tv Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer CNN February 26, 2016 2:00pm-4:01pm PST
of the union at 9:00 a.m. eastern and noon eastern. john kasich and ted cruz. i am jake attempter. thank you for watching. i turn you over to wolf blitzer who is right next door in "the situation room." happening now, breaking news. jersey shoring up support in the middle of an all out political brawl. donald trump brings in a veteran slugger to help him battle his gop opponents. new jersey governor chris christie, a former rival is now in trump's corner. spelling it out. marco rubio scoffs at trump's misspelled insults, saying that like trump tower, he must have hired a foreign worker to do his own tweets. no holds barred. mudslinging isn't enough. now trump and rubio have gone from hurling insults to throwing water. what's next? and how will all of this look to voters? and carolina clash. while all eyes are now on super
tuesday, democrats are hours away from the south carolina primary. bernie sanders trails hillary clinton there and is ramping up his own rhetoric. is their race about to get nasty? i'm wolf blitzer and you're in the situation room. breaking news. marco rubio and ted cruz, donald trump brought in some back-up today. just hours after cnn's rauks republican debate and days before the the super tuesday at that contest, chris christie showed up to show his support for trump. he called trump the best person to beat hillary clinton and said no one is better prepared to lead the country. the sparring continues today in hours long insults sessions. calling trump a nervous nellie
and a meltdown. rubio said trump is a con artist saying it is time to pull the mask off. democrats take their turn tomorrow in south carolina. hillary clinton has a big lead there. and bernie sanders is already focusing in on other states. he is also stepping up his attacks on clinton, taking a much harsher tone as he ties her to wall street. our correspondence analysts have all the top stories. it is the day after the night before and they're still at it. we begin with jim acosta. could this gop fight be any nastier? trump is calling in some help. >> reporter: i don't think so but we'll see. donald trump scored a big endorsement today, as you said. handling the support of chris christie. i'm told by aides to both trump and christie that this endorsement was discussed yesterday at trump tower in new york city. but with super tuesday just days away, trump and now marco rubio are engaged in a locker room brawl. the fight for the gop nomination
has gotten so ugly, it has descended into name calling over who sweats the most ask who can control their bladder. donald trump tried to turn the page after cnn's fiery debate, rolling out a jaw dropping endorsement from chris christie. >> this was an endorsement that really meant a lot. >> there is no better fighter than donald trump. >> i rest my case. >> it was a move by trump after he seemed rattled by a newly aggressive marco rubio. >> if he hadn't inherited $200 million -- >> no, no. >> i just. >> that's so wrong. >> christie who skewered rubio on the debate stage in new hampshire said the florida senator is resorting to taunts for one reason. >> desperate people in campaigns do desperate things. >> rubio said it is trump who is desperate. >> that donald probably needs a
life line so he calls in chris christie. what we are dealing with here, my friends, is a conartist. >> rubio has decided the only way to take down the gop front-runner is to match insult with insult. >> let me tell you something. last night in the debate during two of the breaks, he went backstage. he was having a meltdown. first he had this little make-up thing applying like make-up around his mustache. he had one of those sweat mustaches. then he asked for a full length mirror. i don't know why. the podium goes up to here but he want a full length mirror. maybe to make sure his pants weren't wet. i don't know in texas, roibl criticized trump's misspellings. >> here's the first one. lightweight chocker was working hard. the problem is, he is a chocker. and once a chocker, always a choker, i guess that's what he meant to say. he spelled it c-h-o-c-k-e-r.
>> and trump said rubio was drowning in sweat. badly in need of tv make-up. >> i will not say he was trying cover up his ears. help me, i need water. >> when you're a choke artist, you're always a choke artist. >> it was a continuation of the alley fight that broke out during cnn's debate on obamacare, rubio got the last word over who repeats himself the most. >> so that's the only part of the plan? just the lines? >> the nice part, you have many different plags. you'll have come participation. you'll have so many different plans. >> now he's repeating himself. >> no, no, no, no. >> i don't repeat myself. >> you don't repeat yourself? >> here's the guy who repeats himself. >> you repeat yourself every
day. >> talk about repeating, i watched him repeat himself five times four weeks ago. >> i watched you five seconds ago. >> in 2013, when i was leading the fight against the gang of 8:00 a.m. necessaeigh8:00 a.m. was donald? he was firing dennis rodman on celebrity endorsement. >> you don't have the endorsement of o. >> as for christie, he poked fun at trump just last month. warning voters in new hampshire what could happen if he wins. >> we could wind upturning over the white house to hillary clinton for four more years. >> trump wondered whether rubio will now land the support of the last gop nominee, mitt romney. romney, trump joked, was never going to win in 2012. >> when you walk on to a stage, you cannot walk leak a penguin.
>> trump is so furious with rubio, he roll him out as vice president. as for chris christie, he left the door open saying he has the talent. as you heard, chris christie seem to roll that out saying he wants to go into the private sector but it is hard to turn that job done once it is offered to you. >> thank you. our political reporter is covering the trump campaign. you were there in the room with donald trump surprised everyone with a chris christie bombshell endorsement. how did this come together? >> reporter: that's right. it was kind of amazing. donald trump just strolling into his press conference with chris christie in tow. no one really breaking the news ahead of time. yesterday when the other candidates were cramming, doing their last-minute debate prep. trump was in new york preparing to come in 28 this big splashy endorsement. and there's a reason that it was so tightly held. i was just meeting with a christie adviser.
they said it was only a small group of aides who heard about it ahead of time and they didn't find out until last night when chris christie was boarding the plane to texas. so it is clear they wanted to keep it very tight to the vest. very quiet so it could be a big event today. in that respect it was a big surprise and probably a surprise for donald trump. >> by all accounts, john kasich, they don't have any bad blood. did christie give came a heads up in. >> it is not just that they don't have any bad blood. they're actually friends. they're both governors. and a christie adviser said it is nothing personal. it was just that they fell like john kasich didn't have a path forward. i think the came folks are feeling a little bit bruised today. one staffer said that chris christie did not call kasich came ahead of time to warn that it was coming. i was speaking to another staffer a little while ago and they're saying they haven't heard from chris christie. they feel good about the endorsements and the billionaires they've been
picking up to back their campaign but a little tough day for the kasich camp. >> thank you. joining us now, the communications director for the rubio campaign. alex, thank you for coming in. is this endorsement a major setback for the rubio campaign? >> i think donald trump had a really tough night last night. what we saw trump doing on the trail today. clearly the wheel are coming off, splashing water around the stage. like he's losing all control of the campaign. so they pulled out the big guns and chris christie is a tough communor. that's why they brought him out. they needed to change the narrative. i was in the spin room with you afterwards. i've never seen team trump look that shell shocked as they did last night. and christie was there, in an attempt to turn the page. we'll stay focused on donald trump and exposing him for what he is. a con man. and chris christie won't let him do it. >> he continue that's assault right now. are you surprised?
