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Exit Polls: Cruz And Sanders Holding Early Leads; Cruz And Sanders Holding Early Leads In Wisconsin; Cruz Wins Wisconsin GOP Primary; Standing By For Cruz Victory Speech; Sanders Wins Wisconsin Dem Primary; Cruz And Sanders Win Wisconsin Primaries; Cruz Giving Victory Speech, Sanders To Speak Shortly. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired April 5, 2016 - 21:00   ET


[21:00:03] WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: We're going be watching once the polls close. We'll see what we can project if anything. That's coming up right now, we're also going to be releasing the results of our exit polls. Stand by for all of this.

We got the, "Key Race Alert". We are not able to make any projections right now. But at here other results based on the CNN exit poll information. Remember, this is an ask a bit, according to our exit poll of results, Ted Cruz now has the lead or significant lead 47 percent, Donald Trump at 36 Percent, John Kasich 14 percent.

Remember, this is the result of our exit polling. Questions that we asked as voters were going in and let's take a look at the Democratic side right now.

Here are the results of the exit polls, a significant lead for Bernie Sanders. Remember, this is an estimate, 55 percent for Bernie Sanders, 44 percent for Hillary Clinton. Remember, these are exit polls. They are based on estimates, based on our early survey of voters as they left their polling locations.

The final outcome may be different. We can expect those numbers to change throughout the night.

Remember, these are exit polls to give us an indication of where this may be heading. Jake.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN CHIEF WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: All right. Wolf, thanks so much. Let's go to our reporters in the field right now. Sunlen Serfaty is at Cruz headquarters.

Sunlen, tell us what the mood is there. Obviously, no concrete results yet, but a lot of people expecting Cruz will have a good night.

SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Jake. And certainly, here at Cruz campaign headquarters for the night, the crowd is very excited based on these early exit polls. And certainly, there is confidence coming tonight from the Cruz campaign.

A Cruz campaign official tells me that the theme of the speech that Senator Cruz really will deliver here later tonight, these are the speech they say will be turning point. And according to excerpts provided to CNN that Senator Cruz will call this a rallying cry and he will really make a very clear pivot towards the general election in his speech here tonight. He will say, "Hillary, get ready, here we come." Jake.

TAPPER: All right. Sunlen Serfaty at Cruz headquarters. Now, let's go to Laramie, Wyoming, where we find Brianna Keilar who is with the Sanders campaign.

Brianna, Bernie Sanders himself, setting high expectations in the state of Wisconsin saying that if they win there, then they can win New York and then they can win the nomination.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right. He's been talking a big game and really trying to use Wisconsin as a spring board in addition to these past wins that he's had here over the last few weeks in order to move toward these bigger states.

He's here in Wyoming where Democrats are going to caucus on Saturday trying to project that momentum with a rally here at the University of Wyoming actually just a stones throw away from the Dick and Lynne Cheney Plaza and the Cheney International Center here on campus.

There is a narrative that is confronting the Sanders campaign going into tonight, which they expect to be a good big night for them. Jake was an unwelcome narrative, the "New York Times" story that was published over the weekend, where you saw Jane Sanders, Bernie's wife, and his top aides talking about the some other short comings of the campaign.

It was described, Jake, by some people as a bit of a postmortem, perhaps a confrontation by the candidate and his wife and his top aides that they could lose this.

But, I just did speak with a top aide of Sanders and he said that that is absolutely not the case, that they were just being straightforward about some of the challenges that they have had strategically and Jeff Weaver, the Campaign Manager for Bernie Sanders insisting that he is going to take this all the way to the convention still.

TAPPER: All right, Brianna Keilar in Laramie, Wyoming, with the Sanders campaign.

Bernie Sanders already looking ahead to the next contest. Normally, a candidate does that if he or she doesn't think he's going to have a good night, but the early indication is that Sanders might have a good night tonight.

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Right. You know, we talked a little bit about earlier about on the Republican side that Wisconsin is more tailor-made for Ted Cruz than Donald Trump.

Well, if you look at the history so far in 2016 of the Democratic primary contests that caucuses and primaries, this is tailor-made for, excuse me, for Bernie Sanders, because it is predominantly white. There aren't that many urban areas and the ones that are urban are huge college towns like Madison.

So, you know, even talking to some Hillary Clinton aides in Brooklyn at their headquarters tonight, I mean, you know, I don't think it was lowering expectations. They genuinely are kind of not expecting to do that well in Wisconsin.

TAPPER: Wisconsin also a long history of progressive politics, fighting Bob Lafollette, that was his home state.

Another thing that's interesting about the Sanders campaign is that they are now unabashedly saying that their plan is to deny Hillary Clinton the number of delegates that she needs to clinch the nomination before the convention, then they will go to the convention and make the argument and get superdelegates to switch their votes going to people like, for instance, Senator Al Franken, who is a Clinton supporter from the state of Minnesota, a state that Sanders won ...

BASH: That's right.

TAPPER: ... that the argument pay. You should be supporting Sanders, because Sanders won the Minnesota caucuses.

[21:05:02] BASH: That certainly is their strategy, it's what they're saying. It's not really analogist (ph) to the Republican side where it's much more doable and even likely to keep Donald Trump, the front- runner from getting the number of delegates before the convention.

