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ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT

At Least 102 U.S. Cases of Coronavirus and 6 Deaths; Trump Contradicts His Experts On Vaccine Timeline; San Antonio Sues CDC for Releasing Patient Who Later Tested Positive for Coronavirus; Sources: Klobuchar and Buttigieg to Endorse Biden Tonight. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired March 2, 2020 - 19:00   ET

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


WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: Wall Street had a remarkable rebound today. The Dow Jones average was up almost 1,300 points. It's the biggest one day gain ever. The S&P and the NASDAQ were also up, each gaining more than 4 percent.

Thanks for watching. Erin Burnett OUTFRONT starts right now.

ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: OUTFRONT next, mixed messages. The President says one thing about coronavirus, his top health official says something different. This is the United States tonight, reports 102 cases and six deaths.

Plus, a major U.S. city declaring a public health emergency after a woman with the coronavirus was let out of isolation and went to a mall. How did that happen?

And Amy Klobuchar and Pete Buttigieg suspending their campaigns within hours of each other in moments. They are expected to together appear with and endorse Joe Biden. Let's go OUTFRONT.

And good evening. I'm Erin Burnett. OUTFRONT tonight, there are now 102 cases of coronavirus in the United States. And now six people have died in the United States from the virus. This as President Trump says he's looking at more travel restrictions as a number of cases jumps 50 percent in Italy in just one day.

The numbers increasing as there are alarming contradictions on coronavirus coming from the President and the scientists at the CDC. Trump today came out and said a vaccine is just a few months away.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I've heard very quick numbers, a matter of months and I've heard pretty much a year would be an outside number. You're talking about three to four months.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: Three to four months. A year an outside number. That is not what the scientists in charge say. Only seconds later, in fact, the head of infectious diseases at the NIH had to stop President Trump from continuing to suggest that a vaccine is going to be here in a few months. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: Let me make sure you get the - President - the information that a vaccine that you make and start testing in a year is not a vaccine that's deployable. So he's asking the question, when is it going to be deployable and that is going to be at the earliest a year to a year and a half ...

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: All right. A year to a year and a half. And he had to jump in and correct the President of the United States who was saying three to four months. I mean, it's a pretty stunning thing that this just happened. It is a jarring contradiction, at the very least, and it is not OK, especially as Americans are focusing on the situation. Cases now in 11 states as more people are tested, the number has jumped about 53 percent in the last 72 hours to that 102 confirmed cases.

The thing is, though, is that when the President says three to four months and the scientists in charge say it's going to take a year to a year and a half, it is not the first time that the President has been undercut by the scientists, his public health officials.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: We have it so well under control.

FAUCI: We're dealing with an evolving situation. We're dealing with clearly an emerging infectious disease that is now reached outbreak proportions and likely pandemic proportions.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: Kaitlan Collins is live OUTFRONT in the White House. And Kaitlan, the number of cases of coronavirus now 102 in the United States. Obviously, there is more testing and we're now finding out about more cases. Is the level of concern in the White House also on the rise?

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Erin, you seem to sense that there is some kind of a change here, because for the last few days, we've seen the President really downplaying this and it does seem that the White House has realized how much of their response to all of this was coming under scrutiny. And now they seem to be trying to work overtime to assure people that, yes, they are adequately prepared to respond to this and they are keeping a close eye on it. And that's why you're seeing events like you saw today where the President was meeting with these drug company executives, a meeting that was supposed to initially be about drug pricing, but instead you saw the President there talking about how long it was going to take for vaccines.

And then of course, the Vice President who has been placed in charge of this task force is also the one who's been speaking with governors today. He held that briefing this afternoon with reporters and the rest of the task force, including that new coordinator that he recently added to the team who said she just got in from South Africa last night to really give you an idea of what their response to this is looking like. Because that comes as the President himself has been injecting these ideas that some aides have admitted are not helpful.

Including the one about how quickly that vaccine is going to come around when people like Dr. Fauci are saying that's actually not what we should be relying on as our responses because it is going to take so long for that vaccine to be developed. But also the President floating ideas like this is going to go away when the weather warms up, something that scientists has said they have no idea yet and really won't know until the temperature actually does warm up.

You're seeing other officials trying to put out this response. They're saying they are prepared for this and they are keeping an eye on this, because in that briefing this afternoon, the Vice President did say they do expect the number of cases to grow. Essentially what their objective here is, is just trying to mitigate the spread in the United States.

Though, Erin, we are likely to learn more information from the White House because this is actually something pretty rarely don't often have press briefings in that briefing room anymore.

[19:05:06]

But the Vice President did say they are going to hold one every single day with the coronavirus task force to keep people updated.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Kaitlan.

And I want to go OUTFRONT now to our chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta. Also with us, Ian Bremmer, an expert in global crises, also the President of Eurasia Group.

