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VP Pence: "We Don't Have Enough Tests" To Meet Demands; Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI) is Interviewed About the Government's Response to the Coronavirus; Warren Out; Biden, Sanders Vie For Endorsement; Race Narrows To Biden And Sanders As Democrats Weigh Who Would Be Strongest Against President Trump; Supreme Court Temporarily Halts Execution Of Alabama Inmate; Questions About His Culpability In Killing Of 3 Police Officers. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired March 5, 2020 - 20:00   ET




Just a day after he said that anyone who needed to get tested for coronavirus now could, Vice President Pence today acknowledged that at least for now, and perhaps the foreseeable future, this might not be possible.


MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We don't have enough tests today to meet what we anticipate will be the demand going forward.


COOPER: The vice president is now in Tacoma, Washington, where he and Washington Governor Jay Inslee are about to talk to reporters. We're going to be monitoring that news conference, bring you any late developments.

In Washington, the death toll due to the coronavirus rose from 10 to 11. Nationwide in total, 12 people have died so far.

The number of infected has risen as well. There are now at least 226 people who have tested positive with the virus in 19 states.

Those numbers really don't tell the entire story because of how few Americans have actually been tested. We'll talk more than shortly.

However, testing has begun on passengers aboard that cruise ship off the coast of California, you see it there. Authorities are using Coast Guard helicopters to fly testing kits out to the ship and then ferry them back to a lab. California's governor says the ship will not be allowed to dock in San Francisco until the results are in.

And in other developments, the economic side effects are growing. The International Air Transport Association today raising its estimate of what this could cost the airlines. Last week, the prediction was $30 billion globally in lost ticket sales. Well, now, it's $113 billion, nearly four times higher.

One airline executive today called the travel slump a, quote, gut punch. Another said, and I quote, we can discount prices tomorrow and it would not do any good.

To some extent, that's because people and organizations are simply taking precautions and basing their decisions on good and timely information from government officials. However, some of what we're seeing across the board is driven by the opposite, by what people do not know, or what they're confused or unclear about, and that is certainly not unusual in a crisis.

What is different this time is that on top of all of that, there is also, and we have to say it, the misleading or outright bogus information, if you can even call it information at times, coming from the president of the United States.

Last night in the program, that key difference, that distinction prompted a pretty remarkable statement from a guest, a Democrat no doubt, but remarkable, Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut.



SEN. CHRIS MURPHY (D-CT): It'd be better if the president didn't make statements about the coronavirus. It would be better if he remained silent and he let medical experts carry the message.


COOPER: I mean, just think about that. It would be better, he said, if the president remained silent. The reason he said because his misinformation might overshadow the truth. His own medical and health experts are trying to get out there. His own coronavirus task force.

Now, you might think look, that's absurd or that's just political, but then you have to start to listen to what the president has actually been saying day after day. Just last night on Fox News, less than an hour after Senator Murphy's remarks, this is him talking to Sean Hannity. And he took estimate with the latest estimate from the World Health Organization of how deadly the virus may be.



DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, I think the 3.4 percent is really a false number. Now this is just my hunch, and -- but based on a lot of conversations with a lot of people that do this, because a lot of people will have this, and it's very mild. They'll get better very rapidly. They don't even see a doctor. They don't even call a doctor. You never hear about those people. So you can't put them down in the category of the overall population in terms of this corona flu and -- or virus. So you just can't do that. So if, you know, we have thousands or hundreds of thousands of people that get better, just by sitting around and even going to work, some of them go to work, but they get better.


COOPER: OK. So, there is a lot to unpack in that long rambling sentence, and frankly, there is a lot to be concerned about. I'm not being flip here.

Keeping them honest, first of all, the president, you don't hear about those people who do well with it, who don't die from it, who get over it. Actually you do. We talk about that all the time. More than 80 percent in some cases it seems of people who get this or will get this will be perfectly fine. It will be like for them like a flu perhaps, a little bit more serious.

The president, though, says he is choosing a hunch. He is using a hunch instead of the global -- listening to the global authority on public health, the World Health Organization, and the president will not explicitly telling people with the virus to go into work. He is suggesting it might not be the worst thing in the world. In fact, people do it and they get better.

And that goes completely against the message that his own Coronavirus Task Force with some great people on it is actually putting out, because the person going to work who is infected, that person can infect others at work.


That's what the president doesn't seem to pick up on. He says that person feels fine. They get better.

The person infected may feel fine, may be asymptomatic, may not show signs of having the virus. And that person may get better, even if they do have some aches and pains or fever or cough. The president said all that, but several others may get the virus as well from that person who goes to work. And then they may spread the virus on and so on and so on.

