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Battle for Super Tuesday Votes; U.N. Warns of Imminent Humanitarian Crisis; U.S. Military Veterans Fight to Protect Children; Trump Splits Republican Party; Melania Trump Speaks. Aired 10-11a ET

Aired March 1, 2016 - 10:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


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ROBYN CURNOW, CNN HOST (voice-over): It's Super Tuesday here in the United States.

Can Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton pull away from their rivals?

The latest on the big day of voting ahead here at the INTERNATIONAL DESK.

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CURNOW: Hi, everyone. Welcome. I'm Robyn Curnow.

Well, in America, a big show of democracy and a potentially pivotal day in the race for the U.S. presidency. Millions of voters in a dozen states are

taking part in Super Tuesday primaries and caucuses.

It's the biggest day so far of the 2016 election season and it's potentially make or break for some candidates. CNN's Jim Acosta is

following the bruising battle for Republican votes.

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DONALD TRUMP, REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Trump, 49 percent; little lightweight Marco Rubio, 16 percent; lying Ted Cruz, 15 percent.

JIM ACOSTA, CNN SR. WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Donald Trump is poised for a sweeping Super Tuesday victory tonight amid a swirling

campaign controversy over the issue of race.

DONALD TRUMP: Are you from Mexico?

ACOSTA (voice-over): Chaos erupted at this Virginia event as protesters disrupted the rally just moments before a violent encounter.

A Secret Service agent choke-slammed a photographer to the ground. The incident came as Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz blasted Trump in a last-ditch

effort to gain ground before Super Tuesday.

SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R), FLA., PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We will not lose conservatism to a con artist.

SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: If we nominate Donald Trump, in all likelihood, Hillary Clinton wins, we lose the future.

ACOSTA (voice-over): Pouncing on the GOP front-runner after he refused to disavow support from a former Ku Klux Klan leader, David Duke, in a CNN

interview.

RUBIO: There is no place for bigotry, for prejudice, for hatred, for David Duke or the Ku Klux Klan in the Republican Party or the conservative

movement.

ACOSTA (voice-over): Trump later rejected that support, blaming the matter on a bad earpiece.

But 2012 GOP nominee Mitt Romney isn't buying it, tweeting that Trump's response is disqualifying and disgusting, as two Republican senators are

voicing their concerns over Trump as the nominee; even though Ohio governor John Kasich is still in last place, he says he'll continue to refrain from

mud-slinging.

GOV. JOHN KASICH (R), OHIO: I would rather not win than lower the bar. I don't think they should beat Donald Trump by attacking him personally.

ACOSTA (voice-over): While Cruz is optimistic about winning the 155 delegates in his home state of Texas tonight, failure could put his

campaign on thin ice.

CRUZ: Donald Trump will have a whole bunch of delegates, that we will have a whole bunch of delegates and that there will be a big, big drop-off

between us and everybody else in the field.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CURNOW: Jim Acosta there.

So should Donald Trump become the Republican nominee?

A new CNN/ORC poll shows if the election were held now, he would be defeated by either of the Democratic candidates.

Now the poll gives front-runner Hillary Clinton an 8-point lead in a hypothetical matchup with Trump.

Bernie Sanders -- wait for this -- would win by a slightly wider margin if he were the Democrat to take on Trump.

So this is a crucial day in moving candidates closer to the nomination. CNNMoney's Christine Romans is with us from New York to break the numbers

done.

And it is about the numbers, isn't it?

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNNMONEY CORRESPONDENT: It is. This is math. This is a big math problem today and it's really a problem for those other Republican

candidates, not really a problem for Donald Trump, because things are looking good for him. Let me show you how we head into this day, Super

Tuesday, Robyn.

There have already been 125 delegates that have been pledged overall, because we've already had some caucuses and primaries. And Donald Trump

has done so well to date, he's got 82 of those.

Today, about half of the 1,237 delegates needed to secure the nomination, they are up for grabs.

