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CNN NEWSROOM

Sanders Rolls Out New Ads Hitting Biden & Touting Obama; Rep. Alma Adams (D-NC), Who Has Endorsed Joe Biden, Discusses The Black Vote & It's Impact On Biden's Campaign; First Coronavirus Death In California & 11 Deaths In Washington State; Supreme Court Hears Oral Arguments In Controversial Abortion Case. Aired 2:30-3p ET

Aired March 4, 2020 - 14:30   ET

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


[14:30:00]

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

KIRSTEN POWERS, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: I don't know because I don't know what his calculations are. I guess he feels like he doesn't want to get involved and let everything take its course. But if he feels strongly, you know, then maybe he will.

Can I just say, I'm not saying he's a demagogue, but you basically did. And --

(CROSSTALK)

JOHN AVLON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: No, no, no.

(CROSSTALK)

POWERS: Hold on, let me --

(CROSSTALK)

AVLON: I'm sorry, don't put words in my mouth. I specifically corrected that --

(CROSSTALK)

AVLON: -- to say that --

(CROSSTALK)

AVLON: -- that technique of "us against them" is the calling dog of demagogues through history.

POWERS: Right.

(CROSSTALK)

AVLON: That does not mean that Bernie - No. Again, the reason I clarified it is so that people -- and I presume -- I mean, you're a person of good faith and we often agree on politics, sometimes we disagree, but I'm saying that that's a technique. People can use that technique without being a demagogue.

But it's something we've heard too much of in our politics recently. When folks use it as a calling card, it's worth calling it out.

POWERS: I think when you basically say what you said, and now you want to say it's not basically saying he's a demagogue --

AVLON: No.

POWERS: -- I think when you do that or even say, you know, this is like Donald Trump --

(CROSSTALK)

AVLON: If you can't call something what it is -- if someone says, "us against them," and you can't say that's a problematic talk tick --

(CROSSTALK)

POWERS: But the point is --

(CROSSTALK)

POWERS: John, he didn't say us against them. That's not what he said.

(CROSSTALK)

AVLON: His whole appeal is "us against him."

POWERS: He basically said there are different sides here, and there are different sides. I mean, would anybody disagree with that?

BALDWIN: He said, "Which side are you on?"

(CROSSTALK)

BALDWIN: That is drawing a line in the political sand.

POWERS: These are two radically different approaches.

AVLON: Yes --

(CROSSTALK)

AVLON: -- and that's a great conversation debate to have.

(CROSSTALK)

POWERS: It's fine to say, which side are you on, which way are you going. Everybody agrees that what Bernie Sanders represents is something that's radically different.

AVLON: Yes. POWERS: And I think that that's what he's saying. And I think if you're him and his supporters, you would reasonably feel that the establishment is getting together and trying to stop you.

Now, where I think that that analysis fails a little bit is the fact that what really reshaped this race wasn't the establishment. It was African-American voters. So we did --

(CROSSTALK)

AVLON: Yes. That's the point.

POWERS: We did see the establishment start to shift after that have happened -- after that happened, and I think they realized that the base of the Democratic Party was more with Biden. I think they have to get real about the fact that Bernie Sanders has to be able to start peeling away some of these African-American voters. And if he can't, he's not going to win the nomination.

AVLON: It's about more than that, right? It's about the broader politics of addition versus division. Bernie Sanders is an ideologue. He believes very deeply and admirably, consistently over a long time, on Democratic-Socialist ideals. That doesn't mean that everyone opposes him as a corporate sellout being backed by big business.

The larger coalition of the Democratic Party, as we saw again last night, is not only just divided between liberals and moderates but really very liberals, somewhat liberals, moderates and conservatives.

And Bernie Sanders has a very narrow base with the very liberal cohort. He's got to build a bridge beyond that. That's a problem for him. That's why he seems to have a ceiling.

(CROSSTALK)

AVLON: That doesn't mean that everyone else in the other core of the Democratic Party is a sellout or establishment --

(CROSSTALK)

AVLON: -- most of all African-American.

(CROSSTALK)

BALDWIN: Let me jump in. Let me jump in.

