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Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton Win Big in New York; Kasich Distant Second to Trump; What Path Forward for Sanders? Aired 11p-12a ET

Aired April 19, 2016 - 23:00   ET


[23:00:06] WOLF BLITZER, CNN'S LEAD POLITICAL ANCHOR: Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton scoring big in a very important victories tonight on their mutual home turf. We're talking about New York State as Hillary Clinton, "There's no place like home."

Both the Republican and the Democratic front-runners now poised to claim a big new haul of delegates that would move them even closer to their party's nominations.

We're awaiting for final tallies to see exactly how many delegates they will win. We have right now a "Key Race Alert." Let's look at where the votes stand right now.

Take a look at this on the Republican side first, 83 percent of the vote is in a huge win for Donald Trump. Almost 60 percent of the vote, John Kasich, the Ohio Governor in a distant second place with 25.2 percent. Ted Cruz with only 14.9 percent. You saw the vote tally just change, 83 percent of the vote is in. Trump is ahead by 242,000 votes.

On the Democratic side, 87 percent of the vote is in. Hillary Clinton is way ahead right now. She's ahead by almost 223,000 votes, 57.3 percent to Bernie Sanders 42.7 percent.

A very, very impressive win for both Hillary Clinton on the Democratic side and Donald Trump on the Republican side.

Anderson, good night for both of them.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: No doubt about that, big wins for both.

We heard from Hillary Clinton just a short time ago, and Wolf mentioned how she began her opening remarks. Let's play that before we go to the panel.


HILLARY CLINTON, (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Today, today you proved once again, there's no place like home.

You know, in this campaign, we've won in every region of the country. From the north, to the south, to the east, to the west, but this one's personal.


ANDERSON: And let's turn to our panelists. It was interesting to hear both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump both sort of pivoting to a more general election, and also sort of striking, I don't know for Hillary Clinton, much of a different tone, but certainly for Donald Trump (inaudible).

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: I thought it was a different tone for both of them to a degree. You know, Hillary Clinton tonight gave a great general election speech and that's what, you know, she was talking about America is great. She was ...

ANDERSON: And really comparing herself to Donald Trump.

BORGER: To Donald Trump, making not so veiled references to his proposals on temporary ban on Muslims, entering the United States and on and on and on.

And I think with Donald Trump, what we saw tonight was somebody who had a specific message on his issues, very focused, very short, very disciplined. And I think that's clearly the influence of his new team.


BORGER: And the new phase of the campaign they're in. And Paul Manafort, who's his new senior advisor had a press availability with reporters earlier this evening. And what she spoke about, he said "Look, Donald Trump has always been disciplined, but this is what you're seeing now is a more disciplined Donald Trump."

I mean, there are -- and so it's very clear to me that they understand they're in a new phase of this campaign, and Donald Trump refers to it as being presidential. I'm not so sure that's what it is. I think it's just being a more focused candidate.


DAVID AXELROD, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I want to return to Hillary for a second because I -- the thing that struck me was a line almost at the beginning of the speech. We've had a little discussion before she came out about the need to try and unify ...


AXELROD: ... the party and she -- the first thing she said was this more of that unites than divides us. And that's really the posture that she needs to take from here on in.

She shouldn't take debate. She shouldn't return to old debates. She should be focused on moving into the general election and drawing those contrasts with the Republicans that unite Democrats, rather than antagonizing the Sanders supporters, which she will need to win a general election. BORGER: Right.

MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: And one of the things that was interesting to see also was the coalition of voters that got behind Hillary in New York.

If you look at the exit polls, this is a state that has a lot more liberal voters than prior states, and of course, whose Hillary been struggling with, with progressive voters and the fact that she did this here is reassuring for a campaign going forward.

COOPER: And, in fact, we heard in the exit polls, there was a lot of voters who wanted policies, not just supporter of Barack Obama's policies and President Obama's policies, but even more liberal than him.

NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTOR: That's right. And then a lot of those folks backed her. I mean, she just I think wiped the board with Bernie Sanders.

And Bernie Sanders should have done better. I mean, he was really a peak Bernie Sanders in many ways in this state, but he couldn't overcome Hillary Clinton's advantage there. I thought she did sort of give a shot to Bernie Sanders in the beginning when she said, "Well, listen." You know, she's won all across this country, north, south, east, and west when we have her from the Bernie Sanders campaign that she was kind of a regional candidate and that she wouldn't do well outside of there.

[23:05:04] So, you know, I thought this was a very big night for her. And she'll have probably have a bigger night going forward.

COOPER: You know, Bill Press, ever since, you know, Iowa, New Hampshire, their question was, can Bernie Sanders broaden the coalition? Can he reach out to African-Americans in particular? He has failed to do that.

