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Coverage of West Virginia Presidential Primary; Trump Wins WV, Sanders Lead Clinton In Exit Polls; Trump Wins West Virginia, Dem Primary Too Early To Call. Aired 8-9p ET
Aired May 10, 2016 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[20:00:08] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: And welcome to this primary night edition of AC 360. We are waiting for the votes to come in from West Virginia and the Democrats' long hard fight for their party's presidential nomination. Our exit polls show Bernie Sanders is the early leader over Hillary Clinton. And as expected, of course, the Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump is the winner in West Virginia.
I'm Anderson Cooper in the CNN election center. Welcome, as I said, to this edition of AC 360. Let's go to Wolf Blitzer.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST, SITUATION ROOM: Anderson, we have got some key race alerts, the first one for the night coming in. Take a look at this.
In West Virginia, Hillary Clinton has a slight lead, only two percent of the vote is in. She has got 50.6 percent to Bernie Sanders 41.3 percent. Once again, very, very early. We have projected -- we have not been able to make any projections, but Bernie Sanders is the early leader based on the exit polls information. But these are the first hard votes. She is up by about 308 votes right now. Very, very early.
I want to check in with Jeff Zeleny. He is joining us right now. Jeff Zeleny is in Louisville, Kentucky. That's where the Democrats have a primary a week from today.
You're covering Hillary Clinton. What's the reaction over there to what we know so far, Jeff?
JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, the Clinton campaign is wanting to move beyond these West Virginia results. They do not believe that they will win in West Virginia this evening, but they're trying to figure out why they're not doing better among some white working class voters.
There is going to be a string of states if she loses tonight in West Virginia, you can add Indiana on to it, add Michigan on to it, some other states. They are trying to figure out if she can sort of appeal to that set of voters here. The campaign is spending a lot of time researching these voters to see if they are open to supporting her. They do not believe tonight she will be victorious.
And while she is on an airplane right now flying home to New York, she gave a speech in (INAUDIBLE) earlier this evening. She said she is looking forward to going after Donald Trump, to debating Donald Trump in the fall. But that is, of course, she is going to have to wait at least a little bit longer.
But the Sanders campaign is out in Oregon tonight. Wolf, they believe that they are going to go at least three these last primary phases and pick up so many more wins. Now, they know mathematically it is all that out of their reach. She is leading him by some 300 pledged delegates and many more than that when you add in super delegates. But the Sanders campaign believes a win tonight in West Virginia and perhaps next week in Oregon and down the line will add to their argument that he should stay in this race.
But Wolf, we have seen a big shift here over the last week or so. He is dialing back his criticism of her intently focusing more on Donald Trump. So you can start to feel this Democratic Party at least sort of coming together here, Wolf, another page is turning in this campaign regardless of the outcome in West Virginia tonight.
BLITZER: Yes. And Hillary Clinton is focusing her attention almost exclusively on Donald Trump as well.
Let's check in with Sara Murray right now. She is over at Trump tower in New York watching what's going on.
No surprise. He had no opposition in West Virginia. He won that Republican presidential primary, Sara.
SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICS REPORTER: That's right, Wolf. And the Trump campaign expected to win in West Virginia. They expected to have a good night tonight. And that's why the other candidates are out of the race. So they are clearly planning about what comes next, planning to unify the Republican Party. A big part of that is going to be this meeting that is coming up with Paul Ryan on Thursday.
And I spoke to a campaign adviser who sort of reiterated the same kind of optimism we saw from Donald Trump on twitter today expecting this meeting to go well. And the adviser told me that they expect Donald Trump and Paul Ryan to come out of this meeting and find some common ground particularly on issues like debt reduction.
Now, this does not mean that all is well with efforts to sort of unify Donald Trump and the Republican Party at large. You know, we saw this meeting between Donald Trump aids and RNC staffers that lasted about three hours yesterday. But I'm hearing from sources familiar with that meeting that there was a little bit of tension coming out of it, that there is still a belief from some Trump staffers that staffers at the RNC would have preferred to see a nominee other than Trump. Obviously, these two sides are going to have to work together in a general election, but still a little bit of friction remaining, Wolf.
BLITZER: Yes. They got a lot of work to do.
All right, Sara Murray at Trump tower in New York.
Jake, back to you. JAKE TAPPER, CNN CHIEF WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Thanks, Wolf.
One of the things that we always look for is who is turning out to vote in contests like the ones we are covering this evening and what is on their minds? How are they feeling? Let's bring back David Chalian, our political director here at CNN.
David, one of the common themes we have seen when it comes to people turning out for Donald Trump is they do not trust Republican elites, the Republican officials. How do tonight's voters fare?
DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Right. So you heard Sara Murray talking about that meeting between the RNC and the Trump campaign. These are the numbers that set the stage for Donald Trump going to Capitol Hill and dealing with the Republican Party (INAUDIBLE).
In Nebraska do you feel betrayed by Republican Party politicians, 64 percent of Nebraska Republican primary voters, they say yes and 30 percent say no.
Let's look in West Virginia, 50 percent say yes they feel betrayed by Republican politicians, 47 percent say no. So we see majorities in both states there.
Now how about their feelings about the federal government? Back to Nebraska, 53 percent dissatisfied, 40 percent angry at the federal government. Ninety three percent dissatisfied or angry. West Virginia, you see a little less hostile environment there, but still 92 percent, 50 percent angry and 42 percent dissatisfied are about their feelings towards the federal government.
Donald Trump walks to Washington with this army of voters behind him as he begins his quest to bring the establishment on board with the Trump candidacy.
[20:05:39] TAPPER: Interesting. A lot of federal money goes to West Virginia and yet only two percent of the Republican voters who turned out this evening are enthusiastic about the federal government.
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's a great point. The days of (INAUDIBLE), the longtime senator from there who brought back a lot of money and was loved for it are obviously long gone.
TAPPER: It's still flowing.
BASH: It is still flowing. But on those numbers, you know, I have just been thinking a lot about it and watching obviously what happened, but also remembering how the atmosphere has been so intense within the Republican Party on Capitol Hill among the very Republicans Trump is going to talk to. And - but one of the common themes since the tea party helped Republicans take over in 2010 inside the Republican conference is if I vote the wrong way, I'm going to get primary. Meaning, somebody is going to challenge me from the right. And so, you know, they were trying to read the anger and the
electorate a certain way, but they certainly never really got it. Donald Trump got it. He really did. He became the vessel and the vehicle for that anger and that really does and should as David said set the stage for this conversations that they're going to have.
TAPPER: It's true. And it's actually not that surprising when you just look at the electorate, that there would be an appetite for somebody on the Republican side who has a very anti-illegal immigration message. That's been a big issue for a long time, who has a message against these trade deals to both Democrats and Republicans.
BASH: And that's huge.
TAPPER: And that's a huge reason why Donald Trump has done so well. And also somebody who has a very different take on foreign policy and non-interventionist take -- Anderson.
COOPER: Yes. And obviously very much at odds with Hillary Clinton on a lot of those issues.
I mean, when you look at the numbers in the exit polls, 92, 93 percent either angry or dissatisfied and that is stunning.
JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: And add in how pessimistic they are about to characterized the economy. You see two- thirds in these states. You have seen 67, 66 percent there. So they don't think the economy is headed in the right direction and they don't think the people in this town who are supposed to represent them have put the train on the right track. They think the country is off on the wrong track and the professional conductors, if you will, keeps screwing it up.
So Donald Trump is not an ideological candidate. He is a message candidate. He makes everybody in this town nervous. He makes Republicans nervous. He makes Democrats nervous. He makes the media nervous. Republican voters out there, Trump voters. Trump voters is the distinction to be made. Trump voters say good. He makes everybody nervous. He is going to come in this town and tip the apple cart over. That's what they want.
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: He is a message candidate and he is the ultimate outsider. And by the way, as dissatisfied as people are with government and what their government does for them, he is a candidate who says leave Social Security alone. I don't want to touch it. I mean, Paul Ryan is saying, you know, you've got to cut back on entitlements. Donald Trump is basically leaving government alone saying, yes, we have got to get with it.
COOPER: I mean, really, it is interesting to point out - I mean, he is the ultimate outsider, but he is also been an insider giving to both, you know, to all sides for a long time.
BORGER: Right. And he regulates himself and says I'm honest about it. COOPER: We have got to take a quick break as we wait for more votes
out of Wet Virginia in the Democratic race. We are going to hear from Donald Trump's former rivals Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio. They are speaking out about him and their plans going forward. Stay with us.
[20:12:32] BLITZER: If you're joining us here is where the vote tally stands.
In West Virginia right now in the Democratic presidential primary, four percent of the vote has been counted. Look at this. Hillary Clinton is ahead by one vote, 46.1 percent and 46.1 percent. Now she's ahead by 80 votes. You just saw it change, five percent of the vote is in. We have not been able to make a projection on West Virginia. Based on exit poll information we were suggesting that Bernie Sanders was the early leader, but no projection in West Virginia with five percent of the vote in. Very, very early, obviously very close in West Virginia in the Democratic presidential primary -- Jake.
TAPPER: Thanks, Wolf.
