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Ted Cruz Wins Wisconsin Republican Primary; Bernie Sanders Wins Wisconsin Democratic Primary. Aired 11p-12a ET

Aired April 5, 2016 - 23:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[23:00:00] WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: Cruz is ahead by more than 120,000 votes. Right now, Cruz, the big winner in the Wisconsin Republican primary.

On the Democratic side, 67 percent of the vote is in. Bernie Sanders 55.8 percent, Hillary Clinton 43.9 percent. He is ahead, Bernie Sanders, by almost 75,000 votes. A big win for Bernie Sanders in Wisconsin.

Let's go over to John King.

On the Republican side, now that Ted Cruz has won Wisconsin, it's going to be a little bit harder for Donald Trump to reach that magic number of 1,237, the delegates he needs at the Republican convention in Cleveland to automatically get the nomination.

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It is. And Donald Trump is the only candidate, still in the race with plausible scenario, very difficult scenario. As of right now, Ballpark, who we finish allocating the delegates tonight. There are a lot of work to do at their Ballpark right now, Wolf, Donald Trump needs 62 percent of the remaining delegates to get to the magic number of 1,237. Ted Cruz, who said he could do it, needs 90 percent plus, somewhere in the ballpark of 92 percent of remaining delegates. So that is not going to happen.

But an open convention looks much, much more likely tonight. Why? Let's just assume we are going to be generous tonight to Donald Trump and we are going to move forward, OK. This is - we start here with the generous number for Donald Trump giving him six delegates in Wisconsin tonight, giving him the bonus delegates out of Missouri which aren't officially awarded yet.

But we will start to be generous to Mr. Trump. We are going to be generous here in the northeast, New England, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York. Let's come down to mid-Atlantic. Let's just say Donald Trump wins Pennsylvania, wins New Jersey, down here, we hit Maryland, we hit Delaware, we're over here, West Virginia, give those all to Donald Trump. Ted Cruz has done well out here in the west trying to leaving Indiana for now. Ted Cruz has done well in the west. So let's say Ted Cruz continues his march through the west and wins these states out in the west. We'll give him Washington and Oregon as well as we look. I left California. I left Indiana.

Look where are, 993, right. So Ted Cruz thinks he is going to win Indiana. For the sake of this hypothetical, let's give it to Ted Cruz, OK. So where are we? Let's just make this clear by tapping out here. Where are we right now? Donald Trump somewhere in the ballpark just shy of a thousand there. Then we come out to California. If you won it all winner take all, wouldn't be enough to get Donald Trump to the finish line. If they split the delegates proportionally, let's say Trump wins California, but then Ted Cruz would have momentum, let's just for the sake hypothetical, give them all to Donald Trump, he doesn't make it.

This is a very generous scenario here in the east that I gave him. Indiana, maybe, let's say for the sake of argument, never mind, Donald Trump gets those. Even in that scenario, close but doesn't get there. Is it possible Donald Trump can do better than this? It's possible. Is it likely given so far he is winning just shy 46 percent or so of the delegates so far, he needs 62 percent of those going forward. Ted Cruz believes he has momentum tonight. Even this map is generous to Trump, I think it can happen and has been a whacky year so rule out nothing but I think the odds of a Republican open convention, a contested convention fighting in Ohio much more like live tonight.

BLITZER: When Ted Cruz says he still can get to that magic number of 1,237 on the first ballot, you say that is highly, highly unlikely.

KING: I think it's just unreasonable, no offense to Senator Cruz who does come out of Wisconsin with momentum, you're heading to New England, the Mid-Atlantic States. Again, he has momentum. I'm not ruling out some Cruz wins in those states. It is conceivable. But he needs 92, 93 percent of the remaining delegates to get to 1,237. It's just almost impossible.

BLITZER: Yes. It looks like it's going to be an open convention in Cleveland, a contested convention. We'll be watching it closely.

Let's go back to Jake and Dana.

You're getting some more information from David Chalian, Jake, our political director, on what happened tonight.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN CHIEF WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: That's right. And right now one of the things we want to have David look into for us, and David, let me bring you in, our political director, David Chalian, at the decision desk.

David, one of the things we want to know is how are the Republican voters and Democratic voters feeling about their possible nominees?

DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Yes. And we are projecting forward as if the candidates were actually elected president, how would voters today, primary voters feel if the various candidates were elected president.

Let's start on the Republican side, Jake. Take a look at this. In Wisconsin Ted Cruz 13 percent of Republican primary voters would excited about Ted Cruz being elected president, 47 percent optimistic, 26 percent concerned, 12 percent scared. Now, those bottom two, just look at that, add them together, 38 percent either concerned or scared.

