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Trump Threatens To Sue Cruz; Countdown To South Carolina And Nevada; Trump Holds Rally In Florida; Clinton Vs. Sanders; Cruz Slams Clinton In Political Ad; Trump Vs. Cruz; South Carolina GOP Primary Next Saturday; Clinton And Sanders Vie For Obama's Legacy; Jeb Getting Big Boost In South Carolina; Clinton And Sanders Battle For Black Voters; George W. Bush To Campaign For Jeb In S.C.; South Carolina; Dem Primary On Feb. 27th; Trump Threatening To Sue Cruz; South Carolina GOP Primary Next Saturday

Aired February 12, 2016 - 21:00   ET


[21:00:08] DON LEMON, CNN TONIGHT HOST: You know it is getting cold out. Now it is getting ugly.

This is "CNN Tonight." I'm Don Lemon.

Donald Trump accusing Ted Cruz of cheating and threatening to sue. Claiming that Cruz is not a natural born citizen but Cruz isn't byte biting. Just saying this.


TED CRUZ, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: There's a reason that Donald engages in attacks, because it's all a smoke screen to hide from his record.


LEMON: A busy hour ahead and a busy weekend on the campaign trail as candidates prepare to face off in South Carolina and Nevada. Tomorrow night the Republicans candidates will face off in their latest debate. This time is going to be in South Carolina where the GOP primary will be held a week from tomorrow.

But tonight, Donald Trump looking past South Carolina and holding a rally with thousands of supporters in Florida, a key southern state that holds its primary in mid March. And on the Democratic side the battle is heating up between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, each vying for the votes of African-Americans and claiming to be the rightful successor to President Obama.

And meanwhile, Ted Cruz out tonight with a new campaign ad slamming Hillary Clinton's handling of her e-mails as Secretary of State. Take a look.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Damn it feels good to be a Clinton, a shameless politician always plays the cards right got crew for the fight on the air waves, let dogs in the press keep mouth tight, cause the Clinton has the many to explain.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why is what they got oh with hope, a real Clinton knows got to bring titles and you don't get to know what they do.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What difference does it make?


LEMON: Now the ad is a parody of the classic comedy "Office Space" and the Ghetto Boys 1992 single, "Damn it feels good to be a gangster". But they tweeted out we don't support Ted Cruz or his super lame ad using our music. So there's a lot to talk about tonight. And we'll talk about it with Frank Rich, writer-at-large for New York Magazine.

Frank, did you ever -- what is going on this political season? Did you ever?

FRANK RICH, WRITER-AT-LARGE NEW YORK MAGAZINE: Well, it seems to me it's just an amazing political season. I think it like many people I was expecting to be bored to death by another Bush versus Clinton battle, you know, some months ago but everything is sort up for grabs and reflects a very unsettled country and particularly on the Republican side a very unsettled political party that's divided against itself.

LEMON: It certainly making the debates very interesting and we just heard, you know, Donald Trump and Ted Cruz trading blows tonight Republican debate is tomorrow. Who's the biggest target on his back do you think?

RICH: I guess Cruz has to be the biggest target on Trump's back, first of all because he's second, a distant second and they're essentially competing more or less for the same voters. And so you have that whole drama playing out. Then below you have Rubio, to some extent competing for Cruz and Trump voters but also going against other establishment candidates, particularly obviously Bush and Kasich. So you have two sort of boxing matches going on the same ticket.

LEMON: Do you think that Jeb Bush, Frank, could possibly make a comeback despite the brutal attacks he's taken from Trump for months?

RICH: I don't see it. First of all, I think even -- leaving aside the Trump attacks and the fact that he really has successfully emasculated Bush, presenting him as low energy and sort of a now a rich fool hiding behind his mother's skirt.

I'm not saying I endorse something this is what Trump is doing. But also the votes of the part, the heart of the passion of the party is not with a kind of walking establishment, mild-mannered candidate. It is with a fire brand. And the two people who most fill that role by far Trump and Cruz.

LEMON: Kasich, too wonky?

RICH: It's something Kasich is wonky, again I think although he's quite conservative as of Jeb Bush, he is too moderate for the base of the Republican Party that's the primary electorate. He's -- and also, he doesn't have that fire. Actually, in private, he's supposed to be a pretty tough, you know, sometimes angry guy, but his kind of rationality, like Jeb Bush's, I think it is a drug on the market in this climate where people want anger and they want an outsider.

LEMON: Yeah, let's talk about last night's Democratic debate, Frank. Who do you think won?

RICH: I think it wasn't decisive about anything but I think Hillary Clinton has been on an upswing, including in the debate in her public presentation. I also felt she out shown Bernie Sanders after her defeat in New Hampshire.

I felt her speech that night was much more effective than Sanders sort of endlessly recycling his stump speech, but frankly I don't think the debate is a big factor in what's going to go forward.

[21:05:07] I don't think it probably moved any votes or many votes from the either side.

LEMON: May be romanti ...

RICH: No oops moment.

LEMON: Yeah. I may be romanticizing a possible, but I think that the fight to, you know, capture the African-American vote, who's going to appeal to the African-Americans, I think that's really, you know, front and center this time.