It's possible, but not probable. But, you know what, it doesn't matter, because Bernie Sanders has the energy, he's got the mind and it keeps coming in the small dollar amounts that we've been talking about. So, if he wants to stay in, there's no reason he can't.

TAPPER: It's like Christmas in the summer for political reporters, Anderson, the prospect of not just one, but possibly two contested convention.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN "360" ANCHOR: Yeah. It's going to be an exciting summer, no doubt about it.

David Axelrod, I mean, back in 2008, you saw delegates flipping, superdelegates flipping from Hillary Clinton to your candidate, Barack Obama. How difficult is that process?

DAVID AXELROD, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, Obama was leading for much of that race. So, they were flipping to the front- runner and they were flipping to a candidate who had inspired a great movement, particularly within the base of the party among African- Americans, among progressives and so on.

So, it was -- the pressure to switch was great. I don't see the same impetus here. I mean, as Dana mentioned, or perhaps it was Brianna, the piece over the weekend in the paper in which the Sanders campaign was engaging in all these lamentations about what might have been was a clear sign that they understand. They might have this idea that they can go to the convention. They can deny her the delegates can go to the convention and get the superdelegates. But, it sounds more to me like a prayer than a plan at this point.

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Yeah, I agree. I mean, look, I think that there's no reason for them to give up. Hillary Clinton in 2008, I think it was June, before she decided to hang it up.

COOPER: Do you think they're doing damage to Hillary Clinton?

BORGER: I know, I actually -- this race has gotten a little nastier than it's been in the past. I think that Bernie Sanders has gotten under Hillary Clinton's skin a bit, but I believe that Hillary Clinton is a better candidate, because of Bernie Sanders. I think she's actually more in touch with the base of the Democratic Party than she was starting this campaign, because of Bernie Sanders.

And I think it all depends how they end up and whether they ...

AXELROD: Let's check in next week ...

BORGER: ... put their arms up there. Right. We'll, see. How does he might?

COOPER: Her shifting positions to get closer to Bernie Sanders, does that help her in a general election assuming if she is, in fact, the Democratic candidate?

NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: You know, I think she has decided to go all in with the Obama coalition and that's a coalition that is much more progressive, it's certainly a diverse coalition and you can see her all along obviously trying to make overtures to the different parts of that coalition, African-Americans, Latinos women.

So, she has certainly going in all in that. I think for Sanders, this argument that he is going to be able to switch superdelegates is hard and it's partly hard, because he hasn't been a Democrat, right. And you hear Hillary Clinton talking about that. She says, you know, I've been a Democrat all my life, all my adult life, because she had a stint as a gold water girl when she was 17 or 18.

But, another thing is you hear from Democrats, you know, kind of local party leaders, but he isn't giving money to the Democratic Party, sure he's a raising a ton of money, $44 million last go around.

But, he isn't just trying to build the party in the way that Hillary Clinton is.

AXELROD: OK, I'll you what. If their theory is that if they beat her primary after primary, beat her like a drum and show her to be vulnerable, that the superdelegates will shift, because they don't -- they'll have made the case that she can't win. I don't think that they made the case at this point convincingly to Democrats that he would be a stronger candidate than she in the general election.

MICHAEL SMERCONISH, CNN "SMERCONISH" HOST: I think that he's been hurt tonight in an issue that will emerge in the next couple of days. And we were discussing it privately a few moments ago and that is that the transcript of an interview that he did with the "New York Daily News" that's now getting a lot of circulation.

And I am sure one Wolf Blitzer will be using that during the debate as question fodder, in the same way that Donald Trump was harmed for what he said behind closed doors with the "Washington Post" and people got a look at that transcript and they said, you know, there's no there, there.

Similarly, Bernie really didn't have answers to some substantive questions that were put to him, that I think are going to be problematic.

SARAH ELIZABETH CUPP, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: And Michael, on that point, Hillary Clinton has copied and pasted the entirety of that interview in the "New York Daily News" and is sending it now out in an e-mail as a fund-raiser.

COOPER: I think Paul Begala has made a Christmas card out of it actually.


COOPER: And you're actually sending out in April.

PAUL BEGALA, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: You know, some of it is surprising because the bulk of the beginning of the interview is about Bernie's central campaign proposal just to break up the banks and yet he stumbled on how to do it.

I will say in defense of Bernie Sanders, this is a grueling process. And he is -- we all could be, they all are, they're all tired. I'm not denigrating anybody.

So, you can have those kinds of mistakes. That's why this debate as Michael points out will be so important. That's the time he can do that cleanup on. Because nobody doubts Bernie is a smart guy.

[21:10:03] And so, I just, I suspect some of it might have been fatigue.

CUPP: But it does run to the narrative that Bernie is pie in the sky, an idea log (ph) without a lot of substance, done a lot of ideas, Hillary Clinton talks about, you know, this is the time for practicality someone who's ready on day one someone who knows how to connect the dots, how to get done the things they say they're going to get done. And I think it really its kinds of meant to that score line for him.

AXELROD: I think Bernie Sanders has run a splendid campaign.


AXELROD: But when you go into New York City and you go to an editorial board, shouldn't someone say, hey, maybe we better have an answer because they're likely to ask about this bank thing.

BEGALA: Which is the centerpiece of this campaign. That's the problem. This is centerpiece.

AXELROD: The spring fling is over.

