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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL
Bernie Sanders Has Released His 2014 Tax Returns; Trump Releases Op-Ed in Wall Street Journal; Polls In New York Closing Shortly; NY Mayor Calls For Investigation Of Over Voter List Problem; Clinton Campaign Expecting A Great Night; Standing By For First Votes From New York. Aired 8-9p ET
Aired April 19, 2016 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[20:00:00] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right now 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.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Both party's leaders looking for new victories after painful loses to their bitter rivals.
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Lying Ted Cruz. He does not like New York.
SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: When Donald loses, he yells and screams and stamps his foot.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who will win one of the most delegate rich contests yet? It is New York's choice.
Tonight in the Republican race.
TRUMP: It's a rigged, disgusting, dirty system.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Donald Trump, blasting GOP rules for dolling out delegates as a contested convention looks more like than ever.
TRUMP: The RNC, they should be ashamed of themselves.
CRUZ: Donald, it isn't stealing when the voters vote against you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ted Cruz aggressively fighting for delegates, infuriating TRUMP and frustrating John Kasich's bid to stay in the game. GOV. JOHN KASICH (R-OH), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Everybody's been
talking about who wins what things, this is about accumulating delegates.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In the Democratic race tonight.
CLINTON: It may be inconvenient, but it's always important to get the facts straight.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hillary Clinton now in a no hold bar grudge match with Bernie Sanders. Their rising anger (INAUDIBLE) in their Brooklyn debate.
SANDERS: I do question her judgment.
CLINTON: President Obama trusted my judgment enough to ask me to be secretary of state.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now, it's time for voters to have their say.
CLINTON: So I think New York values are at the core of American values.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The empire state hasn't seen a presidential primary like this.
TRUMP: I love these people. These are my people.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: New York is choosing and the tension is soaring with hundreds of crucial delegates up for grabs, right now.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: And you're looking at live pictures from Brooklyn, New York where there has been high turnout. But the mayor is calling for an investigation because tens of thousands of Democrats were purged from voter lists.
Welcome to our viewers in the United States and around world. I'm Anderson Cooper in the CNN election center with special edition of AC 360.
For the two Democrats and three Republicans in the presidential race New York matters more than ever. Several of the candidates have a personal stake in the outcome tonight. Polls close across the state in less than an hour from now and that's when we'll have a chance to actually project winners.
For the Republicans, front-runner Donald Trump heads into the night with the home state advantage. He, of course, counting on a big victory over Ted Cruz and John Kasich. Tonight, Trump has an important new opportunity to widen his lead in the delegate race as he fights to win the nomination outright or a contested convention.
There's a lot at stake with 95 delegates up for grounds. New York Republicans awards those delegates proportionately, but it's possible for the winner to all if the victory is large enough and widespread across the state.
For Democrats, Hillary Clinton, hoping for a strong win against Bernie Sanders in the state where she lives and where he was born, but Sanders says he might pull off a New York surprise. As Clinton aim to lock up the nomination, these two have been going at each other like never before. Here's one reason why. A huge number, 247 delegates are on the line in New York. It's the second biggest prize of the primary season for Democrats. Both candidates expect to get a piece of that prize since the delegates will be split proportionately -- Wolf.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: Anderson, thank you. We have our correspondents. They are standing by at key locations, including the candidates' headquarters.
Let's go to Jim Acosta covering Donald Trump.
Big, big night for Donald Trump tonight. What do we know?
JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Wolf. And they want a Manhattan says landslide here in New York to reset the narrative of this campaign. I talked to a top official inside Donald Trump's delegate operation who said, yes, it is possible they will beat that 50 percent threshold needed in New York's congressional districts and statewide to pick up all 95 delegates. And Trump himself will predicted he will top 50 percent at that event he held in Buffalo last night when he noted that Ted Cruz did not beat 50 percent in his home state of Texas. I asked his campaign manager Corey Lewandowski about that and he noted the exact percentage Cruz won in Texas, that is 43.8 percent. They want to beat that number badly.
And the campaign, Wolf, I talked to officials who say yes, they still believe they can get to that magic number need to clinch the nomination, 1,237 delegates. But in the event, they fall short of that. They're starting to plan for this. They are starting to micro- target uncommitted delegates around the country and trying to learn who they are and what their concerns are and what their specific issues are so they can start having sit down meetings with those folks and start laying the ground work to capture those delegates at a contested convention later this summer, Wolf. Just a little while ago we heard them striking up Frank Sinatra's New York New York. Donald Trump wants to starts spread the news of this victory he is looking forward to later on tonight, Wolf.
[20:05:01] BLITZER: Yes. We will hear from him later tonight.
Jim Acosta, thanks very much.
Let's go to Brianna Keilar. She is over at the Hillary Clinton campaign headquarters. What's the latest over there, Brianna?
