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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Clinton, Trump Holding Dueling Campaign Rallies; The Path Forward for All the Candidates; Protesters Gather Outside Trump Rally; Candidates Seek Changes At RNC Spring Meeting; Is Trump Shifting His Tone?; Death Tolls Rises To 8 In Houston-Area Flood Zone; The GOP Battle For 1,237. Aired 8-9p ET
Aired April 20, 2016 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[20:00:03] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: And good evening. Thanks for joining us. Big campaign developments all across the map tonight. Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton holding events, this evening, both going on now.
Trump's back on the warpath, by the way, after striking a more presidential or diplomatic tone in the wake of his big win last night. He and Secretary Clinton trying to turn their crushing victories into success next week in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Connecticut, Rhode Island and Delaware.
Their rivals scrambling to react or work around it or work the system, so they can prevail at the conventions, even though they're behind in delegates now, like Bernie Sanders, or mathematically eliminated, like Ted Cruz and John Kasich.
We'll talk about that in the next two hours of live coverage tonight, including the possibility that Donald Trump's real magic number of delegates, the number he needs to secure the nomination, might actually be lower than the 1,237 that we've been talking about -- so much about.
A very big night, starting with Jim Acosta at the Trump rally in Berlin, Maryland.
Jim, I mean, a day after a huge victory for Trump in New York, what's his message on the trail today?
JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, this is the most fired up I've seen Donald Trump in a long time, and winning will do that.
And there was a lot of talk last night about the softer side of Donald Trump that we heard in Trump Tower. All of that is out the window.
We're back to Trump being Trump. He's already gone back to the nicknames at the rally here in Maryland on the Eastern shore, referring to Ted Cruz as "Lyin' Ted" and Hillary Clinton as "Crooked Hillary."
At one point during the remarks here just a few moments ago, he suggested as president he will investigate Hillary Clinton's e-mail practices. So he's dishing out the red meat at this rally. And that is much of what we heard earlier today at his event in Indianapolis, and here's a bit of that.
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: One of the reasons that New York gave me such an incredible vote, a vote far beyond what the polls said, and I'm not the -- I wasn't surprised. When you look, the vote was incredible. It was record setting.
In the case of Lyin' Ted Cruz, Lyin' Ted -- lies, oh, he lies. You know Ted. He brings the bible, holds it high, puts it down, lies.
You know, Bernie's gone. You know that, don't you? Bernie's gone.
I love running against Crooked Hillary. I love that. I mean, it's so much better, better. Bernie wouldn't be as much fun.
ACOSTA: And so you heard much of that at this event that we're at right now here in Maryland, Anderson. And as for why Donald Trump does not refer to his vanquished rivals with their nicknames, he said, well, once they're gone, so go their nicknames. Anderson?
COOPER: Both Kasich and Cruz are going to be at the RNC spring meeting in Florida this week. Is Trump expected to make an appearance there as well?
ACOSTA: That's not on the schedule at this point. I will tell you, what we know right now is that Donald Trump will be in Pennsylvania tomorrow, which is the big delegate prize coming up next week. He's also going to be in Delaware on Friday, and so he's chasing after delegates. He's chasing after votes at this point.
You're right. John Kasich and Ted Cruz are expected to be down at that RNC meeting. But we should point out, Donald Trump's top officials, Paul Manafort, a new lawyer he's hired for the campaign, Bill McKinley, they're down talking to those delegates, talking to those party officials at the RNC meeting down in Florida. And all of that comes as an internal campaign memo that we've obtained is now out, and it shows what the Trump campaign feels about this delegate process.
Once again, they're saying that this system is rigged for the Republican party's allocation of delegates to candidates that win these primaries and caucuses. And they are saying in this memo, Anderson, that they believe party establishment is scared of the people, that the people scare the hell out of them. Anderson?
COOPER: All right, Jim Acosta. Jim, thanks.
As you can see, Hillary Clinton is now speaking. We're monitoring it. Going to bring you a live report in just a few moments. In the meantime, let's bring in the panel, Democratic strategist,
Sanders' supporter, Nomi Konst, Clinton supporter and president of Women in Need, Christine Quinn, the Atlantic's Peter Bennart, who's also a CNN political commentator. Our Dana Bash is here, political commentators Kayleigh McEnany and Tara Setmayer. Kaylee's a Trump supporter. Tara is certainly not. And "The Daily Caller's" Matt Lewis, who's also a CNN political contributor.
Nomi, I mean, the Sanders campaign does seem to be firm in its insistence that it will be decided by superdelegates at the convention. But even if that is the case, if this goes to the convention, with Secretary Clinton in the lead, why would the superdelegates who are currently committed to her switch?
NOMIKI KONST, BERNIE SANDERS SUPPORTER: Well, I think the question is first off, she has to reach that magic number of 2,383. And right now, within the margins that we're having in these last, you know, several races, even with New York in consideration, she only picked up about two dozen, about 40 delegates right now is what they're saying in pledged delegates in New York.
So, you know, this is her home state. She won by a smaller margin than in 2008. It's going to be a tough fight for the next several states.
