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THE SITUATION ROOM
GOP Candidates Vie to Unseat Trump; Romney Set to Attack Trump in Speech; Clinton Pivoting to Trump But Sanders Still Going; Clinton Wins Seven States Including Massachusetts; Video Provokes Angry Claims of Excessive Force. Aired 5-6p ET
Aired March 2, 2016 - 17:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[17:00:05] JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: That's it for "THE LEAD." I'm Jake Tapper, turning you over to Wolf Blitzer in THE SITUATION ROOM. Thank you for watching.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: Happening now: the Donald's day. Donald Trump racking up huge Super Tuesday wins, piling up scores of delegates and sending another of his rivals to the sidelines. Is he the Republicans' presumptive nominee?
All-out war. Trump's wins have Republicans soul searching about what their party stands for and against.
Tonight's breaking news: a counter attack from Mitt Romney and GOP establishment wing.
Hillary's run. Hillary Clinton also scores big on Super Tuesday as she begins looking ahead. Is she in danger of overlooking Senator Bernie Sanders? Should he keep on fighting?
And caught on camera: Shocking video shows a high-school student getting slapped and kicked by a man in uniform. Who are they? Is it yet another case of police excessive force?
I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
BLITZER: We're following breaking news of the presidential race. Despite Donald Trump's calling himself a unifier after winning seven Super Tuesday states, he's facing an all-out revolt within the Republican Party.
2012 Republican nominee Mitt Romney is preparing to make a rare public appearance. Sources say he plans to attack Trump.
Also developing now: Dr. Ben Carson announcing he sees no political path forward and will skip the next Republican debate.
On the Democratic side of the race, Senator Bernie Sanders keeps hammering away at Hillary Clinton's ties to Wall Street. But after seven Super Tuesday wins, the Clinton campaign is making its case that Sanders should step aside and let her pivot towards the November election and Donald Trump. Our correspondents, analysts, and guests, they'll have full coverage
and analysis of all the day's top stories.
Let's start with the chaos right now in the Republican Party. Our national correspondent, Jason Carroll, is in Michigan for us, the biggest prize in next Tuesday's line-up of primaries.
What's the latest, Jason?
JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, as you know, Wolf, the Rubio camp is pushing forward. And they definitely have their work cut out for them here in the state of Michigan, where a recent poll shows Donald Trump leading by 10 percentage points. That recent poll showing Trump at 29 percent, Cruz at 19 percent and Rubio at 18 percent.
But they say they are not deterred by any polls going forward. They are staying on message that he is the one that can unite the party, not Donald Trump.
TRUMP: We've done something that almost nobody thought could be done.
CARROLL (voice-over): As the prospect of a Donald Trump nomination divides the Republican Party, the frontrunner is trying to make the case that he can bring the GOP together.
TRUMP: I'm a unifier. I know people are going to find that a little hard to believe, but believe me. I am a unifier.
CARROLL: Trump's path to the nomination looking increasingly likely after picking up seven victories on Super Tuesday. His growing strength sparking an all-out civil war within the GOP.
GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R-NJ), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Tonight is the beginning of Donald Trump bringing the Republican Party together.
REP. BOB DOLD (R), ILLINOIS: I will not support Donald Trump now, and I will not support him should he move on.
CARROLL: The party pointing fingers, with disagreements over who should drop out and who can beat Trump.
SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: For the candidates who have not yet won a state, who have not racked up significant delegates, I ask you to prayerfully consider our coming together. Uniting.
SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R-FL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: There will never come a time in this race where our supporters are asking us to get out and rally around Donald Trump.
CARROLL: One candidate not moving on from Super Tuesday is Dr. Ben Carson releasing a statement today saying, "I do not see a political path forward." But Cruz and Rubio are pressing on. Cruz won three states Tuesday
including his home state of Texas. Rubio took just one state, Minnesota. Trump firing off a warning shot to both with his performance.
TRUMP: It's only too bad that winner didn't take all. Because if winner took all, this thing is over. We're just having a celebration.
CARROLL: Also testing out his general election message.
TRUMP: We have expanded the Republican Party. When you look at what has happened in South Carolina and you see the kind of numbers that we got in terms of extra people coming in.
CARROLL: Just days ago, Republican Senator Lindsey Graham was openly railing against Cruz.
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: If you killed Ted Cruz on the floor of the Senate, and the trial was in the Senate, nobody could convict you.
