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Big Victories for Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton; Most Americans Don't Like Frontrunners; Rubio and Allies Spent $20 Million on Ads in Five Super Tuesday States; Trump Suggests "Riots" If He's Not GOP Nominee. Aired 10-11p ET

Aired March 16, 2016 - 22:00   ET


[22:01:00] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: See, I'm smiling. That does it for us. Thanks for watching. We'll see you again at midnight Eastern for another edition of "360".

CNN TONIGHT with Don Lemon starts now.

DON LEMON, CNN HOST: If there is one thing we know about this campaign, is that the conventional wisdom is usually wrong but this may be the biggest surprise of them all.

This is CNN Tonight. I'm Don Lemon.

America has never seen a matchup like this, a billionaire reality TV star, a woman who has been preparing for this race for her entire adult life. But for the first time in modern history, most Americans doesn't like the front-runners.

Well, what would that mean for Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton if November -- and November if they get that far? And what about the shocking claim, Trump telling CNN that he thinks a brokered convention would lead to riots.

Plus, a potential presidential candidate, a president with an enemy's list for journalist. Where have we seen that before? Lots going on tonight. So, luckily, I've got dream team here with me.

Can you believe that, I have CNN's Gloria Borger, I have Dan Rather, the host of AXS TV's The Big Interview, and I have Douglas Brinkley, his latest book is called "Rightful Heritage Franklin D. Roosevelt and the Land of America."

I'm really happy to have all of you here. Thank you very, very much.


LEMON: Thank you very much. A huge night as they say for Donald Trump last night, I've heard that so much in the past 24 hours. But it really...


BORGER: How do you spell that?



LEMON: Y-u-u-u-g-e. OK. So, here's what, he now has a total of here are the delegates, 662 delegates. He still needs about 57 percent of the remaining delegates to get that magic number for the nomination which is 1237.

Is he likely to get them or is this going to be a contested convention, Borger?

BORGER: Well, that's sort of hard to answer. I think if I had to bet right now I'd say it goes to a contested convention. I think that he does need to win, you know, 50, 60 percent, Cruz needs to win 80 percent and John Kasich needs to win 104 percent to get to that number.

LEMON: Is that possible.

BORGER: So, a little difficult, a little difficult for him. So, what you see now is sort of a Cruz-Kasich tag team in the establishment, they'd like them to kind of tag team Trump to take away delegates from him. But who knows whether they would or whether that would benefit Trump in the long term.

All it means is that the votes get split and as we head into these future contests, you know, the red states look better for Cruz, the blue states look better for Trump and some for Kasich.


BORGER: So, it's up in the air.

LEMON: It's up in the air. Did you say 104 percent or 106 percent?

BORGER: I think it's 104, 106.

LEMON: Yes. It depends on what kind of math you're doing.

BORGER: Over 100.

LEMON: I have to ask you this. So, we're down to three candidates now.


LEMON: Who gets Rubio's delegates?

BORGER: I don't know. You know, as many as there are, there are not that many. I think, you don't know. You don't know. Some people save Rubio. I mean, some people say Kasich, sorry. Some people say Cruz. It's very difficult to say because the establishment, by the way, hasn't figured out a horse, right?


BORGER: They doesn't have a horse because they don't like Cruz. They're trying to embrace him but it's hard to hug somebody you loath, right?


BORGER: So, they don't have a horse and it's difficult to see where these delegates...


LEMON: Talk about that they don't have a horse, have you seen anything like this?

RATHER: No. And neither anybody else in my lifetime. There's never been a campaign like this. The closest time would be 1968, in which the Democratic Party is splitting itself apart and partly because they lost the election.

Also the 60s as we know is a time of tumult and some violence in the country. But I wouldn't want to draw too close a parallel but that's the closest we've had. Not in my lifetime where we had any candidate approaching Donald Trump.

Now, some historian, like the one sitting who is sitting at this table can tell us what are those history that our country we've had. But the closest we've had to Trump is a kind of combination George Wallace and Ross Perot. Perot a businessman, Wallace, appealing to blue collar voters with more than a ton of races into it.

But you mentioned something earlier, Don, that really sort of surprises me. And that is for a major presidential candidate to talk about in language that could incite riot is something completely new in American politics. This we've never had in our history.

LEMON: Let's listen to that and then we'll continue this discussion. Here it is.


DONALD TRUMP, (R) U.S. PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: If we're 100 short and we're at 1,100 and somebody else is at 500 or 400 because we're way ahead of everybody, I don't think you can say that we don't get it automatically. I think it would be -- I think you'd have riots. I think you'd have riots. You know, we have -- I'm representing a tremendous -- many, many millions of people.


LEMON: If anyone else had said that because I think I said something to the effect of one of the surrogates on Monday, like there will be a revolt or maybe -- not meaning, you know, literal -- literally. But if anyone else had said that, do you think it would be considered, you know, inciting violence? [22:05:05] RATHER: I do. And I think it should be with Donald Trump.

