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INSIDE POLITICS

Biden, Sanders Campaign Ahead Of Key Contests Tomorrow; Gov. Steve Bullock Announces Montana Senate Run; Misinformation Spreads Online Amid Coronavirus Fears. Aired 12:30-1p ET

Aired March 9, 2020 - 12:30   ET

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


[12:30:00]

JOHN KING, CNN HOST: -- Democratic governor.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Senator Sanders is a good man. His Medicare for All push would be a long and expensive slog if we can get done at all. And the patients at Cherry Hill, they can't afford to wait for a revolution. They're looking for results.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Bernie Sanders spent most of the weekend Saturday and Sunday in Michigan. And this hour, you see him right there, a rally in St. Louis, Missouri, Missouri, also among the states that vote tomorrow.

CNN's Jeff Zeleny is live in Detroit for us. Jeff, Bernie Sanders won Michigan and 2016, if Biden can take at this time that would send a message way beyond the delegate math.

JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: John, it would indeed. I mean, in one respect, it would really complicate Senator Sanders winning path forward but also his argument. His winning argument has always been rooted here in Michigan in the industrial Midwest. Of course, it's not just Michigan, next week, Ohio, Illinois, next month, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania.

So much is riding on the Sanders campaign here in Michigan. It's why he really ramped up his efforts over the weekend over the last 72 hours or so. Bernie Sanders has been all across the state. Joe Biden just arrived this morning in Grand Rapids.

But John, I was speaking to a lot of Sanders loyal supporters over the weekend at his rallies. One name came up again and again, that is Donald Trump. He, of course, went on to win Michigan in November. Take a listen to this interview with the mother and son loyal Sanders supporters in Grand Rapids.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BEAU CRNKOVICH, MICHIGAN VOTER: We're going to go as far as we can with the Bernie train. But if it comes down to Biden, I'll definitely vote for Biden, for sure.

CAROL CRNKOVICH, MICHIGAN VOTER: The movement was building until Super Tuesday. And it kind of got deflated. I'm hoping that spent a build again and starts with Michigan. That would be great. So we'll see what happens to Tuesday.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZELENY: So definitely a sense of optimism among Sanders supporters, but also a sense of practicality. That is something, John, I have not detected in as many interviews with loyal Sanders supporters as we did here over the weekend. So let's see how the voters go tomorrow in Michigan.

But no question so much is riding on Senator Sanders. But Vice President Biden building that coalition hoping to extend the one he had on Super Tuesday in the suburbs, in the urban core as well. And as you said, he's bringing Cory Booker and Kamala Harris in to try and put an exclamation point in that tonight. A fascinating race here tomorrow that is key for the future of the Sanders campaign. John?

KING: Jeff Zeleny, live in Detroit. Appreciate the live report. Enjoy your stay there. Let's come into the room and let's start with Senator Sanders because he is back on his heels a little bit after what happened last week. The big surprise, Joe Biden now at 610 delegates to 538 for Bernie Sanders, we're still allocating some of the delegates in the contest that already voted.

But Joe Biden has the lead and wins. He has the lead in delegates. Bernie Sanders hoping, hoping to recreate the coalition he believes is critical to his path in Ann Arbor over the weekend appealing to college students. Please not only vote, call a friend.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Michigan is the most important state coming up on Tuesday.

We need you to bring out your friends and families and coworkers. Tell your friends that you're tired of them complaining about high tuition and student debt and lack of health care and low wages and unaffordable housing.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Here's the problem. Here's the problem. Bernie Sanders is rightly so his coalition 2016 young voters, bring them in, bring them out, so far in the contest, so far only Iowa, only in Iowa has youth turnout gone up Pete Buttigieg nearly won Iowa essentially a split between Bernie Sanders and Pete Buttigieg. In New Hampshire, in Texas, in Virginia, in North Carolina, and in Vermont, turnout down from four years ago, there's a piece of the Sanders quote unquote, magic that's missing.

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: That's exactly right. I was talking to Sanders campaign source this morning about this very thing. They are very well aware of those numbers remaining stagnant.

