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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL

One-on-One With Senator Elizabeth Warren; Michael Bloomberg: As A New Yorker "I Know How To Take On An Arrogant Con Man" Like President Trump; Senator Bernie Sanders And Michael Bloomberg Clash Over Business And Wealth; Senator Elizabeth Warren Attacks Michael Bloomberg For Past Comments; 2020 Democrats Ahead Of Nevada Caucuses. Aired 12-12:30a ET

Aired February 20, 2020 - 00:00   ET

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


[00:00:00]

CHRISTINA ALESCI, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: So how much have you raised. Your campaign in the first hour sent out a note saying you had already raised $425,000 versus your best hour or day in fund raising.

SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: So look this is really this debate tonight is about democracy. I have no doubt that coming off that debate stage that Michael Bloomberg is reaching in his pocket and dropping another $100 million in advertising across this country just to try to erase the memory of what happened on the debate stage.

The only way to keep that memory alive is to be able to get out there and talk about it. And push it in front of people. And push it in front of Michael Bloomberg. So I ask everybody to go to elizabethwarren.com. Pitch in $5 pitch in $25 but make this about how a billionaire doesn't get to buy our nomination especially one who is so vulnerable on the issues.

ALESCI: Okay. So when you talk about these issues and Chris just played a brief part of it. But I want to play a moment because this is a moment where you took him on, on the issue of women and non- disclosure agreements that he has had at Bloomberg. And you then did all the follow up questions. To speaking you're questioner and I want to play a part of this moment. Here it is for everyone to see.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MICHAEL BLOOMBERG (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: In my company lots and lots of women have big responsibilities. They get paid exactly the same as men. And in my in city hall, the person that is the top person my Deputy Mayor was a woman. And 40 percent of our commissioners were women.

I'm very proud of the fact that about two weeks ago we were awarded we were voted the most the best place to work. Second best place in America. If that doesn't say something about our employees and how happy they are I don't know what does.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Senator Warren you have been critical of Mayor Bloomberg on this issue.

WARREN: Yes I have. And I hope you heard what his defense was. I have been nice to some women. That just doesn't cut it. The Mayor has to stand on his record. What we need to know is exactly what's lurking out there. He has got some number of women dozens who knows to sign non-disclosure agreements both for sexual harassment and for gender discrimination in the workplace. So Mr. Mayor is you willing to release all of those women from those non-disclosure agreements? So we can hear their side of the story?

(APPLAUSE)

BLOOMBERG: We have a very few non-disclosure agreements.

WARREN: How many?

BLOOMBERG: Let me finish. None of them accuse me of doing anything other than maybe they didn't like a joke I told.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ALESCI: So, what happens from here?

WARREN: Well, I hope that Michael Bloomberg decides to live by what he says. He just wants to see the Democrats beat Donald Trump. So that's great. Mike Bloomberg drop out of the race. Keep putting your money in to help Democrats beat Trump. And just take your ego out of this.

ALESCI: Did you expect him to do differently tonight? Or better than he did?

WARREN: What shocks me is he seems so unprepared for the question about the non-disclosure agreement. Think about what that says about Mike Bloomberg. That all these years he has been sued evidently multiple times for discrimination against women and for harassing women.

The details we don't know because each time it happens he puts a chunk of money on the table and then forces the woman to agree to wear a muzzle for the rest of her life over this issue. He walked in to this debate thinking nobody was going to ask about that?

Listen, this is serious. We're about to pick a nominee for President. And someone who can't answer that question about the non-disclosure agreements doesn't deserve to be the nominee.

ALESCI: Do you wonder what the reaction will be and I say this in the context of the Republican debates last cycle. Donald Trump stood on that stage and had performances that were widely panned or people thought weren't going to go anywhere and yet here he is. He won. Voters didn't have a problem with it. Do you think that could be the case this time around?

WARREN: I have to say I just cannot imagine that it is okay with the Democratic Party to say the person we want to put out there in front has a few, a dozen, 50, I don't know how many non-disclosure agreements about what he has done with women and been forced to pay money to keep them silent forever.

Think about what he said on the stage. He said I never said anything. It was just a joke. That's all I was ever accused of. If that's the case then why wouldn't let the women come forward. And tell their side. Why wouldn't you let them say it was just a joke?

[00:05:00]

WARREN: Can't believe he gave me money for that. If he won't let these women talk, then you have to assume this is man who not once not twice, but repeatedly engaged in harassment and discrimination and I have just got to tell you, I just don't think women are going to put up with that anymore.