>> we have a lot of respect for chris christie. as he very gifted political communicator. this race is about two men. marco rubio and donald trump and who will lead the conservative movement. and this nation in the 21st century. donald trump is a con man. he is trying the take over the republican party. if they want to stop donald trump, now is the time. people are voting now. these elections matter a lot. starting on super tuesday, people need to go to our webb. join our campaign if they want to prevent donald trump from becoming the nominee. >> you say a two-man race. what about cruz and kasich? >> they're still running. i think there are only two candidates that have a viable pats to the nomination. and you saw that last night. the two really clashed on issues like eminent domain. issues hike planned parenthood and donald trump was saying we should continue to fund. these are big issues. if donald trump is our nominee,
the republican party will cease to be conservative party of reagan reagan. we cannot let that happen to this party or this nation. >> rubio really did not go after cruz and cruz really didn't, a little bit. didn't really go after rubio. we saw them shaking hands. was there some sort of agreement behind the scenes going on that the two would combine their forces on donald trump? >> no. there's no agreement. they're both conservatives and they see what's happening. donald trump is now the front-runner and he is not a conservative. we need to stop donald trump. that's why marco rubio focused on donald trump. over eminent domain. he's more in line with hillary clinton on all those issues. he's in line with hillary clinton on planned parenthood. marco rubio is saefrt on these issues. he is a conservative. >> if marco rubio doesn't carry his own state of florida, is it over for him? the most recent poll shows trump
ahead in florida. >> we're going on win florida. no question about it. >> what if he doesn't? >> we're going on win florida. i won't speculate on the alternative because it won't happen. nobody understands florida better than we do. we're in a good position. we feel good about it. >> what about this coming tuesday? 11 contests. >> we're going to win delegates tuesday. >> what about a state? >> all the states are delegates pr portionately. we want to win states. >> which one do you think you might win in. >> i won't say which ones other than to say we're in virginia all day monday. we were in telephone and oklahoma today. we're going on keep barn storming because there's so much at stake. the time for choosing is now. whether you want recover rubio or donald trump. >> over all these months, rubio didn't really go after trump but last night he came on strong. what happened? >> preer to this moment, you had
a lot of people trying to be the alternative to donald trump. you had jeb bush spending tens of millions attack. you had chris christie attack. last night was the first one, one would be the nominee and that was the debate we saw unfold last night. i think that's what you'll continue to see in the coming weeks. this is a long campaign. we won't pick the nominee on tuesday or march final. this is a long campaign. there is a lot at stake. >> do you need cruz to drop out in. >> ultimately we need to field to continue to winnow. there are only two candidates that have a pathway. marco and donald trump so hopefully as this campaign goes, we can attract more of ted's supporters. >> assistant by. we have more to discuss.
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we're back with the communications director for the rubio campaign. why is donald trump doing so well? he's won three major contest in addition row by big number. >> he hand been exposed. this man is a conman. he is trying to get the republican party to nominate him as head of the conservative movement and he isn't really a conservative. you're seeing all this erratic behavior from donald trump today. acting like he's never been hit before. >> you're saying rubio will
carry his home state of florida. thisquinnipiac poll. right now, 44% for trump. 28% for rubio. 12 for cruz. 7, kasich, 4 for carson. those are pretty impressive numbers. let me make three observations. yes, we've seen other data that suggests it is a much closer race. two, that same quinnipiac poll had trump as a distant second almost tied with rubio. and then third. we just feel really good about iowa. we have 19 days to go -- excuse me. florida. we have 19 days to go. two debates. million of dollars of tv commercials. about 15 elections between now and florida. so a lot will happen. just what you've seen in the last 24 hours. we've got a long way to go. >> concern among the establishment. a lot of whom are turning to marco rubio. why didn't he do this three months ago? four months ago? why has he waited this long? their fear is he it might be too little too late.
obviously marco is the underdog. he didn't inherit millions of dollars like donald trump did. he's had to work for everything he has in life right now. and he loves being the journal dog. he won as the underdog. in america, underdogs win. why didn't we do it sooner? we were fighting with jeb bush and chris christie. now it's a one-on-one race. now is the time to take the fight to trump. >> you punch him. you know what he does. he come slugging right back. you saw what marco rubio did to the debate last night. you saw what he did today to marco rubio. are you concerned potentially he could do to marco rubio what he basically did to jeb bush? >> i think the wheel were coming off the trump train today if you look at his rallies. he's splashing water around the stage like an erratic person. anybody really imagine that guy, the way he reacted in the debate last night, giving him nuclear weapons? seriously? that's scary. he obviously does not have the
temperament to be president. what we've seen, how he responded to not doing well in the debate. that's not somebody who should be commander in dheef. chief and given the launch codes. >> at love americans like him. >> he's the front-runner. that's why there is such a sense of urgency in the campaign. that's why the ratings for last night's debate were so high. fortunately the election is not tomorrow. we have a long way to go. voters still have a long way to decide. we're asking you to go to our website. >> if donald trump does get republican nomination, marco rubio, all the other candidates, they pledge to support him. after all this bad blood, the ugly words, could he do it? >> i refuse to believe that donald trump will be the republican nominee. i've been a republican my entire life i fought for every campaign in the last couple cycles. i refuse to believe this party
will nominate a con man like donald trump. i believe marco rubio will be the candidate. we will bring more people into the conservative movement than ever before and we will defeat hillary clinton in november. >> or maybe bernie sanders. >> or maybe bernie. >> thank you for coming in. >> thank you. coming up, the highlights and low life of the presidential campaign trail. >> then asked for a full length mirror. i don't know why. the podium only goes to here. maybe to make sure his pants weren't wet. >> the one time i looked next to him and i looked at the puddle on the ground. what is that? i wanted to know what is that? o. at&t can help you stay connected. am i seeing double? no ma'am. our at&t 'buy one get one free' makes it easier for your staff to send appointment reminders to your customers... ...and share promotions on social media? you know it! now i'm seeing dollar signs. you should probably get your eyes checked. good one babe. optometry humor. right now get up to $650 in
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last night's raucous republican debate on cnn was just for starters. donald trump and marco rubio have been trading insults all day long. is there any mud left to sling? watch this. >> the charade is up. this is a con job. he is going to americans that are struggling, americans that are hurting and he is implying i'm fighting for you because i'm a tough guy. a tough guy? this guy inherited $200 million. he's never faced any struggle. he's never faced -- the other day he told a protester. i'm going to punch you in the face. donald trump has never punched anyone in the face. donald trump was the first guy that begged for secret service protection. >> but i saw with rubio, i saw, and he is a nervous wreck. here's a guy. he is a nervous basket case. here's a guy -- you had to see
him. you had to see him backstage. he was putting on make-up with a trowl. no. i don't want to say that. i will not say that he was trying to cover up his ears. i will not say that. >> so you want to have a little fun? all right. what does donald trump do when things go wrong? he takes to twitter. i have him right here. let's read some. you'll have fun. all right. number one. here's the first one. lightweight marco rubio was working hard last night. this is true. the problem is, he is a chocker. and once a chocker, always a choker, i guess that's what he men to say. he spelled it c-h-o-k-e-r. >> we have putin.