CARROLL: After Trump's Super Tuesday wins, Graham said if forced to choose between Trump and Cruz, the choice is clear.
GRAHAM: I'm anybody but Trump. Ted and I are in the same party. Donald Trump is an interloper. I don't trust him.
CARROLL: Rubio voting early today in his home state of Florida, ahead of the March 15 primary, is showing no sign of bowing out for Cruz.
[17:05:03] RUBIO: Last night was supposed to be Ted Cruz's night. We beat him in half the states on ballot. We won the state of Minnesota. We picked up a lot of delegates.
CARROLL: And Rubio taking the stage now here in Michigan. And Michigan is not the only place, Wolf, where the polls are not weighing in his favor.
Also, in his home state of Florida, polls showing Trump leading there, as well. Trump tweeting today about Super Tuesday, saying, "Marco Rubio lost big last night. I even beat him in Virginia, where he spent so much of his time and money. Now his bosses are desperate and angry" -- Wolf.
BLITZER: All right. Jason Carroll in Michigan for us, thank you.
Let's get some more on the Republican front-runner from our political reporter, Sara Murray. She's in Florida, where Trump spoke with the reporters last night.
So Sara, what's Trump's strategy as this campaign enters this next phase?
SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, first to give you an idea of how confident they are, Donald Trump is taking the day down before he heads back on the campaign trail tomorrow.
But they are going to continue this fly around strategy to hit as many states as possible. He's going to be in Maine; he's going to be in Michigan; he's going to be in Louisiana, in addition to a number of big rallies they have here in Florida.
Now, of course, we all know Florida is the big prize, the biggest winner-take-all prize on March 15. The Trump campaign wants to win here because of that. Because it's the most number of delegates you can win that day. But they also want to stick it to Marco Rubio in his home state. You heard from Jason Carroll, Donald Trump saying it would have been great if winner could take all. And I think they definitely want to do that on the 15th, Wolf.
BLITZER: I understand, also, Sara, there have been some staff changes in the campaign. What do we know about that?
MURRAY: That's right, Wolf, and before you roll your eyes and tell me that staff changes are boring, let me just explain that when we see a number of these people who are getting promoted, who are moving into regional positions, what it really tells you is that the Trump campaign is starting to look at this as a national campaign. And they're starting to pivot to look ahead to a general election.
Now, they pride themselves on efficiency. They prize themselves on having relatively few national staffers. We're really starting to see that change. And I think we heard that tone from Donald Trump last night, talking about how he would be a unifier; how he would work with Congress; how he's ready to take on Hillary Clinton.
So even if they don't have this nomination locked up yet, it's pretty clear, Wolf, that they're looking ahead.
BLITZER: All right, Sara, thank you.
Joining us now in THE SITUATION ROOM is the newly-added senior advisor to the Donald Trump campaign. Sarah Huckabee Sanders is the daughter of Mike Huckabee, has worked on her father's presidential campaigns and other campaigns, as well.
Sara, thanks very much for joining us. Let's get right to the issue of Mitt Romney. As you know, a source tells CNN Romney plans to criticize Donald Trump in a major speech in Utah tomorrow. Has Donald Trump, as far as you know, made any effort to reach out to Mitt Romney as part of an effort to try to unite the Republican Party?
SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, SENIOR ADVISOR, DONALD TRUMP CAMPAIGN: As far as I know, I don't know that Mr. Trump has directly reached out to Governor Romney. But frankly, he shouldn't have to. Governor Romney should be rallying behind the nominee. That's the beauty of American politics. This is an election. It's not a selection process.
And unfortunately, we have some people in the establishment that are afraid of losing power and losing control, because it's not their hand-picked guy. If any other candidate had won ten of the last 15 -- of the first 15 states, then we would all be crowning them the presumptive nominee. And I think that that's what we need to start moving towards. And I hope that the rest of the Republican Party will follow America's lead in this and start rallying behind Donald Trump and get on the band wagon.
BLITZER: But if he's the presumptive nominee and he's doing, obviously, very well in all these elections, shouldn't he be working to try to unify the party right now, reaching out? Reaching out, let's say, to Mitt Romney? I understand there have been some efforts, not necessarily directly from him, but some of his staff to Paul Ryan, the speaker of the House. Shouldn't he be doing more of that?