Now take a look at Donald Trump, 23 percent excited. He has got more fervent support. We have known that, more excitement, 18 percent optimistic. But now look at this, 20 percent concerned or 38 percent scared of Wisconsin Republican primary voters, 58 percent would be concerned or scared if Donald Trump was elected president. That is a warning sign.

Let's look at the Democratic side. There is an interesting story there as well. Bernie Sanders, 33 percent of Democratic primary voters today would be excited, 42 percent optimistic, OK. Now let's look at Hillary Clinton and look at that excitement number at the top, 14 percent, that is part of the enthusiasm gap that we have been talking about on the Democratic side. Only 14 percent of Wisconsin Democratic primary voters would be excited, 54 percent optimistic, 23 percent concerned, seven percent scared. Now, the Democrats will say that both of them, in fact Debbie Wasserman-Schultz I think put out a statement that says that there is more excitement and optimism about the Democratic candidate overall than more about the Republicans. But again, this is a bit of a warning sign for Hillary Clinton here, just not as much out and out excitement enthusiasm for her as for Bernie Sanders.

[23:05:37] TAPPER: No question, David Chalian. Thank you so much.

No question, Dana, that Hillary Clinton has been battling when it comes to this idea of voter excitement. And you see 14 percent of voters in Wisconsin, Democratic voters excited about her being president, 33 percent for Bernie. But the word scared --.

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It struck me also.

TAPPER: The word scared is one you seldom hear when it comes to somebody in a party talking about a possible nominee from their own party becoming president. And the idea that 58, of Republican voters in Wisconsin are either concerned or scared and 38 percent are scared about Trump as president, these are Republicans. They're stunning numbers.

BASH: It is stunning. And let's just marry the two concepts, right. You have Republicans who are scared and you have a Democratic enthusiasm gap. Well, guess what, if Donald Trump is the nominee, that enthusiasm gap is probably going to be gone. Because there are going to be enthusiastically, a lot of people are going to be enthusiastically voting against Donald Trump if they're that scared. So that is certainly one of the things that the Democrats are banking on.

One quick thing I want to add to what John was saying about looking forward. Going into tonight sources I talk to in the never Trump movement were admitting that this is going to be at least for the next month a high water mark for them and that they expect Donald Trump from here on out to have a pretty good month, not just in New York but other states in the northeast.

So that is definitely something that they're preparing for. They're going to put money in there. They are going to try and bring him down a few notches. But they're definitely thinking this is as good as it gets for the next couple of contests.

TAPPER: One other note, Hillary Clinton 14 percent are only 14 percent of the voters in Wisconsin, Democratic voters, say they would be excited about her being president. Not surprising, perhaps, she lost the democratic primary in Wisconsin. Ted Cruz won the Republican primary in Wisconsin and his number is even lower than hers. In fact, of this four candidates, his excitement number is the lowest. Only 13 percent in a state he won! He won! So these people are optimistic but --

BASH: Because they want -- that state is probably still upset that their governor, who actually was running for president, isn't on the ballot, you know. I mean, it really does go to show that you have all of these people who have kind of rallied behind Ted Cruz extremely reluctantly because there were a lot of other candidates that perhaps they preferred but Cruz and John Kasich, we shouldn't forget, are the only ones left standing who is not Trump.

TAPPER: Lots to chew on - Wolf.

BLITZER: Certainly is. We saw how difficult it would be for Donald Trump to be assure of getting the nomination on that first ballot.

What about Bernie Sanders? He had a big win tonight. How difficult of a challenge would he have to get the Democratic nomination? We're going to assess that right after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[23:13:00] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Impressive wins tonight in Wisconsin for Senator Sanders and now Senator Cruz. Let's talk about an open convention. Based on what we now know, what is it going to look like?

DAVID AXELROD, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Good TV, Anderson.

COOPER: No doubt about that.

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Or maybe not. I mean, look. A week before the convention, you have the rules committee meeting. People are going to try to get their delegates on the rules committee and their different states have different ways of apportioning that. They're going to talk about this controversial rule that was adopted in 2012 to keep the Ron Paul people from causing a ruckus on the floor which says you have to have won a majority of eight states in order to have your name put into nomination.

COOPER: But what Senator Cruz keeps saying that John Kasich is not going to be able to.

BORGER: Well, and by the way, this is one area where there's an alliance between Ted Cruz and Donald Trump because both of them want to keep that rule. Why wouldn't they? So I don't think the rule is actually going to be changed. COOPER: Do you think the rule will be kept?

