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ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT
GOP Clashes on How to Stop Trump's Momentum; Carson: "I Do Not See a Political Path Forward"; Calls Grow For GOP Hopefuls to Drop Out to Stop Trump; GOP Split Could Hurt Trump 2016 Odds; GOP Sets Voting Records, Democrats Falling Short; Interview with Congressman Tom Marino of Pennsylvania. Aired 7-8p ET
Aired March 2, 2016 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[19:00:11] ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: OUTFRONT next, full court press. The Republican establishment in an all-out push to derail Donald Trump as the frontrunner reaches out to House Speaker Paul Ryan. Does Trump even need his party's stump of approval? And will it all come down to Clinton versus Trump? The attacks already starting. It is getting nasty already.
Plus, did Chris Christie steal the show from Donald Trump last night? Let's go OUTFRONT.
Good evening, I'm Erin Burnett. OUTFRONT tonight, Trump versus the GOP. Republicans waking up today to a reality that many of them seem to not like. Donald Trump's overwhelming victories on Super Tuesday were overwhelming and they were victories and they're making him look more and more like the presumptive nominee. The problem is many in the party establishment are all but ignoring the record turnout of voters casting their ballots for Trump and pledging an all-out effort to derail his nomination. Trump though may be the one extending an olive branch. His campaign reaching out to House Speaker Paul Ryan who had tough words for Trump about his failure to disavow David Duke and the KKK in an interview on CNN.
But Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse went so far as to say, he would favor the creation of a new party if Trump won the GOP nomination. And Mitt Romney who has been highly critical of Trump promised a major address tomorrow on the, quote-unquote, "state of the race." Stop Trump's Super PAC had sprung up spending millions on anti-Trump's ad and the drumbeat continues to build.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. PETER KING (R), NEW YORK: The statements he's making have really nothing in common with the Republican Party.
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: Here's my thinking. Donald Trump is not a Republican. I'm anybody but Trump.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: OK. There are a couple of examples of people who would like to see the field drop off leaving just one candidate that they think could lead the fight successfully against Trump. And the field maybe narrowing. Dr. Ben Carson issuing a statement today saying he's skipping tomorrow's debate, saying he doesn't see a political path forward.
Jason Carroll is OUTFRONT tonight in Michigan, the primary there left on a week away. And Jason, I mean, it's pretty incredible to see all this hate for Trump coming out now from the establishment. Is it too little too late?
JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, you hear so much about this being too little too late. Certainly not too little too late for Senator Marco Rubio or Ted Cruz. Their campaigns pushing ahead, but Erin, after last night it's becoming more and more clear no one maybe able to stop Donald Trump. And that's perfectly fine with those who support him.
CARROLL (voice-over): Donald Trump with a dominating Super Tuesday showing.
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It's only too bad that winner didn't take all because if winner took all, this thing is over.
CARROLL: The GOP frontrunner strengthening his position as the likely GOP nominee, picking up victories in seven states and expanding his delegate lead over rivals' senators Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio. But as Trump marches toward the nomination, the Republican Party is erupting an all-out civil war. 2012, GOP nominee Mitt Romney will deliver a speech tomorrow in Utah where sources tell CNN he plans to step up his criticism of Trump.
MITT ROMNEY (R), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: We have good reason to believe that there is a bombshell in Donald Trump's taxes.
CARROLL: It would mark a sharp turn from four years ago when Romney saw Trump's endorsements for his own presidential bid.
TRUMP: Governor Romney, go out and get them. You can do it.
ROMNEY: Thank you. Thank you.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
I'm so honored and pleased to have his endorsement.
CARROLL: And Romney isn't the only one.
REP. BOB DOLD (R), ILLINOIS: I will not support Donald Trump now and I will not support him should he move on.
CARROLL: South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham is refusing to commit to supporting Trump if he ultimately claims the party's nomination.
GRAHAM: Ask me that after the convention if he wins the Republican nomination, I'll have to reconsider that.
CARROLL: But not all in the party are critical of Trump.
MIKE HUCKABEE (R), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The establishment Republicans are all, you know, bedwetting over this. Don't pretend that somehow that all these voters who have gone out and voted for him are stupid. They're not stupid. I'll tell you what they are. They're angry.
CARROLL: Still, a Super PAC with the backing of Republican business leaders is trying to stop Trump from getting that far.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How much do we really know about Donald Trump?
CARROLL: Releasing a series of television ads taking aim at Trump's past comments and his business record.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Former student say Trump University was a scam.
CARROLL: As Trump's bid highlights divisions within the party, the frontrunner is testing out his general election message, touting his ability to bring people together.
TRUMP: Look, I'm a unifier. I know people are going to find that a little bit harder to believe but believe me, I am a unifier.
CARROLL: And Erin, polls here in Michigan favoring Trump as well. Most recent polls showing Trump at 29 percent, Cruz at 19 percent, Rubio at 18 percent. Also Rubio's home state Trump is leading there as well. Out here at a rally earlier today, one Rubio supporter conceding maybe the only person who can stop Trump is Trump -- Erin.
[19:05:06] BURNETT: All right. Jason Carroll, thank you very much.
And OUTFRONT now, the editor of "The Weekly Standard," Bill Kristol. Trump supporter Kayleigh McEnany. Tara Setmayer serving as a communications director in Congress. And David Gergen, serving as adviser to four presidents including Clinton and Reagan.
