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Inside Politics

Blowout Win For Joe Biden In South Carolina Primary; More Than One-Third Of Delegates At Stake On Super Tuesday; 87,000 Coronavirus Cases Worldwide; Are Top Democrats Worried About Bernie Sanders?; America's Longest War Could Be Nearing Its End. Aired 8-9a ET

Aired March 01, 2020 - 08:00   ET



JOHN KING, CNN HOST: Welcome to INSIDE POLITICS. I'm John King. To our viewers from the United States and around the world, thank you for sharing your Sunday.

A packed hour ahead, including Joe Biden's blowout win in South Carolina and his framing of the race against Bernie Sanders heading into the giant Super Tuesday just ahead.


JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Democrats want to nominate someone who will build on Obamacare, not scrap it. Take --


Take on the NRA and gun manufacturers, not protect them.

And if that the Democrats want a nominee who's a Democrat --


A lifelong Democrat, a proud Democrat, an Obama-Biden Democrat, then join us.


KING: Plus, the first death here in the United States from coronavirus, in Washington state, where the death occurred, officials say they're tracking a potential outbreak at a nursing home. The White House unveils new travel restrictions but says most Americans should go about their normal routines.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: My administration has taken the most aggressive action in modern history to confront the spread of this disease. There's no reason to panic at all. This is something that is being handled professionally.

I think it's always good to be prepared. I think it's always good, but we are super prepared. We have a great team. We have great people, and this, too, will end.


And is America's longest war finally over? The Trump administration signs a deal with the Taliban and says U.S. troops will begin a complete withdrawal from Afghanistan. Hawks in his own party say this deal is dangerous, but the president says it is long overdue.


TRUMP: And if the Taliban and the Afghan government live up to their commitments, and they may or they may not, but I think we have a lot of reason why they will. I think they will. That means that the longest war in American history by far -- it's not even close -- will be over.


KNG: We begin this Sunday with yesterday's South Carolina primary and its impact on the 2020 Democratic nomination battle.

Take a look at this sweeping blowout win for the former Vice President Joe Biden. This map tells you all. Forty-six counties in South Carolina, 46 county victories for Joe Biden, 48 percent of the vote statewide, at 99 percent. So, we're about done there. More than two to one over Senator Bernie Sanders. Tom Steyer third, he dropped out of the race last night. Mayor Buttigieg, a disappointing fourth.

You move down the scale here, the other candidates below, Elizabeth Warren, Amy Klobuchar, Tulsi Gabbard. But if you're Joe Biden, you are happy with this giant victory as a must win, and it's just across the board.

You look at Richland County in the center of the state, the capital, second largest county in the state, a giant victory there. Over on the coast as well, Myrtle Beach area, Horry County, not quite as big, but still a two to one win for Joe Biden there. Wherever you look in South Carolina, Greenville, the largest county in the state, home of a significant African-American population, still a big win for Joe Biden.

The question now is, can he translate it? If you pull out to the national map, you see the lighter gray states, they vote on Super Tuesday, that is this Tuesday, just 48 hours from now. Can Joe Biden take this momentum and translate it out?

If you look at the national delegate chase, Bernie Sanders still in the lead with 56, but Joe Biden, because of South Carolina making a huge jump in a competitive race now, still early as we go forward. Many challenges ahead. But you see, Buttigieg won the first contest, Sanders narrowly in New Hampshire. Sanders a blowout in Nevada, Biden a blowout in South Carolina.

We go on now to Super Tuesday. Biden says he's reenergized and says to the people in South Carolina, who gave him a big late endorsement, thank you. (BEGN VIDEO CLIP)

BIDEN: My buddy Jim Clyburn, you brought me back. All of you have been knocked down, counted out, left behind, this is your campaign. Just days ago the press and the pundits declared this candidacy dead. Now thanks to all of you, the heart of the Democratic Party, we just won and we've won big because of you. And we are very much alive.


KING: With us this Sunday, to share their reporting and their insights, Jackie Kucinich of "The Daily Beast", Michael Shear of "The New York Times," Dan Balz of "The Washington Post" and CNN's Nia- Malika Henderson.

You can see it in the map, it's all Biden blue, and you can se it in the former vice president -- confident, alive, pumping, thinking he can carry this forward.


It's a bigger win. Anyone anticipate a 30-point win for Joe Biden in South Carolina, the question is what can he do with it and what does it do to the race?

DAN BALZ, CHIEF CORRESPONDENT, THE WASHINGTON POST: Well, it changes the race in I think a very significant way. I mean, it brings him back. He's rejuvenated, his campaign is rejuvenated.