S. SANDERS: And I think he has -- has done quite a bit of that. You know, he's starting to see quite a few endorsements coming from governors Chris Christie, Jane Brewer and other congressional members also getting on board, Duncan Hunter, and quite a few others. I think you are starting to see that.
But to say that Donald Trump is not unifying the party when he last night won states like Massachusetts and Alabama, if you're not unifying the party, you don't win two demographics that couldn't be more completely different than two states like that.
BLITZER: Donald Trump, as you know...
S. SANDERS: I think instead of trying to -- I think one of the reasons that people like Donald Trump is he's not trying to unify the establishment. He's trying to unify America. And that's a very big difference. And I think that's why he's doing so well right now.
BLITZER: He's proud of his ability to hammer out deals, as he often points out, to work with others. But does he understand the concerns that many in the Republican Party have right now about his candidacy? Some -- some senators like Lindsey Graham flatly saying they don't believe Trump is a Republican.
S. SANDERS: I think these are just desperate attacks that a lot of, again, the establishment is trying to make. because he's beating them by such large margins and, in often cases, in their home states. And so I think that this is just another desperate attempt for the establishment to try to gain control and to try to put their hand- picked person in -- in the driver's seat. That's not going to happen in this race, in this cycle.
Donald Trump seems to be a man very much of his own making. He likes to make his own decisions. What about taking advice from his staff? You're one of his senior advisors right now. How much interaction on these key decisions does he have with staff?
You know, I think he has surrounded himself with a great team. Guys like Corey and Michael Glassner have done a terrific job, and I certainly think he takes a lot of information and processes that and then makes his own decision at the end of the day, which, frankly, is exactly what you want in an executive. You want somebody who can take in a lot of different information; but at the end of the day the decision is theirs. They make it, and they move forward. And that's exactly what he does, not just on a presidential campaign, but in business and exactly what I think we can expect him to do in the White House.
BLITZER: I want to play something. And this is a sensitive issue. But I'll play it for you, Sara. Listen to what Donald Trump said last night, responding to a question about his relationship with the speaker of the House. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I'm going to get along great with Congress. OK. Paul Ryan, I don't know him well, but I'm sure I'm going to get along great with him. And if I don't, he's going to have to pay a big price. OK.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: All right. So what does he mean by that? He's going to have to pay a big price?
S. SANDERS: I think that's a question you'll have to ask him about what kind of price he might have to pay.
But at the end of the day, I think that Republicans are going to rally behind Donald Trump, because even those that may right now be saying they don't want him in office, I think the one thing that they fear much more than that is Hillary Clinton. And we absolutely cannot allow her to occupy the White House again. And I think that any of those that are doubting right now their ability to support Donald Trump are going to come around.
BLITZER: Dr. Ben Carson now says he doesn't see a path forward for him to get the Republican nomination. He's not going to participate in the next Republican presidential debate. Do you know if there have been any -- any dialogue at all? Any conversations between Donald Trump and Dr. Ben Carson? Maybe Donald Trump wanting to get Carson's endorsement?
S. SANDERS: You know, I'm not sure, but I think he would be a great endorsement. They've had a good relationship from the beginning. They haven't been two candidates that have gone after each other. I think Dr. Carson has been a great voice for the Republican Party. I hope he continues to stay active and involved and maybe even jumps in the busy Senate race that I think is coming up in Florida soon.
BLITZER: Your dad, Mike Huckabee, ran for president of the United States, as all of us remember. He was the governor of Arkansas. He always would run on very positive campaigns. How comfortable is he right now seeing what's going on inside the Republican Party? The angry exchange of words between these Republican candidates? Sometimes getting really low-level.
S. SANDERS: You know, obviously, that's not his style of politics. So I think there are parts of it he doesn't like. Unfortunately, it's become a lot of the process, particularly this year.
But I think the thing that he would say and point to is that it's time to rally around the person that it looks like will be our nominee, and instead of attacking each other, let's go after the real target; and that's Hillary Clinton.
BLITZER: You think Donald Trump's going to tone it down? Because when he gets hit, as you know, he hits back even harder.
S. SANDERS: That's his style. Again, that's probably a question better left for him. But I think last night we saw a great glimpse into the type of general election campaign that we can expect Mr. Trump to run. And I thought he was right on message and right on par, and certainly moving and transitioning into putting his focus and his sights set on Hillary.
