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Super Tuesday Coverage: Hillary Clinton's Big Wins; GOP Establishment Revolting Against Trump. Aired 12-1a ET

Aired March 2, 2016 - 00:00   ET


[00:00:01] WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Marco Rubio finally got on the boards, he carried Minnesota, the caucuses in Minnesota. He gets one state tonight. Hillary Clinton has done well tonight. She has won southern states: Georgia, Virginia, Alabama, Tennessee, Arkansas, Texas, and Massachusetts. Bernie Sanders, he's done well as well: Vermont, Oklahoma, Colorado, and Minnesota. Four states for Bernie Sanders.

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: We have a key race alert on an outstanding contest right now; that outstanding contest -- well, first of all, American Samoa, Hillary Clinton has won American Samoa, the Democratic caucuses there. Six delegates from American Samoa, the U.S. territory in the Pacific.

In Vermont, it's still up in the air, 84-percent of the vote is in on the Republican side. 32.5-percent from Donald Trump. John Kasich, 30.6-percent, Marco Rubio, he's in third place at 19.4-percent. But Donald Trump is ahead of John Kasich by 1,027 votes in the Vermont Republican Primary right now. Let's go over to John King, taking a closer look at all of these

contests tonight. Vermont still outstanding on the Republican side.

Still outstanding, Donald Trump leading. If he holds that lead, Wolf, the map looks good for Donald Trump tonight. We're waiting for Alaska. These are delegated allocated so far, the numbers will change as we continue to allocate delegates through the night. These are just delegates we've allocated tonight. Look, Rubio gets his first win. The question is, is it good enough; the Minnesota win? His campaign says he's staying in. They say that in the Midwest, and then in Florida on March 15, things will get better.

You just talked to Senator Cruz, who says this is great for him. He's the only guy who has beaten Donald Trump three times. The question is where does he go next? There are some other southern states where you would think would be Cruz strongholds in the calendar in the days and weeks ahead, but, if you look outside of Texas and neighboring Oklahoma, Donald Trump has been cutting into what Ted Cruz thought was his base. This was, Marco Rubio said

this earlier, and he's right about this, this was supposed to be Ted Cruz's

big night down here. He didn't get it, but he got two wins, Rubio getting only one so it kind of undermines the Rubio argument that this is anything but a survival night for him. It's certainly not a good night. Looks very good for Donald Trump as we wait for Alaska and the final numbers in Vermont.

And this is a big night for Hillary Clinton. Yes, Sanders getting wins in Vermont, Minnesota, Oklahoma, and Colorado. Hillary Clinton in the delegates we've allocated so far, has a sizable lead. Her case is the base of the democratic party, African-American voters, Latinos, as well, in Texas. She's winning big, which she says bodes well as the calendar goes on. Bernie Sanders isn't going anywhere, Wolf, and the big fight, you mentioned, we have the big debate in Flint coming up.

The next big fight for the Democrats, Hillary Clinton is going to have to prove that she can beat Bernie Sanders in the industrial Midwest, continue to stretch out the delegate lead. The math is already hard for Bernie Sanders but he has some opportunities to change the momentum. The Midwest will be the next big challenge.

BLITZER: Just think, if she would have carried all those states with the expectation of Vermont tonight, she would have been in much better shape, but he did pretty well last night. Four states, that's pretty good.

KING: Four states is pretty good. It keeps him in the hunt. If he's just a message candidate and he's not winning any states, then it's hard to make the case we should go on. He wins four states, he certainly has the right to say, give me an opportunity to prove I can win as we move forward. I will tell you the Clinton campaign is happy about this. It is a very narrow win; look how close it is.

A very narrow win, but they are very happy to at least get the moral victory. The delegates are going to be roughly evenly split between the two, but I know that Congressman Jim McGovern from the Worcester area, some other Hillary Clinton supporters in the state, worked very hard to turn out votes today, and they needed every last one of them, as you watch the county of Massachusetts up to 100-percent. A very narrow win there, but she is happy to make the point that Bernie Sanders did not sweep New England in the states that have voted so far.

If you look at the map, there's no question. You know, we're through 15 contests. Advantage, Donald Trump; advantage, Hillary Clinton, but the race goes on. As wild a year it's been, we could probably expect --

BLITZER: Look at all those southern states that she won, as well, all the way -- South Carolina the other day, but all these other states today.

KING: And a flip, if you will. Go back to the 2008 map, Hillary Clinton did win Texas, Oklahoma, and Arkansas, Tennessee, and Florida, but look at this area right here. This is Barack Obama in 2008. Now come forward to look in 2016. Hillary Clinton's hoping to essentially take the swath. This is the African-American, the southern base of the democratic party. African-American voters that she's winning by whooping margins. If you look at the exit polls, as well as Latinos in Texas, healthy margin as well. That is what the Clinton campaign, their argument is: we are winning the more diverse states. We're winning with the states with the traditional democratic coalition. The challenge now is to prove it as you move on.

Again, when you get to the industrial Midwestern states, her one weakness in these polls has been working class whites, especially blue collar white men. Now that is the Sanders opportunity as we go to Ohio, Michigan, and beyond in the Midwest.

