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Joe Biden Builds on Delegate Lead Over Sen. Bernie Sanders; Democratic Presidential Candidate Joe Biden Currently Leading in Delegate Count after Super Tuesday; Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-SC) Interviewed about Endorsing Joe Biden ahead of South Carolina Primary. Aired 8-8:30a ET

Aired March 4, 2020 - 08:00   ET

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


[08:00:00]

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is NEW DAY with Alisyn Camerota and John Berman.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: And good morning, everyone. Welcome to your New Day. It is Wednesday, March 4th, 8:00 now in New York. And Joe Biden pulled off a stunning comeback in his bid for the Democratic nomination. CNN projects the former vice president has won in Texas. That is the biggest surprise of the night and the second richest delegate state of the Super Tuesday. Biden did, despite being outspent there and having little to no ground game there. He captured 33.4 percent of the vote in Texas. He won a total of nine states last night, including Massachusetts, which of course is Elizabeth Warren's home state. He also won Minnesota, Senator Amy Klobuchar's home state, John.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Bernie Sanders did pick up some key victories as well. Let's take a look at that. He won Colorado, Utah, his home state of Vermont. Interesting, though, Joe Biden will pick up delegates in Vermont. Senator Sanders is also leading this morning by a healthy margin in California. That's the biggest prize of the night with 415 delegates at stake. They are still counting in California and will be for some days. So the final margins will not be known for some time there.

They're also still counting in Maine. Let's look at where things are in Maine. Joe Biden holding on to a one-point lead as of now. Maine is interesting because Maine was a state Bernie Sanders did win in 2016. At this moment, Joe Biden is leading in the delegate count as well. I think this was an outcome people did not expect coming into Super Tuesday. We should note, though, still a heap of Super Tuesday delegates yet to be assigned, and ballots mailed in California by yesterday, they will be counted until Friday, Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: All right, John, joining us now is the man, the man that many Democrats and political analysts are crediting for reigniting Joe Biden's campaign, South Carolina Congressman and House Whip James Clyburn. Good morning, congressman.

JAMES CLYBURN, (D-SC) HOUSE MAJORITY WHIP: Good morning. Thank you for having me.

CAMEROTA: Thank you for being here. You are such an important voice this morning. Have you spoken to former vice president Joe Biden in the past 12 hours?

CLYBURN: No, I have not. No.

CAMEROTA: What will you say to him when you talk to him?

CLYBURN: Congratulations. I think that he's due that. Joe Biden is just an incredibly good guy. I've known him for many, many years. I've worked very closely with him during his vice presidency, but even before that. We used to do a lot of these kinds of shows together. He's from Delaware. I'm from South Carolina. We were two of the five states that had the lawsuit that resulted in Brown v. Board of Education.

CAMEROTA: Yes.

CLYBURN: And so we just have so much in common. So we talked a lot, and he vacations extensively in South Carolina. And it's nothing to walk into a church on Sunday morning and Joe Biden will be sitting there, he and Jill, or into a restaurant down in Charleston, and the two of them will just be there. Nothing political. Just interacting with people and chilling out, so to speak. So I've gotten to know him.

CAMEROTA: Yes.

CLYBURN: And I really like him.

CAMEROTA: I get that. It sounds like it. And as you pointed out, South Carolinians have gotten to know him and vice versa. Were you surprised, congressman, by the results of last night, that they went better than so many people had predicted for Joe Biden?

CLYBURN: I was a bit surprised. It did go better than many of us expected. To be one point ahead in Maine, no, I didn't expect that. To be winning Massachusetts, I did not expect that at all. Now, I really am not surprised at Texas. I was in Texas about three or four weeks ago, and I knew that people were sentimentally with Biden. They were upset because they didn't think there was enough activity going on down there. They wanted people on the ground.

A lot of what I've said about the campaign could be cured with more money. He did not have the fundraising prowess that other candidates had. And so, therefore, things that I wanted to see done were not being done because of that lack of finances. But a victory or two would cure that. So when he won the South Carolina primary and won it so decisively, overnight his money problems got cured.

