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tv   The Lead With Jake Tapper  CNN  March 10, 2016 1:00pm-2:01pm PST

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grave of a threat as people think. >> these are just some of the pieces to come out of this extraordinary interview, jeffrey goldberg and "the atlantic." thank you for being with me. special coverage with erin burnett continues right now. welcome to a special edition of "the lead." i'm erin burnett in for jake tapper tonight. we are live from the university of miami where the stage is set and it's going to be a full crowd. a lot of people here, i can tell you. this is going to be a big one. we're four and a half hours away from the final republican debate before next tuesday's winner-take-all primaries in florida and ohio, those game-changer states. the stakes could not be higher. in fact there may be anyone left
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for donald trump to debate. trump says it's over if he wins florida and ohio. our correspondents, our analysts, our experts, the best of the best political team on television all standing by for our big pregame show as we are here in the debate hall because it's getting so close. do you remember when there was an undercard debate? do you remember those nights? remember that? you forget so quickly, right? now there are only four podiums behind me. some of the remaining candidates are hoping that the time they get on stage tonight isn't their last time. sunlen serfaty is with me inside the debate hall. this is going to be a very big night. we can see all the seats. there are going to be a lot of people in this debate hall watching tonight. >> that's right, erin. you know the stakes as you said are very high and this is where it will all go down, right here on this debate stage. so pivotal for so many of the candidates. all four of them really looking for a breakout night tonight. i want to give you a little tour of the debate set here. as you can see, four podiums,
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four lecterns set up here. this is the lectern where donald trump as the front-runner will be. to his right will be florida senator marco rubio. to trump's left will be senator ted cruz and over here is where ohio governor john kasich will be. as you can see a real intimate setting between the four of them. only a few feet in between them. this will be their view looking out here, as you said, an expansive debate hall. it will be filled with an audience in just a few hours. there will be a lot of energy here in the debate hall. just moments ago we saw john kasich do a walk-through, situate himself up there on stage. he of course needs a big night going to that big vote in his home state of ohio on tuesday. erin. >> all right, thank you very much. i just turned around while sunlen was speaking because she seems so far away. i want to bring in our political panel to talk about this crucial debate. our political commentator s.e. cupp, along with former ted cruz
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communications director, amanda carpenter, jennifer grantholm, our cnn chief political analyst, gloria borger. we are the women of the world here. >> yeah. >> yay! >> i love that. >> all right. i just want to start off, gloria, we were in houston looking at a much smaller and more intimate space. this is a very big space. a big part of what's happened in these debates thus far has been the booing and clapping and cat calling that come from the audience. >> there's going to be a lot of people here. we at cnn try to keep that to a minimum and try and get the audience evenly divided that way, although donald trump has complained about that. there are going to be a lot of people here, but there are going to be fewer people on that debate stage. so what you're going to see now is people -- these candidates understand that this is it for them. marco rubio's stakes could not be higher. he's got to win the state of
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florida or i would argue that's it. he's not said he would pull out but he's got to do well. john kasich, this is all about getting to ohio. cruz, this is about being the alternative. and trump, i think this is about trying to be presidential, okay, because he's now at a point in this race where he is the clear front-runner and he needs to start acting like a president. >> don't you think he's going to go after kasich, though? >> absolutely. >> if others go after him, i bet he responds. >> and that's the question. so donald trump says he wants to be more presidential, a softer tone. he says that but then someone comes after him and all of a sudden it seems as though he cannot control himself. the real donald trump stands up. will he be able to hold back? >> i think he will. we saw in the last debate exactly what you're mentioning where he took this presidential tone in the beginning but when he was attacked by rubio, it descended quickly. >> literally it descended. >> it did. i think we're going to see a different donald trump tonight.