BLITZER: Thanks very much, John. I want to walk back over to Jake and Dana. Guys, let's not forget, keep this perspective: Donald Trump, he's a big winner tonight. He has done well. There's still a couple states of states outstanding. He could do even better.

[00:05:01] JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: He is, although the Republican establishment is still in revolt about this and still trying to talk about any way possible that they could prevent him from becoming the Republican nominee. David Chalian, if I can go to you, looking at our exit polls, our political director, a big question, of course, is how do voters feel about Donald Trump? You have Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio continuing to say that a majority of the voters don't want Donald Trump; but how do they feel?

DAVID CHALIAN, DIRECTOR OF CNN POLITICS: Right; well Jake, one of the things that we're starting to look at now since Trump had such a dominant night tonight is sort of peek ahead to what kind of work he would go to do to move towards a general election strategy. Obviously the Republican nomination race is not over. You heard from Marco Rubio. You heard from Ted Cruz tonight. But, clearly Donald Trump was dominant today. So we asked the voters today, in many of the states, would you be satisfied or dissatisfied with Donald Trump as the nominee? All four of these states we're going to look at, Donald Trump won tonight, that's important to remember. In Alabama, 56- percent say yes, satisfied if Trump is the nominee. 42-percent say no. Take a look at Tennessee: 55-percent say yes; they're satisfied; the majority. 41-percent say no.

Now let's look at Arkansas, and that is 46-percent, not a majority, say yes, they'd be satisfied. A majority, 52-percent, say they would not be satisfied, even though he won the Arkansas primary tonight. And in Virginia, that is where he may have his biggest task ahead: 54- percent say no, they would not be satisfied with Donald Trump as the nominee. Remember, these are voters in the Republican Primary in Virginia tonight. 44-percent say yes, Virginia, as you and Dana know is a major, major battleground state come the Fall. If Donald Trump is indeed the nominee here guys, this is going to be mission critical here. He's got some work to do in a key battleground state like Virginia to bring his own party together, which, you know, does happen naturally, but clearly that's going to be on his task list as he moves ahead to a potential general fight against Hillary Clinton.

TAPPER: Very interesting, Dana, we're in the throes of a heated political combat, and so you know, 54-percent in Virginia saying no, I would not be satisfied if Donald Trump was the nominee. It might not be that high in number come election day.

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: It might not, and David just said that generally what happens is once the primary is over, voters on each side kind of tend to come together around their nominee. He said that happens naturally. I don't think anything this year is going to happen naturally on the Republican side because there is such deep division.

As we were reporting earlier tonight, I guess it's yesterday at this point, East Coast time, that there is finally a movement of donors, people with very, very, very deep pockets trying to get behind a Super PAC that is going to try to launch more ads and we're not sure exactly what else, against Donald Trump. They started in Iowa. They were funded in Iowa. They felt like they were successful in Iowa, where Donald Trump didn't win, but then I'm told they couldn't really find donors until now. As you were saying earlier, maybe too late, but they're going to try at least.

TAPPER: Yes, and Anderson, obviously Donald Trump says he can expand the map. He's bringing people into the party who didn't vote Republican before, but now the question is, will he also, at the same time, be chasing people out of the party?

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Yeah, and that's a good question with the panel. Kevin, you heard what Ted Cruz was saying to Wolf Blitzer earlier, basically saying that now is the time for everybody, other than Trump, to kind of get together. When you hear that, what does that actually mean? They're all, -- they all think that means the other people have to get out.

KEVIN MADDEN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: It's very hard to see and if you take yourself inside the psychology of the campaign, for those of us that have worked on campaigns, everybody inside that campaign right now is not focused on whether or not they should somehow police the party, but instead, it's how to we continue to get our guy elected; and that's one of the most difficult parts of this, which is trying to show in these campaigns that they somehow don't have a path when they clearly believe that they do.

COOPER: Right.

MADDEN: Or, alternatively, they believe that if they're the last man standing, even in a contested convention, that they stand the best

chance. So it's just very hard right now for me to see this field, clear, particularly given the fact that the numbers in Ohio point to John Kasich running strong. He believes he may run strong in other states, like Michigan, while at the same time, Marco Rubio and his supporters all believe he can win Florida and then that win in Florida is going to give them the momentum they need to continue on. So it's just really hard to see any of these campaigns talking themselves into dropping out.

BAKARI SELLERS, NN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I feel like I have to raise my hand because I want to ask the question, why is Ben Carson still in the race? I mean, and I ask that just very sincerely because, I mean, Ted Cruz would [00:10:02] benefit the most, I do believe, from Ben Carson dropping out. I think they have the same type evangelical voter, and going into Mississippi, I think that would benefit Ted Cruz the most.

MADDEN: It's whether or not it's enough though, and I don't think those votes are perfectly transferable.

SELLERS: I agree with you also, but to go to your point, just your thesis here that, you now, John Kasich can win Ohio. Marco Rubio has a chance in Florida. Where does Ben Carson get any inkling that he gets anything other than a continuation of his Secret Service detail?

AMANDA CARPENTER, NN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: But to that point, even if John Kasich wins Ohio, it will be statistically impossible for them to clinch the nomination. Yes, they can take their delegates to a brokered convention, but I mean, we can all look at the numbers. Ben Carson isn't getting delegates. John Kasich even in the best, rosiest scenario is not going to get delegates.

