tv Cuomo Prime Time CNN February 25, 2020 9:00pm-10:00pm PST
i am chris cuomo welcome to a special midnight edition of "prime time." we'll keep this going because the 2020 stakes keep getting higher and higher. this was absolutely the last opportunity for the democratic presidential candidate as a field to vie for votes on the national stage before the contest blitz on super-tuesday. and before south carolina primary of course on saturday. really, saturday matters especially with sanders. no surprise most of the daggers were going at the front runner. >> i think i would make a better president than bernie. >> imagine spending the bennetter part of 2020 with sanders vs. trump. think about what that will be like for the country. >> sanders analysis is right. the difference is i don't like the solutions. >> bernie hasn't passed much of anything. >> i do not think this is the best person to lead the ticket.
>> keep ongoing we will elect bernie, bernie will lose to donald trump. >> all right. let's unpak the fight night. thanks everybody for being with us. you were in the room, help us understand something better. bump was writing about it earlier. we were guessing about it. when we heard an unusually loud crowd response tonight. let's say when warren and bloomberg were going at it. she was going at him. what was your take on the divisions in the room, did it seem like some campaigns had more people or just louder than usual? >> welcome to south carolina politics. this is the home of lee at water and bare knuckle politics. you heard that in the room. people were maybe agitated by it. this was sanders first away game to say the least.
it was a jovial environment. people were excited about choosing who would be the best nominee. there were no plants in the audience. no plants from bloomberg or biden. no one else. and i know a lot of my friends who support sanders were a bit antagonistic to the crowd. welcome to south carolina. sanders wins less than one out of every five voters. you heard the other four out of the five in the audience. that's the way it is. he's going to have to 25% his way to victory. you heard the audience for petter or worse voice displeasure. welcome to south carolina. >> appreciate it. i was there yesterday and will be there tomorrow. always happy to see it unfold. that's helpful to us in making analysis. with that in mind what you thought was the defining moment earlier for warren wasn't the bloomberg attack. it was turning towards bernie and saying there's a real
difference. what's your take? >> all week long elizabeth warren had was riding high on her attack on bloomberg in the last debate. raised a lot of money. people were saying bernie is ahead when is she dpoing to look up instead of down. and with her attack on bernie i feel like she is the one that has the most credible attack on policy. the best chance of getting to bernie supporters to say, i agree with you on policy. but i'm going to implement the policy better. she did that effectively tonight. she put herself in the game. not with a gimmick. but with some substance. >> a reflection of the state of play in the party. with all due respect on the west coast it's about 9:00. here it's later. i'll be edgy with the comment. the famous song clowns to the left of me jokers to the right. this democratic party, we sometimes say battle for the
soul. it's kind of more trite than true. it's true this time. it seems to be the fringes that are attacking the very core. what's your take? >> you wrote about this. >> it's a fair point. we were talking earlier about how we have two of the most prominent actors on the stage michael bloomberg. by having billions of dollars to spend. running an ad in the debate. and sanders who has this core base of support. which really has helped propel him into the fight. obviously carried over from 2016 what. the party itself is seeing the institutional power threatened by the fact the mayor of new york who has been a democrat for a year. and obviously they prefer probably a will the of democratic and vice president joe biden -- >> it is bizarre. bloomberg who was a democrat and then a republican/independent.
warren was a republican. is now a democrat. it's really bizarre. you like this. you like to see the party being tested and redefined with progressive policy. let's tee up with warren tried to do to the front runner tonight. >> i think i would make a better president than bernie. and the reason for that is that getting a progressive agenda enacted is going to be really hard. it's going to take someone who digs into the details to make it happen. we both want to see universal healthcare. but his plan doesn't explain how to get there. it doesn't show how we'll get enough allies into it. and not enough about how to pay for it. i i dug in did the work. his team trashed me for it. >> now it's not looking at bloomberg and saying yor your as much as a menace to women at trump is and you're the biggest
threat for democrats. this was different for her. >> i think it makes sense. she needs to regain some of the support she's lost over the past coup couple months and i don't begrudge her trying to differentiate herself from sanders. particularly on policy grounds. i disagree with her read. she's not necessarily laid out a path to passing legislation that substantially different from sanders. but those sorts of attacks that is exactly what the debate stage is for. i don't have a problem with it. >> part of the future of the party. how does it look on the stage? >> it looks bold, beautiful. the only thing i wish is we had more diverse city. in south carolina people are weigh i.g. the fact that this is the first time the base of the party gets an opportunity to vote. with all due respect to iowa and new hampshire and nevada. the results from nevada you had 100,000 people to vote. break it down to the numbers.
