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Polls: Trump Competitive in Key States; West Virginia Exit Polling Results Soon; First Exit Polling Results Reveal Insights; Inside North Korea's Secretive Meeting. Aired 5-6p ET

Aired May 10, 2016 - 17:00   ET


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Happening now, primary positioning. Voting in two states, exit polling just coming into THE SITUATION ROOM. One defeated Republican hinting he might get back in the race, and Bernie Sanders aiming for an upset. All the latest. A very big day in politics.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Swing state in play. What new polling says about three key states in November and how much closer the general election race might be.

BLITZER: And almost un-precedented. And Kim Jong-un's message to the west as North Korea holds either open one-party, one-leader version of a political convention for the first time in 36 years.

COOPER: I got it. I'm Anderson Cooper.

BLITZER: And I'm Wolf Blitzer. And you're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

We begin with a big day of primary voting within a bigger week of political maneuvering. Nebraska and West Virginia more Democrats, another potentially close one in coal country.

For Donald Trump, the first primary day with no formal opposition. But both runner-up Ted Cruz and third place Marco Rubio, they made headlines today, and we'll talk about that in the next two hours. That's coming up ahead.

We'll also be getting exit polling results momentarily. Stand by for that.

Let's begin with CNN's Jim Acosta on Donald Trump's day in a crucial week ahead for him. Jim, where is the Trump campaign focused right now as it moves toward tonight's primary?

JIM ACOSTA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, top Trump aides tell me they expect the presumptive GOP nominee to move within about 115 delegates of that magic number of 1,237 delegates to clinch the nomination after his expected wins in West Virginia and Nebraska tonight.

But that's the easy part. The next challenge for Donald Trump comes on Thursday when he's set to meet with House Speaker Paul Ryan, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, other top GOP leaders in Congress.

Trump sent out a tweet earlier today, as you know, Wolf, saying he looks forward to the meeting and hopes to unify the party. And Ryan told a local radio station that he hopes the meeting begins the process of getting everybody on the same page in the party.

So the Trump campaign is feeling very good about this week so far, especially after those Quinnipiac polls, Wolf, that came out showing Trump even with Hillary Clinton, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Florida. One aide told me just a few moments ago, quote, "The healing has begun."

BLITZER: Jim, Marco Rubio says he doesn't want to be Donald Trump's vice president. What else are you hearing about that?

JIM ACOSTA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Marco Rubio said today he will honor his GOP pledge. He said this to our Jake Tapper to support the party's nominee. Of course, that means Donald Trump.

But just yesterday, Rubio said he was not interested in serving as Trump's running mate. So there's still some hard feelings there. But I'm told by a number of sources close to Rubio and the RNC and the Trump campaign that key supporters of the Florida senator were floating his name as a vice-presidential prospect at the RNC meetings down in Florida last month.

A Trump campaign source tells me those discussions left the candidate with the strong impression that Rubio was interested in being on the ticket, but Rubio is pushing back on that notion. And as a Rubio source told me earlier today, the Florida senator has essentially moved on. He's not interested -- Wolf.

BLITZER: He made that clear. All right. Jim Acosta, thanks very much.

Just a quick additional note. Donald Trump has told the Associated Press he has narrowed his list of potential vice-presidential picks to five or six people, all with deep political resumes. He has not ruled out the New Jersey governor, Chris Christie. We're working to get reaction ourselves from the Trump campaign on that and more.

As for the Democrats, primary in Nebraska that's nonbinding. Voters already caucused there giving Bernie Sanders the win. And in West Virginia, it's expected to be a rough night for Senator Clinton, especially in light of some remarks she made about coal mining and coal miners. She's in Louisville, Kentucky, for us tonight. That's where we find CNN's Jeff Zeleny.

Jeff, the Clinton campaign facing a pretty tough primary today in West Virginia. What more can you tell us?

JEFF ZELENY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, they do expect to not come out on top in West Virginia. She's down considerably in the polls. And of course, those comments she made at our own CNN town hall meeting in March about coal country and putting coal miners and coal workers out of business certainly were not helpful.

She went back to West Virginia to try and explain. She apologized, something we don't hear from politicians a lot. But her campaign expects her to lose. That said, Wolf, she is far ahead in the math of delegates here. She is leading Bernie Sanders considerably.

So Bernie Sanders would have to win across the board from here on out the next month by overwhelming numbers to catch up with her. And no one expects that to happen, Wolf. But she's already turning her attention to Donald Trump.