Now, to be clear, experts do say that the World Health Organization estimate could end up on the high side. And the reason is that that 3.4 percent figure fatality rate, it's a percentage of the total known infected people around the world. And so with so few tests here and elsewhere, knowing the actual number of infected people, not just the people that have died, but the actual number, the true top number of people who are infected, that's impossible right now because there is not enough tests, not enough people have been tested.

So, by saying -- what the president is saying there, if you think about it, that the 3.4 percent based on a hunch, that's a high number that the deaths, the fatality rate is going to be lower may well end up being true. But by saying that, the president isn't just saying it may be less deadly, he is also actually acknowledging that there are a lot more people currently infected than we think, which is the exact opposite about what he has been saying about cases here in America.

Remember back, a couple of days ago he was saying -- well, there is 15 cases and they're getting over it and it may be done. This is one of the many statements that the president has made which are not based on any actual fact, like this one.


TRUMP: It's going to disappear. One day, it's like a miracle. It will disappear, and from our shores, you know, it could get worse before it gets better. It could maybe go away. We'll see what happens. Nobody really knows.


COOPER: So the president, as you know, has suggested a vaccine is just around the corner when every expert will tell you, people on his own task force will tell you it will take a year, a year and a half, and that's rushed. He suggested early on that the small number of cases at that point might quickly drop to nothing and contradicted immediately by his own experts.

Late today the commanding general of the army's bio-warfare out of Washington said while the virus may let up during the warmer months, and it might, we don't know. Others have. Swine flu did, the way seasonal flu does, a second wave could hit by wintertime, according to this general. He said the country needs to be prepared for that, to which we might add prepare and armed with facts, not just hunches.

To that end, I'll be hosting a CNN global town hall with Dr. Sanjay Gupta tonight at 10:00. Joining us will be Dr. Anthony Fauci and other leading medical experts, frontline doctors and patients as well, folks who currently have the virus and are quarantined. It gets under way at 10:00 p.m. Eastern Time. It's a two-hour special. We think it's worth you watching.

Joining us right now is CNN's Jim Acosta. He's at the White House.

The White House acknowledging there is not enough kits for people to get tested, a day after he said anyone who need it could get tested with the doctor's recommendation.

I mean, what's with the contradicting statements? Is it just, you know, they now realize how many kits could be needed? They were trying to paint a rosy picture? What -- do we know?

JIM ACOSTA, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: It was a pretty candid assessment from the vice president earlier today, Anderson, no question about it when he said they don't have enough kits right now to deal with the problem. I did talk to the vice president spokeswoman Katie Miller who called me after the vice president made those remarks and said, listen, they still feel like they're going to meet the administration's goal of having a million tests distributed by the end of the week. But when I asked what about moving forward, she acknowledged they

still need to ramp up production of those tests in order to meet future demand. And there does not appear to be a plan at this point as to how to get to where they need to be.

I will tell you, Anderson, talking to people close to this Coronavirus Task Force, I talked to one source earlier today who said that there are times when the president is simply engaging in wishful thinking, and it's important to know what the president was saying at a town hall in Pennsylvania earlier tonight, that everything is going to work out, and everybody should be calm about what's happening right now. That sounds like wishful thinking.

COOPER: When the president goes on Fox and suggests that many people have coronavirus, some go to work and they get better, sounds like it's no big deal, he didn't say you should go to work, but he said people go to work, they get better.

ACOSTA: Right.

COOPER: Because he has a hunch that the numbers being put out by the WHO are wrong or false number, he didn't use the word "fake" but it is pretty much the same thing, what's the reaction of the White House to that?

ACOSTA: Right now, the White House reaction is not very much. I will tell you that the Trump campaign put out an email earlier this afternoon saying, well, there are some scientists who agree with the president. Dr. Anthony Fauci, who is one of the president's top experts on this has said that the mortality rate is closer to 2 percent. And so, the president is obviously not on the same page as Dr. Fauci.

One other thing we should point out, Anderson, when the president talks about people being able to go to work with the coronavirus, that is in direct contrast with what the CDC is saying.


The CDC is putting out guidance saying do not go to work if you have the coronavirus. And in addition to that, Anderson, the White House has sent out an email to federal employees saying if you're showing flu-like symptoms, please stay home out of an abundance of caution. And so, the president is talking about people going to work while the White House is warning its own workers, federal employees to stay home if they're sick -- Anderson.

COOPER: Yes, Jim Acosta, thanks very much.

Members of Congress were briefed today by members of the Coronavirus Task Force. Not everyone was satisfied by what they heard. Shortly before airtime, I spoke with Congressman David Cicilline, Democrat of Rhode Island.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) COOPER: Congressman, the closed door coronavirus briefing on the Hill today, I know you asked Anthony Fauci a question about the president. What happened then?