So Sanjay, when you hear the President of the United States come out and say, "I've heard very quick numbers, a matter of months, you're talking about three to four months, a year would be an outside number." And then immediately, the guy in charge of Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health says it is a year to 18 months and that is the way it's going to be. Why is the President saying something that is not true?

SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: I don't know, Erin. I think, obviously, this is an effort to try and reassure people, to try and calm people down. But the scientists have been very clear on this, even if you have candidates for the vaccine within the next couple of weeks or even now, just the process by which it has to go through trials to ensure that it works, that it's safe, all of that just takes time.

It's not going to be ready, for what they sort of think, this season. If we're dealing with coronavirus next season, then we may have a vaccine at that point, but it's just not. Therapeutics, some of the antivirals, maybe those could be ready by the fall or even late summer. We are told that's pretty quick, but not a vaccine, Erin. BURNETT: Right. And, of course, that's because when they've rushed

vaccines before, you can have side effects. It isn't as if they're waiting for any reason other than people can die and there's a reason for it. I mean, Ian, when you hear this, the President of the United States saying something that the scientists even in the United States government who run the National Institutes of Health for Infectious Diseases say is not true. How much of a problem is that?

IAN BREMMER, PRESIDENT AND FOUNDER, EURASIA GROUP: Of course, it's a problem. I mean, when your first question is to Sanjay Gupta and saying why is the President lying, he has no idea. I mean, we need to be focusing on science and the fact that this has become so politicized, both inside the United States and globally so many people don't know what the real news is. They're much more likely to panic as a consequence, when cases go up. They're less likely to respond to science.

So different than the last time we had a global crisis in 2008, where both the response inside the United States and the response globally was let's work together to try to deal with this crisis and build consumer confidence. You're going to see the exact opposite, both globally and inside the United States, which means the likely impact irrespective of how bad the virus itself actually is, but the impact on supply chain, on human behavior, on panic buying and on consumer sentiment is likely to be much worse this time around.

BURNETT: So Sanjay, you were in the White House briefing room for today's news conference. We understand these are going to be happening daily. You were there for Vice President Pence, Secretary Azar when they came and spoke.

One thing though that sort of stood out as I was watching it, we heard over and over again that the risk to Americans remains low. Here they are.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Let's be clear. The risk to the American people of the coronavirus remains low.

ALEX AZAR, UNITED STATES SECRETARY OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES: The immediate risk to any individual American has been and does continue to be low.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The risk to the American people is low.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you look at the country as a whole, the risk is low.

PENCE: As we said the risk remains low.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: So, Sanjay, when you heard that, are you comfortable with that, that they could be sure of that at this point? GUPTA: Well, I think it a little bit depends on the risk of what

exactly are they talking about. If it's the risk of dying from this coronavirus, then I think that that's true. The risk of being exposed and possibly being infected by this coronavirus, look, I think that risk is certainly increasing. We're seeing community spread in places all over the country and I want to show you a comparison here quickly between what's happening with coronavirus versus H1N1 versus SARS and Ebola.

Take a look there and see what happens at day seven. You see how quickly H1N1 sort of takes off there. We bought that extra time which is why coronavirus didn't explode at the same time as H1N1. But look now, I think at nine weeks you see coronavirus infections are higher. As you continue the animation, if it's continuing now, look what happens to H1N1. It goes up to 16 million cases within a year.

So the idea that this is going to be out there, coronavirus is actually above where H1N1, it's at nine weeks at this point, it's going to be out there. So the risk of people being exposed to this virus, I think, is probably not low anymore. I think the risk of them getting sick, the risk of them dying is certainly low, 80 percent of people and I think this should be comforting to some extent, 80 percent of people who get exposed to this virus, get infected with this virus will have minimal symptoms or may be no symptoms at all.

But that gives you an idea of the trajectory of what we're talking about here.

[19:10:02]

BURNETT: Right. And, of course, as you've talked about, Sanjay, it's very unclear what the death rate is because we don't know how many people have it, to your point.

GUPTA: That's right. That's absolutely right.

BURNETT: But if you're looking at a death rate in the United States right now, at 6 percent, that's not going to be what it is, I would presume. But if you're at 3 percent or two percent or even half of 1 percent, you're still at multiples of the flu.

GUPTA: That's right and, look, people sometimes forget talking about the flu because we're so used to it. But then a couple of years ago, the flu in the United States alone led to over 60,000 deaths. That was the flu. So when you start to do multiples on this, as you point out, we don't know what that multiple is going to be because we don't have a good idea of the fatality ratio.

The largest study out of China suggests it's around 2 percent, but there may be many other people out there who haven't been counted. But even if it's 1 percent, that's 10 times higher. So you could be talking about, a few hundred thousand people.

