified.
MCINTOSH: I'm confused and terrified.
MCAULIFFE: But where they are, and I think as Gloria talked about earlier, why people are waiting back on this, they want to beat Trump so badly.
MCAULIFFE: Who just not sure who's going to do it.
MCINTOSH: There's a paralysis.
MCINTOSH: Forty-eight percent are making up their minds in the last few days. This campaign has been going on for over a year.
AXELROD: It's also -- it's also possible that people are feeling a little ground down right now. We've just gone through this convulsive impeachment process.
AXELROD: You know, we just don't know right now. I do want to speak to this Buttigieg question because for the second straight just listening to David Chalian report on these exit polls. What is striking and we saw it last week in Iowa as well, is Buttigieg runs relatively well across all categories.
AXELROD: He does well with men. He does well with women. He does with younger people -- he does well with younger people and older people. He does well in, you know, different kinds of communities. And you know, he has done a good job of casting a broad message. That is hitting a large target. And that will keep him in this for a long time.
COOPER: I just want to point out, it is now only 1.8 percent between Buttigieg and Sanders. It was about 3.5 percent probably an hour or so ago. So it is continuing to be some type of --
AXELROD: Yes. I mean, this is sort of the manifestation of his message. Pete has been, everybody is jumping on the unity bandwagon, but that's sort of in the essence of his message. And it is reflected in these numbers.
You know, eventually you can't be second in every category and get to where you want to get to. You know, you have to - you have to consolidate some support. But this is -- this is a strength of his candidacy.
BORGER: We saw that in Iowa too.
AXELROD: We did. Absolutely.
BORGER: We saw he was --
MICHAEL SMERCONISH, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: can I say that as we get further into this, I think that all of these candidates are refining their pitch. And I took note of the fact that Senator Klobuchar in her statement tonight -- I almost said her victory speech. But she specifically referenced people in the middle as being Donald Trump's worst nightmare and then made a direct pitch for independent and moderate Republicans. I think that approach is serving her well. I note that in the exit
surveys she won the category among those voters who said who among these folks can most unite the country. So, I think it's a wise pitch on her part and it's paying dividends.
MCAULIFFE: Listen, I thought her speech was spectacular.
JONES: It was.
MCAULIFFE: Hello, America. I'm Amy Klobuchar and I'm going to beat Donald Trump.
MCAULIFFE: She talked about how she set up against Trump and then she talked about how I dealt with a nor'easter and I gave my speech in a blizzard. She is showing people that she is tough. And that's what Democrats like.
AXELROD: Yes. But I think she is also --
MCAULIFFE: A fighter.
AXELROD: She also has a good personal -- she has a great personal story and a great personal touch.
AXELROD: And she's accessible and --
JONES: What she identifies with --
AXELROD: -- that she identifies --
JONES: I think what she did I wish all these Democrats would do. She started telling stories. I mean, that's the great think. You think about a Bill Clinton, you think about a Barack Obama. You think about the greats. They pull you in with stories. And stories take you some place.
And you know, she has a great opening line. She kind of talks about stuff I didn't hear and then she started talking about her grandparents.
JONES: And I was transfixed from that moment on. And I felt like, you know, people are starting to pay attention. I think that the idea that there's an American story that somebody can tell to bring us back to our best selves. That's what's been missing and Ay Klobuchar pull that off tonight.
COOPER: Let's take a quick break. We're going to have more of our coverage. Seventy-one percent of the vote now counted for. We'll continue to count votes ahead.
BLITZER: We got a key race alert. Almost three quarters of the vote in, 73 percent. It is getting tight between Bernie Sanders and Pete Buttigieg. Only two points separate Bernie Sanders with 26.1 percent, Pete Buttigieg at 24.1 percent, Amy Klobuchar at 20 percent, Elizabeth Warren down at 9.3 percent.
John, it is getting a bit tighter between Bernie Sanders and Pete Buttigieg.
KING: Forty-one hundred and eighty votes, 73 percent reporting. This is where it gets fun for us and it gets nail biting for the campaigns as they try to figure this out. Again, let's come back to where we are. The most impressive thing we're seeing from Mayor Buttigieg's perspective is here. You see this southeastern part of the state. You see all this light green. He is doing very well in this part of the state.
If you go back four years ago, this was an area, again, two-candidate race, different dynamic, but this is an area where Bernie Sanders ran it up and ran it up pretty big. One of the things you have down in this area of the state where Mayor Buttigieg is doing very well is some of the more affluent communities in the state as well. So he is running well among high income voters. Senator Sanders is doing very well among low income voters. This is a fierce battle right now.