Super Tuesday comes very quickly. He doesn't have time to savor this victory. The votes -- many votes have already been cast. But nonetheless, it gives him an opportunity to make an argument that he's the strongest possible person to take on Bernie Sanders and encourage the others to begin to fall away depending on what happens on Tuesday.

KING: Defending on what happens on Tuesday. Steyer did get out last night. We'll talk more about Super Tuesday in the conversation ahead. The others will have tough choices to make if -- the question is if they don't perform on Tuesday?

But let's look at South Carolina and the Biden win and both sides of it, if you will. The African-American vote, he always said, this will be my firewall, it will be the first contest, 61 percent for Joe Biden. I want to plank this out and start this way, come at this way here -- 61 percent for Joe Biden, only 17 percent for Bernie Sanders.

Bernie Sanders, this is what happened to him in 2016. Bernie Sanders did pretty well with Latino voters but he did miserable with African- American voters. He promised this time would be different. That's not different.

NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: It's not different. Even going into this contest, his campaign was signaling they were going to put more resources in this thing and maybe, not only could he keep it closer but possibly they could win in South Carolina. And you see the disappointing returns among African-American voters.

He had some good surrogates in South Carolina. We were at his last rally there. Killer Mike is there. You guys are all familiar with him, I'm sure, as well as Nina Turner, on making the case directly to African-American voters, in some ways slamming Clyburn saying, don't listen to the politicians of the past who have done great things, you know, 50 years ago. Where are they right now?

And you see folks in South Carolina and people I talked to talked about that Clyburn endorsement. It was running on the radio, just the audio of that very moving I thought endorsement that Jim Clyburn made. He's very well known in that state, not only the older African- Americans, their children and grandchildren as well.

And you see there that in many ways, that brought him over the line for folks who were a little undecided, maybe thinking about Steyer, maybe thinking about Sanders. And in the end, you see the blowout win.

KING: In the exit polls, you saw it. In the exit polls, you saw it. If Joe Biden somehow goes on to win the presidency, Jim Clyburn can have whatever he wants.


KING: Ambassador to the most beautiful island nations in the world, get him off -- take them off.

The question is, going forward, you make a key point, Biden is going to raise a lot of money off of this. But he didn't have a ton of money before this to invest in these Super Tuesday states. So, he's behind the curve in terms of investment. He doesn't have the nuts and bolts infrastructure on the ground in these states.

The question is this a slingshot, a springboard? Does it give him momentum?

One reason to think about, if you look at the states ahead, there's 14 of them, look at the African-American votes in some of the Super Tuesday states, 54 percent in 2016, the Democratic primary were African-Americans, 32 percent in North Carolina, neighboring South Carolina right there, Tennessee in the neighborhood, it was a third, 32 percent, Arkansas 27 percent, Virginia 26 percent. So, the Latino vote, we'll talk more this about later for Bernie Sanders in California and Texas is significant.

But if Joe Biden is to make a statement on Super Tuesday to follow up on South Carolina, the African-American vote in those states does give him an opportunity.

JACKIE KUCINICH, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: He's going to be in Virginia today. He's wrapped up a couple of key endorsements in Virginia, Tim Kaine, Terry McAuliffe.

I just want to go back to South Carolina just for one minute. Not only did Jim Clyburn help him there, he made it clear in interviews last night that he's not going anywhere. He wants to fix the campaign. There was an acknowledgment that there had been problems from Jim Clyburn. And he said, I'm all in, not letting this go back to where it was.

So, it's going to be very interesting to see what his involvement going forward is going to mean for that campaign particularly going into Super Tuesday but also after.

KING: And you mentioned the endorsement. Also Bobby Scott as well, Congressman in Virginia as well. Many of the candidates, Bernie Sanders is the only leading Democrat who will not be in Selma, Alabama, today as well, for Black Sunday remembrance day. That will be interesting to see. Interesting conversations among the family now.

This is a tough moment, crossroads moment for some of the other Democrats.

So, if you look -- Senator Sanders like to talk about the popular vote. You know, Pete Buttigieg got slightly more delegates, a tiny amount of delegates in Iowa, Sanders says I won the popular vote. If you look now, we have caucuses in Iowa, caucuses in Nevada, the two primaries in New Hampshire and South Carolina, Joe Biden has actually won more votes from Democrats than anyone else in the race right now. So, bragging rights for now. We go into Super Tuesday, we don't know how that lasts.

