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Trump Continues To Fight With RNC; New Poll: Majority Of Voters Don't See Themselves Backing Front-runners; Sanders Speaking At Rally In Queens, N.Y.; New National Poll: Clinton, Sanders In Dead Hat; Bernie Sanders' Brooklyn; Eve Of New York Primary. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired April 18, 2016 - 20:00   ET


[20:00:22] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: And good evening. Thanks for joining us.

Tonight, the battle for New York and one New Yorker's escalating war with his own party. That New Yorker Donald Trump poised to win tomorrow's primary perhaps, win it big, speaking tonight in Buffalo. Today, tonight, and for days now he has been railing against the Republican Party against party rules, against the party chairman Reince Priebus, even against the way the convention in Cleveland is being presented. He says it will be boring. He says he might dump chairman Priebus if he gets the chance saying a lot of things that will make big headlines.

And then, of course, there is the Democratic race. Bernie Sanders is speaking as well tonight apparently closing the gap nationally with Hillary Clinton and suggesting he will outperform the New York polling.

Speaking of which, there is breaking news in a new "Wall Street Journal"/NBC news poll. Large majorities of registered voters saying they could not support either Donald Trump, Ted Cruz on Hillary Clinton in November.

We begin, though, in Buffalo with the Trump campaign and the fireworks and CNN's Jim Acosta.

So the fight between Trump and the RNC just seems to be gaining momentum. What's the latest?

JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Anderson. In just a few moments ago, Donald Trump continued that fight with the RNC. Just a few moments ago he said that the system for awarding delegates to candidates in this race for the White House, at least, on the GOP side is a quote "rigged system." He said it is crooked. He was talking about these recent state party conventions that were held on Wyoming and Colorado. He said the vote was taken away from the people of Colorado. So he has not backing down from this line of attack at all.

And I will tell you Anderson, I talked to a Trump source earlier today who said that the RNC is running the risk alienating millions of voters and somehow Trump gets in the Republican convention in July and over the summer in Cleveland. He is just short of the delegates need to clinch the nomination, that magic number 1237. But it somehow denied that nomination because of some backroom deals. They say that will backfire terribly on the RNC.

COOPER: We're also now in the final, you know, 24 hours now before the New York primary tomorrow. How does the campaign feel, the Trump campaign feel about their chances?

ACOSTA: Well, we heard earlier today Donald Trump say he doesn't want to believe what he is seeing in the polls right now. And that is because he is doing so well. He is poised to really run the table here in New York and potentially sweep all of these delegates. Now, we should point out he has no official events on the schedule tomorrow except for his watch party at Trump tower in Manhattan tomorrow night. But I will tell you, Anderson, this is one fired up crowd here. And Donald Trump has been riding this issue of New York values. That comment made by Ted Cruz, that Donald Trump has hit time and time again. He went after just a few moments ago, though, I will say in just the last several minutes, in talking about the bravery of the first responders on 9/11, Trump had a small gaffe. He accidentally referred to 9/11 as 7/11 so some of those critics might seize on that over the next 24 hours. But that is going to do with Donald Trump's chances in New York. He is poised to win very big tomorrow here in this New York primary.

And then really the calendar is really in his favor. Next week he is in the northeast. And those states all show Donald Trump pretty far ahead. He could put serious distance between himself, Ted Cruz and John Kasich and perhaps have some of that leverage that he is looking for over the RNC. That will perhaps take some form over the next couple weeks, Anderson.

COOPER: All right, Jim Acosta. Jim, thanks very much.

What happens tomorrow could have a major bearing on what happens on every step along the way to Cleveland. Winning it all, however, is neither simple nor easy. However, it is fascinating which is why John King is at the magic wall right now to break it down by the numbers.

So 95 delegates at stake for Republicans in New York. With all this debate about the rules lately, any argument over how they will be divvied up tomorrow.

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: No. New York's rules, Anderson, are complicated, but not unlike other states. It just New York is the big diverse state.

So let's take a look at the rules first. Number, as you mentions, 95 delegates at stake. Donald Trump wants to win them all. To do that, 14 go to the statewide winner. If he gets above 50 percent statewide, he gets all 14 of those statewide delegates. Otherwise below if he gets below 50 percent, they go up proportionately.

But here is the big fight, 81 delegates are worried by congressional district. That's three for each of the 27 districts. That's one of the reasons you see Donald Trump up in Buffalo tonight. He knows there are congressional districts out there and he wants to run up the score in the districts because if you get 50 percent plus-one in a congressional district, you get all three. If you get 49 percent or below that, you get two and the second place receives one delegate. So watch tomorrow night as we are counting the votes in the congressional district to see if Donald Trump not only can win 50 percent statewide, which most of the polls show I'm doing. But can he win 50 percent in all of the 27 congressional districts or is that how Cruz and Kasich maybe be pick up a few by knocking Trump below 50 in a handful, 10, 12 congressional districts. That's why we have to watch it.

[20:05:01] COOPER: I mean, obviously, a win is a win. But it is important just in terms of delegates for him to win it big.

KING: It's hugely important because, again, what is he been complaining about? He has been complaining about the state conventions. Either first time conventions toward delegates or second and third steps to the process where Cruz has been beating him.

