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Millions of Voters Head to the Polls in 14 States; Deadly Tornado Rips Through Nashville Overnight. Aired 6-6:30a ET

Aired March 3, 2020 - 06:00   ET

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


(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D-MN), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I am ending my campaign and endorsing Joe Biden for president.

[05:59:30]

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Joe Biden picking up a trio of endorsements from his former rivals.

DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Did the momentum happen in time to reach voters to make Joe Biden ultra-competitive with Bernie Sanders?

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT), DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: From day one we have been taking on the establishment. They do not want me to become president.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Over 100 cases of coronavirus now confirmed in the United States.

MIKE PENCE (R), VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Let's be clear: the risk to the American people remains low.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The degree of risk has the potential to change quickly.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Alisyn Camerota and John Berman.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome to our viewers in the United States and all around the world. This is NEW DAY. It's March 3. It's 6 a.m. here in New York. Most importantly, it's Tuesday and not just any Tuesday. What Tuesday is it?

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: It's a very super kind of Tuesday.

BERMAN: It is Super Tuesday. And what does that mean?

CAMEROTA: I don't know.

BERMAN: Exactly. Exactly. We have no idea. We just have no idea what this means yet. The polls are open in three states as of now. A total of 14 states

plus American Samoa will vote today. They represent a full one-third of the delegates in this entire election season, with California and Texas the biggest hauls.

So this is where the delegate race stands this morning. Bernie Sanders is ahead of Joe Biden, but these numbers are so quaint compared --

CAMEROTA: Old-fashioned, even.

BERMAN: No, but it's -- tomorrow morning, this is going to be in the hundreds. Hundreds and hundreds of delegates will be on this board tomorrow.

CAMEROTA: But two of those faces are no longer in the race.

BERMAN: That's exactly right.

Now, the high stakes have already brought high drama. Something, I've got to tell you I have never seen before. Three former candidates, including two who were in the race until basically now, all just endorsed Joe Biden just like that. Amy Klobuchar, Beto O'Rourke and Pete Buttigieg.

A number of people -- look at this -- in the political world have lined up behind Biden after just one win. This is all since South Carolina Saturday night. We'll see if there's any impact on this today, or maybe it's exactly what Bernie Sanders wants, to be able to say, Look, the entire so-called establishment is against me.

Remember, more than 3 million people have already voted in Super Tuesday states.

CAMEROTA: OK. Now to a coronavirus update. Six people have died from the virus in Washington state, and there are now more than 100 cases in the United States. The Trump administration is warning the number of cases will rise.

We are also following breaking news. There's a powerful tornado that has torn through the Nashville area early this morning. You can see it on your screen. At least two people are dead, and the damage is extensive. Schools in Nashville are closed this morning. So we have a team on the way to the scene of this developing story.

But let's begin our coverage with CNN's Jessica Dean. She is live in Oakland, California, for this Super Tuesday -- Jessica.

JESSICA DEAN, CNN WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Well, we made it, guys. Good morning to you, Alisyn.

That's right. We have arrived at Super Tuesday, 14 states, one U.S. territory, a third of all delegates needed for this Democratic nomination up for grabs. You saw those numbers. It's about to be a lot of moving parts in this Democratic primary, and overnight in the last 24 hours this race has changed dramatically.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Folks, this is a team. We need your help.

DEAN (voice-over): A major boost for Joe Biden, earning three huge endorsements on the eve of Super Tuesday.

PETE BUTTIGIEG (D), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'm encouraging everybody who was part of my campaign to join me, because we have found that leader in vice president, soon to be president Joe Biden.

BETO O'ROURKE (D), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We need somebody who can beat Donald Trump. And in Joe Biden, we have that man.

KLOBUCHAR: Today I am ending my campaign and endorsing Joe Biden for president.

DEAN: One-time rivals Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar and Beto O'Rourke, joining Biden in a show of force to consolidate the moderate lane behind the former vice president.

BIDEN: Look, folks, this time we've got to bring around everybody -- Democrats, Republicans, independents of every stripe -- and that's why I'm so excited about Amy's endorsement of our campaign. She shares that view. And Mayor Pete, who's endorsed our campaign earlier, I thank him, as well.

DEAN: Biden borrowing the rallying cry of some of his former rivals to explain why he is a better choice than frontrunner Bernie Sanders.