But I hope that those Democratic funders who have been standing on the sidelines will now get into the mix, and let's do what is necessary to win this. Let me congratulate -- I guess Mayor Bloomberg is demonstrating once again what a class guy he is. I've heard this morning that he's going to do some reassessments. And I hope he will really coalesce around Joe Biden like the rest of us will and have a tremendous victory in November.

[08:05:07]

CAMEROTA: Have you heard that Mayor Bloomberg is dropping out this morning?

CLYBURN: I've heard that on some media sources that he's reassessing this morning. I'm saying that I would suggest that they will coalesce around Joe Biden. I have no idea what he's going to do. I would love to see him -- I really like him as well. I've gotten to know him. And he's really -- on his business, he's much more of a sort of a nice guy than it seems to be in the political arena.

CAMEROTA: But you would suggest that he reassess and step aside, it sounds like. And what about Senator Elizabeth Warren?

CLYBURN: Well, Senator Elizabeth Warren, I think that after -- looked like she finished third in Massachusetts. I would reassess if I were her, as well.

CAMEROTA: Congressman, so many people are crediting you with the turnaround for Joe Biden's momentum, including James Carville last night. Let me just play for you in case you missed what he said to you last night.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JAMES CARVILLE: I want to offer a hand gesture to Congressman Clyburn.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There you go.

CARVILLE: That guy literally saved the Democratic Party.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CLYBURN: Oh, come on. I know James. He's a great guy. I really like him. We've talked a lot. I have not seen him recently. I'm glad I did see him a couple weeks ago. I was down for the LSU/Clemson game. I'm glad I didn't see him that night.

CAMEROTA: But Congressman, this is no time for false modesty. He says you saved the Democratic Party from where he sits. Where do you think Joe Biden would be this morning had you not endorsed him when you did, and also sounded the alarm for the things you thought his campaign was doing wrong?

CLYBURN: Well, I know what you're trying to get me to say. I'm not going to say it. Just let me say this. I feel that this country's democracy is at stake. I've said time and time again, no matter what we may do to provide health care, affordable housing, educational opportunities, economic opportunities, none of that matters if we do not have a stable, flourishing democracy. And that's what I was trying to do because I do believe in Joe Biden. He gives us the opportunity to bring this country back to what the founding authors had in mind and what we've been trying to do in trying to build a more perfect union.

CAMEROTA: Congressman, one more question. Because you sounded the alarm for things that you thought were going wrong with his campaign, you thought that the fundraising infrastructure wasn't up to snuff. You thought his speech-making, his speech-giving wasn't good enough, and you told the campaign that. Today, this morning, what do you want to see Joe Biden's campaign do?

CLYBURN: I want to see him do exactly what he did the night of the victory in South Carolina, the way he interacted with that town hall meeting the next night that I think was sponsored by CNN, and last night. I say all the time, what I've learned campaigning -- I'm one of the few crazy people in politics who loved to campaign. People will like to hear your platform. They would like to hear you discuss policy. But they want to feel you. They want to feel you.

And I'll just say to Joe that he was being a little bit too robotic. Because I know him. Look, he's always loose, and I think that all of the stuff about him being too touchy, making people uncomfortable, I think it caused him to pull back and not be himself. He is a guy who is very affectionate, is very -- let's call it compassionate. And I think that that's what had him a little bit robotic going into this campaign. So I wanted him to loosen up, and I wanted him to look into the camera. He knows these issues. He doesn't have to read notes, and people always want to script you, want you to do this. I know. My staff book me all the time. They write stuff for me all the time, and I usually keep it in my pocket and just talk to people the way I want to be talked to.

CAMEROTA: Well, that advice seemed to have worked. Congressman James Clyburn, thank you very much for coming on and sharing your thoughts on this morning with us. We will talk to you again, I hope.

CLYBURN: Thank you very much.

CAMEROTA: John?

[08:10:00]

BERMAN: I've got to say, I like the Jedi mind tricks with Michael Bloomberg. Congratulating Michael Bloomberg on making the right decision today. Michael Bloomberg, as far as we know, hasn't made any decision, but Jim Clyburn trying to convince him that he has.

CAMEROTA: We'll see. James Clyburn does seem to know things before they happen.

