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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL
Super Tuesday Coverage; Clinton Wins Georgia and Virginia, Sanders Wins Vermont; Trump Leading in Georgia GOP Primary. Aired 7-8p ET
Aired March 1, 2016 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[18:59:55] WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: All right. We're only a few seconds away from the top of the hour right now. Three states that are closing. We're going to be able to make our first projections in this race for the White House. Critically important night. It's Super Tuesday.
And look at this, CNN can now project that Hillary Clinton is the winner in Georgia, is the winner in Virginia as well. Hillary Clinton is the winner. Bernie Sanders we projects wins his home state of Vermont. Hillary Clinton wins two states, Georgia and Virginia. Bernie Sanders wins Vermont. Let's go to the key race alert right now. Hillary Clinton as we reported, Hillary Clinton wins Georgia and Virginia. Just want to be precise based on our projection, based on the exit poll information. The other information we're getting, Bernie Sanders wins his home state of Vermont. We have a key race alert now.
Exit poll results that we're getting in. The exit poll results in Virginia, first of all, in Georgia, take a look at this. Based on early estimates, Georgia, Donald Trump 40 percent, Ted Cruz 24 percent, Marco Rubio 23 percent. In Virginia, Donald Trump 34 percent, Marco Rubio 31 percent, Ted Cruz, he's down at 16 percent. These are exit poll results based on early information we're getting in from the exit polls. We have early leaders as well in Vermont. The early leaders in Vermont, look at this, on the Republican side, Donald Trump and John Kasich. They are both early leaders in Vermont.
So, let's once again recap where we stand right now. Hillary Clinton wins Georgia and Virginia based on our projection. The other result, Bernie Sanders wins his home state of Vermont. As far as the exit polls, our conservative number, these exit polls are estimates. Estimate they're based on our early survey of voters as they left their polling location. The final outcome may be different. We can expect those numbers to change throughout the night. Let's go to Jake.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: Thanks, Wolf. Those are big, big, big projections. Hillary Clinton did not win either Virginia or Georgia in 2008 against then-Senator Barack Obama. Jeff Zeleny, big victories, if you consider these projections to be what's going to happen, what we're going to find out. They have to be feeling pretty good at Clinton campaign headquarters in Miami. JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: No question, Jake.
We heard cheers are up just a few moments ago when both Georgia and Virginia were called for Hillary Clinton. You can hear them here right behind me again. And you're right, we're going to be talking about that throughout the rest of the campaign, how she compares this time to 2008. And you're right, she won Virginia. She won Georgia. So that is a key win and moment for her. Combined, they have 197 delegates. Of course, it's important to remember she doesn't get all of them. She will split them with Bernie Sanders. It's so, so important. In Virginia, of course, key battleground state in the general election as well. So, that is why this campaign believes Virginia is even more important -- Jake.
TAPPER: All right, Jeff Zeleny at Clinton Campaign Headquarters. Now let's go to Sanders' Campaign Headquarters at Essex Junction, Vermont, where we find Brianna Keilar. And Brianna, we're also projecting, CNN projecting that Senator Sanders will win his home state of Vermont. And you're there with the Sanders Campaign Manager Jeff Weaver.
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right. I certainly am. And obviously, Jeff, this is very good news. You expected this win. How do you feel about this, and also the other states that you're hoping to close in on tonight?
JEFF WEAVER, SANDERS CAMPAIGN MANAGER: Well, I think, you know, we're very gratified with the people of Vermont to support the senator. They know him the best. And it was clear they were going to, you know, support him overwhelmingly. I think the win here will be very impressive. You know, I think looking forward, I think we're feeling good about Massachusetts, and Colorado, and Minnesota and Oklahoma right now. We'll see how the night unfolds. But we're feeling very good.
KEILAR: His wife, Jane, said that she's hoping to split the delegates and split the state. Basically that means a sweep through the states that you just named. Are you as optimistic as she is?
WEAVER: Well, look, I mean, even foreclosing those states is just part of the delegates. So, you know, that's the way this proportional system works. It's going to be after tonight is a long road ahead of us.
KEILAR: How far are you prepared to go here?
WEAVER: We're going all the way to the convention. All the way.
KEILAR: Nothing will stop you from that?
WEAVER: Absolutely not. We'll see you in Philadelphia.
KEILAR: All right, Jeff Weaver, thank you so much with the Bernie Sanders campaign. Jake, back to you.
TAPPER: All right. Brianna Keilar. And Dana, it's so interesting. Everything has flipped when it comes to Hillary Clinton and what states and what groups she wins. In 2008, she was a candidate who won the white vote. And then Senator Obama won African-Americans, Latinos. And now not only is she getting the opposite in terms of the voters she appeals to, but now she's winning the states that she lost in 2008.
