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The Draw For The CNN Democratic Presidential Debates. Aired 8- 9p ET

Aired July 18, 2019 - 20:00   ET


[20:00:17] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: And welcome to a special edition of AC360, "The Draw" for the CNN Democratic presidential debates.

I'm Anderson Cooper in Washington.

Tonight, we're taking you behind the scenes of the upcoming Democratic presidential debates that CNN is hosting in Detroit.

Now, usually how candidates are chosen for debates, which night they appear on, who is standing next to them on the stage, that's all decided behind closed doors. But not tonight. Tonight, we want to be transparent as possible.

Twenty candidates have qualified to appear on the debate which takes place in less than two weeks. For many candidates, the debates will take place over two nights, July 30th and 31st at 8:00 p.m. Eastern right here on CNN.

Now, we want you, the voters, to see how we're choosing which ten candidates will appear on stage together on each night. The candidates and their campaigns are waiting to learn who they will share the stage with and they're going to find out just as you will and we will live tonight in "The Draw."

Let's go to Wolf for more -- Wolf.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: Anderson, a lot of thought and care has gone into this process to make sure it's transparent and fair.

Here's how tonight's draw will work. CNN is conducting three draws -- the first draw, the second draw, and the final draw. In accordance with the rules mutually agreed upon by CNN and the Democratic National Committee, candidates will be assigned to one of these draws based on their current level of support in qualifying polls. This is to ensure candidates of comparable polling are featured evenly across both nights.

The first draw has ten candidates who will be divided randomly into the two nights, July 30th and July 31st.

Colorado Senator Michael Bennet, Montana Governor Steve Bullock, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, former Maryland Congressman John Delaney, Hawaii Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, former Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper, Washington Governor Jay Inslee, Ohio Congressman Tim Ryan, and author Marianne Williamson.

The second draw has six candidates who will be divided randomly into the two nights. Once again, July 30th and July 31st. New Jersey Senator Cory Booker, South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg, former HUD Secretary Julian Castro, Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar, former Texas Congressman Beto O'Rourke, and businessman Andrew Yang.

The final draw has four candidates who will be randomly divided into the two nights, July 30th and July 31st. Former Vice President Joe Biden. California Senator Kamala Harris. Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, and Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren.

Here's where tonight's drawings will take place with these three CNN anchors: Brianna Keilar, Victor Blackwell and Ana Cabrera.

Let's go to Brianna to explain what happens next.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: Wolf, CNN is televising the draw tonight because we believe that this process should be as transparent as possible. So, in that spirit we are keeping things simple and low tech.

So here's what Victor, Ana and I will be doing. We all have name cards like these ones. One for each candidate in our group. We have the same number of date cards, half for the first night July 30th, half for the second night, July 31st.

So we'll be putting the candidate cards into one box titled "presidential candidates." We'll put the date cards in this other box titled "debate night." And then randomly we'll draw a name and a date to determine which night each candidate will appear.

And, Wolf, you will be keeping tabs on all of the results and they'll be constantly updated on the bottom of the screen as well.

BLITZER: And just minutes from now, Brianna, we're all going to learn the final debate lineups for both nights at the same time as the candidates. Meantime, let's go back to Anderson.

COOPER: I'm going to be here all night with our analysts to talk about the draw. Let me just get a quick reaction starting with our political director, David Chalian.

David, talk about why this is so important and how the night somebody is on and who else they share the stage with, how critical that can be.

DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Very critical. I mean, let's just look at what happened in the first debate in Miami. Kamala Harris totally transformed the position that she was holding in this race in that one debate performance --

COOPER: Because she was with Joe Biden. CHALIAN: She took on Vice President Joe Biden.

And recall getting to why we're sort of doing it this way as well, Anderson. In the first debates, you had four of the top five candidates on one stage and you had Elizabeth Warren alone as a top five candidate on the other stage. So she had a night to herself in terms of top tier on the stage.

That's not going to happen this time around because of the way that we're doing the three separate draws to try and ensure that as equally as possible in terms of where they stand with Democratic voters right now across the country, they are evenly divided across these two nights.

COOPER: And it's not just who is on stage together that's going to be completely random. It's also what night they happen to be on.

CHALIAN: Exactly.

COOPER: David, the stakes obviously for a lot of these candidates are critical.

[20:05:04] For some, this could be their last debate.

DAVID AXELROD, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: It could be because the qualifications get much more stringent in September. And we know from the first debate, as David mentioned, candidate positions did move as a result because the audiences were very, very large. There was new Pew poll out that said half of Democratic voters are saying they're paying a lot of attention, which is higher than 2008, higher than 2016.

So, you've got to believe there are going to be a lot of people watching this. By the way, on this issue of nights, I spoke to a number of campaigns today who said their preference would be to go the second night because they want to see exactly what CNN has up its sleeve for them in terms of questions and approach.

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, but also Julian Castro, remember, last time around he had a great night in the first debate, which was forgotten after the second debate because of the clash between Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. So that's -- that's important. There is a luck of the draw here literally.


BORGER: I've been spending my week talking to a lot of strategists who coach -- who coach these candidates, and they all say to me, look, in the end, this draw is luck and we're going to have to make the best with what we get.