BORGER: When you have the sort of outsider candidates, not that Sanders hasn't been in Congress forever, it's the same problem. You kind of run your own campaign, you think you know you don't need your consultants to tell you what to do. And I think Sanders runs very much, very much that way even though he's got some great consultants running with him.

I just want to ask Donna Brazile the question we've been talking about, because you are, I've heard, a superdelegate.

AXELROD: She's the most of all superdelegates.

BORGER: And so, when we talk about what makes the superdelegate change his mind as happened in 2008, could Bernie Sanders, you know, turn around 100 of superdelegates?

BRAZILE: I have to tell you this, throughout 2008, both candidate Obama as well as candidate Hillary Clinton hoarded, hoarded superdelegates.

And David knows this.

COOPER: And how does that work, I mean, just for viewers who don't follow this closely.

BRAZILE: It's a phone call. I mean, I don't know if...

COOPER: Phone call, dinner, out to a play, go see Hamilton? I mean.

BRAZILE: Anderson, we have fine taste, but guess what, we're not -- we're Democrats.


BRAZILE: But, there's no question that candidate Obama went across America in 2006 and campaigned for just about everybody running for office, House, Senate, Democrats, et cetera, governors.

Bernie Sanders has not done it. That's the case that Hillary Clinton made the other day. She said, I've been a lifelong Democrat, I've been helping to raise money for the party, I've been helping to recruit candidates.

She was back in 2003, she was pushing then a state Senator Barack Obama. So, she has a history in courting the kind of people who are so-called, you know, unfledged delegates to the convention.

We're only 14 percent of the total 14.9 percent, so I better be precise. But, Senator Sanders' people are courting after the fact, not before.

COOPER: So, we're just getting some exit polls in that I want Jake to take a look and then we're going to come back to this discussion. Jake.

TAPPER: Thanks, Anderson. That's right. Let's bring back our Political Director David Chalian who was in the CNN Election Center.

And David, one of the things that we look for in these exit polls is what are the voters looking for in terms of the candidate qualities? With Democrats and Republicans, tell us what the voters who went to the polls today in the badger state had on their mind.

DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Yeah, we're taking a look at the most important issues that voters told us they were looking for, Jake.

On the Democratic side, take a look at this, the most important candidate quality was honest and trustworthiness. The most important of four different qualities tested.

And of course, Bernie Sanders is winning that category huge as he has done throughout this nomination season, 82 percent to 16 percent. Take a look at having the right experience, 27 percent of voters overall in the Democratic primary were looking for a candidate with the right experience. Clinton wins those voters big, 85 percent to 14 percent, but more voters were looking for an honest and trustworthy candidate.

On the Republican side, voters were looking for a candidate who Shares My Values and clearly, Ted Cruz is dominating that category, 64 percent for Cruz, 22 percent for Kasich, 11 percent for Trump down in third place on shares my values.

And then take a look at can bring needed change. Also, about a third of the electorate was looking for a change agent and Trump, he edges Cruz there, but he does not win it going away. He wins 44 percent of those voters to Ted Cruz's 42 percent, to John Kasich's 12 percent.

So, you can see with a third of the Republican electorate looking for Shares My Values going overwhelmingly for Cruz and a third of the Republican electorate looking for a change agent, but Trump and Cruz are splitting those.

These are numbers that the Cruz campaign is clearly going to feel are in their favor tonight.

TAPPER: All right, David Chalian, thanks so much and Dana Bash. We've seen this play out throughout the primary season. These staggeringly lopsided numbers when it comes to who do you think is honest and trustworthy, almost always overwhelmingly for Sanders. And who do you think has the right experience, almost always overwhelmingly for Clinton.

BASH: It really is stunning, and it was really only the places where Hillary Clinton did remarkably well that that was even close to being in balance or maybe even the flip side, for example, where people thought that she was honest and trustworthy more so or at least as much as Bernie Sanders.

And, you know, as we've been talking about, that issue is her Achilles' heel with Republicans, they hope, and perhaps with independents.

[21:15:06] So, if she does go on to get the nomination, the fact that she's rating so poorly with her own party or people who are at least voting in the Democratic primary, it's not exactly a big news flash.

TAPPER: Yeah, I know and I know. I mean, she, herself has said in interviews that she knows that she has work to do when it comes to voters, when it comes to how they regard her in terms of her trustworthiness.

Now, in terms of the Republicans, what's really remarkable about this is Donald Trump, I think it's fair to say, even though Ted Cruz has been a thorn in the side of the Republican establishment since he arrived here in Washington.

I think it's fair to say that Donald Trump has really been the one who has blown everything out of the water in terms of the political rules. But, it's basically a wash on can bring needed change. This is a quality that normally Donald Trump does so well and 44 percent for Trump, 42 percent for Cruz.

BASH: And Wisconsin, we were talking about the Governor Scott Walker. I mean, this is an electorate who understands the power of pushing for change, because Scott Walker was the first and only governor to survive a recall in the country. I believe in history.

And it's because he made a lot of people very angry, but he also made a lot of people very happy, because he pushed for change. So, you know, this is a well-informed electorate, but also this is in their recent history, the understanding of this phenomenon.

TAPPER: Recent poll had Scott Walker with an 80 percent approval rating among likely Republican voters today. Wolf.

BLITZER: Yeah. It's probably going to help, but Cruz, as Scott Walker endorsed Cruz.

We're waiting for the first results to come in. We have not yet been able to make any projections.

