Return to Transcripts main page
ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT
Sanders, Clinton To Face Off Tonight After Major Upset; Anti- Trade Stance Propels Sanders to Victory in Michigan; Donald Trump Speaking at Rally; Interview with Ben Carson; Sanders, Clinton to Face Off Shortly in Florida. Aired 7-8p ET
Aired March 9, 2016 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[19:00:16] ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: Next, a special edition OUTFRONT. We are live in Miami tonight. Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders about to face off after Sanders scores the biggest political upset of the year.
Plus, Donald Trump speaking live this hour. He says the race is almost over. Is he right? And an OUTFRONT exclusive tonight, Dr. Ben Carson, his first interview since dropping out of the race tonight OUTFRONT. Let's go OUTFRONT.
And good evening, I'm Erin Burnett. OUTFRONT tonight, showdown here in Miami in what could be the most critical debate of the democratic race. Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton are about to face off. In 24 hours after Sanders pulled off a major upset. That's an understatement. Hard to come up with the right word for that. Last night in Michigan, an important victory over Clinton so unexpected the Sanders campaign itself was taken by utter surprise.
We are going to be going to that debate stage in just a couple of moments here at Miami-Dade College, the site of tonight's debate. Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton are preparing to face off as we speak. And you're going to see right here on CNN and Univision. For Clinton, Michigan was a major blow. Not just a surprise but a major blow. A state where she led in pretty much every single poll by wide, wide margins up to the last minute. And now counting down to next Tuesday, another round of primaries, make or break. Six hundred ninety one delegates will be at stake across Florida where we are tonight, Ohio, Illinois, Missouri, and North Carolina.
Clinton holding major leads right now in Florida and Ohio, in the polls such that they are. Our latest CNN poll right now shows they are leading Sanders at 61 to 34 percent here in Florida. As I said, that's a huge lead 27 points in Ohio even bigger. The polls showing a 30-point lead. Sixty three to 33 percent over Bernie Sanders. But Sanders' message on the economy worked. It worked and shocking so many in Michigan will approved the polls wrong over Clinton's deal the deal?
I'm joined tonight by our distinguished panel of political experts all with me here in Miami. A special night. I want to begin though with Jeff Zeleny. He's OUTFRONT at the site of tonight's debate. The Democratic face-off. And Jeff, obviously, this is not what Hillary Clinton wanted or expected to be the story line tonight. JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Erin, no question
about that. The Clinton campaign hoped by this moment they would be really looking forward to November, looking forward to the summer of building an argument against the Republican nominee, be it Donald Trump or someone else. But that is all thrown out the window. I mean, on Monday night on the eve of that Michigan primary, Hillary Clinton said so herself. She said, come on Democrats, the sooner we pick a nominee, the sooner we can start going after Republicans. Well, that is going back to the beginning now.
And she has to again drill down on the differences between her and Bernie Sanders. Particularly on the economic message. His message worked so well in Michigan on trade, on other things. So they're going to go back and try and you know, sort of re-litigate some of the things they've been trying to do for the past couple of months or so. She still leads in delegates of course, but this is not where Hillary Clinton wanted to be tonight.
BURNETT: Certainly not. And I guess the other question then Jeff is where else does Bernie Sanders think he can repeat his Michigan showing. Obviously, we're just going through those polls in some of the crucial states coming up next week. Hillary Clinton with such massive leads again in the polls as she was heading into Michigan. Is there anywhere else he can pull off an upset?
ZELENY: I can tell you, the Clinton campaign is not looking at those public polls at all because they just don't believe them. After Michigan, you know, they had such big leads in the public polls. But if you look at the demographics, the states that fit Michigan and the others the most are Ohio, Illinois and Missouri. Bernie Sanders is going to be focusing on those three states. He knows that Florida and North Carolina are too diverse of an electorate for him. But he believes that White working class voters, particularly in Ohio similar in many ways to Michigan, with the auto industries and other things.
They believe that could be a launching spot. But the Sanders campaign is realistic as well. They said, look, we may not win any other states next week, but there are other states still to come down the map here. So, just one win in Michigan. It's not necessarily amenities going to continue, that is a domino effect. But Ohio is so similar to Michigan. That's what I'm keeping my eye on as we head into next week -- Erin.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Jeff.
And as he watches Ohio, hits home at one of the major reasons that Bernie Sanders was able to pull off the stunning upset last night. That of course is the momentum he brings into tonight's debate which is Americans who are outraged over what has happened in this country because of free trade policies. Sanders beat Hillary Clinton by 15 points among Democrats who say that trade deals are taking away American jobs. Will this be Clinton's Achilles heel in the next states?
Brianna Keilar is OUTFRONT.
BERNIE SANDERS (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Secretary Clinton supported virtually every one of these disastrous trade agreements written by corporate America --
[19:05:14] BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In the labor stronghold of Michigan, Bernie Sanders hit Hillary Clinton where it hurts, on her past support for trade agreements, including NAFTA, signed into law by her husband.