Donald Trump is still ahead. Look at the map there by 200 plus in pledge delegates. But Ted Cruz is catching up slowly in place like Wyoming and also getting delegates that would be for Ted Cruz on the second or third ballot. So Donald Trump knows he needs to win on first ballot. Why is New York important to that? If he wins big there tomorrow night, Anderson, look at this. This is what Donald Trump winning 75 percent of the vote tomorrow. Let's say Kasich comes in second according to the polls, but Donald can do that, he starts to stretch out his math a little bit. Not only would he get a big win in New York, he put the Ted Cruz momentum behind him and he would make u a statement, as Jim Acosta said as we go into this northeast mid- Atlantic in the rest of April where Trump is well ahead in the polls. He hopes New York would boost him even more.

COOPER: In addition to 95 delegates, New York results could have a bigger influence.

KING: Right. And that is staying in the region, right. Imagine Trump wins 75 percent or more in New York. Look where he is out about 830. 840 he would be. Now, I'm just going to give him all the rest of this states, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, Delaware and Maryland. Right now, he is ahead in all the polls. If he wins those states with 75 percent. He will get out here. This is 75 percent. See the line right here? That's 75 percent to 1237. If Donald Trump can end the month at this line or perhaps even past it a little bit, Anderson, then it's conceivable. Out in the rest of the calendar, he can get to 1237. If Donald Trump ends on this side of the line, pack your bag bags. We're going to have an open convention.

COOPER: John King, come back over the table as I want to bring the rest of the panel. I want to bring in the rest of the panel. The "New Yorker's" Ryan Lizza is here. Chief political analyst Gloria Borger, political commentators Amana Carpenter and Kevin Madden, our delegate analyst and former RNC chief of staff Mike Shields and political commentator Jeffrey Lord who has been a Trump supporter from the beginning. No one even thought he would enter the race. I think Jeffrey Lord was supporting him and predicting not only he would enter but he would do well.

What would a win in New York, Gloria, do for Donald Trump? I mean, John just showed us on the map, especially given the surrounding states coming up.

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: As Donald Trump might say, it would be huge. It resets the narrative and it resets the math. The narrative because he lost badly in Wisconsin. And then took a bad situation and made it worse with his own gaffes, right. And the math would mean that he could potentially if he won big, as John was talking about, he could potentially set himself a narrow path to get the 1237 number before the convention.

What it won't do is get Ted Cruz out of this race. And it won't guaranty that he can reach that 1237 number. But it certainly would turn around the shape of the campaign right now as far as the folks inside the Trump campaign are concerned. I spoke with someone today who said, look, this is really important for us to win big.

COOPER: And Ryan, I mean, there is no - I mean, if you believe the polls, Trump is way out in front, but if he doesn't win big, as perhaps as being expected, I suppose that gives Cruz ammunition, maybe even Kasich some ammunition to sort of say, well look, he is, you know, stumbling in his home state even if he wins, I guess.

RYAN LIZZA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: That's right. Expectations for Trump has gotten as high as they can get in New York, right. I mean, look. There are incredible analysts who think he could win all 95 delegates tomorrow night. So - and Cruz and Kasich, nobody is giving them a chance. So margin does matter. If Trump falls short, and really, it's more about the delegates tomorrow, but an actual margin in the vote although who pay attention to the margin of the vote, obviously.

If Cruz surprises and he wins, you know, 15, 20, 30 delegates that would be a significant victory. If he carves out some of those more rural districts and does well. But I don't think momentum is having a big role in this race. This race is about demographics. There are some states that are Trump states and there are some states that are now Cruz states based on the rules of those states and the geography. And you can look at John's math and almost point to them.

And so, assuming Trump does well in the northeast, this race is going to come down to two states, Indiana and California. Those are the states to watch that will decide this.

KING: But his political argument about fairness now, you can - but his proponents call it whining. He knows what he's doing. He is trying to create an environment where if he gets close to 1237, it becomes impossible to get away. And he understands that in the month of April, he expects to win big tomorrow. And where is John Kasich was supposed to be the guy who could compete in these more moderate states, where is he? If he doesn't show up in April, why is he here? And if Cruz cannot compete in the northeast at all, how can he be a national candidate to Donald Trump wants you to end the month looking at the math side? Yes, Ted Cruz has won in the west. Here is Ted Cruz won his home state, Texas and Oklahoma. But I'm winning across the country. I'm winning in a lot of places. I have momentum now. And how can you take this away from me?

COOPER: I mean, Amanda, Ted Cruz, I mean, yes, he campaigned in New York, but is out right now. I think tonight he is in Maryland. He has been out of New York an awful lot. What does that tell you?

AMANDA CARPENTER, FORMER CRUZ COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: It tells you that he is doing his best to try to get as many delegates in the places as he can. I think they realize New York is not going to be their state. A lot of their surrogates keep pointing to the 50 percent number which I think it is interesting, John King of course pointed out a minute ago that he needs to get o over 50 percent to get the maximum amount of delegates. But he also needs to get that 50 percent number, 1237 to get the nomination outright at convention. A lot of Trump surrogates have been saying, you know, we can win as a plurality. We don't have to get a majority. That is because throughout this race Donald Trump has not gotten a majority, 50 percent plus-one in any of these contests. He needs to show that he can get a majority somewhere. His home state probably is the only place he can do that.