OK. Welcome to all. And thank you all for being here with me in New York. David, Romney is now coming out and he's going to hold a press conference. And in this press conference we understand he's going to be hitting very hard against Donald Trump. Not picking anyone else, but going against Donald Trump. And then you heard Lindsey Graham there in Jason Carroll's piece. He's not even a Republican. But Republican voters are coming out and voting for Donald Trump. Why can't the establishment accept that he can win?
DAVID GERGEN, FORMER PRESIDENTIAL ADVISER: Well, I have a lot of respect for Mitt Romney and he has his own judgment by who ought to be the nominee of the party. I do think there's a real danger if I have to put this question to Bill Kristol. Here, what Trump has is a whole lot of voters who turning out who are dissatisfied and are angry and feel betrayed by the Republican Party, by the Republican establishment. And now, the leaders of the establishment are coming out and saying, we don't want Trump. We don't give a damn on what you think. We really don't care. And we want somebody else. We're going to put our own person in there. That is the kind of message I would think would be very threatening to the future of the Republican Party, certainly threatening in this campaign.
BURNETT: And what do you say to that, Bill? Especially given that his state has gone by. I mean, you know, he's now the infamous line "I love the poorly educated." But he's now doing well among people with more and more education. His base of support seems to be getting broader.
BILL KRISTOL, EDITOR, "THE WEEKLY STANDARD": Look, I think David's concern is what held people back for a long time. But at this point, you sort of, if you care about the country and you think Donald Trump shouldn't be president, you sort of have an obligation to say so. And I respect Mitt Romney and I respect others to come out and say so. Donald Trump got 34.2 percent of the vote last night. He did better than anyone else. He get more delegates than anyone else. He didn't get a majority of the delegates either last night. This is an open race. You know, Donald Trump said, he's a unifier. I'm a unifier. Mitt Romney is a unifier.
We're speaking for the 65 percent of the people who didn't vote for Donald Trump. You know, they get a say too. The idea that Trump wins seven of eleven and I'm supposed to go, oh, the race is over, 15 states have voted, he's got three million votes last night. Ted Cruz got two-and-a-half million. Marco Rubio got less than two million. Trump is ahead. Trump has run an excellent campaign. But people who are tired about this weigh in and say, wait a second, voters in the next bunch of states, take another look at this.
BURNETT: OK. All right. Fair point, let's put up the numbers though right now. Three hundred and thirty two delegates in the pledge delegates for Donald Trump. Obviously, 100-plus more than Cruz.
BURNETT: Two hundred more than Marco Rubio.
KRISTOL: -- Cruz and Rubio, so what does that tell you? Exact same as Trump.
BURNETT: OK. But everybody said, if you just put -- you would put Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio and he would do better but some of those Jeb Bush voters didn't go to Marco Rubio. And you can't assume that by whittling it down, he's going to -- he will lose --
KRISTOL: No, no. I'll agree with that. I don't like it when these guys call another people to get out. They should stay in, they should run their races, they should make their cases.
KAYLEIGH MCENANY, DONALD TRUMP SUPPORTER: There is always been this myth that, you know, Trump has a ceiling, that is 30, that is 35, that is 40. And tell the CNN poll comes out last week and shows him at 49 percent and the field to five people. The ceiling keeps being raised. And the myth is that, the alternate Trump's votes, so those who have split up among the other candidates are anti-Trump votes. That is not the case. The Jeb Bush supporters split evenly among the other candidates. You look at the Kasich voters and they're second choice is split between Rubio and Trump. So, there's this myth that each of these voting blocks are monolithic group that shift over to the other establishment candidate upon that candidate, first candidate exiting the race.
TARA SETMAYER, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I take issue -- I'm with Bill on this -- I take issue with this whole, you know, Trump has dominated and he, you know, it is over, I made this point earlier. He's only got about 35 percent. There's an entire -- the majority of Republicans do not support him. And there's a reason for that because he has gotten away with murder. He has not been vetted properly. The media has fallen all over him. Conservative media. You know, I'm a conservative. I'm a lifelong conservative. And I look at conservative media, giving him legitimacy all through this time.
Instead of hitting him from the very beginning, on his record, on his questionable Republican values which I really don't know what they are because it's a political communion, these are all things that people have no idea about. Necessarily they came, one of the exit polls, that asked people if they knew about the Trump mortgage failure. If they knew about the Trump University scam. If they knew about the failure, all the bankruptcies and the failures of his businesses, if they knew about him using foreign workers in his casinos and in his properties and they said, people didn't know, he didn't know anything about these things. Well, I wonder if they would be so excited about Trump in thinking he's going to make America great again. If they actually knew what his record is.
GERGEN: He may not have won majority of the voters. It is a multi- party. There were 17 candidates.
GERGEN: You know, he's won fair and square the lead. You have to concede that.
SETMAYER: So far. There's a long way to go.
GERGEN: But there was this question --
BURNETT: But if it were not Donald Trump -- if it were an establishment candidate --
BURNETT: I think it's fair to say everybody would be saying presumptive nominee, let's get close to wrapping this up. But they're not. They're saying it is still a wide open race because they don't like it.
SETMAYER: Because of his record, because of who he is, because of his antics, because of his misogynist statements, all of these things go against traditional Republican values. And that is concerning for those of us who are lifelong Republicans.