DANA BASH, CNN ANCHOR: No. It is so true. And it is because she is going after the Obama vote. She's trying to follow in the footsteps of her former rival. And it is probably hard for a lot of people who worked for Obama at the other end of the studio, to wrap their heads around. But it is really fascinating. One thing I will say is, of course, Bernie Sanders should be very happy about winning his home state. If he didn't, that would be a very big story. But unfortunately for him, the maximum he can get is 16 delegates, 26 super delegates. And the other states as Jeff Zeleny was pointing out, it will be split a little bit. But it's a treasure trove of delegates just in the two that she's projected to win tonight, Virginia and Georgia.
[19:05:16] TAPPER: Right. A good moral victory for Bernie Sanders, Wolf. But not so much when it comes to the delegates compared to Hillary Clinton winning Alabama. I'm sorry, winning Virginia and Georgia.
BLITZER: Good point. Jake, thanks very much. I want to review what's going on now with these key race alert on the Republican side. A very exciting contest. Let's go, first of all, to Georgia right now. These are CNN exit polls. Look at this, Donald Trump at 40 percent. Ted Cruz 24 percent. Marco Rubio 23 percent. That's in Georgia. The Republican primary. In Virginia, Trump is ahead, but slightly, 34 percent according to our exit poll for Trump. Thirty one percent for Marco Rubio. Ted Cruz at 16 percent. In Vermont, take a look at this. It's an important race as well. Early leaders, we can tell you the early leaders are Donald Trump and John Kasich. Who is doing very well in Vermont as well. Again, these are exit polls. I just want to remind you that they are estimates based on our early survey of voters, as people left their polling locations. The final outcome may be different. We can expect those numbers to change throughout the night. Anderson.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Wolf, thanks very much. When we look at those Republican numbers, I mean, again, seems to be a good night certainly for Donald Trump. It's interesting to watch the battle between second and third place.
DAVID AXELROD, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, that's the key. And Trump has slight not just his own number, but the way that Cruz is vying with Rubio in Georgia. The notion that Rubio might do well in Virginia. You know, this -- he wants these people to stay in the race and divide his opposition. And this kind of result encourages that. One thing that's interesting, you know, there are two stark kind of predictors of vote, on the democratic side races, becoming pretty significant indication of how states are going to go. You saw a couple of states here with large African-American populations being called early for Hillary Clinton. On the Republican side, it's education. And income. And so in states with larger numbers of highly educated voters, Rubio tends to do better. In states with larger numbers of non-college educated voters, Trump seems to do better.
COOPER: We also saw in Virginia, anger and dissatisfaction not quite as high as in some of the other states. Whether that is also translating to Rubio --
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: And also, Rubio does better in sort of suburban areas. Trump does better in rural areas. You know, the thing that I think --
COOPER: We should point out, he does better, it's still not winning.
But the thing we have to look at tonight is to see how Trump has broadened his coalition in all sorts of ways. Whether he's broadened it on a question of values or electability. I mean, we'll see if he branches out that way. How much of the evangelical votes he gets. Whether he makes inroads with college educated voters, which I think we saw in South Carolina. So we're going to have to take a look at this Trump coalition, because if it's broadened, he's unstoppable.
COOPER: And also, turnout, whether that enthusiasm on the Republican side has continued.
COOPER: Whether we see that echoed tonight as we have in other nights and how it relates to what we're seeing on the democratic side. Because one of the arguments Bernie Sanders has been making all along for his revolution is that he's bringing out, he's got the enthusiasm momentum, he's got all these folks coming out to the large rallies.
NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: Yes. And it hasn't worked out --
COOPER: But we don't see it on the election.
HENDERSON: It hasn't worked out in any of these states. In Iowa, young voters were down, I think in New Hampshire, votings down for like 15 percent. Same thing in Nevada, down 40,000 voters there. South Carolina --
AXELROD: South Carolina is down a third over 2008.
HENDERSON: Yes. Over 2008. I think up slightly from 2004. So, yes, he hasn't really made good on that promise to build a revolution.
MICHAEL SMERCONISH, CNN ANCHOR, "SMERCONISH": Two e-gaps, I refer to the mass. One gap is the enthusiasm gap that seems to benefit the Rs thus far in terms of turnout. The other is the experience gap. And simply stated, Democrats favor it and Republicans are repulsed by it.
COOPER: Right. Which is very interesting. And we're seeing that again on the exit polls. VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes. I just think with regard
to Sanders, I don't think he's saying he has more enthusiasm than Barack Obama in 2008 than for any human ever born, maybe Elvis and Michael Jackson. I don't think he's comparing himself to that. I think he's comparing himself to Hillary Clinton. And I think there's no argument that when you have 10,000 people coming out for Bernie Sanders, I haven't seen that happen yet for Senator Clinton. So, I think that he has a case to make, that where there is energy in this party, it's with him. And I think that we should --
COOPER: Again, you can make the argument we haven't seen that on election night, because there was so much enthusiasm, more voters would come out for him. They haven't.