BURNETT: Right. And I think that is what is a sobering reality here, Ian. We also have that President Trump now saying that he wants new travel restrictions. So first of all, they say they're going to be testing everybody who comes in from Italy, for example, temperature checks, which I want to ask Sanjay about that in a moment, about how effective that would even be, but also additional travel restrictions in addition to the ones that are in place for China and Iran.

So what is the impact of this, increasing travel restrictions?

BREMMER: Well, I mean, obviously, as Sanjay said, we did by time, both by putting travel restrictions vis-a-vis the Chinese when we realized that there was an uncontrolled epidemic on their hands and the Chinese by expanding a draconian quarantine, the size of which the world had never seen before. But that's very different from using that time to actually build up our own capacity to implement a plan, to stockpile medical supplies and other sources, that clearly hasn't been done.

And meanwhile, the Chinese are trying desperately to get their economy back online. And as they do that, it's the risks of yet another outbreak trying to get away from the draconian everyone's being kept essentially in their apartments in over 60 million to 70 million people in China. That's also a danger. So there's not a lot of good political science right now on how you respond to this.

BURNETT: And, Sanjay, what about those temperature checks? I mean, I think it appears also in Los Angeles County, there was an implication that, oh, the flight attendant who had this couldn't have been spreading it, because she didn't have symptoms. We don't even know that. You might be spreading it before you even have a symptom such as a fever, right?

GUPTA: Yes. That is true. I mean, we did some reporting about this and it is true that you can have what is called a symptomatic spread. So the person doesn't have symptoms, but is still shedding the virus. It's less likelihood of spreading it that way, but it can happen.

But we did some reporting about the effectiveness of these travel screenings as well and I want to, if I could, quickly just share some of these numbers. Up until February 23rd, this should give you some context, there were some 46,000 people who were screened at airports. Out of them 11 total, not 11,000 but 11 total were sent to hospitals or clinics for further screening and testing and only one patient came back positive for coronavirus out of those 46,000 screenings.

So you see where it's necessary, but not a very high yield when it comes to things.

BURNETT: Right. Right. And at this point, you need to go for the more high yield, especially with the community spread. All right. Thank you both very much.

And next, the CDC under fire tonight. A woman was let out of quarantine. So she was let out of quarantine, told she's fine to go. Then tested positive for coronavirus. How did that happen and how many people did she come into contact with who could be at risk tonight?

Plus, in just moments, Joe Biden is expected to score two major endorsements from Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar on the eve of the biggest election day this season.

And President Trump claims the Democratic primary is rigged against Sanders.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: It's rigged against Bernie, there's no question about it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: No question about it? Well, former 2020 candidate Marianne Williamson who has endorsed Sanders responds.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:17:47]

BURNETT: Breaking news, the city of San Antonio suing the CDC for releasing a patient into the city who later tested positive for coronavirus. And the Republican Governor of Texas is slamming the Federal Agency tonight.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. GREG ABBOTT (R-TX): What happened in San Antonio and what the CDC did is completely unacceptable. It appears to be a case of negligence.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: Now, this patient was evacuated from Wuhan, China to San Antonio. She tested negative for the virus twice. Before the third test came back, she was released and that test was positive.

So in that gap of time she had gone to a hotel. She had spent time at a mall. She had eaten at a restaurant there and then she got put back in quarantine. But during that time she was out, of course, she had the virus.

OUTFRONT now, one of the San Antonio officials who has been dealing with the cases there, Democratic Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff. And I appreciate your time, sir.

Look, this is obviously disturbing. The patient was released then found to have the virus. So obviously when she was released, she had no idea. She had it. I mean, this is no fault of her own. She then is found out to have the virus.

Do you have any idea how and why it could have happened that she had two negative tests and a positive test? They let her out. I mean, what happened here?

JUDGE NELSON WOLFF, (D) BEXAR COUNTY, TX JUDGE: Well, actually she had a positive test at first, then two negatives and then a positive. But this goes back to simple thing we asked the Federal government to do and they have ignored us. I wrote a letter on the 17th, 18th of February. Then, mayor and I wrote another one on the 24th of February saying, keep these people under quarantine and do not let them come out into the public if they've tested positive.

They have not answered either one of the articles, either one of the letters. And so today I ordered a emergency order that anyone coming out of there which is 120 of them left come out into the county, that we will prohibit that and the Sheriff's office will detain them if that were to happen.

BURNETT: So this patient went to the mall when she was released. She stayed at a hotel. Now, a city official says exposure is deemed to be low, but obviously this raises a lot of questions. She ate at a restaurant, so she was at a table.

[19:20:01]

She touched a table. She touched chair. She could have pushed buttons on an elevator. She's in a hotel room. I mean, do we have any idea how many people she could have infected and as to why they say the risk would be so low?