COOPER: Which is why I think it's so interesting to actually televise it tonight because I've never seen the actual selection process that we or any other network does, but just to see how -- I mean, it is random. JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It is random, and it is

fair in the sense that you will have the candidates in the lower tier, the middle tier, the top tier evenly divided. So you'll get two relatively balanced debates in terms of standing in the polls.

I would venture that the candidate watching most closely tonight was the candidate called the front-runner heading into the first two debates, who is no longer called the front-runner, and that's former Vice President Joe Biden. He's still leading the polls, but he is in the pack now.

He has fallen. He has fallen in the national polls. He has fallen in the state polls. If you look deep into the polls about characteristics, he is struggling.

And so, is he going to be next to Senator Harris who took it to him pretty aggressively in the first debate? Is he going to be against Senator Sanders who had a back and forth on health care that has gotten pretty pointed or will it be a different -- will it be Elizabeth Warren coming up like this and will she get a chance to be standing next to Joe Biden?

So, for Joe Biden, who was the front-runner, who now is a leader, that's a big dynamic, especially when your calling card is "I'm the guy you want to go up against Trump". If he has another troublesome debate, that calling card looks weak.

AXELROD: Yes, he's in trouble.

COOPER: And, David, as much as the candidates in the campaign say, well, look, we're focusing on our agenda, we're not talking about other people, they do think about how else is on the stage, who is going to attack them, how can they attack the others.

AXELROD: As David mentioned, the lesson of the last debate is that if you want to get some notice out of this, you've got to go after somebody. And I think that, you know, I think more than before the last debate, all the candidates are going to be scoping out. How do we get some conductivity here? How do we create moments that will be remembered?

So I expect, you know, as soon as these matchups are developed, people are going to be filling in their strategy and thinking about how do I get something going here?

BORGER: And, you know, for some of these folks, it's literally do or die as you were saying before. This is it. They're not going to get to go on to the next round unless they do get some traction here, and they get some people really cheering for them.

COOPER: More donations, better poll numbers, a lot to watch for.

All right. We are moments away from the first draw when ten candidates, half of the field, are going to be assigned a debate night in the first draw. You'll see it all in real time. Brianna Keilar will have the first draw after a quick break. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: And welcome back to "The Draw", for the CNN Democratic presidential debates. Now, we're letting you in behind the scenes, as we randomly choose which candidates will face off on each debate night July 30th and 31st in Detroit.

Twenty Democrats are going to be divided into two debate nights, ten candidates each. As we told you before we went to break, we know what happened in the first Democratic presidential debates, how important the mix of candidates can be.

So with that in mind let's go to Wolf and get things started -- Wolf.

BLITZER: All right, Anderson.

For each debate, we want to randomly draw three candidates. We split the field into three groups based on their standings in the polls. It's time for the first draw and you'll see it live.

Ten candidates are about to learn which night they're debating. And they are Michael Bennet, Steve Bullock, Bill de Blasio, John Delaney, Tulsi Gabbard, Kirsten Gillibrand, John Hickenlooper, Jay Inslee, Tim Ryan and Marianne Williamson.

Let's go back to Brianna to begin with the first draw.

KEILAR: Wolf, we are all set, and we are ready to go here. I have a name card for every candidate in the first draw. So I am going to take them and mix them up so that we can then draw from the candidate box. And match them with the date.

So I have all ten of these names here. I'm going to give them a good shuffle. And because we are being very open about this process, we have multiple camera views, including an overhead camera. We want you to see everything that we are doing.

You, the viewer at home, can actually see the inside of this debate night box and this presidential candidate box. We cannot. So breaking my candidate pile into three here. As I put these in the presidential candidate box, I'm going to give these names, which are name side down, a stir in the box. Keeping them flat there.

And now the dates. As you can see, we have five for the first night, and five for the second night, July 30th and July 31st. We're going to mix these up and put them in the debate night box, so that we can match all of our candidates here and let you know which nights these 10 candidates in the first draw are going to be taking the stage.

All right. Breaking this pile into thirds, putting this in the debate night box here where I will give it a stir, and we will get going to see when these candidates will be debating.

First out of ten names here is Bill de Blasio, mayor of New York. He ran -- he was the campaign manager for Hillary Clinton's successful bid for the Senate in 2000. He'll take the stage on the second night, Wednesday, July 31st.

Next, our second name out of ten, Michael Bennet, Colorado's senior senator, former superintendent of Denver public schools. He will be on the stage as well the second night, Wednesday, July 3rd.

Third in this drawing of ten -- on the 31st, pardon me. Steve Bullock, Montana governor. The first time we are going to be seeing him on the debate stage, and that will take place on Tuesday, July 30th, the first night of debates in Detroit.

Next, our fourth name that we are drawing, Tulsi Gabbard, Hawaii congresswoman. She's a major in the Army National Guard, has deployed to Iraq and Kuwait. She will take the stage on the second night in Detroit, Wednesday, July 31st.

Our fifth name out of ten here, Tim Ryan, Ohio congressman, challenged Nancy Pelosi to lead house Democrats in 2017. He is going to be debating on the first night, Tuesday, July 30th.

