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Standing By For Polls To Close in Five States; Polls in Five States Closing Momentarily. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired April 26, 2016 - 19:00   ET


[19:00:00] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Our coverage continues right now. Super Tuesday more ahead.


ANNOUNCER: In the Northeast right now, the frontrunners aim for new delegate win falls after big victories in New York.

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We're winning by a lot. We're kicking ass.

ANNOUNCER: The challengers fighting on. The finish line getting closer.

HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The race is in the home stretch and victory is inside.

ANNOUNCER: Will contest in five states make the leaders even harder to beat? It's another Super Tuesday, and it's America's choice.

Tonight, in the Republican race --

TRUMP: The reason to be presidential.

ANNOUNCER: Donald Trump resisting new calls to tone it down on the trail. Sounding hopeful he can clinch the nomination outright.

TRUMP: Cruz and Kasich have no path to victory. It's over. It's over.

SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It is abundantly clear that nobody is getting to 1237.

ANNOUNCER: Ted Cruz rejecting Trump's claim he can reach the magic number joining forces with John Kasich to try to ensure a convention fight.

GOV. JOHN KASICH (R-OH), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We can steward our resources so we can stop Hillary Clinton.

ANNOUNCER: In the Democratic race tonight.

CLINTON: There is much more that unites us than divides us.

(APPLAUSE) ANNOUNCER: Hillary Clinton looking to heal a fractured party has

Bernie Sanders. The uphill battle gets steeper but its army of supporters remains loyal.

SANDERS: Sounds to me like you want more than establishment politics. You want real change.

ANNOUNCER: Now it's time for voters to have their say and the frontrunner ramp up their attacks on one another.

CLINTON: Donald Trump ought to get out of those towers and actually come down and talk with people.

TRUMP: I really want to run against crooked Hillary. Right?

ANNOUNCER: America is choosing. It's Super Tuesday in the northeast and the primary race is at a critical crossroad right now.


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm Wolf Blitzer in the CNN Election Center. Tonight, the five presidential candidates, they are competing in five northeastern states like New York, one week ago the terrain appears to be favorable for the frontrunners. We're counting down to the top of the hour, that's when the polls will close in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, Connecticut and Rhode Island and that's when we'll have our first chance to project winners. Donald Trump is aiming for a sweep tonight to add to his widening lead in the fight for delegates.

Ted Cruz and John Kasich, they are trying to pick off as many delegates as possible hoping to guarantee a contested convention. One hundred seventy two Republican delegates, they are at stake on this Super Tuesday. That's nearly 14 percent of the number needed to win the GOP nomination. For the Democrats, Hillary Clinton is hoping to win most, if not all of the contests tonight to take her closer to her party's nomination. Bernie Sanders has a shot at winning Rhode Island and he's expecting to pick up delegates in the other states, as well. Three hundred eighty four Democratic delegates, they are on the line tonight. That's 60 percent of the total needed to clinch the Democratic nomination.

Jake Tapper, you have more.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That is right, Wolf. That is a lot of delegates out of Pennsylvania but of course, all the other states as well, five total going to the polls today.

Let's check in with the Sara Murray, she is at Trump headquarters in New York City and Sara, the Trump campaign feeling very confident, feeling very good. What are they doing when they are planning for what's next? What are they going to be doing in the coming days?

SARA MURRAY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jake, tonight the Trump campaign wants to prove not only can they win these states but they are not so bad at this delegate wrangling business. And we should look to the results in Pennsylvania as what they are hoping will be a signal of that. This is a state that has some corky delegate rules and the Trump campaign is hoping to prove that they can out organize their competitors there. They have been holding conference calls with their delegates to make sure everyone knows what is going on.

They put out an official slate. They even had Ivanka and Eric Trump making personal calls to unbound delegates to try to woo them over to Donald Trump's side. And behind the scenes, we're seeing a new level of discipline from the campaign. Trump advisors right at the RNC meeting last week. They saw it out. Some committee members for some of the upcoming contests. And meanwhile, back in the office, the delegate team is hunkering down for six hours of meeting at a time just working on this delegate collection process. And they're seeing this is the new norm. This is the new norm of a discipline campaign that has laser focused on the delegate hunt -- Jake.

TAPPER: All right. Sara Murray with the Trump campaign, sounds like the Trump campaign realizing that the RNC rules are what they are and if they want to get the delegates, they have to abide by those rules. Let's now go to the Democratic side, let's go to Philadelphia, the great city. And the commonwealth of Pennsylvania where we find Jeff Zeleny who is traveling with the Clinton campaign.

And Jeff, in front of the cameras, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton saying that it's up to Senator Sanders as to what he wants to do going forward but she's in the lead. What is she feeling behind the scenes?

[19:05:16] JEFF ZELENY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Jake, behind the scenes tonight, the Clinton campaign is at its most confident period. This may be their most confident election night yet. At least going into it. Now, five states are taking place tonight as we know. They are confident in at least four of them. They believe Rhode Island may be the weak link in this but they are focused so much on Pennsylvania. It was a state that so good to her eight years ago. She believes it will be again tonight. Of course that has the biggest set of delegates. But if you look back to what's happened over a week's time.

New York, her big victory, they really restored her sense of energy and spirit. Well, tonight they hope to turn the page even beyond that. But she is been campaigning in Indiana all afternoon long take because she knows this is a long fight ahead. Indiana is next week and she is not as confident there. But they believe a big victory tonight in Pennsylvania, a strong delegate win in other states tonight will help advance this forward. They know that this primary fight is not just suddenly going to end. They know it's going to go on until June in California.