SELLERS: He's getting them in Vermont.

CARPENTER: So there should be some pressure by people who do want to see the field winnow, to say hey, you have no chance. This is March madness now. You don't advance to the next bracket.

COOPER: Why wouldn't Ben Carson stay in the race? It's probably not costing him that much to stay in. It keeps his name out there. He gets to be in the debates. He gets to sell books.

[Cross Talk]

DAVID AXELROD, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Gloria showed me the headline tonight and it said Carson says he's here to stay or something, and I asked if it was "The Onion." I mean, there's no real, -- I mean not to be real disrespectful, he's not really running for president anymore. He's running for something else, sell books or something.

CARPENTER: Vanity campaign.

BILL PRESS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think this: we mistake Ben Carson as a candidate. I don't think he's a candidate. he's a brand, and that's why he's in: because he's get all this free publicity; we're talking about him; and that is books and that is speeches; and that's what --

COOPER: I will point out, it's the first time we've talked about him.

PRESS: Well, I mean over the period of --

COOPER: I know.

PRESS: I just want to make a quick point on this race, when there is -- this may be self-serving. When there were 17 candidates, I wrote a column saying, they're never going to defeat Trump with 16 other people running against him. Now there are basically just two other people, and --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They still can't do it.

PRESS: -- they're not going to get out either. So it's the best thing for Trump to have Cruz and Rubio asking each other to get out, and it's not going to happen. So --

DAN PLEIFFER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: So it is a question of math here, right? It is virtually impossible -- not impossible, virtually impossible, for anyone other than Trump to get to the necessary number of delegates before the convention.




PLEIFFER: So, like we, -- if any other candidate other than Trump had this lead and had the night we had, we would have called it over and the party would have gotten together late tonight, in a smoke-filled room, donors would have told everyone else to get out and focus on the general.

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: They would have done it after South Carolina.

MADDEN: Yeah. The numbers that David Chalon talked about where this high level of dissatisfaction with the idea of Trump being the nominee. Now look, primaries are brutal, a lot of raw nerves are exposed, but even in 2012, we never saw these type of numbers as it related to Governor Romney. People, while they were supporting Rick Santorum or supporting Newt Gingrich, they socialized themselves to the idea that Mitt Romney was eventually

going to be the nominee and were willing to support him, in much greater numbers. So, I think that is a very -- those are very problematic numbers. I think in primaries, the key to the unifying and the general election is forgiving and forgetting. The forgetting part here is going to be really hard with Donald Trump.

COOPER: So let me ask you, to Dana's point, in past campaigns, how do candidates get out? Beyond -- if it's not the candidate or the immediate circle around the candidate who are heavily invested and are just focused on keeping it going, is it the rich donors getting together and saying -- no more money?

MADDEN: Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum, they ran out of money. They got to the point where the well-funded Romney campaign had 20-1, probably, fundraising advantage and the only way that their campaigns were running was based on the fumes of Super PACs; and we don't see that right now.

AXELROD: Well --

[Cross Talk]

MADDEN: Marco Rubio, -- to Marco Rubio's case, his Super PAC is raising, you know, millions and millions of dollars every single day. Small donors, big donors are coming into the regular campaign. This is a campaign that could be funded all the way through Cleveland.

AXELROD: Although I think if he loses Florida, -- I think if he loses Florida, it's hard for him to get on. If John Kasich loses Ohio, it's hard to go on. It seems to me like March 15th is a pretty significant date. Now it's likely to be Donald Trump who beats them if they lose and that only accelerates his momentum.

[Cross Talk]

JEFFREY LORD, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Before South Carolina, Barbara Bush was in there campaigning for Jeb, and she was recalling her husband's victory in Iowa in which the headline was "The Big Mo" and she said, there was "The Big Mo," and then there was "No Mo." And what we have here tonight is the "Big Mo" keeps going and going and going for Donald Trump, and at a certain [00:15:02] point this just becomes impractical for these other people.

CARPENTER: Well I don't know about Donald Trump being able to unite the party. I have seen no signal, zero signal, --

LORD: But nobody's going to get out of the race --

CARPENTER: -- that he would look -- but let's look at the brutal campaign that he's run against his opponents. He has called Ted Cruz a liar; Marco Rubio a lightweight. I mean, we can go through all the insults he's hurled at other people. How could he possibly be the one that brings people over to his side to regain the trust for people like me?

AXELROD: But, Amanda, Ted Cruz called the majority leader of the Senate a liar on the floor of the Senate. There is such antipathy toward him among elements of the party, how could he be the guy that brings the party together?

BORGER: it's a question that --

[Cross Talk]

BORGER: -- there isn't anybody.

CARPENTER: -- against Washington from inside Washington and going out on the campaign trail. I mean, look at the -- he's had an open appeal tonight, please, come join my campaign. If you want to win, if you want to stop Hillary, you need to stop Trump, and I am the best deal for you.

COOPER: Isn't the argument -- more David's argument which is, isn't it even more offensive, I mean, things happen on the campaign trail, and then it's over and sort of old wounds are sewn up, to actually be on the floor of the Senate calling somebody a liar, that seems more direct.

