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ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT
Final Hours of Voters in New York; Sanders Speaking in Penn, Before New York Polls Close; New York Polls Closing in About An Hour. Aired 7-8p ET
Aired April 19, 2016 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[19:00:19] ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: And good evening. I'm Erin Burnett. Welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world tonight. This is a special edition of OUTFRONT.
We begin with breaking news. Voting underway in New York. As state that could not be more important in the race for president right now. Tonight crucial for both parties, frontrunner Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton need major wins in their home state. Also breaking in Brooklyn, the New York controller in a statement to CNN says more than 125,000 voters were just removed completely obliterated off of the voter rolls and that also adds to reports of voters having trouble accessing polling sites. Obviously this could be very, very significant in a tight race tonight.
Much more on that throughout the hour as that news breaks. New York in the meantime is one of the biggest prizes in the race. Two hundred and forty seven delegates up for grabs for the Democrats, 95 on the Republican side.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Who are you voting for?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Easy decision.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: For Donald Trump who voted in New York City earlier today, a sweeping victory could put him within reach of clinching the nomination before the party's convention in July.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Great support. You see all the people over there, all positive.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: And Ted Cruz is campaigning in Pennsylvania today taking to talk radio to slam Trump over his repeated claim that the system when it comes to the delegate selection process in the U.S. is rigged against Trump.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Donald Trump's campaign does not know how to organize on the grassroots. The Donald Trump campaign doesn't know what they are doing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Doesn't know what they are doing. I'm joined tonight but our distinguished panel, our team here in the studio and our reporters in the field at the polling stations around the state. We are covering all this important primary from every angle.
We begin though with Jim Acosta. He is OUTFRONT tonight at Trump's headquarters here in New York City. Obviously Jim, Donald Trump expecting a big night. The question is just how big. I know you just had a chance to speak to the Trump campaign and what are they saying to you?
JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, it feels good to be home for Donald Trump. His newly created delegate here Erin is hopeful that the GOP frontrunner will hit that key, 50 percent bigger statewide and in the Congressional districts across New York in order to rack up this state's 95 delegates. It's a big haul. But they don't see it as some sort of disaster if he doesn't get there tonight. A top delegate advisor tells me that the campaign believes that Donald Trump is entered a new turning point in this campaign away from the caucus states that favored Ted Cruz and into the terrain that favors Donald Trump, especially the northeast where we are tonight.
The adviser that I was talking to you says this belief inside the campaign right now is that Donald Trump can get, yes, can get to that magic number of 1237 delegates. It does sound daunting at this point but just in case he fails, they are starting to lay the groundwork, I'm told to start micro targeting as it's described to me individual uncommitted delegates at the Republican convention later this summer. They are asking for sit down meetings, trying to get another individual issues and all of this is happening, Erin, as you know, as Trump's campaign sources are saying the campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, he's had his role reduced.
What we know is that he is basically sharing leadership of the campaign with convention manager Paul Manafort, he was described by one source as Trump's secretary of defense and secretary of state all rolled into one. Lewandowski was described as moving into a quote, "chief of staff role." But one source inside the campaign said, people, they want to know what Corey Lewandowski's role is moving forward but Donald Trump earlier today, Erin said his reorganization of the campaign is going smoothly.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much Jim Acosta.
I want to go to Sunlen Serfaty now, she is traveling with the Cruz campaign in Philadelphia tonight. Obviously a big statement just on its face, Sunlen, he's not in New York getting ready to speak where you are, not even waiting until the polls close. SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's absolutely right. Not even
waiting for those results from New York to come back, Erin, and clearly a move to get out front of the results on a night that quite frankly the Cruz campaign is not projecting one ounce of confidence in how they will come out and while Ted Cruz and his campaign aides really went after Donald Trump today in a very sharp, a very pointed way, aids say do not expect that same tone form him when he speaks here later tonight in Philadelphia. A top Cruz campaign official tells me that the Senator's speech will be less about Donald Trump and more about the future.
In this speech later here, he'll talk about what it means to be a Republican and why he is the best opportunity for Republican voters to vote for a Republican going forward. Another aide saying this is not going to be a Donald Trump indictment tonight. That is not for tonight. Tonight is about looking ahead towards a future -- Erin.
BURNETT: That is of course what Ted Cruz desperately wants to do tonight.
[19:05:03] OUTFRONT now our panel that will be with me the entire hour as we count you down to this crucial polls closing hour. Hillary Clinton supporter, former mayor of Philadelphia Michael Nutter. Bernie Sanders' supporter Jonathan Tasini. Republican strategist Ana Navarro. Trump supporter Jeffrey Lord who served as political director for President Ronald Reagan. Dana Bash, our chief political correspondent. Ryan Lizza, the Washington correspondent for The New Yorker. David Gergen who served as political presidential advisor for four presidents including Reagan and Clinton. And John Avlon, editor- in-chief of "The Daily Beast."
