New Hampshire Primary Eve TRANSCRIPT: 2/10/20, The Beat w/ Ari Melber

Guests: Addisu Demissie, Karen Tumulty, E.J. Dionne, John Della Volpe, Christopher Galdieri, Nina Turner, Judd Gregg, Errin Haines

CHUCK TODD, MSNBC HOST:  Ari Melber picks things up right now.

ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST:  Thank you, Chuck.

I am Ari Melber. Welcome to a special edition of THE BEAT live from Manchester, New Hampshire, with plenty of energized voters right here.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

MELBER:  We`re going get into it with everybody. This is, of course, election eve.

And, tomorrow, the voters you see right here in this historically independent state will be casting their votes. Now, tonight, we have the late-breaking polls. We have views from the ground. And we also have as guest leaders from some of the top campaigns.

We also have coming up a highlight from my new interview with filmmaker and Bernie Sanders supporter Michael Moore. That will be airing for the first time. We just spoke after a packed rally where he campaigned for the senator.

Now, here is what we know about this race right now tonight. First, there are signs that the top three coming from Iowa are the top three right here. Take a look, Bernie Sanders leading the pack in new polling, followed by Buttigieg, with Biden and Warren Klobuchar forming something of a second tier.

The poll you`re looking at has a 5 percent margin of error, a sign this could still be anybody`s game. What else do we know? Well, number two, these final polls still show 10 percent remain undecided. So there could be all kinds of swings that upend these current fluid positions.

And, third, there is a shift in the tenor of the campaign itself. Democrats have spent months in a pretty gentle mode, complimenting each other, focusing more firepower against Trump.

Well, this race is narrowing, and that has candidates taking each other on directly.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D-MN), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  We have a newcomer in the White House, and look where it got us.

SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  The coalition of billionaires is not exactly what`s going to carry us over the top.

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  Does it really matter where you get your money from? Of course it matters.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

PETE BUTTIGIEG (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  Bernie is pretty rich, and I would happily accept a contribution from him.

JOSEPH BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  Oh, come on, man. Do you think - - these guys -- this guy is not Barack Obama.

BUTTIGIEG:  Well, he`s right. I`m not. And neither is he.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER:  As they say in the business, snap.

I`m joined now by Addisu Demissie, former campaign manager for Cory Booker who has worked several primary cycles, Errin Haines, the editor at large for The 19th, a local nonprofit reporting on politics and women out here in New Hampshire, and Karen Tumulty, political columnist for "The Washington Post." 

Great to see each of you.

ADDISU DEMISSIE, FORMER CORY BOOKER CAMPAIGN MANAGER:  Great to be here, Ari.

ERRIN HAINES, EDITOR AT LARGE, THE 19TH:  Happy election eve.

(CROSSTALK)

MELBER:  Snap, crackle, pop, and you`re done.

Addisu, you have worked the cycle, as mentioned. When you see what is shaping up here, who do you think is really closing strong?

DEMISSIE:  Well, obviously, I think, coming out of Iowa, Sanders and Buttigieg both have seen a little bit of a bump here. Sanders was very strong here four years ago, and I think is going to be strong again tomorrow night.

But you have obviously seen Klobuchar, I think, with the debate performance on Saturday night now jump into you called that muddled second tier at 7 percent. I think it really is anybody`s game. I think a lot of people are undecided. A lot of people are going to walk into or drive towards the voting booth tomorrow undecided, walk into the voting booth undecided. And it`s just about as fluid a race as you could possibly imagine.

HAINES:  Yes, I would agree with Addisu.

I think, just like Iowa, I have talked to so many voters here in New Hampshire who are still undecided headed into tomorrow this 11th hour. So for supporters and volunteers, this is as much about turnout -- I mean, persuasion as it is turnout at this late stage, which is surprising.

But to Addisu`s point about Klobuchar, I think both Senator Klobuchar and Senator Warren are both really pushing a message that their campaigns are built for the long haul. Right? They`re not necessarily trying to capitalize on momentum coming out of Iowa in the way that Senator Sanders or former Mayor Buttigieg have been doing.

