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Post-Debate Analysis; Clinton, Sanders Battle Two Days After New Hampshire. Aired 10:50p-12a ET

Aired February 11, 2016 - 22:50   ET


[22:50:00] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: And good evening again. Welcome to a late live edition of 360. The democratic candidates just wrapping up their debate in Milwaukee. What a debate it was.

In case you missed any of the best moments, we're going to have highlights at the top of hour. In just a few minutes right now I want to get a quick first take from our panel. And since it's been three hours since I've done this I've just managed to catch my breath in last time.

Here we go, CNN senior political analyst, David Gergen, Michael Smerconish, anchor of nationally syndicated radio show as Smerconish here on CNN; CNN chief political analyst, Gloria Borger, CNN chief national correspondent, John King, host of CNN's Inside Politics.

Also with us to my left, CNN political commentators, Paul Begala, Donna Brazile, Ana Navarro, and Bill Press, Bill is for Sanders; Ana is for Bush. But friends with Rubio. Donna is a senior Democratic Party official and Paul...


DONNA BRAZILE, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: I thought we can't do tonight because we're not talking about our guy.

COOPER: Paul advises as pro-Clinton super PAC. Let's get quick reaction from our correspondents and analysts. David Gergen, you've seen a lot of these debates. What did you make of this one?

DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: I don't -- I can't remember a candidate for the presidency who is more experienced and more competent than Hillary Clinton was tonight.

She was on top of the issues, she was very factual. I thought she -- I thought she won the arguments. I thought he did a better job in capturing the anger and the frustration in the country. And I'm not sure what it played out. I'm not sure it changed a lot of minds but I did think there was a real difference in debating style.

[22:55:05] COOPER: Michael Smerconish?

MICHAEL SMERCONISH, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: For the first hour and 45 minutes I thought there was no blood drawn. You got very interesting at the end pertaining to Bill Press' book. I mean, you get to hear what he has to say about that.


SMERCONISH: I thought he looked shaken after she laid out what she had to say and I thought it was a pitch by Secretary Clinton to solidify her support in the African-American community by saying this guy has not stood with Barack Obama.

COOPER: Gloria?

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, I think the person looming over this debate is President Obama, completely. And what was interesting to me was the ways in which -- the multiple ways in which Hillary Clinton...

COOPER: Repeatedly.

BORGER: ... repeatedly tied herself to the president on the fact that he had a super PAC and still went after Wall Street, on immigration, on Obamacare, and on the fact that President Obama picked her as Secretary of State.

And I think, you know, on the economic issues, as David was saying, I think Bernie Sanders really sort of cuts through. But on foreign policy, I think Hillary Clinton does. So, I don't think it changed much.

COOPER: Someone before the debate, John King, was saying, I think it was over here was saying that she was going to wrap herself in President Obama. She certainly did that tonight, particularly at the end.

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: And he has incredibly high ratings, among democrats across the country, especially even higher than that among the African-Americans who will play first the democrats go to Nevada, then to South Carolina. She played the Obama card and she played that hard. He played the Kissinger card. We'll see -- we'll how that plays out.

COOPER: That's going to get the millennials.

KING: All the young voters for Bernie Sanders Goggling who is Henry Kissinger, trying to say that, you know, he doesn't take advice from Henry Kissinger.

The conversation among democrats so I would check it in during the debate is still making the point that she had a very strong case on the policy issues. Some of her friends and advisers who want her to get better as a candidate still think she's focuses too much on experience and past accomplishment and not as much on a narrative to look forward to the future.

COOPER: Bill Press, your book, which give the title and also read the blurb that Sanders actually gave to the book.

BILL PRESS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Want me do that right now? COOPER: Yes. Sure.

PRESS: Well, the name of the book is "Buyer's Remorse."

ANA NAVARRO, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Which you can get at Amazon for.


PRESS: Thank you.

COOPER: No, no.

PRESS: But here is -- this is a non-issue. But the Clinton campaign can't seem to let go of it. The blurb I think that she -- he did not read a foreword to the book. He did not endorse the book. He wrote a blurb. The blurb says what he says in every speech he gives, quote, "Bill Press makes case why long after taking the oath of office the next president of the United States must keep rallying the people who elected him or her on behalf of progressive causes, that's the only way real change will happen."

It's not a criticism of Barack Obama. My book is. Bernie's blurb is not. So, take it out on me, I am not running for president yet.

COOPER: Paul Begala, what do you think of tonight.

PAUL BEGALA, DEOMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: They both play the type. Before the debate we said, look, Bernie is a message machine and he is. And I think he run as risk of becoming the Marco Rubio butt of my party.

To paraphrase Joe Biden, every sentence was a noun, a verb and Wall Street, OK? Hillary Clinton to type, she's the walk, she's the studious one. She seems to know Bernie's record on health care, better then Bernie did or Bernie's plan. And you could tell, you could see his eyes sort of blazing over a second. Well, actually, it's actually of the GDP or whatever it was. That, you know, she knew the details of even Bernie's policies better. But he keeps coming back with that overarching message. It turns out I think he doesn't like Wall Street.

COOPER: Donna? What did you make of it?

BRAZILE: It was a very spirited debate. And I liked much of the exchange. If you walk into the room tonight for the first time and it wasn't Donald Trump show, you had an opportunity to listen to two candidates who offered a vision for the future on immigration, health care reform, jobs, criminal justice reform, et cetera.

That said, if you're an undecided voter in South Carolina and Nevada, you walk into the room and say, you know what, I like what Hillary Clinton said on this but I like the passion that Bernie, you know, gave on that.

So, I think it was great. But I want to tell you, I take issue with Bill Press' book but I won't do that right now.

COOPER: Ana Navarro?

NAVARRO: You know, I thought this was a political junkies and nerds, wonks debate. There was very little personality, there was very little multi-dimension to them when they were speaking. It was very policy oriented, a lot of substance, a lot meat particularly in Hillary Clinton's answers, very little personal anecdotes, personal stories including about themselves.

