'This Week' Transcript 3-8-20:​ Sen. Bernie Sanders, Dr. Ben Carson

This is a rush transcript of "This Week" airing Sunday, March 8.

ByABC News
March 8, 2020, 10:08 AM

A rush transcript of "This Week with George Stephanopoulos" airing on Sunday, March 1, 2020 on ABC News is below. This copy may not be in its final form, may be updated and may contain minor transcription errors. For previous show transcripts, visit the "This Week" transcript archive.

ANNOUNCER: "This Week with George Stephanopoulos" starts right now.



GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): This is like a flu on steroids.

GOV. JAY INSLEE (D-WA): We are the tip of the spear nationally.

GOV. LARRY HOGAN (R-MD): Highest priority is keeping our residents safe.


STEPHANOPOULOS: Cases climb, events canceled. Financial markets brace for economic fallout.


JEROME POWELL, FEDERAL RESERVE CHAIRMAN: The spread of the coronavirus has brought new challenges.


STEPHANOPOULOS: Mixed messages from the president and his team.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Anybody that wants to test can get a test.



STEPHANOPOULOS: We will get the latest analysis from our expert panel.

Plus, HUD Secretary Ben Carson from the White House Coronavirus Task Force.

And Super Tuesday surprise.


JOSEPH BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This campaign is taking off!


STEPHANOPOULOS: Joe Biden takes command, winning 10 states, clearing the field.


PETE BUTTIGIEG (D), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I will no longer seek to be the 2020 Democratic nominee.


SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA): I am suspending my campaign.

MICHAEL BLOOMBERG, FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: And a viable path just no longer existed.


STEPHANOPOULOS: Now a two-man race.


BIDEN: You want to nominate a lifelong Democrat, join us.

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We have different records. We have a different vision.

The American people will hear about it.


STEPHANOPOULOS: Six more states vote Tuesday. Is Michigan now make-or-break for Bernie Sanders? He joins us this morning, plus Rahm Emanuel and Chris Christie on our powerhouse roundtable.

We will break down the politics, smoke out the spin, the facts that matter this week.

ANNOUNCER: From ABC News, it's "This Week."

Here now, chief anchor George Stephanopoulos.

Good morning, and welcome to "This Week."

We're going to have all the latest on the race for the White House coming up.

But we begin with the coronavirus crisis. Here is what we know right now. The number of cases has climbed past 100,000 in more than 100 countries.

Italy announced overnight that the northern region of that country is now on lockdown, affecting a quarter of the population in the heart of its economy.

Here at home, the virus is spreading coast to coast, cases in more than 30 states. At least nine governors have declared states of emergency, more than 400 confirmed cases in the U.S., at least 19 deaths.

And the economic impact spreading beyond Wall Street, with more events canceled, schools closing, travel restricted, and major companies urging employees to work from home.

So, we begin this morning with Dr. Ben Carson, HUD secretary and a member of President Trumps' Coronavirus Task Force.

Secretary Carson, thank you for joining us this morning.


STEPHANOPOULOS: There is so much evidence mounting that this virus is moving faster than measures to contain it here in the U.S.

One expert told the American Hospital Association that close to 100 million Americans could eventually be infected with the virus. You have said you want to be transparent, that you don't want to sugarcoat the news.

Should Americans be braced for these kinds of numbers?

CARSON: There's no question that we should be informed about how we should manage our own lives.

It's very important for people to understand that this virus is like other viruses, should be treated the same way. So, we have flu seasons that come up frequently. And there are certain precautions that you take during that time to make sure that you don't contract a virus.

Bear in mind that there's a certain segment of our society that's particularly vulnerable. Those would include people who have underlying medical conditions and elderly, and particularly elderly who have underlying medical conditions.

And so certain precautions should be taken.

If we take those precautions, then we have much more ability to contain the spread of the disease.

Also, it's very important for people to understand that the vast majority of people who actually contract virus are only going to have flu-like symptoms or less. Many of them will be asymptomatic altogether.

So, there's a little bit of exaggeration in terms of what happens if you contract the virus.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, but that's not -- that's not what I was asking. I think those are important cautions you mention right there.

But is it an exaggeration to say that up to 100 million people could be affected? I'm trying to get a sense of your view on the magnitude of this possible crisis.

CARSON: I think it's possible for large numbers of people. There's no question that more people will be detected as we do more testing.

But you can look at worst-case scenarios. You can look at best-case scenarios. The thing that needs to be understood is that we are working very hard, looking at all the evidence on a day-by-day basis, making recommendations based on that.

And we need to be working together, federal, state and local health officials, and the medical professionals, who are very good in this country, by the way. And they're the ones who are making the determination about who needs to be tested.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Well and there are questions about the availability of the tests as well. As the president said that anyone can get it if they want it. It turns out that it’s going to be weeks before everyone has access to a test (ph). And Governor Cuomo here in New York was complaining about the bottlenecks in the testing. Let’s listen.


GOVERNOR ANDREW CUOMO, (D-NY): CDC is a bottleneck for this nation in doing the testing. You go to CDC, the tests have to go back to Atlanta, they have to do the tests, they then have to send it back. I believe the CDC was caught flatfooted. I believe they’re slow in their response and I believe they’re slowing down the state.


STEPHANOPOULOS: What’s your response to Governor Cuomo and what kinds of assurances can you provide that tests are on their way?

