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tv   Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer  CNN  March 14, 2016 2:00pm-4:01pm PDT

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against rahm emanuel and might win illinois because of na. >> congresswoman fudge made a good point. bernie promised not to run negative ads and those ads are very negative. >> thank you so much. super tuesday is going to be tomorrow. it's going to be very exciting. i'm jake tapper, turning you over to wolf blitzer in "the situation room." happening now, down to the wire. as another super tuesday looms, it's go big or go home for two of the gop candidates. they face make-or-break ballotses in their home states. can donald trump's rivals stop his march to the nomination. swings and a miss. despite a growing chorus of condemnation, donald trump denies there's any violence at his rallies as we stand by for another trump event. i'll ask the head of the naacp about his concern. delegate math. as hillary clinton looks to complete her sweep of the south, bernie sanders hopes for another surprise in the midwest. but can the numbers ever add up for sanders? and putin pulls out. a stunning announcement from
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moscow, as russian president vladimir putin orders his forces to start withdrawing from syria. in an exclusive, cnn goes inside syria with a first happened look at the devastation brought by russian warplanes. i'm wolf blitzer, you're in "the situation room." we're counting down to another super tuesday, but for republicans and democrats alike, this tuesday may completely change the race for the white house. five states are holding primaries and more than a thousand delegates are up for grabs. on the republican side, there's an all-out effort on the campaign trail today as donald trump's rivals try to block his direct path to the nomination. florida and ohio are winner-take-all contests and senator marco rubio and governor john kasich, they are desperately needing to win their home states. trump says one of them has a good chance. trump is being widely condemned, meanwhile, for the violence at his rallies.
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house speaker paul ryan is the latest to call those images very concerning. but in my interview today, donald trump insists there is no violence. at an event earlier he called his rallies lovefests. we're standing by for another trump rally. i'll speak live with the president and ceo of the naacp, cornell brooks. our correspondents, analysts and guests will have full coverage of the day's top stories. we begin with the republican race and political reporter sara murray. the fight has now reached a critical point. how do things look on the eve of these very important primaries? >> reporter: that's right, wolf. donald trump is trying to sprint to the finish here to try to lock down the nomination. meanwhile his rivals, john kasich and marco rubio are hustling just to ensure their campaigns can survive beyond tuesday. in the final push before tuesday's pivotal winner-take-all primaries, donald trump is touching down in as many states as possible.
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>> so important tomorrow, north carolina, you have to go out and vote. >> reporter: the gop front-runner campaigning in north carolina, florida and ohio. and facing off against another protester. >> you're obnoxious. >> oh, get outta here. >> reporter: as sarah palin hit the trail to pump up trump. >> we've needed a revolution, and we found our revolutionary! donald j. trump is that revolutionary. >> reporter: and slammed the protesters. >> what we don't have time for is all that petty punk-ass little thuggery stuff that's been going on with these, quote unquote, protesters. >> reporter: today trump is dismissing the intense atmosphere at his campaign events after a planned chicago rally spiraled into chaos. trump arguing that his rallies are peaceful, despite an injured police officer and incidents of protesters being punched and
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kicked. >> pofirst of all, let's not us the word "violence." there's very little disruption generally speaking. >> reporter: today trump focusing on a different threat, john kasich, adding an event in the buckeye state and admitting to wolf he may not be poised for victory. >> he may win ohio. right now it's a tie according to most of the poles, we're literally tied. >> reporter: the ohio governor getting an assist as mitt romney makes a comeback on the campaign trail. >> unlike the other people running, he has a real track record. >> reporter: as kasich aims to defeat trump and fight on to the convention. >> i may go to the convention with more delegates than any of them but probably not enough to win. >> reporter: but without a win on tuesday, both kasich and marco rubio may be looking at their last stand. rubio maintaining his optimistic tone, but facing a steep climb in florida. >> tomorrow is the day where we're going to shock the country and we're going to do what needs to be done. we're going to win the 99 delegates here in florida.
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>> reporter: as ohio shapes up as ground zero for the anti-trump movement, a super pac is pitching in with new nationwide ads like this one. >> bimbo. >> dog. >> fat pig. >> real quotes from donald trump about women. >> reporter: while ted cruz plots trump's defeat with a quieter strategy. he's kwcanvassing in illinois a stopping by missouri in the hopes of snapping up delegates. >> if we stand together, we're going to win this nomination and beat donald trump. we're going to win the general election and beat hillary clinton. and we're going to turn this country around. >> reporter: now, wolf, we're here in west palm beach where we expect marco rubio to be campaigning in just a little while. just to give you a sense of the uncertainty around his campaign, a super pac supporting him we've found out they have not reserved in iair time past tuesday.
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>> thanks very much, sara murray reporting. we're awaiting the start of the donald trump rally in governor john kasich's state of ohio. in the meantime i want to bring on jim acosta, he's on the scene for us. this is a last-minute addition to trump's schedule, jim, isn't it? >> reporter: that's right, wolf. with the polls showing he's facing a tough battle here with john kasich, donald trump added this event in youngstown, ohio, in the hopes of pulling off a clean sweep on this next super tuesday. after all those problems we've been seeing at trump rallies the last several days, an extra security measure is in place at this rally. let us show you this. buses are being used to bring in the people who will be attending the event. they had to park several miles away at a nearby shopping center, give up their signs, umbrellas and bottles, anything that could be perceived as a threat. while one law enforcement official here on the scene described it as a parking issue, one trump event organizer told my colleague, rosa flores, that
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this bussing arrangement will make it harder for the protesters to attend the rally. trump appears to have had enough of these demonstrations, warning he might start pressing charges against some of these demonstrators and he's making the case that his rallies are largely peaceful. here's what he had to say earlier today. >> rather than fighting in chicago, i did something that was a good move, a good decision, because i don't want to see anybody be hurt. and what happened is -- and we've been given so much credit for that decision. nobody hurt, nobody -- you know, no problem. but because of that, people say, well, is there violence. there is no violence. it's a lovefest. these are lovefests. >> reporter: now, there's a follow-up to that rally last week in north carolina where a trump supporter sucker punched a protester. the local sheriff's department there says it's investigating whether trump himself was responsible or at least partly responsible for what happened. in a statement, the cumberland county sheriff's department says it is continuing to look into this, including the potential of