[Cross Talk]

CARPENTER: That is exposing the ways of Washington that people are so angry about. I mean, I was cheering when Ted Cruz gave that speech because, as someone who's worked inside Washington and knows how those deals go down, for someone who stands on the U.S. floor of the Senate and says this is how it works, America, I'm telling you what's going on and I will be the person to change that --

MADDEN: How do you get in the White House with --

BORGER: How do you unite people, that's problem for Ted Cruz.

COPPER: Okay, Dan, and then we have to go to break.

BORGER: -- that's the problem for Ted Cruz, people don't believe him when he says, I want to be a uniter. it just doesn't seem credible, even to Republicans.

CARPENTER: But I just explained his case a little more since I did work for the guy. he understands that America is united against Washington, and he said, this is the difference between me and Donald Trump. Donald Trump will go shake hands with Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, strike deals with Mitch McConnell. I will stand up to the bad deals in Washington. That is the case for his campaign.

{Cross Talk]

COOPER: We got to take a break. We're waiting results in Alaska. We'll be right back.


[00:21:02] BLITZER: The Republicans have started caucusing in Alaska right now. We've got some live pictures we'll show you. (Inaudible) what's going on in Anchorage, Alaska; we'll hopefully gets results fairly soon, the last contest of the night on this Super Tuesday.

In Vermont, 87-percent of the republican primary vote has been tallied. Right now, very close, 978 votes, Donald Trump ahead of John Kasich; 18,065 to 17,087. In the percentage bracket, you see 32.5- percent for Trump, 30.8-percent for Kasich, Rubio just in third, 19.3- percent. We have not yet projected a winner in Vermont. We're watching closely. Once again, 87-percent are in.

Let's update you on the winners in all of the contests tonight. The Republican contest: let's start with Donald Trump. Big winner tonight, he carries Georgia, Alabama, Massachusetts, Tennessee, Virginia, and Arkansas. Republican Senator Ted Cruz, he carries his home state of Texas and Oklahoma; he wins two states tonight. Marco Rubio finally picks up a win, the caucuses, Republican caucuses in Minnesota.

On the democratic side, a very good night for Hillary Clinton. She carries seven states: Georgia, Virginia, Alabama, Tennessee, Arkansas, Texas, and Massachusetts. Bernie Sanders, he does well himself. He carries four

states: his home state of Vermont, plus Oklahoma, Colorado, and Minnesota. There's a fight going on between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders.

Remember, we got a CNN Democratic Presidential Debate Sunday night in Flint, Michigan between these two democratic candidates. You're going to want to see that debate. Let's go back to Jake and Dana; Jake? TAPPER: We've talked about a lot of candidates this evening, but there's one who hasn't gotten a lot of attention and that's Dr. Ben Carson. He just put out a statement indicating that he is going to stay in the race despite no victories or even, as far as I can tell, top four finishes in any state this evening.

BASH: No, that's right, and look, he's made clear that he is not going anywhere, all along, even though he hasn't done well in any of these states, but I am told that as early as tomorrow, this is according to a D.C. senior Republican, that Ben Carson could be approached by establishment figures here in Washington to say, you know what, Dr. Carson, we have an idea. Why don't you, instead of running for president, run for senate in Florida. He is from Florida. There's an open seat because Marco Rubio is retiring. He's not running for re-election. He's running for president instead. And so that that might be a possibility, something that he could be approached about. Now this hasn't happened yet. I'm told this is likely to happen. And you know, I don't even know that Ben Carson knows anything about it yet, but it's something that's interesting to think about as people in Washington talk about trying to winnow the field.

Ben Carson's not taking that much of the vote away, but when you do have some narrow wins and losses in some of these states, it could make a difference.

TAPPER: The theory from the Cruz campaign is that Carson is taking votes away from him, although, as has been pointed out, in Iowa, which is a caucus state where people actually have to do their first and second choice, the votes did not go to Ted Cruz. Dr. Ben Carson indicating this evening he is in it --

BASH: Right.

TAPPER: -- in the presidential race for the long haul, saying that he keeps getting support from millions and millions of people who want him to be president, and as long as he gets keeping support and, in his words, "as long as the lord keeps opening doors" for him he's going to stay in the race. So whatever the establishment cooks up for him, in terms of a Miami -- in terms of Florida senate seat, almost seems irrelevant. He doesn't seem to really care.

BASH: Maybe; unless maybe he hasn't pondered that idea, but I don't know. I think he's seen what's going on on Capitol Hill, just like we all have. I [00:25:02] don't know. Would he really be that eager to jump out of the presidential race and jump into a senate race at this point?

TAPPER: The other candidate we haven't talked a lot about this evening is John Kasich, the Governor of Ohio, who, as we saw just a second ago, is in second place, as of right now; the vote count's still coming in in Vermont.

BASH: That's right. TAPPER: But not, not a good day for John Kasich. He didn't think it was going to be a good day. He's looking ahead at other states, including his home state of Ohio.

BASH: Especially his home state of Ohio. First will come Michigan. His campaign is playing -- he's playing hard in Michigan, hoping that he does well there. His top advisor is the former John McCain advisor for 2000. So in some ways, he's following that same path. He's a similar kind of candidate. New Hampshire, playing hard in New Hampshire, then Michigan and then of course it's all about Ohio. And he's made pretty clear he's not going anywhere until that particular contest, which is March 15th.

