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AT THIS HOUR
Warren Drops out of 2020 Democratic Race; Cruise Ship Linked to Coronavirus Death Held Off California Coast; Trump Disputes Data on Virus Death Rate, Citing Own "Hunch". Aired 11-11:30a ET
Aired March 5, 2020 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Symone Sanders, good to have you. We're out of time. Top of the hour.
SYMONE SANDERS, SENIOR ADVISER, JOE BIDEN PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN: Thank you, Poppy.
HARLOW: Thank you.
SANDERS: Thank you.
HARLOW: Thanks to all of you. We'll see all of you back here tomorrow. I'm Poppy Harlow.
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Jim Sciutto.
"AT THIS HOUR" with Kate Bolduan starts right now.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. I'm Kate Bolduan. Thank you so much for joining me.
We have breaking news in the race for the White House. Senator Elizabeth Warren is officially ending her presidential campaign. The announcement coming less than 48 hours after a disappointing performance on Super Tuesday. She did not win a single contest on that big day, including her home state, Massachusetts.
There's lot to get to, what this announcement means, when -- what we're going hear from her.
CNN's M.J. Lee has been following all of this. She has the details on the breaking news. She's in Cambridge, Massachusetts, now.
M.J., give us the latest.
M.J. LEE, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Kate, Senator Elizabeth Warren is ending her 2020 presidential campaign today. She is holding a call with campaign staffers to inform them of her decision. This decision, of course, was widely expected, given how she did not
perform well on Super Tuesday. And we're also told that here in Cambridge, Massachusetts -- we're just standing outside of her house -- she will later today come out with her husband, Bruce, and speak to reporters.
This is reminiscent of what she did some 14 months ago on New Year's Eve of 2018 when she announced that she was forming an exploratory committee to make a run for the White House.
And I just want to put this in sort of broader context the past couple of months. Even as recently as the end of last year, this was a presidential candidate who appeared to have this kind of unstoppable momentum. But as voting got under way, as we now well know, in Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, South Carolina, and then most recently on Super Tuesday, she did not perform well.
And so this decision is coming even though some months ago she was widely talked about as having a real path to the nomination. Of course, this decision today confirms that she, of course, sees now that she doesn't have that path to the nomination. So she is ending her campaign.
And if I could also just quickly put this in sort of the broader context of her political career, remember this is a former Law School professor. She taught right here in Cambridge, at Harvard Law School. She had an expertise in bankruptcy law.
And that is the issue that sort of propelled her and made her into a prominent figure, particularly around the last financial crisis. We know she was involved in the oversight of TARP, the bank bailouts. She went on to create -- help create the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau under President Obama. That all led to her 2012 Senate race, the successful Senate race in Massachusetts.
And if you just rewind to four years ago, you'll remember there was a real campaign to try to draft her to run for president the last time around. She, of course, decided not to do that. And decided four years later, this time around, that this was her time.
And obviously, this is a candidate who recently said I'm a candidate who has never lost in an election I've run in. Today, Kate, she is acknowledging defeat in her presidential campaign that has lasted a little over 14 months -- Kate?
BOLDUAN: And also recently talking about taking fight all the way to the convention. How things change and change quickly in these presidential races.
M.J.'s standing by. She has more details. We'll get back to M.J.
But let's get over to Kyung Lah. She's in Phoenix. She's following the Sanders campaign.
One thing we did know, Kyung, there was a question of, if Elizabeth Warren would drop out, who would she endorse if she would endorse anyone. That remains a question at this moment. Are you hearing anything from the Sanders campaign?
KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Nothing as of yet. We know that what Senator Sanders has talked about is that they have had a phone conversation before all of this news broke. And he would not go beyond saying she needs to take her time. She needs to have the respect and the time in order to come to decision on her own. That is what she is owed and that is the respect she deserves.
But certainly, there's a lot of anxiety in Sanders' world because they want to know what the next step is. Will Elizabeth Warren endorse Bernie Sanders? It would align two progressive candidates.
Sanders is somebody, you were talking about, Kate, how these races can change so quickly, how much has changed. The bringing in Warren's voters would give the Sanders campaign a burst of life that it needs right now.
What we saw in Super Tuesday is that Sanders was able to bring in young voters, Latinos, some of the working voters. But what he hasn't been able to do is sort of capture the people who have unified behind Elizabeth Warren.
