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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES

Donald Trump Versus Marco Rubio; Chris Christie Endorses Trump; Vicente Fox: Trump "Reminds Me Of Hitler"; Trump University Facing Fraud Lawsuits; Countdown To Super Tuesday; Cruz Looks For Super Tuesday Win In Home State Of Texas. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired February 26, 2016 - 20:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[20:00:08] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: And good evening. And thanks for joining us. And get ready to do what we have all been doing in the office all day. Simply marveling at what we have been seeing and hearing out on the campaign trail.

Last night 14.5 million viewers got a look at Donald Trump and Marco Rubio and to a lesser Sen. Ted Cruz trading insults during CNN's Republican debate in Houston. And while he, Trump, John Kasich and the Clintons over on the Democratic side are stumping right now in advance of Super Tuesday and tomorrow's Democratic primary in South Carolina.

The real story is not all that campaigning. Instead it's how utterly different the tone of it is on the Republican side. Not just different from the Democrats who, after all, have bitterly contentious campaigns of their own before, but how completely distinct this is from anything we have seen in either party.

Last night on stage, the gloves came off between Trump and Rubio. To some extent the wheels came off as well. And today, which might otherwise have been dominated by the big endorsement that Trump picked up, the story remained on the feud which got even uglier. Plenty on that tonight.

Also breaking news, my interview which may turn the already incendiary feud between Trump and Mexico's former president thermonuclear.

Jim Acosta that will starts us off tonight, he joins us from a Super Tuesday state, Oklahoma.

Trump is really going after Rubio today. What's the latest tonight?

JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Anderson. It's going to get worse before it gets better, I think. The race for the GOP nominee has descended into trading insults over who has pressed the buzz and looping control there.

Donald Trump is on stage right now. He has already gone after Marco Rubio. It's important to note what Marco Rubio said today. He is trying to crack the code for defeating Trump. He decided to answer cut downs with cut downs. He said earlier today that Trump wanted a full-length mirror at the scene and debate to see if he had wet himself. Trump fired back and said Rubio sweat so much, it's disgusting. Here is what he said just a few moments ago.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: They hate him in Florida. They hate him. You know what? He defrauded Florida, if you think about it. He runs. He becomes a senator. He never shows up to vote. He's never around. And they don't like him. He's not doing well.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ACOSTA: Now, Trump said far worse earlier today. This was sort of a low light real of what Donald Trump had to say about Marco Rubio. When he mocked the size of Rubio's ears and his taste for water. Here's what he had to say.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: He is a nervous basket case. Here is a guy -- you ought to see him backstage. He was putting on makeup with a trowel. No, I don't want to say that. I will not say that he was trying to cover up his ears. I will not say that.

Out of nowhere, he goes -- on live television, here is how he respond, he choked just like he did with -- he's a choker. He choked with Chris, and all of a sudden, he is being drained. And he goes like this. Remember? I said where is he? And then he comes back with water. And, honestly, water is fine, but it should be in a glass. He's got the label of the company here and he is drinking. Honestly, I have never seen anything like it. It's Rubio!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ACOSTA: Now Trump did answer one of Rubio's attacks from last night just a few moments ago insisting he did not get $200 million from his father. Trump said it was $1 million and he paid it back, Anderson.

COOPER: Jim, the Christie endorsement today, I mean, it certainly seems like a win-win both for Trump and for Christie himself.

ACOSTA: Absolutely. That's right. There's sort of the straight talk duo right now. Perhaps a preview of a presidential/vice presidential ticket later on general election. But Chris Christie just introduced Trump here in Oklahoma City saying Rubio -- saying to Rubio, your campaign is almost over, buddy.

And you are right. Just last month, Christie warned voters in New Hampshire if Trump is the nominee, Hillary Clinton will win in November. So Chris Christie has had tough things to say about Donald Trump, but that's all in the past. Now, we should point out this endorsement was quite a secret this week. Trump and Christie. Aides say the endorsement was worked out yesterday at Trump tower in New York City, both Manhattan friends for years. And it should be noted after what happened in New Hampshire, remember that debate when Chris Christie went after Marco Rubio. Marco Rubio had the robotic moment where he repeated himself. Chris Christie was never going to endorse Marco Rubio. And Chris Christie said earlier today that the reason why he is going with Donald Trump, he feels like he can beat Hillary Clinton and that this is no time to have junior senators back in the White House. So sort of a dig-up both Rubio, Cruz and President Obama -- Anderson.

[20:05:08] COOPER: Jim Acosta. Jim, thanks to the update.

Now in this corner, Marco Rubio. Jason Carroll traveling with his campaign and joins us now from Dallas.

Rubio kept on Trump's case in the campaign trail today. What did he have to say?

JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: What didn't he have to say when he was out here at this rally a little earlier, Anderson, it seems like every time he went after Trump, the more the crowd seemed to cheer. He seems to call him every name in the book. Called him a clown. Called him a con man. Made front of the way that he switch. Made from the way that he spelled. The more he talked about Trump, the more the crowd just seemed to love it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: He was having a meltdown. First his makeup thing applying like makeup around his mustache. He had one of those sweat mustaches. Then he asked for a full-length mirror. I don't know why because the podium goes up to here, but he wanted a full-length mirror. Maybe to make sure his pants weren't wet.