[20:15:06] As we get to the second half here of our ten, our sixth name in this first draw -- John Hickenlooper, former Colorado governor, former Denver mayor. He will take the stage on Tuesday, July 30th, the first night in Detroit.

And we are now here on our seventh name, John Delaney, former Maryland congressman, was once the youngest CEO on the New York Stock Exchange, and he is going to be on the stage the first night as well, Tuesday, July 30th.

Eighth name that we're drawing here, Kirsten Gillibrand, senator from New York, initially appointed to that seat when Hillary Clinton vacated it to be secretary of state. She will be on the stage Wednesday, July 31st.

And ninth, Marianne Williamson, spiritual and motivational speaker and author with several bestsellers to her name. You'll see her appearing Tuesday, July 30th, the first night.

And that leaves us with Jay Inslee, Washington state governor who has successfully challenged the Trump administration with several lawsuits including against the travel ban. He'll be debating the first night.

So, the first draw is finished, Wolf. We have two more to go. Let's get a recap from you.

BLITZER: All right, Brianna.

So the debate rosters are taking shape. Let's recap who's been assigned to each night so far Tuesday, July 30th, the first night of the debates. Marianne Williamson, John Delaney, John Hickenlooper, Tim Ryan and Steve bullock.

The second night, Wednesday, July 31st, Jay Inslee, Kirsten Gillibrand, Tulsi Gabbard, Michael Bennet and Bill de Blasio.

Anderson, back to you. COOPER: All right. There's much more ahead as we discuss the debate


We're getting ready for the second draw with Victor Blackwell. We'll be back in a moment.


[20:21:14] COOPER: And welcome back. You're watching "The Draw" for the CNN Democratic presidential debate and this special edition of AC360.

Ten of the 20 qualifying candidates already know when they're debating. On Tuesday, July 30th, Marianne Williamson, John Delaney, John Hickenlooper, Tim Ryan, Steve Bullock, will share a stage in Detroit.

On the following night so far, Wednesday, July 31st, Jay Inslee, Kirsten Gillibrand, Tulsi Gabbard, Michael Bennet, and Bill de Blasio.

The question is, who will debate with them?

Time for the second draw. We're back to Wolf.

BLITZER: All right. Anderson, we're making sure the voters and the candidates can see the selection process for themselves and verify that it's open and fair.

The first draw is done. Now, it's time for the second draw. Six candidates will be assigned to a debate night in this round. We've divided them into groups based on their rankings in recent polls.

Cory Booker, Pete Buttigieg, Julian Castro, Amy Klobuchar, Beto O'Rourke and Andrew Yang.

Let's go to Victor Blackwell who has the second draw -- Victor.


All right. Now you know how this works. We have six candidate cards. We're matching them with six cards to determine which night these candidates will debate.

So, let's start by grabbing the candidate cards here and I will give them a shuffle here behind the boxes. And remember, we have these overhead cameras for complete confidence, full transparency. You can see everything I'm doing -- three angles, three cameras, placing them into the presidential candidate box, a quick mix.

Let's do the same thing now with the date cards. We have three each for Tuesday, July 30th, and Wednesday, July 31st. Another shuffle. Mix them up. And place them into the debate night box. Quick mix.

Now, I won't look into the box, but you can look into the box through the overhead camera. Let's start to pick the candidates.

First up, Cory Booker, New Jersey Senator, former mayor of Newark, New Jersey. He will hit the stage in Detroit on Wednesday, July 31st.

Up next, Amy Klobuchar, Minnesota senator, serving a third term, former prosecutor in the state. She will debate on Tuesday, July 30th. Senator Amy Klobuchar.

Andrew Yang, businessman and former ambassador for global entrepreneurship chosen by the Obama administration, will debate on Wednesday, July 31st.

All right. Three down, three to go. Up next, Beto O'Rourke, former Texas congressman, challenged Ted Cruz for the Senate seat in 2018. He will debate on Tuesday, July 30th.

All right. Two each now for Tuesday and Wednesday.

Next, Julian Castro, former HUD secretary, former mayor of San Antonio, will debate on Wednesday, July 31st.

So that means that Pete Buttigieg, South Bend, Indiana mayor, who took a seven-month leave of office to serve in Afghanistan will debate on Tuesday, July 30th.

The second draw is now finished. One more draw to go.

Wolf, back to you.

BLITZER: All right, Victor.

Most the debate slots now have been filled. So, let's take a look at how the nights are shaping up. On the first night, Tuesday, July 30th, Pete Buttigieg, Beto O'Rourke, Amy Klobuchar, they join Marianne Williamson, John Delaney, John Hickenlooper, Tim Ryan, and Steve Bullock.

On the second night, Wednesday, July 31st, Julian Castro, Andrew Yang, Cory Booker, they join Jay Inslee, Kirsten Gillibrand, Tulsi Gabbard, Michael Bennet and Bill de Blasio.

[20:25:04] Anderson, back to you.

COOPER: All right, Wolf.

We're back now with the panel.