As you know there's a lot of speculation about whom Donald Trump might speak to be his vice presidential running mate. Earlier today I sat down with Marco Rubio for his first national TV interview since dropping out of the presidential race and I asked him about speculation in the media that perhaps he could team up with Donald Trump and run on the same ticket. Here's what he had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think Donald -- he's won the -- he's the presumptive nominee at this point, but he would be best served by having someone, not just by the way a vice presidential nominee but act of surrogates who agrees with him on these issues.
My differences with Donald, both my reservations about his campaign and my policy differences with him are well documented and they remain. And I think he would be best served by having people close to him and his campaign that are enthusiastic about the things he stands for.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: It is really fascinating - I'm going to bring back my colleague, Dana Bash, I have never seen before a party having such difficulty coming together to sport the Republican nominee or Democratic nominee in terms of history. Obviously there are always tough feelings after a contest, but there was never any question that John McCain, for example, was going to endorse George W. Bush in 2000. And now there are some serious misgivings being expressed not just about Trump's policy, but about Trump the man and his temperament.
BASH: No question. This has not happened in our lifetime. I mean, that is goes without saying. And you know, just to hear Rubio tell you that he doesn't want to be his vice president or even a surrogate because there is so many differences between the two of them, you know. There have been differences between so many rivals within each party. That's why they ran against each other over the past however many years and they do come together.
[20:15:04] TAPPER: And that's why candidates often in primaries and caucuses don't ever cross a line that they can't come back from and endorse the candidate. But Rubio said earlier in the campaign before he dropped out, he said that he had concern about somebody as erratic as Donald Trump, that's the word he used, having his hands on the nuclear codes. He called him an erratic con artist. And today he hasn't taken those words back.
BASH: Absolutely not. He hasn't taken it back. I mean, look at other former rivals. Jeb Bush says he is not going to vote him for him. Lindsey Graham says he is not going to vote for him. Ted Cruz came back to the Senate for the first time today and withheld his support and it was just a week ago that he called him a pathological liar and worse. So it's going to take a lot of time for wounds to heal. But I thought that Rubio was kind of trying to be honest in saying that he's just not the guy to go out there and say great things about him because he doesn't mean it, but in that honesty it was very, very telling as to the broader situation within the Republican Party.
TAPPER: And yet, Anderson, he did say senator Rubio did say that he would abide by and uphold his pledge to the Republican national committee that he will support the nominee.
COOPER: Right. Support, but not yet endorse Donald Trump or vote for Donald Trump, an interesting distinction there.
I mean, we talked about this several hours ago when David Gergen was here. He was surprised that Corey Lewandowski was the person that Donald Trump has picked to head the search for vice president. Does it surprise you, John?
KING: Does it surprise me? If you look back in history you see a pick of a big name, you go get a heavyweight in the party, so does it surprise you if you look back and how John McCain did or how George W. Bush did or how Michael Dukakis did or how Bill Clinton did it, yes. But does it surprise me based on what we have seen from Donald Trump throughout this campaign? We talk about this earlier, he has a small dedicated core of people, loyalty matters to him. In his view, Corey Lewandowski helped him get to this point where he convincingly blew out a field of experienced Republican politicians who had a combined 193 years of elected office experience. Donald Trump is the last man standing. Corey Lewandowski managed his campaign. If you're Donald Trump you are thinking this is working so far. Let's keep it going.
NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN POLITICAL REPORTER: And I think sort of Corey Lewandowski doesn't really matter. I think the ultimate decision that matters is who gets that pick, who the vice presidential pick is. If you noticed when he unveiled that Chris Christie was leading the transition team, he talked about loyalty in terms of Chris Christie. He talked about Chris Christie as a confidant. Those things are very important to Donald Trump which I think is why Christie's name keeps sort of floating around, this idea that a team like that, Chris Christie sort of knows government but he is still an outsider. He is obviously a New Jersey. Doesn't know the sort of ins and outs of Washington.
COOPER: Right, which Donald Trump has said and repeated that's what he's looking for.
HENDERSON: But he can also be kind of a creditable I think government sort of agent in terms of hoping Donald Trump figure out the ways of Washington, but not tainted by it.
S.E. CUPP, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: He is also on brand. And you know, conventional wisdom I guess establishment folks like me would suggest Donald Trump addresses deficiencies with his VP pick. I would actually expect Trump to not really care about filling up, you know, plugging up the hole. I think it matters more to him that the VP pick is loyal and also a reflection of him and on brand and on message. And I think Chris Christie is as close as you are going to get to someone with actual experience who is on message, who would actually take the job.
MICHAEL SMERCONISH, CNN HOST, MICHAEL SMERCONISH SHOW: It's probably a reflection of the fact that the usual suspects of elder statesmen are not willing to volunteer in this task.
COOPER: He does have a law firm involved in this.
JEFFREY LORD, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes. And I would say this business about the, you know, the grizzles elders picking is a relatively recent phenomenon. I mean, if you think back to the rise of people that are now, you know, past Hamilton Jordan and Jody Powell and Bobby Kennedy.