The third person up on that stage was Barack Obama. I want you to listen to a clip from both candidates.


HILLARY CLINTON, (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: 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 them a disappointment.

BERNIE SANDERS, (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: 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.


LEMON: Who do you think won that exchange?

RICH: I thought it was sort of a draw. But, I think -- look, Hillary Clinton is wrapping herself in Obama and you can't blame her. He's hugely popular with the base of the Democratic Party and not just African-Americans, most of the base of the Democratic Party. That said, when she calls him out for criticizing Obama, I'm amazed not to give advice to a campaign, where are the commercials with all the clips of her attacking Obama when she ran against him in 2008?

Surely that's the commercial we're waiting to see happen, all on video, all in term.

LEMON: Yeah. Do you think she is goating him because he, you know, he wants to play nice, he said. I don't want to attack her. I respect her. I have known her for 25 years. He says it over and over.

Do you think she is goating him because it will, you know, in some way help her or if he goes negative, that is going to help her?

RICH: Maybe. But, I think she, again, it walks a fine line because now, Sanders' supporters are young people, whose enthusiasm, not just young people, but the young supporters of Sanders whom Hillary Clinton doesn't have, she has to have, if she is going to be on the ticket in November.

So, if she completely trashes him or implicitly trashes his supporters and what he believes in, she's going to have a problem possibly in November in terms of enthusiasm and turnout and just, you know, foot workers for her campaign.

LEMON: Yeah. If you look at down, and I'm just using South Carolina as an example, most of the people, most of the African-Americans she has most of the African-American support.

When you look at people under age 45, she has 61 percent. When you look at people above the age of 45, she has 81 percent.

The only place that Bernie Sanders may be winning is with 18 to 29 year olds where there's, you know, incomplete data on that. But pretty much, she has strong African-American support. So, he has to hit her hard on that to try to keep -- sort of gain some of that support.

RICH: Right. He has -- he's really coming from behind. He has no real presence until recently with African -- Democratic African- Americans at all. It's not been the nature of who, you know, he's a senator from a white state and had not really been a national politician.

If he makes inroads, I'm not saying he will, it's devastating. I mean, she has to win South Carolina for exactly the reason you say, that Clintons have an enormous history there. They are beloved by the South Carolina African-American community.

So, she's got to win. There can't be excuses if she doesn't win and win decisively and that's why, in some ways she may have more riding on this than he does. He can lose it.

Everyone expects him to lose for exactly that reason. She makes real inroads in a very short matter of time, that's will give people pause. LEMON: She maybe vulnerable and I think she -- most people think she is vulnerable when it comes to Wall Street. Sanders is pointing out that he doesn't take Wall Street money like Hillary Clinton does and that he is not beholden the big money interest. But, I want you to listen to this and then we'll talk about it.


SANDERS: We don't represent Wall Street, we don't represent the billionaire class. So, it ends up on the only candidate up here of the many candidates, who has no Super PAC.

Secretary Clinton's Super PAC as I understand it, received $25 million last reporting period, $15 million from Wall Street.

Our average contribution is $27. I'm very proud of that.


LEMON: OK, Frank, so it turns out that Bernie Sanders has taken and this is $55,000 from Wall Street donors for this presidential campaign. He has gotten $1.5 million from a Super PAC, the National Nurses United for Patient Protection and he attended with Wall Street donors while in Congress.

It's nowhere near Hillary Clinton's haul, but I mean, he's not squeaky clean either. Do you think that that's going to hurt him?

RICH: No. I think the fact that first of all, $55,000, you know, to a campaign committee.

[21:10:05] LEMON: Drop in the bucket.

RICH: She's still -- it's a drop on the bucket but just think from one speaking as an engagement employer alone Goldman Sachs, Hillary Clinton collected $675,000 and for herself. It wasn't even for her campaign.

And we know she spoke at other Hedge Funds and Wall Street companies and she can now win this game and that is $55,000 is almost embarrassing in modern politics. It's such a small amount of money.

And so, yes. So, some got in but I don't think that she does, you know, she's going to have to release in speeches.

LEMON: Yeah.

RICH: So, none of this is going to stop people asking about that.

LEMON: Frank, I have to go. But, we have had this conversation, remember when people were saying, "Oh, Donald Trump is going to be out, you know, he'll be out in a month, he'll be out in two months, he'll be out after this, he'll be out after that. What do you hearing now from Democrats who may have under estimated their opponent?

RICH: They are panicking because they are thinking -- I think two things. First of all, they are deciding what, you know, what countries they want to move to, but they think quite rightly that after just him being dismissed he could get the Republican nomination and while I and many feel that he's likely to lose in a match up with someone like Hillary Clinton in part because they'll have almost no minority voters and have trouble getting women voters, we don't know.

You know, Hillary Clinton's campaign has been a very uneven affair. And so, people are a little bit nervous about it on the liberal side, the democratic side.

LEMON: Well, Frank Rich, you picked a good time to be in Los Angeles. It's going to be really cold. It's been cold and it's going to get colder. Thank you, sir. Have a great weekend.

