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Sanders Leading in Washington and Alaska; Sanders Wins Alaska Democratic Caucuses. Aired 5-6p ET

Aired March 26, 2016 - 17:00   ET

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


[17:00:12] JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: And we have another key race alert. Welcome back to CNN's coverage of the Western Saturday caucuses in Washington State, with 13 percent of the delegate vote in, Bernie Sanders up with 33.3 percent to Hillary Clinton's 26.4 percent. And now let's turn to the Alaska Democratic caucuses with 15 percent in. Bernie Sanders with an even wider margin of victory so far, 81.6 percent for Sanders, Hillary Clinton with 18.4 percent. This is the percentage of delegates that are going to them individual, not the popular vote in those states. We're giving the information as we get them from the states.

Let's go to Paul Vercammen who is in Anchorage, Alaska. At the site of one of these caucuses. And Paul, I know you're only in one precinct. But do you have an idea about how turnout compares this caucuses and as opposed to 2008?

PAUL VERCAMMEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We do. They are pacing ahead of 2008. They believe they are going to shatter a record. And by the way, Jake, actually they combined 14 of the most populous districts in all of Alaska, Anchorage, into West Anchorage High School, so just here alone we watched the democracy in action in quite a few precincts. Right now, they are getting ready to elect delegates, not to the national convention but to the state convention. And everybody's trying to lobby for the reasons why they want to go ahead and represent the Democratic Party here.

And by the way, you are talking about the popular vote. So, from what we understand of those five districts that we've calculated in this building alone, it was Bernie Sanders, 70 percent, and Hillary Clinton 30 percent. Repeating again, Bernie Sanders 70 percent, Hillary Clinton, 30 percent. This is East Anchorage by the way. And if you look right, up here, here's how they did it, they put people in this auditorium. Go ahead and pan up there, Chris. That is a down town Anchorage District and an over there in the distance, we had South Anchorage. So, a lot of support for Sanders in this particular room today, Jake. West Anchorage High School. And from all reports we're getting across the state, they look like they are going to break their records for a Democratic caucus in terms of turnout.

TAPPER: All right. Paul Vercammen in Anchorage, Alaska. Sixteen delegates at stake in Alaska. 101 in Washington State. That's the big prize. But tell us where the votes are coming in right now, John. Break it down for us.

JOHN KING, CNN ANCHOR: Let's go back to you just talking to Paul in Alaska. They don't give us as the data comes in, we don't see it here. But the state party did just release numbers some number when you look at the precincts. From the Aleutian Islands, in the Anchorage area, just south of it, some of them from out here in the very western part of the state. So, the sample they have released so far is representative of a decent piece of the state. And the consistency of it is that Senator Sanders is running a pretty good lead there. Again, a small delegate prize but that's the margin he wants, he wants to take most of them home. And the big prize today we're counting up to what, 14 percent now in the state of Washington, and you can put a Congressional District map over this.

Some of the delegates go statewide, for a portion statewide. About 67 of them are apportioned based on the percentage in the ten Congressional districts. Most of the districts are actually right here in the heaviest populated area because it's hard to delineate them on the map. Because they are tucked in the Seattle-Tacoma area. But if you look at the results so far as we wait for the votes there, Senator Sanders on track to get more than seven in 10. So on track maybe to get 70 or so or more of the 101. And as we look at more of the counties come in across the state, he is doing about 70 percent everywhere.

If you look at 71 out there, 71 over here. So, it's been a consistent number. What is critical is when we get this slice here to see if he holds that percentage in the more heavily populated areas where all these Congressional districts are, that will give us a sense if he is going to come away, now with 73-74 percent of the delegates. But on check if you look at it right now, remember that 74 percent essentially, then you go back here, he's beating then-Senator Obama, now President Obama, but then Senator Obama when this state was so important to him, pulling away from Hillary Clinton in the delegate chase, obviously in this context Senator Obama was pulling away, Senator Sanders is trying to catch up.

And you come back to the national map. This is why this is important. He entered the day, 304 delegates down. If he can pick up 70 something of the 100 there, that's a net gain of, you know, 50 or so delegates there. We'll see what he gets in Alaska. Hawaii is a little bit later. He could pick up, he could narrow this 304 delegate lead, this is just pledged to look at, he could narrow that by 70 or 80 delegates today depending on how well he does. And that's a good start. It won't be enough but that would be a good springboard. Then he has to come back to the Midwest and the mid-Atlantic and prove himself.

TAPPER: And that's because of course, the Democratic Party does not have winner take all contests. Everything is proportional, so a 55-45 percent victory not good enough to really catch up with Hillary Clinton who is more than 300 ahead. He really needs these landslide victories by 80 percent as we're seeing coming in from Alaska, 75 percent of the vote coming in from Washington State.

KING: He does. Just watch these two lines. And I'll give you a sense of it, if he won all three today, this is where we start the day. If Sanders -- let me come up here where we start. [17:05:09] TAPPER: We'll just note. This is earned delegates, this

are not the super delegates. Everybody calm down. These are just their earned delegates.