REP. DAVID CICILLINE (D-RI): Well, I actually was asking about the statements the president had been made where he was attempting to blame President Obama for the problem with the tests. And the secretary interrupted and went let Dr. Fauci answer the question.

And this is really a particularly serious problem. At a moment where we have a public health crisis, an epidemic, getting trustworthy, reliable information from the president is important. And so, you know, when the president first described this as a hoax and then said just as recently as yesterday, you'd be better -- you get better if you go to work, as well as challenging the mortality rates, that undermines the credibility of the president when he speaks about other issues related to this virus.

So, the president needs to understand, let the professionals, let the doctors and scientists and medical experts lead this effort. You know, he tends to look at things through the lens of, is this good for me politically?

This is not about him. This is about the health and safety of the American people, and every decision should be made to make sure we get accurate information to the American people so we can keep them safe.

COOPER: What was Secretary Azar's excuse for not letting Dr. Fauci answer the question?

CICILLINE: I -- you know, it's a good question. Dr. Fauci has a lot of credibility in the caucus and in a bipartisan way, people really respect him. I wanted to hear from him. I think Secretary Azar did not want him to answer my question. And I made it very clear that Secretary Azar was not in charge of deciding who would answer the question that a member of Congress was asking, and it was kind of unpleasant exchange.

But it was just an example of why it matters so much that the scientists and public health professionals, not only provide the information to the American people, but really lead the response. This isn't -- this shouldn't be politicized in any way. We passed a massive piece of appropriations funding to really address this crisis in a bipartisan way. And now the president needs to step aside and let the scientists and doctors and medical experts give the best advice to the American people.

COOPER: It's interesting that the president, I mean -- you know, just last night the president was saying he has a hunch that the more than 3 percent fatality rate is high. What's interesting about that is -- and again, we don't really know what the ultimate fatality rate is going to be because we don't know how many people have the virus and -- or are currently infected. We know how many have been currently diagnosed.

But even if the president -- if the president is saying he doesn't believe the 3 percent, that means he is saying essentially he believes there are far more people who are currently infected with the virus than he has let on or that we know, because that's the only way that fatality number would actually go down.

CICILLINE: That's right. And it's just another reason to make very clear that in a moment such as this, where you're confronting a serious epidemic with potentially, you know, deadly consequences for people who are affected who are in high-risk categories, you don't make hunches.

You don't give suggestions that people do certain things or not do certain things. You leave it up for the Center for Disease Control, the NIH, the medical expertise, some of the best experts in the world, you know, are in those things.

And the president saying things which contradict the advice that they're giving to the American people and it creates confusion.

This is not a time to try to minimize the seriousness of this public health crisis because you think it's politically damaging to you. Let the experts who have both the experience and training to provide good information to the American people do. So, get out of their way.

Congress worked in a bipartisan way to make certain they had the resources necessary to respond fully to this epidemic. The president, if you remember, made a proposal of $2.5 billion. Half of that was going to come from other accounts that are addressing current public health crisis like Ebola. Instead, we provided $8.3 billion of new funding for hospitals, for health organizations to accelerate the development of vaccine, to make sure that the equipment is available, masks and protective gear.

So, we've provided the resources. The president now needs to let the experts do their work and stop confusing the American people by making statements that have no basis in fact.

COOPER: I talked to Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut last night. He said it would be better if the president didn't make statements about the coronavirus, which is an extraordinary statement to make, the idea that the president of the United States should not talk about the coronavirus.


But do you agree with him in this case?

CICILLINE: Well, certainly, if he is going to give misinformation. Look, my mother is 80 years old. She has chronic lung disease, chronic heart disease. She is very vulnerable to this virus, and she is terrified.

And she has a right, as do every other American to get accurate information from the president of the United States. And if he can't do that, he should stop speaking about it and let the health professionals and experts do it. COOPER: The vice president acknowledged today that there are not

enough testing kits in the U.S., and I know we're going to talk more about that coming up tonight. But do you get any sense from officials today when more will be available?

CICILLINE: Well, the representation that was made at the briefing today is that 75,000 were being shipped immediately, and that by the end of the week, which means tomorrow, I guess, up to a million would be available.

So, you know, I hope that's true. There's lots of reasons to question whether that's actually going to happen. But that was the representation that was made yesterday at the briefing.

But this is a real challenge. Not only making sure that people have access to the tests, that they're free or affordable, and second of all, that the results come back in a timely manner. I think there are a lot of challenges in that in terms of that capacity.

COOPER: Yes, Congressman Cicilline, I appreciate your time. Thank you.