SANDERS: I was on a picket line in the early 1990s against NAFTA.
KEILAR: Exit polling shows one-third of Democratic Michigan voters say, they're a union household. Sanders seized upon this criticizing Clinton's support while Secretary of State for President Obama's hallmark trade pack with Asian and Pacific countries. It's called the Transpacific Partnership, but in Michigan it might as well be a dirty word. After advocating for the TPP 45 times at the State Department, Clinton came out against it as a candidate in October.
HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: As of today, I am not in favor of what I have learned about it.
KEILAR: Sanders says, it is too little, too late.
SANDERS: I was one of the first, not one of the last, to be in opposition to the TPP.
KEILAR: Clinton is trying to cast her opposition as a thoughtful decision instead of a knee jerk reaction.
CLINTON: I came out against the TPP. After it was finished, I thought it was reasonable to actually know what was in it before I opposed it. I oppose it.
KEILAR: But Michigan voters didn't seem to buy it. CNN exit polling shows Sanders beat Clinton among voters who believe international trade hurts American jobs. And in Ohio in Illinois, trade is likely to come up again. It could follow Clinton into the general election if she becomes the nominee and faces Donald Trump. For years, one of Trump's signature issues has been bad U.S. trade deals. He said this to Larry King in 1999.
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think that you have to be treated fairly by other countries. If other countries aren't going to treat you fairly, Larry, I think that those countries should be -- they should suffer the consequences.
KEILAR: It's an unusual position for a republican, but he's been talking about it over and over on the campaign trail.
TRUMP: She's not going to bring back trade. You know, Michigan has been devastated by bad trade deals. And she is in favor of trade deals. She is not going to bring back trade. She's not going to bring back businesses. She's not going to bring back all the employment that's gone, all the factories that are closed. (END VIDEOTAPE)
BURNETT: All right. Obviously having a little bit of a technical difficulty. I want to go straight now to our panel now. Former Reagan White House Political Director Jeffrey Lord joins me here in Miami along with our senior political reporter Nia-Malika Henderson. Our political director David Chalian. Our political commentator Donna Brazile. Also Jonathan Tasini, Bernie Sanders supporter who also challenged Hillary Clinton for the U.S. Senate seat in 2006. And our political commentator Maria Cardona, Hillary Clinton supporter. She is currently doing business for a pro-Clinton Super PAC.
All right. You got it? Everybody else out there.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I hope you have memorized it.
All right. We just had that great piece by Brianna, David on trade and how crucial this issue is. It may seem esoteric to some. To others, it isn't the heart and soul of why they are voting and why they care about this election. Bernie Sanders opposition to trade deals hurt him in Michigan. Is there anywhere else he could deliver him a win.
DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Helped him in Michigan.
BURNETT: Helped him in Michigan.
CHALIAN: Yes. Yes. Yes. They hurt Hillary Clinton in Michigan. Listen, we're seeing across both parties.
CHALIAN: That's what's so interesting is that Donald Trump won that vote of the folks that think that trade deals give jobs away and Bernie Sanders won it. This is the similar appeal that's going on with the populist notion. Listen, Bernie Sanders did himself a lot of good with that message in Michigan. I would imagine that if you look at states like Ohio and Illinois and possibly Missouri he could be competitive in those states coming up next week as well.
BURNETT: Do you think he can pull off a win Nia, in one of those states?
NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: Yes. I mean, they are obviously lowering expectations. Who knows what is going on with the polls probably? Tighter than those polls suggest. But he I think is reflecting other reality of the way people are living. If you spend any time in Detroit, in the Midwest, in any of these cities, I mean, you're seeing foreclosed homes that have been abandoned by folks. You're seeing main streets that are devastated and you're seeing that people have lost their jobs. So, he's tapping into the reality of what people have experienced over these last years and Hillary Clinton hasn't been able to do that in the same way.
BURNETT: What went wrong?
DONNA BRAZILE, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Well, first of all, let's start with the obvious fact that the polling that was done stopped before the debate on Sunday. And that might have underestimated the kind of enthusiasm that people felt. Second thing, I do believe you had a very large sizable number of Independent voters who voted in a Democratic primary. That could have also, you know, underestimated the numbers. But the bottom-line is, the people in Michigan had an opportunity to vote for two strong candidates. At the end of the day, it was a very close vote, but they wanted somebody who promised change. We've heard that message before.
BRAZILE: Bernie Sanders won an incredible campaign -- Hillary Clinton in the final weeks of the campaign. But a message that resonated on jobs, on talking about trade deals, foreclosure. I think he answered the question that many voters, you know, had in their minds, which is, will you help us and that's what they voted for.
[19:10:10] BURNETT: Maria, how big of a blow is this to Clinton? Right? This was supposed to be an easy win. The polls show that it would be. This was supposed to be an easy win. She was going to sort of have this wrapped up. That was supposed to be the conversation tonight, but it wasn't.
