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tv   Americas Choice 2016  CNN  February 27, 2016 3:00pm-4:01pm PST

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this time it's the democrats' turn to choose in south carolina. >> can hillary clinton close the deal, or will bernie sanders surprise again heading into super tuesday? >> announcer: right now the democratic candidates fighting for their first primary victory in the south. >> the fight goes on, the future that we want is within our grasp. >> it's the last chance for t triumph before the race goes national on super tuesday. >> you have a chance to make history. >> announcer: who will have the advantage heading into the biggest round of voting yet? it's south carolina's choice. tonight in the battle for the democratic nomination, hillary clinton re-energized by her win in nevada working to knock out her opponent and take control of the race for good.
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>> going to wrap up the nomination and then we're going to win this election. >> announcer: bernie sanders trying to spread his political revolution to the south and prove he can go the distance as the campaign moves cross-country. >> we are actually listening to the american people, not the 1%. >> announcer: it could be a game changing contest in a state where african-american voters are a powerful force and both democrats need their support. >> stand up, take back your own government. >> i don't want to rant and rail. i want to get things done. >> announcer: now it's time for voters to have their say as clinton aims to be the only star on stage. >> that is why i need you, my friend, more than ever! >> announcer: and sanders battles to steals the show. >> we are gaining steam every day. >> announcer: south carolina is choosing. the race is anything but predictable. and it's moving into overdrive right now.
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>> welcome to our viewers in the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer in the cnn election center. we're counting down to a little under an hour from now when the palmetto state polls will close and when we could get some hard results and some initial indications of who could take this state. hila hillary clinton is hoping south carolina's democrats show up today. the polls heading into tonight show clinton with a strong lead. she'll need to maximize turnout to claim victory here. a south carolina win would boost clinton's campaign into the all-important super tuesday when more than a third of all the democratic delegates needed to win the democratic presidential nomination will be up for grabs. it's so important bernie sanders is spending a primary night right now in a super tuesday state instead of south carolina.
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he's in minnesota one of the states his campaign thinks he can pick up in a few days. cnn is standing by with both clinton and sanders' campaign. we're watching tonight what's going on. i want to go to brianna keilar at hillary clinton's headquarters. they feel pretty upbeat over there. >> reporter: they sure do. hillary clinton was actually in alabama today. she touched down in south carolina a short time ago ahead of this key primary tonight. you know, she and aides are pretty relaxed about this idea that they are going to secure a win here. but make no mistake, they are watching the spread. what they would really love to see is hillary clinton give bernie sanders a shellacking like he gave her in new hampshire. they feel like if she can achieve that they will be well positioned to open up a big lead coming into super tuesday by the end of super tuesday by about 100 delegates over bernie
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sanders. that's their aim at this point. if she can win and best bernie sanders by as much as 22 points that is something, wolf, that will be sweeter than the strawberry cupcakes that hillary clinton bought baut in birmingham, alabama, today, which i understand were promptly devowed by her staff xh has spent many, many hours on the ground here in super tuesday states, wolf. >> brianna keilar with the hillary clinton campaign. jeff zeleny with the sanders campaign in rochester, minnesota. jeff, what are his advisers telling you? >> reporter: wolf, senator sanders is going to arrive here in a few hours, about three hours or so. he's still actually outside dallas where he's been rallying supporters. there's no question they wanted to get as far away from south carolina as possible. their advisers don't think a win is possible, within reach. they're hoping to minimize a massive defeat there. but they are going to forward. they are saying this is a delegate fight. how democrats pick their nominees are all by delegates.