But what they are doing is saying, we are here for the long haul. Our campaigns are about durability. And if we can just hang on not just through Iowa and New Hampshire, but through South Carolina, Super Tuesday and beyond, that then maybe they have a case to make to voters across the rest of the country.

KAREN TUMULTY, "THE WASHINGTON POST":  I think one of the dynamics that`s really interesting to watch too is, Bernie Sanders supporters are there for him. They are solid.

But as we see these other dynamics going on, Amy Klobuchar is having a bit of a surge. Where is that coming from? Is it coming from Pete Buttigieg? Is it coming from Biden? We see these other candidates kind of duking it out for the same pool of voters. And, once again, as always, in New Hampshire, what about that 40 or so of the electorate that is not registered with any political party that can come over and vote in the Democratic primary?

MELBER:  You mentioned Klobuchar benefiting from this debate. We were out talking to a lot of folks this weekend.

We definitely heard about her, among others. Let`s look at a couple of moments from that highly watched Friday night.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WARREN:  I will use margin orders to reduce the cost of commonly used prescription drugs.

SANDERS:  We have got to bring China and Russia and Brazil and Pakistan and India and every major country on Earth into the fight against climate change.

ANDREW YANG (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  The government allowed this opioid epidemic to spread.

KLOBUCHAR:  Mental health care, addiction, long-term care, those are the things that would make it better.

BIDEN:  The idea middle-class taxes aren`t going to go up is just crazy.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER:  Who do you think stood out there, and how does that matter in this state, where people famously pay such close attention?

TUMULTY:  I just think the unquestioned top performer Friday night was Amy Klobuchar, mostly because she seemed to be the most aggressive.

I was really surprised. There were moments at which Elizabeth Warren, who is such an accomplished debater, seemed to almost disappear on that stage.

HAINES:  And that was definitely something that people noticed, especially on social media. I saw people saying that.

And it was interesting because the night of that debate was actually the three-year anniversary of when Senator Warren had a showdown with Senator McConnell. And the next day, the nevertheless, she persisted meme was born.

But I think, for Senator Klobuchar, she definitely benefited from having fewer people on the stage that night, and I think that she certainly would say that that helped her kind of get more of her message out and take more of those opportunities.

But she is not a candidate, and she said this, that goes for those kind of viral moments on the debate stage. It`s that she really had more of an opportunity to make her case with fewer people up there.

MELBER:  You`re both raising how Warren and Klobuchar are doing.

They`re also some of the women candidates that are on the heels of these two people coming out of Iowa. There is new polling we want to mention about women voters right here in New Hampshire. This is ahead of tomorrow`s big decision, of course.

It shows Sanders pulling ahead among women voters here. Among Democrats, Sanders leading the field at 29 percent, followed by, as mentioned, Warren at 17, Buttigieg lower at 14, Biden at 9.

Errin?

HAINES:  Yes, I think that that is certainly an interesting point. There are a lot of independent voters here in New Hampshire. Obviously, Sanders is next door in Vermont, and that may have something to do with it. Senator Warren also next door in Massachusetts.

But I think what has especially been interesting on the Senator Warren point, she, like I said, is something who has been making the case, having these long selfie lines, connecting one-on-one with voters.

New Hampshire is a state that has had two women they sent to the Senate. And so women are open to a woman candidacy. And a lot of the surrogates that I have talked to that have been door-knocking here and in Iowa were saying they thought that they were going to have to make more of a case on electability.

That has not been the case. A lot of voters here are saying that they have been very open to a woman candidacy. Some of them wanted Hillary Clinton to be president four years ago, but that they are open regardless of who the nominee is, even if that person is a woman.

MELBER:  Well, and, Karen, the other thing hanging over this that is different than any other cycle is Michael Bloomberg waiting to get into these later states running ads.

But we have heard voters bring up his name here as well in this...

TUMULTY:  He is running -- we have seen people wait to get in. Rudy Giuliani very famously in 2008 sort of waiting for the race to come to Florida. It`s never worked before.