[19:10:16] GERGEN: OK. That's fair game. But the question still to come. Listen, this was an establishment that insisted Donald Trump take a loyalty oath. But you must be loyal to the person who emerges from the party. That's what we expect of you. Is there any loyalty being really shown by the establishment to Trump?
KRISTOL: No. I was against loyalty oaths. I hate loyalty oaths. People should be able to vote however they want.
BURNETT: I think it's childish to sign a loyalty oath --
MCENANY: When you have an establishment figure and you have the speaker of the House and the Republican majority leader coming out and acquiescing to this narrative that Trump is a racist which had been perpetuated by the Left, it is a false statement. This man is not a racist. He has a 69 year history of being nothing but upstanding, employing minorities. He even donated to Democrats in the past before he change to being a Republican who supported minority causes. So, this notion that he deserves that title is wrong. And for the Republican establishment to coalesce around this narrative is wrong.
GERGEN: They're not coalescing --
KRISTOL: These people are elected officials, I mean, you showed the earlier Lindsey Graham, you showed Pete King.
KRISTOL: They're elected officials. They're not the Republican establishment. They represent the voters of the districts and states they were elected by. They're entitled to offer their opinion and their opinion is not -- Donald Trump should be the Republican nominee.
MCENANY: Have they ever done that to Mitt Romney?
MCENANY: Have you ever done that to John McCain?
KRISTOL: No. But they thought Mitt Romney was capable of being president. They don't think Donald Trump should be president. Of course, they're not going to say the same thing about someone they have a high regard for as someone they have a lower regard for.
MCENANY: He's an outsider and he's a threat to their interests.
KRISTOL: He's not a threat to their interests.
BURNETT: I'm going to hit pause. I'm going to hit pause only for a second because we're all going to be back in just a couple of minutes. Because I want to talk about what happens if someone does drop out of this race all of a sudden. Does that help Trump or hurt Trump?
And next, Ben Carson hinting at dropping out of the race for the White House. Who would be the next to go?
Plus, record turnout on the Republican side in virtually every state that's voted so far. Does this spell disaster for the Democrats in November? And no one and nothing has slowed Donald Trump's campaign as of yet. If it comes down to Trump versus Clinton, can she win?
[19:16:04] BURNETT: Tonight a potential shake-up in the GOP race. Just a short time ago, Ben Carson hinting his campaign is coming to a close. He's skipping tomorrow's debate after admitting, quote, "I do not see a political path forward in light of last evening's Super Tuesday primary results." Calls are growing for others to also drop out all in the name of stopping Donald Trump.
Here's South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GRAHAM: This is one area I agree with Mr. Trump. He could probably shoot somebody on Fifth Avenue and that wouldn't change his voter base. The loyalty to Mr. Trump is pretty far and I don't see any ad campaign breaking that coalition apart, but the question is can you consolidate? Instead of tearing down Donald Trump, we need to consolidate the field. Because I don't think there's anything you can do or say that I can do or say or that Mr. Trump can do or say that is going to break apart his support.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: OUTFRONT now, our senior political reporter Manu Raju. And Manu, you spoke to quite a few Republican senators today including Senator Graham and what are they telling you?
MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: Well, they're really divided right now depends on who you asked when you asked who should get out in this race. Some Republicans say that of course it should be John Kasich. The Marco Rubio supporters. Others are saying, we'll see how Florida and Ohio play out on March 15th, depending on how Rubio does on that day and how Kasich does on that day. Of course, the winner take all stakes are so high on March 15th. But increasingly, you are hearing frustration from Marco Rubio's supporters over John Kasich and the fact that he is still in this race. Particularly when you look at the results from Virginia last night. I talked to Corey Gardner, a major Rubio supporter about the fact that John Kasich is in this race and he did not hold back his frustration.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. COREY GARDNER (R), COLORADO: There's no honorable mention in the nomination. John Kasich has run a good race and he'll continue to run a good race, but there is no path to victory for him. GRAHAM: If John Kasich wins Ohio then that will slow Trump down and
give him a boost. If Marco can win Florida, he's back in the game. I think we should wait to see what happens March 15th. I believe everybody should have a chance to win their home state. If you don't win your home state, then you need to re-evaluate.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RAJU: Now, it was also pretty remarkable Erin that Lindsey Graham is saying that if Cruz, sorry, if Rubio does not win Florida and Kasich does not win Ohio, that the party should start to unite behind Ted Cruz. And of course Graham has had his own issues with Ted Cruz as have most of the Republicans in the building that I'm in right now. So, it will be interesting to see whether or not other Republicans follow suit or if at the end of the day, they finally get behind Donald Trump. But no matter which where you slice it, it's a mess right now for Republicans as they tried to figure out a way forward in this presidential race.
BURNETT: Manu, thank you very much. And here we are back with our panel.
Also joining me our political commentator, the host of "The Ben Ferguson Show," Ben Ferguson. All right. Bill Kristol, let me start with you though. Because, you know, people look at you and they say, all right, this is a guy who doesn't want Trump to win. So, I would think you would be the person saying people should get out, but this is not what you are saying.