So how does this guy, not one tweet, three tweets misspell words so badly? And I only reached two conclusions. Number one, that's how they spell those words at the Wharton School of Business where he went. Or number two, just like Trump tower, he must have hired a foreign worker to do his own tweets.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARROLL: And Anderson, a large crowd that came out to see Rubio today. Much larger than we've seen in the past. Some in the crowd sing they were re-energize from Rubio's performance last night. I did speak to another supporter who basically said what he heard seemed to be out of character for senator Rubio, but he understood why he had to do what he did - Anderson.

COOPER: You know, in terms of Christie's endorsement, did Rubio talk at all about that today?

CARROLL: Well, he has. And as you know, Anderson, Rubio has already picked up a number of endorsements from the Republican establishment. Senator Orrin Hatch, Bob Dole, just to name a few. Rubio saying, look. I have already got a lot of endorsements out here. And as for the endorsement that Trump just got, he said, look. This is a man who needed a lifeline after his performance last night -- Anderson.

COOPER: All right. Jason Carroll, thanks for that. Ted Cruz who also attacked Trump last night kept it up today but also

had a warning to fellow Republicans. Reporting on that for us Phil Mattingly, he joins us from Nashville.

So Cruz talked about an unstoppable Trump. What did he say?

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, just that. And it's a recognition, Anderson, that this is a very dangerous moment. Not just for Republicans in general but also for the Ted Cruz campaign. The Cruz campaign has never hid from very high expectations. On Super Tuesday, 11 states, mostly across the south where Ted Cruz has a big organization, has spent a lot of money and has very, very big ideas about what he can accomplish. Not only do they expect to do very well in Texas, sweep a number of the 155 delegates there. But they expect to pick up wins in some of those states around the country.

Ted Cruz's point today, Anderson, was this. Donald Trump is rolling right now. Three of the last four contests up in the polls. And a lot of those SEC primary states. If people don't coalesce around a single candidate, or start to attack Trump at a regular basis, there is a very real possibility that this nomination is not just almost in the bag, but could be almost all but over, Anderson.

COOPER: And how much did Cruz continue to go after Trump directly today?

MATTINGLY: Slightly more nuanced and it maybe a little bit less bombastic from what we saw from Marco Rubio, but no less cutting. And one of the more interesting attacks that we heard from Ted Cruz today, they were strewn about. There is stuff on illegal immigration. A little bit hit on Donald Trump's hair. But probably the toughest that we heard was he brought up Donald Trump saying that he had never asked for forgiveness from God. And then went on to talk about Donald trump's past positions on abortion saying that if Donald Trump has in fact evolved, as Donald Trump says he has on abortion, how can he then not then ask for forgiveness? It was a moment that really resonated with the crowd here in Nashville. And one that I clearly hear a lot about going forward. Again, not flailing of the arms or a lot of excitement in his cutting attacks on him but cutting nonetheless, Anderson.

COOPER: Phil Mattingly. Phil, thanks very much.

Coming up next, what's a top Republican campaign strategist thinks of all of this.

And on a breaking news, my conversation with Mexico's former president Vicente Fox. And wait until you hear who he compares Donald Trump to. He has already said profanely said that Mexico would not pay for any Trump wall. Last night when asked about it, Donald Trump demanded that president FOX apologize for the profanity and made a lot of factual claims about trade with Mexico. President Fox's take on all of that just ahead.

And later, part of Marco Rubio's attack as you saw last night focused on Trump University. Senator Rubio all but calling it a con game. We are going to check the facts on that when we continue.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[20:12:43] COOPER: As you heard before the break, Ted Cruz today said that if Donald Trump maintains his momentum through super Tuesday, he could easily be unstoppable which helps explain why Rubio finally launched a full blown attack on Trump.

Time is running short and Republican elders have been calling for someone, anyone to try to take him on. And the fear in the party as you have been seeing is with Trump as their candidate, Republicans may lose in November which raises the question, though, will the process of stopping him get so ugly the voters will also be turned off. I will talk to our guest in a moment.

But first a quick recap of today's fist fight.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

RUBIO: What we are dealing with here, my friends, is a con artist.

TRUMP: I thought he was going to die, Rubio. He was so scared, like a little frightened puppy.

RUBIO: He's implying I'm fighting for you because I'm a tough guy. A tough guy? This guy inherited $200 million.

TRUMP: He was sweating so badly, I have never seen anything like it. It looked like he just jumped into a swimming pool with his clothing on.

RUBIO: He's not a conservative.

TRUMP: He's a choker.

RUBIO: He's not a strong guy.

TRUMP: Rubio is a baby.

RUBIO: He has no plan for health care.

TRUMP: Really weak on illegal immigration.

RUBIO: No idea on how to balance the budget.