But it's nights like this that remind you that she still needs to win, and they hope to close strong. Even if they don't win in West Virginia tonight, they're actually trying hard in Kentucky. She's back on the air with advertisements here, with the television commercials in Kentucky which votes next week. They're trying to get at least some wins on the board before that all-important California primary in June, Wolf.

[17:05:07] BLITZER: I know the math may not be there, but what would a win in West Virginia mean for the Sanders campaign?

ZELENY: Wolf, it would mean for the Sanders campaign more fuel, more sort of gas in the tank for their argument. It would amplify the argument that they believe that Bernie Sanders is the better general election candidate. Every new survey and poll that comes out that shows him doing better against Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders is touting that, you know, from the rooftops.

So they believe a win like this would show that he can win over those white working-class voters that Donald Trump is strong with. But again, Wolf, mathematically speaking, it is still so difficult for him because of how Democrats elect their president. It's proportional.

So even a big loss still means they split the delegates here. But it would certainly give more -- it would amplify the argument to Bernie Sanders he's staying in until the end in California regardless, Wolf.

BLITZER: Jeff Zeleny reporting for us. Jeff, thanks very much -- Anderson.

COOPER: Wolf, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump both clearly looking ahead to November. So, too, are the pollsters, as Jeff Zeleny just mentioned. The people at Quinnipiac discovered in their latest head- to-head surveys in three big battleground states. It's pretty eye- opening. Let's get a closer look at the numbers. What about these battleground states versus the national?

So let's use the Obama-Romney 2012 map as our guide post here. If you're Donald Trump, you've said I'm going to change Pennsylvania. Traditionally a blue state. You're going to change it. You say all Republicans know you need to win Ohio to win the White House.

So Quinnipiac went into these battleground states. We've been talking these last couple days about our national polls. It shows a big Hillary Clinton lead nationally, big advantage of Hillary Clinton among demographic groups. But Anderson, look at these numbers from Quinnipiac. They do back up Donald Trump's contention that he can be a different, unorthodox, competitive Republican candidate.

In Florida, a dead heat. Clinton ahead by a point. That's within the margin of error. That's a dead heat. In Ohio, a small Trump advantage, essentially the same thing, a statistical dead heat. And in Pennsylvania, a state that hasn't voted Republican for president since the late 1980s, look at this: a statistical dead heat.

So Donald Trump, at this point in the campaign, we'll see if other polls back this up, but remember we'll have national polls; we'll have state polls. When it comes to the Electoral College, if you're in the Trump campaign, this is very encouraging, because especially these Rust Belt states. If you're in the Clinton campaign, it is a reminder that you may have demographic advantages. You may think, you know, you win the war on women, et cetera. But Donald Trump at this point looks to be a very competitive candidate.

COOPER: Let's talk about that gender gap. Obviously, Hillary Clinton in -- winning that. Is there a flip side to it?

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: There is. Let's take a look at the flip side. First, let's look at among registered men voters in these three states. Trump advantage. Among men, look at this, 13 points in Florida. A big advantage here this Ohio. A big advantage here in Pennsylvania, as well. Twenty points there. Donald Trump runs much better among men than Hillary Clinton does. So this is his gender gap. Advantage men.

She does have almost a mirror image when you look at it, a huge advantage among women voters here. In Florida, in Ohio, and in Pennsylvania. So you have very competitive states and a mirror image among the genders, if you will. Both candidates know that.

So Donald Trump has to improve his standing among women. To be more competitive, Hillary Clinton certainly has a problem just to improve her standing among especially blue-collar men.

COOPER: What about race?

KING: Race another one. Again, another clear divide between these candidates. Move down to Florida to look at these numbers. And this is the key if you remember the two Obama wins, the Obama coalition, right? Keep suburban women, win nonwhite voters and win them convincingly. Among white stories, Trump in Florida wins 52 to 33. Among white voters in Ohio, Donald Trump 49, Hillary Clinton 32. In Pennsylvania, among white voters, Donald Trump with an 11 point advantage.

Look among nonwhite voters, African-Americans and Latinos, 63-20 in Florida, 76-14 in Ohio and 74-14 in Pennsylvania. So Anderson, at this point in the race, if this is a -- it's a very competitive race and a classic question. Can Trump turn out white voters? Can Trump improve his standing among nonwhite voters? Or can Hillary Clinton keep intact, essentially, the remnants of the Obama coalition?