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whether there was conduct on the part of mr. trump or the trump campaign that rose to the level of inciting a riot. wolf, one day before these winner-take-all super tuesday primaries, that's the last bit of news donald trump needs at this point. >> we'll stand by for the start of that rally there. thanks very much. joining us in the situation room the president and ceo of the naacp, cornell brooks. thanks for joining us. you're an attorney. incitement, do you think that's credible? that the sheriff could charge trump with incitement? >> it's a hard case to make but bear this in mind. where donald trump in rally after rally has engaged in -- when he's made statements against women, when he has launched xenophobic attacks
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against muslims, when he has referred to protesters with racial words like thugs, where he has become mute, tongue-tied when it comes to distancing himself from the klan, we have seen this kind of rhetoric over and over again. when you offer to pay the legal fees of someone who's punched a young man for no reason. the fact of the matter is he's engaged in rhetoric that represents a kind of apologetics, if you will for violence and the authorization of america. so is it incitement in the context of a criminal charge? i'll leave that for the prosecutors in north carolina to determine. but he's engaged in demagoguic behavior that is contemptible. the fact of the matter is this man is talking about his rallies being a lovefest when in fact he's converted this political campaign into a hatefest. >> is there a racially motivated
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aspect? you're the head of the naacp. you see race being part of all of this? >> absolutely, absolutely. when you refer to mexicans as rapists, when you use code words like thug where you -- where you suddenly can't find a way to distance yourself from are the klan, the fact of the matter is we've been in this ugly movie before. in the 1920s, the klan combined an anti-immigrant sentiment in the country with a kind of unamerican patriotism with a veneer of christianity. we see that in the trumpist appeal, a kind of 2 corinthians thin christianity with an anti-immigrant fervor, anti-black, anti-latino, anti-woman thrust. the fact of the matter is this is hateful, it is racist, it is bigoted, it is xenophobic. it represents a kind of jim crow with hairspray and a blue suit. let's not mistake this and
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underestimate what we're dealing with. this is a very, very ugly moment in america. and the fact that we have a demagogue who's worth billions does not make it any less frightening for the country. >> those are pretty powerful words and i'm sure you've thought through exactly what you're saying. now, the president of the united states when he was in austin the other day basically said trump was very divisive. i asked trump about that when i spoke to him today. i want you to listen to how he responded to president obama. >> the fact is he's been the most divisive president i think we've ever had. i would be a total unity president. we have an african-american president and what he's done for african-americans is a shame. 58% and even 59% of african-american youth has no job. african-americans in their prime, 30 years old, 40 years old, 50 years old, they are way, way behind. so he's an african-american president who frankly has done
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very, very little for african-americans. and frankly, i think i'll do a great job for the african-american population in our country. i think that what's happened over the last seven years and soon to be eight years for african-americans is -- is really a shame and really disgraceful and i think the president of the united states should be ashamed of the job that he's done for african-americans in our country. >> all right, cornell, your response. >> mr. trump's comments are morally silly and politically dangerous. this is the very man who called into question the president's citizenship, his being an american. this is the same man who has declined to disown and distance himself from the klan. this is the same man who purports to be a uniter when it comes to this country, but who refers to those people and talks
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about taking the country back or restoring it to greatness. what does he mean when he says we want to take the country back? does he mean from a place or from a people? that is a more diverse electorate, a more diverse country. we need to be very clear about this. this candidate for president has dragged this country into the mud. we are americans. we believe in a country that includes the whole of us, all of us, not some of us. and certainly there is no room, no room whatsoever in the america that we envision, most people envision -- >> he did disavow the klan but didn't do it right away in that interview with jake tapper on "state of the union." he actually did it once pr. on the point that he's making here about the president of the united states, he's been in office for seven years, there's worse race relations than there were seven years ago, you study
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this and spend all your time trying to make it better. what do you say to him when he makes that point, there's so many african-americans, young men, for example, unemployed, some in their prime don't have opportunities. >> absolutely. this is a problem that predates president obama. the youth -- the african-american unemployment rate has long been twice the majority rate, the rate for white americans. so we can't blame this on president obama. the fact that we have record low unemployment that african-american -- the economic well-being of african-americans is improving is a good thing. it needs to improve much more. but the fact of the matter is donald j. trump has thin, as in invisible, as in microscopic record with respect to improving race relations. the fact is all one need do is look around his rallies to see the america he envisions, which represents not an american dream but in fact an american nightmare. >> what does it say to you that millions of americans are voting for him in these republican caucuses and primaries and he's
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poised now potentially to be the republican nominee? >> i don't blame people, american citizens, for their economic anxieties and sense of desperation. the fact that they're grasping at straws and they have grasped onto a bigoted demagoguic billionaire speaks to their desperation, not necessarily his appeal or the strength of his platform. >> cornell, stand by. we've got other information coming into the situation room right now. lots more coming up, including more of my interview with donald trump. we'll be right back. during the lexus command performance sales event... [sportscaster vo] there's always a cause for celebration. [sportscaster vo] with extraordinary offers on our most exciting lineup of suvs ever. including the stylish, all-new rx...
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once again, we're joined by the president of the naacp, cornell william brooks, as we stand by for a donald trump rally in ohio. one of five key states holding presidential primaries tomorrow. it comes with increasing concerns about disruptions and violence at some of his rallies. i spoke with donald trump earlier today and asked him if he was concerned about his personal safety. >> no, i'm really not, wolf. if you look at what's been going on, we have had not only tremendous security but we have tremendous love in the room. we have thousands and thousands of people. i have massive crowds, by far the biggest, and we'll have 25,000 people and we'll go through sessions where we have absolutely no protesting or when you say protesting, disruption or protesting, we have absolutely none. very rarely do we have a
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problem. >> i'm sure when your family, your wife, your kids, see all those secret service officers standing around you as they did this weekend, they're probably worried about your safety, aren't they? >> well, evening ti think the s service -- first of all, they do a fantastic job. but i think generally speaking it was the idea of the secret service because of the crowds i get because we do have very big crowds. frankly, i don't think anybody thinks of it that way. but the secret service is evident. there are quite a few people because the crowds are so big, wolf. that's the only reason. >> this seems like a new development based on that protester trying to jump through a line on friday night that we all saw. that was obviously very disturbing. >> well, i haven't noticed -- i haven't noticed that much of a difference. we've always had the secret service around. you know, i feel very secure. >> cornell, what needs to be done now to calm things down across the board?