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not winner take all. it's not how many states you win. it's the delegates. so they are looking at minnesota, at colorado, at massachusetts, at vermont, at oklahoma. but, wolf, the reality here is that this race may change tonight. the dynamic of this democratic race may change tonight. just a week ago, it's important to remember, sanders campaign thought they had a potential win on hand in nevada. that didn't happen. this is the end of the beginning of the first of four contests. this race is about to go national so quickly. the sanders campaign is saying, next week will be much better than tonight. wolf, that matters in this campaign. if tonight is bad, the sanders campaign will have to remind supporters they should stay in it for a long time to come. >> jeff zeleny, thank you. i want to go to jake tapper. he has more. jake? >> that's right, wolf. it's so interesting, let me bring in dana and david just to talk about this along with you, wolf. this is such an indication of the day is night, night is day
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contest, comparing hillary clinton in 2008. she lost south carolina by almost 30 points to barack obama. >> that's right. >> but now we don't know the results, but it looks as though bernie sanders doesn't feel he even can compete in the state so much that he has not spent much of the week in south carolina. >> that's right. it is completely different. and in large part because hillary clinton is running to effectively be the third term of barack obama. >> that's right. >> you know, in years past, when you say you're running as a third term, it was a negative. but she's embracing it wholeheartedly. in south carolina it's one place where it's definitely a plus. david, as i bring you in to talk about the exit polls, what are you seeing about the issue that we have seen debated back and forth between bernie sanders and hillary clinton, which is race and specifically how they appeal to african-americans? >> right. you remember last saturday when we were talking about the nevada caucuses we talked about it
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being the first big test of a less white electorate for bernie sanders and hillary clinton. we saw that played out. that gets much more dramatic today in south carolina. we have some early exit poll results. these numbers will change as more exit pollsters, the results get back to us. these are the early indications right now. take a look at the racial breakdown of the electorate today in south carolina. it is 61% black. we've talked before about majority african-american electorate in south carolina. in 2008, it was 55% black. today so far 61% black, 35% white. that is obviously a dramatically different electorate, makeup of the electorate racially, than we've seen anywhere in the other three earlier contests. the other question we asked today, which was getting a sense that people felt that race relations better, worse, about the same than they were over the last few years. and take a loat this. 19%ñof democrats in south
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carolina say race relations have gotten better over the last knew queer years, 34% say they've stayed the same. 46% have said reese relations has gotten worse. that's everyone, dana. when we look at just black voters, it's the same. 45% of african-american voters today in south carolina say that race relations have gotten worse over the last few years. >> it's staggering. in 2008 the racial breakdown was 55% of the voters, democratic voters, were african-american. to vote for barack obama in large part. >> right. i mean, the first black potential president on the ballot in 2008. now we see even a greater, blacker electorate among the south carolina democrats than in 2008. >> the other part of the poll you were looking at, which is race relations, it might not be that much of a surprise given the tragedy we saw there. (t&háhp &hc% it. >> right. >> there have been a few
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tragedies in south carolina. >> a few, right. the big one that we remember, a white man going in and shooting up a black church. so perhaps it's not for those of us who don't live ÷here that much of a surprise. >> remember, both of these candidates have been campaigning on improving race relations. that's been a big thrust of the campaign in south carolina. so you're right, perhaps it's not terribly surprising when all the message is how to improve something that people would feel that race relations have gotten worse. >> it's also just in terms of differentiation, if you look at clinton and sanders ynd the messages that they were conveying at the beginning of their campaign and how they're talking now, they have adapted to where the electorate is, to where the democratic electorate is. that is not the case when it comes to the republicans with the exception of donald trump. anderson? >> jake, we're going to come back to you shortly. we've got our panel here, donna brazil and knee ma moo leak ka henderson, david axelrod former
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senior adviser to the obama white house and van jones and gloria borger, paul begala. bacari sellers, former south carolina state representative, and s.c. cupp cnn commentator. let me start off with you, what do you make of the south carolina turnout, 60% of the vote african-american compared to 55% last time? is it more enthusiasm, or is it just greater population turning out? and also, the belief among african-americans and the general electorate in those exit polls of racial tensions being worse? >> well, i think that dana hit the nail on the head. in south carolina we have extremely heavy hearts talking about the african-american populations. one of my good friends was murdered while he was pastoring bible study just in july of this
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year. >> you think it's affected -- >> not only that, but you've had walter scott. we've just had this cascade of racial issues going on in the state. we just took the confederate flag down recently. we're not that far removed. yes, i think african-americans, there is this new vein that we are more participatory. we are more eager to play our role in this election. and i think that hillary clinton and bernie sanders actually saw that in this race because african-americans were really tuned into this race because of all the heartache, because of all the tragedy that we felt in south carolina. so this is a unique cycle. it really is. and i'm very proud of the 61% number. i can't lie. that makes me smile, that makes my heart joyous. >> van jones? there's obviously greater discussion of race in america, has been over the last several years. do you think that contributes to a feeling of things being worse or the other way to look at it is it's actually getting better because at least folks are talking about it. >> it's hard to know. i think a couple of things we've got to watch.
