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Erin Burnett Outfront
Sanders Softens Stance on Clinton, But Doesn't Recant; Sanders Campaign Rips General Electric in New Attack; Interview with Congressman Peter King of New York; Trump Cancels Events to Focus on New York Vote; Reports: Rudy Giuliani Says He's Voting For Trump; One- on-One Interview With Ted Cruz. Aired 7-8p ET
Aired April 07, 2016 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[19:00:10] ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: OUTFRONT next, Donald Trump expanding his campaign stuff cancelling events in California and Colorado. He is going all in on must-win New York. Is he hearing Ted Cruz's footsteps?
Plus, Ted Cruz speaking to CNN this hour on how he'll win the nomination. Why he is not getting support from his own Capitol Hill colleagues? That interview right here OUTFRONT.
And the breaking news, Bernie Sanders moments ago addressing the ugly battle over whether Hillary Clinton is qualified to be president. Let's go OUTFRONT.
Good evening. I'm Erin Burnett. OUTFRONT tonight, bracing for battles. Donald Trump today making it clear he is gearing up for what will be an ugly fight ahead. Naming longtime political operative Paul Manafort as his convention manager. He also unexpectedly cleared his schedule. Usually he is doing two or three states at a time. He has cancelled his events in California, cancelled his events in Colorado focusing all his time and energy on New York.
Also today, New York's most prominent Republican, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani telling two New York newspapers he is voting for Donald Trump, but he is not calling it an endorsement. A bit strange there. Trump's top rival Ted Cruz meantime facing an uphill battle in New York, visiting a Matzah Bakery in Brooklyn today after waking up to a tabloid headline suggesting he leave town on a train that shall we say is not an actual subway line.
Our Dana Bash sat down for one-on-one interview with Senator Cruz late today. You'll going to see that full interview in just a moment. I want to go though first to Sara Murray.
And Sara, significant here, Donald Trump, you know, sort of originally had been, well, New York is my home state. I love it. But I'm going to be able to go out to California and other states and campaign. He has now canceled those appearances and is focusing all in on New York. How much should we read into that?
SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Erin, I think in this case it is a significant and strategic change. What this tells though is the Trump campaign is sort of tabling this fly-around strategy that they have used until this point and they are going all in on New York. This is a state where 95 delegates are at stake. And as we're talking to members of Trump's campaign in New York, they made it clear that they want to win all of them. They want to be able to sweep the 95 delegates in New York. And Erin, that's a tough thing to do. It means you need to get over 50 percent. Not just statewide, but in this Congressional districts. It involves a lot of legwork.
And I think that's why we're seeing the Trump campaign revamp their schedule. Now, it is worth noting they have not released what their new schedule will be. So, he didn't have any events today. It's not clear what it going to be on his schedule tomorrow. So far there is nothing. This is when he was going to be in California. And it also mean that they are making choices to skip things like the convention that going to be in Colorado this weekend where there are 37 delegates who are going to be selected. Right now Ted Cruz will be there. Donald Trump will not. So we'll see if this new strategy pace off for them -- Erin.
BURNETT: All right. It's going to be very significant to see what that schedule is over the next few hours. Sara, thank you.
Ted Cruz in the meantime intent on posing a challenge to Trump on Trump's home turf saying, he think he can do it in New York. Just moments ago, our chief political correspondent Dana Bash sat down with Ted Cruz right here in New York for a one-on-one interview. And here it is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Senator, thank you so much for sitting down with me.
SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It's great to be with you, Dana.
BASH: I'm sure you've seen this. I'm glad you're laughing, because the New York daily news gave you a warm welcome. They actually gave you some helpful hints to take the f-train and the u-train.
CRUZ: Very helpful.
BASH: Very helpful. In all seriousness, you know, when you saw this, what did you make of this?
CRUZ: I laughed out loud. Look, I have never been popular with left wing journalists or tabloids. And frankly, that's not my target audience. You know, I'll tell you the energy and support we're saying we just did a wonderful gathering here. I came to Brooklyn and baked some Matzah and just spoke with the Russian Jewish community and the Orthodox community and Hassidic-Jewish community and the energy and enthusiasm we had here today was tremendous. And yesterday, it's interesting.
Apparently the liberal journalists didn't like me being there. But in the Bronx yesterday, I had the opportunity to sit down with pastors, sit down with Hispanic pastors, African-American pastors. It was actually an event that was hosted by a Democratic state senator, Senator Ruben Diaz. He is a Democrat. He is a pastor. He is an African-American Hispanic and he invited me there and we had a wonderful gathering of pastors agreeing that we need to stand for shared values. So the reporter may not be happy, but I'm much more focused on the citizens.
BASH: But in all seriousness, the origin of this, which again I'm glad you're having fun with. Because it is a New York tabloid, is that you several months ago disparaged New York value. I was upstate with you earlier today. And I'm well aware and talking to voter there that in Upstate, they got what you were saying.
CRUZ: Yes. Yes.