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>> well, first of all, we need to begin to think about the american people and understand that they are the central characters in this narrative. so in other words what we have seen heretofor is a sideshow in which the voters have become exhibits. this has become a circus. the fact of the matter is we have people concerned about their well-being and concerned about their communities and we need to focus on them and stop engaging in the politics demagog demagoguery. every time donald trump engages in an attack, when a group, a person, a candidate on the country's values, his poll numbers go up, his votes go up. but the fact of the matter is those votes are being extracted from who we are as a country. these racist, bigoted, xenophobic attacks may be good for the short run but as the gop establishment is coming to appreciate and as the country is coming to appreciate, this is
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dangerous. when the hate crime rate goes up 300% in recent months and you have muslim parents who are concerned about their children going to school, that is a consequence of this kind of rhetoric. a consequence of this kind of demagoguic campaign. so to get back to where we need to be, we need to focus on the values we long held and those are values that speak to civility and speak to the way we treat one another, a respect for the constitution, a respect for one another and the fact that america includes everybody in america, not -- including those people. >> cornell, thanks very much for coming in. >> thank you. >> cornell william brooks, the president and ceo of the naacp. we're standing by once again, donald trump has a rally that's about to take place in ohio. ohioans vote tomorrow. we'll take a quick break and we'll be right back. i'm caridee. i've had moderate to severe plaque psoriasis most of my life. but that hasn't stopped me from modeling. my doctor told me about stelara®
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we're back and joining us now, our political experts as we await the start of a new donald trump rally in ohio. joining us in "the situation room" national political reporter rebecca burr, david chalian and david swerdlick. david, i want to get your reaction. cornell william brooks, the president of the naacp, he did not mince any words at all. your reaction. >> right, no, i think he spoke pretty forcefully on the issue. i think that what he said made sense to a lot of people, especially his constituency. look, you can never know as a journalist what's in someone's heart. we don't know what's in donald trump's heart. but we talked to enough people and i've talked to enough people to know that when he says things
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about muslim americans, what muslim americans hear is that no matter how many there are, their patriotism is going to continue to be questioned. when latinos hear that mexican immigrants are rapists, what they hear is that they are undesirable in this country. when african-americans hear let's make this country great again, it sounds like he's saying let's make this country like it was before there was a black president. so whether donald trump means it to come across that way, that is how it's coming across. >> rebecca, he's getting counterterrori criticism from fellow republican candidates. paul ryan, the speaker now, to calm things down and they're clearly very worried about where this is leading. >> we're talking about a candidate for potentially inciting a riot. this isn't a normal course of events for a campaign. and republicans who wanted this election to unveil a nicer, softer, more caring version of
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the republican party are startled and a little panicked about the sort of republican party that donald trump would be the standard bearer of. it's pretty much the opposite of what the party had in mind in this election cycle. >> all this playing out on the eve of five critically important contests tomorrow, primaries, including two make-or-break states as far as florida and ohio are concerned. how is all of this going to impact tomorrow's votes? >> remember, wolf, three of the states are general election battleground states. you mentioned, florida, ohio, north carolina has been competitive in recent cycles as well so all of this happening not just the immediate short-term goal but obviously to rebecca's point, it is leaving impressions about the party at large for the general election. listen, tomorrow you couldn't be more right, the stakes are huge. here's the thing. in states like ohio where it's open, where people can choose which primary they want to play in, everyone is watching to see is donald trump starting to turn off independents?
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is he getting the republican base out in stronger force for him due to these controversial events at his rallies? that is what we're going to be watching for tomorrow night, to see if he's starting to somehow push independents or late-deciders away from him. >> any evidence that that's happening? >> not yet. we'll see in the results tomorrow night. >> every time in the past over these past many months there has been the suggestion he's gone too far and it hasn't turned out that he's gone too far as far as his support is concerned. >> no, i think that's right. the folks that do like donald trump and the folks that have been supporting him i think will continue to support him. you see basically what the poll numbers show right now i think will probably be borne out tomorrow. john kasich has some strength in ohio, but in the other states, north carolina, illinois, trump appears poised to pull his election wins out. >> rebecca, a lot of analysts say based on what we've seen so far, every time he does something like this, his popularity with that base of his goes up. >> exactly. and this is completely
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anecdotal, but i was speaking with a few voters, republican voters in missouri today who are actually -- who were on the fence prior to the events in chicago over the weekend around donald trump's rally. and that event and all of the events in the past week with donald trump have actually encouraged them to support him tomorrow in the missouri primary, which is of course another pivotal contest that we're going to be following. >> on the democratic side, bernie sanders now apparently says he doesn't want the support of the mayor of chicago, rahm emanuel. illinois is one of the states that has a primary tomorrow, so that could be potentially significant. >> yeah, sure. it seems to me that the sanders campaign has figured out that some of the same folks, the younger millennial voters, broader cross-section of a younger, more diverse electorate, that also is supporting him also has problems with the way they have been represented by mayor emanuel in chicago so they're playing on that. they want to paint him and everybody else that's been affiliated with the clinton years and the clinton administration as the establishment and sanders as the
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outsider. >> there are other developments happening on the democratic side as well. let's take a quick break. much more right after this. we'll be right back. only flonase is approved to relieve both your itchy, watery eyes and congestion. no other nasal allergy spray can say that. complete allergy relief or incomplete. let your eyes decide. flonase changes everything. and we are the bug chicks. and i'm jess we are a nano-business. windows 10 really helps us get the word out about how awesome bugs are. kids learn to be brave and curious and all kids speak the language of bug. "hey cortana, find my katydid video". oh! this is so good. (laughs) if you're trying to teach a kid about a proboscis just sketch it on the screen. i don't have a touch screen on my mac, i'm jealous of that. (laughs) you put a big bug in a kids hands and change their world view. (laughs)
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tomorrow is also a critical day for the democrats. hillary clinton is looking to complete her sweep of the south while bernie sanders is looking to pull off another surprise in the midwest. our senior political correspondent, brianna keilar, is out there in north carolina right now. five primaries tomorrow and certainly a lot at stake. >> yeah, and it was a busy,
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busy -- still is a busy, busy day today, wolf. bernie sanders on a three-state swing today through missouri, ohio and north carolina. hillary clinton and former president clinton covering three states between them. illinois, north carolina and florida on this eve of a day that could decide who's in and who's out. the final push to another big tuesday. >> i hope very much that ohio will be one of the states to lead this country forward toward a political revolution. >> it is time for us to unite as a country, end divisiveness. because we have work to do. >> reporter: as voters in five states prepare to go to the polls tomorrow, the clinton campaign is eyeing the contests in the industrial strongholds of ohio, illinois and missouri, after bernie sanders' surprise win in michigan last week. >> a few weeks ago, people were
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saying bernie sanders winning ohio? no way. well, guess what, we have a good vote tomorrow. people come out, we're going to win here in ohio. >> reporter: clinton is trying to convince voters she hears their frustration. >> i'm always being told that when i talk to you i should talk in a very calm and measured voice. but i am so worried about our country and what could happen if we don't band together to elect a president who can represent all of america. >> reporter: both candidates are trying to rally voters by taking swings at donald trump, making these charges at cnn's town hall. >> what trump has done is like a case of political arson. >> donald trump is a pathological liar. >> reporter: they took questions from ohio democrats. >> there are documented cases of innocent people who have been executed in our country.
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>> reporter: including ricky jackson, a man who spent 39 years in prison for a murder he didn't commit. he asked clinton about her support for the death penalty. >> given the challenges we face from terrorist activities primarily in our country that end up under federal jurisdiction for very limited purposes, i think it can still be held in reserve for those. >> reporter: and sanders quizzed about his ability to reach across the aisle. >> who is the person that is closest to you with whom you disagree the most? on politics? >> reporter: his answer, surprising for a candidate who has made environmental concerns a focus of his campaign. >> one of the most conservative members of the senate is a fellow named jim inhoff from oklahoma. and jim is a climate change denier. he is really, really conservative. but you know what, he is a decent guy and i like him and he
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and i are friends. >> reporter: now, sanders is trailing clinton considerably in the delegate count. she enclosure clearly has her e general election, wolf. she's been talking about unifying not only the democratic party but the country today. she hopes tomorrow will solidify her position as the democratic nominee. you talk to the sanders campaign and it's pretty north worthy, they say he's in this all the way to the convention. >> more on the democratic race coming up. also donald trump now shrugging off the criticism of the violence at his rallies. we are standing by for another trump event.
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breaking news. a stunning announcement out of moscow today. president vladimir putin has ordered russian forces to start withdrawing from syria, saying they have achieved their goals. we've just received word that president putin and president obama spoke by phone today about ways to end the syrian civil war. russia began carrying out air strikes in support of the bashar al assad regime last september and the impact on the civilian population has been devastating. we're about to give you an extraordinary look inside war-torn syria. cnn's senior international correspondent, clarissa ward, and producer selma abdelaziz went undercover where virtually for western journalists have gone for more than a year. they worked with a syria-based filmmaker on this exclusive report. we must warn you, it contains graphic images.