So, John, let me start with you. The delegate hall here is big. It's not just big. It's a crucial state because no one is a majority yet, it's big. Only Texas and Florida so far have had more and only California will have more in the future. So, New York truly matters.
JOHN AVLON, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, "THE DAILY BEAST": New York truly matters and you've got two hometown candidates, and Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton try to clean up and get that kind of distance in the delegate count they need. And this is a state that is more representative than people think. You know, it is a state where Independents outnumber Democrats or Republicans and Donald Trump is going to be a great test to see how he can appeal to western New York. Hillary Clinton, how much even against a liberal tie to voters, can she build a broad coalition based on that shared history.
AVLON: This is a street fight state fascinating stuff down there.
BURNETT: Street fight state, Dana. And when you look at the delegates, right? There is 95 at stake and you know, you win more than 50 percent of the state, you get some of them but not all of them. You have to win in every single Congressional district.
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Exactly. BURNETT: The Trump campaign has said look, we'll going to do really
well. We're going to do about 85, a number they had turnout. Can he do that?
BASH: Sure, it's entirely possible but it is going to mean that he is going to have a have a very, very good night. Because as you said, New York is more complicated on the Democratic said but complicated on the Republican side in that. As you said, there is going to be contest for the overall state if he gets 50 percent. He'll get the delegates for that.
BASH: But then each Congressional district, 27 of them is three delegates, so you know, they are kind of individual races, a lot of them within the big race --
BASH: And they had been working it extremely hard.
BURNETT: Extremely hard David Gergen and that's been a shift and a strategy means in terms of just they came in, he took a couple days off and then they focused on New York. Look, the only Trump realistically on the Republican side can get the nomination before the convention with these 1237 delegates, he needs the delegates here in New York. Can he get all 95? I mean, now you know it's a game of expectations if they don't want to set them that high, but is that possible?
DAVID GERGEN, FORMER PRESIDENTIAL ADVISER: It's possible. It's absolutely possible. But I would argue it's about more than delegates tonight. It's also about Trump regaining momentum. You know, just a few weeks ago, he seemed like to be on the ropes. He was so self- destructive and we wondered does he really want to be president? And the momentum shifted toward Cruz and Cruz did take advantage of that moment. He didn't seize upon the moment and Trump is been allowed to come back. If he wins big tonight, next week there are five primaries along the east coast directing from Long Island, south of Maryland. Trump could win all five of them. And then he would definitely receive some momentum.
GERGEN: And I think even if he falls short of the required number, he would be a much stronger candidate going into the convention.
BURNETT: And on that number of falling short, right? The exit polls, and we do have, you know, a feel of what viewers, voters are saying. Exit polls show almost three-quarters of GOP voters today say that if no candidate wins the majority, the one with the most support in the primaries and the caucuses, Ryan, should be the nominee.
RYAN LIZZA, WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT, "THE NEW YORKER": Yes.
BURNETT: In Wisconsin that figure was 55 percent. LIZZA: Yes.
BURNETT: Cruz won Wisconsin. Again, it's now three quarters. Obviously bodes well for Donald Trump tonight. It's a significant statement, though, from voters.
LIZZA: Right. Well, it's a significant statement from Trump voters more likely. Right?
BURNETT: Right. Yes.
LIZZA: These are his people here in New York and they are saying, yes --
LIZZA: If he gets the majority of those delegates, of course, he should get the nomination in Wisconsin was a little lower because Cruz of course won. This, you know, on the delegate map, this is the state where he needs to sweep. Right? His single best opportunity to get a huge chunk of delegates is here in New York. This should be Trump's best state of the entire primary. It's the first state, I think the first state primary where he will -- he's likely to get over 50 percent. So, you know, every single delegate counts. He's getting his clock cleaned on the ground in the state and county level complicated delegate, you know fight where he's going hand to hand with Cruz. So, this is like, this is his moment. This is his turning point. On Dana's point about momentum. This race has been extremely resistant to momentum. Right? A victory in one state seems to get you nothing in the next state. This race is been very much about demographics. Right?
LIZZA: You can almost look at a state, you know, see the demographics and we can tell who's going to win at this point.
BURNETT: What do you say Jeff Lord about the importance of New York?
JEFFREY LORD, DONALD TRUMP SUPPORTER: Yes.
BURNETT: And an over 50 percent, right?
BURNETT: Because this is the argument Ted Cruz always uses against Donald Trump. He's not getting over 50 percent, he's not getting over 50 percent.
