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tv   Wolf  CNN  March 15, 2016 10:00am-11:01am PDT

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we have ballot cams up. don't forget, if there is only two at the top of the mind, florida and ohio could make all the difference in the world. thank you for watching. nice to have you. an ohio voter, wolf blitzer is up next. hello, i'm wolf blitzer. it is noon in st. louis. 1:00 p.m. in washington. 7 p.m. in damascus, syria. wherever you are watching, thank you for joining us. we start with voters going to the polls in five states right now for what we call super tuesday number three. here's what is at stake. more than 1,000 delegates are up for grabs on both sides, which could have a profound impact on the race for the white house. we're watching polling stations in florida, ohio, illinois, missouri and north carolina. on the republican side, donald trump leads the race right now
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with 471. he picked up nine delegates earlier today with a win in the northern mariana island caulk caucuses. 1200 for hillary including 472 super delegates, as well. let's get to the voting going on right now. brian todd is joining us from st. louis, missouri. that's an open primary state. explain what that means. >> wolf, that's what makes missouri relevant and interesting. the open primary format. it means you don't register for a party. you come in here and register with a photo i.d. and basically are asked what party you want to vote for. they will give you a ballot that corresponds to that. people are checking in, showing the photo i.d.s and you get a choice of republican and democrat and paper ballot and digital scanning there. the democrats have a green stripe, republicans have the
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red. let's go to the lines now. the line here at the immaculate heart of mary catholic church has been dynamic here. the secretary of state said she expected higher turnout than 2012. this is a busy precinct. there are four precincts that vote at this station. i took my own sampling of 50 voters who have come through here. i'd say it is evenly split between democrats and republicans. we're told the district leans democratic but more and more republicans are turning out this year. one of the reasons is the donald trump factor. he was here for the rally in st. louis on friday. a lot of people are talking about that. i'm here with the bernie sanders supporter, diane sherrod. what made you decide to vote for bernie sanders this time around? >> bernie sanders is definitely for the people. he's for people like me. and there's a lot of people out there like me. bernie sanders cares about what goes on with our lives, with the
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money that we make, that doesn't stay up with the current cost of living and he cares about so many things for people like me. that's just my fain main factor with bernie. >> a lot of people here are talking about the donald trump rally on friday. a lot of people got arrested. later rally in chicago. it is all abuzz here today. did that play a role in your decision? what are people saying to you about it? >> that is par for the course and i thought the rally and chaos, no that wasn't a factor in my decision at all. donald trump maybe a good businessman, because he is where he is, as far as running the country, i don't think he is the man for the job. >> thank you for talking to us and good luck to you. >> his appearances here, ted cruz appearance here, he has a strong ground game, ted cruz and we sampled a lot of voters.
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another big story, people who have decided late. i have sampled 50 voters. a quarter have been last-minute deciders. a lot of them have broken for ted cruz and bernie sanders. so you mentioned the open primary. donald trump does well in the open primary format but ted cruz and bernie sanders doing well here today. >> seems like republicans are showing up in bigger numbers than democrat s in the contests so far. thank you very much. florida and ohio are unique in the race today for the republicans. both have home state candidates of on the ballot and both are winner take all when it comes to the delegate count. joining us to talk about the race, what could happen about today. the chief strategist, communications director for the republican national committee. thank you for joining us. i want to play for you a little clip. this is president obama. he had harsh words about the republican campaign rhetoric just a little while ago. calling it vul garks divisive, listen to this.
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>> i know i'm not the only one in this room who maybe more than a little dismayed about what is happening on the campaign trail lately. we have heard vulgar and divisive rhetoric aimed at women and minorities, at americans who don't look like us or pray like us or vote like we do. >> you want to react? clearly he was referring to donald trump. >> i think i would qecho that w would like our candidates to be more positive and the president should be concerned with his own party and there's a lot of concern whether hillary clinton will be indicted and the momentum that bernie sanders has in terms of overtaking her. if the president is concerned, he should epikeep it to his own party. >> the other republican candidates have suggested in one
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way or another they are troubled by the violent incidents we have seen at the trump rallies. does it negatively impact the republican party. are you troubled by it? >> again, i would say violence is never the answer. one of the things that makes america great is our ability to express our thoughts and go out and be a part of the democratic process. i think violence is never the answer on either side. frankly, i am troubled by it. i don't think that is how we should conduct ourselves. i'm equally outraged that people on the left think this is how we should conduct ourselves. while the party leaders on the right said this is troubling, everyone on the left failed to acknowledge their role in this. both sides need to take the temperature down, acknowledge it. debbie wasserman schultz, dk dk and bernie sanders need to acknowledge their parties role, their people's role in going to a rally with the intent to disrupt.