CARSON: Well over a million tests were shipped out already this past week. Tomorrow another 640,000 will be available. Those are only the ones that are being dealt with on a federal official level. There are also tests being created by the Veterans Hospitals and most of the academic centers have them. So there are a lot of tests but the key thing is everybody doesn’t need a test. And that should be something that should be determined by the medical professionals who are administering the tests.

STEPHANOPOULOS: The -- as you know, the Grand Princess is docking -- the cruise ship is docking in Oakland tomorrow. What plan is in place to deal with the 3,500 people on board?

CARSON: The cruise ship personnel and -- as you know, the vice president met with the CEOs of the major cruise ship companies yesterday, and they are coming up with a plan within 72 hours of that meeting --

STEPHANOPOULOS: The ship’s docking tomorrow.

CARSON: The plan will be in place by that time. But I don’t -- I don’t want to preview the plan right now.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Shouldn’t you be able to do that?

CARSON: I think -- I think it needs to all come from a solitary source. We shouldn’t have 16 people saying what the plan is.



CARSON: -- particularly when it hasn’t been fully formulated.

STEPHANOPOULOS: OK. Well you’re the president’s representative this morning but let me move on because the virus also appears to be getting closer to the White House and official Washington. Someone at the CPAC conference attended by the president has tested positive. Two people at the APAC conference attended by the vice president -- several other administration officials have tested positive. Are you concerned that this could have spread to the president and other top officials in Washington?

CARSON: Well we have concerns at all time and that’s why we ask people to sanitize their hands and to take various types of precautions. So the president does that. I know the vice president does that. We all do that. And if we’ve been mingling with people obviously we’re going to take those precautions. Bear in mind that if you go out of the studio today and you shake hands with somebody who has coronavirus that doesn’t mean that you’re going to contract coronavirus. It doesn’t mean that you’re going to get sick. But it does mean that you decrease your chances significantly if you follow those logical guidelines that have been placed out before everyone.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And those guidelines are there for a reason. You mentioned what people should be doing, washing hands, we all know that -- right now sanitizing. But we all know also that some governments and communities are taking broader measures right now. We just announced overnight Italy is on lockdown in the North. Major conferences like South by Southwest have been cancelled here in the United States. Companies like Facebook and Twitter are urging employees to work from home if they can. Is it time for more extensive community wide measures to contain this virus?

CARSON: I think it’s time for people to really indulge themselves in learning about how viruses are spread. And to take advantage of that knowledge in determining what their daily activities are going to be. And as I said before it’s very important to emphasize that there’s certain groups of people who are at much higher risk than the general population and they need to take extra consideration in terms of where they’re going to be, how they’re going to mingle with this (ph) society --

STEPHANOPOULOS: And Sir I get that. And we all need to take responsibility for ourselves. What I’m asking you as a representative of the president, as a member of the Coronavirus Task Force, what should the community be doing? Is it time for more extensive measures? We’ve heard the president say, for example, that he’s going to continue with political rallies in the face of this. Is this sending the right message or is it time for broader community measures to contain this?

CARSON: Again going to a rally, if you’re a healthy individual and you’re taking the precautions that have been placed out there, there's no reason that you shouldn't go. However, if you belong to one of those categories of high risk, obviously, you need to think twice about that.

STEPHANOPOULOS: I’m confused by the message you're sending right now, Dr. Ben Carson, I have to say. We just heard yesterday, the governor of California say it's not a question when schools are going to close -- I mean, if schools are going to close, but when schools are going to close. We have seen companies taking responsibility for their employees and saying, let’s not have any unnecessary travel.

You seem to be putting all the responsibility back on individuals, saying that they should be thinking for themselves. I’m trying to ask you, what, in the view of the government experts right now, what broader measures need to be taken?

CARSON: Those recommendations will be coming out from the CDC. They're being evaluated on a daily basis. Right now, the recommendation is as I just prescribed -- go about your normal daily activities if you are healthy. If you are not healthy, think very seriously about attending places where there are crowds.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Dr. Carson, thanks for your time this morning.

CARSON: My pleasure.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Let's give more on this from now from our chief medical correspondent, Dr. Jen Ashton, and former homeland security adviser, ABC News contributor, Tom Bossert.

And, Tom, let me start with you. When you were working in the White House as Homeland Security adviser, you also were part of this whole effort to have bio preparedness.

What -- what do you make of what we just heard from Dr. Carson, also more broadly, what people should expect about the magnitude of this crisis?

TOM BOSSERT, ABC NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: You know, there's a difficult inflection point that we’ve reached, and I think the president deserves credit for the first one. They acted quickly to contain this. But they bought us time.

And now, we're at a second inflection point. And I’ll be honest -- I’m very disappointed to hear the message I just heard because it’s not about individual prevention. That’s important, and the doctor will tell you that. But as a collective public, we need to start mobilizing this collective risk mentality.

People not getting sick has to do with arresting the spread of this disease. This virus is demonstrating a potential that is way more significant than the flu. And so, when I hear people say that we're dealing with the flu or something like it, I get awfully nervous because the numbers suggest that this -- if we don't act to intervene, and interact with this disease in a way that's collectively aggressive, this disease spreads three times more quickly among a populace that doesn’t have any immunities to this virus.


BOSSERT: And it can kill 10 times more than the flu.

STEPHANOPOULOS: That estimate I said at top of the program, that potentially 110 million. That's not outlandish?

