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Super Tuesday Results; Coronavirus in the U.S.; The Fight for the Democratic Nomination; Trump Attacks Sessions. Aired 8:30-9a ET
Aired March 4, 2020 - 08:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JENNIFER GRANHOLM, CNN COMMENTATOR: Wait a second, so he spent, what 500 million so far?
WAJAHAT ALI, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Yes, 500 --
GRANHOLM: But he makes $107 million a day. What?
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: That's good. That will help.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: It must be nice.
CAMEROTA: That will help. That will help fill the gap (ph).
GRANHOLM: I mean, really, that's five days of work. $107 million a day.
ALI: It's a good salary.
So for the viewers watching, when you hear Jim Clyburn or anyone else say "reassessment," it means a drop out. Just like when it's -- when it's a debate and you hear someone say "my good friend," they're about to destroy them, right?
ALI: So reassessment is, Michael Bloomberg, take your $500 million. Tim Steyer, take your $250 million, combine it together and help the Democrats take back the Senate and hit -- and this is where the intellect and ego come. The intellect will be, I see the numbers, I'm going to drop out. The ego is, I'm going to get you, Donald Trump. And I'm going to -- I'm going to -- I'm going to help. And also --
BERMAN: What about Warren, Waj? What about Warren?
ALI: Warren -- brilliant. You know I was a fan. It saddens me that people didn't give her the respect that she deserved. She was a lot of people's number two. Wasn't enough for number one. She doesn't have a pathway. She was number three in Massachusetts. That's a killer. If you don't win our own state, you have to reassess. And for her --
BERMAN: You just said it. You just said it. I learned quick. I learned quick.
CAMEROTA: You used the word.
ALI: She has to choose which one of her -- who's going to be her friend, right? And they are going to need her -- I think she will help.
CAMEROTA: Isn't Bernie going to be her friend? I mean don't --
SELLER: I don't think so. I don't think -- I don't think that -- and this is -- this is -- I guess why we get paid the big bucks to talk about things we absolutely don't know. I don't -- I don't think that she actually endorses anybody. I know that it sounds like she's an ideological pairing with Bernie Sanders, but I think that there is a role for her to play down the road. I think -- I'm stealing a theme from Mayor Landrieu, but there is a -- because she actually -- she -- she has credibility in these fractured wings. She has credibility with progressives. She has credibility with the quote/unquote establishment. Don't really know what that means anymore. But in -- at a convention -- at a convention where people need to come together, I think that she can -- she can help kind of bring the party back together.
I mean we do know who the ultimate unifier is. He's 44. You know, he's probably in Chicago or golfing today and when Barack Obama gets off the sidelines, that's one thing. But until that moment, I think the great unifier who has credibility on all aspects of the party --
ALI: And she could help Biden with some of the progressives.
SELLER: Of course.
ALI: Because Biden needs help to really cut -- get the youth, get Latinos. Let's give -- let's give Bernie credit, he brought out Latinos in Nevada.
SELLERS: And young Latinos.
ALI: In Texas and California, right, and he won the -- he won Nevada.
CAMEROTA: Look at this.
ALI: And so -- yes, look at that. And so -- oh.
CAMEROTA: The numbers have just gone up. We just want to take a moment here for the new delegate count because they -- it has just -- they have both just jumped up ahead. So Colorado has now been added. Biden is at 382. Bernie Sanders is at 321. They've gained a lot just during our program. And then Pete Buttigieg 26 and Elizabeth Warren 25.
PAUL BEGALA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, so if you are Bernie, this thing is not over at all.
ALI: Nope. BEGALA: And it's a big night for Joe and everybody I think needs to cover it and acknowledge that. But it's a very, very long road --
BERMAN: So what does that mean, though, Paul, because we heard Bernie Sanders last night. Not only is he not giving up, but he continues to define this race as, it's the establishment against me and the establishment is bad.
BEGALA: He feeds off of that. I think that that's a losing message. As I said, this is about -- about gaining support.