Senator Sanders last night saying, you know what, we think we're on track, we're doing fine so far, I like what's ahead on Super Tuesday but I didn't get this one.


SANDERS: We won the popular vote in Iowa.



We have won the New Hampshire primary.


We have won the Nevada caucus.


But you cannot win them all. There are a lot of states in this country. Nobody wins them all.


KING: It is a big question of the moment. How big of a bounce for Biden and what is the conversation about Sanders?

Again, if you, look, he's best positioned on Super Tuesday at least pre South Carolina's vote yesterday, that was not in doubt at all. There is a question, though, I think a fair question. He talks about bringing all these new voters into the process.

If you look at Iowa, that didn't really happen. It was very close. If you look at New Hampshire state, he won a blowout four years ago, he just barely beat Mayor Buttigieg there. And a disappointing performance in South Carolina, with -- in the middle of that, a very impressive performance in Nevada.

MICHAEL SHEAR, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: I mean, look, one of the raps on Bernie Sanders has been can he broaden his coalition from this sort of intensely loyal base of fervent supporters. He seemed to do that in Nevada with the appeal to Latinos, right? But he clearly didn't do it very well in South Carolina.

And so, the question is going into Super Tuesday, can he -- you know, can he do that, can he demonstrate that his movement is, you know, a broader cross section of the Democratic electorate which we'll see whether that is the case. One thing he does have going is that his lane, the sort of left part of the Democratic Party seems far more clear. Elizabeth Warren has fizzled. The rest of the candidates are still in. We'll see how much longer that lasts.

But for the moment, Joe Biden's lane is much more crowded. That benefits Bernie Sanders.

HENDERSON: And he's got a ton of money, right? I think he raised something like $46 million. He's got races on Super Tuesday. We'll talk about this later, that he already won.

He's still very strong among white voters. He's not as strong among white voters in the southern states. When you get into the states we'll see coming forward, he's got strength there and emotional attachment of those supporters, right? He can energize those folks not only to get these small dollar donations but to show up and knock on doors.

So, listen, as you said, he's cleared his lane for the most part. We'll see what happens in Massachusetts.

BALZ: There are two questions about Sanders that are contradictory. On the one hand is the question everybody has been asking until last night and will still ask heading into Tuesday, that's can anybody stop him? Does he have a head of steam and advantage in piling up delegates?

But the other question is, does he have a ceiling? He got basically a quarter of the vote in Iowa, he got a quarter of the vote in New Hampshire. And though after the way the caucus is working, he ended up with what looked like well over 40 percent in Nevada. It was actually 33 or 34 percent in terms of the popular vote.

So, the question going forward for him is can he go higher than that. Can he show he's got the ability to broaden?

KING: That question will become more important as we lose more candidates in the race which we expect will happen soon, which is the segue to what we'll discuss next. More on the big 2020 ahead, 14 states, more than 1,300 delegates and crossroads moments for several candidates.



KING: A giant week ahead in the 2020 race as we move from the one primary at a time, February, into the big race and blur of March.

Let's just take a look at where we are after South Carolina. This is the national delegate chase. Bernie Sanders in the lead with 56. Joe Biden has jumped in second place with 51. We're still allocating a few more delegates in South Carolina. It's possible Biden will catch up.

But it looks like we'll be right about here heading in, a long way from the finish line, you need 1,991 to clinch the nomination. So, we are still in the early lap of the race.

But, and this is a big but, Super Tuesday, 48 hours from now, 14 states plus American Samoa cast their ballots in this Democratic race, California the biggest prize, 415. Texas second with 228, North Carolina 110, Virginia 99, Massachusetts 91, Minnesota 75. A lot of delegates at stake, more than 1,300 on Tuesday.

If you map it out this way, the first four contests is this tiny yellow slice of the pie. We've settled 4 percent of the delegates so far. Super Tuesday alone will get us more than a third, 34 percent of the delegates Tuesday night. The conversation in the next few days is critically important for the candidates.

The rest of March, you get another 28 percent, and then the contest that many think will go straight to the convention, we'll go on for April, May and June. But 34 percent to be decided Tuesday. Bernie Sanders, at least before the South Carolina results yesterday well- poised heading into Super Tuesday, leading in our poll and significantly in California.

Leading in a closer race in Texas but still leading, leading as well in Elizabeth Warren's Massachusetts in this poll, other polls have a little bit closer, but a close race there as well. Look at the California poll to see the strength of Senator Sanders, up 15 points since December. Biden down eight.