It was also a closed primary. It wasn't friendly to Bernie Sanders. We're all aware of the situation. It happened in New York.
Now, with that being said, superdelegates are not supposed to declare until they're on the convention floor. And if you see half of the party, 80 percent of the party under the age of 50, the future of the party, who are demanding reform, a group of movements who are all unified under this idea of challenging money and status quo, you know, I think that they're going to have to start paying attention to that.
And as the numbers get closer in the next several races, which we're predicting because there's not as many closed primaries like New York, we're expecting that those superdelegates will start to change. I mean, 40 percent of them are soft. Many are elected officials that are voting against their own districts right out and the turnouts of their districts. So, you know, the pressure is -- go ahead.
COOPER: It sounds like you're making just verbal gymnastics. I mean, it's a lot of like qualified phrases and things which -- I mean, honestly I lost you about halfway through.
KONST: Math's tough, right?
COOPER: Well, it's actually not. I mean, she's getting all the votes. She has the most delegates.
COOPER: And in order for him to actually get, you know, enough delegates, he -- I mean, it's -- mathematically, it's virtually impossible. KONST: She's been capped at about 250 for the past two to three
months. So that delegate count has not gone up. You know, as we've moved on, you know, obviously he won seven of the eight of the last races, except for New York, and that's why.
COOPER: Are you talking about next week coming, some of these Northeastern states?
KONST: I think so. I mean, none of them are as closed as New York. New York is her home territory. New York --
KONST: -- was designed for her. She had every endorsement in the world organizing on her behalf --
COOPER: Christine, do you see this?
KONST: -- including herself.
CHRISTINE QUINN, CLINTON SUPPORTER: Which I'm extremely proud of. But, you know, look, we won New York, Clinton that is, very big, 60- 40, in a state where the Sanders campaign said repeatedly that it was a must win for the Sanders campaign.
KONST: That's not true.
QUINN: It is absolutely true. It's well documented many times.
QUINN: You said it. And now yesterday the spin was well, if she wins only by single digits, it's a loss. Today, the spin is it's a closed primary, we're Independents.
KONST: He's been saying that for months.
QUINN: That has always been the process in New York, and we won significantly. And if you look at the math, math actually isn't that complicated as it relates to delegates. And in fact, the math is against Senator Sanders. It is basically mathematically impossible for him to get where he needs to go. And as it relates to --
COOPER: Let's pause on this argument on the Democrats. Let's turn to the Republican side just for -- before -- because we're going to go to Secretary Clinton shortly to hear her a little bit.
Kaley, I mean, Donald Trump, path forward after last night. You've got to be feeling very confident.
KAYLEIGH MCENANY, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Absolutely. Especially when you look to next Tuesday, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Connecticut. When you look at polls, he is leading there in some states, in most states actually, by 20 points. So we could see the margin of victory last translate into four to five
states next week. And this whole discussion of a second ballot, which by the way, hasn't happened since 1948, the whole discussion about a second ballot and the nomination being taken from him, it's all for nil. It's all theoretical. It's all academic, because Donald Trump, I think, will win outright.
COOPER: Tara, do you think he has a good shot at actually getting enough delegates before?
TARA SETMAYER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think that it's possible, but it's very difficult. I mean, he still needs to win 63 percent of the delegates left on the table. He's only won 48 percent up until now.
So that's -- moving forward, that's basically assuming that, OK, we'll give him next Tuesday. That was baked into the cake. We expect Donald Trump to do well there.
But when you get into the May contests, Donald Trump is not doing as well. He may only come out of the whole month of May with possibly 20 delegates between Washington State, Oregon, Montana. Those places, he's not very well organized at all, and Ted Cruz is.
And so May, you know, everyone's all excited about right now, but when we get to May, he may be only at, you know, 950 or so, and so he'll (inaudible) a lot.
COOPER: Do you think organization continues to be a problem for him?
MATT LEWIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Absolutely. You know, Ted Cruz has out-organized Donald Trump. When it comes to the sort of retail politics, to courting delegates, Cruz dominates.
You know, but Donald Trump obviously dominates when it comes to giving big speeches and winning open primaries especially. But, you know, you can't take New York away from him.
But I think the problem that Cruz has is that the problem Republicans and non-Trump Republicans have had this entire cycle is there's never been a clear alternative to rise up against Donald Trump. And we thought coming out of Wisconsin that it would be Ted Cruz. He gets zero delegates in New York.
COOPER: It is interesting, Dana. I mean, you -- for all the talk of well, look, if he gets -- Donald Trump get close enough to 1,237, then they've got to give it to him. And the RNC, Paul Ryan, are all saying the rules are the rules.
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right.
COOPER: It's got to be 1,237 --
BASH: It's got to be a majority. COOPER: -- or else you go to a second ballot.
BASH: That's right.
COOPER: And if it goes to a second ballot, Ted Cruz has a good shot.
BASH: He does. And that absolutely not just what Ted Cruz is banking on, relying on after last night's results. I mean, last night's results made it mathematically impossible for Ted Cruz to get the nomination before the convention.