BOSSERT: Well, what we want to do is make sure that we don’t make a prediction, but the potential for this virus has demonstrated that it can have 30 percent attack rate. And if you apply that to the U.S. population, that would be 100 million people infected but not sick.

Now, that’s a terrifying number. What we’ve seen in Singapore and Hong Kong, that we can intervene and we can change that outcome. So, it's not a prediction but that potential is dangerous and it's important to understand it.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Dr. Jen, like Dr. Carson, you're a doctor.


STEPHANOPOULOS: What did you make of what you heard?

ASHTON: You know, I think the point to echo a little bit of what Tom said, is that we have to stop thinking just about how you can protect yourself and how I can protect myself. The fact of the matter is, when you talk about aggressive social distancing measures like school closings, it’s not because we’re just trying to protect children, they're relatively spared as we know at this point about coronavirus. It’s so that those kids don't go home to their 85-year-old grandparents, the vulnerable population, and infect them.

So, that’s why we have to broaden it out in a ripple effect. And as usual, unfortunately, we see this all the time, there seems to be a big disconnect between what we’re seeing at the top of pyramid, and what's really going on clinically in the trenches with patients, nurses, doctors and hospital, ERs, doctor’s offices, urgent-care centers. And there's a lot of confusion, concern and chaos.

STEPHANOPOULOS: I mean, there also seems to be a lag time in some of the administration's response, as Tom pointed out. The administration moved quickly on the travel ban. We just heard from Dr. Carson, the cruise ship gets into port in Oakland tomorrow, and they're still formulating the plan.

ASHTON: Yes, here’s the thing about that, George, and the cruise ship as we heard with the Diamond Princess and now we’re hearing with the Grand Princess, you know, in medicine, we have to get up to speed quickly and the clock is ticking, so time matters.

If left unchecked, this is a virus that suggests based on the transmission dynamics, that it doubles roughly every seven days.

It's not that difficult. Test every single person onboard. Those who were completely asymptomatic are put into quarantined, which is how we observe people who have been exposed to an infectious disease. Those who have mild symptoms get isolated. Isolation is for people who have mild symptoms, and those who have severe symptoms, and there are over 1,000 people over age of 70 on that ship need hospital care, off the ship.

It's not acceptable to say, well, we’ve seen this before. We know how it turns out but yet, we're not going to get them off the ship until Monday.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And, Tom, what broader communication measure should we be considering about?

BOSSERT: Yes, George, think about that, as people think about whether they would go on a cruise ship right now, think about how you'll feel in a few weeks about going into a dorm room or some other place where there's communal food, communal housing. It looks a lot like a cruise ship, just stationary. And so we need to think about this as a -- as a means of time and planning right now.

So I suppose I would give maybe two big messages. It's not so much that the administration is not prepared or that they haven't done the right thing. That's not accurate. We now have an inflection point we're moving forward. We have to message this properly to empower the state and local officials who are going to make these decisions, to make them with confidence because if they think their populist won't follow their advice because this doesn't seem like a big event, doesn't seem like a big disease, you know, somebody told me it's like looking at star, the light that you see left that star in the past. You're not seeing what the star looks like today.

And because of that lag that you referenced, we're going to have to make decisions at state and local levels, at corporate levels, before it appears to the public that it's necessary to do so. But I assure you, it's necessary to do so early. That's the message. And it won't be a federal responsibility, it will be a joint and shared and decentralized one.

ASHTON: And, George, I also think it's important to remember that when we hear numbers, it's not just a case count. These numbers represent people. And so it's important to -- when you're communicating health and medical information to understand that anxiety is higher, people are concerned, people are afraid. And when you hear politicians or government officials say don't panic, it can be dismissive or insulting and actually can create panic. So I think we need to act here based on evidence and not emotions.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Important reminders from both of you. Thanks very much.

ASHTON: Thank you.

STEPHANOPOULOS: When we come back, it's now a two-man race for the Democratic nomination. Can Bernie Sanders come back after Joe Biden's Super Tuesday surprise? Nate Silver looks at the odds and the senator joins us, next.



SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Joe has a few more delegates than we have. We'll see what ends up happening in California where we won. But every state is important and I think come Tuesday, maybe Michigan is the most important state.

All I can say is that we're going to work as hard as we can to win here in Michigan. And I think we have the message.


STEPHANOPOULOS: There is Bernie Sanders in Michigan, the biggest prize of six states next Tuesday.

Four years ago, Sanders upset Hillary there. Can he do it again? Must he do it again to stay in this race?

We asked FiveThirtyEight’s Nate Silver if he buys that Michigan is make-or-break for Bernie Sanders?


NATE SILVER, FIVETHIRTYEIGHT.COM: At this point in the primary, with almost 40 percent of delegates already chosen, we're no longer in a race for momentum or for symbolic victories. It is a race for delegates.

And from a delegates' standpoint, Tuesday does not look so great for Bernie Sanders. Our projections have Joe Biden winning in potential landslides in Mississippi, and Missouri, and gaining about 25 delegates between those two states.

Meanwhile, states that were supposed to be good for Bernie like Washington and Idaho are now polling as ties. That means the delegates there will be only about evenly split.

But every comeback has to start somewhere, and Michigan could be the first in a long series of steps back into contention for Bernie Sanders. Sure, he’s down in the polls there, but the same was true in 2016, and he won the state anyway.

