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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL
Coverage of Democratic Caucuses; Bernie Sanders Speaks in Wisconsin. Aired 6-7p ET
Aired March 26, 2016 - 18:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Welcome back to CNN's live coverage of the Democratic caucuses, western Saturday. To get you up to speed if you're just joining us, CNN did project that Bernie Sanders will be the winner of the Alaska Democratic Caucuses. Let's bring you in a key race alert now from Washington state with 25 percent of the vote in, in that delegate-rich state, 101 delegates at stake, Bernie Sanders is leading with 77 percent of the delegates, Hillary Clinton has 22.8 percent.
We are still waiting from some major population centers including Seattle to come at us with the number of delegates they are awarding. We are standing by also to hear from Bernie Sanders himself. He is drawing a very large crowd in Wisconsin, which is the next primary battleground state.
We will carry Senator Sanders' remarks live. We are counting down to the top of the next hour when the Democratic caucuses in Hawaii get under way. The western Saturday contests officer sanders an important opportunity to add to his delegate tally and attempt to slow Hillary Clinton's path to the nomination or overtake her. A total of 142 Democratic delegates are at stake in the three states hold contests today, Hawaii, Alaska and Washington State.
Let's go to Suzanne Malveaux now, she at the Sanders event in Madison, Wisconsin. Suzanne.
SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well Jake it's really interesting, because Bernie Sanders is in the building. We've been talking to his campaign manager Jeff Weaver. But the crowd behind me, they have no idea about the win so far, the win in Alaska and potentially the lead that we are also finding in Washington. So they will be surprised, but we've seen a sweep from Bernie Sanders already congratulating and thanking the people in Alaska.
We have about 7,600 people in this audience. According to a law enforcement official, there were at least 10,000 who RSVP'd. This is just the kind of crowds that you expect that a Bernie Sanders rally. And Madison, as you know, this is the place back in July of last year where he saw these numbers for the first time, a big, big rally that generated 10,000 folks. So they are very loyal Bernie Sanders fans. We expect him momentarily to get up on that stage, talk about these victories, talk about what it means. You don't have to convince the crowd here, but certainly he is going to have a tough battle in Wisconsin because we know here Madison big, big fans, but Milwaukee and other places is going to be highly competitive with Hillary Clinton. But that is not going to be the message today from Bernie Sanders. Jeff Weaver and others are talking about a strategy of winning these states today, building momentum and then taking that on to the bigger states in the weeks to come. Jake.
TAPPER: All right, Suzanne Malveaux in Madison, Wisconsin, where Bernie Sanders will speak any moment. We will bring that to you live. But until he comes up, let's chat with Brianna Keilar and David Chalian. A few weeks ago when Bernie Sanders was swept, when Hillary Clinton won five context including all-important Ohio and Florida, he spoke that evening, he didn't even mention there were contests that day. I suspect it's going to be a little different today.
BRIANNA KEILAR, SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Except she doesn't have an event. So she gets to not speak and ignore it and we don't get to see it, right? That's why it was pretty visible when he was in Arizona and doing that. We've been talking to the Chair of the Democratic Party there in Washington and we're expecting final turnout numbers very soon.
So we're keeping an eye on that. And that's important because in 2008 you saw 246,000 people come out to caucus and they think it could be more than that. Obviously that works in Bernie Sanders' favor. I think we're seeing that as we look at the numbers here. But just to take a look at one of the counties that we have been seeing, that you just discussed with John King, which is beautiful Snohomish County, which is just north of Seattle.
TAPPER: Which Bernie Sanders won.
KEILAR: Correct. Is winning and is winning handily. And at a bigger margin than we saw Barack Obama win in 2008, 76-23 at this point with 57 percent reporting. He's doing 10 percent better than at least for the final number for then Senator Obama. So, this is a big deal, and you can't ignore this enthusiasm or Hillary Clinton's sort of inability to kind of bring that up, certainly in Washington and maybe in other places.