BIDEN: I think what it's going to be all about with me and Bernie is that I don't think people are looking for revolution. I think they're looking for results.

DEAN: After making this call for unity.

SANDERS: To all of Amy and Pete's millions of supporters, the door is open. Come on in.

DEAN: Sanders called out the political establishment endorsing Biden.

SANDERS: From day one we have been taking on the establishment -- and let me be very clear, it is no surprise -- they do not want me to become president.

There is a massive effort trying to stop Bernie Sanders. That's not a secret to anybody in this room. They are really getting nervous that working people are standing up.

DEAN: Elizabeth Warren is vowing to stay in the race until the convention this summer.

SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This is about both beating Donald Trump and about delivering real change in January 2021. That's why I've laid out all of these plans in such detail and shown how we can pay for it, how we can build alliances, how we can actually get it done. I'm in this fight to win and to make real change.

[06:05:03]

MICHAEL BLOOMBERG (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'm in it to win it.

DEAN: For the first time, billionaire Michael Bloomberg will be on the ballot. He spent millions trying to emerge as a top contender in Super Tuesday states.

BLOOMBERG: I can beat Donald Trump, and I don't know that any of the other Democratic candidates can. I'm ready for the job, and I don't think any of the others are.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

DEAN: We're here in California, the biggest prize tonight with over 400 delegates at stake. The polls will close here at 11 p.m. Eastern Time. Alisyn, we're going to be getting results all night long.

CAMEROTA: OK. We will come back to you to check in, Jessica. Thank you very much.

Polls are now open in Maine and parts of Vermont and Virginia, and that's where we find CNN's Brian Todd. He is live in Falls Church, Virginia. Not packed yet, I would say.

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Alisyn, not packed yet, but we did talk to some voters who lined up outside just before the polls opened just a few minutes ago. They were pumped to be here. They said they're here out of a sense of civic duty. A couple of them, interestingly, hadn't made up their minds yet, they told us, between Joe Biden and Michael Bloomberg. They were going to make up their minds here at the voting booth.

There's a lady registering over there.

Voters are going to be coming in here pretty steadily all day long, we're told. About 3,600 registered voters are in this precinct. This is Precinct 705 in Falls Church. You know, of course, these northern Virginia suburbs are going to be very key to the race here in Virginia. Bernie Sanders, Michael Bloomberg, Joe Biden hoping to win the northern Virginia suburbs here, and Falls Church is going to be key to that.

Voters registering over there. A couple people just coming in there. They do expect a pretty steady stream of voters here today. They register over there. They get their ballots over here. Josh, if you just pan to your left, the ballot pickup is right over there at that booth right there. And then they come and vote in these booths here.

Interestingly, guys, Bernie Sanders, Michael Bloomberg, thought northern Virginia important enough to hold rallies here over the weekend. Bernie Sanders was in Virginia even on the night of the South Carolina primary holding a rally. Joe Biden held a rally in Norfolk on Sunday. So the candidates think this is a crucial battleground, and it does shape up to be that. Virginia has turned steadily blue, Democratic, since President Trump

took office. They've flipped three incumbent Republicans out of office in the congressional races since then. They have held the governor's mansion. They're hoping to turn the tide, of course, in the general election.

Some more volunteers coming in here. Thirteen solid hours of voting, guys. We're going to be here all day. We're pretty excited about it.

BERMAN: Yes. Just one of 14 states and American Samoa voting today, Brian Todd will be in each and every one by the time the polls close tonight. Brian, thanks so much for being with us this morning. Great work.

We do have breaking news, at least two people are dead as a powerful tornado ripped through Nashville, Tennessee, that area early this morning. Dozens of people hospitalized at this moment.

A number of homes and businesses in the eastern part of the city have sustained severe damage. We're told that more than 40,000 people are currently without power, authorities say that all the schools there will be closed today.

But Tennessee is a Super Tuesday state. We're told polling sites are going to remain open.

CNN meteorologist Chad Myers joins you now with much more on this breaking story.

Chad, what are you seeing?

CHAD MYERS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: John, back you up to about 12:30, 12:45 in the morning, Central Daylight Time. The storm was bearing down on Nashville. There's Nashville right there, highlighted in the underline. There is the tornado, and it moved right through the north side of town, right through what we call, like, Germantown. So north of what you would consider Music City, the areas there in downtown, but significant damage.