KING: These are just the pledge delegates, and it's 304 is the difference right now. You see the math. If Senator Sanders won them all today, 55-45 he doesn't make up that much ground.

TAPPER: Right.

KING: It's pretty simple math. He's getting more but only by ten percentage. But if he wins them all 80-20, that's different. It's not, you know, it's not huge but it's a matter of 70 or 80 delegates if he wins by the difference, that he gets a little closer. Then he will have -- not only if he wins all three today, then he can say I won five of the last six, Arizona was a big delegate prize for her. But he can still say I won five of the last six, and then win five for Wisconsin. And that will give Senator Sanders momentum. He already has money he'll raise more. It will give him momentum to say hey, I'm on a winning streak, I know it's tough math but I narrowed it. Back to the Midwest.

TAPPER: All right. So, so far John King, Bernie Sanders doing what he needs to do, Brianna Keilar and David Chalian in terms of these landslide victories that he is scoring right now, in Alaska and Washington State, 15 percent of the vote in, in Alaska, 81.6 percent. Fourteen percent of the vote in Washington State, he's at 73.8 percent -- Brianna.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. You can't deny these are huge margins, right? You look at Alaska, not a ton of delegates at stake, obviously Washington he is going to pick up quite a spread there. But the issue is what he does also moving forward from today. Right? That he would have to put together a series of wins and a series of really big wins. That's the plan though, if you talk to the Sanders campaign. That's what they think they are going to do. They're going to -- they expect have a series of wins, and then challenge Hillary Clinton in states like Wisconsin, like New York where perhaps New York where she is more favored than he is.

TAPPER: She used to be the home state senator from New York.

KEILAR: Correct. Where obviously he would need to really outperform expectations but they think that something like today where we have Western Saturday and these contests where he has these big wins that really get people fired up, then maybe he will be able to do that. It's still a very difficult lift though as you've been noting.

DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: It is. But I also think if you're sitting in the Brooklyn campaign headquarters and Hillary Clinton headquarters, you have to sort of asking, what does it tell us that she can't have -- make any kind of a stand in states like this? I mean, one Clinton aide a while back said to me well, we do well in caucus states when we have nine months to organize a caucus state like in Iowa and Nevada. We can make a stand when we have all of that time. But what is it sort of the natural appeal of Bernie Sanders to a core part of the base that she remains unable to dig into?

I think a little of that gets exposed today. Again, the math is on her side. I'm not saying that the nomination is completely threatened by her but I do think these outside victories that we're seeing that he potentially may have not only gives him momentum but I do think starts to just raise some questions about where are her deficiencies that she needs to shore up some support within the party.

TAPPER: Of course, what you'll also hear from the Clinton campaign when you ask them about this and what if she wins the nomination but, you know, she is only ahead by 100 delegates over Bernie Sanders is nobody talks about that when it comes to Barack Obama and his victory over Hillary Clinton in 2008. She almost won, came very close to winning, if things had gone differently in Michigan and Florida perhaps she would have been the nominee. But that's not how it turned out. And in any case, nobody said to Barack Obama well, or there are few people, maybe a few of those as you might remember them, as you might recall them, but very few people said hey, you know, you didn't really win outright. You didn't have a landslide victory, you just barely eked-out a victory for the Democratic nomination. He got it.

CHALIAN: That's right. He did and she clearly, again, even in the most favorable way that John just did that at the wall, if he does win them 80-20 I think the spread he did, she still is 220 pledge delegates ahead of him. Again, a larger margin of pledge delegates than Barack Obama ever had in 2008 against --

BRIANNA: Washington not Clinton Country. I mean, Bill Clinton did not do well there, he came in fourth. Something to reminders also too.

TAPPER: It's very interesting, we're going to take a very quick break. When we come back, we'll going to have more results from the Washington State Democratic caucuses, from the Alaska Democratic caucuses. Things will be getting under way in Hawaii pretty soon. Stay with us. Back after this quick break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[17:13:24] TAPPER: Welcome back. We have a key race alert with 38 percent of the vote in from the Alaska Democratic caucuses, Bernie Sanders is well ahead with 78.7 percent of the delegates, compared to Hillary Clinton's 21.3 percent. Sixteen delegates are at stake in the Alaska Democratic caucuses. Bernie Sanders with a very, very large margin of victory so far with 38 percent of the vote in.

Let's turn out to the Washington State Democratic caucuses with 14 percent of the vote in. Bernie Sanders holds another sizable lead, 73.8 percent of the delegates in, Hillary Clinton with 25.9 percent of the delegates. That's a much more delegate-rich target. 101 delegates at stake in Washington State. And Kate, looks like Bernie Sanders is having the kind of landslide victories that he really needs to be able to try to catch up with Hillary Clinton in those all- important earned delegates.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: And as you've said throughout the day, margins matter. And that's a margin that Bernie Sanders is very happy to see, and that's the kind of margin that's going to give him if the that trend continues, that is going to give him that momentum going into more key states looking ahead. One of those states is Wisconsin. That's where Bernie Sanders will be tonight. He is holding a big rally. And if you show the video, there's huge crowds gathering there right now awaiting to hear from Bernie Sanders. We're keeping an eye on that. And as soon as he comes out we'll bring that to you. Want to hear what he has to say. But looking ahead, what is this momentum? If, if, if, if, if, Bernie Sanders has this margin and that continues tonight, what does that mean for Wisconsin, Ron?

RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Not so much momentum as calendar, I mean, Bernie Sanders is heading to where probably a lot of good days for him. You know, he started off as the classic Winthrop (ph) candidate, depending almost entirely on young people and socially liberal white collar whites. He has shown the ability to compete the working class white voters, much more than other candidates like him in the past. And as a result, if you look at what's coming up now, Wisconsin, Rhode Island, Indiana, Nebraska, West Virginia, Kentucky, Oregon, Montana, South Dakota, all of those predominantly white states where he is going to be competitive.

The challenge as we've talked about all days, the biggest prizes that are still remaining are places like New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and California where he has to climb over the hurdle, he has not climbed over yet which is that she's winning over three quarters of African-American voters and in most states she's winning most Latino voters. So, there are a lot of good days out there on the calendar based on the demographic patterns we've seen which are unlikely to change at this point but he still has that big hill to climb of winning more of the diverse states, Michigan is the only truly mega state that he has won so far. And it's because on the Democratic side, all of the big states are diverse.

BOLDUAN: And except for Michigan, that what has been said is the expectation, there really hasn't been any surprises by and large when you look at the Democratic side. What does that mean going forward? Look at Wisconsin.

NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: Yes. I think Wisconsin is a great state for Bernie Sanders really active labor movement there. They tussled over these last years with Scott Walker some of these early rallies, huge rallies were in that state. So, I think he'll do well there. But again, I think as Ron has said before, some of these patterns are just set in place. We saw him try to do better among African-American voters in the south. It didn't really work. He does do well among Latino voters, particularly Latino voters under the age of 30, 40. So we'll see how that comes to bear.

BOLDUAN: I'm going to interrupt you, only for this though, let me go over to Jake. Important, important information coming in. Jake.

TAPPER: Thanks, Kate. And CNN is projecting that Bernie Sanders will win the Alaska Democratic caucuses. Bernie Sanders, the Independent senator from Vermont will have a margin of victory very sizable over Hillary Clinton and will be the winner of the Alaska Democratic caucuses -- Kate.

BOLDUAN: Jake, thanks so much. All right. Bernie Sanders winning Alaska, surprise reaction?

Nothing can downsize --

(CROSSTALK)

BROWNSTEIN: Well, he has a real constituency, the Democratic Party, he's advanced beyond that beachhead that he started. You know, the other candidates got stuck on, they never got past that basically white collar whites and young people. He has built a real constituency. The challenge is, it is not yet a majority constituency. And it doesn't, you know, at this point in the primary it's usually -- pretty deep, you can almost run a computer simulation rather than going to the states. In the past at least, they follow the patterns and unless he breaks those patterns, she still has the upper hand in the biggest prizes on the board.

HENDERSON: And I do think this is sort of coming out for the progressive wing of the Democratic Party in a way we haven't seen before. This wasn't the way 2008 was, Obama and Hillary Clinton were essentially moderate Democrats, cut from the DLC cloth. Also this I think is very different. I think the question --

BROWNSTEIN: Also millennials. Also millennials.

HENDERSON: Yes. I mean, I think the question going forward, if Bernie Sanders doesn't win, you mention that he's more like nader. I think he might be more like Jesse Jackson, just in terms of what he is able to do in this party.

[17:18:13] BAKARI SELLERS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I didn't say that his campaign would be like nader. I said that there is a fear that he would play a nader spoiler role --

HENDERSON: Right.

SELLERS: In some third party fashion or he would not endorse Hillary and his supporters would go elsewhere and go find a green party alternative. I don't think that he himself will be nader with his messaging and all the support he has to this point. But as Ron was running down all of these lists of states that Bernie Sanders will do well in, we still have to include that along the way you have Maryland, you have California, you have New York, you have Pennsylvania. You have the big ones where there is a diverse population and the reason that it's delegate rich is because that diverse population reflects the Democratic Party.

And I think that that's very important to say and there has been one upset, there has been one race outside of Michigan that shocked the Democratic conscience. And I think people overlook it and that is how well and how big Hillary Clinton outperformed all metrics in Ohio. Hillary Clinton went into Ohio in a race that was supposed to be a tossup and she won by 14 points. And I think that's a testament of how her campaign, I got in a lot of trouble for saying recalibrated, for how her campaign refocused on the message and then pivot towards Donald Trump --

(CROSSTALK)

BROWNSTEIN: You changed the race, you changed the race --

BOLDUAN: I just want to make sure everyone is aware you've used a lot of air quotes today --

Bill, your guy. Alaska. Picks up one wine. Two more to go.

BILL PRESS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: All right. Two more. And as I say, he's already one twelve states. We come back to something is going on here. I just saw today, New York Times editorial, Bernie Sanders has won more votes among millennials than Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump combined. I mean he has really touched into something. And again he is going around there saying that the Democratic Party has lost touch with its base. It's lost touch with working class Americans.

