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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL
Biden Ahead in Texas, Sanders Leads in California. Aired 12-1a ET
Aired March 4, 2020 - 00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST (voice-over): We have a key race alert. Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden for all practical purposes right now they are tied in the Democratic presidential primary. 56 percent of the vote is now in, 28.6 percent for Bernie Sanders, 28.6 percent for Joe Biden.
Bernie Sanders is ahead by 450 votes, 450 votes, what a surprise this is. I don't think anyone was expecting it to be this close in Texas. The last time he was ahead, 16,000 votes ahead, 20,000 votes ahead, now only 450 votes.
JOHN KING, CNN HOST: In some ways, if this margin holds up close to this, no matter who is on top, this is already a win for Joe Biden in the sense that California and Texas are the two biggest prizes.
The Sanders strategy was based on a big delegate lead here, taking away way more delegates here, even more delegates in California to stretch it out.
The drama we have been talking about throughout the night, Biden doing well and winning many in many cases, eight states tonight, some of them he never campaigned in, some of them he spent tens of thousands of dollars on television ads.
He is leading in Maine, come across this; Biden, Biden, Biden -- still Sanders but 450 votes when you come into Texas, the second biggest prize of the night. So is the amazing Biden night that we're having and going to continue as we come this way.
What's happening here?
BLITZER: Look at this --
KING: There we go.
BLITZER: Joe Biden is slightly ahead.
KING: Twelve hundred votes ahead, up to 57 percent, so we went up, still counting the votes. What's happening as we watch this play this out?
Watch it as it jumps here, this is Harris County down, here the largest county in the state by far, 81 percent reporting.
We talked earlier, can Joe Biden keep this lead and stretch it out a little bit?
You'd like it to be a little bit bigger but where the people live, you pad the lead then you go there. Then you come up to the number two in terms of population, Dallas, winning by a healthy margin there, 10,000 votes there if you look at it there.
Where are you finding Senator Sanders?
You find him in San Antonio, this matters. Ten points there, that matters there in a population center, more to the Latino vote, more about that later.
Here Travis County, Austin, Texas, liberal stronghold, big college town. This is where you see a more traditional Sanders margin. You take it up. Often the counties that get overlooked, these little, tiny places, not that many people live, Joe Biden is winning a lot of them if you wander across Texas, 66 to 25.
You think that doesn't matter. Well, when have a race that will be settled by a couple hundred votes, that matters. These little tiny counties as we go through. You keep filling out early on, most of this was empty.
Look at what's happening. Look at what's happening. Not a huge population, center but let's bring it in here and the Latino and African American population in Texas. The African American population here, that is the orange shading or pink shading, depending on your look at home, let's see more of it.
You come into this now, remember this part of the state where Biden is running, you take this off, you see a lot of Biden blue here. It's the same, Arkansas here, the African American population there. And you come into the Latino population, let me take this out your way and bring this here.
These are the population centers where the people live, the larger circles where you have more people, the shading tells you Sanders is winning here or leading, Biden more of a battle outside when you get more to the west away from Dallas.
One more demographic and I'll turn this off for you, the Latino population here. You bring this across, let me close this out for you, this is where Sanders was counting on running it up. Where you have the heaviest -- the Latino population is everywhere in Texas but the heavier concentration where you see the deeper here. So come out and see what is happening when you come out of the map tonight.
This has been, it has been and we have a lot to fill in, so you're looking at this right now, Joe Biden about 5,000 votes ahead in the state of Texas, 5,000 votes as we get up to 58 percent. So the lead right, now the momentum, the count right now it's moving Biden's way.
So the challenge for Sanders is, can you get that back?
Can you get that back, because we see the smaller counties, most of them filling in Biden blue, can he get it back?
Can he match numbers like this in Webb County with a big healthy lead with Biden in third place here, can he match those kind of numbers as he moves across here?
The question is can you match the margins but also do you have that many people?
I went through those counties where Biden was winning and you say small votes don't count, a lot of these are like those, they're pretty small when you get through them. A tiny percent, Bloomberg having one county here. And let's pop back out and, see 5,023 votes and 58 percent, not that long ago, Sanders 'lead was in the 30,000s, even before that it was closer to 40,000.
KING: As they keep counting in Texas in a night full of surprises this is the biggest one of all. Still to come in. California
BLITZER: The biggest story of, tonight if Biden were to upset Sanders in Texas, that would be huge, as it goes right now, it's very close, so they would divide the delegates up roughly evenly.
KING: I want to come out to show, this, look around the room where you are and right now wherever you are watching, did anybody think three days ago that we were going to have a map with that much Biden blue?
Anybody say that 24 hours ago?
We're not done here but nobody, I don't know many people who have said Biden is going to win Maine, he hasn't yet, Biden's going to win Massachusetts, Virginia, North Carolina and Tennessee and Alabama and Arkansas and Oklahoma and Minnesota and he's 5,243 votes ahead of Bernie Sanders with 58 percent of the count in Texas.
If it ends either way, an even split for Biden in Texas is a win.
BLITZER: Let's go to Jake and Dana.