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we know the percentages are more, but we don't know if the numbers are more. >> right. >> i'm very, very interested to see hillary clinton may be able to win over the black vote. i'm curious, has she really been able to energize and elevate the black vote? we just don't know yet. i do think this has been a very, very tough year for the african-american community. i think it's -- this is the first time i've seen, though, a politician really in both parties being responsive in some way. you did have in the republican party, give credit where it's due, republican leaders who said, i'm concerned about some of these videos we're seeing. i'm concern birthday criminal justice. that's a very good thing. you've now seen a very vigorous conversation in the party both with bernie and with hillary about some of these underlying issues. that's a positive thing. you've got to be able to identify the problem before you can fix it. >> we don't know turnout numbers ats this point, paul, but what we do know is in past primaries and caucuses on the ñemocratic side the turnout has not been more than it has been, say, in 2008. but on the republican side it
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does seem that voter turnout is elevated. is there more enthusiasm on the republican side? >> there is. and that keeps me up at night. oh, man. we're not on the air, are we? i mean, yeah. turnout -- not turnout. the enthusiasm gap is really serious. i saw a survey a few weeks ago. 71% of conservatives say they're excite birthday this election. 71. only 40% of millennials, one big part of the democratic base, a 30-point gap between my parties' best voters and republicans best voters. campaigns are doing their jobs, though. bernie sanders had 200 staffers in south carolina, more than he had in iowa. he spent a million dollars. he may not win. he may shock the world. but what he's doing is going to the base and the heart of the party. it's -- the republicans are looking to the establishment, which no longer exists, to save them. the democrats are looking at the grassroots base to reenergize us. i think it's terrific. >> that sounded good.
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>> yeah. >> donna brazil, what do you make of toonnight? what are you looking for? >> as you know, eight years ago south carolina turned the tide in a democratic race. it was a remarkable show of support where previously they were supporting hillary clinton and barack obama spoke to the issues that galvanized african-american voters. south carolina is important because next week you have at least six state that's have a large percentage of african-americans. so if south carolina, if clinton has a firewall, the question is, will bernie sanders break it? i'll be looking tobd tonight to see how tough, how strong, how incredible, remarkable that fire wall is. >> does the firewall hold? does it rise/. >> that's what i'm looking for tonight. >> and i think that firewall depends largely on what black women decide to do. do they show up? do they back hillary clinton or back bernie sanders? bernie sanders has been in south carolina. he'sxbeen there trying to connect with the younger black
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voters on the campuses of hbcu. but i do think hillary clinton probably made a more targeted effort towards black women after one of her first speeches after she left the state department was before a black sorority, the delta. and also one of her first trip whz she went to south carolina in may was before black women, entrepreneurs. so i think that's going to be interesting to see what black n don this race. >> you know, one of the things that we should point out and donna is an expert on this because she's been involved in the democratic structure for a long time, our party and now i speak in my role as a former democratic operative, awards delegates according to the performance of districts. so if you have a super democratic district, congressional district, you get nor delegates in that district. so if you have an advantage among african-american voters, you get a bonus there because
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those districts are going to have more delegates than less democratic districts. so if hillary clinton performs well tonight as is expected among african-americans and especially turnout would be good news for her. she's also going to come away with a big catch of delegates. >> yeah. i think if she wins and wins by a wide margin, it will be really momentum building for her, as you head into super tuesday. couple of things that i want to look at, though, are the young voter turnout, see whether it's enthusiastic as we saw for bernie sanders in the past or not. also for hillary clinton, i think you have to look at how white men and white women vote because she has historically -- and you can certainly speak to this -- had a problem with white male voters. and we'll see how they turn out. >> and surprisingly in this
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election she's had trouble with women. bernie sanders has been really clobbering her with women. we saw in coming out of nevada really was the first time she was able to walk away with the support of women democrats. i'm very interested to see in south carolina if she can sort of double down and say, i can win with women, as the woman who's campaigning to be the first woman president. >> younger women. >> a lot of our panelists will be looking for in the hours ahead. let's go back to jake. >> thanks, anderson. one of the big issues that hillary clinton has been able to differentiate herself from bernie sanders on and one of the rare ones she's able to did it from the left has to do with gun control, further restrictions on gun ownership. that has been a salient issue in south carolina as our panel was just discussing, especially in light of the shooting of walter scott, an unarmed african-american shot in the back by a policeman charged with murder last april and then the june 2015 shooting at the
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church. i'm interested to know what effect hillary clinton's argument that gun control is necessary before this democratic electorate has had on the people turning out for the polls today. >> that's right. you have some numbers on that. what do they show? >> do i. first let's look at gun owners versus non-gun owners in the electorate overall. take a look at this. among south carolina democrats today, 41% tell us in our exit poll that they are gun owners, 59% do not own a gun. then we asked, which is more important to you, reducing gun violence or protecting gun rights? take a look at this. 84% say reducing gun violence is the higher priority. 14% say protecting gun rights. guys, here's where it gets really interesting because that doesn't surprise you in a democratic electorate. you would expect numbers like that. among the gun owners here, 70% of them say reducing gun violence is the higher priority than protecting gun rights.