COOPER: We are just about at the top of the hour. And if you are just joining us or you just watched parts of the debate I want to take a quick moment to welcome any viewers who are just joining us now.

If you watch, you saw a sharp but civil exchange of views between the two candidates. If you didn't, we want to show you some of the highlights of the debate. The most important moments in exchange. Take a look.


[22:59:56] HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: In my case, whether it's health care or getting us to debt-free tuition or moving us toward paid family leave, I have been very specific about where I would raise the money, how much it would cost and how I would move this agenda forward.

I believe I can get the money that I need by taxing the wealthy, by closing loopholes, the things that we are way overdue for doing. And I think once I'm in the White House, we will have enough political capital to be able to do that.

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT), DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Secretary Clinton, you are not in the White House yet. And let us be clear that every proposal that I have introduced has been paid for.

CLINTON: When it comes to the issues that are really on the frontlines as to whether we're going to have equal pay, paid family leave, some opportunity for, you know, women to go as far as their hard work and talent take them, I think that we still have some barriers to knock down, which is why that's at the core of my campaign.

I would note, just for an historic aside, somebody told me earlier today, we've had like 200 presidential primary debates, and this is the first time there have been a majority of women on the stage. So, you know, we'll take our progress wherever we can find it.


JUDY WOODRUFF, PBS DEBATE MODERATOR: Senator, do you worry at all that you will be the instrument of thwarting history as Senator Clinton keeps claiming that she might be the first woman president?

SANDERS: Well, you know, I think from an historical point of view, somebody with my background, somebody with my views, somebody who has spent his entire life taking on the big money interests, I think a Sanders victory would be of some historical accomplishment as well. We are looking at an economy in which the rich get richer and the poor

get poorer and sadly in America today, in our economy today, a whole lot of those poor people are African-American.

WOODRUFF: So race relations would be better under a Sanders presidency than they have been?

SANDERS: Right. Absolutely. Because what we will do and say, instead of giving tax breaks to billionaires, we are going to create millions of jobs for low-income kids so they're not hanging out on street corners. We're going to make sure that those kids stay in school, are able to get a college education.

CLINTON: I debated then Senator Obama numerous times on stages like this. And he was the recipient of the largest number of Wall Street donations of anybody running on the Democratic side ever. Now when it mattered, he stood up and took on Wall Street. He pushed through and he passed the Dodd-Frank regulation, the toughest regular regulations since the 1930s.

So let's not in any way imply here that either President Obama or myself would in any way not take on any vested interest, whether it's Wall Street or drug companies or insurance companies or frankly the gun lobby to stand up to do what's best for the American people.


SANDERS: But let's not -- let's not insult -- let's not insult the intelligence of the American people. People aren't dumb. Why in God's name does Wall Street make huge campaign contributions? I guess just for the fun of it. They want to throw money around.

CLINTON: We need to understand that American Muslims are on the frontline of our defense. They are more likely to know what's happening in their families and their communities. And they need to feel not just invited but welcomed within the American society. So when somebody like Donald Trump and others --


CLINTON: Stirs up the demagoguery against American Muslims, that hurts us at home. It's not only offensive, it's dangerous. And the same goes for overseas where we have to put together a coalition of Muslim nations.

I know how to do that. I put together the coalition that imposed the sanctions on Iran that got us to the negotiating table to put a lid on their nuclear weapons program. And you don't go tell Muslim nations you want them to be part of a coalition when you have a leading candidate for president of the United States who insults their religion.

SANDERS: In her book and in this last debate, she talked about getting the approval or the support or the mentoring of Henry Kissinger. Now I find it rather amazing because I happen to believe that Henry Kissinger was one of the most destructive secretaries of state in the modern history of this country.


SANDERS: I am proud to say that Henry Kissinger is not my friend. I will not take advice from Henry Kissinger.

[23:05:01] CLINTON: Well, I know journalists have asked who you do listen to on foreign policy and we have yet to know who that is.

SANDERS: Well, it ain't Henry Kissinger, that's for sure.

CLINTON: I -- that's fine, that's fine.


COOPER: Henry Kissinger is not in the hall. Our Jeff Zeleny is. He joins us now.

Sanders and Clinton, Jeff, really laying out their difference very -- in stark details throughout this debate.

JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: They sure did, Anderson. Henry Kissinger was not on the stage as you said. Neither was President Obama. But he certainly hung in this room, hung in this auditorium. Now both candidates have -- just are on the verge of leaving this stage after shaking hands for quite a long time. Senator Sanders even jumped into the crowd at one point.

But, Anderson, I was struck by near the end of the debate there when Secretary Clinton really wanted to make clear that she is the protector of the Obama legacy. That is for one reason, South Carolina. She might as well have called out South Carolina, are you listening, listen to me right now. That's when that was about. Because the South Carolina primary in about two weeks' time here is going to be key for her, particularly among African-American voters, where some 55 percent of the Democratic electorate in 2008 were African-American voters, that is her key point here.

I think it was a civil debate throughout the course of the evening. A little slower in speed and tempo, a little bit more cerebral but contentious throughout the debate. And I think if you came into this debate a Senator Sanders fan, you certainly walked away a Senator Sanders fan. And I think vice-versa on the other side of this. I don't think this changed the ball -- moved it much at all.

I was texting with a few supporters on both sides. And I think it did put some Clinton supporters and donors at ease here. This is a good moment for her when she's on this debate stage. Certainly much better than the last time. We saw her in public view when she was trying to give a speech after she lost by some 22 points this New Hampshire. So I do think this resets the race in the short term but it goes on from here to Nevada in nine days and then South Carolina in the week following after that. I think it's pretty much a jump ball -- Anderson.

COOPER: And Jeff, are they heading now to Nevada? ZELENY: They are going to be campaigning throughout the weekend in

Nevada. Actually, she will be campaigning tomorrow quickly in South Carolina and then flying to Nevada. So that is the next stop. But this race now goes nationally. There are plenty different places to pick out pockets of support, particularly in those March states. Senator Sanders has a lot of support in Minnesota. He'll be there tomorrow evening, in Colorado. So this race is going to go across the country at -- in rapid fashion.