MARIA CARDONA, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Sure. Well, obviously, people don't like losing. And it was very close. It was a blow to the campaign. But let's also remember that she came out of this with more delegates than Bernie did at the end of the day. At the end of the day, it is all about the delegates. But going back to the message --
BURNETT: Does it show a weakness though in a candidate that can't inspire that passion and start racking up big win?
CARDONA: So, I'm going to that because I'm going to the messages. And I actually think we overstate if we're saying her message is not resonating. Because again, she's done very well in many other states. And she came very close in Michigan. The fact of the matter is that, you know, I saw some numbers that showed that when she talked about Bernie's vote on the auto bailout, that she did actually draw some blood. The late deciders, which were about 15 percent, not very many. But those late deciders, they broke for her by four points. So, that didn't hurt her. And it might have helped her.
You have some other union household's members saying that she actually took union households in a counties where there was a lot of union households. It was the other counties where Bernie really hit her hard. A lot of the young people came out. I don't know if there was a deficit in the African-American vote that perhaps they were thinking was going to come out a lot stronger. We saw the margins were smaller in terms of her advantage with African-American voters.
JONATHAN TASINI, BERNIE SANDERS SUPPORTER: Right. BURNETT: Jonathan? You did not expect a win.
TASINI: I didn't expect us to win honestly, but I thought it would be very close.
TASINI: And here's why. Thousands, if not tens of thousands of volunteers were making phone calls into Michigan. This victory really goes to the broad movement that Bernie has inspired and sparked. If people sitting in 50 states, they are not necessarily in Michigan making phone calls. But I want to also clarify something that is really important. Nobody is against trade. Every single person I know, including myself, who has opposed NAFTA and all the agreements that Hillary Clinton supported, is for trade. What we're against is corporate trade. And if you ever read NAFTA which I have, all of this is a bunch of exceptions for corporations on intellectual property. It does nothing for workers practically speaking.
And credit to the movement against this bad trade agreements is that Hillary Clinton has come out against the Transpacific Partnership as your piece suggested I think she supported 25 times. I don't think it's a genuine opposition. I think it was entirely done because Bernie has defined this election. He's defined what this debate is going to be about inequality, about corporate power.
CARDONA: Or perhaps she actually read the trade deal and didn't like it.
TASINI: No, I don't think -- I actually think you guys polled it. When you figured out something that has enormous energy among the democratic base and you knew in places like Michigan. And to your credit, you had to change your position. But it's not a real --
(TALKING OVER EACH OTHER)
CARDONA: Or maybe she read the trade deal and didn't like it.
BRAZILE: Let me just say this. Secretary Clinton opposed CAFTA.
TASINI: One trade agreement.
BRAZILE: But I think it's important --
CARDONA: Facts are facts.
BRAZILE: The Sanders people get upset when the Clinton people mistake their record. So, I just want to be fair that she hasn't --
CARDONA: It's not a uniform.
TASINI: I just want to clarify. CAFTA, of all those trade agreements, is one of the smallest one. She supported the China deal, the Permanent Normal Trade Relations with China which Bernie Sanders opposed. China clearly -- South Korea, you go down the list. CAFTA was a very, very small thing having to do with Central American countries which have very little trade with the United States. The things she supported and let's face it --
BRAZILE: And that's going to be --
TASINI: Let me finish, Donna. It connected to voters' concerns of her corporate connections and the fact that she gets money from Goldman Sachs --
(TALKING OVER EACH OTHER)
BRAZILE: But Jonathan, this debate tonight is not only going to be about past trade deals. It's going to be about future trade deals and future what I call job creation issues that I think Democrats want to have a fight also about a conversation that lends itself into how do we build up on the success of President Obama and create jobs. And I think we'll also have to have that kind of --
CARDONA: Florida voters --
BURNETT: We'll pause just for a moment. You're all going to be back. You're all going to be back.
BURNETT: Next, Donald Trump is speaking live to supporters. The other person of course who has rallied those who do not like trade deals. He's in North Carolina tonight. It's his first rally since his big wins last night. If Trump wins Florida and Ohio next week, is the race over? He said so today.
Plus, Marco Rubio getting zero delegates last night. Now trailing Trump in his home state. Is it time to drop out?
And in his first television interview since ending his run to the White House. My guest tonight Dr. Ben Carson. This and more as we count you down to tonight's Democratic presidential debate right here on CNN.
[19:18:37] BURNETT: And we are back live in Miami tonight. The stage is set for Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders to go head to head. Their first debate after the major Michigan upset. It is a crucial debate you will see right here on CNN.
Now, this is happening as Donald Trump takes his campaign to North Carolina speaking to live to supporters right now after racking up another three significant victories and widening his lead in the delegate count. And just moments ago, Trump spoke to Anderson Cooper insisting he will win Florida next week and the nomination.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: If you win Ohio, Kasich drops out and you win Florida and Rubio is gone and it is just you and Cruz. If you don't get all the delegates needed to win by the convention --
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, I think if I'll win Ohio and if I win Florida, pretty much, you'll going to be pretty much assured of doing that.