WOLFF: Well, she was at the mall for about two hours. And as you know there's hundreds of people in a mall. But we all know you have to be close to the person to be able to pass it along or you have to have it on a surface that might be.

So I think the odds are very, very low if this person will do it. But what our overriding concern has been over 18 people been released in various parts of our community, we think that's wrong. We've said it time and time again, I represent 2 million people here. I represent 26 cities besides the City of San Antonio.

BURNETT: Yes.

WOLFF: So we're doing everything we can to protect our citizens. We've done everything we can to help those that really have a serious case. But we've had no cooperation with the CDC, with the Federal government, with the Department of Defense, just not listening to us.

BURNETT: So when you're trying to track down people just in this one specific case, obviously, you're going to be dealing with more than that. But one case, anyone she may have come into contact with that you would want to check. I mean, have you been getting any assistance from them in doing that? I mean, do you feel like you've found all of those people and how is all of this working, finding the people she could have interacted with?

WOLFF: Well, our metro health department, our local metro health department, I believe, they interviewed about 18 people that she came in contact that they've been able to track down. I think, out of that six or seven of them were some concern.

So we don't really know what happened here, but again you got to come back to the policy that we think was so wrong. We didn't ask for these people to be here. We didn't know they were coming here and we just simply ask keep them on a quarantine, do not send them out into the city and the county and we've had no support on that.

BURNETT: So today is the end of the 14 day quarantine. And when you talk about those individuals, 120, they were on the Diamond Princess, they were sent to Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio.

WOLFF: That's correct.

BURNETT: So today was the end of the quarantine. Do you have any knowledge? Were they all just released into the community? Do you know where they are or what happened?

WOLFF: Well, tomorrow we will know. Some of them have spent their 14 days there. The Texas Department of Health wrote a letter today saying they should be tested the third time before they're released. I haven't had heard a response to that also.

So we're concerned about the fact that we have 2 million people here in Bear County. We think that what the CDC has done and they're allowing them to come out in the community was the wrong thing to do. It's a very simple request we made and they've ignored it.

BURNETT: All right. Well, Judge Wolff, I appreciate your time tonight and we'll be checking in with you, of course, tomorrow. Thank you.

WOLFF: Thank you.

BURNETT: And next, just moments from now Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar are expected to endorse Joe Biden on stage. It is a huge night here in this race and the question then will be how big of a boost is this for Joe Biden. Is this a transformational moment?

And former presidential candidate Marianne Williamson, she has endorsed Bernie Sanders. She's my guest. Why does she think Sanders is the best candidate to carry on her message of love above all?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:27:14]

BURNETT: Tonight, in a stunning move, Amy Klobuchar and Pete Buttigieg ending their campaigns within hours of each other to throw their support to Joe Biden on the eve of the crucial Super Tuesday elections. Now, according to sources, we are just moments away from Klobuchar and Buttigieg. They're going to be together endorsing Biden together at a Dallas rally.

I mean, it's an unprecedented moment. They're getting out before Super Tuesday. It's sort of they're actually putting their actions where their mouths are.

Arlette Saenz is OUTFRONT at that rally. Arlette, Joe Biden, everyone was saying, oh, he lost, he lost, he lost, but then he won in South Carolina and he won big. He's riding that momentum and these two endorsements are both unexpected to many in timing and hugely significant. ARLETTE SAENZ, CNN POLITICAL REPORTER: Yes, they sure, Erin. And when

Joe Biden steps on stage here in Dallas in just a short while he is looking to project a message and a sense of unity with both Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar expected to endorse the former vice president. It's been quite the turn of events over really the past 48 hours since Joe Biden had that decisive victory in South Carolina after losses in the first three nominating contest.

And now you have Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar both ending their presidential bids and expected to endorse the former vice president. Now, one thing Biden is really looking towards is trying to coalesce the moderate support around his candidacy and what he is hoping to do is turn this into a two person race between himself and Bernie Sanders.

Now, Bernie Sanders is the current leader in the delegate counts and he tomorrow on Super Tuesday wants to amass an insurmountable lead in the delegate hunt. Super Tuesday is the biggest night on the Democratic primary calendar with more than 1,300 delegates up for grabs across 14 states across the country, including here in delegate- rich Texas and Joe Biden tonight is looking to turn that win in South Carolina into a bit of momentum and boost heading into Super Tuesday, Erin.

BURNETT: All right. Arlette, thank you.

And I want to go now to Paul Begala, former White House Counsel to President Clinton and Abdul El-Sayed, former Democratic Candidate for Governor in Michigan and a Bernie Sanders supporter. Both our CNN Political Contributors.

Paul, you're with me, so look just in terms of the timing of getting out and the timing of endorsing together, it's a special moment. It's an unprecedented moment. It was not expected. It's sort of historic just how it's playing out, isn't it?