From what I've seen this is an EF-3, maybe even a borderline low 4 at times. So that means 130 to 150-mile-per-hour storm rolled right through the northern downtown of Nashville, Tennessee.

Things are better now. There's still a watch, but I think really this is going to be canceled rather soon. Things are going to move off to the east and more into North Carolina and Virginia, another -- or two other -- Super Tuesday states.

So this big weather is going to be headed to the east. We're going to see some rain to the south, but we're still watching these storms develop. The people of Nashville have a lot of picking up to do. This was a very large tornado in a major metropolitan area -- guys.

BERMAN: We're only getting more information now as the light begins to come up there, Chad, so there could be more developments soon. Thank you so much for following this for us. MYERS: You're welcome.

BERMAN: So the dramatic ninth-inning endorsements of Joe Biden, the progressive movement of Bernie Sanders, so many Super Tuesday story lines. What's the one thing you should watch over the next 24 hours? That's next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[06:18:43]

BERMAN: It must be a big day, because we have a full table of people just itching to speak.

CAMEROTA: An unruly table.

BERMAN: That's right.

So it is Super Tuesday. One-third of the Democrats' delegates are up for grabs today. Big question this morning, what we saw last night is something I have to say I have never seen before, this sea of endorsements by former candidates all at the last minute before a key day. Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar, Beto O'Rourke all endorsing Joe Biden the night before Super Tuesday. What will the impact be today?

Let's bring in this unruly table. We're joined by CNN political analyst David Gregory; CNN political correspondent Abby Phillip; CNN contributor Wajahat Ali. He's a contributing op-ed writer for "The New York Times." And CNN political commentator Karen Finney. She's a former spokeswoman for Hillary Clinton's 2016 campaign.

David Gregory, I just want to start with you. Polls are open in three states. There's a lot on the line today.

DAVID GREGORY, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, a lot on the line. I mean, there's so much to watch for. After an impressive display yesterday of moderates coming together, getting behind Biden, is it enough? Right? I mean, how well will he do is really important. We expect Bernie Sanders to have a big night. Early voting is under way. So how well can Biden do? How well can he parlay a big, big win in South Carolina?

And, you know, then you have to wonder what Bloomberg does. I mean, watching those two, how well they perform, could affect the immediate future; and that is the question about the moderate lane versus Bernie Sanders.

[06:15:05]

CAMEROTA: Waj, what happened yesterday was more than endorsements, I thought, with seeing Buttigieg and Klobuchar so quickly end their own campaigns, which were promising -- they had real high points -- and then join Joe Biden at the podium. That was a team. OK? So what I saw was more than just an endorsement. I saw a joining together akin to -- I mean, either Joe Biden was taking -- he called it a team, so either he was taking a page from Abraham Lincoln or, to your point, the Avengers movies. WAJAHAT ALI, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Yes. It was the great moderate Avengers

coming together.

(CROSSTALK)

ALI: Yes. We're talking about Avengers. It was -- it was all of them combining together to get the stones from Thanos. I thought Thanos was Trump, but apparently, it's Bernie Sanders.

KAREN FINNEY, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: That's an important point.

ALI: It was like, can we grab a moderate? Klobuchar. Beto. OK, who else? Who else is a moderate? Come on down.

And right now, this is the last-ditch effort to prop up Joe Biden who, let's be honest, had a very flagging campaign so far, disappointing. But he came through last week in South Carolina, resurrected his campaign, got $10 million on the weekend. And he's going to be competitive. I think he's going to get a boost.

But there's also a lot of early voting. There's momentum by Bernie, and California is in play. That's more than 400 delegates. Texas at play, more than 200 delegates. It's going to be close, but I think Bernie is going to get the delegate edge.

BERMAN: Karen, there was side eye.

FINNEY: Well --

ALI: She's about to elbow me.

FINNEY: I'm wondering which of the Avengers I get to be, but we'll talk about that later.

Look, a couple of things. Biden's strategy all along was about South Carolina. And I do think one of the things that's happening in this cycle, right, is that we have to rethink what the strategy is going forward.

Obviously, I think the early four, that's going to shift, but he was right to say hold on until we get to a diverse electorate. And diverse not just because of African-American voters, obviously a big part of it. Southern Democrats are a little bit more moderate, period. And that, if you think about who are the Democrats who vote in primaries, they're liberals. But there are a lot of people in the middle of the country, in the south and even in the west who are a little bit more moderate, a little bit -- They're not quite there yet with Senator Sanders.