So, here's one possible scenario, if Bernie wins Michigan on Tuesday, and, sure, it’s mostly symbolic, but it could set him up for a good debate next Sunday, which in turn would sum up for a big night the following Tuesday March 17th, when four states vote. The states of Florida, Ohio, Illinois and Arizona, and together, they have almost 600 delegates.

To be sure, this is an uphill battle. Bernie lost all four of these states in 2016, there are lots of older voters in Florida and Arizona also who were not a good group for Bernie. Nonetheless, with a win in Michigan, Bernie’s chance to winning a delegate plurality would rise to 13 percent, according to our model. So, not great, but something real to work with.

With the loss in Michigan, though, those chances would be just 3 percent instead. Three percent isn't zero percent, but that's close enough to a must-win for me.



Bernie Sanders is up next. We'll be right back.


STEPHANOPOULOS: Bernie Sanders faces a big test Tuesday. Can he come back?

He joins us next.



JOE BIDEN (D), FORMER VICE PRESIDENT, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You know, Senator Sanders likes to say he'll need a record turnout to defeat Donald Trump. He's right. We're the campaign that's going to do that record turnout.


BIDEN: If you want a nominee who will bring the party together, who will run a positive, progressive vision for the future, not turn this primary into a campaign of negative attacks, because that will only re-elect Donald Trump if we go that route.


STEPHANOPOULOS: Joe Biden in Missouri yesterday. And we're joined now by his last remaining opponent, Senator Bernie Sanders, joins us from Grand Rapids, Michigan, this morning.

Senator Sanders, thank you for joining us. Boy, what a difference a week makes. When you joined us last Sunday, you were leading in delegates, look poised for a big lead coming out of Super Tuesday. Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar, Elizabeth Warren, Michael Bloomberg all still in the race. How surprised were you by Super Tuesday and how do you explain it?

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, one of the things that I was kind of not surprised by is the power of establishment to force Amy Klobuchar, who had worked so hard, Pete Buttigieg, who, you know, really worked extremely hard as well, out of the race.

What was very clear from the media narrative and what the establishment wanted was to make sure that people coalesced around Biden and try to defeat me. So that's not surprising.

We are taking on, George, as I think everybody knows, the establishment. We're taking on the corporate establishment. We're taking on the political establishment. And what you are seeing now just in the last few weeks is Wall Street, the healthcare industry, the billionaire class putting a lot of money into Joe's campaign.

But at the end of the day, you know what, I think we're going to win this thing. We won in California. We won in Utah. We won in Colorado. We won in Vermont. We won three states, popular votes, before that. And I'm looking forward to the primary here in Michigan and in the state of Washington, other places as well.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But as you know, Joe Biden now has a majority of the popular vote as well from all the states that voted. He won 10 states on Tuesday. It wasn't just the establishment, it was the voters as well. And now he has gotten a new endorsement this morning, here was Kamala Harris.


SEN. KAMALA HARRIS (D-CA), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: One of the things that we need right now is we need a leader who really does care about the people and who can therefore unify the people. And I believe Joe can do that.

He is a public servant who has always worked for the best of who we are as a nation. And we need that right now. There is so much at stake in the election, guys.


STEPHANOPOULOS: She is now the ninth former candidate to endorse Joe Biden. So it goes beyond the establishment. And as she made the point there that it's Joe Biden who is unifying the Democratic Party.

SANDERS: Yes, well, let me say this, later on today we're going to have the support, I believe here in Grand Rapids, of Jesse Jackson. And, as I think you well know, you know Jesse, Jesse has been one of the great civil rights leaders in the modern history of this country. He changed American politics with the concept of the Rainbow Coalition bringing blacks and whites and Latinos together in '84, in '88. He has been a leader in helping to transform this country, an aide to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. So we're proud.

Look, we have the support of virtually of every major grassroots organization representing millions of workers, black and brown and white. We have the support of major unions in this country. This is no secret, George, you know politics, we're not going to get the support of most elected leaders. Not most governors, not most senators.

But we are winning the support of grassroots America because we have an agenda that speaks to working people. Our agenda says that health care is a human right. Our agenda is very different and our record is very different than Joe Biden's. Joe Biden voted for the war in Iraq, I helped lead the opposition.

Here in Michigan right now, the trade agreements like NAFTA and PNTR (ph) with China were disastrous. Cost 160,000 jobs here in Michigan because American workers were forced to compete against desperate people in Mexico and China. Cost over 4 million jobs nationally. I led the effort against those disastrous trade agreements, worked with the unions. Joe voted for those trade agreements.

Joe has been, in the past, on the floor of the Senate talking about the need to cut Social Security, Medicare, veterans programs as part of our so-called balanced budget effort. I strongly opposed that. I believe we have to expand Social Security.

Joe is now getting his funding from at least 60 billionaires, not to mention a super PAC. We get our funding from the grassroots and working families averaging $18.50. People understand the difference.

We are in a crisis in America, not only in the need to defeat Donald Trump, the most dangerous president in modern American history, but to take on the greed and corruption of corporate elite -- of the corporate elite. That is what our campaign is about. It's very different than Joe's.

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, ABC NEWS CHIEF ANCHOR: You outspent him on Super Tuesday, but let me pick up on one of the points you were making. You talked about Social Security. As you know, Vice President Biden has also said he wants to expand Social Security benefits. And the president has actually picked up on your attacks.

