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Polls Open in Michigan and Missouri Primaries; Biden and Sanders Battle for a Win in Delegate-Rich Michigan; Trump Deflects and Projects as Coronavirus Crisis Grows. Aired 7:30-8a ET

Aired March 10, 2020 - 07:30   ET

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


[07:30:00]

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Polls are open, in Michigan, the biggest prize of today's Super Tuesday, two contests -- you heard me, Berman --

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Oh, yes --

CAMEROTA: The stakes are especially high for Bernie Sanders who needs a big win in Michigan to close the delegate gap with Joe Biden. CNN's Vanessa Yurkevich spoke with voters there. She is live for us in Detroit. What did they tell you, Vanessa?

VANESSA YURKEVICH, CNN BUSINESS & POLITICS CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Alisyn. Well, Bernie Sanders definitely needs to do well here in Michigan. And in a new Monmouth University poll, he's trailing the vice president by 15 points. But in 2016, he was also down in the polls, but he came back to win this state, and voters we spoke to say they think Bernie Sanders can do it again.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JOHN HATLINE, GM UNION WORKER: Our health care is important to all of us.

YURKEVICH (voice-over): We met John Hatline in this exact spot six months ago on strike against General Motors in Detroit, fighting to keep his union-paid health insurance. On Tuesday, he's voting for the candidate who could take it away.

HATLINE: My vote's going for Bernie here in Michigan. I'm hoping that Bernie Sanders will have as good a health insurance that I have for the whole country.

YURKEVICH: The union vote crucial here in Michigan, nearly 600,000 members strong. Bernie Sanders beat Hillary Clinton in 2016 with their help. But now, Joe Biden is fighting to bring them to his side.

JOE BIDEN, (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: As president --

YURKEVICH: President Trump won Michigan by a razor thin margin in 2016 with the help of Macomb County, a white working-class suburb that voted for President Obama twice, then Trump. At a Sunday brunch here, Elizabeth Warren supporters now looking for another choice.

SARA GIELEGHEM, WARREN SUPPORTER LEANING TOWARDS BIDEN: And we lean towards Joe Biden right now.

YURKEVICH: Some would say that Bernie Sanders actually aligns more with Elizabeth Warren's platforms.

GIELEGHEM: Yes, you know, so much he does.

YURKEVICH: Fellow Warren supporter Rhonda Warner is also voting for Biden.

[07:35:00]

RHONDA WARNER, WARREN SUPPORTER VOTING FOR BIDEN: I think Joe Biden is experienced, and the support from other Democrats that I know who all need to get policy passed makes him the choice for all.

YURKEVICH: Bert's Marketplace in downtown Detroit has been a staple in the African-American for decades. A picture of the Obamas hangs inside. For voters here, Tuesday's election is another critical moment.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I feel like my life depends on it.

JAI-LEE DEARING, OWNER, BERT'S MARKETPLACE: We're praying like hell that Vice President Biden is the nominee.

YURKEVICH: Is he just automatically a shoe-in with the African- American community?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No.

YURKEVICH: Letrice Murphy is leaning towards Sanders.

LETRICE MURPHY, SMALL BUSINESS OWNER: Bernie Sanders was marching beside Martin Luther King, so I feel that he could get the African- American vote because he was basically down in the trenches with us.

YURKEVICH: But her friend Jennifer Troy is still deciding.

JENNIFER TROY, SMALL BUSINESS OWNER: This voting kind of boils down to what I'm feeling that moment when I enter the polling booth.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

YURKEVICH: And we found a few voters who are still waiting until today to make up their mind about who they're voting for. The majority said they already knew. But one thing that all voters could agree on, John, is that they will support the Democratic nominee, whoever it is, come November because still the number one issue for voters is beating Donald Trump come November. John?

BERMAN: All right, Vanessa Yurkevich for us in Michigan, the home state of Gretchen Whitmer; the Democratic governor of that state. She has endorsed Joe Biden, is now a national co-chair of his campaign. Governor, it's terrific seeing you this morning. As you well know in 2016, Bernie Sanders who was seen as trailing the polls did end up winning the state of Michigan. So why will 2020 be different?

GOV. GRETCHEN WHITMER (D-MI): Well, that's true. And you know what? As we've gotten close to our state voting today, you know, polls are open until 8:00 tonight. More and more Michiganders were asking me what I'm going to do. And I didn't want to just share what I'm doing. But I wanted people to understand why? When our back was up against the wall, it was Barack Obama and Joe Biden that have it. This is personal.

