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Saturday Night Election Coverage; Flint Mayor Speaks with CNN; Cruz Wins Kansas; Six Races Still to be Called. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired March 5, 2016 - 19:00   ET


[19:00:03] JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That's going to help Ted Cruz here. But I'm not getting any sense of trembling inside the Trump campaign even though Ted Cruz is having what is undoubtedly a good night so far. The last time we saw Donald Trump give a press conference after Super Tuesday when he did very well.

The outcome is a little different tonight. So, we'll have to see whether the tone is different from Donald Trump when he speaks later on here tonight, Wolf.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: And, of course, we'll have live coverage of that. That's coming up at the right point as soon as we see Donald Trump show up behind you, we'll, of course, have live coverage.

Thanks very much, Jim Acosta.

Dana and David, so far as Jim said a very good night for Ted Cruz. But one contest down, six contests for the Democrats and the Republicans to go.

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right. We still have a long night ahead of us. Jim was saying that the Trump camp was trying to say we didn't think Kansas would be a big place for us. Well, he was in Kansas this morning, Donald Trump, right? He skipped CPAC in Washington, added the one in Wichita, Kansas, this morning late, so it hard to imagine he would spend all that time and resources in a place he didn't think he was going to win.

DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: One of the most precious resources as you know is candidate time.

BASH: Of course.

CHALIAN: So the fact he went there no doubt had something to do with get something on the schedule that's voting today that's not CPAC, so I can get somewhere else, right?

BASH: Yes, very good point.

CHALIAN: But clearly, they those Kansas because they thought they could make a difference there. You know, it's interesting to hear Jim Acosta say that the Trump -- Trump sources tell him that they see Cruz making a play in Florida. Cruz himself just told us that. And I'm now fascinated at this because to make a huge play in Florida in a winner-take-all state, he doesn't just -- it's not just about Marco Rubio. He obviously will take some votes away from Donald Trump as well. And if he can't make a competitive race of it, he emerges with no delegates from that state.

BASH: That's right. And it's going to be interesting to see where he plays hard because Florida is so diverse. There are so many different parts and pockets that he very well could try to -- look, his campaign is very data driven, very data-driven, and try to strategically pick out various counties and areas that could help or hurt both of them.

It's monkey business. It's not that he really thinks he can win the state of Florida. It's monkey business. And that's politics.

CHALIAN: That is indeed.

BASH: Wolf?

BLITZER: Six contests to go tonight. We're watching all of them. We'll see if we can make more projections.

In the meantime, let's go back to Chris.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: All right, Wolf. We're trying to provide context of what each of these results means, depending on where you are in the order. It's easy to say for Cruz. But keep your eye on Kasich. If the numbers stay consistent in Kansas, he may not make the 10 percent hold. So, each position is going to have its own relevance.

So, to this commonly asked question we're getting online, yes, we look at the social media, you follow us. I'll try to work with questions that are thematically relevant. Cruz looks good in the closed meetings, just Republicans can vote, not independents or crossovers if they want to primaries and caucuses. Does that mean something significant? It's a little more complicated than just closed.

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: It might be significant. I don't think we know yet because a lot of these are caucuses and caucuses also require --

CUOMO: Because the easy answer --

BORGER: The easy answer would be yes.

CUOMO: Yes, because it means that if you just look at Republicans, they like Cruz. But the caucuses make it more complicated. Because?

RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Because of the organization. It is worth noting in every state Donald Trump has won so far in the exit poll, he's won Republicans as well as independents. In fact, in the vast majority of states, there's very little daylight. It goes up and down depending on the state, but very little daylight between his vote among Republicans and among independents. Having said that, it is worth watching and we will see as we go forward -- CUOMO: Kentucky's in caucus, too.


BROWNSTEIN: Louisiana may be the most important of the night. A primary that's closed.

CUOMO: A primary that's closed. That will be a unique analysis. But Kentucky is coming up. We'll give you an alert as soon as we get data in. Stay with us for that.

But, Michael, there, we're hearing that Trump is looking good in Kentucky. Does that frustrate the analysis or expand it?

MICHAEL SMERCONISH, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, interestingly Ted Cruz does well in these closed caucuses, as we've just discussed and for the reasons that we've already described. I think it was John King who made the point earlier --

CUOMO: Usually is.

SMERCONISH: Yes, he made the point earlier in the evening that Cruz does not want a brokered convention because he fears his standing when you have those delegates gathered in Cleveland and he'd come out the short end of the stick.

In the '80s when I had hair and I was a college student, I was an elected alternate delegate to a Republican national convention in Dallas. I know a little bit about how the process works.

These individuals who go to the conventions on the Republican side of the aisle are usually party regulars who are endorsed in their local congressional district, who have paid their dues and get rewarded.

