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Clean Sweep for Mitt Romney

Aired April 3, 2012 - 22:00   ET


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Three wins for Mitt Romney tonight. He's in Milwaukee right now, the winner according to our own CNN projections, as he says, not only in Wisconsin, but Washington, D.C., and Maryland as well.

Senator Santorum earlier in the evening vowing to fight on. Here are the numbers coming in. We have projected Romney as the winner in all three of these contests -- 27 percent of the official vote in Maryland is now in. Romney is significantly ahead with 47 percent to 31 percent for Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul trail significantly.

In Washington, D.C., 24 percent of the vote is in, 69 percent for Romney, 13 percent for Ron Paul, 11 percent for Newt Gingrich. Santorum was not on the ballot, did not qualify. In Wisconsin, Mitt Romney ahead right now with almost a third of the vote in, 30 percent. He's got 43 percent to 38 percent for Rick Santorum, 11 percent for Ron Paul, 6 percent for Newt Gingrich.

Let's bring in our own Candy Crowley. She has been covering the campaign. She's out in Milwaukee right now.

Candy, a lot of happy people over there. Three wins, that's significant.

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: It's a clean sweep, it's exactly what they wanted.

You heard first from Paul Ryan who has been accompanying Romney around Wisconsin: You know, we Republicans are unified. You might get some argument tonight in the camp of Rick Santorum, but there is a clear push here for, hey, a clean sweep opening up April.

You heard Mitt Romney just now saying now I want to talk to Pennsylvania and New York, all the rest of the states that are ahead in a couple, three weeks to come and join us. Three words you did not hear in this speech tonight, Wolf, which I think says more about how Romney views the future than anything else, the three words not spoken tonight, Santorum, Gingrich, Paul.

So this is clearly a campaign that wants to create that momentum. It's a psychological, more than a mathematical thing right now. Obviously, he's more than halfway toward getting those 1,144 delegates, but he is not near there yet. So this is more about it's over even if the math does not ad up right now. They want to push ahead clearly, and what they'd most love to do is win in Pennsylvania. They will make a very big play there, I can tell you that. They think the other states look friendlier. If they could take Pennsylvania they do think that's a knockout blow, even though it doesn't necessarily mean that Rick Santorum or Newt Gingrich or Ron Paul will actually get out of the race.

They may dial it back as Gingrich has done. But they don't necessarily believe they will get out. But they do believe that it will be apparent to Republicans after this clean sweep tonight that this train has actually left the station, Wolf.

BLITZER: Candy, stand by. I want you to continue as part of our conversation.

But we have a panel here, our political analyst Gloria Borger here, David Gergen, Democratic strategist Donna Brazile and Republican strategist Ari Fleischer, the former White House press secretary for President George W. Bush.

I suspect what Candy is saying and what a lot of others have said to me, the Romney campaign and the super PAC that supports Romney they will be spending over these next few weeks millions of dollars in Pennsylvania to try to nail it down.

GLORIA BORGER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Right. They are because they would love nothing more than to defeat Rick Santorum in Pennsylvania and make that be the final death blow to Rick Santorum's campaign.

What could occur, Wolf, could be a split decision. I have heard a lot of people say that while Rick Santorum might win the popular vote, Mitt Romney would be able to win in the delegates. Now, speaking of delegates, we should also point out that tonight Mitt Romney's going to make a big haul of delegates. Rick Santorum, I don't know, less than a dozen delegates maybe.


BORGER: So it seems to me, you know, this is a huge victory for Mitt Romney and also today, Barack Obama made it clear -- the president said, look, the person I'm running against is Mitt Romney. So while Rick Santorum may not be willing to admit that today, the president started to try and define Mitt Romney and so I think the campaign kind of began today, whether Rick Santorum wants it to or not.

BLITZER: He has already pivoted in your mind to a general election campaign. But he's going to spend a lot of money in Pennsylvania, as he did in Iowa, in Florida because he really wants to crush Santorum in his home state and end this so they don't have to deal with May, where there's Texas, Arkansas, states where Santorum potentially could do well.

DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Absolutely. And what we have seen is Romney has already closed some of the gap in Pennsylvania. He was behind in Wisconsin not long ago and he closed that gap and then won tonight. So he's got a reasonable possibility. After all, Santorum lost the last time he ran in Pennsylvania.

But the only reason that Pennsylvania matters that much is whether you can get Santorum out of the race and you can go on. If Rick Santorum wins Pennsylvania, he's going to go on, apparently. And Romney just wants to end it so he can focus. What I also thought was very interesting today, Wolf, was we had -- if you compare the Obama speech earlier today and the Romney speech tonight, you have I think a portrait of the campaign that's coming.

