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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES

Interview with Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT); Interview with Joe Biden. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired March 2, 2020 - 20:00   ET

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


[20:00:00]

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: And good evening. I'm Anderson Cooper at the CNN Election Center with a special edition of AC360," Countdown to Super Tuesday." Tonight, we have one-on-one interviews with the four top Democratic presidential candidates still in the race as breaking news is unfolding. Amy Klobuchar and Pete Buttigieg are endorsing Joe Biden tonight. Klobuchar following the lead of Buttigieg and ending her presidential bid. And we just learned that former presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke also is endorsing Biden.

We're standing by for the Biden event in Texas. We will carry -- bring that to you. This comes on the eve of Super Tuesday, the biggest primary day yet. The first polling places open about 10 hours from now. Contests in 14 states could narrow the field even more. Voters will award the biggest one-day jackpot of delegates needed to win the Democratic nomination, more than 1,300 delegates are at stake on Super Tuesday. That's about one-third of all the delegates up for grabs in all the contests this primary season.

Right now, Senator Sanders is ahead of Biden in the delegate race to date. Warren is way behind. And Buttigieg and Klobuchar are out. Just moments ago, Buttigieg appeared with Biden and confirmed his endorsement.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PETE BUTTIGIEG (D), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: When I ran for president, we made it clear that the whole idea was about rallying the country together to defeat Donald Trump and to win the era for the values that we share. And that was always a goal that was much bigger than me becoming president. And it is in the name of that very same goal that I'm delighted to endorse and support Joe Biden for president.

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Now to our interview with Senator Bernie Sanders. He is campaigning in the Super Tuesday state of Minnesota.

Senator Sanders, thanks for being with us. You just heard Mayor Buttigieg endorsing Vice President Biden. Klobuchar is expected to do the same tonight, as is Beto O'Rourke. How does the consolidation of the moderate vote affect your plans moving forward, especially since Senator Warren shows no signs of getting out?

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (D-VT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, Anderson, I think, as you know, from day one we have been taking on the establishment, whether it is the corporate establishment, you know, Wall Street, the drug companies, the insurance companies, the fossil fuel industry, or the political establishment.

And let me be very clear, it is no surprise they do not want me to become president because our administration will transform this country to create an economy and a government that works for all of the people, not just the 1 percent. It will not be the same old same old.

But the other reason that I am running is to defeat Donald Trump. And the fact of the matter is if we want to defeat Donald Trump, we're going to need a campaign that has energy and excitement that can speak to working people, young people, people who have given up on the political establishment all over this country.

To defeat Donald Trump, we're going to have the highest voter turnout in the history of this country and I think our campaign is uniquely suited to be able to do that.

COOPER: President Trump questioned like night the timing of Buttigieg's withdrawal, tweeting in part, "this is the real beginning of the Dems taking Bernie out of play, no nomination again." He also tweeted this afternoon, quote, "they are staging a coup against you." Is he right?

SANDERS: You know what, I really wish that the president of the United States might kind of spend his time doing his job, maybe just maybe, he might want to worry about the coronavirus, he might want to worry about the stock market, he might worry about the 500,000 people in this country who are homeless or the massive level of income and wealth inequality that exists.

So, President Trump, stay out of the Democratic Primary. Why don't you do your job for a change as president. Stop lying. Stop running a corrupt administration. Pay attention to the American people, not just your own political aims.

COOPER: There's a lot of delegates, as you know, obviously, at stake tomorrow. Your campaign has done a lot of outreach to African- American voters. In South Carolina, you got 17 percent of the African-American vote, that's only 3 more percent than you got in 2016. Do you have any reason to believe you're going to do better with African-American voters tomorrow in some of these states than you did on Saturday?

SANDERS: Look, absolutely. In fact, all across this country, I think we're doing very well outside of South Carolina, maybe Mississippi. Outside of the South, we're doing very, very well. In fact, there are some polls have us leading Biden in terms of the African-American vote.

[20:05:00] What we are trying to do, Anderson, is put together an unprecedented grass roots movement. It is a multi-generational, multiracial grass roots movement of millions of people who today are prepared to fight for economic justice, social justice, racial justice, and environmental justice.

