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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES

Sanders Clarifies "Ghetto" Comment; Sanders And Clinton Spar Over Auto Bailout; NRA Tweets Take Aim At Clinton; Rubio's Fight To Win Florida; Rubio Florida Newspaper Won't Endorse Any GOP Candidate; Protesters Thrown Out Of Trump Rallies; 150 GOP Delegates At Stake Tomorrow. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired March 7, 2016 - 20:00   ET

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


[20:00:00] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Thanks for joining us.

Whether it's the voting tomorrow including big contest in Michigan and Mississippi or the tightening two-way race between Ted Cruz and Donald Trump or the late news that Michael Bloomberg will not make it a three-way race in November or Bernie Sanders trying to mend fences with African-Americans after some remarks in last night's CNN debate in Flint. There is a lot going on.

We begin, though, with the Republicans with Trump in Mississippi tonight chasing a big victory there and in Michigan tomorrow and then next week of course Florida and Ohio. Both he and Ted Cruz trying to squeeze Marco Rubio out.

Senator Rubio, though, who is campaigning tonight in his home state of Florida while still trailing there appears to be closing the gap.

Sara Murray is at the site of tonight's Trump event in Madison, Mississippi. She joins us now with more on Trump and Cruz who is expected to make a late night campaign stop shortly in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Sara, amends weekend for Donald Trump, what is the message from his campaign as they head into tomorrow's primaries?

SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICS REPORTER: That's right, Anderson. I still think they feel good going into tomorrow. You saw Donald Trump campaigning here in Mississippi. Mississippi and Michigan are really the two big prizes that they are going to be looking at. And he was here tonight and he is rallying a huge crowd and saying, look, we are up in the polls. Still make sure you turn out and vote. We want to win this state. This is our top prize for tomorrow.

I think they still feel like they are in a good position because they are leading in the delegate count and they are looking ahead to a number of these states that still show them ahead in the polls. And they still feel like even if this gets down to a two-man race. They are in the solid position, Anderson.

COOPER: And Senator Cruz's campaign has obviously hoping to keep that momentum after his wins this weekend. He - I understand, he had a new events today to his schedule to try to do that? MURRAY: That's right. He added a couple new events to his schedule

today. And this is all coming after super Saturday where Ted Cruz had a great night. He came out with even more delegates than Donald Trump. And it is just really give you a sense that the Cruz campaign wants to sprint to the finish here. They feel like their momentum is on the upswing. And they don't want to leave anything on the table. They don't want to look back and say if we would only done one more event, if we had only talked to a couple more voters, we might to gotten over the hump in a place like Michigan or in a place like Mississippi. Because remember, these are still states where you can pick up a number of delegates before we get to these winner take all states.

And here in Mississippi, it was actually striking as Donald Trump was speaking, rallying the crowd here. We got a press release from the Ted Cruz campaign saying he had picked up the endorsement of the Mississippi governor Phil Bryant. So obviously, a big win for the Cruz campaign and a little bit of trolling while Donald Trump was on stage here.

COOPER: And in Florida, I mean, Trump obviously wants to win. He is leading Marco Rubio by eight points in the latest Monmouth University poll. A lot of ad wars on the air waves there right now on both sides, right?

MURRAY: That's right. Donald Trump's campaign just came out with a new ad today on television going after Marco Rubio. Their sort of first attack ad directed squarely at him. And I think what you are seeing from the Trump campaign and from the Cruz campaign is a sentiment that it's kind of looking like a two-man race between these two guys. And they want to both take this opportunity in Florida, Donald Trump especially going up on the air waves to try to knee cap Marco Rubio and get him out of the race there. Now, of course, Rubio and his allies are working hard to win the state. Rubio has promised that he will win there and his allies are sending tens of millions of dollars on the air waves. But fairly, this is a big hurdle for him and a huge test for Rubio campaign, Anderson.

COOPER: Yes. Sara Murray, thanks very much.

Now Marco Rubio who failed along with every other Republican in the race to win the endorsement of one of his home state's leading newspapers, the "Sun Sentinel." The paper instead issuing a critique of all of them.

Jason Carroll joins us now from Tampa.

So Rubio got his second win yesterday in Puerto Rico. He is focused on winning Florida. Pretty close to Trump in the latest poll. And what's the senator telling Florida voters tonight?

JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, first let me just talk about that "Sun Sentinel" article. It was really stinging. The editorial basically saying this. Rubio, no experience. He has done little but run for office. Not the thing you want to hear when addressing your rally supporters out here today. But when he started out, Anderson, here in Tampa, when he spoke to the crowd he said, look. This is all going to come down to Florida. At which the crowd erupted. They know what's at stake here. This is do or die for Rubio. This is a state that he must win if he has any hope at all of moving forward.

So what he did tonight Anderson, basically staying on message. Some of the same things we've heard before. I'm the one that can unite the party. Trump is a fraud. A vote for Kasich and a vote for Cruz is basically a vote for Trump. All this as there are increasing calls for him to drop out of this race.

COOPER: Trump started running an attack ad today against Rubio. Trump has been saying he should drop out of the race. What's Rubio's response?

