Return to Transcripts main page

State of the Union

Interview With Florida Senator Marco Rubio; Interview With Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney; Interview With Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders; Donald Trump and Senator Ted Cruz On Super Saturday; The Richard Nixon and John F. Kennedy Presidential Debate on State of the Cartoonion. Aired 9-10a ET

Aired March 06, 2016 - 09:00   ET




DANA BASH, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Republican revolt. As the campaign conversation reaches new lows...

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: He referred to my hands, if they are small, something else must be small. I guarantee you there is no problem. I guarantee.


BASH: The stop Trump movement gains steam.

MITT ROMNEY (R), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Donald Trump is a phony, a fraud. He gets a free ride to the White House, and all we get is a lousy hat.

BASH: Is Mitt Romney vying to be the Trump alternative? We will ask him.

Plus, Rubio's game plan, the Florida senator's fight for his home turf.

SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R-FL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We will win the state of Florida. We will beat Donald Trump there.

Can it work? My interview with him is next.

And Flint face-off. Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders meet in the troubled city tonight for a CNN debate.

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT), DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It is my hope that the American people will look at Flint and say never again.

Can Sanders get his mojo back in Michigan? He will be here in minutes.

Plus, the best political minds will be here with insights from the campaign trail.


BASH: Hello. I'm Dana Bash, filling in for Jake Tapper in Washington, where the state of our union is tightening up.

Donald Trump took home two more victories last night in Kentucky and Louisiana, but Ted Cruz won Maine, Kansas and more delegates overall than Trump. Here's where the Republican board stands right now, Trump still on top with 385. Cruz is second with 298. And Marco Rubio has 126.

And last night, Trump declared it a two-man race.


TRUMP: Ted is at least moving along OK. But Marco has to get out of the race, has to, because, despite what Ted said, oh, do I want to run against just Ted. That will be easy.


BASH: But Rubio says, not so fast. He's betting on winning his home state of Florida and collecting all 99 of its delegates. Still, Republican voters aren't rushing towards Marco Rubio. Ted Cruz was the favorite at this weekend's CPAC conference, the biggest gathering of conservative activists in the country.

Before yesterday's primary and caucuses, I sat down with Rubio at CPAC. We talked in front of a supportive and vocal crowd.


BASH: Donald Trump was supposed to be here this morning. He backed out. He...


BASH: I sense that the crowd has an opinion on that. Do you?

RUBIO: Yes, I mean, this is the American Conservative Union. And so, I mean, it's usually reserved for conservatives. And...


RUBIO: No, but this matters.

I mean, look, either -- either the ideas behind conservatism matter or they do not. And if they do not, then it's fine. But I believe they do. It is not enough to say vote for me because I'm angrier and over the top, and I'm going to do and say things no one else is going to do. I get that anger and frustration. I really do.

But let me tell you something. I have said this before. It is not a coincidence that there are people -- a plethora of young conservative leaders in this country in their 40s and 50s, myself, Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Scott Walker, Susana Martinez, Nikki Haley, Paul Ryan.


RUBIO: Why? Why? Why are there so many young conservatives now serving our country? I will tell you why. Because we grew up in the era of Reagan. And Ronald Reagan looked -- looked and nothing like Donald Trump. And...


BASH: You're stepping up your rhetoric big-time against Donald Trump on the question of whether or not he is a true conservative. You started doing that at CNN's debate last week. You're calling a con artist and a fraud.

If you believe those things, why did you wait until February of 2016 to say so?

RUBIO: Well, a couple reasons why.

Number one is because, for much of this campaign, I have been fighting off other people attacking me, and so that takes a little bit of time, too. And the other is, look, I didn't get into this to beat up on the other candidates. I really didn't.

I had hoped that voters -- if you had told me a year ago that the front-runner at this stage in the Republican campaign would be a supporter of Planned Parenthood who says he doesn't stand with Israel, who says that -- who has a long record of supporting government- sponsored health care, I would say on what planet would that be the Republican front-runner? But it's happened.


RUBIO: And I think we have to ask ourselves, why have we allowed that to happen?

BASH: I want to put my mom hat on for a second, because you're the proud father of four. I'm the mother of a 4-year-old son, and I'm having trouble letting him watch the news, because things have gotten so vulgar and so over the top that I don't want him to think that it's OK to act like that.

RUBIO: Right.

BASH: How do you -- and I'm not alone. I know a lot of people have said that. How do you feel as a father and a presidential candidate about how low things have gone?

RUBIO: Well, I mean, no, but I will tell you, this is related to the real question. I am glad you asked it.


