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Sanders Leading, Buttigieg Second & Klobuchar Third; Sources: Andrew Yang Plans to Suspend His Campaign Tonight. Aired on 8-9p ET
Aired February 11, 2020 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Let's go back to Wolf.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: Anderson, thanks very much.
It's 8:00 p.m. here on the East Coast. All the polls in New Hampshire are now closed.
Let's get a key race alert where things stand right now.
Fourteen percent of the vote estimated now in. Bernie Sanders maintaining his lead, 28.4 percent. To Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar, Pete Buttigieg, 22.2 percent, Amy Klobuchar, 20.5 percent. It's very close between the top three with 14 percent of the vote in.
Elizabeth Warren in fourth place, 9.4 percent. Joe Biden in fifth place, 8.5 percent. Tom Steyer, 3.7 percent. Tulsi Gabbard, 3.3 percent. Andrew Yang, 2.9 percent.
Let's go over to Dana and Jake.
Dana, you have some breaking news?
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right. Some news to report, and that is that sources are telling us that Andrew Yang is planning to suspend his campaign. He is planning to do so in a speech that he will given New Hampshire in about 15 minutes.
This -- as you can imagine, this was not an easy decision that he had to make, but he did not perform as well as he had hoped to in Iowa. It's very early in the night here in New Hampshire. But they are looking at the numbers and the data people even went to the polls, and they didn't see a path forward for him.
One source said to me tongue in cheek that the math, capital M-A-T-H, just didn't work out for him. That, of course, was his slogan.
But listen, he came -- he literally came from nowhere. He is a businessman. No one had ever heard of him, and he got to the debate stage and he got higher in the polls than several elected officials, very well known name brand officials.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Sure. BASH: And he got to this fight, which is a remarkable thing. Another thing I will say is, with him exiting the stage, we have one fewer person of color after this whole field started as very wide and very diverse.
BLITZER: Very impressive on the campaign trail. He had a very significant Yang Gang following.
TAPPER: Yes, interesting guy. He started kind of -- he seemed like a one issue candidate, introducing the idea of UBI, universal basic income. And then he broadened his appeal beyond that, obviously not enough.
One thing I think is important is, are there going to be any Democratic candidates that bring those Yang voters into the fold? Because one of the questions is, he was bringing a lot of new voters, a lot of disaffected voters, some former Trump voters into the fold with his message. That will be a challenge for whoever gets the Democratic nomination. Not just to keep all the other voters of the other candidates, but to reach out to people like yang supporters.
But I guess it is not a surprise that Yang is withdrawing after not a great showing tonight, not a great showing in Iowa. But for who he was, he did punch above his weight, and he did a good job.
David Chalian has some results now.
DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Jake, now that the polls have closed, we can dig into how the candidates are doing with each of these voter groups. Take a look about candidate qualities.
Among the voters who are looking for a candidate who can bring me the change, which, by the way, 36 percent of the electorate said they are looking for a candidate that can bring needed change. This is the Sanders category. He gets 38 percent of them, nearly twice as much as Pete Buttigieg gets with 20 percent. Klobuchar is down at 13 percent.
Take a look about those who were looking for a candidate that can unite the country. This is about a third of the electorate today. This is where Klobuchar and Buttigieg are battling it out. Klobuchar gets 31 percent of these voters looking for a uniter, Buttigieg gets 29 percent, Biden at 14, Sanders is at 11 percent among this group looking for a uniter.
And, finally, this issue of electability. We have talked about it all campaign season long. Among those, that was more than 60 percent who want a Trump defeater, Pete Buttigieg is winning that argument right now. He gets 27 percent of those voters, Klobuchar behind him at 21 percent, Sanders at 19 percent.
Look at Joe Biden here. He is down at 13 percent. This was his strong suit through all of 2019, but after you have come in fourth place and Iowa, this pierce is that electability prospect and you see it here.
Those electability voters, they're not going with Joe Biden -- Wolf.
BLITZER: That's an important point, David.
Let's do another key race alert. Right now,
14 percent of the estimated vote now in. Bernie Sanders maintaining his lead with 28.3 percent. Pete Buttigieg with 22.3 percent. Amy Klobuchar 20.4 percent.
Elizabeth Warren, she's down in fourth place with 9.3 percent. Joe Biden is in fifth place, 8.6 percent. Tom Steyer, Tulsi Gabbard, and Andrew Yang, they around out the field.
Let's go to John King. He is studying these numbers for us.
And you're looking at the townships where the numbers are coming in from.
JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I just moved up the map a little bit, so it's easier to follow at home. The lighter blue is Bernie Sanders. Bernie is in the lead. You see more towns that are lighter blue, so some of that could follow along logically.
What's happening here, though? Mayor Buttigieg is the lighter green, running second right now. This gap has been pretty consistent, but we're still at 15 percent of the vote. We'll see. But this gap, some pretty consistent for a little while, we'll see how it goes.
Senator Klobuchar is running third. She is the darker green. You see her performing well down here and up here as well.
What to make it? You keep going around. You are looking at places, number one, where there are votes. Come over here to Portsmouth, and you see here, you know, they are at 20 percent now. This is an area where it's relatively close.
Again, if you go back in time, Sanders is leading and he's leading most of the places he won last time. There's a couple of exceptions. He is leading but in a more crowded race by less. The percentages are smaller because Democrats have more candidates to choose from, and they clearly had a harder time settling on one.
We pull back out and look, what else are you looking for for Senator Sanders, just want to pop this up and stretch it out a little bit, so, it's see wit the smaller towns.