I'm told Senator Sanders is going to Michigan next week, to Flint. Of course he's following on the heels of her visit there last week. So this campaign is about to intensify. But they certainly have a lot of money, both of them, and the Clinton campaign hopes they can raise money off of tonight's debate because they believe that she had a good showing tonight -- Anderson.

COOPER: All right. Jeff Zeleny -- Jeff, thanks very much.

Back now with our panel.

Paul, on the money, obviously you're with a pro-Clinton super PAC, Senator Sanders has raised a lot of money post New Hampshire. Do you know how Hillary Clinton's campaign is doing?

BEGALA: I don't. I don't. Because any contact with them. She's raising plenty of money, so is Bernie. I don't for either money is --

COOPER: You don't think money is an issue for either of them moving forward?


PRESS: But that's significant really to think that Bernie Sanders has raised so much money, all of it from small grassroots donations, average $27, and where the Clinton campaign has actually complained a little week that they feel that they may be outspent and outfunded by Bernie Sanders. Who would have thunk that Bernie coming from nowhere could put together that financial operation. It's very impressive. And more of it --


BEGALA: Has not spent money, we attacked Ted Cruz once or twice, we basically have stayed out of the primaries, and the nurses' PAC which has endorsed Senator Sanders, but the doesn't control it. But the nurses have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars and a Karl Rove right-wing PAC has been attacking Hillary Clinton, presumably with Wall Street money. I don't think Karl is raising his money in $27 donations. So actually the super PAC money that's been spent on the Democratic side has actually helped Bernie far more than it's helped Hillary.

PRESS: Bernie is not --

BEGALA: Not by his asking.


PRESS: I'm just saying Bernie -- my point is just Bernie does not have a super PAC. Every dollar --

BEGALA: But he hasn't fought for the nurses to take --

PRESS: Paul, if I can finish. Every dollar he's raised -- this is the point I'm making, has been from grassroots donations. End of it. I'm not attacking you or anybody else. I'm just stating a fact.

KING: Look, he started out as the PT boat against an aircraft carrier. The fact that he's financially competitive is a remarkable story and what it tells you is that this campaign is going to go on for a long time. As long as the Clinton-Obama race? We don't know. But it's going to go on for a long time and you can see there's a disbelief and you see it in her face sometimes and you see it -- you hear it when you talk to Clinton people.

There is such a sense of disbelief that wow, this is real, they did not take Bernie Sanders seriously at the beginning and now they understand they have a race.

COOPER: And I want to go to Gloria in a second, I just want to play the sound bite of where they were talking about the super PACs during the debate because it was a point of contention. Let's listen.


[23:10:02] CLINTON: I debated then Senator Obama numerous times on stages like this. And he was the recipient of the largest number of Wall Street donations of anybody running on the Democratic side ever. Now when it mattered, he stood up and took on Wall Street. He pushed through and he passed the Dodd-Frank regulations, the toughest regulations since the 1930s. So let's not in any way imply here that either President Obama or myself would in any way not take on any vested interest, whether it's Wall Street or drug companies or insurance companies or frankly the gun lobby to stand up to do what's best for the American people.


SANDERS: Well, let's not -- but let's not -- let's not insult -- let's not insult the intelligence of the American people. People aren't dumb. Why in God's name does Wall Street make huge campaign contributions? I guess just for the fun of it. They want to throw money around.

When we talk about Wall Street, you have Wall Street and major banks have paid $200 billion in fines since the great crash. No Wall Street executive has been prosecuted.


COOPER: Gloria Borger, this is actually one of the bites you referenced a couple of minutes ago.


COOPER: Where she switched the super PACs to focus on Obama.

BORGER: That was so clever. That was really smart. And he had a great answer to it, which is let's just be honest here. Why do you think they're giving money? They're giving money because they want something back. But again, she kept finding a way to bring up President Obama. And that helps her in South Carolina and those are the voters she was talking to tonight. At the end of this debate I think she drew a little blood.

COOPER: That was particularly interesting at the end.


COOPER: It was one of those sort of general questions like what world leaders and what leaders in America do you most admire? She not -- she named FDR and Mandela but quickly pivoted to mentioning President Obama and attacking Sanders with that --

BORGER: Of course. And this is where she drew blood.

COOPER: Let's play that and then we'll talk about it more.


CLINTON: Today Senator Sanders said that President Obama failed the presidential leadership test and this is not the first time that he has criticized President Obama. In the past he's called him weak, he's called him a disappointment. He wrote a foreword for a book that basically argued voters should have buyers' remorse when it comes to President Obama's leadership and legacy.

And I just couldn't agree -- disagree more with those kinds of comments. The kind of criticism that we've heard from Senator Sanders about our president I expect from Republicans. I do not expect from someone running for the Democratic nomination to succeed President Obama.

SANDERS: That is --


SANDERS: Madam Secretary, that is a low blow. Last I heard, we lived in a democratic society. Last I heard a United States senator had the right to disagree with the president, including a president who has done such an extraordinary job. So I have voiced criticism, you're right. Maybe you haven't. I have. But I think to suggest that I have voiced criticisms, this blurb that you talk about, you know what the blurb said? The blurb said that the next president of the United States has got to be aggressive in bringing people in to the political process. That's what I said. That is what I believe.

CLINTON: Calling the president weak, calling him a disappointment, calling several times that he should have a primary opponent when he ran for reelection in 2012, you know, I think that goes further than saying we have our disagreements. As a senator -- yes, I was a senator. I understand we can disagree on the path forward, but those kinds of personal assessments and charges are ones that I find particularly troubling.

GWEN IFILL, PBS DEBATE MODERATOR: Senator, if you'd like to respond -- you may respond to that but it's time now for closing statements and you can use your time for closing statements to do that.

SANDERS: Well, one of us ran against Barack Obama. I was not that candidate.


COOPER: David Gergen, also your comments.

GERGEN: One had the sense that she was waiting to use that.


