Return to Transcripts main page
CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL
CNN Special Coverage Of The Iowa Caucuses; Now: Iowans Vote In Satellite Caucuses. Aired 5-6p ET
Aired February 3, 2020 - 17:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: And so that's one of the things the Iowa caucuses measure.
Let's check in right now Arlette Saenz who covers the campaign of Vice President Joe Biden for us. She is at Drake University at the Olmsted Center -- Drake University, home of the Bulldogs.
And Arlette, how is the Biden campaign feeling right now? He's been ahead in some polls and more recent polls in Iowa. He has been in the top four, but not necessarily in the top post.
ARLETTE SAENZ, CNN POLITICAL REPORTER: Well, Jake, Joe Biden's campaign has certainly tried to downplay expectations here in the state. Biden said that he is feeling good heading into tonight, but his campaign is not flat out saying that they are going to win tonight with the exception of Jill Biden who this morning on CNN told us that she believes he will win here in Iowa and in the other three early primary voting states.
Now, Biden personally has told me that he thinks this will be a toss up. And today, he insisted that he could survive a loss here in Iowa. The campaign has long said that they don't necessarily need to win Iowa in order to win the nomination.
But they have invested significant time and resources here in the state to ensure that they are going to have a strong finish. Joe Biden has said that this is the beginning of a long process. Now today, Biden spent some time with his family. He actually delivered some pizza to staffers and volunteers at one of his field offices.
And today is a very personal day for Joe Biden and his family. Today, February 3rd is the birthday of his late son Beau Biden. He would have been 51 years-old today. And Biden in the past few weeks has said that it should be Beau running for president.
And I've heard him on several occasions tell Iowans here that he hopes Beau will be his good luck charm tonight, Jake.
TAPPER: All right, Arlette. Thank you so much. Obviously, very sad memory for Vice President Biden. Beau Biden a wonderful guy. Everybody who knew him thought that -- we should note that the Biden plan is that he does not necessarily need to win Iowa or New Hampshire or even Nevada which comes after that. He is banking on the later state. But it is also true that the last
four Democratic nominees, Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, John Kerry and Al Gore, all of them did win the Iowa caucuses.
DANA BASH, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: It's what we call the expectations game because for sure.
BASH: On that note, I want to go to Ryan Nobled who is with the Bernie Sanders campaign. And Ryan, I was with you at Senator Sanders -- one of his events yesterday and his closing message at least part of it is low turnout is bad for me, high turnout is good for me.
RYAN NOBLES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, and you heard Jake talk about enthusiasm, and the enthusiasm being such an important part of the Iowa caucuses. And there is no doubt Sanders campaign believes that the enthusiasm is with their campaign.
They believe that his supporters are the most passionate in the Democratic field. And they do feel confident going into this race tonight, but there is no doubt that they are employing what is their own advisers admit, is a risky strategy.
One adviser described it to me as a big gamble. And that's because they are coming at the caucus process a little bit differently than candidates in the past have. They are relying on a lot of really unreliable voting blocs, young people, voters of color who traditionally have been able to come out in big numbers in the Iowa caucuses.
And also, first time caucus goers. The Sanders' campaign has made a concerted effort to go after these voters, encourage them to get into political process with the pitch that Bernie Sanders is dealing and confronting issues that politicians in the past have ignored and politicians just not cared about in these communities.
Now, I talked to one top aide this morning. Even as of this morning, who said that they know this is a risky strategy that has -- because it so untested, it has just as good a chance of failing as it does succeeding.
But this is the way that Bernie Sanders wants to run a campaign. This is the way he wants to win this caucus because they believe if he does, then that could turn the tables on political strategy going forward. It could maybe in many ways even reshape the American political landscape.
Now, with all of that being said, even though they feel very confident about their chances here in Iowa, they don't believe tonight is a must-win, but they do acknowledge that if they don't win here tonight, it is going to be much more of an uphill climb for them heading into the rest of the Democratic nominating contest, Dana.
BASH: That is right, Ryan. And Jake, you know, one of the things that I have been hearing from people not just in the Sanders' campaign, but kind of unaffiliated Democrats here in Iowa, is that four years ago people saw Bernie Sanders on the rise, but they saw it as kind of an act of love and passion not necessarily that he was going to be the nominee.
And that in the last few weeks, the people who are watching his campaign, and obviously those who are part of his campaign are seeing him more and more as a nominee. It doesn't mean he is going to win here. It doesn't mean he's going to be the nominee, but the perception, I am told by a lot of people is shifting a bit.
TAPPER: Sure, you know, he's been ahead in some of the polls here, and certainly the New Hampshire primary is in a week and a day, and then he's from neighboring Vermont.