So what are you looking for? Are you waiting here? Rye, it's small, 0.4 percent. But now, we're in a lot of places that are pretty small. The question is what happens here. You see Senator Sanders winning here in Portsmouth. You see in North Hampton, Pete Buttigieg.
The issue is, as you try to -- can you make -- can you make up 4,000 votes? That's what you're asking, right? So in some of these small towns, he's first. Bernie Sanders is there. That's 100 votes in change, 110 and 115 votes is the difference. So you got to win a lot of those to get to 4,000.
KING: That's the problem. If you're Mayor Buttigieg right now and you're looking at this map, you're saying can I do it, the answer is yes, but it gets really hard because of the size of the towns. So what are you looking? You're looking for this -- right here, in Durham. We're still waiting. We have zero from here, 1.2. It's a bit bigger than some of the other towns. It is also significant for Senator Sanders because it's the home of the University of New Hampshire, ran it up big time.
Again, we have to watch. This is the different character of this race because it's a multi-candidate race. But this should be Bernie Sanders country. The question is by how much as you're trying -- you have a lead now of 4,232 votes. The other place you're looking for Senator Sanders -- sorry, I tapped the wrong town there. Come over here to Hanover, the home of Dartmouth. Again, not by as bigger margin, but a place that Sanders has won four years ago. The question is can he do it again.
Then you come down here. In the last weekend -- let me come back to 2020 here -- in the last weekend, most of the candidates, especially Buttigieg and Klobuchar, spent their time down here. This is where you have more people. This is where you have more people that are inclined to vote for them. We just have to wait for these towns to fill in.
Again, I just want to go through it for you here. You come down in Nashua. Bernie Sanders wins it at 28 to 25, a three-point race there, so two-point race if you go across the state right there. So you're looking at few hundred votes there as you do it. You come over to the next one, 100 percent is in here. Here again, you know, a couple of hundred votes in change as you go through that math there. The question is can you get enough of these to catch back up.
So you start watching and waiting. If you pull it out and stretch it a little bit, one of the larger ones we are waiting for is Derry, 2.5 percent in population. So you're going to have more votes here. If there's going to be a change in this race, if Buttigieg can narrow the lead significantly or Sanders can put it away, it will happen in a place like this. We'll keep counting them.
BLITZER: John, we'll get back to you. We will take a closer look now at the delegate count, the all-important delegate count. Who is going to emerge with the most delegates in the state of New Hampshire?
DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Right, these early contests are certainly about momentum, but you do collect some delegates. Take a look tonight, delegates tonight in New Hampshire. You see 24 delegates at stake there. We have held back three of them. We have allocated 21 of the 24, Bernie Sanders with eight, Buttigieg with seven, and Klobuchar with six.
I want to show you now delegates to date include what was awarded out of Iowa, and you see that Pete Buttigieg still has an edge with 21 delegates to date between the two contests.
CHALIAN: Remember, we have three delegates from New Hampshire tonight that we have not allocated. Bernie Sanders at 20, Warren at eight, Klobuchar at seven. Biden, the former vice president, is at six delegates to date. It is a long way to go. You need 1,991 delegates to win this contest.
We are at the very beginning of a long road to Milwaukee. But this is actually how you win the democratic nomination. Right now, Buttigieg and Sanders are atop the heat.
BLITZER: Once again, explain why we have only allocated 21 of the 24 delegates in New Hampshire.
CHALIAN: The way Democrats -- first of all, in case folks remember from four years ago, there is no winner take all state like there is on republican side. All the delegates on the democratic side are awarded proportionately. So you need to get 15 percent of the vote statewide and/or 15 percent of the vote in a congressional district.
And so as we look at the two congressional districts in New Hampshire and as we are waiting for the final vote tally statewide, it's not entirely clear yet which way those final three delegates will fall because we need all the votes in to really determine that. But this is where it stands, eight, seven, and six -- Sanders, Buttigieg, and Klobuchar out of tonight's delegates in New Hampshire.
BLITZER: Warren and Biden didn't get 15 percent, so they get nothing.
CHALIAN: They get nothing out of it.
BLITZER: All right, it's getting very close between Bernie Sanders and Pete Buttigieg. We're going to update you on all the latest numbers when we come back.
BLITZER: All right, we got a key race alert. Take a look at it. It's getting closer right now with only 1.7 percent difference between Bernie Sanders and Pete Buttigieg, 26 percent to 24.3 percent. That's as close as it's been in the last couple hours. Amy Klobuchar and Elizabeth Warren are there in third and fourth place.