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that's not what our first amendment rights are all about. not intentionally going to someone else's rally to disrupt it and create a scenario that is not helpful. >> if rubio, kasich, lose their home states today, you they drop out? >> i think that's a decision for both of them. i think both of them have spoken clearly about the their home states but it is up to them to decide whether or not they have the resources and support to carry on. i will leave it to them to make that decision. >> i don't know if you know about this, but an rnc member sent out a memo reminding them that committee rules say delegates can ignore the primary results and vote their conscience at the convention. is that true? >> he has held that position for a long time. that is something -- but the other day, what the rules of the
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convention govern how delegates must behave and act as well as the state party rule. at the convention those rules will govern how delegates are dealt with. what he is referring to in 1976, they bound the delegates there and the rules changed. any subsequent convention. they will be ratified by the delegates at the upcoming convention in cleveland to determine how the delegates have to behave. >> senator cruz says a brokered, contested convention, whatever you want to call it, would upset voters, hurt the republican party. is that a real fear? >> no. not to me any wachlt when you look at the turnout we have seen, we have had 26 contests in terms of states and territories. republican turnout is up up at a record level. the democrats have had 22 contests. they have reached lows from 2008 in 19 of those. the intensity and excitements in our party. no matter what happens in cleveland, if we go with someone with 1238 delegates or a boll
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lot to decide it, i think the excitement, intensity is on our side. people are flocking to the republican party and i think regardless of how it comes down cleveland will be an exciting time. the eyes of the world and nation will be upon it. >> i want to put up the five contests of on the map showing the number of delegates at state. north carolina has 72 up up for grabs, illinois 69 up for grabs. illinois has a population of almost 3 million more people. why is north carolina allotted more delegates? >> the way delegate math works every state gets ten off the at that time bat and three for every congressional district and a formula that is based on your performance as a republican state in the past. if you have elected a republican governor or senator there are bonus delegates awarded to states that have won well as far as their republican share of the
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vote in the past. there's a formula aspect of this that allows every state to get a certain amount and bonus if they have done well as a republican state in the past. >> is that fair? >> of course it is fair. >> even though they are a bigger state gets fewer delegates. that is an excellent explanation for a complex set of rules, by the way. >> it is relative -- look, i think one of the things -- again, there's an element like the house and senate, an element of fairness. each state starts with ten. they get, if they are bigger, they have additional congressional districts they get awarded those and based on the performance, which is a way to ensure that states that are electing republicans get rewarded but size alone doesn't dictate how many republicans are in the state. north carolina that has a republican governor and senator and outperformed illinois in the past, granted, they have elected
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governor and great senator. it is trending the right way. we have to recognize these are formulas that exist to ensure that states have performed better than others do that. on the democratic side, ours is open and transparent. the democratic side, look at what they do. they give a fourth of their delegates to super delegates that don't have any connection to the will of the voters. the way republicans conduct the process is more democratic. it allows the will of the people who determine our nominee. when you look at the democratic party it is the most undemocratic process by which people who have just held an elected office or elected to a party office but aren't expressing the will of the voters are a major piece of how their nominee is selected. when you look at the systems, the republican system is a much more fair, open and democratic process than the other party. >> i suspect we will be learning more about the super delegates on the democratic side. the bonus delegates on the republican side. an excellent explanation for why
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the discrepancy between the population and the number of delegates heading to cleveland. thank you very much for joining us. >> thank you, wolf. coming up, bernie sanders says hillary clinton has evolved on several issues to get closer to his own positions. the clinton campaign is here to respond on one of the biggest primary days of the race. you are looking at live pictures in a polling station in charlotte, north carolina, where voters are casting ballots for both parties. we will bring you updates throughout the day. we'll be right back. make sure the germs they bring home don't stick around. use clorox disinfecting products. because no one kills germs better than clorox.