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that's among gun owners. >> it's so amazing because those of us who have covered democratic politics for the past 15 years know that democrats have not wanted to talk about guns at all because they've been worried that it would hurt them in red states, south carolina is a red state. so the fact that gun owners even there are saying that they are open to gun restrictions kind of remarkable. it shows you why hillary clinton has been saying the kinds of things she's saying. >> jake, i remember back on your show last summer, early on in this contest, when you had bernie sanders on and had a real lengthy conversation with him about his gun record. from that moment on basically, i think it sort of became the defining differentiating issue for a large part of the time of this democratic campaign between clinton and sanders. >> it's one of the only areas where hillary clinton is actually@uz sanders' left. his explanation is that he is from a rural state, vermont, where there is very little gun control and also very little gun violence. his argument is also that he has generally voted in favor of gun control, which is true.
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but there are four or five votes that hillary clinton has been able to point to and say, well, what about when you voted for immunity for gun manufacturers or ammunition manufacturers? what about your support for bringing guns on trains? no matter how small the legislation is, she has been able to point to it. >> she has. and clearly it is one of the areas that's been successful for her. it is kind of remarkable when you think about it that she has taken such a strong stand against bernie sanders as you said from the left, given how terrified frankly democrats have been, not of the democratic electorate per se but in looking in trying to bring in democrats from more rural areas because they have been very pro-gun historically. >> this is part of hillary clinton seeking out not just in the primary process but also looking ahead to the general the obama coalition as her path to victory, right? so where she may have taken
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positions let's say in the 2008 primary she would look ahead to the general and then be afraid of certain -- >> when the president called her annie oakley. >> right. >> she's looking at it the same. >> democratic presidential nominees have not made a big issue about this, wolf. not al gore, not john kerry, and it wasn't until after the shootings in connecticut, sandy hook, which was after he was reelected that president obama started talking about it in a major way. >> right. bernie sanders has a d-minus rating from the nra. not enough but a d-minus on that point. we're only minute as we from the polls closing in south carolina. state officials there have described the turnout as steady. will enough voters turn out to give bernie sanders a chance to narrow the gap with hillary clinton? we're about to find out. this is cnn special coverage. gre lecithin lecithin. l-e-s (buzzer sound)
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get an auto insurance quote and see why 92% of our members plan to stay for life. we're counting down a little more than a half hour from now the polls close in south carolina, the democratic presidential primary. that's when we'll be able to share some hard numbers with you and also share more information from the exit polls we've been conducting all day. i want to go over to cnn's john king over here.
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south carolina very important state right now for hillary clinton. she has to win but she wants to win decisively. >> she does. this is the last stop in what i call the momentum phase of the campaign, iowa, new hampshire, nevada, south carolina. then we get into the packed super tuesday. this is the last one-state stop. hillary clinton wants to win big. why? let's come back out for a second. in terms of the pledge delegates those you win on caucus day, primary day, essentially even. hillary clinton up one because of nevada. she had a healthy win in neve. she wants a huge win in south carolina because this as donna was just saying often is a decisive state in the nominating process. what is she looking for? the most important thing for hillary tonight is what are her percentages and turnout among african-americans. the deeper the shading in the state, the higher the percentage of african-american voters. in south carolina, we know the african-american population will be a majority, the question is how much of a majority. then why is south carolina so
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important? let's just pull the map out, close this down. after south carolina, the race essentially is played out down here. you see a significant african-american population. hillary wants a big win in south carolina, get the biggest basket of delegates y. is this so important? let's turn offer the demographics for a second. take you back to 2008. obama obama obama obama obama. this is where the race changed. once we got into the state wrz the african-americans are the majority of the population, obama won south carolina with 55%. he came next door and won in georgia with 66%. he came over and won alabama with 56%. he won here in mississippi with 61%. and he won louisiana with 57%. so winning and winning by a healthy margin and as david axelrod and donna were talking about in the democratic districts you pick up big delegates. that is hillary's big goal. bernie says he's in it until the
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end. he's hoping after sk tonight she proves she can win the most african-american votes, carry the momentum through the south on super tuesday to convince bernie sanders, you're not going to be able to catch me. tone it down. that's her biggest goal. >> in addition to the earned delegates he has a lot of super delega delegates. she starts off with a huge advantage. >> the last thing she wants is so to get to the end and need the super delegates to put her over the top. she needs to win a majority. the way to win a majority as we get the results i'll show you we can make guesses as we look forward, the way for her to pull away we expect a lot of these contests to be relatively close. if she has an advantage among african-american voters in south carolina if she can keep it through the south, that's where she can start to get a healthy delegate lead. which she will need in more competitive contests. >> anderson, back to you. >> wolf, thanks. let's turn to our analysts, g. r when we see 60% of the voters in the polls right now are african-american, the other possibility is that there are simply is fewer white voters turning out.