[19:05:05] Unless the Trump campaign or these other campaigns have done a terrific job, which I doubt, of running delegates who are hell- bent on electing their candidate, I expect the party regulars who are not going to feel a particular allegiance to a candidate who can't get through to the first ballot. That means to start getting consideration.

CUOMO: Shifting to the other table first of all it must be noted you have one of the most perfectly shaped heads I've ever seen.


CUOMO: I mean, it really makes Mr. Clean jealous, how beautiful your head.


S.E. CUPP, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: A really good point and I've heard this from some delegates that Trump -- this isn't something you do overnight -- we'll stick with you through one ballot, two ballot and Trump would be --

BROWNSTEIN: One, they will.

CUPP: Right, one, the pledged, but to the second ballot. And Cruz and Rubio and -- would have a lot more organization going into a brokered convention than Trump would.

CUOMO: Right. I want to talk about what that convention would look like because I think whether you're Republican or not just to see it would be a spectacle. More data so let's get back to Wolf.

BLITZER: All right. Chris, thanks very much.

We've got a key race alert. First numbers from the Republican caucuses in Kentucky, only 1 percent in so far if that. Ted Cruz slightly, very, very slightly ahead. It's real battle underway right now with Donald Trump. Ted Cruz, he's at 32 percent, Donald Trump at 31.5 percent.

But look at this, only four separates the two of them right now. As I said, these are initial numbers in the state of Kentucky in the Republican caucuses, 257 for Cruz, 253 for Trump. Kasich in third place with 147. Rubio in fourth place in Kentucky right now with 129.

We're getting more in from the Republican caucuses. In Maine right now, and Cruz still maintains his lead although it's narrowed a little bit. Forty-three percent for Cruz, Donald Trump, he's at 3.6 percent. Kasich is down 11.7 percent. Rubio is at 7.8 percent. So, we're watching Maine, only 9 percent of the vote is in. Kentucky, very, very early.

But, Chris, we're getting more numbers. At some point we'll be making projects.

CUOMO: The percentages are low but putatively, Maine, if you stay under 10 percent, you wind up being out. They have thresholds there to register at all. So, we'll watch that for you throughout the returns.

So, let's go back to the idea of what could happen at this convention. I know you don't want to see that because you want your party to be together as much as you can get through it. But as a reporter I have to say --

CUPP: Oh, totally.

CUOMO: -- the idea everybody has these now. Could you imagine people walking around, catching these conversations? Not you, Begala, because they'd beat you --



PAUL BEGALA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, actually, I covered a lot and they're very nice people.

CUOMO: Not that day they wouldn't be. Could you imagine what would be going on on that floor, literally, Jeffrey Lord?

JEFFREY LORD, CNN POLITICAL COMMENATOR: They would have people all over the place for these things. They would see something and it would be in your hands in 0.2 seconds.

CUOMO: From your lips to the news god' gods' ears.

BEGALA: It's a myth. It's not going to be an open convention. It won't be brokered because there's no one to broker it. It won't be open.

In a democracy, if they tell the guy who's got the plurality, let's say he doesn't get to -- Mr. Trump, won't have 1,237, which I think he will. Let's say he doesn't. But he gets to 1,137. If they denied him the nomination, there would be hell to pay.

BROWNSTEIN: This is the dilemma Republicans have. They have two divergent hats that lead them to the same place. On the one hand, if you have someone who is on a brink of a nomination and you deny that person the nomination, that is a recipe for civil war.

If you look at what is happening from Mitt Romney and John McCain and the dozens of foreign policy leader who is say they will not support Trump if he's the nominee, you may get civil war if you nominate him and also if you don't.


CUOMO: So, while you guys are watching along at home, for the philosophy majors at home, what you outline, a Morton's fork, a classical dilemma.


CUOMO: Which is it?

BROWNSTEIN: Yes, I would say it's a Hobson's choice.

CUOMO: I don't know. Assuming they're both bad ideas.

BROWNSTEIN: Not all of us studied with the Jesuits, OK, that's first of all.


NIA MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: -- not clear whether or not the people who are the elites and on TV are saying that won't vote for Donald Trump or they'll stay home. I'm not sure that reflects voters.

I mean, you have a situation where Ted Cruz and Donald Trump are doing better than everyone else, Rubio and Kasich. So, maybe that's enough voters in the fall or whenever --

CUOMO: If we know enough and have enough returns to say Cruz has done better than Rubio, he's a more valuable candidate at this point. BORGER: Well, he's got 1/6 --


SMERCONISH: I want to quickly respond to Paul's point, I think this would be a hue and cry across the country if there were a perception that Trump got screwed in the process in Cleveland.