And I think that it is true that Ted -- we know Ted Cruz is very well organized, not just in some of those more rural states, more conservative states, but also more importantly, in making sure that the delegates who are awarded when they actually get to that point of the process in these states, that the Cruz people bring them their way.
But that is changing. It really is. The Trump campaign, there is a dramatic shift, maybe not so much -- well, we saw him on -- the way we saw him on the stump today certainly sounded like the old Donald Trump --
BASH: -- who threw red meat to his supporters. But the internal workings of the Trump campaign is just -- it's night and day.
LEWIS: Yes, a lot of people -- a lot of people are saying that the worst thing that happened to the Stop Trump or Never Trump movement is that they did too good of a job of sort of demonizing Corey Lewandowski, the campaign manager.
LEWIS: And now we have Paul Manafort, Rick -- people coming in who actually know how to organize.
BASH: Let me just give you a very quick example of that. I don't truthfully -- I mean, nothing against the Trump people, it's just they hadn't done this before. I don't really get the sense that they even wrapped their heads around the idea of an unbound delegate. For example, the delegates, many of them in Pennsylvania next week.
BASH: Fifty-four unbound, which means doesn't matter how the voters vote. They can go for whomever they want when they get to the convention floor.
Those are people that the Trump camp, they're going to be working really, really hard now, and others like them in various states that have the same kind of process. That is something that wasn't happening like two, three weeks ago.
PETER BENNART, CONTRIBUTOR, THE ATLANTIC: I think Trump has another thing going for him, which is the fact that Cruz is showing so much weakness now in states with more liberal and moderate Republican electorates. Because you have to think if you're a Republican, do we want to nominate Cruz, even though he got fewer votes, knowing that that's going to blow up the convention, and the Trump people are going to do crazy stuff, even though the evidence is becoming stronger and stronger that he's not a strong general election candidate either.
It's not like you have somebody you can replace Trump with who has -- who most Republican insiders, I think, really has a good shot at beating Hillary Clinton. And the weakness that he's showing outside of his core areas of strength, more conservative, evangelical and kind of Tea Party voters, I think makes it harder to justify giving it to him on the second ballot.
COOPER: It does seem, Kayleigh, though, that there is this unknown factor with Donald Trump of you don't know what direction he's going to go in, you don't know what attack he's going to make. And in a general election, there's telling how tough he can be against Hillary Clinton.
I mean, for all the pundits who are saying, well, you know, it's great to have Hillary Clinton if she's the nominee running against him or Bernie Sanders running against him. I mean, he's shown himself far more resilient than anybody could have predicted.
MCENANY: Absolutely. And I think that's why you have people like Bill Clinton who have said, hey do not discount Donald Trump. This is a real challenge to us looking forward to general election.
And here's the one thing, Donald Trump, yes, he's sporadic, sometimes you don't know what's going to come. But the thing that's so good about Donald Trump is we know he's not going to be a Mitt Romney who did not attack.
Many Republicans were -- they're unsatisfied, didn't think he attacked Obama fervently enough. He's not going to be a McCain. He's going to be someone who's going to bring up e-mails, Benghazi, Clinton Foundation. Hillary Clinton will have to answer very tough questions alongside the stage with Donald Trump.
COOPER: We're going to continue the conversation in a moment. Check in with the Clinton rally just ahead. More on the road ahead for the two frontrunners and the challenges. How each can triumph or stumble. And as we've been discussing, what happens if Donald Trump comes very close but falls just short of delegates?
Later we'll take you to Houston where flooding has already taken eight lives, done billions of dollars in damage, and even more water is on the way.
COOPER: Looking live right now at the Hillary Clinton event happening in Philadelphia. Bernie Sanders went home to Vermont to regroup from last night's defeat. He will be stumping in Pennsylvania tomorrow. He'll have a lot of work to do certainly. Right now, let's check in with CNN's Joe Johns, who's at the Clinton
Hillary Clinton's just finished speaking. What was her approach today? What does she have to say?
JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Hello, Anderson. She has just finished speaking. Just wrapped up here in Philadelphia. Healthy size crowd.
She pushed hard here talking about her connection to Pennsylvania, the fact that her father is from Scranton, Pennsylvania. She says she was baptized in Pennsylvania. Her brother lived here, of course.
And she talked a little about the fact that the Philadelphia Democratic Convention is coming up. It's here on the turf of the people in this audience tonight.
She talked a lot about the Clinton years, the booming economy back in the 1990s, blamed the change in the economy on Republican president George W. Bush. Focused a lot on the Republicans, including those running for president right now.
One interesting note, and I think this also happened at an earlier rally with Hillary Clinton here in this city, a small group of African American protesters appeared to be black lives matters protestors, were removed from the audience. I heard them chanting, but I can tell you, it didn't much disrupt this crowd. Because as you can hear, the crowd noise was very loud, and it didn't seem to effect the candidate as well. But perhaps we have some pictures we can show you of that.
