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Democratic Primary Narrows To Two-Man Race In Stunning Fashion; New Questions After Pence Says, Any American Can Be Tested. Aired 1- 1:30p ET

Aired March 4, 2020 - 13:00   ET

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


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BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN HOST: I'm Brianna Keilar, live from CNN's Washington headquarters.

Underway right now, we start with the turning tied of the presidential race and what has become a Joe Biden tsunami. The former Vice President building on a momentum of his South Carolina win and avalanche of endorsements to carry the day and the night on Tuesday. Biden, adding nine states to his win column, including big victories in Texas, North Carolina and Virginia. Bernie Sanders won three states, his home State of Vermont, as well as Colorado and Utah. Biden and Sanders finishing either first or second in every state that was up for grabs.

And confronted with those numbers, former New York City Mayor and billionaire Michael Bloomberg called it quit this morning suspending his campaign. He spent more than half a billion dollars on his Super Tuesday strategy with his only success coming with a win in American Samoa.

So let's take a look at the delegate count, as it stands right now. Tuesday's victories putting Biden out front there. But, of course, there is still one big prize that has not been determined, and that is that is California where Jessica Dean is. She is in Los Angeles.

And, Jessica, you have been following the Biden campaign and we have Cristina Alesci in New York with the Bloomberg campaign.

Cristina, to you first. Bloomberg didn't just drop out, he also endorsed Biden. Take us through this decision.

CRISTINA ALESCI, CNN POLITICS AND BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: That's right. His $500 million plus bet on himself didn't pan out so he's trying to find a way to redirect some of those resources now to Joe Biden. But let me give you some color how this all shook out.

Yes, last night was obviously terrible for Michael Bloomberg. Not only did he not win a state but the states that his campaign invested in, in those areas, like Tennessee, Oklahoma, Arkansas, those he did not perform well in. All of that ad money didn't really get him very far in those states. So he came back to New York, his house, to his home just behind me, and he made the decision after looking at that data and seeing that there was no clear path.

Look, from here on out, his advisers are telling me it's all about how to support Joe Biden, and he does have an incredible operation. Just to give you a sense of that, 2,400 staff, 500 of those staff are in battleground states. There are 200 field offices around the country. These are really important stats for Joe Biden because there's been a lot of talk and reporting around the fact that he does not have a strong field and ground operation. So all of that being directed towards Joe Biden somehow, some way, they've got to figure that out.

But in a larger context of Michael Bloomberg, look, it was the fact that opposition research didn't help him. Weak debate performances did not help him. And, of course, the last minute momentum from Joe Biden out of South Carolina really leading up to last night did not help Mayor Bloomberg, the former Mayor of New York City. We're going to hear him later on in a press conference and we'll have more details then, Brianna.

KEILAR: All right. We will be looking forward to that in a couple of hours. Cristina, thank you.

And, Jessica, this endorsement comes with a lot of things, because, I mean, you hear Democrats when they were talking about the kind of money that Bloomberg had, this was just silly money, the amounts of which they almost couldn't comprehend to being spent on a campaign. This must be something that the Biden campaign is very happy about.

JESSICA DEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Right. And they're still trying to work through, as Cristina alluded to, kind of how does this practically all play out. So we are looking to see how it does play out, how is this money be used, how will they -- how will the Biden campaign kind of tap into this and how will that functionally work.

But in the meantime, Brianna, to your point the Biden campaign just happy to see more coalescence behind Vice President Joe Biden. They really hoped that Saturday's win in South Carolina would give him the bounce to get last night.

But this has really expanded beyond anybody's kind of wildest dream. It's just this unprecedented comeback and then this rallying around Joe Biden by so many now of his former rivals and to have somebody like Michael Bloomberg and those resources, which you alluded to, at his -- to use is really an incredible boost to the Biden campaign.

And you look ahead to the states that are coming up next, to places like Florida, where, look, Michael Bloomberg would have been probably viable in Florida and would have eaten into Biden's support. This is something they're looking at as we getting into this delegates game further down the road, because now, this is a numbers game in so many ways, Brianna.

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KEILAR: Yes, it certainly is, Jessica Dean, thank you so much.

And let's dig into that numbers right now with specifics of how and why Joe Biden did so well, how he dominated in the state that he didn't even visit in this run-up to Super Tuesday and, really, who showed up at the polls. We have Tom Foreman here to break it all down for us.

Walk us through this, Tom.

TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Brianna, you hit it right on the head there, who showed up at the polls.

Look, if we looked at the states that Joe Biden had won to date, if we put this up yesterday at this time, it would have been just this, South Carolina, and he's been running off on for president for decades. Now, he has ten of them. He did it because there were a lot of voters who showed up for him, from all different stripes of people, huge support from African-American community, huge support from people who were educated, college white voters, uneducated college white voters, working class folks. All these folks came out and they showed up for Joe Biden in a big way in all these places and shocked everyone.