With the final draw is coming up. Obviously, that's going to be extremely important because it's really those candidates that a lot of these, the first draw candidates and the second draw candidates are really kind of gunning for here.

CHALIAN: Yes, and what is shaping up here, if you look at Tuesday night, it's like moderate night. I mean, you're going to have a real ideological difference will be on display between the two nights of these debates in Detroit.

I mean, Klobuchar, Bullock, Ryan, Hickenlooper, Delaney, O'Rourke, Buttigieg, this is -- this is going to be a night that is going to show one side ideological of this party, or more centrist side, a little bit more moderate side.

COOPER: So far.

CHALIAN: So far. You're right. We'll see what -- but then Castro, Yang, Booker, de Blasio, Gabbard, Gillibrand, Inslee, Michael Bennet of Colorado, sort of has a bunch of liberals here he's going to be eager to contrast himself with on Wednesday.

And again, you are right. We'll have to see how the top four split.

COOPER: Right, because if Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders end up on Tuesday night, you wonder if the discussion becomes the future of the Democratic Party --

CHALIAN: Exactly. This is where we are now.

AXELROD: I would bet that the folks on Tuesday night are hoping that one or both of them end up in their draw so they can position off of them and make the argument from the moderate end on some of these issues like health care.

BORGER: You know, and Castro won't get a chance to take on Beto O'Rourke --

COOPER: Which is where he did quite well in the first debate.

BORGER: He did quite well in the first debate. And with Bennet, I'm wondering if he's thinking, well, this is OK for me Wednesday night because I can really differentiate myself from a lot of liberals that are going to be standing next to me, and that might be good for me.

COOPER: Right.

BORGER: And if Biden is in this group --

COOPER: Right, again, for the final draw, it's Biden, Kamala Harris, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren.

KING: I can show you here again. These are the four leading candidates in the polls. That's why they are in the final draw. If the former vice president -- if I pick up the pen, that would help, right?

Former Vice President Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, they went at it in the first debate, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, they are in the final group because they are the four leading candidates. Now, you have four candidates, that allows you six potential match ups, right? The other candidates are waiting to find out who is going to be at the center podiums, because the leading candidates will be in the middle of the stage, right?

Will get this if we get this, then you get a rematch of debate one where these two went at it and dominated the discussion. Maybe Mr. Castro broke through a little bit, but largely the first debate reviews were about this. Will you get this? This will be the first Democratic debate, first

presidential debate with two women at the center podium as leading candidates. That would be a big deal for the Democratic Party in which you do have historically a diverse field.

This would be fireworks. If you had Biden versus Sanders, they've been fighting publicly this week. Senator Sanders says he's lying about his health care plan. The transition, how much it would cost, how much it would take. Both candidates have run before --

COOPER: Which is interesting because in the first debate they really didn't go toe to toe with each other.


KING: Because of this. They didn't really get the chance because of this.

I'm going to blank this out for a second because here, to me, this would be a fascinating pairing. Would you get this? This is a fight that neither one -- these candidates, Senator Sanders and Senator Warrant want to have because they like each other.

But this is a fight that has to happen at some point in this campaign. They right now hold more than 30 percent of the Democratic primary vote nationally. For somebody to win, one of them --

COOPER: Sanders and Warren.

KING: Sanders versus Warren. They are holding the progressive -- if you can't see that very well, I can do it in the bluer color.

They are holding 30 percent plus of the vote nationally. If you look at the state of New Hampshire, they're the leading candidates are long with Joe Biden. This is -- they agree on most of the issues, but they're taking up a lot of space. At some point for this race to move, that has to happen.

VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: The other big matchup would be either they circle or they go to war -- Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, because everybody assumes you have the two progressives fighting each other and the two moderates fighting each other at the top. But some polls show that you have a lot of people who are Warren and then Harris is second choice, or Harris and Warren is second choice. So there's a fight for the heart and the love of the female vote.

One thing about this thing that's very interesting, you have a lot of racial diversity on Wednesday night.


JONES: And you also -- you separated the Texans, but you put the New Yorkers together. So the two most interruptive people last time, you had Gillibrand

interrupting all the time and de Blasio interrupting all the time, you've got the two most interruptive people on Wednesday night. I don't know who gets to talk on Wednesday night no matter who they pick.

MCINTOSH: One thing about the Tuesday lineup I think really could be important is that Pete Buttigieg really has the opportunity to shine on the stage for a certain segment of progressive voters that are still a little bit on the fence about him. There are a lot of African-American voters, a lot of women who want to know why Pete Buttigieg should be the guy that they go for when they have the opportunity to vote for somebody with more diversity of experience, racial, gender, the rest of it.

So, now that he's in with all the moderates, he really has an opportunity to do it.

[20:30:00] DAVID AXELROD, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: That is really interesting strategic question for him because is his best bet to be fighting with the progressives for the progress of vote or does he have more room to run if Biden should stumble among the moderate -- more moderate voters. And I think that's a strategic judgment he's going to have to make before this debate.


JENNIFER GRANHOLM, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: Yes. I think both him and I would say -- I mean, Beto O'Rourke has so much to lose and potentially so much to gain. And how he dive, you know, identify as himself, he's got a similar issue, because he's not quite in one box or the other being from Texas. So, he's got a moment.