In a sense, that is what Donald Trump is telling Republicans. And I think to put down Bernie's success or to say the math is all against him or he's just going to disappear, I mean, is wrong. This guy is there to stay. He is going to have a profound impact and I think the Clinton people, everybody better start dealing with that. This is real. Call at revolution or whatever you do, he has touched on something that is going to require I think profound change in the Democratic Party or else.

BOLDUAN: Let's take a look one more time. Big crowds gathering in Madison, Wisconsin. We're standing by to hear from Bernie Sanders especially after big news of three contests that will be today. Bernie Sanders picking up a big win in what looks like still more numbers coming in a very big margin which he absolutely needed. As you see also there on the Left side of your screen, we're waiting for more results, we're watching it very closely in Washington State. Much more of our coverage of Western Saturday straight ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[17:24:58] TAPPER: And we have a key race alert. Senator Bernie Sanders CNN projects will be the winner of the Alaska Democratic caucuses with 38 percent of the delegate count in. Bernie Sanders has 78.7 percent, Hillary Clinton with 21.3 percent.

Again, CNN projecting that Independent Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders will be the victor in the contest in Alaska. Let's go over to John King at the Magic Wall.

Oh, we're going to do the results in Washington State. Okay. We're going to do Washington State. With 14 percent of the vote in, in Washington State, Bernie Sanders has 73.8 percent of the delegates there. One hundred and one delegates at stake there. Hillary Clinton with 25.9 percent. Again, we're still waiting for the population centers, in Washington State, Seattle, Tacoma, Olympia and Spokane, Washington. But in the counties that have come in, Bernie Sanders well ahead with roughly three quarters of the vote. Let's go to John King now, and talk about the votes that have come in

and where Bernie Sanders is doing so well.

KING: And remember, this is about delegates. So remember, 304 down in terms of pledged delegates to start the day. As you noted, we're waiting for the major population centers, very significant. Because the bulk of the Congressional districts in Washington state are located here in the northwestern part of the state and the delegates are allocated some statewide, some by Congressional district. So, we need to wait for those numbers. But you see 74-25. Seventy four-26.

Pretty consistent throughout the day. And if you go through these counties, 71 percent here, 71 percent here. Seventy three percent here. The vote that's in is more than seven in 10 just about everywhere. So, that doesn't mean it will come in that way here but anecdotally when have gone to our correspondents out there, those numbers do seem to be roughly coinciding. What is that mean? Hundred and one delegates at stake. This is not exact. Because we have to go by Congressional district to a portion of them. But roughly, you can look at Senator Sanders, he's going to get about 75, she's going to get about 25. That's a little rough.

TAPPER: That is plus 50 for him.

KING: That is plus 50.

TAPPER: That's big.

KING: Exactly. That's the key point. As you come out to that, to be plus 50 from there. 78-20. So, it's going to be, either he's going to get eight in 10 of the delegates, or he's going to get 75 percent or 80 percent of the delegates there. Only 16 here. Smaller delegate play. But again, that's a big margin which affects the maps. So, let's switch maps and come over to the delegates and look, here's where we started the day. We've already called Alaska, let's assign those. This is 75-25. It's possible Senator Sanders could get one more. That's 12 to four. He could get up to 13. If that comes in. So, he is starting to cut the map there. Then the question is, can he get, you know, can he get your eight in 10. You know, can you get your eight in 10 from here and here? And if he does that, well, again, she'll still say, I'm 220 up.

TAPPER: Right.

KING: She began the day 304 up. So, if he can end the day saying I'm getting closer, that gives him momentum. Yes, that's a larger lead than Barack Obama ever had over Hillary Clinton. Barack Obama went on to be president. So, the Clinton campaign can make the math case were fine.

TAPPER: Sure.

KING: Senator Sanders can make the case, I've won five of the six, I have got momentum. And Jake, it really, really, really makes you think battleground Wisconsin which is April 5th which is the springboard as everyone were talking about, then he go to New York and some of these others in the northeast and the mid-Atlantic later in the month. We'll going to have a two-week campaign essentially though and ten day campaign for Wisconsin. Bernie Sanders will have momentum coming in.

TAPPER: And let's look at Wisconsin and what happened there in 2008. Wisconsin of course a big battleground state in presidential elections, not just in the primaries but also in the general election. What happened in 2008 there?

KING: Remember, it was Obama State in 2008 which some people will say, oh, so it's a Sanders state this time. No. It was an Obama State in 2008 because you do have African-American population in Milwaukee, you have a liberal population, Wisconsin known as a liberal state if you go back to your political history. So, this is actually I think a good battleground state in the sense that Hillary Clinton tends to win where you have more diverse electorates. She does have a Democratic base, an African-America base in the Milwaukee area. But you also have a lot of white farmers and liberals, traditional populous and progressives in the state as well.