My kids were on -- with me on the campaign trail a lot from New Hampshire -- to Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina. Every day, when I woke up, I was glad they were there, not just because they my kids, but because I looked at them and they reminded me, this is what it's about.

And, yes, I think it is -- one of the things you asked me, I don't want us to have a president that we constantly have to be explaining to our kids, look, I know that's what the president did, but you shouldn't do that. I don't want that.


RUBIO: We actually had a president like that not long ago. It was really bad.

BASH: But just to follow up, but the rhetoric has been -- has been -- I mean, I understand you're saying that you are trying to answer him and some of the things that he has been saying, but, you know, I can't explain to my kid about the -- you're talking about hands and things like that.

RUBIO: Donald Trump, he might have grown up the way he did with a lot of money and going to boarding schools. I can tell you this. Where I grew up, if someone keeps punching someone in the face, eventually someone's going to have to stand up and punch them back.


BASH: I want to ask you another question from Twitter. This is on the Supreme Court from @SarahLeeAnne. Do you think President Obama should appoint a justice to SCOTUS, the Supreme Court, prior to the end of his term? Why or why not?

RUBIO: No, absolutely not.

And the reason why is -- first of all, I agree with Joe Biden in 1992 when he said we should not be electing Supreme Court -- or nominating Supreme Court justices in an election year.


BASH: So do you think that all candidates now, Republican and Democrat, should pledge not to nominate Supreme Court justice in their last year of their term?

RUBIO: Sure. I would do that now, and that, by the way, has been the practice for over 80 years in this country. The only time they want to bend the rules or change the rules if there's a Democrat in office. So, they're all ignoring what Joe Biden said in 1992.

But it goes back to the point I made. This is a lifetime appointment. You cannot -- unless this person that gets appointed murders someone, it's going to be very difficult to remove them from the court.


BASH: I have another question. It is about something Donald Trump said, but it's on an important issue, which is torture. You were standing next to him in the debate. You heard what he said on torture, and then he reversed himself, saying that you -- he understands that the United States is bound by laws and treaties and will not order our military or other officials to violate those laws.

What do you think of that, and what do you think is the most important position of a president on the issue of torture?

RUBIO: Well, I think the most important issue -- the most important issue -- the most important job of president is to be commander in chief. A commander in chief will never ask the armed forces of the United States to do something that would violate the rules of war, or, quite frankly, the internal practices of our military.

But I want to be clear about interrogation, OK? We have to understand that this is not about torture. No one here is asking for torture, but you cannot use the same interrogation techniques on a terrorist that you do on a criminal. Here's why. A criminal, when you are interrogating a criminal, what you are trying to do is gather evidence for a trial so you can convict them.

When you are interrogating a terrorist, what you are trying to gather is information to prevent a future terrorist attack. It's not about evidence for trial.


BASH: In a week-and-a-half, as you well know, is the Florida primary, a crucial test for your campaign. Governor John Kasich said that if he doesn't win his home state of Ohio, he will drop out. What will you do if you don't win Florida?

RUBIO: Well, I have never based my campaign on one state, but I can tell you this. We will win the state of Florida. We will beat Donald Trump there, the way we beat Charlie Crist.


RUBIO: I have experience -- I have experience at beating people who say who they are -- who don't say who the truly are. I have experience at beating people who portray themselves to be one thing, but are actually something else. And you're going to find that out on March 15 in Florida.


BASH: One person who is not going to be on the ballot is Jeb Bush.

RUBIO: Mm-hmm.

BASH: I know that the two of you have spoken. Have you asked him for his endorsement?

RUBIO: Yes, I don't discuss private conversations with anyone.

BASH: Would you like to have his endorsement?


RUBIO: I -- I -- I would like to have as many endorsements as I can get because I want to unify the party.

But I'm not going to discuss private conversations. Suffice it to say that no matter what happens in the campaign, I said throughout the campaign repeatedly that I have tremendous admiration for Jeb Bush, that I believed he was the greatest governor in Florida history, although Rick Scott's a very good governor, too, and I will always have tremendous affection and respect for him, despite the fact that because of a weird quirk of fate, we ended up running for the same office at the same time.

I did not run for president to stop Jeb Bush. I ran for president because I believe America's greatest days lie ahead if we do what needs to be done right now in 2016.


BASH: Just one final question. Just on a personal level, what has been the most surprising part of this campaign? I mean, it is grueling. Obviously, you're sitting here with the flu, right? So how have you -- how have you embraced this in a way that maybe you didn't think you would?