TAPPER: All right, Wolf has the projection; Wolf.

BLITZER: They closed in Vermont five and a half hours ago; now we're ready for a projection. CNN projects Donald Trump is the winner in the Vermont Republican Presidential Primary. It's a close race, but based on all the information we have right now, our projection is that the billionaire real estate magnate is the winner in Vermont. Here are the votes right now with 87-percent of the vote actually counted, he's ahead 32.6-percent. John Kasich in second place, 30.7-percent; Marco Rubio in third place, 19.37-percent, he's got a lead of 1,015 votes right now.

CNN projects Donald Trump wins another state, the state of Vermont. Here is where the situation stands right now with Vermont. Donald Trump tonight has won seven states: Georgia, Alabama, Massachusetts, Tennessee, Virginia, Arkansas, and Vermont. Ted Cruz, he's carried two states: Texas, and Oklahoma. Marco Rubio, he's got one state: Minnesota.

On the democratic side, a good night for Hillary Clinton. Let's show our viewers, seven states she won: Georgia, Virginia, Alabama, Tennessee, Arkansas, Texas, and Massachusetts. Bernie Sanders, he carries four states: Vermont, Oklahoma, Colorado, and Minnesota. So the contest on the Democratic side, but a good night for the very good night for Hillary Clinton, excellent night also for Donald Trump. Jake?

TAPPER: That's right, Wolf. When you look at the results, I wish we could say we had some further clarity on either one of the races, but we don't. We have Donald Trump winning seven contests. Hillary Clinton winning seven contests and enough contests not being won by the two frontrunners to keep the competition going. Cruz winning two. Rubio winning one. And then Bernie Sanders winning, as of now, four.

BASH: That's right; and, of course, underneath the wins and the losses, is the reality, that this is a delegate race and even the candidates who came in second in some places, depending on what their percentage was, third some places, they're still going to get delegates tonight. So it's going to take a while to add it all up and see what it all means, but it is obviously a big win for Donald Trump. But the Rubio campaign is insisting they're doing well, even though he only had one win. We'll see how many they get at the end. And the same with Cruz. They're saying that they're getting a lot of delegates. Texas is by far the biggest prize, when it comes to the amount of delegates. But, remember, we talked about this earlier, the South was supposed to be his firewall.

TAPPER: Right.

BASH: Ted Cruz was supposed to, by their prediction, do extremely well in a lot of southern states where Donald Trump won.

TAPPER: But the brash developer from Queens won instead throughout the south. Let's go to Mark Preston, our political editor, to talk about the delegate count. Mark, walk us through where we are right now, who's going to get what?

MARK PRESTON, CNN POLITICAL EDITOR: Well you know Jake, certainly we've had all the candidates come out tonight and they've expressed success in some way other the other, but it really does come down to a game of mathematics.

Let's look on the Republican side right now. 595 delegates at stake tonight. Let's look at where Donald Trump has landed right now. So far he is 148 delegates he has amassed tonight, followed by 65 for Ted Cruz and 37 for Marco Rubio. When you add those altogether, and you're looking at Donald Trump, you're looking at about 230 delegates for Donald Trump; 82 for Ted Cruz; 53 for Marco Rubio. Now you need 1,237 to secure the Republican presidential nomination, I should point out, too, before we move on to the Democrats, we still have about 230 delegates to award tonight. So we'll be counting those here at the decision desk.

But, let's talk about the Democrats right now. Hillary Clinton right now has amassed 296 delegates tonight in her victories across the country, followed by 183 for Bernie Sanders.

[00:30:11] Now when you add all those numbers together, year to date, at this point, Hillary Clinton has 855 delegates, to Bernie Sanders's 269. Let me just explain that very quickly for our viewers. These delegates also include these so-called "super delegates". These are elected officials who have pledged their support to Hillary Clinton or to Bernie Sanders; and in this case, in a large way for Hillary Clinton who can help her get over the finish line to win the democratic nomination. You need 2,383 delegates to become the Democratic nominee, Jake, and as I said, we're still counting the numbers on the Republican side. We're doing the same thing on the Democratic side. About 350 delegates still need to be awarded. Tonight we'll be doing that here, Jake.

TAPPER: All right; Mark Preston, thank you so much. We still have one more race to call, that's the Alaska Republican caucus. We're going to take a quick break. When we come back, -- you can see them right now, counting in Alaska -- we'll tell you more; stay with us.


BLITZER: Still one republican presidential contest outstanding. We're going to Alaska, the caucuses there under way right now. Paul Vercammen is in Anchorage at one of the caucus sites. How does it look over there, Paul?

[00:35"05] PAUL VERCAMMEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, as Keith Jackson would say in, college football terms, it's been an absolute barnburner. Huge, massive turnout in Alaska tonight. You can see, they are still counting here in West Anchorage. This is perhaps the largest of all the polling places in Alaska. It combines four large districts in an extreme republican stronghold. The votes still being counted here, they're not in, but we do have a trickling in of some votes from Randgold. Donald Trump, 39 votes. You have Ben Carson with 19. Cruz with 7. Kasich with 7, and Rubio with 20. As this only in Alaska, you've got the far places. We have Soldotna that has some votes that just came in a short time ago. We'll call it the trickle in theory of counting these votes, Wolf. You had Carson with 6. Cruz with 10. Kasich, 0. Rubio, 3. And Trump 9.

