Return to Transcripts main page
CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL
Crucial Night Ahead For Clinton, Sanders and Trump; Sanders Top Aides Meet to Consider Next Steps. Aired 7-8p ET
Aired June 7, 2016 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[18:59:58] WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: We're standing by to hear an historic speech by Hillary Clinton and very important remarks by Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders as well.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: And tonight, Clinton is playing the title of presumptive Democratic nominee even as she and Bernie Sanders fight to the very last vote.
ANNOUNCER: Right now from the California coast to the Jersey Shore it's the final Super Tuesday battle to the America's choice.
HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We are going to unify the Democratic Party and stop Donald Trump.
ANNOUNCER: As voters in six states weigh in, the Democratic front- runner has finally locked up the nomination, and is ready to spar with her Republican rival, full time.
CLINTON: Donald Trump is a fraud.
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESUMPTIVE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: Lying Hillary, she is a liar.
ANNOUNCER: Tonight, in the Democratic race, Hillary Clinton eager to put the bruising primaries behind her hitting the presumptive GOP nominee harder than ever.
CLINTON: Donald Trump's ideas aren't just different, they are dangerously incoherent.
ANNOUNCER: Bernie Sanders, hoping to upset Clinton in California. Looking for momentum, as he vows to keep making his case all the way to the convention.
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I want you as super delegates to take a hard look at which candidate and which campaign can beat Donald Trump.
ANNOUNCER: On the Republican side tonight, Donald Trump prompting fresh concern among party leaders and going for the jugular in his escalating war of words with Clinton.
TRUMP: Hillary Clinton is unfit to lead our country. She's unfit. ANNOUNCER: Now it's time for voters to have their say, setting the
stage for a brutal fight in the fall.
CLINTON: He is trying to scam America.
ANNOUNCER: Clinton and Trump, jamming at each other's most vulnerable spots.
TRUMP: She's guilty as hell.
ANNOUNCER: After months of attacks and astonishing twists, the presidential race is heading into a critical new phase. Right now.
BLITZER: Welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm Wolf Blitzer in the CNN Election Center. Tonight a watershed moment in the 2016 presidential race and in the history of American politics. We're standing by to hear from Hillary Clinton, we're expecting her to celebrate her ground-breaking achievement of the first woman to lead the presidential ticket of the major U.S. political party. All three presidential candidates will deliver very important speeches tonight, speeches that will frame the election going forward.
Donald Trump facing the challenge of reassuring very worried party leaders right now who are in an open revolt over Trump's remarks about a federal judge's Mexican heritage. The controversy exploding, even as Hillary Clinton makes her case against Trump with new authority. Bernie Sanders will signal whether he's determined to lead his revolution to the Democratic convention in Philadelphia, or begin the process of helping Hillary Clinton unite the party.
All this, on the last big primary night of this campaign, with contests in New Jersey, New Mexico, North and South Dakota, Montana, and California. California is the top prize, with a whopping 475 Democratic delegates, it may be a cliff hanger. Right now, we're counting down to the first results of the night, 8:00 p.m. Eastern, an hour from now, that's when the polling places will close in New Jersey -- Jake.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: Wolf, it is a big night and we're going to check in with correspondents who are covering all the candidates on this pivotal night. First let's go to Jeff Zeleny, he's in Brooklyn, New York, Clinton campaign Headquarters.
And Jeff, what are we expecting exactly from former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton this evening? Is she going to, if she crosses the threshold officially, is she going to declare victory?
JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Well Jake, Hillary Clinton is going to mark this moment tonight and what a moment it is. It is a moment she of course has been waiting some long eight years for, but I am told that she's going to frame these choices now facing America. This is about much more than just six election contests tonight. It's about much more than this Democratic primary fight that she's been engaged in so long. Her advisers tell me that she will frame this choice. They will be playing out across the country for the next five months with Donald Trump.
Now, we've seen a glimpse of that certainly in the foreign policy address she gave last week in San Diego but she will repeat some of those themes and indeed amplify some of those themes to a wider audience tonight. Now she is going to take a moment to take in this history-making moment and take indeed it is that. But she's also I'm told going to allow some other people to make note of that for her. The campaign is going to use a video tonight to mark just what kind of a moment this is to have the first woman president potentially here, but she's going to dwell on that much less than her surrogates, Jake.
She's going to get down to business here. Yes. This is a celebration but this is also a moment to mark the fight ahead. And Jake, one thing she will not do is call for Bernie Sanders to get out of this race in any shape or form. I am told that she has advised her surrogates, her aides and others to give him the space she needs. We've talked a lot about today how eight years ago today she gave that speech in Washington, D.C., to finally leave the 2008 presidential campaign. But it should be remembered that was not a concession speech on that primary night. That came four days later, so she told her aides that he deserves the time here. The question is if he takes too much time she'll move forward. But tonight it's all about the choice facing America -- Jake.
[19:05:46] TAPPER: Jeff Zeleny in Brooklyn with the Clinton campaign. And of course it is potentially a history-making night. It was 100 years ago women couldn't even vote in this country and we're on the cusp of a woman being a nominee from a major party.
Let's go now to Brianna Keilar, she's with Bernie Sanders' campaign in Santa Monica, California. And Brianna, we've been hearing a lot of suggestions from the Sanders' campaign that they're going to take this all the way to the convention, even if Clinton gets the majority of pledged delegates and the majority of the popular vote.
