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INSIDE POLITICS

Vice President Joe Biden: We Are Very Much Alive; Michael Bloomberg Endorsement Caps Shocking Turnaround For Joe Biden; Senator Elizabeth Warren Team: Taking Time To Think Through The Right Way To Continue This Fight; Joe Biden Resurrects Campaign With Super Tuesday Surprise; Number Of Coronavirus Cases Rises. Aired 12-12:30p ET

Aired March 4, 2020 - 12:00   ET

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


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JOHN KING, CNN HOST: Welcome to INSIDE POLITICS. I'm John King. Thank you for sharing this big breaking news day with us. Super Tuesday gives way to wow Wednesday. After Joe Biden wins, Mike Bloomberg ends his campaign and joins the wave of Democrats now endorsing the Former Vice President.

Plus, Elizabeth Warren also weighing her future after coming up empty on Super Tuesday including running third in her home state of Massachusetts. Bernie Sanders campaign is left stunned by the swiftness and the scope of the Biden resurgence. Sanders is leading in delegate-rich California, but his Tuesday and now his Wednesday, anything but super.

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SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT), DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: No matter what happens, if this campaign, I don't know what will happen, if it comes out to be a campaign in which we have one candidate who is standing up for the working class and the middle class, we're going to win that election.

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KING: We begin the hour right there with a Wednesday wow that only adds to Joe Biden's very Super Tuesday. Michael Bloomberg ended his campaign just shy of two hours ago and threw his support to the Former Vice President Joe Biden a friend and a great American and Bloomberg says the Democratic Party's best shot at beating President Trump.

This map packed with all this deep Biden blue made Bloomberg's choice as politically clear as it was personally difficult. Let's look a walk through what happened last night. Let's start in the east Joe Biden winning in Elizabeth Warren's Massachusetts. She's third. Bernie Sanders, second.

New England, up in Maine we haven't called this one yet, Joe Biden with a very narrow lead in Maine, again Bernie Sanders is from Vermont in the Sanders backyard. In the Warren backyard Biden at the moment leading by just shy of 2,000 91 percent reporting. We keep counting in Maine.

You move down here, Virginia, Biden winning big. Look at all that blue. North Carolina, Biden winning big Sanders with a few pockets out here. Look how big it is. South Carolina was Saturday. But you move it across here.

Tennessee, a big Biden win. Alabama, a bigger Biden win. Arkansas, a Biden win and the shock of shocks last night, Oklahoma and then Texas Biden blue all through. Pop it back out. Also Minnesota, Amy Klobuchar dropped out, and, bam, Joe Biden wins Minnesota.

Bernie Sanders is - did win Colorado, Utah and is leading this important we're still counting delegates, Sanders with a comfortable lead right now in California with 54 percent reporting. It takes a while to count the votes out there.

But look at all the Biden blue stunning and shocking do not do the past 100 hours justice. Biden's giant win in South Carolina that was on Saturday, sent Tom Steyer from the race then Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar. Buttigieg and Klobuchar then popped in Texas along with Beto O'Rourke to sound the alarm against Bernie Sanders and to lead a moderate rally around Biden Movement.

Sanders in his call for political revolution often associated right with passion far more than anyone who chooses the label moderate. But look at this map and think again record high turnout for example in Virginia. The map and the numbers behind it speak for themselves.

The candidate who woke up this past Saturday with no wins, little money and a weak national organization today has 10 wins, lead in Maine and money pouring in and now the promise of help from Bloomberg and the massive talented network of offices and staff he is now financing already from coast-to-coast.

KING: Even before Bloomberg added the wow, Biden knew it was a Super Tuesday.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOE BIDEN (D), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: They don't call it Super Tuesday for nothing. We knew when you got to Super Tuesday it would be over. Well, it may be over for the other guy! Tell that to the folks in Virginia, North Carolina, Alabama, Tennessee, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Minnesota! I'm here to report we are very much alive!

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KING: With me to share their reporting and their insights, this important day in politics, CNN's Dana Bash CNN's Jeff Zeleny Molly Ball with "Times" and Seung Min Kim with "The Washington Post"

Raise your hand if you had Joe Biden winning 9 and maybe 10 of the 14 states on Super Tuesday. There are no hands raised at the table. You know you say that in the sense that sure, we knew South Carolina was going to help Joe Biden. Wow. The question is now with Bloomberg endorsing we haven't seen the details yet but the suggestion is Bloomberg saying I will not walk away from the fight, suggesting he will get financial help and the infrastructure help we have a different race today than we had yesterday and certainly than we had 96, 100 hours ago.