Biden hoping South Carolina changes that, that momentum flips the math a little bit, but just as Biden had the African-American vote overwhelmingly, in South Carolina, Sanders, one of the reasons he's ahead in California is deep reservoir support among Latino voters. Again, heading into Tuesday, Biden hopes the big South Carolina momentum changes the equation. Bernie Sanders says I think I'm positioned for a very big night.


SANDERS: The people of this counted on Super Tuesday and after are going to support our campaign because we are more than a campaign, we are a movement.

BIDEN: They want more than promises. They want results. Talk is cheap.


False promises are deceptive. And talk about revolution and change in anyone's life, we need real changes right now.


KING: So, you come out of South Carolina, Biden saying, I'm the alternative to Sanders. The question is do Super Tuesday voters agree with him?

In the sense this is the first time Michael Bloomberg has been on the ballot. He has spent a boatload of money to be poised to be in there.

He's not leading in any of these states, but he has moved up in the polls. Listen to Bloomberg who's trying to make the case, especially in the middle of the coronavirus crisis that in the United States that I may not be a flashy debater, I may not have the funniest punch lines, but I'm a manager.


MICHAEL BLOOMBERG (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: A few years ago, there was a revolution against the intelligentsia. People said those people particularly on the coast are trying to tell us what to do. They wanted a change. That explains Donald Trump. Now people seem to have changed this cycle, people want stability.


KING: Is there any evidence of that? I don't mean it to be critical in the sense that Bloomberg was a Republican, then he was an independent, now he's running as a Democrat. He has spent a lot of money to be more competitive in these states.

But if you look at the Super Tuesday map, it's hard to find a Bloomberg win.

KUCINICH: Right, and Joe Biden's finish, the amount that Joe Biden won by in South Carolina also goes against Bloomberg's argument that he might fall short. I mean, he had a good argument going into South Carolina because Joe Biden hadn't won any states. Now he has. He's done it decisively.

And, you know, Bloomberg will be in several of these states over the next couple days, but it's hard to see where he makes enough inroads to get some delegates. He's put a lot on Super Tuesday. So, we're all expecting big things from Michael Bloomberg.

SHEAR: You know, it's interesting watching Joe Biden and how animated he seems. Winning gives you this kind of passion or whatever.

And Bloomberg's campaign to date has been largely a passionless campaign, right? I mean, there's no energy. It's a lot of ads, but there's no rallies. Obviously, that's not the kind of campaign he's running.

And I'm not sure that make America stable again is the kind of rallying cry that -- he sort of tried to equate this cycle to what happened in 2016. I don't know that there's a resurgence of people out there demanding Michael Bloomberg for that reason.

KING: It might be a better sell in a general election maybe against President Trump.

SHEAR: Maybe.

KING: But primaries are usually passion. And so, you have Bernie Sanders talking about a revolution. You have Joe Biden now, much more sort of last night, Obama-Biden Democrat.

SHEAR: Right.

KING: I just want to come back again to the Super Tuesday states here. If you look at Michael Bloomberg has spent more than $40 million in the Super Tuesday states, and Bernie Sanders at $6.2 million. Joe Biden way over here. The question, does he get a bounce in momentum out of it?

But I also want to focus on Elizabeth Warren here. She was the growth stock in the race over the summer. She was moving up in the polls everywhere. She built an impressive national organization that's now costing her a lot of money and so far not delivering on results.

Listen to her last night. She's been treating Bloomberg like a pinata. She did so again last night, saying America doesn't need a billionaire, but she got much sharper about Senator Sanders and Vice President Biden.


SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This crisis demands more than a billionaire mayor who believes that since he's rich enough to buy network airtime to pretend he's the president, that entitles him to be the president.

This crisis demands more than a former vice president who is so eager to cut deals with Mitch McConnell and the Republicans that he'll trade good ideas for bad ones.

And this crisis demands more than a senator who has good ideas but whose 30-year track record shows he consistently calls for things that fail to get done.


KING: Aggressive.


KING: The question is, look at the Super Tuesday map, 91 delegates in Massachusetts where Bernie Sanders was yesterday, giving her a run for her money. Help me out.


KING: Her birth state of Oklahoma we see there. Is there -- is there a path for Warren, Tuesday night, Wednesday morning, to say I have proven -- her campaign put out this long memo she's in this all the way to the convention. Is there a path on Super Tuesday for Elizabeth Warren, to wake up Wednesday morning and saying, see, I deserve spot?

