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AT THIS HOUR WITH BERMAN AND MICHAELA
Cruz Addresses Press; Trump Spoke at Michigan Rally; Republican Split Examined. Aired 11-11:30a ET
Aired March 4, 2016 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[11:01:01] KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. We're going take a look. We're going dip in right now. Senator Ted Cruz, he's addressing the press ahead of his first rally since last night's raucous debate. He's live in Maine. Let's listen in.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TED CRUZ, (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: ... cuff (ph) would be on Marco Rubio, their supporters coming and joining us. And we welcome them to our team.
The only way to beat Donald Trump is for us to continue to unite, to stand together, and last night, you saw a clear contrast.
If you want a Washington deal maker, who would go to Washington and cut deals with the Democrats, cut deals with Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer, then Donald Trump is your man. That's what he's promising to do.
I stand with the millions of Americans who are frustrated, who are fed up with Washington deal makers, because the deals always benefit the rich and powerful. They always benefit Wall Street, they always benefit the giant corporations, and the people that get left in the cold in the Washington deals are always the working men and women of this country.
We need a president who stands with the working men and women in this country. If I'm elected president, we will repeal every word of ObamaCare. We will pass a simple flat tax and abolish the IRS. We will stop amnesty and secure the borders, and the result will be millions and millions of high-paying jobs, wages going up for the first time in over a decade.
Young people coming out of school with two, three, four, five job opportunities. We can do that, and this election is about a fundamental choice.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Senator, are you open to a unity ticket with Senator Rubio if you're on the top of it?
CRUZ: Well, listen, I think we are seeing discussions within the party about coming together. I think those discussions are happening among the candidates. I think those discussions are happening among the activists. I think those discussions are happening among the donors.
There is no doubt, if we remain divided, Donald Trump wins. Remaining divided is a path to catastrophe for this country. And so I welcome the supporters of every other candidate to come together, and I welcome the other candidates for us to stand together.
What Super Tuesday demonstrated is if you want to beat Donald Trump, ours is the only campaign that is done. So not once, not twice, not three times but five states, we've beaten Donald Trump and we will continue to compete vigorously. And the more we unite Republicans, the more we're going to beat Donald. And when we do that, we will defeat Hillary Clinton in November and we will turn this country around. We will bring back the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Would you be on a ticket if you weren't on the top of it?
CRUZ: Listen, at this point, I'm not engaging in any negotiations. I'm focused on winning the nomination. You know, I have to say a lot of folks in Washington are really caught right now talking about a brokered convention. A brokered convention is the pipe dream of the Washington establishment.
It is their hope that they can come and snatch this nomination away from the people. And the Washington establishment, they're frustrated. All of their chosen candidates, all of their golden child's candidates, aren't winning. And they don't understand. They picked who they want the nominee to be, and there's just one little detail they can't actually get the votes from the people.
In my view, a brokered convention ain't going to happen. And if the Washington deal makers tried to steal the nomination from the people, I think it would be a disaster. It would cause a revolt.
Instead, the answer is real simple. We've got to win this nomination, 1,237 delegates is what it takes to be the Republican nominee.
Now, if you look at where we are in delegates right now, fewer than 100 delegates separates Donald Trump and me. I am the only candidate that has the delegate count that has the state wins that is in a position to beat Donald Trump.
[11:05:02] And if you want to beat a Donald, the way to do it is coming together behind this campaign. And that's what we're working hard to do.
CRUZ: Last question.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is Donald Trump flip-flopping?
CRUZ: Well, you know, last night was really striking. All of us are used to political candidates who run to the right in the primary and then run to the center in the general elections. One of the reason we're frustrated, because they make promises to get the nomination and then they promptly go to Washington and break all of those promises.
Now, normally, a politician waits until the general election to do it. Last night, Donald Trump started galloping to the center before the primary is over.
Donald Trump repeatedly emphasized flexibility, that he will be flexible on every principle, every issue, he will be flexible. You know, in that he echoed what he reportedly said to The New York Times editorial board, that everything he said on immigration, you know, that's really been Donald's signature issue, it's what he's talked about the most.
Apparently, he told The New York Times editorial board, everything he said on immigration he doesn't mean. He's not going to build a wall, he's not going to deport anyone. On the debate stage last night, he changed his views on H-1B visas. He said, suddenly, he's now for expanding H-1B visas to take away American jobs.