[19:10:01] JONES: Well, and this is the big question for the Sanders insurgency. Is this a regional, demographically land-locked phenomenon? So, only in places where you have young white people in the north can you pull this stuff off. Or is there potential for this thing to be broader. And right now, listen, you can't tell just by looking at South Carolina, frankly, you know, because you know, Clyburn himself is an iceberg against which no ship can survive a conflict. But tonight you will know more tonight. Tonight you will know if this phenomenon can go beyond that land-locked place where it seems to be.
S.E. CUPP, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: But to Michael's point, about the excitement and enthusiasm, I think he's right on. He's right on. Bernie is in a very tough spot. In no world is Bernie Sanders inexperienced. Right? He's been in elected politics for decades. But he has allowed himself to be defined that way because it allow him to say, I'm an outsider still. If he keeps pushing how experienced he is, he loses the enthusiasm with the Democrats, where, you know, that authenticity, that outsiderness. So, he really, he can't play it both ways. But it would have been great if he had hit back against that narrative, that he isn't experienced enough to compete with Hillary. Of course he is.
KAYLEIGH MCENANY, TRUMP SUPPORTER: I think it's important to point out that the Sanders phenomenon and the Trump phenomenon have something very important in common. And that's real family income in this country has not increased among the bottom half of the distribution since 1960. Trump is speaking to that same message, too, when he talks about bringing jobs back from abroad. When he talks about taxing Mexican imports, putting a tariff there. This is the same sort of frustration that is propping up Sanders and also propping up Trump. Which is why it's interesting in Iowa to hear voters to say I'm deciding between Trump and Sanders. There is a little bit of rationale there to what they're saying.
PAUL BEGALA, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: There is. And until we can move median family income, this is going to continue.
BEGALA: I mean, I don't mean to depress the establishmentarians in our world. But Bernie Sanders is going to look like the chairman of Goldman Sachs in 10 or 20 years. Donald Trump is going to look like Caesar Chavez. Because when people are pinched like that they look for a quick answer. But there is a difference. There's an enormous difference, set aside from my distaste for Trump's style of politics. And that is Republicans are at war with their own party. They do hate their establishment. They hate them. Democrats like their establishment. Never happened before. They love the president. They love Hillary. They love Bernie. They love Nancy Pelosi.
COOPER: How it did translate into the race movie forward when it gets down to the two front-runners in each party?
BEGALA: Into the general election?
COOPER: Yes. In the general election. Right now, Trump is bringing new people in. He's increasing turnout. Sanders and Hillary are not in my party. That's what I said last week. That's keeping me up at night. But we have a secret weapon that will boost turnout to record levels, and his name is Donald J. Trump. Maybe Bernie and Hillary aren't doing it right, but Donald will do that for my people, believe it.
MCENANY: I've really want to point out this myth that Donald Trump can't bring the party together. The CNN poll that was released two days ago has showed that only 25 percent said they wouldn't vote for Trump, same number said for Cruz and Rubio, they wouldn't vote for those candidates in the event that they became the nominees. So, it is a myth by and large that he cannot bring this party together.
BEGALA: We've seen he's been praised by both David Duke and Louis Farrakhan.
COOPER: Wait, is that a Super PAC commercial?
BEGALA: It is. I'm working on the script.
COOPER: You're working on that one, aren't you?
JONES: Just one more myth I just want to point out as you mentioned in that poll. We keep forgetting to mention that at least in our poll, Bernie Sanders is actually a better candidate against a Donald Trump. And a better candidate against the Republican field than is Hillary Clinton. Now, we can argue that that would change immediately if he was even gone after in a tough way. But that's also really important. So, I think there is enthusiasm there. I think the electability argument is more complicated than we pretend that it is. It's important to keep that in mind tonight.
BORGER: I think both of these candidates, if it turns out to be Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, are very polarizing. And I think each would bring out the other person's base to vote. And so, you know, you may say that Donald Trump will unite the Republican Party, but if Hillary Clinton is not uniting the Democratic Party now, which she is not, I agree with -- CUPP: Trump actually has a secret weapon, an added benefit that
Hillary doesn't. I think so many blue collar working older white voters have been left behind by the Democratic Party.
BORGER: Reagan Democrats.
CUPP: I mean, union guys who are for Trump.
CUPP: Right? He can actually -- forget bringing out Republicans. And I think there's a bunch of Republicans who will never vote for Trump, but he can probably make up for them with maybe some disillusioned, disaffected Democrats who feel as though the party has left them behind.