BLITZER: What's the worst part of his opponents, for example, from his perspective? Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio? What disqualifies them to be the Republican nominee?
S. SANDERS: I think at this point, the fact that the American people aren't getting behind them. I think in order to be the Republican nominee, people have to be voting for you. And right now they're not voting for Ted Cruz or Marco Rubio or John Kasich. They're voting for Donald Trump.
And that's because the No. 1 reason I think that is, is because they want to see a break-up of the Washington to Wall Street axis of power. And he's the only person that can provide that type of shake-up and really change our country and change the direction that we're headed on.
BLITZER: There's been a lot of criticism, ridicule of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. He was on the stage standing behind Donald Trump last night. And people are making a lot of fun of him for the looks on his face. Who made that decision to have Chris Christie up there? Was it a smart decision with hindsight?
[17:15:03] S. SANDERS: You know, I don't know at the end of the day whose decision it was. But I think it was a good decision. Chris Christie is an incredibly strong governor. And he's been a great asset and a really positive surge of enthusiasm to keep that momentum behind the Trump campaign.
And so, you know, I think, of course, you're going have people that are going to pick him apart. Because frankly, last night Donald Trump had a great night. He won a lot of states. And if that's the worst thing that they can come up with is they didn't like the person standing behind him, then they may want to reevaluate their campaigns. And that's probably why they're not winning, if that's the best attack they've got.
BLITZER: That's not the best attack that Marco Rubio or Ted Cruz have. They basically call him a con artist, a sham, a liar. You've heard all of that, right?
S. SANDERS: Unfortunately, I have. And again, I think the real winner in that if, unfortunately, Hillary Clinton. I hope that these other candidates will tone down their rhetoric and really set their targets on where it needs to be; and that's on Hillary. And start getting behind Donald Trump, who I think will not only be the nominee but go on to win the presidency.
BLITZER: Sarah Huckabee Sanders is a senior advisor to the Trump campaign. Sarah, thanks very much for joining us.
S. SANDERS: Thank you so much for having me.
BLITZER: We're following all the developing stories right now in this race for the White House. Dr. Ben Carson apparently deciding it may be time to move on right now.
Also, Mitt Romney, he's getting ready for a major speech tomorrow. Word on the street, he's going to be going after Donald Trump. Stay with us.
[17:21:07] BLITZER: Mitt Romney is scheduling a rare public statement that says will involve, or not necessarily involve, but direct endorsement of any of the candidates or an announcement he's thinking of running. It will include a serious amount of criticism of Donald Trump.
Let's bring in our chief political reporter, Dana Bash; our CNN political director, David Chalian; our senior legal analyst, Jeffrey Toobin; and our CNN political commentator, Ana Navarro.
What do you think, Ana, is on the mind of Mitt Romney right now? He's not going to make a major statement on the state of the race tomorrow, but he's not going to endorse anyone or announce that he's running.
ANA NAVARRO, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Look, I think it's probably painful and cringe-inducing for Mitt Romney to watch what's happening to the Republican Party and what's happening on this presidential race. You can find a lot of fault with the way that Mitt Romney ran his campaign. God knows I did at the time.
But you also know that the man is a decent man who loves his country, who loves democracy, who loves the process, respects the process. And I've got to think it's got to be painful for him to see this Republican civil war. To, you know, hear the way that this campaign has deteriorated into personal insults of the most juvenile type.
I think Mitt Romney is going to call for civility. I think he's going to call for unity. I think he's going to remind us about the important things that should be going on in a presidential race. And I think he's going to try to elevate the tone. I just suspect this, knowing the man a little bit.
BLITZER: But Dana, I suspect he's going to really criticize Donald Trump. Even last week, remember, he said there was a bombshell in Donald Trump's income tax returns. That's why he's refusing to release those income tax returns. I suspect he's really going to go out there and attack.
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Of course. But whether he's going to do it explicitly or implicitly. Sure. But the question is, whether he is the right messenger to be doing that. Probably not the perfect messenger. But the first time he went after Trump was on taxes, which is something that he had problems with.
And then on Twitter, he attacked him using quotes from Shakespeare, not exactly showing that he's kind of in touch with the new brand of Republicans. So, you know, the way he does the tone and the message is going to be absolutely key.
DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: But my question is also, who is the intended audience here? That's what I don't understand. We've looked now through several elections. What audience is out there right now in this Republican electorate that is receptive to hear from Mitt Romney or somehow that's going to change the trajectory here?
