Return to Transcripts main page


Biden Leading In Michigan And Missouri; CNN Projects Biden Wins Missouri, His Second Win Of The Night; Trump Campaign Announces March 19 Event Despite Coronavirus Fears. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired March 10, 2020 - 20:00   ET


WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: Just seconds from now, voting ends in Mississippi, Missouri, and North Dakota, 118 delegates are on the line in those three states.


This is the first test of the night for Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders.

We have our first projection of the night.

Bernie Sanders, not -- not happening right now. Joe Biden -- Joe Biden is the winner of the Mississippi primary. Joe Biden carries Mississippi. There we have, it right there. Maybe you can see, we will fix that technical problem.

But the most important thing is this, Joe Biden is the winner. Joe Biden is the winner in Mississippi. It is another southern state that goes for the former vice president of the United States. It is a big win in Mississippi.

It shows that he has been able to win most, if not all, of all of those Southern states in part due to the large African-American vote in those Southern states in the Democratic contest. Joe Biden, once again, the winner, the big winner in Mississippi.

As far as Missouri is concerned, North Dakota is concerned, too early to call.

Let's go Arlette Saenz. She's covering the Biden campaign for us.

Arlette, normally, when we make a projection like this that Joe Biden has won Mississippi, we go to you and there's a big crowd watching CNN and they're cheering. But right now, very, very little crowd, right?

ARLETTE SAENZ, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPNDENT: But that's right, Wolf. It is entirely different circumstances this evening.

But Joe Biden has won Mississippi. The campaign had felt good about Mississippi going into the night, and for good reason. It's a state that has a large African-American population, which makes up a core base of their support. A lot of those southern states he won also mirror Mississippi's makeup. Now, Biden spent Sunday campaigning down in the state. We will see how

some of those other states he campaigned in, Michigan and Missouri over the weekend, how those turnout for him tonight. This evening, Joe Biden canceled the rally in Cleveland. He instead will be giving remarks here to the press in Philadelphia.

And one thing that is markedly different is there will be no public audience here. A few, a handful of members of his staff will be on hand, as well as the press corps that has been traveling with him and reporting on him, when he makes remarks, that will include a portion about coronavirus, but they are also expected to give an overall arching vision for his vision of the country.

So, Biden in the next few hours will be addressing the press shortly.

BLITZER: We will watch it closely together, Arlette, thank you. They have canceled all those rallies, Biden and Sanders, out of concern over coronavirus. Let's recap right now.

Once again, Joe Biden is the winner in Mississippi. He will win the Democratic presidential primary, 36 delegates at stake in Mississippi. Joe Biden, the former vice president, the winner.

In Missouri right now, too early right now to call between Biden and Sanders. We are not yet able to make a projection based on the actual vote as well as the exit polls, 68 delegates at stake in Missouri.

Similarly in North Dakota, too early to call between Biden and Sanders. Only 14 delegates at stake in North Dakota, but we are not able to call.

Let's take a look at the big map right now. You can see, let's go to Bernie Sanders. States he has one, you can see the dark blue are states that Joe Biden has won. The light blue are states that Bernie Sanders has won.

And now, Joe Biden has won one more state in the south, Mississippi. You can see it right there. The map shows it is pretty significant. Biden wins in the south.

Let's go over to Jake and Dana.

Another win for the former vice president.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN CHIEF WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Sure, and he can rack up a lot of delegates in Mississippi, cause he will not only win the state, he'll win all the congressional districts like he did in Alabama last week. That's not really a surprise of -- like I mentioned before, of the six states that are voting today.

Bernie Sanders last time won four, basically tied with Hillary Clinton in Missouri, and then got clobbered in Mississippi which had a more than 60 percent of the electorate today is African American, which is, of course, the heart and soul of Joe Biden's base. So, I'm not really surprised by this at all. DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: It's not surprising

now, but it was a week and a day ago that the Sanders campaign, or maybe even a bit before that with South Carolina, they were really hoping that all the efforts that he and the people around him put in over the last 4 years since he got clobbered and states like Mississippi, because the African-American voters were not with him, they were with Hillary Clinton, they put in so much effort in the African American communities, particularly in the South to show who he is, tried to make inroads with that community. And it did not work. It just didn't work.

TAPPER: I saw a really great Instagram ad for the Sanders campaign. It was a picture of Bernie Sanders that the "Chicago Tribune" found recently getting arrested when he was a student at the University of Chicago in 1963 protesting housing discrimination.


This is someone for whom civil rights has been literally a lifetime cause.

BASH: That's right, and he talks about that a lot in areas where he was hoping, and I guess is still hoping in the future, to get African- Americans to come his way. It was a bit of a surprise and a big disappointment. I can tell you in talking to Sanders campaign aides, that he really didn't get very far with this community.

Now, the question, as we talked about earlier, is whether or not African-American voters in the south, which is now a Southern sweep for Joe Biden, which is really remarkable, will match what we see in the vote in Michigan. Remember, Bernie Sanders got the endorsement of reverend Jesse Jackson. He is very much hoping that African Americans in the Midwest, particularly older African Americans who identify with him, we'll follow that endorsement just like other endorsements on the other side that Joe Biden has gotten.

TAPPER: We should note, Sanders endorsed Jesse Jackson when he ran for president in 1988. So Jesse Jackson is returning the favor.

David Chalian, you have some exit polls.

DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Yes, Jake. We are taking a look at how Joe Biden won Mississippi, exactly what you are talking about.

Look at that black vote, 64 percent of the electorate is African American today. Joe Biden won 84 percent of African American voters and the Mississippi Democratic primary. Bernie Sanders, only 13 percent. Four years ago, he only got 11 percent.

He is not improving with his core constituency inside the Democratic primary. This is what Victor Blackwell was talking about when he said that he ran into voters who said he skipped Jackson.