[20:10:25] COOPER: I mean, Kevin, is New York naturally Donald Trump country?

KEVIN MADDEN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Sure. I mean, this is his home state. It is, you know, Donald Trump --.

COOPER: New York City is different than upper New York State.

MADDEN: I know that he dominates the national media right now, but it used to be that Donald Trump only dominated the media markets in New York and page six on the "New York Post." Now he has the entire country.

But look. There are areas where Cruz can perform strongly. I think if you look at some of the upstate New York congressional districts that have a little bit more of the conservative profile, he can do well there. John Kasich, who I expect will probably finish second on the over percentage tally, but he could do well in places like Westchester county. Even some of the areas of Suffolk County.

But this is a state and is perfectly situated for Donald Trump. You look at the crowd that he has tonight in eerie. Now, that's not a New York City type area. That's blue collar, a little bit more of a (INAUDIBLE) population. And it is the exact type of population that feels they have been disenfranchising from the political process and Donald Trump is the perfect vehicle for a lot of their frustrations.

COOPER: Mike, you know, we are looking at John's map, and you could see the delegate county. Marco Rubio still has a bunch of delegates and looks like I'm going to sort of close to Kasich. What happens to those in the first round? Do they have to vote for Rubio?

MIKE SHIELDS, CNN DELEGATE ANALYST: It actually goes by state rules of each state party. So for instance, Marco Rubio won 22 delegates in Puerto Rico. If the Puerto Rico state party says we are keeping them bound, when the roll call is called, they will vote for Marco Rubio and they just won't be counted for the two people that are likely placed in nomination which is like Ted Cruz as (INAUDIBLE).

COOPER: So it depends on the states.

SHIELDS: So essentially, those are votes not really for Donald Trump because he has to get to 50 percent on the first ballot.

COOPER: OK. Jeffrey, New York, obviously, I mean, to Kevin's point, more than any other state, the one place did we assume Donald Trump to do well, there is a risk in those expectations. You're very confident. You think he is going to get pretty much all the delegates, don't you?

JEFFREY LORD, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes, I think he is going to do very well. I mean, it is his home state. The think that I find very interesting here. If Donald Trump or the Republican nominee, I have no doubt he would carry Ted Cruz's home state of Texas. If Ted Cruz were the Republican nominee, I really have serious doubts that he would be able to carry Donald Trump's state of New York. I'm not sure that he can carry my own state of Pennsylvania.

Donald Trump is uniquely positioned to do well in the mid-Atlantic and northeastern United States. To be perfectly candid, after Ronald, you know, they said Ronald Reagan couldn't win these states. And in fact, it turned out to be moderate Republicans that couldn't win these states. Reagan won them twice. When Bush 43 ran or 41 ran as heir for the so-called Reagan third term, he won Pennsylvania. But beyond that once Bush was on his own, Pennsylvania has been a Democratic hands ever since in terms of Republican - in terms of presidential elections. So Donald Trump is exactly the kind of candidate that can appeal in these areas. And that's very important to electing a Republican president.

COOPER: Much more to talk about tonight including a look at ground war for delegates. We will show you how the arm twisting works and the convincing works he introduced you to delegates who went in supporting one candidate and now support another.

Also in the Democratic side, Bernie Sanders speaking to supporters right now. A new polling that suggests an already close race could be tightening.


SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: And what working people are telling me is they cannot make it.



[20:17:29] COOPER: Donald Trump speaking right now in Buffalo. We have been talking about his beef with the Republican Party over rules allowing a primary day loser a second shot at the delegate from that contest. Now, those rules in the Cruz campaign success at making the most of them are driving him up a wall. And that's pretty clear.

What's also clear is that the party has little patience for his complaints saying he should have known how the system works. The rules have been in place for a long time. As interesting as all the back and forth has been, however, we thought you would also like to see up close what all the fuss is about. How it actually works.

So tonight, Gary Tuchman takes us straight to the frontlines in the ground war for delegates.


GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Katie Frost has just been elected as a Ted Cruz delegate. Dale Jackson and (INAUDIBLE) will also be going to the Republican national convention, but as Donald Trump delegates. However, as the two of them sign papers officially committing themselves to Trump, they have also committed themselves to abandoning Trump for Ted Cruz as soon as possible. So why and how is that happening?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Congratulations to Katie Frost and Dale Jackson. They will represent us at the national committee.

TUCHMAN: This is the Republican convention in the third congressional district of Georgia south and west of Atlanta where many Donald Trump supporters say the fix was in.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now you may say that it wasn't determined before we got here. But that's not true.

TUCHMAN: Donald Trump won the Georgia primary in March and he won Georgia's third congressional district. So according to the rules, he automatically gets two delegates. Ted Cruz, who came in second, gets one. And this is the day that more than 200 active Republicans from the district elect the actual people who will be those delegates.