Women, suburbanites, they have generally gone, from what we have seen from exit polling, more to Joe Biden. So Bernie Sanders wanting to bring those progressives into his fold. The endorsement would give his campaign a jolt of life, and would allow him to continue to say that he's expanding the tent -- Kate?
Kyung, great to see you. Thank you.
To Arlette Saenz, joining me by the phone from Wilmington, Delaware. She's following the Biden campaign.
Hearing anything from there right now, Arlette?
ARLETTE SAENZ, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT (via telephone): There's no word yet if Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren have spoken since Super Tuesday. Certainly, if Warren does decide to endorse a candidate soon, the Biden campaign would want that.
Especially right now, as you've seen multiple candidates over the course of the past week end their campaigns and back Joe Biden. If Biden and Warren have some disagreements on policies and she tracks more along the progressive versus the moderate line, that would also help Biden to bring in a progressive Senator into his fold as he's trying to make this argument now he's the one who can get the party and Democrats to coalesce around him.
Now, Biden and Warren had some policy differences. They don't agree on the approach to health care and they have also gone toe to toe on bankruptcy and credit cards and financial issues. But Biden also does respect her knowledge and insight. If you
remember, back in 2015, when Joe Biden was thinking about running for president in 2016, he actually met with Elizabeth Warren at the Naval Observatory and the two of them talked about economic policy. And eventually, Biden decided not to run.
But certainly, an endorsement they would want, as it could potentially be a blow to Bernie Sanders if Warren decides to go with Biden.
BOLDUAN: Arlette, thank you so much, on the trail for us.
Over to CNN's political director, David Chalian.
It is remarkable how quickly fortunes can change and do change in a presidential race. There was a time over the summer she was the national front-runner.
DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICS DIRECTOR: Yes. No, no doubt about that. Kate, you also referenced she was just recently saying she was going to stay in the fight, which, you know, is something candidates say up to the moment they decide not to stay in the fight anymore.
CHALIAN: And, yes, fortunes do change. The trajectory of Elizabeth Warren's candidacy, it was astounding. She really built constantly throughout the spring, the summer, the beginning of the fall, before she started to see a decline, both nationally and in the early states.
M.J. referenced, there was a point at which she was seen as perhaps the most likely Democratic nominee or certainly one of the real frontrunners for the Democratic nomination.
And to get to the place where she came in third in her home state, where she underperformed, where she wanted to be in those critical early contests in Iowa and New Hampshire, that she had invested a ton of time and organization in, obviously brought her to this calculus here of -- not being a viable path forward.
Especially when you saw the way that Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders battled it out on Super Tuesday, sweeping the victories for Biden, and the delegate hauls they had. It didn't leave space for Elizabeth Warren.
But I think she will go down in the history of this campaign as one of the most consequential figures in it. First of all, most recently, in just taking down Michael Bloomberg, so effectively, on the debate stage, in Las Vegas, sticking with it on the debate stage in Charleston, South Carolina.
BOLDUAN: And the choice that maybe may have hurt her in the long run, making that choice versus maybe going after Bernie Sanders.
CHALIAN: Yes. It kind of reminded you of when Chris Christie took on Marco Rubio in the Republican race --
CHALIAN: -- four years ago. It doesn't necessarily work to her benefit. But it did have a real impact. There's no doubt.
I think she was very responsible for exposing to voters that maybe Michael Bloomberg was not a viable centrist moderate alternative to Joe Biden for Democratic voters.
And that was -- that -- even up to the end, even when it no longer looked like she may be the nominee, she was still having real impact on this race.
David, stand by.
Let me bring in Jeff Zeleny now.
Jeff, I want to get your thoughts on kind of this moment, what is the next step? What do you think that the Warren campaign has been -- what Elizabeth Warren herself has been considering now, held up in her house? What is next for her in the immediate and the long-term, the immediate being who to endorse and if to endorse at all?
JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Kate, we know one thing she's been doing since Super Tuesday is having at least a conversation with Joe Biden. We know that they have spoken at least one time. We don't know if it is more than that. We don't know the exact contents of that conversation. But that is the choice that is facing Elizabeth Warren right now.
And I've been talking to a lot of friends of hers and confidants of hers. There's a bit of a split in her camp. Some older, longtime friends believe she should endorse Joe Biden and do it early.