LORD: It is very important and one of the reasons it's important is because next week we come to my home state of Pennsylvania and several other states in the northeast, mid-Atlantic and this can help build Donald Trump's momentum and to Ryan's point, then you're talking more than just one state. You're talking to several states and one of the other things that I think this is in play is, if Donald Trump were the nominee, there is no question in my mind he would carry Ted Cruz's home state of Texas. If Ted Cruz were the nominee, I'm not at all sure that he could carry Donald Trump's state of New York so to see how well he's doing --
GERGEN: But Jeffrey, Donald Trump --
[19:10:13] BURNETT: Anna, let me give you the last word here. Could Donald Trump carry New York?
ANA NAVARRO, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I don't think so. You know, let me just tell you something, the one thing I've learned in the last ten months is to one, not over estimate Hillary Clinton who has shown herself to be a very weak candidate with an enormous amount of vulnerabilities and not to under estimate Donald Trump who surprised us all. I will say to you about this number of Republicans talking about if he wins, the most votes he should be the nominee.
NAVARRO: Let's remember, folks, the year 2000 when Al Gore won more votes but it was all about electoral votes. There are rules. There are systems.
GERGEN: Yes. Look at the bitterness it left. It ripped apart our political system.
NAVARRO: Well, that being said. The Republican president for eight years. It might be, you know, if we want to change the rules, we change, you know, we maybe need a lot of postmortem at some point and I would argue both parties need it because super delegates are the epitome of establishment.
BURNETT: All right. Well, let's take a quick break. The super delegates obviously are a crucial part of the Democratic side of the story and we'll going to be talking to Hillary Clinton's campaign manager in just a moment. Next, the live pictures of a Penn State crowd out in Pennsylvania. Bernie Sanders taking the stage. We'll going to go there live and Ted Cruz expected to speak at any moment in Philadelphia. He'll be on that stage.
You're looking live speaking before the polls even close in New York and the breaking news as we count you down to those polls closing. Reports of problems at the polls in Brooklyn, this could be very significant. The New York comptroller is weighing in on that saying more than 125,000 voters already affected. More on that in a moment.
[19:15:32] BURNETT: Breaking news, less than two hours away from the polls closing in New York, a crucial primary for both parties tonight. On the Democratic side, 247 delegates at stake. A state both Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders have called home. Right now, Sanders is already in Pennsylvania speaking for a crowd at Penn State. Let's listen in for a moment. SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: In 2008 in the
primary there by 17 points, despite the fact that the entire -- virtually the entire New York political Democratic establishment is standing with her. You know what? We're going to do just fine tonight in New York.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
(CROWD CHANTING BERNIE! BERNIE! BERNIE! BERNIE! BERNIE! BERNIE! BERNIE! BERNIE!)
And the reason that we're going to do as well as we will is because we're doing something pretty radical in contemporary American politics. We are telling the truth.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
And the truth is and people understand it whether you're a conservative, progressive or moderate is we have a corrupt campaign finance system which is undermining American democracy.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
BURNETT: And Jeff Zeleny is OUTFRONT from State College, Pennsylvania where Bernie Sanders is speaking right now to a crowd of about 7,000. Now of course, Jeff, Bernie Sanders is talking already to crowds in Pennsylvania. They don't vote until next week there. Is that a sign he's conceding New York. He just said obviously we'll going to do just fine tonight. What does that mean?
JEFF ZELENY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Erin, no question the Sanders campaign is looking forward to Pennsylvania. Sanders aids do not expect a victory tonight in New York and if Senator Sanders was just explaining why. He said some 28 percent of voters in New York who would have voted for Independent voters not able to vote today because it's a closed primary. He was talking specifically about those voting irregularities in Brooklyn. He said they will keeping their eye on then. They will be watching them carefully.
Erin, there is no question that the Sanders campaign is capitalizing on this momentum. You can see behind me here some 7,000 or so. They believe Pennsylvania is a better state for them. But Erin, the problem here is, if he does not win tonight in New York, if he does not have a tight margin, we begin to answer, have a question, how does he go forward? How does he have the math to go forward here? So, that's the question tonight Senator Sanders will certainly be answering if he does not do well in New York.
BURNETT: Jeff Zeleny, thank you very much.
And OUTFRONT now, Hillary Clinton campaign chair, John Podesta. John, thank you very much for being with me. You just heard Jeff Zeleny, you heard Bernie Sanders talking about the irregularities we're not hearing out of the comptroller in New York. A hundred and twenty five thousand voters in Brooklyn essentially erased off the voter rolls. He's also saying nearly 30 percent of people couldn't vote because they are Independents. Could these things cost Bernie Sanders the election in New York tonight?