He's leading there. And remember, he came in second in the Iowa caucuses four years ago but it was so close.
BASH: Razor thin.
TAPPER: Razor thin close, behind Hillary Clinton, former Secretary Hillary Clinton, and that -- you talk about the expectation game. The fact that he was so close when his campaign was the real underdog changed the trajectory of his race and that race and made it much more competitive. Let's go back to Anderson Cooper with the panel.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Yes. Jake, Dana, thanks very much. Who do you think for whom, Bakari, I mean, for whom is it do-or-die in Iowa?
BAKARI SELLERS (D), FORMER SOUTH CAROLINA STATE REPRESENTATIVE: Well, I honestly think that Pete and Amy Klobuchar and Elizabeth Warren have to do extremely well tonight. They have to either meet expectations or exceed them.
The reason being is because unlike Bernie to a certain extent and definitely Biden, they struggle with voters of color. And if you don't do well in Iowa and New Hampshire, that is not opportune well for the rest of the primary season as we get more and more diverse.
And we know -- we've heard the stories about Pete Buttigieg and how well he does with the Black voters or how well he doesn't do with Black voters. The irony in all of that is Amy Klobuchar actually polls worse than him with Black voters.
And so Bernie Sanders has been working diligently since 2014 and '15 trying to cultivate this base and introduce himself. And so he's doing much better because of the effort and the work he's put in. Biden is still running away, but if Klobuchar, Buttigieg and Warren do not do well tonight, where are they going to do well when it becomes more diverse?
JENNIFER GRANHOLM (D), FORMER MICHIGAN GOVERNOR: Except I don't think that after tonight, any one of the seven are going to drop out. SELLERS: No, I didn't say that.
GRANHOLM: Right. Okay.
SELLERS: I mean you can be running like a dead man's campaign.
GRANHOLM: I mean, Tom Steyer is a billionaire. He's going to go on. And he --
COOPER: He's also got a lot of people on the ground in South Carolina. And Tom Steyer --
CHRIS CILLIZA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: And poll numbers in South Carolina that look pretty decent, third place behind Biden and Warren.
GRANHOLM: For sure -- for sure. And Andrew Yang has an unusual constituency that it does not include a lot of traditional Democrats and so he's got a lot of money. Pete Buttigieg has still a good amount of money.
You're totally right, that by the time they get to Nevada and South Carolina, they have got to show some movement with respect to people of color, but they are all going to go on to New Hampshire.
SELLERS: No doubt about that.
KIRSTEN POWERS, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: I feel like there is a lot of pressure on Biden though. I mean, he is supposed to be the guy who's the electable one. He's supposed to be the one and if he can't beat Sanders outright here in Iowa especially because one of his arguments is he somehow going to bring over those Trump voters, you know, who are going to come back and vote for Democrats who are white voters. So, Iowa, white voter, right.
GRANHOLM: But he is not going to drop out after tonight.
POWERS: No, no. I'm not saying he is going to drop out. I'm just saying I think there's a lot of pressure on him to perform.
COOPER: He's campaign has been trying already to kind of downplay.
POWER: You know, obviously, trying to lower the expectations but what would their explanation be. It seems like, you know, I know people say, well, he does better with African-American voters, but part of his argument is that he's going to appeal to those White working class voters that went for Trump.
CILLIZZA: Yes, I always go back --
GRANHOLM: -- they're not showing up at the caucus (inaudible) be clear.
CILLIZZA: I just -- I go back to the -- Arlette was saying, well, he is okay if he doesn't win Iowa or New Hampshire even Nevada. He'll just wait to South Carolina. I mean, I would ask Republican nominee 2008 Rudy Giuliani how the, we'll just wait a few states to (inaudible).
This is what I will say, Bakari. It's the only thing I'll say about South Carolina, and I agree with you about the diversity of Iowa and New Hampshire, not disputing that, but this is not a representative sample of the Democratic Party.
A poll came out yesterday, Charleston Post and Courier, that shows Biden is still ahead in South Carolina, but in much narrower margin with Sanders, so I just --
SELLERS: Let me just add -- can I add a footnote, I mean, when we're talking about that poll. That poll is absolutely not reportable because it's from a C-plus polling agency and their (inaudible), the Black voters they had in that poll was 33 percent -- 33 percent. And we know it's going to be more than --
CILLIZZA: And we know South Carolina will always be 50 percent. I just don't think his strength -- I'm always weary of he will last from February 3rd to February 29th. If he doesn't win any of the places, his support will last.
Maybe it will because it is built in a little bit because he has been the vice president of the United States, but it is a worrisome thing if I'm the candidate if I don't win.
SELLERS: A lot of Joe Biden is the inevitability of Joe Biden and you're right, that if those take chips tonight, but I still think that if Joe Biden comes in first, second, third, then we got a chance.
