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Twenty Four Dead, Dozens Missing After Tornado Rips Through Nashville; Mike Bloomberg Reassesses Campaign After Disappointing Super Tuesday Results; Joe Biden Scores Stunning Super Tuesday Victories. Aired 7:30-8a ET

Aired March 4, 2020 - 07:30   ET

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


[07:30:00]

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CO-ANCHOR, NEW DAY: Twenty four people are dead and dozens are still unaccounted for at this hour in the Nashville, Tennessee, area. Take a look at the airport there, this is in Nashville. You can see planes were just tossed around. So much destruction there. A state of emergency has been declared. CNN's Nick Valencia is live in hard-hit Putnam County, that's near Nashville, what are you seeing there, Nick?

NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Alisyn, it's really sobering to see these images now that the sun has come up. We were, you know, in the cover of dark a little while ago, and this is what's been revealed to us, just what's left behind here in rural Putnam County. I think there was a national focus on Nashville, a heavily concentrated population there, city center.

But it's really rural Putnam County, east of Nashville that has been hardest hit. Just look at this here. This slab of bricks. There was a home on top of here, guys. And as we walk here, I just want to safe -- watch your step there, man. This is what's left behind. You just have concrete cinder blocks, debris, mangled wreckage left behind by this powerful tornado that seems to have ripped through where our camera is pointing and made its way west up towards this area. These subdivisions in here.

[07:35:00]

What is really concerning at this moment right now, not just the fact that 18 of the 24 people that have died across the state, 18 of them were killed here by that tornado. But there are dozens still unaccounted for. There is certainly a lot of police presence here. We've seen military vehicles, we can't tell just yet if it's the Tennessee National Guard or if it's -- or Tennessee guard or if it's actually the National Guard.

But we're also seeing residents now emerge here, driving around this area, just looking shell-shocked. Just a couple of minutes before we started this report, it looked as though a sheriff's vehicle was going into that home here to do -- to start doing welfare checks. The only noise that you hear right now is the chirping of the birds. It is eerily quiet here as we look around and see these twisted tree limbs. Just, you know, what's left of a home here.

I mean, just check this out, guys. We're kind of seeing this all for ourselves the first time. The walls of this home have just collapsed. We can't even tell what part of the home this is. But it is clear, though, as well, guys, that people have come through here in the last 24 hours to clean up some of the debris. As we continue to walk, you see what's going on here on the side of the road, piles of debris that have clearly been piled on there.

But it is -- you know, today, the focus is going to be on that search and rescue mission. People have already started to go out, as you see, a fire truck come up the road here. They're going to be looking for those dozens and dozens of people that are still unaccounted for. More than 30 people still missing here. Loved ones really want answers as to where they are, hoping that they're still alive. John, Alisyn --

JOHN BERMAN, CO-ANCHOR, NEW DAY: It's so hard to get in touch sometimes, Nick, I know people want answers and they want the contact with their loved ones. Thanks so much for being there --

VALENCIA: Yes --

BERMAN: Nick Valencia for us in Tennessee. So --

VALENCIA: You bet.

BERMAN: Michael Bloomberg spent more than half a billion dollars so far in this race. It works out to anywhere between $5 million and $10 million per delegate depending on how you count. We are told, he is reassessing his campaign this morning. What exactly does that mean? Next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[07:40:00]

BERMAN: Happening now, we're told that Michael Bloomberg is reassessing his presidential bid, following his fairly dismal showing on Super Tuesday. He burned through more than a half a billion dollars, and while he did pick up delegates, his only outright win was in American Samoa. CNN's Cristina Alesci who has been covering the Bloomberg campaign joins us now in New York outside Bloomberg's home. Cristina, what are you hearing this morning?

CRISTINA ALESCI, CNN BUSINESS & POLITICS CORRESPONDENT: Well, Mayor Bloomberg just left his apartment. He's probably going right around the block to his foundation. Look, it was a terrible night for Michael Bloomberg last night. No doubt about it. And this really undercuts the whole argument for Bloomberg entering this race, which was that Joe Biden was weak and that he was the moderate alternative.

Listen, I was with him all week, last week, and he was defiant. I asked him directly several times, what his plans were if he did perform poorly on Super Tuesday. And he made it sound like he was in this race to stay. In fact, just yesterday in Miami, I asked him about his expectations, and he joked about Elizabeth Warren asking me whether she was still in the race and he finished with fewer delegates than she did.

