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INSIDE POLITICS

Biden Pulls Off A Stunning Campaign Comeback; Kamala Harris Endorses Joe Biden For President; Trump And Pence Contradict Each Other On Coronavirus Testing; Elizabeth Warren Drops Out Of 2020 Presidential Race. Aired 8-9a ET

Aired March 8, 2020 - 08:00   ET

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


[08:00:23]

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JOHN KING, CNN HOST (voice-over): A stunning comeback upends the Democratic race.

JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Those who have been knocked down, counted out, left behind, this is your campaign!

SEN. BERNIE SANDRES (I-VT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You cannot beat Trump with the same old, same old kind of politics.

KING: Plus, gone from the campaign, but the big question remains.

SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA): Gender in this race, that is the trap question for every woman.

KING: And the coronavirus crisis tanks the markets and tests the president.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think we're doing a really good job in this country. We've really been very vigilant. We've done a tremendous job at keeping I want down.

KING: INSIDE POLITICS, the biggest stories sourced by the best reporters, now.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

KING: Welcome to INSIDE POLITICS. I'm John King.

To our viewers in the United States and around the world, thank you for sharing your Sunday.

In a moment, a White House staff shake-up in the middle of a growing coronavirus crisis that often finds the president at odds with the experts.

But we begin with the stunning shift in the 2020 Democratic nomination race. A resurgent Joe Biden is now the undisputed front-runner.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BIDEN: What a difference a week makes! And the press and the pundits had declared Biden's campaign is dead! But South Carolina had something to say about that. And today, there's 11 victories behind us and we need both delegates in the national vote. We're going to unite this party and unite this country!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: The week behind us was remarkable and then some. You see the Biden blue on the map. Ten wins for the former vice president. And a shockingly swift consolidation by both Biden campaign rivals and by voters who had been looking elsewhere.

And the week ahead also giant. Let's take a look. Six states vote this week. Let's switch the map and give you a look at those states as we bring them up here. Six states vote this week. Michigan is the largest prize, 365 delegates at stake in all.

The week's biggest prize is Michigan, now also a defining test. Let's go back in time right now. Michigan in 2016 was the place where Bernie Sanders put himself on the map. You look at the win over Hillary Clinton here.

It proved then he had big blue collar appeal. It proved he was a force to be reckoned with. The question now is, if Biden can take the state this time, this week, it would be a punishing blow to a Sanders campaign still reeling from last week's shocks.

And as we come back to 2020 -- I'll leave this up here if you look at the demographics in Michigan, at the moment, you would have to argue that they favor Joe Biden this week. Let's move this up here and see what's happened in the race so far.

So far, Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders essentially splitting the white vote. Joe Biden with a giant advantage among black voters, African- Americans. Senator Sanders with an advantage, not quite as big, but a significant advantage among Latinos. But look at the state of Michigan, it is more white than the national average, about 75 percent of the state is white. So, a big battleground between these two candidates in Michigan.

The African-American population, slightly above the national average in Michigan. That plays to Joe Biden's advantage. Here's the problem for senator Sanders, the Latino population in Michigan quite small, about 5.2 percent, well below the national average.

So, as they fight out in Michigan, senator Sanders hoping that this map holds again now. Fast forwarding to 2020. His argument, Joe Biden on trade, other economic issues, bad for blue collar workers.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SANDERS: Joe Biden and I have a very different record on an issue of great importance to the people of Michigan. I helped lead the opposition to NAFTA and PNTR with China. If we are going to defeat Trump in Michigan, in Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, it will be very hard for a candidate who voted for these disastrous trade agreements.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: With us this Sunday to share their reporting and their insights, Julia Hirschfeld Davis of "The New York Times," Jonathan Martin also with "The New York Times," Toluse Olorunnipa of "The Washington Post", and "Politico's" Laura Barron-Lopez.

As we're sitting down, Kamala Harris has now endorsed Joe Biden. It happens at 8:00 on a Sunday morning. That's when things always happen.

But --

JONATHAN MARTIN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Striking, striking.

KING: Striking, we can all question the timing, we can roll our eyes, whatever, but it is again part of what's happening in the race right now, this rally around Biden as we go into the week ahead.

I just noted, there are six states up. Bernie Sanders won Washington last time. He won Idaho last time. He won North Dakota last time. He won Michigan last time.

That is the biggest prize on the board and that is where Joe Biden is trying to prove, sorry, Senator Sanders, this one's over.

[08:05:00]

MARTIN: Look, the endorsement from Senator Harris really reflects the train leaving the station element of this primary. People are now racing to get onboard, because obviously Biden is now pulling away, at least with mainstream Democrats.

