tv Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer CNN March 7, 2016 2:00pm-4:01pm PST
everything about her career and her image is based on these pieces of information on the drug testing. >> christine brennan, always great to have you. thank you for joining us. follow me on facebook and twitter. i turn you over to wolf blitzer next door in "the situation room." thanks for watching. happening now, two-man race after big weekend gains. and with another super tuesday just hours away, donald trump and ted cruz are calling on marco rubio to get out of the race. but will rubio get a boost from big money campaign ads? pardon the interruption. hillary clinton and bernie sanders slam each other over the auto and wall street bailouts. it was sometimes hard to get a word in edgewise during our cnn debate. did either gain an edge going into the next round of primary contests. sophisticated bomb. just weeks after a laptop bomb blew a hole in an airliner over somalia, a similar bomb explodes in an airport there. will a devastating u.s. air strike keep the terrorists off
balance. and un-deterred. as the u.s. and south korea launch massive war games an angry kim jong-un threatens to launch a preemptive strike. could he make good on his threat? i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." we're counting down to the next super tuesday, that would be tomorrow. four more contests for the republicans with 150 delegates at stake. donald trump is pulling away, but after a strong weekend, ted cruz is nipping at his heels. both candidates want marco rubio to quit the race. but after a win of his own, rubio is closing the gap in his home state of florida, according to latest polls. a new trump ad is attacking him there while rubio is getting some help from a conservative group. can super pac attack ads cut trump down to size? and a sophisticated laptop bomb explodes at an airport in somalia just weeks after a
similar device blew a hole in an airliner. and now a u.s. air strike devastates a terror training camp belonging to al qaeda's local affiliate. is there a connection? i'll speak with former republican presidential candidate, snaenator lindsey graham. our correspondents, analysts and guests will have full coverage of the day's top stories. we begin with the republicans. donald trump and ted cruz hoping to go one on one after tomorrow's contest. marco rubio may have other ideas. jason carroll is on the campaign trail for us in tampa, florida, right now. jason, what's the latest? >> reporter: well, the rubio rally is just about to get under way here. as you know, wolf, rubio has his sights set squarely on his home state of florida. it is a state that he must win. while some people want this to be a two-way race, rubio telling reporters just a few minutes ago, he has no intention of getting out. >> who's going to win north
carolina? >> reporter: donald trump's confidence on full display today, campaigning in north carolina, whose primary is still more than a week away. the gop front-runner running strong in tomorrow's big super tuesday prize, michigan. >> i've been to michigan a lot. i think we're going to do well there. >> reporter: a new monmouth university poll released today shows trump at 36% in the wolverine state, followed by cruz at 23%. after big weekend wins, trump and cruz say the gop primary fight is now turning into a two-man race. >> marco rubio had a very, very bad night. personally i'd call for him to drop out of the race. i think that it's time now that he drop out of the race. i would love to take on ted one on one. that would be so much fun. >> if you don't want to see donald trump as the nominee, then i invite you to join our team. >> reporter: cruz picking up some momentum after scoring wins this weekend in kansas and maine, helping close trump's advantage in the delegate count.
>> we've beaten donald trump not once, not twice, but seven times in states all across this country. >> reporter: trump, meanwhile, edging out cruz in kentucky and louisiana. rubio earned his second victory on sunday in puerto rico, coming on the heels of disappointing results in saturday's contests. but the florida senator's presidential hopes now rest on his home state, which holds its primary on march 15th. one new florida poll released today showed rubio within striking distance of trump, trailing by eight points, 38% to 30%. trump slamming his rival on the trail today. >> he couldn't be elected dog catcher in florida. >> reporter: and in a new hard-hitting television ad. >> marco rubio, another corrupt, all talk, no action politician. >> reporter: rubio's effort to derail the front-runner getting a boost from super pacs opposed to trump.
the latest highlighting trump's sometimes coarse language on the campaign trail. >> he gets the nomination, they're going to sue his [ bleep ]. he said he's a [ bleep ]. i don't give a [ bleep ]. we'll beat the [ bleep ] out of them. >> reporter: again, rubio telling reporters just a short while ago that he is committed to staying in this race, going the long haul if he has to. one rubio advisor telling me that they're also encouraged by early voting, which seems to, what they say show voters leaning towards rubio as opposed to trump. one rubio supporter telling me a short while ago, look, we have an uphill battle ahead of us. wolf. >> jason carroll, thanks very much. we're getting some breaking news right now. just moments ago the former new york city mayor michael bloomberg announced he will not, repeat, not run as a third party independent presidential candidate this year. sunlen serfaty is with me here in the situation room.
you and i have just been looking at this this statement, this article that he just put out. >> that's right. an op-ed just published entitled "the risk i will not take" by michael bloomberg firmly saying that he will not run for presidency. in this op-ed he says when i look at the data if i enter the race i could not win. i think i could win a number of diverse state but not enough electoral college votes. he said in a three-way race it's unlikely any candidate would win a majority of electoral votes and then the power to choose the president could be taken out of the hands of the american people and thrown to congress. this had been such a big question mark hanging over the race. pretty firm decision. >> and if nobody got the 270 electoral vote number, it would go to the house of representatives where the republicans are the majority and presumably bloomberg would not get that majority even if he entered as a third-party
candidate. are you getting more information on the cruz campaign and what they're trying to do? they clearly want marco rubio out of this contest. >> that's right. cruz was campaigning in mississippi and he not one word said anything about marco rubio. it was all about donald trump, donald trump. cruz was supposed to have a day off from the campaign trail. he's been largely under the weather and sick, but they quickly changed his campaign schedule and added last-minute events in mississippi and michigan. these are states that vote tomorrow. the cruz campaign of course not wanting to leave any momentum from this weekend behind. cruz spoke with voters early eer today and here's what he said to say. >> it's neck in neck right now, i'm encouraged. i think momentum is surging our direction. number one, we're seeing folks who had been supporting donald trump and are realizing he isn't who we thought he was. >> he called mississippi a battle ground and he called donald trump his biggest
competitor in that state. >> i want you to listen to what trump said on saturday after cruz won a few states. >> i would love to take on ted one on one because ted can't win new york, he can't win new jersey, he can't win pennsylvania, he can't win california. i want ted one on one, okay? marco has to get out of the race, has to. because despite what ted said, oh do i want to run against just ted. that will be easy. >> interesting. you know, this whole notion of just a two-person race would be fascinating if in fact rubio got out, kasich got out, neither one of them indicating right now that they're going to get out. but you're talking to people inside the cruz campaign. do they really think it's realistic that it's going to be cruz versus trump? >> that is what they have been hankering for for a long time. a cruz campaign official tells me as far as their path forward, they think they are in a good
spot. they say we have a path to victory. they're not basing that path on winning any one specific state. always really trying to reach these thresholds in the states that aren't winner take all, pick up delegates here or there, push this into a two-person race is where they felt most comfortable and where they're going to be focused on going forward. >> sunlen serfaty, thanks very much. joining us in the situation room, a past and current target of donald trump's attacks, republican senator, the former republican presidential candidate, lindsey graham who's been looking for someone to be a viable alternative to donald trump. senator, thanks very much for coming in. >> anybody. >> let me get your immediate reaction to the news, the breaking news, the risk i will not take, michael bloomberg, the former mayor of new york city announcing just a few moments ago he doesn't think it's realistic for him to run as a third party candidate and as a result he won't run. what is your reaction? >> well, i honor his decision.
