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South Korea Links Most Cases To Religious Group; U.S. Voters To Cast Ballots Soon On Super Tuesday; Fond Farewell To Buttigieg, Steyer, And Klobuchar. Aired 2-3a ET

Aired March 3, 2020 - 02:00   ET

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


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ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Hello and welcome to our viewers joining us from all around the world. I'm Rosemary Church and this is CNN NEWSROOM.

Just ahead, more than 90,000 cases of coronavirus across the globe and that is with the outbreak actually slowing in China. We are looking at what areas are getting hit hardest and the measures that officials are taking to contain it.

It feels like deja vu in Israel; after yet another election, Benjamin Netanyahu is claiming victory, despite the math that shows his bloc doesn't have the majority to form a government.

In the U.S., the Democratic presidential field has narrowed significantly. Why Joe Biden's former rivals are now endorsing him over the other candidates.

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CHURCH: The novel coronavirus could be reaching a dangerous new stage, around the world, the number of infected now exceeds 90,000. The World Health Organization says in just a 24 hour period there were almost nine times more new cases reported outside of China than there were inside it.

It says the outbreaks of most concern are in South Korea, which reported 600 new cases on Tuesday alone. And Italy, Iran and Japan, which have thousands of infections. The U.S. says it has more than 100 cases nationwide including six deaths in one state.

Meanwhile China is reporting its lowest number of new cases; after nearly just 3,000 deaths, there are signs that China may getting the virus under control. South Korea is the hardest hit country out of outside of Mainland China, Ivan Watson is in Seoul right now.

And why are the numbers so high and what is South Korea doing about it?

IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: For one thing the president of the country just announced, that he was declaring that the country is at war against the coronavirus. It may be a rhetorical declaration.

But he has called on all government organizations to start working around the clock, as he puts it, for 24 hour emergency situation room system (ph). So already the national government had announced the highest alert level for the public crisis and now asking government agencies to work around the clock to help deal with the challenge, of what do you do when the number of your cases, your infections go from about 31, nearly two weeks ago, to now more than 4,800 confirmed cases of coronavirus?

The real hot spot has been the southern city of Daegu, where nearly 70 percent of confirmed cases have originated from. That has also involved the South Korean religious organization, Shincheonji.

Authorities said they have figures, that there are more than 310,000 members of this organization and they have been trying to reach out to all of them to try to find out if any of them are symptomatic and then begin to conduct tests on them.

And more than 50 percent of the infections are people who have been in contact with Shincheonji members in the branch of their religious organization, from Daegu.

And recall that this is now an epidemic, that is reaching into many different layers of society, places like factories belonging to Samsung have now closed down to disinfect, after employees have come in and then diagnosed with coronavirus, Hyundai as well, the national assembly had to shut down for 24 hours to be disinfected.

Joint U.S.-South Korea military drills have been postponed indefinitely, after both militaries have seen coronavirus infections. And one of the most recent casualties of this epidemic, the Seoul marathon, which was scheduled to take place later this month, that organization organizing it saying it is going to be refunding the money, for all participants who had paid to run -- Rosemary.

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CHURCH: Thank you Ivan Watson bringing us that live report from Seoul in South Korea.

Iran remains the largest area of outbreak in the Middle East, with a number of infected totaling over 1,500, it is the only area in the region to report deaths from it, now other countries are evacuating their citizens, telling them to return home or risk infection.

CNN's Sam Kiley is joining me now.

Iran is at the epicenter of the coronavirus in the Middle East, what is that country trying to do to contain an increasing number of infections?

SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Immediately, Rosemary, the UAE where I am at the moment, it has announced that it will be repatriating its citizens and subjecting them to tests and quarantine for their own safety. And then they will to try to find out how many people that involves.

Part of the reason for that is the high levels of infections, that have been attributed to close contacts with Iran, from countries in the Gulf.

Bahrain reporting 47, Kuwait 56, these are tiny Gulf nations. With the Iranian death toll at 66, among those dead, a former adviser to the supreme leader there, the deputy health minister has been infected, as have other senior members of the administration.

Iran has a problem here, in that one of the centers of infection is Qom, religious authorities are saying there are no plans to close access to the shrines, some of which are supposed to attribute health giving properties to Islamic figures, for the pilgrims that attend there.