But Jake, they really believe tonight is the night that they can turn the page. I'm told by one friend of Secretary Clinton that she's growing annoyed at Senator Sanders. She's growing annoyed at having to answer these questions but she knows she has to do one thing and that's keep winning -- Jake. TAPPER: Jeff Zeleny with the Clinton campaign in Philadelphia, and that's the best answer to the dilemma that is Sanders as Clinton sees it, keep winning and that problem will take care of itself at least according to the world according to Clinton.

DANA BASH, CNN ANCHOR: Absolutely. And, you know, she probably has very good reason to feel as confident as Jeff is reporting that she is tonight because she should have by all accounts a very good night tonight and same goes for Donald Trump. The fact is, there is virtually no spin coming from the Cruz campaign and the Kasich campaign that they will do anything but really poorly. And it's not lowering expectations. They actually mean it. They are expecting a very good night for Donald Trump.

TAPPER: We are not going to be presenting any of the information from the exit polls about the anticipated results until the polls are closed but while they are still open, we can look at what is on the minds and what is the mood of the voters who turned out to vote in these five states and for that, let's turn to our political reporter David Chalian. David, what are the exit polls telling you?

DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: So we're taking a look at three of the states voting today. These are three states we have exit polls in, Pennsylvania, Connecticut and Maryland, guys. And we are looking at how Republican voters are saying what they would do if indeed Donald Trump is the nominee. No matter who they are voting for today looking ahead in this contest, if Donald Trump emerged with the nomination, how would these Republican voters behave. Take a look at this. In Pennsylvania if Trump were to win the nomination, 56 percent of the Republican primary voters in Pennsylvania today say they would definitely vote for him in November. Twenty percent probably vote for him.

Twenty two percent say, they would not vote for him. Take a look in Connecticut. There you have a quarter of the Republican voting today said, would not vote for him if he was the nominee. Seventeen percent say probably vote for him. And 57 percent say, definitely vote for him. And in Maryland, take a look at this, numbers are rather similar. Twenty six percent say they would not vote for him. Fifteen percent probably. Fifty eight percent of those voters in the Maryland Republican primary today say they would definitely vote for Donald Trump if indeed he is the nominee.

So, while Donald Trump guys goes on with this potential contested convention or will he thwart those forces to keep him from 1237, one thing that is clearly happening is that, Republican voters no matter who they are voting for are starting to think about, hey, maybe I would support this guy if he is the nominee in November.

TAPPER: So, growing acceptance for a candidate that up until recently many Republicans rejected even though he was winning primaries and caucuses with pluralities. David, just put the 22 to 26 percent number in context. Those are the people who say they will not vote for Donald Trump. Is that a lot or a little?

CHALIAN: Well, it's roughly what we've been seeing in other primary contest where this question has been asked about what would happen if Donald Trump is the nominee. But Jake, that is a number that in the heat -- remember, we're in the heat of primary battle. Some of these voters were saying that are Cruz and Kasich supporters. I would imagine that as we move forward, that number is going to be a manageable number for a potential Trump nominee to deal with for November.

TAPPER: So, not good news for the Never Trump forces out there.

BASH: It's not, and look, the bottom-line is that the Cruz campaign, I talked to a source who was pointing to a story in USA today showing the majority of Republicans say that they don't support Donald Trump but these numbers and these important states don't bare that out and it wasn't that long ago that we were looking at numbers that we were talking about, kind of stunned by about how many Republicans said that they were scared for a Trump candidacy. How different these numbers are tonight. Granted, these are going to probably be a pretty strong showings for Donald Trump but still, it does feel like things are shifting within the Republican electorate.

TAPPER: One wonders if this is just a result of acceptance or a result of the new quote-unquote, "disciplined Donald Trump" -- Anderson.

[19:10:24] COOPER: Yes. And we'll see how those numbers change obviously in the weeks ahead. Jeffrey Lord is a Trump supporter. Does that number give you encouragement? Because I mean, as David and Jake and Dana said, we are in the heat of this right now and as that sort of dissipates and as the lines are drawn between the Democrats and the Republicans, I would expect more and more Republicans if Donald Trump is the nominee to be expected.

JEFFREY LORD, DONALD TRUMP SUPPORTER: I always say, I expected this would happen when you get down to a race between Donald Trump and one other, in this case presumably even be Hillary Clinton. These numbers are going to keep shifting because Republicans are going to come home as it were and this happens all the time in races. I mean, I've gone back and taken a look. And it is interesting. There was a stop Kennedy campaign in 1960. It failed and they all came back to JFK. I mean, Nixon in 1968. Jimmy Carter as David said in 1976. Ronald Reagan in 1980. All these things failed eventually and they managed to get through the gate.

VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Anderson, can we just buy him a t-shirt that says, I told you so?


It's just so horrible. Like you're sitting here for months saying this is going to happen. This is going to happen. And we all say, would you please go away you silly man? And now you're like a sage, I can't stand it.


LORD: Maybe I should just jump out of the building tonight and go out.

COOPER: S.E. Cupp, I mean, is the whole number of Trump movement essentially kneecap?

S.E. CUPP, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I think as an organizing principle, it's probably lost a lot of steam but it's still exists in theory. But I mean, there is still 60 percent of Republicans who are not for Trump and they are just betting, their only gain is to get to a contested convention.