So, this shapes up, Bernie Sanders will have momentum. We know he has resources, we know Hillary Clinton wants to play in this state and the demographics would say, she would have a good state. So, I think actually you have Wisconsin as a very good battleground coming into this and again, if you look at it, he narrowly won Michigan, there were caucuses up here in Minnesota. You see she is surrounding him in pretty good shape with Ohio and Illinois wins. It's a good battleground essentially between the two of them. If Sanders can win here after winning five of the last six coming into it, that gives him good momentum. Coming into difficult terrain. But it would give him good momentum. She needs to stop him here, obviously.

[17:29:21] TAPPER: And of course the Republicans are going to have a contest and a showdown in Wisconsin as well. What happened in 2012 let's say when it came to the Republican contest?

KING: All right. You bring this out here. And this was an interesting state. Remember, this is -- this got interesting. And Romney won by seven points there but look at all the rural areas, that's not just evangelicals. There are some evangelicals up in Wisconsin but this is one Rick Santorum, as we've looked at this campaign, why are Bernie Sanders succeeding? Why does he have success? Why does Donald Trump have success? This is one Rick Santorum started to talk more about blue collar economics, talk more about trade. Trade is a big issue for both Trump and Bernie Sanders in this campaign.

And you see in some of these areas where Rick Santorum gave Mitt Romney probably more of a run for his money than Mitt Romney was expecting. There was a little buyer's remorse. Sometimes you get that when somebody breaks away. In the Republican race this time, this becomes a -- we'll waiting to see. Governor Scott Walker says, he might getting involved this week down here in Janesville. That's Speaker Paul Ryan's district. He says he's not going to get involved. Because he has to hold the gavel at the convention.

TAPPER: Right.

KING: But you do have some -- you have some national players as well, who this next big battle in the Republican race will play out on their turf, and I think it's going to be fascinating.

[17:30:01]

Again, if you pull out to the national map of what we've had so far, this is Cruz in Iowa; this is Trump; this is Rubio, now gone from the race; more Trump in this area. So you would suggest advantage Trump, but Governor Kasich says he's going to play here as well. There are a lot of people telling Governor Kasich, "You're the Midwestern guy; if you can't do well here, you should get out of the way and give Cruz (inaudible) his one-on-one with Donald Trump."

So you have a three-way race here. You would have to say, early on, I've seen some polls showing it relatively close. Trump thinks he has an advantage, but Cruz thinks this is the place he beats Donald Trump.

TAPPER: And Scott Walker, the governor there, who was a presidential candidate, withdrew before any actual voting took place, he, in his farewell message, was very anti-Trump.

KING: Very anti-Trump, suggesting that just about everybody else get out of the race, that anybody who wasn't very credible at that moment, he wanted to get out. So there's no reason to believe -- Scott Walker has said he could endorse this week. There's no reason to believe he's going to go for Donald Trump. Governor Kasich's team wants that. The Cruz people certainly want it very much, and the Cruz people make the argument that they have a better case against Trump.

But, again, this is a -- this could be a defining test in the Democratic race because Sanders will come there with momentum. Hillary Clinton needs to get back on her feet in a big, working-class, blue- collar battleground. For the Republicans as well, the stop-Trump movement, you know, this was a draw, when, you know, Trump won Arizona and Cruz won Utah. This is one state. There's two weeks to fight for it. It's a very good one-state test of whether Trump can regain momentum or Cruz, or Kasich, if he can pull it off, can slow that.

TAPPER: Scott Walker won three statewide elections, two elections and a recall vote. Do you think that an endorsement from him could actually make a difference?

We haven't seen those endorsements play a huge role in most states, although they have been pivotal in others.

KING: We haven't. Endorsements, in this anti-establishment year -- Trump has mocked when the establishment had endorsed anyone else; he has mocked them. But I would say you make a very key point that, if you look at this state, and if you go back -- let's just go to 2014. These are the congressional races. But if you look at this state, Governor Walker has been on the battlefield three times in the last several years, so he has an organization in place. He has people in all these counties. He has people in every place that matters. I would say, of all the states we've been in so far, for a guy whose

machine -- Kasich just won in his home state, the home state governor. For a guy on the sidelines, Governor Walker, right now, who has an organization that has been tested about as hard as you can test any organization in politics, it has been his, the last four or five years. So who knows, in this anti-establishment year, but I'd take it.

TAPPER: And we're actually waiting to hear Senator Bernie Sanders right here in Madison, Wisconsin. We're waiting. Any moment, we're going to hear from Bernie Sanders. We just, of course -- CNN projected that he will be the winner of the Alaska Democratic Caucus. We'll bring you Sanders' remarks live. Stay with us. We'll be right back after this quick break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

TAPPER: Welcome back. You're looking at pictures from Madison, Wisconsin, live. We're expecting to hear from independent Senator Bernie Sanders, whom CNN has just projected will be the winner of the Alaska Democratic Caucuses. We're expecting to hear from Senator Sanders any minute. When he comes to the podium, we will bring you those remarks live.

But let's now bring you a key race alert.

With 19 percent of the vote in, Bernie Sanders is ahead in the Washington Democratic Caucuses, 75.8 percent to Hillary Clinton's 23.9 percent. That's 19 percent of the delegates in, Bernie Sanders up roughly three-quarters to one-quarter.