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Wolf, the Clinton campaign is expecting a big night tonight. They are also worried. They are worried about the Sanders' campaign recently raising questions about whether the Clinton campaign how it raises funds jointly with the DNC if that is something that breaks rules. The Clinton campaign says it's completely above board but they are worried that these attacks are something that could hurt Hillary Clinton and the party in a general election.
They are not just worried, they are angry. One source told me many in the campaign were quote "pissed" about this. So look for many backers of Hillary Clinton to be calling for Bernie Sanders out for tonight to look at the long game. As one said to me quote "he has to find a way to land this plane so it doesn't crash and burn the party."
So could tonight bring a miracle on the Hudson? Not quite. I don't think that's not what the Clinton campaign is expecting, but they are certainly hoping that what's only been a testy primary of late will get toned down -- Wolf.
BLITZER: She's getting ready for her speech tonight as well, Brianna. Thanks very much.
Let's stay in New York. Jake Tapper is on the scene for us as well - Jake.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN CHIEF WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Thanks, Wolf.
Well, one of the things that we are going to be looking for right now, I'm joined here by Dana Bash, is how much the front-runners are going to be able to really dominate, what the margins are going to be because both Donald Trump on the Republican side and Hillary Clinton on the Democratic side are hoping that they can secure the magic number of delegates for each of their respective races so they don't have a really messy convention fight. New York could be a big part of that. For Donald Trump, if he gets more than 50 percent in all 27 of the congressional districts here he will win all 95 Republican delegates.
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right. I mean, that would be a huge feat, not only in the number of delegates, but also in the idea of momentum, kind of the feeling and the narrative of this.
But, you know, when it comes to Hillary Clinton, it has been remarkable to see the way she has campaigned all through this state in a way that we haven't seen since she ran for the Senate, you know, ten years ago. And it does show not just how much she has to try to make sure that Bernie Sanders keeps his delegate numbers down, but how diverse this state is looking into the way this is going to play tonight, even within the Democratic Party.
TAPPER: That's right. And so, both of the front-runners Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton trying to fend off the momentum of Bernie Sanders and Ted Cruz who the two of them have won a lot of the most recent primaries are trying to cast them aside and push them away so that the divisiveness and the contentiousness that exists right now in both of the Democratic race and the Republican race stops and doesn't destroy their parties and their front-runners' chances of winning in the fall, Anderson.
COOPER: That is very true. A lot to watch for tonight as we count down to the end of voting in New York. What will it mean for the GOP race if Donald Trump is able to win all of the state's delegates? We're just getting started in this important primary night. Stay with us.
[20:11:53] BLITZER: Only 48 minutes away from the top of the hour. That's when the polls close in New York State. You are looking at live pictures from inside Trump tower right now. Donald Trump will be making his statement there. We look, of course, live coverage of that when we come.
We want to walk over with John King. He is over at the magic wall for us. The stakes for the Republicans are enormous tonight, especially for Donald Trump. He is anticipating a big win.
JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: He is anticipating a big win. That will give him momentum back, Wolf. The question is how big of a win when it comes to the 95 delegates at stake tonight because Donald Trump is the only candidate who has a chance to clench before the convention. And whether the odds of that will be dramatically impacted by what happens tonight.
If you talk to team Trump, they tell you they think the worst they will do tonight is 75 of the 95 delegates. So let's give them that in this scenario. This is they think the worst case scenario. They think they can get all 95.
But let's say Donald Trump gets 75 tonight. It means Cruz and Kasich picked up a few of the delegates in the congressional districts as we go through all 27 of those, 27 is different races if you want. Getting 75 would get Donald Trump out to 833. It would also, they believe, put momentum back in his camp as the race stays up here next Tuesday in the New England states, in Mid-Atlantic state.
So let's assume a spring board out of New York and then Donald Trump gets 75 percent of the delegates next Tuesday night. That gets him out to 930. That's a pretty good start. Momentum back in his camp. And he thinks at this point, they think they could either get to 1,237 or get close, but think of it this way now.
We have 930 if Donald Trump gets 75 delegates out of New York tonight, 75 percent of the delegates next Tuesday. What if he gets them all? Add 20. That gets him to 950, if he gets all 95 tonight. What if he does a little bit better in these states because Cruz and Kasich have not proven yet that they can perform in this part of the country?
Take a look at the map. If Donald Trump conceivably could be at 960, 965 late this time next week. That's what the Trump campaign wants. They want to end April as close to 1,000 as they can get. In May, in June as we go on, 502 delegates left. He need to get to 1,237. So a goal for the Trump campaign, a big night tonight, try to get all 95, as close to that number as possible and match that percentage in the contest next week, and push this number. And this to 930, and Wolf they think conceivably by next Wednesday morning, a week from tomorrow, they could be in the 950, 960 range. BLITZER: Yes, that's possible. Let's see what happens tonight,
First, Anderson, over to you.