Let's go over to John King. As we take a look at this, you know, getting closer and closer, was three percent, two percent, now 1.7 percent.
KING: It's a 4,000-vote race as we get close to 80 percent of the vote in. Since you were last here, what has happened? One of the places we are looking for earlier is Hanover, one of the college towns. Dartmouth is here. Bernie Sanders won it last time by a decent margin. It was closer in the -- look at this, Pete Buttigieg wins.
But here is the issue for Buttigieg as we go through these final towns, as we wait for the final towns. You win but net gain of 300 votes if you do the math there. So you're down 5,000. You're down -- now, it is 4,200. The issue is when you win, you got to win a lot bigger, if we're exchanging like this.
But this is interesting to watch. You see this 18 percent here. This is one of the few places where Elizabeth Warren is impacting the race, the competition for progressive voters and younger voters, and Klobuchar and Buttigieg. But that's a good win here in a town right along the Vermont border where Sanders won last time.
The other impact of the race has down here. We have been watching the swath along the Massachusetts border. Just above it, over here to the seacoast here, Sanders won Portsmouth. Buttigieg is winning some of the smaller towns down here. Derry, which was blank when you're here just a few minutes ago, has come in. It reported everything at once. It's up to 100 percent. Sanders wins, Buttigieg a close second.
Again, you're in this race that's 5,000, then it goes to 41, then it goes to 42. You're winning, but there are 150 votes there between them. So the problem if you're Buttigieg is you're thinking, can I catch up now, is even if you win some of these towns, this race is running so close that you're picking up 100 or you're picking up 150. Then you lose 50 when Sanders wins the next one.
So we're in this margin now, 4,000 votes. This is remarkable especially again multi-candidate race is more complicated. Sanders won this in a walk four years ago. And so as people go through what does it mean, who turned out and who didn't, this is very close.
BLITZER: Can we see statewide where the outstanding vote is?
KING: Yes, we can. We can try to make it work. We got a little hiccup when we tried that last time. If we're looking through here, the issue is -- actually I can show you this because one of the things we're getting in now because -- I'll show you the other scale in a minute -- but this is almost -- it's not unique but it's a rare night in a sense that find me a place on the map that has reported votes because these towns are small, it's 100.
So the vote we're missing is the vote -- is the grey. This light you're seeing here, these are places where it's a tie, 38 to 38 in this case here. If you see this lighter grey, almost white, that's a tie. This other grey is where the vote is out. That's where it is. If you come over here and look, you pop out this and take a peek, so this 100 percent or less, 73 percent or less.
You come out here, that's about everywhere. The vote we're missing is the grey. Again, when you go through these, you're waiting for them. You come up here to Conway, you know, we are waiting to see this. We have nothing. This is ski country, if you're familiar with New Hampshire. The issue is you go to the -- these are very small towns. So somebody is going to win.
If the race is close and competitive like it is in every town, you win and you win by a vote here, or if it's first and third, six votes. You come down to this other town. We are seeing this all night long. This one is more dramatic, but still you're looking at shy of 30 votes when you win them. So when you come now, if you're trying to do the math, very small population up here. This is where this race will be won or lost, it is 4,000 votes.
You would have to say advantage Sanders but -- but meaning we are still going to do the math. Again, Bernie Sanders wins here, 150 votes. We come up here. This is the last big thing. We just saw Buttigieg win in Hanover, Durham at 1.2 percent population. This was a much bigger margin in a college town for Senator Sanders four years ago. I will wait for that to come in. When we get it, I suspect we get all of it.
In this late reporting, when it comes in, we're getting 100 percent of it. Again, no offense to anything from Concord and above, but the population center is down here. This is where we see -- this band along the southeast is impressive for Buttigieg when you go back in time.
And see how well Sanders did in A, his neighbors from Vermont, and B, down here last time where the population is. Sanders ran it up. Again, it's a two-candidate race. It is four years ago. He was getting the progressive vote and the protest vote against Hillary Clinton.
KING: This is a much more complicated dynamic for all the candidates. It is impressive for Buttigieg, 4,000 votes, 79 percent. This is why they make espresso.
BLITZER: Yes, 79 percent of the votes in. He got 21 percent of the vote. Outstanding if it's a separation of 4,082 votes between Bernie Sanders
and Pete Buttigieg, 1.7 percent difference. It's still possible that Buttigieg can emerge the winner.
KING: He has to fill the rest of this map. Down here, he has win almost all of them in the sense that, again, if you just come through some of these and you're winning, some of these towns are so small, sure, he's first and Sanders is third, so that's a net game of 252 votes, right?