RUBIO: Well, there's a lot of surprising parts about this campaign. I told you one of them. I never could have imagined that the front- runner in a Republican nomination would be someone that refuses to stand with Israel, defends Planned Parenthood, you know, all these other positions that Donald Trump has taken.

But that aside, here's the great part about it. I knew this already, but this campaign reminded me of this. America is not a government. America is a nation and people. America is the country where, this very morning, people got up and went to work or opened their business or volunteered in the community.


They're going on out about their lives and doing great things irrespective of who the president is going to be or not. Our government is messed up, but the American people are as great as they have ever been. What they need now are leaders that give them a chance. And this campaign has confirmed that.


BASH: Senator, thank you.

RUBIO: Thank you.


BASH: And coming up: Mitt Romney says never Trump, but why now? An interview with the new face of the stop Trump movement is next.


ROMNEY: Here's what I know. Donald Trump is a phony, a fraud. His promises are as worthless as a degree from Trump University.



BASH: Stop Trump, that was the desperate plea rising up from the Republican establishment this week. And the face of the movement? Mitt Romney, who laid out a plan to keep Trump from reaching the delegates he needs to secure the nomination.



MITT ROMNEY (R), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'd vote for Marco Rubio in Florida and for John Kasich in Ohio and for Ted Cruz or whichever one of the other two contenders has the best chance of beating Mr. Trump in a given state.


BASH: Our Gloria Borger sat down with Mitt Romney to find out what drove him to speak out.


ROMNEY: I wanted to remain as a neutral umpire, if you will, calling balls and strikes and some fouls, and I have done that along the way.

But, over the last several weeks, some of the things Donald Trump has said and done, both on policy, as well as temperamental things, have suggested to me I just couldn't wait any longer. I mean, you...

GLORIA BORGER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Do you think it's too late, though?

ROMNEY: Well, you know, I don't know what impact these things have politically, but I do know that when my grandkids say, what did you do to stop Donald Trump, I want to be able to say something. I wasn't going to just sit on the sidelines until the very end.

BORGER: You could potentially drive his supporters into his arms even more by doing this, because you're the symbol of the Republican establishment.

ROMNEY: Well, you know, I spent my life in business. I didn't get involved in politics until quite late in life.

I think everybody that someone is opposed to becomes establishment. The term anti-establishment is a very popular term. So, I don't call myself establishment. I don't think others do either that want to have the support of fellow Republicans. They may say they're mainstream and they're conservative. But Donald Trump is not Republican in any sense of the word.

BORGER: At the debate, the other candidates said that they would support Trump if he became the nominee. Is there any circumstance under which you would?

ROMNEY: Well, I can't imagine supporting Donald Trump for president or Hillary Clinton for president, either one. I will hopefully be able to find a conservative on the ballot who I can vote for.

BORGER: Did party leaders, looking back -- and I guess yourself included -- misread their own voters in the Republican base by betting on the fact that perhaps Donald Trump would simply implode of his own free will?

ROMNEY: Oh, I don't know about other people. I certainly paid attention to Donald Trump.

I didn't expect him to do so well.

BORGER: Right.

ROMNEY: But he has tapped into an anger which is very much understood.

What he's done with that anger, however, is not to build it into resolve a high purpose, but instead to take it down a very dark alley, and that, I think, is unfortunate. But I don't think you can write off any candidate. I thought Jeb Bush would do better than he did. I like Jeb a lot, thought he would be able to gain a lot of momentum, but that didn't happen.

Donald Trump has. And at this stage, we say, all right, he could easily become the nominee, probably most likely to be the Republican nominee at this point. But I think there's a better choice out there.

BORGER: Who is it?

ROMNEY: Well, Marco Rubio is the right person in Florida. John Kasich is the right person in...

BORGER: Oh, here we go.


ROMNEY: ... in Ohio, and Ted Cruz is right anywhere where he's leading right now or where he's closest to Donald Trump.

BORGER: When are you going to choose one?

ROMNEY: Well, it depends in part on how the process continues.

I expect that, after March 15, it may be clearer who is going to be the -- if you will, the person who opposes Donald Trump most effectively. And so I would anticipate endorsing at that time. But let's say all three are doing about the same.

BORGER: Right. Then what?

ROMNEY: Well, then I would probably, again, encourage whoever is doing best in a particular state to get the support there and do that state by state, and that would lead to an open convention, where you would see the delegates elected make the final decision.

BORGER: So, this contested convention, is this a scenario that you're actively looking at?

ROMNEY: Oh, I think it's a realistic scenario. A lot of people have thought that for some time.