And the reason we are doing as well as we are, taking on all of the super PACs and their negative advertising, is because our agenda is speaking to the needs of working families. And let me tell you something, if we want to beat Donald Trump, I hope people will look at my record as opposed to Donald -- as opposed to Joe Biden's record.

Now I'm in the Midwest right now, which has suffered very, very heavily from the loss of many hundreds of thousands of good-paying jobs because of disastrous trade agreements. I helped lead the opposition to trade agreements like NAFTA and PNTR with China. Joe Biden supported those agreements. I helped lead the effort against the war in Iraq, the worst foreign policy blunder in modern history. Joe supported that war.

I voted against the bankruptcy bill, which has harmed many working families. Joe supported it. So I think if you -- Joe has been on the floor of the Senate time and again talking about the need to cut Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and veterans programs. I led the effort to prevent cuts to Social Security. In fact, we have to expand Social Security benefits.

So I think if we're talking about how we defeat Donald Trump, the most dangerous president in the modern history of this country, we are going to need a campaign that can speak to working people with a candidate who has a record, a consistent record, of standing with working people.

COOPER: As you know, Senator Warren is going after your record. She said, quote -- she called you a, quote, "senator who has good ideas, but whose 30-year track record shows he consistently calls for things he fails to get done, consistently opposes things he, nevertheless, fails to stop."

SANDERS: Well, I would respectfully disagree with Senator Warren. You know, four years ago, I talked about raising the minimum wage in this country to $15 an hour, and you know what, I was able, working with workers at Amazon and Disney, to get 400,000 American workers an increase in their minimum wage to at least 15 bucks an hour. And now you've got seven states in this country that have raised their minimum wage to 15 bucks an hour. And as president, we're going to do it nationally.

I talked about making public colleges and universities tuition-free four years ago. And now you've got states, cities, counties moving in exactly that direction. Four years ago, I talked about climate change being the great national security crisis facing this country. Other people now understand that.

In terms of my record, I helped pass, along with John McCain, the most significant veterans bill passed in recent history. Along with Jim Clyburn of South Carolina, I put into the Affordable Care Act $11 billion for community health centers, which is now providing primary health care to 9 million Americans.

Working with conservative Republicans, we managed for the first time to utilize the War Powers Act to get the United States of America out of the terrible war in Yemen, which is one of the worst humanitarian disasters on Earth right now. As a member of the House, I passed year after year, more amendments on the floor, roll call amendments, than any other member of the House.

So I am proud of my record. We're going to run on that record. But most importantly, we need a new vision for America, a vision that tells the corporate elite and the 1 percent that this country belongs to all of us, not just the handful of billionaires.

COOPER: I want to talk more about that vision in a moment. We're going to take a short break. We'll be back with senator Senator Sanders.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[20:13:58]

COOPER: And welcome back to our "Countdown to Super Tuesday." More of our interview with Senator Bernie Sanders.

Senator Sanders, your co-chair, Congressman Ro Khanna, told The Wall Street Journal that he has been trying to convince you to portray yourself differently, as a successor of Franklin Roosevelt and as a New Dealer. Do you ever regret labeling yourself a democratic socialist?

SANDERS: No, I am what I am. And what democratic socialism is about to me is understanding that we have in many ways, Anderson, a socialist society today. But as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. reminded us, we have socialism for the rich and rugged individualism for the poor and for other people.

When Donald Trump was a private businessman, he received $800 million in tax breaks and subsidies to build luxury housing. That's called socialism for the rich. When Amazon, one of the largest, most profitable corporations in America, doesn't pay a nickel in federal income taxes last year, that's called socialism for the rich.

When we give tens of billions of dollars in subsidies and tax breaks to the fossil fuel industry, whose product is destroying our planet, that's called socialism for the rich.

What I want to do is bring government programs to help working families. We are the only major country on Earth not to guarantee health care to all people as a human right. And yet we're spending twice as much per capita on health care as do the people of other county countries.

We're the only major country not to have paid family and medical leave. We're giving tax breaks to billionaires when a half a million people are sleeping out on the streets tonight, when we have a dysfunctional child care system where under-funding education for low- income and working class families, and hundreds of bright young people can't afford to go to college and others are leaving school deeply in debt.

So to me, what I'm talking about is getting our priorities right.

