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Case Was Dismissed for Donald Trump's Campaign Manager; Sanders One-On-One; Sanders Holds Massive Rally In NYC; Hillary Clinton Speaks With Black Leaders In NYC; Sanders Gains Endorsements Ahead Of N.Y. ; Trump's Wife: He'll Attack You, Man Or Woman; Debating Hillary Clinton; Clinton, Sanders Face Off In CNN Debate Tomorrow Night. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired April 13, 2016 - 20:00   ET


[20:00:08] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: And good evening. Get ready for a very busy 24 hours in presidential politics, including breaking news tonight about Donald Trump's campaign manager and the battery allegations against him.

First, as you can see by the preparations behind me, Ted and Heidi Cruz in our third "360" Republican family town hall. Then, of course, tomorrow night a CNN Democratic debate. Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton trying to build momentum, going into a holding competing events here tonight. She is in the Bronx. He in Manhattan's Greenwich Village. Senator Sanders scoring a huge endorsement today. His first from one of his colleagues.

However, the big story tonight remains Donald Trump. He is speaking tonight in Pittsburgh being met by protesters, about 100 according to a local affiliate KDKA, some from the group Black Lives Matters which is stays demonstrations at many Trump events.

Meantime, the breaking news about his campaign manager Corey Lewandowski and Trump's ongoing war with his own party which he now says wants to deprive him of the nomination.

Today talking to Wolf Blitzer, the Republican Party chairman Reince Priebus tried to calm the waters without giving any ground.


REINCE PRIEBUS, CHAIRMAN, REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE: I believe this is some frustration that has bubbled up and, look, the rules are there. I know people get frustrated and they are disappointed when things don't go exactly the right way. So I think when people are frustrated and upset, they say things that they regret. But certainly one thing that's true is that the rules are not being changed in order to injure or benefit anybody. They are what they are. They are in writing. They are available to anyone that wants to participate. And actually state by state, they are not all that complicated.


COOPER: As for Donald Trump's side of the battle, the breaking news about Corey Lewandowski.

CNN's Sara Murray joins us now from Pittsburgh where Trump is campaigning this evening.

So let's talk about Trump's campaign manager. What's the breaking news?

SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICS REPORTER: That's right, Anderson. Sources are now telling CNN that's Corey Lewandowski, Trump's campaign manager will not be prosecuted for that incident involving former Breitbart reporter Michelle Fields. Remember, she alleged that he grabbed her. You can actually see that on video. And then she said she had bruises from the incident. She pressed charges. But it looks like the Florida prosecutor will not be moving forward with that.

Now, we are waiting to hear from the Trump campaign about their official comment on this. But Anderson, I can tell you this has got to be a big relief for them. This is another distraction that they can move off their plate. This is a time of transition for Trump. He is trying to bring on more advisers. They are trying to do a little bit more D.C. outreach. They are trying to behave more like a traditional campaign at this standpoint. And this was a distraction that they frankly didn't need right now.

COOPER: And we do mentioned the feud between Trump and Reince Priebus. That's continue to escalate. What's the latest on that?

MURRAY: So this feud as you saw playing out, of course, in the town hall last night. And Trump just hit it again here saying the system is rigged speaking to voters here in Pittsburgh. But he is backing off a little bit. And I think what you saw from Reince Priebus is a much more vigorous reaction. The senior GOP strategist said that's because Trump just went too far when he called the system too far. Maybe he is trying to run a transparent process. And I think that's why you're seeing him push back publicly. And he understand the reality is these two sided are going to have to work together if Trump is the nominee. They are going to Trump's campaign. He is going to want the field organization. He is going to want the fund-raising prowess of the RNC. And he is going to want that data. So I think that's also why you saw Priebus predicting that this was all going to blow over eventually.

COOPER: And Sara, and just - well, at the top of the next hour, I'll be sitting down with Senator Cruz and his in family for the town hall. What do you think his strategy is going to be tonight and looking forward to the upcoming primary?

MURRAY: Well, it's been such an interesting forum to see these candidates with members of their own family. I think it's made all of these candidates a little bit more relatable to some of the voters. So I think we will certainly going to see that with Ted Cruz and his wife, Heidi, tonight. But I think the other message that he has been hammering all along on the stump and that you are going to see him hit tonight as well is this idea that he is the only one who has the potential to beat Hillary Clinton in November. He is going to dredge up Donald Trump's poll numbers versus Hillary Clinton and say look, if we nominate this guy we are all but guaranteed to get slaughtered come November. So why don't you go with me and maybe we will at least have a shot, although I'm sure he'll guarantee you that he will beat Hillary Clinton if he comes up against her, Anderson.

COOPER: All right. Sara Murray, thanks very much.

No shortage of material tonight to talk about with our panels. CNN political commentator, Trump supporter Kayleigh McEnany, CNN political commentator and former Cruz communications director Amanda Carpenter, "New York Times" conservative op-ed columnist Ross Douthat, he is also CNN political commentator and our chief political analyst Gloria Borger.

Gloria, how important is this? I mean, how big of a relief must this be for the Trump campaign about Corey Lewandowski.