CARROLL: Yes. Well, Rubio actually addressed reporters here tonight, Anderson, saying he has no intention of dropping out of this race. He is going to see it through, even though he acknowledges he is behind in the polls. You mentioned that most recent poll that came out today showing Trump at 38 percent, Rubio at 30 percent.

But still having said that, and speaking to one of his advisers tonight he tells me, look. We know we're the underdog but we also know how to win in this state. We have the database. We know where our supporters are. This is something we can do. They are confident they'll be able to squeak out a win here.

But having said that, even when I was speaking to one of the Rubio supporters here tonight who told me, look, we know we're the underdogs in this but also know there's an uphill battle in order to win Florida -- Anderson.

[20:05:26] COOPER: All right. Jason Carroll. Jason, thanks.

Now, the reason this is all getting a lot more interesting, the delegate count with Ted Cruz narrowing the gap, perhaps just for now. Perhaps all the way to the convention.

CNN chief national correspondent and "INSIDE POLITICS" anchor John King joins us now for a closer look by the numbers.

So, where are the things stand on the Republican delegate chase?

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, let's take a quick peek at what's up stake tomorrow on our second Super Tuesday. As you noted earlier, four states in all. Hawaii and Idaho just voted for the Republicans. Michigan and Mississippi for the Democrats and Republicans delegates at stake, 166 for the Democrats. Two big prices there And 150 delegates for the Republicans.

This is why this is important. Look at some of this delegate map as you go forward. Donald Trump has won 43 percent of the Republican delegates today. He needs to win 54 percent of the remaining delegates to clinch. Ted Cruz with his advance on super Saturday, 33 percent so far. He needs 60 percent. You see the hill is steeper. So far not so good and the future steeper hill for Marco Rubio and John Kasich. That number looks big for Donald Trump. But remember, after the 15th, we're in winner take all territory.

You win in Florida, you win in Ohio, you win in Illinois, you win in New York or Pennsylvania down the road and those percentages start to drop. But that's the map heading in.

Let's look quickly at the Democratic map as we go forward too. This is just pledge delegates. Hillary Clinton has won 59 percent. If she keeps that consistency going out. She will clinch the nomination with just pledge delegates. A steeper hill for Bernie Sanders. But remember to that Clinton map, it is really closer to 43 percent because she has a bunch of super delegates in her back pocket. But if she wants to win it with the pledge delegates to avoid the screening of the Sanders campaign, she has just to keep doing what she's doing.

Now let's bring it over the map as we look. Here's where we are today. And this is what is so striking after the weekend. Ted Cruz, 87 delegates behind Donald Trump. That's an advance that has him saying as you just discussed with Sara Murray that this is a two-man race. Rubio down here at 149 thanks to Puerto Rico's delegates. He needs to do something to change the map. So let's look at it.

This is tomorrow. If you bring in all the states. If Donald Trump sweeps, of course they will say scare over. We are back in business and they will start to stretch out the delegate. That's why let's watch Michigan. See who wins. Trump's favored in the polls. Watch Mississippi. Could be built for Ted Cruz. But again, Trump is favored there. If Cruz can pull off an upset in Mississippi and come close in Michigan, could change the delegate map. But tomorrow is critical to Donald Trump to say every candidate hits some speed bumps, we are OK.

Quickly. Let's look ahead to March 15th. In this scenario, Kasich wins at home and Rubio wins at home. Even if that's all they get and if Trump solidifies tomorrow, Anderson, he begins to re-seize his momentum in the race. So it's critically important tomorrow and then on the 15th that even if they get Trump, even if they never Trump or the anti-Trump guys can take Florida and take Ohio, if they really want to slow him down they have to do more than that which is why we have to go state by state and watch this over the next few days. Watch the TV ad spending. Watch the decisions made by the campaigns.

Quickly, to the Democrats here. Here's what we are in the state of play. In pledge delegates, remember, she's got nearly 500 super delegates in her back pocket. But in pledge delegates, Hillary Clinton now ahead by 200 delegates. This, tomorrow, I know it is early in the race, but tomorrow is critical for Bernie Sanders.

But Hillary Clinton can win again in the south with African-American voters. Look at that line. That would be from South Carolina all the way over to Texas. And then if she wins big in the first Midwest industrial battleground and wins Michigan, her message to Bernie Sanders is going to be stay in the race as long as you want, but I'm winning African-Americans here. I'm winning in the economic states, the industrial Midwest states here. So this is very critical to Bernie Sanders. If he can do this, we have a different Democratic race. If this one is for Hillary Clinton tomorrow night, Anderson, not only the map, but the moral argument for Bernie Sanders gets a lot more difficult.

COOPER: Fascination.

John, I want to bring in the rest of the panel. Chief political analyst Gloria Borger, along with CNN political commentators Ryan Lizza, Ana Navarro, Kevin Madden, Donna Brazile and Jeffrey Lord. Ryan is Washington correspondent for "New Yorker" magazine. Ana is a GOP strategist, so is Kevin. Donna is a senior Democratic Party official. Jeffrey is a Trump supporter and former Reagan White House political director. Tomorrow night, how important is it? What are we going to know tomorrow night that we don't know right now?