[20:15:00]

No more tax breaks for billionaires. No more subsidies for the fossil fuel industry. Let's pay attention to the working families of this country. Health care is a human right. We need universal, affordable child care for all. We need to make sure that the United States is leading the world in the fight against climate change, so that we leave this planet in a healthy and habitable way for kids and future generations. Bottom line, that's all that this is about. Government policy that works for the middle class works for working class, works for low-income people and not for just wealthy campaign contributors. And by the way, while we're in it -- I'm sorry - go ahead ...

ANDERSON COOPER: No, no, no - go ahead.

SANDERS: All right, while we're in it, I mean, let's look at what goes on in this campaign. Joe Biden has the support - the financial support of 60 billionaires, you really think that's going to be a campaign that brings about change? We have the support, the financial support, from almost 2 million working people in this country who contributed to our campaign, more contribution than any campaign than in the history of American politics, averaging $18.50 apiece.

So, I think, we've got to beat Trump. I think our campaign is best suited to do that because of our grassroots movement, because of our gender, because of my record, and then, once in office, we've got to stand up for working families, stand up for middle class, and tell the billionaire class, they cannot continue to have it all, we cannot continue having three people on top, owning more wealth on the bottom half of this country.

ANDERSON: Vice-president Biden says people aren't looking for a revolution. He says they're looking for results and getting things done.

SANDERS: Well, if you think it's a revolution, if Biden thinks it's a revolution to do what every other major country does and guarantee healthcare to all people ...

ANDERSON: ... you wrote a book called Our Revolution, so I think he's - he's using the word because I think you used it for your book.

SANDERS: Yes, I understand what he's talking about. What I'm saying, though, is he thinks it's revolutionary to tell the pharmaceutical industry they charge us 10 times more for the same exact drugs they sell in Canada or Europe, if he thinks its revolutionary that we stand up for the fossil fuel industry to try to change our climate policy and protect this planet, I don't think that's revolutionary. I think that's exactly what the American want, and that's exactly what we have to do.

You know, Nelson Mandela made a very profound statement once. He said, "Everything seems impossible until it is done." All right. And I think that if we don't allow Trump to divide us up by our race or where we came from or our sexual orientation. If we stand together, around an agenda that works for all of us, we can bring sweeping changes to this country and give people faith in that the government of the United States works for them and not just for wealthy campaign contributors.

ANDERSON: If you become the Democratic nominee, will you insist that your version of Medicare for all is included in the official Democratic platform voted on at the convention?

SANDERS: Absolutely, of course. Look, this system is so dysfunctional, that it really is pathetic. How do you end up spending twice as much per person on healthcare and have 87 million people uninsured or underinsured, 30 thousand people dying each year because they don't get to a doctor when they should? Half a million people going bankrupt because of medically related debt. This is an absurd system. It is enriching the drug companies, they're doing great. The insurance companies are doing great. The healthcare industry made $100 billion in profits last year. So, I don't think it's a revolutionary idea to say that we do what every other major country on earth does. That the function of healthcare is to provide quality care to all as a human right, not make the drug companies and the insurance companies extremely rich.

ANDERSON: Just finally, you mentioned President Trump and the coronavirus and his tweets. He tweeted today that Democrats are fearmongering when it comes to the coronavirus. How do you respond to that?

SANDERS: Well, look. That Trump would appoint Mike Pence as the head of the task force on the coronavirus just speaks to how far out of touch Trump is with reality or his disrespect for science. We need scientists running our response to the coronavirus and not a politician like Pence who barely believes in science at all. So, I would hope, very much, that Trump understands that the coronavirus is a major, major threat, not only to our country but to the entire world. We've got to work with the international community. We've got to work with the World Health Organization. We have to adequately fund our hospitals, our doctors, the NIH, the CDC. This is despite what Trump may think.

[20:20:00]

You know, Trump is also the genius who told us that climate change is a hoax, so what we need to do is have Congress demand that we adequately fund our response, that we work with the global community, and that we have scientists running the program, not politicians who don't believe in science.

ANDERSON: Just before I let you go. Tomorrow, California and Texas, the two biggest prizes, do you think you'll win there? SANDERS: I never like to speculate. All I can tell you is that we have had a great, incredible group of thousands and thousands and thousands of volunteers in Texas, in California or all over this country. As we speak, they're knocking on doors, they're making the phone calls, they're doing all of the things that you have to do to win, so we have worked really, really hard, and I hope we do well.