COOPER: You think you'll get all the delegates. I think so. Yes. I really think so.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Chris Frates is OUTFRONT.
TRUMP: I'd see probably getting the delegates. You know it's like the fighters. That's the ultimate way of doing it. You knock them out. If you knock them out, nothing can happen.
CHRIS FRATES, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Donald Trump is sounding like a winner today after taking Michigan, Mississippi, and Hawaii and delivering a major blow to his rivals.
TRUMP: They're pretty much all gone. OK? Pretty much. They didn't do so well tonight, folks.
FRATES: And now, the billionaire frontrunner is looking for a knockout on Tuesday in the first winner take all contest in Florida and Ohio.
TRUMP: I think we're going to do really well in Florida. It's my second home. I love Florida. I love Florida. I love Florida. It's a special place. And I think we're going to do really I think we're going to do really well in Ohio.
FRATES: A new CNN/ORC poll shows Trump beating his home state rivals. In Ohio, Governor John Kasich is trailing Trump by six points. And in Florida, Senator Marco Rubio is down by 16 points. But the GOP establishments working to stop Trump in those key states helping deny him the 1,237 delegates he means to clinch their nomination.
SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: There are only two candidates in this race that have any plausible path of getting to 1,237. And as this race continues and continues to narrow into a clear two-man race, head to head Donald Trump loses and loses badly.
FRATES: Cruz was the only other Republican to win last night scoring a "W" in Idaho.
CRUZ: God bless the great state of Idaho.
FRATES: And earning an endorsement from former rival Carly Fiorina today.
CARLY FIORINA (R), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: But then I checked the box for Ted Cruz and I'm here to tell you why.
FRATES: But Cruz is running third in both Ohio and Florida. Likely leaving the job of stopping Trump to Kasich and Rubio.
FRATES: Marco Rubio, John Kasich, and Ted Cruz all slated to meet with Jeb Bush tomorrow before the big CNN Republican debate in Miami. Jeb Bush of course still mulling whether or not he's going to endorse before March 15th in his home state. And Donald Trump reacted with characteristic bravado saying, if those guys can't beat him, how can they beat ISIS or China or Russia? And he suggesting, instead of getting together to try to stop Donald Trump, maybe they should all get together to stop Hillary Clinton in November -- Erin.
BURNETT: All right. Chris Frates, thank you very much. At a raucous and rowdy rally there in North Carolina.
I want to bring back my panel. Ben Ferguson, CNN political commentator and radio show host. And Rose Tennent, a conservative radio show host and Rubio supporter.
OK, Jeffrey Lord, let me start with you. Trump is saying, it is pretty much done if he wins Florida and Ohio. Now, here in Florida the air waves are flooded with anti-Trump ads. Right? Ten million dollars. That is 10 times more than Donald Trump is standing on his own hat.
JEFFREY LORD, DONALD TRUMP SUPPORTER: Right.
That's right. That's right. I mean, I really do think that when you have somebody who is a cultural figure like Donald Trump or Ronald Reagan Arnold Schwarzenegger who then collides with the political movement and becomes the leader of saint, it is impossible to go after them in these negative ads because the American people feel we know the guys. We know the good. We know the bad. We know the ugly. We've known it for decades. So, what's left to say? And they agree with him on policy and message and everything. So, you know, they keep it sailing. I mean, this story that came out of Sea Island in Georgia which I saw like a couple minutes after it posted right before I was on your show and mentioned it. Holy cow, that thing is now all over talk radio where the establishment and all its many modes. CEOs of tech companies, the Senate and the House Republican leadership, members of the House, members of the Senate, I mean, Karl Rove, it doesn't get any more, you know, worse than that for these guys.
[19:23:11] BURNETT: So, David Chalian, is it true that the more they conspire, the more voters are inspired?
CHALIAN: That's a great way to put it out.
The more Trump voters are inspired. There's no doubt about that. And, you know, we know how loyal his supporters are. And that does -- any story about the never Trump movement, the establishment taking him down, scheming to figure out a way to prevent him from getting the delegates organizing some convoluted plan for a contested convention, all of that plays to Trump's strengths. There's no doubt about that. However, we shouldn't overlook the fact, Donald Trump, if he does become the nominee, he's going to have a lot of work to do with the party. You heard him start saying it last night. Unifying, what have you. But when a new poll out showed 53 percent of Republicans would be satisfied with him as the nominee. That means 47 percent wouldn't be. That's his to-do list when he emerges, if he emerges with this nomination.
BEN FERGUSON, RADIO HOST, "THE BEN FERGUSON SHOW": Look, there's two things --
BURNETT: And you're formally now going to -- you've been talking positive --
FERGUSON: Yes. I'm formally endorsing Ted Cruz tonight for one main reason. And that is the fact that I do not believe Donald Trump is going to be able to bring everyone together. I do not believe that he has a solid path forward when it comes to the actual issues that he claims and he cares about. His record of his past bothers me. And it doesn't just bother me. It bothers a lot of other voters. He has not been sweeping, first off. The second thing is, he's not even getting the majority numbers that many claimed he was going to get, above 50 percent in this states where he's having a victories.
