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Former VP Joe Biden Closes in on Democratic Nomination; One- Mile Containment Zone Ordered in New York to Curb Outbreak. Aired 5- 5:30a ET

Aired March 11, 2020 - 05:00   ET




JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Many pundits had declared that this candidacy was dead. Now we're very much alive.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's clear that Joe Biden is on the path to nomination.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's starting to get to point of where does Bernie Sanders get delegates?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The pandemic reached another milestone, 1,000 cases confirmed here in the United States.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A hotspot exploding in New York. There's now a containment zone.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Schools and houses of worship closed.

GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D), NEW YORK: This is literally a matter of life and death.

ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Alisyn Camerota and John Berman.


JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: All right, welcome to our viewers in the United States and all around the world. This is a special edition of NEW DAY. It's Wednesday, March 11th, 5:00 in New York.

We have breaking news on two major stories developing at this hour.

First, Joe Biden in command of the Democratic race for president, firmly in command, so much so that there are questions this morning about whether Bernie Sanders will even stay in the race. The former vice president had decisive victories in Idaho, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri.

Michigan the biggest and the most symbolic. It's the state that Sanders won four years ago, but Biden won last night with a huge margin.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: OK, John, there are two states that have not yet been called. That's Washington and North Dakota.

Sanders was counting on a decisive victory in Washington, but they are in a dead heat at this moment. Look at the numbers -- Sanders is at 32.7 percent, Joe Biden is at 32.5 percent. Votes are still being counted.

In North Dakota at this hour, Sanders is ahead with 48.5 percent.

Here's the delegate count right now. Biden is at 787. Sanders is at 647.

Sanders chose not to speak last night, and this morning the viability of his campaign is in question -- John.

BERMAN: There is also breaking news this morning on the coronavirus pandemic. This morning there are at least 1,000 confirmed cases in the United States. It crossed the 1,000 barrier overnight, 31 deaths. The biggest clusters are in Washington state, New York, Massachusetts.

Moments ago, the "Seattle Times" reported that the governor of Washington will ban gatherings of more than 250 people. Overnight, a state of emergency was declared in Massachusetts. At least 70 cases there are connected to a biotech company's meeting that they had in that city.

In the New York suburb of New Rochelle, the governor called in the National Guard. There is a one-mile containment zone, closing schools and buildings in the area. Google is telling more than 100,000 employees to work from home. The federal government this morning is now reportedly studying how to have more than 2 million federal employees do the same.

Dr. Anthony Fauci says bluntly, life as we know it is going to change.

We're going to begin this morning with the race for the White House. It was a decisive night.

Phil Mattingly live in Washington with the results -- Phil.

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, John, it's not just that Joe Biden won states, it's how he won the four states that he's won, at least CNN's projected him to won up to this point.

I want to start with Michigan, the biggest delegate prize of Super Tuesday 2.0. Take a look where things stand right now, 93 percent reporting, Joe Biden, 257,000 votes ahead for Joe Biden. CNN projected he would win this race.

Let me flash back to underscore why this is such a huge victory. 2016, Bernie Sanders stunning the political world by upsetting Hillary Clinton by a narrow margin, but enough to win.

And look at the map here. You see all of the light blue back in 2016. Bernie Sanders able to pull that upset based on the coalition he was able to form. Now, flash forward again to this year. All you see is dark Biden blue,

a coalition that came from the cities, a coalition that came from the suburban areas, a coalition that stole from Bernie Sanders' working white-class vote, even winning counties from universities, the young vote that Bernie Sanders always wins. And it's something that ticked down through the night.

Take a look at Missouri as well, another race that was extremely close back in 2016. Joe Biden blowing Bernie Sanders out of the water, winning every single county in the state. In Missouri as well, 68 delegates at stake there.

Tick down a little bit further south to Mississippi, a state Joe Biden expected to win, and he won it big, 81 percent of the vote. And most notably, Bernie Sanders under 15 percent. That threshold to get statewide delegates at this point in time, 89 percent reporting, Bernie Sanders will not meet that threshold, meaning the majority of the 36 delegates at stake here, they will be going to Joe Biden.

Now, you mentioned that there are two states that are currently not called, North Dakota and Washington state. But it's important, guys, when you look at those states, to keep in mind how close things are, 71 percent reporting.

Most notably, Fargo has not reported yet. A lot of vote coming in there. So, not only does Joe Biden still have an opportunity to win, but even if he loses this state, Bernie Sanders won't get much of a delegate haul. Washington as well.

Alisyn, you mentioned, this is a state Bernie Sanders was supposed to have major strength in, won it going away when it was a caucus system back in 2016. As it currently stands, only 2,000 votes ahead of Joe Biden. Joe Biden, guys, coming into this week, there were questions whether or not he would make the 15 percent viability mark. Now he is very in play to actually win this state.

