Return to Transcripts main page
CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL
Romney: Trump Is A "Phony" And "Fraud"; Source: Romney Team Looks At Blocking Trump At Convention; Romney Blasts Trump's "Brand Of Anger"; Trump's Vulnerabilities. Aired 8-9p ET
Aired February 27, 2016 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[20:00:00] HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Imagine a tomorrow where every parent can find a good job and every grandparent can enjoy a secure retirement. Imagine a tomorrow where hard work is honored, families are supported and communities are strong. When we trust and respect each other, despite all that divides us.
So please join us in this campaign for our country's future. Go to Hillary Clinton.com or text "join" j-o-i-n to 47246 right now.
You know, on one of my first trips to South Carolina during this campaign, I stopped by a bakery here in Columbia. I was saying hello to everybody. I went over to say hello to a man reading a book in the corner. Turned out he was a minister and the book was a bible. He was studying first Corinthians 13, which happens to be one of my favorite passages. Love never fails to tell us, love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
These are words to live by, not only for ourselves but also for our country. I know it sometimes seems a little odd for someone running for president these days, in this time, to say we need more love and kindness in America. But I'm telling you from the bottom of my heart, we do. We do. We have so much to look forward to. There is no doubt in my mind that America's best years can be ahead of us. We have got to believe that. We've got to work for that. We have to stand with each other. We have to hold each other up. Lift each other up. Move together into the future that we will make.
Thank you. God bless god bless you and god bless America.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST. A very impressive win for Hillary Clinton tonight. She it's fair to say is shellacking tonight, maybe 40 points, potentially 50 points ahead of Bernie Sanders in South Carolina, recalling that eight years ago was very different for Hillary Clinton in South Carolina. Then senator Barack Obama won by 28 points. That was considered a landslide. She will have a much bigger landslide tonight in South Carolina over Bernie Sanders.
She just delivered her remarks. And there was a not so veiled reference to Donald Trump when she said these words. She said despite what you hear, we don't need to make America great again. America has never stopped being great. But we do need to make America whole again. Jake Tapper, not so subtle in terms of a reference to Donald Trump.
And she also at the very end she cited First Corinthians. Not one Corinthians.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN CHIEF WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Right. Donald Trump having once said two Corinthians instead of second Corinthians.
You know, it is very interesting. I think this is the second time I have heard her talk about corporate responsibility. It is a differentiation. It is a way of talking about the business world that is different than Bernie Sanders. It's a way of offering a general election pitch, really. I mean, she is talking about holding businesses accountable. But it's not an antibusiness message. And I suspect in the days and weeks to come, we are going to hear more of Hillary Clinton the general election candidate as she pivots away from Bernie Sanders and towards probably Donald Trump and the Republicans.
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's true. But I think it's also fascinating to talk about what Wolf was just saying about how much of Barack Obama, her former rival's, play book she has used in South Carolina. Not only reaches out to the African-American vote, but also to the senior Democrats in that state.
Jim Clyburn who is, you know, kind of the Dean of the Democratic delegation down in South Carolina, he introduced her, he endorsed her, which was obviously a big help for her. I was just going back and looking at some of the things that Clyburn said in his memoir in 2014, recalling intense angry phone calls he got from President Clinton because of the fact that President Clinton thought that Clyburn, who was neutral in 2008, had it out for Hillary Clinton. So it just goes to show as we have said all night what a difference eight years makes.
TAPPER: Yes. Clyburn stayed neutral, but he was critical of some of the comments that Bill and Hillary Clinton had made in 2007-2008 during that contentious primary season. So a lot of people in camp Clinton thought he wasn't actually neutral. He was feigning neutrality. He got an angry phone call from Bill Clinton, as you note. I suspect the phone calls and the conversations are going to be much more jubilant.
Jim Clyburn a very strong supporter of Hillary Clinton leading up to this primary. I mean, frankly, he didn't have to be. He served with Bernie Sanders in the House of Representatives. He knows Bernie Sanders. They are friends. But note a full throated endorsement from Jim Clyburn at the time when she needed it.
[20:05:31] BASH: That's right. And talking about phone calls, just kind of give our viewers an indication of how might the Sanders campaign knew that his was going to be a big Hillary Clinton win. I'm told by a Clinton source that before Bernie Sanders got on the plane, he of course was not in South Carolina. He was headed to Minnesota, which is a March 1st state. Before he got on the plane he called Hillary Clinton to congratulate her. And that was before the polls even closed.
TAPPER: Right. BASH: He didn't concede but he congratulate her knowing that it would
be a very goodnight for her.
TAPPER: It is not unusual if you know that you are not going to have a goodnight, to not actually be presence in the states to be looking ahead, projecting ahead. Marco Rubio, the night of the Nevada caucuses earlier this week, I suppose it was, wasn't there, didn't even speak in the state. And eight years ago Hillary Clinton was not in South Carolina as the returns came in.
Anderson, a very, very big night. It would be hard to overstate just the significance of this victory and the margin, the scale as the votes come in. Right now it is 76 percent Clinton, 23.4 percent Sanders. That's with 26 percent of the vote in. It probably won't be that big of margin, but it is going to be big.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: I mean, right now, larger percentage of the African-American vote than Barack Obama, I think, got in 2008.
DAVID AXELROD, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes, absolutely. That was a three-way race. But look, there's no taking it away from her if these numbers hold up, and it looks like they will, this is a crushing victory for Hillary Clinton, I mean, really a crush victory for her here. Nobody forecasted her getting votes on this scale.
