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AT THIS HOUR

Bloomberg Drops Out of Democratic Race & Endorses Biden; Warren Meets with Advisers on Campaign's Future; Biden Is Comeback Kid in Super Tuesday Races; Sanders Prepares for Head-to-Head Match Up with Biden; 4 New Coronavirus Cases in N.Y.; Trump Administration Tries to Clear Up Coronavirus Testing Confusion. Aired 11-11:30a ET

Aired March 4, 2020 - 11:00   ET

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


[11:00:00]

NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Initially, Poppy, you mentioned 77 unaccounted for. That went down to 30 in the last couple of hours. They've actually dropped that lower to 22. The fear, of course, is that those bodies won't be found and that number of deaths will rise -- Poppy, Jim?

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Yes.

(CROSSTALK)

HARLOW: Nick, we appreciate your reporting. Thank you. That's a big difference.

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, for sure.

HARLOW: Unaccounted for in the 20s, not the 70s as we had thought.

SCIUTTO: Yes.

HARLOW: Thank you, Nick. Great reporting.

Thanks to all of you. We'll see you back here tomorrow morning. I'm Poppy Harlow.

SCIUTTO: And I'm Jim Sciutto.

"AT THIS HOUR" with Kate Bolduan starts right now.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. I'm Kate Bolduan. Thank you so much for joining me.

We have breaking news in the race for the White House and a lot is going on this morning.

Mike Bloomberg has suspended his campaign and also announced in the last hour that he is throwing his support now behind Joe Biden.

This move comes after a dismal performance on Super Tuesday for the former New York City mayor. He won only one contest, American Samoa, despite the hundreds of millions of dollars that he put into ads in Super Tuesday states.

Also just coming in, we hear Elizabeth Warren is meeting with advisers this morning to discuss the future of her campaign after a very disappointing night.

And a very different night, though, for Joe Biden, who folks are calling the new comeback kid today, winning nine states, including the second-biggest prize of the night, Texas.

Bernie Sanders picked up three states. He is also ahead in the biggest prize of the night. It would be California. But the full results in that huge state that counts votes very slowly will not be known for days as least.

OK, so we have reporters covering all of this after a wild night. Let's be honest, another wild morning.

Let's get started. Cristina Alesci is following the Bloomberg announcement.

Cristina, what else are you hearing from the campaign?

CRISTINA ALESCI, CNN POLITICAL & BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Well, Michael Bloomberg put out a tweet shortly saying, "Three months ago I entered the race to defeat Donald Trump. Today, I'm leaving for the same reason. Defeating Trump starts with uniting behind the candidate with the best shot to do that. It's clear that it is my friend and a great American, Joe Biden."

This is definitely a huge shift in the race here, but not surprising after Bloomberg's terrible finish last night.

Look, they were not expecting to win too many states. But if you look at Bloomberg's spending in Oklahoma, Arkansas, North Carolina and Tennessee, clearly, they were aiming to do much better than they did.

Look, Bloomberg telling the staff this morning that he looked at the data and there was no clear path to victory for him.

But going forward, now that he's endorsed Joe Biden, this is a game- changer for Joe Biden. Just a few days ago, I was speaking to a Bloomberg advisor about how weak Joe Biden's ground game was in other important states. Now all of that infrastructure, all of those teams, all of that force could go behind Joe Biden, really changing the dynamic and giving Bernie Sanders a run for his money.

Now, Bernie Sanders, of course, will probably paint this as Joe Biden's billionaire friend so he'll have to figure out what to do from there.

But Michael Bloomberg taking swift action this morning. We'll have to see how the day plays out. I'm hearing advisers are still trying to figure out what his schedule and public appearances may be today. But for sure Michael Bloomberg has changed the race going forward by

endorsing and putting his resources behind Joe Biden. We'll have to see how that plays out -- Kate?

BOLDUAN: Cristina, thank you so much.

Let's get over to M.J. Lee in Cambridge, Mass., following Elizabeth Warren's campaign.

M.J., you've got new reporting. What are you hearing from her team this morning?

M.J. LEE, CNN POLITICAL REPORTER: Well, Kate, we are in Cambridge, Massachusetts, this morning, the day after Super Tuesday, and what we are being told this morning is that Elizabeth Warren is taking time right now with her top staff and advisers to figure out what her path forward is.