And one of the more stunning moments of the debate last night was when he turned to Marco Rubio, and Donald Trump said, "Marco, I agree with you. The flexibility you showed negotiating with Democrats in the Gang of Eight amnesty bill."
You want to talk about a stunning moment on the debate stage where Donald Trump is saying he agrees with Marco Rubio and the Democrats on the Gang of Eight amnesty bill that that's good flexibility.
Well, on one level, that shouldn't be surprising, because Donald Trump funded the Gang of Eight. He funded of the eight members of the Gang of Eight, Donald gave contributions to five of them, over $50,000.
But it was still stunning for a candidate who has pretended to be opposed to illegal immigration, for him to say on that debate stage. And there was another moment that not many folks in the media picked up on. When Donald was asked about his foreign policy, and he was said, "Who do you listen to on foreign policy?"
The very first name out of his mouth was Richard Haass. Now, most Americans have no idea who that is. But the D.C. establishment does. Richard Haass is the president of the Council on Foreign Relations.
Richard Haass is a lifelong liberal. He is someone who has advised Hillary Clinton in the State Department. What does it say about you that Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton both listen to the same advisor?
Look, on one level, it's not surprising. Remember Donald Trump is someone who supported Jimmy Carter over Ronald Reagan. Donald Trump is someone who supported John Kerry over George W. Bush. Donald Trump is someone who contributed four times to the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign in 2008.
But for him to admit that the first day he listens to on foreign policy is the president of the Council on Foreign Relations, a liberal Hillary Clinton act-alike is a fairly extraordinary admission. And I will say this -- let me speak for a minute to the Donald Trump
supporters. I get that people are angry. We're so frustrated. We're so furious because we've been lied to. We've been lied to over and over, and over again.
But Donald Trump embodies that Washington corruption that we are angry about. The answer to that corruption is not to go with someone who's been funding Liberal Democrats for four decades, who's been enmeshed in that corruption. And it's worth underscoring, Donald is telling us, he will betray us on everything he's campaigning on.
When Donald Trump stood on that debate stage and said over and over again, you got to be flexibility, you going to be flexible, flexible is Washington code word that he's going to stick it to the people. That's what Washington politicians say when they're being flexible. What it means is the rich and powerful are going to get taken care of just like Donald Trump supported Obama's Wall Street bailout in chart. And the working men and women, flexibility means government is going to help the rich and powerful and the working men and women are going to get left behind.
And I'll tell you, here in Maine, I'm encouraged by the support we have on the ground. I'm encouraged by the support from conservatives. I'm encouraged by the support we have from libertarians. The liberty movement that believes passionately in the Constitution and Bill of Rights, I've spent my whole life fighting to defend the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.
Donald Trump told everyone in the last two debates, that when it comes to the Bill of Rights, when it comes to the constitution, he will be flexible. He will negotiate.
[11:10:00] Two debates ago, he lectured me, "Ted, you got to be willing to negotiate and compromise with Harry Reid and Chuck Schumer on Supreme Court appointments."
Well, let me be clear to the men and women of Maine. There are areas where compromise is appropriate. If you're talking about marginal tax rates, you can reach a middle ground and negotiate on a question like that. But there are other areas that should not be up for compromise.
The Constitution and Bill of Rights should not be up for compromise, and I will tell the men and women of Maine, I will not compromise away your religious liberty. I will not compromise away your second amendment right to keep and bear arms. The Constitution and Bill of Rights are not up for negotiation.
And when Donald Trump tells you that he will cut a deal with Harry Reid and Chuck Schumer on Antonin Scalia's replacement, the inevitable conclusion of that deal will be that he would nominate a liberal activist to the court who would take away our free speech, take away our religious liberty, take away our right to keep and bear arms.
And we need to defend our rights not give them away and get another Washington deal.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOLDUAN: All right, you're listening right there to Senator Ted Cruz, speaking to the media, taking questions from the press ahead of his big rally in Maine. And you heard -- I mean, he went right after Donald Trump. He would -- and also going after the idea of a brokered convention saying if they try to steal the nomination, meaning the Republican establishment taking this to the convention, it would be a disaster. Calling it a pipe dream and also making a direct plea to Donald Trump supporters.
We're going to keep a very close eye on the rally that Ted Cruz has walking into right now, to take a look as soon as that happens. Also happening any minute now, Marco Rubio is about to take the stage in Kansas. His first event since last night's, I guess let's just call it a slugfest, folks.