You know, Romney is making a very, very different argument. He is saying I don't want to talk to you just about budget. I want to talk about how you create jobs in the private sector. He's running not as a conservative or as a moderate. He is running as a pro- business Republican.

BLITZER: He's addressing women. The first few words out of his mouth tonight, Donna Brazile, were women, moms. They obvious have a huge stake in what's going on.

Do you believe as some Romney supporters believe that if he spends a few million dollars now in Pennsylvania to crush, to try to beat Santorum in his home state, that's a good investment for November because Pennsylvania will be a key battleground state, so money spent now in Pennsylvania to support Mitt Romney could have an effect down the road in a general election in November against Barack Obama?

BRAZILE: Look, I think Mitt Romney, Governor Romney will close up a lot of the deficit that we now see with independents and possibly he will pick up another five or 10 percentage points. And he might even pick up another five percentage points with Hispanics.

But youth voters and minority voters, women, they make up a sizable chunk of the electorate. I don't believe Mitt Romney will be able to close all of those gaps over the next two weeks simply by going after Santorum as a big spending liberal with ties to Hillary Clinton on giving ex-felons the votes.

I listened to all of those ads that he ran in the Maryland-D.C. suburbs. I mean, Mitt Romney is not inspiring. He's inspiring the base because he's trying to prove he's the real conservative in the race, a serious conservative, but he has to inspire people in the middle. Right now, what I heard today, what I heard tonight that was not an inspiring speech.

BLITZER: Santorum, Ari, had a very tough ad that he started running in Wisconsin going after Mitt Romney, comparing him to the president of the United States, Barack Obama. It was a very tough ad.

How much if anything among the Republican establishment does a tough anti-Mitt Romney ad like that that Santorum put out hurt Santorum with folks like you who are insiders shall we say in the Republican establishment?

ARI FLEISCHER, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I used to be insider, and now I'm a New Yorker.

It does hurt because Republicans want to win and we all have acknowledged, I have said this before, Mitt Romney is sort of Republicans' plan B. Nobody was excited by him, but he was a very acceptable second choice and he's ground down everybody else and has become the first choice.

But to the degree that Rick Santorum would hurt him in his chances to beat Newt Gingrich it will turn Republicans against Rick Santorum even more. If I was advising Mitt Romney though in Pennsylvania and also Wisconsin is part of this, too, Wisconsin a swing state, he wants to spend not to crush Santorum, but he wants to spend to build his own favorables up and drive his own unfavorables down.

That's what he needs to do defeat Barack Obama in a blue-leaning, purple swing state like Wisconsin or Pennsylvania.

BLITZER: Candy, do we have a good sense of Romney's whereabouts, his strategy over the next few days and weeks leading up to April 24 in Pennsylvania?

CROWLEY: He's going to raise some money, but Pennsylvania will be the first stop in many stops in between because again that's the big state here.

Listen, one of the things that I think they're counting on now is they really do believe they can rightfully claim the momentum. We saw through the whole first part of this primary season Mitt Romney wins New Hampshire and immediately loses South Carolina. Newt Gingrich wins South Carolina and immediately loses Florida. Mitt Romney wins Florida, immediately loses in that sweep that Rick Santorum has.

So what they believe now is this truly is momentum and in the old-fashioned sense of that word, that meant that the states coming afterwards those gaps began to close. They believe that you have already begun to see that in the polls, as you mentioned, and they believe that will happen in Pennsylvania as well.

I think the big question out there for Rick Santorum is if it begins to look as though he might lose his home state, is that the period he wants on his race here? I think they're hoping to have a squeeze here of Rick Santorum, but they're fully prepared to spend a lot of money and a lot of candidate time in Pennsylvania as well as some candidate time raising some money.

BLITZER: And I'm sure Mitt Romney will manage to get a lot more of those Pennsylvania establishment Republicans on his campaign. He's going to be spending a ton more money than Rick Santorum. Why? Because he has a lot more money. Certainly his super PAC does as well as his regular campaign.

The panel is staying with us throughout the hour. There's a lot to talk about. Romney certainly has widened his already substantial lead in the all-important delegate count. Tonight, he crossed the halfway mark in the race to the delegate finish line.

Tim Pawlenty, the co-chairman of his national campaign, he's standing by to join us. That's just ahead.



ROMNEY: President Obama thinks he's doing a good job.


ROMNEY: I'm not kidding. He actually thinks he's doing a great job. He thinks he's doing a historically great job like Abraham Lincoln and LBJ and FDR. And, no, he did not say that on "Saturday Night Live," all righty?