So, where does that actually leave things as we move through Super Tuesday 2.0 and on to the remainder of this race? 787 delegates for Joe Biden, 647 for Bernie Sanders, 140 delegates. Guys, that is a huge haul right now for Joe Biden and very real questions whether or not Bernie Sanders has a path as this race continues, guys.

CAMEROTA: Phil, those maps are so helpful to just see the sea of dark or light blue. Thank you very much for walking us through all of those counties and districts. We'll check back with you.

Former Vice President Joe Biden is getting closer, as you could see from Phil's report, to the Democratic nomination, and questions this morning about what Senator Bernie Sanders will do next.

CNN's Arlette Saenz is live in Philadelphia with more. What's the feeling there?

ARLETTE SAENZ, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Alisyn, Joe Biden certainly had a lot to celebrate here in Philadelphia as he took command of the Democratic primary race last night. It's really difficult or hard to understate what a remarkable turn of events these past ten days have been for Joe Biden.

After losing those first three nominating contests, he has now taken direct command and is on the march towards the Democratic nomination. Now, if you take a look at the states he won last night, he won Michigan, he won Missouri, he won Idaho, which he never even campaigned in, and then he won Michigan, which dealt a decisive blow to Bernie Sanders, who won that state back in 2016 and was hoping for a bit of a repeat there this time around.

But last night, Biden spoke just steps away from Independence Hall. He spoke to his staff and also members of the press, really projecting this sense of potentially being the Democratic nominee and talking about unity. That is something he stressed from the start of the campaign, how this is a battle for the soul of the nation and that he believes he is the one who can unite and heal the country.

And he also extended a little bit of an olive branch to Bernie Sanders and his supporters as he is going to, if he becomes the nominee, have that difficult task of uniting the party. Take a listen to what he had to say.


BIDEN: We need you. We want you. There's a place in our campaign for each of you.

And I want to thank Bernie Sanders and his supporters for their tireless energy and their passion. We share a common goal. And together, we'll defeat Donald Trump. We'll defeat him together.



SAENZ: So, Joe Biden trying to present himself as the candidate who can unify not only the Democratic Party, but also the country.

And now, there are real questions about what Bernie Sanders' next steps will be. He spent the night last night in Vermont, decided not to give remarks on that round of Super Tuesday contests, and an adviser to Bernie Sanders that the Vermont senator is very eager to debate Sunday, but the question is what will he do next as the race is quickly turning to Joe Biden's side? John?

BERMAN: When you do not see a candidate on election night, it does raise questions. We are waiting to hear from Senator Bernie Sanders himself this morning. That will be very telling.

Arlette Saenz in Philadelphia, thank you very much.

Major developments in the coronavirus pandemic. As we said, the United States reached a milestone overnight, more than 1,000 cases, 31 deaths. In New York, the governor has deployed the National Guard to contain the state's largest outbreak. That is in New Rochelle, which is a suburb of New York City, or really, a city outside New York City.

CNN's Brynn Gingras is live just outside the containment zone in New Rochelle.

Brynn, give us a sense of what's going on there.

BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, John, containment, not lockdown. That's a very clear distinction that local and state officials really want to make. They say people will still be able to move in and out of this zone, unless they're under orders to be quarantined, but come tomorrow, this area's going to look very different when the National Guard arrives.

And we've been talking to people, and they're concerned about the cases, the numbers going up. It's nearly doubled in this state since Sunday with a majority of those positive tests happening here in New Rochelle while thousands of people are under quarantine.


GINGRAS (voice-over): Just outside New York City, the governor launching an emergency effort to stop a rapidly growing number of coronavirus cases.

CUOMO: It is a dramatic action, but it is the largest cluster in the country, and this is literally a matter of life and death.

GINGRAS: Creating a one-mile containment zone in the city of New Rochelle, surrounding the apparent center of the outbreak cluster.


MAYOR NOAM BRAMSON (D), NEW ROCHELLE, NEW YORK: It is very important to clarify that this is not an exclusion or quarantine zone. No one is prohibited from entering or leaving the area.

GINGRAS: Here, places like schools and houses of worship will be closed for two weeks. The governor deploying the national guard to assist with cleaning public spaces within the area.

DAVID LYERLY, NEW ROCHELLE RESIDENT: I think it's prudent, because as we see in other countries, they have taken measures to do containment, and it seems to be effective.

GINGRAS: Westchester County, which contains New Rochelle, has at least 108 reported coronavirus cases so far, with most believed to be connected to a 50-year-old lawyer who tested positive last week. Two days later, his wife, two children, and several others connected to the man also testing positive. By March 7th, 23 other people infected.