Again, saw this earlier, we're up to 40 percent now in Keene State, one of the college towns. Are the younger people coming out? You heard David Axelrod earlier making a point.
This is a key test. Let's look at the turnout at the end of the night. Even if Sanders winds, one of the questions will be, is he turning out new voters? Is he bringing young voters? Is he winning as big a percentage of the younger voters as he did last time?
At the moment, you are happy to be winning. You count the votes as you go.
I want to come back out here, and you just look as it fills in, again, this is up toward the Lake Counties area here. This one is Bernie Sanders. This one is Pete Buttigieg fighting it out town by town. So, it's an interesting and competitive race, you go town by town.
But as we count right now, the Klobuchar strength down here, Concord is very close. The places where she is winning, it tends to be a close race. But as you watch it fill in, Wolf, it's going to go on for a while, but again, the basic shape of the race, this lead has held for a little bit at this margin, in the conversation that will be held later tonight if this holds up from neighboring Massachusetts, had a great strong summer in New Hampshire, seems to be fading. The former vice president seems to be fading.
Dana just told us the news about Andrew Yang, he's at the bottom of the pack tonight, dropping out of the race. You say that's only 3 percent, but that 3 percent has to go someplace else. You are losing not just a person of color, but an interesting, an outsider, somebody they knew to the race, someone on the debate stage, shakes things up. That will be interesting.
New Hampshire tends to not have a great track record in terms of the winner of New Hampshire winning the nomination. Sanders one last time, and did not get the nomination. But it does window the field, and we have our first example of that tonight.
BLITZER: With 15 percent of the vote in, Bernie Sanders maintaining his lead. But there's a real battle for second place, at least with 15 percent of the voting. Is this surprising?
KING: Well, a lot of people will try to say, is this progressives versus moderates? And if you added this up, you get, you know, we're above 40 percent, we are closing in on 43 percent. Is it time for the moderates to come together to beat the progressives?
One of the interesting things when you go to event, there's a lot of liberal people at Buttigieg events. There are a lot of people who described themselves as conservatives as well, because he is so familiar in New Hampshire. We should be nervous about the liberal bloc. But the fact that two Midwesterners have come into New Hampshire and are running ahead of a very familiar senator from neighboring Massachusetts, remember Dukakis, remember Kerry, remember Romney, people from Massachusetts come into New Hampshire intend to do well in the primary.
The fact that you had two Midwestern, a senator and a former mayor running ahead, a senator from Massachusetts and a man who's title is vice president for eight years and a familiar face in Democratic politics, that does tell you something. It tells you have two very fresh face on the national stage and the Democrats -- and this is the history of the Democratic Party. Look for someone young, someone different.
It tells you that you have less familiar candidates who are getting a look by the voters of New Hampshire. BLITZER: But the top three at least with 15 percent of the vote
estimated to be in. Let's take a look at each one, first place, second place, third place, because it gives us an indication where this is headed.
KING: Let's move this over. The colors will stay the same, but you'll see highlights. Let's look at senator Sanders first, because he is in the lead. See if we can get that to pop for me, right?
Senator Sanders will get first, There is towns where he is first, second, and third. So, you see Klobuchar towns, you see Buttigieg towns, Bernie is competitive just about everywhere in the places that we have votes so far.
Not surprising, again, he is a familiar face. He ran very strong four years ago, but that's how you do it. If you're going to lose some towns, you want to come in second in a close statewide contest to get every last vote. That's the Sanders perspective.
So, Mayor Buttigieg right now is running second. Let's turn that off and come back in here and come down here. There is where he is first. That's where he is first or second.
I got to get that together. Hold on first, first and second, and third.
So, again --
BLITZER: Pete Buttigieg.
KING: Yes, this is Pete Buttigieg.
Again, Buttigieg is the lighter green. He's first there. In these Bernie Sanders towns and in these Amy Klobuchar towns, Buttigieg is in the top three, which is why we have a closer statewide race.
He is competitive just about everywhere so far, as we go through it. Now you come out and just see, we get the same for Klobuchar. Come up here, pop this off, here is where she is first, fewer places.
But you see that pop up. The lighter green is Buttigieg and the blue is Bernie. Pretty much the same when you go through it. It's a three candidate race. All this towns we have looked at, the same three tend to be running first or second or third.
KING: So, it is largely a three candidate race, which again, as you're looking ahead, if we saw it more, let's just see if we see any, let's just come out here, and turn this off. So, if you are in the Warren campaign headquarters and you're thinking, OK, these are only early results. She is not running first anywhere, she's not second anywhere but that one county that voted at midnight, and she is running third and one county here. So, if you are Warren headquarters, you are thinking, are we
competitive? Are we in the mix? Can we start to come back? That's pretty depressing when you look at that.
KING: Again, we're early. We'll count. We'll keep looking.
BLITZER: Even in townships along the Massachusetts border her home state.
KING: Right. Now, we don't have a ton of vote down there yet, so we'll see if it comes in, and just let's have one more pop at this, to come up here. The former vice president of the United States is first nowhere. Second up there, but again I almost don't want to do it because this feels mean to do.
We are talking about a very tiny place up here. Two to one in the south. It feels almost mean to do it.
But that just tells you that, if you aren't first, second, or third of anywhere significant on the map, that is the definition of a very bad night.
BLITZER: Yes, and, you know, 17 percent of the vote is now in and Bernie Sanders maintains his lead over Peter Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar.
Show us the population, if you can, because most of the vote, only 17 percent is in. Most of it still remains at large.