Donald Trump already, though, this morning showing that he is not letting up one bit. And every one not named Trump at this point searching for any way to stop him from marching to the nomination.
Trump fresh off a rally this morning in Michigan. He is feeling confident, and very quickly picking up where he left off in last night's debate.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: So, when little Marco spews his crap about the size of my hands which are big, the size of my hand.
So, I looked at him and said, "Marco", no, I just wanted to -- look at that, that -- those hands can hit a golf ball 285 yards.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOLDUAN: The hands comments continue. That's in Warren, Michigan. Let's go over to Chris Frates in Cadillac, Michigan where Trump will be holding his next rally a couple hours from now.
Chris Frates, what should we expect?
CHRIS FRATES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, good morning, Kate. So after another raucous debate this time in Detroit, Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz ganging up again on Donald Trump trying to take the front-runner down a peg or two, hitting him on Trump University where Trump is being sued by former students who are arguing that the degrees aren't worth the paper they're printed on. And Rubio and Cruz say that Donald Trump trying to con the Republican primary electorate the same way he con those students.
Donald Trump say no merit to that argument. No merit to this lawsuit. And he's going to take this civil lawsuit to the courts because he believes he can win there. Also, strangely defending his manhood against a hit that Marco Rubio
made on him last week, and among all the slings and arrows and insults back and forth last night, Donald Trump also trying to position himself as the eventual Republican nominee who can take on Hillary Clinton in the fall saying that he understands you need some flexibility to negotiate.
And even softening his immigration stance a little bit which was very interesting, of course, because his hard line on immigration part of what rocketed him to the top of the polls. But there's no surprise here because he is still in the lead, we're in Michigan today in Northern Michigan. People already coming in to see Donald Trump, and he is in the lead in this state.
The latest polls showing that Donald Trump, 29 percent support, Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz continue to battle it out for that number two spot to be that Trump alternative and take him on. But Donald Trump, of course, feeling very confident on the stump today in Michigan, continuing to hit little Marco and lying Ted Cruz. People here are very excited to hear from Donald Trump in just a few hours.
Kate and John (ph).
BOLDUAN: Yeah. The -- and he is fired up, Donald Trump. You can expect you're going to hear a lot more of what we just heard in Warren, Michigan. We're going to keep an eye on that. Chris is there for us. Chris, thanks so much.
A lot to discuss now, especially what we just heard from Ted Cruz. Let's bring in some folks to discuss now. Mark Preston, the Executive Editor for CNN Politics, he's joining us now. Scottie Nell Hughes, Chief Political Corespondent for USA Radio Networks. And a Trump supporter, Kevin Sheridan, a former spokesman for the Republican National Committee and also was a senior advisor for Mitt Romney's presidential campaign.
[11:15:02] And Carry Sheffield, she's the founder of Bold, the conservative news website and a contributor to Forbes.
Guys, thanks so much for joining me.
Mark, I hope you had a chance to hear what Ted Cruz just said in speaking to reporters. He said a brokered convention is a pipe dream of the Washington establishment. If they try to steal the nomination, that would be a disaster. That's coming from Senator Ted Cruz.
But then, Governor John Kasich just said this morning, this thing is going all the way to the convention.
MARK PRESTON, CNN POLITICS EXECUTIVE EDITOR: Right. And if you look at the mathematics, there's a possibility this could go all the way to the convention into Cleveland in July. And really how that happens, Kate, is if Donald Trump is not able to win Florida and Ohio on March 15th, those two states in particular, because there are 99 delegates on the table in Florida, 66 delegates from the table in Ohio. Huge coverage for those delegates that whoever wins those states will be able to collect all of them.
Up until March 15th, these states are divided, unfortunately depending on how you do, you know, with the vote. So, if Donald Trump is unable to do that, then there is a chance that could happen.
BOLDUAN: A whole lot can happen before then. And the last 24 hours is just an example of that.
So Scottie, one of many things that happened last night that was very interesting is when it came back to, once again, kind of where they all began in the first Republican debate. They got there again. The pledge to support the eventual nominee, despite all of the insults that were flying, everyone saying the other is unfit and disqualified for office. They all then said they would support the nominee.
For our viewers, here's the moment last night.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'll support the Republican nominee.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Trump? Yes or no?
RUBIO: I'll support Donald if he's the Republican nominee.
CRUZ: Yes, because I gave my word that I would. And then what I have endeavored to do everyday in the Senate is do what I said I would do.