BORGER: I think it will until -- you can do anything from the floor. So after you get past the first ballot, this is what makes it so interesting is people are unbound, can you trade delegates, you can steal delegates, you can keep reconstituting your --

RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: They haven't had a multi-ballot convention since 1948, which was the first convention that was televised. But you know, if you think about it, what we are really talking about is a multi-ballot convention here there's a potential for the person leading on the first ballot not to actually be nominated. That hasn't happened since 1940. I mean, in 1948, Tom Dewey, winning with the most delegate, it took him a while, but he won. You can go all the way back to 1940 to (INAUDIBLE), to find someone who is not ahead on the first ballot, who actually emerge as the nominee. And I think the problem that Trump would have in this situation is these general election poll numbers. I mean, if you're looking at the kind of poll numbers that he is facing, particularly among the key groups, the Democratic coalition millennials, minorities, college educated voters, particularly women, it makes a big hurdle for him to convince elected officials --

AXELROD: Here's the question, can you bypass the number one finisher, the number two finisher and pick someone who didn't run at all and not have a complete revolt within your party? They may try - the party establishment may try into that because they may reason that that is less dangerous than having Donald Trump as the nominee, but --

[23:15:18] BROWNSTEIN: And they're not sure Cruz is much better.

BORGER: But it depends on the margin. I mean, if Donald Trump goes in to this convention 50 delegates away, I don't think anybody can deny -- it will happen. But if he goes in a few hundred delegates away or a couple hundred delegates away, I think anything can happen. And, by the way, you can't actually know how many delegates you have until you're there unless they're totally committed to you.

COOPER: Nia?

NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN POLITICAL REPORTER: I mean, I think the RNC and establishment Republicans have set this up where Donald Trump can go in with 1,2370 delegates and they have set it up. So, winner can be somebody completely different. They are essentially saying the clock resets when you get to the convention. And if he can lose on the first ballot, he could win - he could lose on the first ballot, and somebody else could win on the second --

(CROSSTALK)

AXELROD: They've had an open - I mean, if nothing else, what we've seen is a very angry Republican electorate. And what would certify their anger more than the party establishment saying thanks for participating, really glad that you cast your votes, now we'll do what we're going to do. BROWNSTEIN: That will be the final stage of the race, right. I mean,

what we saw tonight was Donald Trump with vulnerabilities that already were there that were exacerbated and some new ones, right. This is only the fourth time he was lost voters who are not college graduates. (INAUDIBLE), he won in the seven in the first 20. He lost voters who are not college graduate tonight. He saw the consolidation against him of those white collar voters that seemed to be out there through this whole race ready for someone to do. Ted Cruz beat him by almost 20 points among voters with a college degree. He has not won only eight of 21. If that kind of pattern continues all the way through to the end, I think it's a different convention than if he's able to reestablish himself and win a bunch of states.

BORGER: But you saw Donald Trump's statement tonight. He is putting everyone on notice, the party bosses are with Ted Cruz. That was a convention statement. And the party risks causing itself a lot of trouble and the party may decide to do it if they say to Trump, OK, we're not going to go with you. What happens --?

COOPER: Nia and then we have to go.

HENDERSON: What's more risky, Trump as the nominee and face and head of the Republican Party or alienating these voters?

COOPER: And not just for this election, but perhaps on elections to come.

Bernie Sanders is touting his win straight including Wisconsin tonight. He still faces big hurdles ahead in the delegate race. His campaign manager is going to join us to the election center to explain how Sanders might find a path to victory. That's straight ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[23:22:21] TAPPER: Welcome back to CNN's coverage of the Wisconsin primary. It wasn't long ago a guy name Jeff Weaver retired from politics, opened up a comic bookstore in Fair Fox, Virginia called Victory Comics. Then he got a call from his old boss, Bernie Sanders, about joining him in running this presidential campaign. And now here we are several contest later, Bernie Sanders has won seven out of the last eight contest including Democrats abroad.

Jeff weaver is here. Not bad for a guy who just a few months ago was separating the "Dare Devils" from the "Teen Titans." Here you are. Congratulations on your big victory again in Wisconsin.

JEFF WEAVER, BERNIE SANDERS' CAMPAIGN MANAGER: Also Senator felt really good.

TAPPER: The Senator's victory but also the campaign manager gets some credit.

John King has some question for you about the math going forward so we have an actual map here.

KING: And it's like Oprah. You get to take it with you when you go home.

WEAVER: But I want the car.

KING: Everybody wants the car.

All right. So let's start by Wisconsin tonight in a good way. Looks like you're going somewhere 55-45. If that happens, net gain of eight tonight. You might kid not, right now the senator says 56-43. He might do a little better than that. So that would get you here in the pledge delegate. The question is you know the math. You got to win, a, you're going into New York next. Can you win in New York?