KING: Right. Most of the votes, and we have a lot of vote out in the state. And if you want to look here, number one, just the larger areas are where the most people live. No offense to the northern country.
BLITZER: So, wherever you see gray, it's not in yet.
KING: Right. Wherever you see gray it's not in yet, and when you see the larger circles is where you have the population centers where more of the votes are, as we get through this through the night. That's one way to look at it. And again, the bulk of the population is down here, below here, and really below here.
And you come along. You made a point about Elizabeth Warren, to be fair, let's just see if she can do better along the Massachusetts border for Elizabeth Warren. Over here, Salem. Very key in a Democratic primary. A close race here, Mayor Buttigieg winning in a place that is if you went back --
BLITZER: A hundred percent reporting..
KING: If you went back to the summertime, you would think, we're going to look and see how Elizabeth Warren does along here. If you talk about people from Massachusetts who have moved over, to stretch out the map for you, you are right along the border. As you move to the western part, as you get closer, these are very small towns. You see 146 votes, with 100 percent and you are winning it. But if you go back in time and you look at this from four years ago,
these are the places where Senator Sanders, the gray, and lighter grays, sorry, these are places where Senator Sanders run the strongest four years ago. Only in one of those towns is Mayor Buttigieg giving him a run, in Woodstock, New Hampshire. And you see, it's 100 percent, very, very close there, two votes, a two-vote difference.
So, Senator Sanders is winning or running very strong in the places that were key to his victory in 2016, but the margins are not as big, which is why we have the close statewide race right now.
KING: All right. Nineteen percent, John, of the vote is now in. Bernie Sanders remains in first place. Pete Buttigieg is in second place. Amy Klobuchar in third place.
Numbers are coming in rapidly from New Hampshire. Much more right after this.
BLITZER: Let's get another key race alert right now. Twenty percent, 20 percent of the estimated vote is now in.
Bernie Sanders maintains his lead with 27.7 percent, Pete Buttigieg with 22.6 percent. Amy Klobuchar, 20.8 percent. Elizabeth Warren, she's down in fourth place, 9.5 percent. Joe Biden, he's down in fifth place, 8.6 percent. The remaining candidates, they are below.
Let's take a look at the counties. We have been showing you the townships. But let's take a look at the counties.
The light blue is Bernie Sanders. He is leading in those counties. Pete Buttigieg is leading in one county in New Hampshire right now.
Let's dive deeper with John King over at the magic wall. Let's take a look at the townships right now, because that is where we are getting the numbers from.
KING: That's how we count, him as you noted. We are up to 20 percent no.
A five point lead is a league. Sanders won in a blowout, now he's in a crowded field with more competition. To the eyeball at home, pretty easy to see, there is more light blue. Bernie is leading in the race right now. But you see, it's been interesting to see the competitiveness of this race, that the two --
BLITZER: I am going to interrupt you for a second.
Our correspondent, Evan McMorris-Santoro, is in Nashua for us right now. He's got the results of, what, ward over there?
EVAN MCMORRIS-SANTORO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Ward three here in Nashua, New Hampshire. Let me just say. You have not really lived until you have seen the
thrill of a computer printouts spitting out of a voting machine at the end of voting in a New Hampshire primary. I have seen a lot of things, but that's where the most exciting things I have ever seen.
Ward three is part of Nashua, New Hampshire. And Nashua is interesting, because it is quite divers. The state is about 1 percent black. But Nashua has about 3 percent black population.
Let me give you some the results, the results just came out of machine and I was excited by it, so I'll read them to you.
Sanders, 590 votes, Buttigieg, 496, Klobuchar for 422, Warren won 187, and Biden 180. Those are the results from ward three in Nashua, New Hampshire.
Voting (ph) with a school bell and a print, out that is what we got.
BLITZER: Very interesting indeed. Evan, thanks very much.
John, those numbers and that word in Nashua pretty similar to what we're seeing the rest of the state.
KING: Right, and just to the point, having correspondents on the scene is very helpful because have not been called into the state yet and process to the system. No pop up in a second, you'll see the callers come in, it will turn, that's only one word reporting, it will turn Sanders blue.
Why does Nashua matter? As Evan just said, it is a bit more diverse.
BLITZER: Who won Nashua four years ago?
KING: Who? Here we go. Bernie Sanders won it.
And again, some of these margins were 60 plus, but this is more competitive because of diversity, because you have -- there are no huge cities in New Hampshire, if you are familiar. But Nashua is a small little city. It's a great little city, you have some suburbs around and again, you're moving down close to the Massachusetts border.
It is somewhat suburban. You move up here, but it is in the corner, and the population corner, this is four years ago and you see -- townships where Hillary Clinton won are hard to come by because Sanders won the statewide race so big. That is where we were four years ago.
You come back to today, and that is what is interesting. And this corridor down here, we have the population, Concord earlier was for Klobuchar earlier. Concord has switched. The league has switched, very close still. But as we get up to 60 percent, and different wards come in, this is significant that Sanders has pulled ahead in Concord. That is the state capital, more of a government town. But it was
Klobuchar earlier tonight. You are seeing less dark green which is important. She's still running very competitive third place at the moment, but Senator Sanders passed her there.
What's interesting to me is, as you see, in Manchester, the largest population center, some of the vote comes in, late but what is in so far, up to 67 percent, that is a good quick count so far in Manchester, Sanders is winning by a comfortable margin. You see a lot of these towns have been close. It's a lot of blue-collar voters in Manchester.