I think that is clear enough from the folks who are scrambling to get onboard the Biden express. And I think that will be probably made clear on Tuesday, in a place like Michigan. Look, Missouri, Mississippi, pretty strong Biden states.

Michigan, though, is key, John, for two reasons. First of all, Bernie did win there, surprisingly in 2016, after a tough Super Tuesday. Secondly, more importantly, if Bernie can't win in Michigan, what's he going to do in Ohio, Illinois, and Wisconsin here in the weeks to come?

It's a pretty ominous sign if you can't win Michigan. And talking to folks there the last few days, many of which are not committed, they all say that Biden has the advantage in large part because Democrats simply want to get on with this primary and get on to Trump.

KING: Well, the Harris endorsement, again, on a Sunday morning, backs up your point. Democrats want to move on. And one of the questions is the tone of the campaign going forward.

I just want to look at the map in the sense that, yes, Biden has a lead, it's not an insurmountable lead, but a surprise to all of us that a week after Super Tuesday, it's Biden in the delegate lead, not Bernie Sanders. But these are two states Sanders won last time, Washington and Idaho, North Dakota he won last time, and he did win Michigan. To Jonathan's point, this is the big battleground.

If Joe Biden can prove you can beat Bernie Sanders in a place he's won before, it's also the biggest delegate prize. That would be -- I don't know if backbreaking is the right word, because Sanders will keep carry on. But in terms of the delegate math and just the psychology of Democrats, if Biden can win Michigan, wow.

TOLUSE OLORUNNIPA, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, the psychology is a very important part of this, because it was a two-person race in 2016. It's going to be a two-person race in 2020. And if Bernie Sanders is not expanding his base and actually adding to the number of people who are voting for him, it would prove that maybe 2016 was more about sort of an anti-Hillary vote and he has not been able to create this revolution of young voters and the expanding electorate that he said he had and he said would be the strongest argument for him in competing against President Trump.

So, this two-person race, him versus Joe Biden, will be very key in showing what kind of momentum he -- Bernie Sanders has, with all of the money that he's raised, with all of the millions of people who have donated to his campaign, whether or not it translates into an expanding base or whether or not it's sort of a Trump-like sort of base that has a ceiling on it, even though it's very enthusiastic, if it can't translate into something more, and Biden will clearly have the psychological advantage coming out of next week.

KING: And he has help on the ground. You know, Kamala Harris endorsing, the senator from California, that creates part of this national rally around Biden. When you get on the ground in Michigan, it's a very different state than it was four years ago when Sanders narrowly beat Clinton. Now, you have a newly elected popular, moderate, centrist Democratic governor. You have an African-American lieutenant governor. Both for Biden.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. GRETCHEN WHITMER (D-MI): When the chips were down, it was the Obama/Biden administration that stepped up and helped out the auto industry. I think that the blueprint from 2008 about 2018 about showing up, focusing on the dinner table issues and getting things done is exactly what Joe Biden represents.

LT. GOV. GARLIN GILCHRIST (D), MICHIGAN: Super Tuesday was a really very important day for the vice president as he delivered on the strength of the black vote and that black vote is going to turn out in big numbers here in Michigan.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: You cannot underestimate the help you get if a governor just elected, a lieutenant governor, both ambitious, both have an organization in place. It's hard to beat.

JULIE HIRSCHFELD DAVIS, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: The infrastructure is clear. And, clearly, as Toluse said, you know, Bernie Sanders has put a lot of resources into trying to match that and sort of break out there. But I also think, you know, because Michigan has this identity of, you know, there's a large blue collar constituency there. And this would go directly to what Joe Biden says is the case about why he is better able to go up against Donald Trump.

So, the test there is really going to sort of define whether he's right about that. And I think, you know, that is part of the reason that, you know, Bernie Sanders needs to have a pretty strong showing here, because he's billed himself as the person who on the Democratic side is better able to appeal to that constituency. And I think, you know, Joe Biden really needs to show here and it looks like he may be poised to do that. That that's Joe Biden and that he can actually counter Trump in this critical battleground in the general.

KING: And Sanders gets the math. Sanders gets the math and the psychology. If he won Michigan last time, that's how he's going to be judged.

So, you see and heard in the open there, very tough on Joe Biden when it comes to past support of trade deals. He's been critical of Joe Biden as a Washington insider, now taking money from the quote/unquote billionaires.

Now, it is Michael Bloomberg's support.

On television, this campaign bruising as well, Bernie Sanders going after Joe Biden on Social Security, Joe Biden saying "no".