CUOMO: There were then a number of convenings in that community that brought several hundred people together for celebrations, and it took off like fire through dry grass.

GINGRAS: There are at least 1,000 coronavirus cases across 38 states and the District of Columbia, according to the CDC, state, and local governments. And officials warn, this is just the beginning.

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR OF THE NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASE: It doesn't matter if you're in a state that has no cases or one case, you have to start taking seriously what you can do now that if and when the infections will come -- and they will come.

GINGRAS: Even as voters cast their ballots on Super Tuesday, both Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders canceled their primary night events over virus concerns. The White House task force has yet to say whether future political rallies should be put on hold, including President Trump's campaign event in Wisconsin next week.

MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm very confident that the campaign will take the very best information and make the very best decision going forward.


GINGRAS: And later today, Trump will meet with top executives from Wall Street and others for behind-the-doors, closed talks for how to deal with the economic fallout from this coronavirus -- Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: Yes, we look forward to hearing what they come up with from those talks.

Brynn, thank you very much for the update for us.

OK, back to politics. Where does Bernie Sanders go from here? We discuss that next.



BERMAN: All right, this is a live look -- or we will show you shortly a live look at the delegate board. Joe Biden has extended his lead over Bernie Sanders in the delegate count, winning decisively in Idaho, Michigan, Missouri, and Mississippi. They are still counting votes in Washington state.

Remember, this is a state that Bernie Sanders needed to win decisively. He may not win at all in Washington. They're also still counting in North Dakota.

Joining us now, CNN political correspondent MJ Lee, CNN political commentator and Democratic strategist Paul Begala, and CNN political commentator, Dr. Abdul El-Sayed, he has endorsed Bernie Sanders.

Paul, you know, some mornings, we wake up trying to piece together how or where one candidate won, or where they won. This morning, how do we even know that we need to engage in that, because Joe Biden basically won everywhere with everyone. There are some exceptions there, but in a way that was decisive.

Where do you see the race as we sit here at 5:17?

PAUL BEGALA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Democrats are sending a message, they want Joe Biden. And they want unity. They want to come together. The most important thing is beating Trump.

You know, I said from the beginning, I am probably like most Democrats, I'm a JFK Democrat. I will pay any price, I will bear any burden, I will support any friend, I will oppose any foe to ensure the defeat of Donald J. Trump.

Democrats have decided in the North, in the South, in the West, that we think Joe Biden is the best candidate to do that. Now, there's still important work to be done to heal the party, to make sure that Senator Sanders' supporters especially, and the senator himself, are treated with dignity, that we listen, particularly to young voters who are not coming to Biden in the numbers that he's going to need if he wants to be president. So, there's still a lot of work to do, but there's a real consensus now that the party thinks Biden is their best shot to defeat Trump.

CAMEROTA: Abdul, as a Bernie Sanders supporter, how do you see last night?

DR. ABDUL EL-SAYED, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, look, I'll just say this, I do agree that this is how democracy works, that the majority folks in our party have voted a certain way. First, the race is not over.

Second, let's not forget, there are really important issues that the Sanders campaign had brought to the fore both in 2020 and 2016 that need to be considered. Decisively, voters in states yesterday said that they wanted government health care plan, they wanted to fundamentally upend the way that our economy works because it blocks out so many. Those folks tend to be disproportionately young and folks who think about the party as a means to an end rather than just tit for tat between Democrats and Republicans.

And so, if we want to win in November, we have to be able to dignify those ideals and bring them into the fold and we've got to speak with a united voice about not just how we beat Trump.

BERMAN: But understood, but where we are this morning, voters did say, did speak on health care, but those same voters who spoke on health care also basically said that Joe Biden, they wanted Joe Biden to be their nominee. And, Michigan, a state that Joe Biden, that Bernie Sanders, I should say, won the state four years ago, he lost in a fairly big way this morning.

And M.J., people are looking for signs this morning about what Bernie Sanders will do. And maybe all they have to do is to listen to what Bernie Sanders said on Sunday to George Stephanopoulos. Let's listen to that.


GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, ABC NEWS ANCHOR: If it becomes clear, though, in the next month that you cannot get a plurality, you will not be heading into the convention with the lead, will you drop out or take this all the way to the convention?


SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Look, we will fight for every vote that we can as we try to win this election. I'm not a masochist who wants to stay in a race that can't be won.


BERMAN: I'm not a masochist who wants to stay in a race that can't be won. That's the decision he faces this morning, isn't it?

MJ LEE, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right. And you know, at some point, Bernie Sanders will have to decide, have I reached the point where it is clear to me and everybody else that this is a race that cannot be won by me?