AXELROD: You know, Mitt Romney got an enormous percentage of the white -- there's a limit to what you can bring out. If the -- in a time of --
CUPP: Even in the David Duke --
In a time of greater diversity. The country's more diverse --
COOPER: I want to toss it back to Wolf. We'll come back to our panel in a moment -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Anderson, we're waiting for more states to close. Four states, they will close the polling at the top of the hour. Alabama, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Massachusetts. We're getting more numbers right now as well. They're coming in. We'll share all of this with you right as soon as we come back.
[19:19:09] BLITZER: All right. Let's get the key race alert. And let's update you on where we stand right now. Hillary Clinton has won the democratic presidential primary in Georgia, according to our projections. Similarly she has won in Virginia. Bernie Sanders has won in his home state of Vermont. Those are CNN projections. Let's take a look at the Republican side right now. On the Republican side, in Vermont, the early leaders right now based on our exit polls, Donald Trump and John Kasich, both doing well in Vermont. In Georgia, these are the exit poll estimates we have right now. Donald Trump 40 percent in Georgia. Ted Cruz 23 percent. Marco Rubio 22 percent.
Remember, these are exit polls. They're estimates based on our early survey of voters as they left their polling locations. The final outcome may be different. We can expect those numbers to change throughout the night. Let's take a look at some real numbers coming in right now from Virginia. We're getting hard numbers, very early in this process. But we get a little sense of what's going on with one percent of the vote in, Donald Trump at 38 percent. Marco Rubio 31 percent. Ted Cruz third place right now with 17.8 percent. Remember, this is still very early in Virginia. We'll go to Jake and --
TAPPER: Dana Bash.
BASH: It's too early to forget names, Wolf.
TAPPER: -- 20 years. So, one of the things we're looking for this evening is not only, of course, how the votes are coming in. But why people are voting the way they're voting. Let's go to our Political Director David Chalian to give us more insight from the commonwealth of Virginia where it looks like a competitive race as of right now.
DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: That's right, Jake. And so, we're digging in. So, why is it so close? One of the first things we look at is sort of the candidate qualities. What voters were looking for tonight. The top candidate qualities for the voters, one was, can bring about needed change. I'm looking for the candidate that can bring about needed change. Trump wins that category 41 percent to Rubio's 25 percent, to Ted Cruz at 14 percent, to John Kasich down at nine percent.
Another top quality for Virginia Republican primary voters today is looking for someone who shares my values that's a Rubio category. Rubio with 34 percent. Cruz at 26 percent. Kasich at 15 percent. And Trump is all the way down at 11 percent in that shares my values category, which is also a top quality. Now, Jake and Dana, as you know, the other qualities that we do test, electability, can you win in November, and telling it like it is. Smaller share of the electorate are looking for either of those things. But still Trump dominates telling it like it is, and Marco Rubio is dominating electability there in Virginia as the candidate that can win in November. It's just that those two qualities are not as high of importance for voters today in Virginia.
TAPPER: Interesting and Dana, we normally Donald Trump does not do well in the one category of shares my values.
TAPPER: He usually does well in all the others, tells it like it is. We'll bring about needed change. But this is the first time I can recall Marco Rubio doing so well.
BASH: Yes. I was thinking the same thing. And it's a question of whether or not, you know, I'm sure people who are looking for somebody who shares their values aren't looking for some of the language that we've heard on the campaign trail. However, what Marco Rubio has been trying to do is point out that Donald Trump is not one of them. Is not a true conservative, right? And so many people have tried and failed before that, you know, former candidates now, but perhaps something is sticking in that message from Marco Rubio. And you're right, the fact that he's doing even better than Ted Cruz on that number, which is sort of usually the dominant number for him, who knows if that's going to be telling as to where the message is going in the future.
TAPPER: Yes. We're still waiting for the vote to come in from the commonwealth of Virginia. But it looks very competitive -- Wolf.
BLITZER: So far, three states have closed so far. Hillary Clinton winning two of those states. Bernie Sanders winning one. We are now ready for another major projection. CNN projects Donald Trump will win Georgia. The Republican presidential primary in Georgia. Donald Trump is the winner in Georgia. He won South Carolina. Now he wins Georgia. A big win for Donald Trump tonight. Anderson, this is what Donald Trump wanted. He got Georgia.
COOPER: Certainly did. And looking again to be yet another good night for Donald Trump. Again, still a lot of results to come in, David.
AXELROD: Yes, but you know, the thing that interests me, we've just discussed Virginia and how Trump has won Georgia. When you look at the difference between these states, it really is a difference in income and education.
AXELROD: And Georgia has more of the downscale vote. And Trump has done better there. Rubio has been trying to appeal to upscale, highly educated voters, such as those you find in Northern Virginia. And he apparently is in the hunt to win or come close to winning a state tonight. And that's the pattern that I think this race is going to follow. The thing is, I think Trump has more broad appeal. And he can cut into Rubio's vote. And the vote of Cruz and others in a way that these guys are not cutting into.