And in a couple cases going down slightly from 2016 which is why even before Super Tuesday, Bernie Sanders whole message at every single rally has been, we don't win unless we expand the electorate. We don't win unless you, young people, who are here to see me don't just view this as a fun event, but you actually get out and vote and use the very aggressive grassroots network that we have built, which they have online and elsewhere to get people to vote. They understand that for his coalition, the young people getting out more in higher numbers, is the ball game.

KING: And if you look at the map tomorrow, Sanders needs it to happen tomorrow in the sense that Joe Biden has a narrow delegate need lead now modest, but it's still not insurmountable. If he starts to stretch it out. Things get interesting. The math, it just becomes the math.

And if you look Michigan is the biggest prize. You also have Missouri where Sanders is now, Biden is favored there. Mississippi, Biden is favored there. He has won the African-American vote across the south so far. On North Dakota and Idaho went for Sanders in 2016. The expectation is they will this time, we'll watch.

Washington State is interesting in the sense that you have a primary there now, not a caucus. It's mailing (ph), it takes a while to get to some of this. But the Biden campaign thinks it will do better, they're not saying they're going to win in Washington State, but they think it will be relatively close.

[12:35:06]

So you have these proportional rules. If Biden can get a split essentially in Washington and win Missouri and win Michigan, win Mississippi, the big prizes, he thinks he pulls out in that lead. And he's getting help. We've seen now endorsement after endorsement after endorsement, including this morning, gentlemen, who will be at the rally tonight in Detroit, Senator Cory Booker.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. CORY BOOKER (D-NJ), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It's a time for us to beat Donald Trump. And it became very clear to me that Joe Biden is the right person to do that. We have to unify and show our strength. And I think this Tuesday could be a pivotal day in our primary progress.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: It's interesting not only to see the support. And you've seen so many of the rivals come on board. But the very beginning there, it's time for us to beat Donald Trump. They're trying to send a message to Sanders supporters. OK, good run. Good race. Good candidate.

MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: And that's been what has been Joe Biden success certainly on Super Tuesday in South Carolina is that the electability argument. You're seeing that from voters and exit polls, and also in our poll, CNN poll, from today making it very clear what Democratic voters want.

They want someone who can beat the President, not someone who shares their positions. According to the polls like 59 percent believe that Biden is the person who could beat President Trump. And that's the argument that a lot of the Democratic voters are making here saying, look, we may not agree on Joe Biden, he may not be the best candidate that we have. But they think he's more electable than Bernie Sanders.

KING: And that poll, the national poll is interesting that Biden has a 52 percent to 36 percent lead over Bernie Sanders now that we essentially have a two candidate race. Tulsi Gabbard is still in the race, but she's not polling well, anywhere.

So, you have 52 to 36. But then if you look through, Biden leads among white voters, non-white voters, those over the age of 45, moderate voters, white non-college voters, white college voters, men, women, those making less than $50,000 a year, those making more than $50,000 a year. Bernie Sanders is the only subgroups that he wins are voters under the age of 45 and Democrats who describes himself as liberal.

MARGARET TALEV, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes. And this is certainly a change of fortune just from only a couple weeks ago in terms of those subgroups and how they're voting. Of those six states tomorrow, Michigan and Wisconsin -- Michigan and Washington State are important because there are these two kind of different bookends of test for Bernie Sanders. One is, can he hang on to auto workers, unionized workers voting in that Democratic primary or has that given way between the loss to Trump and some of that camp and a coalescence around Biden?

And in Washington State, it's precisely that turnout question, liberals, young voters, young liberal voters. You'll notice both of these candidates, both in their late 70s at rallies with a lot of people this week. And as we've been talking about coronavirus, it's been interesting to watch how the candidates and their teams are beginning to think about this both in terms of how the candidates protect their own health and in terms of the -- what's their responsibility in convening thousands of supporters into a really crowded, sweaty hall to see these candidates.