Sounds simple enough, but things were not so simple early in the day when it came to selecting the Trump delegates. Listen to what Denise (INAUDIBLE) says at the end of this exchange before a Trump del delegate.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What campaign did you work for?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I worked for a lot of campaigns. You're asking do I support Ted Cruz, and I do.

TUCHMAN: But Trump delegates, but a Cruz supporter.

And then the other winning Trump delegate, Dale Jackson, was asked if he supported Ted Cruz.

DALE JACKSON, TRUMP DELEGATE: I support limited government, conservative principles.

TUCHMAN: But clear evidence he supports Cruz was easy it find. Fliers were passed out that stated please vote for Ted Cruz delegates and listed the names Dale Jackson and Denise Ognio who were later elected as Trump delegates. This man is a Trump supporter.

CLINT ROUGHTON, TRUMP SUPPORTER: The voters voted the majority for Donald Trump. And knowingly sending Ted Cruz supporters up there is wrong.

[20:20:08] TUCHMAN: He and other Trump supporters might not like it, but it's totally within the rules. And Ted Cruz's campaign knows how to play them. Aggressively recruiting supporters to turn out for the conventions held in congressional districts throughout Georgia. Dale Jackson and Denise Ogio are obligated to vote for Trump. But if it goes back the first ballot, bye-bye Trump.

What will it be like voting for Donald Trump and Ted Cruz will most likely still be fighting for president of the United States? How will that make you feel?

JACKSON: That's the rules. I will follow the rules.

TUCHMAN: How will that make you feel?

JACKSON: I know there's going to be a second ballot.

TUCHMAN: So rules are rules. Donald Trump will get two votes from these newly elected delegates. But if the voting in the convention goes into a second round, they will do the political equivalent of leaving Donald Trump at the altar.

So, do wither of you have any ethical issues at all with not voting for Donald Trump after the first ballot?

JACKSON: Absolutely not.



COOPER: It's fascinating to see this, Gary. Do those two Trump delegates who are really Cruz supporters, do they say they will support his campaign if he does get the nomination? If Trump actually gets the nomination, will they support his campaign?

TUCHMAN: Anderson, they are obviously not fans of Donald Trump, but they do not want Hillary Clinton to become president of the United States. So Donald Trump gets the nomination, they say they are loyal Republicans. And they will follow the Republican flag bearer -- Anderson.

COOPER: Gary Tuchman. Gary, thanks so much.

Back with our panel.

Mike, I want to start with you as you are usually the expert in all things delegate. I mean, Trump supporter saying this, I can understand if I was a Trump supporter saying - well, that just seems unfair. Donald Trump, you know, is supposed to have two delegates who are his supporters. Those two, they are going to vote for Trump in the first round. But they are not really supports.

SHIELDS: Well, they were competing in a primary to get those bound delegates. That's what they are competing for and they got them. The bound delegates on the first votes.

COOPER: How did they get elected to represent Donald Trump?

SHIELDS: That's up to the state party. And there are rules to elect the people that they want to elect. And look. These rules have been known since last year. I was actually at the press conference over a year ago when the RNC rolled out the rules which were by state. So these are (INAUDIBLE). These are every single state party rules.

COOPER: So when people say that Ted Cruz has a better ground game. He knows the system better. What can Ted Cruz - what he just put out more Cruz supporters to become Trump delegates and by sheer, I don't know or massive numbers? Some of those are going to get picked as Trump delegates.

SHIELDS: I think there is two things in really helping Cruz. And that number one is, yes. An organization that was on the ground way before any of this started. The very beginning of the campaign, that really helps you to know those local people, know those people that are going to be working at the county party and want to be a delegate.

The second thing is he has an organic advantage because a lot of those local people tend to be Ted Cruz supporters from the beginning. So they are more likely to want to go to the convention. They just happen to be Ted Cruz supporters from the start.

MADDEN: I think the real quick point too, Gary Tuchman, that's a fantastic piece. It also points out, these are not your party insider types. These are grass roots activists. These are people that put up lawn signs. These are the people who work and go door to door to get delegate signatures. This is your grassroots Republican Party activists.

COOPER: And they are the ones who actually show up for the meetings where delegate is going to be elected. Where somebody who may be a Trump supporter or maybe just coming to the process, they are not going to go to that delegate meeting to try to (INAUDIBLE).

COOPER: The idea that this is inside in Washington instead, this is taking place out in districts and counties across the country.

COOPER: Jeffrey Lord is a Trump supporter. Does it seem beneficial to you? I mean, if Donald Trump benefited from this. In Georgia, he got more delegates than he actually got popular vote, if memory serves me correct. But he didn't complain about that in Georgia. But obviously, when it doesn't go in favor, understandably, he does. Do you think that's unfair, that system?

LORD: Yes, I do think the system is unfair. And this is the problem. And Anderson, let me just read you a couple lines here. Quote "I went before the people and I won. Now the national committee and a portion of the convention, which is made of majority only by the aid of delegates not elected by chosen by the national committee, are trying to cheat me out of the nomination. They can't do it. As far as I am concern it makes no difference. But it's not me they are cheating, it's the people, the rank and file of the Republican Party," unquote.