RICH: You too. Thanks, Don.

LEMON: A quick reminder that if you did not see last night's "PBS NewsHour Democratic Debate" you can watch it right here on "CNN Tonight" at 10:00 p.m. Eastern right after this broadcast.

Coming up, Jeb Bush about to get big help on the campaign trail in South Carolina and we're going to see who's joining him at a rally just days before the crucial South Carolina primary.

Plus, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders battling it out for the support of black voters.


[21:15:40] LEMON: Former President George W. Bush hitting the campaign trail for his brother Jeb at a rally in South Carolina on Monday night. Days before the state's crucial Republican Primary.

Let's discuss now with Nicholas Kristof, the columnist for the "New York Times" and CNN Presidential Historian Douglas Brinkley.

So great to spend my Friday night with you gentleman. I'm going to go to you first Nick. So you leave when Douglas comes to town. I don't know what you guys.


LEMON: So Nick, George W. Bush, going to start campaigning for his brother in South Carolina on Monday. Is there nostalgia for George W. Bush now?

KRISTOF: Well, you know, incredibly, we're seeing a little bit of a resurrection of George W. Bush. When he left the presidency he was so unpopular with the country as a whole including with the Republicans. And then he kept quiet. His paintings got leaked and he is gradually recovered in the polls at least, some real popularity. Incredibly to Middle East, he is now more popular in the polls than President Obama is. His favorability ratings are higher than President Obama's are.

LEMON: It probably help Nick, the he didn't criticize a sitting president which sometimes they do, he just sort of, you know, step aside in the political process.

KRISTOF: He really retreated and I think there was real contrast with Dick Cheney that he seemed more presidential, if you will. And certainly in among the Republicans and especially among South Carolina Republicans who care a lot about the military, I think there is indeed nostalgia for him and the Republican field that favors toughness. He is seen as indeed pretty tough.

LEMON: Douglas, do you think it's because people have been saying, you know, why now? And why did he do it earlier? Is it too little too late? Because he was Jeb exclamation point for so long, instead of Jeb Bush.

DOUGLAS BRINKLEY, CNN PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: I think it is too, little too late. Look Jeb Bush tried to say I'm my own man. He was worried about that dynasty issue which we don't hear so much about, but a year ago it was a big deal in the polls. So I have to put forward my very fine record in many ways as being Governor of Florida.

But instead now it is desperation time. Hail Mary pass time and you saw Barbara Bush coming in New Hampshire. She did well. You didn't see Jeb Bush rise a lot in the polls and now you're going to have George W. Bush making the case for his brother. But there is something a little bit sad that it's happening here at the end of the line and they didn't get energized to surrogates earlier.

LEMON: How much do you think that he or his campaign or his advisers may have thought, you know, oh it going to be a another Bush-Clinton all over again and you don't really want that. Do you think that was part of it?

BRINKLEY: Yeah, absolutely was a big part of it. And I think there is something about Jeb Bush with just the exclamation point, not Jeb Bush. Many commentators were saying there's Bush fatigue because of the war in Iraq because he was the President of the great recession, hurricane Katrina. He is not ranked particularly high by scholars George W. Bush.

But yes he is very popular as our ex-president. But we tend to always praise our ex-president.

LEMON: Yeah.

BRINKLEY: We beat up on them when they are in the White House and they get out, we give them a little bit of an upward revision. Jimmy Carter is beloved but I'm not sure if people are ready for that, you know, another term of, you know, Jimmy Carter, yeah.

LEMON: So Nick, I will ask you another question and go a little bit beyond, you know, considering what Douglas just said about the wars and all of that. Could this amplify Jeb's attachment to the establishment? Could that amplify and backfire?

KRISTOF: Yeah but, you know, I agree with Doug that at this point Jeb doesn't really have a lot of alternatives. He has to do something.

LEMON: What should he be doing then?

KRISTOF: You know, frankly, I don't think that anything he's going to do is going to elevate him to become the nominee. I think at this point it's really hard to see how he has attached to the nomination.

He essentially represents something that Republican Primary voters just don't want.

LEMON: Yeah.

KRISTOF: And so it makes sense to pull an old artillery and try new strategies, like his brother, but I don't see that he has the path to the nomination.

LEMON: What do you think he should be doing, Douglas?

BRINKLEY: Win the debate tomorrow night.

LEMON: That's it.

BRINKLEY: He did pretty well that last debate. If he could win, we can all say, gosh, he killed Trump and Cruz in the debate. He got a little momentum and they need to have his brother there and stay with him and come in second in South Carolina, somehow beat Cruz probably there or a close tied up with Cruz, second, third to give him momentum to move forward. Otherwise the feed bombs out in South Carolina I don't see how he could continue after that.

LEMON: You think it's all, you know, with even with all the money.


LEMON: All be do that he is. So let's since you brought up the debate, let's talk about the debate that happens last night.

[21:20:01] President Obama, should he have had another podium up on the stage last night?

BRINKLEY: Well that he is beloved suddenly by Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton. Both of them are vying for the Obama-ites. This is Democratic politics. Barack Obama is fairly popular in Democratic Party but really it's about the African-American vote in South Carolina.