This is about building coalitions. I was thrilled Kamala Harris and Cory Booker were here with us last night. There's a place for everyone, and the agenda that Joe Biden is running on in the -- you know, in the cabinet that he will form. This is really important moment. And Michigan's voice matters a great deal. And so we are encouraging everyone to get out and vote.

Lots of people have already cast their ballots, they've been out for quite a while. And we've got this interesting process in Michigan where if you voted for someone who is not still running, you can go back and change your ballot.

And we've had over 30,000 people do that. And so, today's going to be a busy day at the polls, but I think it's really important that we elect a candidate that can pull a coalition together and be successful. And I know that Joe is the one who understands Michigan and can do exactly that.

BERMAN: You say with Joe Biden, there's a place for everyone. Do you not feel that way with Bernie Sanders?

WHITMER: I just know that the way that we win elections is by reaching out. And I can tell you this. The beginning of this campaign, there were over 20 people on that stage and there was a reason to be inspired by every single one of them. Elizabeth Warren to Kamala Harris and Amy Klobuchar, Mayor Pete. Each of them brought something, and that's important.

When we vilify one another, we hurt ourselves in the long run. And what I appreciate about the kind of campaign that Joe has really run is recognizing we are all in this together. And I think that's why you see so many people who were running -- join them.

BERMAN: Is Senator Sanders -- is Senator Sanders -- is Senator Sanders -- is Senator Sanders vilifying anybody?

WHITMER: You know, I'm not going to talk about other candidates. I want to talk about mine.

BERMAN: OK --

WHITMER: Because I know that the people in Michigan are good, hard- working people and that's what we want in our government.

BERMAN: There was something striking that the former vice president said at this rally last night while you and Cory Booker and Senator Harris were standing behind him. And I just want to play this moment.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BIDEN: Look, I view myself as a bridge, not as anything else. There's an entire generation of leaders you saw stand behind me. They are the future of this country. They're the people who are going to --

(CHEERS)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: He sees himself as a bridge. Can you explain that to me?

WHITMER: You know, it's interesting because I always talk about building bridges. I am in a state that has divided government. We swing from, you know, Republican to Democratic. We are solidly purple and that's why no one should ever take Michigan for granted. Building bridges is how you get things done, not by burning them, not by building walls, but building bridges.

And so when he used that metaphor to talk about the future and future leadership in this country, I was excited to hear him say that. He's not someone who thinks he's got all of the answers for everyone. He's building a coalition of smart people who care with different viewpoints.

[07:40:00]

We're going to challenge each other and make this party better and make this country better.

BERMAN: Look, I know you like building bridges and you like fixing roads. You won a whole campaign based on that. But what was interesting to me by saying I'm a bridge to the future, in some ways you're suggesting you're not the future. And generally speaking, when people vote in elections, they vote for the future. So, I just thought that was odd.

Is it some kind of admission that he comes from a different generation, that he's part of the past?

WHITMER: I think it's a showing of humility. And that's what leadership is. Knowing that you are a lot bigger than what it is, just about you. It's about us. It's about where we are headed. It's about our kids and Joe's grandkids. He recognizes that, and that's a humble leader. That's the kind of leadership we need and that is sorely lacking in a lot of places in the political space across this country right now.

That's the kind of leader that I get excited about, and that's why I'm so enthusiastic about Joe.

BERMAN: Governor Gretchen Whitmer, it's great to have you on this morning. Thanks so much for being with us.

WHITMER: Thank you. BERMAN: Alisyn?

CAMEROTA: OK, John, to our other story, the Grand Princess cruise ship has docked near San Francisco. What's next for the thousands of passengers who've been stuck on board for days? We speak with one woman who is still on there.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[07:45:00]

CAMEROTA: A second wave of passengers will disembark from the Grand Princess cruise ship this morning in Oakland, California. At least 21 people on board are confirmed positive for coronavirus. More than 2,000 passengers will be quarantined at four military bases across the country. Joining us now is Sherri Pe'a, she's one of the passengers who is still on board the Grand Princess. Good morning, Sheri.

SHERRI PE'A, PASSENGER ON THE GRAND PRINCESS CRUISE SHIP: Good morning!

CAMEROTA: Sheri, how long have you been on that ship and when exactly are you getting off?

PE'A: Well, we got on the ship to begin our cruise on February 21st --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Seventh(ph) towards --

PE'A: Yes, 21st. And we are hoping to get off today or tomorrow.