What we just reported in the last hour is an email sent by Elizabeth Warren's campaign manager to all campaign staffers. I just want to read a portion of that email.

He wrote, "Last night, we fell well short of viability goals and projections and we are disappointed in the results. We are still waiting for more results to come in and to get a better sense of the final delegate math. Warren is going to take time right now to think through the right way to continue this fight."

I could note that Roger is somebody that has been with Senator Warren for a long time. And he also said in this email that he believes this is her decision to make and he wants to make sure that she has the time and the space to figure out what that right decision is. The right decision to continue this fight, to use his words.

And so, this moment in the campaign for Elizabeth Warren is obviously a huge one. And we know that she is having these important conversations to figure out what the path forward is.

I would just quickly note, just remember, heading into Super Tuesday, this was a campaign that was adamant that they were going to take this fight to the convention this summer. But when they made that sort of prediction and strategic plan, made that plan public, this was when they thought that they would do a lot better on Super Tuesday.

This email that was sent to staff very bluntly said we did not do as well as we had hoped and that it was a disappointing night.

[11:05:08]

So we will let you know if we hear any other updates from Elizabeth Warren's campaign. For now, she is having these important conversations -- Kate?

BOLDUAN: M.J., stay close to your camera is what it feels like.

Jessica Dean is in Los Angeles. Let's head over there right now. She's covering the Biden campaign.

Jessica, what are you hearing from there?

JESSICA DEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Joe Biden tweeting out just a few minutes ago. Let me read it to you, "@Mike Bloomberg, I can't thank you enough for your support and your tireless work on everything from gun safety reform to climate change. The race is bigger than candidates and bigger than politics. It's about defeating Donald Trump, and with your help we're going to do it."

Interesting that he mentions the help. We heard from Cristina about all the infrastructure and resources Mike Bloomberg has in place. We don't yet know how that looks or what that is ultimately going to look like. We heard from Bloomberg this morning that he intends to help Joe Biden. So what does help look like? We shall find out.

But this is just another instance of the Biden campaign consolidating support behind Joe Biden and they are happy to do that.

Look, Michael Bloomberg was viable in places where Joe Biden had success last night and in states we are looking ahead to. Particularly, for example, take Florida. That's a place where Joe Biden can now coalesce that Michael Bloomberg support into support for him.

And that could make a big difference as this becomes a delegates game, a numbers game, Kate. The higher -- the more delegates you get, the closer you get to that number where you can secure the nomination. That's what Joe Biden is looking after.

So this is big news for the Biden campaign today as he gets another endorsement from one of his former rivals.

BOLDUAN: Thanks, Jessica.

Let's go to Ryan Nobles. He's in Burlington, Vermont, with the Sanders campaign.

Ryan, what's the view from there?

RYAN NOBLES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Kate, basically, the Sanders campaign is now preparing for a head-to-head matchup with Joe Biden. They knew that this was coming, they expected it even before the Super Tuesday results were not at all what they were expecting last night.

So right now, the Sanders campaign is basically getting ready to draw those contrasts with Biden. They have already released an ad that's going to fan out across the states that are going to vote over the next two weeks, specifically talking about Biden's record on Social Security.

They are also encouraged by the results in California. They do believe that even though he had a rough night last night that they could either be even or even ahead in the delegate count. It's basically a 50-50 race at this point. And it's going to be the progressive lane of the Democratic Party

against the moderate lane of the Democratic Party and that they still have an argument that they can win the Democratic nomination.

Last night, during his speech here in Burlington, he promised his supporters, Kate, that he was not packing anything in, that they were going to fight for the nomination all the way to the convention if they had to.

This is now a race between Biden and Sanders. While right now, Sanders seems to be lacking the momentum, they believe that there's still a long way to go -- Kate?

BOLDUAN: And keeping a close eye on California.

Great to see you guys. Really appreciate it. A lot going on, on the trail. More to come.

Joining me to try to digest this, Mark McKinnon, former senior adviser to George W. Bush and the McCain campaigns, Errol Louis, a political anchor for "Spectrum News" and a CNN political commentator, and also joining us Abby Phillip.