BASH: That you're talking about liberals in New York City --
CRUZ: Sure. Sure.
BASH: -- and that conservatives in Upstate New York are quite different. But you understand how a sound bite is played and how your opponent is using it against you here. Any regrets in using that terminology now that you're asking for New York voters to vote for you?
[19:05:11] CRUZ: Not remotely. Because everyone in New York and outside of New York knows exactly what I meant by that. And it is the liberal values of Democratic politicians who have been hammering the people of New York for decades. They've suffered under these liberal values. It's been politicians like Governor Andrew Cuomo, like Hillary Clinton, like Mayor Bill de Blasio. You know, Andrew Cuomo told New Yorkers, said if you're pro-life, if you believe in traditional marriage, if you believe in the Second Amendment, there is no place for you in the state of New York. It was striking yesterday when I was meeting with Senator Diaz, and a Democratic senator. He said my own governor said there is no place for me as a pastor. And someone who believes in life. I mean, that is a liberal intolerance, which the people of New York I think are tired of.
BASH: You talked about the fact that you are coming to talk to me now. We're sitting in a Jewish community center, in an ultra-Orthodox part of New York. You just helped make Matzah with young children. I've interviewed you a lot of places around the country.
BASH: This is not one I expected, to be honest with you. Do you feel like you have been successful as a, you know, a Christian from Texas reaching out to the Orthodox Jews in New York?
CRUZ: Very much. We've got tremendous support in the Jewish community. Tremendous support especially in the Orthodox community. I've been privileged to speak at synagogues all over the country. And in particular, to focus on defending religious liberty, which has been a passion of mine my entire life. And focus on standing with Israel.
BASH: Coming here in New York, even the fact that you're campaigning in the New York Republican primary, is this how you plan to rack up delegates here, find pockets of support, like you know, here in the Orthodox Jewish community or in Upstate New York?
CRUZ: We are building a big tent, and we're unifying Republicans. You know, nationwide, there are about 65 to 70 percent of Republicans that get that Donald Trump is not the best candidate to go up against Hillary Clinton. That he loses and loses badly to Hillary. And what we're saying happening all over the country is those 65 to 70 percent of Republicans are uniting behind this campaign. We saw it powerfully in Wisconsin just a couple of days ago.
BASH: Okay. So no question you did very well in Wisconsin. And you should be commended for that victory.
CRUZ: Thank you.
BASH: But do you concede that at this point your only realistic way to get the nomination is at the convention? Not your only mathematical way, but your only realistic way?
CRUZ: Not remotely. Look, we have a clear path forward to get to 1, 237 delegates. It's difficult. We've got to win and we've got to win consistently. But I'll point out in the last three weeks, we have won in four states in a role. We won a landslide in Utah, nearly 70 percent of the vote, we've got all of the delegates.
BASH: But now you're here in New York and you're in third place, even behind John Kasich. You've got Maryland coming up. You're in third place in the polls. You need 88 percent of the remaining delegates to win.
CRUZ: Well, let's see what the voters safe. You know, I actually think the people of New York, particularly Upstate New York, have an awful lot in common with the people of Wisconsin. Very, very similar. And what we're seeing happening across the country, what I hope we'll see in New York is that Republicans will unite.
BASH: How actively are you working to convince? A good operation. You understand how the game is played. How hard are you working to convince Trump delegates to come your way on any second ballot should it come to that?
CRUZ: Listen, we are working to earn every vote we can, every place we. So we're competing in all 50 states. And we're competing number one to win a primary, to win a caucus, to earn those votes, to unify the party. Our focus is unity, bringing together conservatives, bringing together libertarians, bringing together moderate, bringing together everyone who doesn't want to see Donald Trump as the nominee and doesn't want to hand the general election to Hillary Clinton gift wrapped.
BASH: What about those who do want to see Trump as the nominee?
CRUZ: Well, you know, it's interesting. Donald has had a floor about 20, 25 percent he seems to get no matter what. As he said, you know, he may be right that he could go out on Fifth Avenue and shoot someone and that floor would say there. But he also has a ceiling. He has a ceiling of 35 to 40 percent that he has a very hard time breaking. The worst day for the entire Trump campaign was the day Marco Rubio suspended his campaign. Because what happened is, over 80 percent of Marco's supporters came us to. And it unified much of the remainder of the party behind our campaign.
BASH: Sure, but I'm talking about looking forward to the convention when if there is a contested convention, as you well know, the delegates are bound to whomever they're supporting initially.
BASH: Then after that in a second ballot, many of them are not bound. How hard are you working to woo the Trump delegates for the second ballot?
CRUZ: We are doing everything we can.
BASH: One of the things that could help you is if you had more support from your own Republican Senate colleagues. You do now have two endorsements. But given how much momentum you say you got out of Wisconsin, how much many of your colleagues really dislike Donald Trump and don't want him to be the nominee, why don't you have more support from Republican senators?
