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Biden, Sanders Clash In Debate Amid Coronavirus Crisis; Biden Says He Would Pick A Woman As Running Mate; Coronavirus In U.S.; CDC Recommendations; Fed Cuts Interest Rates To 0-0.25% In Emergency Response To Coronavirus; Peace Corps Suspending Global Operations, Evacuating All Volunteers. Aired 11p-12a ET

Aired March 15, 2020 - 23:00   ET



CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST, CUOMO PRIME TIME: All right. We're at the top of the hour. After the CNN Univision presidential debate that did not lack for substance and, frankly, some real friction between the candidates and breaking news, Anderson, all this going on in the shadow of more changes to what we used to know as normal.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR, ANDERSON COOPER 360: Yes, it seemed more contentious, I think, than a lot of people maybe anticipated. And certainly, as Gloria Borger were saying earlier, Joe Biden responding to some of the pointed critiques by Senator Biden. We saw Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, each layout alternatives to how the Trump administration is handling it. They clashed over healthcare system, Social Security, the Senators past statements about Cuba as well.

CUOMO: Right. And you had VP Biden committing to a pretty big deal, female running mate. I mean, I guess people assumed it would be but for him to say, yes, especially in light of that Senator Sanders wasn't as definitive. He said, I am leaning that way. It's not just enough to have a woman, she has to be a progressive and there are a lot of progressive women.

But Biden seemed more definitive and that's why he's getting more headlines about it. In all a significant news making debate, at certainly, probably the most crucial point we've had maybe since 2008, maybe since 9/11. Here's a moment from it. Both candidates talking about the ways that coronavirus has changed their campaigning.


SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (D-VT) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Last night, we had a fireside chat, not a rally. I love doing rallies and we bring many thousands of people out to our rallies. I enjoy it very much. We're not doing that right now. In fact, our entire staff is working from home.

So on a personal level, what we're doing is - I'm not shaking hands. Joe and I did not shake hands. And I am very careful about the people I am interacting with. I'm using a lot of soap and hand sanitizers to make sure that I do not get the protection. And I have to say, you know, thank god right now I do not have any symptoms. And I feel very grateful for that.

JOE BIDEN (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We're doing virtual town hall meetings. We're in a situation where now, I do not - as I said, when we encounter people, we're not going into crowds. And so I'm taking all the precautions everyone else should be taking.

I wash my hands, God knows how many times a day with hot water and soap. I carry with me. As matter of fact, I have in my bag outside here. Hand sanitizer, I don't know how many times a day I use that. I make sure I don't touch my face, and so on.


COOPER: Let's start things off right now. Jeff Zeleny a quick breakdown of the key points tonight, and there were a lot. So, Jeff, talk about some of the key moments and how the campaigns are feeling about how the night work.

JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, I think there's no question, the Biden campaign feels good about this evening. And this is why they went into this trying to essentially make the argument why the former vice president is ready for this moment.

This, you know, pandemic has sort of focus the attention on what a president should do - the job the role, the responsibility of the President. So they believe - the Biden campaign and his advisors we've been speaking to, sort of they do believe he made those points throughout the debate.

The Sanders campaign, on the other hand, one thing that was sort of unclear earlier in the day, they were saying that they were going to perhaps not necessarily go as far into Joe Biden's background and record. But, boy, this sounded in some respects, through a chunk of the debate, like any other debate. Like, it was any other moment, you know, talking about some of those old votes that the former vice president had as Senator.

But, Anderson, it's clear that this is a new moment. This is a new time in this campaign. So in that respect, Joe Biden and his advisors believe that he met that moment more than Bernie Sanders. But I think at the end of the day, you guys were talking about the headline there.

Joe Biden went into the debate tonight, I am told by his advisors, wanting to make a headline grabbing news of the fact that he does plan to pick a woman as a running mate. Not a huge surprise, necessarily, but it certainly is something that draws attention to him looking forward. So his entire presentation was about the fall, was about going after President Trump and looking forward.

But, Anderson, there's one issue here, he still has to win the primary. And yes, he's a leader in the delegates here. But, boy, Bernie Sanders did not show any sign that he's going to sort of wrap this up anytime soon.


COOPER: Yes, I want to play one of the moments from the tonight. Like, look.



BIDEN: If I'm elected President, my, my cabinet, my administration will look like the country. And I commit that I will, in fact, appoint a - I pick a woman to be Vice President. There are a number of women who are qualified to be President tomorrow. I would take a woman to be my Vice President.

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Vice President, if I could just follow up. Just to be clear, you just committed here tonight that your running mate, if you get the nomination, will be a woman?


BASH: Senator, just to be clear. The Vice President committed to picking a woman as his running mate. If you get the nomination, will you?