JOHNS: She's wrapped up here in Philadelphia. And this obviously is a -- is a big push for her in this state. Bernie Sanders as well. He's going to be at three stops in Pennsylvania tomorrow, Anderson.
COOPER: All right, Joe, thanks very much.
With his victory last night, Donald Trump became the only Republican candidate capable of winning the 1,237 delegates needed to secure his party's nomination? Everyone is now mathematically eliminated.
And over on the Democratic side, Bernie Sanders, while certainly not eliminated, now faces, as we said, even longer odds. That said, the political road on both sides still has plenty of twists and turns. Still may end up with Donald Trump coming up short.
Joining us with a by-the-numbers look, chief national correspondent, "Inside Politics" anchor, John King. John?
JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Let's start with the Republicans, Anderson. Donald Trump, a difficult path to get to 1,237 before the Republican convention, but not an impossible path, and certainly not impossible to get very close and then try to cut deals with the remaining delegates. Why not impossible? Plus 90 from New York last night. That gives
Trump a huge boost. Trump is leading in all five states up next week. It looks like he could win them similar to New York last night. Maybe add another 100 delegates next week.
That gets him to 950 or so, more than 75 percent of the way to 1,237. And project this out to the very end. Trump will win New Jersey. Trump will win West Virginia.
We give Cruz the West. We give him this scenario. Let's give Cruz Indiana in the moment in this scenario here and see if that happens.
Then you get out to California. Trump wins California. You could see Donald Trump with a big win in California being somewhere around 1,200, very close to 1,200. If he can somehow go into Indiana and upset Ted Cruz there, you can see Donald Trump getting as high as 1,223, maybe a little bit higher.
More likely back here. But if Trump runs the board next week, is competitive in Indiana, has big night in California, 1,237 is hard. To see him getting 1,200, in the 1,220 range, it's not impossible at all.
And his campaign thinks if they can get there, even above 1,175, you can cut deals with the non-pledged, non-committed delegates, after June 7th. And by the time you get to Cleveland, you have 1,237.
So next week is critical. And then Indiana the first week of May will tell us a lot more about Donald Trump's prospects of getting closer.
Now let's look to the Democratic side. Proportional rules. Harder for Hillary Clinton to pull away as Donald Trump has. But she believes at this point the math is pretty near impossible after the big win in New York last night. And she also believes that come next Tuesday night, she believes she'll win at least four of the five. She's on track to win Pennsylvania, Maryland and Delaware quite big.
Hillary Clinton believes she's going to start to stretch her lead out here to the point where in terms of pledged delegate math, it is almost impossible, that Bernie Sanders would have to win 75 or 80 percent of the remaining pledged delegates to catch up.
So last night was huge for Hillary Clinton. Next Tuesday is the exclamation point she wants, because she believes it will play out like this after that, with Bernie Sanders getting a couple of wins. But Hillary Clinton wins big and gets somewhere close to 2,200 by end of the process.
Yes, in that scenario, she would need the superdelegates to put her over the top. Can Hillary Clinton win with just pledged delegates? Possible, but unlikely. But can she stretch it out to here and keep winning so that she keeps these nearly 500 super delegates in her back pocket? That is the Clinton campaign strategy.
End the primary somewhere around here, get to convention with support of establishment and get over the top. Bernie Sanders, if he's going to change this math, Anderson, last night was a big chance, and he missed it. Next Tuesday night, absolutely critical.
COOPER: Critical indeed. John, thanks very much.
Back with our panel. Dana, how much do you expect Bernie Sanders and Secretary Clinton to kind of stop battling each other? And, I mean, certainly Secretary Clinton would like to be focusing on Donald Trump on the GOP.
BASH: You know, it's -- I don't know the answer to that truthfully. Because if you would have asked me how much they're going to stop battling after the last big Hillary Clinton win, I would've said, and I probably did say, well, you know, they're probably going to take it down a notch.
And I know just from reporting that people inside the Hillary Clinton campaign wanted that to happen. But for various reasons, like as always happens in campaigns, things spun out of control and it got incredibly hot between them.
However, I do think at this point, they both see -- not just Hillary Clinton but Bernie Sanders -- they both see that they don't have a lot to gain by really being as scrappy as they were before. Obviously, in particular Hillary Clinton, because as she said explicitly last night, she wants to unite the party. She wants to get people behind her.
But for Bernie Sanders, he also -- he says he's running for real, and you believe him, but he's also very much a message candidate. And he's got a lot to gain at the convention --
BASH: -- and beyond by beginning to play nice, to try to get his message into some of the policy platforms --
BASH: -- of the party.
COOPER: And Peter, he certainly has the money. I mean, he's done --
COOPER: -- amazingly well and continues to do an amazing job raising money.
BENNART: Right, and I think the really interesting dynamic will be, just as Dana was saying, to what degree can he try to bind Hillary Clinton so she's not able to move back to the center. She has moved substantially to the left over the last year, far to the left of where her husband was, far to the left of where she was as U.S. Senator.