KUCINICH: Well, especially when she has Bernie Sanders coming into her state holding massive rallies right before Super Tuesday. Now, they could be coming in from other states, but, you know, Bernie Sanders is really making a run in Massachusetts probably in part to encourage Elizabeth Warren to find something else to do.

But I wonder if this -- Bloomberg has been a wonderful foil for Elizabeth Warren. She raised a lot of money hitting him. I wonder if it's too little too late though, and it -- whether or not Bloomberg ends up going anywhere. I just -- I wonder if her -- this passion and the money she's bringing in is going to be too late to make a big difference on Super Tuesday.

KING: Same question, same question.


Amy Klobuchar's home state is right here in Minnesota with 75.

HENDERSON: Where do you -- yes.

KING: Where does she go? Where does she go? Where does Mayor Buttigieg go on Super Tuesday? Does Bloomberg, after spending all this money, even if he doesn't get the win, if he gets some delegates?


KING: We're going to have a lot of conversation Tuesday night and Wednesday, right?

HENDERSON: That's right, because the path for those folks, Klobuchar, as well as Buttigieg -- one of the arguments that he has been making about his candidacy is that he can unify people, that he can make people feel like they belong and bring people together. He did really, really terribly in South Carolina among African-American voters. I think he got something like 2 percent or 3 percent, same thing with Amy Klobuchar.

So, their path beyond Super Tuesday, very, very unclear where they can get any delegates at all. And if you're Amy Klobuchar, I guess you want to go home to your home state and pull out a win. If she doesn't, it doesn't seem like she can move on.

KING: And you're looking -- you're looking at a map. Again, Klobuchar has her home state, Bernie Sanders' home state is on this map.

You look -- so with the exception of the New England states where you would think Warren and Sanders would be the strongest, and Minnesota where you think Klobuchar and maybe Sanders there, too, a good liberal base in Minnesota. If you're Buttigieg and looking around, this is where you -- so many diverse states where he has just flat-out struggled.

BALZ: Well, we're talking about states, and obviously for Senator Warren and Senator Klobuchar, their states are important to them. If they lose those states, that's a big blow.

But Tuesday is all about delegates. It's not simply winning states. It's winning delegates.

And in doing a lot of reporting over the last few days about this, one of the things that was evident is Bernie Sanders prior to South Carolina was broadly viable everywhere --

KING: Right.

BALZ: -- in every district. There are 160-some districts that this will play out in. He was viable basically everywhere.

Nobody else was close to that. And there were a lot -- the number of candidates who are kind of on the bubble, which is to say somewhere between 13 percent and 17 percent roughly which means they might or might not qualify in any of these districts for delegates. So, this is -- people are scratching and scraping and targeting. And if you look at the travel schedules, you can see where people feel they have the ability through free media to try to get some extra vote and get them over that threshold.

But that's going to be the key to Super Tuesday.

KING: It is going to be -- we're going to have to lay out the congressional districts, see who gets to 15 percent, not just statewide but go across -- the math on Super Tuesday is going to be fun. Some of us think it's fun, anyway.

Up next, for us, we have to turn to other -- much more serious news here. The first coronavirus death and a crisis management test for the Trump White House.



KING: The threat of the coronavirus is the dominant global challenge of the moment and the public health crisis also causing dramatic economic shock. The latest global numbers -- you see them there -- more than 87,000 cases confirmed worldwide. The global death toll now approaching 3,000.

The first U.S. death was announced Saturday in Washington state. And the number of U.S. confirmed cases now stands at 71 -- 44 of those were Diamond Princess cruise passengers; three were people repatriated from China; 24 cases detected here in the United States including at least eight now with no known travel from China. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It's a tough one. But a lot of progress has been made. Our country is prepared for any circumstance. We hope it's not going to be a major circumstance, it will be a smaller circumstance. But whatever the circumstance is, we're prepared. There's no reason to panic at all. This is something that is being handled professionally.


KING: The White House now working overtime to protect an image of crisis management. You see Vice President Pence there tweeting a picture of the coronavirus task force meeting yesterday.

New travel restrictions were announced on Saturday and there are hopes about a bipartisan deal to fund a response plan this week including a dramatic increase in the coronavirus testing.

One major complication this past week, the President of the United States constantly playing down the threat and contradicting the experts.


TRUMP: I don't think it's inevitable. I think that there's a chance that it could get worse. There's chance it could get fairly substantially worse but nothing is inevitable.

DR. ANNE SCHUCHAT, PRINCIPAL DEPUTY DIRECTOR, CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL: Now, it's not so much a question of if this will happen anymore but rather more a question of exactly when this will happen.