CAMEROTA: And, Sherri, how are you not going crazy? What have you been doing for these days and weeks?

PE'A: Well, since we've been confined to our room on the 5th at 2 O'clock, we've been drinking wine. When the weather's nice, we have a balcony, so it's been nice, we've been able to go outside, get a little fresh air, talk to our neighbors on their balconies, watch movies. They've brought us activity kits with crafts and brain teasers, playing cards, watching TV --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Cribbage, picture puzzles --

CAMEROTA: What? What did he say?

PE'A: He said cribbage, picture puzzles --

CAMEROTA: Wow --

PE'A: Just anything you can think of to pass time --

CAMEROTA: I'm just curious --

PE'A: Yes --

CAMEROTA: How much wine have you gone through? PE'A: Bottles? We were getting bottle service for a while, and then

it went down to two glasses per person, now it's one glass per person when you call. So, we've kind of done that, wine and switched to Vodka so we can get a couple of shots as well. It's just -- yes, having a good time --

CAMEROTA: They're really trying to wean you off of your pass time there.

PE'A: Yes --

CAMEROTA: Sherri --

PE'A: Past time --

CAMEROTA: Sherri, you are handling this as well as I think any human being could. Do you have any idea what the plan is for you once you set foot on dry land? Where are you going? How long will you be quarantined?

PE'A: Well, we're either going to Texas or Georgia. We have no idea of any of the logistics. We haven't been told that. I believe from what we're understanding that once we step foot on the base, that we will be quarantined for 14 days --

CAMEROTA: Oh my gosh --

PE'A: Before we can leave. So we still -- hopefully we get to leave today so we can start our quarantine by the time we get there, if not, it's just another day. But we have nothing but time.

CAMEROTA: Well, OK, I mean, you have nothing but time. Are you retired or do you -- are you still -- do you still have a day job that you're attempting to do?

PE'A: Well, I do have a day job. I own my own small business in Denver, Colorado. And fortunately, it's a business that I can do remotely most of the time. So I'm OK. I feel for people that do have day jobs or have their small children or people that they have to take care of and were -- are stuck in this situation. We're just fortunate that we are able to kind of be flexible with our schedule.

CAMEROTA: Yes, Sherri, by the way, that gentleman that we just saw come into the frame, that's your brother-in-law, OK, and as I understand it, he had an extra ticket to go on a cruise ship and you raised your hand at a family gathering saying that you wanted to go. How much do you regret that decision and what has it been like to be trapped in a -- in small quarters with your brother-in-law?

PE'A: Well, I don't -- let me -- I don't regret the decision at all. The beginning of the trip up until the time we were confined to our room has been just a blast. And we had so much fun, and being quarantined -- well, confined -- I need to use the word confined, has not been as bad as you would think. Fortunately, Tom and I have a similar disposition, we're pretty calm, we pretty go with the flow, his good sense of humor. We just try to do the best to make it work. You know, I'm not going to

lie to you. I had a couple of bad moments, we miss our spouses. We miss our family. We want to go home. You know, I miss when my mom sent me a message.

[07:50:00]

Yes, but we just -- sorry. We're just trying to keep our humor and look at it as positive, there's no -- it's out of our hands. It's out of our control.

CAMEROTA: Yes --

PE'A: I think we lost you.

CAMEROTA: Sherri, no, I hear you, I just -- I understand. I mean, I think you have demonstrated for us the gamut of emotions that go on in that little room. There's levity and fun and you're trying to make the best of it, and then you're also missing the human connection with your loved ones.

And I think that we can all understand that, and I can't imagine anybody handling it better than the two of you. Sherri, we hope you get off the boat today, and we hope that quarantine for the next two weeks isn't too onerous. We will check back in with you, take care of yourself, OK? And say hi to your brother-in-law there.

PE'A: Thank you so much. Have a nice day.

CAMEROTA: You too.

BERMAN: Now, I'm not endorsing day-drinking, necessarily.

(LAUGHTER)

But if ever there were an appropriate time --

CAMEROTA: Desperate times call for desperate measures --

BERMAN: If ever there were an appropriate time.

CAMEROTA: I like that the employees on the ship had to taper them off.

BERMAN: Bottles to glasses --

CAMEROTA: We're not sending you bottle service anymore --

BERMAN: Yes, to small table, and they just go to Vodka.

CAMEROTA: I mean --

BERMAN: That's initiative.