[19:10:10] CRUZ: Well, you know, Dana, I recognize that folks in the media focus on Washington. You cover Capitol Hill.
BASH: It's not just Washington. It's opinion leaders at the conventions.
CRUZ: What I can tell you is the energy and support we're receiving from the grassroots is overwhelming. And let me give you one of the illustrations of the unity we're seeing. We started out with 17 Republican candidates in this field, an amazing, talented diverse field. Of those 17, five are now supporting our campaign. We've got support from Rick Perry, from Lindsey Graham, from Jeb Bush, from Scott Walker and from Carly Fiorina. When you throw in Mike Lee and Mark Levin, that is the full spectrum of the Republican Party, the full ideological spectrum. And what we are seeing, that's the unity it's going take to win the nomination. It's also the unity it's going to take to beat Hillary Clinton. And my focus is on beating Hillary Clinton and poll after poll after poll shows Donald losing badly to Hillary. And poll after poll after poll shows me beating Hillary.
BASH: But to get the chance to beat Hillary Clinton, you know how works, you actually have to be the Republican nominee. One of the things that my colleague Manu Raju in the Senate has heard from several Republican senators is that they probably would think about backing you and telling all of their grassroots activists to back you if you would apologize for saying that your Republican Leader Mitch McConnell was a liar. Will you apologize?
CRUZ: You know what, Dana? This is why people are so frustrated with Washington. It's the inside battles back and forth. This isn't a game. This isn't about Washington power brokers. This isn't a smoke- filled room. If we want to turn the country around, let me tell you who should apologize. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton should apologize to the American people.
BASH: But you called Mitch McConnell a liar, not them.
CRUZ: They should apologize to the American people for seven years of economic stagnation, for people seeing jobs going overseas, for wages stuck. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton should apologize to all the single moms who have been forced into part-time work because of Obama.
BASH: No apology to Mitch McConnell? Because it could help you.
CRUZ: Look, my focus is not on Washington. That ain't going to happen. And if Washington lobbyists want the see that happen, they can hold their breath a long, long time. My focus is on the American people and uniting Republicans behind a shared values and a shared vision. Now I will tell you this. I am happy to praise Mitch McConnell, praise him effusively for his stand, along with Chuck Grassley saying we are not going to hold hearings on a replacement for Antonin Scalia. Mitch McConnell is doing the right thing. Chuck Grassley is doing the right thing. And I'm proud to commend them. I've done so publicly many times. They're doing the right thing and saying that Justice Scalia's replacement should be made by the next president so that the American people have an opportunity to vote and express their views. But we need to be focusing on the American people, not politicians bickering in Washington.
BASH: I know we're almost out of time. Just one quick moment that really struck me and a lot of people. At your victory rally in Wisconsin, a lot of your supporters were chanting for your wife Heidi. And she came up on the stage and you had a couple of embraces there seems to be a lot of layers of emotion there. What was going through your mind at that moment?
CRUZ: Well, listen, this has been a pretty amazing couple of weeks in politics. I never envisioned that my opponent would attack my wife. That he would go after my wife and my family. And Heidi is a rock. I mean, she is strong and she has come through this unwavering. But it was when I recognized Heidi in our victory speech, the supporters there began chanting "Heidi." And it was a powerful moment, just to see so many people embracing her and saying thank you, thank you for putting yourself through this garbage, for enduring the garbage that my opponent has heaped upon her. And that was powerful. And it just -- it made me want to say thank you to her also.
And it also made me think, and this is something I think a lot about, about the example Heidi gives to our girls. You know, Katherine and Caroline, they're five and seven. And they're saying number one, they see their mommy attacked by a bully. And insulted and lied about. But they also see that their mommy stands up with a smile and she isn't scared. She isn't intimidated. And they see the people rallying around their mommy. And I hope that becomes an example to little girls across the country, that there is nothing that a strong woman cannot do. And I said many times Heidi is my best friend, and she is.
BASH: Senator, thank you.
CRUZ: Thank you, Dana.
BASH: We appreciate your time. Thank you so much.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: All right. And OUTFRONT next, Ted Cruz doing everything he can to win over New York voters today, making Matzah in that Brooklyn bakery.
Plus, breaking news, Bernie Sanders moments ago addressing his ugly fight with Hillary Clinton. Is he still saying she is not qualified to be president?
[19:15:07] And a very angry Bill Clinton today confronting protesters.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FMR. PRES. BILL CLINTON (D), UNITED STATES: You are defending the people who killed the lives you say matter. Tell the truth.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[19:19:04] BURNETT: Tonight Donald Trump hunkering down in New York. The Republican front-runner cancelling events in California, Colorado, focusing on his home state instead.
Just moments ago Ted Cruz told our own Dana Bash that he thinks he will do well here in New York.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CRUZ: I actually think the people of New York, particularly Upstate New York have an awful lot in common with the people of Wisconsin. Very, very similar.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Wisconsin, of course, a state that Cruz just won. And he won it big.