I mean not that he hasn't reached out, but he's failed to really garner significant support from a wide swath of African-Americans. Why do you think that failure is based on?

BILL PRESS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: First let me just say, look, Hillary Clinton served the people of New York very well as the United States senator. And I think tonight, they return the favor to her.

I mean, it's a huge win for her, a pivotal win for her. I thought her speech was excellent tonight and I think this is kind of pivotal for both parties.

And Bernie Sanders had some disadvantages in New York. As a Sanders supporter, you know, I'm disappointed that he didn't come within that 10 points where I think he really needed to show the strength kind of to move forward.

He is a bit -- look, I just say it's awfully hard to overcome the history of the Clintons, particularly with the African-Americans and Latinos and for some ...

COOPER: Do you think this is a turning point tonight?

PRESS: I think it's a turning point tonight. I think you're going to see, first of all, this is not over. I think that the thing continues.

Let me tell you, the sweet side of this for me tonight is the California primary is really going to count like the New York primary counted and this is going to through June 7th. I think before we know who is the nominee in either party and, you know, Bernie has worked on broadening that base, but ...

COOPER: The math is not ...


AXELROD: It is going to happen. But the math, Bill, the California primary is going to happen. That's for sure, whether it counts I think is another matter.

PRESS: You know, look, I'll give it to John King. I was watching him with the numbers just about 10 minutes ago, right. And if you look at in Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Connecticut, coming up, we know the states that are coming up, that it's unlikely she's going to have the full -- I don't mean that they're dumping on Hillary, I'm not.

I'm just saying, if you look at the math, everybody talks about the math, it's unlikely she'll have the full number of pledged delegates necessary before the convention shall depend on the super delegates ...

AXELROD: But the Obama did do it, right?


COOPER: But she will be -- I mean, it's clear (ph), she will be way ahead of Bernie Sanders.

PRESS: Absolutely, absolutely.

BORGER: And this was his big shot, tonight.

BAKARI SELLERS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: And just to be clear, just to be clear, Barack Obama also needed super delegates because there have been very few nominees and candidates who actually get to that mark that's needed and they all need super delegates support.

But, let me just -- tonight was a great night for Hillary Clinton. I mean, I think that ...


SELLERS: ... what we saw down there as the campaign neared this election day, when you saw a candidate smiling, you saw a candidate having fun, whether or not she was talking about having hot sauce in her personal breakfast club or whether or not she was eating sundaes. She was doing the retail politics necessary to win this race.

She actually, I think, Dan Merica, was talking about the fact, "She ran this race like she was running a mayoral race in New York City." And you saw her counting the pavement.

And I think that people need to realize that this hasn't been a coronation for Hillary Clinton. That's one of the things people were talking about. She really had to work hard and tonight was her night.

COOPER: You know, we played some of Hillary Clinton. Let's play some of Donald Trump, again, just to hear his tone, the way he presented himself and talked about that. Let's watch it.


DONALD TRUMP, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We're really, really rocking. We expect we're going to have an amazing number of weeks because these are places and they're in trouble. They're in big trouble.

When you look at Pennsylvania, when you look at Indiana, when you look at Maryland and Rhode Island and so many places, we have problems everywhere you look. We are going to solve those problems.


COOPER: Kayleigh, I mean is that the Donald Trump you want to see more of as a Trump supporter in as this race continues?

KAYLEIGH MCENANY, TRUMP SUPPORTER: Absolutely. That is the Donald Trump I want to see. I think that's the Donald Trump we will see.

I think we're finally seeing someone who thinks that he's the presumptive nominee, likely is, tonight he won by 35 percentage points. That's where it currently stands. That's more than any poll basically was predicting.

He's comfortable. He's finally at the place where he thinks he's got this zone up. And this is what it contrasts to two weeks ago where everyone, where we were all sitting here saying, this could be a turning point for the Trump campaign. He just lost with Wisconsin.

He won dramatically tonight. I think he's comfortable and I think that's the Donald Trump we'll see going forward.

COOPER: You also see the impact and I think it was David Axelrod who said, you see the impact or maybe go on the team that he has hired. I mean, he has now a bigger team in place. Clearly, they're having a heavier hand in advising.

MCENANY: No doubt about it. I mean this is someone who came on to the political scene, never having run for anything, never having been a part of the campaign would dominate. It took everyone by surprise.

And now, you're finally seeing this well-oiled machine gaining led by Paul Manafort, really hammering out how the campaign should be, how the nominees should look as he goes into his presumptive nominee position.

SELLERS: The test, the test ...

AMANDA CARPENTER, FORMER CRUZ COMMUNICATION DIRECTOR: But I think it's sort of interesting to see the contrast between Hillary Clinton's speech and Donald Trump's speech.