The exit polls do show Ted Cruz ahead. The exit polls also show Bernie Sanders ahead. Those are estimates. Stand by. We're getting the first results when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [21:20:53] BLITZER: All right. We got a Key Race Alert. Welcome back. Take a look at this. These are the first numbers that have actually come in very, very early.

Let's take a look, 2 percent of the vote is in on the Republican side. Ted Cruz got a commanding lead. Very early to 53.1 percent. Trump at 31.1 percent, 13.7 percent for John Kasich. Very early, though, I just want to caution everyone, lots of votes outstanding.

On the Democratic side, also very early. Only 1 percent of the vote is in, but Bernie Sanders taking a lead, 55.6 percent to Hillary Clinton 44.2 percent that lead of about 1,500 votes. But that, still, got to stress it, very, very early.

Jake, you're getting new information from our political director David Chalian.

TAPPER: That's right. David Chalian, our political director is at the decision desk. And David, one of the things that we've heard from the candidates this year, I don't think that we've ever had a race where candidates were citing poll numbers as much as we have. This election season, whether it's Bernie Sanders or Donald Trump or John Kasich. They're always talking about who will do better against the nominee. The potential nominee of the other party.

Now Wisconsin is a critical battleground state. How the candidates might do against the perspective presumptive nominee on the other side that could matter. What are the exit polls saying there?

CHALIAN: Yeah, it wasn't that long ago, Jake, that Wisconsin was one of the closest races in presidential elections, 2000, 2004. We asked Republican primary voters today if the race was between Trump and Clinton, take a look at this. You see that 62 percent of Republican voters would vote for Donald Trump, 10 percent would vote for Hillary Clinton.

Now, obviously these are Republican primary voters. That number shouldn't surprise anyone. That's not what the actual Wisconsin vote would look like in November. But look at that third number there, 17 percent of Wisconsin Republican primary voters would be looking for a third party. Eight percent say they wouldn't vote. So that is a warning sign for Republicans and it's not just a warning sign for Donald Trump.

Take a look at the Clinton and Cruz match up. It's about the same. He gets 66 percent of these Republicans say they would vote for him in November. Six percent for Hillary Clinton, 18 percent looking for a third party, 6 percent not voting.

So whether the nominee is either Trump or Cruz, the two leading candidates right now, they will have some work to do in battleground Wisconsin to bring some of those folks who have voting in the Republican primary today away from the notion of wanting a third party or not voting and into their camp.

TAPPER: Fascinating. David Chalian, thanks so much. Dana, Donald Trump the last time this came up, I believe it was last Friday, once again he left the door open to a possible third-party run if, in his view, the Republican national committee doesn't treat him fairly, doesn't treat him right. What that exactly means, we don't know. It could be that if he doesn't get the nomination, even if he doesn't get 1,237 delegates, that will be in his view considered not being treated fairly and he might bolt and possibly run as a third-party candidate although we should caution he still would probably be the Republican nominee.

BASH: That's right, and also if he does decide to be a third-party candidate, as we get to that date on the calendar in July, it's a lot harder to register that way. You'd have to sign on to an existing party. That's going to be on the ballots, which is not impossible but harder to do.

The point that you were making with David about, you know, that Wisconsin had been in the general election back in 2004, pretty competitive. I remember covering George W. Bush spending a lot of time in Wisconsin, but it's not that surprising that Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders would do so well against a Republican because a Republican hasn't won there since Reagan in 1984. They thought they came close, Karl Rove was at George W. Bush headquarters was chomping at the bit to get it but they never got it.

TAPPER: Even though he knew how to pronounce the name of the field where the green bay packers play and John Kerry, did not as you ...

BASH: Not Waukesha.

TAPPER: ... as you might recall. Anderson.

COOPER: Very small percentage of the vote in yet. Obviously we're seeing Sanders and Cruz with a lead, but again, very small number of votes actually in, still to be counted, still to be watched.

Michael Smerconish, in terms of a convincing lead, a convincing win, I mean how important is that -- how important is the actual percentage for Cruz and for Sanders or is a win a win and that enough?

[21:25:09] SMERCONISH: I think it's more significant for Bernie Sanders because I think the argument of Sanders needs to make is that he's winning huge in these next several states so that he can make a compelling argument that the superdelegates need to reconsider exactly where they are. And I want to say something about the superdelegates because I think that their function has been much more aligned in this process. People are looking at them and saying why do they exist?

They exist for good reason. They exist to avert a blowout and frankly I've heard from a number of Republicans in this cycle who are not supportive of Donald Trump that they wish they had the superdelegate influence that this have to try and avert a catastrophe that they think is coming in a general because of some of the numbers that David Chalian just put on the board.

COOPER: Interesting. Nia? HENDERSON: Yeah and, you know, I think if you look back Obama was obviously able to win this state huge back in 2008, won by I think 17 points, and I think the template for Bernie Sanders has to be going forward what Hillary Clinton was able to do throughout the south. I mean, she was able to win 70-30, 80-20 and those blowout margins of victory.

I mean, she came away, you know, netting 75, 100 delegates sometimes over Bernie Sanders in this kind of narrow wins that he's been able to put together in states like Michigan and even in some of the smaller caucus states just isn't enough to sustain him. So he's got to figure out, you know, can he do what Hillary Clinton has been able to do and really is going to I think to carry her through going forward?