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very high stakes for the democrats in today's primary as well. bernie sanders hoping to repeat his win in michigan but hillary clinton is looking to build a lead over sanders. hillary clinton visited a polling station in raleigh, north carolina, a little while ago. 691 democratic delegates are up for grabs in five states today. karen finney is the senior adviser and spokeswoman for the clinton campaign. thank you for coming in. sean spicer said hillary clinton and bernie sanders share some of the responsibility, some of the blame for some of the violence that has occurred at the trump
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rallies because they have encouraged some of their supporters, in effect, to go and disrupt the free speech activities of the republican presidential front runner. i want to give you a chance to sglond i can't speak for the sanders campaign but i can say from our campaign, i think you have heard hillary say it is not true at all. we have a first amendment right and protest but be peaceful and thoughtful about it. there was a peaceful protest that happened outside. as i understand it, those folks left before what happened on the inside actually happened. i think it's important that, you know, we express our views but do so, again, in a way that is respectful, responsible. i think that is part of what is disturbing about what we see mr. trump doing, it's not respectful. >> when people stand up and shout at him during one of his rallies. you don't want that. let him make his speech. if they want to protest peacefully outside, let them do that. is that what you are saying.
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>> it is certainly dangerous -- given what we know about the tone and tenor of the trump rallies and his inciting irresponsibly when he made comments about i wish i could punch that guy myself. be careful, as hillary said, if you are going in to that environment and disrupt because you are in the middle of the lion's den to some degree. clearly, trump has made it clear he's not at all uncomfortable with the violence occurring at hi events. -- his events. what are your concerns about the five contests today? >> we expect it will be -- and we have said it for a while, we expect it will be a mixed result. we have always planned for this go on for the long term. i was at the dnc went we made some changes to the calendar. that was part of the intention. we think it's important that our candidates are vetted. obviously, hillary, she has a sizable lead.
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i expect that will grow with regard to the pledge delegate tonight. so, we are feeling good about where we are. >> he says hillary clinton is evolving, changing her positions to get more in line with him. i want to play a little clip. listen? >> okay. >> she's evolved on the keystone pipeline. she's evolved on the transpacific partnership. she's apologized for supporting the war in iraq. she apologized for supporting this homophobic legislation of the '90s. i suppose one can get satisfaction from seeing her move closer to our positions, but i think what the voters have to decide is will she be apologizing 20 years for actions she takes today. >> tough words. >> tough words, but mr. sanders, senator sanders likes to talk about hillary's what he calls evolutions, which i will take it on in a moment but what about his own evolution. he acts as though he himself has
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not had evolutions. i'd love for him to explain his evolution on gun safety measures, for example. this is a guy that voted against the brady bill five times to shield manufacturers from liability and then when he started to reach the southern states, he started to say, well, maybe i will look at that and sign on to some legislation. as i understand it, i don't think he signed on. he has a few evolutions of his own frankly and that seemed politically convenient. i would say regard to hillary, with tpp, keystone, she made her position very clear. both of those were instances where because she had been part of the process she felt like the president deserves the time to make the decision before she weighed in. obviously once she weighed in that would change the dynamic. i think that is a responsible thing to do, what somebody who is loyal to the president would do. she is a strong sporter of lgbt
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rights and she has been strong supporter of the hrc, the other hrc and a number of organizations. >> human rights commission. >> yeah. and i think it is important, as she herself said over time you learn new information. you change. and -- >> both hillary clinton and president clinton as far as the defense of marriage act, they now say they regret they supported that at the time. >> i think it is a good thing for our leaders to change when the world is changing, when it's the right thing to do. i think there are instances where that's part of good leadership. >> karen finney, thank you for coming in. >> great to be with you. >> karen finney of the hillary clinton campaign. the polls opened in missouri. bernie sanders and hillary clinton are locked in a tight race. can bernie sanders build on his michigan upset and sweep the midwest? his campaign manager jeff weaver is standing by live. we will talk to him after this. make sure the germs they bring home don't stick around.