So let's look at the map that they are all fighting over here. This is the math. This is the math and the map and this is how Donald Trump looks to

fare. He has in our most recent poll 49 percent, up 8 points since January. He's 30-some points ahead of all of these other candidates and

he's hoping to run the board here on these numbers.

Really important here, how Texas does. The most delegates at play are in Texas, 155, Ted Cruz country. He is a senator from Texas. He's been

spending time there. He would like to have a commanding victory in Texas so that he can put more delegates on the map.

But you know, this is a whole proportional system here, so if it's a narrow win for Ted Cruz, Donald Trump still gets a bunch more delegates. I want

to show you the next biggest state, that is Georgia, 76 at play there. Donald Trump, again --

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ROMANS: -- he is on top. You've got Cruz and Rubio vying for second place here.

Marco Rubio really needs to put a win on the board. There are some who are looking at Virginia, maybe Arkansas, Minnesota with 38 delegates there,

saying that Marco Rubio really needs to get on the board.

Now let's talk about the Democrats here, because this is how it looks heading into here. Hillary Clinton with six times as many delegates so far

as Bernie Sanders. Many of these are super delegates. They need to win 2,383. And she is really hoping, her team is hoping that this is going to

be good for them.

These Southern states are going to be good for Hillary Clinton building on that big, commanding South Carolina victory.

But let's look here at Oklahoma. There are some who are hoping that Bernie Sanders, in Bernie Sanders' camp, that he can maybe pick up a win in

Oklahoma here. Also, you've got Minnesota, could be leaning toward Bernie Sanders.

Look at Massachusetts, 91 delegates there. Clinton is ahead by 8 points but some on Team Sanders are hoping that maybe up north here he can do a

little bit better because this is, of course, his home state, Vermont, 16 delegates at play there. Robyn, it's all about the math.

CURNOW: Thank you so much, Christine Romans. Appreciate it.

Well, Republican Party leaders are keeping a close eye on the delegate count, as you could see. Some of them have said they fear a Trump

nomination, though, could do lasting damage to the party. I want to bring in CNN political commentator Errol Louis from New York.

So Christine Romans says it's all about the math. Unfortunately, there are three types of journalists, those who can count and those who can't. You

know which side I'm on on that. So I need you to kind of unpack the math.

I mean, does this really all mean Donald Trump romps to a stunning victory in the next 24 hours?

ERROL LOUIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I think the easiest way to think of it, Robyn, is that the system is set up in such a way to anoint a

leader fairly early. So we won't know until we know.

But the reality is, the board is very much tilted in favor of someone like Trump. What happened four years ago was that the large number of debates

and the length of the process, Republican leaders believe, hurt their nominee, made it harder for Mitt Romney to actually win because, by the

time he had it all locked up, it was late April, I think, really almost going into June.

And there were candidates who were hanging on. They didn't really have a chance of winning but they wanted some delegates, they wanted a position of

power to negotiate from when they went to the convention. They wanted perhaps to be considered for a Cabinet or a vice presidential slot.

And the takeaway was that the leadership figured, well, you know what we need to do is have fewer debates and have a front-loaded process -- more

winner-take-all states, more rules designed to sort of figure out who's most popular early on and make that person the nominee.

And Donald Trump is using those rules very much to his advantage. You know, they never anticipated that it would be somebody like Trump who would

be the nominee or who would get an early advantage. But early advantage is what they wanted, early advantage is what they have.

CURNOW: Indeed. So it's one of those cases of be careful what you wish for.

Is there any scenario in which Cruz, Kasich, Rubio could make a good showing, could still have a run, a chance at this nomination?

LOUIS: Well, sure. I mean, there's -- the worst-case scenario for Donald Trump today or a good-case scenario for one of those other candidates is

that, say Ted Cruz wins Texas, that Marco Rubio crosses the 20 percent threshold in Texas and, therefore, starts to pick up some delegates there.