JOHN PODESTA, HILLARY CLINTON CAMPAIGN CHAIR: Look, we'll going to win tonight, Erin. You know, a week ago, he knew what the rules were. He said he was going to win. Tonight we're going to win because the voters of New York know Hillary. They know what she does. They know that she delivers. They have seen her in action and, you know, when he wins these very low turnout caucuses, we don't complain about the rules. We know what the rules are. We compete hard for the delegates that we can get. So, you know, I think he just is trying to set expectations tonight but he came here saying he was going to win and I don't think he's going to do that tonight.
BURNETT: Do you think those 125,000 votes in Brooklyn will matter?
PODESTA: Well, look, I'm concerned about that. You know, we've been ahead in all the polls. So, a good chunk of those voters are probably our voters because we've been leading in New York all along, and I know the mayor's addressed this, the comptrollers addressed it. We want to see everybody vote and everybody have an opportunity to vote. That's why we joined the DNC when they sued the state of Arizona for the long lines that were there.
Senator Sanders came along and joined, as well, after we did. But we want to make sure that people have the right to vote and so if there is a problem here in New York, then hopefully the authorities here in New York will clean it up. But, you know, we just set the rules here. We came here to compete and that's what we're doing and I think we'll do very well tonight.
[19:20:14] BURNETT: Now you said you're sure of a win tonight. If Secretary Clinton wins tonight, John, do you think that Bernie Sanders should step aside? Is it time.
PODESTA: No. We've never said that. We expect them to continue to campaign but what we do believe, after tonight and after the contest next week on April 26th, we'll have a lead in the popular vote and we'll have a lead amongst pledged delegates that will be unsurmountable for him. So, he's going to have to decide what kind of campaign he runs. Does he continue on the personal attacks or does he get back to the kind of issue campaign he said he wanted to run on that he was running in the beginning. But that's his choice and we fully expect him to stay in the race.
BURNETT: A crucial question on that front though. You know, a recent poll, 25 percent of Bernie Sanders supporter say that there is no situation under which they would actually vote for Hillary Clinton. That is perhaps troubling. And on top of that, amongst all the voters not just Democrats, an NBC Wall Street Journal poll says, 58 percent of register voters say, they will not support Hillary Clinton. What do you do to turn those numbers around?
PODESTA: Well, you know, higher numbers said they wouldn't support Trump or Cruz. So, you know, in the end of the day, if you look back at 2008 and even higher percentage of Hillary's voters said they wouldn't support Senator Obama. But she went out. She endorsed him as soon as the primaries role over. She asked the convention to nominate him by acclamation, which they did. She campaigned for him.
She encouraged her supporters to go out and vote for him and, you know, I think we can bring this party together and deliver a victory because the steaks are so high. I mean, the idea that this country will elect someone as divisive and dangerous as Donald Trump is beyond the pale. We'll just going to have to come together as Democrats and as a party and bring people to the polls and make sure that we win in November.
BURNETT: John Podesta, thank you very much. I appreciate your time tonight. Obviously very important night for the Clinton campaign. Jonathan Tasini, Bernie Sanders supporter, John Podesta says, he's got it. He's got it tonight and they think it's going to be unsurmountable lead, for sure if not tonight by next week.
JONATHAN TASINI, BERNIE SANDERS SUPPORTER: Well, the first thing is, I don't want to gloss over the fact that we lost 125,000 voters here and that's disenfranchisement. And frankly for the Democratic Party, the process throughout this campaign has been embarrassing. We have people lining up in Utah where they didn't plan properly and people in Arizona. It's an embarrassment. And whoever wins this nomination, we have to come to that convention to have a commitment to fix this process. So we actually encourage people to vote. The issue about the closed primary is, we need to have same-day registration. People have to register back in October in order to participate in the election now.
TASINI: And I think that's not good for the Democratic Party. We're not encouraging more people to come into the process.
BURNETT: Quick --
TASINI: On the --
(TALKING OVER EACH OTHER)
TASINI: Now coming out, coming out of here, you asked what's going to happen. Bernie is going to go all the way to the convention. He already -- the lead is now, Clinton's lead is now 194. He netted 24 delegates in second stage processes both in Colorado, Nevada and Missouri. It's going to be obviously difficult. The math is difficult but he's not going to quit because this is about trying to build a political revolution and we're going to take this all the way to the convention.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much. And next, voters in Lancaster, New York are voting. The polls are closing in just about 90 minutes. We are counting you down those crucial results and new exit polls just coming into CNN. We're going to bring them to you next. And Paul Ryan speaking exclusively to CNN with a very strong message for his party regarding Donald Trump. That breaking news next.
And Ted Cruz expected to speak at any moment in Philadelphia before the polls close in New York. We'll be there live. We'll be right back.