COOPER: All right. John King, thanks. Come on back to the panel here. We've got a lot to talk about. With us is senior political reporter Nia-Malika Henderson; senior political analyst David Gergen; chief political analyst Gloria Borger; pro-Clinton super PAC honcho Paul Begala -- I think that's your technical title; former Obama senior adviser Van Jones; Trump supporter and former Reagan political honcho Jeffrey Lord; and Bush and Rubio amiga Ana Navarro.

I just want -- it's been a long -- we're trying to come up with new titles for everybody. What are you looking for today? Does -- how important is today for -- for the Democrats?

NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: I think for Democrats we sort of know what's going to happen here. West Virginia not a really great state for Hillary Clinton. You know, I think she's going into a tough stretch. I think sort of looking back, you might have thought maybe she should have tried harder or put more money in Indiana. Maybe she could have won there. Because she is going to enter this stretch when people start to look at her campaign and wonder about her numbers and viability, particularly among white voters.

West Virginia, a state that's about 93 percent white. So that's going to be a problem for her. It's also a semi-open primary.

[17:10:06] She's clearly trying to pivot already. She was in Virginia, not West Virginia...

COOPER: Right.

HENDERSON: ... talking to women there. And she released a child care sort of program. So we know who she's focused on. She's focused on suburban women, particularly suburban white women. If she can eat into the traditional edge that Republican candidates have had among that demographic, I think she'll, you know, make some strides there.

DAVID GERGEN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: It's striking, Anderson, that on this date Bernie Sanders is actually in Oregon, which is voting next Tuesday. And if you think that Hillary Clinton is going to lose a couple today and then go to Oregon, where it looks like she might lose, that is not good news for her, because it means they're definitely going to go to California. It will be very competitive all the way to the end.

She's still going to be the nominee. She's still the front-runner for the presidency, but I don't think how she pivots to the center very easily until she gets past California. I mean, she's got Bernie Sanders. She can't shake him off.

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: What if he wins in California, right, and that is -- you know, that's a possibility. And so the math doesn't add up, but so you have the contest math, and then you have the contest about the hearts and the momentum of the people who are supporting Bernie Sanders. And so say he were to win California. Again, he'd have to win by such an overwhelming margin. Everything is proportional.

KING: The margins really matter, including tonight. If Bernie Sanders wins West Virginia by ten points, they'll get a net gain of probably three or four delegates. She has a 300 pledged delegate lead. If he wins by ten points, he gets either three or four, which is kind of a "so what"? Except that his supporters are energized because he keeps winning. To catch her in pledged delegates, he has to win 66 percent of the remaining pledged delegates.

BORGER: He won't.

KING: So is Bernie Sanders going to win all the states with 66 percent? Unlikely. But if he keeps winning, they -- Democrats have a unity problem, too. If he keeps winning, his supporters are energized.

GERGEN: I agree.

VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: One of the things about West Virginia, though, you know, part of the thing here -- clean energy guy, I'm a clean energy guy. We -- every time we talk about clean energy even in 2008, people invoke what about those coal miners? Because they're American heroes. You may not like the coal companies, but those coal miners, they risk their lungs, their limbs, their lives every day to keep the lights turned on. So there was...

COOPER: And to bring in money for their families. In those areas, it's the only course you can have.

JONES: So for the clean energy community, we have a term, and the term is just transition. You have -- you cannot -- it's 80,000 coal miners.

COOPER: So when you heard Hillary Clinton say, "I'm going to put a lot of coal miners out of work..."

JONES: Yes. It was heartbreaking, because there had been so much work done.

PAUL BEGALA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: But you heard her next sentence.

JONES: Yes. You make your point in one second. I just want to -- on behalf of the people who fought for clean energy and who have taken the concern of these coal miners so seriously, you have 80,000 coal miners. You've got 120,000 people working in solar energy right now, 110 in wind energy. So that is growing.

But those 80,000 coal miners have been very close to the hearts of people who are concerned about clean energy, and there's a strategy to reach out. And I think that she bobbled the ball trying to describe that strategy, and she paid a price for it.

COOPER: Paul, as a Clinton supporter, how do you push back against the Sanders supporters who say, "Look, our candidate does better in head to head match-ups against Donald Trump in these key battleground states"?

BEGALA: Because his candidate hasn't been hammered like my candidate has. That's fine. Bernie himself has benefited from millions of dollars of right-wing super PAC money attacking Hillary.

COOPER: Do you think that's the only reason?

BEGALA: I don't think that's fair. Because he hasn't been attacked. First, the most important reason, he's doing a great job. And I should always remember to give him his due. He's run a great campaign.

