Return to Transcripts main page


Bernie Sanders Wins New Hampshire Democratic Presidential Primary; President Trump Wins New Hampshire Republican Presidential Primary; Pete Buttigieg Comes in Second and Amy Klobuchar Third in New Hampshire Democratic Presidential Primary. Aired 8-8:30a ET

Aired February 12, 2020 - 08:00   ET



ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: It doesn't get more majestic.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: I just keep waiting. Wait for it. Wait for it.


CAMEROTA: The majesty is complete.

BERMAN: We're here. Good morning, and welcome to your NEW DAY. It is Wednesday, February 12th. It is 8:00 in the east. And this morning, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders is the frontrunner in the race for the Democratic nomination. Overnight, Sanders won the New Hampshire primary, not by much, but it was a victory with former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg close on his heels. Ninety-seven percent of the votes now in, Sanders has 25.9 percent.

You're looking at the delegate counts right there. Buttigieg is right behind. Amy Klobuchar got a bounce after Friday's debate to finish third, and way, way back, Elizabeth Warren from Massachusetts was fourth, Joe Biden was fifth. What we showed you there moments ago, the delegate math which had Sanders and Buttigieg each winning the same amount in New Hampshire.

CAMEROTA: And even though Sanders won New Hampshire, as John just said, they both picked up the same number of delegates. So neither Warren nor Biden, though, met the 15 percent threshold they needed to pick up any delegates. Buttigieg holds a slight edge now over Sanders in the delegate count, as you can see, 23 to 21.

Joining us to talk about all this and the road ahead, we have CNN political commentator Ana Navarro, CNN senior political analyst John Avlon, and CNN political commentator and Democratic strategist Paul Begala.

Ana, I want to start with you. I know you brought a special guest today. And I'm sure at some point she will be making an appearance. But right now, in addition to that surprise, what surprised you from last night's results? ANA NAVARRO, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: As a Joe Biden supporter,

somebody who really likes Joe Biden and who had really great expectations, a fifth-place finish is not good at all. It's more than losing. It's coming in fifth. And he really needs to reboot. He needs to re-inspire people. He needs to make sure and convince folks that this is not a candidacy that is dead. But I was expecting Joe Biden not to come in number one or number two. I certainly wasn't expecting him to come in number five.

But that only means if he does very well in South Carolina, he is the comeback kid. That will be the story. Somehow he's got to get himself to that.

BERMAN: He's got to get through Nevada, which is a week and a half, and then another week to South Carolina. It's an awfully long time. That's sort of the bottom of the top tier.

NAVARRO: It's awfully expensive time.

BERMAN: It is an awfully expensive time. It's a long way to go. He's got to pay his staff through those two-and-a-half weeks. It will be interesting to see how that works.

I do want to look at the top of the results, Paul, in New Hampshire. What do you see there with Bernie Sanders winning? He has now won the most votes in both Iowa and New Hampshire. He came in first. What do you see there?

PAUL BEGALA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: He did, and that's -- he needs to be congratulated. I bet you they're not resting very easily because last time around four years ago, he got 151,000 votes in New Hampshire. This time he's getting fewer than 74,000. And if you asked me a couple of weeks ago if Elizabeth Warren fades first to fourth, who benefits? I'd say Bernie. If you asked me if turnout actually surges in New Hampshire. We were worried it wouldn't surge. It's up 17, 18 percent over the last time, who would have an advantage? I would say Bernie. And yet it didn't. He got the lowest percentage of any victor in New Hampshire history. And that's got to trouble him.

Now it will move on, and I saw the coverage from Chuck Roach (ph), who is an old buddy of mine from Texas, and I bet you they're going to work very hard in Nevada, and I think may surprise some people there. But I do think there's a little nervousness in the Sanders campaign because they had a lot of breaks go their way, and they basically tied a guy who was a mayor of a football stadium five minutes ago.