ANDERSON: Senator Sanders, thanks very much for joining us. I appreciate it.

SANDERS: Thank you very much.

ANDERSON: Senator Sanders is going to have a rally tonight.

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, so the race, obviously, got real interesting, real quick over the course of the last 48 hours. But one thing has been static and that's Bernie Sanders.

You start with where Bernie Sanders stands right now with delegates and that's 60. Take a look at this map right here, where you see Statesville, then are the four contests we've already had.

I want to focus and kind of isolate on Bernie Sanders. This is where he stands going into tomorrow night, by far the biggest night of the primary up to this point. And you see consistency, second place in Iowa, first in New Hampshire, first in Nevada, second in South Carolina, you also see the organization and the spend, more than $16.7 million in 13 states.

And why that matters is this, you just asked Senator Sanders about the two most important states of the night, Texas and California, more than 400 delegates in California, more than 200 delegates in Texas, and for the Sanders Campaign, those are two huge contests for them.

You talk about California, obviously, very large Latino vote, but also major spend for Bernie Sanders, major organization for Bernie Sanders.

Want to talk about consistency, showing up in California for the Sanders Campaign, same for Texas. Obviously, a competitive primary, but one that the Sanders Campaign feels very good about. So, try and game this out to the extent that we can, at this point, Anderson, I would caveat, things are very, very fluid right now. But flip up and we're going to try and play a little bit of delegate again.

Again, the key numbers you need to remember here are right up here, 1,991, that's what you need to have a majority of the delegates and get the Democratic nomination. The other 15 percent, you need 15 percent to be viable statewide and in congressional districts in order to get delegates.

So say Bernie Sanders has a good night, a night were he does well in California, win California, does well in Texas, does well in the Northeast, where would that kind of game him out.

Get a sense of how many delegates are actually at stake tomorrow night, that might get him to somewhere about 584. Think of the fact he's at 60 right now, that's a good night for Sanders, not a great night, a good night gets him all the way to 584.

Now, what happens if, say, people like Joe Biden miss the 15 percent threshold in certain states and Sanders just blows out in California, does very well in Texas, now you're talking about a very big night. Anderson, that could get him up to 700, perhaps even 800 delegates, that's what the Sanders Campaign is eyeing right now.

Again, we're at a point right now, throw out the polls, a lot of new candidates coming in an endorsing, a lot of candidates dropping out. The Sanders Campaign feels good about tonight -- tomorrow night and that could be where they end up, Anderson.

CNN - 2025

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: And welcome back with a special edition of AC 360, Countdown to Super Tuesday. We're bringing you interviews with the top four remaining Democratic presidential candidates and we're standing by for a game changing event in the race.

Joe Biden picking up the endorsements of formal rivals Amy Klobuchar, Pete Buttigieg and Beto O'Rouke tonight.

It's no coincidence this is happening in delegate rich Texas, one of the top prizes in Super Tuesday tomorrow.

I spoke earlier with Former Vice President Joe Biden, you just heard from Senator Sanders. But, Former Vice President Biden is poised to get those important new endorsements and I asked him if he is consolidating support.

JOE BIDEN, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT: I think what's going all about with me and Bernie, is that I don't think people are looking for revolution, I think they're looking for results.

And -- and I think that I'm going to be able to make the case and been able to make in South Carolina and hopefully beyond, that I can produce results and the revolution he's talking about is, you know, spending $60 billion that I don't know where gets the money and I don't see that as the answer.

COOPER: Would there be a place in a Biden Administration for either Mayor Buttigieg or Senator Klobuchar?

BIDEN: Well, I think they're both qualified to do any job. And I have no idea what their interests are, but I really hope that I -- I did speak to Mayor Buttigieg and a -- yesterday I guess it was. Time goes fast. And encouraged, when I heard he has suspended his campaign, to stay engaged.

And I did say, that if ended up being -- I didn't ask for his endorsement, but I did say that he, in fact, is -- he has suspended his campaign, I hope stays engaged. He has enormous talent, enormous talent. And I think we have to bring along, as he talks about, and I believe

him, and I agree, the new generation of political leaders who have significant exposure nationally and there's a lot of things he could do in an administration if I'm the president.