BORGER: Likely? Likely?

ROMNEY: You know, I think it's more likely than not that we will have a nominee before the convention that's Donald Trump.

I think he has a much stronger shot of getting the 1,237 delegates than not. But, you know, the debate last night was not good for Donald Trump. He showed that he cracks under pressure. And I think that may begin to open the door for some people who are looking for a different path.

BORGER: Are you referring to a contested convention, which has a first ballot, then people are unbound after that, second ballot? What are you talking about within the normal bounds there?

ROMNEY: Well, I'm going to begin by campaigning for people who I believe in and encouraging people to vote for folks who I think would be a better nominee than Donald Trump.

But, at a convention, sure, I would one of the people encouraging delegates to get behind someone who I thought could win in November.

BORGER: If there is a contested convention, would you allow your name to be put into nomination?

ROMNEY: That's not going to happen.

What's going to happen in a contested convention is that people who are running for president and who have delegates are going to be able to battle with one another.

BORGER: But would you allow it?

ROMNEY: I'm not going to even go there.

BORGER: I have to say that you were someone who sought his endorsement in 2012. I don't have to remind you about that. And then you tweeted that you sort of regretted that, and that you said that four years ago -- quote -- "The things he says now about the KKK, Muslims, Mexicans, disabled, I would not have accepted his endorsement."


But when he endorsed you, he was kind of the godfather of the Obama birther movement, wasn't he? I mean, wasn't that bad enough?

ROMNEY: Well, no, I think that's very different than calling Mexicans rapists, than saying that Muslims are not going to be allowed into the country as immigrants, that -- mocking a disabled reporter, that -- going after women and saying, oh, she asked tough questions because she was in her menstrual cycle.

This is -- this is highly offensive. And...

BORGER: Well, the birther thing was offensive.

ROMNEY: He had a belief that President Obama wasn't born in this country. I said that I disagreed with him.

There are political views about one another where we're going to disagree. But what he has said during this campaign, that George W. Bush is a liar, that John McCain isn't a hero, I mean, he said some things that are completely, totally outrageous.

BORGER: Well, I think Obama would think it was offensive, that, you know, that Trump was saying he wasn't born here, but...

ROMNEY: You know, it really -- the funny thing about Donald Trump's whole birther thing -- and I said this to him -- is, it would have made no difference.

Barack Obama's mother was American. It was a whole ridiculous thing that Donald Trump was pursuing and is, I think, characteristic of what you see now. I mean, last night, when he said, look, he's not just for water-boarding, which is illegal, but he wants to do more than water-boarding, which is torture. And he's going to tell the troops to do it, and they're going to do it.

Well, the troops, then, would be guilty of crimes, and he would be guilty of high crimes and misdemeanors. Really? Is that where we're going to go in this country? It's absolutely -- he's saying things which get people excited, but which are detached from reality.

BORGER: CNN has done a report which says that he is now going to, for a general election, should he become the nominee, start raising money.

ROMNEY: It's amazing, isn't it, that all during the primary, he has criticized his opponents by saying, oh, they're raising money from folks, and they're going to have to respond to and report to those folks, and he's self-funding.

Well, now we learned, no, he's not really planning on self-funding. He's only been loaning money to his campaign, which he can get back if he's the general nominee, general election nominee. It's a form of hypocrisy that I think people will find shocking.

BORGER: Do you regret you didn't run?

ROMNEY: No. As I looked at that stage last night and I spoke with my wife -- she's in the other side of the country. We talked by phone. It's like, she said, "Aren't you glad you're not up there with the kinds of things that are being said? It's so degrading, so demeaning."

Mr. Trump has taken this campaign in a very deep gutter. And I hope somehow we're able to come out of that gutter.


BASH: Gloria. I'm curious, you being in the room sitting across from him, what was his demeanor? What do you think really is driving him here?

BORGER: At this point, the race is so unclear, and the KKK exchange with Jake Tapper so motivated him that he was champing at the bit to get in it again.

BASH: Do you think that he understands the current 2016 Republican electorate? Do you think he gets the anger out there?

BORGER: He says, I understand the anger, but Donald Trump needs to channel it in a different way.

BASH: Do you think he really gets it?

BORGER: And he also pushed back on me at one point when I asked him, but you're a member of the establishment. And he sort of pushed back and said, no, I'm a conservative.

BASH: Mm-hmm.

BORGER: But I do think that there's a part of him -- and this is very personal -- he said, "I can't stand on the sidelines anymore."