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I think to what John was talking about, look at the state of Mississippi. If Ted Cruz really wants to start solidifying his lead, Mississippi is a real target of opportunity for him. Mississippi is a place that Rick Santorum won 83 percent evangelical voters, and he should be able to do well there.

The problem for him is that Trump steals his evangelical voters. They split them. And also there's a lot of blue collar working class people that Trump does very well with. It's kind of a test, I think, of Cruz's strength. He has been very well organized in the south. Michigan, another important state to watch. Michigan got a lot of catholic voters, blue collar. That should be good for John Kasich and it sort of shows you how well he might be able to do in the other Midwestern states, including his home state.

[20:10:07] COOPER: Ryan, though, I mean, it just that we are looking two scenarios. Either Trump pulls away and get the delegates or this goes to convention. Those seem to be the only two options.

RYAN LIZZA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: We are all rooting for the convention scenario. Look. I think --

(INAUDIBLE)

LIZZA: A lot of fun to cover. So, we are at a tipping point in the race. But this is the calendar that was designed for this to be the moment for the voting on the 15th to be the moment when the Republicans pick their nominee, right? In 2012, it was -- the process went on a little too long. Reince Priebus, the Republican national committee designed this calendar to be put away by the 15th. So, whoops. Doesn't look like so.

Cruz has had everyone sort of take a deep breath and say, wait a second. This isn't over yet. But he needs to solidify that momentum going into the next two -- into the next two Tuesdays or Trump is going to win this.

COOPER: John, do we know anything about - I mean, we have seen in Nevada, those who are voting earlier, voting for Trump benefited Rubio. Does that still hold, or are late-breaking people kind of going for Cruz? And do we have a sense yet of, you know, these ads which are now running in Florida against Trump, you know, veterans speaking out, others speaking out. Do we know any impact of it? KING: Well, Florida -- getting a little ahead of ourselves, because

we know tomorrow first. But Florida is the largest, the most interesting ten media markets, the most complex and the hardest state to win. So that will be a fascinating race. And it is Rubio's last stand. He either has to win that state or he is gone from the race. There is no argument if he doesn't win his home state.

That's going to be a total slugfest. And the reason Ted Cruz is going in there so aggressively in addition to Donald Trump is he knows if Rubio wins, then we have got total chaos and Rubio has a chance again. They will still be mathematically in the ditch but he'll have a chance and the establishment will rally to Ted. So Ted Cruz is trying to make sure even if Trump wins, Cruz would like to win, but Cruz would prefer Trump wins Florida to Rubio and that hope to get him down the line. The math for everybody gets nuts.

So I would say this is chaotic. It is unpredictable. It is unprecedented that we are in this great drama. So chapters four, five and six, I would say let them wait. Let's stay in chapter three which is number one tomorrow. Yes, there's evidence in some new polling in the last couple of days of the poll, Trump is not as strong. If you look at the margins in Kentucky and Louisiana -- I'm sorry, Louisiana, Cruz definitely close at the end. There is no question about this.

So there are some signs that a weakness of Trump. Let's see what happens tomorrow. Every candidate falls down. Barack Obama fell down. Bill Clinton fell down. George W. Bush fell down. Ronald Reagan had some stumbles. Every candidate has a stumble. Let's see if he can recover.

COOPER: Do you think there will a stumble? I mean, people have been predicting a Trump stumble for, I can't even remember how long.

ANA NAVARRO, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: And I have been predicting it and I have been so wrong that I'm not going to now predict a stumble and hope that he does stumble.

I think what happened before the next immediate race really has an effect on what happens in the next immediate race. In other words, I think Saturday's results are going to have an effect on tomorrow's results. I think our debate on Thursday will have an effect on the Tuesday race in Florida and Ohio.

You know, I think people are really paying attention. And it's not holding -- some of the numbers are not holding. In Florida, for example, something like 19, 20 percent of Republicans have already voted. We love absentee voting in Florida. We love early voting. And Rubio is leading Trump by 20 points in the early vote, the absentee ballot vote in Florida. Because as I told you last week, In Florida, for all the reasons that John just said, organization really matters. I am a Florida super voter. Only candidate, only campaign that has contacted me is Marco Rubio.

COOPER: And Kevin, I mean, if she raises an interesting point about Donald Trump's organization. I mean, he watches television to get a lot of opinions. He -- to get poll numbers and stuff. They don't even - I was reading today, they don't employ a pollster.

KEVIN MADDEN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes. A lot of his organization has been dependent upon creating this enormous buzz, winning the media, blocking out so much of the other media opportunities for the other campaigns. Therefore, he becomes the story. He seems to be the only candidate that is talking to voters. And he has, of course, brought about a great deal of enthusiasm for a lot of voters that may have not voted in Republican primaries before to come out and support him.

I think the big question for tomorrow night is, did the cavalry show up on time. Were they here just in time to slow the momentum of Donald Trump toward an inevitable March toward 1,237 delegates, or has this concentrated firepower of outside organizations and all the other campaigns tis turning their sights on Donald Trump finally slowed him down to point where plan B which is to get to a contested convention looks more likely.

NAVARRO: Michigan will vote tomorrow and Idaho votes tomorrow. Both are places where Mitt Romney had a lot of influence.