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BIDEN: When I argued if we should freeze federal spending, I meant Social Security as well. I meant Medicare and Medicaid, I meant veterans benefits. I meant every single solitary thing in the government.

AD ANNOUNCER: Joe Biden has always been a strong supporter of Social Security. Biden will increase Social Security benefits and protect it for generations to come.

[08:10:05]

Negative ads will only help Donald Trump. It's time we bring our party together.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: That's interesting to watch, because that's Sanders using Biden's own words in past debates in Congress, when things like the balanced budget were in vogue and they were looking for places to cuts and sometimes Democrats trying to counter, Republicans wanting to cut more, and Democrats trying to come up with a plan to strike a compromise. But the Biden ad, negative ads are only going to help Trump.

LAURA BARRON-LOPEZ, NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER, POLITICO: Right. KING: It's an interesting -- they're trying to say, hey, don't push so hard, Senator.

BARRON-LOPEZ: Right. Biden's campaign is saying, we need to unify, let's not be attacking each other and give ford fodder to Trump. That was a strategic change by Sanders, those negative attack ads. They haven't been doing that so far in the cycle.

And his campaign is trying to make up ground with black voters, which is a key voting group in Michigan. He held town hall last night in Flint, about racial justice, social justice. So, he's very aware of his weaknesses in a state like that. The question is whether or not in the time that he has left, until Tuesday, if he can make up ground there, because Biden is favored in this state.

And so, he's also trying to clearly make up ground there. With Biden, he did well with working class whites across Super Tuesday states. And so, that doesn't bode well for Sanders heading into Michigan as well.

KING: There are different demographics.

MARTIN: Real fast, this is important to note. Bloomberg being out of the race is a gift for Biden. There was a poll in Michigan earlier this week that asked voters who your second choice candidate is. This is when he was still in the race.

The Bloomberg supporters were overwhelmingly for Biden. That's important for those suburbanites, upper middle class voters outside Detroit who were the ones that got Whitmer elected governor, Haley Stevens to the House. They are overwhelmingly supporting Joe Biden in Super Tuesday states. And if they do it again in Michigan, the Biden margin could be very large.

KING: We'll watch the numbers there and more on this, up next.

How it happened. Joe Biden was teetering, but then came a most remarkable 100 hours.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[08:16:43]

KING: We are in a very, very different place from where we last shared a Sunday morning. And how we got here is both remarkable and, yes, somewhat of a blur. We knew a week ago on Sunday morning that this, Joe Biden's giant win in South Carolina on Saturday was a big deal. What we didn't know is how big. This clue Monday in Texas, the political version of Avengers assemble.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PETE BUTTIGIEG (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'm looking for a president who will draw out what is best in each of us. I am delighted to endorse and support Joe Biden for president.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE) SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D-MN): It is up to us, all of us, to put our country back together. I am ending my campaign and endorsing Joe Biden for president!

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

BETO O'ROURKE (D), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We have someone who, in fact, is the antithesis of Donald Trump. I will be casting my ballot for Joe Biden.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: A big deal, without a doubt. Rivals now allies. But that all happened Monday. The safe bet was, good for Biden in the long-term, but too late, probably, to matter much on Super Tuesday, right? But Democratic voters, it turns out, were already having their own rally around Biden moment and it played out on the map.

He won Maine, he won Massachusetts, Elizabeth Warren's home state, he won Amy Klobuchar's home state after that endorsement. Joe Biden never set foot there in the campaign.

And also how he won is interesting. He won in Texas. He won -- if you go back to the 2018 congressional map in the suburbs, some of the red- to-blue flips that made Nancy Pelosi speaker, including Dallas and the suburbs there. Look at the margin for Joe Biden as he surprised Bernie Sanders in Texas. Move up to Oklahoma, Democrats flipped a House seat right here in 2018, because of the suburbs around Oklahoma City. Joe Biden winning big there.

Move up the map to Virginia, a state that may or may not be contested in the fall. The Trump campaign says it wants to play. We'll see. Look at all of that Biden blue.

Look at it all right there. One of the reasons, the suburbs around Washington, D.C., you move in. Look at the size of the margins, Biden over Sanders, again, in the suburbs. The same voters that brought Nancy Pelosi to the speakership deciding, we're getting into this race and we're going to support Joe Biden.

Virginia, one of the states where Michael Bloomberg thought he would do well. He did horrible on Super Tuesday. So, on Wednesday, it was his turn.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MICHAEL BLOOMBERG (D), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I know his decency, his honesty, his commitment to the issues that are so important to our country, including gun safety, health care, climate change, and good jobs.