Here was a tweet he sent out this week. He said, I will protect your Social Security and Medicare, just as I have for the past three years. Sleepy Joe Biden will destroy both in very short order and he won't even know he's doing it.

As I said, Vice President Biden said he's going to expand Social Security benefits. You don't take him at his word?

SANDERS: OK. No, I don't. Look, no, Joe is a friend of mine. And, by the way, you know, I have said that if Joe wins I'll be there for him to defeat Trump. He has said he'll be there for me to defeat Trump. We're agreed on that. But I think in the course of a political career, members of the Senate, members of the House have to cast difficult votes.

I cast a vote against the so-called Defense of Marriage Act, which was a homophobic act brought by the right wing. Back then it was not an easy vote. Joe voted for it. I voted consistently against the Hyde Amendment, which denies women in this country the ability to control their own bodies in terms of abortion. Joe voted for it.

So what I'm saying here is that people want somebody who has a history of standing up and making the tough decisions in tough times. The war in Iraq, it was not so easy.

STEPHANOPOULOS: OK, let me -- let me do -- I know you bring --

SANDERS: To oppose that war.

STEPHANOPOULOS: You brought up the war in Iraq.

Do you really believe there's any difference between you and Joe Biden right now on gay rights or abortion rights going forward?

SANDERS: Yes, I think I have -- well, look, I mean, if you judge somebody by their records, I have been there. I have 100% pro-choice voting record. I was there when the going was tough. Joe was not. In terms of gay rights -- in terms of, you know, as I mentioned the defense -- so-called Defense of Marriage Act, it was not an easy vote as you will recall. And when I cast and said no, you know, marriage is not just between a man and a woman. People have the right to marry whoever they want regardless of their gender, that was a tough vote in Vermont. In terms of whether or not gays have the right -- had the right to be in the military, this don't ask, don't tell, but I was on the right side of that issue, Joe was not.

So all that I'm saying here, and I like Joe, I really do, is that people have a right to know who is going to be there when the going gets tough. Voting against the Wall Street bailout, you know, I voted against that. Joe voted for it. There are real differences in our record --

STEPHANOPOULOS: It was also backed by President Obama, Nancy Pelosi, Ted Kennedy, your own senior senator from Vermont, Pat Leahy.

SANDERS: That's right. That's right.

STEPHANOPOULOS: They're all wrong?

SANDERS: That's right. But it was -- yes, of course, I -- what I said then, and I say now, you don't give trillions of dollars and zero interest loans to Wall Street and large corporations all over this country. If you wanted to bail out Wall Street, the way you do it is ask the wealthiest people in this country who helped cause the crisis to start paying their taxes so that we could do what had to be done. And right now the bailout of Wall Street, we bailed out Wall Street, and yet you've got a half of the people in this country living paycheck to paycheck. More recently, Trump is giving tax breaks to billionaires. He got a half a million people sleeping out on the street.

What our campaign is about is getting our priorities right and really, finally, having a government that represents working people and not just the billionaire class.

SCIUTTO: Let's -- let's look ahead to next Tuesday. We heard from Nate Silver at FiveThirtyEight. He crunched the numbers and showed, you have almost no chance of getting a plurality of delegates without a win in Michigan. Do you agree that Michigan is make or break for you?

SANDERS: No, I don't. I've been asked this make or break -- as you well know, George, you know a little bit about politics, make or break since Iowa, since New Hampshire, since Nevada. Every state is important. Michigan is very, very important.

Last time around in 2016, I was told, impossible, you can't win Michigan. In fact, the day before the election, we were 20 points down in some of these polls. I think we got a great shot to win in Michigan. I think we got a great shot to win in Washington. Maybe some other states as well.

We have a long, long way to go to the Democratic nomination and we're going to fight for every vote that we can get.

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, ABC NEWS ANCHOR: Final question, if it becomes clear, though, in the next month that you cannot get a plurality, you will not be heading to the convention with the lead, will you drop out or take this all the way to the convention?

SANDERS: Look, we will fight for every vote that we can, as we’re -- as we try to win this election. I’m not a masochist who wants to stay in the race that can't be won.

But right now, that's a little bit premature. Let's not determine what will happen on Tuesday, what will happen in future.

I think we got a great chance to win in Michigan, Washington and New York state, some of the major states that are coming up, and I think the people in those states have a right to cast a vote for the candidate that they want to see become president of the United States.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Senator Sanders, thanks for your time this morning. Of course, we’re all going to be watching on Tuesday. Thanks very much.

SANDERS: Thank you, George.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Roundtable is up next. We'll be right back.



BRET BAIER, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: So, you want to face Joe Biden or Bernie Sanders? That’s my question.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I’ll tell you, I was all set for Bernie because I thought it was going to happen. You know, we get ready for things, right?

So, mentally, I’m all set for Bernie. Communist, I had everything down. He is that communist. I was all set.

And then we have this crazy thing that happened, right, on Tuesday. So, now, I’m ready for Bernie, and now, all of a sudden, I have a whole different -- you know, it’s a whole different deal, two very different people. I think in a certain way, Bernie would be tougher.


STEPHANOPOULOS: President Trump not only surprised by Super Tuesday.