If they deny him a number of delegates, even a relatively small number of delegates, and they start to build up some momentum going into the March

15th round of primaries -- that's another round of big states, including Florida -- and if they can sort of stretch out the process and go to the

convention without him having the 1,200 delegates that he needs to declare a majority and, therefore, the nomination, then there have to be a couple

of rounds of voting at the convention.

And that is something that journalists always talk about, the so-called brokered convention because the reality is, after you cast those first

ballots and it's clear that nobody has a majority, there's a certain amount of flexibility. There is wiggle room. There's coalitions. There's

betrayals, frankly.

Delegates can be released to sort of vote in a different way than they might have on that first ballot -- and that's the hope. It's a pretty

distant hope, frankly, but that is the hope that a Cruz or a Rubio or a Kasich is holding out at this point.

CURNOW: OK, so, yes, it makes great stories for us.

Let's just talk broadly, though. There's a lot of hand-wringing within the Republican Party.

With the potential, the likelihood Donald Trump will have this nomination, can they, can the party digest the possibility that Trump is going to take

this?

Will they get behind him?

Or is there just panic and they just can't swallow this?

LOUIS: The answer to that, Robyn, is who the party is depends on where you're looking. The party is elected officials.

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LOUIS: They certainly control a lot of the machinery of government and they have a lot of power.

But it's also the donors, the donor class. It's also the consultants. There are a lot of very powerful consultants, who have private sector

clients but also help manage the campaigns as they're run.

And then there's a whole host of state chairs, county chairs, down to the city level, towns, villages. And so all of those people together have to

sort of not make a unanimous mind but they each have individual interests.

I'll give you an example. Here in New York State, our state legislature, which just controls our province or state, is controlled by the

Republicans. I've already heard from their leadership, many of their leaders, at least, that they don't want to run with Trump at the top of

their ticket because they're a one-seat margin.

They have a very thin margin of control that they could lose it if Trump is at the top of the ticket. So now their choice becomes, do they owe more

loyalty to the guy at the top of the ticket or are they going to look out for their own interests?

And there's been a wide-ranging discussion. It's going to get more and more intense that, depending on what state you're talking about, what

district, what political interest we're talking about, different factions of the Republican Party are going to pursue their own interests.

Some will be -- their interests will be to be with Trump or any other nominee, no matter who it is, but others have very different goals. And if

they pursue those goals, you'll start to see a weakening and, frankly, a fragmentation of the Republican Party.

CURNOW: Yes, and this is being gamed out on all levels, as you say. Thanks so much, Errol. Great to have your perspective, as always.

LOUIS: Great to talk with you.

CURNOW: Just ahead here at CNN, we will turn, of course, to the Democratic side of the race. Lots to talk about there, as Hillary Clinton looks to

push rival Bernie Sanders to the point of no return. Stay with us.

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CURNOW: Well, as Americans head to the polls on Super Tuesday, Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton is hoping to bring closer to reality what seemed

like a foregone conclusion. She's poised to make her path to the nomination insurmountable for rival Bernie Sanders.

More than a third of delegates needed to win are up for grabs. And of the 11 states holding Democratic contests today, only one is solidly for

Sanders and that's his home state of Vermont.

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CURNOW (voice-over): The senator cast his ballot a short time ago. There you go. While he found success in New Hampshire and narrowly lost to

Clinton in Iowa, he struggled to gain support in more diverse places. And many of the states participating in Super Tuesday have a lot of minority

voters.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CURNOW: So what does all that mean?

Let's bring in CNN Politics executive editor Mark Preston. He joins us now from Washington.

Hi, there, Mark. I mean, Clinton goes into this with momentum.

How definitive do you think these Super Tuesday results will be for Hillary Clinton?

MARK PRESTON, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Well, Robyn, certainly an important day for Hillary Clinton. They've been waiting for this day. They needed

to get out of the Northeast and out of Iowa and --

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PRESTON: -- the reason being is that she does so well with African American voters.