if he did run it probably would be hard to get 270 electoral votes for either major party and you'd go to the house so in that regard that's probably not a good outcome for the country as a whole. so i respect his decision. >> there are people i have been speaking to who are close to him. i think if hillary clinton were not looking like she was going to get the nomination and it was going to be bernie sanders versus donald trump, for example, he then might think he could get enough to get 270 electoral votes. but with hillary clinton stronger right now than bernie sanders that's probably convinced him this is not a good time for him to run. >> makes sense. >> let's talk a little bit of donald trump. he tweeted this about you, senator. he said failed presidential candidate lindsey graham should respect me. i destroyed his run, brought him from 7% to 0% when he got out. now nasty, exclamation point. you replied to donald trump, i never got past 2%. you aren't prepared to be
commander in chief of world's finest fighting force. here's the question. if donald trump is the republican nominee, he's the front-runner right now, running against hillary clinton, who do you vote for? >> well, you ask me after the convention. >> why can't you tell me now? >> i'm not going to tell you now. i don't believe he's going to be the nominee. this is not about who we nominate anymore as republicans as much as who we are. this is a fight for the heart and soul of the republican party. what is conservatism. if it's donald trump carrying the conservative banner, i think not only did we lose the election, but we'll be unable in the future to grow the conservative cause. as much as i disagree with ted cruz, if it came down to donald trump or ted cruz, i would be firmly in ted's camp because i think he really is a conservative. >> because i know you totally disagree with ted cruz. >> on a lot of things. >> i'll play a little clip for you. we had a conversation. this was on february 4th, you and me here. listen to this. >> in ted cruz's world dictators do very, very well. this carpet bombing stuff is a
joke. we had 100,000 grounds troops going into the first gulf war, so you're not going to win the war from the air absolutely. he wants to read miranda rights to terrorists. i've seen him in action. every time the libertarian cause was on trial on the senate floor, he was with them. >> so you don't have any confidence in him being commander in chief? >> i think he's been just as bomb as obama if not worse. >> do you want to revise and amend those comments when you say i think he's been just as wrong as obama if not worse? >> we were talking about libya and syria. >> right. >> those two things. he would rebuild the military. i think he would have a more robust approach to putin. i think he would be more aggressive when it came to the iranian deal. when it comes to libya and syria, i don't think he's been much better. i'm not saying i support ted cruz because i think he's the preferred choice. i'd much rather have kasich or rubio. but the problem is we have an ideological contest going on in the republican party. this is an outsider year.
rubio and kasich will have a hard time beating trump one on one. when you ending up the cruz, trump, carson vote is over 60% of our primary. it seems that ted has the most persuasive case thus far that he can take on donald trump. i'm pulling for marco in florida and kasich in ohio, but i don't know if either one of those could beat trump in a one-on-one contest because ted cruz is seen as an outsider in a year where people wanting an outsider. >> if trump wins in florida and ohio, beats rubio in florida, beats kasich in ohio, these guys have to leave, right? >> we're never going to beat trump with three people or four people in the race. if you want to stop donald trump, marco rubio and ted cruz have to find some kind of accommodation sooner rather than later. the two together can beat trump. most of cruz's votes would go to trump if he got got out and i think most of rubio's votes would go to cruz over trump.
that's just a math situation. i'm pulling for marco in florida and kasich in ohio, but i'm pulling for somebody to stop trump. >> so basically your position is anybody but trump? >> anybody but trump and i don't see it happening with four people in the race. they need to consolidate soon. at the end of the day not only is he the nominee, not only will be lose the election, we lose the heart and soul -- >> you heard what mitt romney had to say. maybe there's someone on the outside who could still emerge. >> no. the people in the arena deserve it. i ran, i got beat. donald trump is right to say that he beat me. he did. >> so even if he doesn't get the magic number of pledged delegates but he gets the most delegates, does he deserve the republican nomination going into the up convention? >> i think it would be a good opportunity to take all the other delegates and see if you could put a coalition up. i think at the end of the day somebody who's been in this contest deserves the nomination. my goal is to make sure it's not donald trump because i don't think he's a republican, i don't think he's a conservative and i
think he would destroy a party that i care a lot about. >> even if you would prefer a mitt romney or paul ryan, somebody like that, you don't think it would be fair to the process? >> no, i don't think it would be fair to the process. as much as i disagree with ted, we're both conservatives. he'd pick somebody solidly conservative to the supreme court. he would repeal and replace obamacare and at the end of the day i can count on him to defund planned parenthood. i prefer rubio and kasich, but it's pretty clear to me that my party wants somebody outside the system that's angry and mad and wants somebody to listen to them. they're not looking for me. they're not looking for jeb bush. i just hope that we can find an alternative to donald trump to make sure that we can go into the contest with a republican conservative. >> senator, we have much more to discuss. i want you to stand by with us. we're going to take a quick break. much more with senator lindsey graham when we come back.
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we're back with senator, former presidential candidate lindsey graham as we follow the breaking news. michael bloomberg just announcing he will not enter the 2016 presidential race as an independent candidate. bloomberg just posted an article n in which he writes i have known mr. trump casually for many years and we have always been on friendly terms. i even agreed to appear on "the apprentice" twice, but he has run the most divisive and demagoguic presidential campaign
i can remember, preying on people's prejudices and fears. abraham lincoln, the father of the republican party, appealed to our better angels. trump appeals to our worst impulses. do you agree with michael bloomberg or do you go even further? >> i would even go further. i think he's run a campaign on sooen phobia, race baiting, religious liberty. >> why did he carry your home state of south carolina? >> there are 35%, 40% of my party that are very disgusted with the way things are going in washington, the country as a whole. the world that they knew growing up is being lost. they feel like the mexicans are taking their jobs. they feel like china is stealing market share and they're fearful. donald trump is not the first person in american political history or politics in general to prey on people's fear. there's a market out there for send them all back, stop the chinese from taking our jobs and don't be barack obama.
what he's got going for him, he's the anti-obama in every way in the minds of these people. >> looking back over these seven, eight months, what, if anything, could the republican leadership, like you guys, have done to stop this? because that train of his, that's leaving the station. it's poised to capture potentially the republican presidential nomination. >> here's what i said after the megyn kelly episode. it's better to risk losing without him than try to win with him. when he said most illegal immigrants are rapists and drug dealers, they're not sending our best, he took our problems in 2012 with hispanics and made them far worse by espousing forced deportation. looking back we should have kicked him out of the party. >> how do you do that? if somebody wants to run as a republican and run for the republican nomination and qualifies to appear on ballots in primaries, how do you kick somebody out? >> we could all gang up and do what we're doing now?