By comparison, look what happened to Bernie Sanders. He is famous for his money-raising capabilities and for his fervent support among young educated voters out there who are progressives. And look at this, he's got five states here but each one of these, in their own way, has some unique tie to that progressive front. It doesn't mean it's not important, but it may not be as broad-based from what we saw from Biden yesterday.

And look at the state that you mention a while ago that Biden won and where he really didn't do anything. Massachusetts, Minnesota, Tennessee, Arkansas, Oklahoma, that also speaks maybe not even as much to Joe Biden as this overwhelming desire among Democrats to beat Donald Trump, because that seems like only the big revelations here. Remember, early on, the polls favored Biden because people thought he could beat Donald Trump. He stumbled a great deal there. Now, it seems like after South Carolina, maybe people believe that again.

And then, look at this, the turnout, all these states way up in turnout on Super Tuesday except Oklahoma down there. And who is turning up out there? This is really the catching point for Biden versus Sanders. Sanders has huge support among the Latino community, he has huge support among the younger voters.

If you get to the younger voters he sweeps them, he runs away with them. But everybody else is trending towards Biden. And when those numbers pushed up the people, the people of the Democratic Party is counting on showed up and they showed up for Joe Biden.

KEILAR: Lonely Oklahoma. What is going on there, Tom? They're down, not following the trend.

All right, Tom Foreman, thank you so much.

Eight days ago at the Democratic debate in South Carolina Joe Biden was asked if he would drop out if he didn't win South Carolina. No one else on stage that night was asked that question. But fast forward to right now, and three of those candidates are out of the race and they're endorsing Biden. This includes today's dropout, Michael Bloomberg.

I want to bring in, Tara Setmayer. She is a fellow at the Harvard Institute of Politics. and Krystal Ball, is here with us in studio, Co-Host of Rising on Hill T.V.

I mean what a reversal of fortune here.

KRYSTAL BALL, CO-HOST, RISING ON HILL TV: Unbelievable. I mean, I don't know that we've ever seen a day of swing just in the last 48 hours before a vote like we saw here. And I think the Sanders campaign, which, you know, I've been very friendly towards and which values I really support, has to realize and recognize the fact that they had a theory of the case, that young people and Latinos in this working class coalition that they have would turn up in overwhelming numbers and that that would be their path to victory.

Now, look, what we're going to come out on this, they'll probably be more or less even in terms of delegates, so they have a chance to reset, but they have to look to build that coalition within the existing Democratic Party.

I would argue that group of voters that is most up for grab is the suburban voters. They're with Pete, they're with Amy, they're with Warren. Now, they're with Joe. They're been floating around, maybe they're solidly behind Joe. We don't know that.

But if you could make an effective electability pitch, which I think there is one to make, then perhaps you can win those voters, when, basically you say, look, Joe Biden is Hillary Clinton 2.0. We've run this playbook before, the same issues with trade, the same mark of excitement with the young voters. Hilary Clinton is going to -- Joe Biden is Hilary Clinton 2.0 and he's going to run into that wall as well.

KEILAR: Okay. And that would be interesting, Tara, because there are some of these voters you might say, I would -- I liked Hillary Clinton better than I liked Bernie Sanders and then they are up against wondering if they agree with this electability issue that actually maybe Bernie Sanders would have given. Donald Trump a better run for his money, they may or may not agree with that.

TARA SETMAYER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well. First of all, Joe Biden is not Hillary Clinton 2.0. Joe Biden is actually likable. He doesn't have the same baggage that Hillary Clinton had. Moderate Republicans and Never-Trump Republicans like myself would feel comfortable casting a vote for Joe Biden. And Joe Biden has enough sense for his campaign to campaign in states where Hillary Clinton did not.

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He has an appeal to the white middle class working voters in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. He has a relationship with those folks because of his growing up in Pennsylvania and Delaware, he's a blue collar guy. He is a far, far cry from Hillary Clinton.

So you're not going to run into the same depressed vote as you did in 2016, where people or just so many particularly Republicans who did not care for Donald Trump but would refuse to vote for Hillary Clinton. So I think that, that dynamic cannot go un-ignored.

Also, it's important to see that, so far, Biden has been able to recreate the Obama coalition does far, which is something that Hillary Clinton was unable to do. 5 million stayed home in 2016. Bernie Sanders has not lived up to getting out the massive voter turnout that people thought he was going to do especially with younger people. That hasn't materialized up until this point. That increase in voter turnout has not gone to Sanders, it's gone to Biden.