[19:10:04] But I just wanted to disabuse people of the idea that a full third or more of the delegates in Cleveland would be hardcore Trump people because that's not the way the process works. They're party regulars who may or may not be for him.

BORGER: Can I go into nerd world for a second because every convention reconstitutes itself. Last time there was a convention nobody wanted Ron Paul's name to be put into nominations so they said you had to win a majority of eight states in order for --

CUOMO: Eight certain states.

BORGER: Eight certain. So, now, but, so that's the rule, but it will change because the rules committee will sit and they will rewrite the rules for this convention. And who's going to be on the rules committee? A lot of insiders. Not a lot of Donald Trump people, right, Jeffrey?

LORD: Right, that's right.

BORGER: So that will cause a ruckus because then the Trump people would have a right to say this convention is being brokered by a lot of Washington insiders and they're going to set up rules that are going to hurt us.


SALLY KOHN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Trump supporters have shown over and over again that they're willing to stand up. Meanwhile, the Republican establishment is showing they are not willing to stand up. I think between those two choices of civil war they're going to risk losing the center of the party.


CUOMO: Hold on a second. We've got to take a break. Hold your question. It's tantalizing. It will make people come back.

We're getting more data in as you look at your screen right now. Trump's name has popped to the top of the list in Kentucky, the returns still early but we're getting new information in.

Come back to us in another side of the break.


[19:15:35] BLITZER: Governor Bernie Sanders is speaking to supporters in Warren, Michigan, right now. (CHEERS)


SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: In this election, in this election, it is estimated that the Koch brothers and a few other billionaires --


Oh, you know about the brothers. Smart group of people. OK.

Koch brothers and a few other billionaires will spend approximately $900 million to buy this election for candidates who are going to represent the wealthy and the powerful. When you have one family and a few other billionaires spending more money in an election than the entire Democratic Party or Republican Party, that is not democracy. That is oligarchy, and we are going to stop them.


Now, when I talk about some of the differences between Secretary Clinton and myself, this is one of those differences, and I'll tell you why. Secretary Clinton has a number of super PACs.


One of her super PACs recently reported that they raised $25 million from special interests, $15 million from Wall Street alone.


Now, every candidate in the history of the world, Democrat, Republican, when they receive huge amounts of money from Wall Street or the drug companies and the fossil fuel industries, what they always say, not going to impact me. And our question is, if it's not going to impact their decisions, why would Wall Street be spending $15 million?


And this is not just Hillary Clinton. It's all the Republicans spending huge amounts of money.

Second point with Secretary Clinton. As some of you know she has given a number of speeches behind closed doors to Wall Street.


In fact, she has been paid $225,000 per speech. Now, I kind of think -- I kind of think if you're going to be paid $225,000 for a speech, it must be a fantastic speech. A brilliant speech which you would want to share with the American people, right?


You know, $225,000, extraordinary speech, Shakespearean speech. So, we all look forward to seeing it.

Second issue that we talk about in this campaign, it's not just a corrupt campaign finance system, it is a rigged economy. What do we mean by a rigged economy?

BLITZER: All right. We'll continue to monitor senator Bernie Sanders. He's moving on right now.

Dana, been getting increasingly more tough as far as his opponent, Hillary Clinton, is concerned.

BASH: That's right. Specifically on those speeches that he started I think last week or the week before to say that she needs to release the transcript of those speeches. She has said she will do it whenever candidate does it. But putting that aside, Jeff, you cover Senator Sanders day in and day out.

Did you hear anything new in that?

JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Not new. He has been talking about that. But the context is new.

He's in Michigan, talking about trade so considerably. I was with him last night in Grand Rapids, Michigan. So many people, around 5,000 people. That trade message resonates there so much.

So, that is the conflict right now between -- on the Democratic side of the eraser. I asked him Thursday when he was in Nebraska.

[19:20:00] Some Democrats are getting worried about the sharpness of your tone here. What if it injures her if she becomes the nominee?

He said, look, this is a campaign. I'm running this campaign. I'm in it to win it. I'm going to keep pointing out my differences.

He became so animated, he actually grabbed me at one point in sort of a playful way. But he is serious about pointing out the differences. And his crowds like it. The question is do Democrats overall like it.

CHALIAN: But that's very different than the first debate, when he said we're sick and tired of hearing about your damn emails --

ZELENY: And he's still not talking about emails.

CHALIAN: No, I know. And I understand they're different topics, but he on his victory night speeches, he brings up, on these election nights, he brings up the speeches moment.

BASH: Jeff, you -- exactly, you mentioned something that's really important, he's not just speaking in Michigan, he's speaking in Macomb County, Michigan, which is the birthplace of the Reagan Democrats.