what are we doing now? the more you know about donald trump, the less likely you are to vote for him. the more you know about his business enterprises, the less successful he looks. the more you know about his political giving, the less republican he looks. we should have done this months ago. >> he's getting millions and millions of votes. >> but he's leaking oil. he's leaking oil. >> you think he is leaking oil. >> yeah. i think this whole assault on his credentials of being a successful businessman and being a true republican conservative -- >> tomorrow is michigan, he's leading there. tomorrow is mississippi, presumably he's leading there as well. he could capture some significant wins tomorrow. >> we could. late deciders are breaking against him. the reason people are looking at donald trump anew is because people are going after him for the very first time. how many of these guys when there was 17 of us basically hid in the corner? they didn't want to poke the guy. they didn't want to get people mad. ted cruz was running as his best friend. then they suddenly realized, you let this guy grow -- >> it was a bromance we used to
say. >> exact low. >> but in the last few weeks he's really gone after him. >> donald trump overperformed in the minds of many. those who calculated leave him alone, don't bother him. any time you leave a bad idea or dangerous idea alone, any time you ignore what could be an evil force, you wind up regretting it. >> what's the worst thing from your perspective that donald trump has said or done since becoming a republican presidential candidate? >> he suggested that most illegal immigrants are rapists and drug dealers. >> he didn't say most, he said some. >> no, he said most. >> i don't think he said most are. i don't think he said most are rapists. he said there are rapists. some are good people. >> there's some good ones among them but most of rapists and drug dealers they're sending us. and when he said let's ban all muslims from coming into our
country, that's the one that got me. why? because if you want to win the war against radical islam, you need people within the faith. 99% of them reject radical islam, but what donald trump did is he took a whole group of people and put them in one category. the very people we need to partner with, he's excluded from our country. so that shows me he doesn't understand the war. >> so when he said that about muslims and said that about mexicans, the republican leadership should have reacted much more vociferously. >> and the one who got me is the military guys who said he would order our soldiers to kill innocent children, civilian noncombatants. >> that was much more recently. >> yeah, a couple of months ago. when you add it all up, you ask me what gets me going with donald trump, he doesn't represent conservatism, he doesn't understand the war, he would be an unfit commander in chief in my opinion based on his temperament and policy choices and he would destroy the republican party's ability to grow over time.
other than that, he's okay. >> even though you don't like senator cruz so much, you think he'd be better than donald trump. >> i think so. >> appreciate you joining us. there's more breaking political news just ahead coming up. new reporting about indecision inside marco rubio's campaign. we'll share that information. stay with us. when you write with your favorite tul® brand pen, do you sign invoices like they're autographs? then you might be gearcentric. right now, buy two get one free on all pens, pencils, and markers! office depot officemax. gear up for great®.
jamie, you're getting new information about what's going on inside right now. critical moments inside the rubio campaign. what are you learning? >> let me preface this by saying that marco rubio is bullish on his chances in florida, and he does not want to get out before florida. that said, there is a division in his campaign, we are being told, and some very senior advisers are suggesting to him that he's not going to do well in florida and that he should get out sooner so that he does not hurt his chances -- his political future down the road, whether that's running for governor, whether that's being a vice presidential candidate, and the other thing they're point to is the stop trump movement, which is as senator graham just said, you have to sort of get cruz and rubio together on the same page. >> so some insiders are saying maybe he should drop out even before the march 15th florida
primary? >> because they think he's not going to do well. one other note. he had three conversations i'm told with jeb bush about getting his endorsement. the first one he did not ask for his endorsement. the second two they discussed it. i'm told that senator rubio walked away from that conversation convinced that jeb is not going to endorse him. jeb has said he has not made a decision yet, but the rubio campaign does not think they're getting the endorsement right now. >> you're friends, ana, with marco rubio. do you think he should if he doesn't do well tomorrow and presumably he won't do well, he might be smart to get out before florida rather than be humiliated losing to donald trump in his home state? >> getting out i think would be more humiliating than staying and fighting it out. i don't have those polls that have him so far apart from trump in florida. i think organization really matters in florida. the absentee ballots matter a
lot in republican races. there are 600,000, 700,000 that have already voted in florida and i think marco has the best organization, he should. he's our senator. i have a hard time buying this story, first of all, because i've never heard any consultant that's actually making money suggest that somebody should get out. second of all, i don't think marco puts that much priority on the governor's race or his political future. if he wanted a political future he might have stayed in the senate or gotten the legislature to change the statute so he could run at both at the same time. marco rubio has four children he has to put through children at some point. he has to make money. he couldn't afford to stay in the senate. i think marco is going to stay in. i think he's going to give it all he has. he has a problem now, which is ted cruz has decided to play and play hard in florida. is going to be spending a lot of time there. >> that's a huge problem, ted cruz getting engaged to try to
undermine marco rubio, not necessarily thinking he's going to win florida but taking votes away from rubio. >> there's no doubt the rubio campaign would have preferred that everybody looked at florida and said it's winner take all, we'll let donald trump and marco rubio fight that out but that clearly is not happening. ted cruz has said he's making an all-out assault there. it doesn't surprise me in hearing jamie's reporting that there might be some nervous donors or advisers in the rubio universe about his political future and what it may look like. but everyone around him that's in the campaign that i've spoken with, they don't think rubio's head, i guess, is in that place. >> and that's what i said first. >> of course there are some people in the universe that would look out and say, hey, a bad loss in your home state may be really devastating to your political future. you should think about that. rubio's head space clearly is i've got to make a stand there. it's do or die there. >> so assuming he stays in the race and competes march 15th,
he's got to win there or presumably he's out. john kasich, similar situation in his home state of ohio. he's got to win there to stay in this race. >> yeah. i think the stakes are a little lower for john kasich. let's say he wins in ohio and gets 66 delegates. it's still a drop in the bucket compared to what everyone else has. i don't buy the argument that john kasich can create this rust belt revolution that is going to be enough to compete with ted cruz or donald trump or even marco rubio. so yes, it should be -- he should win ohio, but to go where? to what end? i think there are two things that we can know are patently ludicrous. a, that marco rubio should get out before florida. that's preposterous. of course he should play in florida. it's also preposterous to expect ted cruz not to try to play in florida. i mean ted cruz is resurging. ted cruz is beating donald trump in primaries. of course he should go into florida and try to win florida too. >> but what is significant is that ted cruz is not playing in ohio. so they're leaving -- they don't
see kasich as enough of a threat to really compete and put money there. >> exactly right. >> ted cruz is not playing in florida to win florida. he knows that's not in the game. he's playing in florida to knock marco out. >> jamie, you're getting more information about mitt romney and his moves against trump too. what else are you learning? >> i'm told that romney is going full out on the stop trump. but one of the interesting things i heard is he's really not coordinating with cruz or kasich or rubio to do this. he gives them a heads up, i'm going to make a speech, i'm going to do an interview, but he's his own man. and what i think is interesting about that is we've seen him say over and over i'm not running. but if drafted, i wouldn't say no. so even though he says that he sees himself supporting one of these three guys, he's not coordinating with them. he's doing his own thing there.