But he's also not being attacked by Donald Trump. Hillary is. Not being very well scrutinized by the media, candidly. I mean, "The New York Daily News" did, did a long interview with him on substance, but in the main, we kind of back off because we don't think he can win. And he's certainly not being attacked by Hillary Clinton. That's why he does better in the polling. It's good for him, but it's not...

JONES: You are certainly right it's a case that he's not getting beaten up, but he's also found something...

BEGALA: Right.

JONES: ... that I think the establishment Democrats missed, which is that there is a big well of pain and a big well of frustration. And a desire for real change.

And there was a bipartisan consensus, frankly, to throw the middle class and working class under the bus, as far as a lot of people are concerned. Trump has a part of that. But I think the fact that Bernie Sanders has done such a brilliant job of literally finding the issue that young people care about around "I can't go to college -- I'll never get a job if I don't go to college and I can't afford it." That kind of stuff is -- that's political brilliance. You've got to give it to him.

COOPER: I don't want to ignore the Republican side. Jeffrey...

NAVARRO: No, no, no, please ignore him.

COOPER: When you heard Marco Rubio saying he doesn't want to be Trump's running mate, and he still has serious concerns about Trump as a candidate, how big of a problem is this consuming (ph) kind of lack of, for lack of a better word, establishment support?

JEFFREY LORD, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think this will all come together. This kind of a thing happens all the time. When Ronald Reagan picked up the phone and called George Bush, the first thing he said to him was, "Can you agree to support the platform?" which included what George Bush had just spent months calling Reaganomics.

JONES: Reaganomics.

[17:15:11] COOPER: Do you think Thursday, after this meeting with Paul Ryan and others, Paul Ryan comes out and says, you know, "I'm on board"?

LORD: I do.

COOPER: Really? LORD: I do. I think that there is -- right. I mean, what choice -- frankly, what choice do they have? And I don't mean this in the sense that they're threatened by Trump. But Trump's voters are saying, hey, we...

COOPER: Ana, you don't think Thursday there is a Kumbaya moment?

NAVARRO: I don't. I think it's going to take a lot longer than that.

Look, every campaign that I've seen, every campaign I've been involved with, the winner the next day picks up the phone and reaches out, asks people to come in, to be part of his movement, be part of his campaign, to support him. They are -- you know, being gracious in victory is one of the most important parts of a winning campaign for president or for any other office.

Trump has given everybody carte blanche not to come on board. He has said, "We don't need to unify the Republican Party." If anything, he has been saying, "We can -- you know, I can take you for granted. I will make up those numbers with other voters." That may be true. But I think the schism is getting greater not better.

COOPER: We're going to continue this conversation shortly. And for several hours, I imagine. And talk about the first batch of exit polling data. Also what it says about the shape of the primary in the coming general election campaign.

Later with all the controversy surrounding his boss's changing positions and statements about Hillary Clinton, we'll be joined by a senior member of the Trump organization as well as a top Clinton supporter in a key swing state.


[17:20:51] BLITZER: Two of Donald Trump's Republican rivals are speaking out about the presumptive nominee, talking to Glenn Beck.

Ted Cruz did not rule out getting back in the race if -- if he see a path to victory open back up. He said he's not holding his breath for that. Cruz also said he's not ready to endorse Donald Trump.

Senator Marco Rubio made it clear he's not interested in being a vice- presidential running mate with Trump. As we mentioned in an interview with the Associated Press, Trump says he's now narrowed his list down to five or six people.

Here's more of what Rubio said about Trump in an interview with CNN's Jake Tapper just a little while ago.


SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R), FLORIDA: I signed a pledge that said I'd support the Republican nominee, and I intend to continue to do that. But we're -- look, here's the situation that we're in.

On the one hand, I don't want Hillary Clinton to be the president of the United States. I don't want her to win this election. On the other hand, as I said, I have well-defined differences with the current -- the presumptive nominee of the Republican Party. And like millions of Republicans, you try to reconcile those two things.

I intend to live up to the pledge that we made, but that said, these concerns that I have about policy, they remain and they're there, but you know, that doesn't mean that Donald needs to change his positions in order to get my support or what have you. As I said earlier today, I think he should be true to what he believes in and continue to campaign on those things and make his case to the American people.


BLITZER: Joining us now is Michael Cohen. He's the executive vice president of the Trump Organization, special counsel to Donald Trump.

Michael, thanks very much...


BLITZER: ... for joining -- I'm good, thank you very much. Let me get your quick reaction to what we just heard from Marco Rubio. What did you think?