ANDERSON: Michael Bloomberg spoke to CNN's Don Lemon about you and I wanted to play just a bit of what he said so you could respond. We'll play that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MICHAEL BLOOMBERG, DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: He is a legislator and the job requires a manager and executive, and I feel strongly about that.

DON LEMON, CNN HOST: He was the vice president. Obama thought he was ready. You don't think he's ready?

BLOOMBERG: Obama thought he was ready for what?

LEMON: He was his vice president. He was ready to be president. That's the next job.

BLOOMBERG: I don't know. You'd have to talk to President Obama about that. All I know is we keep putting legislators in the job that requires a manager.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Is he right? Is this a job that requires a manager and are you manager?

JOE BIDEN (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It requires somebody who's gotten things done. It requires someone who understands how to bring people together. It requires a Democrat, by the way, to be a Democratic president. And it requires someone who has a track record.

And the president handed me significant responsibility and presidential authority when I was the vice president. I'm the guy that managed the $900 billion Recovery Act. I got the votes for it and got it past, as well as that I manage it day-to-day.

I did the same thing in a number of foreign policy issues. It needs someone who knows about foreign policy. I like Mike, but he knows zero about foreign policy, zero about foreign policy.

The next president on day one has to be ready to stand up and command the world stage and unite this country. They have not been things that I -- Mike is a good guy. But look, you can spend billions of dollars. You can spend a billion dollars, but you can't move away from what your record is.

COOPER: Do you believe Mike Bloomberg is not a Democrat? I mean, he's running now obviously as a Democrat.

BIDEN: He's not a Democrat. Well, he hasn't been a Democrat. And look, I think what the folks are looking for is someone who can produce things, who's ready on day one and is a Democrat. I am an Obama-Biden Democrat. I've been a Democrat all my life. I never had any qualms or concerns about what my views were and I've stuck to it.

It's all about raising people up in a big way. It's about -- but it's not about making sure you're able to put together that and I compliment Mike. He put together a heck of a corporation. But the way he dealt with the people allegedly in his corporation has not been, at least not past vet yet and, you know, everybody is now look in his record and what kind of record he has as mayor.

I was one of the people who along with the president moved to see to it that the Justice Department said cease and desist from 25 million people up against the wall kinds of thing.

I mean, so look, I don't want to get into criticizing Mike. I think he's a decent guy, but I don't think he is a Democrat with a capital D. It's not where he's been. He has a different view on a whole range of things, including the role of what built this country.

This country was built by the middle class and unions built the middle class. That's how I got there. It wasn't "Wall Street." It was ordinary people given an exceptional opportunity and I'm not getting in that.

COOPER: Mr. Vice President, we have to take a quick break. When we come back, I want to talk to you about the coronavirus outbreak. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[20:36:52]

COOPER: Welcome back. Well, we're here with former Vice President Joe Biden. You criticized President Trump's response to the coronavirus crisis. What specific steps would President Biden be taking that the current administration isn't?

BIDEN: I would have taken the steps we took when we dealt with Ebola. I would not have disbanded the office within the White House that this President -- that Trump eliminated. I would not be in a position where I would have waited until now to try to figure out how you have testing kits put in place. We knew back in January.

I would have been in a position where I would not have eviscerated the budget of the CDC. I'd let the scientists make the decisions. I would -- and look, this is where our President's credibility really matters. A president can, in fact, calm nerves that can expose grave concerns.

This President has gone so far out of the way that at one point, a week or so ago, saying that this was a Democratic hype or something. I mean, he put in political terms. It's always about him.

It's not about him. It's about other people. It's about the American people. It's about what's happening in the world and he hasn't listened to any of the experts that have been spoken to him to the best I can tell, because all that he's done so far has not been very helpful.

COOPER: Have you been making plans in your own campaign for how the virus may impact the race? I mean, are you going to continue getting large groups of people together, shaking hands in crowded spaces? I mean, have you given thought to how this might impact the race?

BIDEN: Well, I have. And we're listening to the CDC and then my former chief of staff who's still helping me now, Ron Klain. He was the guy who put together our Ebola response. We have experts that are dealing with us and giving us the advice that needs. Whatever they suggest, the scientists suggest, that's how we'll conduct ourselves.

COOPER: There have been prominent Democrats, as you know, who have been critical of your organization. Terry McAuliffe on CNN the other, the same night that he endorsed you, said that you had virtually no ground game in Iowa. James Clyburn said you needed to retool.