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x1 customers get your voice remote by visiting senator sanders is hoping to close the delegate gate gap with hillary clinton today. at a campaign stop in chicago this morning, senator sanders sounded optimistic. >> oh, i think that if there's a large voter turnout we're going to do just great here in illinois, missouri, and ohio and hopefully in north carolina, florida. i think that in the states that are coming down the pike, we have great opportunities to win many of them. we are feeling really good. >> jeff weaver is bernie sanders
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campaign manager and is live from chicago. thank you for joining us. i want to get your reaction, also the spokesman for the rnc, the republican national committee. a while ago sean spicer on this program, he said that debbie wasserman schultz, hillary clinton, bernie sanders need to acknowledge their party's role in disrupting these donald trump campaign rallies. i want to get your response to that. >> look, wolf, we have never been involved in organizing any protest at anyone's rallies. early in the campaign senator sanders protested a couple of times but people have a first amendment right and ro test. obviously condition dates don't like to be protested. nobody does. that's why people protest them right. but when people protested at bernie sanders even they were treated with dignity and respect and at donald trump's rally he incited people to violence and said he wanted to punch people
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himself and people should be taken out in stretchers and offered to pay legal bills of his supporters who would do violence against protest aerns others. very different situation. we have not ever asked anyone or encouraged anyone to protest. i think if you look at how the respective campaigns responded when there were protests, i know hillary clinton has been protested and she handled it with dignity. donald trump is a different situation. it's thuggery. >> speaking of donald trump, i interviewed him here yesterday. he said senator sanders is a terrible sanders and has done little as a united states senator. said he hasn't passed much legislation at all. what's the greatest accomplishment or legislative accomplishments of senator sanders in the senate? >> well, if you look two years ago, when we worked in a bipartisan way with john mccain
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and house republicans in a bipartisan way to enact the greatest reform to veterans health care in the modern history of our country, putting billions more in to veterans health care to eliminate the terrible lines and improve streemt treatment for veterans that was a phenomenal accomplish and hailed by some news outlets as the greatest accomplishment of the congress. the "new york times" wrote a piece of how sanders has been an effective legislator his time. there was a period in the house where it was republican controlled he passed more by voice vote than any other member of the house, republican or democrat. he is very effective legislator, fights hard for the people of vermont and fights against corporate backed initiatives that come down the pike like trade deals. >> heard senator sanders say he is feeling good about what will happen today. we shall see soon enough. jeff weaver, thank you for joining us. >> always a pleasure, wolf.
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>> thank you. right now, by the way, voters in five states are heading to the polls. we will show you live pictures from polling stations in high lea, florida. the state has the biggest prize of the day and democratic candidates are working hard to connect with voters there but jeb bush who may grab a headline on this day. we have details. stand by for that. because the salad there is always served with the original hidden valley ranch. then your eyes may see it, differently.ave allergies. only flonase is approved to relieve both your itchy, watery eyes and congestion. no other nasal allergy spray can say that. complete allergy relief or incomplete. let your eyes decide. flonase changes everything.
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and you could save up to $509. call liberty mutual for a free quote today at see car insurance in a whole new light. liberty mutual insurance. polls are open in florida right now. here's the stakes in the sunshine state. they are serious right now for democrats, 214 delegates to be given out proportionally based on this final result. for republicans it is winner-take-all with 99 delegates up for grabs. that makes florida the biggest
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prize of the day. as you know, jeb bush dropped out of the race, the former florida governor but still on the ballot. could that have any significant or meaningful impact on today's outcome? >> likely not, wolf. he's on the ballot along with chris christie and ben carson. however, it is unlikely it will have an impact on the decision here in winter park. this is an area that is truly a trump stronghold. it fits demographically with voters that support him. 85% white here. going up against rubio. i spoke to one voter who said she was a supporter of john kasich but she was voting for rubio because she felt he had a stronger chance to win florida. rubio will need more voters like that if he hopes to win poll. /*. >> we will have to wait and see how things turn out tonight.