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: It's a huge personal relief for Corey Lewandowski and a relief for the campaign. I think looking back on this, if Corey had apologized at the beginning, none of this would have occurred and said, you know, maybe I was a little too rough. That didn't happen. But I think, look. Now he is no staffer wants to be the center of attention in your candidate's campaign. You want to kind be in the background and push the candidate forward. So I think it's going to be a big relief to him and to his family, quite honestly.

[20:05:11] COOPER: There still may be a defamation suit filed by this reporter against him for -- based on stuff he said twitter. But certainly not having criminal prosecution, I mean, that's got to be a huge relief for all Trump supporters.

KAYLEIGH MCENANY, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: It's a big deal. I mean, anyone who looks at the Florida statute knew that this was going to be dismissed easily. And I think the really big lesson here is we shouldn't presume someone's guilt first of all. And second, I think that this is a moment to commend Donald Trump for keeping him on staff because any other candidate would have lost their staffer, would have said I can't deal with this. This is too much negative publicity. But instead, he stock by him and said I trust this guy. I believe in this guy. I take him at his word. I don't care if I'm harmed in the polls because I value loyalty.

AMANDA CARPENTER, FORMER CRUZ COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: Well, there's a statement of principle. I mean, I reminded of the fact that Cruz fired one of his staffers for passing on a false story. I mean, you don't have to be guilty of a crime to not be a bad staffer. The problem was is that Corey said he never touched the woman. They smeared this woman. I mean, this isn't appropriate behavior for a staffer. I don't think it's a victory for Donald Trump. Corey's family may be relieved. But it's still a reminder of how this campaign acts. The kind of behavior that Donald Trump condones among staff and then it gives a lot of people pause.

COOPER: Ross, what do you think?

ROSS DOUTHAT, OP-ED COLUMNIST, NEW YORK TIMES: Yes. I mean, I agree with all of that. I think that, obviously, it's, you know, it is better not to be prosecuted than to be prosecuted. But frankly, what we have seen from the Trump campaign over the last few weeks as far as anyone can tell is the marginalization of Corey Lewandowski. And you saw it just today by bringing on Rick Wiley, the former campaign runner for Scott Walker.

I mean, basically Trump has moved to sort of put the campaign in other hands. And it's not just because of this incident. It's also because they've been doing a terrible, terrible job of delegate competition in places like Colorado. But basically whatever relief is felt, it's also true that Lewandowski is sort of on his way out in certain ways.

COOPER: But Ross, what's do you make of this battle between this battle of words between Reince Priebus and Donald Trump?

DOUTHAT: Well, it's just a preview of what we'll see, you know, in crazy ways in the weeks before the convention if we assume that Trump falls 75, 100, 125 delegates short. Trump is trying to do two things. He is trying to build a case that delegates have to nominate him if he's the plurality winner. And he is, one assumes, laying the groundwork for what he'll say if he loses the nomination on the second or third or fourth ballot, which is I was robbed by lying Ted Cruz and Reince Priebus. And then, you know, what he does beyond that is unclear.

But I think that's sort of the two-track path Trump is on. He is trying to essentially, you know, sort of preemptively bully the Republican Party into nominating him in the event that he doesn't have the necessary delegates and he is preparing a stab in the back narrative if he loses.

BORGER: You know, the question is, how does Trump unwind this? Should he get the necessary delegate you know, heading into the convention? Is it still a corrupt process, or should he come out of the convention actually a winner?

DOUTHAT: He doesn't need to unwind anything. He's Donald Trump. He can say something different the next day. He can say he loves Reince Priebus.

CARPENTER: But what is does, it really makes it easier for Ted Cruz to make the case at the convention saying, hey, I'm a soft place for you guys to land. Hey, maybe you don't like my style as a senator, but I'm your safe choice now. I'm going to stand for the party. I'm going to give you a positive platform to run on. I have these policy proposals. You know where I stand. It makes it easy for delegates to support Cruz given the fact Donald Trump is questioning the character of the delegates.

MCENANY: I think it's going to have the opposite effect. We have a lot of states to come that Donald Trump is going to do very, very well. And this only add to the case. Because a lot of voters are sitting and watching Ted Cruz and saying why didn't this candidate stand up for my right to vote in North Dakota, in Wyoming, in Colorado? Why isn't he standing alongside Donald Trump saying we should elevate the will of the people rather than suppress it? There's a real problem with the Republican Party which is why next to

polls, we see people are frustrated and feel betrayed by the Republican Party. This adds to Trump's popularity. I think it will make him do better in the popular vote in elections to come.

BORGER: You know, the question is, though, if you are heading into the convention and the delegates are the Republican Party. You know, these are people start at the local level and then the county level, then they go to the state level and then they finally get elected to go to a convention. These are real party people who have devoted their lives to the party. And the question - you know, Trump is saying the process is corrupt which means they are corrupt. And it's hard to get people to support you if you are saying, by the way, you're corrupt. Vote for me. So in a way that could be damaging to him if it does come down to a very close fight.

COOPER: It is interesting how public this fight between Reince Priebus and Trump has become.