There have been some defiant videos on the Internet, on showing a man licking a shrine, he has been arrested. And Iran is also suffering from arguably a lack of masks. They sent 3 million masks to China in solidarity. But now reporting a shortage in supplies. And the World Health Organization sending in just seven a half tons of equipment, including testing kits.

This is highly problematic for Iran, because Iran is being subjected to very heavy sanctions from the United States which affect the financial system. And without the ability to import goods, even goods that are allowed under humanitarian dispensations, by using the international monetary system, it delays a significantly the medical supplies.

But elsewhere, places like Iraq which are in turmoil, their nominated prime minister withdrew yesterday. So the vacuum at the top of Iraq continues.

Syria is in civil war, Yemen, those countries are in no way shape or form capable to deal with a virus of this magnitude. And equally not any credible source at all of infections. Egypt an impoverished nation, facing its own political problems with a dictatorship, only two cases recorded there, among tourists.

Medical professionals treating those statistics with extreme cynicism. The picture in the Middle East, is potentially pretty grim right now Rosemary.

CHURCH: Thank you so much Sam Kiley, bringing us that sobering report, live from Abu Dhabi, many thanks.

The European Union has raised its alert level for the coronavirus and says containing the spread will require swift action. It comes as more and more cases are being reported across the continent. Italy remains the hardest hit in Europe, with more than 2,000 cases and at least 52 deaths.

The virus has been spreading across the U.S., from coast to coast. To fight the outbreak, the vice president says travelers from Italy and South Korea will now be screened, multiple times before entering the country.

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MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Within the next 12 hours, there will be 100 percent screening, all direct flights at all airports, across Italy and across South Korea. It will be multiple temperature checks in the airports for people before they are boarding.

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CHURCH: And the E.U. says there is a moderate to high risk of the virus spreading within the bloc and to that end France is taking extreme measures, asking their members to kiss one of their customary greetings goodbye for now at least. CNN's Melissa Bell reports.

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MELISSA BELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The French love to kiss, even those at the very top deliver a peck on each cheek as both a greeting and a goodbye. But that for now is over. After an emergency meeting at the Elysees on Saturday, the Health

Minister announced that it should be avoided, along with handshakes and other measures designed to stop the spread of coronavirus.

OLIVIER VERAN, FRENCH HEALTH MINISTER: All public gatherings of more than 5,000 people in a confined space will be canceled and local authorities will receive advice to cancel in collaboration with local mayors, gatherings, even in the open air where they involve mixing with people who come from areas where the virus is possibly being transmitted.

BELL: France is becoming the new frontline with authorities trying to encourage caution without spreading fear.

A third cluster of cases was announced this Monday in Brittany after two major hotspots where schools will be closed and gatherings banned were identified over the weekend. A few villages in a department to the north of Paris and the area around the village of La Balme-de- Sillingy in the Alps (ph).

FRANCOIS DAVIET, MAYOR, LA BALME DE SILLINGY (through translator): I did the test this morning. And I got the results this evening. I am positive which means I'm going to the hospital, joining 13 other people from La Balme de Sillingy.

BELL: But not before he had attended the agricultural fair in Paris, visited by thousands every year, an event cut short on Saturday by the nationwide ban on gatherings of more 5,000.

The half marathon due to be held on Sunday in Paris was canceled and the Louvre was closed. France this Monday feels a lot like Italy did last Monday -- a country dealing with a medical emergency and already looking ahead to its likely cost. The country's economy minister warned this morning of slowed growth, appealing to the European Union for help -- Melissa Bell, CNN, Paris.

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CHURCH: Wall Street saw a huge rebound on Monday, after coronavirus fears led to massive losses last week. Futures are slightly up. Meantime in Asia, stocks are higher for the second straight day, you can see the Hang Seng up 2.6 percent and the Seoul KOSPI up over half a percent. Journalist Kaori Enjoji joins me now from Tokyo to talk about this.

How much comfort should we take from this move back into positive territory?

KAORI ENJOJI, JOURNALIST: Not much for now I think Rosemary and that is the verdict that the Tokyo market gave today, because it started off on a positive note, given the Wall Street rebound but it shortly after turned into negative territory.

And I think right now people are waiting for this emergency meeting, among the G7 finance ministers. And expectations are running high, that they may make some type of concerted action.

