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Super Saturday Coverage: Trump Speaks in West Palm Beach; Assessing the Super Saturday Wins. Aired 11p-12a ET

Aired March 5, 2016 - 23:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: And what does that mean? That means that automatically, they are going to appoint very, very, very liberal judges.

[23:00:03] And all of this time that the Republicans are fighting, saying that we don't want President Obama to appoint the judge, it's not going to matter,, because the new president, who would be a Democrat, will appoint the judge, so it no longer matters. And you're probably talking about, because it just seems to be the apointment of three, four or five Supreme Court judges.

And you've got to start thinking about that, folks, because anybody that does a third party, that's what it's going to mean, very simple. It guarantees, 100 percent guarantees the election of the Democrat. That means the appointment of Supreme Court judges, three, four or five. That is a total wipeout for conservatives and for Republicans. So, start thinking about that. Start thinking about it.

This was just an exciting time. I'm having a lot of fun. I have to tell you that, Ted, I was watching him -- and congratulations on the two states, Ted.

But he was saying that Donald Trump has a ceiling of 35 percent to 40 percent. Well, CNN just came out with a poll two days ago that said I have 49 percent compared to his 15 percent. So, I guess it's not 40 percent.

I mean, I have a 49 percent number. Some of the polls are showing over 50 percent, and I don't even think they're accurate. I've won many polls, as you know, against Hillary Clinton directly, and I'm the only one that's going to beat her, if she's allowed to run. I'm the only one that's going to beat her.

(APPLAUSE)

And the only one, remember that. And I am the one person, he one person, trust me, that she does not want to run against.

Now, we only had one little skirmish, and that was four weeks ago, and that was not pleasant for her and Bill. But I'm the one person.

And you know I'm really ashamed at the press because they got it wrong. They didn't give me any credit. When she went like this -- do you remember when she was beating Bernie easily?

And then four weeks ago, all of a sudden, Bernie was doing great. You know why? Because she went down. You know why? Because of my skirmish, and I got no credit. Please give me some credit for that, OK?

(APPLAUSE)

So, I look forward to that race. And again, I haven't really done anything with Hillary. We haven't started on Hillary, except for the one moment four weeks ago. But I think we're going to have something that's really great.

You know, I heard Hillary today and I watched her statement tonight, and her statement is "make America whole". That's a terrible statement. Make America whole.

I think she means we're in a hole, we're in a deep hole, and we're trying to dig our way out. We owe $19 trillion.

(APPLAUSE)

And if that's the kind of promotional ability we have on the other side, our country's in big trouble. Make America whole.

No, make America great again. That's what mine is, make America great again. OK?

(APPLAUSE)

So, again, this has been a very exciting evening. And again, I just have to thank the people of Louisiana, the people of Kentucky. You're amazing, and I will never, ever forget it.

I was in Louisiana last night, and we had a group of people in an airplane hangar, this massive hangar, and you couldn't even get them in. This was a seriously big hangar for very, very big planes. And I landed, got out, walked into the hangar. There were thousands and thousands of people. And it was incredible.

And same thing a few days ago in Kentucky. We had a rally that was incredible. And today's rally in Orlando, Florida, was, nobody's seen anything like it, and they're writing about it. They're saying they've never seen anything like it in the history of politics in this country, they have never seen anything like it.

And it was so reported even in "The New York Times" today on the front page. People have never, ever seen anything like it in the history of politics in the United States. It's a movement.

So, I just want to thank all of my friends, all of my members, all of my everything. You have been so supportive, so great, and you're very, very special team. Thank you.

And with that, if you'd like, you know the press is among the most dishonest people ever created by God, so I would love to take a few questions from these dishonest people.

Go ahead, press.

John? John Scarpa (ph) everybody.

REPORTER: (INAUDIBLE) I'd love to hear you speak in Jacksonville at their convention in April.

TRUMP: OK, if I can do it, I'll do it, John.

[23:05:00] John Scarpa, everybody. Thank you, John. If I can do it, I'll do it.

(APPLAUSE)

Yes, sir, go head.

REPORTER: (INAUDIBLE)

TRUMP: I love you as a reporter. Where have you been? This is the greatest guy.

Lying Ted. I call him Lying Ted. He holds up the bible and puts it down and lies, OK? Lying Ted. I never saw a man that lied as much.

Now, Lying Ted, now, what he did to Ben Carson was a disgrace, and actually to me, because had he not gotten those Ben Carson votes, I would have won Iowa. I would have won everything.

So, no, Ted Cruz was -- and what he did, frankly, when he did voter violation on a form that looked like it came right out of a government agency, voter violation -- and the only way you get rid of the violation, essentially, is by going and voting and going for Ted Cruz. Have you ever seen this? And people did that because they were afraid.

It was terrible. It was a very fraudulent thing. And he's done a lot of bad things.

So, Ben Carson's a great guy. He is a great, great guy, and I thought that was a disgrace, what he did to -- he said, basically, that Ben Carson's out of the race, come on, vote for me. And he knew what was happening. So, one of those things.

But I do think this, I do think that Ted is at least moving along okay, but Marco has to get out of the race, has to. Because despite what Ted said, oh, do I want to run against just Ted? That will be easy.

OK, David, go ahead.

REPORTER: (INAUDIBLE) All over the map, especially regarding your position on whether Supreme Court justices you might appoint --

TRUMP: Yes.

REPORTER: (INAUDIBLE) can you state quickly, what is your position on gay marriages and same sex --

TRUMP: Well, I've made it very strong. We have policy on it, and I've said it very, very strongly, and I think you know it, and it's all done in -- you know, I mean, how many times do I have to say it?