let's assume it is marco. and let's assume it is marco. i agree with you. we don't want him. boo, boo. and putin is sitting there waiting for a kill. and he knows ball marco. because when they put marco on to refute president obama's speech. do you remember that catastrophe? and he is like this, and we will, i need water. help me. i need water. help. this is on live television. >> he called me mr. meltdown. last night in the debate during one of the breaks, two of the breaks. he went backstage. he was having a meltdown. first he had this little make-up thing applying make-up around his mustache. he had one of those sweat mustaches. then he asked for a full length mirror. i don't know. why the podium goes up to here. maybe to make sure his pants
weren't wet. i don't know. then i see him pacing back and forth. and then he's huddled in the corner talking to somebody. he is waving his arms up and down and the person is trying to calm him down. >> we look at this. and he goes in to see putin. and he walks in and he is soaking wet. and putin looks at him and goes what's wrong with this guy? this is going to be easy pickins. believe me, it will be. >> next week, leadweight chocker. he men to say lead weight. he spelled it l-e-i-g-h-t. he got that wrong. it looks like a little boy on stage. it is not that i look like a little boy. he wouldn't even be that youngest president but he would be the oldest president ever elected. it is an eight-year term. you start to worry. >> out of nowhere, oceans live television. he choked.
like he did. he is a choker. he choked with chris. and i watched it both times. the one time i'm right next to him. and i looked at the puddle on the ground and i said what is that? what is it? i wanted to know what is that? but this time, this wise guy, this lightweight is going over. and all of a sudden, he is being dranl. and he goes like this. remember? he said where is he? he come back with water. and honestly, water is fine. but it should be in a glass. he has the label of the company here. and he is drinking. honestly, i've never seen anything like it. i've never seen anything like it. so we are going to beat guys like that. so, it is guys like that. he is a nasty guy. i called him a nasty little guy but i wouldn't say that. >> last one. wow. every poll said i won the debate last night. now, this is him about himself,
okay? great honer. i think he men to say great honor. i don't know how he got that wrong. the e and the o are nowhere near each other on the key board. great honer. not one tweet, three tweets misspell words so badly. i only reached two conclusions. number one, that's how they spell those words at the wharton school of business where he went. or number two, just like trump tower, he must have hired a foreign work he to do his own tweets. >> i thought the deal of the night was when i looked over to rubio. and i said, you remember, you're a choker. and we don't want chokers in our administration. i said you're a choker and you're a liar. i've had a lot of difficulty
with ted. he lies. a guy like ted is tougher. i will tell you. actually he is tougher. and actually smarter, in all fairness. ted is smarter. he is a smarter person than rubio. >> we have a con artist as the front-runner in the republican party. a guy who has made a career out of telling people lies so they come in and buy his product whatever he does. did you ever hear of trump vodka? you have? it isn't around anymore. or trump mattress? or trump air? or trump ice? or trump water? those are all business that's are gone. they were disasters. okay? trump hot air. yeah. so we cannot allow the conservative movement to be taken over by a con artist. the stakes are too high. the. >> it's rubio!
unbelievable. >> all right. let's bring in our experts. our political commentator, anna navarro, jeffrey tubin and our chief analyst, gloria borger. came out swinging, marco rubio last night. continuing today. is tight late for him? >> i think somebody needs to give these boys a time-out a little bit. it is getting a little heated. i think it may be too late for marco rubio. if you look at the states coming up on super tuesday, wolf. donald trump has the lead in most of these states. the object outlier might be texas which ted cruz could win. marco rubio has to win somewhere. he says he will win his home state of florida which is very important. but it is down the line. march 15th and it is a winner
take all so it is 99 delegates. he has to prove he can win. the thing marco rubio has going for him. the late deciders, as we've seen in the last couple of contests, tend to go with rubio. but donald trump's supporters are with him. no matter what shots marco rubio will take or has been taking. donald trump, they're going to be with donald trump. so rubio has to sort of convince those people who are on the fence. and my question is how many people after what we've been through are really on the fence anymore? >> as you know, the trump counter attack today has been intense. we just saw it. the rubio attack continues. some of trump's supporters say trump will do to rubio what he did, eventually make him quit. do you see that happening? >> there's no doubt that donald trump is a very effective counter attacker. he is very good at this.
he has the new york bluster. he is very good with a quip and a comeback. so is marco rubio. marco rubio is from a different generation, from a different upbringing than jeb bush. he was raised in the streets of las vegas and the streets of west miami, florida. i can tell you that's not a place where you play nice the entire time. i think marco showed last night that he is very capable of handling a punch. very capable of getting under donald trump's skin. i will tell that you donald trump is very savvy. when the narrative was nothing but rubio won the debate. rubio got under donald trump's skin today, donald trump turned it around and threw out the chris christie endorsement and turned around the entire media narrative for the rest of the day. the guy knows how to play the media. he knows how to play the game. i think in marco he will find a. more even match for this back and forth. it is a little sad, i must also say, to see the gop primary
deteriorate into a contest where we are talking about sweating, choking, hig and wetting your pants. >> pretty amazing, i must say. rubio went after trump for the you had a that it trump is facing, the university. will any of these legal questions resonate with trump supporters? >> based on what we've seen so far, it doesn't seem that way. none. those claim are exactly new. yes, the audit is new. the problems of trump university have been well known for some time. and remember, every time donald trump is confronted with some problem in his business, he says, i've hired thousands of people. i've pen a successful businessman. what have you ever done, marco rubio? what have you ever done, ted cruz? both of whom are career politicians. so i think the whole idea of attack him, at least in the
republican primary based on his business record. it looks unpromising to me based on what i've seen so far. >> nothing has really hurt trump with that key group of supporters that he has. an impressive group of supporters. gloria, why did chris christie all of a sudden today decide to endorse donald trump? >> i don't think the timing is a quin quince dense. he block the momentum that marco rubio had coming out of the debate. i think it was a combination of reasons. first of all, i think chris christie believes that donald trump is going to be the inevitable nominee. and ywhy not get out ahead of i? also, i don't think ideologically he fits with ted cruz at all. i think, i was talking to one kasich adviser. this is not a happy day for
them. they were hoping that christie might have endorsed them but he can't. this is what kasich adviser said. it is about hate. we remember when he first took him on that. that was a tough time for marco rubio. so i think you put all of these together at the top of the list. he believes trump will be the nominee. i think there is a little problem here. people will look at this and say wait a minute. i went back and looked at some stuff that chris christie was saying about donald trump in new hampshire. he said he has no business running for president of the united states. and now he's endorsing him. >> i remember some things that donald trump said about chris christie, bridgegate and all of that and now they're best friends and working together against marco rubio. stand by, we have a very exciting day in the world of american politics. let me talk to you about retirement. a 401(k) is the most sound way to go. let's talk asset allocation. sure. you seem knowledgeable, professional. would you trust me as your financial advisor? i would.