COHEN: I don't really think anything. I think Mr. Trump will be the nominee. He will get more than the 1,237. Obviously, we want the support of every one of the former, you know, contenders for the presidency, as well as everybody in the Senate and in the House. Mr. Trump will do that. He's a unifier. He will bring people across the aisle, as well.

BLITZER: Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush, Lindsey Graham, all of Donald Trump's Republican presidential opponents, they -- remember, they signed a pledge to support the Republican nominee. They're not exactly jumping on board for Donald Trump right now. What does that tell you?

COHEN: It doesn't tell me anything. It basically means that it's going to take a little bit longer for them to come on board. Everybody seems to, you know, take their own -- their own amount of time that they're looking before which they figure it out.

But Mr. Trump will -- again, he will bring everybody together. It's what he does. He will be the great unifier. And you know, it's interesting. Just to use the metaphor of the wall, if you think about it, it's really Hillary Clinton who's a dogmatic Democrat who's actually built a wall across the aisle. Donald Trump will build a bridge. He will bring the Republicans, he will bring the Democrats together. He's worked with both sides. Maybe they don't like everything that he's said. That's OK. You're not supposed to. I mean, everybody's different.

But Donald Trump's points are very well taken. Donald Trump is the guy who will do the three most important things. He'll fix the economy. He'll create jobs. And he will ensure that America is safe. And he will the strongest when it comes to national security. BLITZER: A new Quinnipiac poll -- Michael, I'm sure you've seen it --

shows Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton neck and neck in three key battleground states: Florida, Pennsylvania and Ohio.

But when you break it down, take a look at women voters in those key three states. Take a look at this. You see in Pennsylvania, who's the choice among women voters, Hillary Clinton 51 percent, Trump 32 percent. In Florida, she's ahead 48 to 35. In Ohio, 43 to 36. What does he need to do right now in order to get more women support?

COHEN: Donald Trump needs to be himself. He's going to win the women vote, as well, and at some point in time. Wait till -- he hasn't started campaigning against Hillary as of yet.

So right now, women, like men, are interested in three things. They're interested in jobs. They're interested in the economy, and they're interested in national security. And Hillary Clinton has the highest unfavorables in those three. And not surprisingly, Donald Trump is the highest amongst everybody in those specific three, you know, issues.

[17:25:22] BLITZER: Do you think it's smart for Donald Trump to keep going after Hillary Clinton and Bill Clinton, for that matter, on the sexual indiscretions back in the '90s?

COHEN: Let's not forget that it was Hillary Clinton that came out along with her super PACs and various friends, calling Donald Trump a sexist and a misogynist. You know, it's very interesting that they ask Mr. Trump, what makes you decide to do this? Donald Trump from day No. 1 we've always said this, and I've said this on your show, Wolf, he's a counter puncher. If you're going to call him something, be prepared to accept what's going to come back.

BLITZER: Michael Cohen, thanks very much.

COHEN: Wolf, always a pleasure.

BLITZER: Voters have less than two hours to get to the polls in West Virginia, where 29 Democratic delegates are up for grabs. The Mountain State allows independents to vote in primaries, which could help Bernie Sanders, probably help him a lot. As we've said, he's also hoping that Hillary Clinton's remarks about putting coal miners out of work will translate into votes for him today.

Secretary Clinton has apologized for what she said and spent a good amount of time stumping in West Virginia, a state, by the way, she won by a wide margin back in the 2008 primary.

Joining us now is a key Clinton supporter, Senator Claire McCaskill of Missouri. Senator, thanks very much for joining us.


BLITZER: As we noted, 29 delegates are up for grabs in West Virginia. What sort of expectations does the Clinton campaign have going into tonight? MCCASKILL: Well, she's campaigning for every vote. We all respect

the campaign that Bernie Sanders has put together and understand the frustration of his supporters. We are confident that she is going to win this nomination regardless of the outcome in West Virginia tonight by the number of pledged delegates, not super delegates. Pledged delegates. And when that happens, we all know Bernie, and we know he will join forces with us to make sure that Donald Trump never enters the Oval Office.

BLITZER: Senator, the remarks on the coal miners that Secretary Clinton made saying, quote -- let me be precise. She said, "We're going to put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business." As we mentioned, she's since tried to clarify those remarks. She called them a mistake. But did you see this possibly coming back to haunt her tonight, maybe even further down the road if she's the Democratic nominee?

MCCASKILL: Well, I think it was unfortunate that she put it that way, but she and Bernie Sanders both agree that we have to have more clean energy. Global warning, as Bernie says over and over again, is a crisis concerning our world. And America has to lead on this.

