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AT THIS HOUR WITH BERMAN AND MICHAELA

Sanders Endorses Clinton For Democratic Nomination. Aired 11- 11:30a ET

Aired July 12, 2016 - 11:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

[11:00:00] ANA CABRERA, CNN ANCHOR: We will be dipping into that in our next hour for sure.

For now, I'm over, and you're going to be passed off to my colleagues. AT THIS HOUR with John Berman and Kate Bolduan starts now. I'm Ana Cabrera. Thanks so much for joining me.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Hello. I'm Kate Bolduan.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm John Berman.

The breaking news in New Hampshire, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders unite. Any moment the two will step out on the stage in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, together. Bernie Sanders is expected to formally endorse Hillary Clinton. The big question, can he convince supporters who feel the Bern to feel someone else? Can you say that in mixed company?

BOLDUAN: No, you cannot, but you just did.

The political partnership between the once bitter rivals is about to make its debut.

CNN's senior Washington correspondent, Jeff Zeleny, is at the event.

Jeff, what do we expect to hear from them today?

JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: This is scheduled to be a unity event. We are going to hear the words "I endorse" from Bernie Sanders. But talking to so many voters here, there's so many raw tensions, particularly on the side of Bernie Sanders' supporters. There are Bernie Sanders' supporters on either side of this gymnasium here, holding up Bernie Sanders signs, holding out hope that he will not endorse.

I talked to about 10 Bernie Sanders supporters this morning. They said he's not going to endorse today, they don't believe it. He is, indeed, going to endorse.

The reality here is we're 35 days after the last primaries where Hillary Clinton clinched the nomination. Most of his supporters have come on board. Both campaigns believe most will. Some may not. At this point, it matters less and less because Donald Trump is unifying this party much more so than Hillary Clinton is, much more so than Bernie Sanders is.

Not surprisingly Donald Trump is trying to get on the act here. Tweeted this morning, sort of razzing and jabbing Bernie Sanders supporters. He's saying he's essentially selling out his supporters here.

So when Bernie Sanders takes the stage this morning and embraces Hillary Clinton, this will be the moment that Hillary Clinton has been waiting for, for so long.

It reminds me of eight years ago in unity, New Hampshire, when Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton came together somewhat awkwardly. I remember many Clinton supporters that day telling me we will never support Barack Obama. Most of them did. That is where this is going.

But today could have fireworks because there are passions there are Bernie Sanders supporters.

BERMAN: Jeff Zeleny, let me give you a dramatic reading from a "New York Times" article from eight years ago. A young reporter named Jeff Zeleny at that event in unity in New Hampshire, said on a sultry summer day with the aroma of grilled hamburgers and hot dogs in the air the rally took on the trappings of a political festival." We read through the transcript of the whole event. Hillary Clinton was pretty effusive in her praise for Back Obama then. The question is, is Bernie Sanders, what is his plan?

ZELENY: I'm told by Sanders supporters that he is going to fully embrace her but, even more than do that, he is going to say the country cannot elect Donald Trump. I expect his speech to be more Trump focused than Clinton focus. But he also will talk about some of the concessions he has gotten over the last month or so. He pushed the party platform to the left, gotten Hillary Clinton on join some of his proposals on college affordability, health care, minimum wage. He'll talk more about that. But he basically says elections are about choices. You can choose between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, and don't vote for Trump. We'll see how many supporters follow his lead.

BOLDUAN: Elections are about choices, but you don't have a choice. That's what the message is today.

Jeff, good to see you. We'll be back with you in a second as we're watching the podium.

In the meantime, CNN chief political correspondent, Gloria Borger; CNN senior political commentator and advisor to the pro Clinton super PAC, Priorities USA Action, Paul Begala; CNN political commentator, Bill Press, and Bernie Sanders supporters; and David Gregory, CNN political analyst and host of the "David Gregory Podcast."

Great to see all of you.