BEGALA: Two kind of churches. Those who hunt down heretics and those who seek out converts. And Democrats want converts. And when -- I talked to some folks who endorsed Biden yesterday. One of the -- or the other day. One of the reasons is they felt like Sanders was a little exclusionary. I mean it's like you're not pure enough for me.
SELLERS: I know a bunch of black -- I know a --
BEGALA: It gives him a Heisman (ph).
SELLERS: I know, but it drives me crazy because I know a bunch of -- I know a bunch of black women who sit on the front row of their church, right? They wear the big hats. And every time you hug them, you -- when you're in church, you hug them and you smell like Chanel Number Five the rest of the day, right? And they cook amazing pound cakes and they cook amazing coconut pies, but they have to make decisions about whether or not they're going to pay their utility bills or get their prescription drugs. Those people voted for Joe Biden.
SELLERS: They're not the establishment.
GRANHOLM: Right, people still in line in all these places.
SELLERS: They're the backbone of the party. They're the backbone of this country.
GRANHOLM: Who is the establishment? And -- and just --
SELLERS: It's absurd to me to discount it this way.
GRANHOLM: To throw it out like an epithet, like it's an insult to be a Democrat, to be somebody who's a delegate. That's terrible.
BEGALA: And in the center --
ALI: That -- that being said, Bernie is tapping into something that we have to pay attention to.
SELLERS: I agree with that.
ALI: Trump tapped into it. GRANHOLM: Totally agree.
ALI: Very young people, disaffected white workers in Michigan and the rust belt.
GRANHOLM: Totally agree.
ALI: A lot of -- a lot of Democrats who went Republican. They feel the establishment, whatever it is, the status quo, the ideologies have failed them, and he says, I will have disruption and I will make change now.
BEGALA: I want to --
ALI: That can excite a lot of people.
BEGALA: When he --
GRANHOLM: But don't attack Democrats when you're looking for the Democrat.
ALI: I know, I know, but I'm just saying is, you need that marriage. I've been saying that.
GRANHOLM: But, yes, the Democrats are going to be the answer to it.
ALI: So Joe -- what Joe needs is to tap into that.
GRANHOLM: Yes, totally agree.
ALI: And there has to be a brokerage of marriage.
GRANHOLM: Totally agree. Yes, really smart.
SELLERS: But this is -- I guess my only point --
SELLERS: With Bernie Sanders is, I want Bernie Sanders a part of the Democratic Party, right?
SELLERS: I'm not sure Bernie Sanders wants to be a part of the Democratic Party. That is my -- that's my only thing. And I -- I appreciate, especially what Bernie Sanders has done in the Hispanic community in Nevada, in California, in Texas. I mean he's winning 80 percent of the -- of the youth Hispanic vote between the ages of 18 and 30. That's the future of America, not just the party. We need Bernie Sanders.
I'm not sure Bernie Sanders knows he needs us. CAMEROTA: Guys, I know you've forgotten that we're on live television right now --
CAMEROTA: And this conversation could just go on --
SELLERS: This is a green room conversation.
ALI: I need to endorse someone.
CAMEROTA: I know.
SELLERS: I endorse Andrew Yang for mayor of New York. Is that a thing? Can that happen? I don't know.
BERMAN: I think we need to reassess the timing of this thing.
CAMEROTA: All right, thank you all very much. Great to have you here.
Now to another top story, health officials now have new standards for coronavirus testing as the number of cases rises in the U.S. More of exactly what you need to know this morning.
CAMEROTA: Nine Americans have died from coronavirus. All of them in Washington state. This as the number of cases reported across the country also continues to rise. At this point, there are 126 cases.
Joining us now is CNN chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta and Dr. William Schaffner, he's an infectious disease professor at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.
Great to have both of you this morning.
Sanjay, ninth person in Washington state has died.
Give us some perspective on what this tells us.
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, public health officials are still trying to find out what is the connection between all these people. There's obviously concern about this extended care facility because so many of the people who have been infected or had some -- who have died, unfortunately, have some connection to this facility. But this is challenging to try and piece this together.