This is huge for Joe Biden. Take a look at the electability issue. Remember, I said, 53 percent, a slim majority but a majority, want a Trump defeater. Who won those voters?

Joe Biden got 80 percent of those voters who say they are looking for someone who can defeat Donald Trump. Bernie Sanders only got 17 percent of it. Biden is crushing Sanders here in Mississippi with the notion of electability.

Take a look along mainline Democrats. So, take out independents, take out Republicans, just self-ID'ed Democrats, they make up 77 percent of the electorate in Mississippi. Biden gets 81 percent of them. Sanders, 17 percent of them.

Four years ago, he got 12 percent of self-ID'ed Democrats. So, a little improvement there but not nearly enough.

And finally, the split between the candidates in terms of candidate quality, looking for a uniter, can unite the country? Remember, 34 percent of Mississippi Democratic primary voters are looking for a uniter, that's the highest quality. The plurality of voters chose, Biden, 91 percent of them he wins to Sanders 9 percent o this notion of a uniter. Biden is just crushing across categories Bernie Sanders in Mississippi, Wolf.

BLITZER: Thanks very much, David.

You know, John King, another southern state, you see that dark blue in the south, all Biden largely because he is so popular in the South with the Democratic African-American community.

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Right, his own relationships, which go back many years, but let's not discount the fact he was Barack Obama's vice president for eight years, for eight years. Now, I can put this on to show that we have called Mississippi. What happens when we do that, as California goes off when I do because we have not officially called California, even though if you take a look at it, Bernie Sanders has a healthy lead in California. It just takes a long time to count the votes, so we want to be careful and play that out.

So, let just look, we have some votes and Missouri, 27 votes. 33 votes now. We are early on, but that means they are counting. We have had issues with this campaign. They are starting to count in Missouri. We'll watch how that plays out.

But to your point here, if you put on the cold states and go across here, before this win, remember, the conversation was is Biden's campaign faltering? Is Biden's campaign stumbling? He wins by 30 points in South Carolina. And then again, as I said earlier, it is as if a switch flipped.

Democratic Party voters, especially southern African Americans, but also suburban-ites, you add the two together, there is an overnight. Bloomberg failed. Other candidates drop out and endorsed, remember that remarkable Buttigieg, Klobuchar, then after Super Tuesday, Bloomberg, Beto O'Rourke came on in Texas to rally around Biden movement and you see it filling in the map, especially here. And Jake made a point earlier, if you come into a state like this,

let's come over to where we've already been in Alabama, you see it. You are not only winning delegates, but especially in states where you have a higher African-American population in these minority districts, Democratic rules give those districts more delegates.

So, Joe Biden in these Southern districts, where you have the heavy African-American population, that just helps him run up the delegate count.


You look at it this way. You look at the Biden vote, there is not many counties won by Sanders across the south. Dana made the point, he learned lessons from 2016. He went into the Latino community. That has helped him out in Nevada, out in California, Sanders has grown with Latinos, but he hasn't grown among African-Americans.

We're seeing that play out across the south for Joe Biden, and the question will be, when we start to get votes in Michigan tonight, when we get more votes in Missouri, let come back to the race here, when we get more votes in Missouri here, especially as you come into St. Louis and Kansas City where you have large African-American populations, significant African-American populations, in both those areas, do we see that as well?

Does what we see in the south start to spread? If the answer is yes, Biden is going to have a good night and this delegate math if we come back to the state of the race. This is the big question tonight. We're going to go state-by-state through the six states. Biden comes into the night with a 70-plus delegate lead.

The question at the end of the 2nd Super Tuesday with so many delegates at stake, is he stretching it? Or is Sanders getting back in the race? This one, Michigan, absolutely key to Sanders getting back in the race, but you are starting to see the Biden coalition at least in the South, we'll see if Super Tuesday II repeats that in other places as well.

BLITZER: Yes, 36 delegates in Mississippi, 125 in Michigan. We will watch that closely.

Anderson, over to you.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Yes, Wolf, thanks very much.

Van, what do you think it is that Biden has done? He has put an effort even before the last time trying to get African-American voters, obviously, younger voters, they were depending on that, it just has not happened.

VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think you cannot overstate the appreciation in the black community for what Joe Biden did for eight years. Sanders --don't forget, Joe Biden was already a legend. He was known, and establishment guy, and Obama was the young guy. He was coming on. At no point that Joe Biden ever undermined Obama. He stood with Obama.

He was willing to play wing man. He did that job through thick and thin, and that matters to people. You can't take that away.

Listen, I give Bernie Sanders credit for trying to expand the effort to push out. But the reality is, the story of his civil rights victories are stories from the sixties, from the seventies. There is a big missing a hole for Bernie's relationship with the black community. He has tried to fill it in in the last 4 years, but it isn't enough, and it's going to cost him.

LAURA BARRON-LOPEZ, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: And the Sanders campaign was aware of this heading into Michigan and last week's Super Tuesday. They tried to reboot outreach to black voters. They put ads with Obama on the air.

They went up on black radio. They're going to stay up on black radio all the way until March 17th, the next round of contests. They rolled out the endorsement from Jesse Jackson.

But again, it's a question of too little too late? He took some incoming after he scrapped the speech in Flint, Michigan, on racial injustice. That was something a lot of black activists told me that they noticed. We spoke to a voter on the ground in Flint.

There was a younger African-American man who brought his older mother, and you see the sage divide. He brought her to one of the rallies and she said she just could not get over the Democratic socialist label. These are things that Sanders, I heard it in South Carolina as well, socialism is a label.

These are things that he has to either explain it better to African- Americans or more directly communicate with them in ways that --

DAVID AXELROD, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: The African-American vote is not -- we saw this in South Carolina, we've seen in other places. It is not -- it is not that liberal of a vote. It is a moderate vote, and much more akin to Biden's politics.