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>> moving through rebel-held northern syria is difficult and dangerous. as foreign journalists in areas with a strong jihadist presence, we had to travel undercover to see a war few outsiders have witnessed. the city of idlib is the only provincial capital under rebel control. this was its courthouse until it was hit by an air strike in december. dozens were killed. >> reporter: a 40-year-old lawyer told us he was inside the building when it was hit. his arm was smashed but he was lucky to survive. >> translator: the russian planes target anything that works in the interest in the people. the goal is that people here live a destroyed life. that people never see any good. that they never taste life. this is the tax of living in a liberated area. >> reporter: an hour later, we saw that tax for ourselves,
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while filming in a town nearby. we heard the scream of fighter jets wheeling overhead. moments later, a hit. there was just an air strike here in the town so we're now driving very quickly. it's not clear yet what was hit, but we are hearing that there are still planes in the sky. arriving on the scene, our team found chaos and carnage. volunteers shouted for an ambulance, as they tried to ferry out the wounded. for many, it was too late. a woman lay dead on the ground, a jacket draped over her, an attempt to preserve her dignity.
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russia has repeatedly claimed it is only hitting terrorist targets. this strike hit a busy fruit market. >> translator: this is just a civilian market. this is not a military area. >> translator: there are no military installations here or anything, it's a market. look, it's a market. a fruit market. is this what you want, bashar? >> reporter: we couldn't stay long. often jets circle back to hit the same place twice. it's called a double tap. we just arrived here at the hospital where they're bringing the dead and the wounded from those three strikes which hit a park and a fruit market. we don't know the exact number of casualties there, but the scenes of devastation, blood on the ground, dismembered body parts and the injured and dead that we've seen arriving here indicate that this was a very bad strike indeed.
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among the injured brought in, a young boy moaning in pain who died moments later. the strikes killed 11 people that day. among them a woman and two children. rescue workers wasted no time in clearing away the rubble, and this ugly war massacres have become routine. >> clarissa, really incredible reporting. thanks for doing this. let me get your reaction to the news that russia now says it will start pulling out its forces from syria claiming its goals have been met. what do you think? >> well, i have to say, wolf, that i was flabbergasted by this news and everybody i've spoken to feels the same way. it seems to have come out of nowhere in terms of completing the task as president putin talked about. the task was to allegedly destroy terrorist networks within syria.
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yet isis is still in control of large swaths of territory. the al qaeda affiliate has a strong presence in the area where i was and it appeared to us on the ground the civilians who have been bearing the brunt of the russian aero bombardment. i've spoken with several people inside the country. they are welcoming this but they are very skeptical. they say it's still a lot of questions. is this a complete withdrawal? how long will this withdrawal take to complete and does this include a complete cessation of aero bombardment which has really been impacting the lives of people on the ground, wolf. >> lots of questions unanswered. clarissa, thank you. so much. clarissa ward, one of our very courageous journalists. thanks to you and our team. you have more reports coming up this week. turning to a deadly terror attack on resort hotels in the ivory coast. it's the latest in a series of assaults by al qaeda's local
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affiliate which has put westerners in its sights. brian todd has been looking into all of this. >> tonight we have new information. it's call al qaeda in the islamic magreb. we've learned about their competition with isis for the upper hand in that region and its selection of western targets to step up its profile. you can hear the shots first. terrified hotel patrons run for their lives. then a terrorist carrying an assault rifle appears on the screen. this attack on three hotels in ivory coast left more than a dozen people dead sunday. many of them westerners. and tonight western counterterror officials are trying to contain a deadly and growing threat from the al qaeda lethal affiliate in northern africa. >> for some time now we've picked up intelligence that electric in the magreb were seeking to hit beyond their normal operational areas.
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>> reporter: this is now the third major attack aqim has claimed on hotels frequented by westerners in africa. it's driven by a fierce competition with isis and a desire to kill. >> they've seen isis grow in nigeria, in libya, in other parts of the region. and they want to make sure that al qaeda is able to compete with isis for recruits and for funds in the region. also there's been a split off faction that has gone over to the isis side. they want to make sure they can keep hold of the foot soldiers. >> tonight even more concerning is the ivory coast attack bears the hallmarks of a notorious terror mastermind who has already killed americans. muqtar bal muqtar, sometimes called the prince, the uncatchable. bearing a scar, one of aqim's top commanders, is known for his desire to target westerners.
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his group is believed to have been involved in the other hotel attacks and led the 2013 assault on an algerian gas facility that killed three americans and more than 30 others. it's not clear tonight if muqtar belle muqtar is still alive. he was targeted last year but there was no solid proof he died in that strike. if he survived, terrorism analysts tell us he likely had a hand in this attack in ivory coast. >> this terrorist as you know, he's known for his savvy and elusiveness. give us more details about, let's say, his signature. >> that is his signature. very good at getting away. he has got a reputation as a man who can slip away from western counterterrorism forces. he's got extensive kidnapping and market networks to tap into. it's very unclear whether he died in that attack in libya
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last year. there's a good chance he's still alive. back to politics here in the united states. facing sharp criticism for violence at his campaign events, donald trump now says there's no violence. we're standing by for another trump rally. much more after this. some research.doing let me introduce you to our broker. how much does he charge? i don't know. okay. uh, do you get your fees back if you're not happy? (dad laughs) wow, you're laughing. that's not the way the world works. well, the world's changing. are you asking enough questions about the way your wealth is managed? wealth management, at charles schwab.
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watching tvs get sharper, oh remotes, you've had it tough. bigger, smugger. and you? rubbery buttons. enter the x1 voice remote. now when someone says... show me funny movies. watch discovery. record this. voila. remotes you are back. the x1 voice remote is here. x1 customers get your voice remote by visiting happening now -- winner take all. republican presidential hopefuls campaigning fiercely tonight ahead of critical primaries tomorrow, including must-win contests for marco rubio and john kasich in their home states. can either of them deny donald trump a trove of delegates that could put the gop nomination within his grasp? denying violence.
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trump turning a blind eye to the clashes and attacks erupting at his campaign events claiming no one has been hurt even as new disturbances break out today. buckeye battle. bernie sanders fighting aggressively to win tomorrow's ohio primary, hoping for a repeat of his upset over hillary clinton in michigan. both democratic candidates betting big on tomorrow's five major contests. can bernie sanders close his delegate gap with hillary clinton. russian rollback. vladimir putin shocks the world pulling his troops out of syria at least starting to after a controversial six-month campaign that's strengthened the hand of bashar al asaud. with isis still controlling large chunks of syria, can why is putin calling it quits now? we want to welcome our viewers in the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." this is cnn breaking news.