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we're counting down to tomorrow's democratic primary. both are looking to boost their momentum heading into the super tuesday contest. brianna is in south carolina. what's the latest there? >> reporter: hi there, wolf. we are on the eve of a big primary contest here in south carolina tomorrow. hillary clinton and bernie sanders squaring off at two historically black colleges and universities tonight just blocks away from each other.
bachelor parties are not your usual campaign events. that's where hillary clinton unexpectedly found herself at a charleston bakery one day before the south carolina primary. trying to convince voters to walk down the aisle with her. instead of bernie sanders. he's in south carolina after a stop in minnesota where he targeted clinton's big dollar speeches to wall street firms. >> what you say hilbebehind clo doors is different than what you're saying to the american people. i have the transcripts. here they are. >> clinton is resistant saying tuesday at cnn's town hall. >> why is there one standard for me and not for everybody else. >> the editorial board sanders
saying, voters have every right to know what mrs. clinton told these groups. >> to have people say, we don't trust her. we don't know why she's doing it. and it suddenly struck me, maybe there is this underlying question. like is she doing it for herself? or is she really in it for us? >> she and sanders are fighting for the key support of black voters ahead of the south carolina primary and the other upcoming southern contest tuesday. both on defense of their support for the 1994 crime bill that helped lead to increase african-american incarceration. >> there were some positive features. however, i think that the consequences of some of what was done are serious. and we have to take action as quickly and broadly as possible to try to reverse those. >> and when a woman stepped in
holding a sign charged the stage. the remarks included a critique of clinton for backing her husband's 1996 welfare reform bill. >> the result of that bill is that extreme poverty, the poorest of the poor in america, those numbers doubled as a result of that legislation. i opposed that legislation. hillary clinton supported that legislation. >> we did just wrap up here at hillary clinton's event at south carolina state university. there were protesters about that very they know that bernie sanders was highlighting, actually, it was about the crime bill that he supported and hillary clinton supported as well. a couple of protesters speaking out against her support for her husband's bill with the hash tag on one of the signs. #which hillary? supporters of clinton's pointing
out that these protesters were not african-american. certainly the rallying cry was something we've seen from black lives matter supporters. >> thank you. coming up, we'll have more on today's insults and name calling. >> first of all, he runs on this idea -- retirement savings.e your for over 75 years, investors have relied on our disciplined approach to find long term value. so wherever your retirement journey takes you, we can help you reach your goals. call a t. rowe price retirement specialist or your advisor ...to see how we can help make the most of your retirement savings. t. rowe price. invest with confidence.
accuse isis of a particularly heinous crime proving controversial. brian todd is here. what are we talking about? >> there's growing pressure on the obama administration to formally accuse isis of genocide. we're told inside the white house and state department there's been intense debate over making that call given what it might compel the administration
to do if isis is given that label. groups of christians in orange jump suits lined up on beaches in libya beheaded at the hands of isis. it's happened at least twice. isis has crucified people in the center of raqqah, syria. in iraq, the group has killed thousands of yazidis, an eths nick and religious minority. this 15-year-old described what happened to his family in sinjar province. trt isis killed my dad, my uncles. they kidnapped 25 relatives, including women. >> reporter: isis has enslaved yazidi women and girls. bragging about it in videos. >> where is my yazidi girl? >> reporter: they are pushing the white house to formally accuse isis of genocide. religious freedom advocates say it's past time. >> you've got killings by a number of barbaric methods,
beheadings, rape of young girls, a number of actions with the intent to inflict violence, death and other forms of mental stress which will drive those communities from the middle east. >> reporter: u.s. officials tell cnn inside the obama mrg administration a debate has been going on of whether to accuse isis of genocide. >> i share just a huge sense of revulsion over these acts, obviously. >> reporter: but kerry says the administration's lawyers have to first make a judgment that what isis is doing meets the standard of genocide. advocates say it should since they appearing to targeting yazidis and christians baseod their religions. this 19-year-old yazidi woman talks of being handed over.
>> he put me in a room and put a gun to my head and said i will kill you because you won't convert to islam. >> reporter: if they are labeled as genocide, the obama administration wouldn't be legally compelled to do anything, but morally and politically, they would come under pressure to take actions that might not be popular with many americans. >> it will certainly mean more protection of minority communities on the ground, which will mean more military engagement. it will also mean more resources in terms of identifying and resettling refugees. >> reporter: would being accused of genocide put any more pressure on isis? analysts say it may result in more investigations, possible trials at the international criminal court. it's not clear if it will mean stepped up bombings and other military operations and likely won't change isis' behavior given its apocalyptic view of anyone different from them. coming up, let's get back to politics in the united states. name calling, insults and a
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happening now. breaking news. criss-crossed. former republican presidential candidate chris christie crossing over into donald trump's camp. the new jersey governor endorsing his former rival just four days before super tuesday during a raucous announcement event. why does christie believe trump is the only candidate who can beat hillary clinton? gloves off. fresh off their most contentious debate yet, today the gop candidates are taking their verbal warfare to a new level. donald trump insulting marco
rubio's height saying he sweats constantly, as rubio hits trump for being a, quote, con man and making fun of his spelling. is rubio's brutal new offense too little and too late to slow trump's momentum? and palmetto primary. hillary clinton and bernie sanders campaigning down to the wire on the eve of their first southern battle -- ballot battle. clinton widely favored in the south carolina primary. will it be a turning point in the democratic contest? 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. >> we're following the breaking news in the race for the white house. donald trump receiving a bombshell endorsement. his former rival the new jersey governor chris christie now backing the billionaire businessman for president of the united states. a source close to christie tells
cnn the governor strongly believes trump will be the gop nominee and that it's time for the party to unite around him. we're standing by to hear from trump. he has a campaign rally that's about to begin. it will likely include a fresh round of barbs lobbed at marco rubio. the florida senator trading round after round of insultss with trump today. their fierce new fight launched by rubio's relentless attacks on trump in our cnn republican presidential debate. we're covering all of that. much more this hour with our guests, including trump campaign national spokeswoman katrina pierson, our correspondents and expert analysts are also standing by. let's begin with chris christie's unexpected endorsement of domd trump. our political reporter sara murray is in ft. worth for us. christie made a surprise appearance with trump where you are today. >> that's right, wolf. yesterday while other candidates were filling in on some last-minute debate prep, donald trump was meeting with chris
christie in trump tower, securing this endorsement. a way for him to change the narrative when the daggers were out for him last night on the debate stage. two of the biggest, brashest personalities in the republican party are teaming up. >> i said let's keep it as a secret for the people in texas. let's do it. >> reporter: donald trump snapping up his most prominent endorsement yet. new jersey governor chris christie. >> he's rewriting the playbook of american politics. >> reporter: and trying to shift momentum back in his corner with marco rubio ready to brawl after thursday night's cnn republican debate. >> friends do not let friends vote for con artists. >> reporter: rubio is ratcheting up his attacks on the billionaire's business record. even mocking trump's twitter habit. >> how does this guy, not one tweet, three tweets misspell words so badly. and i only reach two conclusions. number one, that's how they spell those words at the wharton school of business where he
went, or, number two, just like trump tower, he must have hired a foreign worker to do his own tweets. >> reporter: and poking fun at trump's debate performance. >> last night in the debate during one of the breaks, two of the breaks, he went backstage. he was having a meltdown. first he had his little makeup thing applying like makeup around his mustache. then the he asked for a full length mir romirror. i don't know why. maybe to make sure his pants weren't wet. i don't know. then -- >> reporter: but trump and christie were ready, banding together to try to take down a mutual foe. >> it's rubio. >> reporter: trump taking aim at rubio's detate formance. >> he's a nervous basket case. here's a guy. you ought to see him backstage. he was putting on makeup with a trowel.