COOPER: Yes, a lot of delegates to save, Wolf.
Let's talk with our panelist right here.
David Axelrod, how likely do you think it is that Donald Trump could get all the delegates tonight or close to all the delegates tonight and actually get 1,237 before the convention.
DAVID AXELROD, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I think it could happen that he'll get all the delegates tonight and that will put him on track to get very, very close. Whether he gets over the line or not is the question because I think it's absolutely essential for him to get those 1,237 delegates. If it goes to a second ballot when almost half the delegates are unbound, very unlikely that Donald Trump will win. There's a sense of urgency I'm sure about his camp about doing as well as possible.
COOPER: Does everyone on this side of the panel agree that if Donald Trump doesn't win in the first round at the convention that the chances are he would not actually win in a second or third round.
MICHAEL SMERCONISH, CNN HOST, MICHAEL SMERCONISH SHOW: I agree with that. And I think that a large part of the reason is when you think about the composition of who are those delegates. They are party regulars. In m state it's such a strange process, a week from tonight in Pennsylvania. It's a blind process. You don't even know for whom you are voting. But generally speaking they're party regulars who have paid their dues not to Donald Trump, not to Ted Cruz and not to John Kasich, but to the GOP organization at a grassroots level. And what do they most want to do? They want to win. And so, I think that on ballot two through however many it takes it's to the detriment of Donald Trump.
[20:15:28] GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes. I think, you know, these are relationships that the Ted Cruz campaign has been building over months and months and months. And it is very hard to play catch up when you're actually building relationships. And so, I think, you know, if Trump doesn't win on the first ballot, Cruz wants a second ballot and Kasich wants a third or fourth or fifth ballot to give him a shot at it. And the Trump people really acknowledge that. And that's why they are trying to get as close to 1,237 as they can. The question that I have is how close do you have to get?
There are 200 uncommitted delegates. Trump can clearly woo a lot of those people. So if he is within 50 or if he is within 100, we see in the exit polls that an overwhelming majority of Republicans believe that if you're in the lead you ought to get it. So, you know, I think that --
COOPER: And that's decided at the convention. NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN POLITICAL REPORTER: And Donald Trump is
making that argument over and over again saying, listen. This is the will of the people. He will have certainly more voters, he'll have the most delegates and that listen, if the GOP tries to mess with that, it's just proof that the system is rigged.
I think for Ted Cruz his argument is essentially that listen, he can organize, he has the data and the sort of grassroots organizational strength that Donald Trump doesn't have so that is his argument on that second ballot for the delegates. He also thinks that he might not have such a good night tonight or next Tuesday he will not, but going forward he could do well.
AXELROD: But the tough thing is if you're 400 or 500 delegates behind, it's really tough to justify how you become the nominee and not the guy who is front of him. Most of the polling of the Republicans seems to support that point of view.
COOPER: Right. We are going to get a closer look in the first results in New York. We're getting closer to the first results. Will Bernie Sanders leave the state with an even narrower path to the nomination? More on this special AC 360 after the break.
[20:21:34] BLITZER: Live pictures coming in from Hillary Clinton headquarters. She is going to be speaking later tonight. Clearly, a very important night for her. Only 38 minutes left to vote in the New York State. The polls close at the top of hour.
John King is with me over here.
John, like the Republicans a huge night for the Democrats as well. Very important.
KING: Like the Republicans, you have momentum with one candidate, Bernie Sanders coming into tonight, but the math in Hillary Clinton's favor and she hopes with a victory on her adopted home state tonight to prove that the math is more in her favor with 229, it is her lead right now by the CNN delegate count the pledge delegate count. Only, this is on the Democratic race.
What Bernie Sanders needs tonight to keep it going is an upset. If Bernie Sanders could win 45/55 and pick up 25 delegates, not only would he narrow that gaps on, but the conversation certainly would change if Bernie Sanders could beat Hillary Clinton in her home.
But, the expectation is team Clinton thinks listen. Most of the Sanders campaign can see. It will go something like this. It will go for Secretary Clinton. The question is by how much in those Democratic proportional rules. But let's assume Hillary Clinton comes out of New York tonight. 247 delegates at stake tonight. You have the rest of those of the super delegate. If Hillary Clinton comes out with a net gain of 225, a, she thinks she stops Bernie Sanders momentum. B, proven she can win her adopted home state, but c, most importantly for the Clinton campaign, Wolf, they believe then as they go to next Tuesday - Connecticut, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, Maryland and Delaware. The Clinton campaign thinks it can springboard and maybe lose Rhode Island to Bernie Sanders. They think if they get a good one in New York tonight, they win the rest. Connecticut, a little bit more dicey. But if that happens, remember, in the CNN count 229 is her lead right now in pledge delegates. They think by the time they get to the end of the month she could be up in the 280 range, maybe a little higher than that. At that point, the Clinton campaign, you heard Brianna talking about the showing of they think that it's time that for senator Sanders to stay in the race, as long he wants, but dial it back.
