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AT THIS HOUR WITH BERMAN AND MICHAELA

Make-or-Break Super Tuesday Voting Under Way. Aired 11:30-12p ET

Aired March 15, 2016 - 11:30   ET

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


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[11:33:28] KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: And they're off. Voters in the five states, Florida, Illinois, Missouri, North Carolina and Ohio, heading to the polls as we speak on Super Tuesday, part three.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Let go to Florida. CNN's Boris Sanchez is in Florida where folks are voting.

Boris, you've seen signs of what we call strategic voting.

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right. I've spoken to several voters here who are not exactly sure which direction they're going to go in. There are several Trump supporters. This is central Florida, an area that is a Trump stronghold.

I spoke to at least one voter this morning who told me she's a Kasich supporter who is instead voting for Marco Rubio. She says Trump is not presidential and should not be the Republican nominee. Here's what she said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

FLORIDA VOTER: I don't think he's presidential. I think he's a bully. I think he's running with his wallet. We live in a celebrity crazed country. We're looking at a governance by sound bite. It's a scary thing. I'm not sure what I'm going to vote for at the end of the day in the next round, but I know it's not going to be Donald Trump.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SANCHEZ: Voters have been evenly split that we've spoken to between Trump and Rubio. That's probably a good sign for Rubio since it's a Trump stronghold. We're only seen a trickle of voters this morning. It's relatively empty now. So much early voting has gone on. About 40 percent of voters here in Winter Park have already cast their ballots. We'll see who they voted for later tonight.

BERMAN: Boris Sanchez for us in Winter Park, Florida. Thank you, Boris.

[11:35:05] BOLDUAN: Here with us with more on the voter in Florida and Ohio, let's bring in Rosemary O'Hara, editorial page editor for the Florida "Sun Sentinel"; and from Ohio, Jeremy Pelzer, political reporter for the "Cleveland Plain Dealer." It's great to see both of you.

Rosemary, let's talk about what is going to happen and what is happening in Florida. Your editorial page made to disappointment in Senator Marco Rubio. There's no love loss between your editorial page and the Senator. What do you think his political future looks like tomorrow if he loses Florida, though his campaign is running hard to try to close that gap?

ROSEMARY O'HARA, EDITORIAL PAGE EDITOR, SUN SENTINEL: Well, there's quite a buzz in Florida. Voters are engaged unlike we've seen in a long time. Almost a quarter of people have voted statewide. But there's a belief that it's going to take a miracle for Senator Rubio not to become the first nominee to lose his home state. Almost 1.1 million Republicans already have voted in Florida. Those voted before Jeb Bush dropped out. So I expect we're going to see a good number still show up for Jeb Bush. But about 40 percent of the Republicans in 2012. So the super visors of election here believe that the energy is being created by Donald Trump, by people who want something different out of Washington.

BERMAN: But if he doesn't win, Rosemary, Rubio, what next for him? Do you think he has a political future in Florida?

O'HARA: You know, it's hard to see a path forward for him. He's just been so focused on today and on the race that he won't talk about two years from now or four years from now. In two years, Florida has a governor election, and there's already a line that's been formed for who is seen as the front runner in the GOP nomination for Florida's governor, and that person has already secured the support, because they've been on the ground here. They've been working for Florida. He's been working for Florida every day, and Marco has not been on the ground. He has lost the support of a good number of people in the political establishment here. So the governorship seems like the most likely place for him to go next, but I think he would have a hard time finding the support statewide he would need to win.

BOLDUAN: Let's take a look at Ohio now. Take us there, Jeremy. Governor John Kasich spoke to reporters a short time ago was asked about a new Trump ad out that uses women reading Trump's words. Listen to what John Kasich said about it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHN KASICH, (R), OHIO GOVERNOR & PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: A commercial, I guess, it was last night, of these comments that were made about women. I have two daughters. They see this stuff. What do you think they think? I'll have more to say about that, but that's going to be not designed to be negative as much as it is to point out things that I've seen that are deeply disturbing in this process.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BOLDUAN: Governor Kasich says he's going to have more to say about that. What do you think that means and what do you think that means for Ohio? JEREMY PELZER, POLITICAL REPORTER, CLEVELAND PLAIN DEALER: It's

really interesting, because a few months ago this was a state that John Kasich had locked up. But now it's become really a referendum on Trump, and it really says something about John Kasich being neck and neck with someone who's come in and kind of usurped what a lot of people thought was a foregone conclusion.

BERMAN: He did seem to foreshadow, if Kasich wins Ohio, he's staying in the race. Up until now, he hasn't taken on Donald Trump that directly. He foreshadowed maybe he will. Maybe he's going to take a firmer stand on Donald Trump. Based on what you've seen of him, covering him, do you think that's possible, and what will that look like?

PELZER: Well, until now John Kasich has been sort of a happy warrior, and it's almost painted him in a corner a little bit, because he's not been able to take the gloves off while he's had this really nice guy image. I think if he becomes the establishment candidate if Rubio isn't able to survive much longer, you might see the gloves come off a little bit more. That John Kasich is not afraid to take the gloves off at his political opponents.

[11:39:542 BOLDUAN: We'll see if it happens.

Rosemary, Jeremy, thank you both so much. Let's me what happens tonight first.

Voters are lining up across five states. Coming up, we'll be live in North Carolina and Illinois to see what the state of voting looks like today. We'll be right back.

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BERMAN: All right. We are back with you. Voting taking place in five key states. Florida and Ohio getting a lot of attention, but there are three other big prizes, Missouri, Illinois and North Carolina.

BOLDUAN: Ryan Young is in Chicago, Illinois.

But first, let's get to Polo Sandoval in Charlotte, North Carolina, with a look at what voters are saying there.