But what we've seen I'm not picking on Trump but this is something unprecedented. You know, Don, I covered the Civil Rights movement and a lot of the enemy were movement in the 60s.

Now I know firsthand what inflammatory language in a very tense situation can quickly erupt into violence. And we should all of us, every party, all Americans, be very careful about attempting that again. And that's what going on here.

And Nate Silver, I give him credit, he blamed to some extent those of us in the press and the media and I do not exclude myself, said in the fact that it was embarrassing even cowardly that we weren't calling Trump out and pressing him harder on this business circus. This can be very dangerous. I would hope that Donald Trump would reassess himself.

LEMON: It does -- it does appear, even when you question Donald Trump, he's very good at pivoting. I mean, all politicians, if you're a good politician, you're good at pivoting.

But he's very good at pivoting, he's also very good at changing the subject. The minute we press him on one thing, something else comes up in the news. What happened to tax returns? Do you understand what I'm saying?

DOUGLAS BRINKLEY, CNN PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: Oh, absolutely. Donald Trump is a master at that. I mean, he pioneered using Twitter, which gives him the ability to every second be on top of his game.

And when you look at presidential history, people that can control the media often win. I mean, FDR did it using radio. And it shocked the people Herbert Hoover's crowd back in '32, the way he used radio, or John F. Kennedy as ability to communicate on the debate.

Trump's doing it with Twitter and he's staying ahead of the reporters in some way. He's anticipating that he needed to lay that marker down about I will riot, we will riot. Don't just say that, you know, if you try to deny me of this. He's just trying to push the envelope.

BORGER: He knows what he's doing. He knows what he's doing.


BORGER: And he knows how to run the news cycle. Because at 10 o'clock at night if you tweet something, you know, the morning shows are going to pick it up, it's going to...


LEMON: So, if Trump is calling at 10 o'clock he called in to this program.

BORGER: Right.

LEMON: At 10 o'clock on a Friday night when other candidates -- when Marco Rubio did do it later but Marco Rubio wasn't calling to this program at 10 o'clock at night when he was really in the race. Nobody else was but Donald Trump. And yet, the others -- they will say, hey, you guys don't giving us as much coverage.

Well, you don't accept interviews as much as Donald Trump is doing. That's a huge part of it. But can I ask you about those images on Friday night, Mr. Rather. They were very disturbing to a lot of people and especially African-Americans, at least those who I have spoken to. Why hasn't that affected the race at all or his support at all?

RATHER: Again, I come back, one, very few in the press, very few have called him on it. You pointed out he's good at pivoting but follow-up questions, and follow up to the follow up questions, pressing him on, you know, what you have said about this, Mr. Trump, can be dangerous. Have you thought about it? Pressing him with questions.

I think we have a lot to answer for. But Donald Trump understands that it isn't just Twitter and the new media. He's using both the old media, which is a standard television. He understands that television time is every candidate's oxygen. Just as it is every anchorman and correspondents, that's the oxygen.

He seeks to have all the oxygen for himself and squeeze off the oxygen for his opponents. That's the reason he isn't debating on the proposed debates next week. He said I'm not going to the debate because he just want to give Kasich and Cruz any oxygen.

LEMON: I hate to put you on the spot here but since I have you here and you've covered this so much, why do you -- why do you think that he can sort of pivot so much when it comes to those things and not get any -- do you think -- do you think that he is responsible in some ways for the violence happening at his rally?

RATHER: I wouldn't go that far. I'm not prepared to go that far. I do think it has that potential when he says such things as well if they try to take it away from me at the convention, there could be riots is sort of paraphrase of what he said.


RATHER: But I don't think it's reached the point where you can directly say he is responsible for the violence. What you can say is if he continues to say things like he said to CNN Tonight about riots, it does have that potential.

BORGER: He's responsible for the tone, OK. He can't be responsible for somebody in the crowd who sucker punches somebody. He did say I'm looking into paying his legal fees, which isn't a problem. But he is the candidate responsible for the tone at his rallies.

And we played on CNN and we have pressed him on CNN. But we have played...


LEMON: Throw a tomato at him and punch him in the face, take him on the stretcher. BORGER: Yes, those kinds of things. Now he is I would argue likely to be the nominee of the Republican Party. There's a responsibility that comes with that when you're running for president. And maybe he's learning this and maybe he's not, I don't know. But there is a responsibility and there is a presidential tone that people expect, I believe, and I could be wrong, at a certain point in a campaign.


[22:10:01] BORGER: And we'll have to see if that matters at all.

BRINKLEY: I agree completely. And I think Dan mentioned George Wallace. Wallace used to be inflammatory in front of his crowds, giving them red meat like that. And also I'm amazed how he beats up on the press, yet he's the great beneficiary of the press.

It reminds me of, you know, Spiro Agnew used to just call the media of these names that stand. Those Trumps does that. He won Florida and he was ridiculing the press in the back of the room. And so, there's sort of a Wallace thing going on, a Spiro Agnew thing and then a Nixon bit.