SANDERS: In all likelihood, I well. For me, it's not just a nominating a woman, it is making sure that we have a progressive women and there are progressive women out there. So my very strong tendency is to move in that direction.


COOPER: It was interesting exchange. I mean, it clearly made a lot of news, certainly on Biden's part.

ZELENY: No doubt. And I mean, I think the - again, it did a couple of things. One, for the Biden campaign, it allowed them to focus forward and focus on the fact that they do think that he will be the nominee.

But Bernie Sanders was saying, look, I want someone who supports Medicare for all first. But I think on the Biden side of things, he is the leader in the delegates. It's almost mathematically very difficult, if not impossible for Bernie Sanders to catch up.

So I think the thing is, there's going to be a lot of speculation, who was he talking about? Of course, the three Senators who he ran against, but there are others on the list as well. I was talking to one Democrat tonight after the debate on Capitol Hill, he said what about Tammy Baldwin from Wisconsin? Someone like that could be.

So we are going to enter this phase of a lot of people's names being mentioned. But I think the reality here is, it's getting a little bit ahead of ourselves. I mean, what has to happen here, A, there have to be votes that happened. We don't know where this pandemic is going.

So that's the one thing that worries the Biden campaign the most. It's slowed down his speed, if you will. And this whole crisis could slow down the actual votes as well. So we don't know what the Convention is looking like, et cetera. But leaving this debate tonight, probably the last Democratic debate or certainly possibly, the Biden campaign feel strong. Anderson?

COOPER: Yes. Jeff Zeleny. Jeff, thanks very much. I want to play another key moment from tonight and for the Democratic Party in November.


BIDEN: I want to make it clear, if Bernie is a nominee, I will not only support him, I will campaign for him. And I believe the people who support me will do the same thing. Because the existential threat to the United States of America is Donald Trump. It's critical.

I would hope that Bernie would do the same thing if I'm the nominee, and encourage all of his followers to in fact support me as well, because it's much bigger than either of us. Character of the nation is on the ballot. It goes well beyond whether or not - Senator Sanders and I both agree.


COOPER: Well, Senator Sanders for his part returned the favor and the promise. Back now with our team here in in Washington.

I was talking to Bernie Sanders after this, and I mean, he is still making the argument that he is bringing in younger voters, he is bringing in people who are not going to necessarily be flocking out and eager to campaign for or vote for Biden.

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Right. And we haven't seen that so far and in any of the votes that we have seen. What we don't know is who's going to turn out and vote on Tuesday.

COOPER: And Biden made the point...

BORGER: Well, the voters may not - may decide they don't want to vote on...

COOPER: Right. And those are the people who have been turning out for Biden.

BORGER: That's right. That's right.

COOPER: So all the talks that Senator Sanders is in this youthquake, it was actually older people who really...

BORGER: That's right. So we don't really know and I think Sanders is going to keep making that argument till he can't make that argument anymore. One other thing that was sort of interesting to me tonight was, the Biden slogan, which is, "The people are looking for results, not revolution."

He thinks - his campaign thinks plays really into this crisis we are in, because what people want to see is tests, the numbers going down, the science working, the leaders working, that's the results that Biden is talking about, not revolution. And Sanders argument, which I think may have - I don't know if it has as much appeal at this point is, we need a revolution in the healthcare system and we got to do it right now, otherwise...

COOPER: But also David - I mean, Sanders's whole argument on the revolution--


COOPER: When you push him on it, it gets down to it - the revolution - and he doesn't like to use really the term revolution anymore. He now - he is like - he was saying tonight is that a revolution to want everybody to have health care is right. He actually did write the book called "Our Revolution," which is my bestselling book that made him a millionaire.



COOPER: Right. Yes. That's where the quote actually comes from. But his whole argument on it is that, if the revolution not only requires a massive voter turnout of people who have not been in the process, but also it continued massive engagement that he, like Donald Trump, would continue to benefit from by having campaign style rallies all while he's President, and that would pressure people in Congress to force them to pass Medicare for All, that argument has now started to just look very weak because they are not coming out.

AXELROD: Yes. No, I think, if - there's a big disappointment for Bernie Sanders, it's that, you know, he built a revolution and they didn't come and I think that that is problematic for him. For Biden, the, you know, I think it's less about positioning himself against Bernie Sanders for the primaries, but I think he thinks that positioning himself against Bernie Sanders on some of these things play well plays well in the general election with swing voters in the general election.

He's certifying himself as sort of a moderate, and he's, in that way, thinking as a nominee. But Bernie Sanders is right. He - you know, young people walked away from Hillary Clinton in 2016. And they need to get motivated, they need to be motivated in this race.

And that's why it comes back to my point earlier that, I think, I would have tried to look for ways to give - to honor their passion - these young people, about these - what they consider existential issues and our existential issues like climate change.