CICILLINE: Thanks for having me.


COOPER: Well, much more on the subject. Next, our chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta joins us along with a former CDC disease detective to talk about more about testing, prevention and some of the other questions people may have about what they can do to stay healthy.

And later, another big shake-up in the Democratic presidential primary. Senator Elizabeth Warren, she is now out. The question now is, who will she and her voters support?



COOPER: Welcome back.

We're waiting to hear from Vice President Pence in Washington state where 11 coronavirus patients have died. Life in that part of the country is changing drastically.

Earlier today, he toured a 3M facility in Minnesota, the company making protective masks.

Joining us now is our chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta, along with Dr. Seema Yasmin, the director of the Stanford Health Communication Initiative and a former CDC disease detective.

So, Sanjay, when the vice president says the American people that any American can go to their doctor and get tested for coronavirus or get a recommendation to be tested, is that true right now? DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: No, that's not

true. It's in process. I spent a little bit of time with the vice president yesterday at the White House, and he said these kits are now going out, one million to 1.5 million tests are going to go out. Also state hospital, university hospitals will get FDA proof to start testing.

And we just heard that LabCorp, which is large testing organization is going to be able to provide tests to health providers soon.

COOPER: But how will that work? I mean, if you go to your -- or call up your doctor, your doctor probably at this point is not going to have the tests in their office.

GUPTA: Yes, I mean, this is an issue. I don't know, Seema, if you've dealt with this, but many of my colleagues have called me, and they have patients in their office who for one reason or another are concerned. They've gone to one of these areas or whatever it may be.

Doctors now have discretion to test. They can order the test. The test is covered as an essential health benefit. So, it's paid for, but they don't have the tests yet. So that's the problem. They have everything but the test.

But, you know, again, they say that those are going to be coming to at least 44 states over the next few days.

COOPER: And Dr. Yasmin, I mean, so the vice president has now said the U.S. doesn't have enough of the tests. Just explain the importance of this, because we still don't know the actual fatality rate. The World Health Organization says 3.4 percent of people who get this may die, particularly the elderly or those who have preexisting respiratory and infections or the like.

Explain why testing is so important at this stage? Because we still don't know the top -- how many people may have this?

DR. SEEMA YASMIN, DIRECTOR, STANFORD HEALTH COMMUNICATION INITIATIVE: Anderson, it's so important because it really gives us a true idea of how vast this epidemic. Let's look to South Korea. By March 1st, South Korea had tested 100,000 people. The U.S., 472.

And by doing so, by really aggressively testing and capturing the true extent of the spread, we now see the case fatality rate is 0.56 percent.

COOPER: Is what?

YASMIN: Zero-point-six-five percent. So, a lot lower.

COOPER: Oh, OK, not zero.



YASMIN: Zero-point-six-five percent. WHO is now telling us, 3.4 percent.

COOPER: Right.

YASMIN: And we're saying could that potentially be lower because we're missing those cases.

COOPER: So when the president says it's a hunch that it's lower, there is evidence it may be lower, but we simply can't say for a fact 100 percent, because we don't know the total number.

YASMIN: And we don't work on hunches. We work on science. We look for the numbers, right, which is it's really interesting to see South Korea's approach to this. I think we also need to talk about the fact there has been this significant delay with producing testing kits in the U.S.

COOPER: Why is that?

YASMIN: So the CDC first gave out a test on February 5. That was three weeks after China had already disseminated its own coronavirus testing kits. So, a significant delay already. Fine. That happens during an epidemic.

The test was faulty. It went out to state health departments. It didn't work. There was a contaminant in the reagent. So then the samples get sent back to CDC. So, now, you have a longer delay.

The issue then, though, it's not just a technical one. There was a bureaucratic blunder that happened. FDA had allowed CDC to do testing under a thing called emergency use approval.

That's great. It allows you to rapidly use a test even when the test itself has not yet been validated because you to test the test, right? The problem, though, is it tied the hands of academic scientists across the U.S. You're only allowed CDC to develop the test.

So then we're hearing from scientists saying, well, we could have been working on a test at the same time. It took until February 24th for the FDA to expand its EUA designation. That then allowed others to say we're going to work on our test.

COOPER: So, if they had done that faster, others would be working on this test.

YASMIN: We would not be here now. We could have potentially had a test that worked and had it earlier.

COOPER: And, Sanjay, is it known how many Americans have actually been tested?


GUPTA: Yes, we just looked these numbers up. According to the CDC, there has been 1500 that have been tested.

COOPER: Fifteen hundred in the United States of America? GUPTA: Total by the CDC.