ROMNEY: It's enough -- it's enough to make you think that years of flying around Air Force One, surrounded by an adoring staff of true believers telling you that you're great and you're doing a great job, it's enough to make you think that you might become a little out of touch with that and that's what happened.


BLITZER: It's a very good night for Mitt Romney. CNN projecting he will win Wisconsin's primary, as well as Maryland's and the District of Columbia's, a clean sweep at least on this night.

But his rival Rick Santorum isn't backing down. His tone tonight at his headquarters outside Pittsburgh, defiant.


RICK SANTORUM (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: If we're going to win this race, we can't have little differences between our nominee and President Obama.

Time and time again, the Republican establishment and aristocracy have shoved down the throats of the Republican Party and people across this country moderate Republicans because of course we have to win by getting people in the middle.

There's one person who understood we don't win by moving to the middle. We win by getting people in the middle to move to us and move this country forward.



BLITZER: Outside the Santorum campaign, a lot of people were looking at a Wisconsin as a must-win state for him to prove the race is not over. Newt Gingrich also weighed in tonight. He's vowing he will stay in until the convention in Tampa.

The former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty is co-chairman of Mitt Romney's national campaign. And Governor Pawlenty is joining us right now.

Governor, thanks very much for coming in.

Little differences, did you hear that, Santorum saying only little differences between your man, Governor Romney, and President Obama? Go ahead and respond to Rick Santorum.

TIM PAWLENTY (R), FORMER MINNESOTA GOVERNOR: Well, with all due respect to Rick Santorum, there couldn't be a brighter line between the vision that Mitt Romney has for the country, which is private sector, entrepreneurial, getting the economy moving, having been an executive, not having a government-centric view of the world and government's role in people's life, like Barack Obama does.

It's just fundamentally wrong for Rick to say that. Obviously he's lashing out here in the final stages of his campaign. This race for the nomination as a practical matter is over. It's not quite numerically over. There's going to be more psychological and emotional processing amongst certain parts of the discussion here politically, Wolf.

But let's face it, Mitt Romney is going to be the nominee. That's a great thing. He is going to be a great nominee and a great president. He's actually been an executive leader in the private sector. He doesn't have that government-centric view of the world and government's role in the economy like Barack Obama does. That's the big distinction.

BLITZER: Santorum, as you heard him say, he says it's halftime in the process right now. He says if he can win Pennsylvania, May is going to be potentially a good month, Texas, Kentucky, Arkansas, states where he can do well.

You relish that thought that this is going to continue well into May?

PAWLENTY: Well, no, I think the race like I said for all practical purposes is over.

I understand Rick wanting to cling to it a little while longer. I hope that he doesn't. I hope that the -- he sees the need to unify this party and the conservative movement. He could be a big part of that. It's not our place to tell him when to drop out. But if you look at this clear-eyed, you can clearly see that Mitt Romney is on the trajectory to be the Republican nominee, there's no question about that.

BLITZER: Even with tonight's three big wins, we are still seeing the same numbers. A third of Wisconsin Republican voters told us in the exit polls that they wouldn't be satisfied with Romney as the Republican nominee, and one in five, Governor, one in five Republican voters in a recent Gallup poll said they'd either vote for President Obama or stay home if he's -- if Romney is the nominee.

Any reason for concern when these kinds of numbers come up?

PAWLENTY: Well, when you have an inter-party hard-fought battle for the nomination, there's going to be some differences in the near term.

But as this gets into the summer and fall, the conservatives will unite, the party will unite, as it always does and should. And, by the way, look at Mitt Romney's record in Massachusetts, cutting taxes, cutting spending, decreasing unemployment, increasing employment, standing for traditional marriage, standing for life.

That's a conservative record by any reasonable definition. Is it perfect, Wolf? No. But look at Newt's record, look at Rick's record. The idea that they're the perfect conservatives is ridiculous. I mean, I know their records. I have researched it. I know them well. And I can tell you, you know, Mitt's record is very good and conservative. But the idea that Rick Santorum's record is that of the perfect conservative, give me a break. It's not.

BLITZER: There's certainly, Governor, going to need to be some healing that will be necessary after this rather rough primary season, but doesn't time spent focusing in on the base keep Governor Romney from reaching out to the independents, a lot of women voters out there that the Republicans will desperately need if they're going to win the White House in the fall?

PAWLENTY: Well, as you saw today, his message is switching to focus on President Obama and less so on the Republican nomination.

We don't want to take anything for granted. We have to go earn every vote. But Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum would do the conservative movement and Mitt Romney's chances of being the next president of the United States relative to Barack Obama a great service by realizing that the nomination is going to go to Mitt Romney.