between six and 10,000 african-americans. 20,000 hispanic vote. in south carolina you'll have way more than that. this is the base of the party. we're here now. with all due respect to the sanders supporters i'm with you, he's expanned his base. keep that same energy. when we come to south carolina saturday sanders has to prove he can win over african-american voters. my mom and her friends. black voters of a certain age. especially black female voters. if he continues the path he kept in 2016, of getting swept in the south. that is not going to be the nominee for the party. i feel like this the healthiest we have been in a listening time. people want to say the establishment you have the trepidation. tonight in the last debate were very good debates. i wish there was more diversity and more perspective and people
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my good friend on the end of the platform bought a system that was private prison system. after he knew that what happened was they hog tied young men in prison here in this state. >> i bought stock thinking they would do a better job. i investigated and sold it. >> since then i have worked to end the use of private prisons in my state. and we ended it. >> i have worked for racial justice completely and that is
an absolute unfair statement. >> all right. you want a little behind the scenes action? two great things going on behind what's going on. the first thing that is no coincidence. biden felt he had to do this. why. we'll explain in a second. second thing most dangerous words. my friend, but, and with all due respect. when you hear one of those three things, duck. let's get more reaction from our power players. biden going after steyer all you need to do is see the numbers in south carolina. steyer has been out sized there in spending and organizing. he's in the teens. what did biden need to do? >> deliberate from the biden campaign. steyer has been a thorn in their side in south carolina.
preventing them from running away with this. biden felt like the only choice he had tonight was to discount steyer so he could have this as being a one on one with bernie. >> what's the bump plus minus? >> biden has to win south carolina. he has to win. he's been expected to and keeps predicting he'll win. steyer people forget he bloomberg south carolina before bloomberg was in the race. he dumped a ton of money and ads and people on the ground to build up the numbers in the state. the poll came out and about a fifth of the black vote. biden needs that vote. he needs that vote in order to beat sanders. if he doesn't win south carolina he's doomed. he had to engage in the fight. >> if you're giving bloomberg a verb. should it be bloomberged? or bloomed. that's something you would write about it. let me ask you a question, what
is winning for joe biden? one points, two points, three points. what's the message he needs to send. >> winning is winning. first of all i have won races in south carolina. and i have lost in south carolina. trust me, if i could have beat mcmaster by 50% and one vote. i would be in the lieutenant governors house. winning is winning. i don't want to go down that path. with joe biden with all due respect to my good friend. joe biden is going -- all due respect to my friend. >> this is terrible. >> joe biden will win south carolina. this is not a question. with all due respect to everyone watching and waiting, the polls we're not really buying those. joe biden is going to win south carolina. the question is, how much is he going to win south carolina by?
to your question, i think that a win for joe biden a five points is good. i think he'll eclipse that. in the ten to 15 point range. which will catapult him. i'm a kamala harris supporter and fan. i'm not in the joe biden camp. i know south carolina well. my daddy called me today and said what are they doing for joe biden today? he's taking people to the polls tomorrow for joe biden. that's just the way it is because of the familiarity with who he is. and with all due respect to steyer and sanders and everyone else, it's difficult to come in the black community late. and say you're going to be the champion. we work too hard for the rights we have to trust an unknown. >> let's flip it a second. for sanders, all right, what's the margin where you would feel like, he didn't get it done. bernie is good to go for
super-tuesday. >> if he pulls out the win. i don't think it's a guarantee that biden will win. he's doing well. he could well end up in second place. i'll grant that. the thing is looking forward from south carolina, super-tuesday is looking amazing for sanders. i have no doubt if biden wins he'll have a great saturday night. what is monday and tuesday? looking to california. to texas and across the map. the polls are looking great for sanders. it would be great to go four for four. and acknowledge he pulled off a record three out of three. super-tuesday is coming up soon. there's not a lot of time to transition from south carolina. >> that's the point. you don't have time. what you need is the win. it's going to make a big deal for biden. >> really quickly. first of all i love this sanders has won three states in a row thing. that's cool. nevada started in 2008. it's like a red herring.