JOHN AVLON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: That's such an important point Paul makes. And again, it's not taking anything away from Bernie Sanders, but he did win the state overwhelmingly four years ago. Independent voters who I always look very closely at, he won by three to one margin over Hillary Clinton. He won them this time, but very narrowly.

You also saw a significant shift in the composition of the primary electorate. This turnout was actually more moderate than four years ago. Percentage of voters who identified themselves as very liberal declined and those who identified themselves as moderate increased.

And I think the big surprise of the night, to the extent we pay attention to the expectations game, is clearly Amy Klobuchar. She came sort of out of nowhere. Strong debate performance, and really leapfrogged into that top tier of candidates, and splitting the moderate vote with Pete Buttigieg.

Also the thing to look at, something Harry Enten has mentioned, is that first-time voters, folks who joined the process this time around, went for Pete Buttigieg. Interesting.

CAMEROTA: Amy Klobuchar worked for it. She worked for it.


I spent a little bit of time with her on Monday, and she just was going from event to event to event. They were filled to capacity. People, when they meet her in person were struck by, she's funny. She's spontaneous. She seemed authentic. And she just -- that's the New Hampshire retail politics. If you can do 12 events in one day, you win people over and you win voters.

BERMAN: She did in New Hampshire, they're white voters in New Hampshire.

NAVARRO: And they've also been blanketing the media waves, right? Both Buttigieg and Klobuchar have, I think, done themselves great favorite by being incredibly accessible, which is, again, something else Joe Biden needs to do. There's going to be no coronation. It's got to be earned vote by vote.

BERMAN: I will say, though, with Klobuchar and Buttigieg, it is interesting, because you add their numbers up and the moderates and the centrists did quite well in New Hampshire, and there is a sense those voters want something. But, after New Hampshire, the race is a lot less white. The states are a lot less white. You go to Nevada and you have significant African-American, Latino populations. You go to South Carolina, 60 percent of the population that will vote in the Democratic primary is African-American. And so far, Paul, and it matters, we haven't seen Mayor Pete Buttigieg or Senator Amy Klobuchar make any significant inroads among minority voters.

BEGALA: Right, and that's going to be the acid test. I love Iowa, I love New Hampshire. South Carolina especially, it has the best track record of picking the nominee. John Edwards won in 2004 because he was from there. But every other time they've picked a winner. And that's because people of color, particularly African-Americans, particularly African-American women are the heart and soul of the Democratic Party.

And so I want to know that. I care desperately and I will look through all the chicken entrails of New Hampshire, but I mostly want to know where of people of color are going. Joe has had a claim on their affection and their support, but that claim is weakening by the minute and. And I think all of those other campaigns, first with Latinos and union members in Nevada and with African-Americans in South Carolina, they need to be moving in, because, again, I thought if Elizabeth went down, Bernie would go up. It didn't happen. If Joe goes down with people of color, I don't know who claims those votes. Here's a radical solution. Maybe they should do what Ana says, and go and earn them.

NAVARRO: Let me tell you what else we need to do. My people need to move to New Hampshire and Iowa. We can't have -- we can't continue having these totally white primaries.

But, Paul, I don't know if it's happening to you, but anecdotally, I can tell you that I'm hearing more and more and more about Bloomberg. And I'm beginning to think there may be logic to his method. This idea that he could skip all of this and be above the fray while everybody else was playing small ball sounded incredibly pretentious. And now it's beginning to sound somewhat wise.

AVLON: Anything is possible with that amount of money behind it. But what's significant, what can't be bought, is that he's been getting a lot of high-profile endorsements, particularly from the African- American community. So we'll see if that actually translates.

I agree. As much as I'm uncomfortable about Paul talking about entrails, I think that South Carolina is going to be the real acid test because these other candidates who have been surging haven't shown an ability to connect with the African-American community. In particularly, obviously, Nevada before that, we've got to see what the unions do, the Latino community. It's going to be fascinating. Biden, it is so tough to say your firewall is two weeks out at this stage of a campaign. If anyone can do it, it should be a former president of the United States who has been pretty Teflon to date, but he's got it rough coming off of this in fifth place.