And, you know, honestly if I'm looking at this, I'm thinking like Marianne Williamson, he's going to be so happy on that first night because he is really -- I mean, she would be -- she's so progressive and different. She's the one who stands out. Plus, you know, she has the opportunity to come across as a little more presidential than some people online have been viewing her as.

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, and if all on Tuesday, let's say that Elizabeth Warren ends up on Tuesday, you know, these are all large number of moderates who are going to make the case.


BORGER: Not only a moderate can beat Donald Trump. You're not where the -- you know, the liberals are not where the party is. And Elizabeth Warren has an opportunity, I think, to say, I can beat him. And you want to attack me? Come at me and I will tell you how my policies are good for the American people. So if she is on that stage with him, she can really differentiate.

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Or if she's on the stage with the former vice president if you get this. BORGER: Yes. Well, there you go.

KING: If you get this, Warren and Biden, because she is ascending right now.


KING: She is the candidate that's been slow and steady, but she has ascended to the national poll, she's ascended to the state polls.


KING: In the last day --

BORGER: Oh, yes. Right, right --


KING: So in the last debate, Harris used the opportunity to go up against Vice President Biden to help herself. She has been moving even faster. If she got that opportunity, that would be something to watch.

COOPER: Is this the first time you used this mobile mini-magic tab (ph)? It's cool. I like it.

KING: I use it sometimes during the day. It's the first primetime appearance.

COOPER: Primetime, all right, I like it. It's very good. The final draw just moments away, very exciting. Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren were about to find out which of these first leading candidates will head -- go head to head on the same stage. Ana Cabrera will do the final draw. We'll find out next. Stay tuned.


[20:36:20] COOPER: And welcome back. Coming up to it, the final draw for the CNN Democratic presidential debate, 16 of the 20 candidates know which night they'll be on the stage in Detroit.

Now, here are the lineups so far. On Tuesday, July 30th, it's Pete Buttigieg, Beto O'Rourke, Amy Klobuchar, Marianne Williamson, John Delaney, John Hickenlooper, Tim Ryan, and Steve Bullock will go head to head in Detroit.

One night later, Wednesday, July 31st, Julian Castro, Andrew Yang, Cory Booker, Jay Inslee, Kirsten Gillibrand, Tulsi Gabbard, Michael Bennett, and Bill de Blasio will share the stage.

David Chalian joins us right now. So, what do you think the campaigns would like to see happen next?

CHALIAN: Yes. Now, we're -- the stakes are really high in this moment, right, because we already discussed debates do matter. We know that. But there are certain match ups here that the candidates are more eager to have than the others.

For instance, Joe Biden, who does not want a repeat performance of what happened in Miami, that would be a real crushing moment and he is looking to come out of the gate stronger and he wants to draw a contrast with Bernie Sanders.

I am sure that would be his ideal pick tonight to be go up against Bernie Sanders, have this health care fight they've been having for a week in front of the whole country and try to resolve this ideological battle inside the party.

Harris and Warren, the two candidates who are sort of on the rise here, they're looking to extend their moments. They're looking to dig in from some of the support of Sanders and Biden. I think they would be happy to take on either of those folks on the stage night.

You have to remember, these four that are remaining, these are the top contenders in the race. So, this is where it's really going to matter for them, these final four, these top polling candidates, who they match up against.

COOPER: All right. Let's get the final draw. Back to Wolf.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: All right, Anderson. We're down to the final draw. We've been grouping the candidates' base on recent polling. These are some of the biggest names in the Democratic race.

Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, Bernie Sanders, and Elizabeth Warren are moments away from finding out when they will be debating. And this round will go a long way in determining the dynamics of the two debates.

Let's go to Ana Cabrera. She has the final draw.

ANA CABRERA, CNN HOST: Wolf, by now our viewers, of course, know the drill. But I want to walk you through it one more time because, again, this is the final draw and we have four candidates left. Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, Bernie Sanders, and Elizabeth Warren arranged here in alphabetical order. I also have four date cards, two for July 30th, on Tuesday, and two for Wednesday, July 31st.

Let's start with the name cards of the presidential candidates and put them in the box. Again, I'm going to give these a good mix, this final four chosen because of the polling position currently. And a reminder, for full transparency, you can watch the camera above me overhead.

Also worth noting, these final four are four of the top five fundraisers in the last quarter. I put them in the box, give them a good mix. Three sitting senators and a former vice president are about to learn their debate nights.

Grab the debate night cards. Again, come over here, give those a nice little shuffle. OK, let's drop those into the debate night bin and mix them up. Let's find out who our first candidate is in our final draw. Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, she's been in the Senate now since 2013. Also former Harvard Law Professor. She will be debating on Tuesday, July 30th, the first night.

[20:40:04] One down, three to go. Our second candidate in our final draw is California Senator Kamala Harris. She's been serving now since 2017 in the Senate. Previously was the attorney general of the State of California. And she will be debating on Wednesday, July 31st.