And they could do their part to help unite the party rather than dragging this out. Obviously, they're not going to be the nominees. I think anybody who's looking at this clear-eyed sees that. And I wish that they would do what they can now or soon to throw in behind Mitt and get this party united.

We need to focus on Barack Obama. There's the number-one objective, to get him out of office so we can get this country pointed in a better direction.

BLITZER: Governor Pawlenty, one final question, and you can give me a short answer if you want.

I remember vividly four years ago you were first runner-up in the vice presidential sweepstakes, and you lost out to Sarah Palin when Senator McCain picked Sarah Palin. Is this something you would like to see happen this time if Governor Romney asked you to be on his ticket?

PAWLENTY: No, I have taken my name off the list, Wolf. I have been down that road before, as you have noted.

But he's going to have a lot of great people to pick from and consider. I think the best way I can help him is to be a volunteer and help him get elected. But I have taken my name off the vice presidential list.

BLITZER: Why did you do that, Governor?

PAWLENTY: Well, I think he is going to have a lot of great people to pick from. And I just think that the best way I can help him is in other ways.

BLITZER: Governor Tim Pawlenty, the former governor of Minnesota, Governor, thanks very much for coming in.

PAWLENTY: You're welcome. Thank you.

BLITZER: Thank you.

Up next: new hints at President Obama's game plan for the fall. Stay with us.


BLITZER: Mitt Romney's projected victories tonight will certainly put him past the halfway mark to clinching the Republican presidential nomination.

There may be a good reason why he did so well in Maryland and Wisconsin and Washington, D.C., in a word, intensity.

Tom Foreman is here to break it all down for us.

Intensity, he got an intense vote, is that what we're saying?

TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: He had an intense vote in some places. You're right, Wolf. Look at the delegate count here.

This is a big thing to the campaigns. Look at this, this is where he was. And now look at that, past the 600 mark. That makes a big difference overall. But let's look at the national map here and talk about the intensity very briefly.

If we fly in here to Wisconsin, you see a lot of counties out there that Santorum won and you see some that Romney won. We're going to show you something we have never shown you before. Look at the colors on this. Now I'm going to switch it to the intensity of the win and look at that.

Romney's real strength right down here in the great big counties down here, Milwaukee County. You get out here, Waukesha County. You move up here to Ozaukee County. You go down below even and even down here to some of the other ones, Racine County, Kenosha County down below, big population centers.

And interestingly enough, Wolf, these are the very areas, urban and suburban areas, where President Obama did so well. So the challenge for Mitt Romney even after a big win like this is going to be to reach out to all of these places where he won, but not in a big way and say, come on, join the fold, join the fold, if he wants to take this kind of victory into the general election -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Tom, thank you.

Rick Santorum still talking tough about staying in the race, but some key Democrats are not talking about him much at all. And that may speak volumes.

President Obama's senior strategist, David Axelrod, and Vice President Joe Biden, for that matter, have both been aiming their attacks directly at Mitt Romney.


JOSEPH BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I can't remember a presidential candidate in the recent past who seems not to understand by what he says what ordinary middle-class people are thinking about and are concerned about.

DAVID AXELROD, SENIOR OBAMA CAMPAIGN STRATEGIST: He seems to be oblivious to the experiences of everyday people.

BIDEN: Look, Governor Romney's business practices and his policies have clearly benefited the wealthy and most powerful among us, often at the expense of working and middle-class families.

AXELROD: You have a guy who wants to go back to the same policies that got us in this disaster.

BIDEN: I think Governor Romney is a little out of touch.


BLITZER: The Obama campaign clearly signaling they expect to face Mitt Romney in November.

Lots of "Raw Politics" to hash out with our panel back with us once again, Gloria Borger, David Gergen, Donna Brazile, and Ari Fleischer.

As far as the White House and the Obama/Biden campaign are concerned, it's Obama vs. Romney.

BORGER: Yes, totally Obama vs. Romney.

What was so interesting to me tonight, Wolf, was that in Mitt Romney's speech after Wisconsin, he started talking about President Obama as being out of touch, saying that he was surrounded by true believers and it's easy when you travel around on Air Force One to get out of touch. You just heard Joe Biden say and David Axelrod are saying that Mitt Romney is the one out of touch. So I think we have already teed up one part of the argument, which is who's the person who's more out of touch with real Americans and with the middle class?

And so I think that's the beginning of another argument they have already started to have.

BLITZER: And I think it's fair to say the president for the next several months will try to take the relatively high road and leave the attack dog role to Biden, Axelrod and others.