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>> boris sanchez reporting. thank you. millions of americans are heading to the polls today, including john kasich who cast his ballot earlier today temperature kasich and donald trump are locked in a tight contest in ohio. coming up, how one republican group is looking to block donald trump from the nomination. see me. see me. don't stare at me. see me. see me. see me to know that psoriasis is just something that i have. i'm not contagious. see me to know that... ...i won't stop until i find what works. discover cosentyx, a different kind of medicine for moderate to severe plaque psoriasis. proven to help the majority of people find clear or almost clear skin. 8 out of 10 people saw 75% skin clearance at 3 months. while the majority saw 90% clearance. do not use if you are allergic to cosentyx. before starting, you should be tested for tuberculosis.
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check it out. polling station in north 0 olmstead, ohio. donald trump is in a tight race with john kasich for the state's 66 dealt gates. that brought out the anti-trump campaigners. we are hoping to keep him from a huge win in h ohio. anti-trump ads show women quoting trump's own words about women. >> you know, it really doesn't matter what they write as long as you have a young, beautiful piece of [ bleep ]. >> must be a pretty picture, you
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dropping to your knees. >> cnn's senior media correspondent is joining us from new york. that was only small part of that ad that goes on and on and on. you can see it wasn't pulling any punches there. i suppose this pac is spending a lot of money getting it out there. >> yes, a half million dollars in cable time to air the ad. of course it is aired here on cnn and other channels, as well, you tube where it has almost a million views. it has had a real impact. one of the first antitrust ads against donald trump that has brokenen through. here's what he said on "the today show" scene good morning america. >> have you seen that and what did you make of it? >> well, you know, i have seen it. it was romney deal. who ran one of the worst races in the history of presidential politics. i have not seen the ad so i would have to see it. i have heard about it. >> what is strange about that, wolf, he told george
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stephanopoulos he had seen the ad and matt lauer that he had not seen the ad but the stephanopoulos came first. it has been saturated and free coverage here on television news. it has broken through in an impactful way. i will tell you something in the first week of march, there were 10,000 anti-trump ads across states. yesterday there were 4,000. more than half of all of the ads on super tuesday states were anti-ty trump ads. there is a belated effort to take down trump and we will see how it did. >> see how it impacts some far it has not had a huge impact so far. we will see what happens later today. let's talk about ohio and the other races. joining us is the cnn political commentator, donald trump supporter, amanda carpenter, communications director for ted
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cruz, cnn political commentate area and donna a brazile, vice chair hoff the democratic national convention. that's a disturbing ad. you are a woman. men will be disturbed when they see that, as well. what's your reaction? >> it was a tough ad and those are awful statements that i don't condone. most of those statements came from the 1990s interviews that donald trump did on the howard stern show. i think he's a different person today. we saw ben carson speak to his christian values. like wise huckabee's daughter has been a part of his campaign. these are strong christian women and men. the american people are forgiving. we had a president that did awful things in the oval office, bill clinton and american people forgave him. if american people will forgive him. >> has he apologized. >> i think he needs to and i think it is important. >> i don't think that sdrump a person that asking forgiveness. he said that at one the iowa forums last year.