It's not a coincidence that on that day you had John Lewis, you know, backing Hillary Clinton and Harry Belafonte, you know, backing Bernie Sanders. They are each kind of surrogating it up here. It's a big moment to say I'm the Obama candidate. And I think Hillary Clinton's made a better case that she really is the one the White House likes the most.

LEMON: Yeah. That's really -- the difference here, I mean, you know, President Obama, Nicholas, again was up on that stage last night, sort of, right? He was talked about a lot.

KRISTOF: You're right. LEMON: But the big difference in South Carolina will be among African-American voters and probably across the country as well. And that is the big push right now for the Democrats.

KRISTOF: Right. And it sure looks like it will be hard to, you know, do much damage to Clinton there in the polling. She is running about four to one ahead in African-American South Carolina, Democratic primary voters.

I thought that what she was doing in the debate last night was essentially trying to sow doubts about whether Sanders is anti-Obama. And that probably -- I thought it indeed was a little bit of a low blow but I thought it probably was a very effective low blow.

LEMON: Yeah and while giving the President a big bear hug, right. Let's listen to what Hillary Clinton had to say today about the President.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Barack Obama was running for president. He made all kinds of promises. We know he can't keep all of those promises. Nobody can. But, when he had a Congress the way he had, that couldn't get nothing done and didn't want to do nothing. Tell me how you going to deal with that Congress.

CLINTON: Well, let me say this, don't sell President Obama short. What he got done is pretty remarkable, given the opposition that he was up against. And you know, part of it is he did not get one Republican vote for the Affordable Care Act. He did not get one Republican vote for saving the auto-industry. He didn't get one Republican vote for Dodd-Frank but it didn't stop him. You get up every day and you work as hard as you can to make as much progress as possible.


LEMON: That is the exact opposite of Hillary 2008. Right? So explain the dynamic in this Clinton campaign, this admiration of President Obama also yearning for faster change as well.

BRINKLEY: I think the big thing is that Barack Obama himself once said that essentially a third term and Hillary Clinton could provide that. But, you know, there's -- there was to love loss between them in 2008. They think they were rivals, but she was Barack Obama's Secretary of the State. She's got to be a part of the foreign policy legacy of killing Osama bin Laden and the like.

And so she is just doubling and tripling and quadrupling down on her association with the President.

LEMON: Yeah and she -- go ahead.

KRISTOF: I would just add, that you know, I mean, I think is not, at the end of the day there isn't a vast ideological or policy difference between Sanders and Clinton but I think there is a perception from the White House and among a lot of people in Washington that there's a huge difference in electability.

And that she at the end of the day is simply more likely to be elected if she is the nominee. And I think that is one reason for the White House she embraces of her.

LEMON: Gentlemen, thank you. Nicholas, safe travels to you OK. We'll see you soon. Thanks and have a great weekend.

BRINKLEY: Thanks Don.

LEMON: Up next, Donald Trump threatening to sue Ted Cruz. Is the threat real? Is this threat real? We're going to talk about that next.


[21:27:42] LEMON: Well, the GOP race getting even uglier. Donald Trump, now threatening to sue Ted Cruz.

I want to talk about this with Bob Beckel, CNN Political Commentator, the author of "I Should Be Dead, My Life Surviving Politics, TV, and Addiction.'' Our Republican Strategist, Kayleigh McEnany, columnist for "Above the Law.'' And Ryan Lizza, Washington Correspondent for The New Yorker.

OK. Kayleigh, Trump took aim at Ted Cruz today on Twitter and this is what he said. He said, "If Ted Cruz doesn't clean up his act, stop cheating and doing negative ads, I have standing to sue him for not being a natural born citizen. And then here is what Cruz -- how Cruz responded.


CRUZ: There's more than a little irony in Donald accusing anyone of being nasty, given the amazing torrent of insults, of obscenities and vulgarities that come out of his mouth on any given day.

You know, I have to admit it's amusing. You know, a couple of months ago, Donald said I was his friend, he likes me, I was terrific. Then we started surging in the polls, started going down, then we went Iowa and suddenly everyday, he comes out with a new attack.

I wake up in the morning and look at my e-mail to see whatever the latest attack is. You know, when you're being attacked by Donald, it is always colorful. I will give him this, he's not boring. My approach consistently has been, I'm not going to respond in that. So he can launch whatever insults he wants.


LEMON: Well, he should know, keep your friends close and what, your enemies closer, right?

Kayleigh, is he really -- do you think he's going to sue?

KAYLEIGH MCENANY, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: No. Absolutely not. Look, Donald Trump was provoked really.

You know, Ted Cruz has released a barrage of negative ads in South Carolina. And this comes after Donald Trump, pulled backed his negative ad attacking Ted Cruz. I don't think Donald Trump will sue.

In fact, if you look at the exact wording of his tweet, he just said, "I have standing to sue'', which is correct, he probably does have standing to sue.