GERGEN: Oh, I'm not so sure about that.


BLITZER: Really? You think he will really get down there. Because he wants that presidential aura about him. I think that resonates with a lot of folks.

GERGEN: I think he will use a stiletto, not a sledgehammer. But I do think he will stick it in, as he stuck it in today.

And I think he will also use mocking humor. That fits better with president. But I don't think he will leave it all to the surrogates. He relishes a fight.


BLITZER: What do you think, Donna?

BRAZILE: Oh, he's ready for this. I think he's eager for this battle, because, as you know Wolf, for the last two years, we have heard the Republicans whine and complain and demonize his record.

President Obama is not only ready to defend his record, but he's ready to attack the other side. They doubled down on the Ryan budget. The president's ready to talk about issues facing the middle class. This is going to be an epic battle. But the end of the day, I think President Obama will be able to put together the winning coalition.

BLITZER: So, you agree, Ari, that if we think that what the Republicans have been doing over the last several months was pretty brutal and intense, relatively speaking, it was child's play compared to what we're about to see in the battle between the president vs. Mitt Romney?

FLEISCHER: Well, sure.

And, look, President Obama has a history. And he is a much better talker and a much better campaigner than he is a leader or somebody who wants to get something done.

He began his campaign with a bus tour in August of 2011. That's when the campaign started. That's when government ended. As we just saw when he was abroad last week, he's announcing he won't do anything on foreign policy because he needs space. This year to take different positions so he can flip-flop after what we call election day that he calls flexibility day. The president has given up on governing. He can't wait to get at it with Mitt Romney.

BLITZER: Well, let me let Donna respond to that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I want to respond to her.

BLITZER: I know. But I just want to -- he started campaigning on that bus tour in Iowa last August. I went out there and interviewed the president out in Iowa during that bus tour. Is that when he stopped governing and he just became campaigner in chief?

BRAZILE: Absolutely not. In September he put out a deficit proposal that the Republicans rejected. And of course, President Obama had to seek his party nomination. Tonight, he clinched his nomination, so technically, he had to start his campaign.

But beyond the technicality, President Obama has a record of achievement, a record of accomplishment. He wants to get out there. He wants to talk to the American people about job creation. He wants to talk to the middle class about preserving, you know, programs at a time the Republicans want to cut to the bone. So this is going to be, like I said an epic struggle. A close election. At the end of the day, President Obama will win.

FLEISCHER: Eight percent unemployment and trillion dollars deficit, those are signs of achievement? This president is going to be a one-term president.

BORGER: He needs to make this a choice. He needs to make this a choice, not a referendum. You know that. And if it's a choice, he says OK who's the person who's out of touch? Is it Barack Obama or is it Mitt Romney?

BLITZER: Here's what was surprising to me. Go ahead and make a point and I'll tell you.

GERGEN: From the point of view of governing, both parties have abandoned governing this year.


GERGEN: We have got huge issues that are coming up before the end of the year. They've all shoved them until after the election is over.

FLEISCHER: The House Republicans haven't. The Senate has. The Senate has passed a budget. The House Republicans at least have put their stamp on what they think...

GERGEN: They put their own budget out. I think that's a good point.

BLITZER: It's amazing to me.

BRAZILE: A recipe for disaster as well.

BLITZER: Gloria, this is surprising to me. You were touching on this when you were questioning Stephanie Cutter, the deputy campaign manager for the Obama/Biden campaign.

And the president said this today in Washington, a speech before the newspaper publishers and editors, when he said they're not even thinking of contingency plans if, in fact, the United States Supreme Court were to strike down the health-care reform law in June. They're not thinking about that. They're not preparing for that possibility. That sounds a bit irresponsible, don't you think?

BORGER: Well, it sounds a bit unreal to me.

BLITZER: They just assume the Supreme Court is going to uphold the law.

BORGER: Well, look, they don't want to get out ahead of the Supreme Court decision, although the president did seem to challenge the Supreme Court before it made its decision, which I think is an unwise move. But they don't want to get out in front of it too much. And so if she were to say, yes, we have a contingency plan, that would be to admit to us that, in fact, the Supreme Court might decide against it...

BLITZER: But Jeffrey Toobin, our senior legal analyst, says he thinks it's going down. You better start having some contingency plan.

BORGER: I think the responsible thing would be to talk about what you're thinking about, not only politically, because that is the easy part, but substantively.

And by the way, the Republicans also have to come up with some kind of a plan because they've been talking about repeal and replace. But they need to tell the American people what they would replace it with.