OUTFRONT now, our chief political correspondent Dana Bash, plus the Cruz campaign's New Jersey State Chairman Steve Lonegan and Trump supporter Congresswoman Renee Ellmers. OK. Good to have all of you with us.
Dana, let me start with you. By the way, speaking of New York, amazing that you were able to get from where you were with Ted Cruz out in Brooklyn here.
BASH: You have to be a Jersey driver.
OK. So let me start with you. Cruz is saying he can do really well in New York. You know, I mean, being very optimistic about that. Of course, you couple that with Donald Trump seeming to cancel his appearances in further states and put all his eggs in the New York basket. Do you think he really can do as well here as he did in Wisconsin if he is kind of leading in that implication?
BASH: No, absolutely not. I mean, there is not a chance. And I don't think that even on their most optimistic moments they think that they can do that well. But what they are trying to do in the name of the game is to keep Donald Trump's delegate numbers down and gobble up as many delegates as they can for themselves. So that is why before I was in Brooklyn, I was in Albany, a suburb of Albany that is more of kind of the Cruz voter. Very conservative. At least the area in Upstate New York where he was. If you he can do well there, maybe get a few delegates in the Congressional district there, maybe a few elsewhere, that is, you know, perhaps a good day for a Ted Cruz in the state of New York.
BASH: But to be clear, right now he is third place in the polls. He is trailing John Kasich.
BURNETT: And Steve, that's an -- he also keeps citing how he is doing so well in polls against Hillary. Look, in the past three polls, one of them is behind her by nine points. The other two is within the margin of error. So, it's hardly to brag that he is beating her.
STEVE LONEGAN, NEW JERSEY CHAIRMAN, TED CRUZ CAMPAIGN: Well, we've come off with two amazing weeks. In Utah two weeks ago the senator won by over 60 percent of the vote. Nobody has done that in the primary yet today. Then we go into North Dakota where we took 18 out of 19 delegates. Now, Colorado --
BURNETT: OK. But nobody actually voted in North Dakota.
LONEGAN: But we're going to sweep all the Colorado delegates again. And then Wisconsin. Huge victory. So Trump has been losing, losing, losing. Of course he is going to be ahead this the polls in New York. Things haven't recalibrated after the Wisconsin win. I'm not predicting Senator Cruz will win New York --
LONEGAN: But he has a remarkable ability to out-perform expectations. We need to do well here. We don't have to do great to win here. It was thought Donald Trump completely. But you know, the Trump campaign is in total turmoil, Erin. I mean, there is a battle brewing within the campaign, there is no guidance, no leadership. They're shooting in all different directions. You don't mow what this candidate is going say next. One position in the morning, one position for lunch, one position after dinner and maybe another before he goes to bed on the same issue. So, this is an issue for their campaign.
BURNETT: Renee, a lot to say here, you just heard Steve, total turmoil, that Trump is losing, losing, losing. REP. RENEE ELLMERS (R), DONALD TRUMP SUPPORTER: No, I don't see that
at all. In fact I think what they're doing is working together in a very meaningful way. Thing is strategy from here on out. I think they're making a good move staying in New York. They are doing what they need to do to get the votes.
LONEGAN: Erin, I need to say something. And with all due respect to Congressman Ellmers, and I like her very, very much. On the most important issues in Donald Trump's campaign, number one, he is going to deport all these illegal aliens. Illegal aliens. He is going to build this wall. Yet Congresswoman Ellmers has a very strong public position. She wants to give green cards to every illegal alien. In fact, Congressman Ellmers voted against Ron DeSantis (ph) bill to prioritize deporting the illegal alien child molesters in this country. She is the only Republican in the country to vote against it. She also is an opener supporter of TPA, which Donald Trump said he is going to overturn. Now, look, on the key issues his own supporters don't agree with him. That's pretty telling about the whole campaign.
ELLMERS: Well, let's talk about where Ted Cruz is on this issue. You know, last January -- January of 2015, we could have passed a very significant border security bill. But it was members of the Senate and members of the House like Ted Cruz that really put themselves in the way of it and our leadership ended up pulling the bill. There is much that needs to be done on immigration. And I may not always agree on every issue that Donald Trump has, but at least he wants to get something done. That's a lot more I can say that from Ted Cruz. You know, Donald Trump had the success rate that Ted Cruz has of voting no and accomplishing nothing in the Senate, he would not be the man that he is today running for president. And I believe that Donald Trump is going to be our next president because he has a record of success. And Ted Cruz, I'm sorry, does not.
LONEGAN: Senator Ted Cruz led the effort to start the Marco Rubio- Chuck Schumer gang of eight amnesty bill by the way. And because of him we don't have that dastardly bill. And by the way, again, Congresswoman Ellmers' vote is the only Republican in the whole country to vote against deporting illegal alien child molesters. This is majorly opposed to everything Donald Trump stands for.