The awkward thing about those commercials, the Obama commercials, was Bernie Sanders has not been historically that close to Obama. He was looking for a candidate in 2011 to run against him in a primary.

All the cool kids have Obama commercials in this campaign.



AXELROD: Well, you're ultra cool, it's a very different category.

But there really isn't that big of a link between the two of them.


ABDUL EL-SAYED, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I do want to say, we have to stop lumping a whole group of people into one bucket. Bernie Sanders has done very, very well with young people of color, particularly young black folk. And there has to be a conversation that we have about some of the divide in terms of how people are seeing this race so starkly different based on a cut off of 40 older or 40 younger.

I will say, though, you know, you got to give credit where credit is due. Joe Biden has done a great job consolidating support among older black voters. The question to be asked today, we knew Mississippi would go this way today. The interesting question today is that Bernie Sanders did show up. He went to Flint. He went to Detroit. He rallied in communities.

BARRON-LOPEZ: But he canceled a Mississippi rally?


EL-SAYED: Understood. But it's also the importance of Michigan on this calendar today.

When you think about it, there is more black folks in Michigan than there are black folks in Mississippi. I do want to say, he showed up. He is speaking to that demographic.


JONES: Under something I think actually really interesting -- under 40, certainly under 35, Bernie Sanders is leading the most multi racial, progressive movement in the history of the country. I mean, African-American, Latino, Native American, it is unbelievable what he is doing under that cut off.

The reality is, under that cut off is not the majority of our voters are and he hasn't broken --

AXELROD: Why doesn't that movement move people to the polls? In most of the races we have seen, I suspect it will continue. The turnout for younger voters has been lower in many cases than it was --


EL-SAYED: I voted in an arbor on Monday. On Monday, it was all college students coming in and lining up to vote early. He had just rally there the night before. So, we have yet to see that. I think a lot of young folks realize this is an immense moment.

COOPER: But they have been saying that this entire time. They were saying this last Super Tuesday and it just did not happen. Anecdotal stuff, the rallies are really big, that isn't translating into young people coming out, which is a traditional -- that's not a new problem.

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: No, it's not a new problem. I think Joe Biden recognizes it. I thought it was very important the other night when he was standing there with Kamala Harris and Cory Booker, and he said he is a bridge to the next generation. This was a really important statement by Joe Biden. He knows he is not

getting those younger voters. He knows he is getting their parents and their grandparents. He gets that.

When he calls himself a bridge, he turned them and said you are the future. I understand it, and I get it, and let me just do this now. I think if you take that, you know where Joe Biden's head is at and you know where those voters' heads are at, which they see him at someone comfortable that they can trust and he is the bridge.

TERRY MCAULIFFE, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Who can beat Donald Trump? That's the biggest issue for people voting. And they think that Biden has a much better shot at beating him then Bernie Sanders.

COOPER: Let's go to Wolf -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Anderson, we have a key race alert right now. Our first key race alert as far as Michigan is concerned, 125 delegates at stake, very, very early, less than 1 percent of the vote is in. Bernie Sanders has a lead right now, 51.4 percent to Joe Biden's 46.2 percent. But you can see ,it is very early. Bernie is ahead by 463 votes right now in Michigan.

It's the biggest prize of the night on this Super Tuesday round 2. We are watching it very closely.

Let's go to John King at the magic wall. Michigan is the big prize of the night. The other five states matter as well. Lots of delegates at stake

KING: As you know, it is early. It is Sanders blue right now. If you are a Sanders supporter, or the Sanders campaign headquarters, you need it to stay that way. But let's watch this and take a look. It is 1 percent of the vote.

I mentioned earlier, one of the keys from 4 years ago is that Bernie lost Detroit but he won Grand Rapids and the area around, Kent County and the surrounding area. Sanders is ahead with a 5-point lead.

That's significant. If your expectation is that Joe Biden is going to carry Wayne County or Detroit, just like four years ago, Hillary Clinton won over here and Bernie offset it by winning in Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo. Come back to it, small county up here, it's very tiny percentage of votes, 8 percent in this county, you have 59-19, 40 votes. We have a long way to go.

Michigan is a big state. Just to compare it again, you go back four years ago, Sanders did quite well. Up on the it if you will, up in here, we will see how that plays out throughout the night here but we are very early on. One percent of the vote there in Michigan --

BLITZER: I want to point out, most of the voting has ended in Michigan, in the Eastern Time Zone. And the Central Time, zone voting still goes on. All polls won't close until the top of the hour.

Let's take a look at Missouri. KING: Missouri, you see it filled in, Biden blue right now. We are

beginning to get some over here. Jackson County, this is Kansas City, second largest county in the state. Again, the Biden coalition has been winning in urban areas and then stretching out into suburbs. At the moment, again, we're early in the count, Joe Biden doing what he needs to do, running it up where the people live, second largest county in the state, you just pull out and take a look at it, most of the others you see are pretty small.

Joe Biden is running in a big. This is been a key for Biden. Something we have seen in other states where he has surprised us is that not only is he winning the cities and he's wining in close-in suburbs, he is competing with Senators Sanders in places Senator Sanders did well, small town America, four years ago. And so, we'll see if this continues as we look at the count of Missouri.


But again, if you just think about it, before we get west, last four years ago, Sanders won Washington, Idaho, and North Dakota. If you are Biden, we've already called Mississippi, he's leading in Missouri, you want to fight this one.

This central part of the map right here is absolutely critical tonight as he tries to stretch the delegate lead. Again, we already called Mississippi based on the exit polls, the projections, we don't have any live votes yet there. As you come up here, I want to check and see if it has changed. We are still right where we are.

We expect a long count because there was a lot of absentee balloting. We are told this count may go slower than normal, but early lead for Bernie Sanders. We will see if it changes.

BLITZER: We're going to watch Michigan and Missouri very, very closely. Much more of our special coverage coming up right after this.