I mean, it looks like Donald Trump came out there as a rookie, sort of struggling with the assignment, trying to be very good, hit the issues, whereas, Hillary Clinton is a seasoned professional. It's like the Bad News Bears versus the New York Yankees.

[23:10:02] She knows what she's doing. She is laying the ground work to go after -- look, first, beginning of her speech, "We unified the Democratic Party." Behind her, gave homage to Barack Obama, to Bernie Sanders and pivoted to the Republicans, and then laid ground work to the issues that she wants to talk about in the general election.


COOPER: I will point out as a huge Bad News Bears fan as a kid, they did win.



MCENANY: What we saw on Hillary Clinton tonight was a typical politician. And there is such -- when you -- when I watch the Democratic debate, I saw such a passion gap.

I felt Bernie Sanders who is passionate and organic and real. And I saw Hillary Clinton who had same poll-tested focused groups tested lines. Donald Trump is passionate. He took the political scene by the storm.


MCENANY: Hillary Clinton had the poll test in line that that she gave perfectly tonight, but that's not what America's looking for. I think it's an outsider's election. I will translate the general election.


SELLERS: He will get that opportunity and I think the country is really looking forward to Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump ...

MCENANY: Absolutely, yes.

SELLERS: ... on the same stage. But, I think you have to give Donald Trump a little bit more credit than we are because Donald Trump won tonight in New York and didn't spend any money on the air waves.

I mean, Donald Trump literally ran a race for president of the United States and didn't spend any money on the air ways, and won by 35 points. I don't know what that's a testament to, but it definitely shows that Donald Trump has found something.

He's found the vein in this country. He's found a vein in the Republican Party and I think that Hillary Clinton maybe the last thing standing between Donald Trump and being president.

COOPER: It is also interesting just as we watch more votes come in, each at 90 percent right now. Hillary Clinton with 57.5 percent of the vote. Donald Trump with 60.2 percent of the vote. And they're both about 200 -- Donald Trump's what, 264,000 votes ahead of his nearest competitor. Hillary Clinton is 244,000.

BORGER: Right, their huge victories, huge victories. And by the way, Ted Cruz may get ...


BORGER: ... 10 points (ph) in New York because there's a 20 percent threshold to get any delegates.


BORGER: And so Cruz will likely come out of this with nothing.

RAJU: Yeah. That's what we want. It's a big question just coming out tonight is how does Cruz rebound? I mean, we're heading in five states.


RAJU: Now, Trump will be at -- how do we run the table in those five states? Perhaps, Cruz can do well in Maryland, in Pennsylvania, well meaning, get some delegates but he's probably not going to win those states, and they're putting the focus increasingly in Indiana in May 3rd.


COOPER: You underestimate the rule of -- I mean the mistake Ted Cruz made of criticizing New York values. I mean, clearly one of the values of New York is pride in the state of New York.

SELLERS: That will be the (ph) worst political line.


SELLERS: We need bury that line.

PRESS: It's interesting, in terms it of pivotal, how much the narrative has changed even among ourselves.

For the last two weeks, we've been talking about Ted Cruz has got such a great operation and is in there, getting all those delegates. And Trump is really fading and it looks like the Trump thing is bad. He tonight, Donald Trump is back on track and back on top. And back on top.


AXELROD: Well, poll is (ph) the truth Bill. Donald Trump plays a great outside game and he did very well tonight. Ted Cruz plays a very good inside game and he's that -- and he's grabbing delegates ...

PRESS: But not tonight. Not tonight.

AXELROD: ... because the whole goal -- but, this was the outside game. It's working behind the scenes at these caucuses in these states, in these processes, and he's very, very good at that. And the question is, can he take enough away to stop Donald Trump from reaching the magic number?

MCENANY: Isn't it ironic that Ted Cruz loves to use the phrase, delegates' loves the people when in fact, tonight when the people spoke, and these truly really are delegates of the people, he will likely walk away for zero.

He wins delegates of the party insiders. He wins delegates of the state apparatus. He quite clearly doesn't win delegates from the people.

HENDERSON: Well, if you look, you know, not in New York.


AXELROD: Well, he's with the -- he doesn't -- where the delegates of the people where there are delegates contestants is what they turned out (inaudible)

BORGER: If you look at the states coming up, these are really good states for Donald Trump. And you mentioned Manu, you mentioned Indiana.

Indiana on May 3rd is going to be a key state. And tonight, Paul Manafort actually came out and said that if Ted Cruz doesn't win Indiana, he should drop out.

RAJU: And that's one of the reasons why Ted Cruz is actually putting together ground game to look ...

BORGER: Absolutely.