But if you recall, Donald Trump promised in a January debate, he would not sue Ted Cruz. I don't think he will. I don't think it would be a wise move. Leave that to the Democrats because I think, Hillary Clinton undoubtedly reply that.

LEMON: He is so unpredictable. I mean, Bob, I've heard legal strategist or analysts and attorneys like Jeffrey Toobin saying, "You know, he actually does have standing and if he does, this will tie up Ted Cruz Cruz's campaign because he'll have to spend the bulk of his campaign responding to this lawsuit.

[21:30:03] BOB BECKEL, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yeah, but is this new? What do we talking about tonight? Think about this, all be down in South Carolina, they talked about issues. We're talking about Donald Trump suit which has no -- you may ask any, (inaudible) take somebody to court but it has no legal standing. And he probably all knows that.


LEMON: But why you say it has no legal standing. Even if it the judge ...

BECKEL: No, the suit itself. And remember, John McCain, this came up with John McCain when he was running for president. He was born on Panama, Canal.

LEMON: Right. On a base in Panama.

BECKEL: In Panama.

LEMON: Yeah. But it's different than Ted Cruz, right? He's father was ...

BECKEL: No. But it's a typical Donald Trump wants everybody to pay attention, so you're right. Now, Cruz going to sit there and talk about other things about whether in fact he was born in legally or not. It would be funny ...

MCENANY: And it's brilliant, Bob. It's brilliant, isn't it?

BECKEL: I just thought about that.

LEMON: Yeah. So, I mean Ryan, listen, as Kayleigh said, "Its brilliant" because Cruz would have to respond and who knows what a judge would rule on it, right? RYAN LIZZA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: And I don't think the fact-- I disagree with Kayleigh that the fact that Donald Trump said, he wouldn't sue means that he won't sue. He's got a pretty long track record of saying one thing and then changing his mind. Right?

And as you point out, Don, he's unpredictable. Who knows if he's go do it or not.

I think a lot of -- the closer a lot of legal scholars have looked at this, the more frankly doubts that have been opened up to Cruz's situation is a little bit different than McCain's or Romney -- George Romney or even Barry Goldwater, who after all, was born in Arizona but before when it was a territory. All of those presidents ...

LEMON: Or President Obama. That was a joke. Go ahead.

LIZZA: Well, he was of course born in Hawaii, his legislate. So, you know, there is a -- there is some small question about this. And a lot of the -- there have been lawsuits in Alabama. Some voters filed a lawsuit against Ted Cruz.

And as you pointed out, Jeffrey Toobin, a legal analyst said tonight that the person who would have standing would be another candidate. Someone who would actually lose out if Ted Cruz were the nominee. Average voters don't actually have standing.

So, you know, I don't know. Trump is -- I think Trump is doing well beating Cruz on his own without this. He doesn't need to resort to it but he's unpredictable.

MCENANY: But look, I ...

LEMON: I want to move on though. Should Ted Cruz, I mean should he be worried about this, Ryan?

LIZZA: I think so. If Trump really puts resources behind this and sues him, it's going to be a huge story.

LEMON: It wouldn't cost hardly any money.

MCENANY: He's not going to do that, though.

LIZZA: We're going to cover it ...

MCENANY: He's not going to.

LEMON: Yeah. OK. All right.

MCENANY: He's not going to.

LIZZA: We'll see.

MCENANY: Donald Trump is the man of his word. He might have changed his viewpoint on some issues but that doesn't mean that he's not a man of his word. He's a businessman who's a mass to $10 billion brand and he did that by ... LEMON: OK. You got it Kayleigh

MCENANY: ... 40 contract in buy to it.

LEMON: All right, all right. Let's move on.

LIZZA: But he threaten today to do it Kayleigh, so there's some chance he might.

LEMON: I want Bob to explain me why. Bob is saying that the stronger Donald Trump looks, the stronger commitment to Bernie Sanders becomes. Why is that?

BECKEL: Well, because, you know, when you have a revolution going on. When you've got -- look at the history of this. The extreme right wing is in ascendancy. The left wing rises up to engaging. And that's what's -- I think is going on here.

I mean, you look back and it happened when George Wallace ran as a third party candidate in '68. The left was already sort of change up in '68.

But, so I'm not at all surprised. But here's the real problem for Donald Trump particularly, he isn't higher than any more than 35 percent as Republican Party would. And that's his ceiling. I don't think he'll do any better than that, unless Cruz is not around.

Now if Cruz is not around, he consolidated that ...

LEMON: That's a lawsuit, but go ahead.

BECKEL: OK. Yeah. Well, maybe that's right, but ...

LEMON: Go ahead.

BECKEL: ... the point is, there's no way he can accumulate enough delegates at 35 percent.

LEMON: Yeah.

LIZZA: Why is that? With Bob, I think you're -- that's not correct.

BECKEL: Yeah, sure it is.

LIZZA: If he wins -- if he continues to win states with 35 percent and especially when you get into more winner-take-all states, why ...


LIZZA: ... can't he be the nominee with 35 or 40 percent?

BECKEL: Because you still have to add 51 percent -- 50 plus one with the delegates on the floor.