COOPER: We're going to take a --

NAVARRO: Do you think Mitt Romney's speech had an effect?

COOPER: Why don't you answer that after the break?

We'll have more from Donna, also Jeffrey Lord. We're going to take a quick break.

We will have more on the Democratic side, Senator Sanders speaking right now in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

And later, why the rally and cry at so many Trump rallies seems to be, get him out of here. We will look at the protesters getting booted, the people doing the booting and the candidate who seems to revel in it all.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[20:14:08] COOPER: Big night after a big day out on the campaign trail. Donald Trump, Marco Rubio, Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Ted Cruz all holding events tonight in advance of tomorrow's voting. Michael Bloomberg announcing he is not running slamming Donald Trump for running in his words quote, "the divisive and demagogic presidential campaign, I can remember."

We are talking it all tonight with our panel.

Donna Brazile, I mean, were you surprised that Bloomberg didn't enter the race?

DONNA BRAZILE, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: No. I mean, given the amount of time, the kind of organization you need and also the fact that look, this race is in somewhat of a chaotic period. On the Republican side as you all know, they are caught between a rock and a hard place. And if Mr. Rubio or Mr. Cruz are out then they have the hard place of trying to stop a candidate who clearly still has a lot of ground support, although he hasn't have a ground organization.

But Michael Bloomberg, I believe, made the smart decision not to throw his hat in the ring at a time when there's probably a couple of hats that need to come out of the race.

[20:20:07] COOPER: Jeffrey Lord, in Florida, you know, I mean, a week is a long time in politics. Rubio is right now last poll shows eight points behind. Are you concerned at all about Trump given the ads now being put out on television there?

JEFFREY LORD, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: No, no, I'm not. You know, I honestly don't think these kind of ads hurt Donald Trump. I mean, I think he said, we talked about this, I think he is such a familiar figure of American culture that if you are going to be anti-Trump, you aren't going to be persuaded, you know, to be anything else other than, you know, I mean by these ads. If you are pro-Trump, you aren't budging. I don't think so.

You know, there's one thing I would say, Anderson. And this just popped a little a few minutes ago. I just can't imagine this. It's a story "the Huffington Post" and the headline says secretive meeting, tech CEOs and top Republicans commiserate plot to stop Trump. It is a long article. It involves Karl Rove, members of the house, Senate, Mitch McConnell, Paul Ryan. I can only tell you this kind of thing will really fuel, you know, the Trump campaign if that gets put out there and widespread. This is exactly the kind of thing people think is going on. And here is apparently a documented report that happened in early March, you know. Not a good thing if you are trying to stop Trump.

COOPER: John, I mean, this latest Monmouth university poll shows Trump with a big lead in Michigan. How important would a win for him in Michigan be?

KING: For a number of reasons, it would be huge, to borrow his favorite word. But one of his favorite words in the sense that number one, he is coming out of a tough weekend where he did win two of the four states. But you know, Ted Cruz clearly put himself back into the chase here and sent a message.

So if Trump can win - number one, if he go in Mississippi and Michigan, he is saying, senator, beat you again in the south. I beat you again with evangelicals and I beat you in Michigan. Michigan is important because, number one, it's the biggest prize. Number two, you are in a different part of the country. You are in a state that if Donald Trump can win convincingly in the Republican primary there, he is also sending a message to Democrats. He is sending message to Republicans. I'm OK. I'm back in the game. I have my momentum back. He is sending a message to Democrats that if I'm a nominee, I'm going to change the map. Republicans don't compete in the state anymore. I'm going to compete in Michigan, I'm going to compete in Illinois, I'm going to compete in Pennsylvania, and you are going to have a very different general election. COOPER: But Ryan, it is interesting because Ted Cruz, when I was

listening to him talk today. He clearly wants to get Rubio out of the race. He clearly is not on board with this idea of everybody winning a little something and just seeing what happens at the convention.

LIZZA: That's right. The Mitt Romney strategy.

COOPER: Right.

LIZZA: Look. This is Cruz's moment. Tomorrow is the moment for Cruz to solidify the victories and sort of delegate surge that he got this weekend. Or Trump is going to run away with this thing, right. You have to stop Trump now before you get into the winner take-all states, the big states like Ohio and Florida on March 15th. This is the tipping point of the race.

COOPER: The thing is if it does boil down to Cruz and Trump, I mean, the question is how viable is Cruz in states where evangelicals are not a big proportion of the electorate.

BORGER: Right. Well, for example, in Michigan, which is coming right up tomorrow, in Michigan you have about a 40 percent evangelical voter base. And Santorum came in a close second. Mitt Romney was supposed to run away with Michigan. He didn't. He won. But there was a lot of support for Santorum there largely, not only because of the evangelicals, but the populist message plays really well in the industrial Midwest. And that's Trump's message right now.

I think on election night, on Saturday, we saw Cruz take a turn to a more populist message. He was talking about middle class, you know, you haven't had a raise, et cetera, et cetera. I think we're going to hear more of that from Cruz as he heads into the --

COOPER: We've got to -- we'll have plenty more with our panel. Plenty more to talk about tonight. A big day tomorrow. The second big Tuesday of the primary campaign. Remember when there used to just be one big Tuesday, Super Tuesday? There's like three of them now.