In exit polling that I was able to do tonight, both here in Anchorage and in Wasilla, we heard a lot of people saying that they wanted Trump; a lot of support for Cruz as well. Back to you now, Wolf.

BLITZER: All right; Paul Vercammen in Anchorage, Alaska; we'll stay in touch with you as those republican caucuses continue.

U want to walk over to John King. Let's look at the big picture, republican side, and democratic side tonight. Donald Trump, he carries seven states. First of all, that's obviously very significant.

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: And he's expecting to add number eight, Alaska tonight. We're waiting for the results to come in. Alaska caucuses, it's a state where, as you know earlier, I think a little earlier, Sarah Palin's endorsement. Also, it's kind of a state built for Trump, anti-Washington, change Washington. You can find that set in Alaska every day of the week. 365 days a year.

You look at the map going in. It's very impressive for Donald Trump and the big picture now, 15 contests in: wins in New England; wins down the seaboard here; across the south; and, of course, the Nevada win there. Trump making the case it's time for the party to unify around him. But, Cruz making the case, with two more wins tonight, one at home in Texas - don't discount it, it's a win. Texas is a big state. He wins in Oklahoma, making the case he's now won three times. Rubio finally gets a win, Wolf, but as we're counting the delegates, it's going to be a disappointing night for Marco Rubio, in the sense he gets on the win board, but it will be a pretty even allocation of the delegates here in Minnesota and he's below the threshold in many other states, so he's not going to get delegates from some states, including the big price in Texas. He'll come away with nothing in Texas because of his performance.

Let's switch and look at the dim democratic map. Again, if you're Hillary Clinton, this is playing out just as you would like. A big delegate win for tonight, and we're still counting some of them, but there's a rough allocation so far. She got the very narrow win in Massachusetts. She wanted that to prove that she could come into New England and beat Bernie Sanders. She's winning across the South, a big win in Texas. The margins, if you look, among African-Americans and Latinos, are off the charts. The Clinton campaign likes that and it's just -

Sanders did win Vermont, Oklahoma, Colorado, and Minnesota. The Clinton campaign saying tonight that it's mathematical lead in pledged delegates, never mind the Super Delegates it holds, is as big as Barack Obama ever had in the 2008 campaign. So they are trying to build the sense, not quite of inevitability, but they have a big mathematical lead going forward.

Quick look, if you want, just at the delegates because we now have moved from momentum phase into the math phase of the campaign, with so many states. Again, at the end of the night, the Democratic races look like this. We're still allocating a few delegates. These are not hard numbers, but something like this with Clinton starting to pull away from Bernie Sanders. The proportional democratic rules still give - if you come in second place, whichever candidate does, still gets a chunk. So Sanders can argue he's close, but Clinton's starting to pull away, especially if you put the Super Delegates in a context. That would put her out here. But without them, she still has a lead and, again, the contest is going to move.

Some other southern states coming up in the next few days, Florida on March 15th, critical to both campaigns. Bernie Sanders really needs to make a statement in the Midwest if he's going to change the arc of this campaign, which is pro-Clinton at the moment.

Come over to the Republican side, bring up the Super Tuesday numbers, again, impressive night for Donald Trump, especially from a delegate perspective. We're allocating the Alaska delegates to him for now. We're still waiting for those votes, of course, but expecting a Trump win in Alaska. The Republican race again, these will fluctuate a little bit as we allocate congressional districts. A lot allocated by congressional district; something like this by the end of the night. And again, this is why Ted Cruz is making the case, Marco Rubio you had your chance.

Marco Rubio likely to end the night under 100 delegates, maybe at 100 delegates if he gets a couple more, and some congressional districts. Trump inching away. Ted Cruz trying to make the case, you guys should rally around me, and then we have a chance. But at the moment, at the end of the night, Donald Trump in the driver's seat of the Republican race, Hillary Clinton in the driver's seat for the Democratic race.

BLITZER: Winner of seven states, that's very significant for Hillary Clinton and for Donald Trump for that matter. Anderson, back to you.

COOPER: Yes, after South Carolina, where Hillary Clinton did so well among African-American voters, there were questions about would that continue in some of these other states. What have we seen?

DAVID AXELROD, CNN SENIOR POLICAL COMMENTATOR: Well it continued to have more in Alabama, 93-percent of the African-American vote. Arkansas, 90-percent. In Tennessee, 85-percent; in Georgia, 83. I guess that's -- then [00:40:01] in Texas, she got 71-percent of the Latino vote. This is important as you look at these big states on March 15th, and even Michigan which has a quarter of the vote is African-American there in the primary. But Illinois, a quarter of the vote, African-American. Florida, between Latinos and African- Americans, about a third of the vote in that primary. She has such a lock on those minority voters that it gives her a tremendous advantage, and Bernie Sanders has to beat her overwhelmingly among the rest of the electorate in order to get ahead. So you can see, in some of the states that are all white, he's not running up those kind of numbers that would make you think that he would -- now that doesn't mean he's not going to get a lot of delegates along the way and he would or should get out of this race. He shouldn't; he has a long way to go here. But it is very tough with proportional representation, and this advantage with minorities, for him to actually overtake her moving forward.