He fought for working people his whole life, and I'm glad to say I endorse Joe Biden and I hope you will join me in working to make him the next president of the United States of America.

(END VIDEO CLIP) KING: The pace of the campaign and the big contests in the week ahead makes you somehow have to move on. But when you look back at those hundred hours from the South Carolina win to Bloomberg there. And what it did -- and especially what the voters did, it's just -- wow! It's still hard to comprehend.

OLORUNNIPA: Yes, Joe Biden was left for dead essentially before South Carolina. He had lost the first two states and lost them pretty handedly. He was in fourth and fifth in Iowa and New Hampshire and it didn't seem like he had any kind of momentum in his campaign. He had been saying, wait until we get to South Carolina. That's my firewall.

And there's a lot of skepticism about that. That had never happened before in presidential politics, that you lose the first two states so badly and come back with a resounding win in South Carolina and have that mean so much just three days later on Super Tuesday.

[08:20:05]

So, it so actually has worked out for him, string of endorsements that came between South Carolina and Super Tuesday really helped him and we saw the difference between the early vote and Election Day vote trend in Joe Biden's favor, a sign that he was building that momentum. And we'll have to wait and see whether that momentum carries through, whether some of the challenges that he had that made him sort of struggle in Iowa and New Hampshire pop back up on the campaign trail, some of his weak debate performances.

But for now, he definitely has --

KING: That is a great point that everybody should remember. The volatility of the past week should remind us, we could have volatility looking forward, too. Right now, Biden is in a great position, including the Harris endorsement this morning, Senator Harris endorsing him this morning. America needs a president that reflects the decency and dignity of the American people, a president that speaks the truth.

That's why I'm proud to announce I'm endorsing my friend Joe Biden. A lot of people say, why didn't you do that before the California primary? But that's where we are.

And this is part again, part of a movement if you look now, seven former 2020 rivals have endorsed, five U.S. senators, this is since Super Tuesday, since Carolina win, 36 U.S. House members, two governors, nine big-city mayors, and that list is probably going to grow, probably while it's up on the screen. It's not everything, it's up to the voters, but it certainly helps if voters are thinking, OK, the party seems to want to make a choice.

MARTIN: And there's a precedent here, there's a precedent. 2004, Democratic voters desperately wanted it to beat George W. Bush. They were consumed with anger over the Iraq War. They just wanted to get on with it, and I think once Kerry came back and won Iowa and New Hampshire back to back, it was even faster. Obviously, this one took a little while longer. It was more

complicated in February. But you see a similar dynamic now, where a lot of Democratic voters simply want to move on.

You mentioned a really fascinating point, Lou, the debates. How many more debates do you guys think we're going to see Joe Biden standing up there on stage with Bernie Sanders? There's one scheduled for Phoenix, I think in about a week or so.

KING: The 15th, right?

MARTIN: I'm going to go out on a limb here and say, that could be the last Joe Biden debate we see this primary season.

KING: One of the rivals who have not endorsed and says she wants to take her time is Elizabeth Warren, who also got out of the race. I want you to listen here, if there are clues about what she's going to do.

But, first, Joe Biden, they have sparred many, many times, but listen how Elizabeth Warren goes out of her way here to say nice things.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WARREN: He is exactly who he says he is. He's a decent guy. And I mean that in the good of decency. And it comes through. In pretty much everything that he does.

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: You have disagreements with him on a number of core policy issues, though.

WARREN: Oh, sure, yes, yes. And agreements on a number of core policy issues.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Contrast that tone -- Senator Warren, much more in line with Bernie Sanders when it comes to policy, but some bad blood from the campaign.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WARREN: I think there's a real problem with this online bullying and sort of organized nastiness. And I'm not just talking about, oh, he said mean things. I'm talking about some really ugly stuff that went on.

MADDOW: It's a particular problem with Sanders supporters.

WARREN: It is. I mean, it just is.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Ouch!

BARRON-LOPEZ: And Sanders recently acknowledged, right before or right after Warren dropped out, that she took more incoming on Medicare-for- All than he did over the summer leading into the fall, but that may have been little, too late of trying to make amendments there.

And also, I think there's a very real possibility that Warren could not endorse anyone and just hold her fire, use her leverage, or she could endorse Biden. I think that's a real possibility.

KING: And we talked about Biden here and I showed on the map, you write about this in the newspaper. You know, performing very well in the suburbs, performing very well with African-American voters, at least splitting the white vote with Bernie Sanders. The other dynamic in this case is Senator Sanders keeps saying, you know, I have a political revolution.