It`s never worked before because we have never seen anybody who has the resources that Mike Bloomberg has to pour into this race. Now, his entire rationale is premised on a Joe Biden stumble. And so the question is, what kind of shape is Joe Biden going to be in after these first four contests when we hit Super Tuesday, where I think it`s something like states representing a third of the population are going to be voting?

MELBER:  Right.

And Bloomberg is already up on the air. He is claiming they`re going spend money through December regardless.

Addisu, was it not Jay-Z who said...

DEMISSIE:  Oh, gosh.

MELBER: ... if money talks, the whole world is about to hear me out?

DEMISSIE:  Amen, amen.

MELBER:  And there is a factor here that people focus so much on his strategy and his timing, but this is still really about the funding, is it not?

DEMISSIE:  A hundred percent.

I think when -- we were in the race, when Senator Booker was in the race, we had a similar theory about Joe Biden, but we didn`t have $300 million to spend across 14 Super Tuesday states, boosting our name recognition and, with it, boosting support.

We saw polling today that has Bloomberg, I think, statistically tied or close to second place nationally, or third place nationally, and that has everything to do with resources.

(CROSSTALK)

MELBER:  And the debates frame who is seen as a viable choice.

DEMISSIE:  Yes.

MELBER:  Do you think it`s fair the way the DNC has been changing these rules in a manner that would now appear to benefit Mike Bloomberg?

DEMISSIE:  You`re trying to get me in trouble, aren`t you, Ari?

MELBER:  Trying to get the facts.

DEMISSIE:  Yes. No, it`s true. You`re right.

Look, I think the rules have not necessarily been beneficial to the process at large, when somebody can buy their way on to a stage, and then the rules change to get somebody on the stage.

(CROSSTALK)

MELBER:  I guess what`s the point of the Democratic Party saying here are the rules, and people like Harris and Booker are struggling against one set of rules? They are out of the race. The candidate field is less diverse.

And now there is some new rules that are going to benefit people who aren`t fund-raising.

DEMISSIE:  Yes, look, it`s a very good point. But, look, these are the rules as they are. They are what they are.

And now Mike Bloomberg is actually -- I think it`s a good thing, honestly, that he is likely going to have to be on a stage besides how many other candidates are left for the Iowa caucuses, for the South Carolina primary and those debates, because you should -- if you are a Democratic candidate for president, you should stand on stage before the American people beside your rivals and make your case why you`re the best candidate to run.

MELBER:  I`m going to go to Karen.

TUMULTY:  I just think the DNC is going to have to rethink these qualification rules they put forward, although it`s also interesting.

Senator Harris when she got out of the race, she was still qualifying for the debates. Her problem was just traction in the poll numbers. And I think she pulled out right before the California filing deadline. It would have been pretty devastating to not do well in her home state.

But I just think that when you have sitting governors who cannot -- and sitting senators who cannot qualify for a debate stage, I really think they`re just going to have to come up with some other system.

MELBER:  Right. It hasn`t been transparent, and it comes at a time when there is a lot of pressure on the Democratic Party for how it handled Iowa and a lot of other things.

I take it that you`re being diplomatic, because you want to be nice to anyone who might become the nominee.

DEMISSIE:  I think -- look, the DNC has to be strong to win the presidential election in November, and I want the DNC to be strong.

But I do think polling, donors, not actually a measure. And we`re seeing right now, with Klobuchar surging towards the end and Bloomberg surging here towards the end, what was really the value of all of that in 2019? Was that actually measuring anything?

We knew this race was going to be fluid in February and March. We`re seeing it now in reality. And I think that`s why it was misguided.

MELBER:  And Errin stays with me.

So I`m going to come back to you on the other side of the break.

Addisu and Karen, thanks, both of you, for joining THE BEAT tonight.

DEMISSIE:  Glad to be here.

TUMULTY:  Thanks so much.

MELBER:  We have a lot more.

We`re going to dig into the changing politics of this so-called electability problem, as voters see who is actually winning.

We also have brand-new numbers on how many voters still might change their minds.