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: But isn't this exactly what's gone wrong with the Republican establishment? He's going to give the speech. He's going to say everyone should be nice to each other. But he's not going to endorse one or the other candidate. So Rubio and Cruz will continue to be out there dividing the opposition to Trump. So what possible good could this speech do?
BASH: The flip side is we're talking to a lot of Republicans about this issue for weeks. Is one of the questions that have come is where are our party leaders? Where are our former nominees? Why aren't they standing up for the party? So that is what Mitt Romney is trying to do, but the question is, is it going to work?
BLITZER: But David, isn't it a little late right now, to start doing all this? Because that Trump train is moving.
CHALIAN: Right. Listen I compare this to the Republican elite establishment. The leadership of the party has been -- has been hitting the snooze button on the alarm clock for the better part of the last eight months. I don't understand why they didn't listen and get up when the alarm was ringing early on. It may be too late to complete the up-end.
What I think Mitt Romney is trying to do here, if I get this right, I think he's trying to give the anti-Trump forces more life to go on. It's another voice to add to the mix. It's another conversation that we will have that extends this to buy time to hopefully allow the anti-Trump forces to continue.
PERINO: While he's doing this...
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Also...
BLITZER: Hang on for one second. Go ahead.
PERINO: While he's doing this, one of his former deputy campaign managers, Kelly Packer Gage (ph), she is trying to breathe new life into her anti-Trump super PAC. Had a call with some 50 donors yesterday begging them to put up money they have. They are. These ads are starting to run now. So I think it's that's kind of coordinated effort.
[17:25:19] Go ahead, Ana. You wanted to weigh in.
NAVARRO: Yes, look, Wolf. When you wake up this morning, and you see the reality of last night and it sinks in, you know, at some point you just feel saddened and you feel compelled to action.
And I can understand what's moving Mitt Romney. Let's also remember, he's not in elected office. He's not running for elected office. He has nothing to lose. And let, he can add to it. But I just think he's being moved by his own personal sense of responsibility that he cannot sit silently, continue to sit silently on the sidelines while this is all going on in front of us.
BLITZER: Well, don't you think, Jeffrey, that if you're going to criticize Donald Trump you need to do more than just criticize Trump? You need to say here's what -- here's someone I support who should be the Republican nominee.
TOOBIN: Exactly. You need an alternative. I mean, I think everybody who is following this race has heard bad things about Donald Trump. I mean, there have been lots...
BLITZER: You listen to Ted Cruz and you listen to Marco Rubio, you've heard some really bad things about Donald Trump.
TOOBIN: Very bad things about the size of his fingers. And you know, it's terrible. They're saying terrible things.
NAVARRO: But they're also saying substantive things.
TOOBIN: They're also saying substantive things. But there is no single alternative. And with a divided opposition and the results yesterday were sort of perfect for Donald Trump. Because Rubio has something to claim. Cruz has something to claim. If one of them had been wiped out totally, that would have been actually bad for Trump.
BLITZER: David, it looks like Dr. Ben Carson is going to drop out. Now, he was not doing great. He had a little base over there in our national polls. Sometimes 5, even 8, or 10 percent. Who gets -- who gets that Dr. Ben Carson? Let's say he doesn't endorse someone, doesn't point people in a specific direction. Where does that support go? Because that could make the difference in a lot of these upcoming states.
CHALIAN: If you look at the make-up of the voters and his ideological messaging throughout this campaign, you would imagine that Ted Cruz and Donald Trump would be in battle for the Carson votes, that they might do -- they might each get some of it.
But, listen, Donald Trump seems to benefit when people have been dropping out right now. That's not what we thought, necessarily, was going to happen. But he does collect some of the vote that's left behind when people leave the race. So I would expect him to continue to collect some of the vote.
TOOBIN: Remember, we had a lot of talk earlier in the campaign about lanes. Like, the establishment lane and the evangelical lane. There are no lanes. There never were any lanes.
You know, Carson was perceived to be in the evangelical lane, but his vote has been spread out and mostly go to Trump. Because most of all the votes have gone to Trump.
BASH: Speaking of lanes, I would love to know what Ana thinks about this. There's -- there was talk that started last week on Capitol Hill Congressman Trent Franks of Arizona put out the idea of Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio coming together in a unity ticket. And apparently, that is really gaining steam on Capitol Hill.