Brianna Keilar and David Chalian, let me bring you in.

These are the momentous, landslide victories that Bernie Sanders needs in order to catch up with Hillary Clinton. And so far he's delivering.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, certainly. And you're seeing some of the states there, or some of the counties there in Eastern Washington. This is an area that is going to go for whoever the Republican nominee is. That's just generally the way it goes.

So he's -- this is a side of the state that was really surprised to get a visit by Bernie Sanders. Democrats in this area don't often get to see a Democratic candidate. I know that talking to people there, that was certainly a rare experience for them.

But even though you're seeing these landslide victories, this is something that Bernie Sanders needs to really ride out into some momentum. Hillary Clinton, at this point, still has a 300-delegate lead. And at this point, you're hearing the Clinton campaign say, "Yes, this is going to happen. Bernie Sanders will cut into this." But they're also saying, "Even in the coming days and the next couple of weeks, maybe he cuts into her lead," but then they expect -- this is their expectation -- that she will still be at 200-plus delegates. And the point they will make, as they have ever since she got past this line, is that this is more than Barack Obama ever led her in 2008. I think we'll be hearing a lot of that.

DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: You know what's also -- also more than Barack Obama? Bernie Sanders is overperforming Barack Obama in these states right now.

KEILAR: Yes.

CHALIAN: If these -- if these numbers hold for him when all the final results come in, he will have performed better than Barack Obama. And these were Barack Obama's stronghold states in -- in 2008. So he will be able to tout that.

I'll tell you one thing, just looking at my inbox here, Jake. Bernie Sanders' campaign will not be the only one fund-raising off of the results today. Shortly after the projection was made for Alaska, I got a fund-raising appeal from the Clinton campaign, subject line: "Quick Update on Bernie Sanders. We think he's going to do very well today in the Washington, Alaska and Hawaii Caucuses." You know, "We haven't caught up in online fund-raising; please chip in."

So although he'll have the momentum and be able to raise a lot of money off this, they're also trying to motivate their supporters from these potential losses today as a reason to get involved.

TAPPER: You know what's also interesting, comparing this to the 2008 race, the showdown between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, is, back then, once we were in the thick of the race, we pretty much had an idea of where Obama would win and where Clinton would win. There were some questions about margins, but generally we had an idea.

We keep being handed surprises on the campaign trail. Michigan -- Bernie Sanders with a surprise victory in Michigan. That was a big surprise. And then that was followed by Hillary Clinton sweeping five states. She thought she was going to go two for three. She thought she was going to lose three contests; she ended up winning all five that day. So there still is an unpredictability about this race.

KEILAR: There are some states where Hillary Clinton is performing like Barack Obama performed, and then there are some states where Bernie Sanders is performing like Barack Obama, or exceeding the expectations there. It's a very interesting observation.

CHALIAN: Add to your list the margin of victory Bernie Sanders had in New Hampshire early on.

TAPPER: Oh, right.

CHALIAN: Because I think that was a -- a big moment, as well, in the campaign.

But -- but, yes, where there is a large white population, and in specifically caucus states, that's -- that is where Sanders actually matches Obama and the Obama map. But where there is a larger African- American population or a large Latino population and the white vote comes down a little bit, that's where Hillary Clinton's strength starts to look like some of what Obama was able to put together that was so different in 2008.

KEILAR: He had this advantage with enthusiasm and with organization. She definitely has the advantage with organization. He has the advantage with enthusiasm and also with fund-raising. That's the point that she's making there, right, "We're being outspent," $2.6 million for Sanders in Washington, $2 million for Clinton.

TAPPER: Absolutely. Kate Bolduan, lots for you guys to chew over, over there.

BOLDUAN: That's absolutely right. Thanks so much, Jake.

And we're looking at these numbers, as Jake has projected, Bernie Sanders winning Alaska. But just look at the margins.

Donna, from your perspective, I mean, what do you make of it?

BRAZILE: Deja vu. This is 2008, in terms of Barack Obama, then candidate Barack Obama, ability to win very, very big in these -- these caucus states, sweeping 75 delegates to, I believe, Hillary Clinton, 36 delegates. So deja vu.

And it also says a lot about the kind of campaign that Senator Sanders is -- is running. Not only is he outspending Secretary Clinton in these states, he's rallying; he's organizing. But his campaign is much more organic. They don't -- they don't need a call from Brooklyn or Burlington to begin organizing. For Bernie, they're feeling the Bern. They're going out there and organizing at the precinct level, similar to what President Obama did back in 2008.

So it's -- for me, it's deja vu.

I've got to say one other thing. Because some of you all recall, back in February of 2008, we had a big Super Tuesday. And Barack Obama accumulated a lot of delegates. And I started getting some of the conversation from my friends, as a superdelegate, "Don't go over; don't go over." I mean, hell, I'm not interested in going over. I'm not interested in dating right now. But --

(CROSSTALK)

(LAUGHTER)

So clearly I'm not interested in being in the "National Enquirer." OK.