And I think last night we obviously got a little closer to Joe Biden winning this nomination, and I think the path for Bernie Sanders winning this nomination definitely narrowed.

Look, this has been a race that has been tumultuous. There have been controversies, and you know, interparty fighting because the field has been so big. It has been a race about a lot of different ideas being debated, a lot of policy debates. But I think at the end of the day, if Joe Biden does end up being the party's nominee, what we are going to look back on, on this year, is a race that in the end simply came down more than anything else to electability.

I mean, we have talked about this so much when we have had conversations with voters over the last year, that the thing that comes up the most and with the most passion is this idea of just wanting to get President Trump out of the office. And I think we are seeing with Joe Biden's surge in the last recent contests that this is a thing that voters care about more than anything else.

CAMEROTA: I wonder how much of a factor, Paul, the endorsements for Joe Biden has been. And the reason I say that is because, again, we talked about this before, they're not just endorsements this year. We've talked to, we've likened to "The Avengers" team. And I know we've joked about it, but I do think there is something to the team. He did it again last night. He talked about how he hoped that Bernie Sanders and he could form a team and that Bernie Sanders' supporters would be part of this movement and team.

And I think that what he is doing is signaling that, I know some of you are afraid of my leadership, for whatever reason -- my age, my past voting record, whatever it is -- but behind me, you see Kamala Harris and Pete Buttigieg and Cory Booker and, you know, he keeps going. And that feeling, do you think that that has helped his electability?

BEGALA: I think so. I think that -- I'm generally not a big endorser guy. They usually don't matter. But this is a different time. And for that very reason, people, they really want to win. It's the only thing they care about.

And as the defeated Democrats sacrificed their ambition, get out perhaps before their political consultants wanted them to -- I'm talking about Amy and Pete particularly, and Senator Klobuchar and Buttigieg -- and endorsed Biden that way, that said something, yes. I think you're exactly right, Alisyn, this tells people that he can win.

It also should tell Sanders' supporters that they can play the critical role here. He still doesn't have the coalition to beat Donald Trump. And if those Sanders voters walk, which many of them did against Hillary, that's how we got Donald Trump.

So, I think that it actually empowers the rest of the party, rather than denigrating establishment. Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar, Cory Booker, Kamala Harris, they're real Democrats. They're not establishment.

And by the way, I think a lot of Democrats can't wait to see Bernie Sanders and his supporters buying into that as well, because it's going to take a team to beat Donald Trump. It's not a one-person job.

BERMAN: We'll check back in with Phil Mattingly, but when I woke up at 2:00, I don't think --

CAMEROTA: Show-off.

BERMAN: -- I think Joe Biden had won every county in Mississippi and Missouri and Michigan, every county. And Michigan was a state that he won outright four years ago, Bernie Sanders did. So, it's interesting that Joe Biden is there. To the point of building the team -- oh, I want to say one other thing.

Two metrics to look for today. Number one, Bernie Sanders is scheduled to be on "The Tonight Show" tonight. We're waiting to see if that happens in New York. We're waiting to see if he makes a trip to New York to appear on "The Tonight Show."

Then Sunday there's supposed to be a debate in Arizona, with no audience now because of coronavirus, but --

CAMEROTA: And as of last night, his people said oh, he'll be debating this weekend.

BERMAN: It was a one-sentence thing. They said, he will debate, right? It wasn't exactly a big, bold promise. We'll see. We'll see what Sanders says about this, but we're watching that.

Abdul, I want to ask you, though, as, you know, a member of the Sanders coalition, what you feel you need to hear from Joe Biden now?

EL-SAYED: Well, Joe Biden has had two distinct advantages coming into this election. Number one, his name is Joe Biden. People know him as the guy with the aviators eating ice cream. They like Joe Biden. He was vice president to Obama, one of the most popular Democratic presidents in modern history.

And then the second is that he had these really powerful endorsers who sort of manufactured this moment of momentum that was really powerful for him. And I do think endorsements mattered a lot in this race. [05:25:01]

The question we all want to see is can Joe Biden speak to the challenges that young people face, that poor and working people face, that he's got solutions for those challenges, that he's running for the future and not just the past.

I mean, all of us know the existential threat of Donald Trump. All of us know we have to beat him. And there are going to be some folks who are questioning -- well, you know, my guy didn't win, can I just sit this one out? There's a lot of privilege in saying that because for a lot of us, these are matters of life and death for people that we know and love or ourselves.

So, we've got to come together, but there's got to be a message around which we're coming together.

CAMEROTA: Hold those thoughts. I know you both have lots more to say and we have more questions. Thank you all at the moment.

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