GERGEN: To drop that grenade right at the end and it intruded right into his closing statement. So he couldn't make an eloquent, positive upbeat closing statement. I thought it was a very shrewd --

COOPER: I thought it strange the moderators actually called the time. I mean, maybe they were up against --

GERGEN: Yes. Why didn't they give them time to finish that conversation?

COOPER: They could have gone an extra five minutes.

GERGEN: Totally.

COOPER: I don't know why they decided to sort of -- you know, it was probably the best part of the debate to sort of shut it down was an odd thing.


[23:15:01] SMERCONISH: It was very interesting to me to see just how closely she tried to wed herself to President Obama in a way that I don't remember in any of the prior Democratic debates that we've had relative to Iowa or New Hampshire. And from his part, from the opening gun if you remember his every first response, I think it was about the prison population and he tried to distinguish sentences for those who, quite, "due pot" who are white versus those who are African-American. The point being this was all about cultivating support of people of color from the get-go.

BORGER: I think Hillary Clinton kind of, on the Obama point again criticized Bernie Sanders for getting personal about President Obama when what he had said in a television interview was that he didn't exhibit the kind of leadership to connect Congress with the American people or whatever it was. But she sort of made the point that he was personal with the president and I think that plays well with a lot of the president's supporters. BRAZILE: I don't know if she can connect all of the dots or tiles.

BORGER: Right.

BRAZILE: But there is something out there in terms of the president's support. He has maintained throughout his presidency with African- American voters. A lot of Democratic supporters. I also think the Hispanic community. And I think African-Americans have witnessed over the last seven years the most gratuitous, vile attacks on the president, challenging his birth certificate, putting what I call barriers every day before his path, holding up his nominations, not even this week allow him to present his budget.

So I think black voters have come -- have looked at these candidates and say, you know, where are you in terms of President Obama? And tonight Hillary Clinton made it clear that she's going to stand with the president. And I think Bernie Sanders, to his credit, because, you know, I try to be fair and neutral, Bernie Sanders has also pointed out that he stood with the president on many issues. But this is a big issue, a big litmus test.

COOPER: You also -- saying that you thought or you hoped someone would talk about unions. Hillary Clinton definitely gave a nod to that in Wisconsin and it played certainly very well in that room.

BRAZILE: Absolutely. You know -- thank you because -- you know I'm going to read your book at some point. Union Democrats, especially in Nevada and other places that is a large chunk of the electorate for Democrats and a large chunk of the delegates. And I think speaking about what's happening in Wisconsin, raising wages, collective bargaining, she smart to do that and smart to reach out to labor unions.

NAVARRO: She did. I mean, she did more than just that. She also went after Scott Walker, who is, you know, one of the most hated men amongst unions, particularly in Wisconsin. So she was very local. She mentioned Dontrae Hamilton, you know, a tragedy, another tragedy that is also in the news and is a Wisconsin-based tragedy. So I think she, you know, was much better than he was in making it local and more poignant.

COOPER: Let's play, though, where she talks about Scott Walker just to give our viewers in case they missed it a sense of what Ana is talking about.


CLINTON: You know, I think again both of us share the goal of trying to make college affordable for all young Americans. And I've set forth a compact that would do just that for debt-free tuition. We differ, however, on a couple of key points. One of them being that if you don't have some agreement within the system from states and from families and from students, it's hard to get to where we need to go.

And Senator Sanders' plan really rests on making sure that governors like Scott Walker contribute $23 billion on the first day to make college free. I'm a little skeptical about your governor actually caring enough about higher education to make any kind of commitment like that.


COOPER: It was a clever way to sort of address the criticism that she has had of Bernie Sanders, which is how are you actually going to get these things done? She was using this specific example of Scott Walker, you're going to need his cooperation.

PRESS: It also showed I think her experience and skill. She's a master debater. She's brilliant on that stage, I believe. I mean, overall I love the debate in the sense it was substantive, it was civil, they weren't -- they differed. They didn't call each other names. And I think Bernie has really improved as a debater on the stage as we've seen him, much more command of the issues and his presence there. I love the split screen. But you know she showed with the mention of Scott Walker, early on when she talked about the labor unions and everything, she knew her audience, she knew where she was, she identified with them. I thought that was one of her real strengths.

Where I thought she failed a little bit, just to give my balance, is that at the beginning I thought particularly she comes across sometimes as a wet blanket where Bernie is saying we can have free community college, we can have do this, we can have universal health care, then Hillary has to come along and say, oh no, we can't. You know, sort of like yes, we can. And she says, no, we can't. I think that's a problem for her.

[23:20:05] BORGER: She didn't do that much tonight, though. I don't think --

PRESS: In the beginning she did at least on health care and on community college.

BORGER: But she didn't talk as much about, sorry, you can't get that done. I mean, the -- she talked about the math, and she said the numbers don't add up. But I think her tone was pitch perfect tonight because, you know, she didn't sort of chide him in any way and say, wait a minute, I'm experienced, I know, you can't do this. She just challenged him on his math and on how you would pay for things, for example.

But it was a different tone from her and, by the way, also from Bernie Sanders. I thought he was kind of subdued. He seemed to be coughing a little. I wasn't sure if he was feeling great, but both of them seemed to kind of master their tone a little bit better.

NAVARRO: But I think Bill is absolutely right. I remember after the first debate which, Anderson, you moderated in Las Vegas where the Bernie Sanders -- we were talking to the Bernie Sanders folks, and I think, you know, he came unprepared. He thought he could do this off the cuff. Just impromptu. The Bernie Sanders we saw tonight came prepared, knew her immigration record, knew how to go at her on the stuff of Central American children on the border. He was -- you know, this was a very much different debater, Bernie Sanders than we've seen.

COOPER: It's also -- it's also interesting just to -- I mean, it would be interesting actually to watch that first debate versus this debate to see how they have evolved because clearly the attacks have gotten much sharper. It's a lot easier, too, now that there's just two candidates. You don't have Jim Webb and Lincoln Chafee, who --


COOPER: And Martin O'Malley. I'm sorry. Yes, I did forget him. I remembered Lincoln Chafee but somehow --


COOPER: I don't know how that happened.