PAUL BEGALA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: It is and it's just annoying a lot of politicians knowing some of these. It's really, really hard to shift gears like that. They're going a hundred miles an hour and forward and now they have to go 70 miles an hour and reverse. It's really going to be jarring. It's quite extraordinary.

I do think that Jim Clyburn's earth shattering endorsement of Joe Biden in South Carolina where even Biden said raised him from the dead.

[19:30:02]

It shows you that Democrats are still unsettled voters, 37 percent in South Carolina decided in the closing days. And so, Clyburn's endorsement matter enormously. I'm sure some large percentage of Democrats voting tomorrow will hear this and they'll think, OK, maybe, maybe Joe is my guy.

ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: So, Abdul, how significant do you think these two endorsements could be? I mean, this is the question, we live in an era where I think a lot of

people scoff at endorsements in general, but yet it is true. The Jim Clyburn endorsement, as late as it came, right?

I mean, he said, oh, I've decided, I've decided -- weeks went by. But then when he made it, it was emotional and it was significant. Do you think that Buttigieg and Klobuchar's endorsements could matter, Abdul?

ABDUL EL-SAYED, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, look, I don't think that the endorsements matter as much as the fact that both of them dropped out. And so, they're not sharing a piece of that pie.

I will say though that Joe Biden still has three problems the first is Michael Bloomberg, who spent more money than anyone on Super Tuesday.

The second is he's still Joe Biden. And he doesn't have a message. He's kind of been running on the Democratic version of make America great again.

And the third is at this point in the race, he hasn't been able to invest in the Super Tuesday states in any way because he was puttering out of money.

And so, we have yet to see what these endorsements will do.

BURNETT: So, Paul, this is actually an interesting point. I was looking at the chart of spending on Super Tuesday. If I recall correctly, Michael Bloomberg spent more money in Vermont, which he's not going to win and he knows that, it's Bernie Sanders' state, than Joe Biden spent in all the Super Tuesday states combined, OK?

This was a guy who didn't have enough money, wasn't spending money, was just campaigning on name recognition. Sort of, I think it gotten to the point where he maybe himself thought like if South Carolina wasn't amazing, he would be left by the wayside. And now, all of a sudden, things have changed just completely.

Does that mismatch in investment matter?

BEGALA: It can matter, it should matter. But we've seen that momentum matters, or rather demography matters more. To be a Democratic nominee, you have to put together multi-ethnic, multi-racial coalitions to make sure the Democratic Party. Bernie Sanders did that in Nevada, really impressively good for him, was unable to replicate that in South Carolina.

Joe Biden was able to dominate South Carolina far more than his closest friends thought he might do. So, that's what you want to look for going forward. Putting Amy and Pete in the tent with him I think helps him again to show I can build a broad coalition --

BURNETT: But you're assuming, do you think, that most of their supporters are going to go for Joe Biden? I mean, you know what? You can see plenty going for other people, right? I mean, it's a very simplistic assumption. BEGALA: Well, in Iowa where you do have to choose a second choice if

your candidate doesn't qualify for the threshold, particularly Buttigieg supporters did go to Biden and many Klobuchar supporters did. So there's empirical evidence that suggest --

BURNETT: Yes.

BEGALA: -- some of them will move. They're free agents. Joe Biden has to earn every vote.

By the way, so is Bernie. Give me a free advice. Just a second, Abdul, a little free advice to Bernie, your guy. He needs to be gracious about this.

EL-SAYED: Paul, look, I think --

BEGALA: If those people endorsed Bernie, he'd be thrilled right?

EL-SAYED: Look, the key point here is this, A, Elizabeth Warren is still in the race. I think a lot of folks who very rightly want to see a woman president, they're going to move their votes from Amy Klobuchar to Elizabeth Warren. That's number one.

Two, Pete Buttigieg had some rugged edge of millennial support and that millennial support I highly doubt is going to Joe Biden. I do think, though, right now, Bernie is in the driver's lane and the reason why is because he has a real message that speaks to the challenges that people face. It's not about kumbaya, let's find the soul of America.

Sure, we've been living under Donald Trump for three years now, we've got to find a message that truly appeals to the challenges people face. They don't have health care, they're worried about losing their jobs in a gig economy, and they're worried about the fact that they're all on debt.

Like these are the issues that people are facing, and Joe Biden doesn't really have a message for that, Bernie does.

BURNETT: And what about Bloomberg? You know, to the point that Abdul was making at the beginning, right? I mean, you got Sanders and then Warren still in. So, there's some degree of overlap there that people assume.

But then you've got this Michael Bloomberg spending juggernaut coming in on Super Tuesday and no one really knows what to expect. And one -- but in terms of policy, Biden and Bloomberg, that Venn diagram is quite tightly overlapped.