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MOLLY BALL, NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT, TIME: Absolutely. And I think it's important to remember that what change was the voter? You had a Democratic Electorate that was shopping around and shopping around in all of these states that's why the polls were in such turbulence that's why we didn't know until yesterday that Biden would be able to get this amount of support on Super Tuesday.

There were a lot of late deciders and they were looking for a signal from their leaders, from the so-called party establishment, from elected officials in the Democratic Party and political professionals, and from the candidates themselves looking for any sign.

All we have been hearing talking to Democratic Primary voters for the past year is just please give us someone we can rally around because we want to get straight to the point where we're running against Donald Trump.

KING: And now, you have this moment where Bloomberg is on board following Mayor Buttigieg, following Senator Klobuchar, following Beto O'Rourke. You have a rally around now Bernie Sanders will say the billionaires and the establishment are rallying around Joe Biden but Joe Biden will wake up in California today. He is up already, he is tweeting in California today in a world he has never been in. He can call himself the front runner if he wants.

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: No one has ever been in a world like this.

KING: Right, I mean the last 100 hours, I mean we went through Trump in 2016, I remember the Ross Perot Race in 1992, campaigns are always wild but this is wow.

BASH: So I just pulled this up because I wanted to get this quote right. I talked to a senior Bloomberg aide this morning, the Bloomberg now former campaign was the only one doing real data and analytics on this. And this source said that they Biden's rise coming in the data but nothing like what ended up happening.

And that the polls in the data were moving so fast that they almost couldn't catch up. It was genuinely organic and a movement that nobody had ever seen before to the point where they said 12 hour polls weren't holding.

KING: It was as if a switch flipped in the sense, people were talking on Friday, are polls that show Bernie Sanders within 2 or 5 in South Carolina. Are those right is Bernie Sanders is going to maybe win or at least come close to Joe Biden in South Carolina, would Joe Biden be done? Look what happened February 25th the South Carolina debate,

Bloomberg's second bad debate a defining moment there. Congressman Jim Clyburn endorsed Joe Biden the next day and Biden had a CNN Town Hall with a very emotional moment where he talked to a pastor whose wife was killed in that Church shooting.

Saturday he wins South Carolina win is a wrong word it was a blowout and I think that was sort of the word the 30 point blowout there. And then Monday, you get Buttigieg, Klobuchar and O'Rourke jumping on board. Super Tuesday, then Wednesday we lived. The volatility of the last 100 hours should remind us there could be volatility in the next hundred hours or in the next six weeks. But we live in this very moment in a very different race.

JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: No question and you know for all the money in the world which Mike Bloomberg essentially has, it can't buy momentum. And that is what changed at the very end of this race. Joe Biden didn't have the wherewithal did not have the campaign structure. He was well-known though and well liked.

Not any candidate I don't think would have been able to step in this position. It is Joe Biden. So we now are back to what this race may be looked like a long time ago, Joe Biden versus Bernie Sanders. Elizabeth Warren still has some deciding to do but we know where this is going.

So the question here is, I think the biggest take away of the night, Bernie Sanders ceiling, he has talked again and again about I am the one who expands the coalition. I am the one who can defeat President Trump. That has not come true in fact, the opposite.

His ceiling was very clear. So that is a challenge for his campaign going forward. He has a very talented operation he has some dedicated core supporters. He does have a movement. We will see if he can grow that.

But boy this race has clarified and that's also become uncertain in a respect. But Democrats still face the same decision. Which way do they want to go a revolution or backwards to an establishment? We still don't know the answer to that. But boy Joe Biden never could have imagined this in all his wildest dreams.

KING: And so if you just look, before if you just go back and look, this is the delegates Biden, 53 before yesterday, when we woke up yesterday morning 382 and counting right now. We're still counting delegates, allocating delegates in a lot of states including Maine and California states we haven't called yet.

Sanders ahead comfortably in California but it take a while to get through all of that. Sanders had 60 to start the day he now trails Joe Biden in delegates. Now again we're going to have several days of allocating delegates throughout the states we've already called is going to take us perhaps a week or so.