the fact is what people want sanders to do is is be able -- i notice you said california and texas. actually joe biden is up in texas and california takes them until hanukkah and christmas to count ball will thes. that's not an issue on super-tuesday. sanders has to do well in tennessee and north carolina. he has to do well in georgia. arkansas. in the super-tuesday states where black people vote. that's my only point. i want sanders to do well in these places to prove he can be the torch bearer for the democratic party. until he does that it's nothing more -- >> hilary, you're right to point out -- >> i'm sorry. >> don't apologize. you're great. >> pete buttigieg we believe from the latest recount won in iowa. but point stands bernie is doing well. >> it was so interesting it was buttigieg who talked about the seven white people on the stage
tonight talking about racial justice in south carolina. i think that what we have with sanders is a fundamental difference as a politician he doesn't think in identity politics. he talks in class. and i think that breeds a level of distrust among voters. like african-americans, like women. because there's not -- the one thing he hasn't really done in the four years he's been running for president since 2016 is he hasn't expanded his communication. he hasn't expanded his involvement, engagement. he's just done more of what he's always done. he's right the challenge for him going forward is can he show more empathy with a larger part of the democratic primary audience. >> similar to trump. expand the base. >> i think he might feel that
way. he sure doesn't express it. >> the idea of him doing better. we have seen and again to the big point. you want racial justice change your schedule. get nevada and south carolina up in the front at least with new hampshire and iowa and he's backing kamala harris in the race. she would be in it. with african-american voters we do see bernie making a move he didn't make in 2016. at least incrementally. >> the reason he lost in 2016 he didn't have black support. one of the things under reasonable care niz recognized in nevada. in large part because it's a bigger field. in nevada if you look at the exit polls. where he didn't lose support is non-whites and black voters. he held that base in nevada.
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if you need to know how tight the race is look at the heat tonight in the debate. why did you want to see what was going on? they know the desperation is real. how do they know? the numbers. and that's where we get the wizard of odds. why were they so hot and bothered tonight? >> maybe because the moderator lost track of everything. they were hot and bothered because we are very close on
south carolina and super-tuesday. i want to focus in on some of the interesting match ups. you were mentioning biden after steyer. what the heck is going on there. this is key. this is south carolina top choice for nominee among black voters. between september 2019 and the february 2020 poll. first thing to notice is biden dropping 46% to 31%. look at where that's going. sand picked up nine points. look at steyer just at 2% in september 2019. up to 18% now in a second place among african-american voters. biden sees a threat and that was the threat he was attacking. >> how much is about this and how much is about this. the money that he's putting into it and biden keeps losing to sanders. >> both. we have obviously seen the impact of money so far in the primary. in south carolina with steyer and nationally with bloomberg.