Now for our viewers around the world, there's been a lot made about Bernie Sanders not being able to connect with black voters here in the United

States. And, by and large, that is true.

It's not that black voters do not like Bernie Sanders, they just really like Hillary Clinton. They know that she is a known quantity.

So when we're looking at the results at the end of the evening tonight and into tomorrow morning, we're going to look to see how well Hillary Clinton

does, particularly in the South states, such as Georgia, where you are right now, in Alabama, Tennessee, Arkansas. These are states with large

African American populations.

And if Hillary Clinton is able to rack up big wins right there, she will continue to have more wind at her back as she tries to march along for this

Democratic nomination.

CURNOW: With the wind at her back, she is already looking forward, isn't she?

I understand she's not even campaigning in some of these Southern states; she's focusing already on perhaps a general election or at least the next

primaries and caucuses.

Is she already laying this ground game, planning out her attack against a possible Trump/Clinton general election ticket?

PRESTON: I certainly think that they have a parallel campaign happening right now.

CURNOW: Yes.

PRESTON: They have their primary campaign, Robyn, where they're trying to defeat Bernie Sanders, trying to do it as cleanly as possible, as well as

try to make sure they do not alienate the liberal voters that are backing Bernie Sanders.

At the same time, though, they are preparing for a Donald Trump campaign.

And how do you do that?

You start to look at where his vulnerabilities are. You try to attack him on where they think his Achilles heels are, particularly with women, you

know, particularly with educated voters, those with college degrees.

So Hillary Clinton's campaign is certainly looking at the long game right now but they still do need to win the primary.

CURNOW: And this poll, the CNN/RNC poll, fascinating, because it says that Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, if there was a hypothetical election

right now, would beat Donald Trump. In fact, Sanders would do better than Clinton. Unpack that.

What does all that mean?

PRESTON: Well, listen, it's one of those polls that are interesting to talk about and, of course, it is a CNN poll that just released a few hours

ago. But the bottom line is that we really don't know what's going to happen when we head into November. We don't know what the electorate is

going to look like. We don't know what the voters are going to be thinking or what's on their minds.

I can tell you this right now, though, you have a very angry electorate right now here in the United States on the Republican side. These are

voters that are fueling the Donald Trump candidacy.

On the same side, you have a different type of anger, a different flavor of anger on the Democratic side, who don't think that Barack Obama has gone

far enough in trying to push forward liberal policies.

So while we look at this right now, it looks like Donald Trump would lose the general election, I would say hold your money right now. Don't put any

bets down.

CURNOW: Yes, hold your money. Thanks so much, Mark Preston in Washington. Thanks.

PRESTON: You're welcome.

CURNOW: Well, CNN is the place for extensive coverage of the Super Tuesday primaries and caucuses. We'll bring you the latest from the candidates and

voters throughout the day. Once the counting starts, keep it here for the results and analysis.

And coming up at the IDESK, a new warning over the E.U. migrant crisis as the crowd expands at the Greek-Macedonian border. We'll have the latest.

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CURNOW: Welcome back. The United Nations Refugee Agency is warning that Europe is on the verge of a humanitarian crisis. Greek officials are

scrambling to increase capacity at a refugee camp on the cold and rainy northern border, where 8,500 people are anxious to push further into

Europe.

But Macedonia and its northern neighbors have all but sealed their borders. That leaves Greeks with tens of thousands of people trapped in limbo.

Well, CNN senior international correspondent Atika Shubert joins me now from Berlin.

Hi, there, Atika. The real concern's the conditions will deteriorate and tensions escalate.

ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, exactly. And as refugees and asylum seekers get increasingly desperate, they are

refusing to leave those border crossings because they fear they'll lose their place.

And so now what we're looking at is thousands of people camped out overnight in torrential rain. That's after the violence we saw yesterday

when they attempted to tear down the border fence and were met with tear gas, injuring dozens of people, including children.