I was just in Michigan for the Republican debate this week. And there was so much talk about that particular county where Donald Trump is playing hard on the Republican side for that primary coming up on Tuesday. And it's the same kind of message, different prescriptions but the same kind of message about the fact that he gets the people are hurting because of trade.


ZELENY: Which is exactly why if Donald Trump is the nominee, a state like Michigan is likely to be in play again. Democrats do not own Michigan. They realize that. That's why this whole race is going to be very fascinating.

BASH: I'm old enough to be covering a Republican candidate, George W. Bush, spent a lot of time in Michigan.

ZELENY: In 2000, of course.

BASH: Because it was in play.


BLITZER: Very important state. We've got a big debate there tomorrow night, 8:00 p.m. Eastern. Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton p.m. in Flint, Michigan. Stand by. We've got some more information on that.

I want to update you on the latest numbers coming in in Kentucky right now, the Republican presidential caucuses, 3 percent now in. Donald Trump a slight lead over in Maine, 39 percent to 35.9 percent, Rubio down in third place with only 13.6 percent, Kasich at 10.2 percent.

In Maine, 9 percent of the vote is in. Cruz maintaining his lead, 43 percent over Donald Trump, 36.6 percent, Kasich in third place, 11.1 percent, Rubio in fourth place, 7.8 percent.

We're watching all of the numbers. One contest down so far. Ted Cruz, the winner of the Republican caucuses in Kansas, six to go.

We'll be right back.


[19:26:04] BLITZER: Welcome back. We have a key race alert.

Let's take a look at Kentucky, the Republican presidential caucuses. Four percent of the vote is now in, and Donald Trump expanding his lead over Ted Cruz. Trump now at 42.5 percent. Ted Cruz in second place with 33.5 percent. Marco Rubio down in third place, 12.9 percent. Kasich at 9.6 percent, in fourth place.

In Maine, still 9 percent of the vote is in. Cruz maintains his lead, 43 percent, over Donald Trump, 36.6 percent, Kasich and Rubio, distantly in third and fourth place right there.

Let's remember that Ted Cruz did win the Republican presidential caucuses in Kansas tonight. The first projected win of the night. Six more contests to go.

Let's go over to John King at the magic wall.

John, let's talk about the Hillary Clinton/Bernie Sanders contest. Let's say hypothetically Bernie Sanders has a good night tonight. There are several contests on the Democratic side.

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The big challenge for Bernie Sanders is down in Louisiana. He has yet to succeed in the South. Hillary Clinton has won across the south largely because of her support among African-Americans. If she can win again tonight she'll make the statement I'm winning down here.

Now, Sanders people say, well, these aren't states you're going to win in November. That's how Barack Obama got the nomination, too, by winning across the South. Let's switch to the delegate map, because this is the Republican race. Let's bring up the Democratic race.

The Clinton campaign, excuse me, enters the day saying we have a bigger lead now than Barack Obama ever had over us in 2008. So, they're saying in the delegate race, pledge delegates, she says I'm opening this up.

But let's say for the sake of argument Bernie Sanders wins in Kansas today. This is winning 55/45. If he wins bigger than that, he'll get a little bit more than that.

So, right now, he's getting more delegates, roughly sharing, we'll adjust the numbers when we get the numbers. So, let's say he wins that there. Let's say he also wins here. This goes up here.

Then the question really comes down to Louisiana in the sense it's a bigger state, more diverse, and it has 59 delegates. If Hillary Clinton holds on in the south as she's done and this goes something like that, again, if it's 55/45, he still gets delegates. If this is how we end the night, she's going to say I'm starting to pull away. I have a bigger -- again, not bad. If you look at the map, you say we have a long way to go.

BLITZER: Six-six-four, four-six-six, 200 delegates.

KING: It's 200, and you can look at the rest of the country. Wait a minute, you say Bernie Sanders can do well in Washington, Oregon, California. Bernie Sanders will do well up in New York and up in other states in New England. So, there are places he can look.

The big test for Bernie Sanders, the big debate tomorrow night in Michigan, the big test is right here. You get Michigan Tuesday, then Ohio and Illinois the next Tuesday. Bernie Sanders has to make a point. He has to say, OK, Secretary Clinton, you have the relationships in the south, you beat me in the south.

If he wants to make a case that not only hi politically reform message is big, what a statement it his economic reform message is big, what a statement it would make if Bernie Sanders could in the industrial Midwest start in Michigan and go into Ohio and Illinois. That would send a message to the Clinton campaign. They think they're ahead there, the Clinton campaign does, they think they're going to do well there.