COOPER: And that was a missed opportunity tonight for Biden. It became an old debate of them...

AXELROD: He took the bait as Gloria said too often. And, yes, I think that where he - when you're ahead, when you're almost certain nominee, you have the option to go big. And I think that they were prepared - it's almost as if he prepared for a debater or he began to react as if they were still in the heat of this campaign, and so that was a missed opportunity.

I think it was a very strong night for Joe Biden, because I do think that this virus is the defining reality in people's lives right now, and he looked very much like someone who was prepared to take that on. But in this other way, I think he fell short.

DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: And you heard in that sound bite there that you just were playing about him saying he would campaign for Sanders and what have you. This unity project - I mean, this is going to be the work.

And so when David's talking about a missed opportunity, it just means that this to do list for Joe Biden remains and will remain for some time here of the real workings to do, because when you are the near certain nominee - the burden is not on Bernie Sanders side here.

The burden is on Joe Biden as that near certain nominee to do all that work to be wide open and receptive, not expectant that people should just come over, because you're the nominee, but actually do the real outreach and the real work left.

BORGER: I think he started doing that.

CHALIAN: He is - he has started. But what I thought tonight was clear is that, there's still miles to go in that project. They are not - this is not - I don't think Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden left here, you know, headed for unity New Hampshire, as we saw with Clinton, Obama at the end of their...

COOPER: They're not on the Unity Express now riding.

AXELROD: You know, Bernie...

COOPER: Laura.

LAURA BARRON-LOPEZ, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: On that same question, Dana asked them - asked Biden, what are you going to do to address your weakness with Latino voters? He didn't directly answer it. Although his campaign has in the last week started to go on TV with ads targeting Latinos, a place that Sanders has dominated. His campaign has consistently been reaching out to Latinos since Iowa.

And then Sanders also didn't answer the question of how would you reach out to black voters and try to win them over if you were to become the ultimate nominee. So you saw both of them struggling to speak to voters that they haven't brought into their fold.

BORGER: But they like each other.

AXELROD: Everybody's strength is their weakness, right? And Bernie Sanders's strength is that he speaks in big moral terms about these challenges. And I think that the young people who follow him and other people who follow him, also think of them in those turn terms.

And when Biden responds are programmatically to those things, without honoring the larger spirit, it actually would have been easier to honor the larger spirit and say, yes, that is a challenge we as a country have to commit ourselves to. It's almost - that was almost more important than some of the details, which sort of fell short, at least in Sanders's explanation. On the other hand, Sanders never quite makes - the numbers don't exactly add up on his aspirational progress.

BORGER: You know, at some points during this debate, they sounded like a bunch of Senators talking to each other. Well, did you vote for that Bowles Bill, or which did you - they got it into this Senate language. And I was thinking to myself, nobody out there really understands what either of them is talking about right now.

They have to talk to the American people about what you're talking about, which is these bigger things and how I can lead. And both of them kind of missed opportunities on that during the debate.

COOPER: Yes. Yes, it did get very sort of, like 1976--

BORGER: Yes, I thought it for--

COOPER: Simpson-Bowles, yes.

BORGER: Simpson-Bowles Bill.


COOPER: There was there was a long exchange, though, where they sort of laid out different policy positions and it's long, but I think it's worth playing. Let's watch.


SANDERS: What leadership is about, Joe, it deals whether your opposition or your support, I should say, for legislation regarding gay communities and the so-called Defense of Marriage Act. You remember that bill, right? You remember?

BIDEN: Yes, I do.

SANDERS: Gay marriage today is considered a little bit differently than it was 25 years ago. I remember that vote. It was a very hard vote. I voted against the Defense of Marriage Act. You voted for it. I voted against the Bankruptcy Bill. You voted for it. I voted against the war in Iraq, which was also a tough vote. You voted for.

I voted against disastrous trade agreements like NAFTA and PNT all with China, which costs this country over four million good paying jobs. You voted for it. I voted against the Hyde Amendment, which denies low income women the right to get an abortion. You have consistently voted for it. I don't know what your position is on it today, but you have consistently voted for it. In other words, all that I'm saying here, we can argue about the merits of the bill.


Sanders: It takes courage sometimes to do the right thing. Biden: We can argue about the past and the future. This man voted against the Brady Bill five times. Background checks, background checks. Five times, number one. Number two, this man is the only - one of the few Democrats I know who voted to exempt the gun industry from being able to be sued.

Talk about a special, special interest. We should be able to sue drug companies. We should be able to sue tobacco companies. We cannot sue the gun manufacturers, because he voted for that years ago. He says it was a mistake now. I'm prepared to accept he says it's a mistake.