Two down, two to go. Our next candidate in our final draw is the Vice President Joe Biden, served alongside Barack Obama in the White House for eight years. Before that, he was in the Senate for over 30 years serving for the State of Delaware. He will be debating on the second night, Wednesday, July 31st. So we'll have another match up with Kamala Harris and Joe Biden.

That leaves our final candidate of the night, Senator Bernie Sanders from Vermont as the runner up, the Democratic primary to Hillary Clinton in 2016, has been in the Senate now since 2007 and been in Washington since 1991. He will be debating on Tuesday, July 30th against Elizabeth Warren.

The final draw is now finished. Let's go back to Wolf.

BLITZER: The roster, Ana, is now set for CNN's two night Democratic presidential debate event in Detroit. So let's review who is sharing a stage. These 10 candidates will face off the first night, Tuesday, July 30th. And they are, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren. They will join Pete Buttigieg, Beto O'Rourke, Amy Klobuchar, Marianne Williamson, John Delaney, John Hickenlooper, Tim Ryan, and Steve Bullock.

On the second night, Wednesday, July 31st, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, they will join Julian Castro, Andrew Yang, Cory Booker, Jay Inslee, Kirsten Gillibrand, Tulsi Gabbard, Michael Bennett, and Bill de Blasio.

There's one more piece of this puzzle that still has to be decided. Coming up, we're going to reveal how the candidates will be positioned on stage each night. Right now back to Anderson.

COOPER: All right. Wolf, thanks very much. John King, David Chalian earlier was talking Tuesday night, the first night being kind of moderate night, not so much.

KING: Not so much, but it does after the calculation. Is it these two, Warren and Sanders, against the moderates?

COOPER: Right.

KING: Or, because of just of -- again, they're sharing these two, Senator Sanders and Senator Warren are close friends, close partners amid these issues (ph).

COOPER: Are they actually close friends?

KING: Yes, they are. And they're actually legitimate. Some politician say they're friends, they're actually close. They're legitimately close, but they're holding 30 percent of the Democratic Party vote.

So, is it -- do they just -- do they defend Medicare for all and this other things against John Delaney? John Delaney says it's a bad idea. John Hickenlooper says it's a bad idea. Time Ryan says I'm not sure we can afford it, although he's more with them than not. Steve Bullock says it's a bad idea. Amy Klobuchar says it's a bad idea.

Is it these two against them or do we get fireworks between these two? This to me is the unanswered question. At some point, just like Kamala Harris decided, I'm friends with Joe Biden, I like Joe Biden, I was very close with Joe Biden son, Beau Biden. The only way they get to win is to go through him.

BORGER: But don't forget --

KING: Does she decide? The only way to keep her momentum going is to go through him. Does she do that now or does she decide right now is the time to defend the progressives, partner with him to make the case against them that a progressive can win? Is that the strategy this time or is it fireworks between the two of them?

And I'm talking about in the context of what does Senator Warren think. What does Senator Sanders think? Senator Sanders is struggling. Yes, he's in the middle of the pack. He has an enormous fundraising network. He has a very loyal group of supporters. He can be in this until the very end. But if you look at him vis-a-vis 2016, he's in the teens. And so does he decide she's a threat? And she is a threat. Does he decide to air it in the debate? That's my question.

BORGER: And just to add to Tuesday, there are some other people on the stage and they're all going to want to differentiate themselves to a degree because it's make or break for somebody like Steve Bullock or Steve Ryan or Hickenlooper.

And so what they're going to try and do is go after Warren or Bernie and say, look, we are -- here's what I believe and you don't represent the party. So to your point, these other people could play into this --


BORGER: -- and try and score against these two. And then they could team up together and put off that fight until another day. But we're going to --

CHALIAN: It's also worth noting in this -- the most diverse field, the Democratic Party has ever had, all the first night are white candidates and the racial diversity is entirely in the second night, which just change the dynamic, especially because obviously race has been a front and center issue in America this week. It has been in this campaign. It is an issue that is sort of coursing through this Democratic primary, and it's just interesting, of course, random draw that it ended up that way with all white candidates on one night and all --

[20:45:00] UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There are ways to differentiate themselves that is not necessarily about Medicare for all. I think that where Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders really could come across as quite different candidates is when you're talking about race, when you're talking about those issues.

Senator Warren has been historically considerably more comfortable with them than Senator Sanders has been. So, when -- if they both have a question like that, I think that could be a real opportunity.


GRANHOLM: In that particular vein, I mean, she, Elizabeth Warren does not have as long of a record as Bernie Sanders does, right? So she's going to go back. She has to decide, does she want to go after him on his vote on giving immunity to gun manufacturers, for example? Does she want to go after him on his opposition to, you know, potentially opposition to reparations, et cetera?


GRANHOLM: So that is interesting because he doesn't have as much to go after her.

COOPER: Let's also look at Wednesday night. I mean, this -- you know, the rematch between Biden and Harris.

VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: So, listen, this is going to be about the thrill in Manila. Where is this? We got a big rematch now. And I think both of these candidates have a lot on the line.