GUPTA: Now, some of the state laboratories have started also doing testing. They still have to be confirmed at the CDC. But, yes, compared to the numbers Seema is giving out of South Korea, I mean, it's a small fraction.

COOPER: Do you know how quickly you get results? I mean, is it something --

GUPTA: So, typically, you can get results back within a day. The testing results, the test results come back within six hours, I'm told, but patients are often told within a day here. I think in South Korea a couple of days. It's fairly fast.

YASMIN: And in Japan, there is a talk of a test that gives results within 10 to 30 minutes. So, we're watching that closely, too. But again, vastly small number here, South Korea has tested more than 140,000 people.

GUPTA: Wow. And again, if you got to wait a day, two days, you know, people might go to the mall. They might go somewhere else. And obviously that adds to the problem.

YASMIN: Yes. I want to say, clinically, it doesn't so much change your management of the patient. There is no specific treatment for the new coronavirus. There is no vaccine we can offer. We're still going to offer the same supportive care.

But sure, it can give you peace of mind and let you know that somebody is positive or not and give them the information they need.

COOPER: Right, because if somebody is positive and they don't know it, there is no authority telling them they have to stay at home.

YASMIN: That's right.

COOPER: It's just them --

GUPTA: May be advised to do so, but --

COOPER: Yes, getting advice to do it, and it's up to them to do it.

GUPTA: Exactly.

COOPER: Yes, fascinating. Thank you so much, Dr. Sanjay Gupta.

Great to have you as well.

YASMIN: Thank you.

COOPER: Dr. Yasmin.

That's a reminder, we're going pick this up later, tonight the CNN global town hall. Both doctors are going to be joining us, fact "Coronavirus: Facts and Fears". Sanjay and I, Dr. Yasmin, task force member, Dr. Anthony Fauci. We've got correspondents around the globe, front line doctors and patients, plus questions from the audience and online, hopefully trying to answer all -- as much as we can. A lot of -- we've gotten a lot of questions from a lot of you. We appreciate it.

We're going to get to as many tonight as we can, facts not fear. That's tonight, 10:00 Eastern Time. It's going to be two hours.

Still to come tonight, presidential politics. Elizabeth Warren out of the race. Will she endorse Biden or Sanders? And how does her exit change the race for the Democratic nomination, ahead.



ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Presidential politics also in the spotlight today. Elizabeth Warren has dropped out of the Democratic race, meaning there will likely be only two individuals on stage at the debate moderated by CNN 10 days from now in Arizona, Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders. Today, Warren was asked whether she would endorse either candidate.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What guidance would you give to your supporters who don't know who to support now?

SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA): Well, let's take a deep breath and spend a little time on that. We don't have to decide that this minute.


COOPER: Warren did appear to suggest an endorsement may be coming, just not today. Joining me now is Dr. Abdul El-Sayed, a CNN Political Commentator who's endorsed Senator Sanders, CNN Chief Political Analyst Gloria Borger, and Bakari Sellers, CNN Political Commentator.

Gloria, let me start with you. How badly does Bernie Sanders need Elizabeth Warren's endorsement? And what do you think the chances are that he gets it? I mean, I think the assumption is for a lot of people Warren would endorse Sanders, but there's reason -- a lot of reasons she might not.

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, she really might not. And I think Bernie Sanders really wants her endorsement and needs her endorsement for a lot of reasons. Number one, it would show that the progressive wing of the party was united. And number two, he might be able to bring in those voters, those suburban well educated women that he had real trouble getting against Joe Biden and that she got on Super Tuesday. He would like to get a lot of those voters and she would help him consolidate that.

But the big question for her is, does she want to go with Sanders and do that? They've had some personal problems. Remember that little fight she had, you know, did you call me a liar, that day when they were -- after a debate? Or does she end up going with Joe Biden, who she believes may have a better shot at the presidency and could do more for her and her supporters in the end.

COOPER: Yes. Bakari, it's interesting. Because, I mean, you pointed this out, is that she's been trying to kind of walk the line between Sanders and Biden. You know, initially she was saying she was, you know, with Bernie on Medicare for All, and then it was sort of a different message.

BAKARI SELLERS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, she couldn't find a lane, which is part of the problem and why we're here now. But what I do believe, I don't think she is going to endorse anybody right now. I mean, this won't be new. In 2016, she didn't endorse anyone for President of the United States until after the election occurred. And so -- until after the primary was sorted out.

What I expect her to be, though, is someone who can facilitate unity in the party. She is unique and that she has credibility on the progressive wing of the party and she has progressive wing with -- credibility with this new establishment wing. And so one of the things that I anticipate her doing is being somebody who unifies the party at that particular time.