CILLIZZA: Yes, that's right.
SCOTT JENNINGS, FORMER SPECIAL ASSISTANT TO PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: I mean, to Chris's point, not only if you -- I mean, you can't win the nomination unless you are winning some places. Also, over that period of time, if you're not winning, guess what else is not happening, folks not writing checks to you.
SELLERS: You're not raising money, yes.
JENNINGS: And his supporters are not the small dollar committed donors the way the Sanders people are. That's what makes the Sanders candidacy so formidable in a format like this. It's a lot like Trump 2016. His people are all in. They're unaffected by the news. They are small dollar donors and they are fully committed to this campaign. I think in a fragmented --
SELLERS: Wins or loses.
JENNINGS: -- in a fragmented field.
SELLERS: And this is what the Democrats need to -- Democrats need Yang and Sanders to beat Donald Trump. So I owe my friends who are in the middle of the party, I think we need to remember that as well.
ANDERSON: We're monitoring the satellite caucuses in St. Petersburg, Florida, Des Moines, Iowa, as well as Queen Creek, Arizona.
We're waiting more early results as Iowa Democrats in and out of state cast their votes. Much more ahead, stay with us.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: We are following the Iowa caucuses. Right now, some of the early so-called satellite caucuses, they're getting ready. You can see one in St. Petersburg, Florida. Folks have gathered there in Des Moines Iowa. These are the shift workers.
People who have to work the night shift, they can go to a satellite caucus in Des Moines. In Queen Creek, Arizona, not too far from Phoenix, they are getting ready for a caucus there as well.
Let's go over to John King at the magic wall for us. So John, set the scene over here. You and I are going to spending some quality time together tonight. What are you looking for?
JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: We're at the starting gate. Here we go. Iowa vote tonight.
This is the map obviously. It's blank right now. We are waiting for the results. The candidates in alphabetical order at the moment as you go through them here.
Once we start getting in the allocation of delegates, we'll fill all -- obviously, they'll flip and be, but first, so what are we looking for? Let's go back in time -- let's go back in time four years ago to that very, very competitive -- look how close it was between Secretary Clinton and Senator Sanders four years ago.
This is the map four years ago, but we can use it tonight just to take a look. Iowa sometimes surprise, so will Senator Amy Klobuchar. Well, she has a surprise. Well, she's from Minnesota, right up here. So one thing we'll watch early on, just those counties closest to Minnesota where they might know her best.
Is there some any results there that say maybe we should keep an eye on Senator Klobuchar through the night? Another big dynamic, Wolf, that we know is going on throughout this race, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren. Will progressives split fairly evenly or will they break for one candidate or the other?
Good place to watch that -- you see over here the lighter blue from four years ago, the eastern part of the state is the more progressive liberal part of the state. So let's take a look there. One of the places you might look, Johnson County, Iowa City. Iowa State is in here, the college town. Is Bernie Sanders, A, getting all the progressives and college students? If you can put that together, you'll see some math over there. Another place to look for here is Lynn County. That's Cedar Rapids. It's a little bigger, a little more populous.
You see the margin there with Senator Sanders key four years ago. Is he winning that again? He won't win it by that margin, of course, with so many candidates, but is he getting a lot of delegates over there (inaudible) is he having a fight and splitting it with Warren? That's another thing we'll look at as the night goes on.
The largest county in the state is over here, Polk County. It has the urban here of Des Moines. The suburbs around Des Moines were critical to the Democratic gains, not just in Iowa, across the country. In 2018, Elizabeth Warren has focused a lot on the suburbs. Joe Biden needs to get the Democratic establishment in that urban area.
All the other candidates are competing in there as well. Again, it is the biggest part of the state. We'll watch that. One other thing, Wolf, that we'll be watching as this plays out is a lot of the candidates as they campaign in Iowa, they talk about what happened last time.
Remember, Iowa voted twice -- twice. These are the flipped counties here. These are 31 counties. This is basically -- let me bring it up to 2020 so you won't see the colors. See the gray, 31 counties in Iowa. It has 99 counties, 31. Almost a third of the counties in the state voted twice for Barack Obama and then flipped and voted for Donald Trump.
For Democrats, a point of pride, Mayor Buttiguieg has stressed this going into some of these counties saying we have to get these voters back. I just want to show you what that looks like. Remember this part of the state here.
I'm going to just draw a line around this gray. I'm going to miss a couple, you'll see. There are a couple of counties inside there that aren't, but most of these counties here in the eastern part of the state flipped, right. So what does that mean? Let's go back and take a look.