The problem really is that there doesn't seem to be quick enough resettlement of refugees. Remember, last year the E.U. promised to

resettle as many as 160,000 asylum seekers and refugees just from Greece and Italy.

Well, in that time, they've only resettled about 598. That's very slow progress. Compare that to Canada, which today announced with the

International Office of Migration that they had resettled 25,000 Syrian refugees in the last three months.

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SHUBERT (voice-over): So what a lot of the people -- who you see in these pictures -- are demanding is a faster and legal route for refugee status or

asylum status in Europe.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHUBERT: And so far, there is no joint policy on that.

CURNOW: OK, so no joint policy on that. There's been confusion and a lot of delay, as you've been reporting. The E.U. now also suggesting

humanitarian aid to Greece.

Will they get it?

And that also, though, doesn't address the underlying problems or crisis here.

SHUBERT: It doesn't address the underlying problems and it's quite likely that Greece will get that aid, especially as it needs the money to set up

what they're calling hot spots, which are really registration centers for refugees to have their identity checked, to be fingerprinted and then,

theoretically, to wait to be resettled.

The problem is the wait to be resettled can clearly take months, even years. And that strands them in Greece, which is already suffering from an

economic crisis, a crisis.

When you add to that now a refugee crisis that could get into tens of thousands, as many as they're estimating, 70,000, well, then you're looking

at a real pressure cooker of a situation.

CURNOW: Atika Shubert, thanks so much.

Well, it's day four of a partial cease-fire in Syria and both sides are accusing the other of violations. Russia reports 15 violations over the

past day around Damascus, Aleppo and Homs. A statement denies opposition claims that Russia launched airstrikes in regions controlled by what it

calls the moderate opposition.

Despite each side's claim of violations, the truce is largely holding. The United Nations hopes it will lead to renewed talks and a lasting peace.

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CURNOW: Now to CNN's Freedom Project, which is introducing you to a different type of hero. Today we bring you the story of a retired U.S.

soldier who was a member of the Army's elite Delta Force.

After leaving the military, he was looking for a new challenge and he found it tracking child predators in New Orleans. CNN's Paula Newton has the

story.

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SHANNON KRIEGER, FORMER DELTA FORCE VETERAN: You've got costumes, you've got character, you've got culture, you've got tradition. You know, Mardi

Gras is wild and crazy and we do some fun things but it brings a lot of bad things to the city sometimes.

PAULA NEWTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Shannon Krieger is a computer forensics analyst for homeland security investigations in his

hometown of New Orleans. He works in the cyber crimes division tracking child predators online.

KRIEGER: As child exploitation people, we're busy this time of the year.

NEWTON (voice-over): For example, monitoring chat rooms to identify people planning to come to Mardi Gras to have sex with children.

KRIEGER: There's a lot to do because of Mardi Gras, because a lot of people are here that aren't normally here and they bring some really bad

habits with them.

NEWTON (voice-over): Krieger has been doing this work for the past four years but it's his experience from many years earlier that makes him

especially suited for the job.

[10:25:00]

NEWTON (voice-over): As a member of the U.S. Army's Special Operations Command Delta Force, Krieger was on the front line.

KRIEGER: That particular type of work is empowering. It really is. And you get on the tip of the spear and you get this really giant sense of

accomplishment.

NEWTON (voice-over): All that changed in a heartbeat.

KRIEGER: Shortly after 9/11, I was involved in the retaliatory strike against Al Qaeda. And I was in a helicopter crash that pretty much took my

body and decided that I couldn't do this work anymore. I was, you know, didn't know if I was going to walk normal ever again.

NEWTON (voice-over): Krieger was medically discharged from the Army in 2004.

KRIEGER: And when I left, I just hit rock bottom. I got taken out of something that I loved more than anything and, surprisingly enough, when I

got involved with the HERO Corps, it replaced a lot of what I had missed.