Because I think he constantly if you hit that counter swing it's almost you feel that Donald Trump does have an enemies list of some kind going on here. You punch him, he'll triple punch you back and it's intimidating people.

LEMON: Yes. And is it, what is it, wag the dog? Let's continue this conversation. I need to take a break. So, stick with me.

When we come right back, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton may be the least like front-runners in years so why are people voting for them? Good question, huh?


LEMON: We're back now. With their big victories on Super Tuesday in the primaries, we could be one step closer to a battle in November between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton but it's not at all clear how that battle would play out at the ballot box.

[22:15:07] Back with me now, Gloria Borger, Dan Rather, and Douglas Brinkley. I want to tell the camera to come closer because I'm like I can't read those words, thank you. Thank you very much. Yes, my age is showing.

So, I want to talk about the likability factor in just a moment. But I also want to discuss, does this remind you any way of '68? You guys brought this up in the break, '68, the Chicago, the democratic convention. You were roughed up, right?

RATHER: Yes. It has that potential. Keep in mind that in Chicago you had chaos and he has some violence inside the convention hall and then even more outside the convention hall. Remember, we had gone through a period in which Martin Luther King had been assassinated; we had real race riots in the country.


LEMON: Does this remind you all of that?

RATHER: Bobby Kennedy was assassinated. It was -- but here's the point. The republican convention in Miami Beach also had some violence surrounding it, but nothing compared to the democratic convention. The '68 democratic convention where, yes, I was roughed up inside and there was violence inside and outside can be instructive for this year.

When people talk about a brokered convention and a convention maybe "taking away from Trump," quote unquote, and Trump talks about also a riot, that could lead to a situation where you have good television, if you want to call it that, a very contentious reporter's journalist's dream of a convention but terrible for a party.


RATHER: And that's what turned out that what lost it for the democrats in 1968, among other things, were those scenes out of their convention. So, if you're a republican and want to beat Hillary Clinton, you have to think carefully, if we go into a convention and all hell breaks loose its convention, our chances to beating Hillary Clinton go down in direct proportion to how much chaos is seen on television.

LEMON: Go ahead, Doug.

BRINKLEY: And just imagine what Cleveland is going to be like you're going to have the pro-Trump zealots there and then you're going to have groups like Black Lives Matter and Latino activist groups and everybody converging on Cleveland to protest. So, I think, you could have hundreds of thousands of people protesting the very specter that Donald Trump is the republican nominee.

BORGER: And that's just the establishment.

BRINKLEY: And that's just -- yes. And, I mean, you're going to because, you know, the occupation Wall Street we've had and all these like movements but I think with the internet with enough time with the set date, I think you're going to have mass grassroots organizers coming to Cleveland to protest Trump.

LEMON: Gloria, can I ask you about someone we have to sit down and interview these candidates, right? And so, on Friday I asked Donald Trump a question in at least four different ways. And when someone doesn't answer the question, that you can't, I can't get out of this chair and go into the TV screen and to the camera and strangle him and say, "answer my question!" Or even if they're sitting across from you.

So, then what is this solution because at some point the onus is on the public, right, to understand. Well, maybe this person, even if it is not Donald Trump is not answering the question.

BORGER: Well, you're not new to this. And you know candidates answer the question they want to answer, not necessarily the question that you have ask, OK? And so, you can answer a question 50 different way.

LEMON: As Chris did this morning as well.

BORGER: As Chris did. You know, we're journalists, we'd like -- we'd like to think we ask direct questions and that will illicit direct answers. But that is not the case. You're laughing because it's true, true? We never get direct answers.

Politicians and Trump, he likes to say he's not a politician but if he's not he's a pretty smart one, whatever he is. We'll say what he wants to say. He'll turn it around to his voters, so turn it around to his polls.

LEMON: To the media.

BORGER: Turn it around to the media. And by the way, blaming the media is always a good throwback when you're a republican or a democrat, right?


BORGER: I mean, blame the media, nobody likes the media.

LEMON: But it's interesting when Donald Trump comes back at you, there's this interesting thing, let's just be honest about it, you don't have it with any other candidate. If you're on, and he, you know, you said he'll punch you three times back if you punch him, he'll punch you three times back. But then the ratings go up three times.


LEMON: When he's on, is that legitimate?

BRINKLEY: And people will channel to other candidate. He'll say, oh, gosh, it was Jeb Bush, I'm gaining off.

LEMON: So, where is the line drawn in that?

BRINKLEY: We've become a kind of Jerry Springer, you know, political mayhem going on right now. It's about entertainment, circus environment. We've gone and everybody is so hyper about being entertained, young people that if they can't watch public policy discourse in this country anymore. They need action, flying...

LEMON: That he comes from. That's what he comes from.

BORGER: But our job is to ask the question. If the viewer believes the candidate is not answering it, that's their, you know, they're going to make that decision. I think the candidate, Donald Trump, as you were saying out shows up or he talks to journalists. And I think that the other candidates, and I may have be saying this because I'm a journalist and I want all the candidates to talk to us, but I think there's a lesson here which is that you want to get your point across, get your point across. RATHER: Right. But Don, you mentioned earlier pivoting. And Donald

Trump has an opportunity in my opinion right now to pivot he's leading; he's going to go to the convention in my opinion with the most delegates, perhaps not 1,237 to win.