COOPER: So all those questions that were asked in the wake of even Iowa and New Hampshire, can Bernie Sanders make inroads among African- American voters, perhaps among young African-American voters, will the fire wall for Hillary Clinton hold, are all those questions now answered?
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: I think a lot of them are being answered. I think, look, right now she's positioned herself for a sweep in the south. She's got to fight Sanders to kind of a tie with white voters and do as well as she did tonight with African- American voters. He is going to be playing on a different playing field in many ways in the south, Anderson because he is going to be in the Minnesota and Colorado and Massachusetts and Vermont. And she is not going to play there, but she is going to play in the south.
AXELROD: He is not playing on that --. That's the difference. She, other than Vermont which he will win handily, she is competing in all those states.
BORGER: Right. But she now is positioned, I think, to sweep states like Alabama, Virginia, Tennessee, Arkansas.
NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN POLITICAL REPORTER: Georgia, Texas.
BORGER: Yes, exactly. So I think that he has got little bit different terrain, you're right.
AXELROD: But my point is she is running nationally and he is running regionally and that sort of speaks to where we are.
BORGER: Exactly. HENDERSON: And you heard that tonight when she is tweeting Donald
Trump with make America great again. This is a crush victory for her. It's also a victory for the black lives matter movement. In this speech I think she was at her best when she was talking about those five women who lost sons in different incidences. Sabrina Fulton who lost her son Trayvon Martin. She talks about Flint, Michigan. Her first - her opening line was there is no barrier too big to break, which I think resonates with a lot of African-Americans who were part of history in electing Barack Obama and in some ways want to be part of history again.
COOPER: We also heard her taking on Donald Trump. Is that something you think - Paul Begala, I saw you retweeting a lot of her comments. Is that something you think we are going to be hearing from her more and more now?
PAUL BEGALA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Absolutely. It's not that I think anybody in her team is taking the nomination for granted. But the dominant story is Donald Trump. And he is really doing remarkably well with a message that's very divisive. Mexicans are murder. Muslims should be part from our country and all matter of division. Tonight, she stood (INAUDIBLE). She stood up tonight and said no, we need more love and kindness. When's the last time presidential candidate -- I think Bobby Kennedy is the last one I can remember saying we need more love and kindness.
S.E. CUPP, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes. But that's who she wants people to think is going to be the Republican nominee. She's not going to mention anything that Marco Rubio said. She's not sub tweeting Marco Rubio because she doesn't want to remind people that Marco Rubio is out there. They're afraid of Marco Rubio. I think they want Trump. And probably unlike Paul, they still believe they can crush him in a general election. And I think they want to remind her voters and general voters that Trump is out there and that's the matchup. And she, not Bernie, is best at swinging against Trump.
[20:10:14] BAKARI SELLERS, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Let me now throw a little cold water on S.E.'s theory, because of the simple fact that no one sitting up here knows one particular state that Marco Rubio can win in a Republican primary. And that is why we are directing this theory (ph). That's why we are directing this strategy and messaging toward Donald Trump.
But what you did see today is that target of love and kindness. And when she pivoted to this general election message that she had, what was refreshing for me is that Flint, Michigan, the criminal justice reform are still part of that general election strategy. There was a bit of, is she still going to talk about our issues when it is now time that --.
VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: She's got a few more black states to get through. Let's be clear about that. I'm just saying.
SELLERS: I mean, but --. (CROSSTALK)
SELLERS: I disagree with Van. I think that she understands - no, not that. But I do think that this is a staple and a pillar of her message going forward. But I think the overarching message that we found like hope and change is love and kindness.
COOPER: By the way, we expect to hear from Bernie Sanders about 9:00 eastern time tonight. We, of course, are going to bring that to you live as well - Van.
JONES: Hillary Clinton's speech was beautiful.
DONNA BRAZILE, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Thank you.
JONES: It was beautiful. I mean, and it got more beautiful as she went.
JONES: And I thought that -- I mean, it does not get any better than to say it's not about making America great, it's about making America whole. That works with the left, the right and the center. I thought that was beautiful. If these numbers hold up, you're looking at a wholesale repudiation of the Sanders' campaign. That there is really no other way to say that. And so if --
CUPP: In South Carolina, though.
JONES: Sure, sure. In South Carolina. But she's going to roll through a bunch more states just like that. So I just want to say, listen. You've got to acknowledge that she is much, much better now than she was two months ago or even one month ago.
BRAZILE: One week ago. Thought this was ecumenical. I'm a catholic girl. (INAUDIBLE), ecumenical. It was powerful. It was strong. She spoke to the hearts and soul of not just the people in the room, but I think the people who are going to be looking to hear from Hillary Clinton in the next couple of days. The biggest surprise on Super Tuesday is Texas with 222 delegates. So that reference to Trump. I know Donald Trump gets really excited when people reference him. But that reference was not so much to antagonize him but to remind Hispanic voters, who are going to be key in these upcoming states that she wants to take on these so-called divisive issues that Donald Trump has put into as to what Donald --.
COOPER: When she debate next Sunday, though, and so is she going to be debating - I mean, obviously, she is (INAUDIBLE) Bernie Sanders, but is she also really going to be trying to invoke Donald Trump as much as she can?