BEGALA: Right, lots of overlap there. Mike Bloomberg, I know it's his first day on the ballot. He has to win some Super Tuesday states. I mean, these are clear Bernie Sanders --

BURNETT: He can't come in close second like bunch up at the top.

BEGALA: He's got to win. You spent a half a billion dollars, you better win.

And I think he -- I think perhaps his strategists were thinking I'll be the remainder man if and when Joe Biden stumbles and falls and gets out. It's not happening. Biden is now surging. He's putting together a diverse coalition. Senator Sanders again did that in Nevada, can he put it back together.

I certainly think in California, he's a prohibitive favorite. But I'm from Texas, and I'm hearing in Texas, that's why Biden is doing the announcement in Dallas, that Biden is surging a bit in Texas. I think Biden ought to worry a lot about Texas.

BURNETT: Final word, Abdul?

EL-SAYED: To jump -- to jump in, I just want to say that let's not forget how many delegates are coming out of Tuesday. We're talking about one third of the entire delegate math. And at this point, Bernie has been strong and consistent.

[19:35:03]

I've been out in California and the kind of energy, the kind of enthusiasm really is quite strong. So, it's going to be an interesting Tuesday to watch.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you both very much.

And next, President Trump weighing in, says the Democratic Party is rigging it, trying to stop Bernie Sanders.

Does Sanders need to shutdown those claims, full stop? Marianne Williamson, she supports Sanders, now is OUTFRONT.

And Mike Bloomberg's record as a Republican under new scrutiny tonight.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MICHAEL BLOOMBERG, THEN-NYC MAYOR: You may rest assured we, along with you, will make George W. Bush have a second term.

(EDN VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BURNETT: Tonight, Bernie Sanders getting ready to hold a rally in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Look, Minnesota is a crucial state in this election, it also is the home state of Senator Amy Klobuchar who dropped out of the race today and is set to endorse Joe Biden at his rally along with Pete Buttigieg, according to sources.

[19:40:09]

Sanders today say it's all about the establishment getting scared about his candidacy.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The establishment is getting very, very nervous. The reason is, they know that our administration will stand up to the corporate elite.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: OUTFRONT now, former Democratic presidential candidate Marianne Williamson, she has endorsed Bernie Sanders.

And, Marianne, I appreciate your time.

I mean, look, we're just moments away from Buttigieg and Klobuchar, you know, doing this on the eve of Super Tuesday, getting out when no one thought they would, everyone thought they would wait until after super Tuesday, endorsing Joe Biden, you know, in Texas. You tweeted in response, quote, they must have read "Art of the Deal".

What did you mean by that?

MARIANNE WILLIAMSON (D), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It was obviously a reference to President Trump's book. The moderates are consolidating. It's a huge stop Bernie movement that's obvious to everybody and we'll see what happens tomorrow.

BURNETT: OK. So, does Elizabeth Warren need to drop out to help unify the progressives behind Bernie Sanders?

WILLIAMSON: Elizabeth Warren should do whatever her conscious should do. I'm a big fan of Elizabeth Warren, I think she's a wonderful woman.

Very clearly, a lot of things she stands for are aligned with what Bernie stands for, but she needs to make her own choices here. I think what matters to me is that we have a progressive candidate. We have an America in which 1 percent of all Americans control more than 90 percent of the wealth of more than 90 percent of the bottom.

We have 40 percent Americans who could not handle a $1,000 unexpected expenditure. We have tens of millions of Americans who don't know what would happen if they got sick, if their children got sick, how they're going to send their kids to college or how they're going to pay off college loans. We need a massive infusion of economic hope and opportunity into the life of the average American. That's what matters.

So, the contest here between moderate and progressive is that moderates are saying, let's take an incremental approach to writing this ship. Those of us who are progressives say, no. This is so off course, we have so strayed from the core principle of what American justice, including economic justice should mean, that we need to fix this, we need to fix it now.

That's not an extreme position. What's extreme is how far we have strayed from the American ideal. And Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders have to do what they feel is right to make this happen.

BURNETT: All right. So, I understand, right? There's two very different views here.

But, you know, one person who's been trying to capitalize on this split or schism or whatever would be the appropriate word in the Democratic Party is President Trump, right? He's been saying every time that he can -- I'm sorry? I'm sorry?

OK. I'm sorry to interrupt you, Marianne. Joe Biden and Mayor Pete are walking out now. I want to go to this. This is the rally we told you about in Texas. We hear Buttigieg is going to be introducing Joe Biden. And endorsing him here formally in Dallas in a couple of moments.

OK. Marianne, as we're waiting this, I'm sorry we did not expect this to happen this early, but as we await this, I guess from just the perspective of the timing and the staging, how significant do you think this is? I pardon if I interrupt you again for the endorsement, but please go ahead.

WILLIAMSON: That's all right. How important it is the staging of Pete Buttigieg coming out with Joe Biden?