[19:24:06] ELLMERS: It is absolutely ridiculous for you to think in any way, any form. But see? This is what comes out of the Ted Cruz camp. The calling names, you know, all of these things. We just heard this great interview where Ted Cruz is talking about, you know, a level of civility and how we should be more sensitive. And here we have his staff basically saying different.
LONEGAN: Congresswoman, don't take it different. I respect you when you vote. Your votes are what they are. And I respect those votes. That's what you believe in. But they're diametrically opposed to everything Donald Trump stands for. And that's pretty telling.
ELLMERS: No, absolutely not. Because actually what I am for is actually coming to the table in working out the issues. And that's a lot more than I can say for even us as Republicans in Congress. You know, there is a lot of frustration out there in this country. And it's basically in large because of President Obama and his administration. But I have got to say that there's responsibility we have to take as Republicans. And unfortunately, Ted Cruz has been one of those that has led us down a path to mislead the American people.
LONEGAN: Look, Congresswoman --
BURNETT: Let me ask you. Let me ask Dana a question though. Because you see Congresswoman Ellmers, you know, supporting Donald Trump. And one thing Steve, I know you've been behind Ted Cruz for a while. But Dana, his former colleagues are his colleagues now but other colleagues on Capitol Hill, they still are not rushing to support Ted Cruz.
LONEGAN: Oh, I beg to differ.
BURNETT: What is though?
BASH: Well, you beg to differ because there are some notable exceptions.
BURNETT: There are some notable exceptions --
BASH: Like Lindsey Graham and he says constantly and he is right that five of his former opponents now support him.
BASH: But -- but --
BASH: But he has -- 40 something, almost 50 -- actually, no, more than 50 Republican colleagues, his fellow Republican senators who have not endorsed him. And I think that that was a telling moment in that interview. Not just because of the fact that they haven't supported him, but because many of them are still miffed that he called their leader a liar from the Senate floor. And the fact that I pressed him to apologize, and he said ain't going to happen. Ain't going to happen.
LONEGAN: This is the anti-establishment, anti-Washington. He is a consummate outsider.
BASH: He wants the establishment to rally behind him but beat Donald Trump. You can't have it both ways, right?
LONEGAN: The establishment is rallying behind the best candidate who is prepared to be the next president of the United States, one who can articulate his issues very clearly, very eloquently, and with force as opposed to a guy who -- whose own supporters don't know what he stands for. BURNETT: I hit pause there. You know, Lindsey Graham by the way
saying he is backing Ted Cruz because the other 15 people he wanted to back are no longer running. But we're going to be talking with Congressman Peter King who says, he would never vote for Ted Cruz later on on this hour, found out whether he would vote for Cruz or Trump when push comes to shove. Now, that interview later on this hour.
And next, the breaking news, Bernie Sanders speaking moments ago on whether Hillary Clinton is qualified to be president. And Bill Clinton clashing with protesters in Philadelphia today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CLINTON: I don't know how you would characterize the gang leaders who got 13-year-old kids hopped up on crack and sent them out on to street to murder other African-American children. Maybe you thought they were good citizens.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[19:31:08] ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: Breaking news: Bernie Sanders not backing down from his accusation that Clinton is unqualified for the presidency, but tonight admits to CBS News he may have gone too far.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You're right. We should not get into this tit for tat. We should be debating the issues facing the American people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Jeff Zeleny is OUTFRONT.
HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I will take Bernie Sanders over Donald Trump or Ted Cruz any time.
JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Hillary Clinton taking the high road today. For a moment, at least, as the Democratic race devolves into a war of words.
CLINTON: Let's keep our eye on what is really at stake in this election.
ZELENY: At stake is the New York primary, which Bernie Sanders is fighting hard to win, firing off some of the most personal attacks yet of the campaign over who is qualified to be president.
SANDERS: The American people might wonder about your qualifications, Madam Secretary, when you voted for the war in Iraq. ZELENY: In Philadelphia today, Sanders unleashed a laundry list of
SANDERS: Are you qualified to be president of the United States when you're raising millions of dollars from Wall Street, an entity whose greed, recklessness and illegal behavior helped destroy our economy?
ZELENY: Sanders said Clinton started by diminishing his qualifications. She said he did.
It's a rough and tumble New York primary, raising questions about unifying the Democratic Party.
SANDERS: I ran a very contested campaign against then-Senator Obama, and it went all the way to the end. We worked really hard. He got more delegates. And so I endorsed him.
ZELENY: This map on the wall at Clinton campaign headquarters in Brooklyn is a daily reminder of their lead in delegates.
Sanders is vowing to take the fight to the convention, a move that doesn't sit well with Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook.
ROBBY MOOK, HILLARY CLINTON CAMPAIGN MANAGER: The stakes are so high. Nobody wants -- nobody in our party wants to see Donald Trump or Ted Cruz become president. I think people will very quickly unify behind our nominee.
ZELENY (on camera): But it is different. I mean, she was a Democrat her entire life, and he's not been a Democrat. What incentive does he have to help unify this party?