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clinton is offering an olive branch sort of. let's go to our senior washington correspondent, jeff zeleny. we saw a new line of attack last night. will it, though, really make much of a difference? >> reporter: i mean, wolf, there are few things more sacred here in michigan than the automobile. bernie sanders spent most of the day trying to defend his vote some seven years ago against voting to bail out the automobile industry. he supported one version of it but not the other. but hillary clinton effectively delivered that attack last night. but wolf, that's one sign that they do not believe this race is yet over. hillary clinton and bernie sanders locked in a new fight over an old issue that came roaring back on the eve of the michigan primary. >> i voted for the auto bailout, he voted against it because it also helped some other groups, like the banks. but you know, sometimes you don't get perfect choices in life or politics. >> reporter: the rescue of the auto industry is suddenly front and center in the democratic primary fight. sanders says clinton is
intentionally mischaracterizing his 2009 position. >> there was one vote in the united states senate on whether or not to support the auto bailout and protect jobs in michigan and around this country. i voted for the auto bailout. >> reporter: but sanders voted against a broader bill to bail out banks, a point clinton seized on sunday night in the presidential debate and today in a new radio ad. >> michigan's economy teetering. america's auto companies asked for help. >> reporter: sanders cried foul but it's the latest sign the clinton campaign doesn't think the race is over. tonight a new monmouth university poll showed clinton up by 13 points, yet michigan democrats say the race feels far tighter. on the debate stage in flint, a civil conversation about the city's poisoned water crisis -- >> it is raining lead in flint. >> what i heard and what i saw
literally shattered me. >> reporter: suddenly gave way to a clash. >> you know -- >> excuse me. i'm talking. >> reporter: over wall street, trade and guns. >> that is like the nra's position. >> can i finish, please? >> reporter: the nra agreeing, sending out a tweet today. senator sanders was spot on in his comments about gun manufacturer liability. sanders has been on the defensive about guns, but said he and clinton disagree whether gun makers should be held liable. >> that really means you're shutting down the entire gun industry, that's what it means, pure and sicmple. >> reporter: some democrats worry the rancor would divide the party. >> if i am the nominee, i'm going to want bernie's help and bernie's supporters help. some of them like us both but they feel very motivated by his message. and so i think they will be persuadable. others may be really disappointed for a long time. >> reporter: for now sanders is fighting hard, hoping a win in
michigan could reset the race. >> the people of michigan are going to be coming out and voting tomorrow. all of you going to be out voting tomorrow? >> reporter: sanders says he's on a roll here. he of course has won nebraska, kansas and maine. but wolf, it will not be a real roll unless he wins the state of michigan tomorrow. so many more delegates here at stake. wolf. >> good point. jeff zeleny in detroit for us. thank you. coming up, the former new york city mayor michael bloomberg announcing he will not make a bid for the white house. could that hurt donald trump?
just weeks after a laptop bomb blew a hole in an airliner over somalia, a similar bomb has exploded in an airport there. that comes as a devastating u.s. airstrike hits a training camp belonging to al qaeda's affiliate in somalia. jim sciutto is here. this was a massive strike, and there were massive casualties. >> the military claims there were 150 casualties. they say that's 200 fighters who were in formation at this training camp at the time of the strike. i'm told the military believes they were getting ready to leave on an operation. the target amasom forces. these are african forces in somalia with u.s. forces aligned so them. it was at that crucial moment the u.s. aircraft struck with devastating effect. it was one of the deadliest u.s. air strikes in years. drones and manned aircraft striking the al shabaab training camp in somalia killing what the military says were some 150
suspected al shabaab fighters. u.s. intelligence says the pentagon indicated a group was in final preparations for a large-scale attack on u.s. and african union forces. the camp had been under surveillance for weeks by u.s. special operations forces, part of a small u.s. military presence in the east african nation. >> the removal of those terrorist fighters degrades al shabaab's ability to meet the group's objectives in somalia, including recruiting new members, establishing bases and planning attacks. >> it's part of a disturbing trend. al shabaab ramping up efforts to carry out terror at home and beyond somalia's borders. al shabaab claimed today that it has just tried but fail to bring down a passenger plane, a bomb hidden in a laptop and another electronic gadget exploded at an airport in somalia today killing several. the blast detonating a security official's inspected luggage
before being loaded on a flight. so maly police say they have several suspects in custody. al shabaab launched a similar attack just last month exploding a laptop bomb on this passenger plane departing the so maly capital mogadishu. the bomber sucked out of the plane's fuselage. the plane landed safely. the fear that al shabaab is containing technology previously meant to be for al qaeda in the peninsula. >> it's concerning because it does show that these groups including now al shabaab are getting a little bit more sophisticated in how they're conducting attacks. note, too, they do have an eye towards the u.s. >> that's right, target u.s. and another grave concern in africa is isis. u.s. officials increasingly concerned that isis may attempt to establish a caliphate in libya, wolf, as they've done already in iraq and syria.
libya's fertile ground. it's the new destination to foreign fighters because it's become more difficult to get into iraq and syria. >> for all practical purposes libya has become a fertile state right now. north korea is threatening what it calls a preemptive nuclear strike as the united states and south korea carry out huge war games which reportedly include drills for attacking north korea's leadership and nuclear sites. cnn's bryan todd reports. >> explosions, thundering up a mountainside. hundreds of thousands of troops storming a shore by sea and air. these are massive joint military exercises by the u.s. and south korea. another round kicked off today. and tonight kim jong-un is furious issuing an ominous warning. through its official news reel, it will launch a preemptive and offensive nuclear strike in response to the drills. >> they have threatened nuclear attack before. but the farther north korea
progresses in its development of nuclear weapons and delivery mechanisms like advanced rockets, the more serious those threats become and the more seriously everybody needs to take them. >> reporter: a u.s. defense official tells cnn the pentagon is closely monitoring the tension calling on kim's regime to refrain from provocative actions. but there's been provocation mere the heavily armed border for the solid two months. there's north korea's missile test and damaging sanctions against kim's government. could kim back up his nuclear threat? tonight a u.s. official tells cnn his efforts to advance his ballistic missile capabilities are a serious concern. weapons experts say kim could probably launch a nuclear attack from close range hitting japan or south korea if he wanted to. but analysts say there's a key long-range missile capability he doesn't yet have preventing him from hitting the united states.
>> a re-entry vehicle that can come back down and deliver the war head on target. major strides yet to be made. >> reporter: still, u.s. officials say kim is working feverishly toward perfecting that missile capability. most experts believe kim would not launch a preemptive nuclear strike against the u.s. or south korea. that they say would bring about his country's annihilation. but this is a young leader who is unpredictable and under enormous strain. >> kim jong-un is under immense pressure to demonstrate his leadership. and certainly that explains some of this escalation. north korea is feeling its position weakening. its a relationship with china is fraying. its economy is in terrible shape. >> reporter: analysts say more likely than a nuclear strike from kim is a conventional attack, maybe even a commando raid or possibly a cyber attack. like the one north korea's accused of launching against sony. in fact, south korea's intelligence agency now says that in recent days north korea
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happening now, breaking news. final push in a locked battle between the remaining republican presidential candidates ahead of tomorrow's crucial contests. momentum shifting to ted cruz. donald trump launching a new attack ad against marco rubio. and now michael bloomberg opting out. why has he decided against
jumping into the race? best words. an anti-trump group out with a new ad underscoring the gop front-runner's use of expletives. nuclear threat. north korea saying it will launch what it calls a preemptive and offensive nuclear strike on u.s. and south korean forces now engaged in war games. the u.s. saying it's taking the threat seriously. is kim jong-un about to order a nuclear attack? and quest for truth. two years to the day since the disappearance of malaysia flight 370, cnn's richard quest is out with a comprehensive new book on the world's greatest aviation mystery. a newly discovered piece of debris now on its way to australia for analysis. will it lead to the wreckage of the doomed plane? we want to welcome our viewers in the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room."