honestly? i thought he was going to die, rubio. he was so scared like a little frightened puppy. >> reporter: and even his appearance. >> i will not say that he was trying to cover up his ears. i will not say that. >> reporter: with christie piling on. >> do we need a united states senator from florida who doesn't show up for work? >> reporter: rubio later today brushed off the christie news. >> donald probably needs a lifeline after last night so he called in chris christie. i respect that. i have more than my fair share of endorsements. >> reporter: the vicious battles are spreading across the field as ted cruz labelled trump a new york liberal. >> donald trump is adopting the rhetoric of a populist. donald trump, like hillary clinton, is a rich new york liberal. >> reporter: but for now, rubio is trump a top. >> rubio is a baby. but a guy like ted is tougher.
>> now, wolf, even though chris christie and donald trump had been kind to each other in the past, this endorsement was a true surprise. trump sort of walked into the press conference with chris christie in tow. there were gasps from some members of the media in the room. this was all very tightly held. chris christie only call a small group of people to say last night he was endorsing trump. he did it while boarding a plane to come here to texas. >> interesting indeed. sara, thank you. we're standing by for a trump campaign rally set to get under way in oklahoma city. cnn's jim acosta is there for us tonight. we understand chris christie will appear with trump once again tonight. what are you learning about the endorsement? >> that's route, wolf. the campaign says donald trump and chris christie will be out here tonight in oklahoma city. trump and christie aides say they discussed this endorsement yesterday in trump tower in new york city. this is not a huge surprise. trump and christie are longtime friends. a surprise it came today but not
a big surprise christie ended up endorsing trump. trump can use all the help he can use trying to fend off ted cruz and marco rubio at the same time. normally trump only has to take on one rival's attacks at a time. as trump said today, last night's cnn debate changed everything. >> i just want to mention a couple of words about senator cruz who actually was, i thought -- i thought he was -- last night i thought the deal of the night was when i looked over to rubio and i said, you remember, you are a choker, and we don't want chokers in our administration. i said you're a choker, and you're a liar. and i have had -- i've had a lot of difficulties with ted because he just lies. i've dealt with much tougher. a guy like rubio is a baby. a guy like ted is tougher.
actually, he's tougher. and he's smarter in all fairness. ted is smarter. i have to give that, though. he's a smarter person than rubio, though. >> now the rubio campaign believes trump was rattled during last night's debate. as one rubio adviser put it to me, they believe the wheels have come off at the trump campaign. trump could be unstoppable. ted cruz warned earlier today if he cleans up on super tuesday the texas senator adding it would be a grave mistake for the gop and country if donald trump is made the nominee of the republican party. so i suppose what we might hear a response from donald trump and chris christie on the stage behind me later on this evening bringing their own form of oklahoma city thunder. >> all right, thanks very much. we'll stand by for that rally. in the meantime, let's bring in katrina pierson, the campaign national spokeswoman for donald trump. thanks for joining us. as you know, just last summer, not that long ago, chris christie said donald trump didn't have the temperment to be
president of the united states. listen to this. >> donald is a great guy and a good person, but i just don't think he's suited to be president of the united states. but i don't think his temperament is suited for that and i don't think his experiences. >> what's changed since then? >> i think what's changed is governor christie is also known for being bold and brash, but i think what's happened now is we've seen how necessary it is when going up against whether it's the media or establishment. you can't be extremely light weight or quiet when you are trying to run a presidential campaign, particularly with the circumstances we're facing today. >> is christie one of the candidates trump might consider as his vice presidential running mate? >> mr. trump hasn't spoken much about who he is considering for vice president. however, he does like governor christie. in your reporting you mentioned they have been friends. we're just really excited to have governor christie on board. he's been a great asetd.
>> you think this chris christie endorsement was in part just to get under marco rubio's skin? we know the exchange they had at that debate in new hampshire, chris christie and marco rubio. >> no, i don't think it was on purpose to get under marco rubio's skin, but i think it was really important that you had another presidential come out and support donald trump. donald trump has the momentum. marco rubio is now putting on, you know, some stand-up comedy act it seems. it's just really important to express the decisions that need to be made in the future. have to be made with someone who has business experience, who has a ton of life experience, that can really bring the wisdom needed to make these decisions moving forward. >> newt gingrich tweeted earlier today the endorsement. this chris christie endorsement of trump is real signal to gop establishment that they had better begin thinking about trump as the future. do you see the gop establishment coming around and accepting the possibility that the man you
want to be the president will, in fact, be the nominee? >> no, wolf. i don't see that happening at all. we're talking about power here. power is being stripped from a group of people who are going to hold on to it until the earth is scorched. we see that start to play out just last night. the people are going to have the final say. the people have been speaking. the establishment has not been listening. the establishment has picked a candidate for two cycles in a row and lost. it's time they start listening. will they? probably not. >> back in 2012, donald trump tweeted this. he said mitt romney, who was then the republican nominee, should consider governor mcdonald of virginia, governor christie of new jersey, senator rubio of florida for vp. really good men doing a really good job. you think he still believes that? >> well, no. that's a lot of time that's passed. we've seen in the political sphere a lot can happen in one year even policywise. the people of florida supported marco rubio because he promised them he didn't support amnesty and right after he got elected
he put his name and face on the amnesty policy. he hasn't shown up for work which is why florida is overwhelmingly rejecting him today. a lot changes. i don't think he considers that to be a good thing. >> you are convinced the florida primary march 5th will go to donald trump instead of the senator marco rubio? >> i do. mr. trump has rootds in florida. they know mr. trump. this is the other thing that most of the establishment doesn't understand. donald trump's empire is built right here in the usa. he is the only candidate in this race on both sides that is personally invested in the success or failure of this country and floridians know that just like texans do. >> were you surprised how tough rubio was in blasting trump last night at the debate? >> no, not at all. you have marco rubio who hasn't won a single state and is not even winning his home state and ted cruz who has to win texas or his campaign is over. we fully expected they were at
their last ditch effort. they were going to go down swinging. >> the texas primary is this super tuesday. who is going to win there? >> i feel really good about texas. it is senator cruz's home state. he could take his statd but i also think donald trump stands a good chance at pulling it off. >> if he, does that's going to be a big source of problems for ted cruz in texas, as we all know. katrina, stand by. more to discuss. we'll take a quick break. once again, donald trump getting ready to address a rally in oklahoma. we'll cover that as well. g well. (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. because the more you know, the more likely you are... (dog whimpering) to keep it pumping.