And it makes you think that if she does move into the general election, if she is the nominee, how does she combat that against, say, a Donald Trump candidacy, that enthusiasm gap. Is it just enough that Democrats are motivated against Donald Trump? What about being motivated for her?
DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Well one way she's going to combat it is with this person we keep referring to from 2008, Barack Obama. And, I think today he's getting a bit of his to-do list, if she is indeed the general election nominee for the Democrats. We've talked a lot about how he will be critical to help recreate the Obama coalition of young voters, African-American voters and Latino voters to help build that and sort of deliver that with Hillary Clinton if indeed she's the nominee. [18:05:05] I think today we're seeing another piece of his to-do list, which is he is going to be critical to help bring on board some of this more left-wing liberal progressive base that is with Bernie Sanders on to the Hillary Clinton train. And I think that's going to be the other piece of his to-do list in places like these states that we're seeing today.
TAPPER: Do you not think that some of the reasons we're seeing these progressives turn out in such numbers for Bernie Sanders is that they are disappointed with Barack Obama?
CHALIAN: Well, I think it is true that -- clearly, we know there has been liberal progressive discontent and Bernie Sanders gave voice to this. It's one of the critiques that Hillary Clinton has made of him throughout this campaign when he was sort of threatening not to support his re-election or what have you back in 2012.
But, listen, it is true that when we see in the exit polls in the states that we've had exit pole poll and we asked, do you want to see a continuation of Barack Obama's policy? It tends to see if there's a large number that say yes, we want to continue Barack Obama's policies, it tends to be a state Hillary Clinton win.
KEILAR: I think both of these things are actually true. We heard that on the ground, certainly in Washington this week. People wanted more and they elect Barack Obama, some of them told me, and they got a centrist, that's what I heard. So they certainly wanted him to be more to the left. But then, even going all the way back to the Harkin Steak Fry, which is so long ago, you heard people who had supported Obama and they wanted to support Hilary Clinton, they felt like that was a continuation.
And you said to them, oh you don't really sound too excited about it. And they'll say, well you know, you can only -- what did they say, lightning only strikes twice a couple of people told me. So, I think that the President can really rile those people up who are excited or not really excited but maybe what they need to do is, to be a little inspired to get their friends to come out and that's something that he definitely can help with, as David says.
TAPPER: One thing that is definitely true, Kate Bolduan, is that this is going to be a very, very, very brutal and grueling presidential race. I think once the general election nominees have been chosen.
KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: That's absolutely right, Jake. And let's just up with what they're discussing. I mean, Angela, we've seen to this point obviously, everyone parses for President Obama's words whenever he does an interview or whenever he will take a question about the democratic primary right now. When do you think we see President Obama weigh in more into this? Do you think there would be a point, a lead, a level of a lead that Hillary Clinton could hit that it wouldn't seem like Obama would be taking sides at all?
ANGELA RYE, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: No. I think that going to wait until the convention. I think that he has nothing to lose or everything to lose and nothing to gain from saying anything before that. But one of the things I want to touch on that they were just discussing is this idea of the Obama coalition and the fact this we keep going back to the fact that every diverse state that exists Hillary Clinton wins, and like slaughters Bernie Sanders which isn't exactly the case.
When we look at Tuesday the 15th, so the other Super Tuesday, Hillary definitely dominated in Florida and North Carolina, but she just barely eked out a victory in Missouri where they tied for delegates. In Illinois they're very close and only four earned delegates that are the difference there. I think Ohio of course was a closer win, but I think it's unfortunate and I think it's a disservice particularly to African-American voters to say that where there's large -- where there's a large demographic of African-Americans he really wins.
That primary -- in particular that primary tells us that African- American voters are not monolithic and there are regional difference that's help decipher the issues.
BOLDUAN: Bakari, how much do you think Hillary Clinton needs Barack Obama?
BAKARI SELLERS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well I think the Democratic Party needs Barack Obama. And outside of my good friend Bill Press who has an amazing book that I bought in Amazon, not many Democrats have buyer's remorse.