Look, I think we're going to hear a different tone from the Bloomberg campaign today as they reassess. And I think that we're going to hear a different tone from the candidate himself that started last night. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MIKE BLOOMBERG, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: And as the results come in, here's what is clear. No matter how many delegates we win tonight, we have done something no one else thought was possible. In just three months, we've gone from 1 percent of the polls to being a contender for the Democratic nomination for president.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ALESCI: You heard it right there, John and Alisyn, he was de- emphasizing the number of delegates. He was talking about the process itself. Look, he still has campaign events on the schedule. But at this point with having spent over $500 million, you've got to wonder whether Michael Bloomberg is thinking about the old Wall Street advice. Perhaps your first loss is your best loss. Guys, back to you.

BERMAN: And I've got to say, Cristina, you know the term return on investment and so does Michael Bloomberg. Look, and he's not getting a lot of return on his investment right now. Which is why you might have a busy day ahead of you. Thanks so much for being with us, Cristina.

CAMEROTA: All right, so there was this wave of late momentum and it shook up the 2020 race on Super Tuesday. Many voters say that they made up their minds in just the last few days or hours. So who benefitted most from their procrastinating? CNN's senior politics writer and analyst, Harry Enten joins us now with more --

BERMAN: He's right there.

CAMEROTA: Hi, Harry --

BERMAN: And he's very big.

HARRY ENTEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL WRITER & ANALYST: I see -- I see myself in the wall in New York. This is the most bizarre thing. I don't even know what the heck is going on. The technology these days is crazy. My goodness gracious, I'm even in color. Look, here's the deal. Support by time of decision. I think this is so important, and the median Super Tuesday states.

Look at this, decide in the last few days, Biden 49 percent of that vote, more than 30 points ahead of Bernie Sanders. Those voters made up a quarter to about a third of the voters depending on the state. And that was what powered Biden's victory. That momentum that he got after that South Carolina win. Because look, if you decide before the final few days, Bernie Sanders actually won that vote with 36 percent.

So really, Joe Biden was able to ride that momentum out of South Carolina to propel him to a strong finish yesterday. BERMAN: All right, the age of the voters also played a major role

here.

ENTEN: Huge role. I mean, look, this is the divide we've seen throughout this entire primary, right? Where Joe Biden does really well, 48 percent among those 65 and older, 42 percent, 45 to 64, just 17 percent among those 18 to 29.

[07:45:00]

Bernie Sanders of course had the exact opposite pattern where he went from 15 percent, 65 plus to 61 percent, 18 to 29. But the key number here, Berman, the key number is that those under the age of 45, depending on the state made up anywhere from 40 percent all the way down to about 33 percent of voters. So the older voters that Biden was doing so well with, made up the vast majority of the electorate. And that's why he did so well.

CAMEROTA: And what about by race, Harry?

ENTEN: You know what? I think this is also a very key nugget, right. South Carolina, African-Americans propelled Biden in South Carolina. And look at the median Super Tuesday state, the same thing. Biden winning them by 40-percentage points. Now, Bernie Sanders did win among Hispanics. But in the median state, it was just an 11-point margin, he did better than that in California, but he only won them by 13 in Texas.

And that's part of the reason why Joe Biden was able to win there. But the real tie-breaking vote was white voters. Biden with a slight edge over Sanders, 34 percent to 27 percent, and that's part of the reason why Joe Biden was able to do so well yesterday.

BERMAN: You know, the regional breakdown is also really interesting, Harry. Because if you had said before yesterday that Joe Biden would win all the states in the south, most people would go OK. But if you had said he was going to win in the north, if he was going to win in Maine and Massachusetts, you would say no way. Well, voters said, way.

ENTEN: They definitely said way. I mean, I think the most shocking results were honestly in the northern part of the country. Maine which is, you know, obviously in New England, you would have thought Bernie Sanders would carry it. Too close to call. Massachusetts, Elizabeth Warren's home state, Joe Biden won there. Minnesota, perhaps Amy Klobuchar pushed Joe Biden over the top for endorsement. Joe Biden won there.

Even in Vermont which Bernie Sanders won, Joe Biden was able to win delegates. And what I think is so important is black percentage column, look at that. All of these states, 7 percent or less of the electorate was African-Americans, which means that Biden was able to move beyond just African-Americans, he was able to win working class white voters in the north, and that's why he was able to hold his own in those northern states yesterday.

CAMEROTA: People used to call Bill Clinton the comeback kid. Should Joe Biden take that moniker now from Bill Clinton?