(CROSSTALK)

BALDWIN: Quickly, Kirsten.

POWERS: He says he has a problem. He's actually probably going to be leading in delegates, right?

AVLON: Maybe.

POWERS: Let's keep some perspective here that they're neck in neck at a minimum, so it's not that, you know, he's somehow losing.

AVLON: For sure. For sure.

POWERS: We need to keep some perspective.

(CROSSTALK)

POWERS: We don't know what's going to happen.

AVLON: -- last night.

BALDWIN: OK, we'll leave it. I appreciate the healthy conversation and the disagreeing parts.

(CROSSTALK)

BALDWIN: I do want to come back -- Kirsten, thank you. I do want to come back to the significance of the black vote and all things Joe Biden. What this means for him moving forward. And also Senator Sanders. I have with me coming up Congresswoman Alma Adams, who has endorsed Joe Biden.

Plus, we are learning of California's first coronavirus-related death, bringing the death toll in the United States to 11.

[14:33:56]

We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[14:38:40]

BALDWIN: Joe Biden riding high after winning primaries in at least nine of the 14 Super Tuesday states. And African-American voters helped Biden's massive comeback. CNN exit polls show 57 percent of black voters threw their support behind the former vice president.

My next guest is a Democrat from North Carolina. She is Congresswoman Alma Adams, and she announced her endorsement of Joe Biden back in January.

Congresswoman Adams, a pleasure. Welcome.

REP. ALMA ADAMS (D-NC): Thank you very much for having me.

BALDWIN: So watching Joe Biden last night, he told the crowd he was left for dead and now he is, this comeback kid. What happened?

ADAMS: Well, we know Joe. We love him. His vision is a vision we have for our communities, African-Americans. As a matter of fact, he had a very diverse group of folks to come out and support him, from the suburban to rural communities. And I think that's what did it.

And of course, African-Americans were very excited about Joe and about his vision. The fact that he understands what we need and has made a commitment to work with us and he's worked with us over the years.

So I was absolutely excited about his win. Certainly, some we didn't expect. But we're happy that he we did what we did. And we weren't going to let South Carolina outdo North Carolina either.

[14:40:06]

BALDWIN: I hear you on those state rivalries.

But to your point, Congresswoman about, you know, the former vice president's work with the community for years because there's one camp that wonders, all right, well, how much of this was that he was Barack Obama's vice president, right, that certainly played a role in his success. Or is it more than that? Was it about the years of this man maintaining a connection with the black community?

ADAMS: Well, certainly, we love Barack Obama. I think he was the greatest president. And having Joe Biden work so closely with him, which meant that he worked very closely with our community as well, I'm sure that that helped.

But he stands alone in terms of the work that he's done over the years, which is probably why I'm sure the president, President Obama, tapped him to be his vice president.

So we have a lot of confidence in his ability. We cannot make any mistakes on this election coming up. We've got to have someone that we know will not only deliver but who will be able to beat Donald Trump.

BALDWIN: Speaking of President Obama, I want to ask you about this new Bernie Sanders ad that's running right now in Florida. Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES (voice-over): Bernie served on the Veteran's Committee and got bills done.

I think people are ready for a call to action. They want honest leadership who cares about them.

They want somebody who's going to fight for them.

(CHEERING)

OBAMA: And they will find it in Bernie.

Feel the Bern.

(CHEERING)

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT): I'm Bernie Sanders, and I approve this message.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: Now, we just listened to the Senator, you know, speaking about this message, which he had actually tweeted out earlier saying you can't beat Trump with the same old kind of politics. And now he's essentially bear-hugging President Obama. How does he square the two?

ADAMS: That's being pretty hypocritical to me. Yes, he's also trying to use former President Obama as a way in. So I'm not sure that he's being totally honest about what he's saying.

But I heard him earlier, and it was a very divisive kind of message, the establishment against his campaign. And we really at this point, don't need that.

And I think Vice President Biden certainly is bringing a different perspective and message to our folks.

And of course, we want to be together. We've had enough divisiveness with this president. We want a president who will be a president for all of the people all of the time, and that the base, the president's base will be the United States of America.