President Trump loves the big rallies. We haven't seen any in a few days. We'll see where that's going. Biden and Sanders for now, this week, I guess they both feel that they still have to or it's still safe. But I think this is something that all the candidates are going to be evaluating --

KING: A question, we'll watch to go forward. And you see less rope lining --

TALEV: Absolutely.

KING: -- even at the big rallies, less rope lining where the hands are out.

A quick programming, a reminder for you, you can follow all the results live from Super Tuesday round two right here on CNN. Join us tomorrow on special live coverage starts at 4:00 p.m. Eastern and it will go late, I promise you that.

[12:38:23]

Up next, not just big presidential race in 2020, the Senate matters to in Montana as a new candidate.

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KING: Topping our Political Radar today, Hope Hicks do back at the White House this week. It's been almost two years since she left her job as President Trump's communications director. Sources though, telling CNN, the former model and Trump confidant returning with the new title of counselor to the President.

In Florida Republican, Senator Rick Scott launching a new Spanish language ad attacking Bernie Sanders and his praise of the policies of totalitarian leaders, the five figure ad by comes just a week ahead of the Florida primary. The state is home of course to many voters with ties to Cuba and South American countries that are or were run by authoritarian leaders shown in the ad.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Why have you stopped short of calling Maduro of Venezuela a dictator?

SANDERS: Well --

SEN. RICK SCOTT (R-FL): (Speaking in Foreign Language)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: And Montana Governor Steve Bullock just announced, he is running for Senate. That after the governor insisted for months he was not interested. The two terms Governor and former Democratic presidential hopeful will take on Republican incumbent Steve Daines. Bullock's entry into the race does boost Democrats odds of picking up that seat and possibly reclaiming the Senate majority. He rolled out a new video saying he wants to make Washington work like Montana.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Montana's unemployment rate the lowest in over a decade.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Outdoor economy has been booming.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Businesses reach record high exports.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: I'm not going to run. I'm not going to run. I don't go -- I don't want to go to Washington. I'm not going to run. He's in.

RAJU: It's an amazing flip. I mean, he was dead set against running. He told everybody he wasn't going to run but he came under enormous pressure. Barack Obama met with him. He and Chuck Schumer flew to Montana to convince him to run the undoubtedly the Biden impact also had to wait. I'm just thinking now that he has someone who's not Bernie Sanders on top of ticket perhaps that helped his decision made as well.

[12:45:00]

But this is a huge coup for Democrats as puts this seat clearly in play. He's the only Democrat that could win that Montana Senate seat and now the pathway to the majority is broaden for Democrats. They can certainly do it if they -- they have to run the table, they can incur the least a loss or so and still take back the majority. So make no mistake, Democratic leaders are very happy about this development.

KING: He says he wants to make Washington like Montana if he wins, we don't get involved in these things. But if he wins, maybe he could bring some snow. We could use some snow.

Up next, the fight to tackle misinformation about the coronavirus kicks into high gear on social media.

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[12:50:13]

KING: The British government today announcing a new wrinkle in its fight against the coronavirus, a new team to combat the spread of bad information. Online misinformation is of course a challenge of our time, whatever the topic. But it is a potentially life and death issue when there's a global health crisis like the coronavirus and people are anxious for answers.

CNN's Donie O'sullivan joins me now from New York. He tracks this kind of disinformation campaigns on social media. Donie take us in what we know about the coronavirus and the bad and wrong things that are being spread?

DONIE O'SULLIVAN, CNN REPORTER: That's right, John, misinformation about the coronavirus is spreading on these platforms, a bit like a virus itself. One of the sort of, I guess, overriding themes of a lot of this misinformation conspiracy theories is about the genesis of the virus. And that in some way, falsely people are claiming, was man made.

And I just want to run you through some of the, you know, conspiracies that are out there at the moment including the false claim that Bill and Melinda Gates are in some way responsible for the virus that also that Pope Francis tested positive for the virus. There was also a doctored social media posts claiming to show Mike Pence telling people to go to the police if they were infected. That was a false post. And also articles claiming without evidence that coronavirus is a Chinese bioweapon.