GERGEN: On health care, Wolf, the issue is not just who gets out of this politically benefit. You've got a whole industry out here, as you know so well. You've got insurance companies and providers and doctors who don't know what the future is going to hold. If there's no plan B, you leave this plan in chaos. It's terribly unfair to the people who are working hard, trying to provide health care in this country.

BLITZER: I suspect there are contingency plans underway. They don't want to talk about it right now.

BRAZILE: And it's already implementing the health reform act. So...

BLITZER: All right -- if the Supreme Court says the mandates are unconstitutional, you know what? They have to go back basically to the beginning and start all over again. Let's just consider that thought for a moment.

Everyone stand by. Up next our other breaking news tonight, the Dallas area tornado, serious damage. Terrifying video. But amazing -- amazingly as of right now, no fatalities. We'll have complete coverage when 360 continues.


BLITZER: There's major tornado damage in the Dallas-Fort Worth area tonight. But amazingly, when you see video like this, no fatalities, no lives lost.

You can see in this shot a man standing in the doorway of what appears to be a totally intact bedroom, minus the roof.

Other images simply boggle the mind. A funnel cloud cutting through a trucking depot, picking up trailers and cabs and tossing them hundreds of feet into the air. We've enhanced the video so you can better see just what's going on.

Look at this: massive trailers being swept up into the storm and a sea of sheet metal, lumber, and other debris swirling all around him. Transformers exploding as power lines short out.

Tornadoes like this one forcing the Love Field as well as the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport to shut down for a time. Scores of aircraft damaged. Hundreds of flights cancelled.

Especially hard hit: the cities of Arlington, Kennedale and Lancaster. Hundreds of houses damaged in Lancaster. Injuries in Kennedale. But again, so far, so far, no reported fatalities.

We're thankful a man in Lancaster named Vincent Tang is all right. He didn't seek shelter when the storm blew by. He went up to his roof to get this video.


VINCENT TANG, STORM SURVIVOR: Look at the debris fly. Oh, my God. Please. Oh, shoot. Oh, (UNINTELLIGIBLE), America. Oh, my God, look at that. Holy, holy smokes. It's about -- it's about a block or two away from my house. Look at that. Oh, shoot, oh, shoot. Oh, holy shoot. Look at that, oh, my God. Holy moly. Look at the debris. It's flying. Oh. Holy moly, oh, my God. Oh, my God. Holy moly.


BLITZER: As they say, don't try this at home. The voice and the pictures of Vincent Tang, who probably should have taken cover. We're glad, though, he is all right, and we're also glad no one as far as we know, as far as we know died in this storm. I spoke about that earlier tonight with the Dallas mayor, Mike Rawlings.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) MIKE RAWLINGS, DALLAS MAYOR (via phone): I talked to the families that saw those trailers coming towards their house and landed in the back of their house. At the same time, the next door neighbor's alive.

The amazing story of a couple that had just left the house, going to work at the children's medical center there. And just five minutes later the house is destroyed by one of those trailers. A couple that -- a couple of retired ladies that have lived there since the '60s were in their house. The whole back of the house is destroyed. But they're OK.

BLITZER: When you say there's no fatalities, fortunately, and no significant injuries, I assume you're referring to the city of Dallas. You're the mayor of Dallas. Is that true all in the entire Dallas- Fort Worth area?

RAWLINGS: We're reaching out the whole area and we're not hearing of any fatalities at this point.

BLITZER: Really? That's really great to hear.

RAWLINGS: Everybody's still assessing and getting all the information back in. But the information we've got is, while there's been major damage done, that people are walking away with their lives.


BLITZER: Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings speaking with me earlier.

Joining us from Arlington, Texas, Ed Lavandera. He's on the scene.

Ed, you just got to Arlington. What kind of damage are you seeing there?

ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, what we're about to show you is a stunning story of survival that we've seen and witnessed here in the city of Arlington. I want to get quickly to a little piece of video to set this scene up here in Arlington.

The video you're seeing, it was shot by a neighbor that lives across the street from the Lawrence family. Nicole Lawrence and her two sons were in her family. This video was taken. It was just moments and the family is having a hard time seeing through the trees just what was coming their way.

As the video starts to progress, I think you can start seeing it now. You can see that the tornado -- what they came to learn was a tornado -- was getting much closer and you can actually see the winds starting to suck debris and TVs and other belongings out of their garage.

That family ducked for cover, but it was the Lawrence family that was inside the house that you see behind me. And here's Nicole Lawrence, who survived this incredible situation. She was in the house, though, with her two sons. I've walked through the house a little while ago. I cannot believe you're standing next to me.