WEAVER: We're going to go to Wyoming next.

KING: OK.

WEAVER: But we are going to New York. New York can be a tough fight. There is no doubt about it. The secretary has a lot of, you know, political support in New York but I think we can win it.

KING: You can win it? All right. Let's take, for the sake of argument you win it, 55-45. That would be nice?

WEAVER: (INAUDIBLE).

KING: Do you think if you do win Wisconsin, it's going to be 51-49, probably?

WEAVER: Maybe closer.

KING: I'm going to be nice. But you know the skepticism. I'm not doing this to be a jerk. But can you make it up?

WEAVER: Sure.

KING: OK? And so, when you go through all these states - I'm going to go to Pennsylvania?

WEAVER: Yes.

KING: Secretary Clinton thinks she is going to win that.

WEAVER: OK.

KING: I'm going to give it to Bernie Sanders, 55-45. He start to pick up some delegates math there. But even, look. She's getting under the Democratic Party rules, it's helped you in states you lost, you get, you know, 40-something percent. But if we go forward, can Bernie Sanders win Connecticut?

WEAVER: Absolutely.

KING: A lot of guys that work on Wall Street live in Connecticut.

WEAVER: That's right. No, I know it. A lot of other people excited. And a lot of guys on Wall Street are voting for Bernie Sanders. KING: We're just having fun here. There we go. So I'll give you

that one, 55-45. Stay in New Jersey?

WEAVER: Absolutely.

KING: All right. So you are on a roll. All right. We will be in generous. I know the Clinton supporters watching are already mad at me.

WEAVER: Their heads are exploding.

TAPPER: They have been mad at you a long time.

KING: But here you go. We will give it to you, 55-45. I'm going to stretch it out a little bit. I started my career in the great state of Rhode Island. Can Bernie Sanders win there?

WEAVER: Absolutely.

KING: Great. A lot of great political people, 55-45. And we cannot go on and on through all this. I'm going to do this for the sake of argument, I'm going to give them all to you, OK. This is like "the price is right" or whatever it is. If we give it all to you at 55-45, you almost catch her but you come up a little short. So obviously, especially in some of these big states where there are a couple delegates at stake, you have to win by bigger. You don't dispute that.

[23:25:13] WEAVER: Well, and some smaller states, as you know, we have won a lot of these earlier states in the last couple weeks by you know, 60 percent, 70 percent, 80 percent in the Alaska. And so, yes, in some of these states we are going to have a big are margin.

KING: Let's just show what that means when you do that, though. In a state like Alaska, 20 delegates. So you win huge but you get a net and a tenth. You need better than that.

WEAVER: No, no. But look. As we saw in Nevada and many of these caucus states, actually, senator Sanders will net many more delegates as he go to the inner (INAUDIBLE) process, he is going to end up getting many more delegates than what he gets initially.

KING: And so now I'm going to go back a few. I'm going to go play, just we're playing devil's advocate, let's assume actually Hillary Clinton wins the state of Pennsylvania and he come in second. She thinks she is going to do that, OK. I'm going to say, just for the sake of argument, that she wins New York. Maybe she doesn't win by this margin. This goes back at 55-45. But this is even, you know, I'm still giving you a bunch of states and the Clinton people watching are saying there's no way New Jersey. There's no way West Virginia. But if this happens.

So I guess the question is in terms of pledged delegates and I haven't done that little trick where I bring out the super delegates.

WEAVER: Right. Right. Right. KING: Because obviously, if you do something like this, some of those

super delegates are going to change their mind, some. The question is how many. But how do you change the map so that you catch her? Not just get close to her, but catch her.

WEAVER: Right. Well, in some of these states we are going to have bigger margins. And the truth is it is going to be (INAUDIBLE). And you mentioned West Virginia, these polls shows Senator Bernie Sanders is 20 points ahead of West Virginia right now. We have a campaign event.

KING: But it's 37 delegates. I mean, even if you -- you're not making big math.

WEAVER: No, it is not. You are never making a big math. It's slow and steady wins the race. And this is the number right here, of course, 23-83. None of these scenarios shows either person is going to be 23-83. So we are going to an open convention. Everybody is talking about a Republican open convention. The Democrats are going to an open convention.

KING: You sincerely believe that?

WEAVER: Absolutely.

TAPPER: Do you have think that can you make the argument successfully to super delegates that they should change their vote, even if she enters, Hillary Clinton enters the convention ahead in the pledge delegates?