[22:20:08] He has an opportunity now to pivot his own campaign into more leadership, less inflammatory language. Forget talking about riots. Take the high road now. Listen, I'm prepared for leadership. Because in my opinion again, which is worth anything, the republicans have a very good chance to win in November.

They have an excellent chance to win this election coming out of a two-term democratic administration. Donald Trump, he's smart. This guy is smart, whatever else you think about him, he's very smart. He is very enthusiastic and he is authentic. The Donald Trump you see is the Donald Trump that exists.

LEMON: But he should be building a coalition within his party.

RATHER: Exactly. If he's as smart as I think he is and as better angels will...


LEMON: OK. I want to move on and I want to talk about likability because they are nominees, if Trump and Clinton are the nominees, we can put this up, they may be the least liked nominees of all time, OK?

CNN most recent poll numbers show Hillary Clinton is viewed unfavorable by 55 percent of voters, while Donald Trump is viewed unfavorably by 60 percent. Is that the level of dislike unprecedented?

BORGER: Yes. I think 60 percent overall. But if you look at Hillary Clinton's favorability within the Democratic Party, she's 80 percent favorable within the Democratic Party. Donald Trump is not at that number but there been so many -- so many candidates.

So, she's well liked within her party. He's brought huge numbers of new voters into his party. So, within their bases, they're doing just fine. The question is where are those independent voters going to go?

And what we've seen with Donald Trump, by the way, is in these primaries that are open where people can cross over; he attracts independent voters to vote for him.

LEMON: So, Doug, where are all these people who like them, where are they coming from? Why are they vote are for him?

BRINKLEY: Well, look, we've mentioning 1968, nobody really like Nixon a whole lot but he kind of was the default guy. And nobody really liked Hubert Humphrey. People were about Bobby Kennedy and then he was killed. And so, neither Humphrey or Nixon were charismatic.

Trump has the charisma but he's coming at it, he's got just such a tight fist of a base that he's carrying around with him. And like you said, Don, can he really expand that? And Dan is saying this is the moment to pivot.

I think it is, but he's stuck with that wall. He's stuck with building that wall and deportation and if you've listened to so many of his speeches. That's the applause line. That's what makes him...


RATHER: I think the national question, Don, I can't recall a campaign in which you had two candidates who at this stage in the campaign, of course it can change, will lower in the likability quotient. We had campaigns with one candidate whose likability quotient was low.

Richard Nixon in 1972 and he goes on to win. But I can't remember a campaign where you had both leading candidates of each of the party with as low a likability quotient as Trump and Hillary Clinton now have.


LEMON: Because of what's low as well is their truthfulness. That's low as well. Do they both neutralize and cancel out each other?

BORGER: Well, Hillary Clinton has a big problem on truthfulness and the way you know that is not with republicans, but it's within democrats. With democrats even in primaries that she win, she still has a large problem on that.


LEMON: OK. But, listen, Gloria, before you continue, even when Donald Trump doesn't tell the truth, even when you go from a group that is nonpartisan, that does a truthfulness test of what he said.

BORGER: A 'truthiness.'

LEMON: A 'truthiness,' as Steven Colbert says -- coined, even when you do that, even if he doesn't tell the truth, nobody cares.

BORGER: Right. Because you know why? Because they believe he tells it like it is. And that's a question we ask in every exit poll and he does very well on that -- on that judgment and people want that because they feel, particularly republican voters, feel betrayed by the republican establishment.

They're angry and they believe that they haven't been told the truth. They believe they've been lied to and they're done with it. The one thing they believe about Donald Trump is that he tells them the truth. They believe that. And so, that goes a long way in politics these days.


RATHER: We'll see as the campaign goes along. Because if he gets the nomination, which right now he's highly favored to do, there will be people who say he tells it the way it isn't. Investigative reporting-- reporters and others will lay it out and say Donald Trump tells it how it isn't and this is how it is not and lay that out. That makes him vulnerable.

BRINKLEY: Did Hillary Clinton, as Barack Obama said, is likable enough. Remember that moment? You're likable enough.


BRINKLEY: I think for democrats they feel she's likable enough.

BORGER: They like her.


BRINKLEY: And I'm not sure. I think, you know, people do like want to see her. But she gets boring when she speaks.


LEMON: Do you remember...

BORGER: She's very popular to democrats.

[22:25:01] LEMON: How benign does this seem now when you think about it, binders full of women? It's like us, not even a big deal of 47 percent. It's not really do, like, not a big deal. When you know, where we have come.

BORGER: And you have Mitt Romney...

LEMON: I know.

BORGER: Mitt Romney was the guy who came out and gave the speech about...

LEMON: I know.

BORGER: ... Donald Trump saying to the republican base, how can you do this? You know, how can you do this?