KRISTOL: No. Personally, I think it is inappropriate. I mean, these candidates have the right to run. And the idea that if you're helping Marco Rubio by whining about other candidates being in the race, it just shows weakness on the part your candidate. And secondly, in the actual two weeks we're facing, it is actually better for the stop Trump forces to have Kasich in the race and let him try to win Ohio, have Rubio in the race and let him try to win Florida. Have Cruz in the race and let him try to pile up some delegates and the proportionate states and the caucuses on Saturday and then on Tuesday. So, in fact, there's no -- even analytically there's no reason to urge people to get out. And I think as a matter of politics, it looks pathetic.
BURNETT: OK. Go ahead and be pathetic, Ben Ferguson.
BEN FERGUSON, RADIO HOST, "THE BEN FERGUSON SHOW": Third place never adds up to first place. You have the right to run. You have the right not be delusional while running and thinking that somehow if you go out on TV --
BURNETT: You are talking about?
FERGUSON: And Marco Rubio says last night, saying, I'm doing very well tonight. I'm in third place. Bronze medal is never a gold medal. It doesn't matter what -- picks to go to, if you're in third place, you're in third place. And Rubio is going to be in third place. He's also down in Florida. Even if you say that the polls are wrong in Florida, by ten points, he's still ten points down --
SETMAYER: So, let him run, let him run and let him win.
KRISTOL: What is it with people on TV saying, he should have get out of the race --
FERGUSON: Well, I think it's way bigger in Florida --
BURNETT: OK. Go ahead.
FERGUSON: The presidential election is way bigger than Florida. It's about allowing the people that you're supporting to have time to reassess who their second choice is.
KRISTOL: They'll have plenty of time on March 16th.
MCENANY: This is about the Republican Party having control. And this is part of the problem. You recall when Mike Huckabee was pressured to get out of the race to pave the way from Mitt Romney. This is what people are frustrated with, is the political establishment saying, get out.
SETMAYER: It's a pro-Trump supporter and Bill Kristol --
FERGUSON: Tell me how third place gives you first place. Tell me how. I would love to see the math on that.
SETMAYER: I will give you an example. As a former track athlete, you have something called the decathlon. And you can come in second or third place in different events. But if you come in first events -- better have more points involved, then you can win the whole thing.
FERGUSON: Where is --
SETMAYER: Right now -- let me finish the point, Ben. So, right now we have a decathlon going on here with different stages of the election.
We're going to find that out. That's right. That's what Florida is about.
FERGUSON: No. Ted Cruz was third in New Hampshire. There's a difference. He wouldn't have won in the decathlon, to use your example.
[19:21:25] FERGUSON: Name a state where literally looking ahead where you have legitimate numbers that Marco Rubio can actually win where he is polling well. You cannot tell me a state. KRISTOL: Marco Rubio has a much better chance that Ted Cruz.
KRISTOL: Florida, Pennsylvania, in New York. I think in a lot of states.
FERGUSON: But you think he's going to come in second or first in any of those honestly?
KRISTOL: Yes. Absolutely.
FERGUSON: How? How?
KRISTOL: Why couldn't he?
SETMAYER: Wait a minute. In fairness in Virginia --
BURNETT: Go ahead, Tara.
SETMAYER: In fairness in Virginia, Marco Rubio was down double digits to Donald Trump and he closed that gap significantly to about two and a half or three points. So, he lost one delegate to Donald Trump in Virginia. OK? So that matters. Donald Trump got 17 delegates. Marco Rubio got 16 in Virginia. So, he was able to close that gap. Late deciders broke for Rubio. We have two weeks until Florida.
FERGUSON: I agree.
SETMAYER: That is an eternity. And this --
FERGUSON: But you can't honestly --
BURNETT: One thing that's amazing about this though is you see people, and I'm not referring to all of you in this. But the establishment Republicans, they run one way or the other. So, when Ted Cruz looks like he's going to beat Donald Trump, they all run over there like a bunch of lemmings.
KRISTOL: Yes. I agree.
BURNETT: And then all of a sudden, Marco Rubio looks it like last week, it was all this two-men race between Rubio and Donald Trump. But everyone was running behind Rubio. But then Ted Cruz did better last night, everyone switches to Ted Cruz.
FERGUSON: You look at what happened though literally on CNN. Rubio had by far the best debate he's ever had. Did it turn out and actually help him in a real way? The answer is even when he had the best night and Donald Trump had the worst debate that he had does far, it still did not get him a victory in any place significant. Yes, he got one state.
MCENANY: But there is no way that Marco Rubio wins.
FERGUSON: At least you're honest about it. Thank you. MCENANY: In the PPP poll, it shows that even in a head-to-head
matchup with Marco Rubio and Donald Trump in Florida, Donald Trump still wins by 14 points. There's no way Marco Rubio can win.
SETMAYER: That's not true.
MCENANY: Wait. What you propose? You want an RNC litmus test for whose allowed to run for the presidency? If you don't want a state you have to get out by the state because that's what the establishment wants? That's why people have a problem with the RNC.
FERGUSON: This is my point. I think when you ran for president, a true statesman, which is what we miss in a lot of this, should at some point be the self-evaluator to say, look at the map, look at the numbers and I owe it to my, not only to my donors but to the American people --
BURNETT: Like Jeb Bush.
FERGUSON: Like Jeb Bush. I have a ton of respect for him the way he dropped out.
KRISTOL: Are you kidding me?
FERGUSON: No, let me finish though.
KRISTOL: Jeb Bush spends $30 million attacking Rubio --
FERGUSON: I have respect for him because at least he was man enough to know when he wasn't going to win and that's what Jeb Bush did.