AXELROD: Well, you know, at this point, he has -- nobody is talking about Marco Rubio because everybody is drafting off of the lead horse here. Donald Trump is the center of attention and Donald Trump is the most vivid figure out there. And he has defined his issues very, very sharply. And so, it's natural to position yourself off of him. And I think that's one of the answers to how you're going to get more enthusiasm from some Democratic voters in the fall.
COOPER: Let's check back in with Wolf Blitzer -- Wolf.
BLITZER: All right, Anderson. Thank you.
I want to go right to Brianna Keilar. She is at the headquarters where we just heard the secretary of state deliver that - the former secretary of state delivered that powerful address with a few not so subtle references to Donald Trump.
I didn't hear any subtle references to Marco Rubio or any of the other Republican presidential candidates. But I did hear couple of references that Donald Trump and I take it. Brianna, that was not by accident.
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: No. It was not by accident. It was actually building, Wolf, on something that she said earlier today in Alabama. And we are told by sources that she and her campaign believe Donald Trump is going to be the Republican nominee. Of course, as she mentioned, there's something to this idea that I think they would rather take on Donald Trump than Marco Rubio. So there's also that.
But this speech, as far as all of the speeches go in her campaign since she launched it last April, this one I think, talking to sources, her campaign considers to be an inflection point for her. They feel that this is a message that will really work for her. She started during her New Hampshire concession speech. Maybe people didn't pay a whole lot of attention to that because that was the night of a big loss for her. But that's where she unveiled this idea of breaking down barriers. Her campaign really thought that got her some traction in Nevada, worked for here in South Carolina and this speech built on that. Clearly as this is her first big speech positioning herself as an alternative to Donald Trump, laying out her argument against Donald Trump, basically that she is a uniter. That he is a divider. Saying that America is great and that she wants to make America whole, not to make America great, because it already is. As well as this idea if she doesn't want to build a wall. She wants to tear down barriers building on the message she unveil to contest ago, Wolf.
[20:15:19] BLITZER: Brianna, standby. I want to go to Jeff Zeleny. He is over at Bernie Sanders' campaign headquarter tonight over in Minnesota. He is going to be speaking about 45 minutes or so from now.
It's been a crushing set back tonight in South Carolina, not by ten points or 20 or even 30, but maybe as many as 40 or 50 points in a state where he did compete.
JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Wolf. I mean, they were expecting a defeat. They were not expecting a blowout like this. And this really is surprising and disappointing many Sanders' supporters in South Carolina and in fact, nationally. But Advisors tell me that they do not expect this campaign to be over. Advisors tell me we are going to fight this all the way to the convention.
So Wolf, that is really the open question here. How long is the Sanders campaign going to go on? I mean, of course, it's important to remember only four percent of the delegates have been picked here. So you have a long way to go process-wise. But by vowing to fight all the way to the convention, if they do, this could indeed divide this Democratic Party.
But tonight, Wolf, just as senator Sanders is making his way here to Minnesota from Texas, where he was earlier tonight, there's a new endorsement from the Minneapolis "Star Tribune" that is endorsing Hillary Clinton. Of course, Minnesota is one of those key Super Tuesday state where will be voting on Tuesday next week.
Let me read just a little bit of it here, Wolf. It says, we believe that Clinton is the clear choice over Sanders for heart and head alike. A force on the national landscape for more than 30 years. Clinton has distinguished herself in foreign and domestic policy in ways that make her well suited to represent the party in November. So of course, just one endorsement tonight from the Minneapolis "Star Tribune."
But as coming senator Sanders is coming here to make a stand in Minnesota, Wolf. This is a key state for him as well. The Sanders campaign believes they can win in states like Minnesota. They can compete will in states like Michigan and then certainly the west coast. But at some point you have to start winning again to make this whole, Wolf.
So tonight, senator Sanders, I'm told, is going to congratulate Clinton as he did privately during a phone call. And he is going to keep on giving his message, the same message he has been giving here. And of course, that resonate to so many voters here behind me as you can see. Several hundred people on hand here waiting in Rochester, Minnesota, for senator Sanders when he looking comes here tonight, Wolf, and starts looking forward to the rest of his campaign -- Wolf.
BLITZER: And we will, of course, have live coverage of his speech as well. Jeff, standby.
One of the key race alert right now in South Carolina. Almost 40 percent of the vote is now in. Look at this wide margin. Hillary Clinton with 75.1 percent. Bernie Sanders only 24.3 percent. That's a 50-point spread. She is up by 87,000, now 88,803. She has 131,320 votes right now. Bernie Sanders only 42,517.
I want to go over to John King.
John, a lot of people were expecting a very impressive decisive win for Hillary Clinton in South Carolina, but 50 points. That is huge. Remember Barack Obama carried the state eight years ago against Hillary Clinton by 28 point.
JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, this is not a victory. It's a thrashing and it's a message because this is the Democratic base for the first time in the state. The majority African-American vote. And Hillary Clinton is sending a message to Bernie Sanders and to the country essentially saying are you a protest candidate or can you compete where you have a democratic coalition? And tonight she is sending a clear message, the challenges to carry it on as we go forward.
But look at the map filling in. You notice anything? There's no Bernie Sanders. He is not even winning a county in the state. If we go back in time, Hillary Clinton, it wasn't much, again, she lost in a three way race with John Edwards. Edwards won one small county. Clinton won one significant county here as Obama carried the state. But 55 percent.