LEMON: You guys truly are my dream team. This is a show I like throwing on the air. Thank you very much. I appreciate all of you.

BRINKLEY: Thank you, Don.

BORGER: Thank you.

LEMON: All right. Up next, this could be one of the nastiest campaigns in years especially when it comes -- the television I can see, I can read better, the camera is closer -- but are they changing any minds? We'll take a look.


LEMON: Tens of millions of dollars and negative ad buys couldn't take out billionaire Donald Trump last night. Marco Rubio and his allies spending $20 million on ads in the five Super Tuesday states. That's a lot of dough. That's twice as much as his GOP rivals combined. Donald Trump spending less than 5 million and winning big.

Joining me now is republican consultant, Margaret Hoover and John Brabender. Good to have both of you on.

[22:30:01] So, John, this kind of goes with the last segment that we had. But I want to -- I want to show you this and then you can respond.

Donald Trump was subjected to sustain negative advertising for the first time in his campaign especially in Florida. And what did all of those ad bites do, did they stop him at all, nothing, right?

BRABENDER: I don't think they did anything, frankly. I don't think they moved numbers. It was a lot of money against who is probably going to be the republican nominee. So, I'm not even sure I understand why we're doing it.

But the problem is it was targeting the wrong voters. I thought the ad itself, a lot of people saw it and said, oh, my gosh, I could never vote for that guy. But they're people who are already not voting for him. As far as his own supporters, they saw that and said, yes, it's Donald Trump.

LEMON: So, last night, during his victory speech Trump told a story about being embarrassed at a recent golf tournament. I want you to listen to this.


TRUMP: I'm watching. We have television screens all over, and we're down at this gorgeous on Doral and everything is working beautifully. Then a commercial comes on, the worst commercial and I'm with these wonderful people from Cadillac and all top executives and I'm saying look over there, look, don't watch it. No, you don't want to watch it. I'm saying don't -- isn't the grass beautiful?


Look, look, don't watch. And they came in waves, one after another after another.


LEMON: So, what's he saying there, John?

BRABENDER: Well, I think he doesn't like the fact that he is being attacked. But I will tell you, he's creating the problem somewhat himself. Your earlier guest said something I thought was very important. It is time for him to pivot, give a more visionary message and he just is not doing that.

And I think that he has an opportunity to expand his base a little bit and I just think that I would like to see something more substantive, something more visionary, something more hopeful.

There's a lot of people who are tired of America getting sand kicked in their face all over the world, like is happening right now in North Korea with this UVA student. And that's what they like about Donald Trump. They think he's going to fight back and make American great again, but he's not telling them how is he going to do that, why is he doing that, and what that all means. And I think that's a squandered opportunity.

LEMON: Margaret, I know you want to jump in but this will give you the perfect opportunity to do it. Because he got over the embarrassment apparently, because his campaign posted this to Instagram today. Here it is.




LEMON: What do you think?

MARGARET HOOVER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think Donald Trump is the punch line of that joke. I don't think Hillary Clinton is. Look, it is sort of funny and light hearted and every candidate has inevitably these moments on the campaign trail where they do something that is repeated and they sort of probably at their own peril they did it.

And everybody knew when Hillary Clinton barked, I think that was going to be on a reel over and over again on the negative attacks. But it's so crazy to me that Donald Trump is saying this that his press conference, the victory speech last night like, oh, no, don't look at the screen, don't look at the screen.

Because what we all know is that there is not one barking thing for Donald Trump. There are 20, 30, 40 equivalent barking moments of Donald Trump that are going to be blasted all over the airwaves when it comes to the general election for him by democrats not just the republicans in this.

I mean, the republicans are just seeding the ground for democrats, handing over the upper research files, and we're going to see the negative women ads, the negative things he said about African- Americans, the negative things he said about Hispanics, the negative things he said about all the constituencies that he's going to have to carve into a little bit if he's going to win.

LEMON: John, why did you change your mind on this ad? Because you liked it at first, right?

BRABENDER: Well, I'm not sure that I ever like it. Here's -- look, I've made thousands of ads. And what I've learned is sometimes there's an ad that seems kind of cool and funny at about 11 o'clock at night after too much pizza and beer in an edit suite.

By morning adults come in and say, no, we're not going to run that. The problem with this ad was, it looks like somebody as a challenger running for Congress not somebody running for president. Second of all, the strategy was smart. Go after Putin, go after ISIS,

tie Hillary into it, but do it in a more thoughtful way. Because again, this is just another clue to people that I'm not sure that Donald Trump has the gravitas that I want. And I think that they have an opportunity to show that he does and this ad doesn't help him either.

LEMON: And also it's out of context. This is from Hillary Clinton at the campaign rally in February. This is the original.


HILLARY CLINTON, (D) U.S. PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: One of my favorite, favorite political ads of all time was a radio ad in rural Arkansas where the announcer said "wouldn't it be great if somebody running for offices said something we could have an immediate as to whether it was true or not?" Well, we've trained this dog. And the dog, if it's not true he's going to bark.