This is a huge upset for Joe Biden. A lot of people looking at the polls coming in, I did not expect an upset win for Joe Biden, even if he comes in second now, it is close.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Of course, and the way they allocate delegates proportionally, it's not just according to the proportion by which you win the state, it's also according to what congressional districts you win.
So the more land that you cover the better. So this looks like it will be a very successful end for Joe Biden in Texas, even if Bernie Sanders ends up winning. It's a big upset.
We have to think, Dana, what is the reason?
What has happened in the last week?
A week ago nobody anticipated this. Obviously, you go back to Jim Clyburn endorsing Joe Biden and that huge rout in South Carolina. But one of the reasons you are seeing this consolidation and so many people voting for Joe Biden, including a lot of white people in states that four years ago Bernie Sanders won, like Minnesota and Oklahoma, one of, the reasons you see that is fear.
Fear among Democrats that they're going to nominate Bernie Sanders. Obviously, Bernie Sanders supporters think that their guy, their candidate has a much better chance of not only delivering the kind of change that they want but defeating Donald Trump.
But a lot of Democrats do not feel that way in the states that Biden is winning.
So what is exactly setting in that is causing this?
Other than the fact that Biden is now the alternative, the non-Sanders alternative?
I think Bloomberg collapsing as a candidate once he emerged from the TV ads and actually became a real person.
And also there was that interview that Anderson Cooper did with Bernie Sanders on "60 Minutes," a couple of Sundays ago in which Bernie Sanders was asked about comments he made praising Fidel Castro and Cuba, although he criticized Castro too, he did talk about education and health care in Cuba.
And I think there were a lot of people in the Democratic establishment and it looks as though among Democratic voters that were concerned by those comments.
DANA BASH, CNN SR. U.S. CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I'm hearing the same thing. That was a big problem for Bernie Sanders but, more importantly, it was the positive for Joe Biden.
Remember, when Joe Biden had this extraordinary day yesterday, two of his competitors had dropped out, they both went to endorse him.
Where did they go?
Texas. Biden was in Texas when that happened. And it wasn't just his recent competitors, Amy Klobuchar and Pete Buttigieg; it was a guy who was in the race at the very beginning, who is still very popular in his home state, Beto O'Rourke.
TAPPER: Who almost beat Ted Cruz for the Senate race.
(CROSSTALK) BASH: He's incredibly popular among Democrats there and that is no small thing. So all of that happened; it converged almost simultaneously in the state of Texas.
But I can tell you, just texting with people in the Biden camp, they are as surprised as anybody else. They were really hoping to get the vote up in the major population centers of Dallas and Houston, hoping that would put them in the game for a big delegate win, at least pulling in a lot of delegates in Texas but not actually winning.
And the flip side is going on in the Sanders campaign. I was talking to a senior adviser earlier today, who was saying how critically important a win in Texas is. We don't know what is going to happen if he is actually going to get a victory or not.
But like John said, it's almost irrelevant at this point because Joe Biden is doing so well and the delegate numbers will look good for him.
TAPPER: In the days going forward there will be more time to talk about Joe Biden and the fact that he remains a fairly fragile establishment candidate when it comes to his strengths and weaknesses. But he's having one hell of a night tonight.
BLITZER: An amazing night. Let's walk over to David Chalian.
You're looking at the exit polls. You're getting a sense of why Biden is doing so well in Texas.
DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: And why it's so close. Take a look at the Hispanic vote in Texas today, it makes up about 31 percent of the electorate, this is a Sanders strength. He gets 45 percent of Hispanic voters in this Texas Democratic primary compare, to Joe Biden, 21 points behind him at 24 percent.
That is a good category and 31 percent of the electorate. But look at black voters in Texas, it's a smaller share of the pie, 21 percent of the electorate. But Biden has such a bigger victory margin here, 60 percent of black voters today in the Texas Democratic Party go with Biden, 17 percent for Sanders, 15 percent for Bloomberg.
That 43 -point gap, even with a smaller slice of the pie, matters. Take a look at age. It also is very telling: 65 and older, senior citizens, this is a key Biden group. They make up a quarter of the electorate, he is winning them 46 percent to Bloomberg's 22 percent, Sanders is down at 16 percent.
The flip is true of young voters but it's a much smaller slice of the pie. They make up 16 percent of the electorate. And look at this. Sanders wins them, 65 to Biden's 11; again, a weakness for Biden with young voters.
But they are not turning out in greater numbers. The revolution among younger voters that Sanders is counting on isn't showing up yet. BLITZER: Thank you very much.
John, take a look at this in Texas, 23,995 votes, Joe Biden with 30.1 percent, Bernie Sanders 28.3 percent.
KING: That is a flip within a matter of an hour, of a Sanders lead of that size, now a Biden lead of that size. The Sanders lead was bigger. As more votes coming in, you see more of the Biden blue filling in the map in Texas and we are still only 59 percent but the last couple of big dumps have gone for Joe Biden. We have a ways to go.