I'm going to bring all of these young people into the process. It simply has not happened. If you take a look here, in the Iowa caucuses, which Pete Buttigieg actually very narrowly won in terms of delegates, youth turnout was up a little bit from 2016.

But look at New Hampshire, Texas, Virginia, North Carolina, Vermont. Bernie Sanders says he's going to bring all of these young voters into the process, and maybe he yet will, but he has not so far. And that's one of the reasons we have the map we have and the delegate lead that Biden has.

DAVIS: Right, the coalition that Bernie Sanders continually talked about building has not materialized so far for him in the primary season. And the question is, you know, how much longer -- how many more contests will that continue to hold before that, you know, becomes an insurmountable reality for him.

On the flip side, I think J-Mart is right that, you know, this kind of sense in the party that, you know, it's just time to get on with it, may actually be enhancing that dynamic, right? The Democratic coalition, as we've seen it in past cycles, appears to be holding very much the way it was in those past races and if that continues, that does play to Biden's advantage.

MARTIN: Before the race goes on, it becomes, I think, clear that the Sanders strength in 2016 with a lot of groups, was more about unease with Hillary Clinton than it was about enthusiasm for Bernie Sanders.

[08:25:02]

Look at Minnesota, John. This is a state where Biden never showed up, Bernie Sanders was campaigning in St. Paul on Super Tuesday Eve. Non- college white voters, a core group that Bernie needs in this primary, went for Biden 44-32, in Minnesota. That is ominous for Michigan and it says a lot about the sort of kind of voters that Bernie won last time, that were key to him last time, that are not there this time.

KING: A big slice of them were more protest votes. No offense to Senator Sanders, but more protest votes --

MARTIN: Against Hillary.

KING: -- against Hillary Clinton and the Democratic establishment, or whatever.

Up next, we shift to the coronavirus crisis. The numbers climb worldwide. Thirty-two of the 50 states here in the United States now confirm cases. The president rejects, though, any suggestion his administration has been anything but perfect in its response.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: We've done a fantastic job with respect to that subject on the virus, yes. We've had -- and we've had great -- we've had tremendous cooperation with other countries and all over the world and we've made it very, very tough. Very strong, very stringent borders.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[08:30:31]

KING: President Trump fired his chief of staff Friday night and sources tell CNN the last straw in a long, strange relationship was that Mick Mulvaney was away from the office too much, the President believes, as the administration tries to manage the coronavirus crisis.

Congressman Mark Meadows is now the fourth chief of staff in just over three years, taking charge at a complicated and consequential moment, in the middle of a global public health crisis that is straining world economies and puts presidential leadership front and center in this election year.

The numbers tell us the coronavirus challenge is growing, despite use of the term "contained" by several senior White House aides. On Monday, 89 cases of the coronavirus were reported in 10 states and 2 people had died. By this weekend, the number of cases here in the U.S. had climbed to 450 across 32 states and the District of Columbia. 19 deaths now reported in the United States.

Worries things will get worse before better are everywhere. School closing and telecommuting in states hit hardest. Airlines and Amtrak scaling back schedules because of declining travel demand.

The NBA putting teams on notice they need contingency plans to play perhaps in games -- playing games in arenas without fans.

For any White House, a difficult and evolving challenge. For this White House, one constant that violates the fundamental rule of crisis management -- conflicting and inaccurate information from the top.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Anybody right now and yesterday , anybody that needs a test gets a test. They're there. They have the test. And the tests are beautiful. Anybody that needs a test gets a test. And the tests are all perfect. Like the letter was perfect. MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We trust in a matter

of weeks the coronavirus tests will be broadly available to the public and available to any American that is symptomatic and has a concern about the possibility of having contracted the coronavirus.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Anybody who wants a test can get a test and they're beautiful. Oh, wait. In a matter of weeks, the tests will be available.

That's the President and the Vice President. the President has often also contradicted some of the public health experts here. Why?

DAVIS: Well, I mean you heard him -- you played the clip earlier talk about how we've done such a great job. And President Trump is fixated on one thing it seems like when it comes to this crisis, which is that he's doing a great job. That we've done a great job as a country. That his administration has done a great job and not sort of the underlying sort of crisis management of what are we going to do? And what are people doing? What kind of treatments, what kind of testing is available for people.

And that is, you know, President Trump has a lot of problems with credibility predating this crisis, but that is sort of, as you said, crisis management 101.

You want to have one consistent message, one consistent set of information sources that you're pointing people toward. And day after day, the President is not doing that and he's, in fact, undercutting that goal, because he is so fixated on taking credit or claiming that he's doing a fantastic job.