BLITZER: We have a key race alert. Let's check the numbers right now.

In Michigan, very early, only 1 percent of the estimated voters in. Right now, Joe Biden is slightly ahead over Bernie Sanders, 49.1 percent, 47 percent for Bernie Sanders, only a lead of 432. Very, very early. Michigan is the biggest prize of the night, with 125 delegates at stake.

In Missouri, 68 delegates are at stake right now, still very early. You can see Biden ahead significantly, 47.1 percent, there it is, it just changed, 46.6 percent, 18.1 percent for Bernie Sanders.


But once again, very, very early.

Let's go to Miguel Marquez. He's joining us from Warren, Michigan, right now. You have some results where you are, I understand?

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, this polling place has three different precincts in it. The numbers that we're going to show now are probably not reported in what you just talked about. We have 3 precincts here. This is Warren one, Joe Biden with 176 votes, Bernie Sanders with one 87. And precinct three for Warren, 143 for Joe Biden, 152 for Bernie Sanders. So, again, Bernie Sanders edging him out a bit. And in Warren precinct number 4, Joe Biden 128, Bernie Sanders 156.

The county clerk is saying they have not seen huge turnout today. Bernie Sanders winning all 3 of these precincts in the area does not mean this state will go like this. But also, several counties in the Upper Peninsula are waiting to vote. They have about 40 more minutes before the polls close.

So, we'll get full results before too long. One thing for the county clerk and Macomb County, they are saying they have had a big number of people coming into register and vote today. So, a lot of interest in the closing days of the campaign here in Michigan and in Warren of people wanting to get, in vote, and try to get their voice heard and the democratic process -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Important indeed.

All right. Thanks very much, Miguel.

John, let's go to Warren, Michigan, right now.

KING: We don't have those votes. Miguel just said, we probably don't have those votes. Warren, Michigan is here in Macomb County. Warren, Michigan is famous in political history. That's where Michael Dukakis wrote on the tank, General Dynamics, Abrams tank factory.

There is a General Motors tech center in Warren. It is part of the industrial center. Those votes have not been officially reported just yet.

Just a pop out and see where we are in Michigan statewide. It has been flipping back and forth. We are very early. Sanders is now ahead, up to 4 percent, 49 to 47. This is a very close contest so far.

Remember how close it was, if you want to go back in time and be reminded, pretty close, four years ago, shapes out in early county it's very close tonight. So, what are you looking for? Obviously, we are waiting for Detroit. We see more areas filling in here.

You're waiting for Detroit and the suburbs around Detroit, like Macomb County. Warren is a blue collar battleground. This will take you back to where we were 4 years ago and Macomb County. This was hard fought between Clinton and Sanders. She just barely won the county, but this was one of the first warning signs of her struggles with blue-collar workers.

KING: Let's take a look at some of those counties right now where Biden is ahead. He's at the dark blue. Bernie Sanders is the light blue. If you go to some of those counties, see what they're like now and what they were like four years ago.

KING: So, you're over here now, and you watch this one, take a look, these are pretty small counties. This isn't so bad, about 3 percent of the state population here.

Let's just go back in time and take a look at where we were in 2016. Sanders, if you look, let's come out for the whole thing before we do this, it's easier to look at this way. Hillary Clinton won in the population centers, but Sanders won largely the western part of the state, if you look at it here. Again, few pockets of exemptions.

So, let's come back to where we are right now. And, look, the thing that strikes me most of all is you are over here on the western side. This was a Sanders county four years ago, 52 to 44 four years ago, let's come up here and look here, again, 4 percent reporting. This could easily changes more votes come in, precincts are reporting.

But it's one of the things to watch. This was a state Sanders won last time. It was very close last time. Both campaigns thank you could be close tonight.

The question is, can Sanders matches performance from four years ago? Or in the two-race against a different candidate, Joe Biden as opposed to Hillary Clinton, do we get a different dynamic. You move up here, again, most of these are smaller counties, when you get to this part of the state.

But let's just take a look. You see the Biden blue up there and we go back four years ago, mostly, not all, but mostly Sanders, especially in the center here. So, that's one of things we look out as we go through the night. We should not jump to conclusions based on this early preliminary part, but we are up to 8 percent now and Joe Biden has taken the lead.

See, in a close race, this is a see-saw fun. It's not fun if you work for one of these campaigns. It's anxious, anxiety -- anxiety if you call right here, but if you pop it back out again and, look, Joe Biden is now at 49 percent to 46 percent, just shy of 5,000 vote lead.

Why is that? Miguel Marquez just told us the votes in Macomb County, some of them have now been reported. Joe Biden with 52-42, essentially a 10-point lead in Macomb County and what it tells you as you go west.

It's early though. It's 2 percent of the vote. We have a long way to go in the count. If you look at it here and you bring it up, that's just what Biden wants. He needs to match it here.


The most important place for Joe Biden is not only the margins here, but the turnout. He needs to win by a big percentage and get the turnout in Detroit and match it in Oakland County, Suburban County, and then match it over here, Detroit suburbs with much more of a blue collar in Macomb County. So if you look at these results early on, again, it's only 2 percent. But Joe Biden, if he can keep this one, Biden blue throughout the night, it bodes well for his chances statewide, but again, very competitive as we count early on, 12 percent of the vote in, 49 to 46.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: 12 percent now, that's a number already. Biden is ahead by 5,500 votes with 12 percent of the vote is in. But there are still plenty of votes remaining outstanding --

KING: Major populations that have just --


BLITZER: --- is the biggest prize of the night.

KING: And just before you go, Kalamazoo just came in for the first time and this essentially a tie, 48 to 47. This was one of the places where if you go back four years ago Senator Sanders won big out here. Again, Hillary Clinton won in Detroit. She won very close into Detroit.

Sanders did very well in Kalamazoo and Grand Rapids as you move to the west. So that's one of the things we're going to watch tonight. Can Senator Sanders match those up? At the moment, he's leading in both places, Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo, not by the margins he did four years ago. We'll see as we go.