NICOLE LAWRENCE, SURVIVOR: It's only by God's grace that I'm here.

LAVANDERA: Wolf, so it's hard here at night to kind of give you a sense of what happened inside this house, but there's one little area of the house that has any ceiling left intact. And it was the bathroom that Nicole and her two sons had jumped into. Walk us through the moments leading up to that hit.

LAWRENCE: Thirty minutes prior to it happening, my mother called me to let me know that the storm was pretty bad. I knew a storm was coming. I had no idea it was going to be like this.

And my son Colin, my 18-year-old, came home from school and had a sandwich. We were watching the news. And the hail started coming down. And once the hail stopped, our electricity went out.

And then I thought, you know, that's it. We need to get in the bathtub. And then not maybe five minutes after us sitting in the bathtub and making some phone calls, I called my husband to tell him know that we were safe and to find out where he was.

It blew through. It was like a freight train. It was very, very loud.

LAVANDERA: Your sons told me that they threw you into the bathtub and they got on top of you.

LAWRENCE: Well, they were over top of me. Yes. So yes.

LAVANDERA: We kind of walked around this neighborhood. Every house -- there are some houses that have some damage, but nothing like this.


LAVANDERA: One neighborhood described that the tornado literally dropped down, hit your house and went back up. You were the only house hit? Is that the way you see it?

LAWRENCE: Apparently so. I've noticed some trees in the neighborhood that were down, but I think our neighbors over here had some roof damage and then across the street, but our home was the only one that was damaged like this.

LAVANDERA: And when you walked out of the bathroom, I was asking your son -- you walked out of the bathroom and you looked up and there was nothing there.

LAWRENCE: I had no idea what to expect when I came out of the bathroom. We have a vent -- I guess it's like the vent for whatever in the bathroom. And it was gone. So I could see the tree over my bathroom. So I knew, you know, part of the roof was gone. But when I came out, I had no idea to expect this at all.

LAVANDERA: And what we see here behind you, these are two bedrooms in front of the house.

LAWRENCE: Yes. Yes. This is my oldest son, this is Anthony's room. And then right next to it is Colin's.

LAVANDERA: And your son told me that people were walking up to the house, running up to the house.

LAWRENCE: Yes, my neighbors across the street, he works for AT&T, and one of his friends apparently was in the military, and he knew what to do. He -- actually, his voice was the first voice that I heard. He said, "Is everybody OK?" And of course, my boys had got out because they had shoes on. I didn't have shoes on.

But he assisted me to get into my closet and got me shoes and then kind of carried me out in the front. We smelled gas. So my husband was within minutes. And once he got here, we got in the car and went to North Arlington to my mom's house. So...

LAVANDERA: Well, I'm so grateful that you're here and able to tell us this story.

I imagine it's been an amazing day for Nicole Lawrence and her two sons. Wolf, as you just heard, one interesting note. Her son told me he's getting ready, and I believe it's for his prom. He found his tuxedo still hanging up in his closet back over here, intact. Everything clean. So I guess he can go to the prom.

LAWRENCE: Yes, he can.

LAVANDERA: He can still go to the prom. So there's a little bit of good news.

BLITZER: At least they're OK. Physically, they're all right. You know what? You can always rebuild. You start from scratch, but at least they have their lives and their family. Thank God for that.

Thank you to you, as well.

I want to show our viewers some new video that we're getting, taken along the road from Fort Worth to Arlington. The person that took this had the good sense to pull over. You can see the funnel cloud crossing the highway and coming alongside it. There are warning sirens going off in the background, and you can see, the camera is remarkably steady, considering what's in front of the lens just down the road.

Joining us now, the Arlington mayor, Robert Cluck.

Mayor, thanks very much for coming in. How much damage did your community suffer?

ROBERT CLUCK, ARLINGTON, TEXAS, MAYOR: Quite a bit. We had about 150, 155 homes, partially destroyed. Some totally destroyed. We had a nurses -- a nursing home that was partially destroyed.

You know what, Wolf? Three people were transported and of those three people, two are OK. One is in serious condition. But we dodged a huge bullet today. You've seen the video. You understand what happened in Arlington, Texas, today and in Dallas, Texas, today.

BLITZER: Mayor, you know, I've covered a lot of these tornadoes, hurricanes over the years, and there's always a search-and-rescue mission. They go house to house to make sure no one was stuck inside. Is that still continuing or have you completed the search-and-rescue operation?

CLUCK: We've done the primary search. They're in the process of doing the secondary search. They're probably search again tomorrow. We feel as though we have everybody out now. But they won't give up until they've gone through all the searches.