The Sanders campaign will be heartened by that. He won this by so much four years ago, if he wins tonight, the margins are smaller, how to process that, they'll take it as a win is a win. And this will be helpful to make the blue-collar case.
But, look here, Amy Klobuchar, this is bad for her. This is one of the few places that Hillary Clinton won four years ago. It is more Republican. It voted for Trump in the fall, but it is suburban. You have more independents or undeclared voters in New Hampshire. Thee big fight for suburban women.
The Klobuchar campaign -- it's very close, but the Klobuchar campaign will take some note that if you are trying to talk about who can be competitive, if you want to make the argument in future states, I'm is proving that she can win places that are important in November, it's interesting. We'll see how to make of it. We'll see the rest if it's 100 percent.
We will see how this comes in. If that stays there, it is a victory within the map, if you will. A victory within the battle to be able to say I went into a largely Republican suburb and I won it. And if you go back, it is hard to find Clinton blue on the map from four years ago.
Elsewhere, it is impressive for Buttigieg running up some small towns as well, 5 points, almost 6 points behind Senator Sanders.
BLITZER: Twenty-two percent of the vote is now in.
KING: Twenty-two percent and again, as you start to go up and you are a Biden supporter, or a Warren supporter. You have been waiting and saying it is early. As you get into the twenties and move up, it's still can change, but this basic framework of the race.
You have Senator Warren from neighboring Massachusetts in single digits, just below 10 percent, and the former vice president of the United States is just below 9 percent. We will keep counting, but that is a sad night for those two candidates. They say they will regroup and they say they will move on, but it's a three way race with senator Sanders holding on to that lead.
BLITZER: It has been very consistent for the past hour or so.
All right. We're going to have a lot more coming up. We will break down the New Hampshire voters by age, and ideology.
More numbers are coming in. We'll be right back.
KING: All right. We've got a key race alert right now.
Twenty-three percent of the estimated vote now in, and Bernie Sanders maintains his lead with 27.7 percent. Pete Buttigieg in second place, 23.1 percent. Amy Klobuchar third, 20.4 percent. Elizabeth Warren, she's down at only 9.4 percent, in fourth place. Joe Biden in fifth place, 8.7 percent. The other candidates round out the field and are not doing very well right now.
Let's check in with David Chalian.
David, some fascinating exit poll numbers you're going through.
CHALIAN: That's right, Wolf. Some key components of the electorate and how they split themselves among the candidates. Moderate voters, these are people telling us that they describe themselves as moderate voting in the Democratic primary. They made up 35 percent of the electorate today, that's eight points more than 2016. These are more moderate electorate.
This is why Klobuchar and Buttigieg are doing well. She gets 29 percent of this group. Buttigieg gets 25 percent. Sanders gets 16.
And look at this, Joe Biden, all through 2019 moderates were a key part of his strength, and he is down at 12 percent among moderates.
Look at the very liberal crowd, something instructive here as well. They make up 19 percent of the electorate, and that is down seven points from four years ago. It is a smaller pie, now, it's a huge Sanders category. I mean, they are powering him to a lead right now. He is winning death by 30 points, 48 percent to 18 percent over Elizabeth Warren.
These two were battling over the very liberal crowd for much of the fall. Sanders is winning it going away, and that is explaining Warren's faith here as well.
Take a look at age. It is so significant in this race. Among older voters, 65 and older, look at Amy Klobuchar here. This is a key strength for her. She's winning 35 percent of seniors. They make up 27 percent of the electorate. Buttigieg is next at 22 percent.
And younger voters, you know that that is a Bernie Sanders strength. And we see it again. He is overwhelmingly popular with the younger voters. He gets 53 percent of them. Buttigieg is next at 18 percent, but it is not a huge share. Only 12 percent of the electorate, Wolf, is in the 18 to 29 category.
So, Sanders win some categories by a lot, but they are smaller slices of the electorate. And that's what's keeping it a relatively close three-way race. BLITZER: That's what -- you are absolutely right.
And, John King, 25 percent, a quarter of the vote is now in. That's a significant number. It has been a consistent, Bernie Sanders in first place, Pete Buttigieg in second place, Amy Klobuchar in third place.
KING: And when we look at the results as we keep counting the votes, one of the things to look at is the map, who's winning and by what margin, the other thing is to the point David Chalian just made. As this race goes on, Amy Klobuchar is going to say, hey, look, how I'm performing among all the voters. If we went back in time, we thought that would be Joe Biden's will house.
It doesn't mean one state makes a difference. We're still counting votes tonight, but candidates will try to spin that. The point you made about younger voters, Bernie Sanders base. But, did Senator Sanders have a problem turning them out tonight? Is that why this margin is relatively close? These are the conversations that will come after, we do the math.
As we go through the math, you're seeing more fill in. We're up to 25 percent. And again, in the places where you have larger population, no big cities in New Hampshire, but Concord, Klobuchar was ahead earlier, Senator Sanders pulled ahead, we're up to 60 percent there as the vote comes in reasonably quickly in New Hampshire tonight.
You come down here, this is Bedford, it's a small suburb of Manchester, 100 percent for Klobuchar, come in here again, 67 percent in Manchester. This is where, again, in 2008 Hillary Clinton came back here. And in Nashua late in the night, Obama was ahead early on. Greedy blue color, Senator Sanders will be proud of those numbers there, although there's, again, will be a debate about the margins.
One of the things we can go back and look at here as we come through this, number one, how is Senator Sanders doing in the places he ran strong a long time ago and you see competition. This lighter gray and ones that are filled in are places Sanders won last time by a healthy margin. Mayor Buttigieg giving him a run in some of those townships, so that's one thing to watch as we go forward.