NEWTON (voice-over): HERO Corps is an initiative that takes disabled Special Forces veterans, trains them in computer forensics and puts them in

field labs across the country, where they work on child exploitation cases.

KRIEGER: I get to fight again. I get to be involved in a cause that matters.

JOHN SCHMIDT, U.S. HOMELAND SECURITY INVESTIGATIONS: He's part of our team now and that he is now from the battlefield to a cyber warrior. And it

does a lot for us from an inspirational side that he's able to give that extra little notch and click of, you know, a true hero and patriot as part

of our team.

KRIEGER: I'm starting to feel like I used to feel. I'm starting to feel empowered. I'm starting to feel motivated again. I'm starting to want to

push, because, you know, while it is a new battlefield, it's still a battlefield.

NEWTON (voice-over): As a husband and father of a 3-year old, Krieger says doing this work has had an impact on his personal life as well.

KRIEGER: I don't know if I'll ever sleep again. The toughest ones are the 3-year-old boy. Those are the ones that just hurt me the most.

NEWTON (voice-over): The satisfaction he gets putting predators behind bars, he says, makes it all worth it.

KRIEGER: I try not to go, oh, the HERO Corps saved me but it really kind of did in a sense because when you get something back that you never

thought you would ever get again, it's a second chance.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CURNOW: Next you'll meet a retired member of the U.S. Air Force, who found a very personal reason to take on this new mission.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What motivates me is my 9-year-old and 4-year-old kids. And this Hero program was the perfect opportunity for me to be involved in

this kind of work, trying to stop child sexual exploitation.

CURNOW (voice-over): Now he's one of many veterans using their skills to protect children. Hear his story in our special CNN Freedom Project series

this week, only on CNN.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CURNOW: Well, you're watching the INTERNATIONAL DESK. Still ahead, Ted Cruz is campaigning hard in Texas, the biggest Super Tuesday prize in the

race for the White House. Why winning his home state is critical for Cruz.

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CURNOW: You're watching INTERNATIONAL DESK. I'm Robyn Curnow. Hello, there.

Well, Americans in 12 states are voting in today's Super Tuesday presidential contest, a big chunk of Democratic and Republican delegates

will be rewarded. So by the end of the day, we could have a better idea of the matchup in November.

And Donald Trump has defied expectations with his presidential run, hasn't he, heading into this Super Tuesday as by far the Republican front-runner.

But he's also divided voters in his party. Gary Tuchman spoke to some of them here in Georgia and found out they either love him or hate him.

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GARY TUCHMAN, CNN HOST (voice-over): Eleven hours before this Trump rally started is when Dale Ranni (ph) says she marked her place in line.

DALE RANNI (PH), TRUMP SUPPORTER: We have waited for decades for someone to tell us the truth. He tells us the truth.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): Thousands of people came to Valdosta State University to see Trump.

But five minutes away in downtown Valdosta, Republicans who feel much differently.

MARIAN BELLINGER (PH), REPUBLICAN VOTER: I will not vote for Donald Trump because I would not vote for P.T. Barnum.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): Marian Bellinger (ph) will be voting Republican on Super Tuesday but is afraid, like many in the Republican establishment,

that Donald Trump could wreck the GOP.

BELLINGER (PH): I think it's keeping more qualified candidates from rising to the top, it's dividing the party and it's dividing our nation.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): You hear similar sentiments from Republicans in the downtown coffee shop.

TUCHMAN: What do you think of Donald Trump?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think he is arrogant and not what our country needs.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The president needs to be someone who is respectful and will not call women ugly or insult someone.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): You hear it from Republicans in the hardware store. The store owner cast his ballot in early voting.

TUCHMAN: Do you want to tell me who you voted for?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, no, I'd rather not tell you who I voted for but I can tell you who I didn't vote for. I didn't vote for Mr. Trump.