BERMAN: You said Bloomberg endorsements. In case people don't know, Lucy McBath from Georgia, an African-American, just endorsed Michael Bloomberg this morning. I don't know how much endorsements matter in this day and age, but Bloomberg is getting something. Many elected officials now who are endorsing at this stage of the race seem to be lining up behind him.

CAMEROTA: One more data point that I wanted to bring up, and that is how President Trump did yesterday. And I think that this is important. Ana, I'll go to you on it, because he got 85.7 percent of the vote, of the Republicans' vote. And independents can crossover and vote for the Republican or the Democrat in New Hampshire. And I just bring this up because the very first -- we were at a polling station yesterday outside. The very first person who showed up who waited in the cold, who was there before 6:00 a.m., was a guy named Norman, and he couldn't wait to cast his vote for President Trump. And President Trump is saying that he broke records, but he actually didn't. Ronald Reagan got more of that vote that year. But, Ana, I guess my point is just the enthusiasm for people. It's a lock, right? Everybody knows that. And still Republicans showed up in a really impressive way in New Hampshire. What does that tell you?

NAVARRO: What we know, what we see, that Trump's base will not budge. Look, yesterday I think was a very sobering, scary day for a lot of America. We saw a president who thinks he is the ruler of the unholy Trumpian empire, who thinks he is not only above the law but is the law, who has no qualms about interfering in the judicial system, who has got no qualms about walking a decorated veteran like Vindman out of the White House, escorting him out of the White House like a common thief.


So it cannot be more stark, it cannot be more dramatic, just for those of us that want Trump out of there, how serious a process this is, and how important it is for Democrats to nominate somebody who can actually beat him. And I think that's why you're feeling so much angst.

And as far as Trump, I'm actually surprised he only got 85 percent. He polls much higher in the Republican Party. I can tell you that the folks like me who don't like him, I begin to feel sometimes we can fit in a phone booth. And it's an ever smaller phone booth.

BERMAN: Paul, can I ask about Elizabeth Warren who finished fourth. Elizabeth Warren represents Massachusetts in the U.S. Senate which borders New Hampshire. You've told me how well border state candidates normally do in New Hampshire. Fourth place isn't good. So what's her case to stay in this race over the next week-and-a-half before Nevada or two-and-a-half weeks before South Carolina?

BEGALA: It's tough. It's a tough case. I loved what she said last night. She made an appeal for unity. Earlier in the race she was fight, fight, fight. That was kind of her thing. She was the most pugilistic and pugnacious. Last night, she was all about unity. And I think that's a message -- Cory Booker tried and it didn't work, but, as President Bush would say, it resignates with a lot of Democrats. Maybe she'll try to revive herself as the unity candidate.

And this is the greatest challenge for Democrats. If Democrats are appalled by the president taking over the Justice Department, which we are, they need to understand, as Nancy Pelosi says, our strength is in our unity. And the Democrats have got to be in their souls now as they're splitting up between Amy and Pete and Bernie and Joe, they need to swear in their souls that they will all come together after all of this. And that is not foreordained at all. I'm terribly worried that this party might come apart, and that Trump with his minority amount of vote will hold it together on his side more effectively.

CAMEROTA: Friends, thank you all very much. Great to talk to you.

BERMAN: Here's a question for you. The chairman of the Democratic National Committee, on a scale of one to 10, how excited do you think he was they actually had votes to count last night? I'm guessing roughly 65. He joins us next.



BERMAN: Senator Bernie Sanders edged out Pete Buttigieg in New Hampshire. He won the New Hampshire primary. Now it's on to Nevada and South Carolina.

Joining us this morning, the chairman of the Democratic National Committee, Tom Perez.

Mr. Chairman, thank you for being with us.

How excited are you?