MOOK: Well, that's up to Senator Sanders. He is going to have to make a decision about the role he wants to play.
ZELENY: Would it be a mistake for the party to keep litigating this into July into Philadelphia?
MOOK: Well, I think at the point it's obvious a candidate has a majority of delegates and will win the nomination at the convention. I do think it will be time to come together. But we're not there yet.
ZELENY: So, Erin, after a very aggressive day on the campaign trail, back and forth, this war of words, things are calming down at least a little bit. Bernie Sanders just a short time ago told CBS News that he should not be engaging in a tit for tat. He should be focusing on the issues of importance to the American people.
So, both sides are sort of cooling their jets a bit tonight, Erin. But it all starts again tomorrow, another day on the campaign trail here in New York. We'll see how this unity goes with 12 days left before that New York primary.
BURNETT: All right. Jeff, thank you very much. And, of course, you know, saying he doesn't want to engage in tit for tat is not the same thing as saying I didn't mean it. I take it back.
Joining me now, Bronx borough president, Ruben Diaz, Jr., who supports Hillary Clinton. In fact, he accompanied her on campaign stop in the Bronx this morning. And Nomiki Konst, Democratic strategist and Bernie Sanders supporter.
So, Nomi, let me start with you. Senator Sanders now saying, OK, I want to focus on other things, not a tit for tat. But he is standing by what he is saying. He didn't take it back. He has now said twice that Hillary Clinton is not qualified to be president.
His campaign manager said she is not qualified because of her foreign policy. He is actually specifically saying it led to the rise of ISIS.
Has the campaign gone too far?
NOMIKI KONST, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Absolutely not. This has been a campaign about issues from day one. And if Hillary Clinton is fear that this is a campaign that has gone too far, she should be concerned if she is the nominee going up against Donald Trump who talks about hand sizes on stage.
I mean, Bernie Sanders has a core set of values. He has talked about them every single moment he can. He is on message.
Now, that's not personal. That means when he talks about her record, he is talk about her record, because voters need to know. They're not going to trust the person who is propagating this information out of their campaign to give them that information.
[19:35:05] They need to see the difference between the two candidates.
Now, Bernie Sanders talks about income inequality. He talks -- you know, one of the things that Hillary Clinton came out today is she attacked him on guns again, right? Well, nobody talks about how in 2000 Hillary Clinton didn't want universal background checks. Nobody talks about the fact that Hillary Clinton's gun record was so conservative in 2008 that Barack Obama called her Annie Oakley and she called him out of touch.
Nobody discusses these things. They talk about one vote by Bernie Sanders.
RUBEN DIAZ, JR., HILLARY CLINTON SUPPORTER: The reality is that it was Bernie Sanders who said that he was going to keep this campaign clean, and he has gone against that promise. And what he says today and what he said yesterday about Hillary not being qualified is absolutely ridiculous. I mean, Nomi, (INAUDIBLE) no one who is a Bernie Sanders supporter can
truly believe that Hillary is not the best qualified candidate when she has been first lady. She has been there for us in New York as a U.S. senator. She's been there as a leader in terms of health care and immigration reform.
And the reality is, is that Bernie Sanders is the one who has not voted and has a sketchy record when it comes to gun control.
BURNETT: Guns are separate.
But this issue of right now the conversation and who is qualified, right?
BURNETT: He specifically said he is unqualified. She has not used that word but she essentially said --
DIAZ: She never said that she was unqualified.
BURNETT: Let me play the exchange on MSNBC of exactly what she said so people can hear for themselves. Here she is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CLINTON: I think the interview raised a lot of really serious questions. And I look at it this way. The core of this campaign has been break up the banks. And it didn't seem in reading his answers that he understood exactly how that would work under Dodd/Frank, exactly who would be responsible, what the criteria were. And, you know, that means you can't really help people if you don't know how to do what you are campaigning on saying you want to do.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Ruben, she didn't use the word "unqualified." But isn't she making the same point?
DIAZ: No. She is talking about the fact that Bernie Sanders, whether as a presidential candidate or as a U.S. senator for the last 20 years has been talking about regulating banks and dealing with Wall Street. And then when he is asked on an editorial board, how would you solve this?
So, it's one thing to talk, talk, talk and make promises that you can't commit to or that you don't know how to solve the problem. And then when they ask you, how would you resolve this?
Hillary Clinton for so many years has been someone who's identified the problem and who has come up with solutions. And the same way that people in the Bronx said they felt her, know her, understand that because we've come so long, it's because she has helped identify those solutions.
Bernie Sanders should have had the response in the editorial board and that's what she was speaking to.
KONST: That's actually not true. You know, this is a meeting that was 45 minutes long. It was so detailed so, much so that "The New York Times" came out with a fact check the next day saying that there were quotes taken out of context --
BURNETT: This is "The Daily News" report that you're referring to.
BURNETT: That Bernie Sanders has been widely criticized for.