RAJU: ... sort of mirror what they did in Iowa. I think they view that he's one of the firewall threats ...

BORGER: Ground hero.


BORGER: Exactly. It's going to be ...


HENDERSON: And in other states, I mean, they feel like maybe they'll do well in California. I mean, it's a very, you know, I mean narrow path. They have to pick up delegates here and there.

But listen, I mean, you've got to give Trump credit. I mean, that the best thing he did so well. First of all, in the south went alone in New York, I mean really just gave him, you know, the kind of momentum that it's been hard for Cruz to stop and anyone to stop.

AXELROD: Can I say something that's back to the Democratic race that is going to be a probably get blasted for being politically incorrect, but I mean this completely, sincerely. Bernie Sanders, I think, has been remarkable in his stamina. You're talking about a guy who is 74 years old and he has been relentless in his campaign. And in this New York campaign, he flies off to Rome ...

[23:15:02] COOPER: Right.

AXELROD: ... and he comes back and spends the rest of the day campaigning in New York.

COOPER: And maybe like an hour of speech tonight. I mean, he's speaking in a long period of time.


AXELROD: It's been really an impressive display.

HENDERSON: Yeah. And he campaigned in New York like he haven't ...

COOPER: What's politically incorrect about that?

HENDERSON: Yeah. I mean he campaigned in New York.

AXELROD: Well, I mean ...


COOPER: Why don't we take a break?

AXELROD: Thanks, Anderson.

COOPER: One week from tonight, another Super Tuesday with five contests in the northeast. Question of course, will Trump and Clinton be able to repeat their New York victories, the campaign, the momentum going forward? Much more after this break.


[23:20:13] BLITZER: Very exciting night in New York state. Let's get a "Key Race Alert," right now.

Take a look at the Republican side, 90 percent of the vote has now been counted in New York. Donald Trump, the big winner. He's got more than 60 percent of the vote. That's a lot more than a lot of polls had suggested.

He's about winning by almost, look at this, 272,000 votes over John Kasich who's in second place. Ted Cruz, a very, very distant third place, 95 delegates at stake. Donald Trump could wind up winning almost all of them. We'll get an update in a moment.

In New York on the Democratic side, similarly for Hillary Clinton, she's almost with 60 percent, 57.5 percent to Bernie Sanders 42.5 percent. She's winning now by almost 250,000 votes, 90 percent of the vote has been counted in New York, big night for her as well.

But, let's look ahead, a week from today. There's going to be five contests including a very big contest, John, in Pennsylvania, lots of delegates at stake there.

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The interesting part of the Republicans, Wolf, and as you look at the Donald Trump victory tonight, I want you to focus on New York just as we pull out the map and just take a look.

You know, he won in this part of the country. He's winning in this part of the country, so it is safe to assume that now in the current polling suggests that this is Donald Trump country right now.

The interesting part is, 17 of the delegates you win next Tuesday night, 54 already committed to be unbound, to go to the Republican convention unbound. But what you want to be if you're Donald Trump and you might need some of those none committed or unbound delegates is to win and win by a big margin, so then you go back and make the political ...

BLITZER: Historically, does Pennsylvania usually go with the front- runner?

KING: Well, Pennsylvania, it never matters. Here's the problem. When we get to this part of the campaign, if you want to go back and look at 2012, you see what happens, the race is over. You go to 2008, the race is over. That's what this campaign is so unusual, especially on the Republican side.

And so the point is for Trump, he wants to go in and win and then win big so that his campaign can circle back to those uncommitted delegates and say, "Hey, follow the rule of the voters of Pennsylvania."

So here's the question tonight, Kasich will pick up three, maybe a handful of delegates in New York. Ted Cruz is in second place. He's going to get shut out in New York. Now, the question for ...

BLITZER: Third place, for Ted Cruz.

KING: For Cruz, I'm sorry. He's going to get shut out in New York for delegates. So, the question for Ted Cruz is can he find a way to at least start cherry picking some delegates to make the case that I'm still I'm asking. So, we're going to watch.

I'm going to show you the congressional districts inside Pennsylvania, all the red are Republicans congressional districts. Can the Cruz campaign get back to what he's done in other states with good efficiency, targeting of voters and pick up some congressional delegations -- congressional district. Remember John Kasich from Ohio which he won was born out here in Western Pennsylvania. He wants to do the same thing. But when you look at this, only 17 delegates get allocated to somebody next Tuesday.

Trump wants a big win. The next biggest prize is right here in our neighborhood in the state of Maryland. Again, there's a Republican district out here in the western part of the state. The Democrat represents it now, but traditionally, a Republican district that reads through the lines comes down to here.