TUCHMAN: Why don't you like Trump?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because I think he doesn't have a clue what he's doing.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): But back at the line to get into the Trump rally --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thirty-seven years of experience --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Twenty-four.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thirty-eight.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Twenty-five.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And with the two others that are in our group, it represents over 250 years.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): These retired teachers say they want to show that the perception some have that Donald Trump doesn't appeal to the highly

educated is untrue.

TUCHMAN: When Donald Trump makes references to, like, Carly Fiorina, looking at her face, when he's talked about certain anchor people who are

women in derogatory terms, does that bother you as a woman?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No.

TUCHMAN: Why?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We will be the first to tell you that we don't approve of everything that comes out of his mouth. But when we look at the

big picture, we are pro-Donald Trump all the way.

TUCHMAN: And when you ask people here if it concerns them, the nomination of Donald Trump could disrupt the Republican Party, some people just laugh

and many others say, bring it on.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): The retired teachers say they welcome disruption in the GOP.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We might need to drain the swamp a little bit, as they say in South Georgia.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): Gary Tuchman, CNN, Valdosta, Georgia.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CURNOW: Great slice of perspective there.

Well, the biggest prize on Super Tuesday, though, is Texas. It offers most delegates for both parties and it's a critical stage for Ted Cruz, who

seemingly must win big to stay in the Republican race. Well, CNN's Ed Lavandera joins us now from Allen, Texas.

So the Lone Star State is going to be a big barometer on where this all goes.

ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, there's no question. And for Ted Cruz, Texas is a place where he needs to do not just well but probably very

well. And the latest polls show him leading Donald Trump.

This is one of the few states where someone other than Donald Trump is actually leading in the polls going into this Super Tuesday Election Day.

As you mentioned, 155 delegates here up for grabs. So it's a place where he needs to do well.

Ted Cruz has been campaigning throughout this state and he realizes here in Allen, Texas -- this is one of the big, sprawling suburbs north of Dallas

and this is the kind of location that is heavy in Republican voters where - -

[10:25:00]

LAVANDERA: -- Ted Cruz did very well back in 2012 when he was catapulted into the U.S. Senate and it's a place where he needs to do very well again

here today -- Robyn.

CURNOW: OK. All eyes on whether he can keep that. But listen, let's talk about Texas, also, symbolically. It's home to George W. Bush, Rick Perry,

Ted Cruz, as you say, three of some of the most influential Republicans on recent record.

If Mr. Trump does well, if he beats Cruz or even if he does better than expected, the symbolism as well as the delegate count is what's crucial

here, isn't it?

LAVANDERA: Yes, it is. And you know, just to make the point here, you know, the Republican Party in Texas, from when George W. Bush was the

governor here and then on to the presidency, is a very different Republican Party, much more conservative than that old guard of Republicans that were

here in Texas.

Ted Cruz really flipped things and turned things around back here in 2012, where he kind of came out of nowhere in many ways and was able to unseat

the presumptive leader in that race, a man who was lieutenant governor of the state at the time. It was an upset in Republican circles.

And now it's interesting to see that you have many of the Republican candidate -- statewide office holders here in the state of Texas that are

now very much in Ted Cruz's corner. As you mentioned, the governor of Texas, Greg Abbott; the former governor of Texas, Rick Perry.

So it's interesting to see all of this play out and it's clear that Ted Cruz knows that he needs this state today to really make a dent into Donald

Trump's lead in this race.

CURNOW: Yes, indeed, Texas very much an analogy or at least a picture of the state, I think, of the Republican Party and the divisions within it as

well.

Let's talk about Mr. Trump. We heard some of the perspective of voters there from Gary Tuchman's piece.

But from your point of view, what is it about him that resonates with evangelicals in Texas to liberals in the Northeast?

I mean, his appeal is so wide.

Why?

LAVANDERA: You know, I thought in the lead-up piece that you heard from Gary Tuchman, there was one voter who talked about that Donald Trump is the

one telling us the truth. And that seems to be one of the things that seems to cut across, regardless of socioeconomic status or, you know, where

you live in the country, geography.