BERMAN: This is not the campaign you're looking for.

Listen, we're getting new delegate counts in from across the country, including California, with a slight change in the shape of this race. We'll tell you what it is, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BERMAN: We've got some breaking political news, at least some breaking political counting to show you. This is after a new batch of delegates has been counted from Super Tuesday. Joe Biden hanging on to his delegate lead. He's now at 379. You can see Bernie Sanders has also brought in a big haul of delegates. He's at 315. Those behind them, and it hasn't changed that as much. But that shows you the shape of the race this morning. Joe Biden leading in the delegate count, somewhere where really no one really expected him to be this morning.

CAMEROTA: California is still counting.

BERMAN: California is still counting. Bernie Sanders doing very well. Maybe not as well as he would have hoped coming into today, but we'll see. We'll let them count.

Joining us now, CNN political commentator Jennifer Granholm, she is the former Democratic governor of Michigan. Wajahat Ali, contributing op-ed writer for the "New York Times" and a CNN contributor, Paul Begala, Democratic strategist and CNN political commentator, and Bakari Sellers, former Democratic statehouse member in South Carolina and CNN correspondent --

CAMEROTA: Have you switched into overdrive? Are you speaking much more quickly this hour than you were in different hours?

(LAUGHTER)

[08:15:00]

(CROSSTALK)

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: I just -- you know what it is? I want to get to the news. I think we are about to make some news here.

Governor Granholm from the state of Michigan which votes next week --

JENNIFER GRANHOLM, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Next week.

BERMAN: -- you have been watching the developments in this campaign very closely and I feel like you have something you may want to tell us.

GRANHOLM: I do. In fact, Ii had been helping Joe Biden prepare in the debates previously, and no surprise, I am endorsing Joe Biden. And let me just put this into context.

ALI: Like right now? Like on TV?

GRANHOLM: Right now. Right here. Breaking news, right?

ALI: Can I tweet it?

GRANHOLM: Go ahead.

ALI: It's not news until Waj tweets it.

Wait for it. GRANHOLM: But if you all recall, 2009, Michigan was -- the auto

industry went bankrupt, right? Our unemployment rate during the great recession was about 15 percent. It was agony.

Who was the person inside the Obama administration to champion saving the auto industry and the million jobs that are attached to it, in the industrial Midwest? It was Joe Biden. There was a question about what they were going to do.

Joe Biden did that. He led the Recovery Act and brought a billion dollars to Michigan to help us diversify our economy into electric vehicles. He brought hundreds of millions of dollars to make sure we didn't lay off teachers.

He came dozens of times. Put together a whole task force inside of the administration to focus on Detroit, lighting, blight, buses, the basics.

His last speech as vice president was in the city of Detroit. Michigan is not going to forget. We were on our knees. And Joe Biden picked us up and carried us on his shoulders.

We came back, just like Joe Biden came back over the past few days. It's a great story and Michigan won't forget.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: So, why did you wait so long?

BERMAN: So, what take you so long? Yes.

GRANHOLM: I know, right? Why did I wait so long?

No, I'm the chair of another group that was agnostic and all that. It's not a surprise. But I'm endorsing him because I love him so much, and I'm so utterly grateful to him for doing this.

So the group that I'm the chair of gave me permission to be able to do it. That's why it took me longer. But Tuesday, all those M states like Michigan, Missouri, Mississippi, I think those are going to be really telling states to continue this roll.

BERMAN: Who wants to analyze the impact of the Jennifer Granholm endorsement?

GRANHOLM: Oh, it's news, it's news.

PAUL BEGALA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: To quote Joe Biden, it's a big freaking deal. This is a beloved two-term governor, attorney general before that, has won many campaigns --

BAKARI SELLERS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I want to figure out how to get her endorsement for anything.

BEGALA: Governor, this is -- it is a huge gift for Vice President Biden.

BERMAN: What does it tell you b picture based on what we saw yesterday? This is part and parcel of how we got to this morning.

BEGALA: Yes, politics is about addition. You want to build a movement, as Biden said last night. But Bernie has a revolution. But he hasn't been able to expand it. And it is -- it all began with chief justice Clyburn --

ALI: King Clyburn.

