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Biden Rides Momentum, Bloomberg Dropping Out; Bernie Sanders Holds News Conference After Biden's Big Win. Aired 2-2:30p ET

Aired March 4, 2020 - 14:00   ET

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


[14:00:42]

BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN HOST: Hi there. I'm Brooke Baldwin. You're watching CNN. Thank you for being here.

A stunning shift in the Democratic race for the White House after Joe Biden romps through the south on Super Tuesday, bringing him closer to a one-on-one battle with Senator Bernie Sanders.

And the former VP picked up yet another endorsement from another one time opponent in the process, this time it is Michael Bloomberg. He announced he is dropping his bid for the White House saying in part that staying in the race would make it harder to achieve his top goal of ousting Donald Trump.

In a tweet, Joe Biden thanked the former mayor for his support while praising Bloomberg's work on gun control and climate change.

So let's kick it all off with a conversation with Gloria Borger, our CNN chief political analyst and Dana Bash, CNN's chief political correspondent.

We're all watching you all to the wee hours and now, we've got new information with Bloomberg and so Dana first to you, you have the scoop on all things Bloomberg. And tell me a little bit about what were the factors that influenced his decision to bow out?

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, first and foremost, he just didn't perform after all of the hundreds of millions of dollars of his own fortune that he spent, he didn't have enough delegates to show for it and more importantly, he didn't see a path forward.

But in addition to that, I'm told by a senior Bloomberg aide that what they saw coming in their data operation, which is, by far the most robust of anybody on the Democratic side, was remarkable and unprecedented for Joe Biden.

In fact, I'm told that in just the hours -- the 24 hours leading up to Super Tuesday, they almost couldn't keep up with the momentum that they saw going in Joe Biden's way.

In fact, one source told me that a 12-hour poll couldn't capture the kind of momentum that ended up giving him the very, very big wins in all of the states from West to East that he got and even when he didn't get wins, the delegates that he scored.

BALDWIN: That's crazy. A 12-hour poll couldn't even capture the momentum and let me just stay with you because let's talk about Bloomberg money, right? We know that he has a massive war chest. He is clearly not afraid to spend it. Realistically though. What could his assistance to the Biden campaign look like?

BASH: It's a really good question, and it's an appropriate word realistically, because he's got the money. And the question is, how does he use it within the parameters of the campaign finance laws to help Joe Biden?

He could have a Super PAC. He could give it to the party. I mean, there are lots of ways he could do it. But the big concern is that Joe Biden is riding this unbelievable, really unprecedented wave of support, and whether or not Joe Biden's campaign can capture it and build around that, and in order to keep harnessing it for the rest of the Democratic Primary, never mind if he gets the nomination, if he's going to go up against Donald Trump, which is a juggernaut when it comes to money and when it comes to the voter data operation, which is you know, kind of has no peer at this point.

BALDWIN: Here's what else I'm wondering this afternoon and Gloria, this is for you, Elizabeth Warren. Right? She was laser focused on Mike Bloomberg during the recent debates, and he wasn't even on the ballot yet.

Do you think her takedown of him open the door for Joe Biden?

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Oh, absolutely. Joe Biden should be thanking Elizabeth Warren, because she did take down Bloomberg in that debate and also by staying in last night, she really helped Joe Biden because she, you know, not exclusively, but in many ways took votes away from Bernie Sanders.

And so that helped Biden, not in every case, because a lot of her voters could have been Biden voters, but I do think it helped Biden and you know, of course, the question is, what does she decide to do now?

BALDWIN: That's my next question.

BORGER: She has a terrible -- oh, well, there you go. See --

BALDWIN: Does she endorse her progressive cowl, or does she have a strategy ala Biden, ala on the ticket.

BORGER: Well, we don't know the answer to that yet, and I think -- don't forget, she and Bernie Sanders while they believe in a lot of the same things and they have attacked each other around the edges, remember that time on the debate stage, where she said on an open mic to Bernie Sanders, I think he just accused me of lying -- do you remember that?