Our special coverage with voting result begins at 7:00 p.m. eastern time. I hope you will join us for that.

Still to come, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders spar in Michigan ahead of that states vote. Something Bernie Sanders said about ghettos in our CNN debate last night drawing a bit of heat for him. What he said today to clarify, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[20:28:07] COOPER: A day before Democrats head to the Michigan primary, Bernie Sanders is clarifying something he said in the debate last night that drew some criticism. Don Lemons asked them about their racial blind spots if they have any. Here's what Sanders said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: When you're white, you don't know what it's like to be living in a ghetto. You don't know what it's like to be poor. You don't know what it's like to be hassled when you walk down the street or you get dragged out of a car. And I believe that as a nation in the year 2016. We must be firm in making it clear. We will end institutional racism and reform a broken criminal justice system.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Well, some viewers jumped to the implication that only African-Americans live in poverty. And today, Sanders is clarifying what he meant.

CNN senior Washington correspondent Jeff Zeleny joins me now from Detroit with the latest.

So, some controversial words there from Sanders last night. Got a lot of attention. What did he say today to push back?

JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, he sought to clarify his remark a little bit. His aides said, look, Bernie Sanders is not racist. He meant nothing by this. One aide told me that this is a product of his generation. He is 74-years-old. He is from Brooklyn. He was using that term ghetto, and it was not meant to be offensive. But he sought to explain it today when asked by reporters. Let's listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SANDERS: What I meant to say is when you talk about ghetto traditionally what you are talking about is African-American communities. There's nobody on this campaign, occasionally you might want to write about it or mention it. Nobody on this campaign has talked about poverty whether it's in the white community, the black community, or Latino community, more than I have.

We have 47 million people living in poverty in America. And in the wealthiest country in the history of the world, that's a disgrace. Absolutely. I have talked about that issue more than anybody else.

[20:30:01] What I meant by that is I think many white people are not aware of the kinds of pressures and the kind of police oppression that sometimes takes place within the African-American community.

So you have in the African-American communities, you have police officers abusing people. And that is the point that I tried to make. But I don't want to be lectured about talking about poverty whether it's white, black or Latino. Nobody in this campaign has talked about it more and nobody in this campaign cycle who has proposed more specific ideas on how to address poverty.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

JEFF ZELENZY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Now interesting he says he doesn't want to be lectured about talking about poverty. And he does talk about poverty more than most other presidential candidates we cover out here. But still regardless of that, not exactly an artful way to explain this, Anderson.

ANDERSON COOPER, AC360 HOST: And Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, they also got near over the debate -- or rather debate over the auto bailout. How has that played out today?

ZELENY: Anderson, this has been an aggressive point of discussion throughout the day. Before sun-up here there was a radio ad cut from the debate last night of the Clinton campaign just continuing the argument here about how Senator Sanders was against the auto bailout.

And now it's a little more complicated than that. He supported one version of it in the Senate and then in a broader version of a bill that included some bank bailouts, he did not support it. So a little Senate nuance here injected into this presidential campaign. But take a listen to how their back and forth went on this issue.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HILLARY CLINTON, (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I voted to save the auto industry. He voted against the money that ended up saving the auto industry. I think that is a pretty big difference.

SANDERS: Well, I -- if you are talking about the Wall Street bailout, where some of your friends destroyed this economy ...

CLINTON: You know ...

SANDERS: ... through, excuse me. I'm talking.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZELENY: And just a short time ago, the Sanders campaign is releasing a radio ad of its own calling this dishonest politics. But, Anderson a full day has played out here. And the Clinton campaign has been driving this issue here and certainly a big issue here in Michigan.

COOPER: Well, another big argument they had was about guns last night based on a question that we asked. The NRA, I understand expressed their support for a position Sanders took during the debate when it comes to gun manufacturers being held liable for the products they sell.

ZELENY: They did, Anderson, a bit unusual for the NRA to be weighing in on the Democratic side of this presidential debate. But they tweeted their support for Senator Sanders' position that gun manufacturers shouldn't be liable. Let's look at one of these tweets that said, Senator Sanders was spot on in his comments about gun manufacturers' liability. And then they followed that up by saying, now, the point is they are equally bad on guns. But even Bernie Sanders knows that Hillary Clinton is lying about the liability issue here.

So this is a central issue that the Clinton campaign has been pushing the difference between Senator Sanders and her on guns. Now they certainly agree more than Republicans would agree with Democrats, you know, they're largely together, but Senator Sanders says, look, he does not believe that gun manufacturers should be held liable here.

So, guns is a big issue to women voters, a big issue for suburban and urban voters as well here. So all in all, Senator Sanders was back on his heels a little bit on the eve of this Michigan primary. Anderson?

COOPER: That's Jeff Zeleny. Jeff, thanks very much.

Back with the panel, also joining the conversation is CNN political commentator and former Obama administration official Van Jones. Van, since you are just joining us, what do you think of Sanders' comments about the ghetto last night?

VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: You want to know why people don't want to talk about race? That's why. Because it doesn't matter. You make one little wrong move and your whole history may not matter that much.