this is cnn breaking news. >> breaking political news tonight. just hours out ahead of the next round of presidential caucuses. michael bloomberg has just announced he will not join the race for the white house in part because his candidacy could lead to a donald trump victory. bloomberg goes on to slam trump's campaign saying it's preying on people's prejudices and fears. we're also following north korea's disturbing threat to launch what it calls a preemptive and offensive nuclear strike against u.s. and south korean troops. kim jong-un angered by joint military exercises under way right now in south korea and furious at new united nations sanctions in response to north korea's ballistic missile test. we're covering all of that. much more this hour. with our guests, our correspondents and expert analysts. let's begin with the breaking political news. michael bloomberg announcing he
will not run for president for fear of helping donald trump win. we have details. bloomberg also very critical of trump's campaign. >> that's right, wolf. in this article where he announces his decision which is entitled "the risk i will not take" bloomberg blasts donald trump calling trump's campaign the most divisive he can remember, one that preys on people's prejudices and fears. after flirting with a potential white house run for months, former new york mayor michael bloomberg today firmly said no ruling out an independent bid for president. in a column just published tonight on bloomberg view, he writes, quote, it's clear to me that if i entered the race, i could not win. i believe i could win a number of diverse states but not enough to win the 270 electoral college votes necessary to win the presidency. >> raise your hand. i swear i'm going to vote for
donald trump. >> reporter: this comes as donald trump and ted cruz are making the case that the republican nominating fight is now looking like a two-man battle. >> i would love to take on ted one on one. >> reporter: both using their big weekend wins to pressure their rivals to reassess their campaigns. >> if you're not able to win primaries, if you're not amassing enough delegates to get the nominee, i think every candidate has to reflect, has to meet with their team and say, do we have a path? >> reporter: cruz's path is getting a boost after banking crucial wins in maine and kansas, picking up more deleg e delegates this weekend than any other candidate. >> we're now the only campaign that has beaten donald trump over and over and over again. seven different times we've beaten donald trump. the only way to win this election to beat hillary clinton is to run a strong principled conservative who stands with the people. >> reporter: but the math and momentum are still on the front-runner's side. trump with wins in louisiana and kentucky is leading with 389 l
delega delegates. cruz 302, rubio after winning puerto rico at 149 and john kasich far behind with just 37 delegates. trump meanwhile is hoping for another big super tuesday showing. >> we're going to have, i think, a couple of good once tomorrow, i hope. >> reporter: the big prize tomorrow night, delegate-rich michigan. the polls there showing trump leading by a large margin. >> i've been to michigan a lot. i think we'll do well there. >> reporter: that as the candidates keep their eyes on big prizes up for grabs on march 15th including florida where marco rubio faces a do or die situation. trump taunting his rival today. >> that guy, he couldn't be elected dog catcher in florida. >> reporter: and a blistering attack with this new ad set to hit the air waves in a senator's home state. >> corrupt, all talk, no action politician. >> reporter: rubio is now barnstorming his home turf looking to keep his presidential hopes alive.
>> i'm the only one left that can unite us. >> reporter: outside groups are opposing trump hoping to stop him from picking up a win in the sunshine state by launching an assault on the airwave depicting what a trump presidency might sound like. >> [ bleep ]. >> reporter: and featuring ads with veterans to slam trump's lack of military service. >> don't let trump fool you. look into his real record and stop trump now. >> reporter: and there's a new florida poll out tonight from monmouth university showing that trump is ahead of rubio by eight point, ahead of cruz by 21 points. florida is a win or take all state. 99 delegates. >> march 15th a huge day in this race for the white house. the rubio campaign looking closely and anxiously at all its options. tonight our national correspondent jason carroll is at a rubio rally in tampa, florida. what is marco rubio saying about all of this? >> reporter: well, he just
wrapped up his rally. when he opened it up to the audience, he started out by saying it all comes down to florida. and the audience erupted with applause because they know what's at stake here. in order for him to move forward, he must win florida. everyone here knows that. but despite that, despite that he's trailing in some of the polls, he says he's going to stay in this race. >> i'm going to be on the ballot. we're going to win florida. this will be a very long process. you guys have never covered a campaign like this. this is unchartered territory. no one, not even donald trump is on track right now to have 1,237 delegates. i mean, donald trump would literally have to win every -- half the delegates remaining between now and the end of this to be the nominee and he's not on pace to do that. >> well, the candidates are asking him to drop out saying that he's not on track to win. even some of his own advisers, wolf, saying privately that perhaps it's time for him to step out of this race, not confident that he can take florida, but rubio, as you heard
there, is very confident he can move forward. they're going to stay on message. the strategy going forward. focus on the i-4 corridor, those communities like orlando, like tampa where we are, south florida, where he seems to be doing strong as well. they're also encouraged by early voting, wolf, which seems to suggest that voters, according to what that campaign is saying, are leaning towards rubio rather than trump. >> jason carroll at that rubio rally in florida. thank you very much. sources telling cnn special correspondent jamie gangel that the rubio campaign is having serious internal debate about how to handle next week's. cnn reporting that marco rubio himself is very bullish about his chances, wants to stay in, but some of his advisers suggesting he really can't win, should get out before the florida primary, which is a week from tomorrow, march 15th. recent polls do show rubio trailing trump in florida today trump launched an attack ad against rubio. alex co-nant is the communications director for
senator rubio who is with us as well. alex, thanks very much for joining us. let's talk a little bit about what jamie gangel has been reporting, what you're hearing, that rubio himself very, very bullish, wants to stay in this race, but some advisers maybe wondering can't win in florida, maybe it's best to get out before march 15th. >> wolf, jamie's report was utter nonsense. she did not contact the campaign prior to coming on the show last hour before reporting that. it's absolutely 100% false. cnn is doing a disservice to voters by airing that sort of reporting without even checking with the campaign. her sources, whatever they are, have no idea what the internal operations of the campaign are because if she did, she would know that marco feels confident about florida. just a new poll today showed marco gaining from double digits down two weeks ago, single digits now. we're ahead in the early voting. we know how to win in florida. we're going to win in florida. it's going to be a new day on
the campaign the day after we win florida. >> because some of her sources close to the campaign, inside the campaign, not the senator himself, clearly not you, saying -- one of them saying he doesn't want to get killed in his home state and maybe it would be smart, especially if he doesn't do well tomorrow, let's say, in michigan and mississippi, maybe to avoid some sort of humiliation, keep his credentials, it may be smart to get out before march 15th. >> i have a lot of respect for you, but i'm going to ask you to stop reading that sort of fiction on air because it's not true at all. if jamie had good sources, she would know that's not true. that's fiction and cnn should stop reporting it. >> you don't know, there maybe some private advisers who aren't necessarily coordinating with the campaign, just speaking as sometimes they do candidly to a journalist, right? >> that's just not the case. that's just not the case, wolf. i was sitting in a senior staff meeting planning out next week's
schedule when i saw this report suddenly on the air and i came racing across town. >> you came over here deliberately. >> because cnn hadn't asked us for comment before that. cnn went to air with a report without asking the campaign. how did that get to air without somebody asking the campaign for comment? >> i don't know. i assume jamie angel and her producers did speak to -- >> she did not. >> maybe they didn't speak to you but spoke to others. >> i did not talk to anybody that she spoke to. i was sitting in the room -- >> so let's get it straight. the senator, he's staying in the race irrespective of what happens tomorrow. >> of course. >> he will at least stay in the race until march 15 when florida votes. >> of course. we feel bullish about our chances in florida. we won puerto rico yesterday. there's a new poll showing that we have a lot of momentum in florida fp we feel good about the contest. we'll win more delegates in d.c. on saturday when d.c. has their convention, then we'll win the florida primary. come next wednesday, will you have me back on set next
wednesday you'll see marco having huge gains and -- >> the other day there was a poll that had him down 20 points but this latest monmouth poll, trump's 38%, rubio at 30%. he's still behind but he's narrowed that gap. >> we're going to win florida. if you look inside the poll, the people that already voted, the early voters are overwhelmingly in favor of marco. we feel good about the trajectory of the campaign and looking forward to the debate at cnn on thursday night. it will be a good moment for our campaign. >> so just want to be precise, you're the communications director for the campaign. definitively no way he'll get out of this race before florida. >> not only is he not getting out of the race before florida, he's not getting out of the race after florida. >> even if he doesn't win florida. >> we're going to win florida. >> let's say he doesn't. >> we cannot let donald trump become the republican -- become the nominee of the republican
party. the best way to stop donald trump is for all your viewers in florida to go vote today, go vote early for marco rubio. >> there is early voting in the state of florida. you know that donald trump says he should get out. ted cruz -- >> of course, they're running against him. i think they should get out. >> they want kasich to get out. >> i wish everyone would drop out except for marco. that's not going to happen. we have a four-person race. that's the reality. it's going to be very competitive. marco will win florida and we'll be on our way to securing the delegates we ne, if not winning the nomination outright but winning the convention in cleveland. >> trump is really going after rubio, as you know. he has a new ad that he put out today.