TOM PEREZ, DNC CHAIRMAN: Good to be with you.

BERMAN: How excited are you that you had actual votes to count last night in New Hampshire?

PEREZ: It was -- it's always a good night when you're not talking about the process but you're talking about the candidates. And we're not only talking about the candidates, we're talking about the turnout.

We're on pace to meet or exceed the record turnout of 2008. I look at some of the polling that women were 55 percent of the vote in the Democratic primary, 44 percent in the Republican primary. Women are what won us elections in '17, '18 and '19, and they're going to do it again in 2020.

I look at other exit polling that really tells a story. Eighty-one percent of the people coming out of the Democratic primary exit polls were angry at Donald Trump. When you look back at 2008 when George w. Bush was president, 62 percent were angry.

So people understand that when you do things like Donald Trump did yesterday at the Justice Department, you are breaking the norms of democracy. Voters are watching that.

And so I appreciate what happened last night. I congratulate Senator Sanders on his victory. Now it's on to Nevada and South Carolina. And again, the magic number is 1,991.

And we need to understand that this is a marathon. And we are in the beginning stages, and our job at the DNC and it's illustrated by this deep field we have. They're all focused on the here and now, John. We're focused on making sure we're building that infrastructure, especially in those battleground states.

Our battleground build-up is all about handing the nominee, whoever he or she is, that infrastructure to succeed and hit the ground running. That's exactly what we're focused on.

BERMAN: I get that. In terms of turnout, just so people know, you have exceeded 2016 already. Still short of 2008. There's still more votes to be counted. We don't know where it will rank in terms of 2008. But turnout is high, turnout is high historically for the Democrats in New Hampshire.

There is something I noticed in the exit polls which jumped out at me, which is that there wasn't even enough African-American vote in New Hampshire to measure it in the exit polls. And that matters. You've done two states. I know this is a perennial problem, this is something you've focused on.

But you've had contests in two states where African-American voters barely register. They are in some ways, the key. A key to the Democratic Party. They'll make up 60 percent of the vote in South Carolina, yet that's 2 1/2 weeks away.

And there are no more African-American votes in the race. We don't know what Deval Patrick will do. But depending on Deval Patrick, no more African-American candidates in the race. And they haven't had a chance to weigh in yet.

So, how do you tell them they've had a role in this nominating process so far?

PEREZ: Well, the candidate who is going to win this race, John, is the candidate who does the best job of bringing together the entire diverse coalition of the Democratic Party. African-American voters are the backbone of the Democratic Party. African-American women are why Doug Jones is in the United States Senate.

And after every cycle, we have a period of reflection where we ask a lot of important questions. At the end of the 2016 cycle, we ask questions about super delegate reform, questions about primary and caucus reform. And we did both. Fourteen states had caucuses last time. Seven of them now have primaries.

And I think the next frontier of discussion in the Democratic Party needs to be, do we need further caucus reform because parties shouldn't be in the business of running elections. Parties should be in the business, in my judgment, of helping Democrats up and down the ticket win.


So, we have to have that discussion.

And we also have to have the discussion about the question that you just raised, John, which is, our party is incredibly diverse. And what should the order of our primary cycle be.

I think the time is ripe for that conversation and I'm -- I will certainly, as your chair, be attempting to ensure that we have that conversation and that we include all the stakeholders because it's an important question. I want to make sure that we reflect the grand diversity of our party in everything we do, including how we administer our primary system.

BERMAN: How frustrating for you as a Latino who worked for an African-American president to look at the lineup in the Democratic race -- the whiteness of the existing Democratic lineup in the race for president this morning?

PEREZ: Well, again, if you go back to December, we had eight people on the debate stage. We had three women. We had two candidates of color. One person, Kamala Harris, who was on the debate stage in December and on the debate stage in January decided for reasons unrelated to our debate threshold to get out of the race.