SELLERS: The fact of the matter is, not a lot of Democrats have buyer's remorse. I don't buy that. Barack Obama has an 85 percent, 90 percent approval rating within the Democratic Party. He's not an albatross around anybody's neck. And he won't be an albatross around anybody's neck because his approval ratings with the recent Gallup poll are the highest that they've been this a very, very long time. That's a simple fact, it's over 50 percent.
But the question that I have and it's not -- Hillary Clinton wants and needs Bernie Sanders to be a part of her coalition. There is no greater image than having Barack Obama, Michele Obama, Hillary Clinton, Bill Clinton and Bernie and Jane Sanders on stage together. The question that many people have is, does Bernie Sanders want to be a part of that group? Does he want to be a part of that party? Because from 2011 running against -- saying that we need to primary Barack Obama, to this point now, Bill Press even said that Bernie Sander has raised over $100 million but I sitting here before you today have literally raised more money for Democratic candidates running for office than Bernie Sanders has. And that's a fundamental problem.
And so the question that we have is, you know, does Bernie Sanders want to be a part of this coalition moving forward? And that's my question when he makes conditions upon an endorsement.
[18:10:07] SELLERS: Bill?
BILL PRESS, LIBERAL POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Let me speak to that if I can.
PRESS: I think you ought to forget talking about that, OK? I know Bernie Sanders I think better than anybody on this panel. When I sat in Bernie Sanders' office in the Senate office building, the first time he told me he was thinking about running for president, when he sat in my living room a couple of months later we talked about for president. The thing that he said over to me, I will never be a Ralph Nader.
I will be for the Democratic Party. I want a Democrat to be the next president of the United States. Bernie will be part of that coalition. He will encourage his people to be part of that coalition. And I think if Hillary plays it right, they all be all behind her. I know I will be 100 percent.
BOLDUAN: Hold on one second. We're waiting right now to hear from Bernie Sanders who will be taking to the stage in Madison, Wisconsin. We're following all of that coming up.
[18:15:00] TAPPER: Welcome back. Bringing you this key race alert. Let's look at Washington State, now 101 delegates at stake with 29 percent of the delegates in. Bernie Sanders is ahead by a sizable margin, 77.3 percent to Hillary Clinton's 22.5 percent. We are still waiting for some key numbers from key counties. That's why that state has not been called yet.
But let's talk about Alaska where CNN did project Bernie Sanders will be the winner of the Alaska democratic caucuses, there with 38 percent of the vote in. Sanders is ahead with 78.7 percent of the delegates to Hillary Clinton's 21.3 percent. A huge victory there but only 16 delegates at stake.
We are waiting to hear from Senator Sanders who will be addressing a crowd in Madison, Wisconsin, at any moment. Kate Bolduan, let's go to you for more discussion of this all.
BOLDUAN: Discussion, thank you so much, thanks so much Jake. Just what jake was saying, we're waiting to hear from Bernie Sanders. He's going to be coming out. So he's -- as he will come out likely, he'll have won. We'll see what happens if there's another projection before he hits the stage. What does Bernie Sanders -- what do you expect Bernie Sanders to say or what does he need to say? Because he's not in either any three of these states that we're tonight about tonight, he's in Wisconsin.
RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Right. And in fact, you know, if you look at the basic controversy of this race, I think the argument from Bernie Sanders is going to be the argument that we have heard from Bernie Sanders. The question is remains, can he break serve? Can he win in a place apart from Michigan where it is not likely for him? Even though he did get close in Missouri and Illinois it's kind of, you know, horseshoes and hand grenades. He did not ultimately win them.
And as you kind of look where we've been in the last few weeks, Nia and I were calculating, the five states that he's won since March 15th have awarded 237 delegates, the five states that Hillary Clinton won on March 15th awarded 813 delegates, and that is just kind of the brutal math that he's facing. I think Wisconsin is going to be a good state for him. I think he's got a number of good states coming up. But ultimately where this really will be, can he break serve in New York, Pennsylvania, California, probably needs to break server in several of them in order -- really truly change the dynamic.