TRUMP: The vaccine is coming along well and speaking to the doctors we think this is something that we can develop fairly rapidly.

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: We can't rely on a vaccine over the next several months to a year.


KING: You see those contradictions playing out on Wednesday. The President saying it could be a miracle, it could go away. He said when it gets warmer it's going to be better. He did seem to have a different tone yesterday when they had to announce the first death and he's tweeting this morning about screening for travelers.

This has been the issue in terms of the message from the President. Do we think he has found the sweet spot?

SHEAR: I mean It looks it from yesterday. It looks like, you know, the Vice President's office took better control of the messaging. I think they're clearly recognizing that this is not one of those moments where you just let the President freelance like you normally do because of the importance of getting the message right. But what people around Donald Trump have found since the beginning of his presidency and before is that that doesn't usually last long. You know, there are moments in his presidency where kind of the adults in the room have managed to kind of rein the President in briefly, but it usually doesn't last.

I mean the big question I think right now is in the face of something as gravely seriously as this kind of health threat, does the President sort of stick to the script?


KING: And one of -- as you jump in -- just one of the challenges there has been -- we're going to show some remarks from the President and then how he tried to dial it back some yesterday.

The President suggesting in one speech and you can read this how you wish, the Democrats have been harshly critical. The Democrats have said they don't think the administration is prepared.

The administration thinks the Democrats have been too political. That they're not giving them a chance. Not listening to the information. But the President used the word, one his favorite words, "hoax".


TRUMP: The Democrats are politicizing the coronavirus. One of my people came up to me and said "Mr. President, they tried to beat you on Russia, Russia, Russia -- that didn't work out too well. They couldn't do it. They tried the impeachment hoax. And this is their new hoax.

The hoax referring to the action that they take to try and pin this on somebody because we have done such a good job and the hoax is on them.


KING: They complain that the Democrats are playing politics. In a rally to link it to impeachment and to Russia, coronavirus -- no.

KUCINICH: Probably not a great call with something like this. You know, if you want to take politics out of it, then keep politics out of it. If you think the Democrats are doing that, let them do it.

But you're the President. You have the biggest megaphone in the world. And the administration has a responsibility to make sure that the public stays safe as this -- as this threat appears to be growing.

And you can spin it however you want. Viruses don't care about politics. It's wise to tell people not to panic, but it's also in times like this you want the government to just give the facts. That's it.

So how you can keep your family safe. You can go to work. Your kids can go to school. That's what you need. You don't need these other things interfering. You have to be above the politics. HENDERSON: Yes. It will be interesting to see on Monday what the

markets say, right? You look at last week, the markets are all over the place, a huge decline. Trillions of dollars wiped off the books and a lot of the gains that the stock market made basically wiped out.

And part of that, I think, was due to the President being all over the place and contradicting some of these experts. Kind of being the hype man in saying all is well. And so we'll see what the markets say and what his reaction to the markets are when they open on Monday.

KING: Right. And you do see the governor of New Jersey a Democrat yesterday, complimenting the Vice President. You do see out there -- it terms that there's some (INAUDIBLE) that seems to be handling it better.

But you're right. The contradicting statements form the President -- it's not just the President. It's a re-election year. You can understand why the President's team wants to say don't panic, we have control of this.

But listen here -- the President's acting chief of staff, his top economic adviser and then his son.


MICK MULVANEY, WHITE HOUSE ACTING CHIEF OF STAFF: This is not ebola. Ok? And I'll tell you what I mean in a sense. It's not SARS, it's not MERS.

LARRY KUDLOW, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF ECONOMIC ADVISER: The virus is not going to sink the American economy. What is or could sink the American economy is the socialism coming from our friends on the other side of the aisle.

DONALD TRUMP JR., PRESIDENTIAL SON: For them to try to take a pandemic and seemingly hope that it comes here and kills millions of people so that they could end Donald Trump's streak of winning is a new level of sickness.


KING: The last part -- again, if you're trying to say we shouldn't politicize this and you're Larry Kudlow you shouldn't put the coronavirus impact on the economic in with your argument against socialism -- Democratic socialism, whatever -- just make your argument against it.

But the President's son saying that there are people who seemingly hope it comes here and kills millions of people so they can use it against Donald Trump. Who are those people?

BALZ: I -- nobody knows who we're talking about here.

KING: So if the -- the White House understandably might want to say sometimes to the Democrats give us a chance. Let's see how this works out. Turn it back, dial it down, let's work together. It's hard to make that case when the President's son says "seemingly

hope it comes here and kills millions of peoples".