So for senator Sanders, he is in the race, he is not going anywhere. The question is this is about demographics. In any state where you have a diverse African-American community, Latino community, Hillary Clinton and the bigger states has proven she wins those states. And Bernie Sanders, the only way to mathematically say I'm competitive in this race is not like this late Tuesday night, Wednesday morning. And to do that he has to change these states by somehow turning around his performance with African-Americans and Latinos. But the Clinton campaign thinks this is how we are going to win tonight in New York. And they think that carries over to next week. And they think at that point the math just becomes insurmountable for senator Sanders.
BLITZER: These are just pledge delegates. We are not even talking about super delegates right now.
KING: You had that (INAUDIBLE). She has 487 right now. But let's leave them off for now because they don't vote until the convention. But they still think that gets pretty convincing if the Clinton campaign can deliver.
BLITZER: Anderson, over to you.
COOPER: Wolf, thanks very much.
David, if the math does become insurmountable for Bernie Sanders, does the tenor of the race between him and Secretary Clinton change? Obviously he stays in and all though the convention. No reason not to. HE has got the money. He has got the support, but does they have kind of that we saw at this last debate? Does it change?
AXELROD: I think that's one of the big questions coming out of tonight. I really do think the math is getting (INAUDIBLE). You know, this is a closed primary. You heard Bernie Sanders said earlier close primary. Those are hard for him. Four out of the next five next week, there are five. Four of them are closed primaries. He is not going to gain next week. And time is running out. So the question is at what point do you say, you know what, I'm going to keep running, but I don't want to do anything that's going to damage the nominee's chance?
And on the other side, does the Clinton campaign which seems to me too eager to engage with Sanders, do they back off and start behaving in a way that kind of gives him his due, embraces some of his issues and really focuses on the Republicans. [20:25:00] BORGER: But you know, every time she tries to pivot to
Donald Trump, Bernie Sanders gets under her skin and we saw this at our debate. Bernie Sanders gets under her skin. He kind of attacks her whether it's, you know, whether it is on Wall Street or her speeches or whatever it is and she sort of feels the need to kind of fire back and defend herself.
AXELROD: But that's the big challenge here. I mean, if she's going to be the nominee then she has to kind of suck it up and move on.
BORGER: She's tried, right. And she has tried and she pivots to Trump and then she get come back.
COOPER: A lot more to talk about. There's a lot of anticipation within the campaigns as we wait to learn the winners out of New York. We're getting new clues about the outcome from our exit polls. All of that ahead.
[20:29:54] BLITZER: There's not much time left for voters to cast their ballots in New York, only about half of an hour. Right now we're following a controversy, though, involving more than 100,000 Democrats who were purged from voter list. New York mayor Bill de Blasio calling for an investigation.
Let's go to CNN's Brynn Gingras. She is over the phone in place in Brooklyn.
What are you learning Brynn?
BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well Wolf, what the board of elections is saying this is a maintenance purge. They did it over a six-month period and that's how it gathered the 126,000 voters that you were talking about.
A majority of them, 70,000 Democratic voters, they basically were part of that purge because they didn't vote in past two federal elections and then they didn't return the cancellation notice that was sent to them.
44,000 of those voters -- well their mail bounced back to the Board Elections and that's how they landed up on that purge list. What's happening today is people are coming here to polling places like the one you're seeing behind me and they are trying to vote and they're not on the list and they're instead being handed an affidavit ballot.
You can imagine how furious this is making some Democratic voters, especially here in Brooklyn so, you know what, they took right few the federal court and they tried to immediately restore the right to vote filing a temporary restraining order and late this afternoon a federal judge denied that request.
Well, also furious, as you mentioned Wolf, the New York City Mayor, Bill de Blasio, he said, he's going to investigate and the Board of Elections says it will cooperate with that investigation. BLITZER: All right Brynn, thanks very much. We'll stay on top of this controversy. In the mean time let's go back to Jake and Dana.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: Thanks Wolf and one of the things that we're looking for in this very, very contentious race on the Republican side and they increasingly contentious race on the Democratic side. Is what effect is this having on the Democrats and Republicans and who are voting out there?
Let's bring in CNN, politics executive editor, Mark Preston who has some exit polls that should shed some light on this, Mark.