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: That is what they have saying, Jake, and as of moments ago Senator Sanders was at his hotel here in the Los Angeles area meeting with some of his top advisers figuring out where to go literally as well as figuratively. His campaign manager Jeff Weaver has said that the Senator would return home to Burlington, Vermont. But certainly the campaign is aware of the optics of a home ward retreat. And what that may look like, what that could signal.
So they're now discussing whether or not Senator Sanders will be heading to Washington, D.C. He does have a rally scheduled there later this week and having spoken with one aide who said that Senator Sanders and his promise for anyone who wants to vote in a Democratic contest that they should have that vote, he sees the Washington, D.C. primary, which is a week from today as really the end point, not today, even though these are huge contests, so many delegates at stake, even if Washington, D.C., may be inconsequential to the math, he thinks that that is important to making good on that promise. Now his other promise has been is that he's going all the way to the
convention. The question will be as we move forward today, as the polls close here in California, what does Bernie Sanders say then and that is the great question today -- Jake.
TAPPER: All right. Brianna Keilar in Santa Monica, California, with the Sanders campaign, there would have been a lot more attention on the potential history that Secretary Clinton might make this evening and on the civil war on this strive within the Democratic Party, except, of course, a lot of the day's news has been consumed by the Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump.
Let's go to Sara Murray who is at Trump headquarters. And Sara, obviously no surprise, Mr. Trump is expected to win the primaries today. But what kind of speech is he expected to give this evening? There has been so much tumult today, so many Republican Party leaders criticizing him.
SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right, you'd expect tonight to be a joyful occasion but instead Trump has had to deal with the number of party leaders criticizing him publicly, distancing themselves from him. And he released this lengthy statement about the judge controversy seemingly to try to neutralize that issue ahead of his convention night to allow him to pivot back to going after Hillary Clinton. We are expecting him to deliver a speech from a teleprompter and, you know, a number of his advisers, his supporters, that could come as a relief to them to see a more formal speech from Donald Trump particularly if he does shift from hitting Hillary Clinton hard.
You know, a couple of people have raised concerns about whether Trump is taking it seriously that he is running for president, whether he's willing to step away from his businesses. I spoke to one Trump adviser earlier today who said, you need to get back to basic, hammering home your message, hammering Hillary Clinton. His advisers said, any time she Hillary Clinton is feeling pain, we should be adding some to that and they really do feel like Clinton is limping out of these Democratic primaries and they need to capitalize on that moment.
Back to you, Jake.
TAPPER: All right. Sara Murray who is in New York at one of the golf courses I believe in Westchester, thank you so much Sara Murray.
And Dana, you know, one of the things that's interesting this idea that Donald Trump is going to speak looking at the teleprompter this evening. First of all, he hates the teleprompter. He hates, second of all, he actually belittles politicians who use the teleprompter when I interviewed him last week and I talked about the speech that Secretary Clinton gave criticizing him. He basically said she didn't give a speech. She read a speech that somebody wrote for her. He looked down on that idea but party leaders are pressuring him to stay stick to the script and so he is at least we've been told he's going to be reading a speech this evening.
DANA BASH, CNN ANCHOR: Reading a speech. Look, he is a political neophyte who understands this much, that this is a moment, and when you have a moment in a campaign that you have to mark, you don't want to make a mistake. And he also I think is probably is self-aware enough to know that it should be something he should write and read and not leave it to chance because when he does, he makes, you know, makes maybe gaffes. He says things that he means but it takes the entire speech off message so that is why this is going to be a speech and just like Sarah said, my understanding is that they're hoping that this turns into a thank you Republicans, I'm going to turn my guns on Hillary Clinton now.
[19:10:50] TAPPER: And you talked about it being a moment and it's also a moment more of one I think it's fair to say for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. It is a moment of history. We have never in this country, never had a woman who was a major party presidential nominee and she's going to declare herself that and CNN has also another news organizations have had said that she has enough delegates to have the nomination and it is a moment where a lot of people are going to be watching her especially perhaps -- specially Sanders supporters. She's going to need to bring them in.
BASH: She does going to need to bring them in, which is a big reason why she has been very reluctant to embrace the fact that CNN and other news organizations have said that she is the presumptive nominee, because she needs to not alienate them first and foremost and look presumptuous, while there are still people out there who are going to go vote's especially in big blue states like California. But also because he needs to treat them tenderly, and she is to more importantly treat the man at the top of their movement Bernie Sanders himself tenderly.
Because lot of it depends of what he does at the end of the day, whether he follows her lead from eight years ago and says, you know what, supporters it's time to get behind this guy. But we cannot underscore enough, where you started that comment, because is that just as didn't matter what party you were in when President Obama became the nominee and then the president, everyone and stopped said this is a moment in American history, so is tonight.
TAPPER: And it is remarkable. Though Anderson when I interviewed Bernie Sanders over the weekend he made it very clear that he thought the onus was on Secretary Hillary Clinton, should she get the nomination of his view, that the onus is on her to convince his supporters that she for all her Wall Street speeches and the like is the right person to carry their mantle.
COOPER: Yes. And interesting to see what happens in the days ahead. How quickly Bernie Sanders starts to kind of wrap his mind around the situation he finds himself.
David Axelrod you lived through this back in 2008, a hard-fought race between then Senator Clinton and Senator Obama. How do you see the transition now?