Again, even if Sanders win, there'll be a conversation. Is he strong as he was four years ago? And some of that was a protest vote to be fair to him. Other things you want to look at as you come through here, I just want to look here just to see if there's a distinction here, turn this one off. These are townships that voted twice for Barack Obama and then flipped and voted for Donald Trump, especially the Buttigieg campaign, but all the Democrats are trying to prove I'm the toughest against Trump.
One of the ways you do that is -- you know, these are only Democrats, it's Democratic primary, but you get bragging rights by performing in those places. Bit of a split here, Sanders win most of them, Buttigieg winning some there. Just come out and look at some other things we can look at in the math here. Let's just see, these are highest educate -- townships with the highest education, Bernie Sanders here, Amy Klobuchar there. And let me just pull that back up, switch it to the least where you have high school degrees. You see Senator Sanders there. Again the competition from blue collar votes, people who -- high school education and lack college degrees there.
And just one more thing I want to do to come out here, I talked about this earlier in the night, there are six bellwether townships that have predicted the winner every time as we go through. Let me turn this one off on the bottom here. And right now, Sanders is leading. Buttigieg is leading in one of those townships, that's the Laconia. Senator Sanders is leading down here in Epping.
So, one of the things that might happen tonight as we get a New Hampshire winner if this holds up as we count through the votes, a streak of at least one of these townships could be broken.
BLITZER: You know what interesting, they're all fighting for delegates to go to the Democratic convention in July in Milwaukee, but you need 15 percent of the vote in order to get a delegate or two or three. And right now, only the top three candidates are with 30 percent of the vote are above that 15 percent threshold.
KING: And again, it's the second state on the calendar, so you don't want to make too much of anything, but one of the points bragging rights is you need convention delegates. Sanders is in this for the long haul. He has a campaign organization just about everywhere. He can raise money organically. He's going to get delegates tonight.
The two Midwesterners coming in to New Hampshire performing regionally, we'll see here at 30 percent. We'll see if the numbers hold up, they will get delegates. This is, again, Massachusetts senator and progressive icon, Elizabeth Warren, former vice president of the United States Joe Biden from the neighborhood, very well-known, had a very strong summer was running strong. People are going to ask how did that happen.
Vice President Biden, you could see, you could feel it this weekend some of his votes going to Klobuchar, going to Buttigieg, not going get delegates. So that you can say, I'm going to fight on South Carolina, I'm going to fight on Nevada, I'm going to fight on Super Tuesday.
But one of the ways you convince people stay with me, help me rebound, help me fight back is to say you're in the chase. It's only one contest, but they're so well known that if that -- if those numbers hold up and they come out of the state without any delegates, that's beyond the big disappointment.
BLITZER: Yes, 30 percent of the vote is now in. All right, we're going to get more numbers and I'm impressed that New Hampshire, the numbers are coming in fairly quickly. What a difference a week makes. We'll be right back.
[20:38:25] BLITZER: All right, I got a key race alert right now. Look at this 32 percent, almost a third of the vote is now in and the lead remains with Bernie Sanders 27.8 percent, Pete Buttigieg in second place 23.5 percent, Amy Klobuchar in third place 20 percent. Elizabeth Warren, she's down at 9.6 percent, Joe Biden, 8.8 percent. The rest of the field, not doing well at all.
Let's go over to Jake and Dana. Jake, you've got indications, another candidate has decided to --
TAPPER: To drop out, that's right. Senator Michael Bennet, Democrat of Colorado, the former superintendent of schools in Denver is dropping out of the presidential race this evening. He is not doing very well tonight and he did not do very well in Iowa. Dana?
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: And he put all of his eggs in the New Hampshire basket. You know, when everybody else during impeachment went to Iowa, he went to New Hampshire. He was really hoping to catch steam in the granite state and it just didn't happen.
So if you -- you have Bennet and Yang both dropping out tonight, it just is a reminder that, yes, it's only the second contest, but this is what happens particularly when there's such a big field. And also a reminder that there are lots of senators who are running for President who had much higher name recognition, much more well-known from Kamala Harris to Cory Booker who didn't even make it to this point.
TAPPER: Didn't make it to this point. And then you also have to remember all those weeks where people like Michael Bennet, Amy Klobuchar and others were stuck in Washington, D.C. during the Senate impeachment trial so they could not be out there campaigning. But that's two casualties of the night already, Andrew Yang and Senator Michael Bennet of Colorado.
BLITZER: We'll see if there are any more coming up. Everybody stick around, John King is looking at the numbers. Look, almost a third of the vote -- the estimated vote is now in, 32 percent. And this lead for Bernie Sanders, Pete Buttigieg in second, Amy Klobuchar in third, it's been very consistent.
KING: It's been very consistent. It was 5 a while ago, it's 4 now, four and some change, 8 points between the third place finish in the top, finish of the basic framework, though, has stayed, you know, moving within the margins here. And again for the lower tier candidates here, Warren and Biden, especially, if you keep going down, you see -- if you come -- this is getting a little finicky on me here, but you see Steyer, Tulsi Gabbard, Andrew Yang, Michael Bennet, that's why Yang and Michael Bennet are saying goodbye tonight.
But this right here, New Hampshire is going to send three people out of the state with some bragging rights, but at the moment it looks like Sanders is in the lead and we'll see if that holds up. But you know, these two more centrist, but again don't over apply that. They both try to dip into the liberal wing of the party as well in certain ways and they have appeal.