WEAVER: Look. This is what super delegates have to grapple with. They want to win. Many of these people are elected officials, party insiders. At the end of the day they want the candidate who is going to be able to beat the Republicans. And the polling consistently shows that's Bernie Sanders. He has obviously has the momentum here on the second half of the primaries and caucuses. And so, I think that their desire to win as he continues to demonstrate that he's the strongest candidate I think will be very powerful with super delegates.

TAPPER: All right. Just stay right there. I want to go to Jeff Zeleny right now who is with the Clinton campaign in New York who has new reporting fresh off the Bernie Sanders' victory in Washington - Jeff.

JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Jake, that's right.

The Clinton campaign has been watching these Wisconsin results come in and the delegate race, of course, is tight there. But the reality is they are running out of patience. So they are going to begin to playing a new strategy. IT is going to be called disqualify him, defeat him and then they can unify the party later.

For the last several months, the Clinton campaign has been first ignoring Bernie Sanders then dismissing him. Now they're going to go head long into him, I'm told, beginning here in New York primary in two weeks on his gun record on other things. So part of it aside for now. One aide told me that will come later. They are going to start trying in that defeating Bernie Sanders. So that scenario that you saw play out there on John's wall does not come true. The Clinton campaign is running out of patience. They want to stop Bernie Sanders and move on to the fall campaign - Jake.

TAPPER: All right, Jeff Zeleny, thanks for that report.

Let me go back to Jeff Weaver, campaign manager for Bernie Sanders.

It sounds like the Clinton campaign is saying they're going to get a lot tougher. And as we know, there have been some bitter moments between Sanders and Clinton but generally it's been fairly above board.

WEAVER: Yes, absolutely.

TAPPER: Are you prepared -- especially compared to the Republicans, are you prepared for a brass knuckles, tough campaign, more difficult charges and accusations from the Clinton campaign?

WEAVER: Absolutely. Look. You know, the senator has tried to run an issue-oriented campaign. There is obviously the contrasts to have become sharper of late. We're fully prepared to engage in that environment if they want to. But this is what I would say to them which is, you know, don't destroy the Democratic Party to satisfy the secretary's ambitions to become president of the United States, right. We want to have a party at the end of this so we can unify. Let's have a tough debate. Let's talk about the issues. There are sharp contrasts between the two. But let's not, you know, denigrate other people's supporters in tearing the party apart.

TAPPER: Well, if I could play devil's advocate.

WEAVER: Sure.

TAPPER: The Clinton campaign, as you know, would say you have been -- not you, but Bernie Sanders has been impugning Clinton's character for months. She calls it an artful smear. So I think the idea that she is going to start attacking and you would say that the Democratic Party shouldn't be sacrificed for her ambitious, they would take umbrage at because they think that Sanders has been artfully smearing, in her words, Hillary Clinton for some time.

[23:30:02] WEAVER: No, look. It's not artful smear. Look. How you raise money and who you raise money from is an important substantive campaign issue. It is not just a process issue. Bernie Sanders raises money, average contribution, 27 people. As you know, you heard in those rallies. You know, over two million, over six million contributions. You know, the secretary, we just had this whole debate about debates, right? But we moved a giant rally where we're we were going to have 10,000, 15,000 people in New York so we can accommodate the secretary's high dollar fund-raising schedule as she jets around and the country raising money from rich people. That's an important issue. If you raise money from Wall Street, of you raise money from the pharmaceutical industry, from the private prison lobby, frankly, from the gun lobby, just taking money from the gun lobby, when you raise money from all those people, how are you going to be in a position to really regulate those people at the end of the day?

BASH: Jeff, you just said something kind of extraordinary. You just said to Jake that we shouldn't destroy the Democratic Party but Jake's right. The senator has been pretty aggressive. Until tonight Paul Begala, our friend across the way there, noticed he really in his speech tonight senator Sanders didn't even allude to Hillary Clinton. So was that part of a strategy that you hope to begin to shift back to back to basics? And do you think you're going to be able to do that given what Jeff Zeleny is reporting?

WEAVER: Well, Look, if the Hillary Clinton campaign, you know, tries to come at senator Sanders, obviously he will defend himself and his record. And certainly we are going to continue regardless to talk about the issues contrast between the two candidates, you know, who is going to be willing to take on Wall Street, who has the record of standing up for middle class families, bad trade deals, so on and so forth, right. So that's I think all fair game. It's an electoral contest -- go ahead.

BASH: As a campaign, did you all make a very calculated decision for the senator not to do what he has done more and more on the campaign trail tonight, which is really go after Hillary Clinton on the issues you were talking about?