That's not Donald Trump. That's Theodore Roosevelt in 1912 making the same acquisition that Donald Trump is making now. And of course, we know it didn't end well for Republicans in 1912. Teddy Roosevelt was so mad, he ran as a third party candidate, split the vote and Widrow Wilson went into the White House.

I would just caution here that this is could be a mammoth black eye for the Cruz campaign and Republican Party if they continue on like this. When we get to rules challenges, credentials challenges, if these delegates were supposed to be Trump delegates are not representing the people their voter elected, there's going to be a big problem.


KING: Look, Gary Tuchman's piece exposes that it's the rules. It is the rules. And if you are a Trump supporter, Jeff, you could understand why Trump is saying I'm outraged. But this is the way it is. We just, we never have this. We never have the point that we're getting closer to an open convention. But this is why the infamous now rule 40B exists. Because Ron Paul did this to Mitt Romney. Ron Paul's people outhustled Mitt Romney in all these states.

COOPER: The convention you have to have won the majority.

KING: To be placed into nomination, the majority of the delegates in eight states. And so, the Romney campaign realizes it was going on to the nomination that Ron Paul was essentially going back and getting more delegates in all these states. And I realized, OK, we are still going to be the nomination but we don't (INAUDIBLE), we don't want a floor fight. We don't wasn't a mess. So they passed this rule.

COOPER: So if Donald Trump had had more organization and aforethought and, you know, I mean, as he should have known what the rules are, he could have what? Put in, gotten people to go to those meetings where delegates would be selected and his people would have competed with the Cruz people?

BORGER: You know, I think early on, the feeling inside the Trump campaign and we were all covering it, was this was going to be wrapped up by now. That they didn't need to do this. It's always the way it happened. They wouldn't need to do this. They could have looked at recent history, though. Mitt Romney, in Massachusetts, won Massachusetts, lost delegates there if you recall. So it has happened.

But I think there was a sense we're going to be done. We don't need to do this kind of work. And in fact if he won some state, he actually fired people who worked in the states and moved on. So it was a strategic decision that the Trump campaign made.

COOPER: It is interesting, Ryan, that while Ted Cruz was publically saying how great Donald Trump was and how he gets divided, he's got all these people working.

LIZZA: Take the nomination away if this played out the way Cruz maybe suspected it would. But look. To give Trump a little bit of credit, he is shining a light on something that has been known and true for a long time now. Both parties' nomination contests are not purely Democratic. You know, my vote in Washington, D.C. or someone else's vote in Montana does not equal the same number of delegates. But the person that has benefitted more from the system than anyone so far is Donald Trump. He has won 37 percent of the popular vote and he has won 45 percent of the delegates. So it's unfair for everyone in the same way.

KING: And to be fair to those people who are Cruz voters, Cruz supporters who can run as Trump delegate, to Kevin's point earlier, they are the Republicans who show up for the meetings when they are talking about electing the dog catcher. They show up for the meeting when they are talking about electing the county commission. So they are Republicans in their community.

But the challenge for Donald Trump is the good part about Donald Trump, the Republican Party, is he's bringing in all these new voters. The bad part for Donald Trump is these voters are not parking lot of the process. They are not the familiar faces. Those people believed they earned their spot at the delegate because they have done all the trench-work.

COOPER: We got to take a quick break. A lot more ahead. We are going to dig into the democratic race as well.

Bernie Sanders speaking right now at a rally in Queens, New York. We also have breaking news, new polling on what voters think of Sanders and Hillary Clinton as both turn up the heat on the eve of the New York primary.


[20:32:00] COOPER: Tonight's breaking news, in a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News Poll, large majority of registered voters say they could not either support Donald Trump, Ted Cruz or Hillary Clinton in November. That is one piece of the backdrop in the eve of the pivotal New York primary. The Democratic candidates making their final push in a state they both consider home. Bernie Sanders speaking now at an event in Long Island City in Queens, New York. 247 delegates at stake for Democrats tomorrow, the most in any Democratic primary contest so far.

Our senior Washington correspondent Jeff Zeleny joins me with the latest. Senator Sanders coming off a big turnout at his rally over the weekend. You're now there's event in Queens, what's it like there? What's the latest?

JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: He is Anderson, I mean Bernie Sanders has had more rallies than anyone else running for president either parties. He's attracted to crowds of tens of thousands of people across New York. The rally yesterday in Brooklyn in a neighborhood park near where he grew up really attracted nearly 30,000 people.

Much smaller crowd tonight here in Long Island City, but still several thousand people out listening to Senator Sanders make one final pitch to New Yorkers here. He's been speaking for nearly an hour. He's about to lose his voice, but he's going through a litany of reasons he believes that Americans, that Democrats should give him a chance to think big. He's hitting Secretary Hillary Clinton hard on Wall Street speeches, on health care. So no new ground here tonight, Anderson, but really giving a final pitch to why voters should come out for him tomorrow.

COOPER: Are you getting an invocation from the Sanders campaign about how they're feeling about their chances tomorrow?

ZELENY: Anderson, they are optimistic. They've seen this enthusiasm in crowds really across New York City, across the state for the last two weeks as he's been campaigning here. But they're also realistic. The biggest worry they have New York has a closed primary. That means all of the independent voters who have helped him in other states along the way here cannot vote for him tomorrow. They have to be registered Democrats. That's why they believe that New York is much heavier lift than some other states.