DAVID AXELROD, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I will say that there are a lot of conversations going on leading up to the end of that. There were people on both sides trying to land the plane. COOPER: Conversations between the campaigns?
AXELROD: Yes. And I suspect that that's going on now as well. And now you have a president of the United States who's probably in the middle of that mix. We know he spent quite a bit of time on the phone with Bernie Sanders this weekend, there are intimations that he'll make an endorsement soon. I think the next week is going to be very important what people say, what people do, but I do think the groundwork is probably being laid for it. And I think it will involve real tangible concessions on the part of the Clinton campaign and her supporters, as to party rules, as to platform items that they find acceptable, to send a signal that the Sanders people are being heard.
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: You know, I spoke with a Sanders adviser today who said exactly that. He said in order for Bernie Sanders to get on board and to campaign and be active and a full partner in this, he has to be able to tell his supporters honestly that their agenda is going to see some daylight.
BORGER: And that means at the convention, they're going to have some demands and I think there has to be an agreement beforehand that yes, she'll --
AXELROD: If it goes to the convention, then something is wrong I think.
BORGER: Right. Right. So, it has to be within the next two weeks and, you know, they're going to go back to Vermont after tonight and as he said to me, that is a long plane ride and we will try to figure it out.
COOPER: It is. I mean, it is just an incredibly historic night for Hillary Clinton and, you know, given the history of the women's vote in the United States.
NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: Yes. Yes. It is. I talked to someone who has known Hillary Clinton for quite some time, and she said that she knows that for Hillary Clinton, it haven't released -- yet, sort of a historical import of this moment probably because she still has so much work to do going into July with Bernie Sanders but it is, it is a historic moment. You think back to 1848, Seneca Falls in New York. Women's rights convention, you think about Sojourner truth who, you know, two or three years after that, I said, listen, black women are part of this movement for enfranchising women, too.
[19:15:10] So, I mean, all of these events, people picketing in front of the White House in 1917, telling Woodrow Wilson that America is no democracy, if 20 million women can't vote. So I think this is a long line of things that many women and men have done across this country for almost 200 years and I think it's part of a culmination and we'll see other moments obviously if she wins, it will be the biggest --
COOPER: If you're Donald Trump, do you acknowledge that tonight? I mean, do you give a kind of head nod to that?
MICHAEL SMERCONISH, CNN ANCHOR, "SMERCONISH": It would be so out of a character for him to do so. But that doesn't mean it would be the wrong thing to do. I would just add to what Nia has said and recognize that presumably she gets there tonight or is already getting there tonight, as a credentialed candidate in a change climate, we never could have forecast, I certainly could never have forecast a year ago that we'd be in this environment where Bernie Sanders would have run such a strong race and where Donald Trump would be the Republican nominee and that Hillary Clinton with those credentials to her strong suit would nevertheless be able to do as well as she has done.
AXELROD: But those credentials may be exactly what makes her a strong candidate against Donald Trump --
AXELROD: -- that sense of stability and experience may play well in an environment which you have an opponent who can be a little bit impulsive, when you're running for president of the United States. One thing that struck me about Jeff Zeleny's report was this suggestion that she will not play up the historic nature of the moment night. And it reminds me of our own campaign in 2008, you know, almost never did Barack Obama address the fact that he would be the first African-American president. Even when he gave his speech at the convention it was way down on the speech, it was only when we were practicing the speech and he got to this point, where something about Martin Luther King that he became very emotional. And so I think it's right for her, she's not running to be the first woman president. She's running to be the American president.
COOPER: We're going to take a quick break as we count down to the first results on this Super Tuesday. We're standing by for the speeches from Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders, plus the outcome tonight, how it could affect the general election battle that is starting in earnest right now.
[19:20:54] BLITZER: Welcome back. We're standing by for three important speeches tonight, Hillary Clinton, she will be speaking at the Brooklyn Navy Yard later tonight. That's coming up, we'll have live coverage. Donald Trump, he is speaking in Westchester County right outside of New York City, in Briarcliff Manor, we'll have live coverage of that. And later, Bernie Sanders is speaking at Santa Monica, California, certainly we have live coverage of that as well. We're counting down to the polls closing in New Jersey, right at the top of the hour, 38 minutes or so from now.
Let's go over to John King over at the Magic Wall. Let's take a closer look John at the Democratic delegate battle we projected that she has enough between the pledged delegates and the super delegates to get that Democratic nomination but there's still a battle going underway. JOHN KING, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Six states voting tonight, Wolf. New
Jersey closes first. And here is where the race is in terms of pledged delegates. 1812 to 1525. So, she's just shy of a 300 pledged delegate lead. But the reason we've been able to put her over the top is that 572 super delegates had told us they will vote for Hillary Clinton at the Democratic convention. We take them at their words so we allocate them to Secretary Clinton which puts her over the line. The only way Bernie Sanders can have a comeback tonight is to do so well tonight than a significant slice of this 572 change their mind or at least pull back to undecided.
That is his only change. So, here is the delegate math as it stands right now and the big question is, can Senator Sanders make up the ground tonight. We can switch maps and go to some of that if you'd like. And you bring this over here. Look, so New Jersey, then we go out here to the Western States, the Prairie States, New Mexico tonight and California, realistically, Sanders has to go six for six. Cause a panic in the Democratic establishment, cause jitters among Clinton supporters specially those super delegates. Will that happen? The Clinton campaign doesn't think so.