KING: And as he does, I'm sorry, the President's words cannot overwhelm the facts, especially when your own Vice President and your own public health experts go out and say, no, it will be weeks before we have enough tests. No, a vaccine is going to take a year and a half, it's not going to come soon. And so on and so forth.

And you see it in the headlines. Again, we're in the middle of a crisis, and for the President, if this is where it's headed, yes, we're in the middle of an election year as well. "The Washington Post" saying the administration repeatedly squandered

opportunities to manage and prepare. Politico, "Trump has undermined his administrations own effort. "The New York Times", the confused signals from the Trump administration left Americans unprepared.

OLORUNNIPA": Yes, it reminds me of just a couple of weeks ago when we had public health officials, experts in this field say, you need to get ready, and the American people need to get ready for this getting much worse. This is a public health emergency.

And you had President Trump saying, we have this contained. You had top White House officials who are acolytes of the President saying we have this airtight. This has been shut down, trying to stroke the President's ego, while the public health officials are trying to get the public aware and ready for what was coming. And those two things were conflicting.

And we've seen that sort of become a train wreck over the last couples of weeks, as this has spread after the President said it was shut down. Now we've seen hundreds of cases, we've seen more than a dozen deaths.

And it's clear that there's a conflict between trying to protect the President's political standing and his ego, and trying to protect the public. And as long as those two things are in conflict, there's going to be a lot of challenges and the messaging for this.

KING: And Washington state is essentially the epicenter here in the United States. It's in 32 states now plus here in the District of Columbia. But Washington state has been hit the hardest.

[08:34:54]

KING: Its Democratic Senator Patty Murray. The Vice President went out there the other day. She says she had a conversation with the Vice President. And listen here, this is directed more at the President than the Vice President, but she has complaints.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. PATTY MURRAY (D-WA): I told him, stop telling us things that are not real. People need to know the facts and they need to know how to take care of themselves, their families, their communities, their businesses. And to have this we're all ok, everything is going to be good, go to work kind of approach is not what the reality is on the ground.

I'm talking to people on the ground in Washington State who are sick, who are going to their doctor and being told, we do not have test kits, go home.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Go ahead.

BARRON-LOPEZ: I was just going to say that's also the stories that are coming out of California. That the health officials don't have the test kits. That when they want to test patients, they have to go through all of these procedures to even make sure that they can test them. And then they end up potentially sending these people back out into the public, who could have coronavirus.

So there's a lot of conflicting messages coming from the White House. Also to Julie's point, the President at that same CDC presser was clearly fixated on the numbers. And wanting to appear as though the numbers of the people that are infected in the U.S. is low, despite the fact that health officials say there could be a lot of people out there that we don't know if they are carrying it or not.

KING: Right. Let's hope for a best-case scenario, in which the deaths are minimized and, you know, containment works to that degree. Even if you're perfect here, the numbers are going to go up. That's what happens when you have a virus that is as strong as this one.

But to your point, there's a cruise ship, I believe it's docking today in Oakland. But it's been held off the coast. They've been doing some testing on that, trying to bring it to shore. The President doesn't want it to come to shore because of --

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: If it were up to me, I would be inclined to say, leave everybody on the ship for a period of time and you use the ship as your base. But a lot of people would rather do it a different way. They would rather quarantine people. Now, when they do that, our numbers are going to go up.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MARTIN: Right.

KING: Our numbers are going to go up. Not, what's the best way to take care of these people, to quarantine them and get them their tests and then get those who are healthy on their way.

MARTIN: I mean Every president is concerned with PR and politics, especially when they're up for re-election. That is not different with this president.

But the degree to which he makes it publicly clear that that is his concern and doesn't really try to make it subtle at all is strikingly different.

You see this president in disaster zones, for example after mass shootings, it reminds me kind of this in a lot of ways. He does sort of have that other gear that some presidents have of how to deal with crisis, how to deal with tragedy.

His instinct is showman, his instinct is superlatives. It's you're doing the best, were the best, we're going to be great. Even after mass shootings, for example, his instinct is praise the ER, praise the cops, say that they did a great job in the aftermath.

All all he knows is sell, sell, sell. That's the a tough thing to do in the midst of a public health crisis that is getting worse, I mean unambiguously getting worse and he's trying to put the best face on it when the facts on the ground clearly contradict that .

KING: He has no control over a lot of this and that's one of the issues.

MARTIN: It's a challenge.

KING: Listen to the experts and be consistent. We'll watch in the week ahead and count the numbers.

Up next, Elizabeth Warren's exit from the 2020 race stirs the gender debate.