His other shift is he's now the frontrunner, and you know, he is the frontrunner. He probably will come out of tonight the frontrunner. He's got to continue to act like it, which by acting like it, you're kind of becoming -- shall I say that ugly word -- the establishment, because you own it. I mean, if you're going to be the frontrunner, you've got to own all of it; and you've got to try to bring everybody in. CAMEROTA: Abby.

ABBY PHILLIP, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: I think Biden had a moment last night that was really about kind of signaling to Democrats who are looking for this illusive electability thing that he has real political strength behind him. I think it's something a lot of Democrats have been looking for.

A lot of voters don't even know what electability means. All they know is that they want someone who seems like they are going to be strong, and that is what yesterday was for Biden.

And the impact of that, I think, we'll see today, but it could be more significant than we imagined.

First of all, you know, we're heading into Super Tuesday, and there's nothing like free media. And Joe Biden got a lot of free media yesterday in a way that will pay dividends for him today, partly because his campaign was not up in the air, on the air, on television ads in a way that could compete with either Sanders or with -- with Michael Bloomberg.

And then, on top of that I think, you know, what happened in South Carolina was that he proved that the bottom was not going to fall out of his support among the most loyal constituency in the Democratic base. That's incredibly powerful. It's an important signal to non- white voters, as well, and I think it will pay dividends for him as we go into today.

GREGORY: I do think a lot of voters -- the other thing I was thinking about it, we have to say is how much we don't know. Right? Nobody predicted he was going to win in South Carolina as much as he did. The race has been recast now several times. We can only expect it happens again.

But as you talk to people, it's kind of a common sense kind of feedback loop. Which is they want to see a smaller field and let people go at it so that they can get a sense of, well, who's best to take on Trump, that's a natural question, and what do they actually believe and what can they actually get done? You know, these are reasonable questions for Democrats to kind of sort through right now. And it's tougher in a bigger field.

BERMAN: I have to tell you, every political reporter I speak with who's been out there on the trail and every -- hears the same thing that I have heard from every voter in the Super Tuesday states, which is they're waiting until the last minute. I mean, people have just waited until the last minute.

And if that's true, if this sample of people we're all talking to is true, maybe something like last night can have an impact. And I just want to play the moment again with Joe Biden and Pete Buttigieg that some people saw as very emotional.

(BEGIN VIDE CLIP) BIDEN: 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 to -- that may not mean much to most people, but to me it's the highest compliment I could give any man or woman.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[06:20:04]

BERMAN: To hear that on the stage, Waj, last night it does -- it reflects the empathy that all of the candidates who endorsed Joe Biden last night brought up. It's sort of the leading edge of why they seem to be behind him.

ALI: He's leaning on his strength, and Joe Biden's strength is the fact that we know him, the fact that he has a personal story, the fact that he's humble, the fact that he's vulnerable, the fact that he has tragedy, the fact that he can connect on an emotional level.

GREGORY: He's a decent guy.

ALI: Decency. He's basically running on decency, safety, moderation; I will restore America to the decency that Donald Trump has degraded it, you know, with his vulgarity. And that is very appealing to many people.

And the point that you made is 65 percent of Democrats consistently say their No. 1 priority is to beat Donald Trump. They're on the fence, they're fluid. So people of color are always pragmatic voters in America. We usually always sacrifice our own good for the collective good. And you're seeing a lot of voters of color say, OK, who will white America vote for to get this guy out? Is it going to be Bernie? Let's go with Bernie. Is it going to be an inanimate carbon rod? I love the carbon rod. Is it going to be Biden? Let's do Biden.

And so it's a fluid race. Before we do our hot takes, let's wait until tonight because I think we're going to find out a lot.

FINNEY: I just want to say --

ALI: I want to say hot takes.

CAMEROTA: You win.

BERMAN: Can I ask one follow-up based on Waj's Avenger analogy here? Which is Waj says he used to think that Thanos -- just for those who don't see the Avengers, that's the really bad guy -- was Trump, but now he's wondering if it's Bernie Sanders. And it's a great analogy, first of all. And there's something to it, Karen.

Is that why you think people have lined up behind Joe Biden? Is there this notion inside the Democratic Party or parts of the Democratic Party that they have to do something to stop Bernie Sanders?