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if rubio calls him a con man he needs to take that and turn it around to substance. say really, what about you elected by the state of florida but didn't show up to vote on the omnibus bill. you are the real con man. he's got to use those moments. >> do you think he should call him little marco again? >> donald trump cannot change who he is. he has turned our debates into political performance art. that is not going to change tonight. i think you're absolutely right, john kasich is performing pretty well in ohio. now donald trump is saying if i finish well, if i win florida and ohio, i'm the nominee. he's going to come after john kasich. john kasich has not engaged in this so far. if he gets hit and doesn't return fire, he's going to look really weak. >> he's got a big decision on how to do that. then you have ted cruz who's coming out to show he's the alternative and show he's the one that can win this. he came out today talking about a certain demographic of voters that's going for donald trump. it was a -- let's see what you
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think whether it was an insulting thing to say or not. here's ted cruz today. >> donald does well with voters who have relatively low information, who are not that engaged and who are angry and see him as an angry voice. where we are beating him is when voters get more engaged and they get more -- >> more informed. what does that mean? is he just saying they don't know what they're talking about? >> donald trump supporters are attracted to his personality, the way that he projects strength. if his voters were concerned about his inconsistencies and policy positions, they wouldn't be donald trump supporters. i think along the way cruz has learned that the pace of donald trump's support isn't going anywhere and it's easier for him to get voters from other candidates, like marco rubio, like john kasich, than it is donald trump. >> but he's winning now, he's winning highly educated. he's winning people who are not highly educated. he's winning across all demographics now. >> yeah. i don't think this was smart of
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ted cruz. for one, i think you can patently say -- it's patently false that trump supporters are not engaged. a lot of these are first-time caucus goers. trump is bringing out people who traditionally weren't engaged in the political process. whether they have researched his record or care, i don't really think is the point. at some point ted cruz hopes to get these voters. at some point if ted cruz does get these voters and makes it to a general election, he will need all of them to come out and support him, so i'm not sure this was a politically wise way to frame this argument. i get his frustration, but i think he could have done a better job. >> we have to pause for one moment. >> break out the popcorn, that's all i can say from the democratic point of view. all right, everybody, please stay with me. donald trump promising to soften his tone at tonight's debate. does this really sound to you, though, like the new and softer side of trump? >> i think islam hates us. there's something -- there's
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welcome back to "the lead." this afternoon donald trump signaling that he wants to bring the gop party together behind his candidacy, saying he can be a unifier. even as he promises a softer debate tonight, he is causing some criticism with controversial comments today. cnn senior white house correspondent jim acosta joins me from the cnn post debate spin room. >> that's right. >> jim, are we seeing trump change his tone for real do you think tonight or is he just saying he'll change his tone? >> i'm going to say no, erin, i don't think so. we are live inside the spin room where some of the candidates and their operatives will come in after the debate to tell us they all won. but you're right, donald trump says he is expecting a softer debate tonight. he is not likely to get one. a top rubio advisor tells me
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while marco rubio will probably stay away from those more personal attacks about trump's tanning methods or hand size, he is going to attack donald trump's business record. as for donald trump, we should point out he is stirring up some controversy on his own telling our arounderson cooper what he thinks about islam. >> do you think islam is at war with the west? >> i think islam hates us. there's something -- there's something there, a tremendous hatred there. there's a tremendous hatred. we have to get to the bottom of it. there is an unbelievable hatred of us. >> in islam itself? >> you're going to have to figure that out. >> now, because marco rubio's back is against the wall here in florida, the trump campaign manager, corey lewandowski tells me that they do expect marco rubio to be on the attack, even if they are not on a more personal level.
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we should point out donald trump is looking for a double knockout punch on this upcoming super tuesday, knocking out marco rubio here in florida, john kasich in ohio. erin, we're hearing trump already starting to set up his lines of attack aimed at john kasich. last night he referred to john kasich as an absentee governor in ohio. we have not heard donald trump really go after john kasich, but kasich is creeping up in the polls in ohio so that tells you everything you need to know, erin. >> jim acosta, thank you very much. some saying john kasich has a better chance of winning ohio all out than marco rubio does. s.e., what donald trump said about islam, he did not differentiate against islamists and islam as a faith. purposeful? >> yeah, i think it was and i think it's pretty cowardly to respond to a reporter's question to you're going to have to figure that out.