TRUMP: Basket case.

RUBIO: Friends do not let friends vote for con artists.

TRUMP: It's not easy running for president. You get low lives like a guy like Rubio saying horrible things. And who needs it? Really, who needs it?

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Well, joining us now is former Romney presidential campaign strategist Stuart Stevens, author of "the Last Season, a father, a son and lifetime a college football." Also Washington examiner columnist and Republican pollster, Kristen Soltis Anderson and conservative commentator Kayleigh McEnany.

Stew, Trump and Rubio continuing the attacks that started at last night's debate. You know, I was seeing that some of your tweets, I think it was last night, and you were saying that you really thought they should -- if they're going to continue it should almost have press conferences with some of the polish workers who had worked on Trump tower, the undocumented worker or the people who had gone to Trump University or suing Donald Trump.

Do you think they are actually going to do that or do these campaigns even have the resources to kind of launch that kind of sustained attack?

[20:15:01] STUART STEVENS, FORMER ROMNEY PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN MANAGER: Well, you know, what's remarkable, Anderson, is that I feel like that Trump has been in a race for like 24 hours now. What happened last night should have happened in the first or second debate. Trump is a ridiculous candidate for president, and the way to beat him is to look at him, say you are ridiculous. And then go through the bill of particulars as to why he's ridiculous.

I thought that Marco Rubio was good last night. I thought his speech today was fantastic. I would just keep at it. Go right at the core of him. It's really a whole series of educational steps they need to put before the voters. They need to go to Atlantic City and hold press conferences in front of the bankrupt Trump properties. They need to have students from Trump University who have been cheated. Put these people out there. This is a history of Donald Trump and it goes to the fraudulent nature of his entire candidacy.

COOPER: Kristen, to Stew's point, I mean, time is short, though. I mean, you know, there re lot of people said look, they should have done this if they want to really take on Trump. They should have done this because he is already been defined in the public consciousness and certainly already been defined in this race.

KRISTEN SOLTIS ANDERSON, REPUBLICAN POLLSTER: I think that's right. I think that the attacks on him thus far have been that he is kind of a bully and that he's not conservative enough. And those attacks have not moved poll numbers. So unfortunately, it may be too little, too late with Super Tuesday just around the corner and with Trump pretty far ahead in a lot of these states. It's unlikely you will peel away a lot of Trump supporters.

What this might do, though, is if for whatever reason the field consolidates, we are seeing as people drop out some of their supporters go to Trump, some go to the remaining people in the field. If this can begin to kind of inoculate folks from being susceptible to Trump's message and prevent Trump from growing his share beyond say 35 percent, it still gives the rest of the candidates a fighting hope that somebody can emerge from the pack.

Kayleigh, I mean, in Nevada, we saw several the folks who made up their minds in the last several days before the race that sort of breaking for Marco Rubio more. That was really the only bright spot for those who don't want to see Donald Trump as the nominee. Do you think Trump's support, though, is so calcified, so strong, that these attacks are going to be ineffective?

KAYLEIGH MCENANY, TRUMP SUPPORTER: I do think his support is strong and calcified and nothing can diminish that. I think, you know, it's easy to look at this from a media perspective or pundit perspective and say, yes, this is what needs to happen to take down Trump.

But I think that just underestimates the kind of support he has. This is someone who is invigorating Democrats, leaning Democrats, invigorating independents and invigorating Republicans. There is a reason why turnout has been unprecedented in all of these states. It is because he is pulling in new voters. That is what is happening here.

And no attack can take him down. People find his message to be refreshing. It's not rehearsed. It is organic. It's off the cuff and people like that. It's a new type of political discourse that people are saying and it's resonating and it is strong. And I don't think any attack on the part of Marco Rubio about employing an illegal immigrant, a subcontractor of Donald Trump, employing an illegal immigrant 36 years ago is really going to resonate with many voters.

COOPER: It was 200 illegal immigrants, but, Stew, I mean, the other big news today, obviously, this endorsement by Chris Christie does somewhat blunt the attacks by Rubio. I mean, last night the big story was, you know, Rubio and Cruz going after Donald Trump. Some of that, and I don't know if it was by design, the Trump organization to have this, you know, endorsement come out today so it sort of changes the news cycle somewhat.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: Good morning, everybody. Thank you --

(END VIDEO CLIP)

STEVENS: Well, Anderson, I have said, you know, my firm has handled both of his -- are we OK?

COOPER: Yes go ahead, Stu.

STEVENS: We've -- my firm has handled both of his governors races and my partner worked for Chris Christie in the presidential race. I was fire walled from it. I think it's very good news for Donald Trump. I'm not going to do what Donald Trump would do and disparage someone for having a difference of opinions. I don't agree with Governor Christie here. But I thought in two minutes, honestly, Governor Christie did a better job making the case for Donald Trump than Donald Trump had done in his entire campaign.