Let's talk about this now on our roundtable. I’m joined by Chris Christie, ally of President Trump, former governor of New Jersey; Rahm Emanuel, author of the new book, “The Nation City: Mayors Are Now Running the World”, former chief of staff to President Obama and mayor of Chicago; also, “Axios” national political reporter, Alexis McCammond; and our deputy political director here at ABC News, MaryAlice Parks.

Welcome to all of you.

And, Rahm, let's begin with this Super Tuesday fallout. I mean, we were here a week ago, I don't think anyone could predict the kind of finish that Biden would have. And you just heard Bernie Sanders right there saying it’s a Democratic establishment. It does seem like the party has closed ranks behind him so fast.

RAHM EMANUEL, ABC NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Faster than anybody ever predicted. And I would say one thing that he's the early materially benefitted the Democratic Party, Montana. You, all of a sudden, had a state that with no Senate race, the Senate is now in play, where before, it was maybe one of three --

STEPHANOPOULOS: Steve Bullock is going to run (ph) --

EMANUEL: Yes, Governor Bullock is going to run. Already, and that happened because of Joe Biden. If Bernie looked like he has basically split Super Tuesday or done better, you would not have a Montana race. And that’s changed everybody’s prediction and calculation in the Senate.

I think this happened faster, but I do want to say -- the one rule of the last year, whatever you think on Tuesday is not true by Thursday.

STEPHANOPOULOS: How about the last decade?

EMANUEL: I was just being generous, OK? But I think --


EMANUEL: My big heart. So I think everything -- look, a month ago, everybody was going to say Donald Trump, the economy, impeachment is over, a shoo-in. Today, it's a different calculation given the virus and given all the other things that are happening.

So, my view is, until we get through about three or four more turns in the battle, I still believe Vice President Joe Biden will be the nominee, but I do also believe it’s going to be a little more choppy at that, that’s my insurance policy or my prediction.

ALEXI MCCAMOND, AXIOS: And Steve Bullock running for Senate is a good example of Joe Biden campaigns theory of the case, that Joe Biden as the nominee would be better for down ballot Democrats than someone like Bernie Sanders. He points to places like North Carolina, Virginia, Colorado even, these

ALEXI MCCAMMOND, AXIOS: ... places that helped Democrats take back the House in 2018, that Joe Biden helped campaign for these candidates in 2018 that he's hoping to help in 2020 with down-ballot races in a way that he just thinks Bernie Sanders' political ideology cannot help them.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And you saw Bernie Sanders, who -- just now say he's got Jesse Jackson on his side.


STEPHANOPOULOS: MaryAlice, he does seem to be trying to throw at every possible old Joe Biden vote here in these hours before Michigan.

MARYALICE PARKS, ABC NEWS DEPUTY POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Yes, Michigan represents more than just Michigan. It represents the general election to him.

It was the state that famously saved his campaign in 2016. And I think it's going to have a big psychological impact on him. If he wins there, even if he loses elsewhere, I think that's going to be a sign that he's going to be willing to fight this out, because he fundamentally thought in 2016 more Democrats should have seen Michigan as a data point about Hillary Clinton's vulnerabilities.

So, if he wins, he's going to be making the same argument all over again. But, of course, this isn't 2016. This is 2020. And running against Joe Biden is fundamentally different than running against Hillary Clinton.

And I'm just not convinced some of those same arguments about trade and manufacturing are going to land against Joe Biden.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And, Chris Christie, listening to Bernie Sanders right there, clearly, he's going to fight hard through Tuesday and beyond.

But he also seemed to start to signal that maybe he might not take this all the way if the numbers just aren't there.


And, listen, I think, again, there is a difference here -- one of the differences here in 2016 -- in 2016 for the Democrats is, in 2016, Hillary Clinton was the boogeyman. Republicans wound up getting behind Donald Trump because they said, we can't have Hillary Clinton as president.

The exact opposite is happening this time. Democrats are looking at Donald Trump, and he's the boogeyman for them.

And so even somebody like Bernie Sanders, who you know is never going to run for president again, he's 78 years old, he knows this is his last shot, but he also doesn't want to be the guy who's blamed for reelecting Donald Trump.

And I would say one last thing about Michigan, is, I do think there's still great potency to the trade issue. And if I were the Sanders people, that's all I'd be talking about.

STEPHANOPOULOS: As opposed to the gay rights, abortion rights.

CHRISTIE: Right. I think that's a distraction.


MCCAMMOND: And that is what they are talking about

PARKS: And that is what the president is talking about, too.


CHRISTIE: ... on trade.


PARKS: You saw the president on FOX. He continued there to talk about trade with Joe Biden. He sounded a lot like Bernie Sanders talking about Joe Biden.

EMANUEL: But here's the one thing that Joe Biden has that Bernie doesn't.

Joe -- the auto bailout, which was -- came out of the TARP resources. Sanders voted against TARP. And the resources to save General Motors, Chrysler, came out of the fact that we used and tapped resources to save the auto industry.

And all the manufacturing jobs that are left in the auto industry and the suppliers all came from the resources, that, in fact, there was the bailout -- quote, unquote -- "of Wall Street." This is true.

CHRISTIE: Well, listen, that's -- listen, but here's the thing.

Is Biden smart enough and adept enough to do that? And that's the other point I want to make, is that, yes, Joe Biden is clearly the front-runner now, but there's no theme to the Biden campaign. There's no theme to it. There's no -- no organizing principle behind it, other than, I can beat Donald Trump and I'm the best person to lead the ticket.