I just want to show you couple of things. As you go into these counties, you know, Clinton getting 20 percent here, Clinton getting 20 percent here, Clinton getting 17 percent here. So Obama had a convincing victory in the swath where you have the highest American percentage. But when you come back now, I was just going through these counties, I could only find one county, Lexington County, just outside of the state capital of Columbia, where Bernie Sanders was getting 40. Most of the places when you go through these counties, it's a thrashing. He's in 19, 20, maybe cracking 30.
And so, this is just an overwhelming victory. It's not just a victory. And the reason it's so important, Wolf, as you come back, number one, Hillary Clinton now something in common with Donald Trump. She's won three of the first four. A different map, but -- Cruz won Iowa. Trump won the other three. She's won three of the first four. This is the momentum phase of the campaign. We are now going into a delegate-rich map base. But a lot of Super Tuesday plays out down here in states like South Carolina where you're going to have and electorate like tonight. Where you are going to have 55, 60, percent of the electorate being African-American.
So the scope of this victory tonight, you saw a very happy candidate there delivering that speech, Secretary Clinton. She understands this sends a message. It sends a message to Bernie Sanders. It sends a message to any Democrats who are nervous about her candidacy. And it sends a message as we are going into Super Tuesday.
[20:20:06] BLITZER: Yes. On 60 percent of that vote, African- American in South Carolina. Similarly in some of the other southern states this coming Tuesday as well.
KING: Northern Alabama and Arkansas.
BLITZER: Yes. Looks good for her in those states as well.
Stand by. We're getting ready to hear Bernie Sanders. He is going to be delivering a speech. We will, of course, have live coverage of that. We will get much more reaction to what Hillary Clinton just said. Let's see what Donald Trump has to say of what she indicated in her speech. Much more of our special coverage right after this.
[20:24:16] BLITZER: Welcome back. We are getting ready to hear from Bernie Sanders. He is the loser,
big loser tonight in South Carolina. She has won dramatically. Very impressively. Hillary Clinton.
Let's take a look at the numbers right now. With almost half of the vote in, she is up by 50 points, 74.4 percent to Bernie Sanders 24.9 percent. More than 100,000 votes ahead of Bernie Sanders.
Let's go over to Jake and Dana and David. This is as I've been saying, a lot of us thought she would win impressively. But 50 points --
TAPPER: The numbers are still coming in. What do we have?
BLITZER: Half of the vote's in.
TAPPER: That's a pretty big landslide. I have to say in terms of the momentum that it could provide former secretary of state Hillary Clinton as she goes into Super Tuesday, where she's already heavily favored in many, many states, it could be a pretty key moment. I mean, this is a sizable win and as John King noted, this is a signal from a state, Democrats in a state, saying, we are one, if not 100 percent, but we are really behind this one candidate. This is a decisive and probably historic victory.
[20:25:23] DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Right. It looks like a route. No question about it.
And David, you have some more information about how Hillary Clinton was able to ski to victory.
DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Yes. So we have been talking a lot about the black vote overall. And I just want to put some of them in context and give you some numbers here.
We went back to look at how the black vote split in 2008. Now remember, that was a three-person race. Not a two-person race. Take a look at the 2008 African-American vote there. It was 78 percent for Barack Obama, 19 percent for Hillary Clinton and John Edwards got two percent of the vote back there in 2008.
Look at tonight. Hillary Clinton, 87 percent of the African-American, 13 percent of the African-American vote went to Bernie Sanders. I mean, she is over performing where Barack Obama was with African- Americans to South Carolina in 2008. And there are more of them. That the turnout is higher.
And what John and Wolf were just talking about before, I want to throw out some over numbers here. Just think ahead to Tuesday, OK. Looking back at 2008, this was the African-American turnout in some of these key states. Alabama, 52 percent African-American. Georgia 51 percent African-American. Tennessee 29 percent. Virginia 30 percent. Arkansas 17 percent. Texas 19 percent. This is where the race is going now on Tuesday night on Super Tuesday.
BASH: And that's why I was just emailing with a Clinton source about this issue, which is why they feel so comfortable that even if they actually expect to lose some of the almost a dozen states that are going to be voting on Tuesday, they feel that because they're going to do so well with these southern states, because they have such a large African-American electorate and because those states tend to have more delegates than the other states, that they feel that's win of the reasons why they feel very comfortable. It is a delegate race right now.
TAPPER: Yes. I don't want to overstate the Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders comparison. Obviously they're very different. But they are both creatures of the phenomenon of angry voters, people who don't trust the establishment. One of the things that Donald Trump has been able to do that Bernie Sanders has not is Donald Trump has been able to win over evangelical voters. He didn't do it Iowa, but then he did do it in South Carolina and he did do it in Nevada. Evangelical voters a very significant component of the Republican base in many key states. Not in all states, but in many key states.
African-Americans, similarly, are a key component of the democratic base and what Bernie Sanders has not been able to do is eat into that part of the base the way that Donald Trump has for evangelicals.
BASH: That's a great point. And like other Republican candidates who have tried to get evangelicals, Bernie Sanders has tried to get African-Americans. He has tried big time particularly in the last couple of weeks in South Carolina and it just didn't work.
TAPPER: It is so interesting - Anderson.
COOPER: Jake and Dana,
And it is not as if Bernie Sanders did not invest a lot of resources and people and money in the state of South Carolina.
BORGER: Yes. I mean, the Clinton campaign is making sure we all know exactly how many resources that Bernie Sanders put into this, which is $2 million on television and radio, 200 in state staff. Had 11 South Carolina offices. He did put a lot into it and yet he did so poorly in this state. There is no way for the Sanders campaign to come out of this and say, well, there is kind of a silver ling here. There really isn't a silver lining in this. There is no way to talk about this lost.