Initially there was a lot of expectation that they would jointly cut interest rates. But as the day wore on, those expectations started to fade. From day one of this coronavirus crisis, this has not just been a medical crisis but also a financial crisis because China is the factory of the world.

So long as many of the factories remain shut, this provides -- or this continues to be a supply problem for the global economy. And that's why people are warning of a possible recession globally and people are downgrading their growth forecasts in various parts of the world, as this coronavirus situation continues.

On top of that Chinese consumers have been big purchasers all around the world and with them locked into place, unable to travel, this has been a demand problem as well. So the economy has been getting hit over the last six weeks from both the supply side and the demand side.

And investors are wondering what the central banks really can do to cushion that. Particularly if countries like Japan and Europe and the European central bank, interest rates are already very, very low, so how much really can they cushion the economic fallout from the coronavirus?

That is weighing heavily on people's minds as they wait in a few hours' time for this emergency meeting.

Having said that, this was a huge bounce on Wall Street overnight and that provided a cue for some of the other equity markets in the region to move higher. Still Treasury yields are very low. [02:15:00]

ENJOJI: But I think that's a good indication as to how investors are still trying to insulate themselves, from the economic fallout from coronavirus.

The other factor, of course, is oil. We see a little bit of a rebound over the last 24 hours but not nearly enough to erase some of the losses, steep losses that we've seen over the last week.

People are concerned that as long as factories are shut, people are on lockdown, schools are closed around the region, people are starting to hoard because they fear that governments might tell them to stay in place even longer.

And that stifles economic activity. I think that's one of the biggest reasons why people are still concerned and why we are still seeing blows on some of the major markets including here in Tokyo -- Rosemary.

CHURCH: We'll be watching to see how U.S. markets open on Tuesday morning. Many thanks to you for joining us, appreciate it.

We will take a short break here, still to come, the Israel prime minister thinks the third time is the charm, but the exit polls tell a different story, as to whether Benjamin Netanyahu, has broken the political deadlock.

Stuck in the middle, Turkey opens its border, thousands of refugees rush into Greece but they are stopped there.

A major turn of events, just hours before Super Tuesday, how endorsements for Joe Biden could change the race for the White House. Back in just a moment.

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Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu is claiming victory in the country's third election in less than a year. Exit polls show his right wing Likud Party 59 seats. That is two seats sort of a governing majority.

The bloc of Benny Gantz has 54 seats. Mr. Netanyahu called it a joyous night while Gantz stopped short of conceding.

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BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, PRIME MINISTER OF ISRAEL (through translator): I told you (INAUDIBLE) expectations. We stood against mighty forces. Our opponents already made our obituary. Instead, the Netanyahu era has (INAUDIBLE). BENNY GANTZ, BLUE AND WHITE PARTY (through translator): I will tell you honestly, I understand and share the feeling of disappointment and pain because it is not the result we wanted. This will be the result, not the result that will put Israel back on the right track.

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CHURCH: Journalist Elliott Gotkine is in Jerusalem right now.

Netanyahu has declared victory despite his falling short of 61 seats. He has 59.

Where do things go from here?

ELLIOTT GOTKINE, JOURNALIST: Rosemary, Netanyahu claiming victory, a great victory. It was a win. His party is the biggest in parliament. His rightwing bloc has increased in size and by a bigger margin than polls suggested.

But the math still doesn't work. The numbers don't add up. He's got a few options; he may try hope and pray that when results come out, they push him over the line. But things are going in the opposite direction right now. He's predicted to win 58 seats.

Other options include picking off lawmakers from Blue and White to come over. The final possibility is perhaps a government of national unity. That's still an option because neither Netanyahu nor Gantz ruled it out.

Netanyahu talked about forming a strong government and Gantz failing to repeat previous assertions that a prime minister facing crisis charges cannot be prime minister. That remains a possibility.

CHURCH: Given that, are there any signs that the political stalemate can be broken?

GOTKINE: It seems that no one wants to go to a fourth election. That's probably the only thing everybody can agree on. But to avoid that, the numbers need to grow for Netanyahu or he needs to turn on the charm and push for some reconciliation with other parties to form a government.

He's in the driving seat but the math doesn't seem to add up. Unless he can pick off opposition lawmakers or form a government of national unity, we could face that possibility of a fourth election.

CHURCH: Wow, we'll keep watching. Thank you so much for bringing us that latest update, appreciate it.