BALZ: John -- the habits in this country are so ingrained right now and the White House in times like this tends to feel embattled and lashes out. I think that that's what we're seeing.

I mean the President deals in generalities. That's the way he operates. He's a cheerleader. He always wants things to be good and he -- he wants to claim credit for those things.

And none of those have served him well in this moment. And the questions is, you know, as Mike was suggesting -- maybe he's found a different, you know, persona to go forward and deal with this. But it's tough.

KING: Interesting week ahead. We will see. Tough understatement, I think.

Up next for us, is Bernie Sanders just what the Democrats need to defeat President Trump? Or just what the Republicans need to keep the White House and retake the House?



KING: The top house Democrat simply won't get there -- go there when she is asked if she worries about Bernie Sanders atop the ticket.


REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: Our responsibility is to win the House. We know how to win. The presidential is its own race. We are all unified.

Whoever the nominee is of our party we will wholeheartedly support. Our gospel is one of unity, unity, unity.


KING: But the number three House Democrat pulls no punches. He says many colleagues worry nominating a self-described Democratic socialist for president would doom other Democrats in competitive races.


REP. JAMES CLYBURN (D-SC): They're very, very concerned about whether or not you'll have somebody on the ticket that will cause down-ballot carnage. That's our biggest problem of my members.

We want to see somebody on the ticket that will allow us to expand our numbers. Not having to run some kind of a rearguard (ph) campaign in order to keep from being tarnished with a label.

(END VIDEO CLIP) KING: Now remember Congressman Clyburn, you just saw right there, is a big Joe Biden supporter. So that is hardly a neutral opinion.

But it is a big part of the Democratic debate and conversation as we head into Super Tuesday. The question is does the Biden win change it at all, does it empower him.

I just want to look at this. These are numbers pulled together by Bill McInturff -- the Republican who does the NBC/Wall Street Journal poll, the Republican part of it -- asking voters, Democratic primary voters. Do you support health care for undocumented immigrants -- 64 percent of Democratic primary voters do. But among voters who say they will only vote in the general election, only 29 percent.


KING: Do you support Medicare for All -- 63 percent of Democratic primary voters do. Among voters who say we're only voting in the general election that falls to 40 percent.

Canceling student loan debt -- 60 percent of Democratic primary voters, only 39 percent of people who say I don't do primaries, I'll vote in the general election.

Stopping fracking -- 58 percent in the Democratic primaries; 40 percent in the general election.

So that data tells you there is a case to be made that you could argue if you're with Sanders on this you're outside the mainstream. Now Sanders says on the flipside of it, I'll turn out all these the new voters. Do we know who's right or are we still in the middle of this experiment?

BALZ: We're in the middle of this experiment because the fundamental question for the general election is pro Trump, anti-Trump. And does that overwhelm everything else?

Now, I mean, there's no question that the positions that Sanders takes are not popular in a general election electorate and that would be something he would be fighting against and the President is very, very good at attacking his opponents.

But nonetheless, the President has a lot of people who don't want to see him re-elected. And so the question is which one takes precedence in people's minds?

SHEAR: Well -- and I mean I think to the question you raised about the impact on the down-ballot races, I mean, you know, if you had somebody like Sanders in at top of the ticket and you have a White House and a Republican operation which is able to and wants to tar the rest of the party with that person with Bernie Sanders' views it does pose real challenges for some of these Democratic lawmakers to say do we run away from Sanders or do we defend Sanders? And that's put them in a real tough spot.

KING: The results Tuesday will tell us a lot about whether the volume of this question goes up, down or stays the same. Tuesday will tell us that.

Up next America's longest war and the new deal that just could end it.



KING: There is word today the Taliban representatives could meet with President Trump as early as this week. That dramatic news following Saturday's signing in Doha of an agreement that sets in motion plans for a full withdrawal of American forces from Afghanistan over the next 14 months, possible end to America's longest war.


TRUMP: It is time after all of these years to go and to bring our people back home. We want to bring our people back home. We are talking about 19 years we have been there -- 19 years. And other presidents have tried to do this. The Taliban has given a pledge and a very strong pledge and we will see how that all works out. We hope it's going to work out very well.


KING: CNN Senior Diplomatic Editor, Nic Robertson is in Doha covering this historic step.

Nic -- America's longest war. Take us through the stakes here and what this deal means for the United States.

NIC ROBERTSON, SENIOR DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Sure. Well, the stakes are huge. It could be ultimately peace in Afghanistan -- that's a long stretch from where we stand, but it does certainly mean that United States and other foreign powers can pull their troops out of Afghanistan after this hugely long conflict.