Now, Capitol Hill, they talk a lot, as we know. We don't know if it's going to happen. I can't imagine how logistically. But it's very complicated. Who's at the top of the ticket? Who's at the bottom of the ticket? But I don't know. What do you think, Ana?
BLITZER: Let's ask Ana.
NAVARRO: I've gotten several calls...
BLITZER: Hold on, Ana. I've been hearing that, as well, some people suggesting, you know what? They've got to unite Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio. Cruz is ahead so he would be the presidential nominee.
Let's say Marco Rubio would be the vice-presidential running mate. Does that have any -- any sense to you at all?
NAVARRO: Look, it makes sense in, like, a theory in an ideal world but, you know, I can tell you probably the only thing that's longer and bigger than the length of their fingers is the size of their egos.
So really, it becomes a question of, you know, who goes on top on this -- on this ticket. And I have heard this talk. I've heard a lot of it in the last several days. Yes, from some people in Congress.
Folks are becoming -- you know, folks are really beginning to take stock of their reality that Donald Trump may actually be the nominee and are now desperately looking around and outside the box for some sort of solution to this, an alternative.
There isn't one alternative. You cannot argue that Ted Cruz should be that alternative when, you know, he's only won three states. You can't argue that Marco Rubio should be that alternative when he's got nothing but Minnesota to show for it. So it's very hard to make an argument for one alternative. So let's make an argument for a unified alternative.
CHALIAN: ... nominate presidential candidates.
CHALIAN: This idea of a ticket together. That's not how parties nominate presidential candidates. It's a collection of delegates. You don't get to combine your delegate pot with somebody else's delegate pot. It doesn't work that way.
BLITZER: But they're...
NAVARRO: Oh, but it's all so pretty, David. Let's walk through the meadows of sunflowers and smell the lavender. You know, eat apple pie and sing "Kumbaya" together.
Can we just go with this fantasy for a little bit? It's been a tough day for some of us.
[17:30:06] BLITZER: The theory is, they want to double team. The theory, the people that are pushing this. Let these two guys get together and they can pounce on Donald Trump, and two are stronger than one.
BASH: Can I just say I'm glad Ana ended that sentence with egos.
BLITZER: Yes. Stand by. There's much more coming. And we've got to take a quick break. We'll resume our special coverage right after this.
BLITZER: We're also watching new developments in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination. Fresh off her seven Super Tuesday wins, Hillary Clinton is turning her attention to the November election, and Senator Bernie Sanders, who won four states, is not giving up by any means.
[17:35:06] Let's bring in our senior political correspondent, Brianna Keilar. Brianna, how much longer could this race go on?
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, if you listen to Bernie Sanders and his campaign, Wolf, they say this could go all the way to the convention; and his aides are stressing that they have the money to take them that far.
HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: What a Super Tuesday!
KEILAR (voice-over): Tonight Hillary Clinton taking a big step closer to the Democratic nomination after winning seven states on Super Tuesday.
CLINTON: Now this campaign moves forward to the Crescent City, the Motor City, and beyond.
KEILAR: Her eye now on upcoming primaries in Louisiana, Michigan, and beyond. But she's also turning her focus to a potential general election contest, and the man she thinks will be the Republican nominee: Donald Trump.
CLINTON: America never stopped being great. We have to make America whole!
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: She wants to make whole again. And I'm trying to figure out what is that all about? Make America great again is going to be much better than making America whole again.
KEILAR: Still, Bernie Sanders won four states Tuesday night and is vowing to continue his campaign all the way to the Democratic convention in July.
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT), DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Thirty-five states remain. And let me assure you that we are going to take our fight for economic justice, for social justice, for environmental sanity, for a world of peace, to every one of those states.
KEILAR: Clinton's strong performance Tuesday, which gives her a delegate lead of 201 and more than 600 if you count super delegates, leaves Sanders with an increasingly narrow path to the nomination. Her campaign describing his route asnearly impossible, with this memo saying, "In order to catch up, Senator Sanders doesn't just have to start winning a few states, but he needs to start winning everywhere and by large margins. This is why it is very difficult for him to close the large gap in delegates."
But that won't stop Sanders from trying. He pulled in $42 million in donations in February and is selling himself as the candidate to defeat the GOP.