BURNETT: When does the next person drop out though? Do you wait until after March 15th?
KRISTOL: Yes, absolutely. And I know it offends all of you that oh my God!, they're not getting out just when we want them to --
KRISTOL: OK. Fine. If he doesn't win, he doesn't win. But you have mystical knowledge -- no one ever make that ten points in the poll.
FERGUSON: It's not mystical. It's common sense.
KRISTOL: It is not common sense.
FERGUSON: You tell me a guy that is not surging forward is going to somehow randomly surge forward.
In what place, in Virginia? KRISTOL: I can tell you, there's going to be a debate tomorrow night.
KRISTOL: And Florida is one state. And Marco Rubio has a very good and decent chance of winning Florida. And it will help Ted Cruz. You Cruz people are crazy if you want Rubio out. Do you think Ted Cruz can win Florida?
BURNETT: All right.
MCENANY: No way.
FERGUSON: Ted Cruz is winning a lot more states than Marco Rubio.
BURNETT: Thank you very much.
MCENANY: No way.
FERGUSON: I think it is a better chance than Rubio winning.
BURNETT: That's an incredible statement. All right. Thank you all. OUTFRONT next, veteran democratic strategist Paul Begala says, it keeps him up at night. That is the record turnout for Republicans. Why it could be a nightmare for Democrats in Election Day?
And if the race comes down to Clinton versus Trump, who wins the war of words?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Make America great is again is going to be much better than making America whole again.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[19:29:09] BURNETT: With big Super Tuesday wins under their belts, both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are turning their sights on each other.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It's clear tonight that the stakes in this election have never been higher and the rhetoric we're hearing on the other side has never been lower.
Trying to divide America between us and them is wrong and we're not going to let it work.
TRUMP: I'm going to go after one person and that's Hillary Clinton on the assumption she's allowed to run, which is a big assumption. I don't know that she's going to be allowed to run.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Of course, that was a reference to the e-mails, something Donald Trump has talked a lot about. This is not going to be pretty.
I want to bring back my panel, Bill Kristol, editor of "The Weekly Standard." Kayleigh McEnany, a CNN political commentator and Trump supporter.
[19:30:04] Also joining us, Michael Skolnik, Democratic and editor in chief of GlobalGrind.com, and David Gergen, our senior political analyst.
All right. Kayleigh, Donald Trump talking about being a unifier. A lot of people hear that and they say, wait a minute. Is this the same Donald Trump I've been looking at for the past few months, who is so capable of eviscerating people with words? Is he really going to be a unifier?
KAYLEIGH MCENANY, DONALD TRUMP SUPPORTER: Well, I would encourage them to look at turnout and the vast number of Democrats and independents who are turning out at the polls. He's expanding the ideological spectrum by bringing in Democrats that Republicans have only hoped to garner in for many, many years, by talking about free trade and criticizing free trade, and talking about placing tariffs on Mexican imports.
He is broadening the Republican platform in a powerful way. Which is why in Virginia, you see a million people turning out, 50 percent more than 2000. That is huge.
And meanwhile, you see Democrat turnout down in every single state. He is broadening the Republican platform in a powerful way and Republicans needed to do this for decades.
BURNETT: All right. So, Bill, let's look at -- there are so many things about a Clinton-Trump race, which would be fascinating to watch, OK? But one of them is that you have the two people that people say they hate the most actually winning, which is fascinating.
OK, let's look at those. Donald Trump, 60 percent of voters have an unfavorable opinion of him according to a recent Gallup poll. Same question to Hillary Clinton is the other, the second most unfavorable person, when people are asked the top word that comes to mind with her name, the word is "dishonest".
How do the two most disliked candidates end up?
BILL KRISTOL, EDITOR, THE WEEKLY STANDARD: Or at least the two who have the highest unfavorable ratings, people may not hate them or dislike them.
KRISTOL: Well, they just don't think they should be president, which is a reasonable judgment -- to my mind by the American people in both cases. I think classically -- I mean, typically you would say that would be a negative campaign where people would try to push up the negatives of their opponent than their own. You might try to repair your own image.
And, look, I will say, I'm not a fan of Trump obviously, but I've told underestimated him. He's run a heck of campaign. Within -- among Republicans, he moved his numbers. He was originally very unfavorable, remember this?
People like me were misled by that, and thought, well, Trump has a ceiling as Kayleigh said earlier, because, you know, he's got all these unfavorables.
BURNETT: Now you're admitting the ceiling is broken.
KRISTOL: Look, all politics is fluid. I never thought the ceiling was firm. I never think these firewalls are firm. Candidates have a chance to make their case. And maybe Donald Trump can make it as good a case to independent voters and swing voters, as he has to Republican voters. I'm personally doubtful, but, you know, Trump's been an effective politician, you got to say, over the last several months.
BURNETT: So, how nasty is it going to get? Hillary Clinton is going to fight back? She's going to have to.
MICHAEL SKOLNIK, DAILYGRIND.COM: Well, I think Donald has shown that he is nasty in his history. This isn't the first time we've seen a nasty Donald Trump. He's been nasty in his entire history with his business.