BLITZER: California the biggest prize of the night for the Democrats, 475 delegates at stake.
KING: Without a doubt. And look, let's be honest about this. This as everyone discussed, it's a very difficult moment in the campaign for Senator Sanders. He would like to win the Democratic nomination. He believes if he can win five of six tonight or six or six tonight, then maybe can he convince those super delegates. Most people think that's unrealistic. But he also if plan B, have maximize your input at the convention, this matters a lot. Winning California, getting as many delegates as possible out of California would increase his argument.
A for platform speaking arrangements, everything else he wants to talk about the convention, he hopes help them convince the super delegates, I think that's a less likely scenario. And so, when you look at it, Wolf, here are some of the things to think about tonight. As the tale of the tape as the race almost comes to a close. District of Columbia a week from tonight. But six of the last seven contests are tonight. And here's what we are coming in. Here's the key numbers to look at. Bernie Sanders to catch Hillary Clinton in the pledged delegates tonight, mathematically possible. But he has to win 71 percent of the delegates on the table tonight.
Seven hundred and 14 total remaining, this includes the District of Columbia. But he has to win 71 percent to catch her. He's only won 46 percent of the delegates so far. She's won 54 percent of the pledged delegates. Fifty four percent of the pledged delegates. She's won the majority so far. Is it realistic to think Bernie Sanders can win them all tonight? Some people think so. Clinton campaign says no, campaign thinks it will win New Jersey, when New Mexico and I think California is pretty close.
But even if Bernie Sanders were to win them all. Is it realistic to think he could win California by 70 percent? New Jersey by 70 percent. I don't think that is realistic but the goal in the Sanders campaign is to get as close as you can, narrow the pledged delegate gap and then try to convince the super delegates to switch.
BLITZER: Among the Democrats all the states are proportional.
BLITZER: They divided up proportionally based on the popular vote.
KING: The popular vote by Congressional District, they are in heavy minority communities, there are bonus delegates. But roughly when you see the results coming in, in New Jersey, it's not exact but roughly when you see the percentage Clinton/Sanders that's Ball Park what they're going to get for the delegates. And again, the Clinton, we start counting in New Jersey. But yesterday we were thinking New Jersey would put her over the top and then those super delegates coming forward, putting her over the top. But we'll know pretty quickly early on, as the results come in, we're not going to be able to call the state but we're in a good sense early on, is Senator Sanders in any way to pull off the miracle math, meaning a sweep of all six states. We'll know that pretty soon after the polls close.
BLITZER: In 2008 in California, I reminded our viewers how Hillary Clinton did back eight years ago.
KING: It's instructive. It's a great thing to look back at. Now remember, California was not on the final date last year, this is almost the final day with the District of Columbia to come. But this is one of the wins that in the Clinton campaign, they said look, we just beat you 51 percent, she received Senator Obama at the time was at 43 percent. But this was one of the wins where she was trying to make the case late in the campaign I'm winning the big state. This is the anchor of the Democratic Party and presidential politics. Right?
Fifty plus electoral votes to get you started in the race to 270. This as he was saying, I'll be more competitive against John McCain. But then we got to the end of the campaign and she did the math. He still had more delegates and she was unable to convince the super delegates to switch. That is very similar calculation that Senator Sanders could be having at the end of the night. Let's count the votes first. And for Sanders he really needs six of six or five of six. But in any event, this is the critical. This is the biggest basket of delegates. This is the message state he hopes to win it.
[19:25:50] BLITZER: You and I will be spending some quality time here at the magic wall tonight.
Still ahead, we're awaiting some major speeches by all three presidential candidates, has Bernie Sanders run out of arguments for challenging Hillary Clinton now that she's the presumptive Democratic nominee? Stay with us.
[19:30:01] BLITZER: We're waiting to hear three very, very important consequential potentially very historic speeches. That's coming up later tonight.
Hillary Clinton her first big speech as the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, we'll have live coverage, of course, of that. Donald Trump is coming under a lot of criticism from within his own Republican Party, we're anxious to hear what he has to say. And then, Bernie Sanders, he's got to make some critically important decision in the coming hours and days.
Very important speeches live coverage coming up.
Jeff Zeleny, let's go over to Clinton campaign headquarters in Brooklyn right now.
Jeff, this is going to be one of those moments that a lot of people have waited for, for a long time.
ZELENY: It certainly is, Wolf, and Hillary Clinton supporters are filling in to the Brooklyn Navy yard here.
If it looks familiar to some of our viewers, this is site of the final debate between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders that what set this race going.
But, Wolf, this is a turning point in this race tonight, and starting tomorrow morning, the Clinton campaign is going to do something it's not done yet, and it's going to start raising general election money. An e-mail went out to top donors a few hours ago, telling them to get ready to reach out to fund-raisers and donors tomorrow, to reach out to their people who they've been raising primary money from and start raising money for the general election campaign.
Now, that is on the heels of general election travel that Secretary Clinton is planning to make on her own. She's planning to be in Ohio on Monday, Pennsylvania on Tuesday. So they're blocking out the next chapter of this race, Wolf.