So where does this all come from? It's sort of people take little bits of information. You know, that the Gates Foundation ran a simulation to study how viruses spread a year ago, that gets picked up, people turn it into a conspiracy. And then you could see that it'd seen by millions of people around the world. I think it's, you know, there's parallels here I guess to the early hours of the Iowa caucus results night where when people don't have the full set of information, social media really allows us to blow everything out of proportion and for misinformation to really fester.

KING: Well, and we see this in politics as well. And so as I get into the politics part of it, keep the coronavirus in mind in the sense that are the social media companies doing enough to find this stuff and to call it out and to delete it when necessary.

In the context of this over the weekend, just show you the pilot of a tweet here. The President retweeting his social media director, Dan Scavino, the editor, they talk -- we're going to play the video because they doctored a video of Joe Biden, where it sounds like Joe Biden is saying we can only reelect Donald Trump. That's not what happened. First, let's listen to exactly what Joe Biden did say.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BIDEN: You want to nominee, we'll bring this party together, who run a progressive positive campaign and turn, turn this primary from a campaign that's about negative attacks into one about what we're for, because we cannot get reelected. We cannot win this re election. Excuse me, we can only reelect Donald Trump. If in fact we get engaged in this circular firing squad here.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: So Donie in the video that the President's social media director tweeted edited. They just stopped. They don't have the qualifier there, if we don't get involved in the circular firing squad, Joe Biden trying to urge Democratic unity. In this case, Twitter put up the manipulated media disclaimer, a new tool and a not used enough tool. Is that the right way to put it?

O'SULLIVAN: Yes. I mean, it's this tiny little disclaimer underneath the post. You can barely see it there. It's in blue writing. It says manipulated media. Twitter over the past few weeks has come up with this new policy because with the rise of deep fakes and manipulated video and audio, they want to tell their users if something is fake or has been misleadingly edited.

In this case, they did that and it was the first time they put this policy into place, which is sort of incredible when you think about it that the first time they had to put this policy into place was on a post that was retweeted by the President of the United States. But both Facebook and Twitter have major, major problems in this area. And Facebook of course, refuses to fact check politicians.

KING: Donie O'Sullivan, really appreciate it. It's important. Let's come back to us every time you see this stuff, especially on the coronavirus in the middle of a public health crisis but also in the middle of the campaign. Let's call it out when we see it.

When you come into the room there's point that the first time but they don't do this well enough, they don't do it blaring enough. They don't do it with flashing red as they should to say something, forgive me, is just BS and wrong and manipulated. The company should do more. But that the first time they do, do it involves the President of the United States.

BASH: We've almost become numb to this. This is one of those times we have to stop and say, we are not numb, we should not be numb. The President has used social media more than any other human, never mind politician, in history to his benefit. And the fact that he -- anybody around him doesn't, especially a social media director, doesn't take a beat and say, is this real before they do it? It's scary. I mean, it's just plain scary.

KING: Well, he also retweets conspiracy theories all the time.

TALEV: Yes. I just -- my advice to the public is if you want to learn something about coronavirus, don't go to Twitter and Facebook and then call that your definitive end use the government website or mainstream --

[12:55:05]

OLIVER KNOX, CHIEF WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT, SIRIUSXM: He knows vodka which is nice fact checking --

TALEV: Alcohol, so right.

KNOX: People kept saying I'm going to make own hand sanitizer with Tito's Vodka. And Tito's Vodka coming out and saying --

TALEV: No.

KNOX: We're not high enough proof for that. You need 60 percent. We're only at 40. Between that and the French government saying no, cocaine does not coronavirus. I think we have the beginnings of a really robust fact checking up.

TALEV: But also the -- just because the bottom of a tweet doesn't say its manipulated doesn't mean that --

KING: It doesn't mean right.

RAJU: That it's correct.

KING: Right.

TALEV: That is correct.

KING: It just doesn't mean you got to do a lot of this on your own at home. You can do it. You have the resources at your disposal.

Thanks for joining us in Inside Politics. See you back here this time tomorrow. Remember Super Tuesday two, tomorrow. A very busy News Day. Brianna Keilar starts after a quick break. Have a good afternoon.

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