and biden numbers nationally have been going on. and it shouldn't be surprising transferring to south carolina. what i will say is that i think that this support that steyer has maybe a little soft. it maybe soft and that might be why biden is going after him. >> this is actually supposed to be a u. so. next point. >> what about this one. sa sanders and warren. warren decided to at least somewhat go after sanders. this gets it -- in massachusetts. this is a poll -- nice circle there. out this week in the primary. look at this. elizabeth warren home state she is actually in a statistic cal dead heat with sanders. up by a point here. he's going to massachusetts to rally. he wants to kick hr out of the race. warren can go after bloomberg but the fact is she has to beat sanders if she wants to be the
nominee. and has to win her home state. >> what happens to those who don't win their home state? >> they go good-bye, see you later. remember rubio left the race after losing florida. >> south carolina. >> hold on. >> warren. >> i want to go to warren. >> i don't want to rush you. >> woe're after dark. her campaign money raised. she went after bloomberg. she raised $11 million in the month. a day after the nevada debate she raised $5 million. in order to keep the campaign alive she has to go after bloomberg. that's the juice of politics. >> tonight vs. last time? >> weaker. but the days after will be the true story. >> south carolina. >> just in terms of buttigieg and klobuchar especially buttigieg perhaps didn't seem as active as you might have
expected. otherwise in the past. it might have been because he it's also the fact that candidates weren't engaging with him. the fact is nationally he's 11%. and south carolina look at this just 9%. he's not simply the player he was in iowa and new hampshire. >> this is what i don't understand. many things. but biden at 17 nationally and the theory of the case you get out of the very limited demographic states he will grow. why is it so out sized in south carolina vs. nationally? you have a distribution of democrats who are african-american across the country. >> nationally it's about a fifth to a quarter in south carolina they probably will make up somewhere near 60% of the electorate. >> that's the point. this is not just a must win for him. it is a best case scenario state. for biden's theory of the case which is as soon as you seedy versety they will come to me. that's why a win is not a win
for biden. it has to be big. wiz, thank you. >> be well. >> sanders did he do anything to settle the storm over his castro comment? the answer to that is no. the question is does it matter. we'll get into it next. i visualize travel rewards. i receive travel rewards. going new places! going out for a bite! going anytime. rewarded! learn more at the explorer card dot com.
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politics is perception. sanders has an issue for doubling dun on this. >> when castro came to power which was 59? okay. you know what he did. initiated a major literacy program. teaching people to read and write is a good thing. now, sanders is in pickle because you don't give a pat on the back to a -- his argument is obama made similar comments. biden wasn't having it. >> what i said is what president obama said in terms of cuba. cuba made progress on education. yes, i think -- >> really?
literacy program. what obama said is they made great progress on education. and healthcare. that was obama. >> he was in a town meeting. he didn't in any way suggest that there was anything positive about the cuban government. the fact of the matter is, he doesn't, did not have never embraced an authoritarian regime and does not now. >> authoritarianism of any stripe is bad. period. that is different than saying that government occasionally do things that are good. >> did that help? let's discuss with our political all stars. let's get new people into the mix. what'd you think? did he clean it up? >> i don't think he cleaned it up. joe biden is as we're reporting
joe biden and obama talked today. joe biden wanted to go over this with obama. so he was framing it right flt that was one of the strongest answers here. it's a hard place for all the democrats to be in. in a way, yes, it's an easy hit to criticize castro and cuba. you're somehow by extension criticizing universal healthcare. free education and goals that many democrats have. it can be hard. and it can be hard to skate this for lab rliberals in the party. biden pushed back. >> policy wise. the dividing line is -- >> having been to cuba. you are out of line. ridiculous statement. there's no comparison between we want single payer healthcare and saying castro did a good thing. here's the piece he leaves out
every single time chl the reason that castro did that was to indoctrine people into communist propaganda. it's not like they built libraries so people could read whatever they wanted. they had a full shut down on any outside information other than the propaganda coming from the government. that is part of the problem. >> that's true. i wasn't disagreeing with you. for biden to get into this with bernie, to make this hit is cleanly as possible. it gets, bernie is able to do a pivot. that's the reality. to issues that he wants to be able to talk about. again it was a very strong comment by biden on it. >> another reason. biden did this for another reason. joe biden actually does put florida in play in a general election. and this issue kills bernie in
florida. so i think trying to convey to democrats that florida is in play if biden is the nominee. and has some value. >> certainly south florida. you'll see people carving up the state. >> the congresswoman from miami. making this exact point. >> especially south florida. tell is why this is the wrong analysis and it's okay that bernie says it's good to read. even if it comes from castro. >> a reference, everyone -- it will help. bernie was like the end of matrix. everyone is dodging bullets. some went through him. he's like john wick. bruised by alive. sanders is consistent. for better or worse. they attacked him five years. he's a democratic socialist. had has affected momentum. young people do not care. it allowed him to pivot. he was strong and says i'm
against authoritarianism and bought up u.s. policy and intervention. if he wants to dig at obama and reagan and bush. he'll say we have cozied up to saudi arabia. i'll be different. universal healthcare and education. i do not think it will hurt the base. biden did make a strong point. he'll say i'm the guy who is with obama, he didn't say that. by the way i'll get you florida. bernie is risky. it was a win for both. i think. bernie will be bernie for better or worse. consistent. a democratic socialist. guys it hasn't hurt him so far yet. that's why he has the base. >> i say a couple things. people understand he's a democratic socialist this is a different issue. i think back to the woman you saw the clip a buttigieg supporter until she learned he was gay. and going to the iowa caucus she
learned that. people don't pay close attention to what's going on with the candidates. people are probably for the first time learning how sanders felt about this. i was a kid in the 1980s in new york. he's a familiar liberal to me. i understand what that reaction looks like. i get where there's an ingrained sense of how he responds to these issues. this is not adjudicated broadly. within the primary or nationally. it's good it's coming out now so he has months to deal with it and see the responses. it's not the case the democrats have baked this into their assessment of who he is. >> any time you're arguing at the audience in the debate. that's not a good look. the other piece that came up here part of the reason we added south carolina, yes, the african-american community and latino community in the region. but remember there moderates.