I think we have to have a broad conversation about money in politics. I think we are to have a broad conversation about how do we make sure we create a level playing field for everyone because I -- when Kamala got out, I think the world of her, and I was saddened when she left the race. I applaud the great campaign that Andrew Yang ran. And I applaud all of the people who got in the race.

And this is -- everybody, first of all, we're going to see a lot more of Kamala Harris and Cory Booker and Julian Castro and Andrew Yang and others. And this is -- we build on the foundation that they laid. And make no mistake about it. The candidates who remain understand that civil rights is core to who we are as Democrats. Diversity and inclusion is not an idle set of words for Democrats. It's our DNA.

BERMAN: You talked about a level playing field. Is it a level playing field when one of the candidates running for the Democratic nomination is spending $250 million, and I lost count, it may be over $300 million now of his own campaign? I'm talking Michael Bloomberg.

PEREZ: Well, one of the things that's going to be in our platform, John, if I have anything to do with it is we need to overturn Citizens United. We need to pass HR-1. We need address dark money. We need to do all of those things because money shouldn't be the be all and end all in politics.

And what we have to do now because we haven't made those reforms yet, our job is to make sure as a party that the most viable candidates, as measured by polling and the results of the elections to date, are on the debate stage.

And if you as a voter are -- have a real concern, and I understand those who do, that certain people can buy their way onto the debate stage or try to win their election through self-funding, the good news is we have a remedy, and that is get out there and vote. Make your voice heard.

We have a really deep field of candidates. And we're going to have that opportunity. Super Tuesday is right around the corner. We've got Nevada and South Carolina before that, and the excitement coming out of New Hampshire where right now it's 283,000 people voted. So we need about 4,000 more and there's still 3 percent or 4 percent to count.

So we're going to get to those 2008 numbers. People are excited. And so to your direct question, if you have a concern about it, get out there. Make your voice heard so that we can indeed elect a Democrat.

And the good news again is every single Democrat who is going to be in Nevada and South Carolina and beyond, all of them are going to beat Donald Trump, whoever the standard bearer is. Look at the Quinnipiac poll, and they are ahead by a range of 4 to 9 points.

So, we're well positioned and we are going to come together as a party because our unity is indeed our greatest strength.

BERMAN: I will say, the president drew 120,000 people voting yesterday in New Hampshire to relatively uncontested primary. He's got enthusiasm, too.

But I take your point, Mr. Chairman. We look forward to seeing you in Nevada. Thanks so much for being with us this morning.

PEREZ: Always a pleasure.

BERMAN: Alisyn?

CAMEROTA: All right, John.

Four federal prosecutors just quit in protest over President Trump trying to get a lax prison sentence for his pal Roger Stone. What does this mean for justice for all?



BERMAN: So this morning, President Trump is congratulating the Attorney General Bill Barr for intervening in the sentencing of the president's longtime friend and political adviser Roger Stone.

Now, all four prosecutors on the case quit in protest after they were overruled on their sentencing recommendations for Stone.

CNN's Laura Jarrett joins us to talk about just how unprecedented this is.

LAURA JARRETT, CNN ANCHOR, EARLY START: John, this is where things get real. The Justice Department is facing its biggest test yet with a president who says he can do anything he wants and it's a case, if it were any other defendant, it would be straightforward, but it's not. And instead we see tweets from the president, a stunning about-face from coming on high from the Department of Justice, and a Tuesday night mutiny among career prosecutors.


JARRETT (voice-over): A stunning development as four federal prosecutors withdraw from Roger Stone's case after top Justice Department officials overruled their sentence recommendation, calling it too harsh.

Stone, a long-time confidant of President Trump, was convicted last year of lying to Congress, witness tampering, and obstructing the House investigation into whether the Trump campaign coordinated with Russia, a case that stemmed from Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation.

Prosecutors originally told a federal judge that Stone should serve seven to nine years in prison. But then the president expressed his outrage on Twitter, calling it a very unfair situation, adding: Cannot allow this miscarriage of justice.