Kamala Harris just knocked this guy on his seat. And the question is -- and people say, listen, she got a lot of it. There's a quiet concern now. He will say, maybe she was too me. Maybe she's too harsh. She's going to make a calculation. Do I keep doing that? Do I show another side?

He, on the other hand has got to show some spine. And so they're going to be calculating now, how tough, how mean. But if he gets too tough, then he overdid it. So they've got a big fight.

BORGER: Van, she's going to be helped by Cory Booker, though. Don't forget this is the first time that Cory Booker has been on the stage with Joe Biden after he came out. He was so critical of Biden after Biden talked about the segregationists that he worked with in the United States Senate.


BORGER: And I think Booker is going to -- we'll see if Booker goes after Biden. AXELROD: I'm sorry.

BORGER: No, I just -- that will be a possibility.

AXELROD: I think we also ought to allow for the fact that even though these match ups are important, and I appreciate the fight night analogies, they all have imperative strategically.

Elizabeth Warren is doing very, very well, but she's doing well with college-educated voters, very liberal voters and young voters. She hasn't broken through with the white working class voters and her message is geared that way. She needs to find -- I think she would have liked to been in the debate with Biden, perhaps, to have that discussion about the bankruptcy bill to help burnish her vote there.

Kamala Harris did very well in defining herself as a fighter in that moment. It was a very dramatic moment. Her -- of all the top contenders, I think her message is least fleshed out. And so beyond having Biden on that platform, she needs to use that time to tell people exactly what this candidate is about.

COOPER: But just to give a sense for our viewers of how high the stakes are, not to use that cliche yet again, how many of these 20 will likely go on to the next debate?

KING: Well, on night two, if you start with night two and you put night two up, only Vice President Biden -- get this to go here -- Vice President Biden and Senator Harris. They're the only two who have qualified so far. And so for the second debate, you need to be 2 percent in four qualifying polls and have 130,000 unique donors. They're the only two on this night.

So if you're all these other and your fundraising is dependent -- you know, money follows momentum. And so if you're them, you're thinking, OK, am I going to be there in September? I have to do something here.


KING: Which means, they're your targets. That's the best way to make news. And the best way to get headway is to go after them. That's night two. So let's clear this out and look at night one.

Again, of these candidates up on night one, Senator Sanders is in round three. Elizabeth Warren is in, and Mayor Buttigieg is and Congressman O'Rourke is. So you have more candidates who've already qualified for the next round.

But, again, there are some big names here. Senator Klobuchar, you know, Governor Bullock, he's trying to make this as his first debate. He's trying to make a name for himself. Can he? Can he make the outside argument, I want a Trump state? Can he make it to September is part of the argument here.

I also would say this that -- well, I have a question in the second round of debates here about Mayor Buttigieg in the sense that he was the early surprise of this field. He was the guy who shot up. He blocked Beto O'Rourke from the new interesting next generational face lane, a guy from Middle America. He's plateaued.

He's had the police shooting issue back home. He's raised a ton of money. He's had good -- he's built a pretty good organization so far and he's proven he's got the fundraising resources. Where is his play? Where is his play for who am I in this race?

And can he -- he's in the top five. This has been a five-candidate race, even though there's 24, 20 qualified for the debates. The leaders -- we've had a consistent five at the top of the polls, but he's at the bottom of those five and he's kind of plateaued. He needs a moment.


KING: What will it be?

COOPER: We -- the debate fireworks may depend, of course, on which candidates are closest to one another. Their physical location actually matters often in this kind of face to face match offs. We'll reveal their podium positions, next.


[20:53:58] COOPER: Well, the draw is complete. The lineup for the CNN Democratic Presidential Debates are set. I want to go to Wolf Blitzer. He's going to reveal the podium order for both debate nights. Wolf?

BLITZER: Anderson, here's how the candidate will position on the debate stage each night based on their rankings in the polls. We're going to show you the podium order. The candidates with the highest polling numbers will be positioned in the center of the stage.

Here are the candidates who'll be debating Tuesday, July 30th at 8:00 p.m. Eastern. On the left side of your screen, Marianne Williamson, Tim Ryan, Amy Klobuchar. In the center part of your screen, Pete Buttigieg, Bernie Sander, Elizabeth Warren, Beto O'Rourke. On the right side of your screen, John Hickenlooper, John Delaney and Steve Bullock. Those are the podium positions for the night of Tuesday, July 30th.

Here are the candidates who'll be debating on Wednesday, July 31st at 8:00 p.m. Eastern. This will be the podium order. Once again, let's go to the left side of your screen, Michael Bennett, Kirsten Gillibrand, Julian Castro.

[20:55:00] In the center part of your screen, Cory Booker, Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, Andrew Yang. And on the right part of your screen, Tulsi Gabbard, Jay Inslee, and Bill de Blasio. Once, again, these are the podium positions for the debate on Wednesday, July 31st. Anderson, back to you.

COOPER: So, Booker, Biden, Harris, discuss.

CHALIAN: Seeing Joe Biden in between Booker and Harris, the two that were most aggressively complaining about his remarks about the segregationist senators. I mean, Cory Booker really is what launched that after Joe Biden made those remarks and obviously Kamala Harris followed through with that in the debate. There's Joe Biden standing right between the two that actually created a real problem for Joe Biden and how to respond to that.