We have done it for decades. And those days are over. And we are not going to nominate a candidate for President who does it.

ALESCI: And yet when it came to policy there were areas in which you and he agreed. For example you're both capitalists and you may say that's a small thing.

WARREN: No it's not a small thing.

ALESCI: But it's a big thing on that stage right now it is big thing. It has become the sort of a schism are you a socialist or a Democratic socialist? Or are you a capitalist?

WARREN: I'm a capitalist but remember I'm a capitalist who believes in rules and enforcing those rules. So for example, while Mike Bloomberg was blaming African-Americans and Latinos for causing the housing crash, I was on the other side of that.

Talking about how bank regulation failed and how the banks had been allowed to run wild. And target African-Americans and Latinos for the worst of the worst mortgages. And by the way that's a factual question.

Ultimately the banks got sued the data came out and that was exactly what the banks had been doing. They targeting communities of color to strip wealth out of them and Michael Bloomberg defended those banks.

ALESCI: So you were aggressive tonight. Not just at Bloomberg but across the board right? And that's why people are watching and people are paying attention. So Amy Klobuchar and Pete Buttigieg were also on the receiving end. In this case it was healthcare.

When you were talking about his healthcare plan likening it to a power point presentation that consoles him put together for him. And in her case one that you thought only would fit on a posted note. It was pretty aggressive. But do you think it worked?

WARREN: Here's the thing, healthcare matters. We have a crisis in this country. Year by year by year the cost just keep going up for families cost of premiums and the co-pays the deductibles the things are not covered. So they have got their talking points about why they don't like Medicare for all. And they keep claiming to have these wonderful plans. My view is we're getting down to the short strokes here. Let's look at the plans and see what they actually provide.

Pete's plan of those four kinds of costs says he's going to put cap on one which means great. So you cap the premiums but it means everything else continues to go up and families can't afford all of the uncovered expenses the deductibles, the co-pays.

Amy's plan I looked at her web site. It's a couple of paragraphs. If they want to come to the stage and be treated seriously on the question of the healthcare, and I assume they do, then they have got to be there with a real plan.

I put a plan out I show exactly how it's paid for and more importantly I show how we can get the most help to the most people the quickest possible. I want to do this and if we can't get it all at once. Let's take the win and then let's come back the next day to fight for more. For me it's about value plus getting something done.

ALESCI: So when you look at Nevada and you look at South Carolina, how well do you think you need to do?

WARREN: I appreciate the question. Since the day I got into the race I said I never did polls. I really am doing every day is out there doing pretty much what I have done all my life. Fight for working families. I am the politician who has been in politics the shortest amount of time of all the people on the stage regardless of their ages.

I came to this after a lifetime of fighting for working families. Of trying to warn people about the financial crash coming I have trying to warn people about the rise in student loan debt. About trying to warn people about what's happening with the retirement crisis in America

And having real ideas for how we can fix it. Running for President is such an honor because I get to talk about these things and actually begin to build some coalitions behind them. That's how we're going to make real change.

ALESCI: All right. I appreciate your time. Senator Warren thank you.

WARREN: Thank you for having me. I appreciate it.

ALESCI: All right and we will be back. Our coverage continues of course from Las Vegas. And from New York myself and Chris will be back in just a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[00:10:00]

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BLOOMBERG: I'm a New Yorker. I know how to take on an arrogant con man like Donald Trump that comes from New York. I'm a Mayor. I was a Mayor. I know how to run a complicated city the biggest most diverse city in the country.

I'm a manager. I knew what to do after 9/11 and brought the city back stronger than ever. And I'm a philanthropist. Who didn't inherit money but made money and I'm spending that money to get rid of Donald Trump the worst President we have ever had. And if I can get that done, it will be a great contribution to America and to my kids.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: There was Mike Bloomberg arguably one of his few strong moments of the night. So Dana he was introducing himself to people. This is why I'm running. That kind of message is salability.

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: It's incredibly so. I mean, that's the kind of message that he's been paying tens and millions, hundreds and millions of dollars across the country to sell. The issue was not what he wanted to say. It's what he didn't want to say and he had no ability to pivot. No ability to answer those questions.

Now again as we have been saying all night, whether or not that is going to matter if he finds a way to do it or his campaign finds a way to do it. We don't know.

[00:15:00]

BASH: But what is clear is that Bernie Sanders had a very good night because he really didn't get very many hits. People were so focused on Bloomberg. And Bernie Sanders is still the favorite on a national level. We're going into a set of races where national polls matter because they are kind of national elections especially Super Tuesday.