A child has died, after a boat carrying migrants capsized off the coast of Greece, it's believed to be the first death since Turkey announced it was opening its borders with Europe.

Since, the number of refugees traveling to the Greek islands has surged. Ankara's reversal on halting migrants from traveling to Europe is viewed as a way to pressure Europe for support in Syria.

Turkey's state owned news agency reports Recep Tayyip Erdogan called on the European Union to step up in a phone call with German chancellor Angela Merkel.

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RECEP TAYYIP ERDOGAN, PRESIDENT OF TURKEY (through translator): Turkey has hosted nearly 4 million refugees for nine and a half years. And now 1.5 million more are about to come to our borders from Syria, due to the escalating situation.

They're laying more burden on us and I've already warned Europe, if they don't share this responsibility with us, Turkey will open its border gate. But they have underestimated our words. They thought we were bluffing.

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ANGELA MERKEL, CHANCELLOR OF GERMANY (through translator): With all understanding and every readiness to talk to provide more support, I think it is unacceptable to deal with it at the expense of migrants because they have been motivated to go to the border and end up at a dead end.

Our policy and the policy of the E.U.-Turkey deal is to not do politics at the expense of migrants.

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CHURCH: Although Turkey has opened its borders, Greece has not. Thousands of refugees are stranded and Greek authorities are blocking their entry. Our Arwa Damon is there and talked to some of the people caught in the middle.

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ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): They just spent a night cold and wet out in the open.

And for what?

A sliver of hope sparked by Turkey, saying it would no longer stop refugees crossing to Europe and facilitating their transport here to the border with Greece.

Abdullah (ph) is the sole survivor of a bombing that killed the rest of his family in Syria.

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DAMON: They thought it was open, they thought the whole border was open.

DAMON (voice-over): It's not. Greece is not letting anyone through.

DAMON: But it's quite chaotic, it's quite intense. People are just trying to bust through towards what they think is going to be a better life.

DAMON (voice-over): Europe doesn't want them, never really has, striking a financial aid deal with Turkey back in 2016 that it never fully paid up on, to stem the refugee flow.

Turkey, hosting upwards of 3.5 million refugees, mostly from Syria, has long threatened to open the gates if left to shoulder the refugee burden alone. And now Turkey is even more angered by the West's refusal to support it in Idlib with anything more than rhetoric.

Many here are aware they are being used as leverage. The tear gas wafts over and mixes with smoke from multiple fires as those here try to stay warm.

Samida's (ph) husband was killed in Iraq by ISIS. She came to Turkey with her children, elderly mother and disabled brother.

"Where are we supposed to go then?" she wonders.

This Syrian mother doesn't want to talk. When we ask how she's doing, she just strokes her child's face.

It's all horribly reminiscent of the desperation we witnessed years ago, as throngs crossed through Europe.

At night, we meet some of those who tried to cross the river to Greece but failed. Greek authorities deny this but Khaled (ph) from Idlib says the Greeks forced him back, tore up his ID and took his phone.

DAMON: He hasn't spoken to his parents in almost four weeks and they're in Idlib. They're in the camps. He's worried about them and now he has no way of getting in touch with them.

DAMON (voice-over): This family from Afghanistan says the same thing happened to them but, even worse, they were separated from their men.

DAMON: Her father, your brother, her husband, are over there and you're stuck here.

DAMON (voice-over): They are scared, vulnerable and alone, burning discarded clothing, not knowing where to go or how to find those they love.

What are they supposed to do when their misery and desperation has become little more than a political weapon? Arwa Damon, CNN, on the Turkey-Greece border.

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CHURCH: We will take a short break. Still to come in South Korea, the anger is building over a religious group's handling of the coronavirus. Why some officials want its leader charged with homicide. And Joe Biden got some much needed support right before Super Tuesday. How three big endorsements could shake up the remaining candidates' campaigns.

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CHURCH: Welcome back to CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Rosemary Church. It's time to check the headlines for you this hour. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is claiming victory over his main challenger, former Army Chief Benny Gantz. But exit polls gave Mr. Netanyahu's right-wing block 59 seats which is too short of a governing majority in the Knesset.

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is calling on the European Union to share the burden and responsibility of the refugee crisis. Since Turkey opened his border to Europe, thousands of refugees have tried to cross into Greece but the Greek authorities have blocked their entry.