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we don't have actual numbers yet, but that's another possibility for why the percentage of african-american voters would be higher. >> could be. it also could be proportionate. we'll wait to see. what's so interesting to me as someone who was involved in that obama campaign in 2008 and looking at the map was that you can almost reverse the colors in this race. >> yep. >> this time, it's the african-american vote that is making hillary such a morm dabble candidate. it's interesting to me she's cleaved so closely to barack obama. you may say barack obama has become her firewall in this campaign. >> if she dominates in south carolina among african-american yover effect? >> i think it's very predictive. >> yes. >> if i were the sanders campaign and i looked at these numbers i would be concerned about super tuesday because what's going to happen is she's going to start, if it goes -- if she has a good night tonight and it's reflected again tuesday in the states that john mentioned, she's going to start building an inexorable lead. the way the democratic system is
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set up, you know, you get proportional delegate. so it's very hard -- nobody leaves empty-handed so it's very hard to catch up once you fall behind. >> you kind of do get an effort grade in the democratic -- >> that's how democrats roll. >> what does bernie sanders do, then? >> he goes to minnesota, colorado, oklahoma, and says that he's going to keep rolling up the delegates. but i think at a certain point you can't say, okay, i'm going to lose among african-american voters by such a huge margin and win the democratic nomination. and you have to see what happens on super tuesday. he has to prove that he can have a more diverse support, and that's what he almost did in nevada, tried to do in nevada, did not succeed but came close, and he has to show that. or else you want to talk about establishment and parties going crazy like they are in the republican party? then the democratic establishment will say at a certain point, if you can't show
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you have a diverse base, you can't become the nominee. and you're only taking down hillary clinton. >> because the path democrats have taken to the white house has been through african-american communities and latino communities. obama 80%, 90% of non-white voters and only 40% of white voters. if you're bernie sanders, the narrative that, listen, i want to start a political revolution, but that revolution only happens in white states, that's a bit of a problem. >> there's also -- >> or on college campuses. >> that's the thing. his ranks among millennials going to match her strength among african-americans? you know, historically millennial turnout, youth turnout, is not very good. it was huge for barack obama, as i've said before. they could have all stayed home and he still would have won. that's how little the turnout is. i don't think bernie sanders can make the argument, i'll see your african-american vote and i'll raise you a millennial vote. they're just not the same
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numbers. >> one of his arguments is, look at my rallies, we've got all this enthusiasm. but again -- >> it's not really showing up in the turnout numbers. one thing that's going to be interesting to look at tonight is, is he showing progress among younger african-american voters? are african-american millennials responding to him? that's something he's hoping for. if it doesn't happen, that's the toehold he needs. >> you have killer mike, you have spike lee, you have others who have turned out for bernie sanders and you see this generational almost divide. >> yes. >> i think we have to start asking why. why is hillary clinton able to achieve this? i remember in 2008 my relatives were furious with hillary clinton because they felt she was being so unfair to barack obama. and yet those same church mothers who were so protective
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of him have turned to her. there is a reason. >> don't they teach forgiveness? >> well, you know more about forgiveness in south carolina. >> forgetfulness. >> forgetfulness saturday. don't forget what this is. >> but there's also strategy and there's also philosophy. the black community is very sophisticated. bernie sanders thinks he's running against hillary clinton. he's actually running against someone named kimberly crenshaw, the african-american academic legal scholar who coined the term "intersectionalty." she's made the point you can't just talk about race or just class or gender. you have to talk about all of them together. hillary clinton has taken that insight and built a brilliant campaign around that. so she says, listen, it's not just about class it's about all of this together. that argument has been going on in the black community for a long time. she tapped into it. bernie has not. >> part of that to highlight it, in 2008, i say that hillary
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clinton's approach was, i'm going to go in and get every pastor i know. barack obama and david axelrod took the congregation from right up under her. this time hillary clinton studied the quarter of slaim. she talked about the environmental injustices, education injustices. bernie sanders has had a hard time pivoting from walt street to the other issues that the african-american community has been clamoring to hear about. >> it's also about relationships. one thing that i think we should also point out is that hillary clinton's relationship with black women, black voters, black pastors goes back decades. >> before i was born. >> well -- >> you had to say that. >> you know what? really? but these ties -- her relationships are tied to bonds -- i don't want to say they're unbreakable because
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they're breakable, of course. >> they broke in 2008. >> in large part because we had a superstar who understood as a bakari said, how to go get the can g congregation. bernie will learn tonight because you have to learn when you go into super tuesday you have to go in not trying to break the ties but to build some new ones. >> it's partly if you look at the people hillary clinton has surrounded herself with, yes, it's kimberly crenshaw's philosophy and the people like mia harris who is a policy aide, karen finney as well, she's put together a really -- >> all black women. >> a lot of brilliant black women. >> we have to take a quick break. we're minutes away from the polls closing in south carolina. hillary clinton's campaign banking on a very big win there. can she generate enough momentum to run the table on super tuesday when a third oñ all democratic delegates are going
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to be up for grabs? we'll check in with the campaigns after this. ♪ he has a sharp wit. a winning smile. and no chance of getting an athletic scholarship. and that is why you invest. the best returns aren't just measured in dollars.