In terms of Hillary Clinton, she has shown that she is a unifier, right? She wants to bring everybody to the table. While Donald Trump is saying, I don't want Muslims, I don't want immigrants, I don't want women, I don't want black people. I don't how turning out the best --
SKOLNIK: Well, certainly, his rallies have supported that. He said nothing to stop it.
KRISTOL: He loves women.
SKOLNIK: He loves women? Well, I'm glad he loves women.
MCENANY: You can speak in generalizations and say, Donald Trump doesn't like these contingencies of people, but those are false statements. They're generalizations.
When you look at the specific wording of things he said, like when Mexico sends people, they send rapists and criminals.
SKOLNIK: Which is not true.
MCENANY: When the Mexican government sends people, that's an accusation. Not hat --
MCENANY: Words matter, specifics matter. Generalizations are unacceptable.
SKOLNIK: He's yet to denounce the KKK. Those matter.
MCENANY: He has denounced the KKK.
SKOLNIK: No, he has denounced David Duke. Not the KKK. David Duke.
BURNETT: Be denounced a white supremacist robocall in an interview with me.
SKOLNIK: The KKK word has not come out of his mouth once. Those words have not come out of his mouth once.
MCENANY: They're synonymous.
SKOLNIK: With what, with David Duke?
MCENANY: David Duke and the KKK are synonymous.
SKOLNIK: Not necessarily. He's not in the KKK anymore.
DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLTIICAL ANALYST: Can we get back to the original question? What kind of race this is going to be? Maybe you can hear it's very contentious.
BURNETT: Well, we just got a taste of it.
GERGEN: We've had long taste of it I'm afraid.
Listen, here's one thing I do think -- both of them are very divisive, but I do see signs on both candidates, they're trying to move now to be, you know, less elbows and knees. Hillary is trying to make that outreach into various groups. Trump calls Ryan. He has a press conference last night.
I think --
BURNETT: The House people.
GERGEN: Yes, we'll have to wait and see about Trump. I think he has a long way to go. I share many of Bill's reservations about him, but I do think he has the possibility to morph into something. I think he can be housebroken before this is all over.
BURNETT: Well, Bill Kristol, we were just talking. I mean, you did have last night Donald Trump began his victory speech saying Ted Cruz ran a great race in Texas and he had a great night. He was criticized after South Carolina for not saying anything about Jeb Bush.
First thing he did, he came out. He credited Ted Cruz. Clearly, he learned from that mistake.
KRISTOL: Look, he's been a very quick -- again, I don't know if (INAUDIBLE) president of the United States, but he's been a quickly study on the campaign trail. If you watch, he watches his audience carefully. He's a little like Reagan, I think, David.
GERGEN: I agree.
KRISTOL: He watches his audience, he sees what lines work, what people care about. And he speaks more about those things and things that he would say are foolish, that I would say worst than foolish.
[19:35:05] I agree with you on this, that are offensive and inappropriate. He does tend to back off. He'd never say he was wrong, but somehow you don't hear more about it.
So, he is a clever guy. I tend to think Hillary Clinton will beat him in the general election and beat him comfortably, but, you know, we probably learn, we shouldn't underestimate him.
SKOLNIK: But here's my challenge, right? You say he watched his audience, right? We saw an instance where a black woman was harassed, called the N-word, spit on, right, and he sees that, right? But yet says nothing.
KRISTOL: I'm not depending him.
SKOLNIK: So, he's watching his audience doing that, why didn't he say, look, that's not part of who I am. If I'm going to be a unifier, don't bring that to my rally? He can say the next day, two days, he said nothing. Silence does equal violence.
MCENANY: When you're looking at an audience of 34,000 people, 15,000 people, you do not know everything that is going on among people.
SKOLNIK: The tape came out today. It's everywhere.
MCENANY: You do not know everything that is going on among your audience. It is not - it's the responsibility of the police officers in the room to take care of the situation.
BURNETT: Well, to Michael's point though, should he have come out when he saw the video, and say, wait, now I know this happened, this is unacceptable? To make the big statement?
MCENANY: I think that would help to come out and say that.
SKOLNIK: I think that would be helpful if he's a unifier, but he's yet to do it once.
BURNETT: All right. Well, you both agree on that. Pause for a moment.
OUTFRONT next, Republican voters turning out in droves on Super Tuesday. The turnout point, could it spell disaster for Democrats in November? And one of the few members of Congress to buck his party and endorse Donald Trump is my guest OUTFRONT tonight.
[19:40:17] BURNETT: Tonight, new warning signs. The Democrats are facing what could be a serious enthusiasm problem. Primary results show turnout for Democrats is down in almost every state. In some cases, down by roughly 50 percent.
This is despite Hillary Clinton just holding one of her largest rallies right here in New York tonight, where she slammed her Republican opponents.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Make no mistake about it. The other side has a very different vision about what our country should look like, how we should treat each other. There's a lot of finger-pointing and insulting going on over in their primary.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: And Bernie Sanders also drawing a large crowd tonight. You see him there. Their support, though, pales in comparison when it comes to the voting booth, to the flood of new and energized voters showing up on the Republican side. It's an enthusiasm gap that our Democratic strategist Paul Begala says keeps him up at night.
Tom Foreman is OUTFRONT.
And, Tom, you've been going through the numbers and you found some pretty interesting things.
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I want you to look at one thing here, Erin. If you knew nothing else about this campaign, this is one pair of numbers that is shooting terror through some Democrats.