part of the reason sanders got push back from the audience is he's got to show he can expand the base and movement to bring in some soft moderates. >> you should have put the four states on the first day. you'd have different candidates up there. >> can i just tell you, it was such a fight to get the two in. >> should have had them on the same day. how can you have diversity when you don't have diversity in the first two states? >> come on. >> i'm the one that keeps saying why the hell is iowa and new hampshire leading the primary season when it's two of the whitest states. no offense. but listen you win the democratic nomination through people of color. black people in particular. biden made a strong play today. he played for his life. if he doesn't win south
carolina -- >> by how much. i want a number from everybody. what is winning for biden and losing for bernie. >> at least eight points. >> within eight he's good? >> biden by six. ten. and. >> 40% jump there. in a mere pause. >> i don't know. i think sanders will do well with younger african-americans as he did in 2016. >> all right. six/ten. >> that's a five. you can't have a tie. >> five is not enough. >> i think six to eight. one big thing happened tonight which is super-tuesday feels wider open again. >> based on this. >> based on tonight. punches were landed on sanders. i think biden got himself back in the game.
tuesday -- saturday was likely to show that. i think this is feels more open than it did. >> i don't know who you are and what you want. >> east coast primaries. he needs momentum. it's ten points. he needs a strong win. >> it's like five points or four. did he win? of course. we'll look at the delegate split. we will. two days later you have all the states winning matters. trite but true. you see the narrative changing every time we have a contest. >> delegates are building up. the media talks about people and not. how much have you heard about buttigieg tonight? why. that's the dynamic in the media. thank you all. one of the sharpest clashes from the last debate spilled over into this one. that was warren and bloomberg. the rematch. better, worse? (woman) no matter what business you are in, digital transformation never stops.
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look, this is the time. if you didn't do it tonight it's not going to happen. you know who heard that, warren. she raised money by beating up bloomberg. tonight -- >> the bloomberg corporations and mayor bloomberg himself have been accused of discrimination. bound by non-disclosures so they cannot speak. if he says there's nothing to hide here, then sign a blanket release and let the women speak out. i don't care how much money mayor bloomberg has, the core of the democratic party will never trust him. mayor bloomberg has been doing business with china for a long time. and he's the only one on this
stage who has not released his taxes. while bloomberg was blaming the housing crash of 2008 on african-americans and on latinos. i was out there fighting for a consumer agency to make sure people never get cheated again on their mortgages. >> now, there was one point where there was a pocket of boos. it's hard to know where they were coming from or why. let's process it with the political experts. what's your take? >> warren is a lot more comfortable hitting bloomberg cheerily than sanders. it's sanders who is giving her a bigger problem. in her home state like massachusetts. it wasn't the that we saw in the nevada debate. i think there's she has a strong message with bloomberg especially on the ndas. it makes people uncomfortable. stop and frisk as potential good
democrat member. you look at the path for warren on super-tuesday. it just feels like the states where she needs to do well i'm not sure her looking strong against bloomberg is the kind of really sort of direct benefit she needs to get. >> maybe not great for her. the question is how bad for him. processing it together. no it was the lindsey graham punch. >> at one point she talked about, first of all, i should say, the issues around how he has responded on women is deeply disturbing to me. i don't, he doesn't seem contrite. he has done some good things this week on the ndas but he needs to think about it and talk about it differently as many in his position do. i felt like the thing that landed the biggest tonight was