You see down here places around them Sanders is, winning still waiting for a vote, so we have places to go. But you go through this and we start with where the people are, so Harris County. We're still at 81 percent, this is a place where Joe Biden is leading by a decent margin. Still votes out. The highest population center of the state so there is reason to believe Joe Biden could still grow, assuming the trend line continues in this part of the state.
You come all around to two, I keep focusing on Harris County, this is the fastest growing area so I want to touch on some of these areas, are nowhere as big but this is an expanding part. And you get to the smaller places. But by percentages Biden lead is even bigger. You come back here again. Tinier location but bigger lead.
So in the Houston area defined broadly, Biden is running it up and that is the largest area, the fastest growing area of the state. Incredibly diverse when it comes to the population, the economy, the growth of the city, Biden winning there.
And going to be very happy not just for Senator Klobuchar and Mayor Buttigieg but Beto O'Rourke last-minute up in Texas has to be a factor in this. We'll call it that way.
Come up to Dallas here, 9 percent, second largest population area of the state, 10,000 vote margin here for Joe Biden, 99 percent here so a little more to come in. And if you're in the Sanders campaign in your thinking if we can get this back, you are relieved to see that, knowing that in a place where Biden is winning by a healthy margin, most of the votes are in there.
So you come out and look at across, I'm going to say it a lot you see all this blue, these places are pretty tiny. But when you start adding them up and you tick through them, Biden is winning so many of them as you come across.
So if you go back in time, just to show you, this is 2020, this is tonight. 23,000 just 74,000 votes for Joe Biden at 60 percent, you go back in time to 2016, when Hillary Clinton won by a larger margin, but you see all the smaller counties, Clinton blue, it matters when you are stretching the lead or building a lead, you have to win the population centers, as she did.
She won in Houston and Dallas and Corpus Christi, which Biden is doing. She also won in San Antonio and El Paso, what Sanders is doing tonight including Lubbock. But all the small counties do add up in a close race.
So we come back to it, we are still where we were, so you see the one difference this time is Sanders is winning in San Antonio by a decent margin. We will see if there's more votes to come there. He is also winning in the Austin area.
KING: Austin and the circle around it, the liberal part of the state, college town, government institutions, the liberal base of Texas, if you will. But this is a wow, Joe Biden now up by 24,000 votes, if you round it a little bit, with 30 percent of the vote as we keep counting in Texas, a state that we began the night almost assuming was in the Sanders column, we were debating what would the margin be.
Right now, we are debating who will the winner be.
BLITZER: Very exciting contest right now, Texas the biggest prize tonight. We're watching California very closely as well. Much more of our special coverage right after this.
ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Hello everyone, I'm Rosemary Church with your CNN news now.
The coronavirus could be more deadly than originally thought. The World Health Organization says the global mortality rate has risen to about 3.4 percent. That means it is 34 times deadlier than seasonal flu.
But the WHO is stressing the coronavirus outbreak can be contained. There are now more than 92,000 cases worldwide and 3,200 people have died.
China is still seeing a fall in new cases while hundreds of new infections were reported across South Korea Tuesday, bringing that country's total to more than 5,000 cases, the most outside of Mainland China.
CNN's Steven Jiang is live in Beijing with more on the outbreak in China.
What are you able to tell us?
STEVEN JIANG, CNN SENIOR PRODUCER, BEIJING BUREAU: The number of newly reported cases outside of Hubei continues to drop to single digits. That's what we have seen Tuesday.
This is in sharp contrast to what is going on outside of China. That's why the authorities here are increasingly concerned about imported cases instead of exported ones. The government has reported in total 75 confirmed cases now involving people returning from overseas, especially from Italy and Iran.
That's why you have seen nationwide officials are strengthening and tightening their screening and quarantine rules targeting international arrivals. At the same time, we are seeing growing signs of life returning to normal, including traffic jams returning to cities like Beijing.
The government has been encouraging businesses to reopen across the nation. We have seen some encouraging numbers as well. In Shanghai, over 95 percent of large factories have resumed operations. The challenge is to have smaller businesses and factories reopened as well.
To that end, local governments have been offering incentives, higher wages and bonuses like chartering flights to bring migrant workers back to their work locations.
CHURCH: Steven, many thanks to you for bringing us up to date on the situation there. We appreciate it.
CHURCH: That's all for now. I'm Rosemary Church. We go back to our special Super Tuesday election coverage.
BLITZER: The two biggest prizes of the night, let's take a look at Texas first. The second biggest prize, 228 delegates. Almost 60 percent of the vote is now in. Joe Biden is winning, with 30.2 percent. Bernie Sanders in second place, 28.3 percent.
Biden is ahead by almost 25,000 votes right now, Bloomberg at 16.8 percent. Let's look at California. Bernie Sanders is ahead. He has a comfortable lead right now with a quarter of the vote in. Bernie Sanders at 28.6 percent. Michael Bloomberg is second place right now at 18.8 percent. Biden in third place, 17.3 percent.
Bernie Sanders is ahead by 140,000 votes over Michael Bloomberg in California right now.
Jake, this is a significant moment for both of these candidates.
TAPPER: Joining me now from Philadelphia is Kate Bedingfield, a deputy campaign manager for Vice President Joe Biden.