BALDWIN: Yes, yes. BORGER: Not too long ago, although it seems like eons ago, and that --

and so -- and she hasn't ever been close to Joe Biden either. So the question is, does she say for the progressive wing of the party, I'm going to endorse Bernie Sanders, and I'm going to help him try and make a go of it.

Or does she, for party unity, decided to go with Joe Biden and maybe perhaps wind up on the ticket? We don't know.

[14:05:44]

BALDWIN: We have no idea. Time is of the essence.

BORGER: Yes.

BALDWIN: I just -- you know that Team Biden is thinking or not.

BASH: Or not. Or not -- I mean the other --

BORGER: Or not.

BASH: The other part -- I mean, one of the things that Team Biden is thinking is if she -- you know, the best case scenario for them right now, which doesn't seem likely is for her to just stay in. Because --

BORGER: Exactly.

BASH: Because that would keep her on the ballot, and though as Gloria obviously rightly points out, not all of Elizabeth Warren's supporters automatically become Bernie Sanders voters.

A healthy majority do according to some data that I was told has been conducted by a now former campaign.

So if she stays in, that's not a bad thing for Joe Biden. I know that seems counterintuitive, but that's the thinking.

BALDWIN: No, it totally makes sense.

BORGER: And the question is, how much money does she have to do that?

BALDWIN: Can she keep the lights on? As Jeff Zeleny says yesterday.

BORGER: Can she keep the lights on.

BALDWIN: How about Joe Biden just thinking ahead, how has his string of victories just increased the pressure on him to step it up in speeches, step up on the debate stage, because we could potentially go from multiple candidates, right, fighting for air time, to maybe just two?

BORGER: Right. To me, I think that's a huge amount of pressure. Don't forget coming off of South Carolina, there's question here, everybody -- Democrats were looking for a candidate. It's very clear they were shopping around, they finally wound up with Joe Biden, who they saw as a winner after South Carolina. And you could say they're on kind of a sugar high with Biden, and the

question is, can he keep them up there? You don't want them to have remorse after they see him in the next debate, for example.

He has to keep that energy up. He's getting a lot of endorsements, which is fine. But the candidate himself has to be at peak performance.

BALDWIN: That's such a great point.

BORGER: And we know from watching Joe Biden, that it's very, very uneven, and so they're going to have to try and figure out a way to retool that, so their newfound supporters don't scratch their heads and say, oh my god, what have I done? I picked this guy, because I thought he could beat Donald Trump.

BALDWIN: Right. That they don't have the bellyache after the sugar. I got you. Gloria, I got you. Gloria, thank you. Dana Bash, thank you as well.

Let's go to Chris Cillizza now, our CNN politics reporter and editor- at-large. And so a senior Bloomberg aide tells CNN that this campaigns internal poll, as Dana just said were moving so fast in Biden's direction that even 12-hour polls were out of date, 12-hour polls -- Chris.

CHRIS CILLIZZA, CNN POLITICS REPORTER AND EDITOR-AT-LARGE: Yes. It's a remarkable thing, Brooke, to think about, and we use the word unprecedented a lot as we talk about politics, but what we have seen between Saturday night in South Carolina and Tuesday night into Wednesday morning is unprecedented. A comeback, the likes, which we haven't seen.

Let me just run through some of these numbers because they're remarkable. Okay. States Biden won. There are nine of them all across the country. We're still counting over here. I don't think that's going to go into the Biden category, but Maine and California is still counting. Close.

But nine to three, right, and this one right here, a big prize, Texas just in terms of the number of delegates that polling suggested Bernie Sanders was a head in very recently.

Now here's what's remarkable. It's not because Joe Biden spent a bunch of money in the states, he spent $2.2 million in advertising. By the way, Michael Bloomberg spent $234 million. He didn't even go to a lot of the states.

In Massachusetts, he never went. Minnesota, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Tennessee. He won all of these, and didn't go. One thing about Massachusetts, Brooke, just to try to speak to how big a bounce this was. There was a poll the end of February. Joe Biden was in fifth place with nine percent. Bernie Sanders was in first with 25. He wins Massachusetts last night beating Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders.