BORGER: You know, I think the numbers, though, also matter for Cruz because first of all, he'd like to have such a blowout that he wins all 42 of the delegates ...

AXELROD: Right. Right.

BORGER: ... in the state of Wisconsin. And if you're talking about a potential contested convention, you're counting delegates.


BORGER: So you get 18 delegates by winning statewide and the rest are distributed by Congressional district.

What Trump wants to do is mitigate the damage if he were to lose by winning a few of those Congressional districts. There are three delegates -- not to get too wonky per Congressional district. So that he would like to be able to say that he comes out of tonight with six or nine delegates and kind of, you know, holds Cruz back from claiming a total blowout victory and winning them all.

COOPER: But David, I mean when people say, you know, Ted Cruz has a better in Louisiana had a better ground game in terms of reaching out to delegates than Donald Trump in So that even though Donald Trump won the popular vote, got more votes. Cruz walked away with more delegates. Donald Trump was threatening to sue saying it was unfair.

How much -- I mean, how do you go about courting these delegates and how much of it is just phone calls?

AXELROD: Well, I tell you what, this is a really -- this is a really Byzantine kind of deal and one of the reasons that one of the things that I think favors Ted Cruz is he has been from the start the most strategic and well-organized of the candidates and it's very clear Donald Trump went and got a tutorial on the delegate selection system.

COOPER: But that's does it have to be people on the ground, for instance, in Wisconsin who know the delegates, who know the superdelegates and reaching out to them?

AXELROD: I think the fact that the party apparatus has made a judgment about Donald Trump is going to make it -- it's going to help Ted Cruz in this process of trying to lure delegates because he's going to have agents to all over the country who are working to bring those delegates into the fold.

BORGER: You know, there were really no rules. I mean there, aside from federal law about bribery and all the rest.

COOPER: With federal law.

BORGER: Yeah, whatever.

AXELROD: This will be one of those great CNN Sunday Night things about the "the furious scheming". I can see it four years from now.

COOPER: Kevin Spacey will narrate it.

BORGER: That's right. But delegates like to be wooed and there's ...

COOPER: Don't we all?

BORGER: Right. Absolutely, and there's, you know, there's history here. In '76, there was a contested convention and it was Gerald Ford versus Ronald Reagan. And they were out there courting those delegates and that's going to happen this time. Get ready for plane loads of people to go to Mar-a-Lago. Why not?

COOPER: You see on the side of the screen, there 4 percent of the vote in on the Republican side, 3 percent of the vote in on the Democratic side. Sanders and Cruz with leads. A lot of votes still to come in. A lot to be counted.

We'll be right back.


[21:33:39] BLITZER: We got live pictures coming in from the Cruz headquarters in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the Bernie Sanders headquarters tonight in Laramie, Wyoming. Right now we have a major projection.

And CNN projects Ted Cruz, Ted Cruz will win the Republican presidential primary in Wisconsin tonight. Ted Cruz, a huge win for him in Wisconsin. Setting the stage potentially, increasing the prospect potentially for an open or contested convention.

Let's go to Sunlen Serfaty, she's over at Cruz headquarters where they're just learning of our projection. Sunlen, this is an exciting night for all of the people behind you. They're watching us on that big screen.

SERFATY: That's right, Wolf. But you can hear the crowd behind me here at Cruz campaign headquarters as they are just learning this news. The projection that Senator Cruz has won Wisconsin. You can hear the crowd just reacting to that behind me.

I mean Senator Cruz predicted a win here in Wisconsin so he needed to get that win. The campaign put considerable time, money, investment really dispatching the whole holistic surrogates at their disposal to barn storm this state. The campaign manager describing it as an all- hands-on-deck situation to win this state.

You know, the Cruz campaign, though, of course, not only about on the hunt for a win here in Wisconsin, but certainly on the hunt for delegates. So of course even though this projection is a win for Cruz, how many delegates is important, how much he wins by is important.

[21:35:08] Senator Cruz will address this roughly crowd in just a few minutes. Aides say that he will cast this as a pivotal moment, a turning point in the campaign. And we know that he will twist the knife a bit at Donald Trump. In his speech tonight, he is anticipated to say that, you know, Wisconsin was a state that Donald Trump should have won. It was a perfect state for him, he will say. So really, kind of, rubbing it in tonight, this big win trying to cast this as momentum going forward.

Also, Senator Cruz we are told, will almost make a pivot looking towards a head towards the general election. He will say, Hillary, we are ready for you. So, Senator Cruz certainly trying to capture the momentum of the moment in his speech here later tonight.

Also important is the math going forward. How many delegates will he get tonight? Will he get a clean sweep? That still remains to be seen. Wolf?

BLITZER: We'll of course have live coverage of Senator Cruz once he comes out and delivers that victory speech tonight. Jake and Dana, big win. Big win for Senator Cruz tonight.

TAPPER: That's right. And this is a state, Dana, where Mitt Romney pretty much finished off Rick Santorum. This is not necessarily a state that on its face appeals to the voters would find Ted Cruz appealing. But it looks like he had a decisive win and one of the reasons, I think it's fair to say, according to polls, is people did not want the current front-runner to be the winner of the Wisconsin primary. They were voting, I think, for Ted Cruz but also many were voting against Donald Trump.