All right, friends, let me throw out everything we were going to discuss an hour ago and get back to where we are at this moment.

This feels like a very new Democratic primary. After the performance of Bloomberg last -- how Bloomberg -- the results Bloomberg saw last night, it would be an impossibility that the campaign could not spend the morning reassessing. What is the impact of him dropping out?

ABBY PHILLIP, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, this race is now down to -- I mean essentially it's a two-person race, plus Elizabeth Warren, which as we talked about this morning, her campaign was very clear-eyed that she also dramatically underperformed last night their expectations.

I think that they have actually been pretty clear-eyed for a long time that the path for her really doesn't exist. It has been pretty explicitly a delegate play.

But I think now there are some real questions about what impact that has broadly on the other candidates that are in the race. If she shares ideological goals with Bernie Sanders, there's some questions about whether her presence in the campaign is helping or hurting.

We now have gone from a question of are there going to be all these other people pulling support from Sanders and Biden to a much more narrowed race.

Really, the Democratic electorate making it very clear, speaking very loudly last night. They think this race needs to keep it moving. People who don't have a chance at the nomination, they voted last night and basically said Biden and largely Sanders. I think that that's where we are going into the next set of delegates on March 10th. And then it's not over.

BOLDUAN: Right.

PHILLIP: There are a lot of delegates. This was only a third. But I do think that Joe Biden has really reasserted himself in this race.

[11:10:03]

BOLDUAN: Errol, I might be missing some folks here, but since Sunday of his former rivals, Biden has picked up the support of Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar, Beto O'Rourke, Mike Bloomberg. I might actually be missing somebody, there have been so many.

(LAUGHTER)

(CROSSTALK)

ERROL LOUIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: There might be more, that's right.

BOLDUAN: It's a wild -- it's a wild ride.

LOUIS: That's right. Look, when people who are professional politicians make the kind of judgments that professional political leaders make, they do it all at the same time according to the same logic. There's nothing to be gained by waiting an extra day or two.

When Pete Buttigieg immediately dropped out and threw his support behind, I was thinking, well, maybe he wants a good speaking slot at the convention, he wants to take care of his people.

(CROSSTALK)

BOLDUAN: Stop being so cynical, Errol. I'm kidding.

LOUIS: That's what political organizations think.

BOLDUAN: right.

LOUIS: You've got a lot of people around you. You've got to wrap up a lot of financial things so he just got about that business.

But then when everyone else started to do it, and sort of crowned with all of the results last night, especially things like Minnesota, where a sitting Senator who -- I don't care what she did in that last 24 hours, people were already going in a different direction than Amy Klobuchar it seems pretty clear.

The establishment does exist. The logic does exist. The people have spoken and the leaders are now lining up behind the person that the people thought were going to win.

Look, one of the other losers in all of this stuff is the pundit class. All of the people who had all of these intricate sorts of scenarios that were designed to get us to the convention, and maybe there will be a floor fight, on and on and on, regional differences, ideological differences.

The voters themselves said, you know what, there's this guy and there's this guy. If you like one of those two, that's the direction this party is going to go in.

BOLDUAN: So along with the announcement that he's getting out of the race, Mark, Bloomberg throws his weight behind Joe Biden and means he's going to be throwing everything that he's got to help Joe Biden win the nomination now. What does that actually look like?

MARK MCKINNON, FORMER SENIOR ADVISER TO THE GEORGE W. BUSH AND JOHN MCCAIN PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGNS: It means a lot. It is dramatic, how much has changed in the last 48 hours is really incredible. I can't believe in my political history in 40 years how much has changed in a couple of days.

But the thing about the Bloomberg campaign is they have been not only running for president now for just a couple of months, but they have thought about it for a couple of decades. They have analytics. They have like a Ferrari in the garage with the best mechanics in the world and been tuning this sucker up. The problem is Mike Bloomberg drove it out into a fire hydrant.

(LAUGHTER)

MCKINNON: But they still have the Ferrari. Right?

I spoke with Kevin Sheekey last night. It's very clear that they plan to -- they're not stopping now. In fact, they're going to double down and invest heavily and put together the best analytics machine in political history to match and hopefully outdo the Trump campaign and help Joe Biden.