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governor chris christie. we're back with trump national spokeswoman katrina pierson. rubio really hit donald trump hard last night at the cnn debate and again this morning. listen to this. >> he called me mr. meltdown. let me tell you something. last night in the debate during one of the breaks, two of the breaks, he went backstage. he was having a meltdown. he had his little makeup thing applying makeup around his mustache. he had one of those sweat mustaches. then he asked for a full-length mirror. i don't know why because the podium only goes up to here. maybe to make sure his pants weren't wet. what does donald trump do when things go wrong? he takes to twitter. let's read some. you'll have fun. all right. number one, here's the first one. lightweight marco rubio was working hard last night. this is true. the problem is, he is a chocker. and once a chocker -- i guess
choker is what he meant to see. he spent choker c-h-o-c-k-e-r. marco rubio looks like a little boy on stage. he meant to say light weight. he got that wrong. last one, wow, every poll said i won the debate last night. now this was him about himself, okay. great honer. i think he meant to say great honor. the e and the o are nowhere near each other. we have a con artist as the front-runner in the republican party. >> your reaction katrina to those attacks? >> oh, i think it's interesting how you have these candidates who try to act like donald trump and they come off looking like a stand-up comic. granting no more tweeting without glasses, but i will say
it is interesting that marco rubio is trying to pretend to be like donald trump. maybe he was trying to channel donald trump in his type of attacks. i think it's great when you want to get out there and get your base excited. he needs to do that. the question is, is it going to get him texas? is it going to get him anywhere in the south? the answer to that is no. i'm glad the rubio campaign is having some fun today. >> trump has zeroed in on senator rubio calling him a choker. rubio didn't seem to choke at the debate. does trump need to adjust how he's going to battle rubio right now if this fight is going to continue to escalate? i assume it will. >> no, i don't think he needs to adjust at all. mr. trump is being mr. trump. that's why you see other candidates trying to mimic mr. trump because it works for him. but it does not work for the other candidates. you can't all of a sudden one day pretend to be strong and forceful when this entire time you've been quiet and weak. that's why mr. trump refers to
marco rubio as a light weight. >> donald trump is not going to release his income tax returns until the current irs audit is complete. according to experts, though, there's no legal restriction on trump publicly releasing his own forms if he chose to do so. you suspect he's going to do so or wait until all the audits are completed? >> well, you know, wolf, i think he should wait until the exact date that mitt romney decided to release his taxes since he's the one being the most vocal about this. but absolutely not should he release these. anything mr. trump releases you and i both know they're going to be going through it with a fine tooth comb, picking out any and everything they can criticize so, no. mr. trump should wait until the audit is finished and then release his taxes. >> what does he have to hide, though? >> well, there's nothing to hide. it's just something that no lawyer would tell you to do to release your taxes until you're out from under the audit. he says he's going to release his taxes, and he will.
>> he says he'll do it only after the audit is complete, though, right? >> that's right. absolutely. >> we have no idea how long that's going to take. >> not at this point. >> what is your preduiction as far as the 11 republican contests on tuesday? >> mr. trump is up in the polls, some cases double digits along the south. i think mr. trump is going to do extremely well. these are all the same kind of voters voting for him from the beginning. he's channeling the inspiration and desire to change things in this country. people are tired of politics. they are tired of those guys bought and paid for by the very people that have put them out of jobs and that have driven up the debt. they're tired of it, want something new and donald trump has a record of rebuilding things. >> katrina, thanks for joining us. >> katrina pierson from the trump campaign. the insults flying between trump and rubio. trump saying, quote, i've never seen a human being sweat like
that. using a bottle of water to illustrate his point. watch. >> it's rubio. came out today thousands of people to run the race for retirement. so we asked them... are you completely prepared for retirement? okay, mostly prepared? could you save 1% more of your income? it doesn't sound like much, but saving an additional 1% now, could make a big difference over time. i'm going to be even better about saving. you can do it, it helps in the long run. prudential bring your challenges
donald trump campaign rally scheduled to begin shortly in oklahoma city. you are looking at live pictures coming in from there. we're also following the dramatic developments in the race for the white house including a rather surprising endorsement of trump by his former rival the new jersey governor chris christie who made a surprise appearance with trump. watch. >> single most important thing for the republican party is to nominate the person who gives us the best chance to beat hillary clinton. i can guarantee you, that the one person that hillary and bill clinton do not want to see on that stage come next september is donald trump. they know how to run the standard political playbook against junior senators and run them around the block. they do not know the playbook with donald trump because he is rewriting the playbook. >> governor christie also joined in on the attack against trump's newest favorite target, marco rubio. >> flailing punches in the last days of a losing campaign. the fact of the matter is no one
is going to get inside this guy's head. i find it fascinating that somebody who barely shows up for work in the six years he's a united states senator is going to talk about somebody else being unprepared. the fact of the matter is senator rubio has shown himself over time to be wholly unprepared to be president of the united states. i says that at the time i was in the race, and nothing has changed my mind now. >> let's get more on this with mark preston, cnn senior political analyst, senior editor for the atlantic, ron brownstein and rebecca berg. i want to play more of donald trump, what he had to say today. >> makeup, you don't need that much. you know the story with marco. i watched him against this man. marco was right over heire. i looked at him. are you okay? he looked like he just came out of a swimming pool. he's a mess. we'll see what happens. i heard he had some nasty personal comments but i saw him
backstage and he was putting it on with a trowel. >> i was almost going to go over and hold him up. think of this. think of this. so we have putin. and putin is going to meet our president, and let's assume it's marco. and -- let's assume it's marco. no, i agree with you. we don't want him, boo, boo. and putin is sitting there waiting for a kill. and he knows all about marco because when they put marco on to refute president obama's speech, do you remember that catastrophe? and he's like this. and we were -- ah, i need water. help. and he's -- this is on live television. this total choke artist is refuting -- and you know, you know about sports. do i love sports. we love sports. we're athletes.
so you notice in sports almost always true, when you are a choke artist, you are always a choke artist. it doesn't really change. sadly the guy that misses the kick and the coach says i'm going to give him another chance. unfortunately, the following year, he misses the kick again. so choke artists they choke, they choke. what's going to happen is we look at this and he goes in to see putin and he walks in and he's soaking wet. and putin looks at him and goes, what's wrong with this guy? this is going to be easy pickings. and believe me it will be. it's rubio! unbelievable. let's win texas. i want to win texas.