China is reporting fewer and fewer new coronavirus cases. The World Health Organization said Monday they were almost nine times as many new cases reported outside of China than inside. The outbreaks in South Korea, Italy, Iran, and Japan are now the organization's greatest concerns.

Well, overall, South Korea reports at least 29 deaths and more than 4,800 cases. Authorities say most of the infections are in the southeast of the country, and they're blaming a religious group for the outbreak. Seoul's city government even wants the group's leader charged with homicide. CNN's Paula Hancocks has more now in this exclusive report.

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PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: This is the man Seoul's government wants to see charged with homicide. Lee Man-hee, leader of the religious groups Shincheonji apologized Monday claiming the group had tried to stand the spread of the novel coronavirus.

LEE MAN-HEE, LEADER SHINCHEONJI (through translator): This is not the time to scrutinize who's right or wrong. This is the time for everyone to do their best to resolve the situation.

HANCOCK: Authorities disagree. Seoul city has filed a legal complaint against Lee and 12 group leaders saying some members refused to be tested. Leadership provided insufficient information on members and hampered the work of health authorities, accusations previously made by the mayor of the hardest-hit city Daegu. More than half of all cases in South Korea are linked to this one group.

The group says it has around 245,000 members. More than 30,000 of them outside of South Korea, around 3,000 in the United States. Shincheonji admits some of the leaders of those international branches did come to South Korea amid January of this year for an annual gathering. Duhyen Kim says he was director of international affairs for the group until 2017 when he left. He wants authorities to look beyond Korea's borders when investigating the group.

He gave CNN this exclusive footage the 2016 meeting when international leaders gave a status report to Lee Man-hee. At least two dozen cities are represented. New York, LA London, Beijing, Berlin among them. All leaders talk about how they plan to expand the group's membership.

DUHYEN KIM, FORMER DIRECTOR, SHINCHEONJI INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS: This is not just a Korean issue, because since those people from overseas all gather together at once, what happens is we don't know how many of those people who went back overseas are infected as well.

HANCOCK: Current director of international missions at the group Kim Shin-chang says members did come in from the US and China in January but claims none are unwell. Kim says they have 357 members in Wuhan, China, the epicenter of the outbreak, but none of them have recently come to South Korea. Korea CDC has been doing its own investigations and says that they do have records of a small number of members traveling from South Korea to Wuhan in January. Paula Hancocks CNN, Seoul.

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CHURCH: It's called Super Tuesday and it's a crucial day in the Democratic presidential primary. Voters in 14 U.S. states and American Samoa will head to the polls to cast their ballots. 34 percent of the parties pledged delegates are at stake, but most are in California and Texas. And in a major turn of events, just before voting begins, Former Vice President Joe Biden gets a big boost, endorsements from some of his former rivals.

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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 of the United States.

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SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D-MN): It is up to us, all of us to put our country back together to heal this country, and then to build something even greater. I believe we can do this together. And that is why today I am ending my campaign and endorsing Joe Biden for president.

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CHURCH: Well, winning the Nevada caucuses gave Bernie Sanders campaign momentum, but Biden's South Carolina wins slowed it down a bit. CNN's Ryan Nobles has more on how Sanders' campaign is adjusting to all the recent developments. RYAN NOBLES, CNN WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Happy Super Tuesday, the biggest day of the campaign so far. And there's no doubt that Bernie Sanders is hoping for a good night. There's no doubt that the situations become a little bit more complicated for Sanders heading into Super Tuesday when there could have been six, maybe seven candidates. That was a scenario that the Sanders team thought played to their advantage.

But now that the field has winnowed so much, and now it's only going to be basically four other candidates competing for the states, it's going to make Sanders path a little bit more difficult. That being said, they still believe there are opportunities for Sanders to get some big wins on Tuesday.

They point to California, Texas, and Colorado, states where Sanders is strong, but they also feel very confident about not only Massachusetts, Elizabeth Warren's home state, but also Minnesota which is Amy Klobuchar's state and which the state many thought she would win before she decided to get out. And Sanders made a pitch to the Voters in Minnesota on Monday night.

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SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (D-VT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I know that there are political differences, but I also know that virtually all of Amy's support and Pete's support understand that we have got to move toward a government which believes in justice, not greed. And that our government must be based on principles of economic justice, social justice, racial justice, environmental justice. So to have Amy and Pete's millions of supporters, the door is open. Come on in.