This is the presidential race in 2016. Let's come to the general elections. You see all that red? This is Donald Trump in 2016. What happened? In 2012, they were for Obama. In 2008, they were for Obama. This is a huge source of pride for Iowa Democrats.
They say if we're going to get our state back in November, that's a tough haul. Trump is counting on winning it again, but these counties here, another thing to watch tonight. Are the Democrats competitive? Is turnout up? Are Democrats energized in what area called the pivot counties?
Again, you look at them across the country, there are 31 of them in this state with 99 counties. Another thing to watch tonight as we get out of the gates of the first Democratic contest with an eye toward whether or not Iowa might be competitive come November. BLITZER: You mentioned the eastern part of the state. That's a little
bit more populous than the western part of the state. What are looking at west?
KING: So let's come back to the 2016 map and use it this way and let's come out of these counties, close these Trump counties so you just take a look at it. If you look out here, Bernie Sanders did pretty well out here as well.
So you have these smaller rural areas. You got the urban areas, the suburban area and the more rural areas. Sioux City would be the largest out here and you see the margin that Bernie Sanders ran up her as well. The question is with so many counties in the race, this is essentially a two-person race.
By this point, Governor O'Malley was a non-factor. The best we can do to look at this would be to go back to 2008 where you three viable candidates. Remember, Senator Edwards, Senator Obama and Senator Clinton back in those days and you had more of the mix. That's one of the things we'll be watching with the field so crowded, Wolf. It's not just a two-candidate race, so the math sometimes gets a little more complicated.
BLITZER: It certainly does. All right, John, we'll get back to you. David Chalian is taking a close look at the rules right now. Why are the caucuses tonight different than all the previous caucuses in Iowa?
DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: It's a big question and in a couple of different ways. First, I think, one of the more significant rule changes that we have seen is that, you know, Wolf that the -- as you saw some early satellite caucusing, the caucusing happens in two rounds of voting.
First round, people come into the caucus room, they express their initial preference of which candidates they want to support, and then there's a tabulation done to determine who among the candidates is not what they call viable.
In most places, that means who is falling below 15 percent support in the room. Once it's determined which candidates are not viable, they are not in the second round. Now, caucus goers have the opportunity if they were with a nonviable candidate to go and support a viable candidacy. But here's where the rule change comes in.
For the first time, if you are with a viable candidate in that first round of caucusing and therefore, let's say you're with Joe Biden's campaign and you go into corner in the caucus room, Wolf, and it's determined he has more than 15 percent support, you are locked into Joe Biden for the rest of the night.
You can't move around in that second round of voting. You're staying with Joe Biden. So that's a key rule change because there is only one opportunity for people to change their vote, and it's only if they weren't with a viable candidate. The other thing I think you have to know about tonight is that we're
going to have more information than we've ever had before in the Iowa caucuses, Wolf. We're going to get three pieces of election results tonight all simultaneously. We used to only get one.
The most important, of course, is the state delegates. Those percentages, that is going to determine the winner of the Iowa caucuses, that's how our decision desk is going to make its projection. But there are two other pieces of information we're going tonight. We're going to have the popular vote, the actual head count of how many people showed up to support each candidate.
And we're going to have that both from that initial round of voting and the final round of voting. So we'll have a popular vote and we'll have this delegate count that determines the winner. Think of it like the Electoral College in the general election.
BLITZER: The delegate count, that's what's critical.
BLITZER: Right now, we're watching that closely. All right. We are going to take a quick break. When we come back, much more of our special coverage including a special interview with Dr. Jill Biden, the wife of Joe Biden.
TAPPER: You are looking right now at one of the satellite caucuses. This one is actually in Iowa, not outside of Iowa like some of the others we've been following in Florida and France. This one is in Iowa. It's for shift workers who are not going to be able later this evening attend the Iowa caucuses.
It's yet another attempt by organizers to make the Iowa caucuses more small D Democratic, not just available for a certain few who can afford to take a few hours out of their evening.
This has been one of the concerns in some people including former Iowa caucus winner, Hillary Clinton have voiced about the inability of people who have child care needs or work at night to participate.
And so that's one attempt we saw right there. But coming back to the story of the day, one of the things that we're all going to be looking for is how well is Vice President Biden going to do?
Of course, he ran for president twice before. The first time he dropped out before the Iowa caucuses. The second time he dropped out right after the Iowa caucuses. He got less than one percent of the vote, but obviously he's one of the frontrunner now.
Is he going to clean up? Is he going to win the Iowa caucuses? He was in the front for many, many months, I mean, in the polls nationally and here in Iowa, although he's been lagging behind in recent polls. BASH: That's right. I was at an event with him yesterday and it was a
packed gym. It was a very warm gym. There were a lot of local officials there who spoke before him. You know, there was enthusiasm, but you know, at other campaigns, maybe at that particular event I can tell you there was maybe more enthusiasm than what I saw.