And if you know Mitt Romney, his father, in 1964, went on the floor of that convention and railed against Barry Goldwater. And I asked him about it as we were chatting. And he said, "Well, you know, my father's a great role model."

And I think that there is something in the back of his head that said, if I don't speak out now against Donald Trump, what am I going to be able to tell my kids and my grandkids, you know, personal for him.

BASH: And that's what he's telling his friends as well.

BORGER: Mm-hmm.

BASH: Gloria, great interview. Thank you.

BORGER: Thanks.

BASH: Are voters still feeling the Bern? Last night, two more states said they want Sanders as the Democratic nominee, but does he really have a path to the nomination? I will ask him up next.



BASH: Welcome back to STATE OF THE UNION. I'm Dana Bash, in for Jake Tapper.

Hillary Clinton's campaign says the math makes it nearly impossible for Bernie Sanders to win the Democratic nomination. Even though two of three states voting yesterday said they want a Sanders revolution, Clinton won the most delegates of the night.

But Sanders says he won't be deterred, and he's already looking ahead to the general election matchup with Donald Trump.


SANDERS: I just want to say this about electability. For a start, polls go up and down, but almost all of the national polls and state polls that have put me up against Donald Trump has us winning, and winning big.



BASH: But, first, Bernie Sanders has to beat Hillary Clinton, who he will debate tonight right here on CNN.

And Senator Sanders is joining me now.

Senator, thank you so much. Congratulations on your wins last night.

I want to ask, though, about...

SANDERS: Thank you.

BASH: You're welcome -- about a pattern emerging, including last night.

You tend to win states that are mostly white, and Hillary Clinton wins in states with large minority populations. What are you going to do in tonight's debate on CNN in Flint, Michigan, to change that dynamic?

SANDERS: Well, for a start, Dana, what we are seeing in many cases is not just a racial divide, but a generational divide.

We are doing better and better with younger people, whether they're black, Latino or white. Our numbers are getting better and better. In general, our numbers are getting better.

Truth is, we have not done well in the Deep South.


But I am -- I am absolutely certain that our numbers will continue to get better. And what we have done, based on yesterday, at this point, we have now won seven primaries and caucuses all across this country, all with double-digit victories.

We won with 67 percent of the vote in Kansas. If the turnout is high in Maine today, I think we have a good chance of winning there as well. So I think we're showing strength all across this country. And as the blurb you just played showed, we are doing better against Trump than Hillary Clinton is. I think there was a poll that came out today having us beat Trump in Michigan by 22 points. So if Democrats want the strongest candidate to defeat Trump, I think you're looking at him.

BASH: Now, senator, you have promised to fight all the way to the convention in July. Does that pledge hold even if Secretary Clinton reaches the 2,383 delegates needed to clinch the Democratic nomination before that?

SANDERS: Dana, when I started this campaign, I was at three percent in the polls, three percent. People considered us to be a fringe campaign.

We have made enormous progress over the last 10 months. We have now 5 million individual contributions, campaign contributions. We don't have a super PAC. is doing fantastically well in raising money from ordinary Americans. We are going to stay in this campaign to the convention in July. Every state has the right to vote for the candidate of their choice.

BASH: But senator --

SANDERS: We believe we have a path -- yes, go ahead. I'm sorry.

BASH: No, senator, but will you do that even if Secretary Clinton gets the number of delegates needed in the contests before the convention?

SANDERS: Dana, you are -- you are speculating. I don't think that's going to happen.

I think that we have a lot of strength in very large states all across this country. I think we're going to do very well in New York State. I think we have a good chance of winning throughout the West Coast in California, state of Washington, Oregon.

I think our message of a corrupt campaign finance system which has to be changed, a rigged economy where almost all new income and wealth is going to the top one percent, that is resonating all over this country. So I don't want to speculate as to what happens tomorrow or three weeks from now. We think we have momentum, and we think we're going to do just fine.

BASH: You just speculated that you're going to win those contests, but I'll -- I'll let you go on that one.

You have talked about the enthusiasm behind your campaign. And we certainly see it in your rallies. But this year it is Republicans who are seeing record turnout.

On Super Tuesday, more than 2.5 million more votes were cast in Republican contests than the Democratic side. So should Democrats be concerned about an enthusiasm gap heading into November?

SANDERS: No, I don't think so. I really don't think so.

I think just yesterday in Kansas, there was a record-breaking turnout. I believe in Colorado on Tuesday, Super Tuesday, there was a record- breaking turnout. Massachusetts, the turnout was very, very high. In Iowa, the turnout was high.