CARPENTER: He's trying to box Reince Priebus in. I mean, I think Donald Trump always needs someone to fight. He's like a shark. Has to keep swimming or dies. Donald Trump has to be fighting someone, picking a fight or his candidacy dies. And so, as the field has collapsed he's gone after lying Ted. He's gotten as much juice as he possibly can out of that. Now he needs to direct that fire at somebody else, another institution. And you know, he wants to make sure that Reince Priebus doesn't do anything to favor someone else. And so, he is boxing in. I don't think it's going to be effective in the end but --.

[20:10:26] DOUTHAT: Well, he also wants a narrative. He wants a narrative about why he is been losing in these delegate battles, right. I mean, the interesting thing is as the calendar has sort of slowed down as the number of primaries has, you know, slowed down and the distance between them has expanded, Trump hasn't had these moments that he kept having where, you know, he would have a bad week, something controversial would happen but then he would win somewhere and he could get up and, you know, display all his steaks and give a speech about being a winner. So losing is bad for his brand. He needs a counter narrative.

MCENANY: That will end Tuesday when he wins New York.


COOPER: And pick up a lot of delegates as well.

Hold that thought. We are going to have a take a quick break. Our final "360" Republican family town hall fast approaching. Ted Cruz, Heidi Cruz facing New York primary voters tonight.

Next though, we will dig deeper into the roots of the battle between Donald Trump and the Republican Party, his own party. The party that he says wants no part of it.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [20:15:03] COOPER: Hey, welcome back. We are about 45 minutes away from tonight's final 360 Republican family town hall, New York voters and their questions for Ted and Heidi Cruz. The story surrounding it all, Donald Trump's ire at Senator Cruz's recent success winning delegates in states like Colorado to a process that Donald Trump says is rigged.

Today as you heard a moment ago, GOP chairman Reince Priebus denied, of course, that allegation. And earlier today he also fired off this tweet. Quote "nomination process known for a year-plus beyond. It's the responsibility of the campaigns to understand it. Complaints now? Give us all a break." That's just a recent salvo. And if we have seen a longstanding battle.

More tonight from our Tom Foreman.


DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It's a crooked system, folks.

TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The ceasefire between Donald Trump and the RNC is over.

COOPER: Saying you don't think the RNC wants you to get the nomination?

TRUMP: No, I don't think so. I really don't.

FOREMAN: Tension between the two camps started last fall when Trump surging in the polls refused to say he would support the eventual party nominee.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You'll not make the pledge?

TRUMP: I will not make the pledge at this time.

FOREMAN: The hint at a possible third party run terrified strategists who feared it could split the GOP vote in the hand the election to Democrats. They were relieved when Trump finally gave in.

TRUMP: Here is your pledge.

FOREMAN: But then as he wrapped up win after win by trouncing more traditional Republican candidates, party leaders in loaded.

REP. PAUL RYAN (R), HOUSE SPEAKER: This is not conservatism.

MITT ROMNEY (R), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Donald Trump not Republican in any sense of the word.

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: I don't think Trump is Republican, conservative.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can conservatives trust Donald Trump? FOREMAN: Considering the organizational power, the fund-raising

capability and all the election data a major party can share with its candidate, by late February, the RNC was speaking up, too.

REINCE PRIEBUS, CHAIRMAN, REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE: We're not joining a candidate. They are competing to join us. And that's what's happens in a nomination process.

FOREMAN: Soon Trump had had enough.

COOPER: Do you continue to pledge whoever the Republican nominee is?

TRUMP: No, I don't anymore.

COOPER: You say you will no longer guarantee that you'll support the Republican nominee?

COOPER: And the situation has not improved.

PRIEBUS: If a candidate isn't willing to commit to the principles and values of our party, then they ought to just tell us.

COOPER: Even as Trump inches closer to becoming the winningest nominee the party never wanted.

Tom Foreman, CNN, Washington.


COOPER: And back with the panel.

You know, this continued back and forth again between Reince Priebus and Donald Trump in such a public way. One RNC member from Mississippi fired back at Donald Trump who said that the rules are stacked against him saying quote "so when the system works to his advantage he's a winner. When he loses, it's a rigged system. The party is corrupt. That's not how to unite a party." Is Trump trying to have it both ways?

MCENANY: I don't think so. I think he has railed against the establishment, part of whom some would say is the RNC since the very beginning. And now it became very evident and palpable this weekend when a whole state didn't get to vote that this was unfair. And I think Donald Trump would have railed against it either way because he wants to empower the people.

COOPER: Why are caucuses OK but this delegate election not OK in Colorado? Because it's a relatively small number of people who are actually turning out. It's not the entire, you know, state going to vote. It's people who actually are highly motivated --

DOUTHAT: He didn't really like the caucuses, though, right? I mean, his reaction to Iowa was consistent with his reaction to Colorado.