COOPER: Yes. But even this Never Trump alliance between Cruz and Kasich is over before it began.

CUPP: Yes. If I may continue the football metaphor --



CUPP: -- kind of swept through, I mean, they made a bunch of mistakes. Right? They basically were about to blitz and announce that they were going to blitz which I thought showed their hand and was really silly. Also, I don't think John Kasich was really aware of the playbook. You know, I don't think Ted Cruz and John Kasich are really talking about the plays as much as --

COOPER: If you start talking about deflated balls, I'm walking out.


PAUL BEGALA, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: No, let's switch to baseball. The play on baseball is a sacrifice bunt. Very few politicians do because it means giving something up yourself, right? Usually it's the pitcher bunts against himself out to move to get somebody forward on the base pass. That was the strategy for about five minutes for John Kasich and Ted Cruz. They can't do it. They can't. It's not in their nature. It's not in most politicians nature to say, oh, why don't you go and vote for my opponent? It was never going to work but also it feeds the Trump narrative.

COOPER: Right.

BEGALA: Trump has been saying from the beginning, they are colluding, it's rigged, the establishment has to get me. And so, what do they do? They prove him right.

CUPP: Well, and I think, look, I've been thinking for quite some time now. I think that Trump was going to get the 1237 before the convention. I really, I really just do. That said, if we get to a convention and he hasn't got it, he's in real trouble. He knows that. That's why he brought Manafort on this. That's why he is now taking the delegate fight seriously when it really wasn't something he considered in months prior. Trump really is disadvantaged by the delegate system if we go to a second ballot, he knows that. He is trying to make sure that doesn't happen. Cruz and Kasich are trying to make sure it does. COOPER: But tonight should be a very, very good, for all accounts,

should be a very good night for Donald Trump.


JONES: All these --

COOPER: Go ahead.

JONES: Just one thing. Ted Cruz -- this is how brilliant Trump has been. This is how well he has done. Ted Cruz now looks like an establishment figure. How do you pull that off? I mean, Ted Cruz six months ago was, you know, hated by each and all and now literally people who said that, you know, taking poison are claimed to him as the last hope and losing because Cruz is to establishment.

COOPER: We are counting down to the top of the hour in the first results of the night. Donald Trump says the magic number of 1237 delegates is within his reach but will the new Cruz, Kasich alliance stand in his way or has it completely already dissipated? Much more of our coverage ahead.


[19:18:21] BLITZER: Only 41 minutes left for people to go and vote in these five states, the presidential primaries tonight in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, Connecticut and Rhode Island. The stakes very high for everyone, especially tonight John King over at the magic wall, very high for Donald Trump, if he's going to be able to secure enough delegates to win the Republican nomination on the first round.

JOHN KING, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You keep hearing Ted Cruz say, he can't do it. Well, Wolf, after tonight, we'll have a much better sense. Here is where we start the night. Donald Trump 847 in our CNN delegate count. Watch this number tonight. We expect Donald Trump to win all five. The question is how big are those victories? How many delegate can Cruz and Kasich take away from Donald Trump? Because if Donald Trump can win and win them big, he could add more than 100 delegates to his tone tonight. Watch how close he is. This has him at 955 in this scenario. Watch how close he is. Is he above 950? Can he get closer to 960? Might seem like going a handful there but it matters a lot.

Let's watch this play out. If Donald Trump gets here, Wolf, let's just first at from May on, right, we get through April tonight and then there will be 502 Republican delegates left in the remaining contest through May and through June. So, what would Donald Trump have to do? Let' make this go away for you. Let's play the board out here in this scenario. We assigned all the states for the sake of argument to begin with, we assume the Cruz, Kasich alliance works. A lot of people at home thinking, well, we'll get there. But in this scenario, Cruz wins Indiana. Kasich wins New Mexico and wins Oregon.

California on the last day, we're going to say Donald Trump wins it and wins it big at the end. This would be getting about 70 percent of the delegates. If that happened and the Cruz, Kasich alliance helps, Trump at 1217, even at that point, the Trump campaign thinks it can negotiate with 20 more delegates and get to the magic number. But, remember, Donald Trump is leading in the polls in Indiana right now. So, let's say the Cruz, Kasich alliance collapses. Donald Trump wins Indiana and this scenario, Wolf, 1228 again, and that does not include the unpledged delegates in Pennsylvania.

Trump wins big enough, he thinks he can go back to most of those unpledged delegates and get over the finish line. Still, he also thinks he can win New Mexico. So let's assume and we're doing this proportionally here. If Trump won even bigger, the numbers would be higher. If he wins New Mexico, now he's at 1232. If he somehow could also win Oregon, you call that game over. 1238. Now, these are scenarios where so doing hypothetical margins is just to prove the point if he has a big win tonight, if he gets above 950, can he get to 1237 by June 7th? It's not impossible. It's hard but it's not impossible in the end of next week would be critical to that. Cruz says it's his firewall. The polls tonight show Trump leading. A big night tonight. Spring board into Indiana, 1237 is more than possible.

BLITZER: Yes. And still about 150, unbound Republican delegates. Trump thinks he could pick up many of those as well. So, that's a little cushion potentially.