I think he's of that generation where that word does not mean the same thing it means to my generation. You would never say in my generation ghetto unless you are a rapper. It's not the right word.

But, look, here's reality. I think that you got a guy who got arrested in the civil rights movement, you stuck up for reverend Jesse Jackson '84, '88, his track record is strong. He stepped on a banana peel. If there is a mistake that he made, he does tend to conflate in his mind race and poverty. You heard him say.

COOPER: Right.

JONES: Well don't lecture me about poverty. Well we didn't ask you about poverty. We asked you about race. There are middle class African Americans like myself and like others who have experience of racial discrimination. He doesn't talk about that.

So because he does do that conflation, a race and poverty almost every time, he's getting himself into trouble, that happened, but charge it to his head, not his heart, there's no doubt this guy cares about these issues.

COOPER: But certainly, Donna, for a candidate who needs to do better with African-American voters, this is the last thing he really need to have happen.

DONNA BRAZILE, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: And -- I agree with 100 percent of what Van just talked about in terms of, you know, referring to the ghetto. We don't do that no more, I'm sorry, unless you listen to Donny Hathaway as I do, and it's a wonderful soundtrack.

But -- and by the way there are poor whites in this country.

COOPER: Right.

[20:35:00] BRAZILE: And often they are ignored and overlooked because white people aren't comfortable about talking about what's happening with poor whites. Anderson, you visited the Ninth Ward, as well you know, amount of the Ninth Ward of St. Bernard Parish, wiped out and nobody focused on that because nobody want to focus on white people living in a trailer being inflict this weekend, white people living in trail.

So talk about class, talk about race but understand the nuances and -- this is about hope and opportunity. And too many of our fellow citizens be it black or white or live on and Hispanic or others, they on the outskirts of hope. And unless you're able to talk about that in a broad sense, then it sounds like you're back stuck in that 1960 mind-set where you're penciling out this one and that one. I agree with that it's, you know, this is a error of a head, not the heart.

COOPER: And certainly, I mean, Gloria, Sanders' supporters will see this as basically the Clinton campaign trying to push any issue forward on this day to kind of continue this conversation because any of this conversation hurts Sanders.

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Well particularly on the issue of the bailout, you know, the Detroit bailout. I mean, I didn't know where that came from when I was listening to the debate last night I was watching out, what? Bernie Sanders voted -- and they're smart. They put it in their back pocket because it was part of a larger bill that he opposed which was a bail out for Wall Street.

And they were ready to pounce in Michigan ...

COOPER: Right.

BORGER: ... on Detroit. That's a good campaign. Its cherry picking and the Sanders campaign would say it's deceitful, it's very nuanced, it's very complicated.

JOHN KING, CNN HOST: When you say things to ...

BORGER: But it was smart.

KING: ... the Sanders campaign again, they're mad. She took what he said and made a radio ad right away.

BORGER: Right.

KING: OK, if she said something that they could take -- make a radio ad right away, by the way that distorts your own words. If you distort his words, they have a right to be mad. If they're using his words and those are his words, I agree with these guys and they are much more qualified than I speak of it. Is not a question to Sanders commitment, he's from Vermont.

BORGER: Absolutely.

KING: He doesn't have the history. So he doesn't have the history in his community so his language sometimes is wrong, it doesn't mean it doesn't commit but the timing it bad, the timing bad there's an -- there are African-American voters in Mississippi tomorrow. African, he needs to prove himself in the industrial Midwest tomorrow African- American voters and that state is one the timing is not good. COOPER: And we should also point out the Sanders campaign has been playing tough against the Clinton campaign. You know, he tweeted out pictures of burned out houses in Detroit and said, this is what Hillary Clinton's trade policies have done essentially.

RYAN LIZZA, THE NEW YORKER, WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Well, two things. One on his sort of slip-up there, it overshadows this man was talking about a lot of work that Bernie Sanders has done to try and reach into the African-American community. I had a prominent Democrat I was talking to today say, with all count its Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders are talking about institutional racism.

KING: Yeah.

LIZZA: Talking about issues important to African Americans in this campaign in a way that this person was arguing has not been done, even in the Hillary-Obama race of 2008. And that's how far both candidates have moved and, you know, the other dynamic in this race. If Hillary Clinton wins, she will win because of the African-American vote. And this race has proved that the African --the importance of the African- American vote to the Democrats more than any primary we've seen.

JONES: And I --we've talked about this before. I think it's a very good thing. I think you have to give credit to some of those young people in the Black Lives Matter movement which, you know, people have gees that' such a shocking statement to make and it's become controversial.

But the pain they were pointing to and start feeling like we are being picked on. We don't get treated the same way by police. We want our lives to matter. That has landed in the Democratic Party, you know, and so you have both candidates taking those concerns seriously.

Do they get the policy right every time and words right every time, that's lesson for us.

COOPER: We're got to more with our panel in just a moment.

Be sure to tune in when Clinton and Sanders face off on the debate stage once again this week, the CNN will air the Univision Democratic debate live from Miami, Wednesday at 9:00 p.m. eastern. Much more ahead tonight.