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NOBLES: Sanders will spend Tuesday in his home state of Vermont. That is one of the 14 states that is voting on Super Tuesday. It's also a state he expects to win. He'll also have a rally in Vermont Tuesday night as well. Ryan Nobles, CNN St. Paul, Minnesota.

CHURCH: Joining me now is Larry Sabato. He is the director for the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia. Great to have you with us.

LARRY SABATO, DIRECTOR, CENTER FOR POLITICS UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA: Thank you so much, Rosemary.

CHURCH: So Tom Steyer dropped out of the race for the White House, then Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar did the same but followed up by endorsing Joe Biden. And despite Elizabeth Warren and Michael Bloomberg remaining, this is starting to feel like a two-man race. So how does all of this impact Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders just hours before the start of Super Tuesday?

SABATO: Well, you're absolutely right. We have narrowed this down indirectly to major candidates to Biden and Sanders, though we have to remember Bloomberg is still in it, Elizabeth Warren is still in it, and a lot of other candidates remain on these ballots, and they're going to receive some votes, some they got earlier in the early voting.

Basically, at this point, I think you're looking at a situation where the more establishment Democrats and moderate Democrats are finally coalescing around a candidate. It could have been one of a series of moderates. It's turned out to be Joe Biden. The liberals and the progressives are mainly coalescing around Bernie Sanders, though Elizabeth Warren is probably keeping a disproportionate number of votes from Sanders.

But this is what Democrats needed. They have been waiting for something to clarify this race. They keep tuning into debates and seeing what many of them say, too many candidates. There are too many people up there at each other's throats hurting the Democratic Party rather than being at Donald Trump's throat. That's what they wanted to see.

CHURCH: Yes, indeed. Of course, Monday night, we saw the energy of Sanders' crowd. And this has long worried the Democratic establishment, hasn't it? Is that why we're seeing Buttigieg and Klobuchar bail out of the race just ahead of Super Tuesday and quickly endorse Biden, and is this going to be enough to give the former vice president the momentum and support that he'll need for Super Tuesday?

[02:40:22]

SABATO: Buttigieg and Klobuchar correctly surmised they had no path to the nomination, and they were very likely to win no states except for maybe Minnesota in Klobuchar's case on Super Tuesday. You don't want a night like that. You're going to get some delegates winning individual congressional districts, but that's pretty depressing, and it depresses your followers.

This was the right moment for them to do what they were going to do. They've decided because of their ideology and also because of their assessment of the race, that they had to go with Biden and they expect Biden to win it in the end. Maybe they're right, maybe they're wrong, but it was a good judgment on their part given where they are.

CHURCH: So how do you expect the delegate counts will look by the end of Super Tuesday?

SABATO: It will be a tremendous surprise if Bernie Sanders is not in the lead. Why? One state, California, he's cleaning up in California. The electorate out there seems to be welcoming to his particular viewpoints, and he also has managed to structure a campaign there that has been very effective. So everybody expects him to do very, very well in California.

However, we're seeing, certainly the southern states that are voting tomorrow on Tuesday, we're seeing most of those either leaning to Biden or being very close to leaning to Biden. So he ought to do well there. Sanders will do well in some of the northern states that are voting as well, though there aren't that many of them.

It's going to be a split, Sanders will be in front, Biden will be second, and gradually, you're going to see the other committed delegates peel off to either Biden or Sanders. And most of them, because of the endorsements today, will go to Biden.

CHURCH: Right. And, of course, so we also see Biden's rally Monday night, perhaps not quite as energetic as Sanders but supportive all the same and calling for unity. In the end, the goal, of course, for the Democrats has been to beat Donald Trump. So which man Biden or Sanders can actually do that?

SABATO: Well, we don't know yet. The election is in November. Nobody knows where the economy is going to be. Nobody knows where the coronavirus is going to be. Nobody knows what developments will occur in international relations war and peace that may affect the election. So that's a big question mark.

I would say, among them Democratic leaders, it's nearly unanimous the view that Biden would be a stronger general election candidate than Sanders. But of course, they thought Hillary Clinton would win easily and she didn't. So you never know about these things.

CHURCH: What about when you -- but when you look at the politics of the American voter, and the number who is sort of in the middle, really not to necessarily Democratic or Republican, where will lay tend to go?