[19:28:06] BURNETT: Welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. This evening polls here in New York are closing in just about 90 minutes. The voters casting ballots tonight in the state's most relevant primary in decades. It is a crucial primary for the candidates. For Republicans tonight could determine if Donald Trump can get the nomination fair and square before the party's convention in July or is the GOP headed for a contested convention, a spectacle that a growing number of Republicans said they would rather not witness including Senator John McCain, former presidential candidate. Of course who said today, he might not even -- it all.
Our senior political reporter Manu Raju is OUTFRONT. And Manu, you just had a chance to speak exclusively to a man a lot of people in the Republican establishment wish for running for president. House Speaker Paul Ryan and you asked him about all of the Republicans like Jeb Bush who were saying, they're not going to go to the convention. What does he have to say to them?
MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: Hey, Erin, Paul Ryan really wants to see this fractured Republican Party unite and get behind the GOP nominee no matter who this nominee turns out to be and he really downplayed the concerns about how messy of a process this convention could be, if it does get to a second or third round of balloting and as a growing number of Senate Republicans and House Republicans are thinking about skipping the convention in Cleveland. Paul Ryan is saying think again.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Some Republican lawmakers are thinking about skipping the convention. As chairman of the convention, are you okay with that?
PAUL RYAN, SPEAKER, U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES: I'm not going to be skipping it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you okay with some members --
RYAN: You know, I've never heard that before. People will make their decision on what they want to do. If they are a delegate, they better not skip it. You know, I haven't gone to everyone at the convention as myself but it's not because of that. So, I think if you were planning on going to the convention, you should go.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Some Republicans are worried about being tied --
RYAN: I don't think so. I think we should go. I think this is our convention not making our nominee. So I think everybody should participate.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RAJU: Now, it was interesting to hear Ryan say the GOP should get behind quote, "our nominee." Remember a number of Republican say, they won't back Trump if he gets the nomination including one Republican lawmaker Tony Dan (ph) of Pennsylvania told me, he would suddenly be busy the week of the convention if Trump got the nomination.
[19:30:10] But Ryan said empathetically that he will not accept the nomination if delegates chose him, but he still thinks it's his role, it's very important, his role, central in helping the party unite -- Erin.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: Manu, thank you.
Now, I want to go to our CNN politics executive editor Mark Preston who's been going through the exit polls just in New York.
And, Mark, you got new information about Republicans who voted today and what can you tell us?
MARK PRESTON, CNN POLITICS EXECUTIVE EDITOR: Well, Erin, there's certainly been a lot made about the New York Republican electorate, what kind of strain of Republican or conservative are they?
Let's take a quick look at these numbers right here: 50 percent of New York Republicans describe themselves as somewhat conservative, another 30 percent if you take those two numbers together describe themselves as moderate or liberal. And if you look at that number there, 21 percent describe themselves as very conservative.
But let's dig deeper into a very important subset in other states. The white evangelical vote. Let's take a look right there, only 23 percent themselves as white evangelicals.
Now, Donald Trump has done well with white evangelicals in other primaries and caucuses over the past couple months but certainly his strength lies with a more moderate voters.
Let's jump ahead to next week depending how he does tonight could be telling how he could play in five states that are voting, including Delaware, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Connecticut among others there, Erin.
BURNETT: All right. Mark Preston, thank you very much.
This new data important as we try to figure out the winner tonight and, of course, Donald Trump how big of a night it could possibly be for him.
Let's go back to the panel.
Ana, you heard what Mark Preston had to say when you look at the identification, conservative moderate or liberal, 80 percent are between conservative, somewhat conservative and moderate. Only 21 percent as very conservative.
Your interpretation of that? ANA NAVARRO, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: You know, it seems to me that
Donald Trump particularly in a place like New York is able to really go beyond one simple label, one simple niche and I want to go back to what Paul Ryan said because I am worried about it. I am worried what is supposed to be a celebration for the parties for both parties.
We're hearing from the Trump campaign these threats of, you know, a convention of violence, of threats towards delegates and I think it's having a very big impact. Yes, some Congress people, friends of mine that I had spoken to are telling me they're not going to go because they don't want to have to give interviews to the local press and say and explain what is happening on that floor. They don't want to have to give interviews about the immigration views of the possible nominee --
BURNETT: Do you feel like Paul Ryan does when he uses the word our party, do you feel that if he supports Donald Trump?
NAVARRO: I'm not jumping off that bridge yet, quite yet. I think Paul Ryan has the job to do what he's doing. He's the chair of the convention and he is a uniter within our party. It is his role. It is his nature.
JEFFREY LORD, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I'll be working on her.
NAVARRO: Good luck with that.
BURNETT: Not just the numbers in terms of moderate and conservative on the Republican side tonight. We're also seeing 23 percent is white born again evangelicals.
Donald Trump has done fine against white evangelicals but better among those who are not and that's how this electorate skews here in New York tonight.