And it would have a significant effect on the race potentially as this Super Tuesday heads into mini Super Tuesday next week in Michigan, Missouri, Mississippi, Washington State.
Remember the huge crowds she drew in Washington state? A lot of those people have already voted for her, vote by mail, but she still has considerable support. That's one thing she's weighing here.
Some other advisers, who came on perhaps during this campaign believe, look, she has the energy of the Bernie Sanders to put a move behind her. So that is going to be her choice and her choice along.
I'm thinking back to 2016 when she decided to endorse very late in that campaign. She appeared at a rally in Cincinnati, I believe, and at the end of the primary with Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, and she ended up sort of alienated a bit of both sides there by not jumping in earlier.
So most people around her believe that she will do something sooner rather than later. We will see.
But I think her defining mark on this race is her policy and her plans. But think back to the fall. Bernie Sanders, his heart attack, other things, had he not revived from that, had his campaign not recovered from that, she would be likely in a very different spot here.
Her campaign was not one big implosion. It was a series of declines here.
But David is right. Her biggest mark on the race, the Bloomberg thing. For that, Joe Biden owes her a thank you note -- Kate?
Let's quickly get back over to M.J. with new reporting coming in.
M.J., what do you have?
LEE: We can confirm this call she was going to hold with campaign staffers, that is now ongoing. We're getting some details from the person on the call right now about what she is telling her campaign staffers. She, of course, at the top of the call announced the news that she is suspending her presidential campaign.
And then I just want to share something else that she told her staffers. She said, "I know that when we set out this was not the call you ever wanted to hear. It is not the call I ever wanted to make. But I refuse to let disappointment blind me or you to what we have accomplished."
"We didn't reach our goal, but what we have done together, what you have done has made a lasting difference. It is not the scale of the difference we wanted to make, but it mattered. And the changes will have ripples for years to come."
Obviously, we are sensitive to the fact that this call that she is holding right now with her campaign staffers, that is going to be probably a very difficult one for her, and an emotional moment for many of the campaign staffers who have worked for her and with her for many, many months now.
And she is sort of trying to, I think, if you're reading between the lines and the tone here, trying to let them know that, even though this campaign is coming to an end, she believes that she and her team have accomplished something.
But I think it is just notable that, of course, there are going to be supporters of hers that are very, very loyal and have actually been following her for a long time, maybe even wanted her to run in 2016. And I think there are particularly going to be women supporters who are loyal to her and are going to be very disappointed at this news that she is ending her campaign -- Kate?
BOLDUAN: And in just along that vein, those that followed her, supported her, so strongly, will be looking to see what her next move really is when she decides to announce it.
M.J., thank you so much. Keep bringing us details.
Joe Lockhart, CNN political commentator, is with me now.
I think that's a nice way of putting that to on that is a difficult call. "I refuse it let disappointment blind me to what we have accomplished." I like the sentiment that that brings, too, when you're trying to have a really tough conversation with staff.
JOE LOCKHART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR; Yes. I think she's had a very consequential impact on the race. And the Bloomberg thing is a discreet thing and she did it at the end and that was important.
If you look at all the debates, the debates were dominated by an argument within the party about health care and Medicare For All. And Bernie Sanders has been for Medicare For All for a long time. But it was Elizabeth Warren brought the energy for that and laid bare all the different positions within the party.
And moved the party. I think the party now as, you know, for a Medicare For All, you know, or Medicare For Those Who Want It. That's not where the party was eight years ago. And that is her.
I think she brought an energy to the campaign that a lot of the other candidates didn't have. She finished her rallies in Stanford, two and three hours, doing selfies with everyone in the crowd.
And brought a policy framework that, you know, we haven't seen before. And was a sharp contrast with President Trump.
BOLDUAN: And quite honestly, I think we can say it, Tulsi Gabbard is still in, but she was the final leading female candidate in the Democratic race for president this time. That's worth noting.
LOCKHART: Yes. I think there will be and there should be a conversation about sexism in politics and why she was held to a different standard. It's just a matter of fact that the standard was different.
And I think we just haven't unpacked all of those things. Things that impacted Hillary Clinton in 2016.
LOCKHART: And several of the --
BOLDUAN: She can have a very strong voice --
LOCKHART: And should.
BOLDUAN: -- and should going forward. Really quickly, we're running out of time. But do you see her not
endorsing? Do you see a scenario where she wouldn't?