I know you told Jake Tapper on Sunday that it's about addition, not subtraction. Does that mean that you're just -- that this is -- do you think the problem has been people on -- just not enough people on the ground or is there something more fundamental that you're actually going to retool?

BIDEN: Well, we have already begun the retool. We've add a lot of people. We brought in other people who are, in fact, involved in other campaigns. We have -- we're building up the structure to be able to run a national campaign in a way. Part of the problem was we were -- we got started very late. We did not have the resources other campaigns had.

But for example, just since the first of February to date, we've raised I think $33 million in the last 30 days or 31 days. So we're putting ourselves in a position. We have a new personnel. We brought new people in. And we're going to continue to do that and add others as -- particularly people from other campaigns as they in fact fall off. There are some really fine people out there that are now coalescing and I think we're in good shape.

COOPER: This morning, one of the President's sons, Eric Trump, said that his father would destroy you on the debate stage. I'm wondering what you would say to that.

[20:40:03]

BIDEN: Come on, Mr. President. I can hardly wait.

COOPER: You're looking forward to it?

BIDEN: I am looking forward to it.

COOPER: Just lastly, you predicted you'd win South Carolina. You did. Any predictions about which states you'll win tomorrow night?

BIDEN: I think we have a better chance in some than others. I think we'll do very well in Virginia. I think we'll do very well in North Carolina. I we'll do well in Texas, although that's more of a -- it's a much bigger state and I haven't had the millions of dollars to put in the state in terms of advertising. And -- but I think we'll do well.

And then, you know, it's not just over at Super Tuesday. After that, there's Florida. There's, you know, other big states, Georgia. I think we'll do very well in both those places and I think we'll do very well in Michigan and Pennsylvania.

So I think -- look, as I said from the beginning and I know people are tired of me saying it for the last six months, this is a marathon and I think we have some genuine momentum and I think the American people know me -- know me pretty well. And so I think the combination of the two is going to put me in good stead.

COOPER: We have about 30 second left. What would it -- on the eve of Super Tuesday, for folks who are undecided, what is your message to them?

BIDEN: My message is people are not looking for revolution, they're looking for results. I have the most extensive successful record of getting big things done and big things passed. And the next President of the United States on day one is going to have to stand before the whole world, know the leaders around the world and know that they know him.

Putting back together are, in fact, the significant allies we've had that have been -- are just, Trump is just trashing, have a military commander who understands and supports our troops as well as reunite this country. And I think there are things I've done my whole career.

COOPER: Vice President Biden, appreciate your time. Thank you.

BIDEN: Thank you, Anderson. I appreciate it.

COOPER: I want to bring Phil Mattingly. He's going to game out Vice President Biden's strategy as we did with Senator Sanders. What's the best case strategy for Biden?

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Let's start with the baseline. One, what a difference, one blowout win in South Carolina can make. That win bringing him up to 53 total delegates as it stands. And we were talking about the delegate haul tomorrow that's available, 1,344 votes.

You then take a look at what the baseline is for Joe Biden going into it and how much it has changed. Fourth place in Iowa, fifth place in New Hampshire, a distant second place in Nevada, South Carolina, a huge victory.

Now the big question is will that overcome this. He mentioned it in your interview. Not millions of dollars to spend in major media markets, in California, in Texas. Will the big endorsements, will the big boosts from South Carolina carry over?

One of the things the campaign is most certainly sitting on, and the Vice President addressed this, is the demographic shift that you see as you move into Super Tuesday, states that look a little bit like or in some degrees like Alabama, a lot like South Carolina. You're talking about Virginia. You're talking about North Carolina. You're talking about Alabama, Tennessee.

And then you move over to Texas where we have places like Dallas and Houston, suburban areas where Joe Biden wants to do well, thinks he can do well in. So where does that actually leave him when you talk about scenarios?

I want to move up to our delegate tracker here. Again, starting with 53, one of the big questions going into tomorrow night, particularly over the last couple of weeks, is would Joe Biden with able to hit that 15 percent mark, that viability mark in all of the contests.

Let's say he has a good night, a good night based on what happened in South Carolina. That would probably get him up to about 450, 460 delegates. Now if you put that into perspective, Bernie Sanders, if Joe Biden sitting around 460 with the other candidates going out, would perhaps be a couple of hundred delegates ahead of him. It's attainable in the end, but there's still be some distance. That's a good night for Joe Biden.