SANDERS: The American people want a candidate who will defeat one or another of these right-wing Republicans. I think you're looking at him.
KEILAR: Now, in 2008, Hillary Clinton stayed in the race, Wolf, as you'll recall, all the way to June, facing a lot of pressure from establishment Democrats to get out.
But at the same time, some observers are thinking Sanders could stay in. They also think he might reassess the situation after more contests come and go in March through March 15. We'll see a series of contests. If you talk to his aides, they're giving no indication that he has any exit strategy here.
BLITZER: All right, Brianna. Looks like a lively meeting going on behind you over there. We'll stay in close touch with you. Brianna Keilar reporting for us.
Our political panelists still here. We have a lot to assess. We'll take a quick break; we'll be right back.
[17:42:42] BLITZER: Hillary Clinton won seven Super Tuesday contests, sweeping states in the South, sweeping Massachusetts, as well. Senator Bernie Sanders is not letting up.
We're back with our political experts. And David Chalian, seven out of 11 contests is her lead among the delegates, especially if you add in those super delegates, in addition to the pledged delegates, insurmountable right now?
It's nearly insurmountable. She has an actual larger pledge delegate lead, just based on the results of the primaries and caucuses so far after Super Tuesday against Bernie Sanders than did Barack Obama against her after Super Tuesday in 2008. And we know how that ended up.
So she -- the way these delegates are apportioned, Bernie Sanders with the money that he has, can continue to amass delegates. It is near impossible to see how he's going to overtake Hillary Clinton among pledged delegates if the returns, if the results of these contests hold to a similar pattern with what we've seen so far.
BLITZER: Interesting point.
Ana, if Hillary continues -- Hillary Clinton continues to stretch her lead out among delegates. How does she go about doing that gracefully without alienating Bernie Sanders supporters? Because if she gets the nomination, she really needs those supporters to be enthusiastic in a general election.
NAVARRO: You know, I'm not sure she would, and I'm not sure she should. First of all, you know, I think one of the things that hurt John McCain in 2008 was that he wrapped the nomination in February, early March, while the Democratic nomination fight went on until June.
I don't know how Hillary Clinton can argue with Bernie Sanders that he should get out now when she held on through June in 2008 against Barack Obama. It was, you know, look if he gets out now, all the media attention, all of the oxygen in the room is going to be sucked up by the very vibrant, very lively, very interesting, fascinating race and fight going on the Republican side.
The truth is, Bernie Sanders being in this race has made Hillary Clinton a better candidate. She was one rusty candidate when she first got into it. This right now is a Hillary Clinton with much better candidate skills and thanks to Bernie Sanders.
BLITZER: Bernie Sanders, Dana, must have been very disappointed that Massachusetts went for Hillary Clinton, given the fact that she did well in all those Southern states, African-American voters, majority in some of those states, really coming out overwhelmingly for her.
[17:45:10] But he thought he could win in Massachusetts.
BASH: Yes. There's no question that was a psychological blow to him. He got more delegates than you would think because -- because he lost, but he also did well in Oklahoma. He did well in Colorado. So he had other wins to kind of offset hers. But there's no question about the idea that in New England state that should have been very kind of tailor made for Bernie Sanders, he didn't win.
And there's a lot of finger pointing in the Bernie Sanders camp, not necessarily in his campaign, but people who support him, at Elizabeth Warren, the senator from Massachusetts. She has not endorsed Hillary Clinton but she's also not endorsed Bernie Sanders. And people who really like Bernie Sanders wished that she had come on board and help push him with an edge.
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: I think what Bernie Sanders is doing is significant, but what he's not doing is even more significant. He's not attacking Hillary Clinton as un-trustworthy, as a liar. He's not talking about the e-mails. He is running a very high-minded campaign, and that is not really one that is going to damage the Democratic Party. So I just think he --
BASH: But what about the Wall Street stuff and Goldman Sachs and the you know --
TOOBIN: But still --
BASH: Some lie.
TOOBIN: But I mean, I -- compared to the Republican race.
BASH: That is it.
TOOBIN: Compared to, you know, what he could be saying.
TOOBIN: I mean, this is a woman who, in the general way, is under FBI investigation as we speak. And he's not saying a word about that. That's a pretty big gift to her.
BLITZER: You've got to admit, Ana, that this Republican race is a lot more intense, a lot more brutal than the Democratic contest.