It's like, David, it's like, as an example, what is my position on 900 different things? I've said it 150 times. We're not here for discussing that, but everybody knows how I feel on it.

Question? Question? David, sit down, please. Sit down. David, David, sit down. You know my position.

Yes, go ahead. Yes, John, go ahead.

REPORTER: (INAUDIBLE)

TRUMP: It's what it should be, because we're the only two that are winning. By the way, he keeps saying about, "I am the one that beats Donald Trump." Well, I've been beating him almost 3-1. And on Super Tuesday, I got a million votes more than Marco, and a half million votes more than Ted. That's a lot of votes.

OK, go ahead, John.

REPORTER: (INAUDIBLE)

TRUMP: Oh, he'll not win. No, no, he's not going to win. He's not going to win.

And you know what, he can't win and he's not going to win something else. First of all, I'd love to have a head-to-head matchup with him in Florida, as an example, and Ohio. But in New York, he's not going to get very many votes. In New Jersey, in Pennsylvania in Ohio, he's just not going to get very many votes.

So, I would like to see it. I mean, I would like Marco to drop out from the standpoint that I think Marco -- now, look at how he did tonight. He's in third and fourth. And somebody was nice enough to say that even when I don't win a state, I always come in second. That's a big thing.

Marco's come in fourth. So, I think it's time for Marco to clean the deck. I do. And I say that respectfully.

REPORTER: (INAUDIBLE)

TRUMP: Yes, because I wanted to go -- look, and Matt's a great guy, but look, I wanted to go to Kansas. I felt I had an obligation. I did fairly well in Kansas, considering I spent, you know, literally an hour there, a very small time.

But I wanted to go to Kansas to campaign. I've been to CPAC from the beginning. I've liked it. I respect the people at CPAC. I respect Matt a great deal. I hated to cancel, but I really am doing something that's very important. The people that are at CPAC, for the most part, aren't campaigning.

I'm campaigning to be president. Had I not gone to Kansas this morning, I would not have done as well as I did. I came in second place.

So, it was a very important thing.

John, go ahead.

REPORTER: (INAUDIBLE)

TRUMP: Afraid? I've taken more questions from reporters than any human being maybe that's ever lived. Give me a break.

[23:10:00] No, I don't care. No, no, I was hearing Matt -- I was hearing Matt say today -- and it was very interesting -- but I was hearing Matt say I didn't like the format, I didn't -- I would rather speak for 30 minutes.

I hate one where, you know, you speak 10 or 15 minutes and then you're interrupted. And then you sit down, you take -- I've done that. I've done it three times now.

I would rather speak. But if somebody wants to ask me, in the case of Dana or the case of Sean Hannity or any of them -- I mean, I would love to do that. This was simply a fact that I wanted to campaign. And I'm campaigning. Very few people are campaigning.

And I'm very happy I did it. And I met a lot of great people in Kansas. Mr. Phil Ruffin, who is one of the most successful people in the United States, really worked hard in Kansas. And I felt I owed it to him and a lot of people to go there this morning.

Yes, sir?

REPORTER: (INAUDIBLE)

TRUMP: Yes.

REPORTER: (INAUDIBLE)

TRUMP: Family? Yes.

REPORTER: (INAUDIBLE) knows where she is or they know and they're not saying. Sir, if you become president -- in this scenario where (INAUDIBLE)

TRUMP: Well, we would want to get to the bottom of it. I think our weakness in dealing with Iran has been unprecedented.

The fact that we gave them $150 billion and they're a terrorist state, the fact that they spent much of that money buying other than American products. As an example, as you know, they bought 118 massive airplanes, very large airplanes, from Airbus, not from Boeing, not have anything having to do with this country. They spent a lot of money throughout Europe and they spent it in

Russia buying missiles. They gave us nothing. I will get down to the bottom of that. I think it's a disgrace.

Please give his family my regards. I think it's a disgrace. I think they know where he is, one way or the other. I think they absolutely know where he is.

And if I am elected president, I will get to the bottom of it, OK?

Go ahead.

JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: (INAUDIBLE) rallies, don't you have some responsibility to keep the peace at these rallies?

TRUMP: Well, I have nothing to do with it. When you have 25,000 people in a building -- you know, today we had to send away so many thousands of people, we couldn't get them in. When you have that many people, if you have four or five people or ten people stand up out of 22,000 that are in this building that I'm speaking to, a very great entertainer said, Donald, you're the biggest draw in the world without a guitar, which is sort of an interesting -- sort of an interesting --

(LAUGHTER)

ACOSTA: But, sir, can I ask a follow-up?

TRUMP: I won't tell you that was great Elton John. I will not tell you that. Did make that statement.

When you have that many people -- you understand -- in a room, and you'll have a couple of, not skirmishes, just a couple of protests. Really not skirmishes.

And we treat them very gently. You know, ten years ago, they would have been treated differently, not by me, but by -- that's the way life is. We treat them very, very gently. And yes, we had a few protesters today, but very few.

I mean, if a look at it as a percentage, we had what, one-one hundredth of 1 percent of the people in the room.

ACOSTA: You don't think it's something that continues to happen at your events?

TRUMP: No, look, I watched Bernie Sanders have a protest. He was up at the microphone and two young ladies came up and took the microphone away from him. That will never happen with me. He walked meekly to the back of the room. And I said, isn't that pathetic? Isn't that sad?