I think one of the goals of our campaign is to revitalize American democracy, to make sure that working people and young people know that when they participate in the political process, they have real power that, in fact, we can take on and defeat the billionaire class. So I don't agree with you.

I think within the Democratic primaries, not in every instance, but in many of the states, we are seeing our numbers higher than in 2008 when Barack Obama ran an unbelievable campaign, and his numbers were off the charts. In some states, we're actually seeing higher turnouts than in 2008.

BASH: Senator, I want to ask you about something that was in the news this week. A former Hillary Clinton staffer who helped set up her private email server accepted immunity and will talk to federal investigators.

I know you've said that the American people are sick of hearing about Secretary Clinton's emails, but does this development concern you?

SANDERS: Well, as I have said, Dana, we are going to focus on the issues facing the American middle class, and it would be a good idea every now if (ph) the media did that as well.

Middle class in this country is disappearing. We have massive income and wealth inequality, got millions of people trying to make it on $12,000 a year, Social Security, we're trying to increase those benefits. So my focus right now is on the issues that concern the young people who are paying outrageously high student debt, working people, senior citizens, veterans. Those are the issues that I will focus on.

BASH: Now, you talk about focusing on the middle class. Certainly you're talking about it, Hillary Clinton is talking about it, but she also said something about your approach to that, that she doesn't think adds up this week. Take a listen.


CLINTON: Anyone running for president owes it to you to come up with real ideas, not an ideology, not an old set of talking points, but a credible strategy designed for the world we live in now.



BASH: She's basically saying you're living in fantasyland, senator.

SANDERS: Yes, I guess. I believe that the United States should join every other industrialized country on earth in guaranteeing health care to all people. Is that fantasy? If every -- if Canada can do it, the U.K. can do it, France can do it -- you know what? I don't think it's fantasy to say that we can do it in the United States.

Is it fantasy to say that our young people should be able to go to college regardless of their income as we establish free tuition at public colleges and universities? Well, Germany has that. Scandinavia has that. Countries all over the world have that. Is it fantasy to say that we should end the obscene level of income and wealth inequality with the 20 wealthiest people in this country, now (ph) (INAUDIBLE) more (ph) wealth from the bottom 50 percent?

All of that may be fantasy to the ruling class and the big-money interests in this country. I don't think that's fantasy to the working people in this country who are work longer hours for lower wages who are tired of establishment politics and establishment economics. Every proposal that we have brought forth we pay for. We are going to save in terms of health care, middle-class families, thousands of dollars a year on their health care bills.

Yes, maybe the drug companies don't like it and the insurance companies don't like it. I think the American people do like it. I think we're going to change our trade policies.

Secretary Clinton has supported almost every one of these disastrous trade agreements. NAFTA, PNTR with China which have cost us millions of decent-paying jobs. Companies shut down, moved to China, I have opposed all of them.

BASH: All right --

SANDERS: This is not fantasy. This is reality. We've got to stand up for the middle class.

BASH: Senator, I am sure all of those topics will be brought up tonight when you are going to face off with Hillary Clinton on the debate stage in Flint, Michigan, right here on CNN, and we look forward to that.

And thank you for joining me this morning.

SANDERS: Thank you, Dana.

BASH: And last night's super Saturday races left Republicans with a split decision. What does it mean for the dramatic GOP race for the White House?


TRUMP: You're talking about millions and millions of people, and we have a dynamic party. And as a party, we should come together and stop this foolishness.




TRUMP: I have very powerful and large hands -- relatively large hands, and a politician said I didn't have large hands. That's the first time anyone's ever said that one. So no, I think it was a very -- I think it was a good moment.

BASH: Mrs. Trump, what did you think of that moment?

MELANIA TRUMP, WIFE OF DONALD TRUMP: It was a great moment. OK. No, it was -- it was fine. You know...


BASH: Quite a moment indeed. Racy talk about hand size dominated the week into last night's Super Saturday races. Let's talk about that and a lot more with Democratic Congressman Joaquin Castro, a Hillary Clinton supporter, Republican operative Hogan Gidley, CNN commentator and liberal activist Sally Kohn, and conservative radio talk host Hugh Hewitt.

Welcome all of you.

They don't teach us that in journalism school. I'd tell you that.

But I want to start with you, Hugh. What do you think about -- let's just look at last, about last night's result. It was a big day for Ted Cruz. Is it a two-man race right now, do you think?


BASH: Or is there still time for Kasich or Rubio to come back?