BLITZER: And as far as Arlington is concerned, a similar situation in Dallas-Fort Worth, other cities and communities in your area. As far as you know, no fatalities, just some injuries?

CLUCK: As far as I know, that is correct. I'm telling you, we dodged a bullet today.

BLITZER: What did you think when you saw those trailers -- those trailers, those tractor-trailers simply flying around as a result of the storm, the tornadoes as if they were little toys? In all my years, I've never seen anything like that. But I wonder if you have.

CLUCK: I haven't seen anything quite this severe. But what I'm wondering was who's in that trailer or who's below that trailer is going to get hurt. I always think of the people involved. Just like at this house. And the fact is, I thought when I walked up here nobody could have survived this, but they did. And they did all over the city of Arlington and Dallas.

BLITZER: Was the warning, the warnings, the sirens that went off, the alarms, the alerts, did the system work, in other words?

CLUCK: The system worked great. And the alarms went off at the proper time. They went on for an hour or two, because we kept having storms come through the city. No, they worked great. They gave people lots of warning.

BLITZER: Mayor, thanks very much and thanks for the good news that no serious injury, no fatalities. We'll stay in close touch with you.


BLITZER: Robert Cluck is the mayor of Arlington, Texas.

Tonight, we also know much more about yesterday's deadly shooting rampage at a California college. Seven people died in what police describe as an execution-style bloodbath. Just ahead: how it unfolded minute by minute.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) BLITZER: In "Crime & Punishment," we're learning more about that deadly shooting at a Christian college in California, and the details are horrific.

Oakland's police chief said the suspect, a 43-year-old former student, had been expelled and felt picked on. When he walked into the school yesterday, he allegedly had a target in mind, but then chance intervened.

Here's Dan Simon.


DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Monday morning, 43- year-old One L. Goh arrives at Oikos University. According to police, he is on the hunt for a specific female administrator at the college, his intended target. When he can't find her, the rampage begins.

HOWARD JORDAN, OAKLAND POLICE CHIEF (via phone): This was a calculated, cold-blooded execution in the classroom.

SIMON: Goh first takes a receptionist into a classroom full of students and shoots her, police say. Then he tells the students to line up against the wall. "I'm going to kill you all," he allegedly tells them. Some of the students refused to follow his orders, police say. And he began shooting them one by one.

At 10:33 a.m., the first 911 call comes in, and police arrive on scene just three minutes later.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Shots coming from inside the building. People are running out screaming.

SIMON: Police conduct a search of the building and find students barricaded inside classrooms hiding under desks. All of the students are removed from the school. Seven are dead, three are wounded.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There's a scene of bleeding down on the ground, face down on the concrete and bleeding.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Looks like she's got a gunshot to the head. Nonresponsive.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We were able to extricate one body from the building. Victim does have a pulse. We're working on him now.

TODD: By this time, Goh had fled the scene. Allegedly in a car stolen from one of his victims, but police already have a description.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The shooter is going to be a male Korean, about 40 years old, 5'5", heavy build, wearing a blue jacket and a baseball cap.

TODD: At approximately 11:30 a.m., Goh surrenders to police at a Safeway supermarket, after allegedly telling the security guard he needed to speak with police because he had just shot several people. He is now in custody. Police say he doesn't appear to be at all remorseful.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He said to us that he was upset with the administration. He was a student there, and while he was a student, he had been picked on, wasn't treated fairly by students and an administrator. And he wanted to get back at them.

TODD (on camera): Investigators spent much of the day looking for the murder weapon. They won't say what kind of gun was used, but they say Goh purchased it legally in the state of California. Tomorrow, Goh will have his first court appearance and be formally charged during his arraignment.

Dan Simon, CNN, Oakland, California.


BLITZER: What a horrible, horrible tragedy. What a horrible story indeed.

And there's still more happening tonight. Susan Hendricks is here with a "360 News & Business Bulletin" -- Susan.


We are getting reports of new shelling by the Syrian government ahead of the deadline for the latest peace plan. The Assad regime agreed to withdraw its military from residential areas on April 10, but the State Department says there's no evidence Syria is working to meet those commitments.

An update now on the health of former vice president Dick Cheney. He left a Virginia hospital today, ten days after undergoing a successful heart transplant. Cheney has a history of heart trouble and suffered at least five heart attacks since 1978.

And U.S. automakers revved up sales in march, you could say. Auto data reports, the big three saw nearly 13 percent jump last month, capping off the best sales quarter since 2008. Good news.

Wolf, back to you.

BLITZER: Thanks very much, Susan. We'll be right back.


BLITZER: That does it for this edition of "360." Thanks for watching. "ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts right now.