ACOSTA: And what about the business of, you know, the other night at the FOX News debate, you seemed to talk about the size of your manhood, if I may put it that way, sir.

(BOOS)

Sir, I -- sir, some of the -- you've also used -- let me just ask this, because people --

TRUMP: Yes, this is the problem with reporters.

ACOSTA: But, sir, sir --

TRUMP: Just so you understand, not me -- somebody else, Marco brought it up. And did you notice -- now, you look at what happens to Marco --

ACOSTA: Isn't that not presidential, sir, to engage in that --

TRUMP: No, no, I didn't bring it up. Excuse me.

Somebody else said, Donald Trump has small hands. So, I say, small hands. These guys know, I hit a ball 284 yards.

Stand up, my club champion, stand up.

Do I hit the ball good? Do I hit it long? Is Trump strong, huh?

So, look, so, I just simply held up the hands. These are very strong hands and they're fairly large, actually.

But you know what? It was interesting, because -- and you shouldn't even be bringing this up, to be honest with you, but it was very interesting.

Because the day after he said that, I'm shaking hands with people, and everybody's saying, wow, you have strong hands! You have very big hands!

The guy -- what happened is Marco just made it up out of nowhere because he's a politician and politicians lie and they say bad things.

[23:15:07] And if you don't call them out for it, you don't.

Now, I didn't bring it up. He brought it up. But I finished it.

And I'll tell you about Marco. It's very interesting. Marco attacked me viciously a week ago, two weeks ago. So far, every person that's attacked me has gone down.

Look at his numbers tonight. He cannot hold one of those phony rallies where he did well because he did really badly, OK? He's not going to stand up tonight and talk about how well he did in Iowa, where he was in third place, and he acted like he won. I agree with Ted on that.

ACOSTA: (AUDIO GAP) be at a higher level? We're in the middle of the presidential campaign --

TRUMP: Here's the story, I would love it to be at a high level. I will be the most presidential candidate in history, other than honest Abe Lincoln. He was very tough to beat, okay? You look at Abe Lincoln. He was serious, right? I will be a very -- but when I get attacked by these people at a low level, I have to attack back. I can't stand it.

Some people say, you're above it, you should stand it. That's not me. I won't do it. And you know what? I'll never do that for our country, either.

Yes, go ahead.

(APPLAUSE)

OK, go ahead.

REPORTER: The robocalls (INAUDIBLE)

TRUMP: And any hate group, no good with Donald Trump. Any hate group. I didn't know that actually. But if you're telling me, I totally believe it. I totally denounce, OK?

(CROSSTALK)

REPORTER: Growing the Republican Party --

TRUMP: Yes.

REPORTER: If you become the nominee, are you going to help the party fund-raise?

TRUMP: I will help the party fund-raise, yes. I will help the party fund-raise. I'm not looking for funds myself. I am totally self- funding my campaign, but I will absolutely help the party fund-raise, but I don't want any money for myself.

OK, yes. Go ahead.

REPORTER: (INAUDIBLE)

TRUMP: No, I'm not. I think we'll win before the convention, I think we'll win before.

You know, I sponsor a lot of sporting events and the fighters have a great expression. When they go into a city or a town where it's an unfriendly town, but they think they're going to win, they say the only way we guarantee victory is to knock them out.

The way I guarantee victory is to get enough delegates, so that I don't have to worry about it. And I think, you know, if you think about it, like, the prize fighters do, that's called a knockout. And, you know, we're on a path to do that.

We think we're going to do very well in Florida. We think we're going to do very well -- and we got the two big ones. Don't forget, Louisiana and Kentucky tonight were the two big ones.

Maine, we did well in Maine, really well in Maine, but it was much smaller than Louisiana, Kentucky. Kansas was also smaller, and we came in second in both, but we won Louisiana and Kentucky. They were the big ones, OK?

Go ahead. Yes.

REPORTER: (INAUDIBLE)

TRUMP: OK, so, the question was asked about waterboarding. And waterboarding is a very, very touchy subject. It was originally asked two debates ago to Ted Cruz, and he sort of didn't want any part of that question, and I watched and I said, wow. Then they looked at me, said how do you feel? And I said, I am totally in favor of waterboarding, and if we can, I would like to do much more than that, OK?

Now, just so you understand --

(APPLAUSE)

We're playing by a different set of rules than ISIS and others, especially in the Middle East. We're playing by a different set of rules. So, we have laws and rules and regulations and all of these things, and they have nothing.

They chop off people's heads. They drown people in massive, steel cages. They drop the cage for one hour, they lift it up and there are 30 dead people. And here we are worried about waterboarding.

So, here's the story. I will obey the laws, but I will try and get the laws extended. I will try and get the laws broadened, because we should be allowed -- because it's very hard to be successful in beating someone when your rules are very soft and their rules are unlimited, they have unlimited, they can do whatever they want to do.

I want to play --

(APPLAUSE)

Look, we're going to rebuild our military. We're going to knock out ISIS so violently and so fast.

They chop off heads. They do things that we haven't seen since medieval times. And we're worried about waterboarding.

So, here, very -- wait, wait, wait, wait. Sit down. Sit down. Let me just tell you, OK? Excuse me.

So, I want to stay within the laws. And right now, we have the laws. But I want to make those laws stronger so that we can better compete with a vicious group of animals, OK?

[23:20:05] OK. Yes, go ahead.

REPORTER: (INAUDIBLE)

TRUMP: No, I think we're going to do great. I think we have a 20- point lead or something like that in Florida. Go ahead.