But I can tell you, they are watching Donald Trump very carefully here and trying to see if there are any opportunities out there and any other only battleground states or perhaps new battleground states as this electorate shifts in this very unusual election campaign. So, Wolf, this race is going to pivot very quickly, long before we know what Bernie Sanders is directly out of this race or not, the Clinton campaign, the secretary herself is making the pivot as early as tomorrow -- Wolf.
BLITZER: All right. Jeff Zeleny in Brooklyn, at the Brooklyn Navy Yard for us.
Anderson, we remember that location. That's where that Democratic debate took place.
COOPER: Yes, fiery debate it was.
Lots to talk about with our panel.
Paul Begala, you've been working for a pro-Hillary Clinton super PAC. You've been waiting for this day for a long time. What do you expect to hear from the candidate tonight?
PAUL BEGALA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: First off, I think she does need to build bridges to the folks who did not vote for her. She's acutely aware of that. Having been married now for 27 years, the three most important words in a relationship are not "I love you". They are, "I hear you."
I hear you about income inequality. Here's my plan. Here's what we can work together. I hear you about global warming. Here's my plan. I hear you about campaign finance reform. That's the first thing.
Second thing, there is some commentary on the historic nature of this. I'm thinking of Jeanette Rankin, 100 years ago, that first woman elected to the Congress from Montana, 100 years ago. And she said, I may be the first woman elected to Congress but I won't be the last.
Hillary may be the first woman to be major party nominee, she won't be the last. And I think she's acutely aware of not just it's history, but there are women and girls all across America, all around the world, who are looking to her and I think that she carries that with real responsibility. Frankly, I think --
COOPER: And yet, she hasn't been getting young female voters' support. Does she make more of an effort starting tonight to do that or does she --
BEGALA: Yes, but I think it's about the ideas and issues, not simply about being a role model. She is a role model in the same way the president carries that with such grace.
But I think it's more about talking about issues. I hear you about these. The truth is, she is very close to Senator Sanders on many of these issues. She needs to make the case. It's the highest respect you can pay someone. I listened to your issues and I agree with many of them. Here's how we can get this done.
VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: A couple things. First of all, to the extent the Republicans have been feeling a sense of shame today, because of some of the Trump stuff, Democrats feel pride today, both candidates create a sense of pride.
First of all, you may not like Hillary Clinton, you may think you don't like Hillary Clinton. When she is the nominee, you will get the goose bumps.
It's the same with Obama. People are, I don't like the guy. But when he clinched, when he walked out there, every American felt a little bit more proud. They're going to feel that way about Hillary Clinton. They may not vote for her. But it's a big deal. There's going to be a sense of pride for Hillary Clinton.
Bernie's people also have a sense of pride tonight because they feel they have done the impossible and they don't feel heard yet. They feel that they're little Davids. They went up against the big goliath of the media that wouldn't pay attention and they were able to break through that. Little David up against the Goliath of the DNC, the Goliath of the Clintons, they're proud of what they've accomplished.
And it's not just the policies, they also want the process to be different. They feel that the big money is an issue. That's not policy, that's process. They feel that the umpires weren't always fair.
And so, they want to be heard, seen and respected on the policy also in the process, but there's pride in both lanes of this party and I think today is a good day to be a Democrat and also a good day to be an American.
[19:35:00] JEFFREY LORD, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: It's called the pivot.
COOPER: Well, I going to say, I don't see Jeffrey Lord or S.E. Cupp getting ready for goose bumps tonight.
S.E. CUPP, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I'll let you know. Stand by.
JONES: A little one.
CUPP: I think you're right, Van, that whether you're a fan of Hillary or not, Republican or a Democrat, you have to acknowledge that it is a historic night when she clinches the nomination. It's historic for women. It's historic for Democrats.
COOPER: By the way, we're just seeing Bernie Sanders meeting supporters there in California.
CUPP: I don't want to rain on everyone's parade, but that's why you have me here I assume.
It's interesting also because she's a very controversial feminist. This is not a comfortable or easy position that she has assumed over the course of 30 years. There are women within her own party who find her controversial. Progressives who think she mishandled some of the Bill Clinton issues with other women.
It's something that will be studied, I think, in terms of her rise, and allegations that it might have come at the expense of other women, and all of the things that her supporters will say that she's done for women. I know when she's most often asked or her surrogates are asked one accomplishment that she had while at the State Department, a lot of the times they say look what she did for women. It's just going to be a very interesting dissection how this woman in particular got to this moment.
COOPER: Jeffrey Lord, do you expect your candidate Donald Trump to acknowledge the historic nature of this?
LORD: Probably not. Probably not. You know, one of the problems that she is going to have here is that
she is uniquely a product of the establishment. Woman, man, she is the establishment and that, in this particular election year, is an enormous problem. I mean, this is why the success of Bernie Sanders to this point. This is why the success of Donald Trump to this point.
So, while we're focused on Donald Trump and his problems and the historic nature, and it is historic of a woman being nominated for president of the United States, she is also going to be carrying this burden here, and that's going to play an important role.
COOPER: We've got to take a quick break. We're closing in on the first primary results of the night in New Jersey. Also, we're standing by for remarks by Donald Trump. Can he calm fears among party leaders that he's thrown away the party's chances of victory? We'll have much more on that, ahead.
[19:41:28] BLITZER: We're awaiting very important historic speeches. They're coming up. We'll have live coverage from Hillary Clinton her first speech as the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee. She's speaking in Brooklyn.