But if you're looking, Bernie Sanders gets some momentum today without a doubt, get some momentum with a couple wins. But when he gets to the Midwest next week, if he wants to fundamentally change this math, he has to make a statement in the Midwest and Michigan is Tuesday night.

BLITZER: Tuesday night, and tomorrow night is the CNN Democratic presidential debate in Flint, Michigan -- Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton now be debating tomorrow night 8:00 p.m. eastern.

The votes are still coming in. One contest down. Cruz wins in Kansas. Six contests to go.

Much more right after this.


[19:31:00] BLITZER: Welcome back. We have a key race alert. I want to take you right now with what's going on in Kentucky. Six percent of the vote now in the Republican presidential caucuses are in. Donald Trump maintaining his lead. He's at 40 percent, Ted Cruz in second with 33.9 percent. Rubio, a distant third 14 percent. Kasich, fourth and only 10.5 percent.

In Maine, once again, nine percent of the vote is in. Cruz maintains his lead there with 43 percent. Trump at 36.3 percent. Kasich is in third place, 11.1 percent. Marco Rubio, a distant fourth 7.8 percent. That's on the Republican side there.

The democratic contest as well looking forward to Tuesday, a very important contest in Michigan. I want to go to Detroit right now, our Brianna Keilar is standing by with the mayor of Flint, Michigan, very important mayor, especially looking forward to that debate we have tomorrow night in Flint, Michigan. Brianna, update our viewers.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Wolf. I'm here with Mayor Karen Weaver of Flint, Michigan. I know, I should say, you have endorsed Hillary Clinton, you did back in January. But tomorrow night when we have the CNN debate in Flint, what do you want to hear from these candidates about the toxic water crisis in your city?

MAYOR KAREN WEAVER, FLINT, MICHIGAN: You know what I really want to hear them talk about, you know, some solutions to this. That's one of the things we're looking for. Because we've been dealing with this situation for such a long time, that it's time to move past. We continue to need water, we continue to need filters, but we really got to look at some long-term solutions and what it is the people of Flint deserve to have as a result of what's happened to them.

KEILAR: What might some of those solutions be? Because it does seem on the campaign trail there's certainly a lot of bringing awareness to the issue -

WEAVER: Right.

KEILAR: But there isn't a lot of talk about solutions.

[19:35:00] WEAVER: And the solutions are we need some money. We need money and we need to put services and support in places for our kids and families that have been impacted by this. Those are the solutions. We've got to get the money because we know Flint doesn't have the money to deal with this crisis. We need money from the state and we need some money at the federal level. We need help.

KEILAR: You have said that it's up to Governor Rick Snyder if he is going to resign or not. Do you still feel that way?

WEAVER: You know what? It's been interesting because things have been coming out and coming out. So we're looking to see, you know, what does he know and when did he know it. That's what we want to know because we want anybody who knew things to be held accountable for what's happened to the citizens of Flint.

Right now, I've been really focused on trying to get some money from them. You know, we need some money because we have infrastructure issues that are going on. We have services that kids need. I've really focused more on that. But you know what, as information comes out, whoever needs to be held accountable should be, and that's all we've ever wanted.

KEILAR: All right. Mayor Weaver, thank you so much. We certainly appreciate your time. We're looking forward to seeing you at the CNN debate tomorrow night. Wolf, back to you.

BLITZER: The debate 8:00 p.m. Eastern tomorrow night in Flint, Michigan. Very important debate between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. Guys, you have the guy who's going to be moderating that debate with you as well.

BASH: Anderson Cooper. Congratulations. Big kids table.

So Anderson, you just heard the mayor. Given what she said, obviously there's a lot at stake going forward in the democratic debate at the debate you're going to be moderating on Sunday. Narrowing in on Flint, it is kind of true that even the candidates who are trying to make a big deal out of Flint politically aren't necessarily coming up with specific solutions.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, that's the problem to the issue. I mean there's obviously immediate issues in terms of services for the people of Flint. You know, it's still incredibly difficult for them. They got to travel to get bottles of water, bring it back home. There's no door-to-door service or anything like that. There are services, there's things like that and then there's long-term solutions for fixing this problem and also looking at other communities around the country where this could also be an issue.

So it will be interesting to see sort of - I think it's going to be easy for the candidates to give kind of broad brush lip service to the problems and to criticize those who are at fault here and there's many layers of people at fault. The question is will they actually have solutions and that's one of our jobs tomorrow.

BASH: We should say on the right side of the screen people are seeing the site of the debate where you are going to be on Sunday.

But look, I mean -

COOPER: I'll be dressed more appropriately.

BASH: That's a good look.

UNIDENTIFED MALE: Super Saturday night look.