Republican district out here on the eastern shore, can Ted Cruz target and start picking up delegates or does Donald Trump run the board? He's going to get 90 tonight, maybe 91. Can he get 75 or 80 percent of the delegates next week? If he does that, he's in -- his math to get to 1,237 gets better, still hard, but better.

BLITZER: Yup, big, big night for Donald Trump.

Let's go over to Jake and Dana. Jake, are you guys are there in New York, the home state of Donald trump, the adopted home state of Hillary Clinton. Huge wins for both.

TAPPER: That's right. You know, last time there was a New Yorker versus New Yorker general election was I believe 1944, FDR and Governor Thomas Dewey.

One of the things, Dana, that that's interesting about this race for 1,237 delegates on the Republican side and 2,000 -- 2838, 2,838 on the Democratic side as we call it a magic number. But, it's really just a majority.

Mark Preston, the executive editor of CNN Politics, how are the candidates doing with the New York results? How many delegates are they going to take away from the state?

PRESTON: Well, Jake, let's talk about the Republicans first. We're talking about the big win for Donald Trump in New York, 95 delegates at stake.

Let's look at these numbers right here. He has picked up 79 delegates as we speak right now. John Kasich picks up two and as John King was just saying earlier. It appears that Ted Cruz is going to be shut out.

But year (ph) to date right now, Donald Trump has 837 delegates, Ted Cruz at 553, John Kasich at 147 delegates. You know, interestingly enough, Jake, this is the first delegate win for John Kasich since he won Ohio back on March 15th. The magic number is 1,237. Look at those numbers. Donald Trump is 400 away.

Let's look at Democrats, quickly right now. Right now, Hillary Clinton has picked up 109 pledged delegates. Bernie Sanders has won 70 tonight.

But let's look at the year to date number, very important right now. 1,900 for Hillary Clinton as we speak at this moment but, how was that broken down? She has won 1,413 pledged delegates, 487 super delegates.

[23:25:06] On the other side, Bernie Sanders, you see has 1,185 total delegates, 1,145 are pledged, 40 are super delegates.

Let's just break those apart for a moment. Hillary Clinton has a 268 pledged delegate lead over Bernie Sanders. However, it is the super delegates that are really helping her with expanding that lead right now. 447 more super delegates than Bernie Sanders. She needs to get to the magic number of 2,283, Jake.

TAPPER: All right, Mark. And then, of course, the super delegates are always controversial when we raise them because they are not necessarily committed.

They do change their minds as we saw in 2008, there were many super delegates committed to Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama started winning races and they started changing their sign sides, but they are also, according to the Democratic National Committee rules, part of the equation.

BASH: They are very much so.

And on the Republican side, just looking at the numbers, actually seeing them in black and white, I think that if Donald Trump does get the nomination before the convention, which as we've said many times tonight is possible.

We're going to look back on tonight and say, this was the turning point that let that happened. Not just because of the obvious, the raw numbers, but it looks like he is going to get, you know, maybe around 90 delegates, which is almost all the delegates here, but because of the momentum that it starts.

And you cannot underestimate what is going to happen one week from tonight, Jake, which is other states where he is poised to do incredibly well, which will keep that momentum going, keep the narrative changed and keep things looking much better for Donald Trump.

TAPPER: Indeed, Donald Trump has some other states coming his way that in which he should be very well.

As the Republican race heads towards a possible contested convention, there was a party meeting in Florida that became very important and it was rather contentious. Will that meeting change what happens at the convention in Cleveland?

We're going to go there and get a live report just ahead. Stay with us.


[23:31:31] BLITZER: All right. Let's get the latest key race alert. Take a look at this right now on the Republican side, 93 percent of the voters is now in, Donald Trump maintaining a huge lead over John Kasich and Ted Cruz. He's at 60.1 percent, Kasich a distant second, very distant second, 25.1 percent, Ted Cruz, way down in third place, only 14.7 percent.

Look at this, Trump is ahead of Kasich by 200 -- almost 275,000 votes, so very, very impressive win. He's going to wind up with almost all of those 95 Republican delegates.

In New York, on the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton also very impressive win for her tonight. 90 percent of the vote is in. She's got 57.6 percent. Bernie Sanders only 42.4 percent. She's ahead by almost a quarter of a million votes over there as well a big night for both of them.

The road to the GOP convention now is still complex by no means of done deal, but it's very important night tonight for Donald Trump.

KING: Very important night because Donald Trump is going to pick up 90 roughly, that's our ballpark estimate. It could be 91. It could be 89, but we think it's around 90 of the delegates tonight, and Ted Cruz picking up zero. So that's a net gain of Donald Trump over second place Ted Cruz of 90 delegates, maybe one or two more. Why does that matter? Well, here's the three quarters mark. 1,237 to clench, Donald Trump is almost 75 percent there.