BORGER: You know, I think there was a thought in the Rubio campaign that Georgia could be a very good state for him. Because he could appeal to the suburban voters, and Atlanta voters, the voters outside of Atlanta. And so I'm not sure they expected to win it. But I do think they expected to do pretty well. And, you know, we'll see how it -- how the delegates turn out. But the key to Rubio's success is the more educated suburban voters, or the educated urban Republican voters that you see in a state like Virginia, or you would see in a state like Georgia.
[19:24:42] HENDERSON: Yes, and if he comes in close in Virginia, or wins, that will essentially be his template and argument for why he could win Florida --
HENDERSON: Why he would make a good general election candidate as well. The other thing about Virginia is, they're going to have a more diverse electorate among Republicans. So, this argument that Donald Trump is been making, for instance, that he could appeal to African- Americans and Latinos, want to see what the results say, also Rubio has been making the same argument. So, we'll have to see what those exit polls show us in terms of how those different voters who are African-American or Latino actually showed up and who they voted for.
SMERCONISH: Virginia's a critically important to Marco Rubio. Recognizing that everything is proportional until we get to March 15th. But what I expect is, if the margin stays as close as it is, and if he should lose to Donald Trump, it will be exhibit "A" for the jockeying that will take place tomorrow in terms of who needs to get out of this race. Because Anderson, I'm keeping a close eye on how well John Kasich is doing in Virginia, and I can't help but think that if Kasich were not in that race, those would be Rubio votes.
COOPER: And yet you look at Georgia and Ted Cruz is doing much better than Marco Rubio.
CUPP: Gloria mentioned that Georgia might have been Rubio country. That was also supposed to be South Carolina. Literally, when you went down to South Carolina, the Rubio signs says South Carolina is Marco Rubio country. And Trump also won South Carolina. I also think that Virginia, I live in Virginia, I voted in Virginia today, could be Rubio country but, you know, the makeup is there. You're right about the voters of that state. But it still seems as though he can't really, you know, cut through because this is a traditional voting here.
COOPER: Wait, I've got to take a quick break. Bernie Sanders is about to speak. We're going to bring you his comments live after a short break. We'll have that when we come back.
[19:30:15] WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Bernie Sanders is now speaking to his supporters in Vermont. He won that state. Let's listen in.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Thank you, all!
SANDERS: Thank you!
SANDERS: Thank you!
SANDERS: Thank you! It is good to be home!
SANDERS: You know, I have been all over this country, but the truth is, it is great and great to come home and see all my friends.
SANDERS: You know, we want to win in every part of the country, that goes without saying. But it does say something and means so much to me that the people who know me best, the people who knew me before I was elected, who knew me as mayor, knew me as congressman, and know me as senator, have voted so strongly to put us in the White House. Thank you so much.
SANDERS: This campaign -- as I think all of you know, this campaign is not just about electing the president. It is about transforming America.
SANDERS: It is about making our great country the nation that we know it has the potential to be.
SANDERS: It is about dealing with some unpleasant truths that exist in America today and having the guts to confront those truths.
SANDERS: It is about recognizing that in our state, we have town meetings and people come out, they argue about budgets, and then they vote. One person, one vote.
SANDERS: In Vermont, billionaires do not buy town meetings, and in America, we are going to end a corrupt campaign finance system.
SANDERS: We can disagree in a democracy, and that's what a democracy is about, but I hope all of us agree that we're going to not allow billionaires and their super PACs to destroy American democracy.
SANDERS: In our state -- in our state, you all know that we have many, many thousands of Vermonters who are working not just one job, they're working two jobs, they're working three jobs.
And you all know that while our people are working so hard, almost all of the new wealth and income generated in America is going to the top 1 percent.
SANDERS: Well, together, what we are going to do is create an economy that works for all of us, not just the people on top.
SANDERS: And together, we are going to end and reform a broken criminal justice system.
SANDERS: This country, the wealthiest country in the history of the world, should not be having more people in jail than any other country on earth. That's wrong.
SANDERS: So we are going to invest for our young people in education, in jobs, not jails or incarceration.
SANDERS: Now, I know many of my Republican colleagues think that climate change is a hoax.
SANDERS: Well, I believe that you don't develop real public policy unless you listen to the science, and the science is clear.
SANDERS: Together, we are going to transform our energy system away from fossil fuel to energy efficiency and sustainable energy.
SANDERS: Now, I know that Secretary Clinton and many of the establishment people think that I am looking and thinking too big. I don't think so.
SANDERS: So let me go on the record and say as you have heard me say for years, health care is a right for all people.