SABATO: The angry blue-collar ones would go to Sanders, but I think a majority, probably a substantial majority really are just looking for an alternative to Donald Trump. They don't want everything to be reversed, and they want stability. They want predictability which they haven't had all the time with Trump. So that would help Biden as well. If it turns out that they really turn out and vote, they have to show up.

CHURCH: Right. And just finally, what does Michael Bloomberg need to do at this juncture, and how likely is it that the Democratic establishment will apply pressure on him to bail out if they haven't already?

SABATO: It will be very difficult for the Democratic establishment to get Bloomberg out of the race. Bloomberg has got to decide that Bloomberg has to go, that it's in his interest to leave after Super Tuesday. Remember, he has promised to spend a billion dollars or more on behalf of the eventual Democratic nominee.

Now he's not going to do that for Bernie Sanders, and Sanders has already said he doesn't want his money. But believe me, Biden will take it. Biden has a fundraising problem. So Bloomberg is going to do what's in Bloomberg's best interest. And I can't blame him. He spent a half a billion, maybe a billion by the time we add it all up.

CHURCH: Perhaps in the end, he'll become the kingmaker. We'll see.

SABATO: It could happen.

CHURCH: Larry Sabato, many thanks. Yes, it could. Thanks for joining us. We appreciate it.

SABATO: Thank you, Rosemary. Thank you always. Thank you, Rosemary. [02:45:00]

CHURCH: And remember, Michael Bloomberg has been a Democrat, a Republican, and Independent, now a Democrat again. We will look at his complicated presidential candidacy with the big Super Tuesday votes looming. We're back in a moment.

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CHURCH: With hundreds of delegates at stake and a shrinking field of candidates, Super Tuesday could quickly turn the U.S. Democratic presidential race into a two-person contest. A big question now, where does Michael Bloomberg fit into all of this? His party loyalty will be put to the test in the coming hours with voters left to decide, is he true blue or too good to be true? Jeff Zeleny has that report.

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JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Michael Bloomberg is still standing as his Democratic rivals fall one by one.

MICHAEL BLOOMBERG (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I felt sorry for them, but I'm in it to win it and we're going to go out and we're going to go get them.

ZELENY: On the eve of Super Tuesday, Bloomberg is hours away from his first test. Not only this presidential campaign, but whether Democrats accept him as one of their own.

BLOOMBERG: We can disagree with specific policy positions of presidents from both sides of the aisle without resorting to personal attacks.

ZELENY: That was Bloomberg today at a pro-Israel lobbying conference in Washington, a major gathering featuring Democrats and Republicans, and Bloomberg has been both. Of all the many questions facing Bloomberg's candidacy, this is a basic one. Can a one-time Democrat turned Republican, then turned independent mayor of New York be trusted as a true Democrat?

BIDEN: And if the Democrats want a nominee who's a Democrat, a lifelong Democrat, an Obama-Biden Democrat, then join us.

ZELENY: Joe Biden was talking about Bernie Sanders, a Vermont independent, but was also lumping Bloomberg into the Democrat come lately camp. Bloomberg has explained his past.

BLOOMBERG: I come from Massachusetts where there are no Republicans so I was a Democrat there for sure. I moved to New York City where there are no Republicans, so I was a Democrat there.

ZELENY: And he's defended his Democratic credentials.

BLOOMBERG: I spoke for Hillary Clinton at the DNC Convention in Philadelphia in 2016.

ZELENY: That is true.

BLOOMBERG: I am not here is a member of any party.

ZELENY: But from 2001 to 2007, he was a registered Republican, speaking at the GOP convention in 2004, and endorsing President George W. Bush a year earlier.

[02:50:06]

BLOOMBERG: And you may rest assured we along with you will make George W. Bush have a second term.

ZELENY: Following his third term as mayor, Bloomberg has invested heavily on Democratic friendly issues like gun legislation, climate change, and in 2018, helping the party win control of the House. But that has not erase the suspicion from some rivals about whether Bloomberg is a Democrat-inspired by conviction or opportunity.

SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The core of the -- of the Democratic Party will never trust him.

ZELENY: Bloomberg brushes aside that criticism saying he's put his money behind his beliefs.

BLOOMBERG: I give away all my company profits which is $800 million into causes that you would think all Democrats, basically all Liberal Democratic policies.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CHURCH: And our thanks to Jeff Zeleny with that report. And remember, do stay with CNN for coverage of Super Tuesday. We will have a team of reporters across key states with in depth super coverage all day long.