And, as mentioned, I was talking to Michael Moore on the campaign trail, progressive politics, and who might energize the Democratic base.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MICHAEL MOORE, DOCUMENTARY FILMMAKER:  People of color and young people are not going to wake up on Election Day and go, Bloomberg. I can`t wait to get to the polls to vote for Bloomberg. That`s not going to happen. He will not win.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER:  You will get the full context of that and a lot more tonight.

Plus, I`m going get up and talk to some of the voters right here behind me at the Penstock.

I`m Ari Melber. You`re watching THE BEAT live from New Hampshire.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(APPLAUSE)

MELBER:  And we are live in Manchester, New Hampshire.

You can see some of the energy all around me. Voters have been pretty pumped up.

But let me tell you something else. In this state, the grassroots campaigning clearly matters. You have the candidates. You have their surrogates, and they make their pitches in this homestretch.

In fact, we have seen New Hampshire basically have a lot of members of Congress out there campaigning the trail and other names, like Oscar- winning filmmaker and activist Michael Moore campaigning for Bernie Sanders, saying he is the best candidate to restore the American dream and mobilize a diverse coalition.

Now, I just caught up with Moore at the Sanders rally, where he spoke. He said these rumblings about stopping Bernie with Michael Bloomberg, who is skipping the first four contests, are absurd. And he says the reason why is the former mayor will not motive a winning coalition.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MOORE:  Are the American going to be swayed because somebody has got more money to run more ads? Or are they going to really look at the fact that Mike Bloomberg, the Republican mayor of New York City, ran as a Republican, gave that speech at Madison Square Garden at the Republican Convention endorsing George W. Bush, had a stop-and-frisk program, which should keep Bloomberg`s poll numbers with African-Americans and Latinos down around Mayor Pete`s number?

Where is he at now, between zero percent and 2 percent? I mean, that is -- they`re not going win as president of the United States when 70 percent of the eligible voters next year are either women, people of color or young people.

And people of color and young people are not going to wake up on Election Day and go, Bloomberg. I can`t wait to get to the polls to vote for Bloomberg. That`s not going to happen. He will not win.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER:  I am back with Errin Haines from The 19th and E.J. Dionne, columnist for "The Washington Post," here in Manchester.

Nice to see you both.

E.J. DIONNE, COLUMNIST, "THE WASHINGTON POST":  Good to see you.

MELBER:  Errin, you heard the reference to a diverse young coalition. Whatever one thinks of Sanders, which we discussed a little bit earlier, do you think Michael Moore is correct that Mike Bloomberg would struggle to rally that coalition or is it more complicated?

HAINES:  You know, I think it is complicated, because, you know, I am hearing from black voters that they may be open to a Mike Bloomberg candidacy.

And I think that that probably is folks wondering, like most Democrats, who the best person is to beat Donald Trump in November and thinking, well, maybe it is somebody with the resources of a Mike Bloomberg, even though...

MELBER:  And is that a compromise position, meaning it`s not that Bloomberg would be the first dream candidate on a particular issue, but is just seen as having the ability to go up against Trump?

HAINES:  Right.

Well, to the extent that Democrats are single-voter issues, right, if their single issue is defeating Donald Trump, then, yes, I think that they are maybe willing to compromise over -- I think it`s why you saw Bloomberg apologizing so early on about stop and frisk, because he knows that if he is going to get the nomination goes through black voters, and obviously the South -- in the words of Andre 3000, the South has something to say.

And that`s going to be coming up, even without South Carolina and Super Tuesday.

MELBER:  Shout-out to OutKast.

HAINES:  Always.

He is going to have to make his case to black voters at some point.

DIONNE:  I think that the electability issue is written off.

What it really is a very significant chunk of the Democratic Party says there is nothing more important in this particular election than beating Donald Trump. And I think you`re seeing that.

(APPLAUSE)

DIONNE:  There you go.

You`re seeing that -- you`re seeing in what`s happening here in New Hampshire, and your seeing that in Bloomberg`s numbers. There`s a new Quinnipiac poll that shows Bloomberg has up to something like 22 percent among African-Americans. He has taken a big chunk away from Joe Biden.