It's not just the endorsement, the endorsement that helps him. It's the fact that he is such a good messenger. We saw how effective he was in the debate against Rubio. Look. This is going to help Donald Trump. But, you know, as this idea that you can't stop Donald Trump. I think that is absolutely absurd. When you are in a fight you hit someone. You don't expect one punch to knock them out. You have to just keep at it.

COOPER: You don't think it's too late?

STEVENS: A very volatile, unstable candidate. That's the flip side of -- No, it's absolutely not too late. Even if it was, what would you do differently? You fight harder. You have to just keep fighting.

Donald Trump is not someone who has cracked some nuclear code of how to be a perfect candidate. He is a very flawed candidate. He is not been pressured by these other candidates. You need to put him in the pain locker. Let him handle the pressure and just see what happens. That's all you can do, but that might be enough.

COOPER: Kristen, it is kind of amazing to hear Marco Rubio now talking about Donald Trump not asking for forgiveness. I mean, that was something that we, you know, in the media were discussing months ago when those comments were made. Marco Rubio said not a word about that a long time ago. In fact, he was praising Donald Trump, you know, to the heavens. Now all of a sudden, he has, you know, seen the light.

ANDERSON: I think a big part of the reason you are seeing this shift is Marco Rubio avoided criticizing Donald Trump up until this point and was not taking any incoming from Donald Trump. But as soon as gloves came off from one side it came off from the other, and now today, you saw that war of words. That strategy got Marco Rubio this far but third place in the Republican primary doesn't really get you much of anything. I mean, I think that is why finally they're saying we've got to try something different.

So I'm with Stuart when I say, look, keep punching. Keep fighting. Go down fighting if you're going to go down. I worry that it's too little, too late but I'm just fascinated that Marco Rubio is finally trying out the strategy that I suspect the Democrats will use against Donald Trump if he's the nominee come next fall.

COOPER: Stuart Stevens, Kristen Soltis Anderson and Kayleigh McEnany, thank you very much.

In case you missed it, we will be running a special presentation of last night's debate. Get some popcorn because it was a doozy. Gets under way at 11:00 p.m. eastern tonight right here on CNN.

Just ahead, breaking news. I talked to Mexico's former president Vicente Fox a short time ago. He had some choice things to say about Donald Trump and his pledge to make Mexico pay for the wall. Wait until you hear who the Republican front-runner reminds him of. It's not going to make Trump happy.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [20:25:54] COOPER: Breaking news tonight in the border war that Donald Trump has built his campaign on. His pledge to make Mexico pay for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, obviously, is a staple of his stump speeches. And last night, he doubled down when asked about what Mexico's former president, Vicente Fox, said during a recent an interview with Fusion's Jorge Ramos.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

VICENTE FOX, FORMER MEXICAN PRESIDENT: I'm not going to pay for that (bleep) wall. He should pay for it. He has got the money.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Well, here's how Donald Trump responded last night.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: This guy used a filthy disgusting word on television and should be ashamed of himself and he should apologize, OK. Number one. Number two, we have a trade deficit with Mexico of $58 billion a year. And that doesn't include all the drugs that are pouring across and destroying our country. We are going to make them pay for that wall. Now the wall is $10 billion to $12 billion, if I do it. If these guys do it, it will end up costing $200 billion.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: He doubled down throw something jabs at his rivals on the debate stage.

As for Mexico's former president, he is not backing down either. I spoke to Vicente Fox and got an earful.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: President Fox, Donald Trump is essentially doubling down saying he would make Mexico pay for the wall. That it's now going to be higher. Regardless of what you or any current or former profit Mexico says, what's your response?

FOX: Well, my response is that he is mistaken. He is taking the wrong route. There are more Mexicans coming back than Mexicans going into the United States. And it's because Mexican economy has been improving, and because they see opportunities here now.

COOPER: When he claims that the Mexican government is behind the flow of undocumented workers coming into this country, he hasn't provided any evidence of that, but he says he believes that and that smart people know that.

FOX: That is an absolute lie. He doesn't have any proof of that. I was president of Mexico. I know all the presidents of Mexico. And we have always been working hard doing our very best to create opportunities for our people. We need them here. We don't need them in the United States. COOPER: Last night, as you know, Donald Trump again called for you to

apologize for using the "f" word saying you should be ashamed. Any chance you have decided to accept that request?

FOX: I'll repeat to him, no apologies. I demand, Joe Biden, vice president of the United States, came to Mexico and said it's a shame that we have guys like him speaking the language that he speaks. He has offended Mexico, Mexicans, immigrants, he has offended the Pope, he has offended the Chinese. He's offended everybody.

COOPER: Mr. President, there are some in the United States who believe that by you making these comments to Donald Trump in fact, helps Donald Trump. That it sort of elevates him, puts him on the world stage and for his supporters, confirms what they already believe.

FOX: He says he's going to bring back America to what it was? That's crazy. Never before America, the United States, was so big, so strong, so powerful, so successful as it is today. He's going to take that nation back to the old days of conflict, war and everything. I mean, he remembers me of Hitler the way he's starting to speaking.

COOPER: You are really saying he reminds you of Adolf Hitler?