Great, 252 votes, but how many times do you have to do that to get to 4,000? That's the issue right now for Buttigieg as you look through this. You want to count them and because you see these little bands of all Buttigieg, it's more of a split in the checker board up here. We are going to wait for the votes to come in and do the math.
BLITZER: We're watching it very closely. We're getting closer and closer, John, to 11:00 p.m. on the east coast. I think both of these candidates, Bernie Sanders and Pete Buttigieg, they like to go out and speak and make their points. But I suppose they're waiting for results.
KING: You want to claim bragging rights. He wants to claim bragging rights, anyway. You want to say -- he will say if he wins tonight that he won New Hampshire and he'll say he won the popular vote in Iowa, even though Buttigieg has the delegate edge. So he wants to say, by vote count, I won two in a row. That's what he wants to say.
What Buttigieg want to say? I came in to Bernie Sanders backyard. He is going to say I came in to Bernie Sanders backyard and gave him a hell of a race. Either way, he'd like to say I came in to Bernie Sanders backyard and beat him.
One of the interesting conversations, just to give Mayor Buttigieg some credit, look along the Vermont border, go back four years ago, he is competitive. He is competitive everywhere in the state. If you talk to people inside his campaign especially now that this is this close, they point to her.
The debate Friday night changed this race. The Buttigieg people thought when they came out of Iowa that they had a shot. This, look how close they are. Her surge may have blocked him from getting there.
BLITZER: We heard from Elizabeth Warren. We heard from Amy Klobuchar and from Joe Biden. We're still waiting to hear from Bernie Sanders and Pete Buttigieg. We're expecting to hear from Buttigieg fairly soon, Anderson.
COOPER: Yeah. An officer will bring that to our viewers live as well as Bernie Sanders. David Axelrod, the notion that Amy Klobuchar's rise after the debate took away from Buttigieg, do you buy that?
AXELROD: Oh, 100 percent. When I was walking the lines at her event, most of the people were trying to choose between the two of them. They just come from a Buttigieg event. They were coming to check her out. They were intrigued by her debate speech.
It was very clear that he was going to lose some votes to her as she moved up. If she moved up significantly, then she would make it difficult for him to pass Sanders. You know, he is doing pretty well given how well she's done. But she had a good night.
NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: She had a strategy. In the last two debates, she has squarely focussed on Buttigieg on one of the vulnerabilities he has which is his experience. She had really tough exchanges with Pete Buttigieg in both of those debates. I think you see that tonight from these results.
MCINTOSH: She also did a thing that women candidates are usually really loathed to do which was go after the double standard directly. The first time I saw her do it, I have been working with women candidates for most of my career, the first time I saw her do it, my heart kind of seized up because you're not supposed to say that things are different for me than you.
But she stood right there and said if Mayor Pete were a woman, a 37- year-old small town mayor who is a woman, would not be receiving the kind of national accolades that he is receiving, and it seemed not to have not backfired --
MCINTOSH: That might be a lesson that can be applied more generally across the board, that we reached the new era --
AXELROD: One thing about Amy Klobuchar is that she stresses her experience. And in those exchanges, she did -- in these exit polls he did do better, much better than her among voters who said that he would bring a needed change.
And so the flip side of stressing your years of experience in the Congress is that the Congress isn't all that esteemed an institution and people don't necessarily believe if you spend 20 years in Congress, you're going to be a force for change.
BORGER: Sometimes, she sounds an awful lot like a senator and that doesn't really help you very much on the national stage. But she did say to Buttigieg quite directly, I'll put my experience up against yours, and you made fun of what we were doing in Washington for the last two weeks --
BORGER: I was doing what I had to do and there was nothing more important than sitting there for those two weeks to vote on whether to convict a president. And so she's very direct.
BORGER: And I wonder when it comes her way, which we'll see at the next debate next week, how she'll do.
COOPER: Can she take a punch?
BORGER: Well, can she take a punch? She can sure give one.
SMERCONISH: There's competition between these different lanes. The more progressive lane which consists of Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren and then there is Mayor Pete and Amy Klobuchar and Joe Biden. If you add together the respective lanes, I think one thing that you will find tonight is the moderate candidates clearly came out on top --
SMERCONISH: -- detriment of the progressives. I think that's pretty significant about a democratic primary fight.
COOPER: Does that work to look at that and say, OK, well moderates all glum together and Sanders and Warren glum together and moderates are ahead. Doesn't that actually work that way?