He better come up with something. And that's an obvious thing he should be doing.


STEPHANOPOULOS: And that gets to the question, Alexi, when we came in, though, is, is that enough?

One of the things we saw on Tuesday, turnout increased in Virginia, turnout increased in Texas. We saw Democrats come out. And that was less a pro-Joe Biden vote than an anti-Trump vote.

MCCAMMOND: I think an anti-Trump vote and maybe, to an extent, an anti-Sanders vote.

These folks are seeing the ways in which the party or a large section of the party is coalescing around Joe Biden, and giving them a real valuable alternative to someone like Bernie Sanders to vote for who they think can beat Donald Trump.

And I think two things. One, Joe Biden's message about beating Trump might not be the most complex message, but we have seen poll after poll show that Democratic primary voters prioritize beating Trump more than even political leanings and ideology.

So, to hammer that message, and to now show that he can win 10 out of 14 states in Super Tuesday is really important.

But, for Michigan, it's not just trade. It's health care. Michigan gave birth to the United Auto Workers. Think about how many union workers I have talked to, other reporters have talked to who are torn over this idea of Medicare for all, having their health care plan that they worked hard to negotiate replaced and totally lost because of a government-controlled health care plan.

That's an argument Biden and Bernie are going to be making.

PARKS: And I wouldn't discount other part of health care, though, which is women's reproductive rights and that part of health care.

I thought it was very interesting, actually, that Senator Sanders started bringing up the Hyde Amendment again. Joe Biden flip-flopped on that in this last year, suddenly is now talking about repealing the Hyde Amendment, which keeps federal money from going towards abortions.

And that, to me, signaled that he knows a lot of female voters in the Democratic Party are really grieving with Elizabeth Warren being out of this race. And I think that was a subtle way to try to speak to those voters.


STEPHANOPOULOS: He's not going to get her endorsement before Michigan.

PARKS: It's very hard to imagine that.


PARKS: My sources close to her campaign basically say she doesn't owe anyone an endorsement.

CHRISTIE: But does anybody really think Joe Biden is not pro-choice?

I mean, like, this is why I think these arguments are...

PARKS: No, I mean, but he was never the champion of those issues in a way that those activists were hoping.

CHRISTIE: It doesn't matter.

These are inside baseball arguments. In the end none of them should be talking about health care. I mean, if anybody should be, it should be Biden saying, Bernie wants to take your health care away from you. That's the argument in Michigan. And that's why Bernie shouldn't even be talking about health care. All he should be talking about is, Joe Biden voted for these bad trade deals that lost all the manufacturing jobs that this bill didn't save.

EMANUEL: A couple of things. There's I think Democrats need to step back and take an analysis of mythologies or conventional wisdom that didn't bear out. Bernie did not produce a surge of vote. In fact, the surge was on the moderate side, not the far left side of the party. That's number one.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Repeating 2018.

EMANUEL: That's true. Number two, and I say this as a fundraiser, money isn't everything. I always used to say, money is the mother's milk of politics, fact is the two billionaires got eight delegates combined. That is not everything.

Third, while this notion is important about identity, you had African-American voters overwhelming vote for Joe Biden, but African-American he's not. Castro was not the lead among Hispanic voters. Elizabeth Warren did not win women voters and did not win them in Massachusetts.

And I think the analysis, and I go back to what Kennedy said and Obama, when they both ran. When Kennedy was speaking in Houston to the religious leader, he says, I'm the Democratic nominee who happens to be Catholic, not the Catholic nominee running for president.

And I think when you broaden your coalition and speak to all of Americans is what Joe Biden showed the depth of his message and a broad coalition rather than a narrow focus.

STEPHANOPOULOS: We heard President Trump start to look ahead a little bit into the general election, not sure he believes that Joe Biden is a weaker candidate than Bernie Sanders.

But, Alexi, let me bring this to you, because this is going to be now happening if Biden continues to do well on Tuesday and beyond against the backdrop of this coronavirus crisis which really does seem to have kind of blindsided the White House. And they know now the impact could be severe on the general election.

MCCAMMOND: Well, that's what's so fascinating and something I've been thinking about, is looking ahead to the spring and the summer, if the markets start to tumble or continue to tumble, rather, because of coronavirus, and the president has to go to Congress and ask for an economic stimulus package of some sort, or packages of some sort, Democrats in Congress will have to decide whether or not they're going to approve this package and essentially potentially help Trump get re-elected, because he'll look like the hero who bailing out the economy in all of this.

Now, you know, political calculus is not the only thing to consider when you're dealing with something like coronavirus and its economic impacts. But that puts them before the nominating conventions or even right before the general election in November if it comes later in the summer. And that's going to have interesting political ramifications.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And, Chris, it seems like the president's initial impulse on all of this was to do anything possible not to spook the financial markets.

CHRISTIE: Yes, I think that's right. And, listen, I went through something on a smaller scale like this during Hurricane Sandy. And the fact of the matter is that the only way that you reassure people is to be strong, to have a plan, and to be aggressive. They want -- I remember coming -- the first visit I made, the day after Sandy to a place called Belmar, New Jersey, on the Jersey shore.

I got off a helicopter, a 68-year-old woman came running towards me. The state place stopped her, she looked so upset. I let her come through. She grabbed me and hugged me. And she said to me, thank God you haven't forgotten us.