BOLDUAN: Wisconsin has also become make or break. Let's look at the Republican side. I mean, if you look at the math, Ted Cruz, John Kasich, they need to do something there if they want to hold Donald Trump from reaching the magic number of 1,237. What does it look like right now?
S.E. CUPP, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Wisconsin is so interesting. It's voted Democrat in the last I think six elections, in general, seven. But it's purple and the margins every one of those years have been real tight for the most part. When would talk to Scott Walker, the governor of that state, about the makeup, he would always sort of brag about those Obama, Walker voters, people who would vote for both Barack Obama and Scott Walker which they've done three times now.
I don't know that the Obama, Walker voter votes for Trump necessarily. That sounds to me more like a Kasich voter. But obviously Trump has defied sort of al logic at this point.
BOLDUAN: I'll say (ph) it right now you hear the kind of the crowd roaring guys. And just looking off my shoulders, you see Bernie Sanders and Jane Sanders taking the stage in Madison, Wisconsin. Let's listen in.
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS, (I-VT) DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This is an extraordinary turnout, Madison. Thank you so much for being here today.
Let me begin by thanking the people of Alaska for giving us a resounding victory tonight.
And it appears that with some 30 percent of the vote in, in the state of Washington, we're above 75 percent.
CROWD: Bernie! Bernie! Bernie! Bernie!
SANDERS: You know, we knew from day one that we will going to have politically a hard time in the deep south, but that is a conservative part of our country. But we new things were going to improve as we headed west.
And last week we won Utah with 78 percent of the vote.
[18:20:07] We won Idaho with 79 percent of the vote. And we won Democrats abroad with 67 percent of the vote. We are making significant inroads in Secretary Clinton's lead and we have, with your support coming here in Wisconsin, we have a path toward victory.
We have -- I think it is hard for anybody to deny that our campaign has the momentum. You are the momentum. Look around you tonight. And what we are seeing and what momentum means is in state after state, huge voter turnouts.
And that is how we win, when working people and young people, when people have given up on the political process, get back in and demand a government that represents all of us, not the 1 percent. That's how it works.
Momentum is about a week ago having 14,000 people out at a rally in Salt Lake City and 15,000 out in Seattle, Washington, last night. Momentum and energy is about, at this point in our campaign, having rallies and town meetings that have brought out almost 1 million Americans.
And what momentum is about is an election after election winning the overwhelming percentage of young people who are participating. And by young, I don't mean just the very young. The older you get, the younger the age appears. And I'm talking about winning by sizable margins, people 45 years of age or younger, the future of America.
You know, we have been told for a long time that young people were supposed to be apathetic. That young people were not interested in shaping the future of our nation. Well, that is not what we are seeing in this campaign.
What we are seeing is that the young people of this country who love this country so much want to make it a better country and that they are prepared to stand up and fight and take on the major crises that we face.
They want an economy that works for all of us, not just wealthy campaign contributors. They want the United States of America to join every other major country and guarantee health care to all people as a right.
Like almost everyone in our country, conservative, progressive, Republican, Democrat, they are embarrassed by a corrupt campaign finance system that allows billionaires to buy elections.
[18:25:14] Our young people, black and white and Latino are leading the effort to reform a broken criminal justice system.
BOLDUAN: Listening right now to Bernie Sanders in Madison, Wisconsin. More of Bernie Sanders right after the break.
SANDERS: They know and all of us now ...
BOLDUAN: Back now with Bernie Sanders. Let's listen in.
SANDERS: And that it is not dependent on big money interest to get elected. This is what momentum is, in poll after poll, including a recent CNN Poll; we have been beating Donald Trump by double digit digits.
The last CNN Poll had Hillary Clinton doing quite well; she was beating Trump by 12 points. We were beating him by 20 points.