HEWITT: Ted Cruz had the best day of his campaign. He has clearly got the momentum, and he built off of the Yorktown speech that he gave about defense in two great debates and he's had a terrific run. So he put a bad patch behind him.

But it's not a two-person race. It's going to, I think, an open convention. And I think after the death of Justice Scalia, everybody got very serious in the Republican Party and realized that the presidency means the Supreme Court, and that the shift that's under way that Mitt Romney accelerated with a very beautifully crafted speech and I thought your interview with him reemphasized all that, has framed this issue is Trump not Trump. And within the not Trump camp, there is a lot of maneuvering for that not Trump role and it will not work itself out, I think, until Cleveland.

BASH: And Hogan, do you -- do you agree with Hewitt also? I just wonder what you make of the establishment, big donors giving finally to super PACs to try to defeat Trump, Mitt Romney coming out.

Is this a sign that there is even more of a divide between the grassroots and the establishments? HOGAN GIDLEY, FMR. SR. COMMUNICATIONS ADVISER, HUCKABEE FOR PRESIDENT: I think so. And I think it's grown. I mean, Hugh, touched on some of these points, but he's right.

Look, over the course of this election, the difference between 2008 and 2012 and now is just the anger that exists. And I think the RNC and the DNC quite frankly even chose to ignore or refuse to acknowledge the level of anger out there. And everybody running for office in the last decade, starting with George W. Bush, is why we have the Tea Party, because of the excessive spending of George W. Bush. But ever since then, campaigns basically said the other side's the devil. And if they get elected, America is going to fall into ruin.

And so this language, while it's cheap to deliver, the result is quite expensive. It's a divided electorate that can't get behind one person. They're angrier than ever. They're nastier than ever. They're more insulting and happy to see the insults come from candidates.

BASH: And Sally, you see the anger on the other side of the aisle, too. And you see the -- I mean, it's obviously different when it comes to the language, but Bernie Sanders is running. You just heard him on the fact that people feel like they have been left out.

SALLY KOHN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes, and on a certain level initially, I thought, oh, look, we have a possibility for a political realignment in this country. Instead of left/right, we could have a sort of populist versus establishment or elite movement. But that's breaking apart because there's a really important difference between the kind of anger of Sanders supporters and the kind of anger of Trump and arguably Cruz supporters as well.


You know, Bernie's voters are angry because Washington isn't doing enough to help everyone in this country. And Trump supporters are angry because the government is including too many people in the promise of this country, and they want to push people out of the American dream. Two different propositions.


REP JOAQUIN CASTRO (D), TEXAS: Let me just make a point also about what Hewitt -- what Hugh said. I think that if Donald Trump gets to the convention and he's far ahead of everybody else but hasn't received a majority of delegates, I don't think Republicans will stand up to him at the convention. I think that he'll be the nominee. I think that they will make some backroom deal to appoint his vice president or name his vice president and name part of his cabinet. I don't see them standing up to him at the convention.

BASH: You just gave me the perfect segue to go to my next question, which is about a contested convention because there are differences, as you can imagine, within the Republican field. Listen to this.


KASICH: Look, we're going to win Ohio. So what's going to be interesting is we're probably going to end up in a brokered convention.

CRUZ: In my view of brokered convention, ain't going to happen. And if the Washington deal - makers try to steal the nomination from the people, I think it would be a disaster. It would cause a revolt.


CASTRO: Well, I agree with Ted Cruz on that, I guess. I just think there would be such an outcry, a lot of those folks would end up staying home in November or, you know, some of them as a protest maybe even voting for the Democratic candidate.

BASH: Hugh --

HEWITT: Congressman, I'm Switzerland, but if you don't arrive with 1,237 delegates, it's not being stolen. Plurality is not a guarantee of winning that's why there are convention rules and it could be someone not named Kasich, Rubio, or Trump.

BASH: Do you really think the grassroots would be -- would go for that -- I mean, Hogan?

HEWITT: I really believe that whoever comes out of that convention will be Hillary Clinton who this morning in "The Washington Post" has revealed to have 104 classified emails on her server. Whoever comes out of the convention is going to beat Hillary Clinton.

BASH: How about if it's Mitt Romney? Never going to happen?

GIDLEY: It's not going to be -- not going to be Mitt Romney.



GIDLEY: Look, the revolt of the grassroots, I know it won't be stolen because we do have rules. We are a party, I understand that. But the perception will be that it has been stolen. If that's the case, you think people are angry now? You wait until that floor fight and wait until it's over, and I think the result is they won't go vote for Hillary Clinton, but they will stay home and that's what's going to hurt us in November if they stay home.