I'm trying to follow how we can do that with the republicans, you know, we need -- we need to get that dog and follow -- follow them around and every time they say these things, like, oh, the great recession was caused by too much regulation (barking), you know.


[22:35:11] LEMON: She's telling a story about an old radio ad that used the barking indicate when politicians were lying. I mean, will other campaigns, you know, do this put out of context do you think Margaret?

HOOVER: Yes. Of course. I mean, that's the whole point of political advertising, right? You're trying to paint a narrative with the other candidate's words. It doesn't matter when they said those words. But I don't -- to be fair here, I don't think Donald Trump was trying to like put anything Hillary Clinton said in context.

He was taking a picture for barking and trying to demonstrate I think that she was fundamentally and serious enough for not strong enough to take on Vladimir Putin, which is frankly, completely in Congress if you're Donald Trump in the first place. He's the one who likes Putin. He likes authoritarian instincts as far s we know. I mean, this is what he said to us. So, it did sort on fall deaf ears, the whole message.

LEMON: Yes. How do -- how does one effectively take on Donald Trump, John?

BRABENDER: Well, that's the problem. They're all trying to do it like a typical candidate. I mean, this would be like running against Will Ferrell or Howard Stern or somebody and going with all the same rules.

I think -- I think what you have to do frankly, is to go back and look at who his audience is first. I'll give you an example. The one thing I'm surprised more people haven't brought up is Donald Trump talking about how he thinks wages are too high. To me, that's probably a more relevant issue to most of his supporters

than him making mockery of Hillary Clinton or women criticizing him for sometimes the language, inappropriate language he uses. I think they're trying to play by rules not understanding that Donald Trump has changed all those rules about a year ago.

HOOVER: That's certainly true for the republican primary. And you know, that's largely over. I mean, the vote isn't done, the 1,237 haven't been reached. But, you know, we've sort of seen even the pedal coming off the gas a bit in the last week in terms of the negative ads against Donald Trump.

And frankly, I think that's why he did so well in Florida. But there is going to be different rules when it comes to general election. Because the people that Donald Trump needs to win in the general election, the people that Hillary Clinton needs to win in the general election are different than republican primaries. I think the different negative ads are going to end a different attacks on Donald trump will be more of that.

LEMON: Quickly, John. I got to run.

BRABENDER: Well, you see, remember one thing, in Pennsylvania we found out this week that something like 48,000 democrats have switched parties to vote in the republican primary in Pennsylvania so they can vote for Donald Trump. Clearly what Donald Trump is doing is not just resonating with republicans. It is resonating with a lot of democrats as well.

LEMON: Coming up, we're down -- thank you both by the way. Coming up, we're down to three candidates on the republican side. Is Donald Trump unstoppable? Well, and is he the new face of the GOP, whether they like it or not?


LEMON: Another huge Super Tuesday for Donald Trump, but is he a lock for the nomination? And is he changing the GOP forever?

Joining me now Bob Cusack, editor-in-chief of The, Bob Beckel, author of "I Should Be Dead, My Life Surviving Politics, TV, and Addiction," and Matt Lewis, the author of "Too Dumb to Fail."

You know, I ask Margaret Hoover before she left, I said is he -- is he becoming the -- is he the face of the Republican Party now, Donald Trump and she said yes, he is.

So, Matt, you first. Donald Trump is even closer to the nomination today after big wins on yesterday. You were hoping that the others could pull together to stop him. Is he just unstoppable now, you think?

MATT LEWIS, "TOO DUMB TO FAIL" AUTHOR: Getting that way. John Kasich, you know, helped out the never Trump calls of course by winning Ohio, the winner-take-all state with the 66 delegates. So, that helps. And I think it's going to be very close. Trump could get the, you know, 1,237 delegates he needs or there could

be a convention fight, in which case he threatens there may be a riot if he's deprived the nomination. So, things could get hairy in Cleveland.

LEMON: Marco Rubio suffered -- it was a humiliating defeat in his own home State of Florida. In his speech he blamed the establishment republicans for the fractures in the party. Listen to this.


MARCO RUBIO, (R) FLORIDA STATE SENATOR: In 2010, the Tea Party wave carried me and others into office because not enough was happening. And that Tea party wave gave republicans a majority in the House. But nothing changed. In 2014, those same voters gave republicans a majority in the Senate and still nothing changed.

And I blame some of that on the conservative movement, a movement that is supposed to be about our principles and our ideas, but I blame most of it on our political establishment.


A political establishment that for far too long has looked down at conservatives, looked down at conservatives as simple-minded people, looked down at conservatives as simply bomb throwers.


LEMON: Bob Cusack, is he right? A better question is, is it too late? Why didn't you say that earlier?

BOB CUSACK, THE HILL EDITOR-IN-CHIEF: Yes, and the establishment wanted Rubio to win and he was hoping that that worry him to the nomination. You know, that speech some called it gracious, but it was an attack on a variety of people, whether that's Donald Trump or the establishment.