It doesn`t mean that African-Americans agree with Mike Bloomberg on everything. They`re looking at him and saying, gee, this guy may be able to take Trump on.

In this state, there is a whole bunch of, if you will, moderate, moderate liberal voters who are looking for an alternative to Bernie. Bernie has got a solid 25, 30 percent. These voters are very much beating Trump is the most important thing voters.

A lot of them were Joe Biden people. Joe Biden has been losing them after Iowa. They rallied to Pete Buttigieg, and that race got close. Now those three candidates, Amy Klobuchar being the third, are cutting up that vote. And I think this primary closes with a real surge toward Klobuchar. I was at an event this afternoon in Exeter at that town hall, and they had to open up a whole other room. She had a lot of fun playing with the sort of room upstairs, where she would get them to stamp their feet on the floor in the overflow room.

Something`s happening here. That`s all about electability. And I think having the idea that beating Trump is the most important thing is not crazy, given the nature of Donald Trump.

MELBER:  Well, we see so much that`s generational.

This weekend, I mentioned I was with Sanders and Buttigieg, which are opposite ends of the age of candidates. But then their followings are inverse.

DIONNE:  It`s so fascinating.

MELBER:  So you go to the Bernie event, and there is real enthusiasm like I haven`t seen for a lot of other candidates when you see the level of merch and the Bernie T-shirts and people who`ve been with him for years. And a lot of them are younger people.

And they don`t care that he is an older person. And then you flip that with Buttigieg, and it`s -- I notice a lot of voters at least older than him, let`s say. The room was older than the candidate, and happily so.

And so there`s this whole flipping.

I want to play for you the one other part from Michael Moore. This is airing now for the first time on THE BEAT, because we just taped the interview, where he talks about the age stuff. Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MOORE:  We have a responsibility to vote for the kids.

This one is for our kids who are now in their 20s and 30s. And we are leaving them with a world where they are in debt up to their ears, with college debt, with medical debts.

And we`re leaving them a planet that is choking. And we`re probably going to escape the worst of it, but our kids and our grandkids, they are not. They want Bernie. So, I say to them, we should vote for Bernie.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER:  Now, that`s a pitch from a surrogate, but, more broadly, E.J., if I can address you as a boomer, with love...

DIONNE:  There is no love for boomers. You know that.

(LAUGHTER)

MELBER:  Michael Moore, part of what he said that drew some of the strongest reactions in that room in front of New Hampshire voters was -- he said it very plainly. He said, Bernie Sanders is plenty healthy. He will be around for a few years, but he is not going to be around in 25 years. He is not doing this for himself. He wants to save the education system and rewire the economy and change the way we do student debt for other people.

And it was a really interesting way to kind of flip this age thing that`s been used against him, flip it around. What do you think of that kind of argument?

DIONNE:  Well, I think that the under-30 generation is particularly progressive because they have been hammered by the economy in ways that my generation, for example, wasn`t, that I grew up, I came of age in a pretty good economy, a lot of inflation in the `70s, but a strong economy.

These folks, either students or non-students -- we talk a lot about college grads, but let`s look also at folks who aren`t college grads who entered this economy where blue-collar work, well-paid, had started to disappear.

Among the students, you have mountains of debt. And I think Bernie Sanders` appeal is very, very clear to them when you look at just two things. One is free college, which speaks directly to something they care about, and the second is single-payer health care.

Now, we can have a whole argument about whether that`s the right way to go. But a lot of the people in the younger generation don`t have health insurance if they`re not on their parents` plans. Thank you, Obamacare, by the way.

(CROSSTALK)

MELBER:  Errin, we have 30 seconds left. Can you resolve the health care debate for us in 30?

(LAUGHTER)

HAINES:  Absolutely not.

(CROSSTALK)

HAINES:  Exactly. It`s not fair.

But I will say about the electability question is, to the extent that Bernie and Mayor Pete have had success in Iowa and New Hampshire, that is really going to be tested if they are not able to take that message to black and brown voters in Nevada, in South Carolina, in these Super Tuesday states, because, if that doesn`t happen, I don`t know what electability is really going to mean for them, or, frankly, any candidate who is not able to resonate with minority voters who are on base of this party.