(CROSSTALK)

REPORTER: -- after his remarks a few days ago, here you are, you picked up two more states. What would you say to Mr. Romney (INAUDIBLE)--

TRUMP: Look, Mitt Romney was a failed candidate. He was a terrible candidate. He choked. He choked, absolutely choked as bad as I've ever seen, other than Marco when Chris Christie was grilling him. That was a big choke also.

I thought he was going to collapse. I was standing right next to him. I said -- I was getting ready to hold him up with these very powerful hands, OK? That was a collapse. That was a choke.

But Mitt Romney choked. As a candidate, he choked. And he knows how I feel.

And when he was thinking of getting into the race seven months ago, eight months ago, I said, you cannot let -- it's too important. I said, you cannot let Mitt Romney in this race. He's a choker.

And you know through sports, some of -- I can tell you, I have some great sportsmen right here -- when you see somebody choke, generally speaking, once a choker, always a choker.

Now, Mitt Romney gave that election away. That was an election against a failed president that should have been easily won. Mitt Romney didn't work hard. That last month he disappeared.

And say what you want about President Obama, he was on "Jay Leno," he was on "David letterman," he was all over the place. And where was Mitt Romney? We were all looking -- we're still looking for him.

And if he would have devoted the same energy and time to winning the presidency four years ago as he is now on trying to destroy our party and the unity of our party, he would have won that election and we wouldn't have had the problems that we have right now. So

, ladies and gentlemen, I want to thank you all. This has been amazing. It's very exciting, and I look forward to seeing you many times in the near future. Thank you very much. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you very much.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Donald Trump wrapping up a bit of a victory speech tonight after winning two states, losing two states tonight, basically calling on his opponents, John Kasich and Marco Rubio, to drop out. He says he wants a one-on-one contest with Ted Cruz. He says, do I want to fight Ted Cruz? He says, yes, he thinks he can beat him, and he says, quote, "that will be easy."

Chris?

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: All right, Wolf. We call you the captain for a reason. Thank you for leading us through all 77 hours of this coverage today. Very important day. Always a pleasure to be with you, sir.

All right. Each of the panelists, your final thoughts on what your take is from what you just saw with Trump or anything. What's the significance tonight?

Starting with you, Michael.

MICHAEL SMERCONISH, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I was very surprised that he spent so much time in his remarks tonight addressing a potential third-party candidacy. I hope he knows something.

NIA MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: I thought Trump looked very tired tonight. I hope that we are moving past the point of talking about the size of people's hands and also just Florida, Florida, Florida. That's where he was tonight, and that's where I think this race is going to get something of a second look.

RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: And in presidential primaries, you change the dynamic by breaking serve. Tonight, the front-runners on both sides, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, held serve. Ted Cruz too one step forward, Maine, winning a state that he might not should have won, based in previous performances. But two steps back, Kentucky and Louisiana, two more evangelical states off the board that he probably should have won, that he didn't.

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: I think one thing we should pay attention to, and Paul Begala says it's his nightmare, but turnout in Kansas was more than double what it was in 2012. Republicans are turning out and are enthusiastic.

PAUL BEGALA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: All right, we began the day on the Democratic side with Hillary Clinton having a commanding lead. We end the day with her having a commanding lead.

The Republican side, though, I think things have changed. It's looking much more like a two-man race, just Trump and Cruz.

SALLY KOHN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: So, a fine line between covering a candidate and amplifying a candidate. And I'm sorry, but yes, Donald Trump may be the Republican front-runner. I think we're still giving him way too much attention in proportion to the other candidates who also had victories to celebrate tonight. I'm worried when he institutes internment camps and suspends habeas corpus, we'll all look back.

CUOMO: Jeffrey, you'll have to answer that.

JEFFREY LORD, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I'm speechless at that. I'll just go on and say he talked about the Supreme Court. There's no accident there. Ted Cruz has been talking about this a lot. This goes right to the conservative base, and he is re-emphasizing that tonight at some length.

And second, politically, the bandwagon continues to roll here. He's in fine shape and on he goes, on to Florida and Michigan. S.E. CUPP, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think Trump tonight moved my

earlier point, that he walks away with the better talking point. He said it, "I won the two big ones" I think is how he put it, the two big ones.

[23:25:01] Ted Cruz won two states, he won two states, but all of our sort of nuancing about Ted Cruz's victory out of tonight, I think he has the clearly better talking point.

BEGALA: So, you're saying in primaries, size matters?

CUPP: I am so over --

(CROSSTALK)

CUPP: The double entendre!

CUOMO: You've made it too hard to elevate the game. That's what happens.

CUPP: Paul Begala --

CUOMO: The genius out of the battle. Thank you --

(CROSSTALK)

CUPP: Wake me when it's over.

CUOMO: Thank you to all eight of you. You made us better tonight, as always. Appreciate being with you.

There is a lot to unpack on what has happened tonight. For that, we get you to John Berman and Kate Bolduan picking up CNN's coverage right now.

(MUSIC)

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. I'm John Berman. Want to welcome our viewers here in the United States and all around the world.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Just getting started now. I'm Kate Bolduan, everybody. And you are watching CNN's special live coverage of Super Saturday, the very special late-night edition just for you.

Super for some, a little less super for others tonight. The two front-runners, Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, finishing the night still in the lead in terms of overall delegates, but not without seeing some very big losses tonight.

BERMAN: All right, on the Democratic side, Bernie Sanders won two states. He won Nebraska and Kansas. Hillary Clinton won in Louisiana.