COOPER: So what is Joe Biden -- I mean, if you are in Joe Biden's camp tonight and you're planning over the next, less than two weeks, what is your -- I mean, your -- the pundits over here, what would you plan?

GRANHOLM: And just to be, you know, in full disclosure, I helped on the first debate, but I'm not helping on this debate because it is CNN sponsored and obviously I don't want there to be a conflict.

However, I think -- you know, it's an -- Joe Biden came out and did a full apology with respect to anything he said that hurt him and it's another opportunity for him to clarify his position in that. So, he's probably hoping that this issue comes up.

My guess is they're probably preparing him for that for a nice fulsome response. But here's one thing that that second -- that second night is -- are they on the second night?


GRANHOLM: Yes, second night, is that you've got Kirsten Gillibrand and Kamala Harris, both of whom could raise issues related to choice, which is another issue that Joe Biden has, you know, has been dealing with in terms of the Hyde Amendment and Anita Hill. So, I think that you're going to see some more female issues, some female-related issues on the second night.

COOPER: But, I mean, does Joe Biden need another opportunity to say I'm sorry about something?

GRANHOLM: No, no. I don't think he needs one. I'm just saying that that's probably, you know, something that's --


AXELROD: Just say as long as we have you here and you were involved it for it, what happened? Why wasn't he -- that was an obvious question that was coming. Why wasn't he prepared for that?

GRANHOLM: Yes, yes. And I'm not at liberty to talk about what happened behind the scenes, so I'm sorry.

AXELROD: OK. I thought I would give it a whirl.


JONES: What I will say is that, you know, Biden is now -- he's like the pinata, OK. He is standing there with the people -- with two people next to him that, listen, even if Kamala doesn't go after him aggressively, she will be prepared to counter punch and descend. And so I think if you're Joe Biden, did you really want me back on stage with Kamala Harris? You probably didn't. Cory Booker benefits because he's going to have a chance to press his case.

BORGER: Don't you think he has an opportunity, though, to say, OK, we can talk about this, but the real person we need to be talking about in terms of race is Donald Trump.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And that's what he should do. Aside from these moments of friction that I think we're anticipating with Joe Biden, his debate performance in the first debate was really pretty lackluster.

I remember sitting there in those opening moments before Kamala Harris went after him thinking, if this man were not the frontrunner, we wouldn't be paying any attention to him at all right now. So I think there is an opportunity for him to come out and kind of redefine himself because he did not get a chance.

GRANHOLM: And there is so much material.

KING: He has to, to your point, forget substance of the first debate. The calling card of Joe Biden is I'm the growing up who can beat Trump.



KING: I'm the major leaguer. These other people are all interesting. They're wonderful. They're great voices to the party. They're not ready to go up against Donald Trump. That's his whole calling card. So there he is in the middle.

She's going to come at him again. He is going to come at him again. She's in trouble. She's going to try to find a way to come after him. You know the mayor is going to come after him saying he's part of the old guard in Washington, that's not what we need. Other people here have the same calculations.

So, if he has another disappointing performance, no matter what it's about, no matter what it's about, his whole calling card is, I'm the guy you want to get with Trump. If we can go against them --


GRANHOLM: But the whole point is that you have got to, in this 60- second or 30-second response, get your answer up and then go on the attack hopefully against Trump. And you're in Michigan. And in Michigan, because of the Affordable Care Act being attacked, you're going to see double the number of uninsured people. It's a prime place to talk about issues that the middle class care about.

COOPER: Yes, yes. But, you know, I'm not quoting Marianne Williamson, but one of the things she has said was, and I think David you said something similar, which is that this is not about -- going to be in the end about plans. This is not going to be won on who has the best plan.

You can -- I mean, Donald Trump didn't win because he had the best plan. There's other factors larger kind of issues at stake and that's what a lot of voters are looking at in addition to, you know, what their record.

AXELROD: I said before the first debate, it's more important now, more than anything that Joe Biden says is how does he look. Does he seem engaged? Does he seem like he's up to it? That was what really hurt him, I think, at that last debate. There were a lot of concerns about the substance of his answer, but he also looked a beat behind and that's a real question.

COOPER: Yes. John, look at the night one. Let's just talk about it.

KING: Night one is fascinating to me and I just want to do -- show it this way. In the middle, Senator Sanders, who we saw in the last campaign. He is there. Senator Warren next in the middle. The progressives have been arguing, Hillary Clinton was wrong, they go slouch (ph), pragmatic approach does not work. And by extension in this campaign, Joe Biden is wrong.

The fix Obamacare approach is not the way to go. We got to go Medicare for all. We can sell Medicare for all, Green New Deal, free college, and other progressive ideas. We can sell all these things in one election. That's what they believe.

This is the people who believe we need to change the Democratic Party, go big and go bold in the center stage of night one. A lot of people on the stage disagree with it. So they're going to get in coming. There's no question.

They're going to get in coming from here. They're going to get in coming from here. They're going to get in coming from close saying it's too much, we can't sell it to the country.