MCENANY: It is important to point out to this, though is very different than a caucus. For every election previously, there has been a presidential preference or the state got to vote and turned out and say who they want for president. Even if it meant the delegates didn't adhere to that, they at least got to show up and have a voice. So instead of, you know, lifting off the will of the people, they diminished it by doing a four-layer caucus process that was very convoluted. Even the old GOP chairman in Colorado called it cumbersome, said it did not elevate the will of the people and the "Denver Post" editorial board came out and said this whole thing was wonders. So there is a lot of criticism, not just from Trump.

COOPER: Yes. There can be a lot of criticism of it, but I mean, again, I keep coming back to the rules being the rules. Whether you like them or not, Donald Trump's campaign knew for as long as Senator Cruz's campaign knew what the rules were. Didn't Donald Trump -- it's a question I asked him last night. He said he didn't get outfoxed or outplayed on the ground. But how can you say he didn't? I don't understand how Donald Trump can't say he didn't get outmaneuvered on the ground.

BORGER: Look. I think this is why Donald Trump is adding layers and people to his campaign because I think he understands that he did get outmaneuvered.

COOPER: He says it doesn't -- it wouldn't have mattered how many they had there or their skill-set because the system is rigged to --

BORGER: But that's plays to his base. And I think this was a little kabuki going on. And that's why he's doing this. But I think he also understands that he needs to figure this out if he wants to win.

CARPENTER: But really, I mean, I truly believe one of the most despicable things this campaign season is the aspersions the Trump campaign has cast on people who beat him fairly. Just this weekend we saw his newly appointed convention manager accuse the Cruz campaign of gestapo tactics. That is a loathsome thing to say about another Republican. I mean the analogy is terrible. But to accuse another person of essentially engaging in fraud, repeatedly, illegal coordinating activity is a big deal. And this is a reason many conservatives don't trust Donald Trump with any sort of federal power.

[20:20:27] DOUTHAT: Well, and the other reality is that, you know, Trump can complain about losing in Colorado, you know, losing in these other caucus and convention states. But if you just go by the will of the people, if you just look at the popular vote, Trump is actually - he has a higher share of delegates than he does of the overall popular vote. So if you just ran, you know, every percentage of popular vote gets you a percentage of delegates, he would never get to 1,237 delegates. So all the convoluted, you know, this is a convoluted process, but he's benefited from it more than he has lost from it.

BORGER: So Ted Cruz could be claiming that the system is corrupt because he's got --

DOUTHAT: Give it a couple of months.

COOPER: What do you make of that argument? MCENANY: The thing with the delegates is the quality of the

delegates. Because on the first ballot, yes, 45 percent as you mentioned are obligated to vote for Donald Trump. But on the second ballot, a lot of these delegates are not, in fact, Trump supporters. They have been Cruz supporters put in their place and they are not in fact Trump supporters. They are not representative of the popular vote.

COOPER: Why which is why if it goes to a second ballot --

CARPENTER: Making sure you have grassroots activists on the ground who will give up their weekends, who will travel to these party meetings to show they're committed to a candidate. So yes, on the first ballot if Donald Trump fails to meet that magical 1237 number, they become unbound and eventually the party will have consensus candidate.

COOPER: I mean, I just don't understand (INAUDIBLE). But I just don't understand a guy who is well known for, you know, creating this incredible corporation as he'll repeatedly say. Would not have early on -- I mean maybe he didn't expect to get this far or didn't plan on it. But not to have put an organization in place. Maybe he thought, you know, the rallies were so great and he was getting so much media attention that's all he had to do. But it seems to be a fundamental misunderstanding of the process and how it works.

CARPENTER: Well, traditionally, and I then I think that's what's makes it hard to be a Donald Trump supporter right now. One, he should be the front-runner but the party is not falling in behind him because there's so many people who don't trust him. He thought if I can have this air war, win these contests, people will essentially be bullied into supporting me. But conservatives aren't going along.

MCENANY: Because he is challenging the party. And that is the thing. He's a threat to the party and --

CARPENTER: No. It is not the party establishment that is --


DOUTHAT: No. There is a deep philosophical question here, right, which is, what is the party nomination process, right? I mean, we have moved over the last 30 years to a system where there is, you know, more primaries, more voting, less power to party activists in certain ways, although it's actually more complicated than that. But basically, and so people have these sort of competing senses of what the process is. Is the process the party as an institution coming together and picking the nominee or is it just the people who vote picking the nominee?

CARPENTER: More broadly, what does the party stand for which is a struggle we've been having for years.

BORGER: But it's different from saying, look, the process is cumbersome and maybe ought to be revised from saying the process is rigged. COOPER: We got to take a break. A lot more to talk about.

Coming up, we turn to the Democrats who are gearing up for the CNN debate in Brooklyn tomorrow night. As you can see Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, both in New York tonight, each holding big rallies. We will hear what Senator Bernie Sanders said to Chris Cuomo moments ago.

And be sure to stay tuned for Senator Ted Cruz and his wife Heidi taking questions from me as well as from voters in our audience. Our 360 Republican family town hall starts at the top of the hour.


[20:27:42] COOPER: The day before the CNN Democratic debate in Brooklyn, Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton are both in New York. Clinton has an event in the Bronx this evening. We will get to that in a moment.

But first, let's check in with the Sanders campaign. Huge crowd at the Washington Square Park in Manhattan's Greenwich for a rally and concert.