But it might not matter when it comes to somebody like Joe Biden who has very name recognition and a lot of things going for him. And on that note, I want to go to Arlette Saenz.
Arlette, I know you have a special guest with you.
SAENZ: That's right Dana. Jill Biden is joining us here in Des Moines. And how are you guys feeling heading into tonight? What you expecting?
JILL BIDEN WIFE OF JOE BIDEN: We're feeling strong. We're feeling confident and we are excited.
SAENZ: And do you -- where are you guys going to watch these results coming in? Do you have a ritual as you are keeping tabs on the tally that's coming in over the tonight?
BIDEN: No, I think we'll back at our hotel watching the results, watching things as they happen, things as they come in. And we'll be with our grandchildren who are here so we'll just, you know, be with our family.
SAENZ: And how do you think you have to finish tonight in Iowa?
BIDEN: We have to finish strong because we are ready to go on tomorrow to New Hampshire and then go on to South Carolina and Nevada and take this thing to the very end.
SAENZ: And what exactly does strong mean?
BIDEN: Strong means, you know, coming in strong. I mean, I think that Joe has been all over the state and his poll numbers look good. He looks, I mean, Iowans are saying to me I'm going to caucus for Joe whether they are Republicans or independents.
They are changing the registration for the night, and Democrats. So, everywhere I go, people are coming up to me to and just saying, Jill, I'm going to caucus for Joe.
SAENZ: And you've been spending a lot of time here.
BIDEN: A lot.
SAENZ: So I'm sure you're eager to see those results.
BIDEN: A lot. Yes, I am so, this is it. Tonight's it.
SAENZ: Thank you so much for joining us.
BIDEN: Thank you. SAENZ: Jake and Dana.
TAPPER: Thanks, Arlette. And Joe Biden, a lot of his big argument is return to normalcy of the Obama years or -- so a bit of a nostalgia factor, but also electability. The idea that he is best suited to beat Donald Trump, which is a huge idea of importance for Democrats.
BASH: By far, he talks the most about Donald Trump on the stump. I mean, it's not a comparison.
The others talk about him a bit, but they're also talking more -- in a more robust way about what they would about their plans, about their stories. And he is very much on message about the fact that this is why he is running, because Donald Trump needs to go.
TAPPER: And President Trump is being -- is in the midst of an impeachment trial --
BASH: About him.
TAPPER: -- right now because of Joe Biden, because of his calls for Biden to be investigated by the Ukrainian government. Anderson?
COOPER: Jake, Dana, thanks very much.
A lot of Republicans are going to be looking at this tonight to see how Joe Biden does and if what happened during the impeachment trials, if that has any impact.
GRANHOLM: Yes. I think there can be no overstating how critical it is for Democrats that they put somebody in place who will beat this president's -- in Iowa, the polls have been 60 to 70 percent. That is the number one thing.
And people see Joe Biden -- everybody says and a lot of people have said, oh, it's going backwards, but, actually, I mean, he -- he wants to be able to have the country be normal, but his policies actually are more progressive than the Obama administration's were. So --
COOPER: We should say you've done work with Joe Biden.
GRANHOLM: Absolutely. And I had -- and when I haven't -- I haven't been able to endorse anybody, but I did help him out on the first couple of debates. And therefore, I know the policies. And I played Elizabeth Warren, so I know her policies, too.
But I -- all I want to say is a lot of people have been saying, oh, it's all about going back. He is -- he would be the first to say I don't want to go back, I just want this country to be saved. And people view Joe Biden as a kind person, a person who has gone through a lot, and they want --
COOPER: But is that --
GRANHOLM: -- a good human being.
COOPER: I mean, is that the campaign trying to have it both ways, essentially saying I'm a candidate who can appeal to Republicans because I'm not Bernie Sanders, and yet also trying to say I'm as progressive as anyone else?
SELLERS: Well, I think all of the candidates -- well, the leading candidates, I think anyone would tell you that they're more progressive than Barack Obama was. I think you just have a more progressive group. I think the party --
GRANHOLM: I think that's true.
SELLERS: I think the --
GRANHOLM: The window has moved, yes.
SELLERS: Yes, the window.
SELLERS: The window, the frame of policy has moved.
SELLERS: A lot of that has to do with Bernie Sanders, but --
GRANHOLM: That's true.
SELLERS: But the window has moved. And I think one of the things that Democrats have to do -- and I spent a lot of time, too much time, in -- on the Twitter with Cillizza, of course.
CILLIZZA: Spending any time is probably too much time.