BASH: Very much so. And because kind of the party establishment and more importantly the money came around Ted Cruz and not John Kasich who is still in the race, not doing very well so far in this state, it's critical. The thing that we have to keep in mind going forward as we watch the results come in is what Sara reported tonight.

I also was told by an anti-Trump strategist that they really want to keep Trump under 15 delegates tonight. 42 total. They want to keep him under 15 because by their calculations, this is the "Never-Trump" movement, if that happens, Trump will have to win 100 percent of the delegates to avoid taking it to June 7th which is the last day of the primaries, California and a few big primaries.

That's not going to happen, but that's kind of the spin that they're putting on it to make it clear how difficult it is going to be for Donald Trump to get the 1,237 needed at this point to get to the convention. Not impossible, but difficult. TAPPER: Right. And this is not a winner-take-all state. Donald Trump, even if though we have projected Ted Cruz will be the winner, Donald Trump could leave the state with some delegates ...

BASH: That's right.

TAPPER: ... especially in the northern part of Wisconsin ...

BASH: Exactly.

TAPPER: ... which is the Senator Ron Johnson Republican who's up for re-election. He has said that Donald Trump might theoretically be able to help him if Trump is on the top of the ticket because if he could get voters out in northern Wisconsin. So it's possible, I think, it's the 7th and 8th Congressional districts, it's possible. Trump could walk away with at least six delegates from winning in those two districts. We'll have to see of course and John will break that down for us, coming up.

But one of the other things that's I think is very interesting about this is John Kasich is nowhere to be seen.


TAPPER: And on its face, John Kasich should be doing well in a state like Wisconsin.

BASH: Yes.

TAPPER: He's establishment Republican, he is a governor from the Midwest. These should be his kinds of voters. And when I talked to one of his supporters the other day, former Wisconsin Governor Tommy Thompson, he said we were going to have a surprise. It wasn't just that Donald Trump wasn't going to win, but that John Kasich was going to do a lot better than anybody thought. So far with about 20 percent of the vote in, that's not the case.

BASH: Not the case at all, and it was pretty and clear looking at John Kasich's campaign schedule they knew that this was going to be potentially pretty brutal. He's been in New York. He's been trying to appeal to, you know, New York more liberal to moderate Republicans instead of being in Wisconsin, the Midwest state to his north where you're right, he should be doing pretty well but he's not.

And this is one of the things that you are going to hear more and more from Ted Cruz's campaign, the anger at John Kasich for being in the race because they believe, and if you look at the polling, I think they're right, that he takes away from one person and one person only at this point and that's Ted Cruz, not Donald Trump.

TAPPER: Well, that's not what Donald Trump said the other day, Anderson, you might be surprised to hear, Donald Trump says John Kasich hurts him more than Kasich hurts Cruz.

COOPER: And of course Kasich, who I talked to, I think, just yesterday, says he is in this all the way through the convention. He seems convinced or at least, he is publicly saying that when that second round of voting comes, if nobody has the delegates needed in the first round, that all eyes will turn to him because he believes and he claims he is the only person who can beat Hillary Clinton in a general election.

We're standing by for a victory speech from Senator Ted Cruz. A big, big win for him tonight, an important win for Senator. Jeffrey Lord, obviously not the outcome you would have like as a Trump supporter. What do you make of the percentage of the lead at this point?

[21:40:05] JEFFREY LORD, FORMER WHITE HOUSE ASSOCIATE POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Yeah, congratulations to Senator Cruz. I mean, he did a good job here. There's no question about it. This is going to enable him to go on but immediately he's going to run into the wall of New York and he's going to be on Donald Trump's home turf and he's going to be in the northeastern United States and I think he's going to have a different situation. He didn't do very well in New Hampshire. He struggled in other parts of the country so he had to win this tonight and he's won it by a big margin and congratulations to him, but this just goes on now.

COOPER: S.E. Cupp.

CUPP: Well, yes, he had to win it. I don't think Wisconsin was a tailor-made state for Ted Cruz and all, though I think this victory especially if it's by anywhere close to the margin that we're seeing now is more than just, you know, a great night for Ted Cruz. I really think it says something about the state of the race.

I think Jake Tapper is absolutely right that this was a Kasich state from the beginning, and that Kasich has not so far played significantly in Wisconsin. I think says a lot about the future of this the Kasich campaign. Trump has a good map going forward and clearly still has a majority of the delegates. I don't think this is going to keep him necessarily from clinching before the convention but it does make it a lot harder.

COOPER: Does it, does it validate the idea or support the idea that Donald Trump's, you know, stumble or misstatements or controversial statements from the last week have had an impact or doing that we not know enough about this breakdown?

CUPP: Well we don't know about the exit polls, we don't know exactly what these people were voting based on. But I think it would be very hard to argue that a terrible week, is like the one that he has been suffering through and trying to recover from and trying to spin around did not have any effect on a huge primary night in Wisconsin tonight.

AXELROD: Can I ...

CUPP: I think it did.

COOPER: It did.

AXELROD: The night is jump in on that, because I do think there are things in the exit polls that suggest that he has taken on water as a result of this week. One was the one that David Chalian mentioned that on the issue of who can bring about change, he basically split back with Ted Cruz. It's the first time that I can remember in this campaign that he hasn't run away with that category.

COOPER: Right.