On the Republican side, Ted Cruz with big wins in Kansas and Maine, Donald Trump squeaking past in Kentucky and Louisiana. Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, they continue to lead in the critical delegate count right now. Hillary Clinton has 1,130. Bernie Sanders has 478, and that does count superdelegates, everyone. I know a lot of people get upset about that. But we like to count the actual race for delegates.

BOLDUAN: We just like to say the word super.

BERMAN: That, too.

BOLDUAN: As many times as possible.

BERMAN: On the Republican side, Donald Trump maintains his lead with 384. Ted Cruz, though, has 296, and, critically, Ted Cruz won more delegates tonight.

BOLDUAN: That's absolutely right.

Let's bring in our panel right now. CNN political commentator and Republican consultant Margaret Hoover, CNN political analyst and editor in chief of "The Daily Beast," John Avlon, political strategist and executive editor of the Congressional Black Caucus, Angela Rye, also with us, CNN political commentator and Trump supporter, Kayleigh McEnany, and senior politics editor of "The Daily Beast," Jackie Kucinich, and Ron Brownstein, CNN senior political analyst, and senior editor at "The Atlantic."

Oh, yes, they're all here with us.

Let's start off, John Avlon -- what's your name? John Avlon, the headline of the night for the Republicans, please.

JOHN AVLON, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: I had Cruz crushes. Yes, I get that. Cruz crushes the caucuses. I mean, he pulls out in delegate count, and for the first time, all that spin about it being a two-man race looks close to actually being true.

BERMAN: All right. Kayleigh, Donald Trump supporter, your big headline for the tonight.

KAYLEIGH MCENANY, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Look, it was a great night for Cruz, there's no denying that. I think Maine is a wake up call for Trump. He needs to look closely at that, why did Cruz do so well in a state that he should not have.

However, I don't think it's a harbinger of things to come. It's worth pointing out. The earlier or the latest poll we had from there was from November, when we look forward to big states like Michigan, Mississippi, Florida, Trump is ahead by 20.

I also think it's important to note that he won in closed states. Prior to tonight, Cruz had won in three of the four of the closed states, meaning only Republicans can vote, and tonight, we see Trump has shown his ability to win in those states. So, there's no denying it was a big night for Cruz.

BOLDUAN: Guys, hold on for a second. Let's go over to Jim Acosta, who is in Florida. He was at that very interesting Donald Trump --

JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: What's that?

BOLDUAN: Well, hopefully, John can hear us.

BERMAN: We're on TV. That's what it is.

BOLDUAN: We're on live TV, Jim Acosta. Can you hear us?

ACOSTA: Yes, I can.

BERMAN: All right, we're going to let Jim Acosta get together. He just attended a really, really kind of interesting Donald Trump news conference, and Jim will give us theca details in a second.

Jim Acosta joins us now from the Donald Trump news conference that just broke up.

Jim, give us the highlights.

ACOSTA: Well, there were some highlights there, and there was a little bit of booing during some of the questions there. I won't mention any names. But yes, I mean, you hear Donald Trump I think make pretty big news here tonight, and it came before the questions, and that is when he called on Marco Rubio to drop out of this race.

I can't imagine for a second that the Florida senator is going to comply with that request, but that was essentially the news here, is that Donald Trump is saying he wants a one-on-one contest with Ted Cruz. He aimed a jab at Ted Cruz at one point, saying the reason why he won Maine is because it's so close to Canada.

But I would say the big story of the night is him calling on Marco Rubio to get out of this race. And we have a bit of that sound. Let's play that right now.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Raise your right hand, I do solemnly swear that I, no matter how I feel, no matter what the conditions, if there's I do solemnly swear that I, no matter how I feel, no matter what the conditions, if there's hurricanes or whatever -- that's good enough -- will vote on or before the 12th for Donald J. Trump for president.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[23:30:28] ACOSTA: Now, that was obviously earlier in the day at that rally in Orlando where he called on all of his supporters in that crowd to raise their hand and pledge that they will vote for on March 15th during the Florida primary.

Interesting to add here, guys, that in addition to all of that, you know, I asked Donald Trump at one point, what about the level of discourse in this campaign? What about the scuffles that are taking place almost on a daily basis at his rallies? What about the talk about his manhood during that last debate on Thursday night? You know, should the level of discourse be higher?

You know, he did not take any responsibility for that. He was blaming that on Marco Rubio in terms of the question about the size of his hands and he says the scuffles at rallies, those are basically because the size of his rallies are so large that you're going to have a few bad apples, you're going to have a few protesters now and then and there might be an incident from time to time. He even said there was an incident at a Bernie Sanders rally that he referred to.

So, Donald Trump not really taking any responsibility for the level of discourse that he is bringing to this campaign, even though it is a major bone of contention inside the Republican Party right now. They -- you know, there are a lot of establishment Republicans -- you've heard them say that Donald Trump needs to tone it down, but every time you tell Donald Trump he needs to tone it down, he tends to turn up the volume.

So, no apologies from Donald Trump tonight, guys.

BERMAN: Shocking.

BOLDUAN: Yes, exactly. Sure doesn't seem like it.

BERMAN: All right. Jim Acosta at the Trump event, thanks so much for being with us and for asking tough questions there.

You know, it's good to get the question there. It's remarkable that Donald Trump takes questions at essentially what is a victory rally. You don't see that with everybody.

BOLDUAN: No, the format of that victory rally is so, so strange, but unprecedented is exactly how you would describe the entire race to this point.

Let's continue the discussion. Margaret, to Jim Acosta's point, the fact that this was really the first time point blank that you heard Donald Trump saying it's time for Marco Rubio to drop out, impact being?