CNN's "NEW DAY" co-anchor, Chris Cuomo, joins us now live from there.

Big turnout with a lot of celebrity support for senator Sanders. What's it been like, Chris?

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR, NEW DAY: You know, these Bernie Sanders rallies are something to behold, Anderson. As you're well aware, thousands and thousands of people here. They have been here for a long time and they have been waiting for the man who is speaking behind us right now, senator Bernie Sanders. He is standing under the famous arch in Washington Square Park in New York City.

The saying on it is significant. This spot was picked for a reason by the Sanders campaign. It says "let us raise a standard to which the wise and honest can repair." And the senator has been talking here tonight about what that means about our incremental change is not enough. But he is naming out his opponents and the crowd is going wild when he is saying people cannot divide. Incremental change is not enough talking about Clinton, talking about Trump. Yes, Rosario Dawson was here. Yes, Spike Lee was here, talking to Spike Lee, referencing the famous line from Malcolm X about are you tired of being bamboozled, led astray, run amok.

But the big introduction tonight, Anderson, was from the head of the local 100 transit workers union. And I will tell you why. That's a very coveted endorsement in New York state politics, 60,000 members between those who are active and retired. That was big.

But tonight isn't just about politics for senator Sanders. Remember, Bernie Sanders is from Brooklyn. And he came through this park as a kid, as a teen. And to now be here with all these thousands of people calling his name, what did it mean to him? Here's what's he had to say. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CUOMO: The message matters but so does the man. Bernie Sanders is from Brooklyn. To be in Washington Square Park, which I know you came to and came through as a kid, as a teen, to be here tonight with tens of thousands of young people shouting your name, believing in you, what does it mean from where you came from and where you are tonight in the same place?

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT), DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You know, I grew up in Brooklyn in a three-and-a-half room rent-controlled apartment of a family that did not have a lot of money.

[20:30:02] Standing here tonight with the support of so many thousands of people is very humbling experience. It's a very, very moving experience. And I'm going to do everything that I can to make sure I do not let these people down.


COOPER: An emotional moment for him no doubt. Chris, how are you -- getting a sense how the senator plans to debate Clinton tomorrow night?

CUOMO: Yeah, we asked him about it Anderson, and he said his stock line of, I want it to be about policy and contrasting views. He took a further steps saying, I believe that our vision is the one that people are resonating with. I believe that's what will make a difference. I asked him if he's going to win. He said, yes, if turn out is high.

I also asked him if it would be different tomorrow night in tone from what we've been hearing recently and he gave me a pat on the shoulder and he said we'll see. I'll tell you tomorrow night.

COOPER: All right. Chris Cuomo, thanks very much.

Now to the Clinton campaign in Bronx and CNN Washington correspondent and Joe Johns. What's the latest from there, Joe?

JOE JOHNS, CNN WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Hey Anderson, well Hillary Clinton arrived here in the Bronx at 8:00 eastern time. Probably just an hour or so later than she was expected to arrive, and quite frankly she showed up late because of the politics of organized labor. One of the many things creating the sort of political swirl here right now.

Verizon, the telecommunications company has about 40,000 workers out on strike right now. Hillary Clinton went over to Verizon store before coming here to meet with some of those workers on the picket line and talk to them or campaign also put out a statement about that.

Meanwhile, on the left she was being hit by the fact that her 2013 tax return shows she got something like $225,000 from Verizon for a speech she gave that year. And the day started also with more on the Verizon trek on the Bernie Sanders side. Sanders who actually was endorsed in December by the Communication Workers of America, the group out on strike. In fact, Sanders went today to the picket line and marched with many of those Verizon workers.

So a lot of talk about organized labor here among other things in the run-up to the debate tomorrow, Anderson.

COOPER: And the recent polling suggests Clinton does hold a lead here in New York strong lead but with a massive rally going on for Sanders in New York, I mean it's a lead she certainly cannot take for granted.

JOHNS: Certainly cannot take for granted because the Sanders campaign loves to say that their candidate closes well. He may be down in the polls, a lot we've seen it again and again across this country. And in the closing days, he finds a way to bring it close and in some cases he's won some election just like that. So the Hillary Clinton campaign double-digit lead for sure, making sure Bernie Sanders doesn't catch up to them if they can do anything about it, Anderson.

COOPER: All right, Joe Johns, thank you.

A lot to talk about ahead of tomorrow night's debate. Joining me now, Democratic strategist Nomiki Konst. A Sanders supporter, CNN political commentator Paul Begala, adviser to a pro-Hillary Clinton Super PAC and longtime adviser to President Clinton in the '90s. With us again, CNN chief political analyst Gloria Borger.

Paul, how confident are you about Hillary Clinton's lead in New York?

PAUL BEGALA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Joe is right. You can't take anything for granted. I mean she ran and won twice in New York that helps. Bernie grew up here. He's having this massive rally. It's going to be a great race. I think she's more likely to win. But what's interesting is tonight they're both playing to their strengths. Hillary is in the Bronx which is maybe the most diverse neighborhood in America, right? Bernie is in like ...