We forget that people are full of fear not just about what they know but what about what they don't know. And the only way for the government to be effective in this regard is to be aggressive, to be strong, to lay out a plan, and not to talk this stuff down. People understand that this is serious and they don't feel like they're necessarily getting the truth all the time.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And that's a (INAUDIBLE) who made the point as well, Rahm, sometimes when people hear “don't panic” from a government leader, they panic.

EMANUEL: Yes, here's the thing, every crisis, overwhelming force on the front end. By the time you do it, if you wait three weeks, you've lost the initiative. This administration right now looks like they couldn't organize a one-car parade. And I think here's what's going to be devastating for Donald Trump.

Beyond the fact that this requires science, management, data, and being transparent, which are all his weaknesses, you're going to have a point within about two months where you cannot have big events together. If you look at presidential history, Franklin Roosevelt used to drive out in the country to get out. President Bush 41 was on a speedboat. Bush and Ronald Reagan would cut -- obviously go to their ranches.

He is not going to be able to have his rallies. And it is psychologically -- the office is isolating enough, and his inability to get the admiration, the adulation from that crowd is going to psychologically torment him. And his isolation is going to get more intense. And his tweets are going to get more vicious.

STEPHANOPOULOS: He hasn't been willing to give up on the rallies yet, but we're already seeing on the Democratic side, they're canceling events.

PARKS: Yes, they're saying that they're working with public health officials on a state level to see if those rallies are still safe. But the other thing I would that happened this week is the president called the governor of Washington State a snake. And the idea that some Americans would have to in any way worry that they're not going to have the relationship with the federal government because they live in a blue state instead of a red state doesn't speak well to his ability to calm fears or keep people comforted in this kind of crisis.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Chris Christie, the president's first tweet this morning attacking the media for the way we're covering it. He does seem to want to go back to his -- the playbook that's worked for him he thinks so far.

CHRIS CHRISTIE, FORMER NEW JERSEY GOVERNOR AND ABC NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Listen, I think there's still time to be able to be very aggressive because the severity of this in our country right now --

RAHM EMANUEL, FORMER CHICAGO MAYOR AND ABC NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: But you would agree he's lost the initiative on that.

CHRISTIE: What I -- what I would say is it's not the way I would have done it. OK. And so is it right?

EMANUEL: They're safe.

CHRISTIE: I mean -- right, so like, you know, you still have time, though, to be able to put forward some very aggressive, forward-thinking steps to be able to get this -- to get people's confidence. And so, listen, all the old playbooks will be out in a couple of weeks because we could be sitting here in July and August with conventions that aren't going to happen. You know, depending upon how this breaks, we could be sitting here watching the NCAA tournament with no fans in the stands. There's -- and so we're entering into a whole different social realm now that everyone's going to have to react to differently.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Which we haven't wrapped our heads completely around.



CHRISTIE: We haven't yet. And the president -- well, listen, my view is that on this kind of stuff, Rahm is right, we've been through things like this before. I had to quarantine an Ebola nurse.

EMANUEL: Well, finish that thought. I - we want to hear -- I want to -- I want to --

CHRISTIE: We've been through this --

EMANUEL: You know, you said Rahm was right. Go from there.

CHRISTIE: Rahm was right. Right. That's all you get today.

But -- but I -- when the Ebola crisis went on, we had a nurse who came in with a -- with an elevated fever into Newark Airport. She had just been in the country where she was treating Ebola patients. And I made the decision to quarantine her for three days at a hospital in Newark, New Jersey. I got a ton of criticism from civil libertarians and others. But if I had let her out and she had Ebola, the impact that that would have had on the citizens was monumental. But what they knew was, I was putting their public safety ahead of my own political interest.


CHRISTIE: We need to see that.

EMANUEL: I think two things, when you're in about five months, four months, this virus is going to affect both President Trump and Chairman Xi and their authority and their ability and capacity to govern. And that will be the conclusion that it took a virus to actually unend (ph) the --

STEPHANOPOULOS: Those go -- those go together.

Meantime, we also learned, Alexi, from a late-night tweet from the president on Friday. He's got a new chief of staff. His fourth chief of staff, Mark Meadows.

ALEXI MCCAMMOND, "AXIOS" NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER: That's right. And "Axios" reported that same night that Mick Mulvaney, the former acting chief of staff, was in Vegas on a guys' trip when his brother and some of his college buddies when he got canned by the president.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But he knew this was coming for months, right?

MCCAMMOND: So he knew. So Mulvaney told "Axios" in a phone call that the president and he had been talking about this since November about a potential change. We know that their relationship has been a little rocky over the last few months. Mark Meadows is, obviously, a staunch advocate for the president on The Hill and we know the president loves and rewards loyalty. And Mark Meadows is now going to replace Mick Mulvaney, who maintains that they are friends and that there's no bad blood and they'll be working on a transition together.

PARKS: I mean staunch advocate. The other way of putting it is this is someone who is good on television and has made that a point of his career on The Hill. He has basically been auditioning for this role for the last few months and we know, just exactly like you said, the president really loves to see his advocates that are willing to go in front of the camera day in and day out.

STEPHANOPOULOS: OK, thank you all very much. Terrific discussion.

That is all for us today. Thanks for sharing part of your Sunday with us.

Check out "WORLD NEWS TONIGHT" and I'll see you tomorrow on "GMA."