What we know is that the virus is spreading within the community there, maybe spreading within the community and other places as well. The majority of people who may have been exposed to this virus may not have much in the way of symptoms, so they don't know that they're carrying the virus. That's the picture that's starting to emerge, which is not that different than what we've seen in other places around the world. I mean the virus does not respect borders or geography as we've talked about, Alisyn. So it's, obviously, sad, but I think public health officials have known for some time this was going to happen.
CAMEROTA: Doctor Schaffner, we've been told that there will be more testing. That they were slow, you know, officials, federal officials were slow to get testing kits out to hospitals everywhere but now that is beginning. And so what do you think the next two weeks are going to look like?
DR. WILLIAM SCHAFFNER, PROFESSOR, INFECTIOUS DISEASES, VANDERBILT UNIVERSITY MEDICAL CENTER: Alisyn, the next two weeks will be revelatory. Yes, we were slow off the mark, but the testing is now getting out there. Doctors are eager to test. And we will see exactly how widespread now coronavirus is in the United States. Is it just focal here and there and a little bit of spread here and there, or suddenly is it revealed that we have widespread coronavirus infection? I think the next week and a half or two weeks will tell the tale.
CAMEROTA: And, Dr. Schaffner, do you have any prediction about which one of those models it will be?
SCHAFFNER: I only have my fingers crossed. I hope it will be smaller rather than larger.
CAMEROTA: Yes, I mean, we all do.
But, Sanjay, I guess the point is, is that, if China is any guide, if Italy is any guide, these things grow exponentially. Why would we be different?
GUPTA: Yes. I think that as well. And, you know, I'm with Dr. Schaffner in that you hope for the best, prepare for the worst.
But, look, I mean, you know, in cities across the country, international airports, New York, Atlanta, we've seen what's happened in Washington state, California. I think it would be -- it would be -- you would have to believe that this has got to be spreading more widely. And as we've talked about, I think the context is always important, that's going to be the alarming thing. And as we hear the number comes back from this increased testing, I think we're suddenly going to have a significant jump in the number of people who are confirmed as positive in this country. That's going to be alarming to people.
But, again, keep in mind that the majority of those people may not -- you know, they may not be that sick. They may not have even really thought to get tested in the first place. So I just hope people keep that in mind.
I do want to tell you as well, Alisyn, just because this testing has been of such interest to people from Vice President Pence yesterday, he's saying, any American can be tested for the coronavirus. No restrictions whatsoever. So even people who have no symptoms, if there's some cause for concern. I wouldn't suggest everyone just go out and start getting tested. SCHAFFNER: No,
GUPTA: But if there's some cause for concern, then it is reasonable to get tested. And it will be covered as an essential health benefit as well. So it should be free. That's what we're hearing straight from the vice president's office now.
CAMEROTA: But, Sanjay, are you hearing that we have enough tests for that? Anybody who wants to be tested can just waltz into their doctor's office?
GUPTA: That's the hope. Right now they're saying there's going to be a million more tests that are going to be made available. Some people may need to be tested more than once. So that doesn't necessarily mean a million more people. And they want to keep scaling up the production of these tests.
Look, it's possible. We've seen this in other countries around the world. I don't think there's a reason to believe that we can't do it here. I think there -- we haven't done it here for a few different reasons. There was faulty tests in the beginning. The criteria was probably too narrow in terms of who should have been tested and that's why there's only been, you know, some 500, 600 people who have been tested in this country.
But, you know, I think the numbers are going to go up dramatically.
CAMEROTA: Dr. Schaffner, I hear so many people who are concerned. They just don't know what to expect or what even to look for. For a healthy person, younger than some of the people in their 70s or 80s who have been most severely hit, is this going to be just like the flu? Is that what people need to be on the lookout for? That same times of symptoms, same longevity of symptoms?