BEGALA: The village. I say like the whitest, richest part. Not even the richest, but really, really a lot ...

KONST: Young.

BEGALA: ... of young, white liberals which is Bernie's court.

COOPER: Traditional very bohemian neighborhood in New York about long -- longest ...

BEGALA: It's very bohemian -- yeah the kind of folks that like Bernie and Hillary, the kind of folks that like Hillary. Bernie's problem is there's just more people of color, moderates and older folks who are for Hillary than there are young white liberals who are for Bernie. Now one day they get rid and all of it, I will say it's really important Joe pointed out. She stopped at the communication workers of America to show solidarity with a union that's endorsed her opponent. This is really smart, she showed them respect, she didn't insult them. That's a really ...

COOPER: But how much is that to nullify the hit of having spoken for Verizon, been paid by Verizon for a speech earlier?

KONST: And seeing Bernie Sanders on air earlier today giving a speech, a rousing speech in front of these workers who were picketing all day long. This is the first day they went out there and picketed and he was on the front lines. He didn't cross the lines, he didn't ignore them, he went out there and showed his support and it was unexpected, nobody is he was going to do it.

And to go back to an earlier point that Paul made. I mean it's not just young people. He has everybody but and he's growing into the African-American population. He is split with Latino population, not so much in New York but other parts of the country. And he doesn't have women over the age of 65.

[20:35:09] COOPER: But he as a huge deficit with Hillary Clinton among African-Americans?

KONST: Yes, and that's important in New York, and he's making -- he's really pushing through right now trying to make strength, listen, you know, two weeks ...

COOPER: I mean look Washington Square Park is the campus of NYU.

KONST: It is.

COOPER: Sure, I mean if you want to find young people, they are all over Washington Square Park.

KONST: But it's also symbolic, to, you know, I was just there, I ran over here from there and it was a moving moment. I mean there was something very powerful about seeing the crowd. And it was a multicultural crowd. New York is still multicultural, America is still full of immigrants from all over the world and it's not like it's hard to get to Washington Square Park from other neighborhoods.

This is a symbolic moment for him. But, you know, don't forget just a few weeks ago, Hillary Clinton was leading by 30 points. Now she's up by, you know, just a dozen points.

COOPER: And Gloria, Senator Sanders picked up some endorsements. Senator Merkeley I think was one.

BORGER: Right, he's got one now. And what I want to know is where's Elizabeth Warren, the great liberal Democrat in the Senate who has not endorsed anybody at this point. You know, if Elizabeth Warren were to endorse Bernie Sanders ...


BEGALA: He would have to reject an endorsement because her state went for Hillary. And Bernie's argument is superdelegate you go with your states.

BORGER: Oh OK, I get.

KONST: No, I think he did that. BEGALA: You think a non-sense for at, but, I know ...

KONST: I don't think right at now.

BEGALA: But if you want to make the point that superdelegates -- what can I want any superdelegates, but there -- they are in the rules -- they were in the rules when Bernie joined the party five minutes ago, and ...

KONST: Oh come on. He's been caucusing with the party for 30 years.

BEGALA: I know, I love that he's running as a Democrat.

KONST: And Vermont is a different type of state.

BEGALA: But he is cross-pressured here though. If you believe that superdelegates should go with their voters, some of the key superdelegates he's had would have to switch. Rela Brahado (ph), what a great progressive is announce ...

KONST: Come on.

BEGALA: ... his district went for Hillary.

BORGER: But what he's got ...

BEGALA: And he's for Bernie.

BORGER: What he's trying to do tonight at this rally is to mobilize his supporters and to tell these voters that they ought to get out there. He is behind by 12 or 13 points. That's a large loss to make up for.

So by having these huge rallies, which Hillary Clinton by the way goes out of her way not to have.

KONST: Right.

BORGER: She could have large rallies if she wanted to. But she doesn't because she -- they don't think the venue is great for her.

COOPER: You don't believe there's an enthusiasm gap?

KONST: I've been to both and I've seen some empty crowds, and we just saw in camera, and, you know, her crowd was not large. You know, she's got an older demographic. They have seats. I mean I respect them and that's really important to have those intimate locations I guess who can say, but Bernie Sanders is a force and you cannot downplay the fact that he's been able to mobilize a group of voters that have not voted before. Group of voters that have felt disaffected.

Part of the Democratic Party that is acting in response to the fact that Hillary is the presumed nominee. He's been able to coalesce these different coalitions, these different groups of voters for the first time. Even before Barack Obama, this hasn't happened in a very, very long time.

And to one more point, New York is a different state than it was when Hillary is here. This is after the recession. All the people coming out for Bernie Sanders' rallies, all of his support, these are people responding to feeling hurt, to being damaged and by -- by the economy. There are people who haven't been able to do well even though the economy has recovered on Wall Street.

COOPER: It is a closed primary though coming up in New York.

BEGALA: And those have tended to favor Hillary, they each have to find a way to break out into the other person's core constituency, OK but Bernie is play I was stumbling trying not to insult young people, nor me are stumbling and trying others so old people. This is the Democratic Party.