And Marco Rubio, he outlasted Jeb Bush. He's got a bright political future but it was rough night. His strategy did not work. He was basically scared of the media for a while. He did not converse with the media, certainly not nearly as much as Donald Trump and I think that hurt. He changed his strategy, he tried to out-Trump Trump. It didn't work. I think he'll be back on the political stage. But he had a rough night, no doubt about it.

LEMON: I'm so glad you said that. Because you said he was afraid of the media for a while. I get kind of upset when people say Donald Trump gets so much attention from the media. Well, why didn't the other guys accept the interviews?

CUSACK: Exactly.

LEMON: Why they didn't -- when they were in the race they just did not accept interviews. You would call Donald Trump's campaign and say can you do an interview, can you call in, "sure." You would call someone else and they go, "no, thank you." So, why do you complain? Go ahead, Bob. Bob Cusack. Bob Cusack.

CUSACK: yes, listen, yes, I think you're right. I think if you're going to -- if you're going to accept those interviews and then complain about how the media is dealing with Donald Trump, fine.

[22:45:02] But you know, we asked all the candidates for interviews. Some of them said, yes. Some of them said, no, we'll get back to you. Jeb Bush never sat down with us, neither did Marco Rubio.


CUSACK: Others like Rand Paul, Trump, Carson, did. So, you can't complain if you're not going to play the game.

LEMON: Did it strike you, Bob Beckel, as odd that the candidates who was supposed to be the saviour of the establishment republicans in this election is trashing the establishment now. It's looking like well, maybe he doesn't want to bite the hand that feeds him but that hand didn't necessarily save them so now he's biting it? Is that -- is this more about his po1itical future?

BOB BECKEL, "I SHOULD BE DEAD" AUTHOR: Partially but, you know, I'm still trying to figure out who the republican establishment is. I mean, I keep hearing about this and as if there is some broker somewhere that can broker a convention. They don't have any brokers. They don't anybody powerful enough to do that. The majority leader in the Senate, Mitch McConnell is not powerful enough to do it.

But this looks to me very much like what happened to the democrats in '68 when the establishment shoved Hubert Humphrey down the throats of the democrats, the anti-war movement, Bobby Kennedy, and J. McCarthy, those people, it was -- I was in Chicago during that, it was ugly.

And this thing, if they try to take this away from Trump, if he crosses the thousand marks and he's within 200, at that point you're out of your mind to try to take it away from him.

LEMON: Hey, Matt, I want to play this for you. This is -- this is Glenn Beck for John Kasich. Look.


GLENN BECK, POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Kasich, you, I mean, excuse my language, but you son of a (muted). The republican -- the republic is at stake.


BECK: This is not -- this is not like a normal race. The republic is at stake.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And instead it's all about him.

BECK: It's about him. It's all about him.

(END VIDEO CLIP) LEMON: Glenn Beck, Matt, is a Ted Cruz supporter, right? But basically what he's saying is Kasich, you're only in it, you're a spoiler, it's not going to happen. Should Kasich drop out?

LEWIS: Well, I think, you know, Glenn Beck has been there to engage in hyperbole from time to time. I think sometimes it gets a little emotional. Look, I'm not convinced that -- if you want to stop Donald Trump and I'm convinced that republicans need to stop Donald Trump.

Because he tarnishes the brand and in some very unseemly ways, but if you want to do it, I think the best way to do it is don't think about Ted Cruz somehow beating him before a convention. That's very implausible.

I think more likely is, you just try to stop Donald Trump from getting the 1,237 delegates he needs to clinch the nomination. And if that's your goal I think can you make a pretty compelling argument that republicans are better off with John Kasich in.


LEWIS: I'm not sure. I'm not sure that a one-on-one race with Cruz is the way to go if you want to stop Trump.


LEMON: Much more to...

BECKEL: Whichever one of those two emerge will be fine with us.

LEMON: We're going to discuss more but I have to ask you, Matt, when we come back, is, you know, you talk about Marco Rubio, why is he saying this now? Why aren't republicans saying this a while ago? Why are they saying it now? We'll be right back after this.


LEMON: Nothing Donald Trump says or does seems to bother his loyal voters, but are there enough of them to put him over the top? And what about his suggestion that they could riot if he's denied the nomination?

Back with me now to discuss, Bob Cusack, Bob Beckel, and Matt Lewis. So, Matt Lewis, I want to follow up with a question I asked you before the break. So, why weren't the republican establishment saying this before? Now Marco Rubio saying the establishment didn't listen to the voters. And that all of a sudden you have this very populist person, who is a former reality star, he is now listening to that part of the base. Where have you been? Where did they've been?

LEWIS: Well, look, I think it's very true that, you know, the Republican Party could have probably been more responsive to kind of working class Americans, the economic struggles that they're going through, but I have to say a lot of what Donald Trump is saying or doing to appeal to them is bad. It's bad public policy, number one. Protectionism. If you're a conservative you wouldn't, by definition, believe in what

a lot of what Trump is espousing. And if you actually want to grow the Republican Party in the future. If you want to attract the Hispanics and women, you wouldn't do or say the things that Trump is doing and saying that is actually earning him some votes.