BASH: Exactly. You know, to that point, obviously, the reason why CNN is doing it there is because of this horrible water crisis. But the mayor does bring up a good point and so do the candidates that the city and, you know, cities like it across the country are in dire straits.

COOPER: Look, there's infrastructure problems we know about throughout the country. Many cities have had problems with the water supply. This is not completely unheard of. You know, it's particularly, obviously, Flint has decades of issues, has been hit economically, incredibly hard for a long period of time and it's simply not able to do it, to deal with it. But the question is who is going to deal with it, is it the state, there's a rainy day fund that could be tapped, the federal government going to be playing a role. Those are all things we'll be hearing from the candidates tomorrow night.

UNIDENTIFED MALE: I mean we hear Senator Sanders and Secretary Clinton all the time, not only talk broadly but broaden it to out to - as you were just saying, economics, race, civil rights issue. They broaden it out much beyond what's happening in Flint. Tomorrow night, being there, do you anticipate the candidates will try to go broad or try to speak to the community?

COOPER: I think they'll certainly speak to the community. We're going to have actually questions from the residents of Flint to the candidates. I have no doubt we're going to hear very specific things, people speaking to the community of Flint but also, look, there's a larger election going on. So they will have to broaden it out.

It's one of our jobs to broaden it out so this is not just a referendum on Flint, obviously. That's an important component of it. But there's a lot of other issues to discuss. This is a presidential debate. So we're going to be trying to keep it broad. Also there's larger questions about the role of the federal government in something like this, in a crisis like this.

One of the most important things the role of president is how do you respond in a crisis. And so we want to try to get a sense from these candidates how they would actually respond in a crisis like this.

BASH: Well, it's interesting, when I was on my way from Washington to Detroit for the Republican debate this week, there was a member of the National Health Service there on my plane going for this reason, going to engage in how to help from the federal level. But obviously they need a lot more help.

UNIDENTIFED MALE: This topic came up in the Republican debate as well.

BASH: It sure did.

BLITZER: Heartbreaking situation, that debate tomorrow night 8:00 p.m. Eastern, right here on CNN. Very proud also to let our viewers know that CNN is distributing half a million, 500,000 bottles of water to the people of Flint, Michigan, this weekend. It's a nice contribution but there's still so much more that needs to be done, guys. Thanks very much.


I want to go back to Brianna Keilar in Detroit. Brianna, how is the Hillary Clinton campaign reacting so far? There are still three democratic contests. We're waiting for results in Kansas, democratic presidential caucuses, Louisiana primary, Nebraska caucuses. What are they saying to you?

KEILAR: Well, they're pretty much resigned to having losses in Nebraska and Kansas but they're expecting a win in Louisiana. What they say is look at the delegate count in Louisiana. It's almost as much as if you put Nebraska and Kansas together.

Ultimately they think they'll have more delegates by the end of the night than Bernie Sanders. The other line we keep hearing from the campaign is they say Hillary Clinton has a larger delegate lead than Barack Obama ever did in 2008. Implicit in that is that Bernie Sanders can't win. That's basically what they're saying, although they won't say it outright publicly. But privately this is something they believe. They've actually believed it for some time.

We see Hillary Clinton really pivoting here to Michigan, to the primary on Tuesday night, to the debate tomorrow night. She has spent a lot of time in Flint, a lot of energy. Her national political director had said that if this was a white affluent community, basically this wouldn't happen, so this is a chance for her to come tomorrow night as the campaign sees it and to make her case that she is paying attention to African-American communities like the one in Flint, Michigan. Very important voting bloc here in Michigan as well as other states.

BLITZER: Michigan - they vote on Tuesday. Tomorrow night the CNN democratic presidential debate 8:00 p.m. Eastern. Brianna, thanks very much.

We're still counting the votes in Kentucky and Maine. We're going to update you as soon as we come back.



BLITZER: All right. We got a key race alert. Let's update you right now. In Kentucky, eight percent of the vote is in, Donald Trump maintaining his lead over Ted Cruz, 39.3 percent to 33 percent for Ted Cruz. Marco Rubio at a distant third with 13.8 percent. John Kasich, a very distant fourth with 11.1 percent.

In Maine, nine percent of the vote is in. Cruz maintains his lead over Donald Trump, 43 percent to 36.6 percent for Trump. Kasich is in third place with 11.1 percent. Marco Rubio in fourth place in Maine with only 7.8 percent.

Here are the delegates that have been allocated because Ted Cruz won the state of Kansas, because he won the Republican caucuses in Kansas. He will pick up 24 delegates in Kansas. It's proportional. So Donald Trump gets 10. Marco Rubio gets five. John Kasich gets one. That's in Kansas.