So the point --

BOLDUAN: Donna --

BRAZILE: What?

(CROSSTALK)

(UNKNOWN): Where are you going?

BOLDUAN: She's going. We're taking a walk. Let's do it.

BRAZILE: It's taken a while for Kate to come to me, so I'm trying to --

BOLDUAN: Oh, you stop it right now.

(LAUGHTER)

(CROSSTALK)

BRAZILE: What I'm saying is that superdelegates -- superdelegates -- no, I'm not whining -- superdelegates are part of the process. And while they are -- John is being very careful not to count them in tonight, Bernie Sanders has to continue to have big nights like this over the next couple of weeks in those big states that will give him a little bit more what I call pledge delegates, superior delegate, you know, advantage, so that he can play catch-up to Hillary Clinton.

BOLDUAN: A former superdelegate is quite anti-superdelegate these days, though, Bill Press?

PRESS: Well, first of all, I want to say, "Deja vu?" Come on, Donna. Look, when Hillary won five in a row, I said good for Hillary. She swept the -- tonight, Bernie Sanders is going to win big three, big time, with the margins that John King said he had to win, on top of winning Idaho and Utah by 60 percent last week.

BRAZILE: You know what, Bill? I'm --

(CROSSTALK)

PRESS: I'm just saying --

BRAZILE: No, no, no, baby -- let me just --

(CROSSTALK)

PRESS: I'm just saying give Bernie Sanders credit.

BRAZILE: I gave him credit at the beginning. I said this is going to be a big day, a big night, a big week -- and a big week. But I refuse to believe that, just because I can say great things about Bernie, I can't say great things about Hillary. I am neutral.

PRESS: No, I'm just saying -- just -- I want to hear the good --

(CROSSTALK)

(LAUGHTER)

BRAZILE: I will give you -- I'm giving you all both love. That's why I'm sitting here. I'm giving you all love. What you want, baby, my Easter egg?

(LAUGHTER) PRESS: All right --

(CROSSTALK)

BOLDUAN: -- guy.

(LAUGHTER)

PRESS: Now here's some love coming back at you. Superdelegates are un-democratic and they ought to be done away with.

(CROSSTALK)

PRESS: I'm totally against the process. The Republican Party's got it right. They don't have any. These people do not deserve a special vote. Let the people of the state decide.

(CROSSTALK)

(UNKNOWN): The Republican Party also suppresses voters, so be careful with the Republican Party.

(LAUGHTER)

BRAZILE: And you know what, Bill?

PRESS: No, I'm just --

(CROSSTALK)

BRAZILE: That is so much hate coming from you, Bill. I am surprised.

PRESS: I love you, baby, but they're wrong.

BRAZILE: No, let me just tell you why I will refuse -- if you want me to, because I'm trying to get out of politics, but I will stay in politics to beat down this point. Superdelegates have earned their seat at the table. It doesn't mean that we have to go with the flow; it means that we need to be part of the process. We've been part of the process since -- since the 1980s. We have not decided one election, Kate, not one. But we get all this hate.

PRESS: They could this one.

BRAZILE: Would you -- would you --

PRESS: And it would be un-democratic.

BRAZILE: It will not be un-democratic.

PRESS: Sure, it would. Sure, it will.

BRAZILE: It wasn't undemocratic in 2008 and that was a very close election. We're part of the -- we're part of the process. We're not the flour; we're not the dough. We're a little icing.

(UNKNOWN): You're absolutely right about that --

BOLDUAN: I can't even top that. Before you go, (inaudible), I want to just -- look up here. Sorry, because I don't have my glasses on, let me just look. With 21 percent of precincts reporting in Washington, as we're watching this very closely, Bernie Sanders at 76.1 percent, 23.6 percent for Hillary Clinton. So those margins -- "the margins matter" seems to be the line of the -- it keeps changing on me -- 22 percent in now, in these margins. Margins matter. That's the line of the day and the night. Those seem to be holding for Bernie Sanders as of yet. We will see.

Go ahead.

(UNKNOWN): No, I just think you have such a smart point because here's the thing. In October of 2015, long before voting ever started, Hillary had already secured 500 superdelegates. I'm not sure how that's democratic.

Likewise, when you look to New Hampshire, where Bernie Sanders won 60 percent of the vote, every demographic group, they exited New Hampshire tied in superdelegates. That doesn't strike me as a democratic way to do things. That strikes me as having a buffer between the American people and their candidate. And I think that's a big problem. And the Democrats should look at the Republican Party and what's happening now --

(CROSSTALK)

(UNKNOWN): Sanders actually isn't making this argument, right? I mean, it's a fine argument to make, but Sanders is saying, listen --

BRAZILE: If you wanted to change the rules in the middle of the game, that's called cheating. That's what I told the Hillary people in 2008 and I'll tell Bernie people in 2016. Don't change the rules now.

BOLDUAN: Hold on a second. We've got -- we're waiting. We are standing by for Bernie Sanders to be making -- to be showing up in front of a very big crowd, a huge crowd that's gathered in Madison, Wisconsin, where they're going to be turning their focus to very quickly.