KING: That cushion is usually important. They think if they get over 1200 it's over, they can negotiate with the rest. The also they can over 1175 they can probably get there. But inside the Trump campaign, they would like to get to 1237, they certainly want to get above 1200. They think if they do that, they can negotiate as you mentioned, especially the margin in Pennsylvania tonight effects any negotiations they have to have at those 54. But tonight, the margins tonight are critical to Donald Trump's odds of getting --

BLITZER: Big night for Trump tonight. We'll see what happens. All right. Anderson, over to you.

COOPER: Yes. Amid reports of dissension in the Trump campaign between some of the campaign advisors, question tonight one thing to watch for at home is which Donald Trump shows up and any victory speeches he may make tonight. Michael Smerconish, I mean, last week on this night --


COOPER: Yes. Eight minutes, there was a Donald Trump that a lot of people refer to as presidential.


COOPER: Sort of controlled in his message, called Senator Cruz, Senator Cruz not lying Ted. Governor Kasich.

SMERCONISH: That didn't last long.

COOPER: Didn't last long. What do you think happens tonight and moving forward --

SMERCONISH: Really shifting here.

COOPER: Well, yes.

SMERCONISH: I think tonight we get the free bird version. I mean, not sure. I don't think it is going be a three minute version. I think it will be longer than that. I want to follow up on something that was just said about Pennsylvania. I'm a Pennsylvanian and I voted today. Jeffrey is a Pennsylvanian, he voted today. It is so strange, Anderson because I walked in and I voted for delegate. I had done my due diligence but I think for most voters on the Republican side, you are picking delegates who will not be bound and you have no idea --

COOPER: Right, on the Democratic side, just for viewers that don't know, on the Democratic side, it says who the delegates are supporting.

SMERCONISH: Absolutely.

COOPER: But on the Republican side, it doesn't say that at all.

SMERCONISH: It says, absolutely nothing and there are a number of different internet-based guides that provided some level of information but how reliable they are you really don't know. Furthermore, it doesn't even matter what a person says today because tomorrow they can change their mind. Here is the take away. If he gets close as John King has just been forecasting, those 54 Pennsylvania delegates are there for him to negotiate with. I spoke to Randy Evans who is a Republican National Committee man from Georgia, he's on the rules committee and he's drilled into the idea that really Trump just needs to surpass 1100 and when he gets close, there will be people there to make a deal unless they offend that --

DAVID AXELROD, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Michael, let me ask you a question, if he blows out Pennsylvania today, doesn't that put enormous pressure on these delegates?

[19:23:16] SMERCONISH: David, I have to tell you something. So, in my area, there are only four running for three slots. One of them was a woman with whom I spoke. Had her on my program Saturday. She's for Ted Cruz on how many ballots? As many as Ted Cruz will be on that ballot. So, there are some stalwarts, many for Donald Trump by the way who regardless of the way their Congressional district votes are saying, I am voting for this particular person. I respect that. But the voters don't know unless they really investigate.

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, it's a crazy -- it's honestly a crazy system and we showed this earlier. But let me show you again. So, Trump is organizing in the state. So, if you're a Republican and you go in, you want to know in your district who are the Trump delegates. So, they have a list for you. Here is the list. Otherwise you have no idea unless you've done your due diligence and a lot of people don't have time. They are busy people. So, they go in and they have no idea, who they're voting for.

COOPER: Why is the system like this in Pennsylvania on the Republican side?

LORD: We're crazy.

COOPER: They're what?

LORD: We're crazy.

BORGER: Obviously.

LORD: I just -- there is a move already, hello, a little late now but to change the system.

COOPER: Right.

LORD: I mean, I for one would like to see it like the Democratic Party where it says Anderson Cooper, then it says the name of the candidate. I mean, that makes the most sense.

COOPER: It makes sense.

LORD: And then if you want to elect them individually, that's fine, great --

SMERCONISH: There is a theory that it makes us kingmakers that Pennsylvanians, if they could stick together the 54 could be a kingmaker for Donald Trump or could pick, could demand a particular vice presidential candidate.

AXELROD: But you ought to run the risk of really enraging voters who feel like there is just bit players in the process.

NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: I think all of this discussion of the sort of the ins and outs of these delegate process really has made Donald Trump the king because he's the one who points to this and says, this system is so wacky and it's rigged and I think voters are really --

BORGER: You know, he's playing it.

HENDERSON: He's playing it. But he's also --

AXELROD: But he's also done a very smart thing because if he doesn't for some reason get to 1237, he is so painted this as a corrupt and rigged system and that it creates enormous problems for the Republicans.

CUPP: That's why tonight is so important and we might not learn exactly tonight but we'll learn eventually whether the new Trump organization got their stuff together in time enough for Pennsylvania. Odd that you would try and use Pennsylvania, which is this very weird system as your first go at like a new organization because it's so complicated, but those slates that Gloria was talking about in past primaries, the Trump campaign has gotten some of those names wrong. They have mis-assigned certain delegates to been really, really disorganized. We will learn tonight at least in Pennsylvania whether the new Trump organization has gotten it together in time for this very --

COOPER: We won't even know about these delegates tonight because some of them won't say who they are supporting.

SMERCONISH: It's even more than that. So I received a text alert on the way here from the Cruz campaign alerting me as a Pennsylvania voter here are those for whom you should vote. I took a look at my Congressional district, one of them is a woman who said, I wed myself to the way the district goes which is in contradiction to what they are saying.

CUPP: Right. Yes.