MARK PRESTON, CNN POLITICS EXECUTIVE EDITOR: Well Jake, certainly a tale and much different from what we're seeing on the Republican side than we're seeing on the Democrat side, Republicans very pessimistic about how this primary is going. Let's take a look at these numbers right here.
As Republican campaign mostly divided the party 57 percent of New York Republicans believed that this fight between Ted Cruz and Donald Trump has been very divisive for the GOP brand but on the other side Democrats have a different view, look at this.
The fight between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders is seen in a positive light, 68 percent believe that it has energized the party while only 27 percent of New York Democrats believe it has divided the party. So while we are seeing this infighting right now between the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Bernie Sanders campaign at this stage of the campaign, we are seeing the voters though on the Democratic Side see it as a plus. Jake?
TAPPER: Thanks Mark, appreciated. I wonder how much of that is the result of the fact that the two front-runners are Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. So Clinton supporters taking a more optimistic view because they're confident that Hillary Clinton will do well here, maybe likely get the nomination. Trump supporters perhaps very upset at how much the party seeing this allied against their man.
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah and look I know that Clinton people would probably beg to differ, but this has not been a horrible process for Hillary Clinton. They have had a lot of substantive discussions and she has become a more seasoned campaigner. She's kind of gotten the rust off.
On the Republican side, can you believe it's only 57 percent who think that it's divided the Republican Party? I mean we're three months away from the convention and the party chair and the front-runner are going at it almost daily in a public way.
BASH: I mean can you remember a time when that has happened?
TAPPER: And well, and one of the other issues I think of course is that -- if you're a Trump supporter, you feel as though the party is against you and that people -- and there's a conspiracy of what to deprive your man of the nomination and Donald Trump is certainly among those Trump supporters who feels that way.
BASH: There's no question. He's continuing to stoke that because he believes it only helps him although I do have to say there are a lot of Republicans who have been speaking to who say that they are -- who like Donald Trump, they're a bit concerned that maybe he's doing a little bit too far because he does need a lot of those delegates that he's kind of brushing off and saying they're rigging the system.
TAPPER: Absolutely, and we have something special for viewers this evening. Tonight the winners of the New York Primary will have their victories displayed on one of the world's most famous land marks that of course will be the Empire State building. Right now, you can see the tower is red, white and blue, patriotic display.
Once CNN projects winners, the lights will change to correspond to the colors that CNN is using to represent each candidate. So take a look at this if Hillary Clinton wins the Democratic Primary, the tower will turn dark blue as you see right there.
If Bernie Sanders wins the tower will shine in a lighter shade of blue same dynamic for the Republicans. This is what a Donald Trump victory would look like with the top of the Empire State building illuminated in a dark red of crimson, Ted Cruz would get a corral color, the lights will look like this if he pulls off a New York Primary win
[20:35:10] And If John Kasich wins New York, those same in tower will turn purple. Whatever the outcome this evening, New Yorkers will be able to look up and see the results. Of course the rest of the nation can see it right here on CNN. Anderson.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Cool. Jake and Dana, thanks very much.
The voting is winding down in New York. We could learn one or both winners very soon. We expect to hear from Donald Trump live in the next hour, much more of our election coverage after this.
COOPER: And welcome back to our continuing coverage of the New York Primary, you were looking at live shots over the Clinton headquarters and Donald Trump headquarters. We anticipate hearing from Donald Trump in the 9:00 hour, should also point out polls close in just about 20 minutes from now.
It will be interesting to see how quickly we're able to make a projection. Again, polls close in 20 minutes that's when the voting stops in the State of New York.
A lot to watch for the top of the hour. Let's continue with our panel. Paul Begala what do you think we're going to learn by the end of the tonight in terms of the Democratic race and also the Republican race?
[20:40:01] PAUL BEGALA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well the Republicans I think have a lot more at stake because Donald Trump can make a serious step toward getting 1,237 delegates before the convention.
COOPER: Do you think that is still very possible putting together?
BEGALA: It's possible, yes and likely but he's got a really dominate tonight. I hate to set the bar too high for him. I mean I think he's run a drift campaign in New York, he seems to fright in the ship, brought in a lot of establishment folks to help run his campaign, but if he can win every single congressional district, which is hard to do, with over 50.
In state wide, then he got every single delegate out of New York. Man its a quarter leap forward for him. For my party everything is proportional. We're the party of participation trophies. OK, so I think -- if Billy was breathing during the season we give him a trophy.
So there's no knock out blows in the Democratic Party. And you know, Hillary began with a commanding lead and shall go to bed tonight with the commanding lead, you know, will move on in Pennsylvania.
VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMNTATOR: Well, tonight, I think you're going to see. Is it possible for Bernie Sanders to finally break through with black voters somewhere? You've seen the working families party which is a major force. You never heard of them, but not New York, but the working families party is a major force. They gave Governor Cuomo fits. They're with him they got strong black ties. The transit workers with Bernie Sanders strong black ties, Ben Jealous.