Okay, now, this is actually I think a storyline that needs to get more attention candidly. It hasn't gotten -- we're still going through a lot of results, but look at this. 2020 Primary turnout versus 2016. Look at some of these numbers, up almost 70 percent in Virginia, 46 percent, 38 and a half -- the only number that went down, 9.6, was in Oklahoma, but these are all Biden winners.

That's -- I would not have foreseen the Joe Biden is driving turnout because it wasn't true candidly, in the first three states. In South Carolina, turnout did go up versus 2016.

[14:10:10]

CILLIZZA: Obviously, we see here, why is this important, Brooke? Because remember, every speech Bernie Sanders gives is, I am the only one who can bring out an excited new people to beat Donald Trump. We need a huge turnout to beat Donald Trump.

Well, at least Super Tuesday, you know, it's a sample. It's not the whole country, but it is 14 states. It was Joe Biden winning in states where turnout went way up, which is -- I'll take that away, Vermont, he did not win -- but in all those other states here, where turnout went way up. That is a storyline I think we should pay more attention to as this Primary likely narrows down to just Joe Biden versus Bernie Sanders, and who he's the best positioned to beat Donald Trump on the front.

BALDWIN: Yes, people showed up. The enthusiasm was there. Chris, thank you so much.

CILLIZZA: Thank you.

BALDWIN: So curious to see how that translates come November. Bernie Sanders, by the way, is set to speak in a moment after Biden's big wins.

Plus see his new ad where he is embracing former President Barack Obama.

Also the number of coronavirus cases in the U.S. continues to climb. A family in New York is now infected. As the World Health Organization warns the virus has a deadlier death rate than the flu.

You're watching CNN. I'm Brooke Baldwin. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[14:15:46]

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT), DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: -- but I think, we go forward, basically neck and neck. And I very much look forward, I'll be on a plane tomorrow going out west and campaigning and doing everything we can to win in Michigan and Washington, Mississippi, North Dakota, Idaho, and Missouri.

What this campaign I think is increasingly about is which side are you on? Our campaign is unprecedented because there's never been a campaign in recent history that has taken on the entire corporate establishment, and I'm talking about Wall Street and I'm talking about the insurance companies and the drug companies and the fossil fuel industry.

There has been never a campaign in recent history, which has taken on the entire political establishment and that is an establishment which is working frantically. They have tried to defeat us.

And it has not been a campaign, I think that has been having to deal with the kind of them we're seeing from some in the corporate media.

This campaign has been compared to the coronavirus on television. We have been described as the Nazi army marching across France, et cetera, et cetera.

As we come into the last several months of this campaign, what I hope very much is that what we can focus on is an issue oriented campaign, which deals with the concerns of the American people.

But as some of you may recall, the last debate that took place really was I think, insulting to the American people. It was a food fight. It was about who could yell the loudest. That's not what the American people want. They want a serious debate on serious issues.

Joe Bien is somebody I have known for many years. I like Joe. I think he's a very decent human being. Joe and I have a very different voting record. Joe and I have a very different vision for the future of this country. And Joe and I are running very different campaigns.

And my hope is that in the coming months, we will be able to debate and discuss the very significant differences that we have.

Joe is running a campaign, which is obviously heavily supported by the corporate establishment. At last count, he has received funding from at least 60 billionaires -- 60 billionaires.

Our campaign has received more campaign contributions from more Americans averaging $18.50 than any campaign in the history of our country at this point in time. So what does it mean? When you have a campaign, which is funded very significantly by the wealthy and the powerful, does anyone seriously believe that a President backed by the corporate world is going to bring about the changes in this country that working families and the middle class and lower income people desperately need?

We're going to the Midwest, I'll be in Michigan shortly. And as I think everybody knows, Michigan, Wisconsin, Indiana, the Midwest in general, Minnesota, have been very hard hit by disastrous trade agreements.

And Joe is going to have to explain to the people, the union workers in the Midwest why he has supported disastrous trade agreements like NAFTA and PNTR with China, which have cost this country millions of good paying jobs, and in fact have resulted in a race to the bottom where people are now earning low wages.