BOLDUAN: That's -- obviously, both Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders would love to have that endorsement.
LOCKHART: I think she will. I think she wants to have a voice in this race. Either way I look at it is, it is a much longer answer, but Joe Biden would really like her endorsement. Bernie Sanders needs her endorsement.
It is really the only way I can see in the near term that he can broaden that base beyond working class young. He's not getting suburban women. He's not getting any sort support in the African- American community. He needs an injection that widens his coalition. It is a must for him.
For Biden, it would be a nice thing.
BOLDUAN: That's an interesting way of putting it.
Great to see you, Joe. Thank you.
We're going to continue to follow that breaking news. As more news, you can be sure, will be coming in.
And also coming up for us, a cruise ship off the California coast is in limbo right now after a recent passenger died from coronavirus. We're going to be live with an update.
BOLDUAN: New this morning, in the fight against the coronavirus outbreak, states on both coasts are taking new measures to try and slow the outbreak in California. The governor declaring a state of emergency after the first death in that state.
And also, another cruise ship now held in something of a limbo with as many as 3500 passengers and crew on board and, this time, off the coast of California.
In Washington State, where the virus has killed 10 people now, huge companies, like Amazon and Facebook,, are asking all employees in the Seattle area to work from home.
And here in New York, more than a thousand people are being asked to self-quarantine after the number of confirmed cases of the virus has jumped to 13.
So let's get to it. CNN's Dan Simon is standing by in San Francisco.
Dan, what is the latest on this cruise ship? DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Kate. Clearly, some passengers on
board the ship are starting to feel anxious and concerned.
I just got off the phone with a 58-year-old passenger. She says there's a lot of concern about what the immediate future is going to look like. They're nervous about the potential for an extended quarantine, much like what we saw in Japan. Though officials haven't said anything about that.
Kate, this was a 15-day voyage. It left San Francisco on February 21st, went to the Hawaiian islands. It was supposed to come back to San Francisco on Saturday. It came back early, but instead of coming here to the ship terminal, it is now offshore so officials can understand what they're dealing with.
You have about 20 or so passengers and crew members who are exhibiting symptoms. And Governor Gavin Newsom says the Coast Guard is going to airlift some testing kits on board the ship so they can see if people have the coronavirus.
We know at least three people on the previous voyage tested positive for the coronavirus. And about 60 people who were on the previous voyage are now on those cruise ships -- now on this cruise ship, rather. All of those people are confined to the rooms. They can't leave.
So the bottom line is, what is going to happen? Are people infected with the coronavirus? Hopefully, we'll get answers later today -- Kate?
BOLDUAN: It also suggests the need for quick and efficient testing and results when it comes to this virus for information.
Dan, thank you so much.
Still ahead for us, as the coronavirus continues to spread around the world, there's also a spread of misinformation about the outbreak. We're going to separate fact from fiction, next.
BOLDUAN: As state and local authorities are taking steps to try and contain the spread of the coronavirus, and the need for clear information is paramount, the president of the United States is creating more confusion.
In an interview with FOX News last night, in primetime, the president chose to publicly dispute a finding by the World Health Organization on the severity of the virus currently.
The WHO reporting yesterday that, globally, about 3.4 percent of reported coronavirus cases have died.
And here was President Trump's response. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES (voice-over): I think 3.4 percent is really a false number. Now, this is just my hunch. But based on a lot of conversations with a lot of people that do this -- because a lot of people will have this and it is very mild. Personally, I would say the number is way under 1 percent.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOLDUAN: CNN's John Harwood is at the White House, looking at this.
John, it is true that the true death rate, if you will, is not yet known and could be less than 3.4 percent because not enough people have been tested. But this is another instance of the president really freelancing on important facts.
JOHN HARWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Kate, the president has consistently tried to play down the severity of this situation. Part of the way he's done it has been suggesting that the lethality has been exaggerated.
Remember, long before that Hannity interview, he did the same in an exchange with our colleague, Sanjay Gupta, where he was suggesting that the 2 percent estimates that had been initially offered, based on known cases, was too high and that it wasn't -- might not be all that different from the lethality rate from the common flu, which the data that we have shows is much lower.
His acting DHS secretary said the same thing in testimony on Capitol Hill, said they were about the same.
Last night, in response to the higher WHO, World Health Organization, estimate, he said his hunch was that it was much lower.