[08:38:21]

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KING: Elizabeth Warren is now a former candidate for president and she is fully aware of what that means.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA): We persist. That is how we make change. And it feels like we're never going to make change until we make change. We were never going to elect a Catholic until we elected a Catholic. We were never going to elect a black man until we elected a black man. And we're never going to elect a woman until we elect a woman. So we're just going to stay in this.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Of the 27 Democrats who entered the 2020 race, six were women. Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard remains in the race but has just two delegates and now barely registers in the polling. It is a Biden/Sanders contest now. Speaker Nancy Pelosi among those who will have to wait.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: Every time I get introduced as the most powerful woman member, I almost cry, because I think, I wish that were not true. I so wish that we had a woman president of the United States.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: So this conversation will continue. And in some of your reporting, David Plouffe who worked for Obama back in the day told you that he thinks the bias against a woman president is bigger, larger, than the bias against a gay man or a black man.

BARRON-LOPEZ : Right. And there were a lot of female lawmakers that slightly disagreed with Plouffe. They think it's equally just as difficult if you're a minority candidate. Whether you're a person of color, or whether you're a gay man.

But it's interesting that he said that women do face, it's undeniable, this gender bias, this gender discrimination against someone they're running for president. Female lawmakers, who I spoke to this week, said that they were a bit heartbroken. They were disheartened that out of all of these candidates, the most diverse field that Democrats have seen in history, that it narrowed down to two older white men in their 70s.

The question going forward is, which is something that Harris raised is, how do you try to bridge that gap that seems to exist in the electorate? I think this time around, voters just really wanted to know the answer to who could beat Trump.

KING: Right. BARRON-LOPEZ : And that played such a role in how they voted that they were very strategic voting with their head rather than their heart.

KING: Hillary Clinton saying in an interview over the weekend that she hopes there'll be a female vice president. That maybe that's the way to at least advance and get closer. We'll see who the Democrats pick when you get to that point there.

We assume President Trump will stick with Vice President Pence. So, Elizabeth Warren on the way out says she'll continue to talk about this. She'll have much more to say about it. But this part was very interesting. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WARREN: That is the trap question for every woman. If you say, yes, there was sexism in this race, everyone says, whiner. And if you say, no, there was no sexism, about a bazillion women think, what planet do you live on?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: So what's the answer?

DAVIS: I mean I think that Elizabeth Warren in a lot of ways is right about that.

KING: Yes, absolutely.

DAVIS: It is kind of (INAUDIBLE) and it's a false choice. But I think what Laura said is so important, too. It's a little bit of a vicious circle when you speak to female lawmakers and you talk to women voters.

[08:44:55]

DAVIS: A lot of the conversation around this was, you know, people just wanted to know who could win. People wanted to know, you know, was the country ready for a female president, and because they worried that the country was not, they wouldn't vote for one.

Well, if that continues to be the case, we're going to continue to be in this vicious circle. So the question really is, maybe it is by having a woman on the ticket as a vice presidential candidate. Maybe it's, you know, more years past. But there's got to be something that breaks that cycle, because, I think that the pragmatism, at least this cycle, may have been at odds with the feeling that, you know, it is time.

KING: I see it as impossible there will not be a female Democratic vice presidential candidate. If you look at the 2018 exit polls. Why is Nancy Pelosi speaker? Why the Democrats (INAUDIBLE) 19-point advantage among women.

MARTIN: I was going to say, I think that the answer to what she was saying is C. It's (INAUDIBLE) and she also was a flawed candidate who was never able to broaden her appeal beyond basically college plus white voters. So it's at both end, I think, the answer.

KING: Right.

MARTIN: But just real fast --

KING: She would argue, some people just wouldn't open their mind to her because she's a woman.

MARTIN: In 2024, I think it's possible that Joe Biden, if he is President of the United States, does take a one-term pledge effectively. And that leaves open the possibility that in '24, you could have women on top of the ticket of both parties. Then you could have Biden's vice president, potentially, running in '24 and you could have Nikki Haley running for the Republicans in '24.

Don't rule it out.

KING: We will save the tape, right? We'll have a JMart flashback.

MARTIN: Bring it back.

KING: Somebody will.

Our reporters share from their notebook next including what coronavirus means for President Trump's signature campaign rallies.

[08:46:34]

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KING: Let's head one last time around the INSIDE POLITICS table, ask our great reporters to share a little something from their notebooks, help get you out ahead of the big political news just around the corner.

Julie.

DAVIS: Well, it didn't get much attention with everything else going on last week. But President Trump and his son-in-law Jared Kushner have are started to talks again with Republican senators about a possible immigration bill.