Bill, we decided as we watch this moment happen, we'll take a walk down memory lane. Here is one key line we recall from Hillary Clinton's endorsement of Barack Obama eight years ago. Listen to this. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HILLARY CLINTON, (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE & FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: I'm standing with Senator Obama today because I know he'll work for you, he'll fight for you, and he'll stand up for you every single day in the White House.

(CHEERING)

CLINTON: To anyone who voted for me and is now considering --

(CHEERING)

CLINTON: -- and not voting or voting for Senator McCain, I strongly urge you to reconsider.

(CHEERING)

CLINTON: I urge you to remember who we are standing for in this election.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[11:05:14] BOLDUAN: Let's start with this, if you're considering -- if you're voting for me and now considering not voting or voting for Senator McCain, I strongly urge you to reconsider? Bill, does Bernie Sanders need to say exactly that or something very close to his supporters today?

BILL PRESS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: If I were advising Bernie Sanders at this moment, I would say take those words of Hillary Clinton and repeat them word for word, absolutely. That's got to be the message. I think that will be the message. As a matter of fact, if you go down history's lane here, Kate and John, you'll see the Bernie Sanders supporters have moved to support Hillary Clinton faster in 2016, faster than the Hillary Clinton supporters went to support Barack Obama back in 2008. It's all going to come together today in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

BERMAN: We have seen polls seeing some movement of Bernie Sanders supporters. Sanders supporters --

(CROSSTALK)

BOLDUAN: Trump supporters don't like those polls.

(CROSSTALK)

BERMAN: But, Paul, on the other hand, it's taken a long time for Bernie Sanders to get to this point. It took Hillary Clinton four days after Barack Obama became the nominee in 2008 for Hillary Clinton to endorse Barack Obama. It's taken a full 36 for Bernie Sanders to get there. His words, not to use the word effusive again, he hasn't been glowing in his praise for Hillary Clinton. Does he need to be, would you like to see him as glowing as Hillary Clinton was eight years ago? PAUL BEGALA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: What I want to see is him

there, the meeting is the message, the event itself is the message. OK. It's 35 days. It took wife eight years of dating before agreeing the marry me.

(LAUGHTER)

She still wasn't very enthusiastic when she said I do. But we were married. 27 years later, it worked out.

I've been so impressed with how Senator Sanders and his supporters conducted himself. Let me eat some crow. I was one of the people very, very worried about Sanders' voters coming for Hillary. My analysis was wrong. I thought Hillary voters went for Barack easily because they were older and won a few and they were more politically mature. I was worried these young idealistic Sanders' supporters wouldn't come to Hillary. Bill is right. They've moved stronger for Hillary than Hillary's voters did for Barack. That shows political maturity from people I didn't fully appreciate how mature they are.

BOLDUAN: Gloria, do you think those numbers matters that John was talking about? Four days for Hillary Clinton to get on board with Barack Obama. 35, 36 here. Does that cloud this endorsement?

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: A little bit. Let's just say the Pew poll says 85 percent of the Sanders supporters will hold their noses and say they're going to support Hillary Clinton.

To use Paul's metaphor, this isn't love. This is an arranged marriage. Is not love --

(CROSSTALK)

BERMAN: Sometimes those can work out better.

(LAUGHTER)

BORGER: Maybe, not in my experience. Let me say that.

(CROSSTALK)

BORGER: Exactly. In that case, true love.

They had to get together on free college tuition, how to arrange that. They had to get together on the platform. They still have yet to get together on trade. This is what Bernie Sanders cares about, these particular issues, and he had to arrange them to get to yes. So it isn't love. They did get to yes and it took a while. The Sanders voters as the polls are showing are faster to get there than Hillary Clinton voters.

BERMAN: David Gregory is looking at Jeanne Shaheen, the Senator from New Hampshire, she is the final speaker before Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton take the stage. We are getting very close.