Back with everyone shortly. We're going to have a lot more with our panel. Just ahead, we're going to be trying to talk with some of the top supporters for each candidate who were there, top officials in their campaigns, a trip inside the spin room coming up.

Also we'll focus on the voters of South Carolina who watched this debate closely as their primary approaches. We'll hear what a group of women there in South Carolina thought about what they saw tonight.


[23:25:39] COOPER: Welcome back. The first Democratic debate since the New Hampshire earthquake now a history.

Let's go to CNN's Brianna Keilar who's in the spin room. Yes, that is what they call it. She's there with Clinton campaign chairman, John Podesta -- Brianna.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, there, Anderson. I am here with the chairman of Hillary Clinton's campaign. So just give us your assessment. Obviously you think your candidate did very well.


KEILAR: Tell us what you think.

PODESTA: No, I thought she was terrific tonight. I thought that from beginning to end it was a very powerful opening and a very powerful close. She really talked about the fact that she wanted to break all -- down all the barriers holding Americans back, to let them live up to their full potential so that America could live up to its potential. And I thought this was a wide ranging debate tonight. They covered a lot of topics.

I think again she showed that she was the person ready to be commander in chief but on the core issues that about raising wages, making the right investments, having serious plans, making promises that you can keep, I thought she was really, really strong tonight, one of her strongest performances, maybe the strongest performance. And I was a little surprised that, you know, we got -- Senator Sanders sort of seemed to move in to territory that he hadn't occupied. I was -- kind of my head snapped --

KEILAR: Like what?

PODESTA: Well, my head snapped when he said that he would absolutely be better at race relationships that -- race relations in America than President Obama on human rights than Ted Kennedy. Better on woman's rights than Hillary Clinton. I thought that, you know, maybe the -- you know, the success in New Hampshire is getting to him a little bit.

KEILAR: It did seem that Hillary Clinton's tack here was to accuse Bernie Sanders of overpromising and promising things that he can't deliver. Is that an approach that you think people will really connect with?

PODESTA: I think what she was really saying was, you've got to level with people. You've got to show what your plans really are and hold them up to scrutiny. And I think when you do that, then things begin to get a little bit shaky. They agree on a lot of goals. They agree that we need to get universal coverage. They agree that college needs to be affordable for everyone. But when you when you get a college plan that requires governors like Scott Walker here in Wisconsin to pony up a lot of money in order to produce it, I think that's a promise that, you know, is not going to be fulfilled, at least in Wisconsin.

KEILAR: Yes. And we heard --

PODESTA: And I think on health care he still can't explain the numbers that he's putting forward. He makes very big claims --

KEILAR: But all points that she made in the debate. But I want to ask you about something on immigration, which is obviously key going into the Nevada caucuses.


KEILAR: Bernie Sanders said that he opposed the 2007 immigration overhaul, which ultimately failed and he did not support and he cited Latino groups, immigration advocates and yet at the time he really sided with labor on that. Did she miss an opportunity to call him out?

PODESTA: Well, look, I think she did call him out on voting against it when that was a really important opportunity to move forward with comprehensive immigration reform. That was a bill that was led by and drafted by Ted Kennedy. I know that Senator Sanders said that it was tantamount to slavery, but Ted Kennedy was not going to put a bill on the floor that was going to produce that result.

It was a real chance to get comprehensive immigration reform. Senator Sanders voted against it. Basically at the beginning of this campaign he was saying that immigration was taking jobs away from people. You know, he's changed his tune in recent days and particularly as we head into Nevada. But I think that, you know, he has to answer for that vote. I think it was the wrong vote.

KEILAR: Thank you so much for talking to us, John Podesta, the chairman of Hillary Clinton's campaign.

Anderson, back to you.

[23:29:50] COOPER: Brianna, thanks.

As Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders squared off tonight. Our Gary Tuchman watched the face-off, the group of women in Charleston, South Carolina. South Carolina's democratic primary is just over two weeks away. Gary joins me now. So, tell me about the group you were with.

GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, our polling continues to show that older women are favoring Hillary Clinton, the youngest women are favoring Bernie Sanders. So, we thought it would be interesting to gather women of all ages in the state of South Carolina where the next important primary is. Hello, ladies.


TUCHMAN: You may see some men. Let it be known, let the record -- these are interlopers. They are not going to be talking. It's only the women who are going to be talking. And that's a fact. That's all we're going to have to do today is just talk to the women, all ages. We have not a scientific sampling here because of the first 20 RSVPs who came in, we allowed inside here to talk to us. So there are more Bernie Sanders supporters or Hillary Clinton supporters or people who are undecideds. But we want to ask you first of all, that's the Republican, hope you talk to this. How many of you thought there was a good debate for the Democratic Party?


And I need to ask you something. Are any of you changing your minds? Or any of the Hillary Clinton supporters are changing their minds about Hillary Clinton after watching the debate?


TUCHMAN: Are any of the Bernie Sanders supporters changing their minds?


TUCHMAN: So we haven't changed any minds here. Is anybody considering a Republican after all this?


TUCHMAN: No. OK. This is the Molly Darcy Restaurant and Bar, by the way, in Charleston, South Carolina that has allowed us in. You are a Bernie Sander's supporter. Your name?


TUCHMAN: OK. Laura, tell me what you though the strongest point of the debate was for Bernie Sanders.

SCHROEDER: I thought Bernie did wonderful onto that fifth (ph) policy. I though he really nailed it on the campaign finance reform stuff. I think Hillary bobbed and weaved about the whole campaign reform stuff --

TUCHMAN: You feel stronger about Bernie Sanders when he came in?

SCHROEDER: I do. I feel even better that he really represents himself as a strong presidential candidate. He acts presidential and I think he represented himself very well.

TUCHMAN: OK. We're going to go up here. Because I believe this woman, I can tell by her "h" on her shirt that she's a Hillary Clinton supporter. And your name?


TUCHMAN: That's a long name.

KILPATRICK: Yes, it is.

TUCHMAN: OK. I will remember. And tell me, do you feel stronger about Hillary Clinton after this debate?