SANDERS: And let me also say that in the United States of America, when we talk about public education, it's not just first grade through 12th that has got to be expanded to make public colleges and universities tuition-free.
SANDERS: What I have said from day one in this campaign and I suspect many of you were down on the lake with me when we announced on that beautiful day.
SANDERS: What I have said is that this campaign is not just about electing a president. It is about making a political revolution.
SANDERS: What that revolution is about is bringing millions of millions of people into the political process. Working people who have been so disillusioned, they no longer vote. Young people who have never been involved.
What the political revolution is about is bringing our people together. Black and white, Latino, Asian-American.
SANDERS: Gay and straight. People born in America, people who have immigrated to America. When we bring our people together, when we do not allow the Donald Trumps of the world to divide us up.
SANDERS: When we bring our people together and when we have the courage to stand up to the billionaire class and tell them they can't have it all.
SANDERS: That our government belongs to all of us, not just super PACs and wealthy campaign contributors.
SANDERS: Now, tonight, you're going to see a lot of election results come in. And let me remind you of what the media often forgets about. These are not -- this is not a general election. It is not winner- take-all.
If you get 52 percent, you get 48 percent, you roughly end up with the same amount of delegates in a state. By the end of tonight, we are going to win many hundreds of delegates.
(CHANTS OF "BERNIE")
SANDERS: Ten months ago, as you know better than any other group in America, when we were out on the lake, we were at 3 percent in the polls. We have come a very long way in 10 months.
SANDERS: At the end of tonight, 15 states will have voted, 35 states remain. And let me assure you that we are going to take our fight for economic justice, for social justice, for environmental sanity, for a world of peace to every one of those states. (APPLAUSE)
SANDERS: Now, Wall Street may be against us and the super PACs may be against us. But you know why we're going to win? Because our message is resonating and the people when we stand together will be victorious.
SANDERS: So on a personal note, I want to thank all of you for the love and the friendship that you have given our family. You have sustained me.
SANDERS: And I am so proud to bring Vermont values all across this country.
SANDERS: So thank you again for helping us win here in Vermont tonight.
SANDERS: And I look forward this evening to just saying hello to so many old friends. So thank you all very much!
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
[19:44:06] JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: Vermont independent Senator Bernie Sanders declaring victory in his home state, before an adoring, I think it's fair to say, crowd in his home state, in Vermont, at Essex Junction, Vermont.
Dana Bash, if I can bring you in, not a surprise that he would give a victory speech. But it is pretty early in the evening and remains to be seen whether or not he is able to deliver any other victory speeches this evening.
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Which is why he gave his victory speech tonight.
Give it while you can. You take what you get. And it's pretty good politics, and good stage craft, I think, to be doing what he's doing right now. Because you're right, I think that the Sanders campaign knows full well that they might be in it for the long haul months- wise, but tonight, this might be it for them.
TAPPER: And there are seven candidates for president this evening, five on the Republican side, two on the Democratic side.
[19:45:00] But nobody was going to come out this early and give a speech. So, he was taking advantage of the fact that there was this time before the polls close at 8:00 Eastern, when people like CNN and others would take his speech live, getting his message out for the next states.
BASH: Yes, look, it's free media. You know, fair or unfair, the Sanders campaign complained that he hasn't gotten as much attention as his opponent, Hillary Clinton. I don't necessarily think that's true, but that's what they think, and that's why this is incredibly strategic to do it tonight.
It was a very Bernie Sanders moment. Obviously he's giving his speech about who he is and what he stands for to people who love him and know him the best, right?
TAPPER: Yes. Talking about bringing his Vermont values to the rest of the country, and suggesting he's going to be in it for the long haul.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Thanks very much.
We're standing by. Moments from now, four more states will be closing. Let's see if we can make projections in those four states, Oklahoma, Alabama, Tennessee and Massachusetts. Those results coming in right after this quick break.
BLITZER: We're counting down to a new round of poll closings at the top of the hour. Our next chance to reveal winners to you.
Just minutes from now. Primary voting ends in Oklahoma, Alabama, Tennessee and Massachusetts, and caucuses get under way in Minnesota. Keep an eye on the Republican contest in Oklahoma. It could be a wild card that gives Ted Cruz or Marco Rubio a new shot scoring a win against Donald Trump.
In the Democratic race, Bernie Sanders has been targeting Oklahoma, as well as Minnesota and Massachusetts, looking for openings to defeat Hillary Clinton. Some of those states could be nail-biters.
Jake, back to you.
TAPPER: All right, Wolf. That's right. We'll be looking for those results coming in, ten minutes and six seconds from Oklahoma, Alabama, Tennessee and Massachusetts.
[19:50:04] But let's check in with the campaigns of our front-runners. Sara Murray is in Palm Beach with the Trump campaign.