Now, you may remember, they were talking about a similar bill last spring. This is something that would shift our system to more of a merit-based, as the President calls it, immigration system, cut down a lot on family-based system which is sort of the core of our system now .

But the reason this is interesting is because of the timing. The Supreme Court is expected to rule this spring or early summer on DACA, the future of the program -- the Obama-era program that allows undocumented immigrants who were brought here as children to stay here and have legal status and work.

There are a lot of people who think that that program is going to get struck down and the Trump administration at that point does not want to be without an answer, empty-handed without a legislative proposal to sort of offer to the public to say, we want to go forward with immigration changes but if we're going to make a fix for the DACA, for the dreamers, the DACA beneficiaries, we need something in return.

So that's what these talks are really about right now.

KING: Immigration in an election year. Good luck.

Jonathan.

MARTIN: Well, the focus of last week was largely on Super Tuesday and the presidential. And I think it's going to be to some degree this week too.

But there's important down ballot news coming likely on Monday in Montana. Democrats have been looking feverishly for a fifth seat that they think can hand them the majority this year in the senate. They believe they may have found it.

Governor Steve Bullock of Montana, after months of saying he would not run for the Senate against Steve Daines, is poised to reverse course and announce his candidacy for that seat. That's important, John -- because right now it has not been clear where Democrats could find the seat to give them a majority.

And there's some hope that it could be Montana. The question is can he win in a state where President Trump will probably carry easily? It's a great test of the politics of our time. Can you split a ticket still in that kind of a state?

KING: It will be a fascinating race. That would be an encouraging news for Chuck Schumer after a not so great week.

MARTIN: Indeed.

KING: I'll just leave it there.

Toluse?

OLORUNNIPA: For the first time in several months there are no Trump political campaign rallies scheduled for the next week, for the next month. We don't have anything on the schedule showing that President Trump will be out on the campaign trail holding rallies as he's been doing several times a week for the last couple of weeks.

It comes at the same time that his administration is telling older Americans not to join large crowds because of the coronavirus. We're not sure if there's a connection there. President Trump said that he thinks his rallies will be fine and safe but it is very clear that a lot of political officials are going to have to make decisions about how to campaign going forward in the midst of the coronavirus crisis because Americans are being told to avoid large crowds.

And political rallies are a key part of Trump's campaign strategy. They use it for data. They use it to stroke the President's ego and let him know that he has support out in the country. And if he has to retool those rallies it will make a major difference in terms of how he runs his campaign going forward.

KING: Fascinating question, we'll keep an eye on the schedule.

Laura.

BARRON-LOPEZ: I'm looking ahead to the Latino vote in Arizona and Florida. We all know that Sanders dominated with Latinos in Nevada, in California, and in Texas. But Arizona and Florida could be an entirely different picture. They have different ethnic makeups there in the Latino population. They could skew more conservative, skew more towards Biden.

And we already know, I'm reporting today on Politico that Biden is spending some six million -- sorry, it's not six million -- a six- figure ad buy in states like Arizona and Florida and Illinois, targeting Latinos, because they know that they have make up ground there that Sanders has been dominating.

KING: It will be interesting to watch. There's been a Sanders strength. We'll see if Biden can cut it.

I'll close with this. A lot -- a very lot has changed since my first presidential election 30 plus yeas ago. But Tuesday features one reliable constant. Macomb County, Michigan is a great testing ground of blue-collar sentiment. Macomb was exhibit A, for example, back in the study of Reagan Democrats, blue collar, often union workers, who helped Ronald Reagan to two Michigan and two presidential wins.

[08:44:57]

KING: Warren, Michigan in Macomb County is where Michael Dukakis took that ill-fated tank ride back in 1988 there. I remember it like yesterday.

And when President Trump barely won Michigan by 10,000 votes in 2016, Macomb County flipping from blue to red more than made the difference.

So watch on Tuesday. Hillary Clinton just barely beat Senator Sanders in Macomb County four years ago. It was an early warning sign of her struggles with blue collar men. How Macomb votes on Tuesday will be studied for clues not only about which 2020 Democrat has more blue collar appeal but for clues about whether how President Trump's 2016 map has any noteworthy cracks.

That's it for INSIDE POLITICS. Hope you can catch us weekdays as well. We're here at noon eastern. A big week ahead -- come join us.

Up next, don't go anywhere. Big STATE OF THE UNION with Jake Tapper. His guests include the surgeon general Jerome Adams and the Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders.

Thanks again for sharing your Sunday. Have a great day.

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