Donald Trump, he's speaking outside of New York City. He's got a lot to answer for. There seems to be a serious revolt among Republicans right now, based on the controversial comments he's made on about a federal judge.
And Bernie Sanders, we're all anxious to hear what he has to say moving forward in the face of Hillary Clinton becoming the presumptive nominee.
Meantime, 18 minutes or so from now, we'll start getting the first results, the first Democratic presidential primary in New Jersey, there's 126 delegates at stake, We'll watch closely, five more states right after that.
Let's go over to John King who's standing by at the magic wall.
John, Bernie Sanders has bitterly complained about the system that the Democrats have, put in all this benefit on the super delegates as they're called. If there were no super delegates, would the situation be a whole lot different right now?
KING: Well, let's go through several different scenarios, because this is a tough night for the Sanders campaign potentially and you can see if you look on social media, a lot of his supporters are complaining even now that we and other media organizations that put her over the top saying those super delegates don't vote until the convention. How dare you? How can you do this?
So, let's go through some scenarios and let's just start with where we are. Entering the night tonight as we wait for the results in New Jersey, and these numbers will change once we allocate delegates through the six states, but here's where we are in terms of pledged delegates, right? And this is the current Democratic Party magic number in the current system. You have pledged delegates and you bring in the super delegates what puts her or t top, 2,383 needed to win. We have her at 2,384, this number is going to go up with more super delegates coming out and but also as we start allocating delegates from New Jersey.
So, this is where we are tonight, and this is why we can say as of this moment she's the presumptive Democratic nominee because she's crossed this finish line. If the rules were different, here's one, let's look at it this way. What if super delegates were awarded, Senator Sanders this many times, where are the super delegates write won big. So, in this scenario, if you won a state, you get the super delegates, winner take all. Hillary Clinton would be ahead not by quite as much. But she would still be ahead under that scenario.
What about if you said, proportionally, that if you win the state with 55, she gets 55, he gets 45 or either way, you get them, the super delegates are awarded based on the proportion. Secretary Clinton would still be ahead, the margin is different but still leading the race there.
What if you just decided, forget super delegates, let's just abolish them, the current number of pledged delegates decide the nominee. A key point that's missing in the social media conversation about this is that means this number would drop. You get rid of the super delegates they don't exist, the number is not above 2,300. It becomes 2026, the majority of the pledged delegates.
At that point, Hillary Clinton is not there yet. If you had no super delegates Hillary Clinton would not be the presumptive nominee right now. But this is the way you want it to be, watch the number at the end of the night. Does she get to 2,026 a majority of pledged delegates by the end of the night if you get rid of super delegates?
And here's one other way to look at this. If you want to score this as a democracy, she's won 29 contests, he's won 21. Now, there are seven left, six tonight. Let's see if Sanders can narrow that the gap. Total votes, 13 million-plus for her, 10 million-plus for Senator Sanders.
These numbers are a bit distorted because remember, Senator Sanders has won some of the caucuses. It's a smaller turnout. So, some people don't like this number. It is the raw vote numbers we have from the contests that report raw votes. But we should concede, there's caucus states involved here.
[19:45:01] So, some people think this isn't a fair number. The Clinton campaign likes it because it shows her so much ahead.
But my point being, Wolf, that we can try to change the rules in any number of ways, some of the ways the Sanders supporters have suggested and at the moment, in every scenario you run she still leads in many of those scenarios still across the finish line. If you abolish super delegates, the question is, you need a majority of pledged delegates. Well, let's count at the end of the night. BLITZER: These are the Democrats and their rules are 50 percent of all the delegates go to the so-called super delegates, those are the rules right now.
BLITZER: Anderson, over to you.
COOPER: All right. Wolf, thanks very much.
Let's talk about what Bernie Sanders is thinking about saying tonight. David Axelrod, it's a delicate line. He's got to, A, sort of, figure you the what he wants to say.
AXELROD: He has to bring his plane in for a landing. And, you know, he can't be in the awkward position of saying, I want the superdelegates, the party elite superdelegates to overturn the verdict of voters. He has to know --
COOPER: Particularly, some things he said about superdelegates in the past.
AXELROD: Absolutely, absolutely. As John King just went through, by every measure, Hillary Clinton has won this race. Now, he has to find a way to make that transition to help build that bridge to walk across. So, one thing I wouldn't expect tonight is anymore of -- he was very hard on Hillary Clinton this weekend, perhaps harder that he's been throughout this race, raising the Clinton Foundation and some other issues that he hasn't raced before. Clearly, he's not going to do that.
I think he's sincere. I think Bernie Sanders is sincere when he says Donald Trump can't be president. That's what he believes. Well, tonight, with her as the presumptive nominee, he has to begin building a coalition back together to make that a fact.
COOPER: But, Gloria, he also said to Jake Tapper it's really incumbent on Hillary Clinton to convince his supporters.
BORGER: It's sort of Alphons Gaston routine. Look, they're going to be talking about it privately. Clearly, he has conversation with President Obama who wants to talk about party unity. And I think a lot depends on how Bernie Sanders does tonight.
You know, when I was talking to his adviser today, he said to me, look, this would be really great if we had a strong showing tonight, if we could win six out of six, if we could win California, if we could finish in this strong way. We're going to end up probably at the same place, but we give our people --
BORGER: -- give our people their moment. We have leverage.