>> texas primary coming up. super tuesday this coming tuesday. mark preston, a major endorsement for donald trump today by chris christie, although last summer when chris christie was running for the republican presidential nomination, he suggested that donald trump did not have the temperament to be commander in chief. walk us through the background, how all of this unfolded today. >> right. interesting that it would come from chris christie who, when he was considered one of the front-runners for the republican presidential nomination, people says he didn't have the temperment. compared to donald trump it looks like chris christie would be even keeled. a couple of things. when chris christie was saying today during the announcement that he didn't think marco rubio had the experience, that's true. he didn't think that ted cruz had the temperament, that's true. he does actually like donald trump. i spoke to somebody very close to the governor, to governor christie. he does like donald trump. here's one thing that hasn't been said to this point. chris christie was frustrated at
the republican establishment in washington, d.c. and the deep pocket of donors in new york who did not get behind him and went to marco rubio trying to, what he thought was gaming the same. chris christie joining trump right now is actually not too surprising. i also heard he is not that close to john kasich as much as we've been saying that. it made sense for him to go to donald trump. >> two sitting governors and christie decided to go with the billionaire businessman. ron, was today's endorsement just another hit for the republican establishment as it's called? at some point do they need to accept the idea of trump becoming the nominee? >> i think the republican establishment, they continue to be divided on this question. precisely on the point that chris christie raised. whether donald trump is their strongest candidate in november. donald trump embodies one-half of what's been a republican civil war about how you win back the white house after they've lost the popular vote in five of the past six elections.
one school of thought says that's republicans have to reach out to the changing america, increasingly diverse growing millennial generation. trump has overwhelming negatives with those voters. trump embodies the other side of that argument which is the way to win is to put out a message that increases turnout among working class and other culturally conservative whites. i think most people in the hierarchy of the republican party believe that strategy can't work. there have been a lot of conservatives who argue it's the only way that can work and, if nothing else, if trump is the nominee it will get a real world test. as part of what you're seeing here is more republicans coming to the acceptance that maybe they have to go down this road. but there's a lot of risk involved in it in a general election. >> you saw donald trump with the bottle of water making fun of marco rubio. he was clearly recalling when marco rubio was giving the republican response to the president's state of the union address. i'm going to play that little clip here. watch this. >> it involves choices like the one the president laid out
tonight. the choice isn't just between big government or big business. what we need is an -- >> that was a moment that happened then and, obviously, donald trump wants to revive that moment. he was attacked by rubio last night. when donald trump is attacked, he goes right back and counterattacks. >> what we've seen is he is brutally effective at attacking other candidates. he was the one who called jeb bush low energy. and that insult stuck with jeb bush the entire campaign. tough for him to escape. if donald trump is able to successfully portray marco rubio as somebody who is nervous, immature, who is not competent enough to be president, which is kind of what he's hinting at with his lines of attack, that's could be really damaging to marco rubio and donald trump has a bigger megaphone than any of these other candidates. >> it worked against jeb bush. >> took jeb bush off his game and it wasn't until the end we saw jeb bush get a little energy into his campaign.
a little too late. what we just saw today with donald trump on the stage, it looked like he was in a catholic church blessing the people with that water. it's insane. we've never seen this in our lifetime. >> lead me ask ron because we've covered politics for a long time. you remember anything like this before? >> no, not really. from a message point of view as we said before, trump in some ways is a louder, bigger version of what pat buchanan ran on in 1996. flamboyant as a candidate himself. that's unprecedented. it has not derailed him in the republican primary but it's still an open question what it would mean if he were the nominee. you are talking about somebody whose unfavorable rating is still hovering around 60%. among the groups the core of the modern democratic coalition, college educated white women, it's in the mid-70s.
maybe all the rules are being thrown out. maybe not. we have many more months. >> a lot of the pundits suggesting super tuesday, 11 republican contests, maybe tex agoing for the home senator ted cruz but potentially all the other states going to trump. is that realistic? >> it's absolutely realistuc. for donald trump to win most of these states. they are proportional. it's not necessarily a fatal blow. they could still win delegates on super tuesday. that counts for something but every republican i'm talking to at this point finds if donald trump is dominant on super tuesday, if he even sweeps the states or maybe minus texas sweeps the states, he's in a really good position to win the nomination. >> it's close in texas. ron, you've taken a look at the numbers. where is the focus? >> yeah, super tuesday really has become, wolf, a two-front war. donald trump has an opportunity on each of those battlefields to
deliver a significant blow against different set of his rivals. first as you look across the south, you have five states voting that are heavily evangelical and heavily blue collar. arkansas, alabama, oklahoma, tennessee and texas where evangelical christians are 60% of the vote and blue collar voters are 50% of the vote. if ted cruz can't win those states beyond texas it is very hard to see how he goes forward. because those are the kind of places where his appeal was supposed to work. but donald trump has basically trumped him by making extraordinary inroads among evangelical christians who are also blue collar. then this second front emerging which are northern states more white collar and less evangelical. massachusetts, virginia and vermont where college educated voters are about half the electorate. john kasich is relying on the mainstream white collar conservatives. in all three of those states,
including in polls out in virginia and massachusetts, trump is ahead, just as he is ahead in the southern states. if he can sweep both sides of this, which mitt romney and john mccain could not do in their winning years. if trump can transcend that divide, i think he leaves the other candidates in a very difficult position. >> the polls i've seen in those other states whether in massachusetts, vermont, some of the other states you are mentioning, trump seems to be ahead, at least right now. we'll see what happens. stand by. much more. the crowd getting excited out there in oklahoma city. looking at live pictures coming in. donald trump being introduced. we'll have some coverage of that when we come back. abdominal pain. urgent diarrhea. you never know when ibs-d will show up.
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potential turning point in the democratic race for the white house. the south carolina primary tomorrow with hillary clinton enjoying a strong lead over bernie sanders in all the polls. our senior washington correspondent jeff zeleny is in south carolina for us tonight. the clinton camp is hoping for a big win, some strong momentum going into super tuesday. what's the latest? >> they definitely are, wolf. there's no question the clinton campaign sees the south carolina primary as a launching pad into the next phase of this race. the sanders campaign sees this as something of a thing they want to get through as fast as possible. this contest next tuesday starts
11 primaries and caucuses across the country. the sanders campaign is looking forward to that because they know south carolina is not going to be pretty. >> i need your vote tomorrow. >> reporter: on the eve of the first primary for democrats. from a groom and his ten groomsmen to a pastry chef, it's a confident close for clinton in south carolina. the clinton primary fight with bernie sanders is about to go national with super tuesday just around the corner. the outlines of the fight are forming. in minnesota, sanders made clear he intends to press clinton to release transcripts of her wall street speeches. >> she's a very good speeches. but $225,000 for a speech to goldman sachs, you've got to be really good. >> reporter: "the new york times" editorial page which endorsed clinton said she should disclose those transcripts.