The reason why is there's more people that are voting against him that are voting in favor of him last night. That is something else that we have a problem. Now, as long as you have a three-man race, obviously that plays to Trump's advantage. But there are more conservatives now that I think are more frustrated with Donald Trump than ever before because they are concerned about his past. They are concerned about his flexibility on immigration. They are concerned about what was in that New York Times off the record comments. They're concerned about fraud with Trump University and all the students there that have come out. They're also frustrated with the fact that they made up stats that weren't true with the better business bureau to try to, you know, get rid of that issue with Trump University.
BURNETT: Trump University.
FERGUSON: Yes. And they lied about it last week and that is bringing I think a lot of conservatives saying, you know what, we're not jumping all in on the Trump train. And there are people that are questioning him and that's the reason I said I'm going to support Ted Cruz.
BURNETT: OK. Fair point. But Rose, I keep hearing this argument from people who do not support Donald Trump and yet he keeps winning.
ROSE TENNENT, MARCO RUBIO SUPPORTER: He does. Yes.
BURNETT: The polls aren't good. And then there he was again. TENNENT: There he was again, Erin. And I think especially for Marco
Rubio, who I favor, Marco Rubio needs to get out there and be Marco Rubio.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I thought you were going to say get out. I was like, I agree.
Marco Rubio needs to be Marco Rubio. There is a lot to be said about Marco Rubio. He's got a great presence. He's very articulate. He understands what's going on. He's got -- the National Security establishment is, they're coalescing around Marco Rubio.
FERGUSON: But he's got zero last night.
TENNENT: The debate is tomorrow night. And one of the things that he should be doing -- I expect he will be doing is talking about National Security. That is number one on the minds of the voters. He needs to be heard.
FERGUSON: I understand but third place has always been third place. And when you get zero delegates in states where you should be doing well, you cannot tell me there's momentum behind you as a candidate. This is a two-man race. Ted Cruz has won.
TENNENT: Not necessarily. Not necessarily.
FERGUSON: Donald Trump has won and keeps winning.
TENNENT: And you know what? Why is Donald Trump winning? Why in your estimation? Because he's loud. Everyone's covering him. They're angry. But you know what? At some point that anger needs to translate into National Security and a concern.
LORD: I think very obvious here is that between Donald Trump and Ted Cruz, they're getting about 75 percent of the vote, which tells you how much angst there is out there and upset and I -- I don't think it's going to go to Marco Rubio.
FERGUSON: It's definitely not going to.
TENNENT: A lot of people will tell you that National Security is right there in the forefront. And he keeps talking about. He keeps invoking Patton. Well, guess what, Patton's grandson said, Trump, you're no Patton --
FERGUSON: But here's the thing that plays to Donald Trump again.
BURNETT: Quick final word here, Ben.
FERGUSON: The thing that plays to Donald Trump is the fact people like Marco Rubio, you cannot tell me once said he's going to win, and he's not going to win in Florida. He's not leading in any state.
TENNENT: I think --
FERGUSON: And all it does is divide this in place to Donald Trump's had. The longer you have a bigger field and Jeffrey I know you're not talking about this, you agree with me. This is great for Donald Trump right now.
BRAZILE: I call it's a bit attrition. By the end of next week, 70 percent of the Republican vote, 70 percent of the delegates will have been chosen. So, we won't be having this conversation.
TENNENT: Right. Yes.
BRAZILE: Because Donald Trump will either be on the path up to victory in the Republican nomination or he's going to --
BURNETT: And we're going to talk more about the exit polls in Mississippi in a moment. Because there when you have a hypothetical only Ted Cruz and Donald Trump. Donald Trump still won in those exit polls which could be something important.
OUTFRONT tonight, Marco Rubio's admission. He's come out and say, he's not proud of something he did to Donald Trump. We'll going to tell you what he says he regrets.
And Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton about to face-off in that crucial debate on the stage here in Miami less than two hours from now right here on CNN. We'll be right back.
[19:32:11] ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: We are live in Miami tonight. In 90 minutes, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders will face off right on this stage, in a debate you can see only right here on CNN.
And tomorrow is a crucial night for Republicans. The remaining four presidential candidates for the GOP will debate right here at the University of Miami. For Marco Rubio, it will be his last debate to convince voters here in Florida, a must-win state for Marco Rubio, that he is the one who can beat Donald Trump, despite another round of bruising primary last night for Rubio.
Just moments ago, Rubio telling supporters, though, he is in it and he will win Florida.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R-FL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I will be on that ballot on Tuesday. I will campaign as long and as hard as it takes. We are going to the White House. We are going to win this nomination.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Now, CNN's latest poll shows Rubio trailing Trump in this state by 16 points. Jason Carroll is OUTFRONT, where Rubio just wrapped a rally.
And, Jason, Rubio is banking on Florida. It is a must-win. He has said this. Everyone has said this.
What was the crowd like? Were they eager? Were they excited?
JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, they were excited, but the crowd was relatively small in terms of what we expected here at this stadium. Expecting much more people here considering this is Hialeah. This is south Florida. This is basically Marco Rubio country.
So, certainly, expecting more than what we saw here based on similar crowds that we've seen before. In Virginia, we saw a much larger people. Again, that was in a different hour. Much larger crowds again that we saw in Atlanta.
One supporter out here saying perhaps we saw smaller crowd out here tonight because it was held at 5:00 when some folks were still at work. But having said that, some disappointment in terms of not seeing a larger crowd here at this stadium. Disappointment in terms of what they saw last night. They were expecting, not a win, but they were certainly expecting to pick up some delegates.
And, you know, disappointment when it comes to those polls. Those polls show him trailing behind Trump in two polls. But when you speak to the Rubio folks, they'll tell you, look, we don't believe those polls. We believe that Rubio is ahead. They do not believe those polls are accurate. They are looking at early voting, which they say seems to show voters leaning towards Rubio rather than Trump.
And out here tonight, once again you heard Rubio telling those who came out here to support him, look, I need you to go out and vote. I need you to tell other people who support me to go out and vote early as well.
BURNETT: All right. Jason Carroll, thank you very much.
I want to go right back to my panel now.
David Chalian, you just heard what Jason is reporting. You know, on the plane today coming down here, I was sitting next to a man who said he's coming down to Florida. He splits his time between Florida and New York, votes here in Florida, going to vote for Marco Rubio, worried about the polls, going to switch his vote to John Kasich, OK?
[19:35:11] BURNETT: But the point is he said, look, I just -- if the talk keeps being this way, I'm not going to support him.
DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Right. I mean, this happens in campaigns where you hit sort of a spiral moment that you have to work your way out of. The Rubio campaign really has one shot to work their way out of it and that's tomorrow night on the debate stage. Marco Rubio needs a killer tomorrow night on that debate stage, and if he can start to turn the narrative a bit, get a few good headlines, a big victory from the debate stage, you can start first selling it to donors, first reassuring your supporters and then start bringing the fight again to your opponents. That is -- because right now, they're in a world of hurt.
ROSE TENNENT, MARCO RUBIO SUPPORTER: I can see them do it, too. I don't think that's tomorrow night.
JEFFREY LORD, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: If you can't carry your own state, you're done. You're done. If you win your home state --
NIA MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: Then what?
HENDERSON: I mean, sort of, what does it do with it? I don't know what he does beyond that. If you think about the states that are voting on Tuesday, sure, maybe he'll win Florida. He's going to lose all those other states most likely. He doesn't have an infrastructure going forward or a path.
The kind of Rubio lane, in some ways there isn't a Rubio lane.
BEN FERGUSON, CNN POLITIICAL COMMENTATOR: There's no longer --
BURNETT: Voters are supporting Trump or Cruz.
Marco Rubio has come out and talked about the spiral. Not specifically, but he has said, you know, he regrets some of these distasteful and rather vulgar comments he made about Donald Trump. He said he was embarrassed. His children were embarrassed about him.
DONNA BRAZILE, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: His parents got to him.
BURNETT: Let me just play exactly how he just put it in an interview this afternoon.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUBIO: In terms of things that have to do with personal stuff, yes. I -- at the end of the day, you know, that's not something I'm entirely proud of. My kids were embarrassed by it. And I -- you know, if I had to do it again, I wouldn't.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Is that going to be enough, Rose?
TENNENT: I think so. I think he can redeem himself and he'll do it tomorrow night. Only Trump can do Trump. No one else can do Trump. They shouldn't even try to do Trump. Sometimes Trump doesn't get it right.
But Marco Rubio really needs to stay Marco Rubio, true to who he is. He is a statesman. And I think he can redeem himself. I think if he focuses on national security tomorrow night, he's already rolled out --
HENDERSON: He's done that in lot of debates. I mean, he's tried everything.
FERGUSON: Marco Rubio has had consistently good debates. I will give him that. The problem is, after last night, you have to look at the numbers. He didn't even pull off getting one delegate last night. John Kasich had a better night than Marco Rubio.
BURNETT: That's one --
FERGUSON: Right. But if you look at moving forward for him, he has a cash problem on hand. He's burning cash about $2.5 million a month. He had $5 million on hand. There's not a lot of money left and he doesn't have the infrastructure moving forward. He's put everything into Florida. And on top of that, he's out of money.
And where do you go from there? There is not a state --
CHALIAN: He is ahead of John Kasich in the delegate count.
FERGUSON: I agree with you there.
CHALIAN: I don't think he's going to win Ohio.
FERGUSON: But if you're coming down in places where you should be able to pull off some delegates -- I think what you're seeing he's been squeezed out between the Cruz fight and the Trump fight. It's become this two-man race and he got squeezed out. I mean, you got Ohio left of Kasich. But outside of that, where's your path?
BRAZILE: There's a limited number of states in April that could give Marco Rubio the kind of field to be a player.