let me play a clip from that and get your reaction. >> thanks. >> rubio's been a total no-show in the u.s. senate with the worst voting record of all. marco rubio, none other, corrupt, all talk, no action politician. >> i'm donald trump and i
approve this message. >> i'll get your reaction. >> well, two things. one if donald trump was actually confident he would win florida, he wouldn't be running that kind of ad with his own money on the air in florida. number two, those are the exact same attacks that charlie crist used against rubio in 2010. floridians have heard those sorts of attacks. they know it's not true. they know marco rubio. they voted for him in 2010 when charlie crist said that. donald trump is taking a page from charlie crist's playbook. >> does senator rubio devote all his energies between now and march 15th to winning florida? >> that's our priority. obviously we were in idaho yesterday. we have campaigns on the ground in all of the states, but florida obviously is our priority. >> ohio, that's on march 15th. kasich is working hard in ohio. trump is working hard in
ohio. >> we have a great team on the ground in ohio. josh mandel is our state chair there. he's fantastic. has been with us from day one. but the priority is florida. there's 99 delegates at stake. when marco wins that, that's a big step towards the nomination.
>> because after march 15th, it becomes winner takes all. after florida, is there a path to getting that magic number and capturing the republican nomination? >> absolutely. >> walk us through that. >> well, you can go state by state, but after florida, then you have utah, a state that we feel very good, people like mia love and jason chaffetz. wisconsin, a state similar to south dakota, a state that marco won. it will look different after march 15th. we'll have money, momentum and the math works in our favor. ted cruz has shown he's good at winning rural, small caucuses, but there's only two left after tomorrow. >> who is the bigger threat to marco rubio winning the nomination, donald trump or ted cruz? >> they're different threats, i suppose. trump is the front-runner, he has the most delegates. cruz had a good week last week but he's about to run out of good territory to win delegates in. >> he's opening up offices throughout florida right now spending money there, getting
involved in florida. i don't think he necessarily thi thinks he can win in florida but he's trying to hurt rubio's chances. >> some of those offices have proven to be phantom offices. they don't have staff. they're for a media story. if people want to stop trump in florida, they'll vote for rubio. we've seen that happening in the early voting. the poll you just cited shows marco has momentum on the ground in florida. which is why reports like you had last hour were so concerning and disappointing. >> i'm glad you came over. you're right, the polls have narrowed. 20 points just a few days ago, now only 8 points. still plenty of time between now and march 15th. >> thanks, wolf. >> once again, that was jamie gangel reporting. that's what -- she wasn't making it up. that's what she was hearing from sources close to the campaign inside the campaign. i'm glad we got your perspective. >> let the record reflect that's totally not true. >> thank you very much for that. alex
alex conant. by the way, the senator is always welcome here. we can do it remote, any way he wants to join us, he's welcome to join us. >> thank you very much. >> take a quick break. get reaction from the trump campaign. a whole lot more. we'll be right back. at rates. it's a fact. kind of like grandkids equals free tech support. oh, look at you, so great to see you! none of this works. come on in. the access informationlows us to from anywhere. the microsoft cloud allows us to scale up. microsoft cloud changes our world dramatically. it wasn't too long ago it would take two weeks to sequence and analyze a genome. now, we can do a hundred per day. with the microsoft cloud we don't have to build server rooms. we have instant scale. the microsoft cloud is helping us to re-build and re-interpret our business. this cloud helps transform business. this is the microsoft cloud.
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donald trump is stepping up his attacks including an ad highlighting the use of trump's expletives. we're back with the tea party leader. thanks very much for joining us. i want to get your immediate reaction to what we just heard from alex conant, the communications director for the rubio campaign insisting there's
no way rubio will drop out of this race for the republican nomination before the march 15th primary in florida. your reaction? >> well, alex did a very good job doing his job, which was to strongly disagree and to strongly show some support that marco rubio will stay in this race. unfortunately, there's enough rumors out there, that i always say when you have a bunch of little sparks there's probably usually a fire somewhere. there's something causing this. the rubio campaign themselves aren't help. they only have events listed for him till tomorrow night. they haven't even extended him showing he has any other events planned. plus to alex's point that he made with you, wolf, i would like to see a plan. he never clearly said if marco rubio does not win florida will he be out the following day. you still have to have eight states according to the bylaws of the republican party to even be nominated for president at the convention in cleveland. there's not even a pathway or a state right now that senator rubio is trending to win. so, you know, you can sit there and throw out he's not getting out, he's not getting out, he's
going to win but you actually have to have some substance to back it up. besides words there was nothing alex offered. >> but as you know, scotttie, he's narrowed the gap. trump was ahead. mow in the new poll today he's only ahead by eight points. 38% to 30%. you heard alex conant the communications director for rubio saying they feel they have the momentum in their home state of florida and they're going to win. what do you say to that? >> that always happens. usually these polls do tighten. but when you look at the state of florida right now, there's $10 million being spent down there against mr. trump. and it's not necessarily coming from senator rubio himself. when you have that much negative ads, i have to wonder what are you trying to cover there? maybe if they would spend that amount of dollar amount promoting marco rubio instead of tearing down mr. trump it would have a better traction. but right now when you talk to people in florida, they say
every other commercial is negative, negative, at some point they realize that starts to become counterproductive as people get tired of it and they see that this is obviously an attack of the establishment. the exact thing that the american people are rebelling against. >> let me play an anti-donald trump ad that has just come out by a political action committee that clearly does not want donald trump to be the republican presidential nominee. listen to this
ad. >> i went to an ivy league school. i'm very highly educated. i know words, i have the best words. this is your [ bleep ]. he gets the nomination, they're going to sue his [ bleep ]. she said he's a blp. . we'll beat the [ bleep ] out of them. bull [ bleep ]. what the hell are we doing? you won't raise that [ bleep ]. >> you can tell them go [ bleep ] themselves. >> all right. a pretty tough ad. you think that's going to hurt
him? >> i don't necessarily thing it's going to hurt him. but it shows that he's not a politician. in some cases it mile actually help him with some folks. but here's the thing. when you listen to that ad, you hear the frustration, you hear the anger which is the same thing that the majority of people right now when you talk to them feel about the establishment. i wish at the end instead of having that caption of the pac, wolf, they would say the people are paying for it, the actual donors that put the establishment time and time again and shoved them down throats. that ad will be counterproductive because people will see it for what it is, a total hit piece. mr. trump says you attack me with dollars on the air waves, i'll do the same thing i've always done. i'm going on facebook, use twitter and use social media and talk directly to you the voters. if you read his twitter feed, people will ask him questions and he's constantly responding back to them. something more than any other candidate is doing. that's how he's winning more than other candidates when
they're spending three to four times what he is and the money that's going against him. >> you feel that cruz, though, he's won several contests in the last few days, there's a momentum on his part? >> well, there's definitely momentum on senator cruz's part. but the question is where does it go? we mentioned earlier that there's one poll in michigan that has kasich actually beating senator cruz by one point. so they're neck and neck right now. and so right now, if i was going into tomorrow or going into thursday and i was sitting there in the cruz camp, i would be looking at kasich and saying, i need to get kasich out. he's the one that's the exact actual probably the opposite of mr. trump on a lot of things. he's more of a threat probably than marco or cruz is. >> scotty hughes, thank you for joining us. >> thank you, wolf. >> they're urging marco rubio to get out of the race. what does it mean if michael bloomberg is staying out of the race? our experts are standing by.