This is a tough night when you look at that, especially given her career though, but if you look their -- proximity to here. But if you look at the votes coming in, what's interesting about it, especially after four yours ago you had a two candidate race, so you had in New Hampshire almost all Sanders and just a little bit Clinton.
Now that you do have -- Buttigieg is the light green, Klobuchar is the darker green, and predominantly Bernie Sander in the light blue filling in, holding up that margin. But with all this blue Sanders, how is it that it's relatively close? It is because Buttigieg and Klobuchar are running second and third and no other candidates, no other candidates are really performing at a high level across the state.
I just want to click through some. These are small rural counties at the top. I'm just trying to see the margins, 100 percent and you see 69 votes winds you the township here. Probably (ph), you move down here, Tamworth as well, again, 100 percent in here. So in the smaller more rural townships, the votes coming in, in these places and Sanders is winning but not by a ton in them.
So let's come over to some of the other places you watch more closely, 100 in enforcement now. We looked earlier tonight, that was at 67 percent, last time we looked, 26, 23, 22. Senator Warren getting into double digits in this part of the state, but even though it's higher than her statewide total, that's a disappointment and that you have proximity of the Massachusetts border along the eastern.
The water is right here, off here. Progressive part of the state and Sanders beating her 2 to 1 and the two more centrist coming in and beating her as well, so that's disappointing there. Again, Sanders won that before you come across the swath here, the state, up to 60 percent in Concord, very close.
Klobuchar had the early lead here, Sanders pulling away, but look how close the top three candidates are. Again, this is your state capitol, more of a government town, more of a well-establishment town, but Sanders winning there as he did four years ago as well. Manchester is the largest population center. This is where -- this is his lead, I mean, if you look at it 12-point gap here. When you look to the statewide numbers, it's 2,000 there. That's a big piece of it.
BLITZER: 83 percent of the vote in Manchester.
KING: Right, yes. But the key in a close race is to run it up a little bit where there are more people.
KING: And this is where you find the most people in the state of New Hampshire. We're done here in Bedford. I keep mentioning, only because it will be bragging right here, Hillary Clinton won the town of Bedford, affluent, Republican, suburban. The 2018 election, the Democrats thought were starting to do some movement in places like this. Maybe it'll be red in November, but Klobuchar will try to clench some bragging rights there.
And again, I want to go back there just for a second as we look through the night and come back down here to Bedford, again, in the sense that it's one race. But if you're expected to do very well somewhere, that's Amy Klobuchar, not Elizabeth Warren, not even on the screen here in Bedford, 8 percent in Bedford. If you're talking about trying to convince I can win suburban women in Republican areas, that's Amy Klobuchar, not Elizabeth Warren has this filled in will be part of the conversation coming out of New Hampshire tomorrow.
And again, you see the southern part of the state. You were talking to Epping and Nashua earlier before any votes came in, now we're up to 44 percent. You start to see what happens. Once they start to come in, they start to come in. You complimented the state of New Hampshire earlier, I will join you in that compliment, so far about 29, to 25, to 18, if you round them up, with 44 percent. (INAUDIBLE) candidates anywhere you look.
BLITZER: Show us the population where the major population is and how much of the vote remains outstanding in those -- the major populated areas in the southern part of the state.
KING: Right. Two different ways you can look at this. Number one, you just start the population centers. You see the gray, that means we're still waiting, right? The larger the circle, the larger the population. Manchester, your biggest, Concord, Nashua, these are your three biggest population centers. You come over here to Portsmouth there, there's a lot of grace still. We're waiting for votes there. That's one way to look at it.
You can come back out here too and come over here, excuse, for stepping in front of you, Wolf. You come over here, these are the townships showing 100 percent reporting or less, so you see everything there. Let's pull this over a little bit, 67 percent reporting or more. Still got a lot of places where we're waiting for votes to come in there.
But again, even as we're waiting for votes to come in and some places are moving up into the 50s and the 60s, what has been so interesting about is sometimes in a close race, you bounce around a little bit.
The basic structure of this race has held up pretty consistently. That doesn't mean it will stay that way, we're at 35 percent as we go through it. But, I just want to come back here for one second to see if we have more.
We do have 67 percent there as we come out. Let me make this go away as we see the rest of it. Getting a little finicky there, I'll come back to that a little bit later. Well, I'm stuck on it now, so I got to come out of it. See the technology is getting a little finicky because of some heat.
BLITZER: All right, while you're fixing that --
KING: I'll fix that and you come back to me in a minute.
BLITZER: -- I'm going to go to David Chalian. He's got some more exit poll numbers. David?
DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: I do, Wolf. And it actually shows a lot of what John King and you were just talking about. Let's look at gender -- and the gender and education divide in this race. So first, just look at the electorate today, 57 percent of voters today according to our exit polls in the New Hampshire Democratic primary, female, 43 percent male.
I want to show you now white college educated women makes up about 28 percent of the electorate. This is like that like community in Bedford John King was just talking about. Amy Klobuchar cleaning up here with white college educated women, 34 percent, Pete Buttigieg at 22 percent, Sanders at 18, Warren down at 13 who is hoping this was going to be a key strength for her throughout the entirety of this campaign.
Let's look at the flip side about non-college educated white men. And this is going to be a Sanders category, 35 percent to Buttigieg's 20 percent. And this is going to be the argument that Sanders makes going forward, his electability argument that he can win over some of those Trump voters, white non-college educated men that he has an appeal as well.