FINNEY: You know, I hate that analogy, only because I hate casting people as the enemy, and that's something that Senator Sanders when he rails against the Democratic Party and the establishment -- you know, I always say -- and what I've heard from a lot of rank-and-file Democrats -- the people who do the school board elections and the city council elections, those are -- that's the Democratic Party, too. And when you attack the Democratic Party, you're attacking those people, too. And they feel it.

I heard that from some people in South Carolina, and they feel like how can I be with you if you see me as the enemy?

So I do think ideologically, yes, there are people who are opposed to Senator Sanders. I think there are people who very much feel he would not be able to get it done, in part because he has not built the relationships in the Congress that you need if you're going to try to have a revolution or get anything done and even heal this country.

CAMEROTA: Hold those thoughts. Hold that thought. Even though you're here, I still make you hold your thoughts.

BERMAN: OK, Iron Man.

GREGORY: I was going to introduce a hot take topic, but not now. But not now.

CAMEROTA: OK.

GREGORY: Because Alisyn said no.

CAMEROTA: Thank you.

GREGORY: If my seat were any lower to the ground -- if I were higher I would assert myself, but I can't.

CAMEROTA: Yes. More of this.

Mike Bloomberg faces a big test today on the ballot for the very first time. Will all of his millions pay off on Super Tuesday? That's next. As well as whatever David Gregory wants to talk about.

GREGORY: That was actually my hot take topic.

FINNEY: Was that going to be your hot take?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[06:27:15]

CAMEROTA: It is Super Tuesday, and voters will have their very first opportunity to vote for billionaire Mike Bloomberg today. We've been talking about him a lot, but today is the day when people can actually vote.

So here is how he responded last night when asked about his candidacy's impact on Joe Biden.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: You don't think you're taking support from Biden?

BLOOMBERG: I haven't even been in an election yet. How can I take support from him?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CAMEROTA: Back with us, David Gregory, Abby Phillip, Wajahat Ali and Karen Finney.

What's the answer, David?

GREGORY: The hot take is this. What is the over/under on how well Bloomberg has to do to either stay in or get out? What is that -- what does that look like?

CAMEROTA: What is the answer?

BERMAN: Sixty billion. I'll tell you what the over/under is, it's $60 billion.

GREGORY: Because my thing is, I'm torn. I don't know the answer. I just think you don't spend half a billion dollars and say after one night, Yes, I'm good.

You know, on the other hand, I do think he's kind of pragmatic and does -- he does want to, you know, stop Bernie, wants to beat Trump. So I just don't know.

But I think, obviously, this is the test. We haven't seen people actually voting for him when he's on the ballot. So that's going to be important.

PHILLIP: I do think he's right in some respects, which is that in all the contests before this, he has not been on the ballot; and the moderates have been doing a fine enough job on their own of splitting the vote. And so that's why yesterday mattered so much, because now that we've sort of consolidated in that area, we'll really see what the Bloomberg effect is and how strong his support actually is.

I think -- obviously, he has to clear the delegate threshold, at least 15 percent, but he has to do significantly better than that if he's going to make a credible case that he should remain in the race. I mean, if he's saying that it should not be a Bernie Sanders, for example, then he has to perform at least as well as Joe Biden in order to make that case; and I think that that's what I'll be looking for tonight.

FINNEY: I would say yes and no because I have too much delegate minutia in my head. But now that it's all about the delegate count, remember that it can also be for him about getting enough delegates to have some sway going into the convention.

When we're talking about the platform, if you know it's going to be a brokered convention and you've got a pocket full of delegates that you can, you know, make some negotiations with or do some wheeling and dealing, because there's going to be a lot of that coming up, that's another reason to stay in.

I do think tonight hopefully -- and I think this is what I'm looking for -- is a sense of so who are your voters, where are they? Right? All of this advertising. You know, he was on the air in South Carolina, trying to advertise to African-American voters. That has not worked. We saw in some of the exit polls, even though he wasn't on the ballot that African-Americans aren't just buying it.

And he has not been able to -- the same way we were talking about Joe Biden and the compassion and the empathy, there has been no compassion and empathy from him when he talks about Stop and Frisk and the impact that that had on people or what happened to Muslims in New York City after 9/11.

CAMEROTA: He's a different kind of candidate. You're not going to him for compassion and empathy.

FINNEY: Correct. Correct.

BERMAN: A pocket full of delegates.

END