MARGARET HOOVER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, to rile Marco Rubio up and ensure that he doesn't get out. And look, it actually -- as the more candidates are in this race, the worse it is for Donald Trump. I mean, consolidation actually behooves him, because if it's Ted Cruz and Donald Trump, Trump will run away with the nomination.

I mean, there are states coming up down the pike -- Michigan, Florida, Illinois, Ohio -- that Ted Cruz isn't going to do well in. Donald Trump is doing very well in. And if Cruz and Rubio -- Kasich and Rubio are in them, then it does feed this theory that as long as they all stay in and do as well as they can in the states where they are each strongest, they can block and tackle him, preventing from getting the number of delegates for the convention.

BERMAN: Can we put up Louisiana for a second, because Marco Rubio had a no good, terrible, very bad nights. You know, if we can find the Louisiana numbers here, Marco Rubio barely broke 10 percent in Louisiana. You talk about it becoming a two-man race. Well, in Louisiana, it essentially was a two-man race, between Donald Trump and Ted Cruz.

I could write down the numbers and hold them up for you, but essentially, it was Trump at 42 percent, Ted Cruz at like 36, 37 percent?

BOLDUAN: Yes, right.

BERMAN: That is two guys far and away out in front.

And, Jackie, Donald Trump mentioned Marco Rubio was way, way behind, he was way, way behind in Maine also, third, a distant third in Kentucky. Kansas, the same thing.

Marco Rubio disappeared tonight.

JACKIE KUCINICH, THE DAILY BEAST: Here's why this is extra bad. Early voting started in Florida and Ohio today. If you're going to vote, there are some voters who aren't sure who to vote for, they're going winner. And if you don't have any momentum going into Florida -- now, we have a couple contests coming up, places like Michigan and Missouri, I believe, and a couple other states.

So, he has a chance to pick up the momentum. But the closer we get, the more people are going to early vote, it doesn't look good for Marco Rubio right now.

ANGELA RYE, POLITICAL STRATEGIST: One of the things I found fascinating about tonight's race television standpoint, I love the back and forth that you saw at rallies this week, Marco Rubio attacking Donald Trump on everything from Trump University at the debates to the rallies to his hand size, which was crazy. But what we saw is the fact, again, that he is the Teflon don.

I thought this was going to be the turning point, that there was finally going to be an attack that worked. He literally spent time after time in rallies, on Twitter, responding to this. So, he was finally on the defense. I thought it would have a stickiness factor. It didn't.

But the other thing I found really surprising was Cruz also became Teflon Cruz. Nothing stuck to Cruz, either.

BERMAN: Rubio's the one who attacked, and he got nothing out of it.

[23:35:00] RYE: He got hit.

BERMAN: And Ted Cruz seemed to get something out of it.

BOLDUAN: Do you think it actually did have some impact on Trump, though?

HOOVER: To me, it shows softness amongst Trump's members. I'm sure Kayleigh may have another take on this. But it seems to me, he, as we know, for every contest so far, the late deciders have not broken for him as heavily as they had the other candidates.

And it did show that all of these states where Trump was beating Cruz by more significant margins, Cruz did better.

MCENANY: One thing worth pointing out is in the southeast, Trump is winning every single state. He won Louisiana tonight. Cruz has not won a single state in the Southeast. This is crucial -- this is where the evangelicals are, this is Cruz's home, but yet, he loses time and time again, and will probably Mississippi --

BERMAN: Which votes on Tuesday.

BOLDUAN: The map doesn't get easier for Cruz because you're not looking at a lot more caucuses --

AVLON: Exactly, and that's crucially important.

BOLDUAN: Could we tease to that and talk about that in just one second, John Avlon?

Let's talk about that in just one second.

BERMAN: You want to know two things. Number one, we are live right now in this election aftermath on Super Saturday. We still have to talk to a Donald Trump surrogate. We're going to speak with someone from the Trump campaign --

BOLDUAN: Also the Cruz campaign.

BERMAN: We're going to speak with someone from the Cruz campaign. I'll bet you they had very different takes on who won the most tonight. That when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I want to congratulate Ted on Maine and on Kansas. He should do well on Maine, because it is very close to Canada, let's face it. I mean --

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[23:40:04] BERMAN: That was Donald "Sheky" Trump tonight, claiming victory in Louisiana and Kentucky, but Ted Cruz had big wins in Maine and Kansas. And I have to say, in Louisiana and Kentucky, it was close for Donald Trump.

BOLDUAN: Yes, those were not runaways. That's for sure.

Let's talk this all over now with Stephen Miller, senior advisor to Donald Trump, top aide to Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions.

Stephen, it's great to see you. Thanks for coming in. STEPHEN MILLER, SENIOR ADVISOR TO DONALD TRUMP: It's great to be here

tonight.

BOLDUAN: Thank you very much. I don't know if Donald Trump can go home tonight saying, though, it was a great night for him. Did Donald Trump underperform today?

MILLER: No, it was a fantastic night. He's won twice as many states as Ted Cruz, he's won virtually every single primary in which he's contested with Ted Cruz. Ted Cruz has done well in a few caucus states.

And also with Senator Rubio -- Senator Rubio -- this is really, it's really historic and we should focus on this tonight. Senator Rubio has been the donor class favorite ever since pushing Obama's amnesty bill in 2013. Rubio has won zero primaries and one caucus in nearly 20 contests.