Millions of people today lost good paying jobs in manufacturing, and are now earning substantially less than they used to.

Joe is going to have to explain to the American people why he voted for a Wall Street bailout, something that I vigorously opposed.

[14:20:27]

SANDERS: Joe is going to have to explain to the American people who are so tired of endless wars which have cost us too many lives, destabilized many regions around the world, have cost us trillions of dollars while he was a leader in getting us involved in the war in Iraq, at a time when half of our people are living paycheck to paycheck and struggling to make ends meet.

Joe is going to have to explain to the American people why he voted for a disastrous Bankruptcy Bill, which benefited the credit card companies.

Joe was going to have to explain to people all over this country why he was on the floor of the Senate time and time again talking about the need not only to cut Social Security and Medicare and Medicaid and veterans programs, how does that happen?

Why would a Democrat talk about cutting Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and veterans programs?

Joe and I have a very different opinion with regarding healthcare. Joe essentially wants to maintain what I consider to be a dysfunctional and cruel healthcare system in which we are spending twice as much per person on healthcare as other people of any other country and yet we have 87 million Americans are uninsured, underinsured, 30,000 people who are dying and 500,000 people who will go bankrupt every single year because of medical related bills.

And on top of that, we pay by far, not even close, the highest prices in the world for prescription drugs from an industry, which is involved in collusion and price fixing.

So the American people have got to understand that this is a conflict, about ideas, about a record, about a vision for where we go forward. And I like Joe. You know, he is a decent guy and I do not want this campaign to degenerate into a Trump type epic where we are attacking each other where it is personal attacks. That is the last thing this country wants.

Joe has his ideas, his record, his vision for the future. I have mine and I look forward to a serious debate on the serious issues facing this country, and I would hope that the media will help us do that, allow that kind of debate to take place.

And by the way, I would offer Joe, because I know the issue of healthcare, among many other issues is such an enormously important issue. I would hope that instead of having a debate where we have to spend 28 seconds trying to respond to a complicated issue, maybe we can spend an hour talking about why the United States is the only major country on Earth not to guarantee healthcare to all people in something like a Medicare-for-All single payer program. QUESTION: Senator in 2016, you won Michigan. This has now become a

swing state. Donald Trump flipped out later on in the General Election. Do you have to win that state to prove again that you can beat him in the General?

SANDERS: Look, I have said, I've asked every day, you have to win this state. You have to win that state. I wish we could win all of the states.

QUESTION: But you won that over Hillary in 2016?

SANDERS: We won it by a few points. Look, we are going in there with a full expectation and the hope that we will win. Michigan is obviously an enormously important state, a state I feel very comfortable in. We are going to be going to Michigan within a few days, and I think some of the issues that the people of Michigan are concerned about our trade, and they were devastated -- they were devastated by trade agreements like NAFTA and PNTR with China.

Trade agreements, which are vigorously opposed of which Joe Biden supported, and that is certainly one of the issues that I will be talking about in terms of Michigan.

QUESTION: Senator Sanders --

SANDERS: Hold on one second.

QUESTION: Senator, you talk about a mass movement of a broad coalition.

SANDERS: Yes.

QUESTION: Are you disappointed that that wasn't able to deliver more states last night? And what's your plan towards that?

SANDERS: Look, you know, of course, I am disappointed. I would like to get every state by a landslide. It's not going to happen. What we are trying to do is unprecedented. Right? We are talking about a political revolution. We are talking about bringing millions and millions of people today who have no voice, who have given up on the political process, who in many cases are working longer hours for low wages, people who don't have any healthcare, people who have not traditionally been involved in the political process.

[14:25:12]

SANDERS: You all know what politics has always been about in America. You've got a candidate from the establishment, going out to rich people's homes, raising all kinds of money, and then running for President. This is a different campaign.

This is a campaign which is trying to bring -- and it is not easy -- people who have not been involved in the political process. So you might want to ask me maybe as a follow up question, have we been as successful as I would hope in bringing young people in? And the answer is no. We're making some progress. But historically, everybody knows that young people do not vote in the

kind of numbers that older people voted. I think that will change in the General Election, but I am going to be honest with you, we have not done as well in bringing young people in the political process.