Kate, congratulations on a night I don't think many of us expected the vice president would have.
Did you expect that the vice president would have this kind of night?
KATE BEDINGFIELD, BIDEN CAMPAIGN DEPUTY MANAGER: I think this is one of the greatest comebacks, one of the greatest political comebacks in modern American political history.
But you saw tonight an overwhelming response to Joe Biden's message. You saw people saying, we want results. We don't want revolution.
And you saw Joe Biden was the enthusiasm candidate. We had turnout in places like Virginia and North Carolina, that was higher than it was in 2016. People were coming out in droves to vote for Joe Biden because they know him. They know his heart.
They have a sense of the empathy and dignity he will restore dignity to the White House and they believe in his vision for the country.
He won African American voters tonight. He did incredibly well in the suburbs, which are the voters that made Nancy Pelosi the Speaker of the House in 2018. Tonight, he showed he is the only candidate in this race who can put together the Obama-Biden coalition.
TAPPER: Except you might have trouble with the younger voters that Senator Sanders appears to be winning overwhelmingly in certain parts of the country and Latino voters as well in California. There will need to be outreach, assuming that you get that far, to those voters. Hillary Clinton had trouble winning all of these Sanders voters over to her side in 2016.
How can you achieve that?
BEDINGFIELD: For Joe Biden, this race is about bringing people together, uniting people. He got into this campaign on a message of uniting the country, which a lot of pundits said at the time was not the right message for the moment and not what people wanted to hear.
But they do. They're looking for somebody to bring the country together. He will work hard to win the vote of every person who believes that Donald Trump should not be president.
I think we saw, in South Carolina, Joe Biden won younger voters. I think people all across the spectrum, across the electorate, are responding to his message. We saw an overwhelming win for him tonight in every corner of the country.
And he showed that he is the candidate in this race. There has been talk about enthusiasm and turnout and he has showed he's the candidate who can turn out the coalition that we need to beat Donald Trump, because people are excited about what Joe Biden is offering.
TAPPER: The vice president carried five states tonight that he never held an official campaign event in. Massachusetts, Tennessee, Oklahoma, Minnesota, Arkansas.
How did he achieve that?
How did that happen?
Is it because the coalescing around him by Mayor Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar?
The resounding endorsements from people like McAuliffe, Bobby Scott and others?
How did that happen?
BEDINGFIELD: This is the power of Joe Biden. People know him. They love him. They believe that he understands their lives. They believe he has a sense of what they are going through, what their struggles are and he has the plans and ideas and the vision to make those problems better and an ability to get things done.
Of, course the endorsements were incredibly important, because those are people like Senator Klobuchar, like Beto O'Rourke, like Pete Buttigieg and so many, others, too many to name in this interview, who came forward and said we know Joe Biden and believe he will be the best President of the United States.
At the end of the day, I think this is people responding to the kind of person Joe Biden is and then saying he is the guy we want to take on Donald Trump.
TAPPER: A Sanders surrogate, one of the few candidates who dropped out of the race and endorsed him, Marianne Williamson, tweeted earlier tonight,
"Jake Tapper, refer to the resurrection of Joe Biden's campaign. This was not a resurrection. It was a coup. Russiagate was not a coup. Mueller was not a coup. Impeachment was not a coup. What happened yesterday was a coup and we will push it back."
What is your response to a Sanders surrogate saying that this consolidation, coalescing, whatever you want to call, it is a coup?
BEDINGFIELD: I am not sure the overwhelming support of hundreds of thousands of American voters all across the country, I am not sure where that is a coup. That is people rising up to say they believe in Joe Biden's vision.
They are excited about what he is putting forward. They want someone in the Oval Office who is going to restore a sense of dignity to the office, who will once again lead and have America lead on the world stage in a way that we can be proud of. I think what we saw was voters saying, this is a vision for the country that I believe in.
BEDINGFIELD: This is the person I want to see take on Donald Trump and restore a sense of dignity to the White House.
TAPPER: Deputy campaign manager for the Biden campaign, congratulations again on a nights that I think it's fair to say even you didn't see coming. Thanks so much.
Wolf, back to you.
BLITZER: We have a key race alert in Texas right now, Joe Biden is expanding his lead over Bernie Sanders with 60 percent of the vote now in. Joe Biden has 30.4 percent. Bernie Sanders, 28.2 percent. Texas, the second biggest prize of the night. Biden is ahead by 28,655 votes. That's a major development. In California, Bernie Sanders maintains his lead. He has an impressive
lead over Michael Bloomberg in second place, 28.6 percent for Bernie Sanders, Bloomberg, 18.8 percent. Biden, 17.3 percent. California is the biggest prize of the night.
Let's take a look at Maine. It is still a battle with 89 percent of the vote in. Joe Biden is leading, 33.8 percent to Bernie Sanders with 32.3 percent. Very close in Maine. Biden is ahead by 2,660 votes in Maine.
Those are the states that remain outstanding. Let's take a look at Texas right now, 60 percent of the vote is in. Almost 30,000 vote lead for Joe Biden.