FOX: I say that he reminds me of Hitler because (INAUDIBLE), he was going to use the power to do what he like without considering a Congress and a Congress of Republicans and Democrats, that he has some judiciary that he has govern that he have a very (INAUDIBLE) sentence yet. And that is a Democracy that should be the example for the rest of the world. So he's behaving very, very, very poorly.

COOPER: President Vicente Fox, I appreciate you talking with us. Thank you.

FOX: Thank you all.

COOPER: That's not going to settle the argument. Chief National Correspondent, John King joins me now along with Trump Supporter, Andy Dean. He worked for Donald Trump for seven years and he's the former president of Trump Productions.

Andy, I mean, you hear the former president now, essentially escalating this war of words against Donald Trump.

ANDY DEAN, TRUMP PRODUCTIONS FORMER PRESIDENT. Well, Anderson, I think it's important for us to understand who Vicente Fox is. And I studied him, his life at Harvard University.

And Vicente Fox Quesada has a very, very interesting past. I mean, he came to power as president of Mexico near 2000 as the former governor of the Guanajuato State. And if anybody knows about Guanajuato, it's a major transshipment point for the Sinaloa Cartel.

Now, am I linking Vicente Fox to the Sinaloa Cartel? I'm not. I want to be very clear. I'm not doing that because I don't want my head to end up in a box. But what I can tell you is, it is very, very clear that Vicente Fox has said outlandish things especially about black Americans back in 2005. And anybody can look this up on Wikipedia.

He said such offensive things about black Americans in 2005, that both Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson got together demanded an apology. He did not do so. And then Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson called for a boycott of Mexican goods.

So, I find it very strange and ironic that now Vicente Fox is not apologizing once again for dropping the "F" bomb on national television.

And then President Vicente Fox to call Donald Trump like Hitler. I worked for Donald Trump. Donald Trump is a friend of mine. I'm a Jewish-American. That is even more insulting.

So, Vicente Fox Quesada is actually the bad person in this scenario if we know the history of who he is.

COOPER: And John, I mean, to Andy's point, for those people who support Donald Trump, and even probably some who don't, does this help Donald Trump? I mean, again, it turns the subject to illegal immigration which is a strong suit for Donald Trump, certainly a strong suit for those who support him.

JOHN KING, CNN ANCHOR: In the short term, this is a bonanza. It's manna from heaven for Donald Trump, in the sense that most of the Super Tuesday states are playing in the South, and most of the Republican base anywhere, but especially in the South, supports Donald Trump, when he says build a wall.

Now, do they think Mexico is going to pay for it? We can have a whole separate debate about that. But when Donald Trump says, we're going to secure the border, we're going to have a country, we're going to have our, you know, domestic priorities and secure therefore absolutely. And having a fight with Vicente Fox only helps Donald Trump heading to these primaries.

Now, does Trump have a longer term demographic problem if he is the nominee with Latino voters that has nothing to do with President Fox? Well sure. He does. But in the short term, Donald Trump is trying to win the Republican nomination.

Any time he's having a conversation about illegal immigration in his plan, is a victory for Donald Trump.

COOPER: Andy, for you for -- to hear Governor Christie come forward endorsing Donald Trump, how big a deal was that today? Because not only, I mean, an endorsement that -- from anybody but obviously Governor Christie is the accomplish speaker and could be a powerful ally for Donald Trump out on that campaign trail.

DEAN: Right. I think it was a very big deal. I mean, we're talking about the sitting governor of New Jersey which puts the State of New Jersey in play in 2016.

And people like Chris Christie because he's a no-nonsense guy. And when they see him come out so strongly for Donald Trump and, you know, with Christie bringing in 10 percent of the Republican electorate, because, you know, that's how he was polling, you know, maybe 5 to 10 percent. I think that that's very strong for Donald Trump and I think this is a big win for him today.

COOPER: It also, I think is a really smart move. And again, I don't know if this was timed. I mean, the reporting was this was sort of organized yesterday at Trump Tower, but it does change some of that -- you know, had this Christie announcement not been made today, the big story would have probably been everything Marco Rubio and Donald Trump were saying on the campaign trail, today, the word wars between them.

This at least puts in something else which will legitimizes Donald Trump in the eyes of many people into the mix.

KING: The more we talk about Chris Christie, the less we're talking about or digging deeper into the personal character attacks on Donald Trump, the questions about his business practice and the questions about his true conservatism in the debate last night.

Donald Trump was on the defense last night in a debate on the defense of this campaign for one of the first times that we've seen and he pulls an ace out of his pocket the next morning and has this endorsement. Very smart politics.

Now, ideologically is Chris Christie in step with the Republican base? Not really. He'd still be running for president if he were. But psychosocially, A, for Trump to change the news cycle with this announcement. B, to get a pit bull who will go on television as a surrogate. And C, to add to the conversation. And D, isn't Trump getting inevitable, brilliant.

COOPER: Andy Dean, good to have you on. John King, as well. John will be sticking around.

DEAN: Thank you.

COOPER: Just ahead, we're going to get more of John's insight on the Super Tuesday fight.