ENTEN: I will say if nothing else, I'm going to put that moniker on there because it's on the slide.

(LAUGHTER)

But look, here's the deal. Bill Clinton, he lost Iowa and New Hampshire. Had to wait more than three weeks for his first win, and it occurred in the deep south in Georgia by 33 points. Then he did really well on Super Tuesday. Joe Biden, same thing. Lost Iowa and New Hampshire, had to wait more than three weeks for his first primary win. It occurred in the deep south by about 30 points, and then he did very well on Super Tuesday. So I think the two share a big similarity in that.

BERMAN: You giveth monikers, some day you will take them away. Harry Enten, thank you very much --

CAMEROTA: Geez --

BERMAN: For being with us -- I know.

ENTEN: So long everybody --

BERMAN: Giving monikers.

CAMEROTA: Thank you, Harry. The Dow futures seem to like Joe Biden's comeback. They are up at this point I think by 700 -- more than 700 points at the moment.

BERMAN: All right. One of the top issues on voter minds, obviously, who can beat Donald Trump in November? We're going to be joined by the former campaign manager for Barack Obama. Someone who knows how to count delegates. David Plouffe is here next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[07:50:00]

BERMAN: So, Super Tuesday turned into surprising Tuesday. Former Vice President Joe Biden winning more states than really any people could have imagined just a few weeks ago, including Massachusetts, Minnesota, also Texas. As we speak, he is ahead in the delegate race, although Bernie Sanders is leading in California where they are still counting votes.

Probably no one on earth better understands the implications of all of this than a former Obama campaign manager and White House senior adviser, David Plouffe whose new book, "A Citizen's Guide to Beating Donald Trump" is out now, and it's a terrific read I should say, and it's also very interesting in the context of being here this morning. We'll get to the book in a second.

David, what happened yesterday? Do you have any idea how this all happened? DAVID PLOUFFE, FORMER CAMPAIGN MANAGER FOR BARACK OBAMA: Well, I'm

trying to get some idea. I mean, I still don't think we probably appreciate how stunning the last 96 hours have been in American politics. But it is important, Joe Biden spent most of last year as the national front-runner. And when he didn't perform well in debates in Iowa and New Hampshire, a lot of that support left him.

Some of it undecided, some of it softly to Bloomberg. The moment he had a good primary night in South Carolina, gave a good speech and then you saw Buttigieg, Klobuchar and Beto put their hands on him, a lot of that support came back. And I -- and so, this wasn't someone who never had any support, who went from 0 to 30. He got back. And you know, what he showed last night is dominant African-American support.

But also in suburban areas, he racked up big margins. You just put up a graphic showing him winning states like Massachusetts and Maine, leading right now, very little African-American vote. So, he's also got a strong electability case to make coming out of this because we won '18 because of suburban support largely, and he's driving African- American turnout.

Now, and he did all this on the wings of momentum. No money, very little organization. So, that's the thing for those who have spent a career in politics. I don't know if we've ever seen somebody win this many states and this many delegates purely on the wings of momentum.

BERMAN: Yet, anyone who tells you this was the plan all along is lying. Because part of the plan was never to win states where you didn't spend any money and didn't campaign. It just doesn't work like that. So, David, if you were in Biden campaign headquarters running things, how would you capitalize on this today?

PLOUFFE: Well, that's the question. So, first of all, you've got really important primaries coming up. You know, next Tuesday, you've got Michigan, you've got Mississippi, you've got Washington State and some really big states the week after that including Florida where polls show Biden even before last night doing well. So, you want to capture as many delegates as you can over the next two weeks when you've got this momentum.

Begin to put the infrastructure in those states, and actually you need to begin to think about planning for a general election. So, you know, as hard as it was for him to come back from where he was pre-South Carolina, it gets really hard now because you want to build on that delegate lead, begin to work the Super delegates, sorry to bring up that term, just in case this does go to -- you mentioned --

(CROSSTALK)

[07:55:00]

Right.

BERMAN: Bernie Sanders isn't going anywhere, nor should he. I mean, he's going to win in California. He's going to be either very close to Joe Biden, he's going to be around where Joe Biden is, and his delegates, maybe a little behind, maybe ahead. But this does set up a race between different ideologies within the Democratic Party. So, how does one candidate emerge from this whole?