COOPER: And yet, he's still -- I mean you've got a number of states tonight, and for the upcoming debate, Sunday on CNN, there was some thought, is she going to, sort of, pivot away from him and be focusing on Donald Trump? I mean, this is still a fight between them.


COOPER: We're probably likely to see that play out.

BORGER: Absolutely; I think the loss in Massachusetts, though, was not good for him. It was a state they wanted to win. You would know more about that, but the Sanders people raised $42 million last month. They are going to continue and what we heard from Bernie Sanders tonight was say, this wasn't so much about winning the presidency as it was about ideas, essentially; and you know, it wasn't a concession speech at all, but you have the sense that Bernie Sanders wants to continue to leave his imprint on the Democratic Right, and he's done it.


PRESS: You know, it was a very, very good night for Hillary Clinton; no doubt. You've got to give her credit for that. It was also a good night for Bernie Sanders. I think he came away with three things. Certainly came away - he's got the money, as you pointed out; the 42 I pointed out in February, on top of 21.3 in January. So, to Kevin's point, the people drop-out when they run out of money, he's not going to run out of money. He does have the message; he talked again about that tonight. Every time he does. And, now, he has some wins. He got four wins tonight, where, at the beginning of this evening, what was it 12 hours ago, people were saying, well, maybe he'll win Vermont and that's it. He has four states, and that's good; and with Michigan, Illinois, Ohio coming up, where he's got to do better and has a chance to do better.

DAN PLEIFFER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Right, but there's nothing that suggests in the numbers tonight that he's going to do well in those states. I think March 15th, as Axelrod pointed out, is the moment that will determine -- Bernie Sanders may stay in the race, but it's over for all intents and purposes on that day when the big states vote. It is impossible to come back from the depledged delegate lead he has; depledge deficit he has right now. and so that is where it's going to be. So, he should stay in the race as long as he feels he can afford to do it and wants to do it, but Hillary Clinton is on a path to the nomination right now that is incredibly strong.

PRESS: I just, -- I think anybody said, with all due respect, that it's over, and there's no -- mathematically no way, I remember people saying that about, saying that about -


PRESS: -- you're saying that about Hillary Clinton in 2008, and she didn't get out. She kept plugging away. Now she didn't win, but she had every right -

PLEIFFER: Right, you can plus away all you want, but the question whether you'll win or not --

PRESS: She had every reason to stay in and Bernie's got every reason to stay in.

[Cross Talk]

AXELROD: -- should get out; the question is -- he just has a tough road to hoe to become the nominee --

PRESS: Absolutely it's a tough road. It's not impossible.

AXERLROD: -- but he's run a very strong campaign. He's driven the debate in many ways, and he'll continue to do that.

COOPER: And continues to that, quite frankly.

AXELROD: And he can win, -- and he'll win some primaries moving forward; and as you know, at the end of the primaries, we have these, to borrow a phrase, "buyer's remorse" victories.

COOPER: We've got to take a quick break. More of our conversation as we continue to look at the counting of the votes in Alaska. We'll bring those results -


[00:47:36] BLITZER: Still one contest outstanding tonight in Anchorage, Alaska. I want to go to Paul Vercammen right now. The Alaska Republican caucuses still under way. Paul, over there, what are you seeing; what are you hearing?

PAUL VERCAMMEN: Well this presidential preference poll is over and now begins the counting. Look over here, Wolf. It does not get anymore old-school than this. They are literally stacking the ballots here in Anchorage. And I can tell you just by looking at the stack, a very unscientific poll at that, the Rubio, Trump, and Cruz stacks, here in District 24, in West Anchorage, are very even, and as only can happen in Alaska, we should give a golf clap to Eric Bernie who is doing this counting despite being shot in the left shoulder area with a rather large caliber bullet and survived. This was while deer hunting. They're working to try and count these ballots as fast as they can. Here are some extremely raw numbers from other parts of Alaska.

Carson with 59, Cruz with 321, Kasich with 87, Rubio with 208, and Trump with 347. And it bears repeating, four larger districts, you can see the piles of ballots here in West Anchorage, they're working feverishly to go ahead and count all of these up. They were handling things extremely well but they believe they might have had 50-percent greater turnout here at Anchorage than expected.

It was extremely brisk when I was in Wasilla, they also had massive lines, compared to 2012. Just an awesome show of force, and many people, as these chairmen have been telling me, and other department district heads, they've been telling me that a lot of people switched Democrat to vote Republican just tonight; or they were Independent and went Republican just for tonight. which they can do in Alaska.

BLITZER: Paul Vercammen, thanks very much. We'll wait for them to count those ballots the old fashioned way, by hand. Jake, let's go back to you.

TAPPER: Well, we do expect that Donald Trump will likely have a good night in Alaska. It's a state where perhaps the most famous politician, or former politician, Sarah Palin, endorsed him very strongly.

DANA BASH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Oh absolutely; and look, I think Alaska's sensibility is inherently not really liking Washington and not really liking -

TAPPER: Renegade.