KING: The last hour has been stunning as the vote count and percentage has increased in Texas, we have seen a shift from a Bernie Sanders lead that was bigger than that an hour ago to now Joe Biden is at 30.4 percent. We still have some counting to do.
But this is stunning. You don't need to do the math in the sense that there is a lot more Biden blue than Sanders blue. You see a fair bit of Mayor Bloomberg as well sprinkled in there.
First, how is Joe Biden ahead by 28,000 votes in a state that Senator Sanders was expected to win?
You start where the people are, Harris County, 81 percent in and still more votes coming in here. Still more votes coming. And Biden is ahead, no guarantee the trends continue. But if the trends continue and more votes come in, the expectation is Biden could pad here.
Houston and the suburbs around it are the most dramatically changing area of Texas, voting for Joe Biden. Just beforehand, he was a late entry into Texas. That's where he did the big endorsements, Klobuchar, Buttigieg, O'Rourke.
Filling in the map, here you come up to Dallas, Dallas County, the number two population center in the state, Joe Biden winning it, not overwhelmingly but 10,000 votes. At 99 percent here, essentially done. It doesn't look like there is any room for growth.
A lot of the smaller counties in a blowout race, you don't even look at them. But in a race that is close, you have 40 votes there, 30 plus votes there, 40 votes, there 45 votes there, that is what you are seeing. If you go through the small counties were Biden is winning.
Now Senator Sanders, now it is 30,000 votes. As we get up to 61 percent. The count was static for a long time. As it has moved, it has moved towards Biden. You are a little stunned right now, figuring out if you can make this up if you are a Sanders supporter.
Travis County you see 72 percent. And Sanders is winning by a healthy margin here. Joe Biden is down here. If this stays up, Sanders could add some votes here. I want to poke up above here to Williamson County. Sanders is winning there. There are places on the map and some unfilled areas in here where
Sanders, by extension, could do well. There are areas on the map where you could say, there are places for Sanders to make up some votes, including here in El Paso. At the moment Biden is running third to Sanders with only 31 percent in. There is more counting to do.
Let's check up and 100 percent here, Sanders won here but just barely. Those votes are counted. You look at the map and see some smaller counties still to come, some decent population centers where Sanders has a prayer.
But if you look at this map, they are now up to 61 percent and the trend line is going towards Biden. We will keep counting but this is the shock of a very big, surprising night. Of a night full of surprises, this is the biggest one.
BLITZER: We are going to take a quick break. Much more of our special coverage coming up right after this.
COOPER: And what a night it has been. Fascinating, and it continues. Texas, California still unresolved. You see there on the left-hand side of your screen. Texas, Joe Biden in the lead right now by some 31,000 votes. California, Bernie Sanders in the lead with about -- let's take a look at that, because I can't actually see it without seeing it. There it is, 144,000 votes. Michael Bloomberg in second place, Joe Biden then in third were.
Back now with our team. Terry McAuliffe, is this the night you anticipated?
TERRY MCAULIFFE, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, you know, I'm always the eternal optimist, but this is even pushing me to a new level. I mean, we can come out and look at those numbers in Maine. We can also pick up Maine, but we won Massachusetts, Minnesota. It just showed a huge, broad coalition.
COOPER: Did you expect Biden to be in the lead in Texas, in any realm?
MCAULIFFE: No. This is astounding. We did not have a penny on television, not a penny. I just can't emphasize, no money anywhere. A lot of places, no -- this goes back to Joe Biden. It does show enthusiasm. We're up 400,000. Turnout was up in Virginia over, you know, four years ago.
And now we finish up tonight. I think, potentially, Biden could actually be in the delegate lead. When we started this process a couple days ago, oh, can we limit it to 200 or 250 --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's crazy.
MCAULIFFE: -- delegates was the thought process. We could probably lead. And then March 17, St. Patty's Day, the holiest of holy days in America, we are going to have Florida and Ohio and Illinois and Arizona. And let's be honest, Anderson, we're going to have to go to Dublin for a quick Guinness.
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: So Terry -- Terry, let me ask you this.
MCAULIFFE: Before the night's over, but this is exciting. I am really fired up.
BORGER: Terry, let me ask you this.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Really?
BORGER: Not to take -- not to take anything away from Joe Biden and the success he's had tonight, but the question is, is this so much about people suddenly discovering Joe Biden and saying, God he's better than I ever thought he was? Or is this really voters facing the prospect of a Bernie Sanders nomination and pulling back and saying, You know what? I don't think we can beat Donald Trump with that, because as we see in the exit polls, that's really what voters care about.
MCAULIFFE: That's what they care about. The other day, how do we beat Trump, and they were worried that Bernie could not beat Trump. And they were worried with that would mean for the Senate candidates --
MCAULIFFE: -- and those 44 House candidates. I mean, Cal Cunningham won tonight down in North Carolina. He will be our Senate nominee. That's the best thing that could have happened to take on Thom Tillis. We won a Maine legislative seat. That's good, against Susan -- so tonight also showed a lot of enthusiasm.
BORGER: But he has to get them -- he's got to keep them enthusiastic. That's the point.