GOV. JOHN KASICH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: If he ends up as the nominee, sometimes he makes it a little bit hard, but, you know, I will support whoever is the Republican nominee for president.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can you definitively say tonight that you will definitely support the Republican nominee for president even if it's not you?
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The answer is, yes, I will.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOLDUAN: Scottie, do you believe them?
SCOTTIE NELL HUGHES, CHIEF POLITCAL CORRESPONDENT, USA RADIO NETWORKS: I absolutely believe them. I think that was probably the best question and the best moment of the entire night, because that's something that needs to be reiterated right now.
Now, granted, I think that some others within the Republican Party also should be saying that. When we have governors and senators and state senators coming out and saying, "Well, I'm going to go vote for Hillary Clinton'', or more importantly, "I'm going to go actively phone bank (ph) for the other side." Then I really have to question, what is their motivation, why are they even involved in the conservative movement in the first place? All of those candidates who agree and have said at some point that
anyone on that stage last night is 10 times better than anything that the other party has to offer.
BOLDUAN: Carrie, but at the very same time, when they make that pledge, does it also undercut everything else they said during the debate, the argument that Donald Trump, the front-runner, he is unfit for office? He's disqualified. He is the problem. He is the reason that Washington is backed up, is locked up, that why nothing happens in Washington.
The same argument that Mitt Romney was making yesterday in that extraordinary moment when he came out trying to take down Donald Trump, doesn't this undercut their argument?
CARRIE SHEFFIELD, BOLD FOUNDER & EDITORIAL DIRECTOR, BOLD: Well, Kate, the political reality is that they have to do it because they want to get Donald Trump's votes.
So, if they were to come out and say, ''No, I'm not going to support Donald Trump,'' then that would really anger his supporters. So that's the pragmatic reason why they're doing it.
But I got to kick up on something Scottie said. She said, you know, the conservative movement. I think why conservatives are so upset about Donald Trump is the fact that he's not a real conservative. This is a man who has donated to many, many Democratic candidates. This is a man who fought for ObamaCare. This is a man who fought to put in people into office who supported Dodd-Frank, who supported every liberal policy that conservatives fight against.
HUGHES: Except one more point there. He also gave -- but one little point, he also gave $55,000 to Senator Ted Cruz. And if you go and you look at all of his contributions, he's given to Republicans more than he's given to Democrats.
He is a man in business and he cares more about his employees and getting things done and getting -- not getting these stupid audits and these horrible things that have happened that they sit there and take up money than necessarily playing party politics. He puts his family and his employees before he sits there and puts his pragmatic ideas.
BOLDUAN: Kevin ...
SHEFFIELD: He has no spine. He has no actual conscious. He has -- Scottie, I love Scottie. She's my good friend. We call each other little Scottie and Carrie. But -- I love her but she's just wrong in this point.
Donald Trump is not someone who has a spine. He has no ...
HUGHES: He has a spine, that's why he's here, because ... BOLDUAN: All right, let's get Kevin to jump in on this. Let's get Kevin to jump in on this. On this point that Scottie said was the most important moment of the debate, Kevin, when they pledged to back the eventual nominee, whoever that may be.
[11:20:07] When you take that with the thought that this could go to -- go all the way to the convention and could some at some -- in the -- if some are even hoping becomes a contested convention. This -- is this going to come back, are those words going to come back to haunt all of these candidates, if that's the case?
KEVIN SHERIDAN, FORMER SR. ADVISER, ROMNEY FOR PRESIDENT: Well, look, the goal is to get to 1,237. And if -- you know, if that doesn't get settled before the convention, that's what the convention is for.
So, nobody is going to be stealing the nomination from anyone. That's how the system is set up. That's how our process works. The candidates all know the rules going into it. And that's what we'll have to see.
Whether or not they can -- you know, they can somehow fashion a fusion ticket, you know, if it's a Cruz-Rubio or Rubio-Cruz, or some version of that, or Kasich gets Ohio and then can make a play for it, we'll see. But this is how the process is set up, and this is how we're electing a nominee. And this is how it's supposed to work.
BOLDUAN: Kevin, I got to get you to weigh in on something that your former boss. He's -- it's extraordinary thing. I mean, it's truly an extraordinary moment in modern political history. Mitt Romney coming out to try and take down Donald Trump. He was on the TODAY Show this morning, and talking about really what the path forward is, because he was pushing. It seemed that he very much was pushing for a brokered convention, saying that he thinks everyone should vote for Marco Rubio in Florida, John Kasich in Ohio, and so on and so forth.