COOPER: Primary voting in five states nearing an end with Hillary Clinton. Will she gain enough delegates declaring the Democratic race effectively over? Even if Bernie Sanders is going to draw the convention.

We're standing by for our first chance to project winners. Stay with us.


[19:30:49] BLITZER: Welcome back.

We're now less than half an hour away from the polls closing in five presidential primaries. We're standing by for the first results from Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, Connecticut and Rhode Island, all five candidates in this race, they know that time is running out to add to their delegate counts as this primary season starts winding down.

After tonight, each party is only ten states left on its calendar of contests in the weeks ahead extending into early June.

Let's go over to John King at the magic wall.

Let's talk about the Democrats right now. Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, they're both trying to get to that magic number, as well.

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: And she believes, Secretary Clinton does, Wolf, tonight is an exclamation point in an argument she started to make last week after the big win in New York, that Senator Sanders, he has a good race, but I'm starting to pull away and you can't catch me.

Why does Secretary Clinton think that? Look, where we start tonight, Wolf, 253 lead for Secretary Clinton over Senator Sanders in pledged delegates. These are pledged right now. She believes she could sweep tonight.

But let's for the sake of argument say that Secretary Clinton wins, let me stretch out a little bit, four of the five. That Sanders wins Rhode Island, Clinton wins Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Maryland and Delaware. The margins are important because she wants to stretch the lead

proportional Democratic rules. If that happens, she could be somewhere in this ballpark, somewhere from 253 to start the night out into the 280 range. Maybe as high as 290, closing in on 300. At that point, she believes the math is overwhelming for Senator Sanders. Why you mention, we're beginning to get near the end of the road.

After tonight, 1,016 delegates left in the Democratic contest still to run. Secretary Clinton believes if she can get above 280 in the lead tonight, maybe even closer to 300 when you project this out through the end of June, even if we give half of the states to Senator Sanders, but Secretary Clinton wins the big win, including California just by 55/45, this is the projection inside the Clinton campaign, that they get close to 2,200, maybe more.

Now, this is pledged delegates. It's still short of the line. This is where the Sanders people get upset, but at this point, kick in the superdelegates, she has 502 pledged, public superdelegates who said they are for Hillary Clinton. Senator Sanders has 42. More than enough, way more than enough to get her across the finish line if they split the remaining contest 55/45 after tonight. That's factoring in Clinton winning in California.

So, if you look at it from the Clinton campaign perspective, win four out of five tonight, five out of five tonight, if you can, the margins matter especially in Pennsylvania and Maryland, to try to run out the delegate count, they believe the message to Senator Sanders will be in the pledged delegate math, you simply cannot catch us. You have no realistic chance to win 80/20 in all of the remaining contest.

They don't expect them to get out, Wolf, but they hope as things go the way they think they're going to go tonight, Senator Sanders dials back the rhetoric because he understands that in the end, it's going to look something like this.

BLITZER: Yes, with less than half an hour, before the top of the hour, we'll be able to presumably make predictions.

Anderson, over to you.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, let's talk about the potential of Senator Sanders dialing back the rhetoric to John's point.

Paul, is that something you expect?

PAUL BEGALA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: No, there's been very little evidence of it. It hasn't worked. Usually, politicians are pretty adept. They do what works and they don't do what fails and as Senator Sanders has walked away from what made him this electrifying phenomenon, nobody really saw it coming, which was a very positive campaign, but really focused on income inequality and campaign finance reform and the issues that matter to him and his followers.

And as he's turned, especially in the debate that we had in Brooklyn into these personal attacks, you know, I guess it feels good when you're in that two and fro, but it hasn't advanced the ball for him. Let's see how it plays out tonight. I doubt it's going to be very effective tonight. But it's not helping Bernie win the nomination.

COOPER: But Sanders supporters are saying these aren't personal attacks. These are attacks based on issues.

VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I do see it somewhat differently. I do think that for Bernie for his supporters, this core belief that the system has been corrupted by big money and that is not just income inequality, it's the corruption of the system which allows them for them a two-part argument. And so, for Hillary Clinton to take so much money for them, I don't think they see this not personal. I mean, I think they see it --

BEGALA: It is personal. He's basically saying that she has been bought off. She, not the system. He thinks she has been -- now, by the way, she was not corrupted when he was taking $10,000 from Hillary Clinton's PAC.

[19:35:05] That's the argument he's making. It's not working. It's not helping.

JONES: Let me tell you where I agree and where I disagree. I agree with you, he sometimes slips off the road and he said that stuff -- you are right. There are many times he said stuff that sounds like basically you are on the take or artful smear. There is something wrong with her particularly.

But a lot of times, when you see the Hillary Clinton people getting upset, they are getting upset about the fact he's raising stuff at all and I do think that it's fair to point out that for a long time Democrats said, we got big money because if we don't, the Kochs will kill us. We got to take this money, if we don't -- he's not taking the money and he's competitive and that pulls the rug out --

DAVID AXELROD, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: He has become more caustic as time has come and that's natural in campaigns. But here's the thing: the only thing people like worse than a sore loser is a sore winner. And what I think has to happen after today is that the Clinton campaign have to -- they have to figure out a way to build a bridge for the Sanders people to walk across.

JONES: I think that's true.

AXELROD: And reports she's irritated and so on, that's not helpful.

BEGALA: But that's just a report. She ran a new ad out this week, today, yesterday, where she says what we need is more love and kindness. This is something she said before in the stump, trying to tone it down not only just between the acrimony with she and Senator Sanders, but I think really shooting at Donald Trump in a very creative way.