We're going to look at some numbers. Also, Donald Trump's top rivals hitting him hard over his failed Trump University.

Drew Griffin has been digging into the fraud allegations its facing and the lawsuits they've led to. We'll have a report on that.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[20:38:19] COOPER: Well just three days until Super Tuesday the biggest primary day so far. Republican candidates going to face off in 11 states from Alaska to Virginia today they were hitting the campaign trail hard in Texas and beyond after last night's slugfest in Houston. 595 delegates are at stake on that one day, Super Tuesday. A day that could change everything.

John King is back to break it down and show us why, by the numbers. John? KING: Anderson lets go through the state at play is as of tomorrow the momentum phase of the campaign will be over South Carolina Democrats voting tomorrow. The Republicans are already done in the first four state and as you noted then we move on to the math phase, I call it the campaign Super Tuesday, the first big day where you can run up the delegate total.

11 states on the Republican side choosing delegates from coast to coast but of most them down here in the south if you come over here and take a pick this is Donald Trump's advantage to stretch the lead.

He's ahead in the delegates chase right now with 82 takes 1,273 to win on the Republican side, you see Senator Cruz, Senator Rubio and Governor Kasich while behind at the moment just beginning, but Anderson if you look at the Super Tuesday states, all 11 of them, Senator Cruz favored to win at home in Texas will see what happens there Donald Trump is making a push there. Even has a negative add up right now against Senator Cruz.

But we for the second just hypothetically give Texas to Senator Cruz, Donald Trump though will still get some delegates becomes in second or third we expect to come in second if he doesn't win. Then you look at the rest of the map, Donald Trump is ahead in all 10 other states.

Texas is the only one where we have public polling showing Donald Trump behind, so if Donald Trump polls this off with the second place finish in Texas and wins with 35 percent or so in all these other states, could be higher he gets even more delegates but he doesn't with about third in a vote 35 percent look at this 344 delegates after Super Tuesday.

Somewhere in that ballpark with Kasich and Cruz - I mean Rubio and Cruz behind him about half, a little more than half of what Trump that he's starting to stretch this out. And then the question becomes can you stop him? Is there enough time to stop him? Is the contest move on? The answer that is yes. But it gets pretty difficult.

[20:40:09] Let's go through the rest of March, we go through the rest of March and you look at the map, OK right now more Marco Rubio is trailing in Florida, but let say for the sake of this hypothetical Marco Rubio comes back and wins his home state in Florida, Trump comes in second, Cruz third, Kasich fourth. And John Kasich is trailing in his home state of Ohio to Donald Trump.

Again, for the sake of the argument let's assume he stays in and John Kasich wins in Ohio I'm going to give second, third and fourth but this is where in get into winner take all territory so you see in delegates. So even if Rubio wins Florida and Kasich wins Ohio and Trump wins everything else, he starts to pull way out ahead, so the question Republicans are asking Anderson, is where else can you get Donald Trump because if you just when your homes state Cruz in Texas, Rubio in Florida, Kasich in Ohio it simply not enough.

So just winning at home won't do this to change this race this candidates have a heavy fundamental shift where several states falling on a big day, because otherwise when tend to get the end of the month of March if you look at this 63 percent of the Republican delegates will be chosen by the end of the month.

If you don't change the fundamental dynamics to this race now Donald Trump is going to get way out ahead and become in the minds of many Republicans, unstoppable.

COOPER: Here right now no sign of that fundamental shift John, thanks.

I want bring in CNN Chief Political analyst Gloria Borger also with us CNN Senior Political Analyst Ron Brownstein and Editorial Director at the National Journal.

You know, Gloria we talk about this Ted Cruz saying earlier today that Donald Trump could be were in his words unstoppable.

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Yeah, and that's the word John King does says too and I think Ted Cruz is basically stating the obvious if you look at the map.

And what he's saying to people is, look if you had any doubts about Donald Trump, now is the time. He's saying look I've got to win the state of Texas we all know that and as John said he's ahead in the state of Texas, we'll see if that last but he trails everywhere else on Super Tuesday.

So for both Cruz and Rubio these next couple of weeks are do or die. And that's why everybody is kind to scratching their heads and saying, wait a minute. Why did it take Marco Rubio so long to come out of the box like he did last night?

COOPER: And Ron, I mean it really is hard to see a clear path forward for Rubio for Cruz and a lot of this days, I mean Cruz maybe you know Texas but beyond that, where does Rubio win?

RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: The best way to think of Super Tuesday Anderson is really as a two-front war, you have two sets of States. You have a Southern group of States, Alabama, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Arkansas and Texas where at least 60 percent of the voters in the latest race, which have an exit poll for evangelicals were majority of them were Blue Collar.

If Ted Cruz can't win in those States, beyond Texas, it's very hard for to see a path over him, because those were the States that Rick Santorum and Mike Huckebee won and they weren't enough for him. And if he can't match that then it's really hard to see where he goes.