SELLERS: But one of the things that you see is you see this friction and this bickering. And I think that tonight is the beginning of what we hope to be Democrats actually coming together, something that we didn't quite have --
SELLERS: That we didn't have the gel that we needed in 2016. And so, yes, I think when we remember --
SCOTT JENNINGS, FORMER SPECIAL ASSISTANT TO PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: Wait a minute, November 2016?
COOPER: Yes, wait a minute. What? You think --
POWERS: Yes, I don't think so.
COOPER: You think that tonight is the beginning of a coming together?
SELLERS: No, I think that after --
SELLERS: Now, we get to vote, right, so it's cathartic. So people get to vote, the primary process is underway, you'll get there. Of course, it's a contact sport but --
POWERS: But the --
SELLERS: Maybe I'm hopeful.
POWERS: I think --
SELLERS: Can I be hopeful?
POWERS: You can be hopeful. I think that --
POWERS: But I don't that's going to happen probably. The thing is that, yes, everybody is more progressive than Barack Obama was, but you still have this huge divide between Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders' view of the world and everybody else.
And so, what we're seeing as people start voting is people weighing in on do they want somebody who is progressive or -- just progressive or do they want somebody who is actually going to upend the whole system? Who is basically saying the system is rotten and we need to rebuild it?
CILLIZZA: I just --
CILLIZZA: One thing I'm --
GRANHOLM: More people are saying we want to beat this guy than anything.
CILLIZZA: And to the Governor's point -- and this doesn't dispute what Kirsten said all. The one thing I would say is you do have -- Biden has been talking electability throughout, right? Every ad said -- I mean, his last ad essentially says --
GRANHOLM: As is Buttigieg.
CILLIZZA: -- I'm the one who can win. And then the ad shows -- the ad shows people just -- swing state polling in the ad, very process- oriented.
But I also think -- Governor, Buttigieg, right -- Bernie Sanders is saying, look, I'm the one who is the most electable because there are people who are for me who aren't going to be for any of the, sort of, other Democrats.
GRANHOLM: Yes, yes.
CILLIZZA: Elizabeth Warren, who ran on I'm the policy person, I'm the detailed progressive, now she is closing on an electability message, she can unite the party.
So I don't know if that bodes well for Joe Biden, who's kind of been on that electability message. But it does speak to the overarching, Bakari mentioned this, Trump's -- Trump's -- how big he is.
GRANHOLM: They're all talking about uniting it and electability. They all are closing with this.
COOPER: Let's get -- let's get Scott's --
COOPER: His reaction (ph).
JENNINGS: But this idea that Republican voters are looking to see if there is a Democrat that comes out that they can support, that is a -- that's a pure myth. Even Biden, the one who is preaching --
GRANHOLM: Sure of that?
JENNINGS: -- who's preaching electability --
GRANHOLM: The never Trumpers?
JENNINGS: -- and preaching --
COOPER: Let him finish.
GRANHOLM: They're no longer Republicans is what you're saying.
JENNINGS: Yes, I recognize that the constituency of never Trumpers on television is high, but out in -- out in --
JENNINGS: -- out in Twitterland --
COOPER: Talk about Twitter versus real life.
GRANHOLM: I don't think that's true.
JENNINGS: Now --
GRANHOLM: I don't think that's true.
JENNINGS: If you look at Biden preaching electability, preaching I can reach out to this people, the things he has said in this primary about abortion, about banning all fracking and fossil fuels and the hundreds of thousands of jobs that have come along with that, the things -- he raised his hand, too, for free health care for illegal immigrants just like everybody else.
So I think this is a myth that he is preaching, that I can somehow get people when he has taken many of these same positions that Warren and Sanders have had.
SELLERS: But I think -- I think one of the conversations that we had off-air, during the commercial, is actually relevant now.
I'm the Democrat who believes that the person we need to elect has to be able to go back and get those 4 million people who voted in 2012 who did not vote in 2016.
GRANHOLM: True, totally agree (ph).
SELLERS: One point three of those are Black. And bring those Republicans who want something better.
GRANHOLM: Right, and who voted for Trump.
COOPER: Stay with us as we bring you more early results from satellite caucuses for Iowa voters in and outside of the state. We're in locations in Des Moines, Iowa, also at Queen Creek -- Queen Creek, Arizona near Phoenix. We'll bring you the votes as they happen.
BLITZER: We have been spending some time looking at what are being called these satellite caucuses that are already underway. Let's go over to Jeff Zeleny. He is joining us right now from Des Moines where one of those satellite caucuses is taking place about two hours, 20 minutes before the regular caucuses begin throughout the state.
JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Yes.
BLITZER: Jeff Zeleny, go ahead.