So it's possible at the very end if California comes in good that Sanders could be slightly ahead of Biden. But the expectation was that Sanders could stretch it out on Super Tuesday. Here is another thing, and again this could change but Sanders likes to talk about the popular vote that he is winning at the grassroots level.

At the moment, Joe Biden is not only leading in delegates, he is leading in votes cast for Democratic Candidates for President. Again the California numbers could change that. But on the morning after Super Tuesday, when Democrats in these states to come and we'll get to them later.

Having a conversation, what should I do, could Joe Biden have asked for anything more than he has received in the past 96, 100 hours?

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SEUNG MIN KIM, WHITE HOUSE REPORTER, THE WASHINGTON POST: Everything has broken well so perfectly for Joe Biden for the last several of days. And I think right before the South Carolina Primary we were expecting a Joe Biden victory, but like you mentioned earlier probably a small margin.

I don't know if anyone was quite expecting the nearly 30 point blowout that the Former Vice President enjoyed on Saturday night. And I found looking at some of the exit polling some of the numbers that I found fascinating were if you look at the people who were the late deciders, who decided who their votes were in the last couple of days Joe Biden won those voters by more than 30 percent.

So a lot these voters I'm sure some of the early voters may have some regrets right now but if you look at the late deciders they saw the late momentum coming, they saw the party coalesce which the Republicans did not do at this point in 2016. This is a guy that we're putting our faith in to beat Donald Trump in November.

KING: And to your point, they would look for someone who could beat Trump and so they looked for over the summer, they were looking Elizabeth Warren. There has been times they're looking at Bernie Sanders and they still are. Senator Sanders still a force in this race.

Bloomberg got a look, rose up in the polls in a lot of those states then had to - I'm sorry Mr. Mayor horrific debate that just brought him back down-to-earth. So my question now is let's be honest Biden has weaknesses in his campaign. There are questions about his candidacy, however, the question is, can they now capitalize on the moment they have?

The money is pouring in Bloomberg is offering to help with of this potential infrastructure. There are legal questions there you have to do a Super Pac or something to make it happen. But the just exchange this morning Bloomberg getting out of the race, and look it's tough whatever your opinion of Mayor Bloomberg or any politician you get into a race, you invest heavily in a race.

It's tough to get out and concede, he says I've always believed at defeating Donald Trump starts with uniting behind the candidate with the best shot to do it. After yesterday's vote it is clear that candidate is my friend and a great American Joe Biden.

Today, I've had a chance to work with Joe, on the issues over the years fought for working people, in his own life. Today I'm glad to endorse him. And I will work to make him the next President of the United States.

The "I will work" part is very important. Now as we go forward the question is does the Biden team will they bring in the right people? To say, okay we have been given a gift here, a second life. Now let's do the nuts and bolts we need to do to make it work?

BASH: That this is really the $64,000 question right now. How will the Biden Campaign restructure and retool organizationally with its fund- raising with a potential data operation in order to capitalize on this.

That is obviously what Michael Bloomberg is trying to encourage him to do on a candidate level, as part of their discussion this morning, on a campaign level, it is really, really critical. What happened with Joe Biden is so unprecedented, that he rode these endorsements, which starting with Jim Clyburn into his now former competitors, Beta O'Rourke in Texas in a way that we've never seen endorsements matter before, really ever in the history of modern American politics. But his infrastructure, his organization is subpar. Even they would admit that.

ZELENY: And the question also, I've talked to a lot of Obama people who said that they have offered to help to try and restructure this campaign. That is the challenge facing them. Joe Biden has never been in this position before in his long life. So we'll see if his restructures. Money will help at times but basically he still has the same organization he had a week ago, which was a small one.

So this is going to be a long fight for delegates. Look at the calendar some big prizes at the end as well, New York and other places. But for now, the calendar is favorable to Joe Biden with Missouri, Michigan, Florida coming up, Illinois and other places.

So this is a clarifying moment. It's not over, we should caution. Let's watch this play out week by week. Remember the 2008 campaign, that long stretch where Obama had a huge collapse and Hillary Clinton rose, let's just--

BASH: And even right now, there are so many delegates we have yet to see allocated because the votes are still coming in, in California alone.