WEAVER: No. Look, the beauty of Bernie Sanders is he is an authentic guy. You know, what he said tonight is something he wrote. You know, he makes these decisions for himself. He is not like he is a scripted candidate, right, reading off a teleprompter like most candidates do. You know, that was Bernie Sanders I think celebrating a big victory from Wisconsin, right. I mean, you could see the margin is quite large, I think larger than anybody thought it was going to be. I mean, just last week we were down five or six points in Washington. So, tremendous amount of movement at the end. You saw Bernie, he was in Wyoming where obviously with a very enthusiastic crowd. (INAUDIBLE). So I think he was in the moment.

TAPPER: The New York primary coming up, of course. And the new cover of tomorrow's "New York Daily News," if we could put that up, Bernie Sandy hook shame. The "New York Daily News" editorial lies a very much against eh gun lobby as you know. And this is a reference to just costly defense gun makers against Newtown lawsuit. This is "New York Daily News" editorial board meeting. This is just the tip of the iceberg about what you're going to be facing as you go into, a, New York, which is rough and tumble in Wisconsin and, b, Clinton's home turf. And especially if she is going to up in these events.

WEAVER: Well, it's also Bernie Sanders's home turf.

TAPPER: He was born and raised Brooklyn.

WEAVER: That's right. He is going - you know, the Clinton campaign tried to insult the people of Brooklyn by saying Bernie is going to campaign like a Brooklynite. Well, he is going to campaign like a Brooklynite. You know, if it is going to be sharp elbows, certainly he can operate in that far.

TAPPER: All right. Thank you so much, Jeff Weaver. We really appreciate you taking the time to talk to us.

Let's go to Anderson.

COOPER: Jake, Jeff, thanks very much.

Let's bring in our Paul Begala.

Paul, you work for a pro-Hillary Clinton Superpac. What do you make of what you hear from Jeff? And also, Jeff Zeleny's reporting about how the Clinton campaign certainly has want to try to build Bernie Sanders moving forward?

PAUL BEGALA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: It seems to me the two campaigns are circling each other but they still don't want to throw a punch. They have spent millions and millions and millions of dollars not to one negative ad yet, not one from Hillary's campaign, not one from Bernie's campaign. So, you know, look. I have been in a lot of campaigns. I mean, this sort of halfway. But, you know, you get all juiced up and make all these kind of chest thumping statements, but I will believe it when I see the ads. They're not going to do it. You want my prediction? They're not going to do it.

COOPER: Because?

BEGALA: Because it's not in their interest. Because Democrats are not in as (INAUDIBLE) as Republicans are. Democrats are kind of happy. They love their president. They really like Hillary. They really like Bernie. Both of them in exit polls today have over 70 percent saying, yes, kind of great if they were my nominee.

COOPER: What about the idea of an open convention?

BEGALA: It is preposterous.

COOPER: Preposterous.

BEGALA: Preposterous. I will join the Republican Party (INAUDIBLE). It would never happen. I know it is a magic wall. You have to eat magic mushrooms to believe that the Democrats somehow are - tonight is to Hillary Clinton. She win into this - tonight, with a lead of 2.5 million votes. 2.5 million more people voted for her than Senator Sanders. She ends tonight, 2.411 million ahead. She had a lead, when the dawn broke, of 685 delegates. She'll go to bed tonight with a lead of 676. It is not momentum. IT is mathematics.

COOPER: So the idea that Superdelegates can change and will change.

BEGALA: They can change but they won't change because all politics is personal. Because they were on the ballot. Those were like I talked to one last week who is in the state on the ballot in that state that Senator Sanders won in a landslide. These for Hillary. It is quite because my butt is on the ballot. They jumped ship to go to Barack Obama because they saw a once in a lifetime talent there and I didn't blame him. They saw Barack Obama and say I can run with this guy. I can win with this guy. I have yet to hear --.

[23:35:26] COOPER: David --.

AXELROD: I hear you but I was a little bit taken aback by Jeff Zeleny's report. Because if I were advising Hillary Clinton, I would say you are going to be the nominee of the Democratic Party. So don't get into a brawl.

BEGALA: She's not in a brawl. Let's wait and see. Hillary Clinton ran a thousand ads of attack in Barack. Barack ran a thousand and one --

AXELROD: I hear you but somebody told Jeff that. I don't this he went on. And I also would say about Jeff Weaver that this notion that Bernie has been with clean hands, he has been pounding her hard. It is politics and he has hit her on the speeches and he has hit her on various other issues, certainly on her campaign financing. So, you know, he has taken some shots. And I'm sure that's not sat well with Hillary Clinton. But she is the one who is likely to be the nominee and she ought to take that into consideration. I think she's doing the right thing by focusing more on Republicans than on Bernie.