Amy Klobuchar are going to make the argument. She could get those suburban women out that drove the party in 2018 in the midterms. Sanders saying, I can get some Trump voters. You see how these demographic battles are going to shape the electability argument going forward. Over to you, Anderson.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: David Chalian, thanks very much. I'm wondering, Gloria, what you think of the numbers you're seeing so far.
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I think what's stunning to me in looking at these numbers is how much Amy Klobuchar has really hurt Elizabeth Warren. She's taken a lot of women from her. She's taken Clinton supporters from her. And Amy Klobuchar is I think the one that maybe Elizabeth Warren didn't expect to be up there.
Her -- Warren's campaign manager sent out sort of a public memo when they knew they were clearly not going to win tonight and talked about Sanders, starts with a ceiling that's lower than what he had in 2016, Biden no longer the frontrunner, Buttigieg, his challenge has yet to come.
But when it comes to Amy Klobuchar, they say she's getting a well deserved look from voters for the first time, but she may not have the infrastructure for the long haul, and she's playing catch-up in a very short time line. So what the Warren people are saying is, OK, she's doing OK now, but we are built to last, and she's not.
COOPER: Well, I mean, it is true that Amy Klobuchar in terms of support among African-Americans is I think lower than Pete Buttigieg.
JESS MCINTOSH, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes, and that's a real problem for Amy Klobuchar. It's a real problem for Pete Buttigieg. It's why I want to caution that we're, you know, the second state in. I don't know that we can assume that Klobuchar is taking women from Warren.
We were just talking on the break, if women were naturally predisposed to vote for women, then we would already run everything. We're 51percent of the population. So, I think that the women's vote was up for grabs like it always is.
BORGER: But she's doing well with women.
MCINTOSH: She is, yes.
DAVID AXELROD, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Just that the problem is that Elizabeth Warren was doing very well earlier in the race among college educated voters generally and among college educated women particularly. And Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar now in particular have taken a lot of that vote away from her. And that is problematic and at the same time Bernie Sanders has taken a lot of her support among younger voters and very liberal voters. And so, she's got challenges.
MCINTOSH: For sure she has challenges.
AXELROD: And here's the thing about -- let me just make one last point on this, because as we evaluate all this, if you're thinking about this in a campaign headquarters as I did many nights good and bad, the first question you ask is how do we sustain this campaign moving forward? How do we sustain it in terms of political support, but how do we sustain it in terms of money?
Elizabeth Warren has built an organization in a lot of the states, but it costs money to maintain them and the question is how do numbers like this translate into your ability to continue to raise money?
COOPER: Yes. Jess?
MCINTOSH: For sure. I think that a lot of the candidates have been hurt at some point in this race or another by this voter paralysis where they feel like they have to play pundent, this electability question, this idea that the only important thing -- the number one thing is beating Donald Trump and there's no Democrat in the country that doesn't agree with that.
But we lose the basic idea of a primary, which is if everybody votes for the candidate that inspires them, then the person who wins will be the candidate who inspires the most voters. That's the nominee that you ultimately want.
And instead, you talk to people on the ground and they're doing a numbers game. They're saying, I'm going to vote for this person because I'm really worried about this person. We have a history making field for better or worst. There are very few candidates up there that would not be a history making candidate. And I'm saying history making as opposed to unsafe because I don't know what we can say history making nuisance.
TERRY MCAULIFFE, CNN COMMENTATOR: You know, I don't say much about Pete toning, but I do have to say, you've got to give this guy credit. I mean, he came in first in Iowa.
MCAULIFFE: He's going to come in -- looks like he's going to be second tonight. This was a guy of a mayor of a small town a year ago. Nobody gave this guy a chance. And I think it's extraordinary that you see these numbers coming up.
The challenge for all of them is going to be, three weeks from tonight we would have just finished Super Tuesday. We are going about to go through a gauntlet of states. I'm talking California, Texas, North Carolina, Virginia. You know, its $50 to $100 million three week expenditure, as David talks about on the money. He now have to --
AXELROD: Or as Mike Bloomberg would say, lunch money.
MICHAEL SMERCONISH, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Can I also put in a bid for the seventh or eighth place finisher tonight, Andrew Yang. Anderson, more than any other candidate on that stage when I get phone calls from people across the country on my radio program and they say this is an individual we'd like to see play a role in administration, it's Yang.
I don't think that anybody ever anticipated that he would be the frontrunner, that he would win the nomination. But if my audience is providing consensus for the country and I think they probably are, they hope he has a future.
BORGER: Yes. Can I just speak to your point, which is there a lot of maybe history making candidates, but it seems to me that in talking to voters there's no one they see this time as a transformational candidate or they would coalesce around a transformational candidate.
Maybe it takes time to build someone who looks like a transformational candidate. I mean, you would know a lot about that, David. But I think that in talking to people, they're sort of trying to figure out that there isn't anybody that they say, oh, my goodness, this is the person.
VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Or if they feel that way, it's not sustained. So they feel like, everybody's like having all this kind of like crushes, you know, it's like back to junior high school and then -- but nobody actually --
BORGER: Right. JONES: -- gets engaged. The other thing is it just feels like everybody is partially able to take on Trump but not really. So it's like, you've got the Avengers against Thanos, right? So, you know, if you get, Thor is this and you had a Hulk is that, and you had Amy is this, if you had Pete's that, but there is no one candidate yet that feels that everybody feels like can actually go up against Thanos and beat him.
NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: Yes. And in the meantime, you've got Sanders coming in. He's obviously somebody who has run before, won I think 23 states before. And if you look at a candidate who might be able to eke this thing out, it could be him. Given that he's got organizational structure in a lot of these states, clearly the ones he run in before. He's got some standing there. He's got inability how to raise money, passionate supporters.