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here's think the thing, he can't answer for it. he can't say it wasn't me or i changed my thinking. one of those was made about megyn kelly in front of the national media. if he takes it back, the supporters that say i support him because he doesn't take things back will perceive it as weak. he's in a bind and i'm curious to see how he answers for it. >> i would hope the republicans and others who are now saying that donald trump should seek forgiveness for that will say when hillary clinton if she is the nominee. he says mean things about everybody. he is running for president, a front runner and i saw your interview with sean spicer earlier today. i have a mess age to sean. look, it's republicans are spending millions of dollars to defeat donald trump. not democrats. democrats may go to those rallies, but honestly, and i think they want to see this and there are those that believe
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donald trump is running the kind of campaign they want to stand up against. but i believe republicans are spending millions to take out their front runner. >> a super pac put up that ad. >> the voters are showing enormous support for donald trump. he hit 49% in one poll and 53% among republicans and republicans like donald trump. the republican leadership sees him as a threat to their interest and platform. he's shaking up the party in a way that voters like. they are trying to take him down and will do whatever it takes, even if it means. >> overall he said a lot of stuff people said was outrageous and doesn't seem to have hurt him among republicans going to the polls. >> most republicans find it objectable. i count myself among those. republican leadership is defined as rnc, mitch mcconnell that
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runs the senate and paul ryan. >> the former people who worked for previous campaigns are involved but no leadership effort against donald trump. >> there is, paul ryan, mitch mcconnell. >> no direct involvement by paul ryan. >> not with this ad but he is criticized donald trump. >> he has. he did it last week. there's an effort among party leadership to take him down. the republican voters are sick of it and tired of the establishment picking their candidate and would like to have a voice. >> many conservatives such as myself, people who worked in the movement for a number of years trying to kon advance the conservative agenda see donald trump as a threat to that and those are the people working to stop it. >> i want to play a clip. sarah palin who endorsed donald trump said this at an event and let's listen. >> what we don't have time for is all of that pet ty, punk ass little thuggery stuff going on. with these quote unquote
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protesters. who are doing nothing but wasting your time. and trying to take away your first amendment rights, your rights to assemble peacefully. >> i want donna to react. >> first of all, i hope todd is doing much better. i heard he was in the hospital and that goes without saying. >> her husband was in a bad accident. >> snowmobile sglent i will be respectful. first woman on the republican side to be the vice presidential nominee. her language is so coarse and offensive and out the ordinary you have to look at sarah palin and say thank you, god, she is not running again. >> amanda, your reaction. >> i don't think that sarah palin has been an effective surrogate for donald trump. he rolled her out before the iowa caucus. i don't see anything she has done that has been effective. it is the same old thing. hard to follow. not a coherent argument. good to grab headlines baz you don't know what she will say like donald trump. i don't think it is a win.
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>> has that been a help for him, the sarah palin endorsement. >> help helped with evangelicals. she may not speak like an ivy league professor but she is real and authentic and resonates with voters because of that. >> you went to harvard, right. you speak ivy league. >> right. coming up, in syria death road. a look inside the once thriving and now december late city of aleppo in syria. this is a heart-breaking story. you will want to see this exclusive report when we come back. (water filling room) about 50 percent of people die (dog whimpering) within 5 years of getting diagnosed. but there's something you can do. talk to your doctor about heart failure treatment options.
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♪ no, you're not ♪ yogonna watch it! ♪tch it! ♪ ♪ we can't let you download on the goooooo! ♪ ♪ you'll just have to miss it! ♪ yeah, you'll just have to miss it! ♪ ♪ we can't let you download... uh, no thanks. i have x1 from xfinity so... don't fall for directv. xfinity lets you download your shows from anywhere. i used to like that song. the first group of russian warplanes departed from syria this morning. russian president vladimir putin made the sudden announcement monday that russian forces would
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begin withdrawing from syria. clarissa ward went undercover into rebel-held syria where virtually no western journalists have gone for more than a year. they gave clarissa and her team a firsthand look at the devastating effect the russian air strikes have had on aleppo. >> reporter: you can tell you're getting closer to aleppo. the streets are pock marked with the aftermath of fresh air strikes. burns of earth protect the way from enemy fire. it's a dangerous way to a city few dare to visit. on one side, you have the regime and on the other side, you have the fighting rebel forces, snipers all around here, but this is the only road now to get in to aleppo. as you arrive, the scale of the