BURNETT: Yes.

WILLIAMSON: Obviously, it's important for the drama, for the horse race. But we want to keep our eyes on what's most important, and that's not the political horse race. What's important is the experience of the American people. What we have -- a rigging of the U.S. economy. That's the rigging --

BURNETT: All right. I'm sorry to interrupt, I really do apologize. We'll have you back soon.

Here's Mayor Pete.

PETE BUTTIGIEG (D), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You know, when I ran for president we made it clear 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 of the United States.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

And I do it with great pleasure knowing just how much we need to do, not only to win, which is so very important. And when I say win, not just win back the White House, but make sure we bring those vitally important House and Senate and local races with us. We can hear it for that.

(APPLAUSE)

But also we've got to do it in a way that starts to change the toxic and divisive nature of our politics right now.

[19:45:07]

We can't go on like this. And we've got a politics right now that makes it sound like being loudest is tantamount to being right. We need a politics that's about decency, a politics that brings back dignity.

And that is what we sought to practice in my campaign. That's what Joe Biden has been practicing his entire life.

So, what we see right now is an opportunity, not just to meet that imperative of getting a new and better president, but of doing it with a leader who will practice that way of rallying people together, with ideas that are big enough to unite the American people, of all generations.

(LAUGHTER)

And if you think about it, on some of the most important issues affecting my generation and the next generation -- climate change, gun violence, Joe Biden has been delivering on those very priorities. From taking on the NRA and winning, to negotiating the Paris climate accord, to shepherding the passage of the Affordable Care Act. This is what has made it possible for us to achieve what has been achieved, and that is why I have such confidence that as president, Joe Biden will take the ball further as it needs to go.

But it's even more than that. It's the need to bring back dignity to the White House.

CROWD: Yes.

BUTTIGIEG: When we have a president who is tearing this country --

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

And the country already knows without me having to say so, but I want you to know how unbelievably and unfailingly decent I have known Vice President Biden to be. From his visits to South Bend while he was vice-president, to my visits as a mayor to the White House during the Obama-Biden administration, to perhaps especially the experiences that I've had getting to know him while competing with him. He is somebody of such extraordinary grace and kindness and empathy.

From taking time to talk to somebody who struggles to speak, to taking time for a family that's struggling with loss, he will bring the exact kind of empathy that is so badly lacking in this White House, and along the way in his campaign, will draw us together as we need a leader to do.

I commented last night, and I've often said that politics at its best is more than policy. It's soul craft. And so, it's fitting that I am joining to support a campaign that speaks so often about the soul of this nation. I don't believe the world is divided up into people who are all good and people who are all bad. I don't believe that how you voted in the past makes you good or bad.

I believe that each of us can have good things and bad things brought out of us, and that's why leadership is so important. I'm looking for a leader. I'm looking for a president who will draw out what is best in each of us.

And I'm encouraging everybody who is part of my campaign to join me, because we have found that leader in vice-president, soon to be president, Joe Biden.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Folks, well, I tell you what. Folks, this is -- I can't tell you how much I appreciate Pete's endorsement. And I know for Pete's supporters, from the mayor to many people that are here, this is also a bittersweet moment because you've supported a man of enormous integrity, a fellow who has as much moral courage as he has physical courage. And I really mean that.

There hasn't been a harsh word between us since we started to compete. And I think that it's clear to everyone that this is a man who is not only brilliant, but is decent. And this is a man who, when I called Pete when I got out, which surprised me when he said he was going to suspend his campaign, I didn't ask Pete to endorse me, but I called him and told him that we needed him to stay engaged, we needed him badly to be involved, because when he talked to the campaign and debates about passing the torch to the next generation, that's absolutely essential.

And I am absolutely confident with further exposure of the nation to Pete and to all he stands for and all he'll do, and all he can do that there is no limitation on what this man can get done. And the fact that he's prepared to help me is -- means a great deal to me. I don't think I've ever done this before, but he reminds me of my son Beau. And I know that -- may not mean much to most people, but to me, it's the highest compliment I could give any man or woman.

[19:50:06]

And that is that, like Beau, he had a backbone like -- he has a backbone like a ramrod. I really mean this. But think about it. You've heard me -- some of you have heard me say this before. When I got elected same age Pete got elected, 29, people would come up to me because I won it must have been some secret. They'd come up to me and say, what's the secret?

I said there's one secret. You shouldn't get engaged unless you know what's worth losing over, what's worth losing over. Pete knows what's worth losing over. Pete knows why he gotten engaged, knows why he's there, and why I'm confident -- absolutely confident he will stay engaged.

I warned Pete that if I were lucky enough to get the nomination, that I would be asking him to join. I'm asking him to be involved in this process because there are a generation of leaders of Pete's age like my son Beau who have unlimited potential, unlimited potential. The only thing that stands in their way is access and opportunity to be able to be known nationally.