DR. ABDUL EL-SAYED, SANDERS SUPPORTER: Here's the challenge. To step back for a second, right, you saw a consolidation on the moderate centrist side of the party. This is a logical response to that. And it's some good momentum for Joe Biden, and I do think that there are some good opportunities for the Sanders campaign to retool and make sure that their message is connecting, particularly to older African- American voters, which I know is a really important -- really, really important linchpin to try to win any Democratic nomination.
But we can't forget that there -- this has been some consolidation which has led to this. We've got a long campaign. And this doesn't necessarily mean that Joe Biden has found a message. It doesn't necessarily mean that Joe Biden has the capacity to win over those young voters he's going to need to win in November. And I do think that there are going to be a number of momentum shifts as we go through this race, and it's going to be a long one.
So I think a lot to learn tonight, but let's not overtell the story.
DAVID AXELROD, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: But in the short term, in the next 11 races that Bernie Sanders faces in the next two weeks, he lost eight of those states in 2016, so it's not going to get easier for him.
EL-SAYED: I agree. But the other part of that is that we did not expect Biden to have this kind of a night, right? Momentum changes.
BORGER: He did.
EL-SAYED: It moves in races like this. And so, you know, just going back a week ago, we were telling a very different story about what we expected right now. And I do think that those top three are going to move.
AXELROD: I do want to say one other thing, and Van, I know you want to get in. Biden had a spectacular night tonight.
VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes.
AXELROD: And his spokesperson said people were embracing Joe Biden, the person. I think they were, actually, embracing Joe Biden, the person. That's different than Joe Biden's message. And, you know, I thought his message was pitch-perfect on Saturday. Tonight, he gave a list of stuff that he was going to do.
But there is a sense of idealism among these young Bernie Sanders supporters. And the thing that Joe Biden can't do is look like he's crushing their aspirations, or doesn't have some sense of appreciation for what they are fighting for on climate change. It's not enough to say we're going to get back into the Paris Accord. The planet is at risk, and that's the way they feel --
JONES: That's what I want --
AXELROD: And they want a sense of urgency, and they need to hear that from him and not just a list of ideas.
JONES: That's really what I want to speak to, as well, because you know, we have two problems, just clinically. There were people who just didn't just show up for Hillary Clinton 2016, and that's why she lost. Some of them went from Obama to Trump. Biden might be the answer to that. He might be able to get those back.
But those younger voters, and some of those younger people of color, went from Obama to the couch, or they went from Obama to Stein. And I don't see Biden yet having an answer for that part of our turnout problem.
And so when you see people who are enthusiastic about Bernie, who are very afraid now that this thing has been derailed, the Bernie movement has been derailed --
BORGER: Yes. JONES: -- these are not people who don't care about the election. These are people that are saying there's a big part of the winning strategy that we don't see yet Biden having the answer for.
And please, he had an unbelievable night. They're going to study this night for 200 years.
JONES: But there are still unanswered questions and red flags for him.
AXELROD: And a lot of primaries left, so we shouldn't just assume, even though Terry would have us, we shouldn't assume that this thing is somehow over, because there's a lot to be concerned about.
MCAULIFFE: But remember, we've got to go -- we've got -- Let's never forget, we have to go against Donald Trump in the fall. That's not going to be easy. He's going to have a $2 billion war chest.
JONES: At least.
MCAULIFFE: He's got a lot of data analytic. I mean, he is going to put together a very aggressive campaign. The key is going to be the different campaigns have to unify. Now, that's going to be tough for the next couple weeks. You know, these have not been overly tough primaries. I mean, I've seen tough presidential primaries. This hasn't been one.
But the key for us is to come together and then to motivate. And that's what a general election, after it's over, for us to come together.
JESS MCINTOSH, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think it hasn't been tough on the candidate-to-candidate level. It has been tough on the supporter-to-supporter level.
MCINTOSH: And that is something that the candidates really need to get as much of a handle as they possibly can on. That includes senior staff. That includes surrogates. The time for yelling at each other for supporting somebody different is over. Everybody wants to beat Trump.
AXELROD: Good luck with that. It's not over yet. Good luck with that.
MCINTOSH: We don't have that much time. I think from Joe Biden, what I want is -- what I want to hear is an understanding that not everything was perfect under Obama and that young people especially feel like there is -- there is very little hope for an economic future, for security of the planet, for health care security. He has not been great at admitting that things did not go exactly as he wanted, or exactly as we would have wanted. And I'm hoping that he'll listen to the advice of my friend and colleague here and -- and be able to show a little bit -- a little bit of flexibility.
ANDREW YANG, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Framing this as a need for Joe to devolve and become more inclusive to get some of the young Bernie supporters, and we're framing it this way in part, because we don't think Bernie has necessarily demonstrated, like, a change in tone or a change in message. Because Bernie has been very, very consistent, which is both his strength but also right now, potentially, a limitation.
And if you look at the calendar ahead, it seems to me like the greatest catalyst -- not to hype it up too much, because it's on CNN, but the greatest opportunity for there to be another change of direction in this campaign is the debate on the 15th.