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breaking political news this hour. the former new york city mayor michael bloomberg just announcing he's decided not to join the race for fear his candidacy might help donald trump win. let's get analysis. joining us gloria borger, our senior political commentator, the former obama senior adviser david axelrod.
and our senior editor political analyst ron brownstein. he just posted this statement criticizing both parties but especially harsh words for donald trump saying this -- i have known mr. trump casually for many years and we have always been on friendly terms. i even agreed to appear on the apprentice twice, but he's run the most divisive and demagogic presidential campaign i can remember, preying on people's prejudices and fears. abraham lincoln, the father of the republican party, appealed to our better angels. trump appeals to our worst impulses. here's the question. he's not going to run himself, but will he get involved and try to influence this race in various other ways? >> look, i don't think he was not only anti-trump, wolf, he was anti-ted cruz. and i think michael bloomberg probably doesn't have a lot of appeal with the base of the republican party right now. so even if he were to get
involved and say, push john kasich or push marco rubio, i don't think it would have any influence at all. i do think where he can get involved is in a general election. it seems to me from reading his statement, if kasich, cruz or trump become the nominee, it's clear to me that michael bloomberg's going to be campaigning for the democrat if it's hillary clinton. >> i assume he would. ran, let me read more about what trump said. -- excuse me, what bloomberg said. we cannot make america greatbac the values that made us the world's greatest nation in the first place. i love our country too much to play a role in electing a candidate who would weaken our unity or darken our future. so i will not enter the race for president of the united states. i always assumed he might enter the race for president of the united states if bernie sanders were the democratic nominee and donald trump were the republican nominee, he would throw himself
as an alternative to both. but looking like hillary clinton is doing so well, that's presumably so well why he's not going to run. >> i was always skeptical because michael bloomberg didn't make all those billions because he couldn't ad. in fact, the problem is a third party candidate is even if you win a lot of votes, given how polarized we are now, it's very hard to win many states. they're the paradox. the same polarization that creates more room for a third party candidate in theory makes it harder to win actual states. ross perot won a higher share of the popular vote and didn't win a single state. his basic analysis is right. today our politics cuts right more along the lines of culture and class. as a social libliberal, michael bloomberg would have drawn more votes from the middle class and would have made it easier for donald trump to win. if that was his concern, he made the right call. >> he said if he were to run, he probably wouldn't be able --
third party candidate probably wouldn't be able to get 270 electoral votes. as a result, it would go to the house of representatives where the republicans are the majority and either cruz or trump or someone on the republican nominee would emerge as the president of the united states. you accept that analysis? >> well, i actually think he's giving himself the benefit of the doubt that he would take some states. i'm not sure that he'd take any states. i agree with ron. they've been, looking at this for months and studied it. they've had very smart people looking at this. there's no scenario here, and i don't think he would even play that role. he might take votes from the democrats than the republicans. he might tilt a few states one way or the other. but this would be a bad investment. >> does it sound to you like he's for hillary clinton if he's the nominee? >> yeah. >> certainly.
the language about trump was unspear iu unsparing, i don't think he feels much better about cruz and they seem to be the leading alternatives, so yes. >> what about, david, what if bernie sanders were to be the democratic nominee and trump were to be the republican nominee? would michael bloomberg have second thoughts? >> i think that he would spend a lot of time at his estate in bermuda playing golf. >> so he wouldn't -- >> maybe ask for asylum. >> you want to weigh in? >> there's an interesting convergence, almost the same time that bloomberg put out that statement donald trump put out a statement playing off of a census report on the level of legal immigrants and their children living in the country and underscoring something that hasn't been talked about very much. he also has called for a, quote, pause in the level of legal immigration, not just undocumented immigrants, deportation and the wall, but opposing continued legal immigration. kind of really underscoring the
bloomberg message. as trump portrays it, kind of the foreign-born as a threat to the economic prosperity and in some cases the physical security of native-born americans. i thought it was an interesting moment for those two things to come together. trump doing something precisely at the moment that bloomberg stepped out that underscored his point. >> there's more breaking political news we're following on this very dramatic race for the white house. we'll take a quick break. we'll be right back.
republican presidential candidate ted cruz saying tonight, and i'm quoting him now, momentum is surging our direction. after the most recent round of primaries and caucuses. ron brownstein, ted cruz, he had a good weekend. he won maine, he won kansas. two very different state. he made it clear he doesn't want the nomination to be decided at a contested convention. can he sell this right now effectively as a two-man race between himself and trump? >> i'd say not yet. i mean, he did have a good weekend. maine was the most important winning a state outside his comfort zone. but ted cruz has been a candidate from the beginning mostly depending on evangelical rotors. he's let states go by that santorum or muck abby won that he didn't win. there's few states left where evangelical voters will be a big piece of puz.