Up to 12 percent reporting, the former vice president is taking the lead in Michigan. This is the big prize tonight both for the delegates, momentum in the race, and for what it says both of these candidates are saying, I'm the best candidate to beat Donald Trump. Winning Michigan, we help you make that case because, remember, Donald Trump turn Michigan red.

BLITZER: Let's check in to Missouri right now and see what's going on.

KING: Absolutely. Let's pop down here. Come on out. The early results suggest a very big lead for the former vice president, but 68 delegates at stake here. We don't see any. This is a tie, I suspect. Yes, it's a tie in the one small county here as we come through here, but six votes -- it's a six votes.

But if you look through this right now, again, the only major population center, we have a little bit in Jefferson City. If you come into this -- here in the middle, that's a blowout right there, so far there. And if you come over to Kansas City, Jackson County, again, a blowout in the early numbers here. It's early so we have to see if this continues.

But if you're Joe Biden and you're looking at those early numbers, Kansas City and St. Louis where we don't have anything right now, that's where you want to run it up. Joe Biden's formula for success since South Carolina has been run it up in urban areas, run it up in the closing suburbs and then compete in the smaller counties where Sanders did very well four years ago. Again, you go back in time, you see a lot of the Sanders. Not a lot of people live here, but if you win a ton of them, it helps you to elect (ph). This was a very close one four years ago, 2,000 votes right there if you look at it. But if you come back now, Joe Biden is filling in some of the smaller counties in the rural areas. That has been part of his success and, frankly, part of the underperformance of Bernie Sanders in this campaign.

BLITZER: 68 delegates at stake in Missouri, that's the third biggest prize of the night. David Chalian, you're taking a look at the exit polls or the delegates for that matter.

DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Yes, that I am taking a look at right now. I'm taking a look at where we are with delegates. We're able to assign some of the delegates out of Mississippi already, that big victory for Joe Biden in Mississippi that we projected, Wolf.

We've been able to assign him eight delegates out of Mississippi so far, 28 remain unassigned. Remember, there are 36 delegates at stake in Mississippi, so a little less than a fourth of the delegates. We've been able to allocate eight delegates added to Joe Biden's total.

BLITZER: So what's the total so far?

CHALIAN: Well, the total so far in terms of delegates to date, Joe Biden had 643, Bernie Sanders has 558. You see up there, Wolf, you need 1,991 to win. We're still a long way away from either candidate achieving that, but Joe Biden already adding to his advantage in the delegate race.

This is what John King was talking about, if he can take tonight to stretch it out, to stretch that lead to a place where it becomes very difficult because of the way delegates are allocated proportionately, everything is proportional, you have to get that 15 percent threshold statewide, you have to get more than 15 percent in congressional districts, and if you're winning big like Joe Biden did in Mississippi, you're kind of shutting out Bernie Sanders from collecting enough delegates to keep in this race.

That's why Mississippi is not where Bernie Sanders is looking tonight to make up this delegate lead, he's looking another place where it's closer like Michigan right now.

BLITZER: Michigan and maybe he'll do a better out west as well.

CHALIAN: That may be. And perhaps it will be a closer race in Missouri as well, but we were able to take eight delegates from Mississippi, assigned them to Joe Biden. He adds to his lead now. So that is 40 -- what is that? That's an 85 delegate lead that Joe Biden currently has in this race.

BLITZER: All right. David, stand by. We have another key race alert right now.

All right, look at this, 21 percent of the vote in Michigan is now in, 125 delegates are at stake. Joe Biden has a considerable lead, 52.1 percent to Bernie Sanders 43.2 percent. Right now, Joe Biden is ahead of Bernie Sanders by more than 30,000 votes in Michigan. 21 percent of the estimated vote is in.


Very small votes so far in, in Missouri right now, 1 percent if that of the vote is in. Biden has a considerable lead, though, of 45.7 percent to Bernie Sanders 18 percent. 68 delegates once again at stake in Missouri.

Let's go over to John. You're looking closely at Michigan right now. The numbers has just jump to 23 percent in Michigan, 23 percent, almost a quarter of the vote is now in.

KING: 23 percent, as you noted, 30,000 vote lead. A vote 30,000 vote lead. It's only 23 percent, but that gets hard. It just gets hard to overcome the math, especially when we still have nothing from Wayne County, which is expected to be a Biden strong hold. We'll see if that's how the votes come in.

But this is your urban Democratic base center, then you start moving out into the suburbs here, still nothing there. So how is Joe Biden opening up this lead? Number one, cities where most of the people are, the close in suburbs is where you find your next population center.

You see Macomb County, we just talked about this a moment ago, blue collar, a lot of auto industry here, just 2 percent. Joe Biden opening up a 10 point lead there. If he can keep those margins going through the night bodes well, then you move over here. Oakland County also some of the auto industry, some of the more affluent suburbs as you move further out. This tells you a lot.

This tells you a lot about the success that Joe Biden has had not only in urban areas with African-Americans, but as you move out into the suburbs, 16 percent reporting. If this margins hold up -- this where the math comes from. You talk about -- you see right there, you see, what's that, 23,000 votes right there. You come back to the statewide numbers, 30,000 right there. People live in the suburbs, people live in the cities, Joe Biden has had success in the cities and in the suburbs. That is why he's having the success he's having.

You come to the places where Senator Sanders is running ahead, the margins are much smaller. So in the eastern part of the state, Detroit and the suburbs around there, if Biden can run it up, Sanders has to do better in the other parts of the states, into smaller cities. Grand Rapids there, come down to Kalamazoo here, it's essentially a tie, very close, so you can do the math yourself at home.

If Vice President Biden is running it up over here and Senator Sanders may be winning but by narrow margins in the less populated spar, medium size cities, the math gets overwhelming.