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>> we're following breaking news. republican presidential front-runner donald trump holding a campaign rally this hour amid growing controversy and concern over violence at his events. trump and his rivals campaigning fiercely ahead of five major primaries tomorrow that could reshape the republican race for the white house. also, president obama speaking out in the 2016 race in an exclusive new interview with cnn in espanol. the president talking about immigration and the republican party and indirectly about donald trump. breaking news from moscow where russian president vladimir putin is ordering russian forces to begin withdrawing from syria saying russia has achieved its goal there. we've just learned president obama spoke with putin by phone just a little while ago. we're covering all of that. much more this hour with our guests, including congressman adam kinsinger who is backing marco rubio for president.
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our correspondents and expert analysts are also standing by. let's begin with the republican race for the white house. jim acosta is at the trump campaign rally happening right now near youngstown, ohio. trump is facing growing crit sump over violence at his rallies. what's the latest? >> reporter: that's right, wolf. donald trump is closing in on perhaps the most critical moment of this campaign tomorrow as he's looking to drive more of his rivals out of the race and ease his path to the nomination. trump also is defending himself, as you said, against mounting criticism that his events are simply out of control. one day before what's likely to be the biggest super tuesday yet, donald trump just wants his critics to feel the love. >> a love fest. >> reporter: as more protesters were remufd from another trump rally. this time in income. the gop front-runner blaming democrats for the chaos at his events.
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>> democrats are seeing what's happening, and they try and disrupt what's happening. it's no big deal. they stand up and shout and get whisked out. >> reporter: trump said the media is also at fault for hyping the protests. >> there's not much violence. let's not even use the word violence. there's very little discorruption. >> reporter: sarah palin had some choice words for the demonstrators labeling them thugs at a trump rally. >> what we don't have time for is all that petty punk-ass thugery stuff. >> reporter: after trump cancelled his rally in chicago, that protester who tried to confront trump in ohio and the police pepper spraying demonstrators in kansas city. the other republican candidates are warning their party could face a crim future. >> donald trump is the nominee, we're going to lose a lot of republicans. and every saturdday that he beh the way he's behaving is making it harder and harder.
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>> reporter: republicans may not have much choice if trump sweeps the five big states up for grabs on tuesday. slowing his momentum won't be easy for marco rubio who is predicting an upset win. >> tomorrow is the day we're going to shock the country. >> reporter: looking much better in his home state is ohio governor john kasich who is also railing against trump with the help of mitt romney. >> leadership is not encouraging a toxic environment where we blame one group because of the failure of another. >> this country is not about us tearing one another down. or having fist fights at a campaign rally. >> bimbo, dog, fat pig, real quotes from donald trump about women. >> an anti-trump superpac is piling on with this new ad portraying him as offensive to women voters. >> if donald trump is the nominee, he is a disaster. >> reporter: ted cruz is in agreement on the trump effect on the gop. he just differs on how to stop
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him arguing kasich and rubio just don't have a shot at the nomination. >> with john kasich, it's mathematically impossible for him to become the nominee. he cannot beat donald trump. a vote for john kasich or marco rubio is a vote that's thrown away. >> reporter: the stakes are enormous tomorrow. rubio win in florida and a kasich victory in ohio would rewrite the narrative signaling for the first time that trump may not have the delegates necessary. but a clean sweep for trump would clear away much of the field leaving a wounded ted cruz standing. this rally is going to get started about an hour from now. that shows you how important ohio is. it seems like every election it's ohio, ohio, ohio. >> thanks very much, jim acosta. let's get more on marco rubio. he's in his home state of florida, also holding a rally this hour. our political reporter sara murray is in west palm beach for
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us. if rubio loses to donald trump in tomorrow's florida primary he'll face enormous pressure to end this presidential campaign. >> that's right, wolf. he is going into his home state. this is an enormous high stakes game for him because it's also winner take all. d 9 delegates. not only a huge boost to marco rubio's campaign but a huge boost to stopping trump. rubio has been running all over the state today essentially saying we can pull out a surprise, pull out a shocker. that's what you'll expect to hear in just a couple of minutes. he's also been lamenting the tone of the campaign and the tone of the gop front-runner. >> do we really want to live in a country where everybody hates each other and we can't even have a debate about our tax rate, our health care laws. if we become a country where everybody hates each other, we're in a lot of trouble. >> reporter: and this gives you a sense not only is winning florida vital to the future of
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marco rubio's campaign but he and his supporters see it as a bigger battle than that. a battle between right and wrong, almost as between good and evil. they are very demoralized about the possibility it could be donald trump who comes out on top rather than someone like marco rubio. even though they face an uphill climb in the polls, this is what's keeping the senator going and his staff going in these final hours before we hit the florida primary. >> looks like a nice crowd behind you. is it a big crowd in west palm tonight? >> reporter: yes, it is. it's also a crowd that's very excited to see senator rubio. he tried to sneak in a side entrance and run upstairs to do a few things up there. the crowd noticed him and broke into a spontaneous applause. it's going to take more than just one region in florida in order to beat donald trump. >> good point. sara murray reporting. let's get more on all of this. republican congressman adam
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sinsinger is joining white house is supporting marco rubio. trump said there isn't much violence at his rallies, at his events. house speaker paul ryan called the violence very disturbing. how is all of this impacting your party, the republican party? >> it's impacting us in a big way. if you look at some of frump's rallies it looks like something you'd expect to see in bolivia or some country that's not the united states. all sides are to blame in this violence. when you have the guy that's running for president that says things like punch him in the face, i'll pay anybody's legal bills that do damage to protesters, this is not becoming of the office of the president. beyond reflecting people's anger and people are angry. we get that. the president of the united states needs to be the person that transcends that. not shows your stakes and brags about himself in a stream of interviews. it's very critical to our party but more um portent to my party is the country. >> donald trump tells everybody
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he's not condoning violence. if you look at all of his rallies, most of them have been very peaceful, very nice, a lovefest to use that phrase earlier. you're laughing. >> it's donald trump. he just says anything he wants. even in the face of every fact. like he basically takes his opinion and says these are facts. we know he's been encouragie ii violence. there's clips that can be played for the next hour of times he's encouraged violence. for him to say it's a love fest is a joke. it may be for his most ardent supporters, but for the country, this is a devastating time. >> if he were your party's republican presidential nominee, how would you support him? >> it's degressing into more and more violence. i put my country above my party any day of the week. >> some republicans have said to me, longtime republicans, they would even hold their nose and vote for hillary clinton rather than vote for donald trump. would you be one of those? >> i couldn't vote for hillary.
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but at the end of the day, you have a right to vote for people and a right to withhold your vote. if it's between donald and hillary, ides have a hard time picking donald trump. i don't agree with hillary but donald trump i don't even know what his policies are and his tone is violent rhetoric. >> why is he winning? >> there's an anger in the electorate. he's an entertainer. this is a guy in wwf wrestling. he knows how to entertain crowds. he has a reality show. he's got at entertaining. right now he's taken that fear people have, that kind of insecurity in people's hearts and exploding it on to the scene. and people are reacting to that in a positive way. but the reality is when you have to pick a president you need somebody that transcends the darkness and leads you to the light, leads you to what's right. >> is it too late to stop him? >> no. absolutely not. >> how do you see stopping him? >> it may go to a brokered convention. let's see what the results are
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tomorrow. illinois is voting. my home state. >> is he going to win illinois? >> i hope so -- no, i mean i hope rubio wins illinois. it's probably between trump and cruz and rubio right now in illinois. cruz is in a good position. trump is in a good position in illinois. i justent think at the end of the day he wins. it's filled with a lot of republicans that understand what governing is that are optimistic even though they are in very difficult circumstances. >> if he captures illinois tomorrow, you'll be shocked? >> i wouldn't be shocked but i'd be surprised. >> if rubio loses florida will he continue? >> i think it will be hard. >> same with kasich in ohio? >> i want rubio to win. but that optimistic message that rubio has. what america can be. the next generation of the reagan revolution needs to be in this. >> congressman, we have more to discuss. can you stick around?