A businesswoman in Africa sees nothing but opportunity in the African diaspora. She's founded an organization to get people engaged in the economic and social development of their home countries. CNN's Becky Anderson reports.

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BECKY ANDERSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Your network they say is your net worth. (INAUDIBLE) one Silicon Valley innovative is capitalizing on harnessing the currency of relationships for Africa.

ALMAZ NEGASH, FOUNDER AND EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, AFRICAN DIASPORA NETWORK: A lot of the diaspora, remember we are country by country, they are disengaged with where they come from because of the fact how they left their country. And what it look like if he can bring them back and have them be quite investor or investor in that country. I can tell you it will absolutely transform the continent.

ANDERSON: Almaz Negash saw an opportunity missed when it comes to the role of the diaspora.

NEGASH: I think the Diaspora gives three times more to the continent than the continent get from aid, or I believe even direct foreign investment. But the change that I'm looking for is we're not just going to be transactional in the amount of money was sent to the continent or family, but what else can we do to scale the remittances so that we actually are investing in a community.

The selected individual will have made --

ANDERSON: The African Diaspora Network helps to foster partnerships to create financial opportunities and share knowledge with the Diasporans and the community.

NEGASH: People come for connection, for knowledge exchange, ideas exchange, and all that. But at the end of the day, they also get potential investors. We also know partnerships and mentorships that have been created as a result of the network and the symposium.

ANDERSON: Having left a war-torn Eritrea more than three decades ago, Negash hopes Africa's challenges can be tackled with strong leadership and a collaborative approach.

NEGASH: All my life, I've looked at Africa as a one continent that is a mother of humanity. I think it's very global. And I also see the potential for the continent is not from where we come from, it's not going to be siloed. I think it's going to be intra-Africa migration, intra-Africa trade, intra-diaspora collaboration. All of these things are really important for the continent to move forward, and I see my role in it.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

[02:55:00]

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CHURCH: And then there were five. The ones unwieldy field of Democrats are running for U.S. president has shrunk significantly with three more dropping out in the last three days. CNN's Jeanne Moos bids them farewell.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JEANNE MOOS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: If you placed your bet on any of these three contenders, you lose. It's a jackpot of exits, though the ex-candidates didn't seem dejected. But whose name is left to mispronounce?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Pete Buttigieg --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Indiana mayor Pete Buttigieg.

MOOS: Even President Trump --

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Buttigieg, Buttigieg.

MOOS: Seem driven a little over the edge by the name.

TRUMP: Buttigieg.

MOOS: And who are we going to make fun of for their dance moves? No more Tom Steyer egged on by the rapper Juvenile.

TOM STEYER (D), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: He was teasing me to come up and show my moves. I was like OK, baby.

MOOS: Or Pete Buttigieg attempting to raise the roof.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Go, Pete.

MOOS: So awkwardly that Jimmy Fallon raised a stink.

JIMMY FALLON, COMEDIAN: You're raising the roof, you're aren't being held up at gunpoint.

MOOS: What will happen to all those photojournalists who can no longer fall all over themselves while chasing Mayor Pete. And what other candidate would brave a snowstorm not because she's a flake, but to prove --

SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D-MN): I have grit.

MOOS: Will Amy Klobuchar's absence mean less feisty debates?

KLOBUCHAR: Are you trying to say that I'm dumb?

MOOS: No longer will we ponder dumb questions like, why is Amy's hair trembling?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is just my signature quivering bang.

MOOS: No longer will there be a gay candidate. He can quit the race but it can't quit his husband. Buttigieg dropped out while dropping the most romantic line of the campaign.

BUTTIGIEG: Chasten, I can't wait to spend the rest of my life with you.

MOOS: And finally, you can take this off the 2020 menu when a Klobuchar staffer forgot a fork for the boss' salad, the senator improvised.

KRISTEN SOLTIS ANDERSON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Eating a salad with a hair comb and requiring a staffer to clean it.

MOOS: And now that these three have reached a fork in the road, the whole race has been tossed. Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CHURCH: And thanks to your company. I'm Rosemary Church. Remember to connect with me anytime on Twitter. And I'll be back with more news in just a moment. You're watching CNN. Stick around.

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