You had Spike Lee came out with an ad, every black Bernie supporter Harry Belafonte, Dan Glover, Rosario Dawson, if he can't break through with black voters in New York with that kind of display of force, it means there's something inherently wrong with the political revolution that for some reason cannot attract black voters. I'm going to be looking closely at that tonight.
COOPER: Interesting. Amanda?
AMANDA CARPENTER, CNN POLITICAL: I would say, if Donald Trump is running a competent campaign, this should be the beginning of the best two weeks of his candidacy. He has to win big here and I think he have to get over the 50 percent threshold to show he can do that, he doesn't mind the convention, he have to get over the 50 percent threshold. He has to show he can meet that metric and then going into the Mid-Atlantic States he has to change. He has to be able that some point, this is his last best chance to offer a unifying positive inclusive message. If doesn't begin that work now he will never do it and he will never have a chance in getting the nomination.
KAYLEIGH MCENANY, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think Donald Trump will win commanding tonight. You'll get RealClearPolitics the last 15 polls taken April 14 of those so in breaching that 50 percent margin, but the flips side is what does this mean for Ted Cruz if he comes in third and then we look forward to April 26th. Where there's a good chance he could come in third in Connecticut and Pennsylvania? Does Ted Cruz become Mr. Third place? Is this the dampening of his momentum? And the heightening of Donald Trump's momentum, I think that's where the stakes are tonight.
BEGALA: If the three words that are going to haunt Cruz if that happens, New York.
MCENANY: Yes, yes Paul.
BEGALA: That's an example in tactical and strategic.
BEGALA: You get in a place where people didn't like New Yorkers. I think people -- he said it New York. People knew what I meant. Yes, they did.
BEGALA: And New York may very well ...
CARPENTER: So let be clear bout this. New York was never going to be a Ted Cruz state necessarily. It's not a state Republicans are likely to win in a general election but in the name of the game for Cruz going mid-Atlantic basis. It's just a top pick up delegates along the way and continue to talk to delegates about why they can count on him on the issues.
Donald Trump is going to do what Donald Trump is going to do. He is going to bash people. He's going campaign against the party. Cruz have to continue offering that clear certain vision.
JONES: But one of the great things about Ted Cruz, and I think because he's not going do well tonight people kick him around. The guy is a genius. I mean this guy -- he saw a very long time ago when nobody else saw it that there was a big, big current building and he figured out I can go to D.C., I can crap on my own party. I can shutdown and I can do all the stuff just seem bazaar and I will be rewarded for it. And guess what, he's the last guy standing with any real chance against Donald Trump and a lot of the people he offended are now with him.
That shows that either Nixon, that shows a level of political smart that I think he has to be given credit for.
MCENANY: But he's not doing well. There - here's the thing, Ted Cruz should have won a state in the southeast. Ted Cruz did not win a single state in the southeast. And he should play very well.
MCENANY: In addition to that -- he wrote off ...
JONES: Like 97 people in the race of that point. MCENANY: He wrote off the entire northeast as well as when he made the New York values comment. Ted Cruz is winning a narrow sliver of the country. The people have rejected him at the polls. They are coalescing around Donald Trump. Donald Trump coming out of nowhere and winning the way he is never having been in politics. That's the story.
GLORIA BORGER, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: But Trump, you know, Trump failed to consolidate his support and he, you know, and he had an opportunity to do that when he was winning and winning and winning and he didn't do that and he lost Wisconsin and then he made, you know, his own mistakes after Wisconsin for a couple of weeks there. He didn't consolidate his support. He suffered from overconfidence and arrogance in the campaign where they didn't organize the way they should have because they thought they didn't have too.
And so that is -- you know that's been the real problem for him. I think the problem for Cruz is, is that if he goes into the convention 200 or 300 votes behind, he is negotiating from a position of weakness not a position of strength and I don't know what you think about that Amanda, but the closer that Trump gets to 1,237, the more likely it is that he would become the nominee. I don't know what the exact number is, but you can't go into the convention really far behind.
[20:45:18] CARPENTER: Well, yes that's true, but I think Cruz that you get the convention where I think is likely if he could -- if would if anyone can make a good political argument. I mean this is like not only going to the Supreme Court, this is the best political argument of your life you can make and you say look at my record, look at everything I've done in my life which you really hasn't had a chance to talk much about during this campaign because it's all about lying Ted.
He has a chance to remind people look at why did these pollsters did, look at the capital issues I've cared about for so long you can count on me, look at my record. I'm a proven quantity and I think people find that persuasive at the end of a very chaotic season.
COOPER: The polls close in less than 15 minutes from now in New York. We are standing by to learn the winners and hear from Donald Trump live. Stay with us.