KILPATRICK: Absolutely.

TUCHMAN: Tell me why.

KILPATRICK: I am appreciative that Bernie Sanders entered the race to address issues but I think that Hillary Clinton was a wonderful debater unfortunately --

TUCHMAN: Can you look at me, not into the camera.

KILPATRICK: You didn't tell meal where to look.

TUCHMAN: Yes. But you thought she did a good job.

KILPATRICK: Yes. I thought she did an excellent job.

TUCHMAN: Yes, I though she did an excellent job.

KILPATRICK: OK. Now, we have over here an undecided voter. And your name undecided voter, I was mentioned she was undecided voter, your name?


TUCHMAN: Latika, let me ask you a question. You came in undecided. You watched the sole debate. I was watching your face because I wanted to see how this debate affected you. Who are you ready to vote for in the South Carolina primary?

ROBINSON: I'm not ready yet. TUCHMAN: You're not ready yet? This convinced you of nothing?

ROBINSON: It did. Well, it actually helps me to see Bernie in a different perspective. Actually, it drew my attention to him a little bit more in his platform.

TUCHMAN: You're on a first-name basis with him now?

ROBINSON: Yes. We go way back. We go way back. But I think what I'm doing is I'm looking into this campaign through everybody's narrative from my position as an African-American woman who is also is a business owner, a mother and someone who also takes care of my mother and she takes care of me. I just have a very global perspective of where my vote is going to go and so I'm listening to their narrative and I'm going to follow it before I make my decision.

TUCHMAN: Let me ask you who you think won the debate? Who did better?

ROBINSON: I think that Bernie did.


I personally --

TUCHMAN: All right. All right. Well, you got some applause on saying that. I have one more question for you before we say good bye and then go back to Anderson. Would any of you like to see Michael Bloomberg jump in the race?


TUCHMAN: How about Joe Biden if he changed his mind again?


TUCHMAN: Here's your two candidates. OK. One again the South Carolina democratic primary. Two weeks from Saturday, the Republican primary. One week from Saturday.

COOPER: All right.

TUCHMAN: Anderson, back to you.

COOPER: Gary, please --

CROWD: Bernie! Bernie! Bernie! Bernie! Bernie! Bernie!

COOPER: We thank every women and the interlopers for joining us for that, and getting their perspective.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That looks like the audience of Anderson Cooper and Andy Cohen.

COOPER: Yes. But it does sort of validate what a lot of you were saying earlier that you don't think it's really changed anybody's opinion. It sort of maybe solidified sides.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They're usually confirming events. These debates are almost never won, they're lost. And it may not even be fully fair but there was a moment, it was the beginning of the debate, which means it's more likely to become a moment frankly we used soundbites in the first 30 minutes more than the last 30 minutes when Bernie Sanders turned to Hillary and said, "You're not in the White House yet" and a lot of people on twitter struck me as well as being condescending.

COOPER: There was kind of boos in the room.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. There were boos in the room. That's going to lead to morning shows tomorrow morning. And that's going to hurt Senator Sanders.

COOPER: Let's play that. Because some are sort of comparing it to when then-candidate Obama said, you're likeable now. Let's listen.


CLINTON: In my case, whether it's health care or getting us to debt- free tuition or moving us toward paid family leave, I have been very specific about where I would raise the money, how much it would cost and how I would move this agenda forward. There is a great deal of skepticism about the federal government. I'm aware of that. It comes from the right, from the left, from people on all sides of the political spectrum. So, we have a special obligation to make clear what we stand for, which is why I think we should not make promises we can't keep because that he will further I think alienate Americans from understanding and believing we can together make some real changes in people's lives. I believe I can get the money that I need by taxing the wealthy, by closing loopholes, the things that we are way overdue for doing. And I think once I'm in the White House, we'll have enough political capital to be able to do that.

[23:35:50] SANDERS: Well, Secretary Clinton, you're not in the White House yet. And let us be clear that every proposal that I have introduced has been paid for. I will do away with the outrageous loopholes that allow profitable, multi-national corporations to stash billions of dollars in the Cayman Islands and Bermuda and in a given year pay zero -- zero in federal income taxes. Yes, I'm going to do away with that.

COOPER: Bill Press is a Sanders supporter and the guy who co-wrote the book with Senator Sanders.


I'm kidding. That's a blurb. That's a blurb.

PRESS: Yes, actually, I did the blurb. Bernie wrote the book. Now, let me just say. I must say, I reacted very negatively when she said identify once I'm in the White House." Because I mean, I thought she should have said, if I'm lucky enough to get in the White House or if I'm president -- UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Men say that all the time. Men say that all the


PRESS: No, I'm sorry. I just thought --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When I'm president, blah, blah, blah.

PRESS: Well, I'm just telling you my reaction. OK?


PRESS: Bernie probably should not have given that little smart ass remark but I would point out, it is similar to what Barack Obama said, you're likable enough, Hillary. He is now President Obama, he's been in the White House for seven years. So, I would say this is not --

COOPER: David Axelrod will say that was a brutal time for their campaign.


COOPER: From the moment?


COOPER: Really?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And then Hillary actually committed humanity for one of the brief moments in that campaign. Little humanity --


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Compassion, no!

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm going to tell you though. You know, we're discussing these exchange as one of the, you know, toughest exchanges during these debate. And just five days ago, we saw Chris Christie go at Marco Rubio like a pinata and swaying at him, crack him like a clay pot and all the candidates --

COOPER: It is startling the difference in --


COOPER: I mean, the word Donald Trump gives a sort of mocking tone. But the difference in tone, I mean, this was --


COOPER: It was a civil knife fight. I mean, it was aggressive but it is --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And know, you asked a question before. If this was good for the Democratic Party and I think it was. Because one of those two is going to be the nominee. And whomever it ends up being is going to be a better debater. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That statement didn't hang with me the way that it

hung with some others on the panel. The takeaway for me was it was another example of her saying without trying to be a buzz kill, you're just not realistic. We'd all like to have the sort of things that you're aiming for. But it struck me that early on in the evening, she said, he wouldn't give a figure, but she said the government would grow by 40 percent.