michigan, illinois, florida, all around 40%. missouri half the voters. in the next two weeks it will be clear whether he can expand beyond his base of evangelicals and compete for the nonevangelical voters that he's had trouble wins outside of texas and those small caucus states. >> we do have mississippi tomorrow. >> over 80% evangelicals in mississippi. that's a big opportunity for ted cruz. and if he doesn't win mississippi, then you know he really has a problem because he's been splitting these evangelical voters with donald trump. so that is a real target for him tomorrow. >> david, in the meantime, kasich, john kasich seems to be warming up to the possibility of some sort of contested convention, even acknowledging he's unlikely to win the nomination, get enough pledged votes without one. can he really emerge as a consensus pick with a relatively
small delegate count? >> well, let me just say if he doesn't embrace the notion of a contested convention, he's got no business in the race. that's the only scenario that's open to him yet. it's a very remote one. you know, his hope is to do very well in michigan tomorrow and to then win ohio while the others fade away and that he emerges as the alternative to donald trump. he does represent a wing of the party that is very distinct from the others. the problem is it's just not a big enough wing. and as long as marco rubio is in the race that's where the establishment chips have gone. it's a tough row to hoe for kasich. he's run a good campaign. i'm just not sure he's running in a party that exists. >> the biggest state tomorrow, michigan, a very important race. here the latest mon mouth university poll numbers. trump at 36%, cruz at 23%, kasich at 21%, rubio down at
13%. trump wins michigan tomorrow. that's another big bonanza for him. >> it also is a signal of some problems for john kasich. because it's the same demographic as his home state of ohio, which is a must, must, must win for him. because it's got 30% catholics, wolf, 40% of the electorate is evangelical. a lot of blue collar voters. and kasich's appeal would be with those catholic blue collar voters. if he can't do better than even a close second to donald trump, that may spell some difficulty for him because this should be very comfortable terrain. >> ron brownstein, if trump does win tomorrow in michigan and does win this mississippi, two very different states, what does that say to you? >> well, it says he's in a strong position. the race is in a very precarious position, as we talked about. after supertuesday, if ra traditional candidate had won
the states that trump won, massachusetts and arkansas and vermont and alabama, you would see the party consolidating around him, both elected officials and voters. that's not happening. he's a plurality front-runner. it's not significantly growing. he's still winning about one third of the vote. you don't see officials flock to him. very soon after, illinois, ohio, missouri, soon after that wisconsin, i think it's going to tell us whether any of the other candidates can build a broad enough coalition to overcome trump's dominance of blue collar republicans. in that monmouth poll today 46% of noncollege republicans for trump, double anyone else. it's not clear if anyone can rally the party enough to overcome that significant one advantage for donald trump. >> we'll have all-day coverage tomorrow of what's happening in these contests tomorrow in michigan, mississippi, idaho, hawaii. stay with cnn for complete coverage. guys, don't go too far away.
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north korea's threatening a nuclear strike against the united states and south korean forces conducting joint military exercises right now. it comes amid high tension of missile ballistic tests by kim jong-un. we are working the story. this threat, is the u.s. taking it seriously? >> these are real textbook threats from north korea which launches fiery rhetoric every time the u.s. and south korea
begin their annual drills. they reflect u.s. fears about escalating tensions in the region. calling for a preemptive strike, kim jong-un is ordering attacks on the u.s. and south korea as the two allies begin their largest ever military drills. the countries are preparing for attacks on north korea's nuclear and weapons arsenals. >> we have an obligation. an obligation that is underscored and made all the more urgent on the peninsula by his own actions. >> reporter: the fiery rhetoric from north korea is typical. it comes just days after kim ordered the country's nuclear weapons to be ready to fire at a
moment's notice. the u.s. intel chief warns north korea is closer to building to a nuclear missile. for the past two months, tensions between kim and his enemies have reached what military commanders call an all-time high. ever since north korea launched a long-range missile into space. the u.s. military flexed its muscle in response flying stealth jets above south korea and the united nations slapped the kim regime with the toughest sanctions yet. he's already firing rockets into the sea and new commercial satellite images suggest he may be preparing for another rocket launch. u.s. officials are watching closely for new provocations as
kim seeks to project ultimate power before a historic conference of the korean workers party in may. >> we're probably going to see a protracted period of tension on the korean peninsula at least through the early summer. >> reporter: china also voiced concerns about the size of the military exercises suggesting that the u.s. and south korea's drills could provoke a response from the north. today beijing issued a statement warning both sides to call on restraint and says it will never accept war on its doorstep. >> what are you hearing about the prime minister of israel declining an invitation to meet with president obama? >> well, the white house tells us the prime minister was coming for the annual apec conference. they gave him a meeting on march 18th. it was on the president's schedule. they just read in the news reports that the prime minister
cancelled his visit. they didn't give any reason to the white house, and they didn't even tell him. what we understand from sources familiar with the president and the prime minister's trip that not only the u.s. and israel are in the middle of negotiations on a strategic defense military aide agreement that's not really finished yet, so the prime minister didn't want to go home empty handed. it's in the middle of this crazy campaign season. a lot of the candidates will be addressing apec. some of them have asked for a meeting with the prime minister. after getting him involved in u.s. politics before, i think he's a little loathe to get into u.s. politics. maybe going to postpone that visit for a while. >> thanks very much. meanwhile, a suspected piece of debris from missing malaysian airlines flight 370 is heading to australia for analysis.
the piece of the boeing 777 is the subject of a brand-new very important book "the vanishing of flight mh370." the author richard quest, who has covered this story from day one. congratulations on the new book. quickly, if this new piece that was found in mozambique is confirmed to be a part of the plane, do you think it can track the location of the plane? >> not hugely. it will show them roughly where it was maybe, possibly. what you're really looking for is any signs of tearing, seeing how it became disengage fd from the aircraft. once you've seen that, you can get a picture of was it ripped off at high speed. did it fall off when it entered the water? you are clutching at straws to some extent. you normally need more than just
one or two pieces to make definitive statements like that. it is two years pretty much to the minute since we got that statement from malaysia airlines. there's an enormous amount of speculation and rumor and gossip, but the actual number of facts on the ground are still appallingly low. we don't know where the plane is definitively, and we certainly don't know what happened in the cockpit, whatever anybody says. >> it's hard to believe. i think it's fair to say the greatest aviation mystery of all time. an australian official says it's very likely the plane will be found in his words very soon. do you believe that? >> that's the commissioner. he's been saying that pretty much from day one. the malaysian prime minister
said it and the ministry of transport. it's part of the rubric they say. they are highly confident because they have a 1/3 of the 46,000 square miles of the most probable area to search. the issue is after they've done that and they haven't found the plane is could they have missed it. if they're happy with that and they still haven't got the plane, wolf, you'll remember we're back to looking at the data. how far maybe off to one side or the other. what route did the plane take? was there anybody at the controls? we don't know. we won't know. and they've still got the find the black boxes. >> one of the fascinating details you write about in your excellent new book "the vanishing of flight mh370" is you actually met with the co-pilot of the plane not long before it vanished. we're showing our viewers a
picture. >> we were flying. it was from hong kong to kuala lumpur. it was pure coincidence. the conspiracy theorists said we knew. we obviously didn't. the pilot was engaged to be married. the issue is did the pilots do it, one or the other. at the moment i still believe you can't blame these pilots without more than a shred of evidence, a bit of gossip, and a lot of rumor. >> do you believe we're any closer than we were a year ago, a year and a half ago? >> no. no, we're not. anybody who says we are closer, we may have some more theories, a bit more evidence, but frankly we're no closer to actually pinning this one way or the other on what happened to that plane. >> let's not forget there were 270 people on that plane, right?
>> absolutely. never forget that two years ago today. >> richard quest, congratulations on this new book "the vanishing of flight mh370." that's it for me. thanks for watching. "erin burnett outfront" starts right now. next, breaking news. cnn learning that some advisers to marco rubio are urging him to drop out of the race before the florida primary. excuse me. bernie sanders drawing fire for dismissing hillary clinton during cnn's debate. sanders fighting back against charges of sexism saying clinton was the rude one. we went out and found voters of donald trump. let's go "outfront." good evening. i'm erin burnett. the breaking news at this hour, it's time to go. that's what some