BALL: Yes. If I can just respond to that. I think, Tara, makes a really good point, that Joe Biden is a fundamentally more likable candidate than Hillary Clinton. I think that is important. On the other hand, Donald Trump is at a much stronger place now than he was then and Hillary was leading Trump by more at this point than Joe Biden is.

The other piece of this is, it's not the Obama coalition, because we don't have the young folks. And that is really critical. Look, these young people with the Sunrise Moment, who have organized because they believe in the Green New Deal, they believe in Medicare-for-all. If Joe Biden is going to be the Democratic nominee, the party has got to think hard about not trying to bully them into voting for Joe Biden, but what they can offer them, what they can use to excite those people who are so excited for Bernie Sanders, and I'll tell you, are feeling very demoralized right now that every establishment figure in the party lined up behind Joe Biden basically said, this time is not your time.

KEILAR: Well, let's talk about arguably an establishment figure there, because Bernie Sanders has a new ad campaign out and it's features former President Obama praising the senator. I mean, I wonder what you think about this, Tara, because certainly, you know, Biden is accused of not really wanting to kind of -- he sort of harkens back to the Obama era, and yet here you have Bernie Sanders touting this Obama connection. And so, I mean, he's arguably the establishment, isn't he?

SETMAYER: Well, I mean, this is an incredibly dishonest ad, frankly. And if ads like this continue to get put up the former president is going to have to come out and make a statement about where his support lies.

It's clear that Bernie Sanders using Barack Obama ads, you know, for an ad to show, see, I have credibility with those folks, it absolutely is hypocritical. So you're either with the establishment or you're not, but only when it's convenient for you, and then your misleading about where President Obama's allegiance lies.

Joe Biden was his Vice President for eight years. He was a heart beat away from the presidency for eight years. So President Obama clearly trusts Joe Biden to be ready to be president on day one. Just because he hasn't come out endorsed him fully just yet doesn't mean that that's not where his support lies.

And also, you know, Joe Biden is allowed to use President Obama because he has a record. He stood by with him side by side for eight years. So I think that, you know, this is dishonest and it's deceiving and it's going to force the former president to have to come out, I think, and take sides sooner than he is comfortable doing.

KEILAR: Krystal?

BALL: Look, at this point, all of the candidates have basically done this. I would say that given what we know now --

KEILAR: Joe Biden hasn't.

BALL: Joe Biden has released ads certainly that have Barack Obama in them.

KEILAR: But Joe -- to be clear Joe Biden was his vice president, so --

BALL: There were misleading though but accurate. But let -- I'm just saying, let's be consistent with this. Mike Bloomberg did the same, Elizabeth Warren did the same thing, and none of them were the vice president.

KEILAR: I mean, I do just want to say that when Joe Biden does it, it's not the same as Bernie Sanders or Michael Bloomberg doing it.

BALL: Sure, fair. But I don't think it's like a lie or misleading, these were really his words that were used in the ad.

What will I say from a strategic point of view, this is the case that now knowing what we know that the turnout with the youth vote didn't materialize, the revolution didn't materialize but there was actually more openness within the regular Democratic Party to Bernie Sanders. We see that in exit polls where there is overwhelming support, for example, for Medicare-for-all where his favorability is very high.

He could have made that, look, don't be afraid, right, these values are your values. Here's a validator, and that's really what he needs now is some friends. He needs some sort of normal mainline friends to come in and vouch for him if he's going to make a play for that suburban vote, which, again, I think it's tough. I think the landscape is very difficult but that's the most gettable group.

KEILAR: Can I ask you a question about that then, because he hasn't really cultivated that? I mean, we've seen recently that he's even misrepresented how often he's in touch with Obama.

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So, I mean, why didn't -- clear -- anyone knows that if Bernie Sanders is going to make his way to the nomination and certainly win in the general election, he's going to need to broaden his support. Why hasn't he sort of done that work ahead of time?

BALL: I think it's a mistake, a real mistake. There were two directions you could go. Look, when he ran for mayor of Vermont and shocked everyone and drove up turnout 50 percent, he went hard against the people in power. There was no, I'm going to be with you in the end, it was me against you, end of story. And that worked to drive up turnout. That's one model.

The other model is what you're talking about, which I think was the more doable and more natural model for him here. Look, these people are his friends, ultimately. He never goes after Joe Biden without professing it with, he's my friend, he's pledged to back all of them. So they did need to lay that ground works so that when after Nevada, there was a moment of momentum and it looked like a time to jump on the bandwagon, then they could have gotten that validation, gotten those endorsers in.

At this point, it's a much more challenging task but one that I still think is worth working on. And, look, maybe Elizabeth Warren is that person who give him some validation and some comfort there.

KEILAR: Krystal and Tara, I love the conversation.