Sara, there's been this move in the last week, a hashtag on Twitter, #NeverTrump, and the establishment starting to really raise money against him and take stances against him.
Might not that survive the evening?
SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICS REPORTER: Right, Jake. We have seen this never Trump movement and publicly the GOP
establishment line is all Marco Rubio needs to do is get through today. He needs to get to the 15th and he needs to win Florida.
But behind the scenes, Republicans are telling me there is a lot more skepticism. I talked to one Republican operative who said we need to deprive Donald Trump of not just Texas but also wins in Florida and Ohio if there's any chance of stopping him. Three big states where Trump would have to lose, in their view.
I also spoke to a fund-raiser for Marco Rubio, a Republican who's fund-raising for him who says Rubio either needs to win a state tonight or he needs to not just one, but several strong close second- place finishes and even there, that Republican did not sound very optimistic. This guy who's a fund raiser for Marco Rubio says, I don't know how Marco can win.
So, despite the optimism they're projecting, saying we can look ahead to the 15th, there's a little bit of skepticism and fatalism going on behind the scenes. We will see how that plays out tonight -- Jake.
TAPPER: Yes, to a degree, Marco Rubio not only running against Ted Cruz and Donald Trump, but running against math.
Now, let's turn to Jeff Zeleny who's at Clinton campaign headquarters in Miami.
And, Jeff, you and I, this is the second Clinton for president campaign that we've covered in the last decade. I imagine there are things that she learned from the last one that she's applying to this one.
JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Jake, there absolutely are. One of the biggest lessons learned, we hear it from advisers all the time, is that it's not over until it's over. And she's watching all the states very carefully.
In fact, she knows tonight will not be, I'm told, a knockout night. Her advisers have broken the news to her. She's not expecting that.
But what she is expecting is to make this case bit by bit. Now, the next week, actually, of the campaign could be a bit of a difficult one. They think they're going do have a good night tonight. They think they will win a vast number of states.
But the Michigan primary, a week from today, is still looming out there as a big challenge. I'm told by senior advisers that her speech tonight will actually focus much more on the Democratic race than the Republican one. She's not going to make a big shift to Donald Trump at least directly. She's going to be talking about Bernie Sanders.
And, Jake, there's a big reason for that. They have two debates next week. On Sunday, our CNN debate in Flint, Michigan, then next Wednesday another debate here in Miami, and advisers believe that that could give Senator Sanders a chance to does not have a good night tonight. So, that is why she's not counting any chickens in advance, Jake. That's a big lesson learned from 2008. She's going by this delegate by delegate by delegate. Tonight you're not going to hear just one more sort of slog down this long road to winning the Democratic nomination, she hopes -- Jake.
TAPPER: All right. Jeff Zeleny with the Clinton campaign in Miami, Florida.
And, Dana, I mean, she would have to learn lessons from 2008, although she came so close to the nomination.
BASH: She did, of course. How do you not run a campaign based on lessons learned from eight years ago? Because they did make a lot of mistakes. Some things were just out of their control but some things they clearly didn't do properly.
And, again, the fact that she seems to be trying to -- not trying to -- explicitly embracing the president and kind of follow his playbook as much as you can when you're a very, very different kind of candidate, it tells you a lot, don't you think?
TAPPER: No, absolutely. One of the other things she's doing is she's running more as a woman, although she still has yet to get women voters as motivated as the campaign --
BASH: Especially younger women.
TAPPER: Especially younger women whom she regularly loses to Bernie Sanders. But she still has to yet to get them as motivated as the campaign would like them, but she is explicitly is running as a trail blazer in a sense.
BASH: And one thing, going back to what Sara Murray was reporting which is fascinating, the feel among Republican establishment figures and even Republicans here in Washington, off camera you were saying to me a couple of days ago, I wonder if people on Capitol Hill who told us maybe a month ago that if they had to choose between Donald Trump and Ted Cruz, they said Donald Trump. You said to me, I wonder if that's the same.
I did some digging and I actually found you are right, that it's not that anymore. People who told me they can't stand Ted Cruz say that they would now prefer him over Donald Trump.
BLITZER: Thank you very much.
We got a key race alert right now. Let's check it out. Take a look at this.
In Virginia right now, 19 percent of the vote is now in. Donald Trump is ahead, 37.3 percent, 31.9 percent to Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, 14.9 percent.
[19:55:03] Donald Trump maintaining a lead. A lead of about 6,600 votes in Virginia right now.
In Georgia, we projected Donald Trump is the winner in Georgia, 3 percent of the vote is in. He's got a 48.5 percent lead to 20.4 percent for Ted Cruz. Marco Rubio is at 20.0 percent. So, it's close for second place.
Remember, four more states close in the top of the hour. Within five minutes from now, Alabama, Massachusetts, Oklahoma, and Tennessee.