Marco Rubio, campaigning hard tonight in his home state, he's trailing in the polls but only by about 8 percentage points, Florida votes in eight days, can he close that gap?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[20:42:44] COOPER: The Florida's primary now just eight days away. A key race in any presidential election. A must-win, of course, if it's your home state. Marco Rubio campaigning hard. He's at a rally tonight, his second today. As we said, he is still trailing in the polls.

And beyond the "Sun Sentinel," one of Florida's leading papers, doesn't see him as a favorite son. Here's what its editorial board writes, "Because Rubio has failed to do his job as a Senator, broken the promises he made to Floridians and backed away from his lone signature piece of legislation on immigration, we cannot endorse him for president." The paper which decided not to endorse any of the Republican candidates was equally harsh about the rest of the GOP field. A lot to discuss.

Back with our panel. Ana, what do you make of Rubio's chances in Florida?

ANA NAVARRO, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: You know, I would not underestimate him. I think that what his campaign is saying is true.

First of all, let me just say that I think, you know, Marco is in through Florida absolutely 100 percent. It'd be ridiculous for him to ...

COOPER: Right. There was an earlier report saying he was -- the campaign has pushed back hard on that and said, that's absolutely punk (ph) there's no evidence of that.

NAVARRO: And Marco sent me a text message not too long ago saying that not only is that not true but the opposite is true. He is absolutely committed to Florida. I'd be absurd ...

COOPER: It wouldn't make any sense ...

NAVARRO: Yeah.

COOPER: ... I mean, as far as I'm concerned for him -- I mean, he's come this far, to not carry it through in Florida.

NAVARRO: And as, you know -- look, I think everybody understands that it's for all the marbles. I think he's going to lay it all there. He's not going to -- you know, he's not in Ohio. He's not in other places. He is sticking to Florida like if it was a statewide campaign, not a national campaign. He is very able. He's got very good people in Florida. They know ground operation in Florida. In Florida, the get out the vote effort is incredibly important.

I don't think it's a coincidence that Donald Trump who, yes, we all know is very, very rich but is also very, very cheap in actually spending money in Florida against Marco Rubio.

You take out Marco Rubio in Florida, and that's also why Ted Cruz ...

COOPER: Right.

NAVARRO: ... is playing in Florida. You've knocked him out. But Marco Rubio is not going to be ...

KEVIN MADDEN, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: I think it's great that -- his campaigns get too cute with playing the expectations game. I think it's great that they are embracing these expectations.

Now, a lot of that is out of necessity. But it has an incredibly motivating effect, not only on the candidate. I think he's -- Marco Rubio's message has become so crystallized in the last few days.

[20:45:00] But it also has an incredible motivating effect on so many in their supporters and it will have effect on the ground in Florida. And it is a state that he has to win.

BRAZILE: Florida has disappointed so many people in the past, you know. I'm ...

MADDEN: From example.

BRAZILE: Their disappointment in Florida. But, you know what.

NAVARRO: Darling, let's just remember your going there in three days. So be nice to us. And its 80 degrees

BRAZILE: And as you can tell on new detainee.

But, if you go from that stretch, from Leon County to Duval County and down to that for, I know all over about organize in Florida. Donald Trump will probably do very, very well in what I called the "Upper Region of Florida".

Marco Rubio has to get that I-4 corridor from Orlando down to Miami. He has to maximize his support in order to win. Ted Cruz, on the other hand, I am sure, going to make a play in the upper region again going back to Leon County. You know, all of those counties.

This is going to be a very interesting race. Donald Trump comes into every contest ahead and then he slips the day of. And that's because he has no organization to get his people out.

NAVARRO: I fully expect Ted Cruz to be in Florida a lot in the next week. You know, I'll suspect he's going to be ordering picardie (ph) and pulling out every Cuban word he knows from his arsenal. There's a lot of Cuban-American voters. It's going to be very important for Marco. And he's going to be reminding all of those two Cuban- Americans in this race.

COOPER: Jeffrey Lord, I mean, as a Trump supporter, do you -- don't you wish your candidate had more of an organization?

I mean, I look, he's gotten a lot of, you know, because he does so many interviews, he's willing to show up at the opening of an envelope, you know, he gets a lot of attention, he is getting these huge crowds. But, do you wish he had more depth in an organization?

JEFFREY LORD, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: In Iowa, I do. I think he's getting a lot better at it. But I mean, I have to say, I mean, what applied to Ted Cruz in Texas and applies to Marco Rubio in Florida and John Kasich in Ohio.

If you can't win your own home state, then, you know, you've got a problem much bigger than anything that you can possibly imagine here.

So, I mean, this is a must-win for Marco Rubio, whether it's Donald Trump or Ted Cruz. I mean, he has got to win this. And if he doesn't win it, I mean, I think he's mortally wounded in a political sense, at least for this year.

COOPER: Yeah.

LIZZA: Jeff, can I just add one thing? What is Donald Trump's home state? Florida, we're talking about this.

NAVARRO: No, no, no, we're not blaming him on a Floridian. I don't think and -- and in truth, I don't think he pays -- I think he pays taxes in New York, not Florida.

LORD: I mean his home state obviously, is New York.

COOPER: Right.

LORD: He's obviously in the southeast of New York.