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the leader of the free world needs to have thought these things through. the leader of the free world needs to make important distinctions between the religion of islam at large and islamic terrorists. the leader of the free world needs to respect muslims who put on a uniform and fight under the banner of the united states of america. so i thought that was a pretty cowardly moment. that's not coverage there, that's not strength, that's insecurity. >> it's important to know what happened 15 seconds later. anderson cooper said are you speaking of radical islam or islam. he said radical. so he did say radical islam. he said it repeatedly during his campaign. he said i have muslim friends. >> why did he say you figure it out. >> you figure it out and then he said radical islam. he made that distinction. the fact if he said it then or 15 seconds later, i think the argument that he's somehow against all of islam is going to fall on deaf ears when 15 seconds later he said radical islam. >> over and over again he is
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given opportunities to exactly make these claire fixes, whether it's on david duke and white supremacy. >> and he did. >> banning muslims or this and he doesn't. he really dances around it and it's intentional. >> he does not. >> he does not want to say something that he thinks will alienate this small corner of angry americans. >> why would it take anderson saying do you mean radical islam or islam? he should have said in the answer radical islam is what i'm talking about. that would be the first thing he would say as he would say it's a religion of peace or whatever you've heard from george w. bush and barack obama, both political sides of the aisle. >> because he's talking about islam as a political entity. he's talking about the theology that comes from the koran that says find your enemy and kill him. he was not thinking of the muslim people. >> no, he wasn't. that's what a president has to do. >> to paint him as a racist and bigot and somehow anti-islam, i think people aren't buying that.
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he commanded eed 49% of supporta poll. >> you're saying he didn't think about it? >> no, he doesn't think about these things. what i'm saying is i don't know that it was intentional or not. whatever it is within him, he is unpredictable and erratic and, therefore, he is not somebody you would want as your commander in chief. i do want want donald trump's fingers anywhere near the nuclear codes. he is a danger, and on our side, i'm a democrat and support hillary clinton. there's a reason why people believe she would be the best commander in chief compared to someone like him. >> what's the strategy on answering those questions? he had to be prodded and prodded but why would that be the strategy? >> the chief strategist of donald trump's campaign is donald trump. there is -- you know, corey lewandowski is running the campaign but there is -- this is donald trump. and i think just like the answer on torture, which he then had to
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clarify or change his position, i should say, the next day, sometimes he gets out ahead of himself. and when you're running to be leader of the free world, this can be a real problem, particularly if you're going to become the nominee, which by the way he is the front-runner here. >> this will be a subject tonight. i'm sure this will be the form of an attack and the second piece of things that's going to be a form of attack is what was presented by a super pac against him last night, which is about his outsourcing, the fact that he's got lines of clothes from china, from mexico. to me at a point when everybody is talking about jobs, maybe i'm biased, but this issue will be the subject of an attack on donald trump. why can you say that you are pro job, great, you're going to bring these jobs back when all you've been doing is outsourcing and sending work to question. >> if his answer is that's what the laws and the rules allow so
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that's what i did. that would be the donald trump answer. that i'm a pragmatist, i did what i did as a businessman. >> stop me before i do it again? >> that would work. >> but it's like he said with his taxes. i pay as little taxes as i can by the law. would that work? >> but i'm going to change the law so people can't be take advantage of it. >> to protect you from people like me. >> even he has said i want companies to not engage in corporate inversions and to do that i need to make an economical economically hospitable climate where businesses aren't taxed more than 15%. he said that needs to happen in order to keep companies here. he has explained why companies including his own have chosen to go abroad. >> he also said he would slap punitive taxes on countries he didn't like, he said that he would direct apple to make iphones here. he said he'd bring manufacturing back by making ford motor company come back to michigan. these things are not only tie rannical, they're impossible.
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you can't do them. if you were doing them, we wouldn't be living in america anymore. you don't dictate where and how businesses conduct their businesses from the oval office. >> it is amazing how much latitude a president has on trade, though, which is a totally separate issue but more than many people might think. speaking of presidents, the president of the united states right now, barack obama, has been asked whether he feels responsible for the donald trump rhetoric and the rhetoric out there on the gop side as some have alleged. here's how he responded to that question today. >> i have been blamed by republicans for a lot of things, but being blamed for their primaries and who they're selecting for their party is novel. >> he's sort of laughing there. >> he's so restrained in saying that. he wants to lol, laugh out loud, at such a ridiculous charge honestly.