COOPER: Right.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I thought that was really --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let's go back to a couple of points here. When she said the government is going to grow 40 percent and he let that go, he let that dangle and never responded to it, it was like, whoa, 40 percent is a huge increase. And she had -- and she came back and said my program is going to cost $100 billion a year. And it turns out the critics of her program have been saying it's going to cost $100 billion a year. And I thought she was smart to do that. She put it out there and she left him as sort of like, well, how much is your program going to cost?

COOPER: Let play that again for our viewers who may not remember it.


CLINTON: I think that the best analysis that I've seen based on Senator Sanders' plans is that it would probably increase the size of the federal government by about 40 percent. But what is most concerning to me is that in looking at the plans, let's take health care, for example. Last week in a CNN town hall, the Senator told a questioner that the questioner would spend about $500 in taxes to get about $5,000 in health care. Every progressive economist who has analyzed that says that the numbers don't add up. And that's a promise that cannot be kept. This is not about math. This is about people's lives.

SANDERS: I don't know what economist Secretary Clinton is talking to, but what I have said and let me repeat it. That yes, the family right in the middle of the economy would pay $500 more in taxes and get a reduction in their health care costs of $5,000. In my view, health care is a right of all people, not a privilege and I will fight for that.

CLINTON: Based on every analysis that I can find by people who are sympathetic to the goal, the numbers don't add up and many people will actually be worse off than they are right now.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Final thought, Senator.

[23:40:12] SANDERS: I thought that is absolutely inaccurate. Look, here is the reality, folks. There is one major country on earth that does not guarantee health care to all people. If and here is the if, we have the courage to take on the drug companies and have the courage to take on the insurance companies and the medical equipment suppliers, if we do that, yes, we can guarantee health care to all people in a much more cost effective way.


COOPER: I mean, it was interesting that he didn't respond to the 40 percent bigger government and also didn't put any price tag on it at all.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. That's right. And I thought that weakened him a bit. And it underscores the fact that he's good at rallying people, but he still doesn't -- Paul made this point earlier in the show, he still doesn't provide you the infrastructure of his thinking. You still don't come away with a sense of confidence that this is a real plan. It's a slam at the status quo, but are you really ready to govern?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, and here's where she was so smart was that, instead of just saying, you're unrealistic, this can never happen, she said here's what mine will cost. Let's take a look at both of our plans. Our tone was so much better. Said mine would cost x. What about yours? So, she didn't just bash him. She said I've looked at the specifics, people I trusted who are interested in --

COOPER: Progressive economists --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Progressive economists and where are your numbers here? So she didn't have to bash him.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I just have to say, I want to be the skunk of the long party in this panel but I think he wins that argument on health care. He is saying that every American should have health care by right of birth. That's the vision, that's the promise, that's the goal. And every other country on the planet does except us. And why can't we? And then she keeps saying, no you can't, no you can't, no you can't. I think it's a bad tone for her.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's not just going to be Hillary the buzz kill. I think the press attention is now going to shift justifiably because Bernie Sanders just won a landslide victory in New Hampshire. He is not just the insurgent who can get away any longer with this kind of grand promises. If Hillary were making these promises as a frontrunner when she was one, we would say she's pandering. Promises without price tags equals pandering. Well, it's not going to have to be a buzz kill anymore. I think now legitimately reporters are going to say, wait --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He said how he was going to pay for it.

COOPER: He still didn't give an overall figure or answer the question about how big the government is going to increase.

There's lot more ahead. We're going to talk to our panelist a lot more speaking in numbers and whether they add up on some other numbers. Tom Foreman has a reality check in a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [23:46:29] COOPER: And welcome back. We're covering tonight's democratic debate in Milwaukee where the action right now has shifted from the stage to the spin room. Let's go back to CNN's Brianna Keilar. She is with Congresswoman Democratic Party Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz. Brianna.

KEILAR: Anderson, thanks so much. All right. Chairwoman, I want to ask you what you thought about the tone of the debate.

REP. DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ (R-FL), CHAIR, DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL COMMITTEE: You know, I was really proud of both of our candidates. Because they did exactly what I as a party chair want to see from the democratic candidates for president, a robust, substantive deep stands on their vision, and on the issues that are important for Americans and the direction that they would continue to take this country. I mean, they've totally delivered on that and especially when it stands in stark contrast to really as amounted to an insult fest that had been issued the Republican debates.

KEILAR: I noticed a little. There was some finger wagging, there was a little feistiness.

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Oh, yes, I mean, it's a debate, there's nothing wrong with feistiness. That's what's supposed to happen. But where there was feistiness, where there were difference of opinion, they were focused on achieving the same goals in slightly different way. And, you know, they got into it a little bit back and forth but instead of personal attacks, which is mostly what people remember from the Republican debates, what they remember from ours is their differences and where they agreed on national security, on health care, on education, on the economy, on continuing to create jobs. And that's what, you know, the voters want to hear and the respect that the voters deserve from their candidates for president.

KEILAR: Did you think there was enough contrast to really give democratic voters or democratic leaning or independent voters a real choice between two candidates?

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Oh, I mean, I think there was certainly contrast. But you know, again, our differences between these two candidates are not on the goals, they're on the approaches. And they agree on a whole lot. And where they differ, it's on approach.

KEILAR: I do want to ask you really quickly, I know our panel has some questions for you, but the super delegate process is getting attention now. This would give Hillary Clinton an advantage. What do you say to some voters, especially some of those young folks who say, you know, maybe they think the political process is already a little unfair. What do you say to them?

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: No. Really? Don't worry. You know, we've had the same debate in 2008 and in previous presidential elections. And ultimately in 2008, our convention unanimously supported including, you know, at then-Senator Clinton's request -- our party's nominee Barack Obama, a pledged delegate is what is earned in a primary caucus, an unpledged delegate is an official and a party leader. And we make sure that they are there so that they don't have to be running against our party activists and we can make sure we enhance the diversity of our delegations, which is by the comparisons to the Republicans, you know, certainly a lot more diverse.