COOPER: Is that what you mean when you talk about building a bridge?

AXELROD: No, I mean, that she needs -- I think they need to begin quiet conversations about elements of Bernie Sanders program that she can embrace and incorporate into her platform and campaign finance. Paul talked about it, campaign finance reform is a big piece of that.

So, I just, you know, you have to find a way to give the guy who lost a plausible way to come across. Now, I think at the end of the day, the biggest organizer for Hillary Clinton would be Donald Trump. And that a lot of these Sanders supporters as disgruntled as they may be right now, and the polling actually suggests that they're not disgruntled as we say.

COOPER: Well, it seems like -- we just saw those exit polls in the Republican side, I think it was in Pennsylvania saying that -- it seems like a small, and smaller amount of Democrats are completely opposed to Donald Trump if he is in fact the nominee.

You're saying the Republicans, essentially the same thing --

AXELROD: Well, the numbers are far better on the Democrat --

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Democrats have always been happier during this race and more of them could accept the other candidate and it's been the case among the Republicans. I think and maybe I'm wrong, Paul, but I think Clinton has become less and less of the prime antagonist in Bernie Sanders' speeches over the last week or so. I could be wrong here. I do think they are trying to work it out in the campaign.

I think there is differences inside the campaign and with the candidates himself. I think what Sanders is trying to do, maybe inartfully, but draw contrast between the candidates without attacking her in a personal sense the way we saw today.


AXELROD: The test is if he drops the attacks that were sort of sarcastic about her speeches.

BORGER: Exactly.

AXELROD: Some of the more personal attacks and sticks to differences on issues. That's a different --


NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: By all accounts, the campaign is going to have discussions about this after tonight. They see this as a milestone. They feel like they'll do well in Rhode Island. But I think all of this is in the works and Bernie Sanders has got to come to grips with this.

COOPER: We are nearing 8:00 p.m. on the East Coast. We got about 22 minutes until it turns to 8:00. That is when the polls close holding primaries tonight. We expect to project at least some of the winners very soon. Stand by for that and we'll be standing by for reaction from Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. That is all coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [19:42:44] BLITZER: At least 17 minutes away from the presidential primaries, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, Connecticut and Rhode Island, all important states.

Let's go to the Mid-Atlantic States over here, John King. Talk a little bit about the significance of what we're about to see in the next few minutes.

KING: Well, the frontrunners are hoping for big nights. And let's start with Pennsylvania, which is the biggest prize if you come down the Mid-Atlantic States.

For Donald Trump, number one, he's proven in the past, he can win in the suburbs. We see, he pushed Marco Rubio from the race by being competitive and beating Marco Rubio in places like Virginia and suburbs. How does Donald Trump do down here? Philadelphia is Democratic, but how about in the suburbs? Does he sell his trade message up in here and out here in western Pennsylvania? How big is the margin?

Now, the statewide winner on the Republican side only gets 17 delegates. That's small. Fifty-two uncommitted delegates, but they're having district by district races for those. But what Donald Trump is hoping for is big margin -- a big margin in the state so that he can go back to the delegates and get them.

Remember the history here, Wolf. I just want to go to the 2000 race. This state has not mattered in a Republican primary in sometime. You see John McCain winning hugely there, as Mitt Romney did.

But remember, in 2008, Pennsylvania was Hillary Clinton's gateway into May. She was behind Senator Obama at this point, but a big win in Pennsylvania allowed her to continue her campaign into May. She's hoping tonight by winning down here.

See the light blue? That's Obama. He won in the African-American community in Philadelphia. He won in some of the close-in suburbs. She won in the white working class areas up here and out in the west. She's hoping to keep Sanders from winning up here and to take Obama support in the inner city area here and suburbs and deny Bernie Sanders the same ticket, if you will, out of April into the Midwest, Indiana or beyond.

So, Pennsylvania is the one people are watching most. Let's come down to Maryland, stay on the Democrats, Senator Obama won Maryland huge. African-Americans in Baltimore, African-Americans out here in the Prince George's County suburbs of Washington. Look at the margin, 80 percent, also winning affluent suburban voters here in Montgomery County, Obama did. Obama did, Hillary Clinton hoping that the map that was for Senator Obama then back in 2008 is hers tonight.

BLITZER: What about for the Republicans in Maryland?

KING: On the Republican side, it's interesting. I was on the eastern shore this past week and it was come up to 2016, I saw a lot of Trump out here. But I'm going to show you the House races in Maryland. There are some -- this is a Republican House district. This is a

Democratic district now but it has been a Republican district over the years. So, watch Cruz.

[19:45:00] Can Cruz get anything out here in the western part or the state and out here in the eastern shore? Can he cut into Donald Trump's delegate haul tonight? Critical for the Republicans, even if he can get one or two, three or four in Maryland and elsewhere to keep the Trump haul down, because Trump's final number at the end of the night tonight is significant. So, we'll watch where that support comes in.

And lastly, come back to the 2016 map and just come over here in the state of Delaware. For Republicans, looks like Trump country. Can Kasich pick up something here? His campaign had a hope to get some delegates in here, and for Democrats, if you go back to the 2008 map on the Democratic side again, African-American base up in Wilmington area, Hillary Clinton hoping for a big win here to get big margins -- the Clinton campaign wants big margins here, big margins in Maryland, and a healthy win in Pennsylvania to stretch the delegate count.