The rest don't seem to have the kind of organizational skill that he has. So you know, listen, you shouldn't have ignored him, but I think he's certainly one to watch. And he's got this idea of change, right? A lot of the voters who went to the polls in New Hampshire and Iowa, that's what they want to see. That's what propelled a Donald Trump last go round and that's what he embodies for a lot of these voters.
ALEXANDRA ROJAS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes. And I want to comment on two things. I think one, it's important to set the stage of where we are. I think that Elizabeth Warren did not get the coverage that she deserved because of the Iowa debacle. And, yes, Klobuchar came in fourth, but Elizabeth Warren came in third. And I think even right now she made a speech and we should continue to cover the memo and all of that.
I think the second thing that you said we're not talking a lot about Mayor Pete and I think he's someone that I think it's probably going to have a strong performance tonight. But heading in similar to Klobuchar, the path out of New Hampshire and really being able to inspire communities of color to get behind him.
He's still really struggling in national polls and there's a political piece that came out this week about where they're choosing to invest their money in when it comes to digitals and they're betting hard core on the Obama-Trump voters focusing on swing states where folks went to Trump.
And so, again, kind of signaling that he doesn't even want to earn or attempt to earn at least those states that maybe are a little bit more diverse like in Nevada and others down the line. So it's interesting where he's --
AXELROD: Well, that's going to resolve itself very quickly. I mean, what Pete Buttigieg has earned, and nobody really anticipate that he would be here at this point. What he has earned is a look and he'll either do well in these next two states and prove he can compete in states like that or he won't and that will be a real problem for his candidacy.
But you know, that is the challenge ahead of him. And I think we should note that, well, Bernie Sanders does represent change and has for -- Bernie Sanders has represented change for as long as I can remember. But these other candidates are doing well. And like Klobuchar and Buttigieg are really fresh faces and in that sense they're new and interesting to people who may be looking for fresher faces moving forward.
JONES: Can I just still add, you know, speaking of fresh faces.
HENDERSON: Yang gang here.
JONES: I can't tell you how sad I am that Andrew Yang is leaving this race. I think that he represented a positive populism. So much of politics now is who do you hate. Do you hate the liberal elite, do you hate immigrants, do you hate billionaires, do you hate, you know, who do you hate? That's what he's going. And the thing about Andrew Yang is you could join the Yang gang and not hate anybody.
He just want to make sure that we retold the economy for this new challenges and I just think that from a decade perspective, he may wind up being a much more significant voice than we recognize tonight. And also there, he broke a color barrier when he came. He's an Asian- American guy.
JONES: And now that's a thing.
JONES: And you saw a lot of young Asians getting involved and also it wasn't a big thing. And so I just think that to lose Andrew Yang at this point, is -- you know, you got to recognize. The thing I'll say about him is, his idea around universal basic income was at like 3 percent or like no percent a year and a half ago, now it's 55 percent popular idea in some polls. That's a big deal.
COPPER: Moments ago Elizabeth Warren spoke. I want to listen in.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Results are still coming in from across the state. But right now, it is clear that Senator Sanders and Mayor Buttigieg had strong nights. And I also want to congratulate my friend and colleague, Amy Klobuchar, for showing just how wrong the pundits can be when they count a woman out.
But since we are here tonight among family and friends, I also want us to be honest with ourselves as Democrats. We might be headed for another one of those long primary fights that last for months. We're two states in with 55 states and territories to go. We still have 98 percent of our delegates for our nomination up for grabs and Americans in every part of the country are going to make their voices heard. That's right.
The question for us Democrats is whether it will be a long bitter rehash of the same old divides in our party or whether we can find another way. Senator Sanders and Mayor Buttigieg are both great people, and either one of them would be a far better President than Donald Trump. I respect them both.
But the fight between factions in our party has taken a sharp turn in recent weeks with ads mocking other candidates and with supporters of some candidates shouting curses at other Democratic candidates. These harsh tactics might work if you are willing to burn down the rest of the party in order to be the last man standing. They might work if you don't worry about leaving our party and politics worse off than how you found it. And it might work if you think only you have the answers and only you are the solution to all our problems.
But if we're going to beat Donald Trump in November, we are going to need huge turn out within our party. And to get that turn out, we will need a nominee that the broadest coalition of our party feels like they can get behind.
UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKERS (in unison): Warren. Warren. Warren. Warren. Warren. Warren. Warren. Warren.
WARREN: All right, look, we cannot afford to fall into factions. We can't afford to squander our collective power. We win when we come together.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Axelrod, I'm wondering what you make of her message?
AXELROD: It's interesting because, you know, her message has really changed over time. She started the campaign really hoping that she would become the standard bearer of the progressive wing of it Democratic Party and that Bernie Sanders would fade away. That didn't happen and she began to fade a bit and she reinvented her candidacy as a kind of unity message, someone who could bridge the gap between the progressive faction and the rest of the party.
The question is whether that is a salable thing. You know, it wasn't here, it may be moving forward. But as I said, there's a certain physics to this.
AXELROD: If you don't have success, you know, you can't put gas in the car here, and that's the thing that I would worry about. But you know, watching her, I just want to say one other thing about this, reminds me that running for president is really hard.
Elizabeth Warren has probably worked harder than anybody in this race overtime. And you know, it is difficult-- just this turn around from Iowa to New Hampshire is an inhuman test. And so you know, all these candidates have worked really, really hard and she's a prime example.