Clearly, David, Donald Trump sees a soft spot here on Hillary Clinton. He's put out several tweets attacking Bernie Sanders forgetting on board with Hillary.

BOLDUAN: A small book.

BERMAN: He put out like an 18-page, point by point release, top five reasons Sanders won't be excited about Hillary Clinton. Does Donald Trump have an effective way to go at this?

[11:09:32] DAVID GREGORY, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST & CNN HOST, THE DAVID GREGORY PODCAST: He can do what anybody can do, try to go back to the primaries and look at the bad things Sanders said about Clinton and said, oh, yeah, do we forget that. The truth is, as has been mentioned, how about a big difference over the Iraq war. Hillary Clinton was for it, Barack Obama was against it. People fell in line. Democrats fell in line. That was hard-fought and took years for a lot of people in the Clinton orbit to get warmer to the people on the Obama team. Here there's a Trump factor that's bigger than anything else and it's fear of the choice. I don't think Hillary Clinton is seen by many Sanders supporters and maybe not the Democratic electorate overall, maybe she's too compromised in many ways. But Sanders supporters don't have anywhere to go. In this particular year, the argument is going to be there is no choice. You have to be for Hillary. The stakes are too high. The danger is too real of a Trump presidency. I think that's what you'll hear from Sanders.

The key to all of this is the level of enthusiasm that he can muster. I think what we've said is they moved quickly over to Hillary Clinton. He has pulled her farther to the left. But she's got the job to do. She will need his help to try to get people out, whether a fear factor or pure enthusiasm, to get them to the polls. That's what Obama had in 2008. He had it again in 2012. She's got to have that because I think Trump in many ways relies on depressing her coalition, keeping those numbers down in the fall.

BOLDUAN: Gloria, when you look at this that Donald Trump put out, and he's blade it very clear in speeches that he's made that he's outreached to Bernie Sanders supporters, come on to our side. Is that a worthwhile endeavor for him?

BORGER: If I were Donald Trump, I would be trying it, too. Because of the issues that David Gregory was just talking about, for example, the Iraq war. But on so many social issues, you look at the demographics of Trump supporters who are older, less educated. You look at the demographics of the Bernie Sanders supporters, they're younger, they're in college or newly out of college, college educated. There doesn't seem to be that much of an overlap. I think the big question is mobilization. He's got to convince his people to get out there and vote. They don't trust Hillary Clinton. A lot of his supporters don't trust Hillary Clinton as we just saw in this recent poll. He's got to say to them, OK, put all that aside, look at the choice and don't throw away a vote to a third-party candidate, the way. By the way, vote for Hillary Clinton, just hold your nose and do it.

BERMAN: Bill Press, you are one of these Bernie Sanders supporters. How much do you expect him to do, not today, after today? How much do you expect him to do after today? The question is where? Are we talking places like Wisconsin or New Hampshire where he won or are we talking college campuses across the country?

PRESS: First, I have to say Paul ate a little crow. Maybe I want to celebrate a little bit. We heard from so many voices during this primary, oh, Bernie is going to wreck the party, he's going to be another Ralph Nader, he'll never support Hillary Clinton, which was all B.S. I must say I said so at the time.

(CROSSTALK)

PRESS: It does take time. Now they're coming together. Bernie Sanders just didn't walk away from the primary. He's still going to fight for the things he believed in. He's done so very successfully.

And I say Hillary Clinton has really moved a lot herself and embraced a lot that Bernie Sanders stands for. It's not going to stop here in Portsmouth. I believe you'll see Bernie Sanders doing three things. Number one, he will be stoutly defending and campaigning for Hillary Clinton, particularly in some of the swing states, the states that he won. Secondly, he's going to be one of her point people, if you will, against Donald Trump, taking that message and refuting this idea that the Bernie people are automatically, should even consider voting for Donald Trump. Thirdly, I think he's going to be out there. I know he's going to be out there stumping for other progressive candidates, to Congress, to the Senate and the House, to continue what he calls his political revolution. Bernie is going to be a force to reckon with for months and years to come.