The fear of Bernie Sanders people is that it's a bait and switch. Once she gets in -- once in the general election, and then if she wins, she'll put the same old Wall Street in top positions in the Treasury Department. She will start to cut free trade deals again. She won't make campaign finance reform, you know, a priority. So I think for them, although it's painful for them to look at it this
way, I think a lot of it has to do with how can you try to convert the support you have into some leverage over what kind of president she's going to be.
COOPER: Naomi, is that a concern of yours, as a Sanders supporter?
KONST: Absolutely. I mean, this is a -- as I said earlier, this is a movement of movements. There's several movements from black lives matter, to occupy Wall Street to all these different -- it's a coalition. You know, blue collar workers that are valuable for the Democratic race and the general that Trump has a strong hold on.
You know, it's a movement of movements that are all unifying against the root cause of the problems that we see in America right now, which is campaign finance. And so when Hillary Clinton is accepting Wall Street money, it's very hard for them to see how she can change that strategy moving forward if she were to be elected president.
Also, I think one more thing that we're not taking into consideration is just the way that the Democratic Party has changed over the past 30 years. You know, after McGovern, there were a lot of reforms made, and then they reversed those reforms.
There was a coup by, I would say, like more conservative Democrats, possibly because the country was more conservative then. And they started bringing money in, and they started choosing candidates on their viability based on money and fundraising rather than their ideas and their leadership and how they organized their communities.
KONST: I think that the grass roots Democrats are really turned off by that type of Democratic Party.
COOPER: Christine, do you believe this is, to Nomi's words, a movement of movements?
QUINN: You know, I think this has been one of the probably most dynamic and robust Democratic primaries we've seen in a really long time. And I think you have to give absolutely Senator Sanders and his campaign a tremendous amount of credit for amplifying issues that needed to be amplified.
But when Secretary Clinton says last night it's time now to unify the Party, I think she's absolutely right. And what that means is to unify in a really strong way around the issues that have become front and center in this campaign -- income inequality, police misconduct, more affordable housing for people at every level, homeless, moderate and middle income Americans, real job creation with jobs that people can live on and pay their rent on.
And the real choice, I think, now for all of us as Democrats is to see that the really important thing is to win in November so the country can move forward in a way that's inclusive --
QUINN: -- and profound. And the longer the struggle goes on in a way that's divisive, the less likely that is.
But I think really the Sanders campaign deserves credit, and it's now time to take the forward motion they've cause and move us forward.
BASH: I just want to -- I just want to add one thing to what you said, Peter. There's no question that the Clinton campaign has been moved to the left on a lot of issues. But some of those issues, if she is going up against Donald Trump --
BASH: -- could help her, because it's so scrambled right now when you look at the core populism out there that both Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump appeal to.
COOPER: Although, in some ways, Donald Trump can be a difficult person, because his positions do not hue strictly to a conservative line.
BASH: Exactly. Exactly.
COOPER: I mean, he's, you know, supportive of Planned Parenthood other than, you know, abortion service.
BASH: Exactly. But just take trade, for example.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Right.
BASH: You know, if she were to do what some of the Bernie Sanders --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right.
BASH: -- people fear that she would do, which is say that she's against free trade now and then pivot to where she and the rest of her sort of wing of the party, for lack of a better -- or her husband was, but if she's up against Donald Trump, she's less likely to do that.
COOPER: We've got to take a short break. We're monitoring a protest. Donald Trump has finished speaking there. We're monitoring a protest outside the Trump event in Berlin, Maryland. About 100 people appear to be gathered. We'll keep an eye on that as Trump leaves the hall.
Also, I asked the top RNC officer if there is some wiggle room for Donald Trump when it comes to getting to 1,237. His response in a moment.
[20:31:29] COOPER: Welcome back. We're continuing to watch the Trump event, protesters outside, about 100 people right in the path of audience members and Donald Trump had that made there way out, he left the hall just moments ago. We've been talking about what may happen if he arrives in Cleveland just short of the number of delegates needed to clinch the nomination. You've heard of course the scenarios, we've already seen some the maneuvering and the delegate recruiting and allegations that the entire system is rigged by Trump or Trump's allegation that entire system is rigged.
As we mentioned the RNC spring meeting open today and two of three candidates came courting. Ted Cruz and John Kasich, making the trip to try to woo party insiders who are meeting to discuss among other things changing convention rules. Now Trump sent surrogates did not himself attend, RNC strategist and communications director Sean is there -- Sean Spicer, we spoke a short time ago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Sean, the RNC meeting today, what is the take away? I mean is there acceptance that Donald Trump is now re-solidified his position as frontrunner?
SEAN SPICER, RNC CHIEF STRATEGIST & COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: I think their number one thing at RNC is our spring meeting, is where we conduct business, we got ready for the convention, we talk about where -- our preparations for fall. I think all of the campaigns were represented here today making the case. Two of the members of the RNC why here are going to be best nominee. So we're that's still premature, I have understand he still needs 1,237 delegates to become the nominee.
We've got a ways to go in the race, but each of the campaigns was here making sure they made their case.