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we're only about 20 minutes or so away from the top of the hour when we'll be able to share with you for the first time some hard election numbers coming in from the south carolina democratic presidential primary. also exit poll results.
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stand by for that. i want to go over to bernie sanders' headquarters. jeff zeleny is standing by. i see a microphone behind you. i assume at some point we'll hear from bernie sanders tonight. >> reporter: we absolutely will, wolf. he's in the air right now flying from just outside of dallas, texas, here to minnesota, and it's -- when we analyze these numbers, elections are of course all about the numbers. a couple of numbers stand out, the number of people he addressed today in two rallies in texas. first in austin, then right outside dallas. of course, he's keeping an eye on the super tuesday primary in texas. then he is flying here to minnesota. he believes that minnesota is a place where he can do well because of the liberal nature ever the state. of course it's a state of paul wellstone, the state that has a deep liberal tradition that fits his politics very well. but also looking at the numbers today, wolf, how much he's spent in south carolina is something to absolutely take into account.
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he spent nearly $2 million in television ads. spike lee was on the radio there for him. he could not watch tv, drive across the state without seeing bernie sanders on television or listening to bernie sanders. we'll find out if the investment paid off tonight. he also had almost 200 staffers on the ground there. so it's not that bernie sanders was not making an investment in south carolina. the question we'll find out tonight is if it's worth it and what that means going forward in these other southern primaries in the other primaries across the country here. but when you talk to his advisers, they will say, look, this is a delegate fight. he will do very well in convict tests in march here. but there's no question here, wolf, this is a turning point. democrats realize this is a turning point. the question for bernie sanders is, will he change his rhetoric at all? he was pretty aggressive on his rival today throughout his rallies in texas, across the board on issues. will he change his tone as this campaign goes forward into march? when some 56% of the delegates are picked in the month of march. wolf? >> super tuesday only a few days
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away. that's why he's heading to rochester, minnesota, where you are. we'll of course have live coverage of his speech later tonight. i want to go over to clinton's headquarters. she's over in south carolina where the election is taking place today. we're about to get results coming in at the top of the hour. brianna, what is she doing right now? >> reporter: that's right, we actually understand, wolf, i'm told by an aide she is at her hotel and she's relaxing. she's basically sitting tight waiting for results to come in, and they do expect that to happen sooner rather than later. but she's been joined by people she certainly considers to be special guests. those are friends back from the days when she was first lady and her husband was in the white house. i'm not told by the campaign exactly who they are. they wouldn't say. but they said these are some old friends who are in town and they're canvassing for her in south carolina. you can look behind me. the crowd here already getting excited. you can see there are people already seated behind the podium
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there, which is key. that actually tells you that maybe it won't be too long before we hear from hilary clinton and that she will be giving her speech. i'm also told, wolf -- this is pretty interesting -- the campaign stopped polling a week ago. they actually thought it was a waste of time. they feel like they were going to win and all they really needed to do was take the time they had left to really try to y last vote that they could out of south carolina. that includes a little help from secretary clinton's friends of decades back. >> at some point we'll hear from her. of course we'll have live coverage of that. thanks vex. want to go back to jake. jake, this is an important state for hillary clinton tonight coming on the heels of what's happened so far. she has to do well. >> that's right. hillary clinton has embraced president obama throughout the election season but especially in south carolina. >> that's right. because of what you mentioned before, how well barack obama did. really it was a blowout in 2008.