Let's go over to John King. He's watching these contests very closely.
So, so far, Hillary Clinton has won in Georgia, she's won in Virginia. Bernie Sanders won his home state of Vermont. We projected that Trump wins in Georgia.
JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Right. I'm just looking at the Virginia votes when you talk about that, this is a swing state in November, too. So, both parties watching this closely tonight.
This is a state where Marco Rubio quietly has campaigned, hoped in the last few days it might trend his way. At the moment, 22 percent of the vote, though, Donald Trump is holding a steady lead.
And interesting when you look at it, because normally you look at Virginia politics, you look for a couple swing counties in the state. Henrico County, just north of the capital of Richmond, is known as a swing county for Republicans and Democrats in the state. Marco Rubio is winning it by a decent margin.
When you come up to the northern part of the state out here in the suburbs here, Prince William County, especially if you have a Democrat/Republican close race. But even in a Republican primary, a place you look for swing voters, Rubio ahead by a smaller margin here.
So, he's winning the place people tend to look at the map when they're looking for swing counties and yet Donald Trump once again proving the breadth, if you will, of his coalition. Donald Trump winning, at least leading at the moment.
This if you go back in time, this was Mike Huckabee country in 2008, rural voters, evangelical voters. Modern d tea party voters as well. Donald Trump doing well in the early results in these areas. Doing well down here in the military areas, where if you went back in time, John McCain along the coast, a little bit of Mike Huckabee inland, look right there, so far Donald Trump.
So, Marco Rubio again showing his support in the suburbs around Richmond and outside of Washington, D.C., but at the moment we're just up to 25 percent, at moment Donald Trump holding the lead because he's running it up in the smaller rural counties of Virginia.
You switch quickly to the Republican map. We called this state for secretary Clinton. This is another key test in the southern states. What's her margin? How big can she run up the delegate lead? In the bigger states she runs big.
At the moment, Sanders with a little support in rural Virginia, areas Clinton won in 2008. She's filling in the map in the African-American areas, Richmond, down here in Norfolk, and D.C. suburbs, where you have a lot of population centers here. So, an impressive map early on for Secretary Clinton there.
Let's move down to Georgia and look at the race down here. For the Democrats, a blowout for Secretary Clinton, again, running it up where Obama did in '08. African-American voters building a big lead here.
The Republican side, we call this state for Donald Trump because, he's winning very impressively with a chance if he gets to 50 percent, that's a big, big take in the delegate haul. Only 3 percent of the vote in as we watch.
But again, go back to a competitive year in Georgia, 2008, you see the vote split. A little bit of Romney here, McCain here and here, Mike Huckabee in the evangelical areas. This is again the example that Donald Trump is showing through this campaign, drawing votes everywhere, across the Republican coalition, in the suburbs, in the rural areas, in the military areas as well. Still only 3 percent in Georgia but so far a very impressive map for Donald Trump.
Move up to Vermont, this one is very early results. It could be a race on the Republican side. Although at the moment, Donald Trump ahead with 1 percent of the vote in. The exit poll suggesting this could be a tighter race between Trump and Kasich. We'll keep an eye on that as it comes in here.
And now, when you move to south from here, at the 8:00 hour, we're going to get the results in Massachusetts. See is alphabetically because we have no results in yet. Carson, Kasich, Rubio, Trump, Cruz, our five candidates still in the race.
This is a key race for the Republicans. John Kasich, again, because we ran strong in New Hampshire thought he might win strong here. Donald Trump, I can tell you, the King family is from Massachusetts, they expect Donald Trump to do quite well in Massachusetts tonight.
On the Democratic side, interesting fight here between Clinton and Sanders, if you move to the Democrats, excuse me. An interesting fight between Clinton and Sanders because of his wins in New Hampshire and Vermont, Hillary Clinton hopes to get Massachusetts to get something out of New England.
Let's focus on Tennessee, on the Democratic side, another area where Hillary Clinton in the South is counting on high African-American turnout, a big margin, she stretches her delegate lead there.
This could be a fascinating race on the Republican side. We go back to 2008. Look at it again. Mike Huckabee won Tennessee in 2008, McCain at 32 percent, Romney at 24 percent. Kind of a Cruz/Rubio/Trump dynamic if you look through it. Ted Cruz if he's going to make a statement anywhere outside of Texas,
it would be in evangelical and rural areas and again the suburbs, around Knoxville, around Nashville, around Memphis as well could be key, Wolf, as we've seen throughout this race, a struggle, tug-of-war between Rubio and Trump in the suburbs.
BLITZER: Four states getting ready to close right now at the top of the hour. We're talking about Alabama, Massachusetts, Oklahoma, and Tennessee. Lots of delegates at stake tonight.
This is the second round of closings. We're going to share the numbers with you right now and some major projections.