COOPER: So the idea that Trump might not get to 1,237 before the convention but he was essentially be close enough to for his supporters to claim moral victory, the party, you know, would some say would be on tricky ground in terms of optics to have someone else get the nomination in a second round of voting.
Or for you, are there and for the RNC, are -- is it just the rules are the rules, and if any number short of 1,237 it's got to go to another rounding voting?
SPICER: Yeah, absolutely, its 1,237 or bust. I mean look, Anderson, for any conservative out there, remember ObamaCare when it was passed initially or up first, you know, it was three votes on Christmas Eve. No one said, hey if its close, it should pass. That's not how it works. When a majority decides, and majority decides.
It takes 1237 delegates to pass any order of business and I think we've got to remember that. There's no other time that we would every say, you know, and whether its politics or sports, hey if you get to the 2 yard line, well that counts as a touchdown, that's just not how the rules work.
I think it then would be incumbent upon the Trump campaign and the other campaigns to make the case to the delegates vote on that first round of voting, defense on every subsequent number of votes to get to the majority. But that's the process that we've gone through dating back to 1856, ultimately a majority of the delegates will decide every aspect of our convention.
COOPER: So to the Trump supporters that say look, if he's winning the raw votes and he's winning overall by the delegates by the time of the convention, isn't it just more than just say public relations mess, I mean don't you run the risk of alienating all those supporters? What do you say to them?
SPICER: Well look, I mean I think that anyone who's -- who remembers 2000, George or Al Gore rather won popular vote, George Bush won the Electoral College vote. And you didn't have people saying even Al Gore acknowledged those -- that's how our democracy works here in America. We have a constitution that predicated on the Electoral College.
George Bush won more electoral votes. And I don't think anybody at that time said well we should throw out the constitution and put Al Gore in office, we have a system set of rules that we follow in this country whether the constitution or out party rules, and our party rules dictating you need 1,237 delegates this cycle to become the nominee.
[20:35:07] So I understand that people would be upset. My argument would be to say to them, they go out there, have your campaign, continue to organize, make the case to unbound delegates, make the case to bound delegates to stick with you. But that's frankly what a campaign is built on, this organization. So I would argue that all of the campaigns need to engage in that.
COOPER: Sean Spicer, Sean always good to have you on. Thank you.
SPICER: Thank you Anderson.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Well for a brief moment after his victory in New York, Donald Trump seemed more presidential you could say, ditching some of the insults. But he is back on the attack.
You'll see, when "360" continues.
COOPER: Well last night lot was made in fact that Donald Trump only speak for eight minutes, unlike some of the earlier victory speeches he is made which in that went on longer, and involved steak and other products. He also called Senator Cruz, Senator Cruz and Governor Kasich, Governor Kasich.
Today he is back to calling him lyin' Ted. The fresh attacks happens less than 24 hours after he seemed to be dropping nicknames the very at the least, whether you say he was playing nice or even calling his top opponent something we don't think his call them a long, long time. More from Tom Foreman.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[20:40:02] DONALD TRUMP, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: In the case of lyin' Ted Cruz, lyin' Ted, lies, oh, he lies.
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: So much for the change in tone, Donald Trump is back on war path.
TRUMP: I'm about 300 delegates ahead of lyin' Ted.
FOREMAN: Hammering home his nickname for his nearest challenger for the GOP crown, Senator Ted Cruz, its the Donald Trump we've seen for months.
TRUMP: I call him lyin' Ted. Remember lyin' Ted Cruz. Lyin' Ted. I'm Donald Trump and I approved this message.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The politicians can pretend it is something else, but Donald Trump calls it radical Islamic terrorism.
FOREMAN: From the beginning Trump said he is just telling it like he is. He slammed the Marco Rubio for his height and for sweating.
TRUMP: You have this clown, Marco Rubio. I call him little Marco, little Marco. It's Rubio.
FOREMAN: He ridiculed Carly Fiorina's looks, Chris Christie's relations with the White House.
TRUMP: He was a little child Christie.
FOREMAN: And he mocked pretty much everything about Jeb Bush.
TRUMP: This guy can't negotiate his way out of a paper bag.
FOREMAN: The list goes on. After his loss in Wisconsin, some of his inner circle thought the scorching rhetoric may have played a part in his defeat. Even his family suggested he should lighten up the attacks on his foes.
TRUMP: They said please, please, darling my wife, and my daughter Ivanka, daddy, please be more presidential. I said wait a minute, I got to take them out before I get presidential, don't I, right?
FOREMAN: Still, it looks like he took the advice for a little while, bringing in a teleprompter sometimes for more tempered remarks, and new advisers who seem to be slowing down his chain saw approach.
And as the New York results pushed his delegate count up, he grew more civil, even calling Cruz, gasp, Senator.
TRUMP: Senator Cruz is just about mathematically eliminated.
FOREMAN: But by this afternoon he was once again savaging Cruz and Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton.
TRUMP: I love running against crooked Hillary, I love that, I mean so much.
You know Ted, he brings the bible, holds it high, puts it down, lies.
FOREMAN: For the businessman from New York, business as usual.