COOPER: Not just because of South Carolina, but what it says about Mississippi, Louisiana, these other southern states.
BORGER: Absolutely. Texas, Tennessee, Arkansas and Georgia, for example. And by the way, if I were a Republican and may S.E., you can think of this, and I'm looking at Hillary Clinton's numbers with African-American voters in the state of South Carolina -- and you know I'm not saying a Republican is going to win the state of South Carolina, but you look at the attraction she had from African-American voters, doesn't that make Republicans nervous?
CUPP: It depends on the turnout, which we don't have yet. Proportionally, yes, that's a scary number for Republicans, especially with Donald Trump as a front-runner and potential nominee. And that's why I think there are so many conservatives who think that someone like Rubio uses much better contrast, use as much better language about diversity for example. But still don't know exactly how many African-American voters have turned out. Don't know how many young voters have turned out. But if the numbers, if Hillary Clinton is turning out African-Americans in similar numbers to Barack Obama, this is a huge problem for the GOP.
[20:30:03] AXELROD: She didn't in that this was a smaller turnout overall, but proportionately they came out in larger percentages than they did before. But doesn't this go to the core here in that we're becoming a more diverse country with each election, 26 percent in 2008, 28 percent in 2012, black, Hispanic and Asian. Going to be 30 percent in 2016. So the candidate who can speak to the entire country, who can speak to the whole of America has a better chance to win and probably should have a better chance to win. And that's a big concern.
And this is the problem for the Republican Party, because the things that may inspire the base are not the things that are going to win a general election. This is the problem they need to solve.
CUPP: Exactly right.
JONES: And that also just so we don't get too happy here, that also may be true in things that inspired this base may turn off some other important voters in the general election. This level of enthusiasm in the African-American community brings tear to my eyes. I mean, that speech was beautiful. And the embrace of those mothers I think was extraordinary. I worry sometimes though if her only strategy is to hold off Bernie Sanders is just to hold onto dear life to the black vote and you don't see any other enthusiasm for her, now she's got to figure out how to get those young people excited again. This is a huge moment.
AXELROD: Somebody else got enthused. She got 75 percent tonight.
BEGALA: There's definitely a pony in that stable and not very much waste, OK. I mean, this is a good night.
JONES: I'm saying there's no downside at all. It's over.
BEGALA: No, no, no.
COOPER: One at a time -- Bakari.
SELLERS: It did dispel some of those myths that we were perpetuating throughout - I men, after Iowa and New Hampshire. And Hillary Clinton had a woman problem. And I was saying that, you know, my mom and her friends haven't voted yet. When my mom and her friends vote, then, you know, maybe the numbers will change a little bit. When historically black colleges and universities now have their voices heard, maybe those numbers amongst young millennials change a little bit. And what we saw tonight and what we will see over Super Tuesday is the
blessing of the Democratic Party which is that diversity wins the day now. And I have been saying for a while now that you just can't win the presidency of the United States with white conservatives any longer. You now have to build a coalition because the country is, to David's point, getting browner.
BEGALA: There's nothing I'm hearing from either Hillary or Bernie that causes me pain in November, as oppose to -- we can run. Bernie's not where I am. But Bernie's going after Wall Street. Lots of conservatives want somebody to go after Wall Street too. In the main, what Hillary and Bernie are running on are things that play just fine in November.
The Republicans have a different problem. What they are running on to win their nomination is immigrant bashing and Muslim bashing and telling women if they're raped - no, Mr. Rubio said to reveals says if the woman is raped, she must carry that rapist's baby to term. So that's way outside the mainstream. It's Republicans who are seeking the nomination who are making themselves unelectable in November.
AXELROD: One thing - the one cautionary note -- a small point but an important one, any instinct on the part of the Clinton campaign to try and shove Bernie Sanders out of this race would be a really misplaced instinct. There are a lot very idealistic supporters who believe in him. He is going to go through this process and he will probably go right through to June even after she clinches and he is going to win some --.
COOPER: You have no doubt he reel go to the convention?
AXELROD: Yes. I don't think there's any question.
COOPER: He still has money and the potential to raise?
BORGER: Well, that's a good point, though.
CUPP: He want to make a point about these issues. And --.
AXELROD: I think he actually started that way. He started off to make a point and then suddenly he became competitive.
AXELROD: But he's still definitely had an impact on the debate.
COOPER: The question about money.
BORGER: The question is now how do you raise money after this loss? It's not going to be as easy because you can't spin it away. You have to kind of talk about it. And you know the money --
AXELROD: I don't know.
BRAZILE: Twenty-six states and over 56 percent of the delegates in March, you can raise a lot of money.
COOPER: We're getting more numbers. Let's go over to Wolf and John King with the magic wall.
BLITZER: All right, Anderson. Thank you very much.
John, very impressive win tonight for Hillary Clinton. Right now 61 percent of the vote in. Almost a 50-point spread, huge spread for Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders tonight. And it bodes well looking ahead to this coming Tuesday.
KING: Right. You see that margin. We expected Clinton win. We did not assume it was going to be by a margin like this. And it's a sweeping win at the moment. Few counties still to come in. But at the moment Bernie Sanders is not winning a county across South Carolina. So the map is impressive. It shows that thumping.