ROJAS: I don't think people walk into the voting booth, I am voting progressive or I am voting moderate. I think that all polling indicates that it is less about these ideological lines and more about policies that are going to transform the lives of working people.
You see also in these exit polls a majority of the electorate wants universal health care, something like a "Medicare for All." They want tuition free, public college. And government run health care, if you want to be explicit about that and also explicit about private insurance. And a majority of people wanted that in the state.
So I think in addition to a lot of the undeclared independents, also swinging for someone like Bernie, I think it's difficult to make it so that it's just in those lanes and it is spread out among seven people.
SMERCONISH: Somebody who broke for Klobuchar in the last 48 hours would otherwise have been a Bernie Sanders voter. I think it is more likely they probably would have been a Pete Buttigieg voter.
COOPER: Pete Buttigieg is about to speak. Let's listen in.
PETE BUTTIGIEG (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Thank you, New Hampshire. Thank you so much.
BUTTIGIEG: One more time for our phenomenal New Hampshire state co- chairs, thank you for your leadership and thank you for your commitment.
BUTTIGIEG: Thank you to our extraordinary national co-chair, Congresswoman Annie Kuster who knows how to raise the roof and how to get out the vote.
BUTTIGIEG: And thank you to Chasten, the love of my life who keeps me grounded and makes me whole.
BUTTIGIEG: I want to congratulate my competitors and their supporters on their campaigns here in New Hampshire.
BUTTIGIEG: I admired Senator Sanders when I was a high school student. I respect him greatly to this day, and I congratulate him on his strong showing tonight.
BUTTIGIEG: And I want to congratulate Senator Klobuchar, Senator Warren, Vice President Biden, and all of our democratic candidates and supporters.
BUTTIGIEG: And I know that we all share the spirit that we heard from some of our volunteers at a poll site earlier today who welcomed a competing candidate with chants of vote blue, no matter who. We are on the same team.
BUTTIGIEG: Now, over the past year, some two dozen campaigns have criss-crossed this state, each laying claim to the ability to bring people together, turn out the vote and move Americans toward a brighter future. And here in a state that goes by the motto live free or die. You made up your own minds. (APPLAUSE)
BUTTIGIEG: You inserted that famous independent streak and thanks to you, a campaign that some said shouldn't be here at all has shown that we are here to stay.
BUTTIGIEG: So many of you, so many of you turned out. Die hard Democrats, independents unwilling to stay on the sidelines, and even some newly former Republicans ready to vote for something new.
BUTTIGIEG: Ready to vote for a politics defined by how many we call in, instead of by who we push out.
BUTTIGIEG: So many of you chose to meet a new era of challenge with a new generation of leadership.
BUTTIGIEG: So many of you decided that a middle class mayor and a veteran from the industrial Midwest was the right choice to take on this president, not in spite of that experience, but because of it.
BUTTIGIEG: Now, our campaign moves on to Nevada, to South Carolina, to communities across our country.
BUTTIGIEG: And we will welcome new allies to our movement at every step.
BUTTIGIEG: We'll go forward. Thanks to the work of our extraordinary team of staff and organizers and volunteers. I may be biased on this but I'm also right. We have the finest team in politics today.
BUTTIGIEG: And I want you to know that you don't just represent me well, you inspire me, and I cannot say enough how thankful I am to our extraordinary team.
BUTTIGIEG: Thank you. And we know that team stretches across the country. We go forward fuelled by hundreds of thousands of grassroots supporters, from the woman in Minnesota who donated in honor of the wife she lost to lung cancer, to the veteran from Connecticut who sent $19.68 in honor of the year that he served in Vietnam. This campaign belongs to them.
BUTTIGIEG: And if our campaign moves you, I hope you'll go to peteforamerica.com and chip in whatever you can.
BUTTIGIEG: And we go forward, knowing that this is our chance, our only chance, not just to end the era of Donald Trump, but to launch the era that we know must come next.
BUTTIGIEG: And the stakes -- the stakes could not be higher. We cannot afford to miss the mark or to miss this moment. We must get this right. With Americans living under an unaccountable president, who will cut taxes for corporations and then cut Medicare, Medicaid and social security for the rest of us, we must get this right.
BUTTIGIEG: When people of color fear for their own place in their own country, while infants are torn from their parents at the border, we must get this right.
BUTTIGIEG: And when a commander in chief pardons war criminals and punishes war heroes, while systematically demolishing the creditability of our country in the eyes of the world, we dare not risk four more years of this presidency, we must get this right.
BUTTIGIEG: Now, we -- we are clear eyed about the challenge before us and we must be equally clear about the choice at hand.