That seems to be kind of the one thing, that there's this perception out there, despite all of the criticism and the evidence to the contrary, that

Donald Trump is speaking this greater truth that many people are connecting with.

You see it written; you've heard it repeatedly. I've attended several Donald Trump rallies in the last few months and that is something you hear

over and over again, that Donald Trump is saying something that other traditional political candidates here in the United States are not saying.

CURNOW: He's certainly saying a lot of things people won't say. You wouldn't allow your children to say at the dinner table.

But anyway, let's move on and appreciate it. Keep an eye on things for us over there in Texas. Ed Lavandera, thank you.

You're watching at the INTERNATIONAL DESK. Still ahead, Melania Trump is opening up about her husband's bid for U.S. president. Hear what she had

to say about his behavior on the campaign trail. Her chat with Anderson Cooper, that's next.

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COOPER: It's not often we hear from her but now Melania Trump is revealing what she thinks about her husband's campaign for U.S. president. The woman

who could become the next U.S. first lady sat down to speak with our Anderson Cooper. Have a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Your husband has been criticized for, sometimes for his tone on the campaign trail. One of the things he said to me is

that as president, you know, campaigning is one thing; as president, he would have a different tone, if he was actually in the White House.

Do you think he can have a different tone?

MELANIA TRUMP, DONALD'S WIFE: Yes.

Is there another side to him?

MELANIA TRUMP: Yes, he can have a different tone. He really can have a different tone, because to build empire and the business that he built, you

cannot always use that kind of a tone.

And he can really change. I know him and he could really change the words and the tone. And -- but you know, he is who he is and you can see his

following and people agree with him because they're tired of Washington and politicians in Washington.

They don't do much. And he is a doer. He does things and he's not just talking it. He will have things done for the States, for the America, for

American people.

COOPER: You watch a lot of news, I know.

MELANIA TRUMP: Yes.

COOPER: And he watches a lot of news, too.

MELANIA TRUMP: Yes.

COOPER: And he's tweeting.

Do you ever get bothered how much -- I mean, he must be up late at night tweeting, watching television.

Do you ever get bothered by that?

MELANIA TRUMP: I don't get bothered by that. We are both very independent and I let him be who he is and he lets me be who I am and you know --

COOPER: You don't try to change him.

MELANIA TRUMP: I don't try to change him. He's an adult. He knows the consequences. And so, I let him be who he is. I give him my opinions

many, many times --

COOPER: You do?

MELANIA TRUMP: Yes. And I don't agree with everything what he says but you know, that's his normal. I'm my own person. I tell him what I think.

I'm standing very strong on the ground on my two feet and I'm my own person and I think that's very important in the relationship.

COOPER: Can you say something where you disagreed with him on?

MELANIA TRUMP: Oh, many things. Some language, of course.

COOPER: Language?

MELANIA TRUMP: Yes, some language I didn't approve --

COOPER: Language you hear him using on the campaign trail?

MELANIA TRUMP: Especially I was in New Hampshire when the woman was shouting out an inappropriate word.

COOPER: Right.

MELANIA TRUMP: And I was there and I'm thinking, like, don't repeat it in my head, just for him, don't repeat it. Just don't say it, because the

next day, media, all they will talk is about that.

But he repeated. He's with the momentum, he goes with the flow, he goes with the people. They're having fun, everybody were cheering.

And you know, he said it. And the next day -- but he repeated the word. That was not his word.

COOPER: Right.

MELANIA TRUMP: So --

COOPER: He heard from you about that?

MELANIA TRUMP: Yes, I told him that, yes. And you know, he did it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CURNOW: Well, that was our Anderson Cooper, speaking there to Melania Trump.

Well, that does it for us here at the INTERNATIONAL DESK. Thanks for watching. I'm Robyn Curnow. I'll be back in an hour. In the meantime,

"WORLD SPORT" is next.

END