So mentioned, let's go forward to Super Tuesday. Let's switch maps and look at where we are in the delegate race. Here is where pledge delegates. Hillary Clinton has 445 super delegates. So put that aside and remember that number. Pledge delegates. Those one in New Hampshire, Iowa and Nevada a pretty competitive race coming into tonight. So this is a little bit of an estimate based on where we are now.
But based on now, proportionality, we look at -- this is how by the end of the night it is something like this. Sanders will get some delegates tonight in South Carolina because it's proportional. If Hillary Clinton will start to edge ahead. Then the question is, if she can keep that demographic edge -- look at Super Tuesday, this is momentum face of the campaign. Look at Super Tuesday. A lot of states voting on Tuesday. We head into the math phase of the campaign.
Let's just check a few of these right away. Vermont, let's switch this one. We expect senator Sanders to win his home state of Vermont. Let's, for the sake of this hypothetical, he is in Minnesota tonight. We don't know what's going to happen. The Clinton campaign will complete, but let's just say Bernie Sanders is right and he's competitive in Minnesota and he can do that. Another one of his states is Oklahoma. Again, Hillary Clinton thinks there's moderate to conservative Democrats, some African-Americans too. But for the sake of the hypothetical, let's give Bernie Sanders another one of his Super Tuesday targets. And Wolf, we will give him all four of his hypothetical for this top four Super Tuesday targets.
Remember though, this is at 55-45 win in the state. So Secretary Clinton would still be picking up delegates. But if we gave Bernie Sanders his top four targets on Super Tuesday, and she still sweeps down here, Georgia, Alabama, we go across the south, Tennessee, Arkansas, Texas, African-Americans and Latinos in Texas, African- Americans in this state, we gave her a bigger margin in these states. Like the South Carolina margin tonight, if she gets that, she starts to pull ahead.
Again, Democratic rules, Bernie Sanders proportionate. He stays in the game, but he starts to pull ahead. And at the point, that is what they are hoping and send the message because then, as Dana just noted, March gets very busy. What they hope to do by the end of March is sweep the rest of these states and start to edge out.
Again, democratic rule, Sanders could stay competitive. These later March states we have him at a 55-45. So the challenge for Secretary Clinton is to try to get above that. If she can get to 60 percent in some of these states, she starts to inch away. They stay 55-45, it stays close. But especially where you have the African-American votes for the rest of March down here in the south, if she can win anywhere close to what she's winning tonight, she'll actually pull even further ahead than this right now.
So it's a good night for the Clinton campaign. They hope it gives them momentum into this incredibly important a month of March. If so, they hope to stress the delegate lead. This is a conservative estimate for her. If she could run up the score a little bit more and keep winning, she could stretch it out a bit more.
BLITZER: Yes. We are going to be hearing from Bernie Sanders momentarily.
Anderson, I think for sure, one of the things he is going to say, he is not going anywhere. He is in this race.
COOPER: The question of course is -- I mean, if looking forward to these other southern states, I mean, if Hillary Clinton is age to continue, this what does it do to Sanders' overall message. Does he begin to try to shift it? What is his message to those supporters when it looks less and less likely he has a chance to win?
HENDERSON: No, I think it is a fair question because we have seen in some of these contest, for instance Nevada, he was able to go before people and say listen I was down by so many percentage points and I have almost toppled the Clinton machine or the Democratic machine. So how he changes his message going forward, I think, is going to be a challenge.
And also, you know, the specter of him only competing in white states, only doing well with white voters, I think that could start to be a bit of a problem as well.
COOPER: Is Senator Sanders' problem with African-American voters for (INAUDIBLE), I mean, is it a problem with senator Sanders or is it just a strength of Hillary Clinton? Because when you look at senator Sanders' record, I mean, this was a guy who, you know, at age 20 was arrested for trying to desegregate school housing in the University of Chicago.
BRAZILE: Again, I say this with no animus whatsoever toward senator Sanders and I'm neutral. There is no question that all of the years and we saw it happen in the Democratic Party. The Clintons have really been out there each and every day. Look, when President Obama lost in 2010 - I mean, in terms of he didn't lose but he lost a Congress. It was the Clintons who went back out there with Barack Obama in 2012 to help raise money and lift spirits of Democrats across this country.
So yes, he has a lot of political capital across the country. That's political capital as not we have been dividends. When you get somebody like Jim Clyburn (INAUDIBLE). Jim Clyburn is not a paper endorsement. I know paper endorsement. Jim Clyburn has an organization. You can put two, three, four, $6 million against Jim Clyburn. You're not going to take Jim Clyburn on in his state.
So I think Bernie Sanders is not a send a message candidate. He has a deep and profound message that resonates with democratic voters. People like him. But at the same time this is a victory of a woman who has been campaigning in that state for a long time and has a good relations --
AXELROD: I want to say something about this Clyburn endorsement. Because one of this things that's in play here is you have a bunch of folks who either for neutral or endorsed Barack Obama back in 2008. And it wasn't so much that they didn't have a relationship with the Clintons, but they wanted to endorse Obama. They thought he was the right candidate. And I think a bunch of them now are on board here with some more zeal because they want to sort of make up for a little bit of that be.
[20:40:03] HENDERSON: Yes. It's also true that Bernie Sanders didn't ask Jim Clyburn for his endorsement, which I think speaks volumes about his approach to that vote.