GREGORY: Can I just add, I think there's a danger for Hillary Clinton, too, in trying to get too close to Sanders and his supporters. The danger she has is she looks like she's already too malleable in the views of many voters, even Democratic voters that she'll shift in the wind. She can't get too close to him. She's done things which are potentially problematic, whether it's college education or her views on trade that might affect her standing with Independent voters. She needs him for the enthusiasm but she can't pretend to be too close to that side of the party. It's just not where she is.

BORGER: To your point, David, she's hugged Barack Obama as tight as she can, which is why the opposition to the TPP, the trade deal, did not really end up in the platform because it is something that the president supports. And Bernie Sanders has opposed Obamacare, for example. She's walking the fine line between the man she really loves, who is Barack Obama, and this man that she really has to make a deal with who is Bernie.

(CROSSTALK)

BOLDUAN: It being an arranged marriage, maybe not true love, Paul, do you expect to see Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton on a stage together?

[11:15:] BEGALA: I don't know. I think we'll see more of Bernie Sanders. It's interesting they're in New Hampshire. It's not by an accident. That's a state where Bernie pounded Hillary, beat her by 22 points. It's the only northeastern state, New England state that's a swing state. Maybe Maine might be. New Hampshire is only four electoral votes. It could swing, it might could swing, so Bernie's popularity will be important. I think you'll see him there. I expect you'll see him at a lot of college campuses, enormous appeal with young people. If I were with Hillary's campaign, I would send him to college towns in rustbelt. I've seem him all around. I'd send him to Madison, all around to college towns in swing states where Trump can make some end roads. I that Bernie can be an effective surrogate.

GREGORY: Paul, I think that's an important point because not only that, not only do you want to use Sanders to try to blunt some of the Trump effect in a state like pennsylvania, but don't forget, of course, Sanders did voters, Independent voters in open primaries. There the Clinton team would want to rely on him in states like New Hampshire.

BERMAN: Bakari Sellers, former South Carolina state representative, is also with us, a Hillary Clinton supporter.

I don't want to lose sight of the event. We expect Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton to take the stage any minute.

But, Bakari, Jeff Zeleny was talking to a lot of Bernie Sanders supporters in that crowd, and people who went to see Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton who say they're not going to support Hillary Clinton.

BOLDUAN: There was a campaign sign that said "only Bernie Sanders."

BERMAN: That's pretty telling, Bakari. There are progressives out there right now who are on the fence.

BAKARI SELLERS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: It's going to take some time. There's no doubt. This embrace that we'll see on stage today the something I've been waiting a long time for. I guess since we're all being humble and very humble today, I have to join Paul and eat crow as well and give kudos to my friend bill press because I said on that set, I was afraid Bernie Sanders was going to become Ralph Nader. Jesse Jackson said something last night which is important, that Bernie Sanders deserves credit. He could have destroyed the instead, he expanded it, brought so many more voters in.

One thing I'm paying close attention to, "Time" magazine came out and said Hillary Clinton is struggling to convince young voters. When you dig deep behind the numbers, you see she has overwhelming support of young voters of color, but missing the 18 to 25 young white voters. I think Bernie Sanders is going to play a role not just at the top of the ticket, but also he has a lot to gain, because if we take back the Senate, do you know who the next chair of the Senate Budget Committee is? It will be Chairman Bernie Sanders. I look forward to this day. This is a day we've all been waiting for.

(CROSSTALK)

BERMAN: Hang on. Jeanne Shaheen is done here. We think we're about to hear the official introduction of Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton. Let's listen for a moment. (SINGING)

BERMAN: A musical dance break.

BOLDUAN: I had a musical dance break. Glad it wasn't on camera.

We're waiting for the announcement to come in.

Gloria, as we wait one more time for this, what's the measure of success? Is it Bernie Sanders walk up on the stage or does he need to do something in particular?