(CROSSTALK) MCENANY: You've also got Carson in there. You've got also Carson in there who might get out at some point. And that's, you know, it's 10 percent support ...

BECKEL: Yeah. But and he could -- he's has any delegates, he could turn them over, I guess to Trump. But it's complicated. I've done these things on the -- you can't just all of the sudden assert that everybody is a free agent. They got elected as a delegate to another candidate. They are not allowed to vote for that candidate on the first ballot.

LIZZA: But, Bob, in a winner-take-all state and I know the states are littered with exceptions and this delegate process are very complicated. But in a state, in a big state where its winner-take-all and Donald Trump wins with 35 percent, doesn't he get all of the delegates in that state and if he continues to do that, he's the nominee.

BECKEL: In most of those states, it's a majority, a winner-take-all by Congressional district.

LIZZA: Right.

BECKEL: Not statewide. But nonetheless ...

LIZZA: That's what South Carolina is. But that -- that's what he is right now. He win New Hampshire. He won in every area of the state and across every demographic.

BECKEL: Did he take the majority of the delegates in New Hampshire? No.


LIZZA: No, because it's proportional.

LEMON: OK. Let's talk about the Democrats and because there's a similar situation on the other side because people say and I think Bob and Ryan, I think you probably agree, as well ...


[21:35:06] LEMON: ... that Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders are very similar and you know, they're polar opposites when it comes to politics. But the way they have entered, you know, this political race and similar, populous, appealing to ...


LEMON: ... you know, Donald Trump is appealing to younger people, as well. His campaign rallies are filled with young people.


LEMON: So, what about on a Democratic side, is it the same story for Bernie Sanders? BECKEL: Yeah, it is. I mean, you know, the most important generation in this election is the millennials. I mean, they're the largest generation. They took over from my baby boom generation. There's 80 million of them.

And they are equally as strong on the left as on the right. And they're with Sanders or they're with Donald Trump.

And, you know, people say why doesn't Hillary Clinton get more of them, because A, they don't trust her very much and two, they're not very politically inclined outside of this kind of year.

LEMON: I want to talk about Madeleine Albright right now. The former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, she -- who made headlines last week when she said that women must vote for Hillary Clinton or they would, you know ...

LIZZA: Burn in hell.

LEMON: ... the special place in hell for that. It was controversial. And some said it was undiplomatic.

I think it was meant as a joke but may be people didn't take it that way. And here's what she said. She responded tonight saying, "I absolutely believe what I said that women should help one another, but this was the wrong context and the wrong time to use that line. I did not mean to argue that women should support a particular candidate based solely on gender. But I understand that I came across as condemning those who disagree with my political preferences."

All of your reaction. I'll start with you first, Kayleigh.

MCENANY: You know, I think it's -- with the moment of truth for Madeleine Albright and this is really the problem with the feminist movement, in order to a be a so-called feminist, you have to vote Democratic now in order to be a so-called feminist, you have to vote Hillary Clinton.


MCENANY: It's appalling. I think it creates women as a voting block and trying to paint them all as one. And I accept incredibly wrong and that's anti-feminist if you ask me.

LEMON: Ryan, quick response from you.

LIZZA: Well, to her credit it was a real apology. In other words, it wasn't one of those not apology ...

LEMON: It wasn't sorry, not sorry, you think?

LIZZA: I don't think so. I mean, it seems very clear and she did try and explain it. And it just show -- goes to show you in the heat of a campaign you say something like that, as she pointed out, she's been saying for 25 years and it has a completely different context and pretty still lot of outrage. LEMON: Bob.

BECKEL: Yeah. Well she's -- I have seen Madeleine Albright use that phrase probably 15 times. But this was the once place for people paid a lot of attention to it. And between her and Gloria Steinem, I mean, that feminist movement is over. I mean, there's -- it's been handed down to a new generation of John Kennedy.

LEMON: Yeah. Young people are -- young people don't see it the way ...

BECKEL: Yeah, that's right. Exactly.

LEMON: Thank you, guys. Have a great weekend. Appreciate it.

Up next, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders both fighting for the votes of African Americans.

We'll talk more about that.


[21:41:42] LEMON: Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders battling it out to win the support of African-American voters. And I want to talk about this now with Keli Goff, columnist for "The Daily Beast" and host of "Political Party with Keli Goff" on WNYC Radio. I have to listen to that. And Van Jones -- invite me on. And then Van Jones, CNN Political Commentator and former Obama administration official.

I can't wait to have this conversation with you guys because this is where it has been going. And we've been saying that Van. And Van, you brought it to our attention even more so in the last week, so I appreciate that. But, Keli my first question is for you.

Black voters have supported Hillary Clinton -- the Clintons really for years. What's the appeal? What's the support? Should they count on it?

KELI GOFF, COLUMNIST, THE DAILY BREAD: Well, I would say they did support them for years until 2008 when she lost. So, there is a bit of a bump there in the history. And I would say that look, there is a whole thing with Bill Clinton allegedly being, you know, considered the first black president and then a real black president came along who had a fresher message.

And, you know, black voters supported President Obama in that. What I would say though is that I don't buy into this ongoing myth that, you know, the Clintons have some magical spell over the black community, nor should they.