What we understand at the moment -- 14 months would be the fastest complete drawdown of U.S. forces as the agreement stands. It is flexible -- dependent on the Taliban compliance. It could stretch out longer than that. But right now, U.S. troops could reduce their 8,600 over the next 135 days in Afghanistan.

The Taliban -- and I have talked to them about this -- and they've got a commitment to go after al Qaeda and ISIS. Now they says they're ready to meet this commitment, because it is in their interest and the interest of their country.

However they're also got to get into peace talks with the Afghan government and there are hurdles in the way of that at the moment. But that is how the path stretches out but forward.

But the United States realistically, if this were to pan out and it is a huge if -- all forces could be home in 14 months -- John.

KING: And Nic -- you talked about the huge ifs. There's skepticism here in the United States especially hawkish Republicans sin the Congress. The Afghan government has been pushed along by the White House to bid here.

You just interviewed a member of the Taliban negotiating team. what did he say about the agreement and the optimism or the skepticism -- which is it going forward?

ROBERTSON: You know, this is -- I just interviewed somebody who I knew 20 year ago when he was the Taliban deputy ambassador in Pakistan, so I have known him a long time. Haven't seen him for a long time, of course. They've been off the scene.

They seem and he seems pretty confident about where they are at right now. I said look -- did you defeat the United States or did they defeat you in Afghanistan? He said no. Look, the way I'm going to put it is quite simply this. We decided to agree to end this by talking. That is his view.

On meeting President Trump I said when that is going to happen, and he said it could be this week, it could be in a matter of the next few days.

He said when we were due to go and meet President Trump a few months, back last year, he said suddenly we got a phone call, there was a plane on the tarmac. So they believe it could happen pretty quickly.

Women's issues -- that's a big thing for a lot of people about the Taliban. They say they have learned. They say they're going to give education to women, up to high school age, will no longer have to wear the burka, or have to wear Islamic dress though, a hijab. No longer that body shrouding burka.

So they do say that they're going to make changes and they're ready for those changes. But I said, how can the international community trust you? And essentially he said, trust us. That's it.

No guarantees -- John.

KING: Nic Robertson -- and appreciate the great live reporting from Doha on this historic agreement. We will watch it. We'll watch it and test it as we go forward.

Let's bring the conversation in the room. The President is getting a lot of criticism from the Republican hawks in Congress. But the President believes he is on solid footing.

And as he says, I just want to show you the timeline of American casualties in Afghanistan -- if you look at them.

2010 was the worst year in the middle. I was covering the Bush White House at the time -- but you go through that.


KING: This is America's longest war. The criticism is this -- John Bolton the President's former national security adviser says signing this agreement with the Taliban is an unacceptable risk to the American civilian population. He calls it an Obama style deal, legitimizes the Taliban, he says. Sends the wrong signal.

Liz Cheney, member of the Republican leadership in the House says, "Reminiscent of the worst aspects of the Obama/Iran nuclear deal."

That's being done on purpose. The President's critics here including his former aide John Bolton know you put Obama in the criticism, it gets under his skin.

SHEAR: Right. And look, this is one of the promises that the President made when he was campaigning to bring the United States out of what he called the endless wars. The President is running for re-election, this is something he desperately wanted to be able to tell to the voters that they have had some success.

It is no doubt an exaggeration when the President says we are done, we're out. I mean, you know, and this is as Nic Robertson said, this is -- there's a long way to go here. And there's a lot of risks that this could increase terrorism, that the kind of security and stability in Afghanistan, that the chart that you showed in recent years has been pretty successful in keeping, and that that could be at risk as well.

But for the President, I think he hopes that, you know, he is making a bet essentially that you can overstate the positives and that by the time the election comes, things will still be relatively stable, and that the criticism from the right will fade over time as long as things don't get markedly worse there.

KING: As long as things don't get -- that will be the test as we go forward.

Just consider it remarkable moment, and the huge week ahead for the presidential campaign, a huge test to the administration and the world with the coronavirus and an American President sitting down with leaders of the Taliban, potentially in the week ahead once unthinkable.

That's it for INSIDE POLITICS. Hope you can catch us weekdays as well. Again, a busy week ahead. We'll be here at noon eastern.

Up next, don't go anywhere. "STATE OF THE UNION" with Jake Tapper. A big Sunday -- his guests include the Vice President of the United States Mike Pence and the former vice president of the United States Joe Biden.

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