YANG: Six states do vote next week, but really, the 15th debate right before the next set of states on the 17th strikes me as the next big opportunity for Bernie, in this case, to seize a different type of narrative. And the question is whether Bernie can evolve.
AXELROD: We saw him -- we saw him tonight, and he did not indicate a change of strategy.
BORGER: Not at all.
AXELROD: He went after Biden on trade.
AXELROD: He went after Biden on the bankruptcy bill. He went after Biden on Iraq, and he went after Biden on taking money from billionaires.
And I would, if I had a billion dollars, I would bet on him doing it again in the debate.
BORGER: Same thing.
AXELROD: Because one thing about Bernie Sanders is everybody strengthens their weakness. He's incredibly consistent, but he's also very predictable.
COOPER: But also, I mean, as everybody who has a parent knows, you -- we're talking about three candidates, I mean, including President Trump, in their seventies. How many know, like, 70-year-old white males who --
COOPER: -- have really changed a lot in their seventies?
BORGER: I don't know many white males who change a lot, period. But -- NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: I think we saw that, you know, most devastatingly, in some ways, for Sanders with the Castro thing, hanging onto Castro.
HENDERSON: Essentially sort of praising him, criticizing him, but also saying, oh, well, he told folks to read or whatever. So that was a real mistake.
I also think it hurt their campaign a bit, too, when they were still stepping around his health records. You know, that was a -- that was a story that wasn't helpful to his campaign.
So we'll see if he can change. I mean, his supporters love him so much because he doesn't change. And so -- and he's an older guy, as you say.
JONES: You saw -- you saw saw in those features tonight the difference that a week makes. It sounded like Joe Biden was running against Trump, and it sounded like Bernie was running against Joe.
In other words, Joe turned in a very, I think, positive way to the bigger challenges. And what you saw Bernie, he locked down, he took a blowtorch to Biden.
Now, the case he wants to prosecute is an honest case. There is disappointment in this party with that wing, with the things that the Clintons and the Bidens and those guys did back in the Nineties. But if the only thing you're going to do is say Joe Biden sucks, I don't know how that grows your movement. I don't think that it's enough to even get the young people.
The logic of this -- of his revolution has been young people are going to come out in big numbers. We have not yet seen it. The Latinos are going to stay with him. They did, but not in the numbers that he needed, and it was, in some ways, offset in terms of why vote.
BORGER: And if you look at these numbers tonight and these -- a bunch of these exit polls, Joe Biden has high favorables.
BORGER: So if you're going to be Bernie Sanders, and you're going to attack empathetic Joe, which is what he is and which is what Beto O'Rourke talked about, and anybody who's endorsed him has talked about --
JONES: How's that going to work?
BORGER: -- his nature, how does that work, if you're attacking this nice guy?
EL-SAYED: So we all agree that we need a candidate who can embrace the best argument for the future we want to live in. And I think at best, that argument is one that speaks to the real challenges and real pain that people face in their lives, and at the same time, articulates a set of solutions and a feeling and an idea of the kind of future we want to build.
And I think that there's an opportunity for both candidates to really think about what that message ought to be. And I do think that that opportunity will show itself, because we're going to see folks drop out. And I think without that much noise, you're starting to see a real contrast, an opportunity to take that future, rather than just hit at the past.
COOPER: We are continuing to watch Joe Biden's surprising lead in delegate-rich Texas, along with the results from the other big prize, California, where Bernie Sanders has a big early advantage. More Super Tuesday coverage right after this.
BLITZER: All right. Got a key race alert. Take a look at this.
In Texas right now, with 66 percent of the vote now in, 228 delegates at stake, Joe Biden, he's in the lead with 30.7 percent. Bernie Sanders in second place, 28.9 percent. Biden is ahead by nearly 27,000 votes in Texas. Who would have thought. Very, very impressive moment for Joe Biden right there.
In California very impressive for Bernie Sanders right there. Right now, 28 percent of the vote is in. The largest prize, 415 delegates at stake. Bernie Sanders had 28.4 percent. Bloomberg in second place, 18.6 percent. Biden right behind, 18 percent. Bernie Sanders is ahead by nearly 150,000 votes right now in California.
Let's go over to John King, who's looking at all of this unfold. By all accounts, a very impressive night for Joe Biden. But in California -- do want to go to California first or Texas? California first.
JOHN KING, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You're the boss.
California, after a very disappointing night for Joe Biden at the moment, California, you just noticed all that Sanders blue. Not even to look at the numbers just yet. At the moment, 28 percent reporting, California is shaping up, after several disappointments in the way Senator Sanders would like it.
Now, you bring up delegates proportionately. So he's at 28 percent. He'd like a higher number than that statewide, of course.
And then we'll go through it, and I'll let David Chalian does this map throughout the night with the help of his team, how the delegates get apportioned.
But at the moment, after watching all the Biden blue in these other states tonight, the Sanders campaign is very happy to see this fill in.
But again, we're at 28 percent. We're waiting to see, too -- we're at 19 percent in Los Angeles County. This is the largest county in the state. We're told we should get a pretty sizeable input of some of the early vote pretty soon from L.A. County. That will tell us a lot, too. A lot of Californians have already voted. We should remember that, and we'll watch when that comes in. So watch the 19 percent there for the county. Watch as we look statewide at 28 percent to see what happens.