In 1959, in 1960, who was Bobby Kennedy? He was just the candidate's brother for heaven's sake. And his campaign manager, I might add. And yet he is in the room when the decision is made as to who should be on the ticket. I mean, so now everybody, you know, we have statutes for these people and all. Somewhere down the road, I don't know whether there's a statute for Corey Lewandowski, I'm just saying that when you bring in new people into the system, this is how it's done. People are not -- they're not members of the club and everybody's trying to figure out the risks.
PAUL BEGALA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think you're right. And as a campaign guy, the risk of a campaign guy heading this up is that they think like I do which is how do we win. So what are you thinking about? How do I get to 270? How do I win?
The problem is this is a governing decision. This is your first presidential decision. When Clinton picked Gore I was involved in it. Frankly, I didn't' want Gore. And I asked the governor that. I said, why Gore. What does he bring? He has the same age. He has the same religion. He has the same region. He has the same ideology. He interrupted me and he said, Polly, I might die. I thought this is a different game. I honestly believe that's what President Obama did, President Bush. With Cheney, he thought, if something happens to me who could run the country, it is like that dude could definitely --.
COOPER: The headline for me is that former President Clinton called you Polly like Rocky. I'm now forever going to know you as Polly.
BEGALA: Very, very tiny group of people, they still call me that.
COOPER: You have a meat locker?
BEGALA: I thought until this moment I was incapable of blushing.
BORGER: You're not.
CUPP: Well, I think Trump probably thinks he will live forever. So I don't know that he is concerned about this.
BEGALA: That's what jack said to Bobby. Bobby said, God don't pick Johnson. You know, what if he die, Jacque Jackson. Bobby, I'm not going to die. Clinton told me that story too. And you have to - we have only had 43 people serve as president. Nine of them got there because the president died or resign. This is a huge governing choice.
COOPER: We're learning new information about Bernie Sanders campaign strategy and his final leads to the primary season. Could it actually help him win the nomination? Details ahead.
[20:25:08] BLITZER: Welcome back. Let's get a key race alert right now.
On the West Virginia Democratic presidential primary, five percent of the vote is in. Look at how close it is, 45.6 percent, 45.1 percent. Hillary Clinton has a 62 vote lead over Senator Bernie Sanders. But remember, only five percent of the vote is in right now in West Virginia in the Democratic presidential primary.
I want to check in with Brianna Keilar. She is with the Sanders campaign.
Salem, Oregon right now, Brianna, what's the reaction over there?
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, Wolf, we are still waiting for Bernie Sanders to speak here in the couple of hours. But I will tell you this campaign is very optimistic about tonight. Keeping in mind, there's only 29 delegates at stake. So really, not an off for Bernie Sanders to narrow that gap in the way he needs to.
The campaign I think is certainly aware of that. At the same time CNN is hearing from one source of the Sanders campaign that the senator is going to be going to California. That the plan is to get a win here in West Virginia and Oregon next week and hope that that kind of holds up to good standing in to June 7th in the series of contests in the delegate rich California and New Jersey. But just to show you, Wolf, that I also think these writings on the
wall, I have spoken with another aid who said when it comes to this idea that it would be very tough, extremely tough, nearly impossible for Bernie Sanders to win the Democratic nomination. This aid said we're just going to keep winning and we'll worry about that later. And that on June 7th, those series of contests that we will be seeing, they will be reassessing where senator Sanders is at.
Now, he has pledged to go all the way certainly through June 14th when Washington, D.C. voters have their primary and I'm told don't expect anything public about him winding down at least the search for the nomination until after that, Wolf.
BLITZER: You got to track big crowds as we can see behind you.
Brianna Keilar in Salem, Oregon. Bernie Sanders will be speaking there later tonight. Take a look of this, six percent of the vote is now in. Bernie Sanders has slightly pulled ahead of Hillary Clinton, 16 votes to be precise, 45.2 percent to 45 percent. Bernie Sanders now has a very, very slight lead. Once again, very early. Only six percent of the vote is in -- Anderson.
COOPER: Wolf, thanks very much.
Van, you know, we hear Donald Trump making overturns to Bernie Sanders supporters, do you actually think it's viable that he can win a good chunk of them over?
VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Absolutely. I think that - I have just been shocked by the way that the model I had in my head has been completely obliterated. I was very much a left to right guy. So Donald Trump is on the right. Bernie is on the left. Never the two shall meet.
There is something else is happening in the country now and it's an inside versus the outside. Are you a part of this mess or are you not? If you're part of this mess, I can't be for you. If you are not, I can give you a shot. And it is completely - I can't have -- it's a huge adjustment.