TENNENT: I agree.
BRAZILE: I mean, when you think about the Yankee primary, which is the end of April, April 26, all the northeastern state, Pennsylvania, New York -- I mean, he has to win. Then he has to run the table just to be in the mix.
HENDERSON: Yes. And I think part of his problem is that he's run a relatively passive campaign until now. For months before that, it was very passive.
HENDERSON: He kept a light footprint in those early states even though he had a backing of a lot of donors, didn't do a lot of campaigning, not a lot of organizing, not a lot of identifying and connecting with voters. I think it's coming back to bite him.
CHALIAN: That's what invited Chris Christie's punch in New Hampshire --
BURNETT: That may have been the death punch.
All right. Thank you all very much.
Don't forget we have the next Republican presidential debate, because it is tomorrow night. Such a crucial night for all of them, particularly for Marco Rubio and his home state, 8:30 p.m. right here Eastern, from the University of Miami.
OUTFRONT next, my exclusive interview with Dr. Ben Carson Live. Is he getting ready to run again?
And we're counting down to tonight's Clinton/Sanders debate, all the more crucial after Sanders' major surprise win in Michigan. That debate on CNN less than 90 minutes away.
[19:43:43] BURNETT: And welcome back to the University of Miami.
Just an hour from now, Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton, facing off on a debate right here on CNN. In just 24 hours, we will host the next Republican presidential debate, as we count you down to the winner- take-all, do or die Florida and Ohio primaries.
Dr. Ben Carson will not be on the debate stage since he took himself out of contention on Friday, though. He has made no public appearances until tonight.
And, Dr. Ben Carson, I appreciate you're coming OUTFRONT. Thank you very much, sir.
I don't know if you just heard what --
DR. BEN CARSON (R), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: My pleasure.
BURNETT: -- Marco Rubio just said. He said he was not proud of some of the things that he had said about Donald Trump. He said it was embarrassing to his children. He embarrassed his children with some of the comments he made and he regrets it.
Does that surprise you? I mean, what do you make of the tone of the things that have been said in the past week and ten days? CARSON: Well, the last debate I attended when I went out into the
spin area, the international reporters all asked the same question. They said, aren't you embarrassed? And the answer was, yes, I think all of America was embarrassed.
You know, I'm glad to see that Marco has come to the understanding that that is not presidential type behavior. I hope everybody else will come to that soon because the issues that face us as a nation are so incredibly serious.
[19:45:01] We don't have time for foolishness at this stage of the game.
BURNETT: We don't have time for foolishness, but, you know, people are desperately trying to figure out who is going to emerge the winner here. Your endorsement, of course, will be highly valued, Dr. Carson.
Donald Trump is the frontrunner. He, of course, compared your behavior to that of a child molester in an interview with me back in November. Ted Cruz is number two behind Donald Trump. You've excused him of playing dirty tricks, of course, with those robocalls, implying you were getting out of the race before the Iowa caucuses, the evening of the Iowa caucuses, in fact.
Would you support either one of them?
CARSON: Yes. I don't allow things that are done in the heat of the political race to taint your judgment, because we have to come up with the right situation here. And so, you have to consider all the information, who is most likely to win, and what kind of shenanigans will drive voters away so they will not participate in the process. We have to beery careful in all those things.
BURNETT: So, will you endorse one of them? I mean, you're talking about wanting to pick someone who is ahead, but you don't want shenanigans. So, what do you make of Donald Trump?
CARSON: Well, I think the debate tomorrow will be instructive. Is he going to start acting, you know, more presidential, not be so easily distracted by attacks and by questions that are designed to create a circus-like atmosphere, and really talk more about the vision for America?
You know, I believe all four of the remaining candidates love America. I believe that they all want to see solutions. And they just have to maintain the kind of discipline that will allow them to talk about those things for the American people, so that they can make an appropriate decision.
And those are the same things that I'm looking at too. You know, I'm talking to everybody also, and I think in the long run, we will make an appropriate decision and behave ourselves in the correct way. But, as you know, in the past, Republicans have always found a way to snatch the defeat from the jaws of victory. We just can't let that happen this time. BURNETT: You have been now talked about by many in Florida as
possible running for Marco Rubio's Senate seat, which is he is vacating. Are you going to run?
CARSON: I have no intention of doing that, no.
BURNETT: All right.
CARSON: That has never been an intention of mine to run for the Senate. They were asking me to do that when I was back in Maryland also. You know, there are a lot of things that need to be done --
BURNETT: All right. Well, thank you very much.
CARSON: I want to continue to work on those things that really will save the next generation. That's my focus right now.
BURNETT: All right. Well, Dr. Carson, thank you very much. I appreciate your time tonight, sir.
CARSON: Always a pleasure.
BURNETT: As you heard him say, he was embarrassed by that debate that so many were embarrassed by and hoping for something much more presidential tomorrow.
OUTFRONT next, we're counting you down to that Democratic debate, which is beginning in less than an hour, coming right up on CNN.