BOLDUAN: Can you also just, Mark -- you're being such an old man at this table -- can you also just put in perspective for folks who are watching who think Joe Biden's comeback after South Carolina, calling him the comeback kid and what happened last night for Joe Biden -- yes, everyone talks about the comeback kid is Bill Clinton, but when do you recall this has happened?

MCKINNON: Never. This is the most dramatic comeback. Bill Clinton will be forgotten now as the comeback kid. Joe Biden is the new comeback kid. It's fantastic.

We said before and we've known all along that Americans love a comeback story. This is the most dramatic story in political history. It's just fantastic.

BOLDUAN: And a big --

MCKINNON: By the way, this guy was on the mat so many times. He took so many punches.

BOLDUAN: No matter what they said.

MCKINNON: You have to give him so much credit for his resilience.

(CROSSTALK)

MCKINNON: And the campaign, too. The team and the candidate stuck it out.

PHILLIP: He had never until Saturday won a primary or a caucus.

MCKINNON: Right, in 32 years, 32 years.

(CROSSTALK)

PHILLIP: After decades in public service. That's what also makes this so incredible.

BOLDUAN: And talk about what drove that comeback. What drove that comeback, as we saw, and a lot of folks said, you were included, is wait until you see African-American voters actually have their say.

PHILLIP: This has been the story of this entire election. It's been a question of, can they break up the support for Joe Biden among African-American voters. Many, many, many candidates tried and all of them failed. BOLDUAN: Yes.

PHILLIP: And I think what really happened was that -- you know, I mean, yes, Joe Biden has always had the support. It had actually been eroding a little bit.

BOLDUAN: Yes.

PHILLIP: People were asking -- I was down there talking to voters. There were a lot of black voters asking questions about maybe there's somebody else, maybe there's somebody younger, maybe Joe Biden doesn't have it.

And then Jim Clyburn said, I'm going to weigh in and I'm going to weigh in before people vote. He didn't have to do that. He didn't weigh in in 2016 when he could have weighed in in that race and he didn't. He did it this time because he knew Joe Biden needed it. That decision became really, really pivotal.

(CROSSTALK)

MCKINNON: Can you think of a more effective endorsement in political history?

(CROSSTALK)

BOLDUAN: And turnout is also a huge part about what we saw last night, right? Turnout was -- was up everywhere except for I believe it was Oklahoma. I think we have a graphic on that.

[11:15:08]

We know young voters turned out for Sanders, older voters turned out for Biden. Folks who decided in the last few days largely, largely, turned out for Biden. What is the lesson in this?

LOUIS: One lesson is that the political sort of -- the stoking of political fires by President Trump and by a number of other people, it has really sort of brought us to a fevered pitch early on. People are itching to have their say. They're sick of turning on television and listening to us talk about it.

This is real people, real issues, their real lives. There's a lot at stake. We went through a very traumatic impeachment that seems like it was ages ago but we have put the country through a lot of trauma and people wanting to take back control. That's what I see happening.

People say, you know what, now that we have a chance, I'll wait in line for five hours because I've got to say something about what is going on in this country.

BOLDUAN: But we should be honest, no one should have to wait in line for five hours in America.

(CROSSTALK)

BOLDUAN: Just a side note.

(CROSSTALK)

PHILLIP: A lot of political lessons this cycle.

(CROSSTALK)

PHILLIP: No caucuses, more voting. More polling locations.

BOLDUAN: We won't talk about that right now because --

(LAUGHTER)

BOLDUAN: -- we've got more states coming up and it literally now feels like a whole new race is just getting started.

Thank you, guys. I really appreciate it.

Also still ahead for us, just this hour, as the number of coronavirus cases are rising in the United States, Vice President Mike Pence declared that any American can be tested. Is that really the case right now? What you need to know, that's next.

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[11:20:50]

BOLDUAN: Welcome back. Four new cases of the coronavirus have been confirmed here in New York just this morning. Most of them are family members. And it brings the total number of cases in New York now to six.

CNN's Brynn Gingras is tracking this. She's joining me now.

Brynn, what are you learning about these new cases?

BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Kate. Behind me is the hospital where the only person who has coronavirus in the state of New York is hospitalized, the only person who is hospitalized is behind me.