It is not easy. Yes.

QUESTION: Particularly, African-American voters, what's your strategy going forward?

SANDERS: Well, we're doing better, you know, and you know, no denying that Joe Biden has done very well with the African-American community. But I think when you look -- and I haven't had the time honestly to analyze it.

But I think if you look at California, if you look at people of color in general, African-Americans and Latinos, Asian-Americans, we won that big time, big time, not even close.

So we are doing very well with people of color. We're going to do better, I think with the African-American community and we continue to --

BALDWIN: All right, so we wanted to make sure we'd listen to quite a bit of Senator Bernie Sanders fresh off of some of his wins from Super Tuesday, really drawing this line in the sand, it is us versus them -- them, the establishment.

Kirsten Powers is with me. John Avlon is with me and so let's just dive in first on Kirsten what we just heard from the Vermont senator, you know, the quote was, he says, "This campaign is increasingly 'which side am I on?'" It was a lot of finally showcasing, you know, why I'm your guy and why Joe Biden is not really ripping in on Joe Biden and the establishment -- Kirsten.

KIRSTEN POWERS, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, you know, I didn't really hear him ripping on Joe Biden. I mean, he was pretty clear that he said he respects Joe Biden. He thinks he's a decent man.

But I do think he is drawing a distinction with Joe Biden.

BALDWIN: I think he lit to him -- he lit into him a little bit.

POWERS: Yes, I don't know. I felt like he was drawing distinctions. I mean, this is like -- this is a campaign for President of the United States, you do need to draw distinctions with the person who you're running against.

So, you know, when we look back at other presidential elections, certainly Hillary and Obama definitely by the end did not have -- there was no love lost between the two of them and they went after each other pretty hard. And, you know, she became a Secretary of State.

So I think he's at a point where he realizes that it's him and Joe Biden and he needs to be drawing distinctions. He does see his campaign as being something very distinct, I think from what Joe Biden is running on that it is anti-establishment and that he clearly feels the establishment is rallying against him.

BALDWIN: But and this is where you come in.

JOHN AVLON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes.

BALDWIN: So he is saying it is us versus them, them being the establishment yet, what was the ad that they just put out today? Roll it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bernie is somebody who has the virtue of saying exactly what he believes. Great authenticity, great passion, and is fearless.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: I'm just saying, how do you make sense of that? That was the establishment.

AVLON: Yes. Well, a couple of things. First of all, he realizes that railing against the Obama record is actually not a good tactic for winning Democratic Primaries, particularly the African-American vote, even one of his chief surrogates, Cornel West, who was a very vocal critic of Barack Obama, and that's a problem in building bridges, particularly to the African-American community where Joe Biden has been running the table basically and Bernie Sanders been having a tough time.

But look, it's beyond sort of the situational ethics of associating yourself with Obama in a campaign ad.

Chris is right. Look, we should have great debates. These two men do have very different visions of the country. That's a legitimate discussion and they deserve some credit for saying nice things about each other interpersonally.

BALDWIN: Sure. Of course.

AVLON: You see that too little.

BALDWIN: Of course.

AVLON: But I think the problem is where Bernie Sanders is quick to do the us-against-them card. It's very core to his campaign. That's a calling card of demagogues through history. I'm not calling Bernie Sanders, a demagogue. It is something we hear a lot from the President of the United States, this one.

And I think, you know, we can have a great disagreement without saying that everyone on the other side is an establishment corporate shill. That doesn't reflect the coalition that Joe Biden has put together that we saw on Super Tuesday last night, and it's insulting to his supporters. This whole idea of the establishment itself falls apart if you look at

the folks who turned out for Joe Biden last night.

BALDWIN: Kirsten, Obama has obviously been clear that he's not weighing in, but do you think this will force him to put his thumb on the scale of the Democratic Primary? Will this force his hand? Of all of what we're discussing.

POWERS: I don't know, because I don't know what his calculations are.

[14:30:10]