announcing his contribution, financial contributions to lindsey graham and to pat toomey. democrats across the country who know lindsey graham is and we hate him. when you talk about people don't thing about bernie sanders and cuba, i felt like that was one of those moments where people were like, oh, mike bloomberg gives to lindsey graham. and he didn't jump on explaining why did he that. >> what is the good answer? >> well, it could pivot that he's the biggest fact or. >> and he gave to him because toomey was the only republican willing to go out there on guns. so he has an answer. >> he didn't respond to it. i felt like he landed. >> all right. so here's bloomberg's response. >> i am really surprised that all of these, my if he over
contestants up here would be the right word for it. even though nobody pays attention to the clock, i'm surprised they show up. because i would have thought after i did such a good job beating them last week, that they wobble afraid to do that. >> wah-wah! that's not the best answer. the question is how damaging? who is laughing? >> the fundamental question that you're asking really is how much of an effect this debate will have broadly. last week we saw that bloomberg had a terrible performance. i'm not clear on the extent to which it did damage. we don't have poll newspapeumbe give as you sense of that. put up as much as he can and that will be the number he leaves with people. we've seen him rise in the polls on the strength of the ads. yes, by raising these issues that he will impede that momentum but his strategy has been to dump as much money in as
he can. i think that's why elizabeth warren find him so distasteful. >> it's obvious she has a long term personal antipathy to this rich guy. and i think that's what came across tonight as much as anything else. i think he looked like a candidate on the stage tonight. whereas last week, he looked like a deer in the headlights. and i think that probably is the ultimate impression. >> a little nice upside of low expectations. who do i hear over there? finney? >> that's me. >> you know i love you, finney. there's no one i like to see get upset at my questions more than you. >> i feel like elizabeth warren, she's coming for his soul. >> that's much better than a keanu reeves. >> i think it is on point. i believe it is fundamental for
her. i think she sincerely believes that a billionaire should not buy his way in. i believe she says, if i don't get the nomination, i'm going for everything. i'm going to make sure this guy who hasn't released his taxes. stop and frisk. supports a republican. i'm going to make sure i take out this man. it gave her a huge boost. strategically, does it give her a pass specifically when bernie is commanding the vote? probably not. but that's sincerity with warren. she will make sure that americans know this man does not belong on the stage with the other nominees. she was accurate in all her points and he failed to answer. he is just smug and arrogant. money can buy love and charisma on the debate stage. let's not forget. he is just doing super tuesday. he did himself no favor. and women are paying attention. >> it can't buy you charisma but
kit buy you ads. it has him 15% in all polls across the country. >> so two things, i'm going to put a theory out there. to some degree, watching warren go after bloomberg is a little bit like, i can see, envision her going after donald trump. on a stage. i wonder if that's the strategy. that's just my own theory because there are some similarities. specifically, wasn't just, he continues to be very mysogynist and sexist toward her. he keeps calling her that person. i completely degree with hillary. it is not just that he gave to lindsey graham. as we're now starting to really vet bloomberg. he was a democrat. we know him as a new york democrat. then he became a republican. and he had to show some republican love. then he was an independent. now he's back to being a democrat. that political expediency, sure,
politicians do politics. >> he will have to deal with it. karen finney, i love you and thank you. you get the last word. thank you, everyone. good to have you. he's like give me a break. >> thanks to all in. i know it is no contest if i include you. thank you for watching. look. tonight had huge implications and you will see it reverberate tomorrow through the rest of the week. and then saturday will change the course of the democrats' game. thank you for watching. stay tuned. the news continues on cnn. feel the clarity of new non-drowsy claritin cool mint chewables. the only allergy product with relief of your worst symptoms, including itchy throat. plus an immediate blast of cooling sensation. feel the clarity and live claritin clear.
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