BASH: -- the establishment. Exactly, renegade; although, you know, a lot of [00:50:02] establishment figures have historically represented in Alaska and done pretty well -


BASH: -- like Alaska Senator Ted Stevens. The late Ted Stevens brought a lot of money back, and others as well. But, yes, -- we should also note that Alaska is interesting. It's fascinating to look at, especially when we get to see real democracy at work, but it's, as tonight goes, it's only 28 delegates.

TAPPER: Right; it's a relatively small state in population. Let's bring in David Chalian, our political director. I'm really curious about how, perhaps, the major issue in the Republican race that of illegal immigration, how it played out in tonight's voting?

DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: So Jake, one of the questions we asked our exit polls is, what should be done with illegal immigrants working here in the United States? Should they be offered legal status or they should be deported to their home country? Obviously you know, Donald Trump has made this issue front and center in the campaign. Look at this, in Virginia, 59-percent of the voters tonight say those illegal immigrants working in the U.S. should be offered legal status, only 36-percent say they should be deported to their home country, as Donald Trump wants to do and remember, Donald Trump won Virginia. Take a look at Texas. Texas says 47-percent believe that they should be offered legal status, versus 43-percent who say they should be deported to his home country. Of course Ted Cruz won Texas and again, more folks are on the opposite side of this issue than where Ted Cruz is, despite the fact that he won their tonight.

And now look at Alabama, this is the only state in all the states that this question has been asked, Jake, including New Hampshire and South Carolina as well, where more people say that these illegal immigrants should be sent home, deported to their home country than say should be offered legal status here in Alabama, 50-percent say deport to the home country, 45-percent say offer legal status. So, although it's been this red hot issue in the campaign, and although Donald Trump is dominating this campaign on a message of deporting illegal immigrants here, that is not what the Republican primary electorate has been telling us they want to do across many of the states this year so far.

TAPPER: Very interesting; David, thanks so much. We have called 11 contests on the Democratic side, and ten on the Republican side. There is one outstanding, the Alaska republican caucus. We will bring you that information when we come back after this very quick break.


[00:56:13] (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)


DONALD TRUMP (R) REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Already we've won five major states, and it looks like we could win six or seven or eight or nine.

VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: You're going to look at this in political science and military strategy for a very, very long time.

SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R-FL) REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This is a state of underdogs. This is a country of underdogs. But we will win.

BLITZER: We're talking about Alabama, Massachusetts, Oklahoma, and Tennessee; lots of delegates at stake tonight.

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (D-VT) DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Secretary Clinton and many of the establishment people think that I am looking, thinking too big. I don't think so.

SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX) REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I congratulate Donald Trump on his victories tonight.


CRUZ: but we are the only campaign that has beaten Donald Trump once, twice, three times.



BLITZER: The counting is under way in Alaska right now. We're watching results come out of the last frontier. We're waiting to see if Donald Trump can score yet another victory. I'm Wolf Blitzer reporting live from the CNN Election Center and this is CNN's Special Coverage of Super Tuesday. It was billed as the biggest night of the election so far and its delivered in a big way.

For the republicans, Donald Trump might be too big to fail. He padded his delegate lead with wins in state after state. Let's show you those states right now. Donald Trump, he has won seven states: Georgia, Alabama, Massachusetts, Tennessee, Virginia, Arkansas, and Vermont. Ted Cruz has won Texas and Oklahoma. Marco Rubio, he has won in Minnesota, the caucuses there.

On the democratic side, Hillary Clinton has won seven states as well: Georgia, Virginia, Alabama, Tennessee, Arkansas, Texas, and Massachusetts. Bernie Sanders, he's won four states: Vermont, Oklahoma, Colorado, and Minnesota.

There's still lots to go on. We're watching all of this. Zero indication that any of these candidates are about to leave any time soon. They're all very much in the fight, that's what they all say. Sanders and Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio all say they're vowing to fight. No one, as I say, is calling it quits. No one is taking anything for granted, either; and no one can see the war for the presidency is over by any means. Anderson?

COOPER: If anything, it goes on, just as it has before. The delegate counts continue to rack up, more states have been won, but nobody shows any signs of dropping out of this point, Jeffrey.

JEFFREY LORD, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: No, no, and I don't think you're going to see that. Marco Rubio is one very determined guy. I don't think he's going to get anywhere, but I don't think he's going to drop-out. I mean Ben Carson isn't dropping out.

COOPER: Right.

LORD: John Kasich, who we rarely discussed tonight, isn't going to get out. They're all in this until the last dog dies, as it's said.

COOPER: I talked to Kasich yesterday, he was on my program. He believes he's going to win in Florida, -- excuse me, he's got to win in Ohio, and after that he'll have some momentum. He'll get a lot more attention and that, for him, is his path forward.

AMANDA CARPENTER, FORMER COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER, TED CRUZ: That's the same as asking voters have a lot of patience. I'm really intrigued about what dana bash reported earlier that people will be approaching Ben Carson to drop-out of the presidential field and run for the senate race in Florida, for Marco Rubio's open senate seat. That to me, if I'm reading the tea leaves, says that people are thinking that Ted Cruz is the candidate; because if we think about it, Carson gets out, that probably helps Ted Cruz the most. I don't know if Ben Carson is going to do that or not, but I think that's a growing recognition that among the establishment, these are establishment types pushing Ben Carson to drop-out and do this.