So, I understand what's going on. I would say, I think that Rubio, this part of the speech, I like the speech overall. I felt this part of the speech was discordant. I think it was emblematic of Rubio's problem. He doesn't really know quite who he is. And I thought it was a bit of self-flagellation that he had to sort of show that he's not part of the establishment, that he's going to attack them to prove that he's not one of them.

Well, guess what, he was attacked for being the establishment. Maybe he should have just owned it at that point.

LEMON: So, Bob. Go ahead, Bob Beckel.

BECKEL: You know, it's interesting to me that almost every political analyst and I include myself in that, who said there was no chance that Trump could possibly get this nomination, so people laid off the guy for a long time as he was beginning to win and they didn't pay attention to demographics.

Now people are being hesitant about saying he can't win the general election. I'm here to tell you it's impossible unless Hillary Clinton gets indicted. He cannot win. The demographics are not there.

Let's keep in mind, he's winning a third of the republican primary and caucus goers. Say 40 percent now. And that's just not enough. You don't have enough. You're not going to get enough angry white guys to come in and vote. Because, you know, the 80 percent of the voters were white in the two cycles ago. Now it's going to be closer to 70.

LEMON: Bob, nothing fuels people like anger and fear. So, I would not underestimate...


BECKEL: Well, I know, that's fine. Let's you and I put it down. I'm telling you, he's going to get crushed.

LEMON: OK. All right. I'm not betting. I'm just telling you when people are driven by fear and driven by anger, they will go to the polls and vote.

BECKEL: Yes. A small percentage of them.

LEMON: Bob, Bob Cusack, I have to ask you, you heard what Donald Trump said earlier today to our Chris Cuomo on New Day about the riots at the convention if he's not nominated. Do you that's a threat or prediction?

CUSACK: Well, I think he's putting a mark again. He's put a lot of markers down on the republican side. Last summer, he said, listen, if the RNC, the Republican National Committee, is not fair to me, I might run as an independent, as a third party.

[22:55:01] This time he's basically putting the marker down that if he -- if they try to take this nomination from him, well, then, there's going to be a lot of people that are upset and that is going to happen.

At the same time there was a Wall Street journal editorial that said, listen, these are the rules, you've got to get to 1,237, and if you don't get to 1237, well, then all bets are off and the party can do what it wants to do. Of course, that would be a very entertaining convention...


BECKEL: Yes. I was to say, I got to care, what rules that you bring up. You go outside and tell Trump supporters on the floor about rules and the Wall Street Journal editorial and see what happens to you.

CUCASK: Good point.

BECKEL: Good luck.

LEMON: So, riots are markers? Is that what you're saying?

BECKEL: Riots? I mean, are you kidding me? They ought to bring the National Guard in before they even starts. Have you seen these guys? I mean, with all due respect, these are not Phi Beta Kappa's here. These are guys that know how to fight and turn it up. And if they try to take it away from him in Cruz's 400 delegate bags, I mean, it's going to be great from my standpoint. But it's going to be just a disaster and who's going to do it? I keep coming, who in the establishment, who is the establishment that can sit in the room and say, I, we're going to take on Trump.

LEMON: I think Reince Priebus could do it. I'm just saying that. Maybe it's Reince, maybe Sean...


LEMON: That was awfully nice of you today.

LEMON: Maybe Sean Spicer, I mean, maybe it's Paul Ryan, you know, maybe it's Mitch McConnell.

BECKEL: You know, it's a -- you must have been up late last night. There's no power brokers left. I mean, it just doesn't exist. And Donald Trump has redefined that party in a way that they don't want to be redefined. Think about the neocons. There was a big, you know, ascendant foreign policy crowd for years. And he's exactly the opposite of it and they're going crazy.


BECEKL: They're trying to lead the way. And by the way, tomorrow there's a meeting of conservatives in Washington to try to stop Trump. LEMON: So, what happens if he gets elected and there is no -- there

isn't a wall built and everybody doesn't get terrific jobs and there isn't as much winning, so much winning all over the place as he have promised. Then what, Matt?

LEWIS: Well, then we have what happened when Barack Obama got elected. And you know, remember the Hillary Clinton commercial, you know, the seas will heal themselves, the skies will clear. She was mocking this, I mean, the hope and change.

That would lead -- if Trump gets elected and doesn't fix things, we don't get tired of winning and feeds the pessimism and the political apathy. So, it's really, you know, it's a mess right now. And I think that, you know, the problem for republicans is if Donald Trump is the nominee, republicans lose if he wins and they lose if he loses.

LEMON: Yes. So then what? It becomes American idol for presidency and then we see Simon Cowell up there...


BECKEL: I'd say, I won't -- I won't -- I'll be in the Caribbean when that happens.

LEMON: I got to go. Look our Ryan Seacrest, he could be hosting the next who is the next president. Thank you, guys. I appreciate it.

When we come right back, the male pundits who say Hillary Clinton should smile more. Clinton supporters are definitely not smiling about that.