And that is true in virtually all of the national polls and in many of the state polls as well. And here is a simple truth and an important truth. Hillary Clinton and I agree that it is absolutely imperative that no Republican make it to the oval office. But where we do not agree is I think the evidence is quite clear, not only in terms of the polling that we have seen, polls go up and down. But one of our campaigns has created an enormous amount of enthusiasm and energy which will lead to a large voter turnout in November. That campaign is our campaign.
TAPPER: We're briefly interrupting to bring you this CNN projection. CNN projecting that Senator Bernie Sanders will be the winner of the Washington Democratic caucuses. That is the second projection. Alaska and now Washington state. We are still waiting for Hawaii to get under way. Let us now rejoin Senator Bernie Sanders speaking live to his supporters in Madison, Wisconsin.
SANDERS: And that truth is that Republicans win elections when people are demoralized and they don't come out to vote. Progressives and Democrats win elections when working people and young people and seniors and veterans stand up, fight back, and come out to vote. And I believe that our campaign is the campaign of energy, of momentum which will lead to a large voter turnout in November and victory.
All right, are you ready for a news alert? We just won the state of Washington.
That is what momentum is about. So it looks like today we've got a landslide victory in Alaska, we're going to win in Washington, we're waiting for Hawaii. And then, with your help, we're going to win right here in Wisconsin.
So don't let anybody, don't let anybody tell you we can't win the nomination or win the general election. We're going to do both of those things. You know, and I think ...
AUDIENCE: We believe that we will win! We believe that we will win! We believe that we will win! We believe that we will win! We believe that we will win!
[18:35:08] TAPPER: We're going to take a very quick break. When we come back, more from Senator Bernie Sanders.
SANDERS: You know, I think the reason, the reason that this campaign ...
TAPPER: Let's rejoin Bernie Sanders speaking in Madison, Wisconsin. SANDERS: ... has one of the lowest voter turnouts on any major
country on earth, the idea that Governor Walker or any other governor would make it harder for people to participate in the political process is beyond comprehension.
And together not only are we going to overturn this disastrous Citizens United Supreme Court decision, but we are going to create a situation where everyone in this country 18 years of age or older who is a citizen will have the right to vote, Scott Walker (inaudible).
When we have nationally a situation where the Koch Brothers and handful of other billionaires are -- oh, and I forgot. I hope I didn't offend the Governor. I understand that he and Kock Brothers are good pals, I didn't mean to -- but, when you have the Koch Brothers and a handful of billionaires prepared to spend $900 million in this election cycle, that my friends is not democracy, that is oligarchy, and we will change that.
I know that our Republican friends and elected officials tremble at the idea of large numbers of Americans participating in the political process. I've got bad news for them, that is exactly what is going to happen in this country.
But when we together have the courage to take a hard look at the real crises that we face, it is not only a corrupt campaign finance system, it is a rigged economy. Whether you are a progressive or a conservative, you cannot accept the reality that today the top one- tenth of one percent now owns almost as much wealth as the bottom 90 percent.
It is not acceptable that the 20 wealthiest people own more wealth than the bottom 150 million Americans. It is not acceptable that one family, the Walton family of Walmart owns more wealth than the bottom 40 percent of the American people. Today all across this country and Wisconsin and Vermont and virtually every state we have people working two jobs, three jobs, longer and longer hours just to bring in enough money and health care to take care of their families.
You guys ready for a radical idea? Why not? This is Madison, Wisconsin. So here is the radical idea which really isn't so radical after all, and that is we have got to create an economy that works for all of us, not the 1 percent. And when we talk about the crises facing our country a when we are honest and not try to sweep our problems under the rug, what we have to acknowledge is that our criminal justice system is broken.
What this campaign is about is getting people to think outside of the box, outside of the status quo. The status quo today is not a status quo that has to go on year after year after year. We can change it.
AUDIENCE: Yes, we can! Yes, we can!
SANDERS: And what we can change is ending the international embarrassment of the United States of America, our great country, having more people in jail than any other country on earth. We are going to get to the cause of why we have 2.2 million people in jail, why we're spending $80 billion a year locking them up.