ANA NAVARRO, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: You think?
NAVARRO: I mean, look. Yes, I mean, we all know that, frankly, there is very little that compares to what is going on, on the Republican side. I don't think any of us could have imagined that this would evolve into what it has. The level of the rhetoric, the personal insults, the jokes. I mean, you know, sometimes I watch this and I feel like it has deteriorated into a, you know, your mama is so dumb contest between some of the frontrunners. It's just painful for some of us that really love our democratic process, to watch.
And I do hope that as this goes on it becomes more unified and the rhetoric becomes elevated, it becomes fitting of a presidential race not a schoolyard fight.
BLITZER: All right. We'll see if that happens.
TOOBIN: We need to cheer Ana up. BLITZER: Good luck.
TOOBIN: Really. Have you been to Miami, Ana?
NAVARRO: Good luck with that.
TOOBIN: It's really lively. It's nice.
NAVARRO: Send me flowers.
BLITZER: We'll be in Miami next week for the debate.
All right, guys. Thanks very much.
Coming up, sources tell CNN that Mitt Romney is preparing to criticize Donald Trump in a rare public speech. We're getting more information.
[17:52:15] BLITZER: Shocking video of a violent confrontation in a Baltimore school provoking angry claims of excessive force by police.
CNN's Brian Todd has been investigating this story for us. He's joining us live from Baltimore.
Brian, what are you finding out?
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, tonight a criminal investigation is under way into the actions of a Baltimore school police officer. He is seen on videotape kicking, slapping a student inside a stairwell of this high school. Tonight it's got officials, school officials, students and parents very rattled.
TODD (voice-over): The video lasts only four seconds, long enough to show what police are now calling an excessive use of force.
Watch again as you see a young man, possibly a student, being slapped three times, then kicked by this officer.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (EXPLETIVE DELETED). Get (EXPLETIVE DELETED).
TODD: Officials say this incident occurred Tuesday on the grounds of Reach Partnership High School in Baltimore. Tonight the officer who works for the Baltimore City Schools is under criminal investigation for assault.
(on camera): When you first saw the video, what was your reaction?
AKIL HAMM, ACTING POLICE CHIEF, BALTIMORE CITY SCHOOLS: Being a father, two of teenage sons, it was very troubling for me to see that take place.
TODD: According to police rules, how did the officer behave, in your view? HAMM: Excessive.
TODD (voice-over): Neither police, school officials nor the officer's attorney are revealing the officer's name. A lawyer for the victim tells CNN he received injuries to his face and ribs. The lawyer says he's a 16-year-old student who attends Reach Partnership High School but that's in dispute by police and school officials.
(On camera): Was he a student at the school? Was he supposed to be there?
KARL PERRY, CHIEF OFFICER OF SCHOOL, SUPPORTS BALTIMORE CITY: No. He was intruding the building.
TODD (voice-over): The officer's attorney tells CNN he believes the video captures a small part of an incident which he says played out over several minutes beforehand. The attorney says the officer asked the young man to leave the school several times, says the victim refused and was belligerent, angry and used profanity. The victim's attorney says she has no information on that. The acting police chief says the fallout has been tough for his officers.
HAMM: It's a hard job that we do. And a lot of people come to work that work with us every day. And they go 110 percent. We have officers who are coaches in these schools, mentors, after-school programs, and it really tarnishes our image.
TODD: How far officers and schools should go to physically intervene has become a hot-button issue. Just last year this school resource officer in South Carolina was fired after violently taking down a student who officials said had been disruptive in a class. Tonight the officer in the Baltimore incident is on leave and parents at the school are shaken.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was sad. Shouldn't slap a child like that.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A parent shouldn't have to watch that video and see their child being slapped like that.
[17:55:05] TODD: Neither police, school officials nor the officer's attorney would tell CNN anything about the officer's service record, whether he's ever been disciplined. The attorney says the officer is very upset over the incident. That officer and the officer standing behind him in the video have both been placed on administrative leave with pay pending the investigation. Also the chief of the Baltimore City School Police Department, Marshall Goodwin, has been placed on administrative leave as well -- Wolf.
BLITZER: All right, Brian. Thanks very much. Brian Todd reporting.
Coming up, Donald Trump racking up more winds, a lot more delegates, sending another of his rivals to the sidelines. Does the GOP establishment have one last chance to stop him? We're getting new information. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)