Look at this, total number of voters to turn out to date in this race just 2.6 million, 2.7 million on the Democratic side. And look at that, well over 5 million on the Republican side.
Let's put it into a little bit of context here. This is goes up and down throughout elections. If you look back several years, you can see it kind of goes up and down. Not really clear there's a relationship between that and the general election except right in here, 2008.
This is what happened in the primary with Barack Obama. Look at those whopping numbers that showed up for him and then he translated that into a massive win here in the general election. Big, big changer.
Now, is that what's shaping up over here? We don't really know. But we do know this. If it keeps going that way, it could turn into this.
And you talk a minute ago, Erin, about the enthusiasm gap. Look, enthusiasm goes up and down throughout the elections. There was a lot of enthusiasm for Barack Obama.
And in our most recent poll of enthusiasm among voters out there right now, look at this, on the Democratic side -- if you look at what they're seeing out there, you see the Democratic and independents who lean Democratic, are you very enthusiastic about voting? About 19 percent of them said, yes, we are enthusiastic.
Go to the Republican side, though, look at this -- 38 percent feel that way. That's what's keeping Democrats up at night, like Paul Begala, because that is a big, big gap there.
Does it say that way all the way through fall and general election? We don't know. There are a lot of things that can happen on the way. But it's something that has to really be considered Erin.
BURNETT: Those are stunning numbers. One thing I found really interesting is Hillary Clinton did very well with minority voters when you look at South Carolina. Better than even than Barack Obama. If she turns out to be the nominee, could that help offset the enthusiasm gap?
FOREMAN: That's an interesting question because think about this. She did really, really well when you went into some of the southern states down here, but here's the question. The southern states down here are not really that likely to wind up being general election voters for Democrats. Some of them may be. Some may swing over that way.
But South Carolina, places like that, these are not necessarily the cornerstones of where Democrats have to do well. And because they're winner-take-all, the truth is, she may do well there and still not win the state.
So, is that enough to overcome a huge surge of new voters on the Republican side which seems to be shaping? We don't have the math on that yet. But again, something for both sides to be thinking a lot about.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you.
And back with me now, Bill Kristol, Kayleigh McEnany, Michael Skolnik and David Gergen.
Pretty stunning numbers.
GERGEN: Very stunning numbers. But I do think you have to put this into context. If history first of all, we have to pause and recognize that there's a new chapter in American history. First woman to win a nomination of a major political party, I think there are a lot of women who woke up today encouraged by that, more inspired by that.
Certainly, I think, I totally agree with Bill Kristol, she'll go into this election as a frontrunner. I think she'll go in as a favorite. But with Trump having a real chance and Republicans if they're not careful, can chase away a lot of those new voters in how they handle the next few weeks.
BURNETT: Michael, do you think she can overcome that enthusiasm gap? Because as Tom I think it's a very interesting point, right? She did better, 86 percent of the black vote in South Carolina, better than President Obama did, which is -- I mean, that is a pretty stunning thing. But South Carolina is almost certain to go GOP. So, it almost doesn't matter.
SKOLNIK: Yes, I think she got a lot to work to do. That's for sure.
I do think on the Republican side, it's been a show. There's no show on the Democratic side. It's been a big show on the Republican side, and you have five candidates, six candidates, pushing, pushing, pushing for new voters.
On the Democratic side, you have less, you know, you have two people and one pushing for new voters.
[19:45:05] I think when you come to the general, you're going to see the president out there campaigning for Hillary, which will be a big difference, right? You have the commander and chief out there saying, this is my choice, I think we'll see a big difference in the fall.
MCENANY: You'll have the unpopular commander and chief lobbying on behalf of Hillary Clinton. So, that's a problem for her.
SKOLNIK: Not with Democratic base.
MCENANY: Moreover, I would suggest, it's a problem for her that Bernie Sanders said from the very get-go, enough of the beep e-mails, was his direct quote. You know, those problems, the emails, her vulnerabilities, Benghazi, the Clinton Foundation, the Ponzi scheme of the Clinton Foundation, you can bet your bottom dollar these will come out if Donald Trump is the nominee on the other side.
She has big vulnerabilities, big weaknesses that hasn't been tested. There are so many unknowns, when the Republicans have opened their wounds and let it all come out.
BURNETT: Final word to you, Bill.
KRISTOL: One had to (INAUDIBLE) the party that has a big turnout. On the other hand, half of, third of the people are turning out enthusiastically for Donald Trump, while half of them are voting enthusiastically against Donald Trump. It's a little hard to reconcile that. At the end of the day, they're either going to nominate Trump and have alt of non-Trump supporters, or nominate someone else and have a lot of unhappy Trump supporters.
So, the Republicans have both the big opportunity and a big challenge.
GERGEN: Isn't it the same thing with Bernie Sanders? Doesn't she have to reconcile -- KRISTOL: I think it is a little easier. I think they get to the
platform planks on the progressive side, and I think Sanders people pretty much fall in line. Don't you think?
BURNETT: Thank you all.
And OUTFRONT next, GOP leaders desperate tonight to stop Donald Trump. You're heard quite a few of them earlier in this show, but now my next guest, a Republican congressman, is endorsing him.
And Jeanne Moos on Chris Christie, saying it all during Trump's victory speech. It was hard. You know, you could hear Trump, but you were looking at Christie.