Listen here what Mitt Romney said this morning.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MITT ROMNEY, 2012 GOP PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: There's no question, I'm going to do everything within the normal political bounds to make sure that we don't nominate Donald Trump. I think he would be terribly unfit for office. I don't think he has the temperament to be president. And so, I want to see one of the other three become the nominee.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOLDUAN: It seems a little bit bonkers, Kevin, that this is even going on. I mean, do you -- at its core, and a lot of people are wondering this, what you know about this man? Is Mitt Romney angling himself to be the eventual alternative?
SHERIDAN: I have no idea. But no, I don't think so. My take would be that he personally believes strongly that Donald Trump would be a bad candidate for our party, and he would be a bad president for our country. And he wants to make the case. And he made a very substantive case yesterday. And, you see him lay out the facts. He lays out the case against Donald Trump. Megyn Kelly did the same thing. Chris Wallace did the same thing in the debate.
And then, Donald Trump comes back, so that's the prior over here. So, that's something outrageous. And everybody goes and covers that. He never answered any of the policy -- any of the substance of the attacks. And that's -- you'll never hear him answer anything.
BOLDUAN: Mark, final thought. I want to get your take on, really, all the CNN reporting coming out about Mitt Romney talking to his political advisors to take a look at what that would mean to block Donald Trump when it comes to the nomination at the convention. Just give me your final thought, what is that going to look like?
PRESTON: Listen, if there is an effort by the Republican establishment, which we believe there is, and certainly from a lot of folks that I have talked to, they're looking at two things. One is to try to deny Donald Trump the requisite amount of delegates, as Kevin said is 1,237, and how you do that if you keep John Kasich in the race, Marco Rubio in the race, Ted Cruz in the race. In that way, they keep on winning a contest all the way through up to the convention. Donald trump doesn't have enough. That's when you get a contested convention.
If that doesn't work, however, they're also talking about putting up a third-party candidate a conservative, a "two conservatives", that could be a safe haven for Republican voters to not only vote for, but also for candidates running for the House and Senate to be able to support, because at times, we can all acknowledge that Donald Trump can become nuclear hot.
Having said that, let's acknowledge this. The fact is that Donald Trump has driven out a lot of Republican voters in some respect, record number of voters over the past six weeks or so, and the Republican Party has to at least acknowledge that as they're trying to think through how to deal with their next nominee.
BOLDUAN: And what would that mean for the Republican Party, if those voters are seen as having it taken from them? That's the point that's Scottie is making. That's the point that many Trump advisers are making, very been at describing yesterday as if the party wants to put on a suicide that that's their choice but would be very, very stupid.
Guys, we got to leave there. Thanks so much, Scottie, Kevin, Carrie, Mark. Thank you all.
PRESTON: Thank you.
BOLDUAN: So Ted Cruz, he is holding his first rally since last night's raucous GOP debate. We heard from him. He spoke to the press. He's going to be taking to the stage.
Cruz says Trump is part of the corruption in Washington that voters despise. Why then did Ted Cruz also say last night he would support Trump if he becomes the nominee? We're live with a top Cruz supporter on the path forward. That's coming up next.
Plus any moment now, Marco Rubio will be live in Kansas. Will he now come out swinging against Trump? And will there be any more mentions of anyone's hands? We'll bring that to you live.
[11:29:15] BOLDUAN: Fresh off the debate last night, Senator Ted Cruz is speaking to supporters right now in the great state of Maine, one of four states holding Republican contests tomorrow. What we like to call Super Saturday. Ted Cruz will also be rallying supporters in Louisiana later today.
Let's bring in right now Victoria Coates. She's the Senior Foreign Policy Advisor for Senator Ted Cruz's campaign. Also the author of "David's Sling, A History of Democracy in Ten Works of Art". Victoria, thank you so much for joining me.
VICTORIA COATES, SENIOR ADVISOR FOR FOREIGN POLICY FOR TED CRUZ: Kate, thanks for having me on.
BOLDUAN: Of course. So, I think it goes about saying, the insults were absolutely flying at last night's debate. But one of many interesting things happened. It did seem that Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio largely held their fire from each other, at least. Here's one example.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[11:30:04] CRUZ: You know, Marco's dad started as a bartender. My dad started washing dishes and yet, you know, how many Americans wanted those jobs? Roughly 300 applied. Donald hired 17. Donald's record right now --