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what i think is going to -- i mean he is -- the president has been so restrained and measured and i think that contrast alone between him and someone like donald trump will bode well for the democrats in november. >> i think trump supporters feel as betrayed. they don't like barack obama. no republican primary voters like barack obama. but i think these primary voters feel as betrayed by the republicans and the republican establishment as they do by the president of the united states. >> and the fact that democrats and independents are coming over and voting for donald trump, that's not happening because they're disconcerted with the republican establishment. that's happening because they're disconcerted with their own president so it's worth mentioning this is not just republicans turning out to vote for trump. >> and i think it's -- i think it's completely fair to suggest -- look, there's blame to go around for trump. there's logistical blame, some of the rule changes that were made three years ago have created an environment for trump. but i think it's absolutely fair
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to say that the president, this administration, his tone, some of his policies, the divisiveness has laid a groundwork for someone like trump. the conditions are there for someone like trump to emerge and thrive. i think that's completely fair. so for president obama to say i've been here for nearly eight years but none of this has anything to do with me, i think that's pretty arrogant. >> i do think there is an argument to be made about obama's broad use of executive power has kind of created a pathway by donald trump. i can go into the white house and do these things but people thinks that the white house can do these things because of barack obama. >> thank you all very much. and don't forget, we are just hours away from our republican debate tonight moderated boy jake tapper, who's usually sitting here at this time. i'm doing duty so jake can get ready. he's got to take a shower and shave and look good tonight. our coverage begins at 8:30 eastern right here on cnn.
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marco rubio says he's not going anywhere. at a nearly empty stadium, raising worries for some supporters. the last time they faced off on stage the republican candidates talked about everything from lying to the size of their body parts. now the rnc is calling for the campaign to tone it down. but is it too late? this just got interesting. why pause to take a pill? or stop to find a bathroom? cialis for daily use is approved to treat both erectile dysfunction and the urinary symptoms of bph, like needing to go frequently, day or night.
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welcome back. we are live from the university of miami this afternoon. the four remaining gop presidential hopefuls clashing tonight at the cnn presidential debate. it is their last chance to make their case before the ohio and florida primaries on tuesday. it is a do-or-die for some of the candidates. if they don't win, almost certain to see fewer people. let's bring in david chalian. florida and ohio, when we say a crucial moment, this one really is a do or die. tonight is marco rubio's chance. >> there's no doubt about that because he has been in a bit of a tailspin and this is his best last shot to turn that around. large audience that he's going to have, even in florida to turn that around, and he has to because if he loses florida, i just don't see how he's going to have a rationale to move forward. >> also to the point that people have been making on his
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political future, he's young, he's in his early 40s, he has a lot of ambitions. to stay in beyond florida if he does lose, some would say is political suicide. it doesn't make sense for him. >> if you lose a contest that all the expectations are you have to have to go on, the money stops flowing, the staff becomes disconcerted so it becomes a rough thing. >> i spoke to a man coming to the plane down here, florida voter coming back to vote. he said he was going to be voting for marco rubio. but he's worried about the polls. you want to pick a winner. in his case he was going to switch to john kasich. didn't rule out donald trump down the line but he was already concerned about marco rubio. >> right. listen, donald trump is going to have a two-front war because he has a competitive race with john kasich in ohio. donald trump told anderson cooper if he wins florida and ohio, he thinks it's done. >> is that fair? >> that's not true because there are many more contests to go and i don't see everybody else fold up and going home. there's going to be a prolonged
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contest here. do i think if he wins florida and ohio convincingly that he is by far and away -- >> presumptive? >> without a doubt but i don't think the field disappears. he's still going to have to go through these nominating contests potentially all the way through june. remember, this whole anti-trump movement that is forming, there's a lot of money behind that, there's energy behind that. if this is trump versus cruz, the group may tend to go with cruz if they want to stop trump. >> david chalian, thank you very much. i want to bring in sean spicer, the communications director for the republican national committee. okay, so here we are. >> beautiful backdrop. >> this is a big one with a lot of people here tonight. >> that's right. >> you want it to be a kinder, gentler debate. >> that's right. at least pg. >> have you talked to the candidates? is this going to happen? >> a couple of things. the chairman has talked to most of the candidates and made them