COOPER: I remember that in -- I mean, freshman year of political science at college, you used to think, you know, it was a straight line left and right, but it's actually a bending and left and right is actually closer together. It is moderate in the middle which is sort of further apart.
BEGALA: Yes, but that is different factor, up, down. (INAUDIBLE). And this is what's really remarkable about Trump is he is a billionaire populist. By the way, the greatest populists were Teddy Roosevelt, Franklin Roosevelt. They were traitors against their class. So actually the fact is rich gives them some credibility in the bizarre way. But I don't think -- first off Hillary has to do her job. I have to do my job.
Right now if you look at the data Trump's negative among Sanders voters is 86 percent. Nine out of ten dislike him. Why? Because a huge part of young people (INAUDIBLE) is (INAUDIBLE). It is multi culturalism. It is equality of what I think is very beautiful sort of way and really repelled by Trump's manor. He is going to make a run at him, so as Hillary. She has got to work it out, too.
JONES: I think that's true. I think the younger voters are actually, you know, got to end up in the right place. I think you've got a lot of working class frankly white guys who right now are Bernie people who I think will - and some of them may have to do with gender as well. I mean, I was -- this cab driver I was talking to he liked Obama, he liked Bernie and he like Trump. He didn't like Hillary. I'm like --. He got three people --.
It's also I think -- and we've talked about this (INAUDIBLE), but it bares saying again. It's a tone thing. Yes, populism is cyclical. And it swings through election cycles every few years. But it is more than that. I think for a lot of voters you're talking about Obama is professorial, very deliberate, very, you know, intellectual kind of tone has sounded as if politicians, him included, first and foremost, have been talking over and talking down to voters for the past eight years. On the left and the right, but I think Obama has sort of been the poster boy for that. And so, I think a lot of voters appreciate Bernie and Trump, tell it like it is.
[20:30:11] LORD: The word to what you are saying is political correctness. The word is political correctness.
CUPP: That's how you would describe it.
COOPER: We're watching the votes come in from West Virginia. We're digging deeper for our exit polls. We'll tell you what we're learning about the vulnerabilities from Hillary Clinton and Trump in a likely general election match-up, a lot more ahead.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ACNHOR: All right votes are coming in West Virginia. Let's get another Key Race Alert right now. About 10 percent of the vote has actually been counted. That Hillary Clinton has a very, very slight lead. She's at 47 percent to Bernie Sanders 43.8 percent. She's up by 719 votes. Only 10 percent of the vote is in, in West Virginia. She has a very, very slight lead right now.
Let's go over to John King over the magic wall. 10 percent, you can begin to see what's going on a little bit, make a little bit of assessment what's going on in West Virginia?
JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The only assessment we can make at the moment really does is she have a relatively close race, 10 percent, the question is sometimes you get 10 percent and that sort of tracks throughout the night, you have a very close race seesaw back and forth.
[20:35:03] We've seen that in some states, sometimes it's pretty mill (ph) as a big boat Trump comes in if it moves. If you just move around a little bit and we look here at Raleigh County where Beckley is, so it's 1,400 votes total are just shot, 1,500 votes they're total, so it's hard to make this conclusions there and you move into some of these smaller counties and it's even fewer votes we're talking about.
But so, we're just going to have to watch and wait. In a state of course, you know, Hillary Clinton would love if it stays she's ahead at the moment. She would love if it stays this close, expectations have been for a Sanders win. Democratic proportional rules, so the close sort it is, the more even the delegates but, but with 10 percent of the vote counted we're just kind of to have to wait.
Well I just flipped this over quickly just to prove the opponent. Donald Trump is essentially unopposed, one of the questions is the first contest since Senator Cruz and Governor Kasich suspended their campaigns. So one of the questions is there a backlash, is there a protest about, it appears really not to be if Donald Trump on track again only 8 percent of the votes that will count the rest of them, but it's there up near 70 percent right now where is pretty overwhelming, so this one we're going to watch. Be switching back just to see if it moves it all, it move through these counties. It's relatively close. Yeah she's up a little in that county, he's up a little in this county that which tells as we go early in, it's just 10 percent, we're going to have to wait.
BLITZER: What about Charleston?
KING: And count -- that's right it's pop up there, obviously it's the big population center of the state more than 10 percent. As she's ahead at the moment but again, you know, in 2,000 votes each side, 4 percent of the vote in here the county here, so we just have to count them.
BLITZER: All right 10 percent of the vote in West Virginia and let's take a quick break, we get more of the results right after this.
[20:40:23] BLITZER: Let's get another Key Race Alert. Are coming the votes in West Virginia, 13 percent of the vote is now in. Hillary Clinton has a very, very slight lead 147 votes to be precise. She's at 45.8 percent. Bernie Sanders is at 45.3 percent. They both have close to 13,000 votes, very, very slight advantage for Hillary Clinton right now. Once again 13 percent of the votes is in. 29 delegates at stake, but they will be distributed proportionally as we all know by now that it happens at all the Democratic contest, Jake?
JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: Thanks Wolf, let's bring back David Chalian our political director, and David the Republicans going to the polls voting for Donald Trump in West Virginia, Donald Trump in Nebraska, how do they feel about Donald Trump? Obviously they're supportive, but how supportive?
DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Right. So let's start in West Virginia here, how likely is it that Trump could beat Clinton. This is among West Virginia Republican primary voters, 65 percent say very likely and 27 percent say somewhat likely. Also sticking with West Virginia, if Donald Trump is elected president which best describes your feelings about this, 34 percent excited, 46 percent optimistic. At those up there you get 80 percent are either excited or optimistic with Donald Trump being elected president.
And in Nebraska we asked the same two questions, so how likely is it that Donald Trump would be beat Clinton, 43 percent very likely, and 40 percent somewhat likely, clearly there's enthusiasm there for Trump candidacy, and again we ask, how would you describe your feelings about Donald Trump being elected president. Not just his success in November at the ballot box, 21percent excited, 41 percent optimistic. Not as large a number there 62 percent if you add those together as it was in West Virginia, but clearly these are two states that Donald Trump can sort of count in his column come election night in November.
TAPPER: Absolutely, these are states Republicans traditionally win in the general election, but David, is this a reflection of Republican voters feeling better about Donald Trump, feeling more optimistic, being more supportive in terms of their feelings, excited, optimistic and also about his electability or is this a manifestation of the fact that voters who opposed Donald Trump because he is now running essentially on opposed, likely didn't turn out to vote today.
CHALIAN: I don't that we can tell the exact in West Virginia, but I do think we're seeing the excited, optimistic numbers grow for a Trump presidency, that shouldn't be too shocking as he has no more opponents. So the folks that are showing up are clearly showing up because they're Trump voters in large extended (ph) but nonetheless, his mission is to make sure that the electorate that he's trying to put together for the fall is one that is motivated and these numbers point to that moving in his direction.
TAPPER: Absolutely, and I don't want to discount that, but Dana Bash, I mean to just a marked decrease in the percentage of Republican voters who turned out in West Virginia and Nebraska who say anything other than positive things about Donald Trump. I suspect it's likely a combination of both, Cruz, Kasich, Rubio and other supporters not going to the polls and also people starting to coalesce and rally around the front-runner.
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: No, I think that's right -- it's probably a little hard to read, kind of a broad message because these are Trump voters and these are clearly die hard Trump voters because they're going to the polls even knowing that he's the only guy in the race.
Having said that I do think, you know, one of the things that we looked at and we were so stunned by early on in these election nights, are were in several states how many Republicans said they were scared?
BASH: Of Donald Trump being a president or being their nominee. And that seems to have dissipated ...
TAPPER: Yeah. BASH: ... I mean I just -- I think that that's probably a blanket statement that we can make because it's not just, you know, these voters in these Trump heavy states, but even people here who are representing their voters back home who doesn't necessarily vote for Trump are not necessarily, you know, giving him a parade here in Washington but they are saying, you know what, we've got to learn how to live with this guy and work with this guy and I think it's in large part because the representatives, I think senators and House members are hearing up from their constituents.
TAPPER: And I suspect once he picks a running mate if this is somebody who is approved by Washington, D.C. politicians you could see a lot more of that. Wolf Blitzer, you have a Key Race Alert.
BLITZER: Let's go the Key Race Alert. Right now take a look at it Bernie Sanders now building up a little lead over Hillary Clinton. As we go back and forth, but now he's at 47.8 percent, she's only at 43.2 percent. 16 percent of the vote is in. You can see his advantage, 1,670 votes it just change.
[20:45:16] The lead has gotten a little bit bigger for Bernie Sanders. Right now he's over 2,000 votes ahead of Hillary Clinton, 48.2 percent to 42.8 percent with 17 percent of the vote in. Bernie Sanders has the advantage at least right now. Still plenty of votes out there. Anderson, over to you.
COOPER: All right, Wolf thanks very much. In terms of in the past what have we seen in terms of trying to reunite parties for Donald Trump in particular on the Republican side, is it a question -- I mean it's on him to reach out? Is it on others to reach out to him?
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: I always think it's the onus is on the victor to reach out and say I know we've had our differences and we've fought a tough race and I'd like you now to join my team. And that's always been done in the past. I think the difference this time is that this race got so personal with so many of these candidates, particularly Ted Cruz, Donald Trump talked about his father, Donald Trump tweeted -- re-tweeted about his wife.