Now, here's the big question. If Joe Biden cleans up throughout the south, like his campaign thinks he can, if he does very well in Texas, perhaps wins Texas and if hits the viability threshold not just in California but in other states in the northeast and places like Colorado, you're talking about big night for Joe Biden possibly into the 500 delegate range.

Again, not the equivalent of what a Bernie Sanders big night would be, but if you think about where Joe Biden was just four, five days ago to end up here at the end of Super Tuesday, that would be a very big night for Joe Biden.

COOPER: All right, we'll see. A lot to watch on him (ph). Phil Mattingly, thanks very much.

We're going to -- we are waiting for the start of Joe Biden's rally in Texas where he's going to be getting endorsements at three former primary opponents, making a lot of news tonight, Amy Klobuchar, Pete Buttigieg and Beto O'Rourke. More of our special coverage after a break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[20:48:37]

COOPER: And we're back with our live countdown to Super Tuesday. You're looking at live pictures from Joe Biden's rally in Texas as he's getting new endorsements tonight from former rivals Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar and Beto O'Rourke.

Also, you're looking on the right-hand side of your screen at Bernie Sanders' rally. Folks gathering waiting to hear from Senator Sanders, campaigning in Minnesota tonight, on Amy Klobuchar's home turf. She's not there. She is in Dallas. We expect to see her on stage with former Vice President Biden. Earlier, Pete Buttigieg endorsed him in Dallas as well and we expect Beto O'Rourke as well.

I'm joined now by -- I have the folks I'm endorsing, Gloria Borger, David Axelrod, David Chalian, Nia-Malika Henderson. This is -- I've heard you call it I think the great consolidation. I mean, at one night you have -- it's a lot of news for Joe Biden tonight. I mean, it's the best thing that he could achieve on the eve of a Super Tuesday, which is, you know, folks dropping out.

DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Yes. I mean, I think this has probably been happening at a faster pace than the Biden campaign could have wished for. The question of course is, so you take this amazing week you've had, the build up in South Carolina, the Clyburn endorsement into a sweeping victory, into racing $11 million in 48 hours, into three of your competitors dropping out from your lane, Steyer, Buttigieg and Klobuchar. You get the endorsements of two of them. You take that whole thing and then you say, how do you convert that tomorrow when a third of the delegates are at stake.

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Does it -- did the momentum happen in time to reach voters in such a way to make Joe Biden ultra competitive with Bernie Sanders tomorrow who had built up a lead in a lot of these Super Tuesday states? So I think that's the question that hangs over tomorrow.

COOPER: Do we know the answer?

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: No. I don't think we know the answer to that. There are people who voted early in California. But as David has pointed out in the past, there are still a lot of people left to vote in California. And with Buttigieg out there campaigning for Joe Biden, the generational issue may soften a little bit. Amy Klobuchar is a moderate.

The thing that we were discussing, all of us, is that Bernie Sanders is a good campaigner and a great candidate, and he'll be out there too. And he can say, as he is doing, is that it's all of them against me, except for Elizabeth Warren. We don't know what happens with her, but he can make the case, they're out to get me. And that also works for him too to a certain extent.

COOPER: Well, also David, he's never really stopped. I mean, he hasn't been campaigning, but he's never stopped going out there talking to large crowds even when he was -- you know, before he announced he was running, after he lost the last time.

DAVID AXELROD, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: The thing that was conspicuous to me in those conversations with you is just how practiced Bernie Sanders is at delivering his message. And his message is very value-laden, very big. He talked about issues and he talked about causes and he talked about enlisting people into a cause.

He didn't talk about himself. He didn't talk about the things that he had done. And, you know, Biden's message -- his message Saturday night was spectacular when he talked about empathy and humanity and decency, qualities that people feel are sorely lacking in our politics today and that they identify with him.

But when he gets into tactical arguments, he is less effective. I think that's why he got into a jam at the beginning of this race, because it was all about who could beat Trump. Now it's all about who could beat Sanders. And I think if he's going to get to where he wants to go, he better infuse his rhetoric with something more meaningful to people.