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understand, which is something that's not lost on them, the more we can be a welcoming party, we've got amazing ratings. this is a huge opportunity for our party at a time when the democrats are seeing not as high turnout in their debates, in their turnout. a lot of democrats come over to the republican side. so we're seeing that energy and need to capitalize and show people we're a welcoming party and we've got the better solutions and tone down the rhetoric a little. >> so do you have people calling up. we talk about all this money coming in and there is a lot of money coming in, coalescing around trying to stop donald trump. are they trying to coordinate with you guys? are they talking to you guys? >> anyone who's involved in politics understands the real of the rnc which is we are the neutral entity. our job is to create a level playing field and ensure whomever the voters choose as the nominee, we're ready to provide the resources necessary to win in november. our job is to let the voters make this decision, not us. we stay out of the way, create the playing field. ensure even of them has access to our data so they can
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communicate with republican voters. >> you have gone ahead and launched a website targeting hillary clinton. you've listed a bunch of rules you say she's breaking. you have a lawsuit against the state department to get her e-mails. what do you not have that you want? >> we're joining cnn, the washington post, vice, this is something that's gone on. we filed a foia request last year. we've been stalled and so now we're taking the next step and going to court. the fact of the matter is this all started by hillary clinton, a, refusing to comply with the foia, which is the legal mechanism which everybody is supposed to abide by. >> freedom of information act. >> yeah. second of all she told us after scanning these e-mails herself there was nothing in these e-mails. we've now gone into the hundreds of e-mails that are classified and reveal other information that shouldn't have been in the public domain. so the problem is we don't know. we are at a critical time not just as republicans but the democrats need to know this too. election where their voters have
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a right to know if somebody has done something wrong or there was any cover-up or what else is in those e-mails. >> so there have been questions whether in this investigation she would be indicted or not. jorge ramos asked about this last night in the sanders-clinton debate. >> if you get indicted, will you drop out? >> oh, my goodness, that's not going to happen, i'm ought even going to answer that question. >> obviously not just as a republican but the idea as a democrat, the idea that she says i'm not going to answer that question, that level of dismiss i'veness is something we've seen of hillary clinton. that's a serious question. she admittedly has told us over and over again that there's nothing in the e-mails, nothing to be worried of and we've seen over and over again there was classified information, in fact highly classified information. so to be that dismissive of a serious matter when we know they have made a plea agreement with brian patagliano who set up the
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server for her, this is democrat appointed investigators and independent inspectors general, the clintons have a hackett of telling anybody that questions them that it's a witch hunt and it's a republican or right wing hunt and it's not. these are real people with real questions because they have chosen there's one set of rule for the clintons and another everybody in america needs to abide by. >> sean spicer, thank you very much. and he's maybe way behind in the delegate count, but marco rubio's message has always been florida, florida, florida. now the sunshine state, can he deliver it? if tuesday is do or die for rubio, what is his strategy tonight?
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welcome back to "the lead." i'm erin burnett in for jake tapper. he's getting ready to moderate tonight's republican presidential debate in the mall where we are right now at the university of miami. the delegate count shows marco rubio trailing donald trump and senator ted cruz. the polls are so far not indicating a great performance in florida, but of course he wants to turn that around. i want to bring in manu raju. now marco rubio knows this is do or die, this is a crucial night. he is changing his tune. those personal attacks against donald trump. he said, look, it embarrassed my kids, i'm not going to be doing that. what does that mean for tonight, manu? >> i think he's still going to be rather aggressive against
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donald trump but try to make the case a little more explicitly to voters here in florida that this is a state that can stop donald trump. what does that mean? he's going to make the case explicitly that voting for john kasich or ted cruz in florida will effectively be a vote for donald trump. in addition watch for him to really go after some of those policy positions. trump's policy positions. they believe that has been effective by trying to draw out trump and have him explain what he actually stands for. in addition those attacks over his business record, rubio believes that is effective. so there will still be plenty of fireworks tonight from marco rubio, erin. >> all right, thank you very much. i want to bring in our panel now, andy dean, a trump support, trent duffy, national spokesman for john kasich's campaign, ron nehring and brian morganstern. great to have all of you with me. this is where you're nervous but glad it's not you that has to go out there and fight the fight.