MELBER:  Well, and, as you say, that is a question. I don`t have the answer, but that is a question facing several of the big names we`re hearing about.

Buttigieg, who is polling in 1 percent there. Bernie Sanders, who had his differences and challenges last cycle, and says he`s broadening the base, trying to. And Mike Bloomberg, who, as we reported -- we had his campaign manager on the other night -- had a lot of trouble with black and brown voters in New York, because he ran a stop-and-frisk program that stopped five million stops of people who the majority of the time had nothing on them, and it was very controversial.

HAINES:  Right.

MELBER:  So, it`s not clear what the path is from there.

I have to fit in a break. I really love having both of you on here on primary eve. Thank you so much.

DIONNE:  It`s great to be with you.

MELBER:  Up ahead, we are joined by a top figure from one of the leading campaigns.

And we`re going to mix it up more with the New Hampshire voters you see right here, what`s on their minds, live from Manchester, when we come back.

(APPLAUSE)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(APPLAUSE)

MELBER:  Welcome back.

Here we are live in New Hampshire on primary eve.

And, as you mentioned, we are surrounded by a lot of the New Hampshire residents.

I`m going to have you guys pull back a little bit and just ask everyone, by a show of hands, how many here are New Hampshire voters here in this area? Great. And how many of you are still undecided or might still change your mind?

Let`s start right here.

Who are you leaning towards?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Buttigieg.

(APPLAUSE)

MELBER:  And what could make you change your mind or who else are you thinking of?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  No, I`m just -- yes. Just having the opportunity to hear the candidates speak, and I`m just looking to see if anyone changes my opinion. But right now that`s where I`m leaning towards.

MELBER:  And what do you learn about candidates, from going to events or debate?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Yes, going to the -- we went to the convention.

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Democratic Party.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  The Democratic Party event on Saturday night, listening to all the candidates speak, which was really good, and just seeing what they have to say.

MELBER:  So, that`s striking. We`re talking to people who literally saw basically every top candidate in person.

Who the are you leaning to? I have a clue.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Amy. Amy.

MELBER:  And why?

(APPLAUSE)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  She speaks to me. I have seen her three times since Friday night`s debate, and she really speaks to me. And that`s what I`m looking for in a president.

She`s going get the job done. She has worked with moderate Republicans, like she says. I`m a huge -- huge cause for mental health. I have been working in the mental health field some 16 years. My mom will be passed four years now in May, and I took care of her.

My dad is failing in health. I`m taking care of him now. Senior health care, long-term care, in-the-home care, so I don`t have to put him in a nursing home, is huge to me. Amy speaks to me for that.

MELBER:  And you feel like she has plans that will work?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Absolutely. Absolutely. And I want to give her a shot to get it done.

MELBER:  I appreciate you sharing a little bit of your story with us.

I want to good over here. I saw some hands up over here. Who is still undecided or could change here?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  I`m almost decided.

MELBER:  Almost to who?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Well, have I two candidates I really, really admire. One is Michael Bennet, and he is amazing.

(APPLAUSE)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Oh, wow.

And the other is Pete Buttigieg. They`re both two of the most compassionate, humane individuals that I have heard speak, and they both care deeply about education and our futures with our children and our environment. And they would take care of the of both of those. Both people would take care of those.

MELBER:  And you`re nodding yes?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I`m for Joe.

MELBER:  Joe Biden.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Joe Biden.

MELBER:  And when you hear -- here we go. We found a Biden voter.

(LAUGHTER)

MELBER:  No, I`m only kidding. Let me say it like this. You hear all this trash. You heard the trash talk, yes?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Oh, terrible.

MELBER:  Terrible.

So what`s your response? You have a chance to tell everyone.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Joe is great. I have voted for him in the past two elections. And he has the heart to bring the nation back to being together again.

MELBER:  He was down a little bit. You think he can still come back?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  He better.

(LAUGHTER)

MELBER:  There you have it.