AMANDA CARPENTER, FORMER CRUZ COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: How long can everyone else stand and watch these candidates dance around each other and not, you know, land a blow? This has been going on for so long. And I think that the "New York Daily News" editorial is a preview, the media. We are going into New York and New York debate. It is rough and tumble. The media is going to do all that they can to draw them into this fight. So while they want to play nice, at this point it's April. We want to see a fight.

PETER BEINART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think Bernie Sanders has really undermined the momentum he has coming out of Wisconsin with some of the things he has done in New York in the last few days. That "New York Daily News" interview he did, his answer on Sandy Hook, when that is already a vulnerability for him, right. It has been one issue on with Hillary can get to as left, gun control.

COOPER: Which, by the way, has already come up at several debate, particularly the Sandy Hook lawsuit. I mean, I brought it up I think at the last debate.

BEINART: Right. And his answer - also his answer when they pressed him on how in fact he would dismantle the banks. They asked him some very good and tough questions but he really should have been prepared for at this point and he flailed. And I think that -- even if Hillary Clinton doesn't go after him, I think the New York press is going to pick up on that.

BORGER: Why should she? I mean, you know, why should she? Let the New York press do it. I mean, now Bernie Sanders is going to be under the microscope in New York, which is difficult, so --

BEINART: The Wall Street is a hometown industry. And the people are going to be asking about it in a different way.

BORGER: Exactly.

HENDERSON: I mean, I think the big test will be Thursday. They will be on a stage together in New York for our debate. And so, we will see what they do.

COOPER: Ahead, how Ted Cruz and Bernie Sanders won tonight, a secret to their success when we come back.

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[23:42:34] BLITZER: Welcome back to the CNN election center.

Let's get a key race alert right now. Ted Cruz, the winner in the Wisconsin Republican presidential primary election looking 78 percent of the vote is now in. He's just under 50 percent, 49.3 percent for Cruz, 33.9 percent for Trump. Kasich with only 14.4 percent. He's up by almost 130,000 votes on the Republican side.

On the Democratic side, Bernie Sanders the big winner, 82 percent of the vote is in. He has got 56.1 percent, Hillary Clinton with only 43.6 percent. He is up by almost 100,000 votes in Wisconsin right now. Big win for Bernie Sanders, big win for Ted Cruz.

Let's go back to Jake. How did they do it, Jake?

TAPPER: Good question. Of course, we are looking at these big margins of victory Ted Cruz and Bernie Sanders. As you pointed out, Wolf, we are about 80 percent of the vote in. Ted Cruz up about 130,000 votes over Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders almost 100,000 over Hillary Clinton.

Let's go to David Chalian, our political director, who is at the decision desk.

David, let's start with the Republicans. How did Ted Cruz pull off such a huge victory?

CHALIAN: Well, let's start with the make-up of the electorate and look at Republican voters, not independents. It was an open primary. But two-thirds of the voters today, Jake, were Republican. And this is how they voted. Cruz beat Trump 54 percent to 32 percent to Kasich's 12 percent. They divided evenly with independents, by the way. Cruz and Trump totally tied with independents, normally that's a Trump strength. This Cruz margin helped them win.

Take a look at dissatisfied with the federal government. Cruz wins these voters very big, 52 percent to 29 percent for Trump and 17 percent for Kasich. And they made up 54 percent of the electorate. Again, the angry voters, a smaller share, divided instead of giving their votes overwhelmingly to Trump as we have seen before.

And experience in politics, 45 percent of Republican primary voters were looking for somebody experienced in politics. Ted Cruz won those voters 68 percent to Kasich's 21 percent to Trump's eight percent.

TAPPER: Fascinating. And what about the Democrats? How did Bernie sander pull off such an impressive victory?

CHALIAN: Well, first, there is this issue of young voters which we have seen time and time again, 18 to 29-year-olds Sanders just demolishes Hillary group at this voting group, 82 percent to 18 percent. Then take a look about who is more inspiring about the country's future? And you see that Sanders does much better there with Clinton as well.

Take a look at women voters. Almost evenly split, 50 percent to 49 percent. Usually women voters Hillary Clinton has won. Here Sanders edges her out by one point, but that is a group relies on to get her victories. That did not happen here in Wisconsin, Jake.

[23:45:29] TAPPER: That is fascinating. Thanks, David Chalian.

Dana Bash, 50/50 with the women Democrats, that's a big recipe for disaster for Secretary Clinton.

BASH: No question about it. You combine that with how well Bernie Sanders did with his natural constituency, the young people, 18 to 29. Those are just some of the ingredients for Bernie Sanders' win.