>> what you say behind closed doors is a little different than what you say to the american people. >> reporter: it sounded similar to the message of a new television ad a conservative group is airing against clinton. >> before you promise your vote to hillary, don't you deserve to know what she promised them? >> reporter: while clinton said she'd release her speeches if republicans do the same, she said she should be judged on her record. >> i've been on the record on a lot of these issues for a very long time. i think you should be judged on what you have done. >> reporter: the clinton campaign hopes saturday's primary here is a turning point in the race. a chance to start gradually pivoting toward the general election. >> this election has such high stakes. i think you know that. i believe with all my heart it's one of the most important elections we've had in a really long time. >> reporter: senator sanders just wrapped up a speech here tonight. about 27 minutes long. he is already gone.
it's a sign that his head is already looking past south carolina. he will spend the south carolina primary night in minnesota where they have caucuses next tuesday. he thinks he has a good shot of winning those. >> jeff, thank you. >> i want to go to ron brownstein. hillary clinton needs a big win in south carolina. presumably she'll get it tomorrow. what does super tuesday look like for her then? >> the structural advantage that hillary clinton has in this race are coming into heavier play. the story on the democratic side is similar to the republican side. it's essentially a two-front war. you have states more white and white collar like massachusetts, vermont, minnesota and virginia which is also diverse, where bernie sanders probably has his best chance. if you look at the more diverse states weighing in on march 1st and 15th, essentially every large state, wolf, on the democratic side is a diverse state. listen to some of these numbers in the last 72 hours about the vote among african-americans.
in texas, hillary clinton is winning 81%. georgia, 74%. ohio, 71%. virginia, 70%. 68% of latinos in texas. 64% of non-white voters in florida. the core problem bernie sanders has faced really now is coming to a head. if he cannot make deeper inroads among the significant diversity of the democratic party you cannot compete in the largest states, all which have a diverse electorate on the democratic side. it's put-up time for bernie sanders not only march 1st but march 15th. another series of big diverse states will be voting. >> these states are proportionate in terms of distributing the delegates. even if she gets two-thirds, he gets one-third and can still continue. >> he can still continue. the strategy is to try to get beyond south carolina because we know hillary clinton is going to win tomorrow. what the -- we don't know, but clearly it will be a comfortable lead.
then the industrial midwest. michigan on the 8th. to ohio on the 15th. they think that they are going to do better there. they want to get to win win on the 1st as well. they see caucuses as their path to victory like barack obama did a good job organizing around caucuses. caught the clinton campaign entirely by surprise. the sanders campaign looks at caucuses and they say they are run by people who are grassroots activists, our folks. this can keep us in the game. >> some live pictures. there's hillary clinton speaking in orangeburg, south carolina right now. the contest there coming up tomorrow. it seems, rebecca, that criticism of hillary clinton by bernie sanders is escalating a bit. you've noticed that? >> absolutely. it's crunch time for him. he needs to start gaining some momentum. she's going to win south carolina. she'll probably do very well on super tuesday because there are so many southern states vote, and she has to do better in those states. there's a problem for bernie sanders. does he sort of disappear from the conversation?
does he lose any momentum that he gained in iowa and new hampshire and these early states? so he needs to attack her to stay in the conversation, stay part of this race. but he does have a math problem moving forward. hillary clinton has such institutional advantages. she's winning with super delegates right now. that's something i'd expect to continue into these later states. if he does well in these states later on in the midwest, that would be a boost to him. he's going to need to shore up his support among minorities and do a lot of work on that front. >> one thing, ron, and all of us have heard it from hillary clinton's critics. he's got to stay in the race and maybe others might eventually get in, if there's some legal problems that's clinton faces. the fbi investigation if that should develop into something serious. that's a potential incentive for bernie sanders not to drop out, right? >> right. i think there's no reason for him to drop out. at the least, he's elevating his issue. and as everybody has said, when you get to the midwest, one
thing bernie sanders has done in this race is he has moved beyond support among white upper middle class liberals. he's beating hillary clinton among blue collar working class which means he should be competsative in the midwestern battlegrounds. although even there if he cannot improve among diverse voters, he's not going to win. he has a lot of incentive to stay in. one of the things that's going to happen is we'll be talking about elizabeth warren as a potential vice president as a response to the sanders movement. if there's any legal challenge to hillary clinton, everything is thrown up in the air. i'm sure there's a new joe biden conversation and joe biden/elizabeth warren conversation. until that happens, sanders is facing the reality that was there from the beginning, masked by iowa and new hampshire and unique demography. it is non-white voters, one-third to 40% of the democratic vote and cannot allow her to win by the margins these polls are showing. >> stand by.
i just want to remind our viewers. stay with cnn for complete coverage of the south carolina democratic primary all day into the evening tomorrow night right here on cnn. just ahead, a cease-fire now in effect in syria. will it hold? what impact will it have on isis forces? then you might be gearcentric. ♪ right now, get 25% back in rewards on hp ink, toner, and paper! office depot officemax. gear up for great ®. a 401(k) is the most sound way to go. let's talk asset allocation. sure. you seem knowledgeable, professional. would you trust me as your financial advisor? i would. i would indeed. well, let's be clear here. i'm actually a dj. [ dance music plays ] [laughs] no way! i have no financial experience at all. that really is you? if they're not a cfp pro, you just don't know. find a certified financial planner professional who's thoroughly vetted at letsmakeaplan.org. cfp -- work with the highest standard.
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not part of this deal. what's the latest? >> there are reports at this hour the skies over northern syria are quiet. but just a short time ago, that clearly was not the case. with a potential cease-fire hours away, russia continued heavy air strikes in western syria. syrian government forces dropped more barrel bombs. even if the bombing eases up, there is deep doubt a true cease-fire will hold. >> we're all aware of the many potential pitfalls, and there are plenty of reasons for skepticism. if implemented, and that's a significant if, this cessation could reduce the violence. >> reporter: russian president vladimir putin called the truce difficult but said military action by russia and the u.s. will be stopped. the u.s. says it's only attacking isis, which is not part of the cease-fire. al nusra, the al qaeda operation
in syria, also isn't part of the ceasefire. the problem? russia continues to lump many opposition groups in with al nusra and then attacks them. a map published by the russian state news agency shows only small yellow areas of syria the russians say are now under the ceasefire. the u.s. does not agree. it wants russia to stop bombing civilians and moderate opposition wherever they are. >> i think that many of us have been asking, you know, what happens if in fact these -- the ceasefire doesn't hold? and i don't think russia believes that's anything is going to happen. >> reporter: president obama's top intelligence adviser says putin may actually be thinking of increasing russia's military operation in syria. >> they are confronting the possibility, i think, or considering whether they're going to put more ground forces in. >> reporter: the white house is now working on the so-called plan "b." what to do if the cease-fire
fails. one option, adding to the 50 u.s. special operations forces already on the ground in syria. those u.s. troops moved more than 30 miles from the relative safety of their northern syrian base south to near the town of shadadi. and offering advice on the battlefield. putting u.s. special forces out in the field in iraq or syria remains very dangerous work. every time they are out in the field, the military secretly positions rescue forces in case they get into trouble. wolf? >> very tenuous situation. a lot of lives at stake right now. this humanitarian effort's got to get going. barbara, thank you very much. let's hope it works out. remember, you can always follow us on twitter. please tweet me @wolfblitzer. tweet the show @cnnsitroom. join us monday in "the situation room." join us tomorrow for all-day
coverage as well of the south carolina democratic presidential primary. i'm wolf blitzer. thanks very much for watching. "erin burnett outfront" starts right now. "outfront next," sweat, wet pants and a surprise endorsement. you are watching cnn. wire talking about the gop race for president. things got a whole lot crazier today. huckabee joins trump's campaign team. and just hours before south carolina votes, bernie sanders unleashes some of his harshest attacks yet. is it too late? let's go "outfront." good evening. i'm erin burnett. outfront, game orubio versus trump. a day of twists and turns no one exed