BLITZER: Delaware on the Republican side is a winner take all.

KING: Winner take all.

BLITZER: That potentially could be significant.

Let's go back over to Jake and Dana.

You know, the whole notion of what is going on in the Democratic side, Dana and Jake, you're getting new information coming in, as well.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN CHIEF WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Well, that's right. We've been talking about the 22 percent to 26 percent of Republicans, according to exit polls in three states who said that they would not vote for Donald Trump come November. I'm wondering what the numbers are like for Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton when it comes to Democrats.

Let's bring in our political director David Chalian.

David, you have exit poll information about that exactly.


And it's a little bit better for Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. Take a look here in Pennsylvania we'll start with. If Hillary Clinton was the Democratic nominee, 16 percent of the Democrats voting today in the primary there say they would not vote for her, 20 percent probably would vote for her, 63 percent definitely vote for her.

Let's look at Bernie Sanders there, also in Pennsylvania. He has 21 percent of Democrats say that he would not vote for him if he was the nominee, 22 percent probably, 55 percent definitely vote for him.

In Connecticut, we have similar results, 17 percent would not vote for Hillary Clinton, 21 percent probably, 61 percent definitely vote for her. And Bernie Sanders in Connecticut again similar numbers, 15 percent would note vote for him, 21 percent would probably vote for him, 62 percent definitely.

Remember, Jake, these are voter whose are voting for either one of them. These are Democratic primary voters being asked about each one and you look at these results and see yeah, they may -- either one of them would have work to do to bring the whole party on board. But not that much work and as you and I have been saying, that work tends to be the work of the summer for nominees before the general election begins in earnest.

TAPPER: Exactly right. David Chalian, thanks so much.

And, Dana, the truth of the matter is that whether we're talking about these numbers for Clinton or Sanders among Democrats or we're talking about the Republican numbers, 22 to 26 percent for Trump, people are feeling passionate right now.

BASH: Absolutely.

TAPPER: So, a lot of the people who are saying no, never Trump, never Hillary or never Bernie, a lot of them might not feel that way come November.

BASH: That's right. Hillary Clinton made the point this week there was a time, even maybe at this point in 2008 Democratic primary where people didn't think the Hillary Clinton people would go to Obama and they did. But one thing quick -- never mind.

TAPPER: Ted Cruz is speaking right now in Indiana. Let's take a listen.

SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: To Chad and Clay and Mike, I want to thank you for being here. Thank your for your strong leadership. Thank you for everyone coming together on a terrific evening here in the Hoosiers state.

You know, tonight, Donald Trump is expected to have a good night.


Donald Trump is likely to win some states and the media is going to have heart palpations this evening. They're going to be excited, oh so very excited at Donald Trump's victories and the media is going to say the race is over.


The media is going to say Donald Trump is the Republican nominee.


Now, if you find yourself wondering why the media is so eager to have Donald as the Republican nominee, you don't have to look any further than today's "USA Today" front page. Forty percent of GOP doubt they would vote for Trump, 40 percent.

Now I want you to think for a second. The network executives, are they Democrats or are they Republicans? Every one of them are ready for Hillary. And Donald Trump is the one man on earth Hillary Clinton can beat in a general election.

[19:50:01] And so, the media has told us the candidates in this race, the Republican and Democrat, they're both going to be New York liberals, but I've got good news for you, tonight this campaign moves back to more favorable terrain.


Tonight, this campaign moves back to Indiana and --


And Nebraska and North Dakota and Montana and Washington and California.


Now, the media want to say everything is decided, and the question is can the state of Indiana stop the media's chosen Republican candidate?


Well, as you all know, we're here on the hickory baseball court and Bruce who travels with me -- Bruce, I want to ask you something. Do you have a tape measurer with you? Tell me something? How tall is that basketball rim?

Ten feet. You know, the amazing thing is that basketball rim here in Indiana, it's the same height as it is in New York City and every other place in this country. And there is nothing that the Hoosiers cannot do.


Now, there's been a lot of media speculation lately about vice presidential vetting, and I have an announcement to make, a major announcement. Hillary Clinton has decided on her vice presidential nominee. Hillary has picked Donald Trump.


Now, it's important to note Hillary had a very careful vetting process that went into this. She wanted someone who shared her vision of the federal government. You know, Donald Trump did recently a town hall. He was asked, name of the top functions of the federal government. He said security and then he said health care, education and housing.


Funny, if you asked Hillary, she would say the same thing. If you ask Bernie, Bernie would be like, wow, that's aggressive. You don't only want socialized medicine, you also want to put the federal government in charge of all education, Common Core.


According to Donald, that's the core responsibility of the federal government. And housing? How many people are ready for the federal government to take over the housing market?


And Donald and Hillary, they are flip sides of the same coin. Hillary Clinton has made millions of dollars selling power and influence in Washington, and Donald Trump has made billions of dollars buying politicians like Hillary Clinton.


TAPPER: All right. Ted Cruz talking to his supporters in Knightstown, Indiana, setting a table as it were, Dana, presenting the facts as he sees them that the media is eager to call the race in favor of Donald Trump because if I followed this conspiracy theory correctly, we want Hillary Clinton to beat Donald Trump, I think.

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Have you noticed that there is a direct correlation between how poorly a candidate, any candidate does on any given night, and how much it's the media's fault and the media are the conspiracy to help the other candidate whomever his or her opponent is? It's just the way it is.