So, Wolf, let's assume all the polls are right and Donald Trump wins them all next week, sweeps the contest next week, sweeps them with 75 or 80 percent of the delegate take, then he's out past to 75 percent mark, he's past 950.

So let's project this forward. We're going to go through the end of June. In this scenario, we give Trump New Jersey and West Virginia. Cruz has Indiana. We can change that in a second if you're having a debate about that. But let's give it to Ted Cruz. Cruz continues to win out in the west and see he's done.

And then you have the State of California. We could get to California with the scenario roughly like this. Trump close to 1100, 1,086 in this scenario. In this scenario, if we wins 70 percent, 172 delegates, let's take big State of California. If Trump won 70 percent of those, by no means is a short, Cruz is going to compete in the state, maybe Kasich is still active in the race. But if Trump can get his campaign in gear, you can see a scenario.

Let's say he won, instead of 70 percent, he won 65 percent, and this gets him to 1,206. This gets him to 1,206 right here, right? So supposed -- actually this momentum carries through to Indiana and Trump can take that as well, right?

Now we've got him up to 1,217. Can he get a few more delegates out of this area? Can he compete maybe out in either Washington or Oregon and change the math there? So there are ways, we're giving you scenarios, but it's not hard to get Donald Trump to 1, 175 or 1,215, and it's not inconceivable to get Donald Trump up into the 1,220. It's even possibly to 1,237. But that's the scenario Republicans are now looking at unless Cruz starts to perform in the northeast and the mid-Atlantic which he has not done. The likelihood is that Donald Trump is going to either get to 1,237 or get to 1,175 or more, and that starts a very interesting conversation.

BLITZER: Certainly he does. And we're going to have more on that in a second. I want to check in with CNN's Phil Mattingly. He's down in Hollywood, Florida just outside of Miami. The Republican National Committee, some of the leaders have been meeting. They're making some decisions. Phil, that could potentially be very significant. What are you learning?

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, for the Trump campaign obviously a huge night. Donald Trump heading to Indiana tomorrow, but for his team, the focus is right here. The entire upper echelon of his newly expanded operation heading here to meet with Republican leaders on Thursday.

[23:35:02] And there's two main reasons according to people I've spoken to, Wolf, why they're doing just that. First is they want to try and convince the 168 Republican National Committee members that they really have turn to corner. This is a campaign that is very real and could reach that magic 1,237 number before the convention.

But the other issue, the one that's probably far more important is they're sending two of their top lawyers down here to talk about the specifics of the rules that may guide this convention. They want to know what these 168 members are planning and how that might play out when they get to Cleveland.

And there's a good reason Wolf, behind the scenes in the last two weeks, members of the Republican National Committee have been fighting over different proposals and these proposals could open up the convention to more power for each delegate or more power for the one convening the actual convention.

Wolf, there are a lot of issues to dig through here. And the Trump campaign, keeping a very close eye on what happens here in Florida.

BLITZER: Phil Mattingly in Hollywood, Florida for us. Thanks very much.

We've got some experts, Republican Party experts who can help us better appreciate what's going on.

Mike Shields is with us. He's a CNN Delegate Analyst, former Chief of Staff for the Republican National Committee. Michael Toner is with us as well, CNN Delegate Analyst, former FEC Chair, former Council for the Republican National Committee. John King is with us as well.

I guess the bottom line question, if Trump gets that close, as in get to the magic number of 1,237, but he's almost there. Is there any conceivable way he would be denied that Republican nomination?

MIKE SHIELDS, CNN DELEGATE ANALYST: Well, sure. The delegates are going to vote to the convention and you have to have a majority. You have to have a majority to win the rules fights. You have to have a majority to win the nomination fight. If you don't get the 1,237 of the delegates, you're going to have votes of the convention, you have to get there.

Now, there are enough unbound delegates that he could -- if he gets close enough that he could win over the unbound delegates. But he's trying to win over these unbound delegates to get to a majority. You have to have a majority of the delegates to get the nominee.

BLITZER: So even if he's that close, Michael, that close, only a few votes shy, a few delegates shy, there's still could be a contested convention?

MICHAEL TONER, CNN DELEGATE ANALYST: I think you're absolutely right. Mike makes a very important point. 1,237 is the magic number but there is pool of about 100 unbound delegates who will decide in Cleveland who they're ultimately going to support.

People forget, in 1976, Gerald Ford won the nomination over Ronald Reagan relying on a pool of unbound delegates. So as Mike points out that he's going to be, if Trump is short of the 1,237 figure. How short is he and how does that compare to the 100 unbound delegates?