SANDERS: Well, you--

BIDEN: The question is, what do we do from this point on? And by the way, I might add, I'm the first person to go on national television in any administration and say, I supported gay marriage. I supported gay marriage when asked. And it started a ripple effect. I'm not taking all credit for it. But I'm the first major player to say I support gay marriage on national television.


COOPER: And that's sort of the moment you were talking about as - you see, they are two longtime Senators.

BORGER: Right. And so they're talking about their records. And - we're not going to talk about the past, we're going to talk about the future, except let's talk about what happened 20 years ago, and when you voted for this, you voted for that. And you can see Biden sitting there thinking, what did I vote? Did I vote for that? Nobody. It's fine. It's done. They're not running for the Senate anymore.


BORGER: They're running for the presidency.

AXELROD: You know, it's interesting about running for the Senate. David and I were talking about this. The bankruptcy bill that Biden voted for was an economically important bill to his state, because the financial industry is located there.

Bernie Sanders voted against those gun measures, because guns is a very, very tough issue in his state. The reality is they both voted their states. They're not running for Senator, now they're running for President. And Biden could have picked that up point and made that point and said, so let's talk about the future. But they just got into a deep--

BORGER: He said that. And he went--

AXELROD: Yes. He said to it, he said, let's talk about the future about that vote you cast years ago.

COOPER: Up next, we're going to take a break from the politics tonight, focus exclusively on public health, on the virus and the very latest that we know. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)


COOPER: Nearly 3,500 people have been affected by coronavirus in the United States. The case in every state, but West Virginia. It is shown up there CDC has warned against gathering of more than 50 people - 50 or more.

New York City shutting all restaurants except for takeout and delivery, which at least will keep people employed. We learnt moments ago, so is Los Angeles according to a tweet from the mayor.

Joining us right now is Dr. Seema Yasmin, the former CDC Disease Detective and currently Director of the Stanford Health Communication Initiative, as well as CNN Medical Analysts; Dr. Leana Wen is a Former Health Commissioner for the City of Baltimore.

Dr. Wen, the CDC saying don't have gatherings larger than 50 people anywhere in the country. I mean, that's extraordinary. And New York City is saying restaurants can only serve takeout or delivery. I know what kind of an impact that may have on society at large, but just in terms of the virus itself, how big a difference will those kind of measures make?

DR. LEANA WEN, EMERGENCY ROOM PHYSICIAN: Oh, it's going to make a huge difference, and I'm so glad that the CDC finally issued guidance today, because until now, we've had state and local officials just doing whatever they think is best, which actually may be good in the sense that it's tailored to their community. But we also need - we need a federal response that's coordinated. And I think that CDC guidance is going to be so important.

New York, also, and we're seeing this happening in Ohio and California and other states where they're limiting these restaurants. And I think all of these measures will make a big difference because we know that at this point, social distancing is what's going to save lives.

COOPER: Vice President Biden said tonight that if he was President, he'd engage the military to be on the ground help the response to the coronavirus outbreak. He talked about - no in China the military build hospitals, he said the military has the capability of building hospitals.

You know in public health emergencies in the past, the National Guard or military in various situations, in various places have been called in to open up field hospitals to take care of large numbers of casualties or sick people, do you think that is where we're heading on this Dr. Wen

WEN: I do. So we need both sides of this, we know that there are far too many patients whom are going to be coming into our healthcare system, at least at the rate that we're going and so we need to increase the capacity. We need to think about how can hospitals increase their capacity as much as possible, but it's not going to be enough. And so can we also build additional hospitals the way that we have before.

And on the other hand, we also have to say, but we're not giving up. We're not just saying, while there are too many patients who are going to flood our system, we're also going to try to reduce the rate of transmission through social distancing, through these other aggressive measures that each of us can take now, so that we don't end up flooding our healthcare system.

Both of these have to be done at the same time, so that we can best take care of not only our most vulnerable or susceptible to COVID-19, but also All these other patients who are also going to be seeking care at the same.


COOPER: Dr. Yasmin, what - how far does this go? I mean, if you start to - if you believe, OK, social distancing is the thing, and stopping people from moving great distances, potentially spreading something far and wide and to many other people. I mean, at some point, do you - or is domestic air travel, is that - does that get suspended? I mean, how - what are the --?

DR. SEEMA YASMIN, CCN MEDICAL ANALYST: So, Anderson, I had this question earlier on when I saw that CDC guidance, because to me, it still felt a bit late for sure, but also a bit vague, because if you're talking about not having gatherings of 50 people, then--

COOPER: Right, that's a plane.

YASMIN: What does that imply for people on the plane? So I don't think that's necessarily as clear as it could be. But I also want to point out - I'm really concerned about the news coming out today, for example, from Washington State and from New Jersey, where to doctors - ER, doctors who have fallen sick with COVID-19 and one of them in his 40s in Washington State is in the ICU.