But in L.A. County, the largest area, Senator Sanders winning by quite a healthy margin. Joe Biden running third to Mayor Bloomberg there. So that's a good pad there. But for L.A. County, that's a modest number. We still have a long way to go.
So then you come out from there. You pop down to San Diego County, the second largest of the counties here. And again, Senator Sanders here with a pretty healthy lead at 38 percent reporting.
So California is coming in a way that's going to cause some comfort. And we'll see when the more votes come in just move on up and keep coming up. Up to Sacramento. Senator Sanders, again, everywhere we're going, we're seeing somewhat similar. Pretty big lead. Joe Biden and Michael Bloomberg fighting for second and third there.
Let's move over. Much smaller county here where Biden has the lead here. And this here, Napa County in the wine country area, Napa and Lake County is places where Bloomberg is leading.
But when you pull it back out and take a look at it, let's come down here to the coast. Marin County, just north of San Francisco, you see Mayor Bloomberg, only 6 percent. But Mayor Bloomberg had the lead there, as well.
Let's just look in on San Francisco and take a look at that. San Francisco here. Bernie Sanders running up in a liberal stronghold in California. Bernie Sanders running up a pretty healthy lead there early on.
Again, it gets complicated later on. You have to look at the 15 percent viability statewide. Then you go through the congressional districts.
But if you just see all this much blue right now, you know, Senator Sanders, at least off after what has been a struggle for him throughout the night, at 28 percent, off to a good start in California with a lot of important counties still to come.
He likes that because he doesn't like that, that Texas is Biden blue as two-thirds of the votes no, at 66 percent, is the biggest surprise of a big night for the Biden campaign. Twenty-eight thousand votes plus some change there. Thirty-one percent, if you round up. Whoops. Sorry about that. Touch sensitive when you come across.
Thirty-one percent there to 30 -- 29 percent there. Bloomberg running a distant third. Again, just as we looked in California, you see all that blue, you
almost don't have to do the math, right? The darker blue is the Biden blue. And you run across -- just want to go through it -- a 28,000- vote lead at 66 percent. Precincts in Houston, the Houston area, Harris County -- it's a pretty big county, a big sprawling county. Houston and the suburbs, a 100-plus precincts we're still waiting for reports from. Voting was extended because of lines there and some other issues there. So we're waiting for that.
And you come up here, as well. I'm also told, Wolf, I want to show you this. I don't want -- Just ignore this number for a minute. We're told there's been a glitch in Dallas County in how things are being fed. And Joe Biden has a pretty healthy lead here, and there are more votes still out here.
So if you're looking, there are places for Senator Sanders to pick up votes clearly. Come down to San Antonio, for example. It's possible he could pick up some votes in places where he is winning. But both in Harris County and Dallas County, we're told there are still votes to be counted. Joe Biden is leading in both of those. Those are the two biggest population centers. He has a 28,000-vote at the moment. Texas is a wow.
BLITZER: Yes, it's a very impressive. Let's go over to Jake and Dana.
Well, so far, on this night, eight states we've projected going to Joe Biden. Three state going to Bernie Sanders. This has been a very positive night for the former vice president.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: Absolutely, and it's a night that I don't think many of us saw coming, especially when it comes to how close the race is in Texas and how Joe Biden might actually win Texas at the end of the night.
I think -- you know, one of the things that's great about covering politics is, you know, the pollsters get their say. They predict what they think is going to happen. The pundits get to predict how they think voters are going to do. The politicians give their spin.
And then ultimately, it's left up to the voters. And the voters, for all sorts of complicated and not-so-complicated reasons -- fear, anger, desire to win in November -- get to make their decisions.
And Joe Biden is having a night that one week ago nobody would have projected, not Jill Biden, not Valerie Owens -- Valerie Biden Owns. No one. And it's really quite remarkable.
Now, by the end of the night, it's possible, once all the votes are counted, that Bernie Sanders may ultimately have more delegates. But it is a real race now.
DANA BASH, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: You know, about a week ago there was a lot of talk about consolidating the moderate lane and at that point there was a talk about Michael Bloomberg --
TAPPER: Yes. [00:55:07]
BASH: -- in a lot of corners. And tonight, it just organically happened that the consolidation is around Joe Biden in a way that is blowing people's minds. And, as you said, including and especially the Biden campaign.
And I don't think it's overstating it to say that this is probably one of the most historic comebacks that I've ever covered in my time in politics. I mean, we've covered a lot of campaigns. Never seen anything like this. It's not over. It's not over. It doesn't mean he's going to get the nomination. It doesn't mean he's going to have a delegate lead, but tonight the comeback, between South Carolina and tonight, is historic.
TAPPER: I would say the only thing I would add to that is McCain in '08 had a Lazarus-like rise. But that was over the course of months.
BLITZER: All right.
TAPPER: This is over the course of days.
BLITZER: We're going to continue to watch these two states, Texas and California. Much more of our special coverage coming up.