BLITZER: Because if he's almost there, John, in just a few delegates shy, but he's got two or three million more votes, popular votes than any of the other Republican candidates. How's that going to fly if he's denied that nomination?

KING: Well, that's the political argument though that Mike and Michael are laying out that we usually think it ends on June 7th. Well, it won't end on June 7th. If Donald Trump is 1,175 or 1,195 or 1,202, then we're going to have, let's say there are -- what 150 unbound delegates, you're going to have 150 competitions. Donald Trump's going to be calling those delegates. He's going to be try to sway them. His campaign's going to be meeting with them. Ted Cruz is going to be meeting with them.

So, what we will have is many elections between June 7th in the convention to see how many of these people Donald Trump could win over. I think that's the fascinating part if he gets close.

Now, if he wins 54 in Pennsylvania, am I right, 54 unbound delegates next week in Pennsylvania, if Donald Trump wins by a large margin, he will go to them and say, you know, they have a moral obligation to vote for him. But then we're into the great unknown. I mean, that's where we're going.

BLITZER: He keeps saying that the system is rigged. You've heard him say that repeatedly in recent days. There's going to be a meeting of the Rules Committee a week before the Republican convention in Cleveland. They could make some critically important decision there. Couldn't they?

SHIELDS: Well yes and no. All they can do is make recommendations that are then forwarded to the delegate Rules Committee. They can't make any changes this week in Florida. So first of all, just -- that's a big misunderstanding I think.

Secondly, to say it's rigged, the other side of that would be OK, well let's change it so you don't need a majority anymore and rig it for another candidate. That you're going to have a whole other group of people, the Cruz supporters, the grassroots people and the party would be outrage of that.

So I think, you know, the idea that it's rigged, I think people's position on the rules are really directly related to where they are on the campaign. If Trump gets to 1,237, he's certainly going to love the rules and he's going to defend them and say, "We shouldn't touch a thing." So, some of that is politics, some of that is appealing to people sort of moral compass on what should we do if someone is close more than it's really attacking the rule system, I think.

BLITZER: Yeah, Michael, one of the Trump advisors said today that the Cruz campaign "Was stealing, lying and bribing people to become delegates." You're a former council for the RNC, you worked with the FEC, how do you investigate that kind of allegation?

TONER: Well, this is like two dimensional chess, Wolf. You know, the first level of chess board that we're talking about tonight. Who wins these states? Who has a lead among bound delegates? The second level of the chess board is electing the actual delegates who were going to go to Cleveland. And that takes a real grassroots political effort. And that's where Ted Cruz so far has excelled, although in fairness, Donald Trump now has a chance to catch up in that process and do much better.

The FEC does not have jurisdiction over those kinds of issues, that's grassroots politics.


SHIELDS: Yeah. Well, in New York, I think he will do very well. The state party is actually going to select the delegates. And so, I think a smashing victory like this tonight for Donald Trump is going to be hard for the state party, but Ted Cruz will be on the ground.

[23:40:03] Donald Trump does have 32 county chairmen. He has a ground game in New York and other place he hasn't have that. So it will be very interesting to see how they do they get out in New York.

KING: As the rules from the last convention, if they're carried over to this convention, and that's what the Trump people want. Rule 40B enacted to stop Ron Paul essentially at the last convention. Under that, only Ted Cruz, it looks like and Donald Trump would be eligible to replace into nomination.

But if we're at ballot four or ballot five, and neither Trump nor Cruz have done it and Reince Priebus, the Chairman right now saying, "We're not going to change the rules. We're not going to play with the rules. There'll be no mischief.'' But at that point, how would it -- what, a delegate on the floor could move to suspend the rules. If he wanted to put Kasich or Paul Ryan, or anybody, put you Mike into nomination. Yeah (ph).

SHIELDS: Well, that you just -- you gave the reason for the Kasich candidacy right there. I mean, if you can -- if you have enough delegates to block each other out, eventually, you're going to have to have another name placed in the nomination because neither of the two front-runners can win the match when you get to that scenario.

BLITZER: That's why Kasich presumably still in this contest even though he has not necessarily done all that well so far.

All right, guys, stand by. The Clinton campaign says the nomination is in sight right now. They're calling Bernie Sanders destructive. We have details. Stay with us.


[23:45:50] COOPER: Welcome back to our continuing coverage, the New York primaries. Comments being made by the Clinton campaign about the Sanders campaign in the path forward are making some headlines tonight.

Let's go to Brianna Kielar who's standing by with that. What are the campaign saying?

BRIANNA KIELAR, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, Anderson, pretty startling words coming from Hillary Clinton's Communications Director, certainly eyebrow raising. She said just talking to reporters a short time ago that Senator Sanders and his campaign have been destructive. Destructive, that was the word that she used. And she basically said that the rhetoric that we have heard from Sanders and his campaign is not productive for the party and for the country. So clearly warning Bernie Sanders not to be a spoiler as the Clinton campaign is really portraying the Democratic nomination all but wrapped up for Hillary Clinton.