So even as we think about deploying potentially the military and ramping up the frontline defense against that epidemic, I'm just concerned that we're not talking enough about how we're going to protect our frontline workers. This is just a news from today, and I'm concerned that we're going to hear more and more stories of unprotected, unsupported ER doctors and nurses falling sick with the very disease that they're trying to treat.

COOPER: And Dr. Wen, I mean, you know, we've seen now in, in Italy, people being told, say in your homes, you can go out to a supermarket for essential things, but that's it. Is that something - I mean - so that's another step. I don't know if that's four steps away from this or is this the next step? What - is that likely do you think?

WEN: I mean, we've heard Dr. Fauci say that Nothing should be off the table and I agree with that sentiment. Look, everything is going to seem like an overreaction until it's not.

I mean, if we look back a month ago - month and a half ago, if we were talking about ordering 2 million tests, when there were only 12 people in the U.S. who had coronavirus, it would have seemed like a massive overreaction. But now we're facing a situation where we don't have enough tests. And I think we're going to say the same thing about social distancing too.

When we look at the 1918-1919, flu epidemic, we know that cities that implemented really aggressive measures early had a 50 percent lower mortality rate than cities that implemented these measures later. And so, I think we should take nothing off the table. We should do what we can now through voluntary measures. But at some point, it may be necessary to do more.

COOPER: And Dr. Yasmin, I mean, you agree with that?

YASMIN: I do. And I think Leana is really speaking from a public health perspective here, and I say this as a public health doctor myself, that when you do your job well in public health, you almost make yourself look obsolete, because you're doing it so well and it's so behind the scenes and preventive.

And what can happen in instances like this is when you implement those prevention steps early on, people will say, oh, this is an overreaction. Ideally, it looks like that, because what you see later on is not the spike that you anticipated, potentially occurring.

COOPER: Yes, I think this - that's such an important point.

YASMIN: So it's a tricky thing to communicate.

COOPER: I think he makes such an important point, which is if this all works - I mean, if this social distancing works, and all these, what some people might think are draconian measures, it's going to be very easy if it works, which would be amazing news and people's lives are saved and people don't die and people don't get sick.

There's going to be a lot of people that say, Oh, this was a complete overreaction. This was made up by the media. This was whatever - conspiracy theories will flare up. And that's a difficult thing, because you didn't have to contend with, well, how do you prove a negative? How do you prove, well, all these people would have died had we not done this?

YASMIN: Yes, it's definitely a challenge of public health that if you do it right, it looks like you did too much. But actually, you did too much to prevent the worst case scenario.

COOPER: Yes. Dr. Wen, Dr. Yasmin, thank you so much. Chris?

CUOMO: You know, listen, Anderson, you and I have been in the situation before, not exactly. But hurricanes and other disasters. I'll take it. I look forward to the day that they say that Cooper and Cuomo, boy, they had us thinking that this was something that was - God willing, that's where we wind up somebody that it was nothing compared to what we thought.

We'll get back to the debate. And we'll be dealing with the reaction and the analysis in a moment, but we want to take on another piece of what just happened before and during the debate. So to that point, you might know that the coronavirus ended this 11-year long bull market. Right? It's now technically a bear market. It's a negative territory.

Today, the Federal Reserve tried to inject some stability, announcing among other actions that it's going to cut its benchmark interest rate to nearly zero. Now, it wasn't very high to begin with, so it's not a huge move, but symbolically President Trump called it quote, "a big step." But the futures for the market tomorrow are still in the tank.

CNN Business and Politics Correspondent, Cristina Alesci joins us now. Now, do you see this as the psychology of the market that's keeping it in bear territory? Or is it just that the Fed did not have enough to give to juice their expectation?


CRISTINA ALESCI, CNN BUSINESS AND POLITICS CORRESPONDENT: Look, what the feds trying to do here, Chris, is really put a floor on the panic. And it did two things, it did cut interest rates to near zero, as you said, and that's really to encourage investors to keep buying, to rebalance that risk reward behavior that we saw out of whack over the last week.

It also, importantly, decided that it was going to announce a $700 billion asset purchase. It's going to buy treasuries and mortgage backed securities. And that is going to inject cash in the system. Because while you and I and the people are home are watching the equity markets, what the Federal Reserve is trying to do is address a real problem that was starting to emerge in the credit markets, where companies go for short term loans and borrowing. That we're seeing real signs of stress last week. So the Federal Reserve is really trying to address that specific situation.

Now, the reason why futures are down tonight is because investors still cannot see around the corner, and the worst possible thing on Wall Street is uncertainty. So until and I was talking to a couple of investors tonight - until they can get some visibility on containment, we are going to continue to see some panic in the market.