CAMEROTA: Also, but you have to be able to live with uncertainty and they are able to, but not everybody is. BERMAN: You have to live with uncertainty, and apparently your in-

laws, hence the day drinking.

CAMEROTA: Wow, OK, that's just one person's story. There are 3,500 people on that ship.

BERMAN: So concerns over the coronavirus have now hit President Trump's inner circle. How seriously is the White House taking this? And I asked that based on the president's actions and behavior, a reality check is next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[07:55:00]

BERMAN: Bianca has his own music. So the president has not been tested for coronavirus --

CAMEROTA: Do you want your own music? We can make that happen, the John Berman music?

BERMAN: Music would be nice.

CAMEROTA: On it.

BERMAN: I want some walking music.

CAMEROTA: On it.

BERMAN: The president has not been tested for coronavirus. But we do know that he's been around a whole lot of people who are now in self- quarantine, including at least one guy who owns a gas mask. John Avlon now with music and reality check.

JOHN AVLON, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Hey, guys, it follows me around, actually. All right, days before he was fired, acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney was at CPAC making the case that the media was to blame for hyping the coronavirus.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MICK MULVANEY, FORMER ACTING CHIEF OF STAFF OF THE WHITE HOUSE: The reason you're seeing it paying -- you're saying so much attention to it today is that they think this is going to be what brings down the president. That's what this is all about.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

AVLON: Pandemics don't care about partisan politics. And we now know there was someone infected at CPAC who came into direct contact or close proximity with at least six prominent Trump defenders in Congress, including incoming Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, Ted Cruz, Doug Collins, Paul Gosar, Louie Gohmert and Matt Gaetz. Now, all are voluntarily self-quarantining except Gohmert who continues his string of setting a great example for all Americans who are being held at arm's length by his colleagues. But it's the case of Matt Gaetz that deserves some digging into. But

it was just last week that he wore a gas mask on the house floor during a vote to combat the coronavirus. Now, the stunt seemed less funny two days later when one of Gaetz's constituents died. And Gaetz was on Air Force One when he found out he'd come into contact with the coronavirus carrier.

He already spent much of the weekend at Mar-a-Lago, glad-handing with the president and his family. Well, furthering the right-wing nationalist, president of Brazil. Now, the White House says Trump has not been tested, but this is thankfully one case where Trump's hand sanitizer habit should come in very handy. We hope that everyone at the White House and Congress remains safe.

But the president's predilection for clean hands doesn't always extent to his state of mind. Because while the stock market was in free fall yesterday, Trump was tweeting about Obama, fake news, the deep state and the Democratic primary. He claimed the Democrats are trying to smear Bernie with Russia, railed against very bad sick people in our government, people he says who do not love our country.

He threw out this nonsense, non-sequitur, "the Obama-Biden administration is the most corrupt administration in the history of our country." And just do -- that want it back, there have been six senior members of the Trump team indicted to date, including his campaign chairman, personal lawyer and national security adviser.

And a grand total of zero indictments of senior administration campaign officials during the Obama years. Of course, president, then a display against fake news, blaming the media and more appropriately Saudi and Russian fights over oil prices for the reasons of the largest drop -- point drop in the stock market history. But if the president wants to talk fake news, here is some real facts.

On February 24th, when President Trump tweeted the coronavirus is very much under control in the U.S.A, there were 53 confirmed cases across six states. On Friday, March 6th --

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This came unexpectedly a number of months ago. I heard about it in China, came out of China, I heard about it. And we made a good move, we closed it down, we stopped it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

AVLON: We closed it down, we stopped it. Well, on that day, there were 282 cases across 23 states, and as of this morning, there are 732 people infected in 36 states. And 26 people have died. This graph shows the spike we've seen in recent days which helped propel the stock market declines. Here is the thing, fear and uncertainty drive market downturns.

Fear and uncertainty are also Donald Trump's stock and trade, they're the weapons he wields in politics every day. But you reap what you sow. And while scientists work around the clock to stop the spread of this pandemic, the president has only himself to blame for the lack of confidence in his leadership during this crisis, and that's your reality check.

BERMAN: You know, investors are watching closely and people are watching closely. They're looking for an example here of how they should behave.

CAMEROTA: Yes, the media is not going to take responsibility for this one, John. The media did not start this virus. We have tried to alert people, but we did not start this and the president and the White House --

BERMAN: The news is not the problem --

CAMEROTA: Thank you, thanks very much.

BERMAN: All right, thank you to our international viewers for watching. For you, "CNN NEWSROOM" is next.