Now, as we head -- and I'm in Florida right now -- as we're heading into the winner takes all 99-delegate contest here in Florida on March 15th, Senator Rubio is falling apart before our very eyes. That's a very significant development tonight and puts Donald Trump in a great position heading into the winner-take-all Florida primary.

BERMAN: We'll talk a lot about Rubio in a bit, but let's talk about you. Ted Cruz won more delegates tonight than Donald Trump. That's just a fact. So, Ted Cruz, if you're doing the math, had a better night than Donald Trump.

If you look at Louisiana, Donald Trump won big did well among early voters, but on actual Election Day, it looks like Donald Trump lost to Ted Cruz. So, why does it seem that late-deciding voters are consistently deciding against Donald Trump?

MILLER: Well, you shouldn't discount the fact that the establishment is still powerful. That's the whole point of being the establishment.

So, the idea that it's not going to have any effect, that you have all of the donor class and all of the elites and all of the power brokers aligned against Donald Trump, of course that will have an impact.

But the remarkable thing, the historic thing we should be talking about is the fact that the delegate leader, the man on the way to winning the nomination, the person who's won far and away the most states, has done so fighting the power brokers in Washington, D.C., and the donor class every single step of the way. It is a historic achievement that Donald Trump has taken on the most powerful people in the country who have sent us on the wrong track for years and is now far and away front-runner for the GOP nomination. That is a remarkable thing.

BOLDUAN: So, Stephen, what I hear you saying is you agree with what folks think -- what some folks think, that the attacks coming from Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio is impacting Donald Trump's numbers?

MILLER: Well, Marco Rubio's attacks are hurting Marco Rubio. I'm not talking about the attacks from Cruz or Rubio. I'm just saying it would be foolhardy to suggest that in the battle for the soul of the Republican Party that the donor class would have no power, that suddenly overnight, the establishment suddenly would have no power, that the state apparatus would have no power. Of course, they're going to have some kind of power.

But I'm saying, to go and be the far and away front-runner in spite of all of that means that Donald Trump is speaking to and connecting with the people, as no one else in this race has.

And again to Rubio, the only person that's been hurt by Rubio's attacks is Marco Rubio. And we cannot overlook the fact that as we head into the next stretch of races, in Michigan, in Florida, and in many huge, rich primary states with many delegates at stake, Donald Trump is in a fantastic position.

And I cannot stress enough just how badly wounded pro-amnesty Senator Marco Rubio is heading into Florida's primary, which has nearly 100 delegates up for grabs. That's one of the big story lines emerging from tonight is the unraveling of pro-amnesty, donor-class favorite Marco Rubio.

BERMAN: We got that idea when Donald Trump said that Marco Rubio should drop out tonight. So, clearly, we understand that that is a theme that your campaign is putting forward.

I wonder if we could shift to policy for a second. You are a foreign policy adviser to Senator Jeff Sessions. Jeff Sessions has endorsed Trump. Jeff Sessions is now what, the national chair for policy and security for Donald Trump's campaign?

BOLDUAN: Yes.

BERMAN: Besides Jeff Sessions, can you tell us who else now is part of the foreign policy team for Donald Trump? Give us three names he's consulting with on foreign policy.

MILLER: I think we're skipping over the lead there.

[23:45:00] The lead is that just on Thursday, Donald Trump appointed U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions to put together a foreign policy team. That's the lead --

BOLDUAN: That's actually not --

(CROSSTALK)

BOLDUAN: That's not actually -- it doesn't seem that's accurate, Stephen, because earlier this week, Donald Trump said to "Morning Joe" that he has his team in place, he's just not ready to announce it.

MILLER: Oh, he has a lot of people he's advising with, but I'm saying, the new development is that Senator Jeff Sessions, my former boss, has been tasked with putting together a formal team. That's the lead. That's the point.

BOLDUAN: OK, so, the team's not put together?

MILLER: Jeff Sessions is taking meetings right now with a number of advisers all across the country to put that team together.

But we're discounting the fact that the new addition to this is Senator Jeff Sessions. He is the senior foreign policy adviser.

And Jeff Sessions is a 20-year veteran of the Armed Services Committee. Jeff Sessions is the chairman of the Strategic Forces Subcommittee. And again, if you look at the foreign policy statement that Jeff Sessions made when he received the appointment -- and this is one of the other animating things in this race -- is that he said it's time to stop enmeshing this country in conflicts in the Middle East and get out of that region's chaos and adopt a realist foreign policy based on shared interests, not nation-building.

And that message will resonate all across the country and is a sharp contrast with Senator Cruz and Senator Rubio, who have pushed these same interventionist foreign policy that has enmeshed the United States in conflicts in the Middle East that have made us less safe and have made the region less stable.

BERMAN: Stephen Miller, great to have you with us tonight. Congratulations on Kentucky. Congratulations on Kentucky and Louisiana. We will see you in Puerto Rico tomorrow. We'll talk about Michigan and Mississippi after that. Thank you, sir.

MILLER: Have a great night. Thanks.

BOLDUAN: Thank you.

All right, a lot to discuss on this. And we're also getting reaction from the Ted Cruz campaign. That's coming up next, folks. We are live this evening with special election coverage for you.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[23:51:03] BERMAN: All right. John Berman here with Kate Bolduan. We are live on this Super Saturday eve election day in many states across America, and we do have some news just in.

A short time ago, Donald Trump flat out called on Marco Rubio to drop out of the race.

BOLDUAN: Drop out.

BERMAN: He said it was time. He said he was asking respectfully, but he said Marco Rubio should drop out.