SCHAFFNER: Well, that's what it's beginning to look like. But, of course, we're concerned mostly about, first of all, health care workers because this virus really is transmitted very readily in the context of health care, and that's another reason we want to test widely, and we really would like to have the test available at local hospitals. That would be the ideal.
But, yes, I think most of the people who will be more seriously infected are the people who are older, somewhat frail, have underlying illnesses such as diabetes, heart disease, lung disease and the like.
And I think that's where the doctors will be doing most of the testing, where we expect the complications to be most serious.
CAMEROTA: All right, Dr. Schaffner, Sanjay Gupta, thank you both very much for all of the information.
CAMEROTA: We really appreciate being able to rely on you guys. GUPTA: Thank you.
BERMAN: All right, most of Super Tuesday is on the books, right? Except they're still counting votes in California and Maine. One of the questions we're going to look at this morning is, now that this is done, what does it mean for next Tuesday? Where's the race going next? We get "The Bottom Line," next.
BERMAN: All right, it is sort of wait for it Wednesday after Super Tuesday. What are we waiting for? We're waiting to see what the significance of these really surprising results are. Joe Biden leads in the delegate race this morning, which I think is an outcome that none of us fully expected.
So, we look ahead now. Next Tuesday, 352 delegates are at stake in Idaho, Missouri, Michigan, North Dakota, Mississippi and Washington.
Let's get "The Bottom Line" with CNN political analyst David Gregory.
David, as we look to next week I think it is notable that former Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm just did endorse Joe Biden on this show. Maybe gives you a sense of where things maybe will be headed.
DAVID GREGORY, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, and it certainly -- it helps the momentum for Biden that he has -- he has picked up key endorsements from establishment politicians in the party. I know we're talking about whether that's the word to use. But these are mainstream politicians in the party who are endorsing him. Maybe that helps.
Michigan is obviously important too because we're going to look to that as a state in the general election that's important. Can Biden or Trump speak to people who have -- are feeling pain in the country? So we look to those -- those are all states, by the way, that Hillary Clinton picked up in 2016. So perhaps it's friendly territory.
BERMAN: I think Bernie -- I think Bernie won in Michigan. And I think -- I think when you --
GREGORY: He may have won in Michigan.
BERMAN: And I think when you start looking at North Dakota and Iowa, it's a little weird because you had caucuses before and whatnot.
BERMAN: I don't know that anyone's going to be able to emerge with a major delegate haul. Mississippi is a state where Joe Biden could win by a ton and stretch out delegate margins there.
GREGORY: Right. And I think, look, the momentum piece -- you've been talking about it all morning, is so important. He won something. He won it big. Voters may not feel that their soul is on fire by Biden, Democratic voters, but I think there's a lot of, well, you know, he -- he can win. I guess we'll go with him. We want to beat Trump. That's most important. Let's eliminate the drama, all this talk about a contested convention, let's go with him.
There's also something else. Pragmatic voters in the Democratic Party, be they suburbanites, African-Americans are saying, we're not so sure we're ready for a revolution. You know, a, we may not believe that that's the right thing. B, it wouldn't necessarily change my life and it may not actually get done. Let's go with somebody who we think can take on Trump. And I think that's an important perspective.
CAMEROTA: But Bernie Sanders is also doing well today.
GREGORY: He is.
CAMEROTA: I mean where -- the reason that we have led all -- so much with Biden is because it was so unexpected and so different than what it could have been four days ago or before South Carolina.
But Bernie, as we look at the delegate numbers, I mean he continues to gain, just like Biden does. I mean he's up as well in the 300s. California is still counting. So what is he going to do for the next week?
GREGORY: Well, it's going to be tight. And he's going to be taking the fight to his people and to the rest of the Democratic voters around -- you know, what -- look, his message was very powerful last night. The same old, same old is not going to beat Donald Trump. He may be right. We don't know.
What we know today, and you've got to give Bernie Sanders his due. I think you're right, I mean the Biden story coming out of nowhere, not spending money, not traveling, winning Massachusetts and wining the south, it's a big deal because Democratic voters are speaking. They are saying something. But they are still showing up for Bernie Sanders.