KONST: Widely criticized for it, but the reality is most of the media, most of the people out there have not read it and don't understand economics policy. You know, he said that he has left to it the authority of legislators to legislate Dodd/Frank. You can't go into detail in legislation that hasn't been debated and hasn't been debated in 50 years.
You know, she is the one who was against -- she was against Glass- Steagall. She was for repealing Glass-Steagall. And that's what led to the collapse of our economy.
So, the record does not match the rhetoric for Hillary Clinton. That's the problem.
DIAZ: She never said he is unqualified, that he is unqualified. He is dividing the Democratic party. We have to keep our eyes on the prize and make sure that we're united as a party and beat the Republican in November.
KONST: One quick note of that. Brian Fallon was the one who issued the press release saying that we plan to disqualify him, defeat him and unite the party. So, they have started with that comment. It wasn't a press release to just their campaign, it was press release to the world.
DIAZ: We look forward to winning and uniting the party.
BURNETT: Like Clinton and Sanders, no one wants to give the other the last word. Thank you both.
Clinton and Sanders will face off in New York a week from tonight right here on CNN.
And next, GE CEO slamming Bernie Sanders, charging that he makes hollow campaign promises. But just moments ago, Sanders fires back. You're not going to believe what he just said.
And Ted Cruz saying the Republican Party is uniting around his candidacy. Is it? I'll ask my next guest, a leading Republican who says he just can't stand that guy.
BURNETT: Breaking news: Bernie Sanders versus General Electric. Sanders just unleashing a sharp new attack on GE after the company's CEO Jeffrey Immelt released a scathing and frankly unprecedented op-ed today. The CEO of GE Jeff Immelt wrote this, "It's easy to make hollow campaign promises and take cheap shots in speeches and during editorial board sessions. But American companies have to deliver for their employees, customers and shareholders ever day." It continued.
And in a statement that we have just obtained here at CNN, the Sanders campaign is firing back, upping the ante, saying that GE is slashing jobs, stashing profits overseas, tossing Americans out into the street and saying that the CEO Jeff Immelt needs to look no further than in the mirror if he wants to know what's wrong.
The back and forth started when Sanders came out strong against GE during an interview with "The Daily News".
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
SANDERS: General Electric doing a very good job of avoiding taxes. In fact, in a given a year, they pay nothing in taxes. That's greed. That is greed and that's selfishness. That is lack of respect to people of this country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Joe Johns is with the Sanders campaign tonight. He is OUTFRONT in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Joe, it was an unprecedented op-ed. You now have what seems to be an unprecedented statement from the Sanders campaign. What are they now saying?
JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: I think that's true, Erin. This is a statement from Warren Gunnels, policy director for the Sanders campaign.
It says in part, "If the CEO of General Electric wants to know how his company is destroying the fabric of America, he should take a good look in the mirror. He has a retirement package worth an estimated $58 million. Meanwhile, he is one of the leaders of a business group lobbying Congress to slash Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid."
[19:45:03] So, this goes way back. They also sent me what was essentially a sound bite of Sanders on the Senate floor, all the way back in 2010 where he was railing against Immelt, GE and its tax avoidance policies among other things.
So, clearly, Bernie Sanders is just keeping that team up tonight.
BURNETT: I mean, it's not just a one line. It's as you say detailed. And it does, as you just read there, go after the CEO of General Electric, Jeff Immelt, personally, for his retirement package, saying he needs to look into the mirror. This is not just GE, though, in terms of Sanders. He has, of course,
been going after the big banks, other major corporations. He has done so again and again, Joe.
Given what, this back and forth, though, is this likely to help or hurt Bernie Sanders?
JOHNS: I got to be honest with you, Erin. Going around the country, talking to people who support Bernie Sanders, a lot of people are attracted to him because of his anti-corporate, anti-big bang, anti- Wall Street stances.
So, as far as a lot of voters, Bernie Sanders is concerned, they say he is doing exactly what he is doing and what he should be doing when he is standing up to corporate interests and CEOs like Jeffrey Immelt.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Joe Johns.
And OUTFRONT next, one prominent New York Republican said he would jump off a bridge before he would support Ted Cruz. So if it comes down to Cruz or Clinton, who will we vote for? He is my guest, next.
And Jeanne Moos hanging out with New York subway riders today.
[19:50:33] BURNETT: Tonight, Ted Cruz under pressure fighting to beat Donald Trump in the crucial New York primary. Cruz also, though, under attack from some influential Republican congressmen.
Peter King specifically is upset about his criticism of New York values. King says any New Yorker considering Cruz should have their head examined. Cruz, though, not backing down.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Everyone in New York and outside of New York knows exactly what I meant by that. And it is the liberal values of Democratic politicians who have been hammering the people of New York for decades. They suffered under these liberal values. It's been politicians like Governor Andrew Cuomo, like Hillary Clinton, like Mayor Bill de Blasio.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: OUTFRONT now, Republican congressman from New York, former chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, Peter King.