So what they want is essentially Congress to step in and provide fiscal stimulus, which will put hard cash in consumer's hands, because you know that they are the backbone of this economy, Chris

CUOMO: Yes. You know, it'll be interesting, Cristina, first of all, it's a great analysis. Second of all, you know, people are going to say, so 700 billion, and they still tank it. You give them the interest rate cut that you could, that's available, you know, from 0 to a 0.25 point, they still take it. Why did we start with them? Why didn't you start with helping out families, households and small businesses and not make the mistake we made in 2008, all over, maybe a catering too much to the top again, and not to the people who do the buying in the first place?

ALESCI: I think that you are challenging every you're channeling every viewer at home right now with that question. And what's important to keep in mind is that you have to keep the plumbing going so that buyers and sellers can have an orderly marketplace. Because what that will do hypothetically - what the Fed is trying to do is calm the nerves out there right now and not get people thinking, should I sell, stocks in my 401(k) or, what do I do about that.

But to your point, what investors want to see is Congress we're stepping in to help those people. They want to see tax rebates. They want to see hands in the - they want to see cash in the hands of consumers. And you better bet that Donald Trump is going to press for this like crazy. Because consumers are driving his economy. They are keeping him in office by spending, spending, spending. If they're canceling vacations, if they're not going out for dinner, all of that.

You have large companies today announcing closures of stores. Nike - Apple saying it's going to close some stores outside of China. All of that is going to trickle down to the bottom line and force these companies potentially, to do some layoffs. We're already seeing it in the airlines. So all of that is going to have an impact on consumer psychology here, Chris. And Trump is going to fight like crazy to make sure that the consumer feels safe and wants to spend.

CUOMO: I got you. And when you play to the safety of the voters nine times out of 10 you go to their pocketbook. But you know what that one time out of 10 is, when it's their health. And right now coronavirus is playing to something bigger than their bottom line. So it's a tricky play. Cristina Alesci, thank you so much for the analysis. Appreciate it.

All right. We're going to have a senior advisor for Joe Biden work for Sanders campaign four years ago, and they're going to join us to talk about how tonight's debate may affect the race ahead. Stay with us.



CUOMO: All right. So before tonight's debate, you had Joe Biden as the clear front runner in a race where eventual Republican opponent, President Trump is looking vulnerable in November. So what about after the debate? Did Biden need - do what he needed to do to maintain his edge? Let's get perspective from his team.

Symone Sanders, Senior Advisor for the Biden campaign. Four years ago worked for the Sanders presidential campaign. So Sanders, how do you feel your man Biden did tonight?

SYMONE SANDERS, SENIOR ADVISER, BIDEN CAMPAIGN: Well, good. Good to see you, Chris. Wish you were here. We think Vice President Biden did great. Look, at a time where the nation in the world truly is facing a crisis. viewers were tuning into this debate, to see leadership, to see someone who could handle this pandemic that faces us. To see someone that could provide clear, competent leadership and a plan to carry us forward.

And I think they saw that in Vice President Biden. The first moments of this debate, I think, were extremely impactful. I think we also got to hear pass coronavirus COVID-19, we also got to hear about issues such as climate change. We heard about Social Security. We got into a very deep such section on foreign policy.

So Vice President Biden demonstrated tonight that he will be ready to lead on Day 1. What voters are looking for - Democratic voters, we think, is someone that can deliver results. They are actually not looking for revolution. And I think Vice President Biden gave them a clear roadmap on why he is the person that can deliver results for this country.

CUOMO: Symone, what do you think of the criticism that Biden went to often where Bernie Sanders wanted him to go. Didn't stick on the coronavirus leadership and talking about Trump and started having debates about the past and policy positions that have no bearing on where the country is right now in this moment, which is the existential threat to too many about coronavirus?


S. SANDERS: Well, actually, Chris, I think Vice President Biden did a very good job of bringing the conversation back to what we are facing right now. You heard him say a number of times during this debate, we don't have to wait. We can do this now. Senator Sanders tried to take the debate on a number of different terms, if you will, when it comes to health care when it comes to - particularly when we were talking about COVID-19 tonight.

And Vice President Biden redirected the conversation and said, "Look, I agree that there are some other things that we can we can get done in the system. But first, we have to address what people are dealing with now. The economic strife that they are feeling now with the closings that are happening. We have to provide for people now and we can do it, and we are capable." And I think that's what folks we're looking forward to hearing tonight.

CUOMO: One policy point - look, Bernie had a theme tonight, which is Biden and I are different and he's changing to be more like me. One of the points where he seemed to feel particular confidence was about Joe Biden, then Senator 1995, talking about social security on the floor of the Senate and saying that entitlements were on the table in terms of cuts to get down, needed deficit reduction.

The Senator's answer - the Vice President's answer seemed to be "No, I said they were on the table, but I never voted for any cuts." Is that good enough to get away from the criticism that you changed on it?