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brian, this is a huge night for marco rubio. just from a purely psychological perspective, how difficult is this for him? to know that it's do or die? >> oh, he's used to being an underdog. this is where he thrives the most. he was running against the sitting governor of florida when he ran for senate. he was -- he frequently tells the joke when he started running, the only people that believed he could win lived in his house and several were under the age of 10. so he's used to coming from behind. this is right in his wheel house. he is ready to remind the voters of florida that a vote for anyone but him is a vote for trump and he's going to drive that point home tonight. >> so he's saying a vote for ted cruz, that's a vote for donald trump here in florida? >> we're playing hard to win in all 50 states. if you take a look at some of the recent victories that we've had, people wouldn't have predicted that. they wouldn't predicted that we would have won in maine or alaska or a landslide victory in kansas. the only way you prepare the battlefield is by being engaged everywhere and we're fully
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engaged here in florida. we've had a great two days, carly fiorina coming on board, utah senator mike lee coming on board today, we've got a lot of momentum going into the super tuesday and we're looking forward to it a great deal. >> are you worried about that, that ted cruz is starting to get some endorsements? because that had been the case against ted cruz. the people who know him and work with him don't like him and now you're starting to see people get on the cruz train. >> governor kasich was endorsed by arnold schwarzenegger recently. we're really pleased with where governor kasich is in ohio. he's beating donald trump. trump plateaued and now is going down and john kasich is on the rise. what we're excited about is a new national poll showed us as a three-way tie between trump, kasich and cruz going forward in the states yet to come. as john kasich gets a chance to distinguish himself and his record on the stage tonight like he did in michigan -- >> so how badly do you want
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marco rubio out of the race? do you think those rubio votes will really go to john kasich? i was talking about one florida voter i told the story to david chalian, he is a rubio supporter, worried about the polls in florida so he thinks he'll switch to kasich. >> we do think we'll get a lot of rubio supporters. but as this race narrows, kasich is continuing to rise. that's why that new nbc/wall street journal poll shows him a three-way tie. it really is jump ball. >> how important is it for donald trump to keep it high brow and show that he can be presidential, thought take the bait to go to the lowest common denominator. >> he can do it. if you remember last debate, marco rubio sort of firebombing and went berserk so apparently he's got a software update and will be very chill. >> you called it a software upgrade? >> we're very excited. what i'd like to discuss the three strategists for the other campaigns have all these theories, if these voters here vote for this person, it's really not that complicated.
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he's at 49% in mississippi and 37% in michigan. i just feel for the kasich campaign because he didn't even come in second -- >> i know you keep going -- >> there are, there are but his overall average is still -- >> remember, abraham lincoln won against three other people and won the presidency with 39% so you just need to beat your competitors, which trump does time and time again. i feel bad for the rubio campaign because on march 8, just two days ago, mississippi voted and only 5% of the people in mississippi voted for marco rubio which means northern florida will vote like mississippi. >> donald trump is not abraham lincoln, come on. let's have a little reality check here. >> this is talking math here. >> a software upgrade saying all of islam hates the united states? that's being softer and gentler? >> so when we're talking about islam -- >> he said they hate us.
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>> he's talking about the culture of islam in the middle east. i want to get down for this because it's important. we love muslims in america and they love us. why? we have a great culture that respects women's rights. >> relax, relax. the thing about muslims in the middle east is they don't respect women's rights. if you want to leave the religion of islam in the middle east, it's very real. i encourage people to look at the pew research poll. 39 muslim countries and this isn't 5% or 10%, the majority of those populations hate america and hate women's rights. >> i'm going to give you a quick chance to respond. >> this is what trump does, says one thing one minute and the opposite the next. he has changed his position on a minute-to-minute basis, not talking day to day. so tonight he's going to be pressed to share his plan. in the last debate he had a position on immigration before
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the debate, one during the debate and one after that. so he is going to have to tell the american people what he'll do. >> just to pause for a moment and we'll all be back in just a break. we'll take a couple minute break and be right back. when they thought they should westart saving for retirement.le then we asked some older people when they actually did start saving. this gap between when we should start saving and when we actually do is one of the reasons why too many of us aren't prepared for retirement. just start as early as you can. it's going to pay off in the future. if we all start saving a little more today, we'll all be better prepared tomorrow. prudential. bring your challenges. but i've managed.e crohn's disease is tough, except that managing my symptoms was all i was doing. and when i finally told my doctor, he said humira is for adults like me who have tried other medications
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we are live at the university of miami for the final presidential debate before florida and ohio vote. let's go to phil mattingly. john kasich's campaign tells you they're bringing out a secret weapon in ohio. they think they can win. what is that weapon? >> well, they think the determining factor might come down to the state party, erin. it's not a surprise that the ohio governor has support of the state party but the ohio state republican party endorsing kasich in january. the first time they have done such a thing in 70 years, opened the doors for the party to run a shadow campaign while kasich was campaigning elsewhere. they have put out slate cards to more than a million republican
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voters. they have been chasing absentee voters giving kasich an organizational advantage. you combine that effort with the effort of a super pac that has 30 staffers just focused on ohio, eight separate offices as well, all of that super pac staffed by top former kasich staffers, you have a network going on in his own state that could make the difference come tuesday, erin. >> all right, phil mattingly, thank you very much. my panel is back with me. let me go straight to you, the spok spokesman for john kasich. you hear phil talking about the shadow campaign you've been able to run. winner take all, it's crucial. people say he has a better chance of winning ohio than marco rubio does florida. are you confident you have it? >> yes, we are confident we have it and not just because of the ground game but because of what john kasich has done in ohio. 420,000 private sector jobs.