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>> you bet. >> much more with adam kinzinger. we'll take a break and be right back.
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weathertech. proudly made in america. republican presidential candidate marco rubio is holding a campaign rally this hour in his home state of florida which holds its winner take all primary tomorrow along with four other states. it's a must-win contest for rubio who is far ben hind donald trump and ted cruz for republican delegates. we're back with republican congressman adam kinzinger of illinois. he's a serupporter of marco rub. he admitted it was wrong to get in the gutter against donald
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trump. >> if he thinks it's a mistake, maybe it is. i think somebody had to expose trump's ludicrous arguments he makes. he called him little marco because of his height. he says he has big ears. this is the kind of fourth grade discussion this has sunk to. what would be more effective and probably should have been done in the fall is talk about the failures of trump university, the people that invested a lot of money to try to better themselves that were taken advantage of. trump goes out and brags. he's not going to settle with them. he's going to win! people need to see what dodged trump is. if you think what's happening in the republican primary is rough. wait until the democrats get a hold of him. >> all those things have been so widely reported and he's still number one among the four remaining republican cand dauts. >> keep in mind the republican base obviously represents only a small part of the overall
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country. you have independents and democrats. people that republicans, especially independents have got to win. he's got high negatives. donald trump's negatives are higher than any other political figure we've seen or most other political figures. >> what happens if he gets the republican nomination. >> look at the cnn head-to-head poll. he loses to hillary handily. he's the only candidate we have running that loses to hillary handily. >> what about members of the house, like you, up for re-election. >> we could lose seats in the house. could lose control of the senate because people will be motivated to turn out, not to vote for donald trump. they'll be motivated to vote for headquart hillary clinton. if they vote for trump, then i'm going to vote for my democratic congressman or democratic senator. this is very dangerous for control of the house and senate but ultimately beyond that, donald trump is dangerous for the political rhetoric. >> would you worry about getting
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re-ele re-elected? >> i work hard in my district so i would hope i would win but at the end of the day, i worry less about me than i worry about the country. with donald trump bringing the politics discussion into the base level that he has and to the personal insults, his impacts have words around the globe. you talk to our allies and they say, what's going on. >> you served in iraq, in afghanistan. you are a veteran. when you heard that putin says they'll start withdrawing russian troops from syria right now, you believe them? you think this is going to happen? for five years that civil war has been horrendous. >> i have two lines of thought. they said they'd keep the air base open and naval base open. there's still going to be a russian presence. i wouldn't be surprised if they continue air strikes. russia didn't go there to defeat isis or terrorists. they went to protect bashar al
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assad who ruthlessly murdered hundreds of thousands of people. helped push the good rebels back and assad looks like he's in power and will negotiate -- >> when putin says mission accomplished, he's right? >> if his goal is to prop up assad, he's temporarily done that. >> adam kinzinger, thank you. not mincing any words today. my interview with donald trump, i ask him about the violence at his campaign events. what is his message to protesters. plus, bernie sanders putting up a fierce fight for ohio against hillary clinton. can he pull off a repeat of his upset win in michigan? see me. don't stare at me. see me. see me. see me to know that psoriasis is just something that i have. i'm not contagious. see me to know that... ...i won't stop until i find what works. discover cosentyx, a different kind of medicine for moderate to severe plaque psoriasis.
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we're following donald trump's campaign rally in ohio under way right now coming amid growing criticism of the violence that's erupted at trump rallies in recent days. all this comes on the eve of five major primaries tomorrow, including the winner take all contest in ohio where trump appears to be in a tight race with the governor john kasich. i talked with trump about that and much more today. you are calling john kasich an absentee governor. you've added another ohio rally to your schedule later today. are you concerned kasich will win in ohio and keep on going? >> i don't think he'll keep on
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going. he may win ohio. it's right now a tie according to most of the polls. he may win in ohio. who knows. he's the governor. but he's not done a good job. he's convinced people he has. they are losing industry. he voted for nafta which is the reason they're losing industry. now he wants tpp. he has raised real estate taxes in ohio through the roof. and frankly, the only reason he's doing well in ohio is because of the oil they got lucky and found. ohio happened to be sitting on top of oil. so you look at what's happened, it's the biggest budget increase in the entire united states. their budget has increased more than any other state in the united states. and he's got, you know, a lot of problems. >> what about florida tomorrow? because the polls show you way ahead of the incumbent senator marco rubio. cruz is looking like there's a little fight going on for second place. >> well, marco is not a very
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popular guy in florida. he doesn't show up to vote. he's got the worst voting record in the united states senate in 20 years. this guy doesn't vote. they put him in. he really defrauded the people of florida because they put him in. he was their senator. from that point on, he started running for president. he's failed very badly at that. and, you know, they elected him to be the senator. and even on important votes, he doesn't show up to vote. you can't do that. i'm not just talking about the fact he's running for office because other people are running also and they have a much better record than he has. so marco, frankly, i think, made a big mistake. he should have stayed as a senator and he should have voted. >> your message to supporters about keeping calm out there. protests are fine but not violent, making sure this
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doesn't get ugly or dangerous. what's your message to your supporters out there? >> wolf, my people are calm. they are amazing people. they -- my theme is make america great again. that's what they want to see. every once in a while you'll have a disrupter come in. in chicago they had thousands of them standing on the streets so i did something that was really pretty wise by saying let's not do it today. but we really are. they are calm. they are really calm. but you have these agitators and disruptors and protesters that every once in a while stand up. it's very rude. they are take away our first amendment rights and freedom of speech. it's very sad they are allowed to do it in a sense. but that's the system. my people are calm. we have had essentially no injuries or anything. we have had very little discorruption. the biggest disruption was in
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chicago where we canceled it because we didn't want to see anybody get hurt. but the people that go to my rallies are amazing people. they love our country and they really are very calm. they are very enthusiastic. they want to see something great happen for the country. but they are very, very great people and they are not the cause of any problems. believe me. >> donald trump speaking with me earlier. let's get some analysis. joining us,or chief political analyst gloria borger, ana navarro, david chalian and david swerdlik. what kind of impact do you think the violence at he's trump rallies will have on full voters in the five states tomorrow? >> it's very hard to know. if you are a trump supporter, you will listen to what donald trump says and you'll agree with him, and you will be more inclined to blame it on the disruptors, as he calls them
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from, say, the bernie sanders camp. and that will be that. i think, however, what you have to look at, and it's going to be very difficult to figure this out is the kind of late deciders. and there are fewer late deciders now than there were early on. but maybe there's a way to measure whether late deciders instead of going to trump decided to go to, say, someone like a kasich in ohio. it's hard to measure whether that would be because of the violence or whether it would be because of all the negative ads that are running against trump in these states tomorrow. so it's, i think, overall, it's going to be very hard to know. >> the protest tensions have escalated at these rallies. i spoke with the president and ceo. he sees a racial overtone in what's going on here. do you see that? >> well, i think every case is different but you see it in some of the cases. the easiest case to evaluate is
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last wednesday in fayetteville, north carolina. the video that a lot of voters have seen of a 78-year-old man, presumably white, cold-cocking or elbowing a young black man. seemed to be unprovoked. he was being escorted out by law enforcement and it's hard to imagine in that situation if the races had been reversed. if it had been a 78-year-old black man hitting a younger white man that this would be viewed by donald trump or his supporters or the public at large in the same way. at a minimum, you see maybe there's a little double standard in the way trump is assessing -- self-assessing some of these. >> i want to play a clip, ana. this is marco rubio speaking off the cuff earlier about all of this. >> oh, look, a bernie sanders sign. don't worry. you'll not get beat up at my rally. >> smiling, laughing, having a good time but trying to make a serious point.