AXELROD: The second is on delectability. 69 to 19 voters who care about electability, a bit of them smaller cohort, gave Cruz their votes. Only 19 percent voted for Donald Trump which says to me they've watched him in the last couple of weeks and they've made some judgments as to what his ability to win would be.

BORGER: And he won with independents -- I'm sorry, I guess, Trump won with independents ...

AXELROD: Have modestly.

BORGER: ... but by lower margin than he normally wins.

AXELROD: And he got swamped in the suburbs around Milwaukee.

BORGER: Right, Yeah.

AXELROD: He's going into a series of states in the northeast that are largely suburban states, where he's going to have to appeal to those kinds of voters. I think there's plenty in these exit poll numbers that suggest this was a very bad week for Donald Trump and maybe a defining week.

CUPP: And I don't think you can just blame it on Wisconsin culture. I mean, are the voters of Michigan, excuse me, not nice? Are the voters of Hawaii are not nice? Are the voters of Illinois -- I mean, two neighboring states to Wisconsin not nice?

AXELROD: But he also will. The voters in Illinois are really nice.

CUPP: Yes.


BRAZILE: You have Governor Walker ...

CUPP: Sure.

BRAZILE: ... you also have Ted Cruz for the first time cutting into a Donald Trump lead with non-college educated white votes.



BRAZILE: That's very, very important going forward. The "Never Trump" movement I also believe had a more targeted consistent campaign against Donald Trump in Wisconsin. Now will it continue to spend the kind of money that we saw spent in Wisconsin, in two weeks in New York is very expensive to run those kinds of ads. CUPP: Right.

BRAZILE: David knows that.

AXELROD: It's, the "Never Trump" movement, the "Never Trump" movement also had a powerful ally in Wisconsin, that was Donald Trump.

CUPP: Yes, right.


AXELROD: And nobody contributed more to his problems in Wisconsin than Trump, himself.


COOPER: Michael?

SMERCONISH: I make the observation, I think its with the exception of Arizona, I think it's the first lab experiment that we have without Marco Rubio in the race. And if these numbers hold up then it suggests that whatever support Rubio had entirely went to Ted Cruz, and I think bolsters that argument that Kasich staying in does Donald Trump a favor because he's splitting the anti-Trump vote that exists out there. If it's a one to one, it doesn't bode well for Donald Trump is what I'm getting.

HENDERSON: So, I think and it's also true, well I think, I mean, if you look back at polls in Wisconsin in January, Donald Trump was about at 30 percent. And if this holds up, this is where he is now. I mean, this argument and I think Ted Cruz in January in Wisconsin was at 16 percent and in a smaller field, we can see what the result is.

I think one of the things that will be interesting to see is what kind of candidate does Ted Cruz emerge from this fight at? He's often had a difficult time connecting with these blue-collar voters, he had always kind of strong economic message, he's been more of an evangelical candidate. If does he emerge as a candidate who can really appeal to those kinds of, you know, downscale, a blue-collar voters and a very consistent way.

COOPER: Ted Cruz had said earlier, his campaign was saying all along that a big win here tonight would give him -- it would change the conversation, if it would make the nation take notice in a way perhaps they haven't and give him kind of wind at his back going to New York.

[21:45:10] BORGER: And it might. It might because it looks like we might be headed to a contested convention and if let's see what the delegate count winds up being, whether Trump winds up with nothing or whether he winds up with, you know, with a bunch of delegates. I think we could say that easily, of course, Trump had a lousy two weeks going into this, but was it calamitous?


BORGER: I don't think so. LORD: Right.

BORGER: You know, I don't think we can say it was calamitous.

COOPER: And let's go back to Wolf Blitzer as Scott Walker is about to talk to introduce Ted Cruz. Wolf?

BLITZER: All right. We're waiting to hear from Ted Cruz. We have projected he is the winner of the Wisconsin primary, but right now, we have another major projection.

CNN projects that Bernie Sanders will win the Wisconsin Democratic presidential primary, beating Hillary Clinton. A big, big win for Bernie Sanders. He won five of the last six states. Now another state, he's got a lot of momentum going forward right now. A big win for Bernie Sanders.

Now, he's going to be speaking soon, we're told, as well he's in Laramie, Wyoming, right now. They've got a contest coming up as well. But let's go over to John King over at the magic wall. All right, excellent -- let's go to Brianna Keilar actually first.

First, Brianna, you're over there. You're covering Bernie Sanders' campaign. Go ahead. They must be getting excited with the projection that we just made.

KEILAR: Yeah, well actually, Wolf, they don't know. The people here in this auditorium at the University of Wyoming because we're in an auditorium that does not have television screens, so they aren't aware at this point that he has been projected the winner which is odd, but we do expect Bernie Sanders to come out soon and give his speech.

Certainly they are going to get that impression because he will declare victory and, yes, they are going to be very excited. But what the Sanders campaign is hoping for, Wolf, is that this gives them a bounce. They've had so many wins here recently, a string of them. The delegate haul has not been all that big, 139 delegates, when you don't include Wisconsin. And just to put that in perspective, that is less than the delegate haul that Hillary Clinton got just from Florida. But they're hoping to get a bounce here into the Wyoming caucuses on Saturday. A state and a format that favors Bernie Sanders, and then moving toward New York and Pennsylvania. Much bigger delegate prizes but I was talking to a top aide to Bernie Sanders, Wolf, a short time ago and he was telling me -- he was making it very clear.