KING: Let's put that up on the screen you are just saying so. We still have of the Super Tuesday delegates we still have 728. There were 1344 last night we still have a lot to allocate. This will get better by the end of the day. But 276 in California 137 in Texas, 47 in Colorado and a lot of these states Joe Biden won. So you expect he is going to get more than his share.

BASH: But 276 out of 415. The majority of those go to Bernie Sanders it's even Steven on delegates. KING: Even Steven. If again a week ago if you told Joe Biden he would after Super Tuesday he would be even Steven, he would be doing hand stands.

ZELENY: He would have taken it.

KING: We'll see how it goes as we go forward. When we come back, there is much more to talk about the map going forward and the states coming ahead and Elizabeth Warren's big decision. And if you look closely Bernie Sanders says he's the candidate bringing in a new Democratic coalition but a lot of Joe Biden's win mirror the map that made Nancy Pelosi Speaker.

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KING: More now on yesterday's giant Super Tuesday vote, the new opportunities it presents for Joe Biden, the challenge for Bernie Sanders and the tough decision now facing Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren.

Here was the hardest thing for Elizabeth Warren on Super Tuesday, her home state of Massachusetts you bring it up here, in the Democratic Primary in her home state she got 22 percent of the vote when you round up. 22 percent of Democrats in her home state, all Elizabeth Warren could master Joe Biden winning Massachusetts with 33 percent Senator Sanders coming in second with 27 percent and Elizabeth Warren running third at home.

You see a lot of Biden blue and very little Elizabeth Warren right out here Cambridge, Brookline right outside just outside of Boston the suburbs, near where she lives and where she taught at Harvard. But a lot of Biden blue, lot of Sanders when you move out here.

Sanders had a big rally at here over the weekend. This big disappointment for Elizabeth Warren who was the growth stock candidate during the summer but wherever you look, you come over here, a giant Biden win in the state of Virginia Elizabeth Warren a distant third.

Viability we talk about wins you also talk about delegates. This is the race about delegates. This was the hardest part for Senator Warren, in so many states falling below 15 percent meaning out of the delegate hunt.

You move here to North Carolina, Senator Warren out of the delegate hunt. This goes on and on throughout the map. Places where her home state, where she was born, in Oklahoma, very disappointing, out of the delegate count.

[12:20:00]

KING: So Warren has a very tough choice now and you could sense before the vote she knew this was coming. She saw the Biden momentum out of South Carolina some progressives making over to Bernie Sanders. Elizabeth Warren making a final appeal before Tuesday's vote for her supporters stick with me.

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SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Prediction has been a terrible business, and the pundits have gotten it wrong over and over. So, here's my advice. Cast a vote that will make you proud. Cast a vote from your heart. And vote for the person you think will make the best President of the United States of America.

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KING: A lot of stunning things in this campaign, most importantly at the moment, the resurgence of Joe Biden. But if you go back and look at the summertime, the conversations we were having at this table over the summertime about the growth of Elizabeth Warren, to see what has happened to her is frankly stunning, and the home state part has to be, for her, embarrassing, as she talks to her staff today about a very difficult decision, do I go forward?

ZELENY: The home state is embarrassing also the fact of not reaching viability as many places as they thought. They thought Texas was a possibility and California a huge possibility. She still can be viable in some districts in California but not what they were thinking. They really had built this operation in California and all over the place.

So it is a huge disappointment. She has a decision to make talking to her advisors it is not whether she has a path. She wanted to stay in it is the alternative to be on the stage with Bernie Sanders, Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren to show America that hey, I'm a different person, a fresh face if you will. But those hopes are pretty much extinguished. Now not only does she get out and win it is her decision let's not force this, but who does she endorse?

BASH: yes.

ZELENY: Is it Bernie Sanders or is it Joe Biden like that is central question here? And we don't know the answer to it. It is a tough choice for her, I would say.

KING: She stayed silent a long time in 2016 and got hammered for it.

BASH: Yes, a couple of things. One is I'm hearing what you're hearing that right now the wrestling is who to endorse. The factors that go into that are of course ideologically, she support as lot of what Bernie Sanders does. Personally, a lot of Bernie Sanders people have been really awful to her. That is no small thing.

On the flip side, you know she does - has positioned herself as the alternative to both. And so Joe Biden might be somebody she would support. I can tell you the Biden Campaign and people who are backing him are desperate for her not only not to back Bernie, but - Bernie Sanders but even if she gets out and endorses no one, that they think that's bad for Joe Biden, because maybe not all of her supporters would back Bernie Sanders but a healthy majority would.