COOPER: And you think she can take time even if -- I mean, if she's going to endorse someone, it doesn't have to be right away. I mean, it could be let the debate happen. It could be down the road.

SELLERS: There is no reason to endorse somebody right now if you're Elizabeth Warren. I mean, you got out of the race. That was your own prerogative. There's nothing that you can do between now and maybe the convention that would change anyone's mind.

I mean, Elizabeth Warren, it's amazing. Now, we're demanding everything from the female candidates in the race. Elizabeth Warren has done an awesome job running for President of the United States. She deserves all the accolades, but let her breathe if she wants to.

COOPER: Yes. Abdul, I mean, one of the key flash points between Warren and Sanders, and Gloria mentioned this, Warren, you know, claimed in a private conversation Sanders have told her a woman couldn't be elected president. Sanders denied that during a debate in January. I just want to remind people what happened and take a look at that.


WARREN: I think you called me a liar on national T.V.


WARREN: I think you called me a liar on national T.V.?


SANDERS: Let's not do it right now. You want to have that discussion, we'll have that discussion.

WARREN: Anytime.

SANDERS: You called me a liar, you told me. All right, let's not do it now.

THOMAS STEYER, (D) FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I don't want to get in the middle. I just want to say, hi, Bernie.

SANDERS: Yes, good. OK.


COOPER: Tom Steyer, the awkward man in the middle and all of that. Abdul, as a Sanders supporter, where do you see this? Do you see Elizabeth Warren going to Senator Sanders and what kind of an impact would it have either way if she did or didn't?

ABDUL EL-SAYED, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: First -- yes, let me just say first and foremost that it's sad to see that we've lost another extremely talented brilliant woman out of this race. And as a father of a little girl, I do hope that some day I get to see that glass sealing cracked.

I will say that, you know, as much as endorsements matter in this race, her endorsement is critical, because I do think it signals an alliance around values. But really, she's got a choice right now. Is it an alliance with her values or is it about her alliance with the party? And that's going to be a tough decision for her moving forward.

You know, I'm here in Michigan right now. I know on the ground her support would signal a lot to a group of voters that are choosing between Biden and Sanders. So I know that courting her endorsement will be critical. I do think that, you know, that moment that we just watched was water under the bridge.

But I do hope that she sides with her values, because she's been such a leader on issues related to Medicare for All, curbing the greed and power of corporations and I'd love to see her continue that work through this campaign.

COOPER: Gloria, talking about Michigan, Bernie Sanders canceled an event in Mississippi so he could spend more time in Michigan. The governor there today endorsed Joe Biden. It's not just to say Democrats need to flip in the general election, it's also a state where Sanders scored an upset in the primary four years ago. How much of a bellwether do you think that primary will be next week? And clearly, Senator Sanders thinks it's very important.

BORGER: Very important, he is right about that. It is going to be a bellwether. Sanders surprised Hillary Clinton and beat her there four years ago. This is a lot of union members who are going to be voting there. And he and Joe Biden will be competing for that. It's 125 delegates. No surprise that he decided not to go to Mississippi today. He knows that African-American voters are largely for Joe Biden. So, he would rather spend his time in Michigan. And one more thing, can I just say about Elizabeth Warren? She's got leverage now. It's so hard -- it's interesting to be saying that about a woman, which is great. She has leverage within the party right now. And she may be playing this to see how much she could get out of any eventual nominee for the values, that Abdul is talking about, and the policies that she cares about, either in the Democratic platform or with the nominee talking about those things. So this has yet to play out. And for Bernie Sanders, Michigan is key.

COOPER: Also, Bakari, it's going to be so fascinating, this debate, the CNN debate, first time it's just going to be, you know, the two candidates.

SELLERS: Yes. I hope they take some beats well. I mean, we have about two 78-year-old men on stage. It's not where we thought we would be as a party. I will go back --

COOPER: One of them is 77, anyway.

SELLERS: Yes. They're older than you and I.

COOPER: One of them ultimately (INAUDIBLE).

SELLERS: Yes. And so, but I think that -- I think it's going to be an interesting dynamic, which is why a lot of people wanted Elizabeth Warren to stay in the race. And so one of the things that I'm also interested in seeing is this dynamic, because Bernie Sanders has just thrown his hands up when it comes to African-American voter, which is pretty sad.

I mean, not going to Jackson, Mississippi after skipping Selma, going to Michigan, as Gloria pointed out, is just a sad commentary. But I'm looking forward to see these two men go head to head, because they're going in two divergent paths right now. And Bernie Sanders is going to be very, very desperate if they're in the debate together, because Bernie Sanders needs to grasp some momentum from somewhere.

COOPER: We got to go. But Dr. El-Sayed, how important is Michigan, you think, for Sanders?