They're not really committing to what their aim is when it comes to New York and Pennsylvania. They obviously want to win. They're not committing to a big margin which a lot of people look at the math and they say they need to do that. They really seem to be hanging a lot of their hopes on California. All the way to June 7th, Wolf.

BLITZER: It's a big, big win for Bernie Sanders in Wisconsin tonight. Two weeks from tonight New York, another huge primary, then a week later, Pennsylvania and a bunch of other states in the northeast. Bernie Sanders, he's going to be speaking pretty soon over there, right? And we'll, of course, have live coverage of that as well.

Let's go over to John King over at the magic wall. Cruz wins, Bernie Sanders wins. Big nights for both of them. The exit polls suggested it and now we have made those projections.

JOHN KING, CNN INSIDE POLITICS ANCHOR: Now we've made those projections so we color Wisconsin in for Cruz. The big question remaining, how many of the 42 delegates? How many delegates of the 42 get Senator Cruz is up now until ?

BLITZER: He's walking in right now. There's Senator Cruz. He's got a lot of his family's, his friends up there. He's going to be delivering his speech. He's going to -- he's celebrating. It's a big night for Senator Ted Cruz. No doubt, yeah, he wants to celebrate. His supporters want to celebrate. He has the governor of Wisconsin introducing him. There he is right there, Scott Walker, a big endorsement. That clearly has helped him.

You see Heidi Cruz up there on the stage as well. They're going to say hello, John, to all of those people. We've seen this. The music is going on behind the scenes as well. Big win, big win for Ted Cruz. He gives a hug to Scott Walker over there right there. Let's listen in.

TED CRUZ, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: God bless, the great state of Wisconsin. What an incredible victory tonight. And thank you to your tremendous governor, Governor Scott Walker, for his principled, passionate leader.

Tonight is a turning point. It is a rallying cry. It is a call from the hardworking men and women of Wisconsin to the people of America. We have, a choice. A real choice.

[21:50:00] The national political terrain began to change two weeks ago. In the state of Utah, we won 69 percent of the vote, a landslide election. Winning every single delegate in the States, then just three days ago in Colorado, two congressional districts voted. Once again they elected six delegates and of those six delegates we won all six.

And then two days ago in North Dakota we had another tremendous win. They elected their delegates of the delegates who specified their support, 18 are supporting our campaign. One is supporting Donald Trump, 18 to 1 I'll take that ratio any day of the week.

And now tonight here in Wisconsin, a state that just three weeks ago the media had written off, but three weeks ago the media said Wisconsin was a perfect state for Donald Trump. But the hard working men and women of Wisconsin stood and campaigned tirelessly to make sure that tonight was a victory for every American.

Four very different states Utah, Colorado, North Dakota, Wisconsin, four victories. So just how significant is tonight? Well, just today our campaign has raised over $2 million. People all over the country going to,,, contributing $10 or $25 or $50, we've had over $1.3 million contributions. In the last two weeks and in the coming days when Colorado and Wyoming finish voting, we are likely to have gained over 100 delegates on Donald Trump. And as a result of tonight, as a result of the people of Wisconsin defying the media, defying the pundits, I am more and more convince that our campaign is going to earn the 1,237 delegates needed to win the nomination.

Either before Cleveland or at the convention in Cleveland together we will win a majority of the delegates and together we will beat Hillary Clinton in November. Tonight was a bad night for Hillary Clinton. It was a bad night in the Democratic primary and it was an even worse night for her in the Republican primary. We are winning because we're uniting the Republican Party. Of the 17 candidates who started this race, a terrific, talented, dynamic field, five have now endorsed this campaign.

[21:55:03] Rick Perry and Lindsey Graham and Jeb Bush and Carly Fiorina and Wisconsin's own Governor Scott Walker. When you toss in Senator Mike Lee and Mark Levin, we've got the full spectrum of the Republican Party coming together and uniting behind this campaign.

In 1960 accepting the Democratic Party's nomination, John F. Kennedy observed, "I think the American people expect more from us than cries of indignation and attack. The times are too grave, the challenge too urgent and the stakes too high to permit the customary passions of political debate. We are not here to curse the darkness but to light the candle that can guide us to see through that darkness to a safe and sane future." As Winston Churchill said on taking office, "If we open a quarrel between the present and the past, we shall be in danger of losing the future." The same is true today."

Tonight Wisconsin has lit a candle guiding the way forward. Tonight we once again have hope for the future. Tonight is about unity and tonight is about hope. Young people in America once again have hope that we will bring jobs back to America. By repealing ObamaCare, passing it -- reining in the federal regulators that are killing small businesses, passing a flat tax and abolishing the IRS. We will unleash incredible economic growth.

Our border will finally be made secure, and sanctuary cities will end. Truck drivers and mechanics and plumbers and steel workers, union members, men and women with calluses on their hands, will once again see wages rising, opportunity expanding.

Working moms. Working moms struggling to make ends meet, will see take-home pay rising, the cost of living falling and common core ending.

Catholic schools and Jewish day schools, Brigham Young and the little sisters of the poor will see a Supreme Court that protects their religious liberties. The fundamental freedom of every one of us to live according to our faith and our conscience. We'll see a Supreme Court that protects the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms. And our fundamental right to protect our families and our homes and our children.

[22:00:04] We'll see a president who stands with Israel.