I just want to make one another quick point about Elizabeth Warren, the "x-factor" of going into for the past three days is what happens with Mike Warren. And part of the reason--

KING: Mike Bloomberg.

BASH: --Mike Bloomberg, thank you. Part of the reason for that is Elizabeth Warren, because she took him out. She didn't even wait for him to get a breath in, in that first debate where he was on the stage and she completely chopped him off at the knees and he never recovered from that. That is a very big role that she played in the overall lance escape of this race.

KING: And Joe Biden has a lot of thank you notes to write. You talk about Mayor Buttigieg, Senator Klobuchar, Beto O'Rourke now Mike Bloomberg, he might want to put the Warren one on top of the pile when he is sitting down in the task.

ZELENY: Regardless of what she does.

BALL: Yes, and I think the point of that is that this surge for Joe Biden wasn't something that Biden did, it something that happened to him. Almost none of these things were actually done by Joe Biden. He's not the one who had a bad debate for Mike Bloomberg or eve n really played a role in that.

He is not the one, I mean, he did get Representative Clyburn's endorsement but that was obviously a huge factor that wasn't something that Biden himself did. His debate performances were steady but they didn't really improve.

And we've been talking about what we were talking last summer, we were talking about the Warren and we were also talking about the surprising resilience of Joe Biden. The flip side of that though is that, despite having all these advantages on paper it took him until the very last minute to sort of put it away because of the weaknesses that voters could see and because of things like organization and fund-raising that have always been challenges for him.

So I think the question moving forward is, now that this has happened to Joe Biden, can he do something with it? That's basically what we're all waiting to see.

KING: And I'm fascinated by this moment because Sanders has some adjustments to make too. Sanders keeps saying I'm bringing in all these more young voters and this new coalition. The evidence is it's just not there it doesn't mean it can't be there - he is in Nevada, in Colorado and now in California he has proven growth with Latino voters and that is not something to underestimated and it is important constituency.

[12:25:00]

KING: But you talked about white working class, Bernie Sanders says that's my wheelhouse, Biden wins Minnesota, Biden wins Oklahoma, Biden wins Massachusetts those are 80 percent or more white electorates.

The flip side is Biden has a challenge, younger voters are not voting for Joe Biden and at least coastal Latinos are going for Senator Sanders more. So now you're in this adjustment where essentially we'll wait on Senator Warren and be respectful of that choice. Essentially though, if you're in Sanders camp or Biden's camp you're viewing this as a two-person race. What adjustments do you have to make as the map goes on.

KIM: Well, the thing going for - I mean, a lot of advantages were Bernie Sanders - according to the exit polls obviously with younger voters, but they tend to be less consistent voters. Biden has that advantage by having that advantage with older voters. Biden is certainly going to have to make a lot of adjustments.

And I found Congressman Clyburn's comments this morning fascinating, certainly played that the king maker role in South Carolina but he was pretty blunt saying the campaign does need a shake-up here and I think Biden's campaign will take that very seriously in the next couple of weeks.

KING: This - I'm sorry, go ahead.

BALL: I'm just curious to see what tone Biden takes going forward because Sanders is taking a very antagonistic stance trying to sharpen the contrast between them you know in order to make people choose ideologically.

Does Biden engage in that and say no here is whey Bernie is wrong, or does he try to sort of extend an olive branch to the Sanders coalition, saying hey, young people on the left, it is okay you can come in and you can be part of this and we can all go forward together.

ZLENY: Sanders also out with a new Obama ad this morning saying, I supported Obama. We have to fact check that a little bit but that is fascinating development here. So this race is in order to folks, Bernie Sanders has a lot of tricks up his sleeve and delegates. We could end this week pretty much even Steven here so let's enjoy it.

KING: At the adjustments that this is the first big moment, the biggest night of the primary season. But we have two big Tuesdays just ahead of us and then perhaps a long march to Milwaukee. We're watching the adjustments each candidates make right now is absolutely critical.

Up next, a break from politics for the latest on the coronavirus virus here in the United Sates including a very big deal in Congress about a response plan. This a lighter moment from the President's meeting with airlines CEOs last hour.

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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Common sense of washing your hands and not touching your face.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And I haven't touched my face in weeks.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

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