PLOUFFE: Well, I actually spent some time writing about this in my book. I mean, I went through a tough primary in a week, tougher than this in many respects. And you have to be thoughtful about that after you win. You want the principles, and I'm sure Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden both will do the right thing. Say, overall, and they beat Trump.

But then you've got to have, you know, house parties and campaign events in states welcoming in the other side, hiring some of the staff and making it clear that we're not going to win unless we're united. So, I -- because Trump is such a menace to Democrats, I think he's going to be a force in function. But whoever the victor is, needs to spend really serious time and effort on this, and not just move on completely to general election voters because we're not going to win unless we're fully united because Trump is going to drive huge turnout in his MAGA base.

BERMAN: The book as I said is terrific, a lot of it is a civic call to duty. Explain to voters, Democratic voters and particular, what they should do to secure a Democratic victory. But there's also some advice as you just mentioned to the campaigns themselves. And you talk about gettable voters for the Democrats and the campaigns, and you list different categories. But who is the most gettable and how do you get him?

PLOUFFE: Well, it's not just one. So, this is important. Donald Trump is going to get 46 percent to 47 percent of the national vote, and he's going to get close to that in battleground states, maybe 47, 48. So we have to persuade voters, and they generally fall into three categories. They're so-called famous Trump-Obama voters that exist.

A lot of exorbitant and blue-collar voters. There are suburban voters that actually voted for Clinton in '16 who are open to Trump. So we've got to close those doors. And then there are people who in the end of this election, are going to think, I'm not voting for Trump, I'm not sure I'm voting for the Democrats, I may vote third party.

That killed Hillary Clinton in 2016, we've got to hold on to them. Then we have to register and turn out a lot of voters too. This is where Trump has an advantage. He's an incumbent. I've been there for an incumbent president. That value of time and organization planning, he knows a lot more about how he's going to win Wisconsin and Arizona right now than any of the Democrats do because they're just trying to win the nomination.

So, that's the other point in my book is, "it's urgent, we've got to get at this."

BERMAN: So, I don't know if you coined the phrase or made it famous, but Democratic bedwetters. Did you invent it?

PLOUFFE: Maybe.

BERMAN: OK -- PLOUFFE: We'll let you take credit for it. Maybe the only thing I've

invented, so there we go, yes.

BERMAN: I guess now, the Democratic bedwetting would be, oh, Donald Trump is going to win. He's got the powers of the incumbency, look at his lead in Wisconsin. So, what's your message to that group now?

PLOUFFE: This is a mathematical fact. There are more than enough Americans who are even currently registered, much less what we're going to have to beat Donald Trump. We have to execute on that. And so the -- this is about battleground states. So, one thing, we have to have a nominee who can put more than just Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania in play, go ahead at those -- Arizona and North Carolina, Florida and Georgia.

So, we spread the map and have a larger margin for error. And then we have to have human beings on the ground in those states working registration targets, turn out targets, people who might be flirting with a third party, and people who are truly undecided. So, Donald Trump rolls into this election with an approval rating despite the one Gallup poll of 43-44, and head-to-head numbers aren't great.

Everything is -- does anybody have any confidence he's going to improve his standing managing this crisis with the coronavirus? So, I think we've got an opportunity to win this election. It is -- I actually believe this is still our election to lose, and my point in the book is, I hope our candidate runs an amazing campaign. I hope their presidential campaign is better than ours was.

But it's on all of you to put in the effort required to beat this guy because they have an infrastructure. "Fox", Sinclair, Putin, the Russians. A president who will sink to no low to win. How do we fight that back? We don't have a similar infrastructure, what we have is millions of Americans.

BERMAN: David Plouffe, the book is "A Citizen's Guide to Beating Donald Trump". Terrific to read it, also terrific, good to talk to you this morning, the morning after a big election day, nice to have you here. Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: And thanks to our international viewers for watching. For you "CNN NEWSROOM" with Max Foster is next. For our U.S. viewers, a huge comeback for Joe Biden. NEW DAY continues right now.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOE BIDEN, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT & PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We're told, well, when it got to Super Tuesday, it'd be over! Well, it may be over for the other guy!

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Biden is getting so much attention because it was unexpected. It's changed the shape of the race.

BIDEN: People were talking about revolution, we've started a movement. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There was a lot of talk about consolidating the

moderate lane. It happened around Joe Biden in a way that is blowing people's mind.

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (D-VT) & PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We have one candidate who is standing up for the working class. Another candidate who has received contributions from 60 billionaires in America. You cannot buy elections.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CAMEROTA: And good morning everyone.

END