However, I also don't buy into this idea that people should not vote for Hillary Clinton simply because her husband had this label of the first black president and some people feel he didn't earn it. So by default they should vote against her which is some of the language are kind of hearing right now.

LEMON: So, she shouldn't necessarily count on the vote you say?

GOFF: Well, first of all, she shouldn't take it for granted which is what a lot of democrats are doing.

LEMON: Because she deserved it.

GOFF: You know, I believe that black voters -- as I said in my columns for "The Daily Beast" that run today, have to take a lot of factors into account when they make a decision who to vote for.

Issues are only part of it. That's just the reality, Don. Part of it are packing and things like electability. And as I've pointed them out in my column, you go back to the 2000 election where people thought that Ralph Nader was better on progressive issues. Well, that works out really great for black Americans, you know, when George W. Bush got in office.

So, I think that's going to play our role in the decision and that favors Hillary Clinton.

LEMON: OK. So, basically, what she said in a comment if I may paraphrase for Van Jones is that, African-American voters don't have the luxury of voting for someone who may not, you know, who is in a sure shot and Hillary Clinton is pretty much a sure shot. Is that ...

GOFF: She's more of a sure shot than ...

LEMON: Than Bernie Sanders. Van, your response to that, your reaction?

VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: Well, you know, I read the piece. I think there's a difference between a Ralph Nader and a Bernie Sanders. They are actually the opposite.

Ralph Nader independent, decides to run as a green party candidate in a general election which messes up the mass arguably for the Democrats.

Sanders, an independent makes the opposite choice. He decides to run as a democrat in a primary election pledging to support the democrat. So, I do think that African-Americans have more choice to vote their true heart if they want to.

There's a way to look at, I think Sanders the way that blacks folks looked at Jesse Jackson in '84 and '88. It wasn't clear that Jesse Jackson could win a general election but African-Americans really gave a lot of heart and support to him because they really liked his agenda and what he stood for.

And so, I do think that in the primary, African-Americans have a choice. They shouldn't feel like they have to vote ...

LEMON: But in the general -- go ahead, Van.

GOFF: I'm glad he brought up '84 and '88 when the Democrats lost.

JONES: No, but they didn't lose because of Jesse Jackson's candidacy.

GOFF: But, part of why they lost though is because of a session ugly primary bad and that's actually where the Willie Horton ad it came from. It's, you know, he's become a presidential myth because that's the Willie Horton now was all the Bush campaign.

[21:45:04] They got that information because it was brought out in the primary. So, you know, I think this idea of discounting -- but, I think discounting the role that having an ugly primary can have on ultimately the election and who's really effective is kind of the larger point that I think people have to talk about.

JONES: We had the ugliest primary ever in 2008. And then Obama won.


GOFF: People say it was really ugly to compared to that kind of restating, you know?

JONES: But Jesse Jackson didn't run the Willie Horton ad it gets. If we talk-- well, I just want to talk about this particular opportunity. I think that Hillary Clinton has earned through hard work and shoe leather a certain amount of respect and relationship with the Black community.

I think Bernie Sanders, who -- I love his politics, has to be faulted for just not having those relationships. And I think he's a victim, Bernie Sanders, of his class first and class last ideology.

So, for years, he just talked about, I'm going to tax Wall Street, Social Security and racism will just kind of disappear. He was forced by Black Lives Matter last year to really take a different look at that. To his credit, he has grown.

And so in this recent incarnation, I think he's very good on racial issues, he's very explicit about it but he's paying a price for these past couple of decades of not actually having a racially, I think, sophisticated ...

LEMON: Well, you said he's grown -- hang on there -- he's grown but he's grown in, I guess, the way he is responding to in his rhetoric. So there if there is no record of anything that he, you know, has done in the Congress or, right?

GOFF: Which is basically what the Congressional caucus said when they endorse Hillary this week, right?

LEMON: Right, yeah. Let's stand by.

JONES: Well, that's not quite ...

LEMON: We're-- No, I'll leave you respond to it. I got to get a break then. I promise you I'll let you respond on the other side.

I just want to remind our viewer as well that you can see last night's PBS "NewsHour" Democratic debate. If you didn't watch, you can watch it. If you did watch, then watch again right after this broadcast at 10:00 p.m.

Keli and Van stay with me. When we come back, we'll talk more about the Black vote and Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton.


[21:50:55] LEMON: Black voters of course a key constituency in the Democratic Party, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders are fighting for their votes, fighting for voters, for black voters. We have back with now in, our Keli Goff and Van Jones.

So, Van, you're responding to what we said about his work in the Senate, Bernie Sanders' work in the Senate on black issues.

JONES: Yeah. I'm trying to be balanced here. Because, I think we actually finally are now having a real discussion. It hasn't just been the back and the forth.

So, to be fair with Bernie, he has a higher rating from the NAACP as a senator than Hillary Clinton did. I think a lot of people don't know that.

Also, I'm starting to be very concerned about the way that the Clintons are almost making it seem if you oppose Hillary Clinton or if you like Sanders, you somehow hate Obama.