When we return, the keys to tonight's showdown, and that is indeed what it will be.
[19:52:34] BURNETT: And we are counting down to tonight's Democratic debate. Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders head-to-head here on CNN here in Miami, set to begin in about an hour. My panel is back with me.
So, Donna, last night was a great night for Bernie Sanders. It was a horrid night for Hillary Clinton when it comes to Michigan.
BURNETT: So, tonight is going to be exciting --
BURNETT: Thank you, Donna.
BRAZILE: She still brought home a couple of delegates.
BURNETT: She did.
BRAZILE: So, let's -- it's all about delegates, OK?
CHALIAN: It's all about silver lining.
BURNETT: But I want to know if tonight is going to be a good night for viewers.
BRAZILE: It's going to be a very spirited debate. We're in Florida. You know, when you're Florida, you got to brighten up your wardrobe. You got to come with your poise, probably some Tabasco that's going to be spilled.
But it won't be any blood and turmoil that we've seen on the Republican side.
BRAZILE: In my judgment, and I think I'm a good judgment of character. We have really two incredibly public servants and they have ideas of how to move the country forward, how to create jobs, keep America safe and strong.
We're going to have a spirited debate on issues that divide them, as well as issues that they both agree on.
BURNETT: But are they going to go at it, Jonathan, let's just say on this auto bailout that she says he voted against, when in the spirit of conversation, he was most certainly for an auto bailout.
For example, will we see them come to blows over something like that?
JONATHAN TASINI, BERNIE SANDERS SUPPORTER: I don't know. What I can say is, I don't know if you're going to shock you, Bernie Sanders is going to talk about the inequality of corporate greed.
BURNETT: Come on!
BURNETT: He's going to talk about Wall Street speeches?
TASINI: Wall Street speeches. About trade.
But the point I really want to make it is I never get anxious or particularly amped up about this, because Bernie is who he is. And everything he's talking about are things he's talked about for 30 and 40 years. He's not taking a poll right now saying, OK, I'm going to say this.
I know exactly what he's going to talk about. The only issue and real importance for these debates for Bernie is for the American public to hear who he is.
That's always been the case. And these debates give him a place to talk to voters.
BURNETT: Is that a risk, though, Maria, for Hillary Clinton? Because people will see her if she starts to act that way as less authentic. With Bernie, it's authentic. With her, it might be perceived as the opposite.
MARIA CARDONA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Unfortunately, she's a woman and we know that perceptions of women are different when it comes to these kind of debates.
BURNETT: Wait, you had to go there? The women issue --
CARDONA: It's true. It's very true.
BURNETT: In terms of authenticity?
HENDERSON: In terms of tone. In terms of --
BURNETT: Even talking about authenticity and passion for what she believes.
[19:55:01] CARDONA: No, no, absolutely and she can do that. In fact, we have seen that when she does that, at rallies, when she does that, when she's campaigning it works really well for her.
But here's why I don't think they're going to go at it on the auto bailout itself. Let's remember where we are and let's remember who is going to be asking the questions. It's going to be Univision moderators, Jorge Ramos and Maria Elena Salinas, who are famous for focusing on the immigration issue, right?
Jorge Ramos was the one who famously got the promise out of President Obama that he was going to deal with immigration in his first 100 days. He's been hammering him ever since because that didn't happen.
So, immigration is going to be a key part of this. And I think what will come up is Bernie Sanders not so great immigration record which will be something that will be discussed, and as it should, on both sides. But I also think you're going to see focus on the economy and Latino voters.
Let's remember, immigration is not the number one issue for Latinos. It is a threshold issue. But the number one issue for Latinos, as it is for everybody else, is jobs and the economy.
CHALIAN: Look at where these two candidates are at this moment in the race. I am looking tonight to see, all the issue contrasts, those have been litigated. I want to see how much did that Michigan loss get to Hillary? Are we going to see her wear it on her sleeve tonight or shake it off? Are we going to see Bernie Sanders try in some way to position himself for Ohio, Illinois, Missouri? That's what I'm looking for.
HENDERSON: Yes, and those young voters, Latino voters, younger than the average voter. And he's done well with them. BRAZILE: I'm getting excited. I'm excited.
BURNETT: Played the other night a clip of Bernie Sanders the other night saying excuse me, excuse me, right? Which was very, very reminiscent of one Donald Trump.
TASINI: Come on. Being interrupted repeatedly. If you want to -- if you want to relitigate that --
LORD: Bernie is taking lessons from the Donald.
TASINI: I'm happy to relitigate that anytime.
BURNETT: Is he going to -- is he going to try --
TASINI: What we said the other night on the show, this is for New Yorkers. We talk with our hands. That's the way we are.
BURNETT: We will see. I have to say, when that stuff goes down, it gets rather exciting. Thank you all.
And OUTFRONT next, Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton are just an hour away from taking that crucial stage right here in Miami. It is a crucial face-off here on CNN. And we will be right back.
BURNETT: Thanks so much for watching live from Miami.
"AC360" starts right now.