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john kasich was re-elected in the state of ohio. by 66% with 25% of the african-american vote so john kasich knows how to fix problems. a lot of people on the stage will be able to identify problems and describe problems but kasich is the only one that's ever fixed them. >> what does ted cruz do tuesday if he doesn't win florida or ohio? >> i think it's been fun to listen to some of these alice in wonderland stories coming from the rubio campaign or kasich campaign saying we're going to win our state and everything is going to be different. the reality is they are so far behind in terms of these delegate counts and have zero momentum going forward that it doesn't put them in position to go head-to-head with donald trump. only ted cruz has that pathway to victory. we've continued to rack up delegates. >> so you don't care if you don't win florida's 99 -- >> we're playing everywhere. we don't play somewhere in order to deny anybody and that's how
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we are able to take advantage of maine, have a landslide victory in kansas. and the endorsements that we've gotten, carly fiorina, there's tremendous amount of energy within the republican party, these are further propelling senator cruz going toward. we'll have more announcements coming out in the days ahead. he's the candidate with the momentum going into tuesday. tonight i think you'll see a candidate who people will see can be president of the united states in stark contrast to some of the others. >> alice in wonderland stories. that's what he says you are peddling. >> yeah, that's interesting. two polls out do have rubio within single digits here in florida. he wins 99 delegates with this state. that changes the whole dynamic. he was the first candidate with 50 chairs -- state chairs all across the country. he's ready to drive his own pickup truck as he said. the fact of the matter is rubio has the broadest appeal. he is the only one who can both
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unite the republican party and grow it and attract more people. >> but people always play this game with the polls. our poll has him significantly behind. a fox poll has him 23 points behind in florida. you say those polls are wrong? >> those are wrong. they're not accurate. it was just reported in "the washington post" that he's in single digits and two separate polls with more recent, more accurate data. >> who does donald trump think his biggest threat is in florida? >> i believe with the cruz campaign that rob ubio and kasi have no chance. donald trump has nine times as many delegates. the campaign makes an interesting statement that once florida is done, trump is done that, i don't see what the route is for the cruz campaign. they have only won texas and oklahoma and most of the rest are caucus states. 23 out of the next 24 states, the final roundup of the states, 23 are primaries. >> david chalian says even if he wins florida and ohio, this
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could still go to june. >> remember also on tuesday, march 15th, there's illinois where trump is ahead by 10. he's leading in missouri and north carolina. i just don't see a route for unfortunately any of these guys. >> tonight is going to be a big night for all four of you and your candidates. i that you all very much for being with us. and of course stay with us here on cnn. we have a huge night ahead of us. we're just beginning our countdown to that big debate. reince priebus will be my guest and rick scott had a lot of positive things to say about donald trump but not yet an endorsement. our coverage of the actual debate moderated by jake tapper all begins at 8:30 eastern. first, wolf blitzer joins us from "the situation room" right here in miami after this.
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happening now, sunshine stakes. the republican hopefuls are just hours away from a critical debate in the campaign. their florida showdown here on cnn comes just days before a winner-take-all primary that could put one candidate on the road to the nomination and could spell the end of the road for another. make or break. marco rubio is losing momentum and trailing in his home state of florida. he regrets his personal attacks on donald trump, so how will he fight back in tonight's debate? and low information. ted cruz is voicing no regrets. he said trump is taking advantage of supporters who he says are angry, not that engaged and have, quote, relatively