[19:50:17] BURNETT: Tonight, word that Donald Trump is reaching out to Capitol Hill, asking to speak with House Speaker Paul Ryan. This comes as top GOP leaders are desperately trying to stop Trump from becoming the Republican nominee. Only five members of Congress have endorsed Trump.
One of them is OUTFRONT" tonight. Congressman Tom Marino of Pennsylvania.
Congressman, I appreciate you time.
Trump has reached out to the speaker, to Speaker Ryan. Speaker Ryan, of course, has been critical of Trump in recent days.
Do you think it's time for the speaker to talk to Trump, or do you think that Speaker Ryan is right to criticize if he sees fit?
REP. TOM MARINO (R-PA), ENDORSED DONALD TRUMP: Well, first of all, thank you for having me on your program.
I think it's time for all Republicans to start speaking to each other, planning on getting together. What's going to be best for the American people when it's time for us to run the general election and win the White House?
BURNETT: So, if anyone else had this much of a lead, a lot of people say, look, they'd be called the presumptive nominee. People would be supportive of this person. You've come out and endorsed Donald Trump.
BURNETT: Are you getting weird looks? Are you getting ridiculed? Are people talking behind your back? You are not going along with what a lot of people where you sit want you to do.
MARINO: No, at least I'm not hearing of anything. And I'm a little bit of a maverick myself, so I don't think they would even approach me on an issue like that.
But, you know something, who is -- look who is being critical -- the insiders, the policymakers, the policymakers that do policy to benefit them and hurts the hard-working taxpayer. And the American people have spoken up. My constituents across the state and others that I've spoken to, they want an outsider.
And I'm going to pose a rhetorical question here. How has it been over the last 30 years with senators, governors and career politicians as president? We're $19 trillion in debt, over 15 million people out of work. The borders are open.
BURNETT: So, Congressman --
MARINO: It's time for a businessman.
BURNETT: So, when Congressman -- when Senator Lindsey Graham says point blank today Donald Trump is not a Republican, when you hear that and hear as you know, as he has admitted himself, he gave money to Democrats. He was a Democrat.
BURNETT: You hear many long -- life-long Republicans say he is not a conservative. This is a man who switched his stance on things like abortions.
You became comfortable with all of that?
MARINO: No, I'm not -- Donald Trump and I don't agree on everything.
But what we do agree on is border security. He's created jobs. He's an executive. He knows how to make billion-dollar deals and budgets. He knows how to come in under budget, and he's saying exactly what hard-paying taxpayers are thinking.
He's been able to bring people together like it's never been done before and that's because he's speaking what he feels. People want a leader who speaks what they feel. And he's tapping in all the areas -- all the areas -- Republicans, Democrats, independents, and all ages and all walks of life.
BURNETT: Can he win your state, a state that's not voted Republican in a presidential election since 1992? Can he win Pennsylvania?
MARINO: He can very well win Pennsylvania. When I'm traveling across, I have had so many people come up to me from all the parties saying I support Trump. It's time for an outsider. I'm tired of the inside politics.
The hard-working taxpayers need to be protected and they are the unprotected individuals and policymakers protect themselves.
BURNETT: Congressman Marino, thank you very much. I appreciate your time.
MARINO: You're welcome.
BURNETT: Endorsed Donald Trump. And OUTFRONT next, Jeanne Moos on how Chris Christie became the silent star of Donald Trump's victory speech.
[19:57:52] BURNETT: It's the Chris Christie speech everyone is talking about, except he was a man of few words. Here's Jeanne Moos.
JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It was hard to look at an alpha politician like Chris Christie hovering behind Donald Trump.
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It's abysmal.
MOOS: Abysmal describes Christie's expression as in a hostage video. "Governor Christie blinked twice if you're in trouble." "Dear God, what have I done endorsing Trump", tweeted "The Daily Show".
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Chris Christie looks like a guy who suddenly isn't sure if he turned the stove off before he left for work.
MOOS: A "Washington Post" opinion writer said of Trump's remarks, "It was impossible to hear him over Chris Christie's eyes."
Christie spent the entire speech screaming wordlessly and, yes, someone put that wordless scream to music from psycho.
"I like people who weren't captured," mocked one poster echoing, the Donald's line about John McCain.
TRUMP: I like people that weren't captured, OK?
MOOS: "Even Chris Christie's tie is trying to escape", tweeted a "Tonight Show" producer.
Governor, governor, come on, snap out of it. Snap out of it. Please clap.
TRUMP: Tennessee. Virginia.
MOOS: Now, Governor, don't curb your enthusiasm.
One joker explained the governor's fixed stare as a food fixation. But there's nothing easy about making your face seem natural when you are stuck on camera listening to someone. Be it state of the union or the union between Anthony Weiner and his wife.
ANTHONY WEINER (D), FORMER NY CONGRESSMAN: I apologize to my wife Huma.
MOOS: Or even when the Donald basked in Sarah Palin's endorsement.
SARAH PALIN (R), FORMER ALASKA GOVERNOR: The ramifications of that betrayal of a transformation of our country.
MOOS: Take heart, Governor Christie. When things are looking this down, there's nowhere to go but up.
MOOS: Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.
BURNETT: So, you weren't the only one watching Donald Trump -- listening to Donald Trump and just having your eyes glued to Chris Christie.
Thanks so much for joining us. Have a great night.
"AC360" starts now.