Let's just pop around a little bit more to see how we're doing here. Again, Saginaw, blue collar, 56 percent to 34 percent. Bernie Sanders message the last week of this campaign has been Joe Biden is supported by "Wall Street." Joe Biden is supported by Michael Bloomberg. Joe Biden is supported by senators and governors. He's supported by the Democratic establishment. That's not good for blue collar workers. Well, these blue collar workers at the moment are rejecting that and voting for the former vice president.

You move up here, voting by large margins for the former vice president. So it just pop out, I just want to keep checking, we're up to 24 percent now. I'm waiting to see if anything comes in Wayne County. But you look at more to suburban voting here, 16 percent in Oakland County. The margin in the suburbs is a big deal, Wolf, as Joe Biden has a big early lead in Michigan.

BLITZER: He does have an early lead in Michigan. We have another major projection right now. And CNN projects that Joe Biden will win the state of Missouri. Joe Biden, the Democratic presidential primary winner in Missouri, 68 delegates at stake. This is his second win of the night.

Mississippi goes for Biden, now Missouri goes for Biden, an important win for Joe Biden. Certainly, they would be cheering at his headquarters right now, but they canceled those rallies on both sides.

TAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: This is a surprise. Not a surprise that Joe Biden won, but a surprise that we're calling it early, which suggests that Joe Biden won it significantly. This, four years ago was a primary that Hillary Clinton barely won 49.6 percent to Bernie Sanders 49.36 percent. She barely won a victory. It was basically a wash. I think Hillary Clinton basically got one more delegate.

This is trouble for Bernie Sanders, Dana, because this suggests that he as last week is not expanding on his base, is not adding to his supporters. He is losing supporters and people who voted for him last time are actually voting for the other candidate, in this case Joe Biden.

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONT: His whole argument for winning at every single rally where he's extremely consistent is we will expand the Democratic coalition. We will expand the Democratic coalition to the point where we will beat Donald Trump. And what we are now seeing is a very clear pattern of not only not expanding, but contracting.

And the person who seems to be expanding his coalition, maybe not the Democrats coalition so far, but we'll see, is Joe Biden. And it is a very, very big disappointment for Bernie Sanders across the board. We talked -- the last time we called Mississippi about how frustrating it is for the Sanders campaign despite putting real effort into the African-American community that he's not doing well.

Well, you can say the same for young voters, which is his natural base. And it's not that he's not doing well among young voters, they still can't get them out in the numbers that they need in order to expand that coalition that he talks about all the time.


TAPPER: And in fact, the percentage of young voters as a part of who is voting today has gone down from Mississippi -- in Mississippi in 2016 to today, in Missouri from 2016 to today. The percentage of young people has gone down, which suggests, as George McGovern learned when they raced or the lower rather, the voting age to 18 that young voters cannot be relied upon. And if they are the essential part of your coalition, then you might be in trouble.

BASH: The one place where it looks like it tick up a little bit, this is according to exit polls comparing 2016 to now is in Michigan where he's been trying so hard. He's been campaigning like crazy in the college towns, big college towns like Ann Arbor. And that is where he really needed to drive up the vote. We'll see when the votes start coming in there.

TAPPER: Yes. But Wolf Blitzer, not a good sign for Bernie Sanders given the fact that it was such a close race between him and Hillary Clinton in Missouri in 2016. And it is not a particularly close race between him and Joe Biden in 2020. Wolf?

BLITZER: Yes. We projected that Joe Biden is the winner in Missouri. David Chalian, let's take a look at the delegates now that we've made this projection in Missouri.

CHALIAN: Well, we're able to immediately assigned 18 of the delegates. Remember, 68 delegates at stake in Missouri, 18 of them assigned and you see here, Wolf, with that projection, knowing that Joe Biden is going to have a substantial lead, look at this advantage he gets just in these initial delegates. Biden gets 13 delegates, Sanders gets 5, still 50 unassigned.

But now look at added to totals of where we are in this delegate race, you can see in delegates to date, Joe Biden just keeps adding to his delegate lead. Now, he's at 656 to Sanders 563. Remember, we're still a long way from 1,991. That's what they need to win the nomination. But Joe Biden is piling on his delegate lead. Bernie Sanders so far, and it's early, is not accomplishing the goal of narrowing that gap. Joe Biden is actually extending his gap in delegates over Bernie Sanders.

BLITZER: Two for two so far, Mississippi and Missouri. John King, we're looking very closely at Michigan right now. And a big chunk of the vote is beginning to come in and Biden is doing well.

KING: Yes. And Super Tuesday too is often the worst possible start for Bernie Sanders in the sense that Joe Biden wins Mississippi, winning a big. He's leading in Missouri so far by a significant margin, which means proportional rules for the Democratic delegates. This is the biggest prize of the night, the signature race. We're up to 28 percent. Joe Biden opening up his lead there now over 37,000 votes. What's happening right here? We still don't have Wayne County in the suburbs around Detroit, Macomb County now up to 11 percent at 10 point victory right there.

Again, we're going to go back four years ago to show you Macomb County, essentially a tie, right, very narrow Clinton win. Blue collar workers right here. Bernie Sanders prime argument in the race has been I'm your guy. If you work with your hands, I am your guy. Voters tonight in Macomb County, Michigan saying we disagree by 10 points, siding with Joe Biden.

You move over here into the suburbs, this has been the formula since Super Tuesday. Out of the South Carolina win, look at Virginia, look at North Carolina, look at Tennessee, look at Texas. Joe Biden wins in the suburbs, runs up healthy margins Democratic turnout. Bernie Sanders has not been turning out younger voters. Suburban voters have been coming out to play.

One other quick point I want to make, this here, Washtenaw County, this is where Ann Arbor is. This is the University of Michigan. Bernie Sanders is winning the county by 49 to 47. Four years ago, he won it by a much larger margin. So Senator Sanders underperforming as it -- compare to four years ago when he pulled off a stunning upset.