Tom Foreman, CNN, Washington.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: And back to our panel. Kayleigh, I think it was last night you were saying Donald Trump you saw last night was one you would like to see more of. Do you think he has abandoned it for good? Are you disappointed? Or is this just the way he runs.
MCENANY: Not disappointed, because I think we will see more of what we saw last night. The thing is it has to be a meaningful, I guess understandable transition. He can't go from being someone who is organic, someone who's spontaneous, someone who's fun, and lively, and people like to watch to someone who will they poll tested, focus group tested politician. That would be inauthentic.
It would be reminiscing of when Senator Rubio went from being the poll tested politician to doing a standup comedy act. The thing that has gotten Donald Trump here is the fact that he is the guy who says something on the campaign trail, they says that is dinner table. He's the same guy with his family that he is on stage. People like that, they believe it, they find it -- find it honest, trustworthy. So for him is to go change and be this completely different person, it just wouldn't be believable.
COOPER: Tara, you look like you've gone to a special place.
SETMAYER: No, I sit here and I listen to this, and I think and all of the excuses that Trump supporters make for his disgusting, bigoted, sexist, misogynist, you know, eratic behavior consistently, over the years.
And then try to do, you know, put a pretty face on it. You know, as a conservative and as a Republican I actually think that character and integrity matters and Donald Trump has demonstrated time and time again that he does not have the character or temperament to be President of the United States.
This isn't running for school yard bully here, this is and, you know, some middle school, you know, class president, this is for the President of the United States, where you have real issues, and you got to be thoughtful, and you have to be like be able to exude some type of honesty, and character, integrity and Donald Trump doesn't do any of that. He says he is a character.
LEWIS: I think what we are seeing though is a microcosm of the Trump campaign that is actually experiencing an identity crisis right now. So you have the angel on his one shoulder, Paul Manafort telling him hey look, you know.
SETMAYER: I don't know about angel.
LEWIS: I use the term loosely. But, you know, being brash got you this far. But if you want to get to the next level ...
COOPER: Right you ...
LEWIS: ... you can't just, you have to shift, you have to pivot like in rocky when he switches and quits fighting as a south paw, you know, to use a very old reference. But what happens is when Trump is in front of the audience and he says these funny, controversial lines, he gets applause. And I think that's the temptation.
MCENANY: Then never Trump movement has been trying desperately to know avail to paint Donald Trump as racist, bigoted, islamaphobic, all of these caricatures, they try to make him into a different thing every week. And in fact they poured $70 million into attacking Donald Trump, three times the amount Donald Trump spent on the entire campaign.
[20:45:12] And instead of anyone believing those things, Republican voters are showing up and saying we see through the act, through the facade and through character ...
BEINART: I'm disappointed about islamaphobia. Donald Trump has called for temporary banning all Muslims from entering United States.
MCENANY: Non-U.S. citizens.
BEINART: OK, all non-U.S. citizen Muslim. If someone calls for temporary ...
BEINART: ... banning non U.S. citizen Jews from entering United States, would you feel comfortably calling that president an anti- Semite?
MCENANY: If we had people who have blonde hair and blue eyes who were ...
BEINART: Sure, that wasn't my question. We're talking about early just to ...
MCENANY: I would be the first person ...
BEINART: ... it happens to matter a great deal to me ... MCENANY: Here is the thing.
BEINART: ... I thought I like to know the answer.
MCENANY: The answer is this. If Islam is -- it would islamaphobic, if was doing it solely because of identity their and their religion. He is proposing been not because of their identity and their religion but because there is a string within their religion, within the Islamic face that is radical Islam, that is the responsible for the death of the 143 Parisians, 24 people in San Bernardino, he recognizes there's a straining, how we found out how to not let people like Tashfeen Malik into our country to go and shoot any American ...
BEINART: You still haven't answered my question. There are ...
MCENANY: Yes, I have.
BEINART: ... there are also terrorists of other faiths as well ...
MCENANY: I have Peter.
BEINART: If you decided to respond to terrorism, by Jews which happens or terrorism by Christians which happens, by punishing all members of that religion from entering the United States, we would have no question but we would call it anti-Semitic.
MCENANY: Right. Here I -- to answer your question, because here is the thing, if it was driven by disdain from a religion, that it would be in fact the islamaphobic. It's not driven by that at all. It's driven, they practical a policy proposal temporarily to find out how Tashfeen Malik got into the country.
COOPER: Kayleigh hold on, what you're saying it's a practical and a sort of sensible policy position. There are billions of Muslims around the world of all different sects and all different faith, it is painting all Muslims ...
COOPER: ... would a very broad brush. I mean there ...
MCENANY: By purpose (ph).
COOPER: ... are Muslims from countries where you don't see this kind of terrorism. The percentage of people involved in this is tiny. Isn't it painting with a broad brush, you know, Shia, Sunni, Salafist other sects.
MCENANY: No, because he said himself it is not all Muslims. But here's the thing ...