ZELENY: And you can see we're in the -- yes, we're in the satellite caucus here, Wolf, at Drake University's field house. You can see the voters coming behind me here. There are a lot of Bernie Sanders supporters, Elizabeth Warren supporters as well. They are taking the floor here. And, Wolf, what this is we've been seeing satellite caucuses
throughout the afternoon. These are Iowans working who are working this evening. I have been talking to many of them. Some of them are campaign workers, some of them are Drake University workers, others just have evening obligations at work.
So what they're doing now is filing off of the stands here. And they're going to be walking toward their positions, and they're going to be behind hurdles. We are, again, at Drake University at the fieldhouse, home of the Drake Relays, and you can see the hurdles behind me here.
Each candidate is separated by a hurdle with their name on it. So you can see the Warren supporters behind me right here, standing behind those hurdles. Wolf, even Mike Bloomberg has a spot here. No one, of course, behind his hurdle. He is not competing here in Iowa.
But we can follow now over to the Bernie Sanders supporters. You can see a lot of them gathering over here, behind them and the hurdles.
And we should point out, Wolf, that this is not necessarily representative of this precinct because these are people from all over Des Moines, all over central Iowa, who have applied to be at this caucus site because they have to work this evening.
But no question, a lot of support and enthusiasm for Bernie Sanders. We'll see how it turns out when the counting begins. Wolf.
BLITZER: This is really the first round of voting, Jeff, we're -- that's going on at these satellite caucuses, but show us where the people are.
BLITZER: Where are they -- they're walking in right now, I take it. If you can show us where they are heading, that would be great. If we can see the lines of people walking in.
ZELENY: For sure. For sure, Wolf. They've just come off the bleachers, and now they are standing over here on the actual floor. You can hear them cheering and shouting. And there certainly are lot of Bernie Sanders' supporters. So once they all get in place, they are going to count them and count their preference.
I can see some Warren -- Elizabeth Warren supporters, a much smaller number. Some Pete Buttigieg supporters, a smaller number as well. But, clearly, the Bernie Sanders supporters here at least appear to have a lot of enthusiasm and numbers. But they will count this and then they will see who won this satellite caucus.
But, Wolf, we should point out, this is a significant rule change from four years ago, largely because of Bernie Sanders. He and Hillary Clinton said this is not a Democratic process. They should have other abilities for people to vote who can't make their caucus. So that's why they are here. So we are going to step out of the way and watch these supporters here
as they begin numbering off, counting to themselves. And we'll find out how many Sanders supporters are here at the end of the thing.
And, Wolf, we should also point out that this is a -- in this same location, in just a couple of hours, there will be Des Moines's 38th precinct. That will be much more interesting to watch because that is going to be very competitive among all the candidates. It's representative of this part of Des Moines, Wolf.
BLITZER: All right.
ZELENY: This is only the satellite caucus, a new development from four years ago for that reason, Wolf.
BLITZER: It certainly is. Over at Drake University in Des Moines, we'll get back to you. We'll watch that satellite caucus unfold.
Sara Sidner, she's at a satellite caucus all the way out near Phoenix in Queen Creek, Arizona.
SARA SIDNER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hey.
BLITZER: What's the latest over there, Sara?
SIDNER: People are happy because it's warm, and they don't have to deal with the sort of the Iowa cold right now. But this place is starting to fill up now.
We're inside of a theater. This is where they had to have it. It was going to be in the organizer's home, and then the crowd exploded. A lot of people wanting to take part.
Just to give you an idea of how it's set up. You see the sign there, Biden, Warren? So folks on this side are -- they're here caucusing for Biden. Folks on -- in the middle, sort of, caucusing for Sanders. And then on the other side, you've got Buttigieg, Klobuchar up there, Warren down here.
I've got two folks here, who I'm happy to talk to. John Kibby (ph), he is here from Iowa. As is Abby (ph). And they both are caucusing for different people.
Tell me, John, who are you caucusing for and why?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm caucusing for Vice President Joe Biden and for his experience and how smart he is and how he can work with the other party and especially our allies overseas. We're in this trouble in America with this guy.
I think he's got the best chance of beating Trump of all the other candidates, none of them I dislike. And everybody is going to have to be united together in order to win this next election. Thank you.
SIDNER: Thank you so much, John.
Now, I want just to let you know that, right now, the organizer here is talking to the crowd to tell them what to do. If you want to listen to a little bit of that, we can do that now so that you can sort of hear how she is going to call to order. She's introducing herself now.
Joan is just behind us there. I'm going to let you kind of see her. And she's giving the rules now.
People only have about 10 minutes until they're supposed to be here. And so, she is basically saying, look, people have 10, 15 minutes, and then we have to get this started. We're going to start the counting now.