BLITZER: We're just minutes away from the top of the hour. That's when the polls close in New York and we'll have a chance to project the winners of tonight's primaries in the Republican race.
[20:50:01] Will Donald Trump win on his home turf and rebound from his streak of losses to Ted Cruz. All three candidates in a bitter fight for every single delegate as they likely headed to a contestant convention.
In the Democratic race, Hilary Clinton is hoping to end Bernie Sanders recent winning streak and score an important victory in her adopted home state that would bring her closer to the nomination.
The campaign now deeper into the home stretch. By the end of the evening nearly 56 percent of the all of the Democratic delegates will have been awarded. The Republicans are even further along. 72 percent of all Republican delegates will be assigned after tonight.
As we await the results from New York, the candidates are preparing to fight until the last contest and beyond. Let's go over to Jake.
TAPPER: Thanks, Wolf. We have correspondents in New York and other key locations this evening. First let's go to Brianna Keilar, she's in Hillary Clinton's New York headquarters. Brianna?
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi Jake, it's really starting to feel like a party here. The cash bar is open, the wine and beer is flowing. Yeah, that's a live band that is just started up and they're not just one overflow room, but two. So we'll see if they fill those up.
But you can just see the Clinton campaign is really expecting for this to be a very big night for here and this for here and there's really nothing like winning an election in your home state. This is an event that has energy unlike some of her others for sure. And if she does win her as her campaign expects it's going to be because of the coalition that she's been supporting all along, but it's been very important here in New York, African-American, Hispanic-Americans, older American.
There's no coincidence that she was in Spanish Harlem trying her hand at the meringue or on some of her other campaign stops where she rode the subway where was it in the Bronx. And that she also visited a senior citizen home here in New York City. These are the folks she is relying on, Jake, to deliver a big night for her.
TAPPER: All right. Brianna Keilar in Clinton headquarters. Now, let's go to Jim Acosta. He's with the other front-runner on the Republican side. Donald Trump in New York City. Jim.
JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE COORESPONDENT: Jake, that's right. And we do expect to hear from Donald Trump in just the next couple of minutes here in Trump Tower in Manhattan. I will tell you that just a little while ago, about half an hour ago, we saw Donald Trump's campaign manager who has spent a lot of time in the headlines lately, Corey Lewandowski, he was talking to reporters just recently what to expect later on tonight and beyond and he was starting to set expectations about the results in order to get in this New York primary.
He was saying how difficult it would be for Donald Trump to cross that critical 50 percent threshold in every congressional district in the state and statewide in order to sweep all 95 delegates that are upper grabs in the state. Assuring of bitter cold water on the hopes that we're is for us from Trump campaign officials earlier said that they might be able to pull off that clean sweep.
As, you know, Jake, Corey Lewandowski has been in the news lately. He's been under heavy scrutiny not only because of his interactions with reporters, but also his having a tactics some staying inside the campaign. I asked him about some of the changes taking inside the Trump campaign, Trump re-organizing as campaign putting a long time GOP operative Paul Manafort, in charge of convention strategy.
He is taking on a big role in the campaign. We're hearing Corey Lewandowski taking on a smaller role. Corey Lewandowski's response to a question about that, he said those changes mean that we are growing, baby, in his words.
So just go back to a conversation you were having about getting the 1,237. Are they getting assurance is inside the Trump campaign. What if they fall short of 1,237. According Corey Lewandowski, we're going to get to 1,237 no question about it. Jake.
TAPPER: All right, that's right, 95 delegates up for grabs in New York. That's about 8 percent of the 1,237 need to secure the nomination for in the Republican side. Thank Jim.
Let's go to Sunlen Serfaty. She's with Senator Ted Cruz. He's in Philadelphia tonight and Sunlen, should we be reading into the fact that Senator Cruz is in the state that's not holding a primary tonight. It's holding its primary in a week.
SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's absolutely right, Jake. You know, the Cruz campaign and Senator Cruz himself do not projecting confidence in any way at their chances in New York. We just heard Senator Cruz already wrap up his speech here in Philadelphia tonight. And he's only mention that the New York primary is going on tonight, a brief mention at the top of the remarks where he said I'm not going to talk to you about some politician tonight who is going to win his home state.
He said rather he's going to talk about his vision forward so all but ignoring the New York primary and what he laid out tonight was more of a message of hope and inspiration that we've heard from him before, mentioning Steve Jobs, mentioning the U.S. putting men on the moon.
Really lean a new vision for his campaign saying piggy backing on Barack Obama's, yes we can, saying it's not yes we can, it's going to be yes we will and going forward the Cruz campaign though they have set expectations rock bottom for tonight.
[20:55:08] At Cruz campaigns officials telling me earlier this evening that they do not expect to win any delegates at all coming out of New York. Jake.