If Pete had been around another six years, I wouldn't be standing here. Pete would be standing. I'd be endorsing Pete. No, I really mean it. I really mean it.

So, folks, you know, the other point I want to make is this. That the reason I -- and we talk after debates, and we talk during -- during the interim periods when we're backstage, the reason that I admire him so much and the reason why I think we're so simpatico when we represent two generations, is that Pete knows the role of the president is not just a fight, it's not just to win, but it's to heal. This country needs to be healed.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, sir. Thank you, Mr. Vice President.

BIDEN: No, I really mean it. it's not hyperbole.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You're right.

BIDEN: Pete gets it. I talk many times about the plight -- I think of things like Pete does. It's all about you. It's all about family. It's all about community. And it really is.

That's what got Pete engaged. That's what got him involved. That's what got me involved. And it's never changed.

When I left the vice presidency, when our term ended, I thought a long time about what to do. And I had opportunities to take advantage, some significant opportunities for a kid who was listed as the poorest guy in the Senate all those years. But I decided that, having the conversation, I'll end with this with my son Beau. I'm sorry to talk about my son Beau so much, but he was my soul.

And I remember him knowing that he only had a little time to live and asking me whether -- we'd go home every weekend, Jill and I because he only lived where the crow flies, a mile from us. We'd have dinner Friday night, spent the weekend with him.

And he asked his wife to take my two grandchildren upstairs because he wanted to talk. He said, dad, I know no one loves me more than you do, and he said, dad, but I want you to know, I'm going to be OK, even though we knew it was going to be a matter of months. It's going to be OK.

And he looked at me and he said, he said, dad, I want you to promise me you're going to be OK. Some of the presses heard me say this, I wrote a book about Beau, "Promises to Keep". When I went on to talk about that was the first book I wrote. Then I wrote another book about Beau, "Promise Me, Dad".

And what it was all about is what Pete's all about. He said, promise me, Dad, you're going to stay engaged. He knew I would take care of his family and do whatever would need to be done. But he thought I would withdraw and move away.

And he looked at me and he said: Dad, look at me. Promise me, give me your word as a Biden. Give me your word, dad, you're going to be OK.

I knew what that meant. He meant he want -- he didn't want me to walk away from what I've done my whole life, be engaged in policies that are designed to lift people up, no matter what their background, no matter what their circumstances, to reach out. I'm no hero by any stretch of the imagination, but I stayed engaged.

And when I stand on the stage sometimes and a couple people who have been -- the press has been assigned to me, they've heard me say it. I just hope he's proud of me.

And I look over at Pete during the debates and I think, I think, you know, that's a Beau because he has such enormous character, such intellectual capacity, and such a commitment to other people.

And, folks, I can't tell you how much it means to me that he would step up and endorse me. He didn't even tell me when we spoke he was going to endorse me.

[19:55:01]

But I just can't tell you how much I appreciate it because I promise you, you're going to end up over your lifetime seeing a hell of a lot more Pete than you are of me.

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

(CROSSTALK)

BURNETT: Jeff Zeleny joins me. He is there.

Jeff, you know, obviously emotional there and you know with Joe Biden talking about how much Pete Buttigieg reminds him of his son, who was his soul. You've seen the two sort of interacting there.

JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Right.

BURNETT: What -- does that emotion show?

ZELENY: Sure, it does. I mean, this is the first time that we have heard the vice president -- the former vice president say that. We've heard him talk about Beau a lot. In fact, almost every day this campaign rally.

But looking at you know just the different generations there, it is striking. Now, this is an entirely different Joe Biden than a few weeks ago in the New Hampshire primary. He was saying, look, this guy's not ready to be president. And that didn't seem authentic Joe Biden. That seemed like he was attacking someone, his heart wasn't into that. He stopped it tonight.

What's happening here, Erin, is very extraordinary. And the night before the Super Tuesday, we are seeing a consolidation of, you know, this moderate lane of candidates. Pete Buttigieg right now, Amy Klobuchar will be coming up to endorse and drop out of the race as well.

So this is an extraordinary moment heading into Super Tuesday. The question is what does that mean for tomorrow? Bernie Sanders still has a very strong campaign. A lot of momentum, but this is quickly becoming a two-person race in some respects. Also, Mayor Bloomberg and Elizabeth Warren still in the race, Erin.

BURNETT: Certainly are. And, of course, perhaps taking enough oxygen to prevent a clear winner, which, of course, the party perhaps wishes they could have, a clear winner.

Thank you very much, Jeff Zeleny, and we'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BURNETT: And just moments from now, a CNN prime time special, interviews with the Democratic presidential candidates -- Bernie Sanders, Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, Michael Bloomberg.

Thank you so much for joining us. The special begins right now with Anderson.