I'm going to have you turn around there and take a listen.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I would like to welcome you to Harkins Theater and this historic event you had chosen to participate in today. I am your temporary chair, and this journey --
BLITZER: All right, we're going to continue to watch this satellite caucus in Queen Creek, Arizona, not far from Phoenix. We'll get the results from that satellite caucus going on right now in Des Moines. Much more of our special coverage right after this.
BLITZER: All right, let's check back with Jeff Zeleny. He's over in Des Moines at one of these satellite caucuses. These are people who won't be able to attend the more than 1,600 caucuses throughout the state later tonight. They've got work, they're shift workers, they have other responsibilities. What are you seeing?
ZELENY: Wolf, we are definitely seeing a strong sign for Bernie Sanders here. We are seeing 71 people here, total, in this satellite caucus. I'm also seeing some top Sanders supporters and campaign officials here including -- excuse me, Misty (ph) --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi.
ZELENY: -- the state director of the Bernie Sanders campaign. Why are you caucusing now? Are you going to be busy this evening, I'm guessing?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, I'm planning on being busy this evening, and I'm going to take advantage of the satellite caucus and be here to caucus for Bernie.
ZELENY: So as you know, this is -- as an Iowan, you know this is the very first time that satellite caucuses have happened.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
ZELENY: Why is this a good thing, do you think, to allow others an opportunity as opposed to just showing up at 7:30 tonight?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sure. I think it makes the caucus process more accessible to working people. You might be a second shift worker so you could come earlier in the day and, you know, access the caucus process. Also, you know, workplaces -- some workplaces have actually held caucuses today during shift change.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So, again, it just creates a more accessible process.
ZELENY: OK. Well, that's great. It looks like you have some strong support here. We'll find out the results.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
ZELENY: And as we go around the room here, Wolf, we are going to some other supporters here as well. It's going to take 11 individual people to be viable for a delegate in this satellite caucus.
Just eyeballing it, which we are not providing the official count, of course -- the county officials will -- Elizabeth Warren's campaign certainly has the number to be viable here as you can see.
Several people have arrived to caucus for Elizabeth Warren. I have talked to many of them, including some employees of Drake University.
We have some Drake University employees here. Is that right?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's right, yes.
ZELENY: OK. And you guys are working this evening?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, some of us are working this evening, so we wanted to satellite caucus. I have some friends over there who brought kids or -- we're taking care of child care for later tonight.
ZELENY: OK, Wolf, so we are going to begin the realignment here in this satellite caucus. We'll report back to you once the numbers are in -- Wolf.
BLITZER: We will certainly stay in close touch. Let's go over to David Chalian.
David, put these satellite caucuses, the first time they've ever done this --
BLITZER: -- into some sort of perspective for us.
CHALIAN: Wolf, this is part of the reforms that came out of the bitter 2016 battle between Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton. There was a lot of pressure, especially from the Sanders' camp, for the party, both the DNC and the Iowa Democratic Party, to make this more accessible.
The goal here was to try and allow people who can't show up at a specific time of 7:00 Central on a Monday night to be able to still participate in the caucuses. So the goal here was to expand access, and that's what these satellite caucuses are. They had to go through an application process so -- show that they would be able to conduct the caucuses, just like they're conducted back home in Iowa.
They will not count exactly the same way. Once the total universe of support is determined in terms of turnout, who came out among Iowa Democrats participating in the caucuses, then these satellite caucuses will be weighted.
They won't account for as much as a regular, real-time caucus, but they are going to allow people to participate in a way that matters, not quite at that same time. Unlike a primary election, Wolf, where you have all day long to vote and, you know, polls are open maybe 10 hours a day, you can go and vote.
The caucus process has been you've got to show up on a cold winter night in a room, stay there for a couple of hours. This is now the first time to expand, allow shift workers who had to be on the job at that time, allow people who are spending the winters away in places like Florida or Arizona, the opportunity for Iowa Democrats to participate.
BLITZER: But the results that we're seeing right now, and they're very, very early in these satellite caucuses, whether in Arizona or Florida or overseas in Paris, for example, or Tbilisi, Georgia, there's a satellite caucus, or the one that's ongoing right now in Des Moines, it's very early right now. We should not draw any conclusions.
CHALIAN: Without a doubt. There are 87 satellite caucuses. I think there are 1,678 precinct caucuses this evening for the regularly scheduled caucuses, and you cannot extrapolate in any way.
You cannot look at what's happening in one room in Arizona right now and think you know how the caucuses are going to turn out tonight. All that that is reflective of is what's happening in that one room, nothing more.
BLITZER: Important point, indeed. Stand by. We're waiting for more of the results, though. We're getting ready for a special coverage, continuing special coverage, of the Iowa caucuses.
BLITZER: It's decision day in Iowa where voters are taking part in caucuses.