On the other hand then you have states, northern states you have or boarder states you have Virginia, Vermont, Massachusetts and Minnesota which are very different, they're much less evangelical, they're much more white color, they're the states that a Marco Rubio or a John Kasich or any candidate counting on those mainstream conservatives is going to need it if they'll truly challenge Trump.

And so Trump has the opportunity since as John noted, he's leading in both of these groups of States, which is remarkably. Mitt Romney couldn't do that John McCain didn't do that, if Romney -- if Trump can win in both sides of this equation, both fronts of this two-front war he'll really I think damage his -- both of his principal rivals by showing that he can essentially win on the turf where they should be strongest.

COOPER: And Gloria, I mean if Cruz wins in Texas as you said he's leading the polls ...

BORGER: Sure.

COOPER: ... right now, I guess what his hope is that that gives him new legitimacy new momentum that then ...

BORGER: Right.

COOPER: ... other States start to turn.

BORGER: Right.

COOPER: The flip side of that is he wins in Texas there are those who are going to say well say, look he should have won in Texas that's his home state, so it's not such a big deal that he won and may not add to some sort of new momentum.

BORGER: You know and if I'm Donald Trump I'm saying OK, fine let him stay in I mean why wouldn't Donald Trump won.

COOPER: Because it keeps the field divided and helps Donald Trump.

BORGER: Absolutely, he, Marco Rubio and they're going after Florida keep Cruz in there say he wins Texas. Let them both stay in. I think that the thing we saw today with Chris though, Ron was talking about some of the northern states that are up on Super Tuesday.

You know, I think that's where Chris Christie gives new legitimacy in a way to Donald Trump with the so-called Republican establishment that may be voting in those States. I mean, he look he didn't have a great appeal with Republican Primary voters. But I think Christie today gives a certain momentum to Donald Trump psychologically with a group of voters that he might not have had before or at least a group of Republican policy leaders who can then come out and say, OK Christie crossed the Rubicon maybe we will, too.

COOPER: And Ron, I mean if Rubio can't win in Florida his home state, what does that say about his chances?

BROWNSTEIN: Well, I think even before that if Florida is the first state that Marco Rubio wins it's very hard.

[20:45:00] First of all try hard to imagine that Florida would be the first state that he wins, because is he probably would win, I think he can any at first, and if that is the only state that he wins there is nowhere to go.

Essentially, Anderson, what we're seeing is the Blue Collar side of the Republican Party to an extent previously, I think we have never seen driving this process. Donald Trump is moving -- he moved to 50 percent in Nevada among non-college Republicans. Polls out today in the last couple of days in Florida, in Virginia, in Massachusetts, around 50 percent of all Blue Collar Republicans with Donald Trump.

He is not usually polling nearly as well among the college Republicans but they are fragmenting between Kasich and Rubio and to some extent Ted Cruz. So, that is the basic dynamic and his side on the party to the Friday, the other party is divided. He's got the lead.

COOPER: Yeah. A fascinating day. Ron Brownstein, thank you very much. Gloria Borger.

Just ahead tonight Rubio and Cruz going after Trump over his failed Trump University. Now mired in fraud lawsuits. What they said at the debate last night and what Drew Griffin is found out about the real estate investment school, next.

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COOPER: Something that came up in the debate last night, Trump University, the fail real state investment school that still facing lawsuits six years after it shut down. The law suit say that Trump University was a bait and switch scam that took in about $40 million but was fraudulent and deceptive. Both Rubio and Cruz brought it up last night in the debate.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MARCO RUBIO, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well I don't know anything about it.

DONALD TRUMP, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: But you know what?

(CROSSTALK)

RUBIO: A fake university. It was a fake university.

TRUMP: First of all

(CROSSTALK)

RUBION: A fake a university.

TRUMP: That called a ...

RUBIO: There are people who borrowed $36,000 to go to Trump University and they're suing him now. $36,000 to go to university

TRUMP: And by the way.

RUBIO: That's a fake school. And, you know what they got? They got a ...

(CROSSTALK)

TRUMP: And they actually did a very good job. That I won most of lawsuit.

[20:50:06] TED CRUZ, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You know, Marco made reference earlier to the litigation against Trump University. It's a fraud case, his lawyers have scheduled the trial for July. I want you to think about of this man is the nominee having the Republican nominee on the stand in court being cross-examined and about whether he committed fraud. You don't think the mainstream media will go crazy on that?

TRUMP: Let me just tell you. Let me just tell you. The Trump University case is a civil case, not a -- it's a civil case. It's a case where people want to try and get -- it's a case that is nonsense. It's something I could have settled many times. I could settle it right now for very little money, but I don't want to do it out of principle.

The people that took the course all signed most many, many signed report cards saying it was fantastic, it was wonderful, it was beautiful. I spend and believe me, I'll win that case. That's an easy case, a civil case.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Well, CNN Senior Investigative Correspondent, Drew Griffin has been following the cases against Trump University. Here's what's he found.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DREW GRIFFIN, CNN SENIOR INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT: This was the promise of Trump University when it launched. Direct from the university chairman's own mouth.