But that doesn't mean that we don't take care of those coal miners and their families by retraining them, by getting them in other jobs. And she's been eloquent about that. And she's had real policies that will, in fact, protect those families from job loss as the economy kind of washes up against the coal industry and also as climate change becomes more and more of a danger to everyone in the world, including everybody in America.

BLITZER: The new Quinnipiac poll released today in those three key battleground states shows Senator Bernie Sanders beating Donald Trump in match-ups in Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania. All pivotal, of course, come November in the battle for the Electoral College.

But see these numbers. How much cause for worry is this for the Clinton camp? Look at how close it is between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Bernie Sanders actually does better.

MCCASKILL: Listen, we all remember in in 2008 when Hillary Clinton put together an amazing string of wins at the end of that primary season. I think she won seven of the last ten primaries and then went on to unite with Barack Obama and not only unite with him to win the Oval Office, but went on to be one of his important advisers.

We all believe that is exactly what's going to happen this time.

And listen, there's no question that she has scars, but those are scars from public service and being the victim of hundreds of millions of dollars of attack ads. Bernie has not had those attack ads. He has never had anybody go after him on the airways with distortions and untruths. So it really is apples and oranges.

I think if he had gone through what she's gone through over the last two decades, perhaps his negatives might be slightly higher also. But I look at it as Hillary Clinton's scars that she willingly took on in the name of public service.

BLITZER: Senator McCaskill, thanks for joining us.

MCCASKILL: You bet. Thank you, Wolf.

BLITZER: Anderson, over to you.

COOPER: Well, just ahead, the first exit polling results. They are starting to come in. We're going to have that after a quick break.


[17:34:29] BLITZER: We have breaking news to bring you right now. The first exit polling results from the voting today, our first chance to see some of the factors driving results tonight, possibly influencing the general election campaign. As always, we're joined by CNN political director David Chalian, who's been crunching the first batch of numbers. What are you picking up?

DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Let's start on the Republican side. First, in Nebraska, this is that key question that we're asking all week long about will the Republican Party come together when this -- when this nomination season ends? Take a look at this.

Do you think the Republican Party is united now? Only 3 percent of Republicans in Nebraska say that. Fifty-one percent say it's divided, but will unite. It's this third number that is the most important number to watch. Forty-five percent of Republicans voting in the Nebraska Republican primary today say that the party is going to remain divided come November.

A little bit better in West Virginia for Donald Trump there. United now, 10 percent, divided but will unite, 62 percent. And only 26 percent say will remain divided in November.

Well, Wolf, remember, we asked that question nationally to all Republicans just last week, and 51 percent said it's -- the party will remain divided in November. So these states are a little better than his national work ahead of him to bring the party together.

BLITZER: They have six months -- they'll have six months to try to do exactly that. What are the exit polls showing you about the Democratic race in West Virginia?

CHALIAN: So first we asked that question we've been asking all season long about whether or not you want to continue Barack Obama's policies. Take a look at this. It's a very conservative electorate in West Virginia. Twenty-seven percent -- that's it -- of West Virginia Democrats say they want to continue Barack Obama's policies. Twenty-five percent say they're looking for more liberal policies. Forty-two percent of those voting in the West Virginia Democratic primary say that they want to have less liberal policies. That is the highest number we've seen all cycle long, Wolf, there. This is clearly a conservative electorate.

And in terms of candidate qualities, what you're looking at today, this is what West Virginia Democrats told us. Ten percent are looking for someone who can win in November, electability. Thirty-two percent says cares about people like me, 27 percent looking for honest and trustworthy, 26 percent looking for experience. That cares number there, 32 percent, that is a quality that usually has been benefitting Bernie Sanders in a lot of races. Experience has been Hillary Clinton's calling card. That is not the top quality tonight in West Virginia.

BLITZER: All right. We'll see how that translates into actual votes. I know you're crunching more numbers.

CHALIAN: Yes, indeed.

BLITZER: We'll get back to you. Thank you very much, David.


COOPER: Wolf, David, thanks very much.

It's interesting when you look at those exit polls. I mean, sort of conflicting results there for Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. For Hillary Clinton, less liberal than Barack Obama would seem to play into her favor, compared to Bernie Sanders, the other numbers.

KING: Exactly right, so let's count the votes. Our expectation is that you're going to have a Sanders victory and a pretty healthy Sanders victory, and yet the electorate seems to be saying they want less liberal policies. And she would be the less liberal candidate, although Sanders has tugged her over to the left on several issues during this campaign.

But the part where, David, it also shows they want someone who cares and honest, that could get to Sanders.