I think it gets a little bit -- it gets a little bit more difficult. I also think that the things they said about his temperament during the race, the comment as you were talking about earlier, those kinds of things just don't evaporate and what we may be seeing is something we don't normally see in politics which is candor.
COOPER: Will you also have a number of Republicans who don't believe Donald Trump is Republican.
BORGER: They don't believe his Republican, but they've said that all along.
MICHAEL SMERCONISH, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Paul Ryan I think has given Donald Trump a tremendous opportunity with this upcoming meeting because there are many who are in Paul Ryan's position, I interviewed one them on Saturday Charlie Dent who's a Pennsylvania congressman and relatively moderate. I think they're looking for lead from Ryan and if Trump can comes to terms with Ryan there'll be others who want to follow suit. I would also add that nothing that will make individuals more willing to rally to Donald Trump than the perception of winning and that Quinnipiac survey today from Ohio, Florida and Pennsylvania which shows it to be a tight race and with Donald Trump winning in Ohio, by I think the number was four, I think will go a long way to appease some of the critics.
NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: And I think that's right and you saw McConnell himself sort of he say listen, you know, the thinking was initially that Donald Trump would be a disaster at the top of the ticket but citing those Quinnipiac polls and saying, you know, this will click is going to be a competitive race.
I think, you know, on the Democratic side it's often sort of harder when the upstart loses, but on the Republican side you obviously have sort of the upstart who is winning. I think it might be -- I think there's going to be a challenge for Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton to figure out how to keep that energy going on the Democratic side.
KING: His tone on some issues, the Republican Party wants to be the tough on illegal immigration party, but Donald Trump's tone when he said about Mexicans, the of that offense or makes some Republicans nervous when they think about winning on Election Day.
The fact that he'll -- they don't use to your point, they think he's a real Republican. Now he's open to maybe states should raise the minimum wage. The nuclear weapons comments, the women should be punish comments, frighten a lot of Republicans. Can we run on a ticket with this guy when it's sp unpredictable, when every day our candidates are going to be asked different questions, but he had stand right in the idea of winning.
Mitch McConnell today cited the Quinnipiac poll ...
KING: ... I think this guy can be competitive. The last time I remember where that seem so at sink with this party and Paul was said it's not analogous but it's when Bill Clinton ran -- he ran against his party's establishment. He said you're too liberal, you're too beholding to the labor unions, you're going to keep loosing, but the party quickly came back around Bill Clinton because they thought he could win and he did win.
HENDERSON: And that's the fascinating thing. He is Donald Trump essentially a new Republican, somebody who has in some way a co-opting liberal ideas ...
HENDERSON: ... to be more ... CUPP: No many of us feel is though he is made of the Republican Party his rented tuxedo and it's the thing that he's going to wear for as long as he has to, but at the end, you know, prom night that thing is on the floor and a mess got holes and cigarette, you know, butts in it.
We all actually care about, you know, the future of the rented tuxedo ...
KING: Obviously he's never wear a red in tuxedo.
CUPP: Well let's not forget that Trump has actually, he also personally attacked many of us. I mean personally attack many others, there's some scorched earth that cannot just be glossed over. But there is this bizarre feeling among a lot Trump supporters that even though he's only one about 40 percent of the party, it's the other 60 percent that has to, "Get on board."
COOPER: Well, and I think Trump supporter are you saying?
CUPP: That doesn't make a lot of sense.
LORD: First of all, I keep hearing this business that well more people voted against him than for him. Well so was true with Mitt Romney in Republican primary in 2008 and they were 12 ...
LORD: ... and so true with John McCain.
LORD: I heard nobody saying we need to have a third-party here because John McCain got less votes and, you know, all this other people combine.
CUPP: Right. I don't remember Mitt Romney attack personally in that the way ...
[20:50:03] LORD: Well here is part of the deal. One of the criticism and Paul and I tested on this the other week. When I talk about the commercial, the steel workers wife and everything would have some responsibility for.
And I was not insulting Paul. I was saying to my own side people from our own side, people at our side feel that the Paul Begala's of the world fight -- sorry the Paul Begala of the world fight. And that our side basically wimps out. And so what they're seeing here with Donald Trump is that he fights. That's -- and the first place you have to fight is your opposition in a primary.
LORD: There is something to that. PAUL BEGALA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: And I think king is right. God help me for ever saying that again, but king is right. Bill ran against his staff at this party and then did have to go to the hill, I mean I can remember the meetings and go and meet with the congressional leadership. He -- I do think he maybe perhaps had a more charming personality, but I don't know Mr. Trump ....
BEGALA: ... but that help to be the biggest thing was we were tired of losing.
BEGALA: Five of the six previous presidential, and guess what Republicans have lost the popular vote and five of the previous six presidential's.
CUPP: And many will be swayed by that.