EL-SAYED: Can't underestimate how important it is. And I will say --

COOEPR: You're from there, as you pointed out.

EL-SAYED: -- we have a sizable African-American -- yes, I'm sitting here from home in Michigan. We have a sizable African-American population. I don't think Bernie has given up at all on that community, but winning Michigan matters because we lost Michigan in the general in 2016 by 10,700 votes. Whoever wins Michigan can signal that they're going to be that most electable candidate in 2020.

COOPER: Dr. Abdul El-Sayed, I appreciate it. Gloria Borger, Bakari Sellers, thanks so much.

More on the race after the break, President Trump has repeatedly attacked both candidates, obviously. So which is the stronger nominee for Democrats and who does the President think will be easier for him to defeat? We'll take a look at that ahead.



COOPER: We've been talking tonight about what Elizabeth Warren's exit means for the Democratic race for the presidency and who would be the stronger candidate against President Trump, Joe Biden or Bernie Sanders.

President Trump already road tested his attack lines on both. Last night the President told Sean Hannity he'll attack Biden a lot over Ukraine and his son, Hunter. I'm quoting President Trump now. "I'll bring that up all the time. I'll bring that up all the time," he said. Sanders is -- I don't know why I had trouble with that sentence. Sanders is likely to get the same reception that he got from the President at CPAC on Saturday when he talked about "crazy Bernie's socialist health care takeover."

For more, let's bring in former RNC chief of staff and CNN Political Commentator Mike Shields, also "USA Today" columnist and former Clinton administration official, Kirsten Powers, who's a CNN Senior Political Analyst.

So Kirsten, if President Trump thought Ukraine was going to be some albatross for Joe Biden, he certainly the one who got -- really got impeach over and for his part Biden just won 10 out 14 states on Super Tuesday. Do you think it'd be more problematic for Biden in a general election?

KIRSTEN POWERS, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: You know, I don't know. It seems hard for me to believe that that's going to be something that's going to bring Joe Biden down, especially considering the fact that he didn't do anything wrong. That this is something that the President has made a big deal about, but the fact is Joe Biden was basically just reflecting the U.S. policy of the United States, the policy of all of our allies in terms of what he was doing in Ukraine. Should his son have been on the board? I don't know. Maybe not. But Joe Biden really didn't have anything to do with it. This is not the kind of things that elections are decided over.


COOPER: Mike, what do you think is more appealing to the President, running against Bernie Sanders or Joe Biden?

MIKE SHIELDS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: You know, I think that they both have huge problems. And as a Republican, I would love to run against the socialist. I've been wanting to do that my whole life. I got into politics to fight socialism. And so, you know, I make no bones about that.

But Biden has a lot of really big problems, and he's not a sharp, good candidate. He is a gaffe machine who says things like, you know, poor kids are just as talented as white kids. He makes fun of South Asians working in 7-Eleven. And he is sort of touchy-feely with women and a lot of things that the woke (ph) young crowd in the Democratic Party don't like.

He's also been pulled to the left by Bernie and Elizabeth Warren in the primary process. He is for the Green New Deal, ending fossil fuels. He's for illegals getting health care, free tuition, some things that are really problematic in the general, and he doesn't have Bernie's energy.

And so at least with Bernie you have those leftist policies, but you have people that are going to fill up volunteers centers and kind of be motivated by him. Biden is sort of kind of like Hillary in that respect. He's been in public life forever and he's just sort, oh, well, he can beat Trump so we should get behind him candidate. That's not usually -- that doesn't usually work out for a party when they nominate that type of person.

COOPER: Kirsten, you know, a lot of the things that Mike pointed out early on in that, you know, which are, you know, making gaffes, saying things that, you know, are fantastical, doing uncomfortable things, you know, with women, those are pale comparisons to the President. And so is the President really empowered and, you know, to really go after Biden on those things given, you know, he lies frequently, even about, you know, potentially deadly pandemic?

POWERS: Yes. I think -- so the President will still go after him on those things, whether it makes sense or not. It would seem like he -- if he had any sort of self-awareness, he would realize that he has his own issues.

COOPER: Actually, the President -- I mean, sorry to interrupt, but as you're talking, I'm thinking about it. The President actually -- when he goes after people, he goes after them on the exact thing that he himself thinks about himself.

POWERS: Yes, exactly. Yes. So it's not -- so I think that he will. But I do think to a certain extent, they get a little bit canceled out because of who Joe Biden is running against. And so I think because it's a decision between two people who, you know -- well, let's put it this way. I think the fact that it's Donald Trump makes things easier for Joe Biden.