BALDWIN: Appreciate your time. Congresswoman, Alma Adams, thank you.

ADAMS: And thank you.

BALDWIN: Let's get you back to our breaking news out of California. That state reporting its very first coronavirus death, bringing the total death toll in the United States now to 11. And this comes amid a new warning about the lethality of the virus. That's next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[14:47:16]

On coronavirus this afternoon, the total number of deaths in the United States is now up to 11. California has just reported its first death. County health officials say the person was an elderly adult with underlying health conditions.

And Washington State, meantime, has also just reported its tenth death.

All of this as a top official over at the CDC says that the United States is on the brink of a broader outbreak that could mirror what's been happening in other countries. There are now nearly 150 cases in the U.S.

Congress is one step closer to passing a massive funding bill to fight the virus. And Vice President Mike Pence just announced new guidelines for U.S. nursing homes.

The government has lifted restrictions also on who can get tested.

So let's go straight to our senior medical correspondent, Elizabeth Cohen.

With just all these new developments, Elizabeth. DR. ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Right. You

know, I think one of the things we need to think about with these deaths, Brooke, is this is 11 deaths in less than a week. That is a large number.

And what doctors are telling me, infectious disease specialists, they think there may have been deaths before these that nobody knew it was coronavirus because they couldn't test for it. And elderly people die of pneumonia quite frequently. Ad no one would have thought to test or if they wanted to test, they couldn't have tested.

As you said this 11th death in the country, the very first one outside of Washington State. This death is in California.

This person was on the "Diamond Princess" cruise. The cruise that there were a large number of cases. They were traveling from February 11th to the 21st on this cruise. They came back, had minimal contact with people in California and, unfortunately, passed away. An elderly person with underlying conditions.

Brooke, as this happens, I want us all to stay focused on the fact that these are the people who are most at risk. A lot of people are very nervous about this virus, as we all should be concerned. It's the elderly and/or people with underlying conditions who we really should be concerned about.

BALDWIN: Elizabeth, thank you so much for that. Absolutely, we should.

I know a lot of you have questions. We want to help you get answers. You can tune in to Anderson Cooper and Dr. Sanjay Gupta for a CNN global town hall that is live tomorrow night 10:00 Eastern and Pacific right here on CNN.

[14:49:29]

Back to politics. Moments from now, Mike Bloomberg will be speaking for the very first time since dropping out of the presidential race and officially endorsing Joe Biden. Stand by for that.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BALDWIN: For almost 50 years, access to abortion has been protected by Roe v. Wade, but now the court is looking at abortion law again. This time, with a strong 5-4 conservative majority.

This Louisiana law under consideration requires abortion providers to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals, but the case could signal how willing the more conservative court is to roll back abortion rights.

So this is the first major abortion case that will be heard by President Trump's two nominees, Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh.

CNN's Supreme Court Reporter, Ariane De Vogue is with me now.

What happened today, Ariane? ARIANE DE VOGUE, CNN SUPREME COURT REPORTER: Brooke, they seemed

divided in court. It seemed like Chief Justice Roberts and Brett Kavanaugh might be receptive to upholding this law. But really, Chief Justice John Roberts is going to be key here. It was too hard to tell at oral arguments where he's going to come out.

[14:55:00]

Keep in mind, this is one of the most explosive cases of the term here. Supporters of abortion rights think this new court is about to gut court precedent. They're very worried.

Louisiana says, look, this law is necessary for public safety. Critics say that there's no reason for the law, that abortion is a very safe procedure. And in court, Brooke, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was really fiercely on their side.

But the most important thing to remember is it was just four years ago when the Supreme Court struck down a similar Texas law.

So all eyes are going to be on Chief Justice John Roberts to see just how much this court has now changed four years later -- Brooke?

BALDWIN: We'll see how they go. I know a lot of people are in front of that court today with differing opinions on the issue.

Ariane De Vogue, thank you, in Washington.

We are just moments away from Mike Bloomberg's address to supporters and staff. Hear why he is now throwing his support behind Joe Biden.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)