CUOMO: We were trying to figure out what's the best way to measure what the impact of a night is. Not surprisingly Andrew Yang said I'll tell you what will matter. And interestingly Bloomberg asset is money. You're saying that's what matters after the debate. What has to happen for someone to know it worked for them?

ANDREW YANG, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I thought Elizabeth Warren had a tremendous night. They announced they raised $425,000 in the first hour of the debate but that means that she's going to raise probably 1, 2, 3 $4 million in the days after the debate. She needs to raise 20, 30, 40 million if she is going to contend in the Super Tuesday states that have very expensive media markets.

That's why Bloomberg has so much power in this race. He can put ads up in all of these states that every other candidate is not going to be able to afford.

CUOMO: So her counter tactic was I'm going to make the most of this free media right now. She threw and landed very precise blows especially at Bloomberg.

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: She did. She took aim at Bloomberg and succeeded. Particularly on the NDA issue and she started out the debate by talking about that issue. By talking about the names that Bloomberg had called women.

BASH: Comparing him to Trump.

BORGER: And comparing him to Trump which goes to his electability argument. Which is how can you allow this guy to go up against that guy? One has problems with women. The other guy has problems with women. She was right on the on those arguments. I mean she took him on.

The question is will it matter? This is late. You have got Nevada on Saturday. You've got South Carolina coming up. People don't have any money. You're shaking your head. You know the story. And who has the money to compete other than Bernie Sanders right now and Michael Bloomberg?

YANG: That's the great question is could Elizabeth or Joe or Amy or Pete have some kind of break out night that lead to tens and millions of dollars in donations not just from people watching at home but also donors who are on the sidelines right now.

Frankly getting phone calls from Mike Bloomberg saying, hey sit this one out I got this. If you're a donor not donating is actually a pretty appealing pitch.

(CROSSTALK)

BASH: Say that again Mike Bloomberg is calling donors saying don't give to my opponents.

YANG: Mike Bloomberg is calling donors saying just sit this one out I have got this I'll bankroll the whole thing. Just don't donate to anybody.

CUOMO: You hear this or you know this?

YANG: I heard this from a major donor.

BASH: Your donor?

YANG: Yes. Like a donor said that and it's a person who donates to you know a number of candidates ordinarily said that these are the phone calls.

CUOMO: One of the rule changes in the game now. Is that when you say something we don't just say are you sure? Where'd you hear it? On the analysis side we have got to make sure we put something out that we can verify.

So Andrew is of course correct. You have to manifest your success in money. Everybody complains about it. Yet it is the only thing we talk about in these campaigns. So if Elizabeth Warren doesn't get the kind of push that Andrew is reasonably saying happen? So what does that mean for her even though once again probably the best athlete on the stage? JESS MCINTOSH, FORMER DIRECTOR OF COMMS OUTREACH, HILLARY CLINTON CAMPAIGN: I mean it's a challenge that she's talked about as part of her candidacy since day one and a lot of the Democratic field agrees with her. We don't want to be progressives don't want to be in the position.

We just happen to be this cycle. If we got somebody in the White House who was able to change the rules so that we didn't have this kind of giant money in politics. Then we wouldn't have to have this debate next time and we would be able to have a Democratic fair election that was based on a representative sample of who wanted our nominee to be our nominee. So let's hope we get there.

VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think it is ironic tonight. Elizabeth Warren really needed Bloomberg. Having a foil - that's how she became this household name. Making bankers cry.

CUOMO: The way a lion needs an antelope.

JONES: Yes exactly. She was getting right next to her the embodiment of the corruption and the disrespected women. She came to life in a way that I thought was extraordinary. She was doing something else I think she hasn't gotten credit for tonight.

She was denting his electability argument. He's trying to say listen I have got the money I've got the machinery. I can run over Donald Trump. I can crush him because I have got all this money. You also got a record. I want to talk about that record. It's not a good one.

[00:20:00]

JONES: And she was able to make it effective. Is it too little too late? You have to begin to wonder when you have got this kind of dynamic going on, it could be a bubble. You could have a Bloomberg bubble. I know he is got that - he is like hiring everybody or whatever but you could have a Bloomberg bubble happen here where the air comes out very quickly if she can be effective and landing those kind of blows.

MCINTOSH: It wasn't just attacks it was the rope she gave him to hang himself. His answer on the question about the sexual harassment lawsuits was identical to Trumps answer when he was asked about the same thing. Trump would say I promoted women my Deputy is a woman women who work for the Trump Organization.