But I think that the fact that David pointed out that this was an open primary, meaning Democrats didn't have to vote in the Democratic primary and Republicans didn't have to vote in the Republican primary, you know, it's more mixed up.

On the Republican side historically these are the place are where Donald Trump does well. As he likes to say, he brings people into the fold, independents and even some Democrats. It didn't happen here. And maybe it seems to be just part of the overwhelming victory of Ted Cruz. But it also maybe is a telltale sign to come because there are a lot more closed primaries on both sides of the aisle. So at that definitely will and has shifted the dynamics for both parties.

TAPPER: That will be interesting. And obviously one of the other considerations,

Wolf Blitzer, is the fact that Ted Cruz is able to still win the votes of those who are looking for somebody to reflect the fact that they're dissatisfied with Washington. That seems to be one of the reasons that he has emerged as Donald Trump's chief challenger.

BLITZER: Certainly he had a very, very impressive night in Wisconsin.

But when we come back, we're going to take a look ahead to New York, two weeks from today. It's all about New York State. Can Donald Trump come back in his home state? What about Hillary Clinton? How will she do in her adopted home state? Much more right after this.

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[23:51:50] BLITZER: A big win tonight for Ted Cruz in Wisconsin, 42 delegates were at stake. I want to bring in Mark Preston, our senior politics executive editor.

You've been going through those 42 delegates. What's the latest tabulation, Mark?

MARK PRESTON, CNN POLITICS EXECUTIVE EDITOR: Well, Wolf, not only a game of momentum tonight for Ted Cruz but in this game on inches where they are trying to win delegate by delegate. Ted Cruz had a very big night. Let's explain why very quickly.

Let's take a look at how many delegates Ted Cruz has won this evening, 33 delegates as we speak right now at this hour, Ted Cruz has picked up. Donald Trump has picked up three. John Kasich shut out, has picked up no delegates tonight. Quick explanation why. He did so well statewide. He picked up 18 delegates just by winning the state, Wolf. In addition to that, he won five of the eight congressional delegates and how they are apportion these delegates. They were worth three delegates each. Donald Trump only won one congressional district at this point. Two of these districts are still too close to call. And we're still looking at them.

But let's look at the race for delegates to date right now. Donald Trump still in the lead 743 delegates at this point. Ted Cruz at 507. John Kasich way behind at 145 delegates. You need 1,237 to capture the nomination. But, Wolf, after tonight there is more clarity in the fact that we are headed towards a contested convention, Wolf.

BLITZER: It certainly would appear that is increasing likely.

Mark Preston, thanks very much.

Let's go over to John King at the magic wall. Wisconsin a fascinating contest tonight. Ted Cruz emerging a big winner. And he has got a lot of those delegates, 42 at stake. He's got most of them.

KING: Looks like he may win all but six, nine at the most for Donald Trump as Mark has said. The green line, so we brought a congressional district map over, Donald Trump winning up here. This one here is too close to call down here, too close to call. Looks like Trump will get six, possibly nine. We bet on the six as we go forward. We will keep counting the votes and he move this out of the way. It is a little bit destructing.

This is impressive, though, for Ted Cruz. He's just shy of 50 percent right now. That vote total likely to go down just a little bit, Cruz percentage, because most of his vote is in. You see here in the Milwaukee area, the suburb, the eastern part of the states, some rural counties still coming in where Trump might close the gap a bit. But it's a pretty resounding victory and very disappointing for John Kasich who has hold central strategy is I'm going to stay in the race, keep getting some delegates, make me viable at an open convention. Looks like we are headed to an open convention. But that's a disappointing performance for Kasich tonight. They thought particularly down here in Dane County, the Madison area, a more liberal part of the state. Let's go some Republicans here. Ted Cruz won convincingly, John Kasich third. Votes not all in yet.

BLITZER: Let's look at the Democrats for a second.

KING: The Democratic side. Watch when I switch this map. Boom. That's a thumping. Bernie Sanders winning just about everywhere. The reason this margin isn't even bigger is because of Milwaukee. Milwaukee city here down, you come do Milwaukee County, 17 percent. This is where the bulk of the relatively small African-American population but to the degree that Democratic base matter who might for Hillary Clinton. You see her winning this county only by three points there. But this kept her to the game to the degree that she is keeping it ballpark. With 56-44 right now, Sanders will get a net eight, maybe nine delegates out of Wisconsin as we count the vote. That is a very, very convincing grip victory. He is winning just about everywhere.

[23:55:04] BLITZER: All right, standby, John. We're going to take a quick break. When we come back, the road ahead two weeks from today. It's New York State. We'll be right back.

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