We just got a response from the Rubio campaign. Alex Conant, spokesperson for Marco Rubio, says, "Trump is only pushing Marco Rubio to get out because he knows we are going to beat him in Florida. Marco has never called on anyone to drop out." So, Marco Rubio's never called on anyone to drop out but he says that

Trump wants him because he's afraid losing Florida. That is the response --

BOLDUAN: A shocker, Marco Rubio is not dropping out tonight.

BERMAN: No, not dropping out. There you go.

(LAUGHTER)

BOLDUAN: Let's talk about the very big night, though, for another senator, Senator Ted Cruz.

Let's talk to the Ted Cruz campaign. Let's turn now to Ron Nehring. He's the national spokesman for the Ted Cruz campaign.

Ron, it's great to see you again.

RON NEHRING, NATIONAL SPOKESMAN FOR TED CRUZ CAMPAIGN: It's good to be here.

BOLDUAN: Big night for you guys. Your reaction?

NEHRING: It's really a wonderful, wonderful night and gives a big shot of momentum to Senator Cruz, big victory in the state of Maine.

Maine is really interesting because Donald Trump was up by 20 points in Maine not too long ago, and Senator Cruz and Donald Trump were both up in the state campaigning. And at the end of the day, Senator Cruz prevailed.

In Kansas, it was a huge victory. I was listening to t spin coming from, you know, the Donald Trump campaign. It's just not accurate.

Senator Cruz scored a big, big victory in the state of Kansas. That's terrific news as well. Delegate count looking good, moving up there. So, we have a big shot of momentum as we move forward to the March 8th states and then March 15th.

BERMAN: Let me give you a theory. Donald Trump wants Marco Rubio to quit the race. Donald Trump says it's a two-man race between Trump and Ted Cruz. He says that, Ron, because he thinks he can beat you. He thinks Ted Cruz is the easiest candidate for him to beat.

Is that not true?

NEHRING: Yes, I don't think that's true at all. I think what Donald Trump was doing today was trying to goad Marco Rubio to stay in as long as possible, because a divided Republican field only helps him.

The sooner that the Republican field consolidates behind Ted Cruz, the more certain it is that Donald Trump will ultimately be defeated.

Look, it's clear that Ted Cruz is a stronger candidate to go up against Donald Trump. Most Republicans don't want to see Donald Trump become the Republican nominee, and in a one-on-one contest, Ted Cruz wins, and that's why the senator has invited supporters of other candidates who have been running or are currently running to come join him, join his campaign, and move on to elect a solid, conservative candidate who can prevail in November.

BOLDUAN: So, Ron, where do you head next? Where is the big focus? The Marco Rubio campaign also pushing out tonight that they say that the only thing that is true going forward, especially, even starting tomorrow, is the math gets harder for Ted Cruz.

NEHRING: Well, you know, that's really interesting, because that's exactly what the Rubio campaign said right after we did very well on Super Tuesday. They said the exact same words that, well from this point, the map only gets more favorable for Marco Rubio.

Well, let's take a look at the results from tonight. Marco Rubio didn't do all that well. So, that's not really, you know, a very credible statement, as a matter of fact. So, we're here in Florida.

I'm here in Jacksonville right now, where we've just opened ten offices across the state of Florida, and we're going to play to win in the state of Florida, 99 delegates up for grabs here. Marco Rubio not likely to win, and so, we're inviting Floridians to come join the Cruz crew, join with Senator Cruz's campaign and let's put Senator Cruz on the track to be the alternative to Donald Trump and ultimately prevail against him.

BERMAN: You're upsetting a lot of Marco Rubio supporters and those in the Never Trump movement, who say that Cruz playing in Florida only hurts Marco Rubio, and if you want to stop Donald Trump, you should let Marco Rubio win Florida.

[23:55:05] I wonder if I get your reaction to that.

Also, you know, do you agree -- I know you don't agree with Donald Trump on much, but do you agree with Donald Trump tonight that Marco Rubio should drop out?

NEHRING: Well, Senator Cruz made clear several days ago, following his strong performance on Super Tuesday, that now is the time to consider their position, those candidates without a pathway to the nomination, John Kasich and Marco Rubio among them, that they should consider what they do going forward and we should unite the conservative movement, the Republican party -- by the way, big victory today in winning the CPAC straw poll -- I think that was important indicator of where the conservative movement, the conservative base is going -- and let's unite the Republican Party. Let's nominate Ted Cruz as our candidate going forward.

And as for the state of Florida, here in Florida, we are playing to win. We're not playing to deny anybody anything. The way that you win the nomination is by competing hard, working hard, talking to the voters, listening to their concern, engaging them and asking them for their support.

That's exactly what Senator Cruz is doing, and we're on offense. We're expanding the playing field by coming in here into Florida. We see that there's a wonderful opportunity here because they're -- look at this: in the state of Texas, Ted Cruz won by 17 points. And here in Florida, Marco Rubio's down by 16. That's a 33-point differential.

It means that Marco Rubio is not on track to win his state of Florida, but most Floridians don't want Trump to be the nominee. So, this gives us an opportunity -- it gives Senator Cruz the opportunity to come in and be that alternative to Donald Trump and prevail and take those 99 delegates and move that much closer to the nomination.

BERMAN: Ron Nehring, I think the fact that you are speaking to us from Jacksonville, Florida, says it all tonight. We get the message you're trying --

BOLDUAN: Speaks volumes.

BERMAN: Thanks so much, Ron.

NEHRING: Thank you.

BOLDUAN: Thank you so much.

A lot more to come, a lot more analysis, a lot to discuss on this Super Saturday. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)