BASH: My daughter is a woman.

MCINTOSH: My daughter is a woman. I made jokes/locker room talk. Listening to Mike Bloomberg give an answer that sounded very early familiar. I think speaks to Gloria's original point that she was smart to tie up his rhetoric with something we're used to the President--

CUOMO: First of all let you know two things. One the gloves are really off. To compare Michael Bloomberg with what we know at this point to what we absolutely know about Donald Trump is a really heavy and ugly allegation. MCINTOSH: I think we can't underestimate women are the driving forces of the elections that we have had since Donald Trump was elected and they will be again. Women are the ones who--

CUOMO: Do you think it could be potentially disqualifying for him?

MCINTOSH: Some of the things that he has said are truly - there's going to have to be a real apology. Not I guess some people didn't get my joke about some of those really, really awful things. Women are just so used to hearing--

CUOMO: Can't apologize for an NDA. You can only say they no longer apply.

MCINTOSH: Yes, there are so many of those - I mean the quotes that she brought I think came from--

CUOMO: So you can apologize for what you said. But the NDA doesn't go away.

MCINTOSH: And the question about the NDA go away either. And I certainly think that will be disqualifying for a lot of women who are watching this debate. They really want to know that somebody is in the White House who cares about them.

BASH: What's the best answer?

TERRY MCAULIFFE, (D) FORMER VIRGINIA GOVERNOR: Whatever came out this debate I go back to my point? We're about to go into 14 big states with tremendous amount of money. A week later you have got Michigan, you've got Missouri, Ohio come up--

CUOMO: 65 percent of the delegates--

MCAULIFFE: --and a week after that you have got Florida, Illinois, Ohio. So we are going to a basket of states. We all maybe sitting here in 8 months and say it wasn't a great calendar. I've long advocated we should end in New Hampshire. They're all white states. It's not representative.

But that has sort of set where we are today. And the problem maybe is a cluster too many of these states together. 68 percent of the delegates are going to be chosen in like three week and it really precludes Elizabeth who had a great debate from being able to translate that into putting money in battle states.

CUOMO: It's still very early and as we saw tonight would at all these changes coming in one debate tonight with Bloomberg coming here. Maybe Andrew is right, may be the best decision they could have made would have been to skip it. Let's take a break here and when we come back let's talk about the obvious dichotomy that has been developed on this stage. You have a really progressive wing and then you have a really scared/moderate wing. Is there middle? Next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[00:25:00]

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BLOOMBERG: I can't think of a way that would make it easier for Donald Trump to get reelected than listening to this conversation. We're not going to throw out capitalism. We tried that. Other countries tried that. It was called communism and it just didn't work.

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (D-VT) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We have a grotesque and immoral distribution of wealth and income. Mike Bloomberg owns more wealth than the bottom 125 million Americans. That's wrong, that's immoral. That shouldn't be the case when we have a half a million people sleeping out on the street.

BLOOMBERG: I can't speak for all billionaires. All I know is I have been very lucky. Made a lot of money and I'm giving it all away to make this country better. And a good chunk of it goes to the Democratic Party as well.

CHUCK TODD, CNN HOST: Is it too much? Have you earned too much money? Should you have earned that much money?

BLOOMBERG: Yes. I worked very hard for it. I'm giving it away.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CUOMO: Now that was one of the key exchanges in term of understanding these two houses within the Democratic Party right now. This Bernie Sanders party about billionaires should go and obviously Mike Bloomberg giving a different perspective. Andrew how did it play for you?

YANG: Yes to me it's a struggle for the sole of the Democratic Party. And it mirrors what happened to the Republican Party in the last cycle. Where you had Donald Trump the outsider running rough shots over all these traditional candidates who were putting up Republican talking points and turned out their ideas just weren't that powerful anymore.

This time you have Bernie the outsider the front runner now poised to run the table. And the establishment has been looking around for a white knight and Bloomberg has shown up with all of his money and all of his wealth all of his TV ads.

To me this was a great night for Bernie because Bernie emerges as the front runner. He's really hard to touch Bernie. I mean, I have been on the debate stage with him seven times. And he's just like a stoic messenger. It doesn't matter what you say to him. He will just pivot right back to one of his Bernie ask talking point. And then the minute passes.

BORGER: Well, people know what you're getting with Bernie Sanders. They have known him for the last 40 years. And they knew it from 2016. And they know it again now and he hasn't changed.

[00:30:00] END