BLITZER: He got a lead of almost 40,000 votes right now with 28 percent of the vote now in. Just minutes from now, the last polling places will close in Michigan. That's our first chance potentially to project a winner in that very important battleground state. Our special coverage will continue right after this.



BLITZER: We have a key race alert coming in from Michigan right now. That's the biggest prize potentially of the night, 125 delegates are at stake. 29 percent of the vote is now in and Joe Biden continues to lead impressively 51.6 percent to Bernie sanders 46 percent. Biden is ahead right now by 48,000 votes in Michigan.

Let's go over to John King. He's looking at the state of Michigan. All the polls in Michigan were close at the top of the hour. Right now, 31 percent of the vote is in.

KING: And you get to 31, almost a third of the vote, he get 48,000, almost 50,000 vote lead. Math kicks in, common sense kicks in, especially again because we have nothing yet from Wayne County, which is Detroit where Secretary Clinton won big four years ago.

Joe Biden is expecting to win big here tonight and yet without any votes from the largest population center in the state, the largest space of the African-American voters in the state, without any votes from there, Joe Biden is nearly 50,000 votes ahead.

How is he doing it? Right up here in the close in suburbs in Detroit, Macomb County 11 percent, you see the big lead right there. Move over here to Oakland County, the lead is even bigger, 30,000 votes, 30,000 votes, 25 percent of the vote in right here. Suburban voters are powering Joe Biden's march at the moment in the Democratic race. Move over here, some a little bit smaller, you're moving out away from Detroit, but again, in smaller areas Joe Biden running it up.

So you look to where, OK, where is the Sanders blue, especially when you're down nearly 50,000 votes you're thinking, can I make this up? Well, Grand Rapids, modest size city there, problem for Bernie Sanders is he's winning, but Joe Biden is close enough, keeping it to within four points there, only 8 percent. We'll see if those numbers change as we move on.

You pop out here, you go back to the map four years ago, Kalamazoo was critical to Bernie Sanders. Very close win over Hillary Clinton four years ago. He's winning, but just barely, just barely. So in places that Bernie Sanders won last year -- last four years ago, last cycle, to pull off the upset, he's underperforming, including college towns.

We just saw this a bit earlier. I want to check to see. The vote is now up to 13 percent, Washtenaw County, this is home of Ann Arbor, home to the University of Michigan. Yes, Bernie Sanders is winning. He likes to win in and around college towns. He's winning, but he's winning by a very small margin there, 49 to 47, compared to a blowout in that area, 12 points four years ago.

So if you look at the map filling in, Wolf, Michigan right now, Biden blue, that is the biggest delegate prize, adding Missouri and Mississippi, the Biden campaign is happy.


BLITZER: They certainly are. And we're standing by for more primary results right at the top of the hour at 9:00 p.m. Eastern, the last polling place is close in Michigan. That's our first chance potentially to project a winner in that battleground state. Remember, Michigan is the biggest prize of the night with 125 delegates on the line. That's nearly a third of the 365 delegates being awarded tonight.

And Jake, we're getting more votes coming in from Michigan right now. It's looking pretty good for Biden.

TAPPER: It is indeed. And as the results comings in, let's remember just how large Michigan looms over the presidential race as a swing state, one of three that help seal the election of President Trump.

Michigan also is very significant for Bernie Sanders. He scored a remarkable upset victory over Hillary Clinton in the Michigan primary just four years ago. But this time, he faces Joe Biden, a strong challenge for that white working class vote, which is so key in Michigan. The outcome in that state with 125 delegates will likely have a very critical impact on the race.

Let's check in with our correspondents first. Let's go to Arlette Saenz, she's with Joe Biden in Philadelphia. And Arlette, we did not expect Joe Biden to be in Philadelphia this evening. But because of coronavirus fears, he canceled his rally in Ohio. But it looks as though he might have a good night tonight.

ARLETTE SAENZ, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, certainly those first that say that have been called for Joe Biden are welcome news of the campaign. But right now the campaign is closely watching Michigan as it has the largest delegate hall in tonight's contest. And it's one that they believe is going to be very close against Bernie Sanders.

Joe Biden spent the day campaigning yesterday in Michigan as well as making a stop there this morning. But the campaign thinks that it's going to be close with Sanders after Sanders had that upset victory over Hillary Clinton back in 2016 and as he has had an on the ground operation, organization in the state there for quite some time.

But the Biden campaign is hoping that Biden will do well among African-American voters. They're also hoping that Michiganders remember the auto bailout from the Obama administration and hope that that might sway some voters their way as well.

But certainly right now, 10 days ago, Joe Biden had never won a presidential primary or caucus and now, as of today, he's won 13 and they're hoping to wrap that up a little bit more.

TAPPER: All right, Arlette Saenz in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania where the Biden campaign is headquartered.

Let's go now to Burlington, Vermont, the home town of Senator Bernie Sanders who is once mayor of Burlington. That's where we find our own Ryan Nobles. And Ryan, not so good for Bernie Sanders so far. There are six contests tonight, two of them have been called, Mississippi and Missouri, both for Joe Biden.

RYAN NOBLES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Jake, that's right. I mean, at this point the Sanders campaign, it's a night that they didn't expected on many levels. They didn't expect that Sanders would be back here in Burlington, Vermont so early after being forced to cancel their rally in Cleveland, Ohio where they expected as many as 5,000 people.

And the Sanders campaign is already starting to manage the expectations of what looks to be a very difficult night for his campaign. Campaign manager Faiz Shakir sending out a fundraising solicitation to his vast group of supporters telling them to just be patient with the results here tonight, that it's going to take some time to count the votes in Michigan which is, of course, very crucial to the outcome.