BORGER: He needs to say I wholeheartedly endorse Hillary Clinton as the next president of the United States.

BERMAN: It's got to be about her, not about him. Sometimes politicians --

(CROSSTALK)

BORGER: Let me remind you is not a warm and fuzzy guy. He's never been a warm and fuzzy guy. But he is somebody who can speak to his supporters and say this country no now. We ran a great race. We did everything we could. We have to turn our attention to beating Donald Trump.

[11:19:42] I believe, as Jeff Zeleny was saying, earlier, that's exactly what Bernie Sanders is going to do, because his staff -- this doesn't happen just out of the blue. His top people have met with Sanders' top people. They have arranged what the platform will contain. They have come to some kind of agreement. This stuff is really important to Bernie Sanders. And he and Hillary Clinton have met. And this is going to be very well choreographed, believe me.

BERMAN: Jeff Zeleny I think is still with us inside that room.

Jeff, you probably have information about exactly how this came together. I heard about dinners in Burlington, Vermont, with Jeff Weaver and Robby Mook (ph).

ZELENY: Over burgers, no doubt, in Burlington.

Now we're hearing them take the stage. I'll step out of the way, John. This is the moment the Democrat party has been waiting for, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders taking the stage right now.

(MUSIC PLAYING)

[11:23:31] BERNIE SANDERS, DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: Bill McKibben, Jim Dean, Governor Hassan, Senator Shaheen, thank you very much for your kind remarks, and let me begin by thanking the 13 million Americans who voted for me during the Democratic primaries.

(APPLAUSE)

And thank you, New Hampshire, for giving us our first great victory! (APPLAUSE)

And a very special thanks to the people of the state of Vermont whose support for many years, as a mayor, as congressman, as a senator and as a presidential candidate, have sustained me and Jane and our entire family.

Vermont, thank you.

(APPLAUSE)

Let me also thank the hundreds of thousands of volunteers throughout this country and every state in the union who worked so hard on our campaign and the millions of contributors who showed the world that we could run a successful national campaign based on small individual contributions.

(APPLAUSE)

SANDERS: Two and a half million of them.

(APPLAUSE)

Together, we have begun a political revolution to transform America and that revolution continues.

(APPLAUSE)

Together, we will continue to fight for a government which represents all of us and not just the one percent.

(APPLAUSE)

A government based on the principles of economic, social, racial and environmental justice.

(APPLAUSE)

I am proud of the campaign we ran here in New Hampshire and across the country.

(APPLAUSE)

Our campaign won the primaries and caucuses in 22 states and when the roll call at the Democratic National Convention is announced, it will show that we won almost 1,900 delegates.

(APPLAUSE)

Far more than almost anyone thought we could win.

(APPLAUSE)

But it is not enough to win the nomination. Secretary Clinton goes into the convention with 389 more pledged delegates than we have and a lot more super-delegates. (APPLAUSE)

Secretary Clinton has won the Democratic nominating process.

(APPLAUSE)

And I congratulate here for that.

(APPLAUSE)

She will be the Democratic nominee for president.

(APPLAUSE)

And I intend to do everything I can to make certain she will be the next president of the United States.

(APPLAUSE)

I have come here not to talk about the past, but to focus on the future.

(APPLAUSE)

That future will be shaped more by what happens on November 8th in voting booths across our nation than by any other event in the world.

(APPLAUSE)

I have come here to make it as clear as possible as to why I am endorsing Hillary Clinton.

(APPLAUSE)

And why she must become our next president.

(APPLAUSE)

During the last year, I have had the extraordinary opportunity -- an extraordinary opportunity to speak to more than 1.4 million Americans at rallies in almost every state in our country. I was also able to meet with many thousands of other people at smaller gatherings.

SANDERS: And the profound lesson that I have learned is that this campaign is not really about Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump or Bernie Sanders or any other candidate who sought the presidency.