AXELROD: But I think it also puts them in a much stronger position, if he were to win a big win in California, it would put him in a stronger position in these discussions that are going to move forward what the platform will look like, what the rule revisions will look like. If she wins California, that's less leverage for Bernie Sanders.
BORGER: He still thinks he's in a strong position, but it would be better.
HENDERSON: I think the big knock on Bernie Sanders he has a limited revolution, that it isn't diverse. If he wins California, big diverse state, a lot of Latinos there. So, I think that also puts a different kind of spin on what he's been able to do the last many months.
SMERCONISH: I don't think a year ago we could have forecast the stature he would have today but I'd go so far to say he runs the risk of jeopardizing the role that he can play in the party going forward if as David says that plane doesn't begin to descend.
I think the challenge is that there's three things that I think the establishment sees as one thing. There's Bernie Sanders, a political leader, unlikely hero. There's a campaign around him trying to deal with the DNC and then there's the movement. The movement is a much bigger, much more unwieldy phenomena, and those folks are people who feel like they fought every battle. Lot of them are first time people.
So, any election irregularities, those of us who have been around know it's hard to vote in America. But they take it personally. They didn't see Hillary Clinton come out for them, and say, I'm upset and worried about young people not able to vote. They didn't see her there for them in their moment of struggle. So, you have this bigger healing that even Bernie can't accomplish by himself.
So, I think it's important for people to recognize this is not the thing where you can calculate you get this deal and this platform and this deal, well then we can just turn the keys over and --
AXELROD: I think it's incumbent on Bernie Sanders to address with his supporters what the larger stakes are. Lot of us remember 2000, there were some of the same reservations about Al Gore that you hear about Hillary Clinton -- too moderate, too much of an establishment candidate and 80,000 of the people voted for Ralph Nader in Florida. Al Gore lost by 527 votes and history was much different after that point because of what happened there.
Bernie Sanders knows that history and he has a responsibility to impart the history of his supporters.
JONES: I'm trying to be a little bit of a marriage counsel, though, because often what I hear from establishment Democrats is all the stuff Bernie Sanders need to do. And they point to the good things that Secretary Clinton has done, but I think sometimes they're talking past each other. [19:50:03] AXELROD: Yes.
JONES: The things that are important to the Sanders movement are not this platform thing and this thing --
AXELROD: But I think reforms in the party are going to be important to them, aren't they?
BEGALA: But they have to figure out what rule changes they want. Senator Sanders makes an argument that close primaries are bad. There's an argument that says parties should be able to pick their own people, you know, their leaders from their own people. Yes, I can see it that way.
If they're bad, he wants them open. OK, good for him. Then you can't defend caucuses. Caucuses ultimately close system. They exclude the disabled, the elderly, people with young kids, people working shifts. So, he's got to decide. If he wants to really open it up, open it up.
But I think tonight, as important as California and New Jersey, Dakotas, Montana are, I think what he says matters more than what he does at the polls, because the polls are open. The nomination is sealed, there's nothing that can change that.
What he says tonight, and what she says, absolutely, there's a moment -- I don't think it's actually tonight, but there's a moment he may need to be Barry Goldwater speaking to the insurgent conservatives in 1960s when Barry Goldwater said to them famously, grow up, conservatives. You want to take over this party, grow up. We need to organize, we need to win more, we need to work at the grassroots.
The truth is they lost because of math.
CUPP: It's all in how he does it and I agree I think it's up to Bernie a little bit more than Hillary. The way I've been describing it, over the past couple of weeks is that he's been driving this family car on a road trip across the country and he's going to get to Wally World and it's going to be close. The park is closed. And he has a decision, does he storm the amusement park and ride the roller coaster with John Candy, or go all the way to the convention, or does he turn the car around and tell his very disappointed passengers to get on board of the Hillary train.
He has a chance to do that tonight and he's got to do it before --
LORD: But will they go home even they he turns around?
CUPP: Right. Will they go? Right.
COOPER: We'll have more movie analogies coming up.
Right now, let's go back to Wolf.
BLITZER: All right. Great, guys.
We're counting down to the top of the hour. That's when primary voting ends in New Jersey as the presidential race takes a historic turn. The Democrats' presumptive nominee expects a win over Bernie Sanders and that will add to her pledge delegate count. Just hours after she locked up the nomination, 126 delegates are on the line in New Jersey.
On the Republican side, as Donald Trump anticipates another primary night sweep, he's now embroiled in more controversy and clashing once again with Republican Party leaders. We're standing by to hear from Donald Trump live on a night of consequential speeches by all candidates -- Jake.
TAPPER: Wolf, our correspondents are digging for new information about what we can expect to hear from the candidates this evening in these important speeches.
Let's start with Jeff Zeleny who is in Brooklyn at Clinton campaign headquarters.
Jeff, what are we expecting to hear from Secretary Clinton this evening?
ZELENY: Well, Jake, the final touches are being put on that speech tonight and it may not be entirely new to some of us, but they're hoping this bigger audience tonight, it's really directed at them and a lot of themes that we hear Secretary Clinton's San Diego speech talking about Donald Trump. And I'm told she will go directly after the latest wave of controversies that Donald Trump has had over this Mexican flap over the judge born in Indiana overseeing this Donald Trump University case.