BASH: And let's just switch quickly to the Democratic side.

You heard Congressman Castro, you support Hillary Clinton. You heard Bernie Sanders basically not say, OK, I will step out if she gets the number of delegates and super delegates needed.

CASTRO: No -- I mean, I think there isn't anybody, probably Republican or Democrat, who hasn't been impressed by Bernie Sanders' campaign and what he's been able to do. And it has been a positive force both for the Democratic Party and I think for the country.

But I also think that more and more the writing's on the wall. Even yesterday, she picked up about seven or eight more delegates than he did. If you count the super delegates, she's about halfway there. So I do think that she'll be the nominee. And I think that she'll be a strong general election candidate.

KOHN: I mean, I think we mostly agree on this one. Look, Bernie Sanders never got into this race to win. And they'll say otherwise. But the truth is no one expected him to do this well. His point was to push a set of issues and a set of conversations --

BASH: So he's a message candidate. He's not a real candidate?

KOHN: He's already -- I'm saying he's already won. This -- the fact that he's doing this well is icing on the cake. And I think his supporters want to see him keep going.

BASH: But couldn't he damage Hillary Clinton saying it?

KOHN: He is making her a better candidate --


HEWITT: No, he's not because -- he has not raised his biggest-- her biggest vulnerability, which is she endangered the national security. He refuses to bring that up --


KOHN: Because he wants to -- he refuses to do it because unlike the Republicans who want to attack her for everything possible, he wants to talk about substance. He has kept her on substance. He has made her more accountable to the populists on both sides of the party --


BASH: Hillary Clinton -- (INAUDIBLE) the last word. Ten seconds.

CASTRO: And also because it's been settled by the Congress. The -- you know, the Congress has looked into it, the justice department has looked into it, and it -- they've cleared her.

BASH: The justice department is looking into it.


But that's -- but that's for another --

HEWITT: She's been cleared? I missed that headline.


BASH: OK. We've got to go. We're going to have this conversation for a lot of months. Believe me. Thank you very much, all of you. And after the break, it was the most famous debate in modern history,

but what really happened backstage. It's this week's "State of the Cartoonion".



BASH: Welcome back. I'm Dana Bash, in for Jake Tapper.

The 2016 debates sure have been wild, and we've come a long way from the first televised debate in 1960. The historical showdown is the centerpiece of tonight's premiere of "Race for the White House" a new CNN series documenting the most memorable presidential contests of all time.

Jake shares the back story of the famous debate between Richard Nixon and John Kennedy in this week's "State of the Cartoonion".


JAKE TAPPER, HOST (voice-over): Good-bye, Mayberry, hello, Camelot. In 1960, CBS bumped to the beloved "Andy Griffith Show" to make room for T.V.'s very first broadcast of a presidential debate.

HOWARD K. SMITH, MODERATOR: ... the Democratic candidate, Senator John F. Kennedy.

SEN. JOHN F. KENNEDY (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Can freedom in the next generation conquer, or are the Communists going to be successful? That's the great issue.

SMITH: Vice President Richard M. Nixon.

RICHARD M. NIXON, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I subscribe completely to the spirit that Senator Kennedy has expressed tonight.

TAPPER: Senator John F. Kennedy and Vice President Richard Nixon argued over the Soviet Union and civil rights but the debate is perhaps best remembered not for what was said but how the candidates looked.

Legendary producer Don Hewitt recalls talking to the candidates back stage.

DON HEWITT, PRODUCER: I said, do you want any (ph) makeup? Kennedy who has been campaigning in an open convertible looking tan and fit, this guy was a matinee idol.


He said, no, no (INAUDIBLE). And I said, Nixon, would you want some makeup? Having heard Kennedy say no, he said no. And he came out I looked at him on camera and he looked like death warmed over.

TAPPER: And how they looked impacted voters. Here's how Bob dole remembers it.

SEN. BOB DOLE (R), KANSAS: I was listening to it on the radio and I thought Nixon was doing a great job. Then I saw the T.V. clips the next morning, the guy, you know, he was sick, he didn't look well. Kennedy was young, articulate, and wiped him out.

TAPPER: Most historians now say that debate forever changed politics and not everyone thought that was a good thing.


BASH: And tonight on CNN, of course, is the Democratic Debate, live from Flint, Michigan. Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders will face off and voters from Flint who are suffering through the city's water crisis, will be able to ask some questions. That's at 8:00 p.m. Eastern tonight right here on CNN.

Thanks for spending your Sunday morning with us. I'm Dana Bash in Washington.