BEGALA: King Clyburn, Pope James I, anything he wants, I was especially moved in Texas, the most important State in the Union.

SELLERS: Boo --

BEGALA: Pete, Amy, Beto came to Texas and endorsed him. Beto O'Rourke got out of the race early. Amy and Pete got out right before then. And that particularly for Amy and Pete, that sacrificial leadership.

This is what the Republicans did not do with Donald Trump, right? Many Democrats we see, not only they want Biden, but they are concerned Bernie would be a drag on the ticket for other candidates. They didn't do that with Trump.

Rubio, Jeb, all those guys, they stayed in forever and allowed Trump to win with a ceiling. Bernie has a ceiling. He won his home state, but other than that, he didn't get more than 36 percent anywhere. Biden exceeded 36 percent. So even --

BERMAN: Yesterday.

BEGALA: Yesterday, yesterday.

BERMAN: In Nevada, he got 50.

BEGALA: Yesterday, yesterday. And Joe exceeded that Bernie ceiling at 36 all over the place in Virginia, Alabama, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Tennessee, North Carolina, Minnesota.

So where Bernie won, he won narrowly. Where Joe won, he won big. That's momentum.

SELLERS: Let's talk about Governor Granholm's endorsement.

GRANHOLM: Again.

SELLERS: No, I didn't know -- you could have told me while we were getting coffee. You didn't tell me.

But, you know, we always go back to -- it was a little bit disingenuous from some of my friends on the left who would say South Carolina doesn't matter. Michael Moore is absolutely the worst at this. South Carolina -- just disregarding black voters and saying South Carolina is a conservative state. We're not playing in that in November so it doesn't matter.

Then you have Virginia and North Carolina which are swing states. You have a Minnesota which is a -- an important state to win, a swing state. But you go back to Michigan and the blue wall and where we have to rebuild what we have to rebuild our Democratic Party.

I always say that we're about three cities. I mean, you can outline. It was Philadelphia, it was Detroit and Milwaukee.

If we're able to expand, if we're able to bring more people in, and so that's why Governor Granholm's endorsement is so important because that's an integral part to building.

[08:20:02]

Now I also want to disavow people of this notion that black voters are dumb. They're not. They're very pragmatic.

And I think -- no, no, I'm saying that out there, they are very pragmatic. And what you're seeing is the level of trust that people have in Joe Biden is extremely evident. And the feeling that Joe Biden is the one to take on Donald Trump, I know people may not -- I was talking to Mayor Gillum Andrew about this last night.

We want them to have more robust policy. I get that. But people as Congressman Clyburn said who also is going to move the capital from Washington, D.C., they feel good right here. And Joe Biden makes you feel good right here. He has been moving people --

CAMEROTA: I mean, I thought it was interesting that Congressman Clyburn felt Joe Biden had to work on that. One of his advice for him was that he should get back to that. He felt Joe Biden had gotten away from that.

Wajahat, what do you see? You take it from a different perspective.

ALI: Nothing succeeds like success, and as we've been discussing all morning, people made up their decision on the last second. Virginia, 49 percent of the people that came out made their decision in the last second which means the race was fluid. This was not about Joe Biden.

It's about who can beat Donald Trump and the coalition is coming together. It's between Biden and Bernie, we're leaning with Biden, right? Black voters, without them, you do not become the Democratic nominee of anything.

And also with Virginia got record turnout. Biden won in Massachusetts, Minnesota. He can flex a bit.

I will say this, though, Bernie right now, neck and neck almost with the delegates. Anything can change. And Bernie's going to hit Biden in Michigan over NAFTA. In 2016, Bernie won.

So, this is going to be game on.

GRANHOLM: No, no, and it's not -- there is no question about it. I mean, a week ago, Bernie was up ten points. This morning on the Detroit News, there's another poll showing that Biden is up seven points.

ALI: Yes, plus seven.

GRANHOLM: But there's no doubt it's going to be a battle and nobody can take anything for granted.

Can I say one quick thing? Last night was such a great statement about momentum being more important than money. And that -- the fact that people are saying, I don't care if you are a billionaire, whichever billionaire, take your pick. But our vote is what's gold.