What are you hearing, Polo?

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, guys, don't forget North Carolina. Many people expect a Trump, Clinton wins by later today, but ultimately the voters will have to decide. They have been turning out today. We've seen at least 300 people stop at this location. There's about 250 statewide. This is a good turnout so far as the numbers of both early and absentee voting has surpassed the primaries in 2008 and 2012. Speaking to some of the voters, there's added excitement. The primaries are typically held in May. This year, it was moved up to 2012. The voters are excited. They really are excited that they get to cast their ballot and play a bigger role in Super Tuesday as they pick each nominee -- John and Kate? [11:45:39] BERMAN: All right. Thanks so much, Polo, in North

Carolina.

BOLDUAN: Let's head to Ryan Young in Illinois, an important state for both parties. 156 delegates at stake for the Democrats and 69 delegates at stake for the Republicans.

BERMAN: Ryan Young with voters at the polls in Chicago.

Ryan, what are you seeing?

RYAN YOUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, we're just outside of Chicago, just on the lower boarder line. You can see the people who have shown up to vote informal early voting has been strong here. Over 100,000 people have voted. Each precinct is seeing a lot of people show up. In fact, 100 or more people in that precinct, and over 150 in that precinct. This is also the first time that voters can come here with their I.D. and register the day of voting. A lot of people that we've talked to told us they thought it was important to be here to vote, because, guess what, they said with everything going on in this country, they wanted to be a part of the process -- guys?

BOLDUAN: Absolutely. Ryan Young, thank you so much.

Coming up for us, John Kasich has said a win for him in Ohio would reset the race. Will Donald Trump take it from him? We're watching the polls, talking to voters, and reading the tea leaves, coming up next.

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[11:50:44] BERMAN: Big votes today in five delegate-rich states. This could be the last chance for some Republicans inclined to stop Donald Trump.

BOLDUAN: Let's talk about this with CNN's political commentator, friend of Marco Rubio, Ana Navarro; CNN political commentator and Trump supporter, Kayleigh McEnany; and Molly Ball, political writer for "The Atlantic." She is back with us.

Molly, let's start with you.

We talked about Ohio and Florida for good reason. A lot of story lines out of those winner-take-all states for Republicans. The other three states that haven't been focused on one man has. Ted Cruz. What's the strategy?

MOLLY BALL, POLITICAL WRITER, THE ATLANTIC: The strategy is to pick up delegates and take states that look like other states he's been winning. With we see him going to these states and the idea of being when other candidates aren't spending as much time in other states in North Carolina, Illinois, Missouri, that there's a chance for him to lavish more.

BERMAN: Ana Navarro, we are talking about the next candidate you may support in this race, Ted Cruz. I'm joking because Ana was a Jeb Bush supporter. Just cast a vote for Marco Rubio. Hasn't been supportive of Ted Cruz up until now. But Ana, you know see Cruz as possibly the best candidate to stop Donald Trump. How much of the --

(CROSSTALK)

ANA NAVARRO, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Which tells you how big my desperation has gotten.

BERMAN: How many people are out there like you? I guess what I'm saying is do you think, putting you in the establishment but the rest of the establishment will fall in line behind Ted Cruz.

NAVARRO: I'm perfectly OK with the label of establishment. I worked hard for a lot of years to become establishment. I think that there's basically two camps at this point. Nine months ago when things started and we had 17 candidates a lot of people had a first choice. Now we things stand where Donald Trump could be the nominee, I think most of us have come to grips with that that he could be elected the nominee. Two camps that developed are supporters and they are staunch Trump supporters. They have great enthusiasm and loyalty to their candidate.

And anti-Trump folks who, you know, are willing and will support anybody who has a feasible path to the nomination to and can beat Donald Trump. You can put me firmly in that camp. That means that, you know, somebody like me usually votes with their heart. This time I voted with my head. I voted strategic. Folks in my camp, if you are in Ohio, you should be voting for John Kasich. If you are in Florida, you should vote for Rubio. Everybody else should be voting for Ted Cruz. I think the lines are well drawn and there's a big division in the Republican Party.

BOLDUAN: Look ahead past today, Donald Trump will be in the race. Who else will be? We'll find out soon. Next week, there's more votes, more contests, and also a debate scheduled. Do you think he should show up?

KAYLEIGH MCENANY, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: If the other candidates are showing up, it is important that Donald Trump shows up. He didn't go to the one in Iowa. I don't think that turned out well. I think he will be there if it is decided they want to move forward with the debate. Today will be a great night for Donald Trump.

A new poll came out showing 53 percent of Republicans support Donald Trump. That's the highest he's ever had. All of these folks have been saying he has a 30, 40 percent ceiling, that ceiling keeps getting raised higher and higher. The poll also found 75 percent of Republicans would support him as a nominee. He's getting stronger and people are coalescing around him. Everyone is saying the establishment is trying to stop him.

BERMAN: Molly, 10 seconds left. Do you think Donald Trump will show up at the debates this week?

BALL: I have no idea. I never predict what Donald Trump will do because you never know. He has made some noise maybe we have had enough debates, maybe this isn't a good idea. If he has a clean sweep tonight, he may have an incentive not to.

[11:55:15] BERMAN: Ana, Molly, Kayleigh, thank you so much for being with us. Appreciate it.

A new ad against Donald Trump, a scathing ad, using his own words about women against him. His campaign will respond, next.

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[11:59:52] ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. I'm Ashleigh Banfield. Welcome to "Legal View."

The polls are open on the superist Super Tuesday since the original Super Tuesday two weeks ago. We have live ballot cam shots from Charlotte, North Carolina, and from St. Louis, Missouri. 691 Democratic delegates are up for grabs.