But also to pay attention to some of the states that come in later, particularly in the west, Washington State being among the most important for Senator Sanders and also a state that campaign believes they'll do well, particularly because of the emphasis that they put on the early vote in the state of Washington, regardless though.

This is no doubt going to be a night of soul searching for Sanders and his team, as they try and figure out what the next step is for his campaign if they do end up wracking up a series of losses here tonight.

We do know this, Jake, at this point, and just as you take a look at their posture so far, sending out a fundraising e-mail tonight. They've invested campaign dollars into some of the states that are further down the calendar and we know by talking to aides that they're very much committed to participating in Sunday's debate, the one on one debate with Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders.

So at this point, don't expect them to make any serious decisions about the future of this campaign in the days to come. They plan to stick it out regardless of how tonight turns out.

TAPPER: All right, Ryan Nobles with the Sanders campaign. And we should just remind our viewers that there are still four races that we have not called yet, Michigan, Idaho, North Dakota, and Washington State. And four years ago, Bernie Sanders won all four of them. We'll see how he does this evening.

Let's go now to Jim Acosta at the White House. And Jim, Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders both canceled campaign rallies out of concerns about the coronavirus. Specifically concerns not so much for themselves but for attendees. We're wondering, we were waiting to hear what the President would do. What's the latest there?


JIM ACOSTA, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes. The latest is, Jake, as you know, other organizations, companies are cancelling large gathers all around the country just like the Biden and Sanders campaign did earlier this evening, the Trump campaign announced earlier this evening that they're going to go ahead with an event on March 19th, that's a week from Thursday. They're calling it a Catholics for Trump event up in Milwaukee where obviously the catholic vote is very important in the state of Wisconsin, a state the President won in 2016.

Asked whether or not this is going to be a rally, a Trump campaign official would only say it's a large campaign event. So it sounds like this is still a work in progress. But Jake, you did tell this is a touchy issue over here at the White House. Vice President Mike Pence was asked about this during the coronavirus briefing earlier this evening. And he said that these campaign rally announcements and decisions are going to be made on a sort of day by day basis.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, who is the top infectious diseases expert for the administration was asked about this, and he essentially said the same thing, although he did add a caveat later on during that press briefing when he said that if organizations or campaigns start cancelling these type events, he's not going to argue against that.

And we should also note, this was also at the same coronavirus briefing where the Vice President defended the President's continued practice of shaking hands, something I supposed he'll be doing at this campaign event next week, Jake.

TAPPER: All right, Jim Acosta at the White House, thanks so much.

Let's talk about what we're seeing tonight with Dana Bash. Dana, as we're still waiting for results from four states to come in, what are you looking for?

BASH: One of the key areas in all of the states, particularly in Michigan as we're watching it, is the suburbs and how Joe Biden performs in the suburbs. You know, coming in to tonight, the Biden campaign, they were playing the expectations game, just like all campaign do. And they were saying that if Bernie Sanders did well tonight in Michigan, where he had been campaigning hard as we've been talking about, did very well four years ago, the former vice president was still hoping to walk away with the healthy number of delegates in the suburbs.

And one of the reasons is because that's where the Biden campaign and aides say that they believe that typical Biden voters are. They tend to be more moderate. And the other thing about the suburbs, Jake, is that they're beneficial to Joe Biden not only in a primary, but also looking ahead if he does go up against Donald Trump in a general election.

He has to do well in suburbs of, let's say Detroit and other -- and you know, St. Louis and other suburbs in a way that maybe Hillary Clinton didn't do as well as she should have in order to win the White House. And they see that and they see this as kind of a test case of how that could go.

TAPPER: All right, let's check in now with David Chalian. David?

CHALIAN: Jake, we're taking a look at the Michigan exit polls among voters showing up on Election Day and you just heard Ryan Nobles say that regardless of the results tonight, Bernie Sanders is in this to stick it out. If Biden has as strong a night tonight as he had a week ago, the conversation is going to become about party unity and whether or not the party can come together.

Take a look, we asked if Biden won the nomination, would you be enthusiastic, 31 percent of Michigan Democratic primary voters today said they'd be enthusiastic, 40 percent said satisfied, so 71 percent, more than 7 in 10 election day voters today in the primary Michigan say they would enthusiastic or satisfied with a Biden nomination.

Look at that same question for Bernie Sanders, still a clear majority, a substantial one but slightly fewer people. 39 percent say enthusiastic, 25 percent say satisfied, that's 64 percent compared to that Biden 71 percent of the Democratic primary electorate today in Michigan saying they'd be enthusiastic or satisfied if Bernie Sanders won the nomination. This is going to be part of the real challenge for the party if indeed Biden starts pulling away how to stitch it all back together, Wolf.

BLITZER: All right, David, thanks very much. John, with 43 percent, 44 percent now of the vote in Michigan is in and Biden still has a significant lead.

KING: 77,000 votes in change there. One of the reasons that lead is growing is because we do have some votes from Wayne County, about 30 percent. And this is Detroit, some of the suburbs down this way. Nine point lead for Joe Biden there, eight points if you round Senator Sanders up there, I guess, but vote count is what you're talking about there. You see 7,000 right there.

Winning here by a decent margin in the Detroit and the area around it, winning in the suburbs nearby, including blue collar Macomb County, winning in the suburbs here, Oakland County as move up. Dana was just making the point a moment ago about the suburbs. If you look in this area here, it's not just Detroit in the suburbs. Lancing in the suburbs around here, two flips here in the 2018 Democratic elections, the areas that made Nancy Pelosi speaker. Elissa Slotkin, Haley Stevens, their districts are right in here. Guess what it is, Biden blue, more evidence that the suburban voters who made Nancy Pelosi speaker, Wolf, are turning out for Joe Biden.

BLITZER: Yes, so far so good for Biden. The last polling places are about to close in Michigan. It's the top prize once again, 125 delegates are up for grabs and it may have a significant impact on the fight --