We now have a different race. Yesterday morning -- I think it's good for the Democratic Party that there is somebody in the liberal lane, in the moderate lane. They're going to have a robust debate, an actual debate, and people are going to be thinking about this.
Me, as I look forward, I think, do we start to see elements of accommodation? I think that Bernie Sanders is a less accommodating guy than Joe Biden. I think Biden is a classic politician who can find ways to attack and to bring people around. I think that's what you're going to have to look for because there's a -- there's going to be a real rift in the party that's not going to be solved by just saying, oh, we should all get behind one candidate or the other.
The other thing is, obviously, Bloomberg and Warren. Bloomberg could do a lot of good for Joe Biden if he gets out soon.
BERMAN: Stay tuned on that. GREGORY: Yes.
BERMAN: We're watching that very closely as today develops. Jim Clyburn congratulated Michael Bloomberg on his --
CAMEROTA: On something.
BERMAN: On something.
CAMEROTA: It was unclear.
BERMAN: Jedi mind tricks trying to convince Michael Bloomberg he's already made a decision, which he hasn't.
I want to take a slight detour from the presidential race because there were primaries across the country in other races, including the Senate race in Alabama where Jeff Sessions is trying to get his old seat back, right? And you can see the outcome of the primary. What happens is, this will go to a run-off between former Auburn football coach Tommy Tuberville and former U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
CAMEROTA: Roy Moore didn't do so well there.
BERMAN: No. No. So it's going to go to a runoff, OK? And what happened this morning? People have been telling President Trump, stay out of this. Stay out of this. Whatever feelings --
CAMEROTA: Don't meddle in someone else's election.
BERMAN: Whatever feelings you might have about Jeff Sessions, stay out of it. What did he do? He didn't stay out of it.
GREGORY: He didn't stay out of it.
BERMAN: So let's put the tweet up on the screen. I don't have it in front of me. If you can throw it up on the screen here.
CAMEROTA: I have it for you.
BERMAN: Want to do a dramatic reading?
This is what happens to someone who loyally gets appointed attorney general of the United States and then doesn't have the wisdom or courage to stare down and end the phony Russia witch hunt, recuses himself on, in all capitals, first day in office. And the Mueller scam begins. Well --
GREGORY: I have one --
GREGORY: Is -- does -- should Russia witch hunt be capitalized necessarily? Is there somebody you consult on that? Like that's an official -- it's a thing that you have to capitalize?
CAMEROTA: Strunk and White is who you use.
GREGORY: Strunk and White.
CAMEROTA: Strunk and White has this.
GREGORY: Look, I -- you know, there's a couple different ways to read this. Obviously, we would expect that the president wouldn't have the self-discipline to stay out. There is probably a Trump effect. I mean perhaps Sessions could have done better if it weren't for Trump interjecting.
People know how Trump has felt about him.
But, you know, Sessions is a guy with his own conservative base in a state where they know him well. And this -- if there's one theme this morning is that voters who have a sense of who these candidates are, are going to have something to say about it, and they may push out outside influences. It's going to be very interesting to watch down there in Alabama.
David Gregory, great to talk to you.
BERMAN: Yes, thanks for being here.
CAMEROTA: Yes, it's (INAUDIBLE).
BERMAN: Not all morning. You didn't start until a little bit --
BERMAN: After the show had already began.
CAMEROTA: Like an hour.
BERMAN: Yes, you waited.
GREGORY: That's funny, because I didn't remember it that way.
BERMAN: Yes, OK.
GREGORY: Yes. Thanks for having me.
CAMEROTA: All right, Joe Biden won nine states last night. And the votes are still being counted in California and Maine. CNN's coverage continues, next.
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR: The morning after Super Tuesday. It's a big one. POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Super Wednesday.
I'm Jim Sciutto. Good morning.
HARLOW: And I'm Poppy Harlow. We're so glad you're with us. What a night. Call it a campaign resurrection. It took Joe Biden 33 years and three tries to become president to finally --