So they are hoping for a strong night. But they're actually realistic about what their chances are here. The Clinton campaign conversely is optimistic. But Anderson, it's still difficult to poll this city. So watching turnout tomorrow is so, so important. Anderson.

COOPER: Yeah, Jeff Zeleny. Jeff thanks very much.

As we said Hillary Clinton leading in the polls heading into tomorrow's primary. She's been stumping hard across the state. She served New Yorkers in the U.S. Senate, now calls the state home. Well Sanders have been ramping up his attacks on her over the weekend, his supporters mocked Clinton by tossing what a dollar bills in her motorcade near the home of actor George Clooney who was hosting California fund raiser for Clinton.

CNN senior political correspondent Brianna Keilar joins me now with more on the Clinton campaign. Do you with Hillary Clinton during an event earlier this afternoon in mid-town Manhattan, what's the latest with her?

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Her closing is elbow Anderson against Bernie Sanders had to do with his position on guns, his college plan and whether it's realistic, and also women's issues and his commitment to them. This was a big women's event that she held in mid-town Manhattan. But she and her campaign are also sensitive to this incoming that you mentioned. Bernie Sanders casting her as too close to wealthy donors and to Wall Street, and to that point, you saw the Sanders campaign today file a complaint letter with the DNC about Hillary Clinton's joint fundraising effort with them. This doesn't part build a general election war chest.

[20:35:22] Of course there are benefits to Hillary Clinton for this, but essentially the Sanders campaign was saying this is not on the up and up and she's benefiting in a way that she shouldn't. After that, we saw the Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook get on a hastily arranged phone call with reporters and really try to tear apart what Bernie Sanders was saying. Saying that she's absolutely following the rules on this and casting Bernie Sanders as desperate as the race here is slipping out of his hands. That was basically his words. You've seen what Donald Trump is saying. He's trying to brand Hillary Clinton as crooked and it's clear that the Clinton campaign is worried that could actually stick from her primary opponent as well.

COOPER: And she's been leading the polls by double digits, leading up to tomorrow's election. How confident is the campaign those numbers is going to hold up?

KEILAR: I don't know if they're confident that those numbers particularly are going to hold up their -- it's a very big margin, this latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal Poll, we saw 17-point spread. I think it's very clear that they think that she is going to be victorious. And with each of these races as it becomes even a tougher climb for Bernie Sanders, they're trying to cast his path to the nomination as really impossible. In fact to that point, we heard his campaign manager today saying that, with this coming of New York where they are expecting to be victorious, they think that Bernie Sanders will have a, "stiff and enclose to impossible path to the nomination." They believe that the math of the primary in Robby Mook's words, is becoming overwhelming.

COOPER: All right, Brianna thanks very much for the reporting.

Clinton's lead nationally is shrinking according to a new poll. Now shows her neck-and-neck with Bernie Sanders, were talking nationally. We'll have those numbers and our panel been a weigh in the Democratic race nationally in New York, next.

BERNIE SANDERS, (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: ... crazy, you are thinking too big? It's too radical of idea, be sensible that can happen, but you know what occurred the people in the fast food industry in McDonald's and Burger King. Those people went out on strike and they told the world ...


[20:41:18] COOPER: And Bernie Sanders just wrapping up his rally there in Queens, New York. As we mentioned he's trailing Hillary Clinton by double digits in multiple polls. And at New York's primary nationally though her lead is razor thin, according to a new national NBC News/Wall Street Journal Poll, Clinton has 50 percent to Sanders 48 percent. Well within the polls margin of error. Just a month ago in the same poll by the way, Clinton led by 9 points.

Back now with Gloria Borger, Ryan Lizz and John King. Also joining the conversation our political commentators, Bill Press, Maria Cardona and Donna Brazile. Thank you all for with being with us.

Gloria, I mean tomorrow obviously is a pivotal race for Bernie Sanders and Secretary Hillary Clinton. There's a lot riding on it. Both say, you know, New York it's their adopted home state but not their original.

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Exactly. Look, Hillary Clinton has lost 7 of the last 8 contests. We're not talking about math now. We're talking about losses. And she really wants this win and she wants to win it big. It would certainly help her with her math, but this is proportional.

But what it shows is that if Hillary Clinton wins, she keeps winning in states that look more like the Democratic Party. And Bernie Sanders keeps winning in states that don't. And that this is a close primary, he very often wins with independents.

COOPER: Right.

BORGER: If he's going to be a credible candidate in the future, he's got to start winning with Democrats and this is ...

BILL PRESS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: That is important in Democratic Party.

BORGER: And yeah, so this is a race that will actually show you whether he can.

COOPER: Do the national poll numbers, how significant is that?

JOHN KING, CNN ANCHOR: Well let's think about what you just said. Bernie Sanders ...

BORGER: It has to win.

KING: ... is essentially in a tie with Hillary Clinton. Bernie Sanders a long time independent, now self-described socialist Democrat unknown on the national stage six months or a year ago.

COOPER: Started off with 3 percent.