COOPER: What if they provided seats for the older folks at the Hillary Clinton rally?

KONST: The first thing I noticed, was oh there's a myth, right.

BEGALA: But if his met, there's a myth though of momentum. There is no momentum. There is only mathematics. Where there are lots of young white people, Bernie will win. He has a coalition of the young and very young and white and very white and liberal and ultra liberal and that's it. Where is there some more -- but he'll win every state like that. There are more to come that he will win. Where there's a more diverse population, Hillary is always won.

KONST: But why he's winning women minorities under 45?

BORGER: Because he wins with young people, period.

KONST: All together?


BEGALA: With some places, and some in smaller demographics ...

BORGER: His plan is to get the superdelegates to switch? You're never going to do it until you start winning, winning, winning.


BEGALA: His now going to do that.

COOPER: We've got a lot more to talk ...

KONST: But yes he's win of the last night.

COOPER: ... a lot more to talk about ahead, and of course into the debates tomorrow night, so don't forget to join us for the CNN Democratic debate live from Brooklyn. Wolf Blitzer moderates. The stakes -- no we said this a lot, but it still true could not be higher. That's at 9:00 p.m. eastern right here on CNN.

Tomorrow night as we eagerly anticipate what may happen is worth remembering Bernie Sanders already knows what it's like to go head-to- head with Hillary Clinton. The question is what will it be like if and when Secretary Clinton and Donald Rrump end up facing off, if she is, in fact, the nominee?

That's next.


[20:43:47] COOPER: Well the third in our series of town halls with the Republican presidential candidates and their families starts less than 20 minutes from now. Tonight, Senator Ted Cruz and his family. Last night Donald Trump his wife and kids took questions from voters. One brought up his contentious standing among women given his statements over the years. The latest CNN/ORC poll shows that 73 percent of female voters have a negative view of Trump. Last night's town hall, Melania Trump said the fact that her husband is willing to attack women actually shows that he thinks they're equal. Take a look.


MELANIA TRUMP, DONALD TRUMP'S WIFE: He treats everyone equally. So if you are a woman and he attacks, they attack him, he will attack back no matter who you are. We are all human and he treats them equal as men, so I think that's very important. He doesn't make a difference. And he encourage everybody, you are a man or a woman.


COOPER: Oh it's an issue it sure to come up if it's Trump versus Hillary Clinton in a general election, that's what the race become, so we wanted to talk about that a little also tomorrow's Clinton/Sanders debate.

Back with Kayleigh McEnany, and Paul Begala, joining the conversation is someone who knows what is like to go head-to-head with Hillary Clinton, former New York Congressman Rick Lazio who ran against Clinton for Senate in 2000.

You know, it's interim -- essentially Donald Trump was telegraphing his strategy in the town hall last night. I mean the his strategy for going against Secretary Clinton. What do you think that battle is going to look like if fact both they are the nominees?

[20:45:10] MCENANY: This is his biggest vulnerability, and shoring up his favorability's among women. And I think he can do it. I think Melania is exactly right, the fact that he equally has attacked women and men means that he's not sexist. He has attacked Carly Fiorina likewise his attack Marco Rubio. So I agree with their argument that his challenge will be standing on a debate stage across from Hillary and making sure that he goes after her fervently for many of the scandals many argue she was engaged in. But he does it in a way not condescending, because the gender dynamic is unsure Rick can tell you on the stage is very different when it's a male and female. It shouldn't be that way when you're running for President of the United States, gender expectations shouldn't play in but unfortunately it's the reality.

COOPER: Rick, what do you see as her strengths or weaknesses as a candidate?

RICK LAZIO, FMR CONGRESSMAN OF NEW YORK: Well, she's can be a well schooled, organized, prepared. She's going to be as a debater, she'll be on her game. I don't think she'll make many forced errors. She's also in her weakness is not very spontaneous, not particularly inspiring, but she'll stick to her playbook. And, you know, I think it will be up to whoever the Republican opponent is or in the case tomorrow night in the case of Bernie Sanders, to make her look like an uninspiring representative of a corrupt political machine.

And they'll have to pummel away at that. I mean I think that for Donald Trump or Republican candidate that's more conservative that's more sensitivity, I think they can't cross the line. My recommendation is to stay at the stage, by the way. Don't leave the podium. But don't shy away from holding her accountable for her positions. I think one of the strengths that Trump is he's pretty bold and he probably will leave no quarter in terms of her trying to pivot away and not answer questions.

COOPER: Paul, I mean in just terms of the battle, I mean if it is these two, do you think this is just going to be a scorched earth, no holds barred epic battle?

BEGALA: It will be asymmetrical warfare, and Rick has some really useful insights for both Hillary and ...

COOPER: Inside for her.

BEGALA: In a sense that I don't believed Trump's got any touch or death -- depth. Depthness or nuance. He's just -- he's a blow torch. Hillary is mostly a neared, she's a wonk. She doesn't have like snappy one-liners that pop into her head the middle of the debate, you know, she doesn't.