Those new cases are a direct relationship with that man, again, who is in critical condition with the coronavirus. His wife, his daughter, his son and a neighbor who drove him to the hospital. That's what we've learned from New York's governor. They are being quarantined inside their homes in Westchester County.

In the meantime, though, the governor in his news conference that happened a short time ago putting into perspective all of this, essentially saying that more people are going to get this virus, but we need to be calm about it because the most people are going to be OK.

This man, who is in the hospital, had an underlying respiratory issue. It's unclear exactly, you know, how these others are going to make out, but it goes to show you if they're home, they're doing OK.

Also important to note, that the other person in New York City, who has the virus, a woman who traveled to Iran. She is being isolated inside her house. Her husband, who also is being isolated, does not have the coronavirus. So really trying to paint a bigger picture.

However, we should note that the family members, this daughter of the man, her school has now closed. His son, who attends a private university in New York City, that school's campus is now closed or at least one of those campuses.

But again underscoring that this investigation as to where this virus came from, the first community spread here in New York City is under way and also who possibly could have contracted this virus at this point -- Kate?

BOLDUAN: Brynn, thank you so much for the update. I appreciate it.

So according to the latest figures and, of course, as the New York governor has been stressing, and every expert has been stressing, the numbers are changing quickly and they will as more tests are occurring.

There are at least 130 known cases of coronavirus now in the United States. Nine deaths.

Vice President Pence, in one of his briefings on this, he said yesterday that, at this point, any American can be tested with a doctor's orders. But that declaration is now causing confusion, even among members of Congress. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. PATTY MURRAY (D-WA): The administration's response so far has not inspired confidence, quite the opposite. I am hearing from people personally across our state who are

frustrated. They believe they have been exposed, they are sick, they want to get tested, they have nowhere to go.

Even when people can get tested, which has been very few so far, the results are not coming back as fast as we are being told they are supposed to by administration officials.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BOLDUAN: And that is an understandable frustration.

Joining me right now, CNN senior medical correspondent, Elizabeth Cohen, with more on this.

Elizabeth, where do things stand in terms of testing and how widely available it is? What do we know?

DR. ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Kate, these numbers have been all over the place. So let's talk just about what a senior Trump administration official said today. He said, look, by the end of the week, the CDC is going to be sending out 75,000 tests and those go to public health labs, state lab, county, city lab.

And that, in addition, private companies will be sending out a million tests. Presumably, those would be sent and sold to hospitals, doctors' offices, et cetera.

But for that million, he didn't put a time frame on it, so maybe by the end of the week, end of the month, it's difficult to know.

The bottom line is that there's more and more tests out there every day, it seems, and that's good.

But as we heard from Senator Murray, people are complaining, I can't get tested. Certainly, I've been hearing from doctors and also from public health labs, look, there just aren't enough tests out there.

BOLDUAN: That's what I wanted to ask you. Directly to Patty Murray, the Senator from Washington state, where there's a lot of these cases, her concern that she's hearing about reports of people it sounds like doing what they're supposed to be doing. If they're sick and they think they have been infected with the virus, trying to get tested to get some answers and not able to do so. Are you hearing anything about that?

[11:25:16]

COHEN: First of all, I'm hearing from people that that's the case. That's especially problematic in a place like Washington.

BOLDUAN: Right.

COHEN: Look, Americans are used to by and large being able to show up at your doctor's office. If the doctor thinks you have the flu, they test you for the flu. They think you have strep, they test you for strep. That is not the case here. There's steps, there will be waits. This will take a beat or several beats until we get this right.

BOLDUAN: Not satisfying but, at the moment, the reality. But transparency in your conversations and how you're answering these questions for folks is critical as this changes day by day.

Thank you, Elizabeth.

COHEN: Thanks.

BOLDUAN: An important programming note on all of this. With coronavirus on everyone's mind, and it's a serious thing, you can join Anderson Cooper and Dr. Sanjay Gupta. They're having a CNN global town hall called "CORONAVIRUS, FACTS AND FEARS." That is tomorrow night at 10:00 eastern.

Still ahead for us this hour, it was a big night for Joe Biden. We are going to dig into the numbers behind his historic comeback.

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