KEILAR: We were so happy to you have here. We want to ask you even more questions. We'll go back to our panel now in D.C.

BORGER: Congresswoman, it's Gloria Borger. I want to ask you about government tonight. Hillary Clinton said the Bernie Sanders plan would be an increase in government of 40 percent and she's proposing some things that would also grow the role of government. Government right now, trusting government is at an all-time low in this country. Lots of people want to make government smaller and not increasing, what do you say to people in this country who are skeptical about enlarging the role of government?

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Well, I think it's important that voters know that what Democrats believe is that government isn't the solution to every problem but government can be a catalyst to solving problems and that we can use governments to effectively help people make sure that if they work hard and they play by the rules that they will have an opportunity to succeed. And so, ensuring for example when it comes to education, that the government can help make college loans more affordable was the Republicans opposed and number of Republican candidates for presidents have actually voted against.

Making sure that we create a health care system like the Affordable Care Act did, which was private sector based but in order to ensure that we can make health care a right and not a privilege, the government had to actually push through legislation to require certain things so that everybody could have access to health care. So the Republicans believe that you're on your own, we should take care of the wealthiest, most fortunate Americans and, you know, if you're someone like Ted Cruz, it's OK to shut the government down and take us backwards. And so, the contrast is very clear in both parties approached --

SMERCONISH: Congresswoman?

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: -- as to how we can effectively use government to help make people's lives better. Yes?

[23:50:09] SMERCONISH: Hi, Congresswoman, it's Michael Smerconish with a question. Today we learned that the State Department served --


SMERCONISH: Hi -- served a subpoena on the Clinton Foundation. It a big story. And yet tonight there were no questions on that subject. Where Secretary Clinton according to exit surveys in New Hampshire and elsewhere has problems with the electorate in terms of honesty and trustworthiness, don't you think she would be better served if there was more questioning in a forum like tonight on that particular subject.

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Michael, I think the voters were so well served by the questions from Judy and from Gwen tonight because it allowed those candidates to talk about their vision for the country, talk about how they would build on the progress that we've made under President Obama with 71 straight months of job growth and nearly 19 million people have healthcare and cutting the deficit by three quarters. And that's how voters are ultimately going to decide who they want to vote for for president. And it's important that we maximize voters opportunities to hear the candidates' vision for --

SMERCONISH: But how does she overcome those hurdles unless there's more discourse in a setting like this?

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Now, come on, Michael, you know it's not my responsibility nor appropriate for me to handicap, you know, the strategies or how each candidate on our side of the aisle would deal with things. What I have to do is make sure I get us ready to support our parties nominee, and certainly to point out the major flaws, which are numerous on the Republican side and provide a distinction between the direction that our candidates would take our country and the backwards direction that the Republicans would.

SMERCONISH: Thank you, Congresswoman.

COOPER: Congresswoman Schultz, thanks very much for joining us. I appreciate it. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz.

Back to the panel now. You do think, I mean, I found it surprising, we talked about this before the debate, we thought there would probably be a question about it given there was so much in the news today.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nothing on the speaking fees that I recall, nothing on the e-mail issue that I recall. But most importantly, I thought given that this story broke today and believe me, I'm cognizant of the fact that there a lot of charges that get made out there about both of the Clintons that don't hold water. But I think this was a legitimate question that should have been asked of her. And it probably would be to her benefit to give her the opportunity to address it. I was surprised it didn't happen.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm sure she was prepared with an answer.

COOPER: You know, there was debate in the last debate, democratic debate about Goldman Sachs. About the speaking fees, perhaps the moderators felt that there was hit on the last debate but again this wasn't the --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And Senator Sanders didn't raise it, which I found interesting.

BORGER: Did you think he would?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. Sure, why not? But both of them, they stayed away. Before the debate, I can't remember who John King said, he was going to get a machine gun and go and, you know --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I said that's her DNA, that was the question, what's he doing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And that's fine. That would be, anybody's inclination. He's lost that 23 points.

COOPER: Right.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you didn't know, if you just landed here, you would have known that Bernie just won last Friday by 23 points. Hillary's discipline here I thought was remarkable. And I think you are seeing her recalibrating as she moves forward. She did not talk about me, me, me in my experience. She did not talk about the past in her greater husband's term was. She knew her plans and his plans better than Bernie did and she just dissected the two different policy proposals.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Bernie came in prepared. He said, I mean, I get all of his fundraising materials. That's because I donated to both. But he said that he was prepared for the kitchen sink and clearly no one even brought in a dish towel. He could have brought up those questions that she raised, Michael. But he didn't bring him up. And I thought she could have brought up some stuffs that could have helped her get an advantage of Bernie. By and large it was spirited, it was civil but I thought at the end, I mean, we started to see some real disagreements. And next time I think it will get a little bit dirtier next time.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You know, the only -- that I can recall, the only question that was asked that was relevant to headlines that we've read in the last week was the question about Madeleine Albright and Gloria Steinem in the gender issue. And Hillary Clinton was obviously prepared to answer that question. I think she gave the right answer. You know, judge me not on my gender but on my qualifications. And I was surprised that he didn't make the point about why he appeals to all these younger women. He kind of let it go, he let it be her answer didn't get involved.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just wanted to pick up on what Paul was saying. I forget how it came. It sort of came in tangentially, the Wall Street Goldman stop and Bernie moved right away I thought very effectively into, you know what their problem is this whole campaign finance reform system and it starts -- why do you think they give this money, just because they want to throw money around? He went after pharmaceuticals and the banks and the insurance companies, I thought very effectively on that point.

COOPER: It was a very basic appeal to sort of common sense. You know, I mean, it makes sense to everybody.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. It wasn't an attack on her. This is a problem.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Donald Trump's argument too.

COOPER: Let's take one more quick break. We'll going to hear from the Sanders campaign, show you more highlights, a fact check and more conversations with the panel, we got more in our next hour of 360.


[00:05:06] COOPER: And it's midnight here in New York. You're watching the late live 360 coverage of tonight's democratic debate in Milwaukee.