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she was on the bad end of that blowout. tell us about what you're seeing in these exit polls, specifically about how the electorate feels about the president. >> right. it's sno noh surpri ae's no sur >> let me guess, they like him. >> take a look. 70% of south carolina democrats today say they want to continue barack obama's policies with the next president. 19% of the voters in the south carolina democratic primary today tell us they want more liberal policies in the next president than barack obama has had and 7% want less liberal policies. t)wpá that was like compared to iowa and new hampshire. it was about 55% wanted to continue obama's policies in iowa, 40% in new hampshire, 50% in nevada. so again, we are dealing with an electorate here that is much more interested than we've seen in the previous three states in continuing barack obama's policies. now take a look at the ideological makeup of south carolina. this is really interesting, too.
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51% of voters in the south carolina democratic primary today call themselves liberal. 49% call themselves moderate or conservative. this also compares interestingly to the previous three states. this is a much more moderate/conservative electorate than we saw in iowa, new hampshire or nevada. >> which is the kind of electorate you're going to see going through the whole south, which is why hillary clinton is looking forward to super tuesday because there are a lot of southern states even though there are also some state náz midwest and the north that bernie sanders is hoping to get, more liberal voter there's. >> that's right. bernie sanders getting some criticism, anderson, from the clinton campaign after suggesting one of the reasons she was embracing president obama literally and figuratively was to win over black voters in south carolina. whatever you think of the comment, looks like it was good politics by her. >> no doubt we'll see more of that given those kind of numbers tonight. moving forward, there's no reason for hill country clnten not to continue with that
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strategy. >> no. until she becomes the democratic nominee, then at a certain point she'll have to do what we call a pivot and she's going to have to go etch a sketch, go a little bit more to the center because independent voters in particular, republicans, moderates, aren't so excited about a third obama term as are voters apparently in states like south carolina. >> you know, one of the things that we should look for tonight is, when you see that number that david put up there about this being a more moderate electorate, you would expect her to do better among white voters than she's done in some of the previous state that's were more liberal. source of concern long term that i would look at if i were her campaign. >> earlier they were saying this enthusiasm between the republicans and democrats keeps him up at night. is that something you're watching closely? >> absolutely. i've noted this every single contest, that the republican ñ% turnout has been record everywhere and the democratic
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turnout has been significantly less than -- at tat the peak in. that was an extraordinary year. but you see an enormous gap between republicans and democrats. some of it is explained by donald trump but not by any means all of it. >> how do campaigns or the dnc go about trying to alter that? >> let me just say something about this thing around obama and hillary clinton's close embrace. one of the things you could really fault the bernie sanders campaign for is never really contesting that. hillary clinton has her own difference was this president. hillary clinton doesn't agree with him on trade, doesn't agree with him on health care. she says that the cadillac tax isñbad, he says it's good. on foreign policy, too. the key difference the syria no fly zone. that would be a huge thing to point out. you never heard bernie sanders ever say, i'm the guy that loves the president. i'm the guy holding on to the president. the trade issue would be tougher. but look, one ever the thing that's has helped bernie sanders
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is he comes across as thoroughly authentic. it is not authentic to say that he has been a consistent supporter of the president. he tried to get an opponent -- >> i disagree with you. >> van, i think you will hear maybe her talking about that in more progressive states and states unlike south carolina. maybe massachusetts, washington, oregon, where there's hotbeds of progressivism. she might start to point out that more. >> van, then we have to go. >> i just think there are areas, is he barack obama -- no. frankly, that's not the point. the point is that there are key differences and on the question of peace, on the question of war and peace, where he gets closer to the president and to the base than hillary clinton, he never made it an issue. >> you think bernie sanders is closer to barack obama than hillary clinton? >> on syria. on peace. >> in life. in the real world. >> on real soldiers dying?
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yes. on stupid wars? yes. >> on life. >> why is hillary clinton opposing our president? >> this is the game we're having. >> we'll get van a cool cloth for the break. standing by, polls are closing in south carolina. cnn could be on the verge of making a major projection right after this. nobody move! get on the floor! do something! oh i'm not a security guard, i'm a security monitor. i only notify people if there is a robbery. there's a robbery. why monitor a problem if you don't fix it? that's why lifelock does more than free credit monitoring to protect you from identity theft. we not only alert you to identity threats, if you have a problem, we'll spend up to a million dollars on lawyers and experts to fix it.
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democrats in the palmetto state have been voting since just after sunrise. we are counting down the minutes until polls close in south carolina. information from the exit polls. that information is coming in at the top of the hour. we could make a major projection. hillary clinton's campaign is hoping to celebrate here tonight. they have the big advantage in the polls. but if clinton doesn't match those lofty expectations, bernie sanders could springboard into super tuesday with new momentum. i'm wolf blitzer in the cnn election center. this is special live coverage of the south carolina democratic presidential primary. cnn is positioned across the country right now, plugged into both the clinton and sanders campaigns.