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>> i think he is. marco rubio has a sense of humor. go back to the point and the question you asked gloria. as a republican voter, i can tell you what the trump rallies have meant to me? i've become a strategic voter. i usually vote with my heart. this time i'm voting strategically. i voted for marco rubio in florida. i'm asking folks to vote for kasich in ohio and ted cruz where he can beat trump. why? because right now we are unifying behind the purpose of beating trump. for people like me, for people like marco, it has dawned on us that this is not about us. this is about the fact that this man is a menace to our process. to our democracy. to the way we elect presidents to the office, to the respect we connect with the presidents of the united states. and he must be stopped. so it has had, i think, a dramatic effect on many voters like me. and that's why you've seen marco rubio ask folks in ohio to vote
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for kasich because it's become not only about heart. it's become about head and strategy. >> millions of republicans disagree with you. >> yeah if you like donald trump you probably like him more. you think he's got completely clean hands on this and no role in what's going on in his rallies. you think he is the victim. that he's the one being provoked. now if you are not part of the trump kool aid drinking army, you see it much differently. >> looking for tea leaves anywhere about how this weekend may impact these marketplaces where people place bets and wagers on who is going to win the nomination. in the last 24 hours, trump's odds have gone up five points to 74% of winning the republican nomination. people are looking at this and clearly folks are assessing that he probably emboldened his own supporters this weekend. >> gloria, let's say trump were to win tomorrow, both in ohio
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and in florida and kasich and rubio drop out. then it becomes trump versus cruz. what happens then? >> well, cruz's people believe they then have the two-man race that they want. and they believe that they can find a path towards the convention, towards catching up and even perhaps overtaking trump by, say, early june. june 7th. and, however, i think that they have to win huge numbers of delegates in order to do that. they have this all plotted out. and the stakes that come later on, i believe, are very much pro-trump stakes. when you have states like new jersey and connecticut and new york, et cetera, you know, i think ted cruz has a very hard time. he's already organizing, though, in arizona. he thinks he can do well in utah. so they are trying to thread the
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needle here. i think the more interesting and more likely scenario would be that if you have kasich, say, winning ohio and then you go on to a contested convention in cleveland, wolf. >> nobody gets 1237. that's the magic number to automatically get the republican nomination. >> and kasich says that's a brokered convention in cleveland would be great because it's his hometown. under that logic we may end up with lebron james as our nominee. >> because he's very popular in cleveland. >> you have any doubt that rubio will drop out if he loses tomorrow in florida? >> i think it will be -- >> is it possible he could stay in? >> it's possible but why do people drop out? because the money dries up. i think it's going to be really tough if marco rubio has a tough loss against donald trump in his home state. i'd imagine he'll get a lot of calls from a lot of supporters saying there's going to be no life blood to this campaign going forward.
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ana was talking about this shared desire among a sect of the republican party to stop trump. i'd imagine maybe some people in marco rubio's orbit that say -- that call him up and say just stay in to see if we can prevent trump from amassing 1,237. >> i spent some time. i got over my hurt feelings yesterday because i'm in such a panic about the idea of donald trump. i went to marco rubio's headquarters and made phone calls and spent time with his supporters and his wife. i think there is this commitment, this sense that we must do this. right now it's not about marco. it's about, you know, the greater good for the country. >> i get the sense, david, that donald trump is no longer all that worried about marco rubio. he's much more concerned about john cakasich who might beat hi in ohio. >> that's the one state where kasich is governor, where he appears to be leading donald trump. trump has a pretty good lead in florida. i think donald trump has been successful in this campaign
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turning his attention to the person who is most threatening him at the moment. i don't think that's rubio. >> the trump plane is now on the ground in ohio. this is a last-minute addition to his schedule. apparently a little nervous about winning ohio. decided to show up there tonight. he's going to be speaking at this rally. gloria, mitt romney was campaigning today with ohio governor john kasich in an effort to stop trump. but is it really enough? is it really enough, even if kasich were to win ohio to stop trump? >> i think if kasich wins ohio, he becomes kind of a large speed bump, right? in donald trump's way. and clearly it is something that donald trump can overcome. but what that says to, as ana was talking about, what that says to rubio and cruz is perhaps you all ought to stay in. and particularly cruz, okay, because cruz believes he has a
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path, whether kasich is there or not. so, look. i think that it's not a game-changer, but it is -- it will make the race a little more difficult for donald trump. and i think most likely, in that scenario, that you'd end up at some kind of contested convention which would make all of our heads explode because nobody knows what would really come out of that. >> i want you to listen. this is the president of the united states, president obama. he spoke to cnn espanol today. spoke about the republican race, immigration. listen to this quote. >> my belief is that the next president is going to be somebody who wants to get immigration reform done, and i believe that the republican party itself is going to have to re-examine its position because it may look like it is a useful thing in the short term to run against immigrants, but in the
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long term, that's not who the american people are, and i think it's going to be over the long term a losing political process. >> you know, it gives me a sense of nostalgia and a little bit of pain to see this white-haired president obama talking about this because he was the president who wanted to get comprehensive immigration reform passed. he was the president who vowed to do it in the first six months of his presidency. he was the president who had two years of democrat senate and democrat house and could have done it. now here we are eight years later in the midst of this division, of this negative rhetoric where immigrants are the punching bag over and over and over again. i think it's all -- it all depends on -- >> don't republicans deserve a lot of blame from your perspective -- >> after the first two years, a hell of a lot of blame. the house for not having acted. a hell of a lot of blame. john boehner wanted to do it but never found the time or actual opportunity to do it. but the first two years, the
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blame goes to the democrats. >> just, i would say, listening to president obama, he sound like john boehner sounded today after the 2012 election. reince priebus' report out of the republican party saying they need to deal with this. felt like a time warp. he's saying things republican leaders said the party needed to address and it didn't happen. >> stand by. more to discuss. once again, donald trump is at this rally. all the candidates on the eve of five critical elections tomorrow. primaries. they are all at their respective rallies. we'll take a quick break. we'll be right back. someone's hacked all our technology... say, have you seen all the amazing technology
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i used to like that song. voters are heading to democratic primaries in five states tomorrow awarding nearly 700 delegates to the two contenders. a trio of midwestern states could give bernie sanders the lifeline he needs to stay afloat. joe johns is out there covering the campaign for us. he's join us from charlotte, north carolina. what's the latest out there, john? >> reporter: it's been a day of whirlwind for bernie sanders. he was in ohio earlier today. headed to illinois. just finished an appearance here in north carolina near charlotte. picking and choosing the locations where he's going to make his final arguments, including the one about trade
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deals that he says hurt american workers. >> i hope very much that ohio will be one of the states to lead this country forward toward a political revolution. >> bernie sanders rallying supporters in three states on the eve of the next super tuesday hoping to recapture some of the magic that brought him a big victory in michigan last week. >> we have a good vote tomorrow. people come out. we're going to win here in ohio. >> reporter: hillary clinton is hitting two states of her own today, telling supporters the stakes of the election have her fired up. >> i am so worried about our country and what could happen if we don't band together. >> reporter: clinton is making her closing argument to voters in illinois and four other states voting tomorrow. >> there's a phone call you can make, a door you can knock on, a person you can convince, please do everything you can in the
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next 24-plus hours to be able to start talking about not only unifying the democratic party but unifying our country. >> reporter: that talk of unity coming on the heels of violence erupting at recent donald trump rallies. both democratic candidates sensing an opening, blaftsing the gop front-runner for what they call divisive rhetoric. >> at the end of the day, love always trumps hatred. >> reporter: trump was also a major focus during sunday night's cnn democratic town hall. >> it's clear that donald trump is running a very cynical campaign pitting groups of americans against one another. he is trafficking in hate and fear. >> i hate to say this because i really don't like to disparage public officials, but donald trump say pathological liar.