[18:45:07] And one of the reasons is, that youth unemployment in this country is outrageously high. For white kids with a high school degree, 33 percent unemployed, Latinos 36 percent, African-American kids 51 percent. Radical idea number two, for our young people we're going to invest in education and jobs, not jails or incarceration.
It costs less money to send the kid to the University of Wisconsin than to lock them up. Let's do that. And as a nation, let us stop what we too often see on T.V., and that is videos of unarmed people, often minorities, being shot by police officers.
Now, I've been a mayor for eight years in Burlington, Vermont. I've worked with police officers all over this country. Vast majority of police officers are honest and hardworking and trying do a very difficult job.
But when a police officer like any other public official breaks the law that officer must be held account accountable, we have got to demilitarize local police department. We have got to make police departments look like the diversity of the communities they serve. We have got to rethink the war on drugs.
Over the last 30 years, millions of Americans have received police records because of possession of marijuana. And lives have been ruined as a result. You go into a job and your prospective employer says well do you have a police record? Yeah, I do. Well, you're not going to get the job. Today under the Federal Controlled Substance Act, marijuana is listed in the same schedule 1 as heroin. That is nuts.
Now, we -- now, people can argue, although I suspect in this audience there be much of an argument, about the pluses and minuses of marijuana, but everybody knows marijuana is not a killer drug like heroine. And that is why I have introduced legislation to take marijuana out of the Controlled Substance Act.
TAPPER: We're going to take a very quick break. More when we come back.
SANDERS: It is the decision of a state ...
TAPPER: Welcome back to CNN's coverage of Western Saturday. Let's bring you up to speed. CNN has projected Senator Bernie Sanders will be the winner of the Washington State Democratic caucuses, 101 delegates at stake there. CNN also projecting that Senator Bernie Sanders will be the winner of the Alaska Democratic caucuses, 16 delegates at stake there. And David Chalian, bring us up to speed, what this means in terms of Sanders' ability to try to catch up with Clinton who has about a 304-delegate lead right now.
CHALIAN: Right, so as you know Jake, 142 delegates at stake today. We've been able to allocate 26 of them already. So today Bernie Sanders right now we've allocated 26 delegates to Bernie Sanders, zero to Hillary Clinton. Now, she is above threshold. She has more than 15 percent in the vote totals in both Washington and Alaska so she will likely get delegates, but right now we're able to allocate 26 delegates so far today to Bernie Sanders.
That's brings us to the total delegates to date, and this is where you see Hillary Clinton's big lead, 1,711 delegates to Bernie Sanders' 978 delegates. Now that includes the superdelegates. So if you break it out and you look at just pledge delegates, you see that it is 1,229 pledge delegates for Hillary Clinton, 482 superdelegates to Bernie Sanders' 951 pledge delegates and he has 27 superdelegates. But the -- wrap them all together, 1,711 to 978 is the total delegates to date.
TAPPER: And we said at the beginning of the day that he needed to score some landslide victories because of the proportional allocation in these Democratic contests and he did. Certainly in Alaska and possibly in Washington state as well.
CHALIAN: Yeah. I mean these margins hold when every vote is counted. He's going to make a significant chunk up in his delegate deficit. There are some folks that have been looking at and said, he maybe -- that he would take all three states where he may end up, it might be comfortable to her big delegate haul from Florida a couple weeks ago.
[18:55:08] So, it's not going to be enough to upend to this race but it's going to be enough to start chipping away at her significant lead.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's a really big day I was going to say, just briefly. But moving forward he would have to get, if you consider superdelegates, about three out of four delegates moving forward. That is lot. Now if you don't consider the superdelegates, which is fine, you know, that's important map to look as well, he'd have to clinch about three out of five. So he'd have to ride this into a wave of momentum in order to move towards the nomination.
TAPPER: So there are three Democratic contests today. Alaska we project that Bernie Sanders will win, Washington State we project Bernie Sanders will win. The third out, that outstanding one has not begun. It will begin in just a few minutes, that is the Hawaii Democratic Caucuses and we will bring you that in just a few minutes, back after this quick break