SETMAYER: This is not a real world version what Bernie is doing right now. He's gone after the establishment, he's gone after Joe Biden, he's done nothing say that he is trying to unify the Democratic Party. His entire brand is about --

BALL: I don't think that's fair. He's not even a Democrat.

KEILAR: You guys, I love this conversation. But we are going to have to leave it there. Tara, thank you so much. Krystal, thank you so much. And I'm going to be live with the former candidate who shared the stage with Biden and Sanders to react to the new state of the race.

Plus, the U.S. drops limits on coronavirus testing for Americans. But what does that mean if you're feeling symptoms.

And it's the nursing home at the center of the outbreak in Washington State. The daughter of a woman inside will join me live on what happened when she showed up at the door to see her mom.

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KEILAR: A short time ago, sources tell CNN that negotiators in Congress struck a deal on a sweeping spending package to dedicate billions to dealing with the coronavirus outbreak. And this can come soon enough because the situation is getting worse by the day. Just check out the numbers here, 130 cases across 13 states. There have been nine deaths all in Washington State. And then less than an hour, Vice President Pence will brief house law makers on the administrations coronavirus response. Many have questions about the V.P.'s announcement that any American can now be tested.

Let's bring in CNN Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen to explain this to us. There is this new guidance for testing of coronavirus. What other changes has the vice president promised, Elizabeth?

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: So the vice president has promised to get more tests out there, Brianna. And that's what really crucial here. Now, that he says, look, anyone can get tested, well, that's all well and good, but if you don't have enough tests, it doesn't matter if the vice president says you can't get testes. It's is there a test for you.

When I speak with doctors in hospitals around the country, what many of them were saying is, look, I've had patients I wanted to test, but first I have to get in touch with the state health department and arrange it with them. And that was, as one person called it, a million steps just to do that.

And then in some places, states can do the testing, in other places, the state sends the specimen to the CDC in Atlanta. That's very, very time consuming, really, in either situation. Doctors want to test that they can do quickly, just as they would do with strep test, or a flu test, or any other test that they commonly do.

KEILAR: Yes. They just do it in the office there. Elizabeth Cohen, thank you so much. We really appreciate it.

And as coronavirus is continuing to spread, health officials say this virus appears to be deadlier than the flu.

Our next guest is, Dr. Kathleen Neuzil. She is the Director of the University of Maryland School of Medicine's Center for Vaccine Development and Global Health, and she's also working with the National Institutes of Health to help develop a coronavirus vaccine.

Doctor Neuzil, thank you for joining us, as you're really involve in this fight against coronavirus. Tell us a little bit about this effort. Because we know that you're going to -- you are part of this effort to begin this vaccine and trial may begin here in the next few weeks. Then what? How long does this take?

DR. KATHLEEN NEUZIL, DIRECTOR, UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND SCHOOL OF MEDICINE: Yes. Again, the NIH is leading this effort. But if we think about vaccine development in general, we're looking at a target of safety testing initially in a small number of people. And, of course, in the United States, we put a high premium on safety of vaccines.

Once it's tested in a relatively small number of healthy people, we continue to move forward, we test the vaccine in larger numbers of people, perhaps broader age groups of people. So before it is released to the general public it really has to go through this extensive safety testing and, of course, we want to know if it's immunogenic, it creates an immune response and it's likely to work.

KEILAR: So the World Health Organization says that this strain of coronavirus has a higher fatality rate than flu, than influenza. Is it more contagious though or can you say for sure, and which statistic should we be focusing on more?

NEUZIL: Yes. So both influenza and coronaviruses cause serious illness and both are contagious. They cause disease spread in the same way, through coughing and sneezing, through close contact, through touching our eyes, our nose and our mouths. It's very difficult to compare the two viruses at this point.

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We've studied influenza for decades, we've studied it extensively. We just heard Elizabeth Cohen talk about the lack of availability of diagnostic tests for coronavirus. we are going to learn a lot more about people who have coronavirus, who are less symptomatic, who may be asymptomatic, who have mild systems now that we have a greater availability of diagnostics.

KEILAR: Well, that is good news but it's also just unsettling how we need to know more at this point in time and we really appreciate you explaining it to us. Dr. Kathleen Neuzil, thank you.

Tomorrow night, join Anderson Cooper and Dr. Sanjay Gupta for a CNN global town hall, Coronavirus, Facts and Fears. That will be live tomorrow night at 10:00 Eastern right here on CNN.

There is devastation across parts of Tennessee as communities clean up following a string of deadly tornadoes and we're learning today that several children are among the dead.

Plus, on the heels of Joe Biden's big Super Tuesday, I'll talk live to one person who shared the stage with Biden and urged him to, quote, pass the torch.

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