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>> reporter: in one of the most dramatic moments, clinton fielded a question about ending capital punishment. >> i came perilously close to my own execution. >> reporter: from a former death row inmate who spent nearly 40 years in prison for a crime he did not commit. >> i just can't even imagine what you went through and how terrible those days and nights must have been for all those years. >> sanders also got another important endorsement today from a public sector group inside organized labor. this time the amalgamated transit union. hillary clinton has been doing very well with those kinds of groups this cycle. >> john johns, thank you. gloria, you think bernie sanders can pull off another major upset tomorrow as he did the other day in michigan? >> well, if you'll look for a major upset, i think the state to take a look at is missouri.
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we have polling that's pretty sparse in that state and the sanders people believe that they have a shot at it. but they also believe they have a shot in ohio and in illinois. don't forget. these are not winner take all states. so they football they do well, they pick up a whole bunch of delegates. and, obviously, it's the trade message that we saw in the state of michigan that has such resonance with voters in the rust belt states. so they're going all in in these states. i think north carolina, florida, obviously, much more difficult, although bernie sanders has spent a chunk of change in north carolina, not so much in florida. but if you look at those three other states, wolf, they believe he's competitive. i think less so in illinois, if i had to guess, although they're trying to use hillary clinton's close relationship with rahm emmanuel against her. >> >> by all account, david,
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florida, north carolina, those seem to be pretty good for hillary clinton right now looking ahead to tomorrow. >> no doubt. you would expect missouri would look pretty good for bernie sanders. it has the largest white share of vote of any of the five states tomorrow looking at the 2008 democratic primaries. i would expect bernie sanders to do well there. here's the deal. if hillary clinton wins four out of these five states tomorrow, we're going to revert back to where we were before michigan. bernie sanders, how are you going to have a rationale to keep moving forward? how are y two out of the five is going to be an earthquake. >> bernie sanders aides have said, yes, she's probably going to have a clean sweep in the south, but the upcoming states are all states open to bernie sanders' kind of rhetoric, kind
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of stance, if you will, in the northeast. california, new york, big places like that, he still has a chance. >> i agree with everything that david said. i also think the sanders' campaign thinks they have a message and they're not going to have trouble still getting the small donations that have been propelling their campaign. because they see themselves as quite distinct from secretary clinton, i don't think they see themselves as having reason to get out. >> you're a republican, ana. who scares the republicans more, bernie or hillary? >> who scares us more? look, i think both of them are very different. i think most people haven't yet really looked at bernie sanders as electable, but he's looking more and more electable. and it might be a very different narrative tomorrow.
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right now you see the republican fire, the republican focus, on hillary clinton. if bernie sanders manages to win two states tomorrow, if he wins one state, if he wins two states, certainly if he wins three states, you're going to hear a lot of that. i agree with you. they're not getting out. they're raising 40-plus million dollars a month. >> bernie sanders has a message he wants to get out there. he thinks he's doing a good job. >> they're having fun. >> an important note to our viewers right now. stay with cnn all day for live coverage of super tuesday. hundreds of delegates on the line for candidates of both parties. we'll bring you the results as they come in. just ahead, russian president vladimir putin makes a stunning decision in rolling back his forces from syria immediately. we'll have details of the phone call that just took place between presidents putin and obama.
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we're following breaking news from the middle east. the russian president vladimir putin ordering an immediate draw down of troops from syria. president obama spoke with putin about the decision earlier this afternoon. let's get to barbara starr. what are the details you're learning? >> wolf, tonight the administration trying to assess what's really going on. if russia moves ahead and does withdraw its troops from syria, the next question what will that mean for the ability of bashar al assad to hang on to power? a stunning announcement from
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russian president vladimir putin. >> translator: i believe our armed forces have fulfilled the goals we set. that's why i have ordered the ministry of defense starting tomorrow to begin the pull out of the main part of our military forces from syria. >> reporter: but there is more than meets the eye. putin says two bases in syria will continue to operate. the naval base at tarius and the air baas at latakia. the underground fuel tanks signal a long-term operation for air strikes and resupplying the assad regime. the syrian president now in a much stronger position after months of bombing opposition and civilian targets by moscow to shore up his once teetering regime. the regime able to participate in peace talks in geneva now from a position of strength.
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since the temporary cease-fire agreement two weeks ago, russian air strikes have diminished, but certainly not stopped. numbering now about 30 a day instead of 100. >> mathematically it is beyond dispute that they have made an effort to abide by the cessation of hostilities. >> reporter: the regime continues to drop bombs on civilcivil civilians and opposition groups. tonight is the real message from assad to moscow is, okay, we're done. time to go. what is not affected right now is isis, which controls a large piece of territory inside syria. >> a large development. we'll see how this works out in the coming days. remember, you can always follow us on twitter. please tweet me at wolf blitzer.
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thanks very much for watching. i'm wolf blitzer. "erin burnett outfront" starts right now. next, north carolinian saying he's investigating trump. we're live in ohio tonight. it could be the most crucial day for the gop so far. does trump sweep all the states tomorrow? donald trump blaming bernie sanders for protesters at his rallies. should sanders tell his supporters to stop? his wife is my guest. let's go "outfront." >> good evening, i'm erin burnett. outfront tonight, a north carolina sheriff saying he's investigating donald trump in his campaign. he's looking into whether the gop frontrunner could be charged with


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