The delegates to date, including the projected win by Cruz in Kansas. Trump still wins with 346, Cruz 258, Rubio 111, John Kasich, only 28 delegates, so far. That's what we have for you over there, in the meantime. Let's go back to Chris.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Wolf, very interesting there. Cruz cutting Trump's lead to under a hun-do. What does that mean? Looking at the numbers. Ron Brownstein, does that make this super Cruz day that we're dealing with here?

BROWNSTEIN: Until we see Louisiana and Kentucky it's too early.

CUOMO: You say that every time.

BROWNSTEIN: Because it's true. I'm sorry but it is true. Look, Kansas is a state he should have won, Maine is where he's going beyond, where Huckabee won. That is important. One interesting thing to keep in mind, especially we're discussing all night about whether the advantage we're seeing for Cruz is caucus or closed, that's going to become more relevant.

My colleague, David Wasserman, Charlie Cooke (INAUDIBLE) all of you know points out that half of the delegates chosen between February 1st and March 31st are in open primaries. From that point on three- quarters of the delegates will be chosen in a closed system. In fact, if there is a problem for Donald Trump in winning these closed events, it's going to be a lot more consequential as you go later. That is assuming he hasn't pulled away by that point.

GLORIA BORGER: In Louisiana tonight at 9:00 is going to be the first indication we're really going to get about Donald Trump, closed primary. We'll see it in Louisiana.

CUOMO: Does anything about that state wind up muddying the waters of the analysis? Is there anything about the population there, the organizational structure there, the historical outcomes?

BORGER: It should be Cruz land.

BROWNSTEIN: About half the voters are evangelicals, one of the last states - a state that both Santorum and Huckabee won, Santorum got 50 percent of the vote there in 2012. It's also, however, heavily blue collar and thus it becomes really been - I think the central problem facing Ted Crus so far in the southern states, which is that Donald Trump has established a beachhead among blue-collar evangelicals, he has won them in a number of the southern states and if he does it again, if he wins Louisiana, we don't have an exit poll, if he wins Louisiana, he probably did that again tonight.

BORGER: Let me say one thing, where's Rubio?

CUOMO: Yes, exactly.

BORGER: Getting blanked here.

CUOMO: That is the nature of the dynamic. People love to blame the media. I hear a lot of it at home. One of the things that's interesting though is you get mentioned because you win. And why you're not hearing about Rubio is because he's getting spanked.


BORGER: If he's a donor and I'm looking at Marco Rubio who seems to be everybody's first, second choice, less and less so, but and I'm a donor and I'm sitting out there and I'm saying, "OK, you want to raise money for me, you're going to the convention," I'm going to say "I need to see some points on the board a little bit more."


SMERCONISH: I'm saying Louisiana will be telling for an additional reason, which is that there are a lot of similarities I see between Louisiana and Super Tuesday states in the south where Donald Trump did well, where Ted Cruz had been anticipated to have a big night and he didn't.

So if Louisiana should turn out tonight that it doesn't go Trump's way, then I'm going to be back to the mind-set of saying something's changed in the last couple of days. Maybe it was Governor Romney's speech, maybe it was the debate, but something has changed in this race.

CUOMO: OK. Now theoretically, the easiest way out of this, and you can make any point you want, here's the question - the easiest way out of this -- if the GOP decided it didn't want Donald Trump in a real way would be to have these two second and third place men combined. That would be the best route out of this. Do any of you think there's any chance of a Cruz-Rubio, or Rubio-Cruz ticket?

LORD: Frankly, I've already had somebody else suggest the opposite. If this establishment deal took off against Trump and then secondarily Cruz that Cruz and trump might swallow their pride -

CUOMO: You think there's a better chance of that?


LORD: And Cruz against the establishment.

CUOMO: You are not good at - LORD: I'm not totally sold on this because I think there is a problem here between the two at the moment. But one of the other things I want - I just - Kentucky, where Trump is leading at the moment, this isn't just another state. This is a state with Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul who can't stand them, presumably have some organizational ability and it's not in evidence and interestingly when Matt Bevin, who was not expected to win and won in an upset democratic operative out there was quoted I think in "The Washington Post" as saying it was Trump mania that helped him win. So I think if Donald Trump wins this, there is some significance.

CUPP: But it's such an odd state, just while we're on Kentucky, of course, Mitch McConnell establishment beat Matt Bevin in 2014. I mean it was a blowout. Then Matt Bevin wins for governor, and then it's also the state that (INAUDIBLE) you mentioned, Rand Paul, libertarian. I mean, whose state is this? It's kind of hard to characterize.

CUOMO: The fugacious nature of GOP support.