But I think that her game is better than his. In other words, people much more interested in what you're going to do for them, then how you can attack someone and with respect -- by the way, his family is fantastic. If there's any way that Donald Trump can get his family out there on the stage to do what they did with you, that would be great, but with respect to Mrs. Trump she is wrong, when Donald Trump attacks women it's often about their looks.

He attacked Carly Fiorina's looks, he obviously infamously called Rosie O'Donnell a pig and horrible things. He attacked Megyn Kelly suggesting that her hormones made her ask hard questions. With that is a different sort of attack and simply the attacks he weigh against men. MCENANY: But he also attacked Marco Rubio's looks as well, but you look I think he is to rides of hongs attacks and really study debates between male and female. But you look back at Tim Pawlenty and Michele Bachmann in the last election. Pawlenty attacked Michele Bachmann in a way that attacks a man it would have matter but it came off that's being very sexist and within a week Tim Pawlenty was out of the race. So Donald Trump needs to study Rick Lazio's debate, he study Tim Pawlenty's debate and really accomplish this gender dynamic sent on a debate.

COOPER: It is interesting Congressman Lazio because I think back to the colleague one of the debates with Carly Fiorina was him when asked about from the face comment Donald Trump had made and she used -- I thought her answer was very interesting. I mean she used humor somewhat but she didn't directly sort of go after Donald Trump but she said, you know, that all women know what he meant by that.

And it was -- I thought it was pretty powerful at the time. But I'm wondering how much Hillary Clinton will have learned from watching Donald Trump in debates and perhaps vice versa.

LAZIO: Yeah, I think going back to what Paul said, you know, Hillary will be very good if she has -- if she stays on script and the questions are predictable and that her opponent doesn't really challenge her in ways that she doesn't expect. If she's going to go off script and be spontaneous to think of something clever like Carly did in that particular point, I think that's not her strength, I think that's probably a weakness in her part. And this is one of the reasons why you look at the enthusiasm and between Sanders and Hillary that there's a deficit on the part of Hillary, its not just the crowds aren't as big as Bernie Sanders, its that -- when you poll Democrats, they are sort of saying, you know, I like her but she's not exciting.

And so she's not clever on her feet. She's not -- she doesn't have the retail genius of Bill Clinton, her husband, and she knows that. So I think she'll stick to what she does well which is to do her homework, stay on message and hope that she doesn't get pushed in a direction or have to compete with somebody like Trump who might just be much more effective, much more spontaneous and much more clever.

[20:50:00] COOPER: Yeah. Congressman, thanks for being with us. Paul, Kayleigh as well, thanks so much.

MCENANY: Thank you.

COOPER: Coming up at the top of the hour, a "360 Republican town hall", with Ted Cruz and his family. We'll introduce you to them right after a quick break.


COOPER: Well in just a few minutes we're bringing you the third and final "360 Republican family town hall". Ted and Heidi Cruz talking to New York voters. First and quick introduction from "360's" Randi Kaye to a husband and wife who are very much a power couple.


HEIDE CRUZ, TED CRUZ'S WIFE: It's Heidi Cruz calling, wife of U.S. senator and presidential candidate Ted Cruz. This not a recording.

RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Heidi Cruz on the frontline of her husband's presidential campaign. Personally dialing voters to ask them to support Ted Cruz. She is not the type to sit on the sidelines.

CRUZ: Ted and I are a partnership. And it has been the hallmark of our marriage really since day one.

KAYE: That partnership is in full swing with Heidi on leave from her job as an investment manager at Goldman Sachs. As Heidi tells it, she was Ted's first fan, though today she has plenty of fans of her own.

She's her husband's chief fund-raiser, helping to raise over $50 million last year.

The California-born Heidi Nelson studied Economics and International Relations in college. A family trip to Washington when she was a child reportedly got her interested in politics. Her mother told "The Washington Post" that by fifth grade, Heidi announced she hoped to attend Harvard Business School which she later did after a short stint on Wall Street.

[20:55:15] She met her future husband while working for the George W. Bush campaign in 2000. She told Fox News why she was so attracted to Ted.

CRUZ: He has a deep, deep intelligence but at the same time, he's a lot of fun. Ted has an incredible command of pop culture, too much for his own good probably. He's a big movie buff.

KAYE: The couple has two young daughters., Catherine and Caroline. Both were featured in this 90-second campaign ad for Iowa that slammed Hillary Clinton.

CAROLINE CAMILLE CRUZ, TED CRUZ'S DAUGHTER: I know just what I'll do, she said with a snicker, I'll use my own server and no one will be the wiser.

KAYE: The Cruz daughters don't say much on the campaign trail but they're prominently featured on Facebook and Instagram. Ted Cruz posted this on Christmas last year.

TED CRUZ, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Two beautiful snow angels. Get your wings, too, get your wings. Awesome.

KAYE: And more recently this photo from the cheese state, Wisconsin. But not everything goes as planned with kids on the campaign trail. This photo op where Cruz's older daughter shrugged off his kiss went viral. Memories from campaign 2016 all part of the Cruz family history.

Randi Kaye, CNN, New York. (END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: And that does it for us this hour. Up next, the "360 Republican Family Town Hall", with Ted and Heidi Cruz.