COOPER: That was one of the things you said on Saturday night after hearing Biden's speech. You said, you know, extraordinary speech. Can he -- does he have the discipline to carry that forward through all the channels of communication --

AXELROD: Right.

COOPER: -- moving forward time after time after time? What do you think, Nia, the impact of these endorsements is?

NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: You know, I think in some states it could get him to 15 percent, right? Because going into today before some of these endorsements, it wasn't clear if he was going get to 15 percent in some of these states. He doesn't look that great in California. Maybe some of the shifting has helped.

And just this sort of specter of momentum, the kind of everyone in formation, to use a Beyonce phrase, that's what's happening now at least with the moderates lining up behind Biden. So I think that's the hope.

But listen, you've -- we talk about Sanders. He is doing strong among Latinos. That's going matter in a state like California. It's going matter in a state like Texas as well. And I think it's a show of his strength tonight that he is in Minnesota, right?

He has essentially run Amy Klobuchar out of this race in her home state. He's got that big crowd there who very will likely win that race. Maybe you have a Biden who is able to get 15 percent now that Klobuchar is out of that race, but we'll see.

The south is still a strong suit for Joe Biden. He'll do well with African-American voters in states like Alabama, Tennessee, North Carolina, and Virginia and Arkansas. And he's also doing well with white voters in southern states. So we'll see. I think the question is how far ahead could Sanders be --

AXELROD: Exactly.

HENDERSON: -- tomorrow? Is it 100? Is it 200? Is it 300? Because it's very likely he is going to be ahead.

CHALIAN: And there's no definite number, right? There is no number that we can say.

AXELROD: We were talking about that.

CHALIAN: David and I were talking about this earlier. But like, we will know it when we see it whether or not Sanders has formed an impenetrable lead. And just about a point when you say, we dug through the exit polls across the four early states to show where Biden is strongest and weakest. We did this with many of the candidates.

But take a look, you will see 61 percent of African-Americans voted for Joe Biden in South Carolina. That is his strong suit. So when Nia is saying look for the African-American vote across some of these southern states, that is Joe Biden's strongest card to play and what will actually deliver him probably, the most delegates possible. So that's his strong point.

Look at his weakest point across all of these exit polls, it's young voters. Now, you know, they make up varying sizes, you know, maybe 17 percent to 20 percent in certain states. But do you see he is not even on this graphic? You have to go to the second page of this graphic from Iowa, 17 to 29 years old, to get to Joe Biden's 3 percent with the youth vote. That is one of his weakest spots that he is going to have to do some work on if he is indeed going to be --

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BORGER: And Bloomberg, the interesting thing about that is that Bloomberg is bad too with young voters. And the thing I think we'll all be looking for tomorrow night is where is Bloomberg vis-a-vis Joe Biden.

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Because if there is a large gap, I mean, this is what the Biden campaign is telling me, if there is a large gap in Biden's favor ahead of Bloomberg, then Bloomberg is going to have a tough decision to make. And maybe it won't be tough, but he'll have a decision to make. After spending half a billion dollars, he may decide, well, this is enough for me. Maybe I'll put some of my money in a Super PAC for Joe Biden.

COOPER: David Axelrod, I mean, do you think these endorsements make a big difference? I mean, it's not a James Clyburn in South Carolina endorsement in which had a huge impact.

AXELROD: No, exactly and that was really unique. But it does create a sense of momentum. And what they're hoping for is that sense of momentum carries him forward. There are two things, as Gloria mentioned. One of them is, does he finish well ahead of Mike Bloomberg and give Bloomberg a pause to think about whether he should still be in this race. And the second one is the one David mentioned is how close does he finish to Bernie Sanders. He has to be close enough so that this still look likes a horse race.

But I want to address this youth issue, because it's not that Joe Biden is an older person that causes him not to have this youth vote. Look at Bernie Sanders who is older than he is. It is the thing I mentioned earlier, these young people have a sense of mission about things like climate change, about income inequality, about social justice.

COOPER: Can you start that sentence with these kids today?

AXELROD: Well, you get the point.

COOPER: And end it with get off my lawn. No, but you're right. I mean, there -- it is not an age issue per se.

AXELROD: Right.

COOPER: Coming up, our countdown to Super Tuesday continues. More candidate interviews. We'll go live to the Joe Biden rally in Texas and the Bernie Sanders rally in Minnesota.

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