I think the most compelling thing Bernie Sanders has done in this campaign, and the math does that work for Bernie Sanders. But the lesson to Secretary Clinton, if he puts together this string at the end we start to see, is that he has to be No. 1, is have a stronger, more compelling economic message. That is where Bernie Sanders has outmaneuvered her. That's where Donald Trump has succeeded. We focused early on on immigration and Muslims when it came to Trump. His trade message, especially in those Rust Belt states, we think are going to be competitive.

West Virginia is not going to be competitive in the general election. West Virginia is going to vote for the Republican in the general election. But if there's a lesson to be learned from West Virginia and these other late-season losses, if you will, late season struggles, is that she needs a more compelling economic message.

HENDERSON: Yes. And I think what's going to be remembered from West Virginia is that statement that she made about coal. And you can imagine that's play in ads, certainly, in some of these coal states like Pennsylvania and maybe even nationally, just that snippet of it. You can imagine that continuing to dog her. And I think you'll see, over these next months, as well, Donald Trump to continue to essentially steal from Bernie Sanders' message. I mean, he name dropped -- yes, the economic populism and the sense that the system is rigged and that Bernie Sanders is sort of on the losing end of that.

So, you know, I think Hillary Clinton has got some tough road ahead in terms of finding that economic message for the general election and sort of stiff-arm Bernie Sanders at the same time.

COOPER: David.

GERGEN: I think that maybe people are saying they want something less liberal are really talking about coal, and that Sanders represents that more conservative, more responsible, from their point of view, responsive position.

But I just can't get over the fact that she can't shake him, and she's not creating the kind of momentum you would expect. I mean, she is in such a strong position nationally against Trump. It's just -- you can see -- you look at state by state...

COOPER: Why do you think it is?

GERGEN: I don't know. There is something -- there's almost this rejectionist quality this both parties. You know, people are just unhappy with the way this is turning out. They don't particularly like -- they don't -- Republicans have the most ambivalence, the most antipathy toward their candidate I can remember ever, that's going -- including Goldwater. And there's this sense about Hillary, she just doesn't get people going. She doesn't -- you know, Paul has thought a lot about this.

KING: Enthusiasm is down.


BEGALA: Yes, well, the greatest political strategist ever -- nobody at this table -- is Henny Youngman. You asked him, "How's your wife?" He said, "Compared to what?"

How is Hillary? Compared to what?

OK? Joe Biden said this the last election: "Don't compare us to the almighty, just the alternative." That may be up unlovely, but that's the realistic thing.

[17:40:09] Hillary has not excited particularly younger people. It troubles me greatly, worries me greatly. Attacking Trump will, and yet the Harvard Institute of Politics poll of millennials shows Hillary running stronger against Trump among millennials than Obama did against Romney. It's remarkable.

COOPER: So are you going to be running commercials for your super PAC like "Compared to the others, I'm not so bad"? Is that your strategy?

BEGALA: We might have a few gentle criticisms of Mr. Trump.

COOPER: OK. BEGALA: Loving constructively.

BORGER: And Sanders does well in these -- in these match-ups, also, against Trump. He does very well nationally.

BEGALA: ... the economic stuff. Only 10 percent of voters today said they care about electability. Hillary ran on electability for a while. It stunk.

BORGER: Doesn't work.

COOPER: We're going to take a look at the Republican side of the exit polling after a quick break. Back in a moment.


[17:45:36] COOPER: And we're back with the panel. Let's take a quick look at those exit polls that David Chalian just shows from Nebraska. The results we just got in there in terms of the question, the Republicans is united now, 3 percent it's divide, but will unit, 51 percent. But 45 percent of Republicans in Nebraska, according to these exit poll believe the Republican Party will remain divided.

Jeffrey, do you -- I mean you sort of sense this is much ado about nothing. It's going to come together, it always does.

LORD: It always does. I mean, the Goldwater thing did not, but there were a lot of exceptional circumstances there. The Ford and Reagan situation came together. The Reagan over Bush situation came together. If nothing else, there is self-interest here. There's a lot of politicians and they're looking at in this case Donald Trump who's got a lot of votes and a lot of supporters in their own districts.

COOPER: Ana, you're shaking your head no.

NAVARRO: Anderson, the idea that we're going to buy the world a Coke and sing in perfect harmony.

COOPER: Right.

NAVARRO: You know, strikes me as completely crazy.

COOPER: Right.

NAVARRO: And I'll tell you why. Because the Republican Party was divided a year ago. The Republican Party was divided two years ago. You had --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's always been divided.