KING: Yeah, it is statistical tie with Hillary Clinton. The former first lady of the United States, former Senator from New York, the former Secretary of State, the former presidential candidate, and that is astounding, right. And yet it means could mean everything, but at the moment it means almost nothing. Because we're in the state by state phase of the campaign as long as she can keep winning, if can start winning, if he can upset her in New York, if he can upset her in Pennsylvania, and then he can say I'm in a national tie with her and I perform as meaningless as they are, better than her against Donald Trump in November.

I said their mean because this for out, so that could be something that he could use as a weapon but only if he can start as Gloria notes, that he has to win with African-Americans and Latinos. He has to do that in New York and he has to prove he can do it again in Maryland, he has to prove he can do it again in Delaware. In Pennsylvania is a wider state, but you still have the Democratic substantiates in the Philadelphia sort. He has to prove that he can beat her in the big states in a more diverse state, if he does that, wow. COOPER: And yet Ryan, I mean if he comes close in New York, you know, he can sort of argue well, she should have won this by a much bigger margin.

RYAN LIZZA, WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT THE NEW YORKER: The expectations are in his favor in New York, right she's suppose to win in her own state in place where she was a senator for two terms, and she supposed to do it by a big, big margin.

But -- I mean the brutal honesty of the math of this race is that absent some earthquake, Sanders blowing her away or beating her in New York and truly changing the momentum of the race, this thing is pretty crooked, we know the demographics of these two candidates. You can just look at the rest of the map just like in the Republican primary you can and point to the places where he's going to do well and well she's going to do well

Yeah, having said that though, if Hillary Clinton, if she wins this nomination, she will have worked harder and endured more to win a major party nomination than just about anyone ever. Think about it 2008 and 2016.

BORGER: Welcome to the world of women.

COOPER: They don't spending a lot more in New York than she anticipated or wanted to as a campaign ...

LIZZA: He's way -- $40 million a month, right.

[20:45:00] So a front-runner who essentially has the math locked up ...


LIZZA: ... has never had to deal with an insurgent who has that much money hitting her every single day.

COOPER: Bill, in the Sanders campaign your Sanders supporter they've been down playing the need for a win in New York for victory in New York, essentially saying it's a less about popular vote and more about the delegate count.

PRESS: In this all about done it gets right. first of all I do have to say, I think Michigan and Wisconsin kind of looked like America and Bernie won both of them. So he's won, you know, a couple really good blue states of Democrats after went.

Also I just second for a sec, what John said is it is astounding. Whatever happened to the inevitability, whatever happened with the coronation, whatever happened to she's got the nomination wrapped up. I mean the fact that it's statistical tie nationwide.

COOPER: Is this a flashback down 2008. Is that -- I remember having this conversation of whatever happened to the -- I'm sure she was the candidate then.

PRESS: Yes, and ...

COOPER: We know what happens.

PRESS: ... we thought it start up that way this time. In New York, what I think that what the Sanders campaign is recognizing is got the reality. This is Hillary country, elected she lives there, elected senator from there twice, the -- it's a closed primary. If you want to do independents wanted to vote Democrat they had to do it last October. You know, so I'm not saying it's rigged, I'm just saying I think that deck -- the deck was stacked against Bernie ...


PRESS: ... if he comes in, I would say if he come within 10 points is a win.

KING: Yeah.

PRESS: Within 5 points it's a big win at. If he wins it, it's not serious.

COOPER: It's an actual win.


KING: Yeah.

COOPER: I do want to play something that George Clooney said, because, you know, this was been in the news like Clooney held a fundraiser for Hillary Clinton this week and raised $15 million for her campaign. Sanders campaign was very critical of it. Here's a little about what he had to say yet on "Meet the Press" yesterday.


GEORGE CLOONEY, HOLLYWOOD CELEBRITY: I think it's not an obscene amount of money. I think that, you know, we had some protesters last night when we pulled up in San Francisco. And they're right to protest, they're absolutely right, it is an obscene amount of money, the Sanders campaign when they talk about, it is absolutely right. It's ridiculous that we should have this kind of money in politics, and I agree completely.


COOPER: He also went on to say Donna and Maria, that the money is not just going to Secretary Clinton that is going for a top Democratic congressman, Sanders ...


COOPER: ... trying take back the Congress. Still, paying over $350,000 you can seat with George Clooney you can understand why for Sanders supporters it wrangles.

BRAZILE: Sure, what's your price Anderson? I mean what's your price because ...

COOPER: A dinner with ...

BRAZILE: Willing to pay that.

COOPER: I don't.

BRAZILE: ... (inaudible) and play the lottery.

COOPER: I'll show up for a big Mac. A number one meal is fine for me, a big Mac and a large fries.

CARDONA: The point is that -- the point that George Clooney was saying after that clip is that, not all the money went to Hillary Clinton. All the money was for Hillary Clinton's campaign plus the majority of it actually went to down ballot candidates, Senate candidates, House candidates and state parties. And I think that's a really important point, even though the Sanders campaign or Sanders supporters are denigrating it a little bit which I think doesn't bode well for a candidate who is looking to lead the Democratic Party and by insinuation he is saying that the Democratic Party is corrupt.