COOPER: It is all none American. MCENANY: ... Western Europe had basically had open borders, and 400 ISIS fighters got into Western Europe. I don't want to see the United States of America become Western Europe, and I have to worry about my friends and family going to their innocent place of business.
COOPER: How do you identify who is Muslim, that's drive never quite understood, like is it all the people with Muslims standing names?
MCENANY: Let's do a temporary ban on all immigration if we worried about isolating ...
BEINART: That doesn't it bother, I see you are wearing a cross. Doesn't it bother you that Pope Francis has brought Syrian Muslims into the Vatican? Isn't that a better message than the message of Donald Trump had said, which we are going to penalize every Muslim who's not American citizen on the planet because of the actions of a few?
MCENANY: And tell we fix the problem and the FBI director by the way ...
MCENANY: ... we have no way of vetting these refugees, we have no way of finding out who they are ...
MCENANY: None of this driven by hate, and that's the thing that tell you why.
KOST: Yeah, it does not true, we go through, you have to go UN processing, they have to be qualified through biometric for, is not they're not coming on planes. There's home grown terrorism in America and it is fueled by this type of rhetoric.
KONST: On top of that, if he it is to be president, how is he going to deal with Saudi Arabia right now?
MCENANY: Well the FBI director disagrees with you first of all.
MCENANY: I never said he supports Donald Trump's policy, but he have said himself we have no way of truly vetting this people to find out who is a terrorist and who is not.
(CROSSTALK) COOPER: We got to pause this conversation now, we will continue with though.
It is nearly unthinkable to say, but there is more rain on the way for Houston, Texas. We will come back to this subject. More with our panel ahead. But I do want to talk what's happening there, the death toll there from this weeks flooding rising again today. More rescues and more stories of heroism that's next, a quick break.
[21:52:59] COOPER: Well some of the Houston areas is getting more of what it doesn't need, which is rain. Streets still look like lakes after these weeks, after storm, homes, cars, hopes and dreams now submerged in water. A whole lot of water brief downpours are possible in the next couple days. We got more rivers and creeks could spill their banks, and the death toll that's climbed higher. It is too early to tell when the area home to America's fourth largest city is actually going to be dry again.
Ed Lavandera, reports.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Kennetha Thomas just finished the longest walk of her life, through waist high flooding to get the worst possible news, that her home is swamped in at least four feet of water.
Why did you want to walk there?
KENNETHA THOMAS, FLOOD SURVIVOR: The unknown.
LAVANDERA: This is what her house looked like as she left it behind Monday night and the flood waters crept closer to her home. Now she says the quiet creek near her house is a rolling river and she can't get close enough to see how bad the damage is.
Emotional few days for you?
THOMAS: Totally. There's a lot of memories at that house. We lost both of our parents there, and that we haven't been able to go through a lot of things. But I know will be lost now.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There's stuff, you can't replace it.
LAVANDERA: It's been a staggering week of flooding. 8 people have died, some trapped in their cars submerge in fast rising water. Officials say more than 240 billion gallons of rain have fallen on Houston area. That's enough to fill more than 360,000 Olympic size pools.
There was so much rain so fast, lives changed overnight. Julie Scholtan went to bed the other night listening to heavy rain fall, she woke up with 4 feet of water in the first floor of her house. JULIE SCHOLTAN, FLOOD SURVIVOR: You never going to thought we would wake up to 4 feet. Just, you know, we woke up, and walked down the stairs, and then one of my TV stands was floating in front of the stairwell and that's when I told my husband we got to go.
LAVANDERA: Emergency teams have worked around the clock to move people out of flooded residential areas. These first responders got creative using a storage container to move these kids to higher ground.
[20:55:09] Several thousand people have been pulled from their homes using high water trucks, Rask (ph), kayaks, and an endless stream of boats crisscrossing that usually vicinal (ph) jammed road of Houston.
The neighborhoods along Cypress Creek in northwest Houston have been hard hit for two days. On this emergency crew ride, sheriff's deputies found this Maite Kouns and her family.
MAITE KOUNS, FLOOD SURVIVOR: It's our home, we left and I don't know, its when we'll be back.
LAVANDERA: Several inches of water started flowing into the home and they knew it was time to get out.
KOUNS: It is hard and you just -- you don't know what to pack up, you don't what to do. But we just grabbed some things, the dog, the kids, and leave it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Ed Lavandera joins me now. Is more rain forecast?
LAVANDERA: Well there is some more rain expected tomorrow, it's actually been a nice evening here in Houston, so the rest been a little bit of a break from it all, but more rain is expected tomorrow, more rain expected on Sunday as well. So the best residents can do here now is seat and wait for this flood waters to recede.
But some officials say it will take several days and here in the county that saying some areas it could even take as long as a month. Anderson?
COOPER: Wow, Ed Lavandera, thanks very much.
Up next, the kind of dealing that Donald Trump may have to do to get delegates he needs. And more in wrangling going on right now in Florida over changing the rules at the convention. We'll talk to a guy who know what it takes, because he seen it all up close for himself.
[22:00:15] Good evening, and welcome to the next phase ...