Victory is in sight. We heard her say that tonight and that is what we keep hearing as a refrain from her top aids.

COOPER: All right, Brianna Keilar. Brianna, thanks very much.

David Axelrod, would you make ...


AXELROD: I've called that's snatching defeat from the just of victory.

BORGER: Right. Right.


AXELROD: I mean, Hillary Clinton had a great night, and she gave a speech that was laden with language about unity, so why go out and do this. You know what, this reminds me of a week ago after the Wisconsin primary, Jeff Zeleny reported on the air here that the Clinton people said they were going to disqualify and destroy Bernie Sanders in New York and that's what touched off a series of events that cascaded out of control. I just don't understand what the strategic thinking is behind them.

HENDERSON: It's yeah. Both (ph) yeah.

BORGER: It's confusing message, right? I mean, Hillary Clinton is out there being magnanimous and her campaign is calling Bernie Sanders, saying he's engaging character attacks and that he's destructive and that he's ...

AXELROD: Maybe they didn't hear her speech.

BORGER: ... bad for the Democrats.

HENDERSON: But I think one of the interesting things that happened after they sort of floated that idea that they were going to try to disqualify Bernie Sanders, is they sort of baited him into being. He made those speeches, right, after that happened saying that Hillary Clinton was unqualified, and he had some bad, you know, kind of days after that happened. So it could be it ...

COOPER: Bill Press, Sanders supporter, what do you make of it?

PRESS: Well, look, I can't just agree with David and Gloria. This is really unfortunate to take this time, particularly tonight. I mean this is a celebratory tonight for the Clinton campaign. It disappointed night for the Sanders campaign, but he's come back to Vermont to regroup and then move forward.

So, I mean for this kind of tone, I think it was really, really unnecessary, unfortunate and I don't think it reflects Hillary Clinton, I don't think it reflects Bernie Sanders here.

SELLERS: I think that -- and Van Jones said it earlier, I think that we now have to realize that politically, I think this race is over. I think that politically we see that the pathway has been narrowed so much after tonight. Bernie Sanders, this wasn't something that he wanted to win, this was something that he had to win.

And now what Hillary Clinton did in her speech, by saying that, you know, there is more that unifies us and divides us. She was extending that olive branch.

But, we're talking about these comments that were made, but we also have to understand that Bernie Sanders campaign, they too have -- it's onus on them as well. I think both campaigns have to take that onus upon them to come together. And I think the Bernie Sanders campaign as well.

We can talk about all the issues we want to talk about, but the character attacks, the judgment attacks, all of those things ...

COOPER: Bill, do you think the onus, there is at least part onus on the on the Sanders campaign?

PRESS: I think there's an onus of what I hear Bakari's telling, this is onus on both of them to stick to the issues ...

SELLERS: Exactly.

PRESS: ... and they're going to move forward, but to stick to the issues and keep it positive and also start focusing on Donald Trump.

COOPER: But the Sanders campaign isn't saying that it's disruptive or destructive rhetoric, they're saying we're sticking to the issues, so clearly the Clinton campaign doesn't believe they're just sticking to the issues.

PRESS: Well, there was something said earlier by I think their response destructive, but it was in response to something that Jeff Weaver said earlier this evening on MSNBC, that if Hillary Clinton have all the delegates necessary to secure the nomination, that they would still continue to try to get the nomination away from her. Jeff Weaver said that, I would disagree with that strategy. I don't think that's going to happen.

COOPER: Let's take a quick break now.

[23:50:00] Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump have won New York, what are the odds they actually face in their bits to win the White House? We're getting new numbers from political oddsmakers, that after the break.


BLITZER: Now that Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton have that scored big wins in New York State, let's see how the political oddsmakers are handicapping the presidential race. They now give Donald Trump a 69 percent chance of winning the Republican nomination. That's up five points in the last 24 hours.

[23:55:00] There's no changing the odds for Ted Cruz. He's given a 30 percent chance of winning the Republican nomination. Who will actually win the White House? Political oddsmakers now give Hillary Clinton a 75 percent chance of victory, that's up to an all-time high for her. Donald Trump is holding steady. He's given a 15 percent of chance of being elected president.

Of course, so these numbers keep changing as the race moves forward.

Go to to check out the pivot of political prediction market.

Coming up, new insight is the Donald Trump's strategy in the battle for delegates, where the contested convention potentially looming. And Bernie Sander vowing to fight on, even after his loss in New York.

Our correspondents are getting new information. Stay with us.