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brianna, there is a nice crowd already gathering. they are anticipating exit poll results coming in any time soon. that's right. they are getting more amped up by the minute. hillary clinton i'm told worked on her speech that she is expected to give in not too long. her expected victory speech on the airplane back from alabama today where she had a campaign event earlier in the day. and i understand that it is certainly a much sweeter feeling for her to be working really in ernest on one speech instead of having two. one for a loss and one for a win. unsure which one she is going to get, which is the case in nevada but is not the case here in south carolina. the big question, is she going to take on donald trump in this speech? campaign aides believe he is going to be the republican nominee. we saw today some of her sharpest rhetoric against trump.
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she really slammed him for what is spending half of his time insulting people. she stressed the importance of a presidential candidate and a president being very careful with what they say and how they say it. she said markets rise and fall based on what a president says. so really a volley there at donald trump. she seems to be expecting will be her adversary should she clinch the democratic nomination. >> brianna, thanks very much. over to jeff zeleny over at bernie sanders's headquarters. super tuesday state. what's the latest over there? >> wolf, senator sanders advisers, some in south carolina watching these results come in closely. they know this will not be a strong night for him. i just talked to one adviser a short time ago who said any calls for senator sanders to start thinking about reevaluating his candidacy isn't going to happen.
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they said no chance of that. one adviser told me senator clinton did not reevaluate her candidacy after south carolina when she lost by 28 points. why should we? so interesting, wolf, the sanders campaign is remembering exactly how much the clinton campaign lost by eight years ago. this is a strong win for secretary clinton. she of course was not in south carolina on election night either. so the sanders campaign is saying, look, this is not out of the ordinary. this is normal. we're looking forward here. and only 4% of the delegates have been counted now, have been picked now. we have iowa, new hampshire, nevada, now south carolina. now the race really begins in march. so some 56% of the delegates are picked throughout the month of march. sanders campaign say they have a strong online fund-raising operation. they have shown they can raise more money in defeat as we saw in iowa and nevada here.
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going full steam ahead here, wolf, regardless of what happens in south carolina. >> at some point we will hear from him as well. jeff zeleny, thanks very much. back to jake. we are getting close to the top of the hour. that's when the polls close. potentially we could make a major projection. >> absolutely. it could be a strong night for secretary clinton. at that point it would be two close calls in iowa, nevada, one dominant state for sanders and one dominant for clinton. i can understand why sanders's folks would think it was premature. they are much more competitive if you remove the superdelegates than on the republican side. but dana, what are the voters caring about as they head to the polls? >> to me, this is one of the most interesting pieces of information we get on an election night. finally the people who are going to vote, what is most driving their vote? what did you find out? >> just like we saw with the
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ideological breakdown, this state looks a little different than where the previous contest took place so far. same thing on the most important issue facing the country. 43% say the economy and jobs is the most important issue facing the country. 22% health care. 21% income in equality, and 10% terrorism. he economy and jobs has been the most important issue but not by this big of a margin. 43% is a much bigger number than we have seen. how about worried in the direction of the nation's economy. take a look at this. 50% of people going to the polls in south carolina today are very worried about the future of the u.s. economy. 33% are somewhat worried. 15% not too worried. in new hampshire we asked the question in the primary. only 29% of people that voted in the democratic new hampshire primary were worried about the nation's economy.
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here it is half. it is another slice to show us this is a different makeup of vote voters, issues. you look ahead to the states now and say, well, if states coming up look a lot more like south carolina and hillary clinton does well, they will want to repeat that. >> it is also curious because traditionally when people are worried about the economy, they are not that satisfied with the current president. but not in this case, right? they are worried about the economy and yet by a very, very big majority. they say they want to continue president obama's policies. >> tremendous amount of anxiety. it makes you wonder when candidates other than trump and when hillary clinton are going to realize the reason sanders and trump are having the success they are is because there are so many people so worried about their economic future, wolf. >> it is a huge issue as we see
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from exit polls. thank you very much. we are counting down. only seconds away from the top of the hour. this is the moment bernie sanders and hillary clinton have been waiting for. polls close at 7:00 p.m. eastern. we are getting hard numbers right now. stand by for this. as cnn makes this major projection, hillary clinton is the winner of south carolina democratic presidential primary. we have projected that the former secretary of state, former u.s. senator, former first lady of the united states will win the south carolina democratic primary. a very important win for hillary clinton going into super tuesday. let's go over to brianna keilar. they are about to hear the word right now. i assume there will be a lot of joy behind you, brianna. >> yeah, wolf, t


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