And that is nuts, I mean, it's all Bernie. Bernie is supposed to be the socialist but the Clintons are acting like, Obama's like our dear leader, you know, like in North Korea, like if you get criticize the dear leader.

That's nuts. You can have and you should have if you're in public rights, a critique of the status quo ...

LEMON: I can't wait to see the right-wing blogs get a-hold of what you just said but go on.

JONES: Hey, Van, hey, blow it up, blow it up! But, that's not a point. The Clintons needs a back off of this if you -- it's like she like Hillary Rodham Obama.

If you don't agree with everything she said, you hate Obama, you disrespect the black people. That's nuts. Let's have a real debate about the issues.

And I do think of Bernie Sanders have a lot of good ides that would help black vote. And I think a lot of younger black folks like him better than her. That's just reality.

GOFF: Well look, but I also -- one thing I do really like that Sanders touched upon that was just general idea. It's not just about President Obama of media kind of framing at as though, there is one or possibly two or possibly three or possibly four black Americans who speak for all of us.

And so, you keep saying in head lines that are sort of, "What?" You know, if you don't move over this recent, President Obama's voice. Or, you know, the Reverend Sharpton can takes the meeting with someone, or, you know, Michelle has at the end of road of piece.

And the fact is we don't all get together for big meetings. And they could determine each about what the entire community is doing.

LEMON: Did Van called the meeting?

GOFF: And, you know, and I would love to see that this last election where we see headlines that say, one person who has one vote has spoken for black America. And that really needs to change.

LEMON: You know, I was a little time in that cheat there, but it's true because as I talk to people, right, I see people on, you know, I see African-Americans and people don't believe this on social media, African-Americans who support Donald Trump.

I see African-Americans who support Ben Carson. I haven't seen many who support Ted Cruz. But, I just maybe I just haven't heard from them. But I see that it was for Hillary Clinton, who support Bernie Sanders. It's not just one single candidate. And as Van always says, "Not been saying were useful".

African-Americans are not a monologue. There is not just one way to be black and one person to put your support behind.

GOFF: Well no and, you know, sorry.

JONES: Let me add to that. Just to build on that, there is an African-American left and there's an African-American center and there's an African-American right.

And so, what you're see right now is a lot of the African-American centrists are grouping around the Clintons as they did before.

Don't forget, John Lewis was with Hillary Clinton against Obama almost until the very end.


LEMON: Remember we talked about this years ago when it happened when the black establishment did not support this and we don't know this guy, they're supporting Hillary Clinton.

GOFF: Right. And that was frame that they quote "black enough today" as I pointed out in my column today which -- because I did say it Van.

JONES: Yes you did.

GOFF: That was an electability issue, right. When Iowa proves that a black man could do well with the white swap of black's not told one.

LEMON: That's when everyone started.

GOFF: It wasn't just African-Americans in Congress you started seeing across the country who's numbers start to improve a black American, because we pay attention to electability.

Which is why I believe that Bernie Sanders is going to have a tough sell, and not just because of this myth of black, you know, giving Clinton's more respect than they deserve which someone actually wrote to me on Facebook, you know, you give him -- give them more respect than they deserve. They haven't done enough.

No, because I think a lot of African-Americans are more in pragmatic only because life has made us so, right. And that's ...

LEMON: Quickly, Van, because I want to bring something else up. Go ahead.

JONES: Well, I think it's important to recognize that for the black left, so what you're talking about a Michelle Alexander, a Ben Jealous, Keith Ellison, this is an opportunity for them to assert themselves as a political wing of our community and say we're not just going to go with the Clintons, even though they will support the Clintons in the general.

[21:55:16] So I just think it's important to recognize this in a very sophisticated community. It's not just the black vote.

LEMON: OK, so quickly here, this is what I want to bring up. Because it really breaks down along generational lines here. Young voters for the Democratic Presidential Nominee, voters ages 17 to 29 in Iowa and New Hampshire, Bernie wins by a quite a large margin in South Carolina, not so much.

And then when you look at the choice for Democratic Presidential nominee among likely African-American South Carolina and Democratic voters, it is an entirely different story in South Carolina because Hillary wins on pretty much all fronts except for those younger voters.

GOFF: Right, a (inaudible) say that to me, that's actually a larger conversation issue and this is about the generational issue, it's the larger issue about the fact that we allow two of the least diverse states in the union to set the tone for our primary on both parties.


GOFF: And I think that that's a big mistake and the problem.

LEMON: Van Jones?

JONES: Well I agree. I think that Secretary Clinton really should learn that ...

LEMON: I have 20 seconds.

JONES: ... that younger voters black and white need to hear a more inspirational message from her period.

LEMON: That's it, end of story. Yeah, period. All right, Van Jones, thank you, have a great weekend, you picked the right weekend not to be in the east. Yeah, thank you Keli always a pleasure.

JONES: Yeah.

LEMON: That's it for tonight, I'll see you back here on Monday. Our encore presentation on the PBS News -- our PBS "NewsHour" Democratic debate in Wisconsin begins in just a moment.