Congressman, a pleasure to have you on. Let's get straight to it.
You say you will never vote for Ted Cruz. Why not?
REP. PETER KING (R), NEW YORK: I think he's a phony, he's a fraud. Since he's come to the Senate, his only achievement if you want to call it that, is being responsible for shutting down the Senate floor and going on the floor and reading Dr. Seuss and giving a speech about Dr. Seuss and God knows what else for 23 hours on the Senate floor. Since then, this whole remark about New York values.
What he said shows how disingenuous that he was talking about liberal Democrats. He didn't say that. He said New York values.
I've seen some of these guys like him. They play this regional game. They attack the North, they attack the Northeast, they attack New York. He knew what he was doing.
When I think of New York values, I think of the cops and firefighters at 9/11. I think of the National Guard and reserve units in Iraq and Afghanistan. I think of Rudy Giuliani and Mike Bloomberg who turned this city around. That is New York.
And also, by the way, we do have -- we have liberals, we have conservatives. New York state was also the home of the conservative party. We were one of the first states to elect a conservative senator, Jim Buckley. Ronald Reagan carried New York twice.
So, it is a diverse state. It goes Democrat. It goes Republican. Conservative liberal. We can fight. We can stand together.
But when the crunch time is there, New Yorkers rise to the occasion, and we have our values.
BURNETT: So, Congressman, though, when you refer to Ted Cruz as a phony and a fraud. Look, you're not the only person who said nasty things about him who he's worked with. But some people who said those sorts of things have changed their minds. One of them, Lindsey Graham. Here he is then and now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: If you nominate Trump and Cruz, I think you get the same outcome. Whether it's death by being shot or poisoning, does it really matter?
Ted and I have a lot of differences.
GRAHAM: What can I say? One, he's not completely crazy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Could you come around like Senator Graham? Could you ever vote for Ted Cruz if it's Cruz versus Clinton?
KING: Cruz versus Clinton, I'd vote for the nominee in my party. That I will do.
But in the primary, no, I never could. Listen, I'd have differences with Donald Trump but when you have someone like John Kasich, who's a solid person, Donald Trump who at least achieved something.
Unlike Ted Cruz, again, the way he attacked New York, the smart attitude he has, I could not find myself ever voting for him in the Republican Party. If he's the nominee of the party, obviously, I'll vote for him. It's not a lot of enthusiasm, but I'll vote for him.
BURNETT: All right. So, in the primary, you're saying you won't vote for Ted Cruz but you'd vote for him in the general election versus Hillary Clinton. Donald Trump, will you vote for Donald Trump on April 19th?
KING: Right now, I haven't decided between Donald Trump and John Kasich. You know, I'd have differences with Donald Trump, specifically some of the allegations he's made against John McCain, President Bush, some of the positive things he said about Vladimir Putin, which I thought were just wrong. And John Kasich is a friend.
But I really have not decided. But I do have issues with Donald Trump, and I think he has to resolve them.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Congressman King. Pleasure to talk to you tonight.
KING: Thank you, Erin.
BURNETT: And OUTFRONT next, Jeanne Moos on why New Yorkers went crazy when Hillary took a swipe at the subway today.
[19:57:46] BURNETT: Hillary Clinton skipped a fancy car and driver, opting to commute the same way millions of New Yorkers do. Here's Jeanne Moos.
JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Imagine you're sitting in a subway car just want to be left alone on your way to work.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Let's back up. Let's back up.
CLINTON: How are you?
CUOMO: Hey, she's just like us, riding the subway.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Next president of the United States. Say hello to the next president.
CLINTON: Hillary went for a subway joy ride carried live.
CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: I just want to explain what our viewers are looking at.
MOOS: That's a dank, dark, New York City subway corridor. I mess up press hustled and squeezed to follow Hillary who played traffic cop.
CLINTON: You've got to move a little bit, Dan, so I could get more people in. Some people need to get off?
MOOS: Hillary rode two stops in the Bronx, got off and got kissed by a stranger. She posed for selfies. But it was the woman of the people photo op that the campaign was after.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Going to make this shot work for everyone.
MOOS: Hillary's live ride ended up side by side with Ted Cruz getting slammed by "The Daily News" headline "Take the FU train, Ted."
The new sanbagged Bernie Sanders with a token subway question. How do you get on the subway today? You get a token and get in. Wrong.
Hillary knows tokens gave way to metro cards more than a decade ago. But uh-oh. When she tried to swipe her card, it didn't work once, twice, three times, four times. The fifth time was the charm.
Conservative websites pounced on Hillary's struggle. Shocking new video, out of touch, Hillary Clinton.
Out of touch? The touch is the problem. This happens all the time. Even to seasoned subway riders like myself.
And Hillary, it could have been worse. A failed swipe can lead to a whack in the groin.
Hillary laughed off her swiping snafu. The campaign maybe getting testy, but please no hitting below the belt.
Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.
BURNETT: Thank you so much for joining us.
"AC360" starts right now.