S. SANDERS: Well, to be clear, Chris, it's true. And Vice President Biden, when he was a Senator, when he was a Vice President to Barack Obama for eight years, never advocated never vote, never cast a vote never, went down to whip anyone in support of cutting Social Security. In fact, he and President Obama work to expand it.

And Vice President Biden's plan right now, if you go to our website, You can read his plan on Social Security. It does expand it. So, Senator Sanders a lot - the number of attacks tonight that were like a broken record of his greatest hits against Joe Biden. And the reality is none of these hits have stuck, if you will, because voters know Joe Biden, they know his record, and they're just not buying it. So, again, we're always happy to have a debate about the issues. But on this one, I think Senator Sanders missed the mark.

CUOMO: Now, how about this, from politics to process? CDC says no groupings bigger than 50. That's like every polling station, except in very small counties. The idea of delaying primaries, Senator Sanders seemed comfortable with that. We should listen to what the CDC says, delay the primaries if we have to, what are your concerns?

S. SANDERS: Well, look, Chris, I want to be very clear. Democracy is extremely important and in times of war, in times of strife, our country has always upheld the need to uphold our democracy. We have voted in war times. Votes were held many times in this country after again times of strife.

So the reality is that the CDC has, in fact, yes, issued guidance that has told people to keep their social distancing, not to gather in large crowds. And governors across the country, particularly in the states to vote on Tuesday, Ohio, Arizona, Florida, Illinois, they have said that they feel comfortable and are confident that the elections will not only be safe, but that they can carry them out.

And so I am looking to these governors, frankly, to abide by the CDC guidance. And if they say that they can administer this process, we believe them, frankly. So a number of early votes. So Chris have already been cast.

CUOMO: Right.

S. SANDERS: I was looking at some stuff today that said, Florida's early voting numbers are tracking ahead of what they were in 2016. So I just encourage folks to use your voice. Your vote is your voice, and our democracy is extremely important. Even in times of strife in this country, we have to do our duty.

So the CDC and folks have said it's safe out there for Tuesday, so I - you know, I don't know what Senator Sanders is talking about. But I'll tell you, Governor DeWine said it was saving Ohio, so I encourage people to get out there and vote on Tuesday.

CUOMO: Symone Sanders, thank you very much. Appreciate your take.

S. SANDERS: Thank you.

CUOMO: And I know that at your home, you're saying, well, which message am I supposed to listen to? I know. It's a big problem we have right now. We have it on the federal level, we have it on different levels. What advice my supposed to follow and why and for how long? We'll get through it together. We'll get through the information together.

We're going to take a break right now. When we come back. some final thoughts on what this debate is such a singular and remarkable moment will mean for all of us, including the election, going forward.


[23:45:00] COOPER: Getting more breaking news right now in a night that has certainly seen plenty already. Just moments ago the Peace Corps announced that it is temporarily suspending all global operations and evacuating all volunteers around the world. It's another way that the coronavirus pandemic hung over the night, and almost certainly many days to come.

Earlier tonight, Bernie Sanders conceded that upcoming primaries might have to be carefully reconsidered. He also spoke at length tonight about his movement.


SANDERS: I think it's imperative that we defeat Trump. I think our campaign of a biracial, bigenerational, multigenerational grassroots movement is the way to do it. Now, we have won some states, Joe has won more States than I have.

But here's what we are winning. We are winning the ideological struggle. Even in States like Mississippi where Joe won a major victory. It turns out that a pretty good majority of the folks there believe in Medicare for - and that's true in almost every state in this country.

And the other issue that we don't talk enough about is we are winning the generational struggle. Depending on the state, we're winning people 50 years of age or younger, big time people, 30 years of age and younger. I frankly have my doubts.

Look, if I lose this thing, Joe wins, Joe, I will be there for you. But I have my doubts about how you win a general election against Trump will be a very, very tough opponent unless you have energy, excitement, the largest voter turnout in history. And to do that you are going to have to bring young people--



What's he saying, Laura, about that? I mean, he's making the argument, which I understand is argument, but the energy and excitement - I mean, has been for Biden - people coming out to the polls for Biden. I mean - now you can argue that they're not young. Certainly, and that is true and maybe they're not, I don't know, energetic or maybe not that excited, but they're coming out for the poll. I mean, they're coming out to vote.

BARRON-LOPEZ: Right. We saw a surge in voting in places like Virginia and states like Michigan. The thing is, is that it's not that young voters aren't turning out. It's that proportional to the rest of the vote - they're turning out in smaller proportions than those that are 40 and older.

But the voters - Biden still, though, really wants to focus on what Sanders is saying, which is that in states like Texas, Sanders won 58 percent of young voters that are 29 and younger. In states like California, he won like 57-52 percent of those 44 and younger.