And I think that the issue that they need to really think about is if Bernie Sanders doesn't help down ballot candidates, he is going to get to the white -- if gets to the White House it's going to be a really lonely and irrelevant political revolution if he doesn't have Democrats to help him, try to help him.

BRAZILE: Well let me just -- first of all let me just say this, as a party official, the Democratic Party has joint committee agreement with both Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton. That is technically what you do as a party you have an agreement. It's not a binding agreement. You don't have to raise money for the party. No one is telling you to raise money for the party.

Hillary Clinton clue is taking advantage of that agreement, as is, you know, many Senate candidates who also have agreements with the Democratic Party, because that legally you can raise a lot more money and $33,400 goes directly to Democratic National Committee of course $2,7000 goes to the candidate.

CARDONA: And $10,000 to state parties.

BRAZILE: And $10,000 to state -- so I'm look, Anderson, I have worked on campaigns where we had no money. I am happy to see someone out there raising money for the Democratic Party whether you're running for mayor, city council, or congressman ...

COOPER: Let's point out ...


COOPER: ... do the Republicans do this as well. I mean this is not ...

CARDONA: Right. COOPER: ... you know, everybody does this politics Bill.

PRESS: I think we're missing the point -- we're missing the point which is Bernie Sanders is doing it without a Super PAC, without the ...

CARDONA: But he's not helping anybody.

PRESS: Let me finish. Without -- oh yes he is. Without all these special donors and everything.

COOPER: Right.

PRESS: And I'm the only former state chair sitting on this panel. I want to tell you that money that goes to the state parties, follow the money folks, a lot of that money can be sited off ...

BRAZILE: I'm the former ...



BRAZILE: Bill I'm a former heir in the chair of the national party, OK.


PRESS: I know how state party's work.

BRAZILE: I know how ...

COOPER: We'll hear a lot more of the rest this and more as the politics coming up.

[20:50:01] Coming up, Clinton and Sanders both have roots in New York. Sanders going way back to his childhood in Brooklyn. We'll take you to Sanders' neighborhood, next.


COOPER: Both Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders can lay claim to a home court advantage in tomorrows New York primary. Clinton of course was a senator from New York, Sanders roots meanwhile go back to Brooklyn where he was born and spent his formative years.

Randi Kaye went to Sanders old neighborhood and spoke with some of the people who knew him way back when. Take a look.


RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Deep in the heart of Brooklyn, you'll find the neighborhood of Madison where Bernie Sanders was born and raised. This is the building where he grew up.

STEVE SLAVIN, BERNIE SANDERS' HIGH SCHOOL FRIEND: He had lived in a three and a half room apartment, a very cramped apartment with his mother, father and older brother Larry.

KAYE: Sanders' father Eli was a Polish immigrant who settled in this neighborhood. Back then it was working class back then and heavily Jewish. Here he and American born wife Dorothy raised their two sons.

SLAVIN: His father struggled to make a living. That shaped Bernie's thinking. You know, the 1 percent and the 99 percent. I think when Bernie was 8 years old, he identified with the 99 percent.

KAYE: By the time he was in high school here in James Madison High, his political education really began. Still in his early teens, he started going to meetings of college Democrats with his older brother Larry.

[20:55:08] LARRY SANDERS, BERNIE SANDERS' BROTHER: It is true that I brought things into the house, unfortunate he wouldn't be getting in his schooling at that stage, but I think so I'm glad of that.

KAYE: At Sanders high school hangs a very crowded wall of distinction. Two famous judges, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and Judge Judy. Rock and roll hall of famer, Carole King, Senators Chuck Schumer and Norm Coleman and of course Senator Bernie Sanders.

JODIE COHEN, JAMES MADISON HIGH SCHOOL PRINCIPAL: Here is Bernie Sanders' yearbook picture. He was the captain of the track team, the captain of the cross country team, the reporter for the school newspaper, class president and on the bottom it actually lists what their intention is post high school and his was to go on to college.

KAYE: He did go on to college here at nearby Brooklyn College before transferring to the University of Chicago. His high school friend Steve Slavin was also his college roommate.

SLAVIN: Bernie and I lived here, what we had was basically an illegal sublet. We paid I think it was $80 a month. We lived largely on ice cream and spaghetti. And Bernie was the cook because he knew how to boil spaghetti, I did not know how to do that.

KAYE: His roommate also still remembers Sanders' thick Brooklyn accent.

SLAVIN: It seems to me that his Brooklyn accent is much more extreme than it was when we were living together.

KAYE: Back at Sanders' old apartment building, another resident Mercedes Diaz (ph) tells us, she became a Sanders supporter after discovering their common roots.

MERCEDES DIAZ (PH), BROOKLYN RESIDENT: It's really cool that he grew up in this building. I think I have all buildings in Brooklyn, it's really different and an honor honestly.

SANDERS: Thank you all very much.

KAYE: A hometown connection that clearly has some Brooklynites feeling the Bern. Randi Kaye, CNN, Brooklyn, New York.


COOPER: It's the eve of the New York primaries, there's a lot to get to in the next hour of "360", we'll how Donald Trump is spending the last day before his home state though, actually we'll hear from a governor who endorsed John Kasich and of all the latest in the both Republican, Democratic races, coming up next.