ALI: They waited seven hours --

SELLERS: Wajahat brought up an amazing point about coalition and that's something that we haven't talked about enough, because in order to be the president of the United States, I've always said this, that we know how to win. I mean, we really do.

The leading vote-getters in this -- the history of the United States where a black man and a white woman it was Barack Obama/Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, but that coalition going back to Governor Granholm's endorsement, that coalition is made up of voters of color and white college educated women.

GRANHOLM: And they were mad.

SELLERS: And we're starting to see -- so where is this growth coming from? Why is Virginia having record turnout and North Carolina and South Carolina, but the share of African-American voters is decreasing. That's because you're seeing the white college educated women just completely pissed off --

GRANHOLM: And middle aged women.

ALI: Biden is waiting for this endorsement, ladies and gentlemen. This is it.

SELLERS: Thirty-five is not middle age.

(CROSSTALK)

ALI: Not until I tweeted, not until I tweeted.

GRANHOLM: Right, right.

BERMAN: Bakari Sellers is working hard for an endorsement.

(CROSSTALK)

GRANHOLM: I'm just saying --

CAMEROTA: Yes, 29 --

BERMAN: This is what we're going to do. We've got a ton more to discuss with these four terrific guests. So, let's take a quick break.

A lot more questions including the future for Michael Bloomberg, the future for Elizabeth Warren and I have to say also, the future for this race if the line is drawn between Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden. Because I'm not quite sure how this plays out. This is all next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[08:27:30]

BERMAN: All right. Happening now. We're told former New York City Mayor Bloomberg, New York City mayor, too much coffee, is reassessing the future of his campaign this morning after the finish that didn't turn out like he wanted to last night on Super Tuesday. He did win American Samoa, he did pick up some delegates but not his money's worth.

Our panel is back with us this morning.

Paul, what's going to happen? What's this decision like for Michael Bloomberg?

BEGALA: Well, this is where we see the ego to intellect ratio, OK? All these candidates have big egos but a lot of them are really smart, too.

GRANHOLM: That's a great --

BEGALA: I think you're going to see, I don't know, but my guess is Mayor Bloomberg didn't get to be worth $60 billion by having more ego than brains. In other words, I'm sure he's got healthy self-esteem but I think you look at the numbers. He's made his living on metrics and looking at numbers.

There's not a path for him any longer. And he has already done amazing -- I live in Virginia now. Virginia, one of the reasons Virginia is blue is because of Mike Bloomberg. He went in there, he spent money, he raised the gun issue which was the home of the NRA.

He's done a ton of good already. He's likely able to do a ton of good without being a candidate. And he won't have the fun of being a pinata at the debates any longer, but he could still make history. That would be my pitch to you, Mayor.

GRANHOLM: But he would be beloved in the Democratic Party, if he invested in, for example, getting senators elected, invested in helping our nominee. If he invested in digital, with digital deficit that the Democrats may have compared to Donald Trump.

And he's got all that data. He's got an incredible operation. So he would be a hero.

SELLERS: I think that Michael Bloomberg has actually done something very good for the Democratic Party was create infrastructure in places we don't have infrastructure. He has an infrastructure in Arkansas, right? He has an infrastructure in Tennessee, in Georgia.

So all of these places where he has these campaigns -- if he's able to leave that infrastructure in place, then the general -- if Mike Bloomberg were to get out of this race and get behind Joe Biden, with all due respect to Bernie Sanders and everybody else, the general election, for all intents and purposes starts now.

And we just have to have somebody who fits into that infrastructure who can continue to help build. We have to -- in order to beat Donald Trump, we have to build. And the weaknesses of Joe Biden are young people, energy and maybe Michael Bloomberg, whether or not it's social media, the infrastructure, can help generate some of those things. I mean, listen, he was the mayor of a small island and he won a small island.

(LAUGHTER)

(CROSSTALK)

ALI: I've been waiting to use that.

GRANHOLM: And, wait a second, he spent $500 million so far?

SELLERS: Yes.

GRANHOLM: But he makes $107 million a day.

END