COOPER: New York is where his base is. We're going to pick up the conversation again shortly before it's quick programming note.

Tune in, this Thursday night for their -- oh, over here, showing up on this for the CNN Republican debate live from Miami at 8:30 p.m., eastern time.

Up next, it's become common place at Donald Trump rallies over and over. He calls for protesters to be thrown out, sometimes, mocking them along the way. Sometimes, he just says, get them out. Sometimes, the crowd pushes, taunts them.

Coming up, to get a closer look at how Trump and his supporters deal with dissent.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[20:51:49] COOPER: It's become a familiar cry at Donald Trump rallies. Get him out, Trump says it over and over again as protesters try to make their voices heard. People have been showing up to protest Trump's comments on Muslims, women, veterans, you name it. Dozens from the Black Lives Matter movement thrown out in New Orleans.

A group of local Muslims thrown out in Orlando. About 30 African- American college students ejected in Georgia. Starting they're kind of follow a familiar script. A dissenting voice speaks out. The crowd boos. The candidate encourages them and yet another Trump rally gets raucous. Gary Tuchman reports.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A Donald Trump rally about to begin in concord North Carolina. The crowd eagerly anticipating his arrival. And in the back of the room, a man wearing this t-shirt.

MICHAEL MORTOU, TRUMP RALLY PROTESTER: This man doesn't deserve to have the launch codes for nuclear weapons. He can't even control his Twitter account.

TUCHMAN: It would have been likely this protest would get booted out during this rally, but it didn't happen because he got booted out before the rally. Call it a preemptive strike against one of the increasing number of Donald Trump demonstrators. It's happening at Trump rallies with increasing frequency and often playing out quite dramatically.

DONALD TRUMP, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Yeah, get that guy out of here, police. Thank you, get him out, come on.

Get him out.

Get him out of here. Out.

Get out of here, please.

Get him out.

Out! Out, out, out.

TUCHMAN: At today's event, Trump spoke for 40 minutes and was interrupted from the beginning to the end.

TRUMP: Oh, we have a protester. We have a protester. Out, out. Bye. Go home to mommy. Go home to mommy. Tell her to tuck you in bed. Bye-bye.

TUCHMAN: The U.S. Secret Service protects Trump, but private security is increasingly evident at the rallies to keep a check an outside agitators. With local law enforcement in place to eight private security when people are kicked out. The sheriff's department here is saying this is considered a private event and the campaign has the right to do this.

What do you think of that that he wants to get people out of here who are ...

MARIA COLEMAN, TRUMP SUPPORTER: I loved his comment on towards back in the old days, when we can fight and punch them right in the news, I mean carry it out on a stretcher. That's fine with me.

TRUMP: Bye-bye. Good job, fellas.

Like to punch him in the face. I'll tell you.

TUCHMAN: Other presidential candidates have people kicked out of their rallies, too. But the Trump campaign takes it to a whole new level. And the real estate mogul who says he will, "Be a unifier as president seems to revel in egging at his supporters who boo and cheer those getting the heave-ho".

TRUMP: So, if you see somebody getting ready to throw a tomato, knock the crap out of them, would you? Seriously.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Trump is a leader. He can do what he wants.

TUCHMAN: There are many people who find it rather unlikely that Donald Trump will ever be a unifier. But in a sense he's already proven he is. At this rally and many others, he has unified the majority of people who love him against the minority of people who most avidly don't.

At this rally, we saw at least nine different groups of people kicked out during Trump's speech. An average of one every 4 1/2 minutes.

[20:55:05] KITTY RICHARDSON, TRUMP SUPPORTER: It gives sort of (inaudible) the demonstrate against him? Yeah, he need to go.

TUCHMAN: So, you think it's OK for Donald Trump to encourage people ...

RICHARDSON: Yeah, he can do anything he wants to. He's our future president.

TUCHMAN: The final rejection, during Trump's final words.

TRUMP: So I'm going to start winning again. We're going to win a lot. I love you. Go out and vote.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Gary joins us now. I mean, it seems like sometimes or often, things get tense at Trump rallies with all these disruptions. Are any steps taken to make sure it doesn't result in physical fights, because it seems like there sometimes where you see people getting pushed around?

TUCHMAN: The answer is no, Anderson. I mean, the U.S. Secret Service does a good job keeping Mr. Trump safe, keeping weapons out of the events. But there's no protocol for any of these security agencies to check fists that could be used against other rally goers.

When two of the people got kicked out today, they had a shower of boos. And in response, they both lift up their hands and gave the finger to 3,000 people in the audience.

So, you could see, it gets very emotional. It would be disturbing, Anderson, to see violence but for those of us who've been to many of Trump's rallies, it really would not be surprising. Anderson.

COOPER: All right. Gary Tuchman. Gary, thanks very much.

Up next, another hour of "360."

Republican voters in four states heading to the polls tomorrow. 150 delegates at stake. Plus the latest in the last minute tactics, Cruz gaining ground on Trump and both of them trying to push Rubio out of the race.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[21:00:06] COOPER: And welcome back. We're just hours until another big day in a primary race. It appears to be tightening in both parties. We've just seen a weekend of split decisions of the polls.