COOPER: We are standing by to hear from senator Sanders himself. We expect that any moment now. We will continue to cover that. We will obviously bring that to you live. We are going to take a short break. Our coverage continues ahead.
[20:44:14] BLITZER: We are getting ready to hear from Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders. He has a crushing defeat tonight in the South Carolina Democratic presidential primary to Hillary Clinton. He is going to be speaking fairly soon and we are going to have live coverage of that.
Take a look at the numbers. Hillary Clinton is the big winner tonight. Hillary Clinton with 74 percent of the vote now in, she has 73.6 percent to Bernie Sanders 25.8 percent. 137,129 more votes for Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders.
Jake, if you look at those numbers, and 74 percent, that's a lot of the vote has now been counted and it could go up a little bit. But if she wins by 40 or 45 or 50 points that's huge.
TAPPER: Well, it's like 2008 when Hillary Clinton lost the state by 28 points. It's almost as if she's like you want a landslide, I'll show you what a landslide really is in South Carolina, right, like 48 points. But one of the things that has been interesting about this primary and
caucus season, Wolf and Dana, is that Republicans and Democrats, when given the choice between are you looking for somebody who's an outsider or somebody who has experience, they really are divided. Obviously the Republicans really, really want an outsider. What do the Democrats that went to the polls in South Carolina today looking for?
BASH: Well, right. I mean, the outsider movement has been huge on the Republican side. And I didn't use huge by accident. You know, Donald Trump has been doing incredibly well, in large part because of that. You don't have that option really so much in the Democratic --
CHALIAN: Right, although despite Bernie Sanders decades in Congress, he is fuelled by some of that outsider energy, there's no doubt, but it's just not what South Carolina democratic primary voters today were looking for. Look at this, 87 percent of those showing up in the polls today in South Carolina in the Democratic primary, wanted somebody experienced in politics. Only 10 percent wanted somebody from outside the establishment. And when you look at how those 87 percent that want political experience split, Clinton, 83 percent of them go to her, Bernie Sanders gets 17 percent of them. And this, compared to last Saturday when we looked at the Republican primary in South Carolina, the Republicans were split, 47 percent wanted political experience, 48 percent of voters wanted outsider. Here, overwhelmingly, they were looking for somebody with experience in politics.
BASH: And former secretary of state, former senator, former first lady, and it goes on and on.
CHALIAN: You don't get a more experienced resume than that.
TAPPER: Although, to be frank, I mean, Sanders has plenty of experience. He's just something of an outsider within the establishment. But he is a member of the establishment. Once again, we see the dominance of Hillary Clinton in this category, 87 percent. I mean, it's just incredible or 83 percent to 17 percent. It's just incredible.
BASH: It is. You know, there's no question as we were just saying that they're both, at least one is a current member of the Senate, the other is a former and has had a lot of other titles. But he has kind of raged against the machine a little bit in the past and even made noise about running against Barack Obama in 2008. But so he's an outsider but he is somebody, as you said, with political experience. But going back to being the mayor of Burlington.
TAPPER: He's absolutely an outsider. But I'm just saying he has experience.
BASH: Hundred percent.
TAPPER: He's been in government for decades. BASH: Right, right, a quarter of a century.
TAPPER: So my point is just like, I mean, yes, she has more of a breadth of experience, but the idea that people looking for experience went to her, you know, 83 percent to 17 percent. And it show how dominant. She is though just looking for new numbers but we don't have them there they are, right there, 75 percent still almost a 50 percent margin of victory. Just incredible.
BASH: It really is. Especially as you were saying that everybody thought the nearly 30 percent victory that Barack Obama had eight years ago was remarkable, and she's doing even better than that.
TAPPER: One of the reasons why I think this victory is so surprising is because nobody expected the margin to be this big. I was just looking -- Brian Fallon, who is one of the Clinton campaign's chief spokesmen, tweeted remarks by (INAUDIBLE) a former democratic chairman in South Carolina in which (INAUDIBLE) predicted it was just going to be a very small margin of victory, maybe single digits. He has not been bullish on Hillary Clinton. Let's just put it that way. And Brian Fallon retweeted it, perhaps knowingly setting the expectations low, saying the guy knows his state, setting forth an expert that I doubt Brian Fallon considers to be a real expert.
BASH: I don't think so. Clearly not now.
And we also heard Hillary Clinton tonight in her speech and again just to bring you up to speed if you're just joining us, we're expecting to hear from Bernie Sanders probably close to the top of the hour, but we can't say for sure exactly when. We're obviously going to bring that to you live.
But we heard Hillary Clinton in her victory speech in South Carolina pivoting really, focusing an awful lot on Donald Trump, not really using his name, but using a lot of his slogans and giving a new spin to them. Let's play some of her comments about Trump.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CLINTON: Despite what you hear, we don't need to make America great again. America has never stopped being great. But we do need to make America whole again. Instead of building walls, we need to be tearing down barriers. We need to show by everything we do that we really are in this together.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[20:50:04] COOPER: Let me go to Paul Begala.
Paul, I mean, you're working with a pro-Hillary Clinton super PAC. But in the past you certainly have followed a lot of her speeches, what do you make of what you heard from her tonight, particularly aiming at Donald Trump?
BEGALA: The Trump stuff that is coming out of her head that's where she wants to go. That's where the campaign is moving, I get that. What I was more impressed by was the parts that came out of her heart. Years ago her husband was running, and it is the first time she had been action. I remember her telling me this. She said to bed at night and it is like a movie. The rope lines were her favorite thing. People come to you and at least open up their hearts.