KOHN: I want to go back to something you said before. Great word choice, by the way. But something you said before that doesn't sit right with me which is that we give attention to the candidates who win. Let's be fair. We gave a lot of attention to Donald Trump before he ever won anything. I think there's certainly this moment where it's not only a little too late on the part of the Republican establishment waking up and saying, "oh, no, we have to do something about this" but I think also the media, too. Did we hold him accountable enough? Did we fact check him enough? Did we just cover all the insane things he said too much because we thought it was entertaining and then all of a sudden we look at the monster we've all created.

CUOMO: But he's winning in lots and lots of place.

KOHN: But wasn't winning before.


BEGALA: Rubio hasn't won anywhere except Minnesota. We'll go to bed tonight, 22 states will have decided. 22.

CUOMO: You got to win, or you got to be interesting.

BEGALA: Rubio, one for22 by the time we go to bed.

I don't know why we pretend that Marco Rubio is a serious candidate for president. He's not.

CUPP: Chris would be the first to tell you, as would Wolf and Jake and Anderson, for as much coverage we have given Donald Trump, we have asked him over and over again for details, for specifics, for clarification, to answer all of our questions. So it's not as though we've just sort of paraded - everyone has paraded -

CUOMO: I tested a lot of people on television - nobody have I tested the way I've tested Trump, mainly because of the things that he has said. But also for another reason, when he first got in, obviously he was not the leader. But soon thereafter, the man started to make giant steps in a positive direction and then soon surmounted the field and stayed there in dominant fashion. He's justified the coverage by his position.


CUOMO: Not really.


BORGER: All of these other candidates, at the beginning at least of the process, were playing very hard to get because they didn't want - for some reason, and Donald Trump is the one, if you said I want to talk to you, he would talk to you. So we can complain about - in my world, if somebody talks, you don't turn him down. He's willing to talk to you.

CUOMO: Michael Smerconish.

SMERCONISH: I want to say this. No one who has closely watched the debates, particularly those hosted by CNN, could ever make a legitimate argument that we've gone easy on Donald Trump because the questioning has been really, I think, direct.

UNIDENTIFED MALE: Look at the debate. There are clips of us.

SMERCONISH: Absolutely. I would never do that. But I want to say something. I think that the evisceration of investigative journalism, and I'm really thinking of print journalism across the country, has (INAUDIBLE) to his benefit. I think he's gotten a free ride that a lot of things like Trump University have not received the level of attention they would have.


IKA HENDERSON: The trump university stories, I mean, they were in the -

CUOMO: They have been done for years. Drew Griffin did them two years ago.

We got to hold it now. I'm being told we have to get to break. We have six different races we have to call. We have a lot of new information coming in. So let's take a breath. When we come back, we have new numbers for you. Stay with us.



BLITZER: We've got a key race alert. Let's go right to Kentucky. The Republican presidential caucuses, 10 percent of the vote is now in. Donald Trump maintains his lead over Ted Cruz. 39.9 percent to 33.8 percent. Rubio and Kasich, a distant third and fourth. In Maine, nine percent of the vote is in. Cruz maintains his lead over Donald Trump. 43 percent to 36.6 percent. Kasich is in third place in Maine. Rubio is a distant fourth with 7.8 percent.

I want to go to CNN's Miguel Marquez. He is in Lincoln, Nebraska. He's watching a contest over there in Lincoln, Nebraska. Right now. You still have a big crowd over there, Miguel. Update our viewers on what is going on over there.

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Wolf. We are in Lincoln, Nebraska. This is the Southwest High School, home of the Silver Hawks. There are over 500 people here, far more than they expected. They have actually broken down into 12 different precincts and they are caucusing that way.

We've been following the action here at this one precinct. You have the Hillary supporters over here, the Bernie supporters over here. He's way, by our count, 69 percent for Bernie Sanders in this one precinct, 31 percent for Hillary Clinton. That does include the absentee ballots. Very heavy absentee ballots for Hillary. But it's not overcoming the number of Bernie Sanders supporters at these caucuses. So people really showing up for him.

It was very interesting. When they took the first vote, there were six people who were undecided. They had speeches. All six of them went over to the Hillary side and they had another set of speeches and one person from the Bernie side went over to the Hillary side and now that's the final count and all of that will be tabulated and sent into the statewide headquarters and they will be releasing those raw numbers at 9:00 p.m. Eastern Time. Wolf?

BLITZER: We'll stay on top of that together with you Miguel. Thank you very much.

Let's go over to John King. John, the Kentucky numbers are coming in. Right now, 10 percent have already been counted. Donald Trump maintains his lead.

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: He maintains his lead but I want to say right off the top with 10 percent of the state in but almost nothing from the major population centers. We are waiting.

If you're for Marco Rubio, you're looking at this early numbers then you are surely disappointed as you were in Kansas.