MICHAEL NUTTER, HILLARY CLINTON SUPPORTRE: There is no question about it. He, I think it goes back to something someone said earlier. He is still a divisive individual and the question is what do those evangelicals ultimately do? Are they not going to a convention? Are they not voting? Are they going to sit it out if Donald Trump is the nominee? It remains to be seen.
JOHN AVLON, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: You raise a really important point, though, looking at that exit poll, right? I mean, you know, the idea of a New York Republican seems absurd but it is actually a lost tradition, the Northeast Republican, and it's highly distinct.
And the fact that, you know, Ted Cruz said there was a reset after Wisconsin, he wasn't looking at the state's coming up because this Northeast corridor is going to value center right Republicans, voters who are not on the far right. That is a better news for Donald Trump than for Ted Cruz. This is not Cruz country.
Kasich will come in a strong second and Cruz will be a distant third and this will continue for the next week or so.
BURNETT: Dana, on the point John raises, how significant is that if you see Donald Trump come in first tonight and John Kasich second and Ted Cruz third? Does that do to Ted Cruz?
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Truthfully, I would be surprised if that doesn't happen. It's the way the polls have been going up until now and the expectation is that John Kasich does come in second. The question is how high, whether he reaches the threshold that will give him some delegates or not.
If Ted Cruz surpasses him and actually comes in second, and more importantly, gets more delegates statewide because as we talked about earlier in the hour, it's kind of, you know, 27 individual races for the congressional district to get three delegates each, that will be a story.
[19:35:14] So, the expectations are extremely low for Ted Cruz.
BURNETT: Extremely low, David Gergen, but it's an important -- when you talk about the momentum point that you all are making coming out of Wisconsin, you're looking at the Northeast where center-right Republican is someone often fiscally conservative and socially liberal, which means a lot of mistakes that Donald Trump has made on the abortion issue with the far right actually may get him votes here, where people say, oh, guess what, maybe he isn't as far right on abortion as he seems.
DAID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: I actually think the turning point for a lot of this may go back to Wisconsin when Cruz had the opportunity to move ahead and grab the momentum and become the leader of the party. Somehow, his voice became muffled and Trump wisely started getting off the stage.
And so, just last few weeks, we haven't had the big gaps. He was having huge gaps and given him the chance for a come back.
BURNETT: To reset.
GERGEN: And to go back to it, the five states that vote next week, Cruz may wind up third in more than one.
NAVARRO: Do you think some of it is the fact we have not had a Republican debate in a long time?
GERGEN: That's an interesting point.
NAVARRO: So, Ted Cruz has not had the platform of 24 million, 25 million viewers that we've had until -- I can't remember --
RYAN LIZZA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: No debate -- when there is no debate, who dominates the conversation? Donald Trump, he's better at doing that than anyone. If you look at this map and assuming Trump does win tonight, his two basis of support are Republicans in the Northeast and Republicans in the Deep South. There is not a Republican primary candidate that put together that coalition.
LORD: It's called the Reagan coalition.
LIZZA: Very, very long time. And he's doing it because --
LORD: Blue collar, it was blue collar Democrats, the so-called Reagan Democrat. Reagan specifically criticized --
LORD: What, I'm sorry?
BURNETT: They are blue collar Republicans.
LORD: Well, there are blue collar folks up around out there who are up and comings since --
LIZZA: Jeffrey, that comparison is not right. These are not Democrats voting in the Republican primary. We're talking about a Republican primary. Reagan Democrats were significant in a general election because they were Democrats that voted for Republicans.
LORD: Right. To John's point earlier, Gerald Ford made much of this and failed to carry New York or Pennsylvania and said, Ronald Reagan could never do it, Ronald Reagan carried both of these states in a landslide.
BURNETT: All right. Brief pause.
OUTFRONT next, breaking news, reports of those problems at the polls here in New York, specifically in Brooklyn. New York officials are now saying more than 125,000 voters could be affected and it could become even bigger than that. We're going to go to the ground as they are trying to figure this out right after the break.
And we are getting more exit poll results as we count you down to the polls closing in less than 90 minutes.
[19:42:05] BURNETT: Welcome back to a very special edition of OUTFRONT.
You see Bernie Sanders there, at a massive rally, about 7,000 people at Penn State tonight, saying he's going to do just fine tonight. And as we are following the breaking news about voting irregularities, and issues in New York City, the New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio revealing there are reports of some major problems in Brooklyn. That includes entire buildings and blocks that are completely purged from voting lists. They say that could affect 126,000 people now.
Brynn Gingras is OUTFRONT live at a Brooklyn polling place.
And, Brynn, what is the latest you're hearing there?
BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Erin, quite honestly, there are a large number of Brooklyn Democrats that are just furious about this and to reiterate a point that you made earlier in the show, remember, there are a lot of voters who are very excited to have this opportunity to vote in this primary and what's happening is, they're showing up to these polling locations, their names are not on a list and they're being handed an affidavit ballot.
Now, the Board of Election says they did maintenance work six months back last fall and that's where the purging list was created, 126,000 Brooklyn Democrats removed from that list and that purging can take place for several reasons. A voter's name off the list because maybe they died or maybe they moved out of the borough or moved even out of the state. So, that's how they end up not being on the list to actually vote.
But certainly speaks to the enthusiasm that voters are coming out here, they want to vote and you mentioned New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, he says that he's dissatisfied with it. He's not happy about it. He released a statement and he basically said that perception that numerous voters may have and disenfranchised under means the integrity of the entire electoral process.
Now, the board of elections director did tell us that they are going to look into it. There is an investigation that is going to be open but will take place after today's primary -- Erin.
BURNETT: All right. Brynn, thank you very much.
My panel is back with me.
Mayor Nutter, more than 125,000, we're now hearing 126,000 people, entire city blocks just getting purged and erased. Sanders campaign calls these voting problems a disgrace. They think it's going to disproportionately affect them. You heard the Clinton campaign chair tell me moments ago, they think a lot of voters will be their voters.
But -- I mean, do you agree? I mean, this is a disgrace?
NUTTER: Whoever the voters were going to vote for, they have a right to vote if they're registered. Their vote should be counted. It sounded like people may get some kind of affidavit or what we call provisional ballot in Pennsylvania. So, they should be able to exercise their right in someway, shape or form.
There is usually an investigation. The votes get end up getting counted later on, but came to the polling place today to vote for whomever and have that right and that's a terrible situation.
Same thing in 2012, unfortunately, in Philadelphia, for some different reasons but same kind of voter disruption. There is a clear need for that part of the entire operation from top to bottom in every state in the United States of America to be examined and fixed.
[19:45:00] NAVARRO: Can I make a point -- a personal privilege here? There are huge voting irregularities in a state tonight and it is not Florida.
BURNETT: It's an embarrassment, Jonathan, voting in the United States. As our system is exposed to the bright of light of day in both sides, and it has not looked good.
JONATHAN TASINI, BERNIE SANDERS SUPPORTER: Broken, disgrace. I agree with the mayor. Somebody should be fired if not tomorrow, get rid -- the system is controlled partly by political appointees. And I think that's also a problem.
The problem that the mayor, the problem that the mayor cited in terms of process, if you're a voter, you come to the polls and someone says you're not there you have to rely on the poll watcher to say, oh, you have a provisional ballot and you have to rely -- the voter was just going to say, I'm not (INAUDIBLE) -- and just walk out.
BURNETT: Which is most probably do.
TASINI: Human nature is when there are such high barriers to vote, which we have throughout this country, our voting process throughout the country in the primaries and general election is an absolute disgrace.
AVLON: But, Erin, you know, think about what this does in terms of resonating --
BURNETT: And, by the way, just our viewers, you deal with a lot of voting issues in New York.
AVLON: I've worked in city hall for many years with Rudy Giuliani.
So, this is a serial problem of a bureaucracy that is around 80 years, that hasn't even taken sufficient steps, let alone losing 125,000 names. But this symbolizes a larger part of the country. You think about through the notes that Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump are hitting very effectively in their populist appeals. They're saying the system is rigged, the system is screwed up, and when you have this sheer difficult to vote, to reregister, to exercise your franchise, people start saying, you know what, they've got a point, and one thing we might be able to do is take this bipartisan frustration and finally turn it into real action.
BASH: And just to quickly quote my favorite "Hamilton" for this to happen in the greatest city in the world. Honestly, for this to happen in New York City.
BURNETT: People around the world are watching this tonight --
TASINI: It's a state-wide problem. My Twitter feed was full of complaints from Long Island, from Upstate. This is not just --
BURNETT: Let me ask you these voter regularities, for Hillary Clinton home state elected to two terms in the state, tonight is crucial night for her, to try to put Bernie Sanders in her rear view mirror. Does she need to win big for it to matter if it's close again, does she lose that ability?
NUTTER: I've run in a few elections. What candidates focus on is winning. If you get more votes than the other person, you win.
BURNETT: The infamous 52 percent is a mandate.
BURNETT: Who is counting?
NUTTER: A win is a win. All the rest is analysis about momentum and how much behind you, did you win by five, did you win by eight? When you win, you win, and then they move on to five big states on the Atlantic coast.
TASINI: But there is a difference, there is an issue about delegate counts. If it's a close vote, the delegate split is going to be fairly close.
BURNETT: On the Democratic side, it is a proportional system.