This is a very reserved person. When you did that town hall meeting with her and that rabbi stood up, talked about the two-piece of paper in the pocket had whole world is one but you are dust, she opened up more in public than I have seen very often in 25 years. And that was hard to do, much harder even in a prepared speech. She sat there and poured her out. And I think that the most important moments has been when she met with these mom who lost children, as a mother herself, as a grandmother. And I could see that. It just opened her heart. And then, of course, she went to scripture. I mean, her faith has been very private for most of her life. And with you, in a town hall, not tonight. She's opening up a little bit. This is what voters want. It's not what she likes. She just wants to put her position papers out. She's a wonk, OK. As her friend, it's impressive to see her do something that she's not a natural at and she frankly, done really enjoy, which is opening up a heart, but people want it.
JONES: When she does it, it's powerful. And you know, all the people, whatever you want to say about it, there were people across this country white and black, Republican and Democrat, who cried real tears watching those videos all year. And she found a way to channel that for the whole country. She did some ministry today for the whole country.
COOPER: As we know, though, anybody who, you know, starts to go after Donald Trump, Donald Trump usually responds. If he hasn't already tweeted, he certainly will as soon as his plane lands. But is -- does she want to get into a fight with Donald Trump? Does it benefit her at this point?
SELLERS: I think, and this may be -- look, I may not yet be jaded by reality and I get that. But she's betting on something that I'm betting on, which is the American people. She's betting on things like love and kindness because we saw that hope and change won the day for eight years in a row. And she is betting on love and kindness to outweigh the divisiveness.
Now, I know that that doesn't have all the political savvy of what Axe may say or what Gloria may say. But I mean, that is she is playing on Americans' emotion to say wait a minute. This Donald Trump train is only getting 35 percent of the Republican electorate. That is not who we are. That is not the fabric of her country. And she is betting on this to win the day. This is going to be the most dirty campaign that we've seen. And this is going to be an epic way, and you know, you said (INAUDIBLE) and things like that. And I believe she's a fighter. She's resilient because she's been through that, but she's betting on love and kindness.
COOPER: By the way, 46 percent, I think, in Nevada. But anyway.
CUPP: Love and kindness is great for now. But let me just remind everyone who we are dealing with. Donald Trump is the most -- has the highest unfavorables of any political figure running from either party since the history of Gallup polling. Hillary Clinton, not that far behind Donald Trump when it comes to unfavorables. So this will be a contest if it's Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, between two characters, two candidates with very high unfavorables and very compelling personalities on both sides. It's going to be fascinating really to see who is least liked, right. Who is most liked of the least liked?
BORGER: But you know what? This isn't going to be an election about persuading. Because the people who like Donald Trump are not going to like Hillary Clinton. So it's not going to be an election about persuasion. It's going to be an election about mobilization, about getting your voters out.
CUPP: I think you're right, Gloria. But, no, I think you are underestimating Trump's ability to appeal to older, white, middle class --
BORGER: Reagan Democrats. That's part of the mobilization. That's part of it.
AXELROD: S.E., that is true, but you're also - I mean, it will change the calculus completely if he is the nominee because there are some groups he may be able to reach, some he may be able to reach who other candidates wouldn't. There are some who some Republicans might be able to do better with that he can't touch. I mean, he is pretty much - talking about building a wall. He has built a wall between himself and Hispanic voters that can't be deconstructed by --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's getting higher.
AXELROD: Exactly. Exactly.
BORGER: How many Republicans for all the Reagan Democrats that might turn out, if that is true for a nominee like Donald Trump, how many Republicans will stay home? Because they don't like Hillary Clinton?
CUPP: I know plenty of Republicans who would stay home if --
AXELROD: The Reagan democrat point is something we should talk about. I don't believe Reagan Democrats are going to vote for Hillary Clinton anyway.
[20:55:01] COOPER: I got to get a break in before Bernie Sanders is believed to start speaking. So obviously, we are going to bring that to you live. We are going to take a short break. Our coverage will continue in a moment.
[20:58:18] BLITZER: The breaking news, Hillary Clinton wins the Democratic primary in South Carolina by a very wide margin over Bernie Sanders. With two straight victories Hillary Clinton gets the Super Tuesday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CLINTON: Tomorrow, this campaign goes national! We are going to compete were every vote in every state. We are not taking anything and we're not taking anyone for granted.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: Bernie Sanders wasn't around for the results. His campaign did put a lot into South Carolina. But once the handwriting was on the wall, Sanders moved onto some of the other Super Tuesday states. He is arriving in Minnesota now, about to speak to a crowd gathered there in Rochester, Minnesota.
Tonight, Sanders says, and I'm quoting this campaign right now, this campaign is just beginning. His goal going forward, gather as many delegates as possible, win, lose or draw.
The Republicans are already in full Super Tuesday mode. And there's no letup in the brawl between Donald Trump and Senator Marco Rubio. They're tossing around words like liar, con artist, accusing each other of fraud. Ted Cruz says all that bickering isn't a good thing. But he is keeping up his own sharp attacks on Donald Trump, who hopes to put the race away on Super Tuesday.
We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm Wolf Blitzer in the CNN election center with our special live coverage.
I want to go to our senior political Brianna Keilar. She is over at Clinton headquarters in Columbia, South Carolina.
She gave a rousing speech tonight, a very impressive win, Brianna, for the former secretary of state.
KEILAR: That's right.