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destruction is breathtaking. stretching on and on. entire residential neighborhoods reduced to rubble. aleppo was once syria's largest city. a bustling economic hub. now an apocalyptic landscape. russian warplanes have bombed these areas relentlessly. allowing government ground forces to encircle the rebel held eastern part of the city. still, we found pockets of life among the devastation. a fruit market huddled in the shadow of a bombed out building. a line of people waiting patiently to collect water. now a precious resource here. this is basically what is left of rebel-held aleppo, after months and months of thousands of russian bombs raining down on
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here, the streets are largely deserted, the buildings destroyed. the people who once lived here have been pushed out. the few residents who are still here who we've spoken to have told us they don't expect the situation to get any better. in fact, they're convinced it will only get worse. 70-year-old suad has lived in this city for 40 years. her grandson farouk is a fighter with the islamist rebel group. in all, nine members of her family have been killed in the fighting, including two of her three sons. >> translator: they all died on the front line. we raise our heads high for them. god willing, they are in paradise. >> reporter: what would it take for you to leave aleppo? >> translator: it is true there is shelling and russian planes and iranian militias and
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everyday there is a massacre but it is enough for us to express our religion and our faith as free people, not anyone's puppet. is it enough for us to fight as mujahadin and defend our honor and our women. >> translator: should we leave our country and go to another country? no. this is our country. and we will remain in this until we die. >> reporter: the people clinging on to life here feel the world has abandoned them. leaving them only with god. their existence becomes more precarious with every passing day. but surrender is unthinkable. >> clarissa ward is joining us now from new york. brilliant reporting. very courageous reporting. do the people in ahelepaleppo, y feel any sense of hope at all? >> well, it's interesting, wolf, you heard me say in the piece they're convinced the situation is only bog to get worse so i think everybody was a little bit surprised by yesterday's
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announcement from russian president putin that it would begin to withdraw its military. of course, the people that i've spoken to inside rebel-held areas of sir what welcome this decision but they're also incredibly skeptical what will this withdrawal look like, how long will it take, will it mean a complete end to the bombardment they've been subjected to for six months? also, people say listen, the damage is already done under the cover of that russian air bombardment, the regime of bashar al assad was essentially able to encircle most of eastern aleppo, what was under rebel-held control. now there's potentially 325,000 people still trapped in there with one road in and out and if regime forces decide they are going to take that road, you are going to have a desperate humanitarian situation. >> you mentioned aleppo. it was one of the most thriving cities in syria, hundreds of thousands of people lived there. you say 350,000 are still there.
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they're trapped in aleppo. what do they say? how can the city begin to rebuild after so much aerial and ground devastation? >> it's really hard to imagine. even with our cameras. you can't convey the true sense the 360-degree scale of the devastation. estimates before the russian intervention are believed that it would take hundreds of billions of dollar, nearly $300 billion, to try to rebuild syria. you can imagine now after the russian intervention and all the bombardment that entailed that you'd be talking astronomically high figures. but beyond that, beyond the money and the infrastructure that would have to be rebuilt, there's the question of the social fabric of syria as a contiguous multiethnic, multisectarian state. after five years of civil war, tomorrow entering its sixth year, it's just hard to imagine how that can be repaired. >> we know russia's starting to
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withdraw its ground forces. what do you think this means as far as the russian/syrian relationship, the relationship between president putin and bashar al assad, the dictator of syria? >> assad is trying very much to spin this as yes, we were part of this decision, we knew all about it, we were very much on board with it. but there's a lot of skepticism about that and a lot of speculation that perhaps behind the scenes the russians were becoming irritated with the regime, that they had become too big for their bootings s in a s. you heard in geneva over the weekend saying bashar al assad leaving is a red line, presidential elections is a red line. that rhetoric really divergent from the rhetoric the russians have embraced. it is certainly possible russia decided to try to contain the ambitions of the syrian regime but at this stage, it's anybody's guess, wolf. >> amazing reporting, very courageous reporting. clarissa, thanks very much. clarissa ward, doing an excellent job for all of us,
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appreciate it. for more of her exclusive look behind rebel lines, visit that's it for me. i'll be back, 5:00 p.m. eastern, in "the situation room." start of our special coverage of super tuesday here in the united states. the news continues next on cnn. hi there, everyone, i'm brooke baldwin. thank you for being with me. you're watching cnn special coverage of super tuesday elections, round three. we are in the midst of the most consequential day in the presidential election thus far. after the tallies come in together, there could be fewer republicans running for president. one republican, donald trump, may become the undisputed presumed nominee if he wins ohio and florida. mr. trump has already gotten off to a winning start, taking all nine