BEGALA: A lot of people might party back then swallowed hard and said I'm not wild about your more moderate version of the Democratic Party ...
BEGALA: ... but I'm tired of losing. That's the case Trump is ...
COOPER: And you Van?
VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Let me say something about how the left of the Democratic Party looks at this Trump situation. We talk about how is this going to reshape the Republicans. I think, you know, there's terror and hope. If you're on the left, you look at this thing and say if Trump breaks through because we see him primarily in his racial demagogy, we see in a somebody who's tough on Mexicans, tough on Muslims, does this kind of, you know, burn their stuff.
So we say does this mean that racism will win in the end? Does how it lands for us. You can get a breakthrough with Obama, is that all going to be erased now because racism breaks back through. That's how we see him. So then the question is can we rise to the occasion and actually come together when as you just pointed out Nia-Malika, our young rebels are likely to lose. It's one thing to be a Hillary Clinton supporter in 2008.
You're older, you're more established, you kind of come around to good common sense in your own thinking, but if you're a young rebel who put it on the line for Bernie and you didn't feel you got a fair shot from the media, you didn't feel that you that you got a fair shot the DNC and now you're supposed to swing back around, do you appreciate the firewall that Obama gave you for against a congressional Republicans to grow your movements, and do you understand that if that things falls you're going to spend 10, you know, four or eight years.
I think there's a challenge I think for Democrats everybody is not assessing this thing the same way. People are afraid of Trump, but they do not know yet and we cannot tell yet in our party can we rise to the occasion and stop him.
HENDERSON: Yes, I think that was the problem in 1998 with Jessie Jackson in Dukakis, he brought these new voters in and energize the party in a lot of ways, but then when it came to the general that energy wasn't really there. So I do think Van is on to something in terms of can they keep those voters engaged going forward.
BORGER: You know, I think the problem for the Republicans right now is that even if they were to get behind Donald Trump, Paul Ryan were to get behind Donald Trump, they're not quite sure what he would do as president. And Paul Ryan has spent a lifetime in politics, even though he's young, he's spent a lifetime in politics, he's cares a lot about issues not only entitlements but poverty issues and he's worked a lot on this stuff.
And I think there is a sense and we heard it during the campaign he's not conservative, we don't know what he is, they don't know what he would do and I think when you're a legislator you want some questions answered before you can give an endorsement and I think there's a concern amount of candor breaking out here that we don't normally see in politics.
COOPER: We got to take a quick break. The polls are about to close in Nebraska as Republican primary, we're also standing by to hear from Bernie Sanders about the vote in West Virginia and the contest ahead that just landed -- he just landed in Oregon for campaign rally.
Stay with us.
[20:58:04] BLITZER: Were just a couple of minutes away from the voting ending in the state of Nebraska. We expect to project a winner in the Republican primary. There's little doubt about the final outcome in Nebraska. Donald Trump is counting on a win in this first Election Day since he became the party's presumptive nominee, the results matter, because Trump still needs to rack up more than 100 delegates to officially, officially clench the Republican presidential nomination. 36 Republican delegates are at stake in Nebraska. Winner takes all primary.
Nebraska Democrats by the way they held their contest back in March, Bernie Sanders won at that time. Anderson.
COOPER: Thanks very much. As we continue to count the votes in West Virginia, what does it say about Hillary Clinton's strengths or weaknesses the fact that Bernie Sanders is still winning states?
BORGER: I think it tells us a lot about Bernie Sanders staying power, the coalition he's put together of young voters.
COOPER: You think it's a Sanders strength now this ...
COOPER: ... there's a weakness.
BORGER: There's a flip side to that. And I think it reflects the fact that for some reason there's a generational issue that Hillary Clinton has. There's an issue with older suburban women that she's got and that scares Paul and keeps you up at night as you say Paul and that she's got to work on this.
Now I think if Bernie Sanders doesn't get the nomination, he could win California and he unites with Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama goes out and campaigns for Hillary Clinton, all of that could disappear.
SMERCONISH: And I say I think all that is true, but it's all about Obama. She won this state by 40 points in 2008. She goes off to serve as Secretary of State and now struggles with a self described Democratic socialist. No disrespect. I think it's all about her service to Obama which by the way has been her saving grace in so many other states does far.
HENDERSON: And I think overall it's sort of the last, you know, kind of gas of the new Democrats, sort of the moderate Democrat that we see the rise, I think of a more leftist party.
[21:00:00] COOPER: If you are just joining us this is a special edition of AC360 on this primary night in West Virginia and Nebraska. Let's go to Wolf.
BLITZER: All right, thanks very much Anderson. Nebraska the polls are closing right now in Nebraska, no surprise Donald Trump we can now project is the winner in the Nebraska Republic --