TRUMP: At Trump University we teach success. That's what it's all about. Success. It's going to happen to you.

GRIFFIN: It operated from 2005 through 2010 and enrolled 10,000 students in real estate courses that range from free seminars up to $35,000 for advanced training and mentoring.

TRUMP: I think the biggest step toward success is going to be sign up at Trump University.

GRIFFIN: For a while it was a business success. Trump University took in an estimated $40 million from people who believed they, too, could some day become successful.

UNINDENTIFIED MALE: Put proven Donald Trump secrets to work for you.

GRIFFIN: But it turns out not everything Donald Trump promises comes true. And not all of his businesses lead to success. Trump University is closed.

And it ended. Why did it end?

ALAN GARTEN, DONALD TRUMP'S ATTORNEY: Well, the economy crashed. The real estate market crashed, and demand fell off a little bit. So, while the company continues to exist, it's not accepting -- currently not accepting any more students and hasn't since 2010.

GRIFFIN: Allen Garden is Donald Trump's Attorney. He's defending the school from three separate lawsuits. Two class action suits filed in California and another brought by New York's Attorney General who says the program defrauded more than 5,000 students nationwide.

It's one of the California cases Donald Trump has been named as a witness. Pre-trial motions in May, trial date set for August. But all three cases are similar. New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman explained his case in 2013 on CNN shortly after filing it.

ERIC SCHNEIDERMAN, NEW YORK ATTORNEY GENERAL: ... that we started looking at Trump University and discovered that it was a classic bait and switch scheme. It was scam starting with the fact that it was not a university. They promised they're teach people with hand-picked experts by Donald Trump. The teachers were neither hand picked nor experts.

GARTEN: He was very involved from the early stages he was meeting regularly every week, every two weeks with the people who were going to run the day-to-day operations of the course.

GRIFFIN: So the allegation that he had nothing to do with this, that he didn't pick a single expert as a New York attorney general has claimed, you say is completely false.

GARTEN: It's completely untrue. 100 percent untrue.

GRIFFIN: The New York Attorney General declined to be interviewed for this report but provided CNN with six of the 150 affidavits he says he's collected from unsatisfied Trump University students who mostly complain their education at the school was worthless.

Like this student who writes, I have not been able to get in touch with anyone after I signed up for the Trump gold elite program. All the numbers have been disconnected. One student who paid $25,000 to have special access to high-level mentors claims he hasn't been able to get in touch with his nonexistent power team.

That's for investing knowledge, a student says he wrote off Trump University as a bad investment on my part.

Most of the students never met or even laid eyes on Donald Trump. Trump University is now called Trump entrepreneur initiative. The school says it never promised anyone would meet the Donald.

GARTEN: There's at least 10,000 people who paid. So you can go and pick three or four affidavits from people or maybe 20 affidavits or maybe 30 affidavits. It's still a minuscule amount. I have in my bag and I'm happy to read to you all the people who loved the course.

GRIFFIN: And he did providing CNN with 14 affidavits from satisfied students. Garten says Trump will continue to fight all three lawsuits until he eventually wins. Even if legal fees wipe out any profit he may have made.

And in the end, win or lose, Trump University may have taught everyone a valuable lesson. Not every promise comes true. Not everyone, even students of Donald Trump, will become a success.

And I bet the first person who would tell you that is Donald Trump.

GARTEN: Absolutely.

GRIFFIN: You got to work hard. You going to know what's you're doing. You got to outfox a lot of different people.

He must know in his heart a lot of these suckers in this room don't have what it takes to do what I did.

[20:55:05] GARTEN: But, I don't think that way he views it. Let me just takes the fact first of all, I agree with you. OK. All we can do is provide the tools for people to go out there and apply these things.

If I can't control what happens out in the real world. If someone goes and takes our classes and decides to sit on their couch and not apply them, I can't help that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: So, Drew, so I assume the folks who are suing will say that Trump's attorney is blaming the students for whatever failure took place?

GRIFFIN: Well, that is certainly what it sounds like they are doing. Anderson, Trump promised the tools, knowledge to make money and real estate. Also, promised a lot of access to experts, to support teams, to mentors that a lot of these customers that the attorney is blaming, claims that didn't exist. They weren't there and as for Trump, they really did never see him.

We talked to one former student who said it's true the closest he got to Trump was a cardboard cutout.

COOPER: Is there really a chance he's actually going to be call to the witness stand in this case in California?

GRIFFIN: Trial set for August. He is named, Trump is named on the witness list. He says he's going to fight these lawsuits and he says his going to win, so, yes, he could be a witness on the stand in a fraud trial smack dab in the middle of a presidential campaign. Anderson.

COOPER: All right, Drew Griffin thanks very much.

Coming up, another live hour of "360" including the intensified battle between, Marco Rubio and Donald Trump.

Trump calling Rubio a low light and basket case. Rubio are making fun of Trump's bad spelling on Twitter suggesting Trump's had worried about wetting his pants. This is our presidential campaign we're talking about.

We'll be right back.

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