TAPPER: No mention of the thousand of voters in the Republican primaries in five states and going to the polls and voting for either Trump or Cruz or Mr. Kasich.

BASH: Not at all. But I will say, I do have a new reporting tonight about you mentioned the vice presidential vetting process, some reporting tonight that his campaign, according to a source familiar with the process, has narrowed down who he would pick as a running mate to be about a handful of people, including Carly Fiorina, we've reported that.

[19:55:07] But they've even asked for their tax returns and Carly Fiorina is among those who have agreed to give the Cruz campaign their tax returns.

Now, why do we know this? You know, several reasons, but I personally think the biggest reason is they want to kind of put forward this air of possibility that he still is somebody who can be the nominee and he's not gone from this race by any stretch.

TAPPER: Cruz is hoping for a game changer, the idea of him and a running mate possibly being that is an idea they're throwing out there -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Thank you.

We're closing in on the top of the hour right now and the end of voting in five northeastern states -- Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, Connecticut and Rhode Island. That's when we'll get the first results. We may be able to project winners. Stand by.

We're also standing by to find out if Donald Trump can pull off important new victories over Ted Cruz and John Kasich. That certainly help Trump's chances of winning the nomination outright, or at a contested convention.

Seventy-one Republican delegates are on the line in Pennsylvania. That's the most of any contest tonight. The state has a unique GOP primary system. Tonight's winner in Pennsylvania will get 17 delegates. The remaining 54 delegates are unbound, meaning they don't have to vote for any particular candidate so they could be wild cards, crucial in deciding who becomes the nominee at the convention.

It's less complicated for the Democrats. They have 189 delegates on the line in Pennsylvania. That's the biggest prize once again of the night. Those delegates are awarded proportionately.

Hillary Clinton is hoping to win a large piece of that prize. If she wins Pennsylvania and Bernie Sanders also expects to add to his all important delegate count.

Let's go over to John King at the magic wall as we await the top of the hour.

We'll see if we can make some projections at the top of the hour. They're reviewing all the numbers right now. But you're looking closely at Pennsylvania and Connecticut.

KING: Looking now at the moment, the two smaller New England states, not the big prices tonight, but both frontrunners looking to add to their delegate math, so every delegate counts, and if you're Bernie Sanders you're looking for a win and you're hoping it comes in Connecticut or Rhode Island. You think those are your best state, just as you watch this play out, Wolf, I'm going to go to 2012 just to show our viewers in a presidential election, let me come forward to show -- I'm sorry, 2014, to show House races.

Both of these states are predominantly Democratic states, all Democratic members of the House in both Rhode Island and Connecticut. So what are we looking for in the presidential race tonight? This is about delegates. Can John Kasich who picked up a few in New York last week, can he pick up delegates anywhere tonight? Can they do anything to stop Trump's momentum or is it a walk through New England?

If you pull out the map, you look at the neighboring states, this is an area that favors the front-runner on the Republican side, this is an area that favors the front-runner sanders in northern New England, but Hillary Clinton has won in southern New England or New York in this side. So we're going to watch these two smaller states.

Number one, Donald Trump can take them all, small basket, but he wants them, and Rhode Island, as well this on the Democratic side is Bernie Sanders best hope. Blue collar state, open primary. This is of all five tonight, this is the only open primary meaning unaffiliated or independent voters can cross --

BLITZER: On the Democratic side.

KING: On the Democratic side. So, Bernie Sanders is hoping at least to get one win tonight and Rhode Island is his best state. It happens to be a very small basket when it comes to delegates.

And again, we come over to Connecticut. Interesting, Sanders has spent a lot of time railing against Wall Street. A lot of people who work on Wall Street live down in this part of the state, but if you go back to 2008 Democratic primary, pretty close state Connecticut was, 51 to 47. Then-Senator Obama beating Secretary Clinton here, and you walk over to Rhode Island, Hillary Clinton won with blue collar workers here. Bernie Sanders is hoping to flip the map, if you will, and get those blue collar workers here.

So, we'll watch the New England states, the bigger prizes, of course, though, down here in the Mid-Atlantic. This is the 2008 race, very important for Hillary Clinton in 2008 to extend her campaign into May, she's hoping Pennsylvania is kind to her again and she's hoping for a win in this ballpark. She hopes it's big. She hopes in the area of 10 points, because this should be a state, Wolf, if you think of Bernie Sanders' message, trade deals, right?

Both Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump go to Scranton, Allentown, Reading, Pittsburg, Erie, they want to tell voters who had manufacturing and steel mill jobs, you have been -- trade deals have not been good for you. I was going to use a stronger language, but we won't use that. It's early in the night still.

Both Trump and Sanders have sold that message. Clinton wants a big win here and so does Donald Trump on the Republican side because Donald Trump is hoping this is John McCain in 2008 and this is Mitt Romney in 2012 and Donald Trump, it hasn't mattered in the past primaries, it does matter tonight, Donald Trump is hoping it fills in like this, so not only does he get the 17 statewide delegates that go to the winner tonight, but he can go back to the 54 non-committed delegates, he may win some in the districts, but otherwise, go to them and say, I have a powerful win in your state tonight, I need your votes when it comes to Cleveland. Maryland and Delaware also going to watch tonight, Wolf.

Again, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton favored in both of those states looking to not only win, but to win big to add to their maps.

BLITZER: Big night, five states, five major contests. We are now ready to make some major projections.