So where Joe Biden isn't the greatest candidate, Donald Trump is so despised by Democrats and there are a lot of people who are sort of in the middle who are very concerned about Donald Trump, so it makes it a little easier. I think in a normal campaign, then maybe these would be things that would be a little more problematic for Biden.

COOPER: Mike, were you surprised at the turnout for Biden? Because, I mean, certainly a lot of the Sanders folks or the Sanders folks had been talking about, you know, this mobilization of youth vote. You know, it seems like the people who were mobilized were older folks who came out and waited in line for Joe Biden in huge numbers. I mean, in Virginia especially, and obviously African-American voters overwhelmingly.

SHIELDS: Well, not surprise -- yes, surprised at how quickly that happened. And I think there's a lot of people that were on CNN and sort of say they haven't seen this sort of coalesce this quickly ever before.

As a Republican, what I've seen, observed many times of the Democratic Party is they do come together. They are more of a machine party. Once they sort of realize, hey, this is the person working in house races, we will have a bloody fight in our primary. And the sort of party bosses will say, that's going to be the candidate in say a special election, and the Democrats go OK.

And so what happened very quickly, all the other candidates got out and said we're going to be with Biden. And so in some senses that didn't surprise me because the Democrat Party still has superdelegates. They still really value the establishment part of their party and the kind of control top-down aspect of it.

And so that's something that's sort of been kind of run out of the Republican Party. And President Trump got elected because of that. And so in that sense, it didn't surprise me the Democrats were quick to coalesce around the person they see as the establishment candidate.

COOPER: I wish we had more time for that, because I'd like to follow up on that, but next time. Mike Shields, thank you, Kirsten Powers as well.

Still ahead, there's breaking news on an execution planned in Alabama tonight for a man convicted of killing three police officers. Details on that ahead.



COOPER: Let's check in with Chris to see what he's working on for "Cuomo Prime Time." Chris?

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: How you doing, bud? So, now the V.P. says there aren't enough tests. Look, they waited too long. They don't have it together. Testing is of paramount importance or at least detection.

So, tonight, we have a doctor on here who is an expert. You know, I'm not a doctor, you're not a doctor, but he will show you his qualifications that he understands what you see through the lungs. And he believes scanning the X-rays and more importantly CAT-scans from Chinese patients, you can detect it without the tests.

There are indications that would be obvious to medical personnel that they should be offered up as a public policy solution to get around testing. He's on the show tonight. He'll take us through the research and then we'll the vetting. That's tonight.

We also have representatives of the Sanders -- supporters of Sanders and Biden to go through their negatives. Trump is going to come at them. Let's see how they do on their biggest vulnerabilities.

COOPER: Interesting.

CUOMO: We're taking that on tonight. COOPER: All right. Chris, see you then in a few minutes, about five minutes from now.

Breaking news straight ahead on an execution scheduled for tonight in Alabama.



COOPER: We have breaking news tonight from Alabama. The Supreme Court ordered a temporary stay, halting the execution of an Alabama inmate named Nathaniel Woods, convicted in the murder of three Birmingham police officers back in 2004. He was convicted of the murders even though court testimony showed he didn't fire any of the fatale shots.

CNN's Martin Savidge joins us now tonight from Alabama. So Martin, what did the Supreme Court say in issuing this order?

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, they've just issued another order and it appears now they have lifted the stay on the execution. I'm just looking at the document that literally has just shown up in my e-mail saying that the application for the stay of execution in the sentence of death has now apparently been lifted, which would mean it clears the way for the state of Alabama to now move forward with the execution of Nathaniel Woods.

We're waiting to see if there are any last-minute, other appeals that are made in some way. Seems unlikely since this is coming from the U.S. Supreme Court and it was Justice Clarence Thomas that originally had issued that stay. The execution was supposed to take place around 6:00 -- actually, exactly 6:00 local time. The original stay, and it was a temporary stay, was issued at 5:30.

COOPER: And why was it issue -- why was a stay initially issued?

SAVIDGE: Well, you know, in these temporary stays there a very common occurrence in these kinds of executions. You've got no recourse once a person is dead. So the Supreme Court steps in and says, look, we're going to look at things and what we want to do is just to make sure you're not going to kill this person in the meantime. So it is sent to the head of the Alabama Board of Corrections.

So, they didn't really say why. They just said we're going to review it. And once we reviewed it, we'll lift that stay. And it appears that's what has happened. So, it is very much in a state of flux right now. It's not good news, though, for Nathaniel Woods.

COOPER: Martin, we'll continue to follow that this evening. Thank you very much.

The news continues right now. I want to hand it over to Chris Cuomo for "Cuomo Prime Time." Chris?

CUOMO: All right, Anderson, thank you very much.