But, Jake, more than that, she will also mark this as a history making moment and she will talk about carrying President Obama's legacy forward. Speaking of President Obama he is one super delegate we've not yet heard from, but he's going to be weighing in this race very soon, as early as tomorrow. He's stayed on the sidelines here, we know he had a conversation with Bernie Sanders by telephone here, but the president will be in New York tomorrow.
It's not scheduled to meet with Secretary Clinton but we are about to get a sense of what he feels about this race. Jake, that's important because they believe that he is key here to unifying this party.
So, beginning tomorrow, we are going to see this Democratic Party rallying behind Secretary Clinton. Other people will be coming in and endorsing as well and they want this to be a unifying moment, of course. It depends on what Senator Sanders to do here.
But it will only be olive branches from this side, nothing but nice things about Bernie Sanders at least tonight -- Jake.
TAPPER: All right, Jeff Zeleny. Thanks so much. Of course, that's very, very important.
The Obama coalition, neither Clinton nor Sanders can lay claim to the full Obama coalition. Really they both have peaces of it. Let's go to Brianna Keilar now. She's in Santa Monica with the
Sanders campaign, just a few miles from Orange County, California, where Brianna Keilar grew up.
Brianna, what are we expecting to hear from Senator Sanders this evening?
[19:55:09] Is he going to be leading the charge all the way to the convention in Philadelphia?
KEILAR: We don't know exactly, but if what we've been hearing from him recently and some defiance, it does seem that he's going to be talking about pushing ahead.
Here in California, Bernie Sanders has been really betting the house on this. He's been here for -- this is his 18th straight day here. So, he surrendered New Jersey to Hillary Clinton and he's banking on California to bring him an important win.
But a signal of what we're going to hear from him tonight is that his campaign just sent out an e-mail to voters in Washington, D.C. ask them to commit to vote for Bernie Sanders here in a week during the Washington, D.C. primary and also to volunteer during that time. Now, Washington, D.C. only has 20 delegates but that is the marker that Bernie Sanders has set as the end of the primary season even though tonight is so huge and so many delegates are up for grabs.
He said in this e-mail to supporters, he said at every turn of this election, we have shocked the political establishment with our success. Let's shock them once again in D.C. next Tuesday.
Bernie Sanders has said that this call to label Hillary Clinton is the presumptive Democratic nominee is something that was rushed. And to him and his supporters, the word superdelegate is a dirty word, something that symbolizes he's called a rigged party system.
So, the fact that the super delegates is pushing her over that threshold is something that plays very much into that, and the idea that his candidacy is a political revolution -- well, the way he feels about it and his supporters feel about it is it doesn't play by the normal rules of any campaign.
TAPPER: All right. Brianna Keilar with the Sanders campaign in Santa Monica, California, expecting results from the great state of California any minute now.
Dana Bash, let's talk about these big speeches from all three of these candidates we're expecting to hear. Let's start with Secretary Clinton.
As important as it is to be a good loser in politics, it's important to be a good winner, and there are going to be a lot of Sanders supporters watching her speech, some of them very reluctant to vote for her. Others more persuadable.
What should she say to them? BASH: It's all about treading carefully and not being as Brianna was
talking about too presumptuous that she is going to automatically get their support. I think that's probably something that most of them are going to want to hear, that she's going to work to earn their support.
And the other thing is, that she -- she's got to somehow figure out and I'm sure this is going to be part of her speech how to weave in their core issues. I mean, it doesn't -- we know what they are. You can count them on one hand because Bernie Sanders has been so focused and so clear on those issues.
Now, she's not going to bend and suddenly say, you know what, let's have a universal health care or Medicare for all. She's not going to do that but she is going to do that, but she is going to basically say, I hear you, I understand you, and that's the only way it's going to happen, but the end of the day, it's going to have to be Bernie Sanders is going to have to help that along.
TAPPER: And one of the things that could throw a wrench into this evening, Wolf, is what if Bernie Sanders wins California. How on earth are either candidate going to deal with that?
BLITZER: These are going to be important speeches from all three candidates.
Let's go over to John King as we await only a minute or two from now New Jersey is going to be closing the polls 90 seconds or so from now.
Let's take a closer at New Jersey.
KING: It's going to be the first indication is there a miracle happening for Senator Sanders tonight. Can he pull off a sweep or five of six and come very close here, and you look at this, New Jersey is the toughest contest for Senator Sanders. He would concede that. Hillary Clinton won it by 10 points over Obama back in 2008.
Senator Sanders has spent most of his time on the West Coast, most of the Democratic vote, most of it, there's some down here in the Philadelphia suburb, some down here in the southern part of the state, but most of it comes in the Newark area. The African-American vote is critical for Clinton and a suburb here.
Little CNN geography for you here, you pop in Bergen County, 10 percent of the state's population, birth place of one Dana Bash, one Gary Tuchman here in CNN legacy, we'll see how that plays out.
So, we'll watch how this plays out tonight. In New Jersey will give us, Wolf, a very early test of again, is Hillary Clinton going to win a state tonight or is Bernie Sanders at least going to keep the hopes of his supporters alive as we go from New Jersey and then we go west, five other states, three up here, and the far west, New Mexico down here, and then obviously the biggest of them all, California.
BLITZER: We're only a few seconds away from the top of the hour, John. A hundred and twenty-six delegates are at stake in New Jersey. They
divide those up proportionally based on the percentages of the popular vote. We're about to get the first votes coming in momentarily from New Jersey. But the polls right now are close in New Jersey.