NAVARRO: You had people like Ted Cruz helping folks that were running against Senate colleagues and incumbents. You've had the Senate Conservative Fund advertising against Senate incumbents. You've had -- you've had this battle, the civil war between base and establishment going on now brewing for years. So the idea that -- UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Decades.

NAVARRO: You know, it's going to be Donald Trump who leads us into the kumbaya moment and group hug is a little strange for me.


LORD: Wait, wait, can I buy you a Coke?

COOPER: David?


GERGEN: Look, I think there's a chance that a lot of the public discussion will reflect the ambivalence. I think his real Achilles' heel maybe the money.

COOPER: The money.

GERGEN: The money. I just -- there are a lot of donors out there. They're going to sit on their hands and one thing we know about Donald Trump, he's frugal, he ain't going to put the money into it.


COOPER: And he doesn't have an organization already in place like there might be for others.


KING: The RNC says it has learned the lessons of the Obama wins and has a data operation this time. It's prepared to be much better at that. But I do think David makes a key point that often we overstate, look at all these Republican super PACs -- forgive me, Paul. You know, but all these Republican super PACs are going to help their candidates, and what happens?

COOPER: Right.

KING: Donald Trump a little blew away a field of experienced politicians. Sometimes we overstate. But I do think if you're in a 50/50 election and it comes down to one or two states, then confusion, lack of coordination of resources can matter.

NAVARRO: And let me say something about the money. The RNC announced today that Lou Eisenberg who is one of the best liked, most diplomatic, nicest guys in the world who's been around -- and you know who's got incredible credibility when it comes to Republican primary and the Republican Party is going to head a joint effort. So I think the RNC realizes the importance of that money can have here.

BORGER: I think Trump does, too, because he doesn't want to put his hands in his pocket for $1 billion.

GERGEN: He doesn't have $1 billion.

BORGER: That's right. Well, he knows -- and you know, he knows --

NAVARRO: He's very, very rich.

BORGER: And can I just count on the divided -- we'll get back. OK.

COOPER: Yes. We'll take a quick break. I just have the CNN's Will Ripley gives us a fascinating inside look at the rare meeting in North Korea that was capped by elaborate public celebrations like this one.

Will was in the room when their leader Kim Jong-un was given a new title. What he saw and heard in a moment.


[17:53:35] BLITZER: Tonight an unprecedented look at a rare event inside one of the world's most secretive countries. North Korea marking the end of its first Workers Party Congress in 36 years. Cementing Kim Jong-un's rule. And these highly choreographed displays are not the most extraordinary piece of the story.

This is just a few foreign reporters were allowed to actually watch the meetings. CNN's Will Ripley was one of them. Will is joining us now live from Pyongyang.

You got this unprecedented access to the Workers Party Congress, Will. First time any Western journalist have been allowed to do that. What was that experience like?

WILL RIPLEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Everything about it was surreal. We weren't told where we were going. We were just told to put on a suit and tie and bring our passports, went through a 90- minute security screening. Had to give up our phones and our wireless microphones. I thought at that point we might be speaking to some high-level government official. But as we drove towards the venue where the Congress is being held, I noticed these men in dark shoes standing just a few yards apart, surrounding the entire perimeter of the building.

It turns out that's North Korea's equivalent of the Secret Service. And those are Kim Jong-Un's bodyguards. We walk into this cavernous auditorium and there were 5,000 people staring at us. It was completely quiet at first. But this music started booming. It's the song that always plays whenever the leader walks into the room and all of the eyes were locked on the stage. You see Kim Jong-un walking in with his highest level leaders at his side. People applauded for several minutes and then announced that he had been elected to this new bigger title that was created for him, from first secretary to chairman.

[17:55:06] And he seemed completely comfortable with the fact that all of the attention was on him. This is a man who holds absolute power in this country.

BLITZER: Any restrictions placed on you and your fellow journalists?

RIPLEY: There were. We were -- had to stand behind a blue line on -- you know, on the ground floor of this auditorium and we were not allowed specifically to shoot any detailed shots of the notebooks that everybody in the Congress had because these are 3400 people who are the ruling elite of this country. The only people who are allowed to vote in the political process and of course the votes are always unanimous in North Korea. But we were not able to see any of the debate, any of the discourse. We had to focus basically on what the leader was saying and doing, and then we had to leave after 10 minutes.

BLITZER: Will Ripley, thanks for your excellent, excellent reporting. Appreciate it very much.

Up next, we're getting new exit polling results from tonight's two primaries, what voters are saying and what that could mean for the general election.