More results coming in as well. Stay with us. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

TAPPER: Welcome back. Bringing you this key race alert from the Washington State Democratic Caucuses. With 25 percent of the delegates in, Bernie Sanders is ahead with 76.6 percent of the delegates to Hillary Clinton's 23.3 percent. One hundred one delegates are at stake on this Western Saturday, with Hawaii, Alaska and Washington State all holding Democratic contests today.

Let's go over to John King at the magic wall.

John, bring us up to date. What's going on? Where is Bernie Sanders doing so well? KING: Everywhere that's come in so far, Jake. And we're starting to

get more votes. If you move into some of these counties, you see here, in Snohomish County, 10 percent of the state population. We're up to nearly 60 percent of the vote, 55 percent, and 76 percent for Sanders. That's holding pretty good.

You move over to some of these smaller counties; you come on over here, you've got 100 percent of the vote in here. He's over 71 percent. Another little tiny county here, Douglas County, 100 percent is in. He's at 73 percent of the vote.

We're waiting for the major population centers. It looks like we have nothing from King County. We actually do have a little tiny bit. It's just 50-50. These are delegates. We don't get raw votes. These are people at a caucus, and we get delegate percentages. Six percent from King County, which is by far the largest county in the state, and it's tied right now. So we are starting to get some votes. And if you come down here to Pierce County, which is about 12 percent of the state population, home to Tacoma, and you see we've got 13 percent of the vote there. Very impressive, Senator Sanders, 77 percent.

TAPPER: Almost 80 percent. We were visiting with Jason Carroll at a caucus right outside Tacoma.

KING: Right, and so if you pull it out -- and anecdotally, we're getting that evidence there. We're seeing it fill in, in the rural areas, as well. We're waiting. We need -- most of the congressional districts are in this stretch right here. And the delegates are awarded for -- some statewide and then some based on the -- proportionally, based on the percentage in each congressional district.

So we need to count all the votes, but roughly, you can see right now, 101 delegates will be allocated today from Washington state, and at the moment, Senator Sanders is going to get more than seven in 10, and maybe 75-25, somewhere in there, the split right now as the results come in, which is just what he needed to try to close the national math. He was down 304 in pledged delegates entering the day. If he has a 50-plus lead here, picks up a little bit in Alaska, little bit in Hawaii, he could end the day 60 or 70 closer than he began it, which, again, still leaves her with a pretty big lead. However, it lets him make the case that he's closing and he's gaining, and then we come back to the Midwest and we continue fighting.

TAPPER: That's right. Let's go back to Washington state for one second.

KING: Sure.

TAPPER: I just want to show our viewers how Bernie Sanders is outperforming Barack Obama, who won the state in 2008, when he was also in a contest with Hillary Clinton. Of course, back then, Obama was in the lead. Now Hillary Clinton is in the lead.

KING: Right. And so Obama used this -- then Senator Obama used this essentially as an exclamation point, as he was trying to hold his lead in the race. You see 76.6 percent. So round that up if you want to 77 percent. You go back to 2008, it was 68 percent.

And let's just go through some of these counties.

TAPPER: He just swept the whole state.

KING: He swept. He won -- he won every county in the state. And he won most of them by a good margin. But let's just take a peek here. This is where we just were. He won 65-33 eight years ago. Where are we now: 76-23. So Bernie Sanders, at the moment --

TAPPER: Outperforming him.

KING: Outperforming, which means he'll get even a higher percentage of the delegates, if that stays up.

And that's a message. You know, the Clinton campaign can look at the map, and they will look at the map and they'll say, "We're just fine. She still has a bigger lead than then Senator Obama ever had over her." They can make the mathematical argument. But, as you know, momentum also matters in politics. And I think it was Ron Brownstein talking about it earlier, or David Chalian talking about it earlier as well, this is not a cause for a five-alarm fire at the Clinton campaign headquarters, but she does have issues and problems and weaknesses. And Bernie Sanders is exposing, on his economic message and with certain demographic groups, and organizationally in these caucus states.

And Senator Sanders, if this continues, clearly he's popular in the West, but he's going to -- he has won Alaska. It looks like he's on a path to win Washington, Hawaii later today. That would be five of the last six. That's momentum, as we come back into, again, what will be a key test for both parties, Wisconsin on the 5th.

TAPPER: The weaknesses that she has -- Washington state traditionally goes Democratic in a presidential general election. So no matter what happens, that will probably be a Democratic state, no matter who's on the ballot. Does it matter in terms of her weaknesses?

KING: She has to unify the party. She has to get Sanders' voters. She probably needs Senator Sanders. But a lot of people make this point. They say Hillary Clinton is only winning in the South; discount her wins. Well, Barack Obama won the nomination by winning down here in the South. That's Obama. Bernie Sanders won these states like Barack Obama. It's two separate races, the primary and the general election. Washington state will be blue in November.

TAPPER: We're expecting to hear from Senator Bernie Sanders any minute now from Madison, Wisconsin. We'll bring that to you live. Stay with us. We'll be right back after this quick break.

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