TASINI: Sanders cut the lead since March 15th by a third, down to 194, and then there's -- we know the math is difficult but there are many states to come, Pennsylvania, Oregon, you're forgetting about votes in May, you got obviously California. There is a path for victory for Bernie to win, especially if it's a close vote.
NUTTER: Yes, Jonathan.
LORD: That's after the fury that's going on there on the Republican side about delegates, the delegate selection process. When you see something like this where people are denied the element right as American citizen to vote, people are not going to be happy about this.
BURNET: I like the introduction of a new word to describe, fury.
(CROSSTALK) NAVARRO: Let me just understand this. So, the only people that got purged were Democrats from Brooklyn?
BURNETT: That is the understanding at this time, it's all Democrats.
TASINI: It was a mass purge in one place but again --
AVLON: Effectively Democrats because it was downtown Brooklyn.
BURNETT: No, they are saying it was Democrats.
TASINI: But there had been problems throughout the state. I just want to under score, don't blame Brooklyn because we have to look at the whole system and I think John's point was interesting how that's relating to what the people are angry about disenfranchisement that the establishment block them. True or not, that's the perception. Good point.
BURNETT: All right. Thanks to all.
And, of course, the last-minute voting underway. We're counting you down here in the last hour before the polls close here in New York state, this crucial primary.
We're going to go back with the most important thing about tonight with our panel after the break.
[19:53:04] BURNETT: Welcome back.
We're just an hour away from the polls closing here in New York. I want to get some thoughts from my panel.
All right. Most important thing you're looking for tonight, John Avlon.
AVLON: On the Republican side, I'm looking for how Donald Trump does in Western New York. That's a real crucial test.
On the Democratic side, apparently, we're looking for 126,000 ballots.
GERGEN: I'm looking for momentum. Does Trump reseize the momentum on the Republican side?
On the Democratic side, does she stop Bernie's momentum? It makes a big difference for what kind of power he has in the rest of this campaign.
LIZZA: I think margins matter. This is the home state for Trump and Hillary, and the big questions are, can Trump win all 95 delegates? This is his best chance to have a big pocket of delegates? And for Hillary, can she beat her margin for 2008 which was 57 to 40? Can she do that? If she doesn't, that tells you something about Bernie's strength. Will have done better than Barack Obama against Hillary Clinton in New York if he breaks 40 percent?
BASH: Under the radar, John Kasich, I interviewed him here on Saturday. He spent a lot of time, a lot of energy here. If he doesn't do remotely well, get some delegates, again, it's going to be difficult for him to explain his reason for continuing on.
BURNETT: But a change there could be transformative on the GOP side of this race.
LORD: Momentum. Momentum and how this gets into position to win the Pennsylvania primary which is already doing extremely well, and that's going to be important in terms of carrying the Northeast in a larger general election.
NAVARRO: For me, you know, we assume Donald Trump is going to win. The question is by how much, what will the margin be? And also, how does the breakdown between John Kasich and Ted Cruz. At what point do these two realize that they have got to stop cannibalizing the anti- Trump vote and start coordinating with each other if they want to be effective and keep Donald Trump from reaching 1,237.
On the Democratic side, I'm so interested to see how Bernie Sanders does with the minority vote. He has done better in urban areas than rural areas and New York is a big test for that with Hispanics and with African-Americans.
[19:55:00] TASINI: Two things. I want to see how well Bernie does in Rochester, Buffalo, the areas of the upper part of the state which have been hurt very bad by trade agreements, which has been against and Hillary Clinton has supported, because that could give a sign of what he can use in Pennsylvania and other states.
And this is an important thing, in the exit polls, two-thirds say the campaign has energized the Democratic Party. So, we should at that nonsense that the campaign should end. Now, these elections are very good for the party.
BURNETT: Mayor Nutter?
NUTTER: What I'm looking for a great win by Hillary with a broad coalition. Can Senator Sanders broaden any of his coalition and if there is a Secretary Clinton win tonight, when does he start adjusting his message to bring the Democratic Party together?
BURNETT: Whether that starts immediately.
All right. Thanks so much to all of you. Our special coverage of this all important primary continues. The
polls are closing in just about one hour.
We'll be right back. Stay with us.
BURNETT: And we are back. Just about an hour until the polls close in New York, this crucial primary. Thank you so much for joining us.
Our special coverage of the New York primary continues right now.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: We're standing by for results from one of the biggest and roughest primary battlegrounds yet.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Tonight, New York voters could shift the momentum and change the delegate math.
ANNOUNCER: Right now, bare knuckle brawls in the front-runners' backyard.
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT), DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: She didn't answer the question.
HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I did.
SANDERS: No, you didn't.
CLINTON: Yes, I did.