So it's not just 29 and younger, it's also 44 and younger and that's a demographic that that Biden needs to work on addressing. And they are very energetic about Sanders and about his stances on climate change and about his stances on healthcare.

COOPER: Yes. I mean, if you look at the rallies, obviously, there's a huge difference. But...

CHALIAN: I mean, this is a deficiency for Joe Biden, there's no doubt about that. This is - this is part of the work he's going to have to do as the Democratic nominee if indeed he wins the nomination, as he's on path to do, and he understands that. This, and by the way, the Latino vote.

I don't get a sense from the Biden campaign, that they think they can just sit back and just assume, well, Donald Trump is going to be motivation enough. My sense is, they understand this as a deficiency.

It's why I think there is so much work that is going to be done to bring Sanders on board in a significant way, because it is such a critical part to the - when you think about the Obama coalition, that David is so familiar with, young people were a critical part of that Obama coalition. That's the last coalition that delivered the Democrats to the White House. Right?

AXELROD: Yes. Yes. They - but those young people felt like they were part of a movement, part of a mission, part of a cause. So, you know, clearly Biden recognizes this problem. The fact that the two things that he moved on this in the last couple of days were, you know, college affordability and the Bankruptcy Law, particularly as it related to student debt, tells you that he's thinking about this.

But, again, he needs to - it's more important, I think, that he embodies the spirit of the concerns of these young people than any particular position,

BORGER: But he can't be more Bernie than Bernie. He is who he is. He can try and adopt Bernie's policies. But, as he said the other night, and maybe he didn't mean to say it, but he said I'm the bridge to - and he - was to the next generation.

Will that be enough? Is a bridge what younger voters are looking for? I think and Bernie, they didn't want a bridge. They want the revolution now. And they don't want to wait. But the question is, will they vote for come out and vote for Biden if Bernie is not on the ballot? I don't think we know the answer to that, at this point.

COOPER: Yes. A lot of waits. Chris, back to you.

CUOMO: Anderson, thank you very much. Starting with you, Governor, closing thoughts on what matters tonight where it takes us.

TERRY MCAULIFFE, ENDORSED BIDEN: Listen, I think the final thought we should have is - I thought for the general election, I thought this was very important. We got Trump's lies and craziness versus what you saw with Biden and Sanders tonight with a serious discussion on the coronavirus.

And, you know, we tend to in these types of things to focus on the disagreements, but those two agree a lot more on the issues. So I'm optimistic that we're going to bring this party unified together. Trump is just you know - he's off and he's not telling the truth. People are scared to death and they saw it tonight in Commander-in- Chief and I think that was a good night for us. Kirsten, your take?

KRISTEN POWERS, USA TODAY COLUMNIST: I think, it was clarifying and interesting, because this is really the first time we had two people representing two different ways of thinking in the Democratic Party and really representing the views very coherently and going at each other over those views.

Like I said before, I think maybe there's a little too much relitigating over the past. But nonetheless, I thought it was overall a very substantive debate and I thought they both acquitted themselves very well.

And so, you know, we'll have to move forward. Most people are looking at the electability issue. They are concerned about the, the kind of - the virus and whether or not - they don't they don't feel comfortable with Trump, I think for the most part, so can one of these men be the people first of first consensus.

CUOMO: Take it anywhere you want Van, but you know, you have found what you were looking for in your party. How do I bring these people together? The answer is the coronavirus and the response of leadership that's making this country feel safe again.

VAN JONES, CNN HOST, "THE VAN JONES SHOW": Yes, well, I'd tell you. To me, the most profound moment is they didn't shake hands. Not because they're not friends, not because they don't want to be united. They couldn't shake hands. Because we're in a moment now we've never been in before, where we're facing a true pandemic. And national leaders who are trying to make a difference literally cannot touch each other.


Now, that's a different election. I don't think people get what a different country we are waking up in this week. And I think that the opportunity for a Bernie or Biden to really capture that and say, I really get that, was missed all too much tonight.

It was a little bit there in the beginning, a bit there at the end. But there are people afraid tonight, there are people who are in prisons right now waiting for the pandemic to hit. Their voices have not been heard yet. There are people in homeless shelters with sitting next to empty hotel rooms, empty campuses, empty dorms. Their voices haven't been heard tonight.

There is going to be a need for real rethinking about what has to happen in this country. And the door is now open for both thinking and big ideas and big hearts and I'm hoping that comes forward more and more going forward. CUOMO: Well, Anderson, they had an opportunity to deal with it tonight. And here's the reality. They're going to be plenty more opportunities, because we ain't seen nothing yet.

COOPER: Yes, we are on the cusp of a great change. Chris, thanks very much. Appreciate it. Thanks, everyone for watching. More news next.