TAPPER: Oh wow, that's an interesting projection. Sunlen Serfaty, with the Cruz campaign in Pennsylvania. Thank you so much.
Let's now bring in the executive editor of CNN politics, Mark Preston. And Mark, I don't need to tell you there's a big debate right now about whom the republican delegates should select at the republican convention in Cleveland if no candidate achieves that magic number of 1,237. What do the voters want? PRESTON: Well, Jake, certainly a divisive issue right now, in the Republican primary but when it comes to New York Republicans let's take look at what they think. More than 7 in 10 Republicans in New York believe that the person with the most delegates, whether or not they get to the magic number of 1,237 should become, the Republican nominee.
Now of course, this is a very divisive debate within the Republican Party, something that could lead to a contested convention and show a -- the more divisiveness and divisions in the Republican Party, but let's look at these numbers right here from New York Republicans who voted today.
Three in 10 did not actually vote in support of a candidate, they voted against a candidate. Again, another sign of the Republican Party right now that is fractured and whoever wins the GOP nomination will have a lot of healing to do in the months of August, September and October to bring the party together in the general election in November. Jake.
TAPPER: All right thanks Mark, and Dana, the poll indicating that a majority a vast majority of New York Republicans think that if no one secures the magic number of delegates, whoever wins the most primaries has the most delegates. They feel should be the nominee. That's a talking point. Rudy Giuliani who is now a Trump supporter. He was talking about that on my show earlier today saying that's what the voters want.
BASH: It certainly seems to be a big talking point particularly for people like Rudy Giuliani who voted for Trump. But when I was keeping your chair warm on Sunday ceiling on "State of the Union", I talked to Reince Priebus and asked him this question in a few different ways meaning why not try to -- why not just give the nomination to the person with the most votes. And his mantra continued to be, it's got to be the majority. It can't be plurality. It's going to be a majority. And its not just about the rules, it's about the tradition from his perspective and a lot of perspectives of Republican Party members.
TAPPER: It's very interesting, although we've heard republican establishment figures talk about how they're optimistic. There will be a second ballot or a third ballot. Wolf Blitzer back to you in Washington.
BLITZER: All right guys, thanks very much. I want to go over to John King over the magic wall really about two minutes away from the top of the hour. Show us what New York State is like right now.
JOHN KING, CNN ANCHOR AND CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: So you pop up the state, Wolf, one of the things we'll be using later as we try to count the delegates especially on the Republican side -- excuse me we'll come back to the New York and pull this out for you. Get intervention I'll try to pull this map up for you.
Let's have this congressional overlay because on whether Republican delegates especially we care about these congressional districts. So the latest up a little bit later results come in very important for John Kasich and you heard Sunlen Serfaty said that the Cruz campaign expects to come away with zero tonight.
Can John Kasich make inroads in these congressional delegations to take a few delegates away from Donald Trump? That's key in the Republican side.
If you look to the state in itself, we're starting with the Democrat race here. What are we going to look for? Number one most of the votes comes down to New York City and Van Jones raise the question earlier. Can Bernie Sanders surprise us? Can he perform now with inner city African-Americans, can he do better with Latino voters, can he bring Hillary Clinton's margins down and conceivably come back for a victory.
BLITZER: That was in 2008 when Hillary Clinton won New York State against then Senator Barack Obama.
KING: And she won pretty handily. If you look at she have 57 percent of the vote to 40 percent of Obama and significantly again you want to come down in here to the areas in New York City where you have the African-Americans, Queens for example, she won 60, 39. You come over here in the Kings County, 49, 49. Obama is stronger there right in here into Manhattan the city, the 9 point gap right in there.
BLITZER: What about on the Republican side in 2008?
KING: The Republican side is interesting. The Republican side -- you pulled back out so I can show you the entire state. The Republican site hasn't really mattered. I mean if you look there John McCain won big in 2008, Mitt Romney won convincingly in 2012. That's why tonight is so fascinating on the Republican side because the Republican race has not mattered in resents history inside New York.
So what are we going to look for on the Republican side are the same thing. You want to see these overwhelming Democratic districts, but there are some districts in New York City where a couple of hundred people might vote on the Republican side. Can John Kasich pick up delegates there and Wolf the other place to see is, how Donald Trump do upstate. And if he's going to get all 95 delegates, he got to carry all these congressional districts up here. He's known in New York City. We'll see if he can sell himself in you home town in Buffalo for example.
BLITZER: Buffalo, New York, a great town. All right, this is a big night for Donald Trump pop for the Republicans. A very big night for Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders as well lots going on.
[21:00:04] The polls are about to close in New York state. In fact, they should be closing right now.
And with the polls close. CNN projects that Donald Trump.