I`m going do one more over here,and then we have two guests to talk us through all of this.

Come on with me. Here we go. I saw you over here. You`re still undecided?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  No.

MELBER:  Who are you leaning towards?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Bernie.

(LAUGHTER)

MELBER:  Here we go. We were just talking to Michael Moore about it. What do you like about Bernie Sanders?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  I love his platform. I just love the way he speaks to the people. I saw him today, and actually I went to the dinner the other day and I saw all the candidates, kept an open mind, but definitely decided in the last 24 hours I am still a Bernie girl.

I like that he is of the people, by the people. And he`s not taking money from billionaires. And that`s important, because I think where you get your money matters, so that you can`t be bought. And he has been saying the same things for years and years and years. I just -- I really like him.

MELBER:  You said of the people, by the people. That`s a good line. You should trademark that.

(LAUGHTER)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Thank you. I`m going to do that tonight.

MELBER:  Now, everyone, give a hand to all the different great New Hampshire voters we heard from.

(APPLAUSE)

MELBER:  And we`re going to go right over here and hear from two of our guests.

Thanks for being here.

I have got John Della Volpe, Harvard`s polling director, and Christopher Galdieri from a college right here in New Hampshire.

What we just heard, how typical is this?

JOHN DELLA VOLPE, DIRECTOR OF POLLING, INSTITUTE OF POLITICS, HARVARD UNIVERSITY:  I think it`s very typical in terms of the number of people represented in this room who aren`t locked down in terms of who they`re going to be voting for tomorrow.

There are tens of thousands of people I think throughout this state who share these concerns right now. They`re leaning one way, leaning the other way. There is still time for each of the campaigns to reach out to them.

CHRISTOPHER GALDIERI, SAINT ANSELM COLLEGE:  Yes, that`s right.

And in primary elections like this, you have a large field of candidates who generally are on the same page on most of the major issues. There are details of how do you achieve an end or details of the policy.

But basically, Democrats in the Democratic Party for president are pretty similar to each other. So voters make decisions on the basis of personal characteristics, the issues they`re emphasizing, last-minute events, a good debate like in the case of Amy Klobuchar, a late gaffe, like we have seen in other elections.

They are people still be making up their minds after they leave the house to vote tomorrow.

MELBER:  I should mention, because we always try to be transparent as possible with our viewers, we`re not presenting this as a random sample, as you would in one of your surveys.

These are great friends of ours who came to watch an MSNBC program. But we heard that many of them have also been watching the voters going out in these voter events and seeing all the candidates.

I want to play from some other voters we have sampled in our interviews, right, who may not come out to an event like this, but who are also representative of what`s out there.

Take a look at folks talking about this whole debate over electability.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  I feel that if we can get the party behind someone more towards the middle, we have a chance.

QUESTION:  Do you think there is a lane where as someone as progressive Bernie Sanders could defeat President Trump?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  No, no, no. He`s got a strong base, but he cannot beat Trump.

QUESTION:  You say that electability is your top issue. Have you seen a Democrat who you`re convinced can beat President Trump?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  No.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  There`s also a lot of Republicans that have changed their minds after voting for Trump and seeing what it has done to our country and to our people.

QUESTION:  And you that`s from Senator Sanders?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  I do.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER:  That`s what we`re seeing in interviews.

Now take a look at some of the latest polling, this question among Democratic voters, who could actually beat Trump. Well, Biden once led on this issue, but you can see the decline just in these recent weeks, falling below Bernie Sanders, who voters here now say would have the best chance to win the general election, followed by voters who don`t know which candidate has the best chance.

I would call that a very honest answer, and Pete Buttigieg also still leading some other candidates.

To both of you, this just raises the question of, is electability just a placeholder for momentum?

DELLA VOLPE:  I think it is.

And here`s the question that we`re not I think speaking enough about is, who exactly is going to be showing up tomorrow? This is an election unlike anything we have seen here since 2004, where we essentially have an uncontested Republican election, which means that we could have a higher number of independents turn out than traditional Democrats.

It`s likely to happen. Most of the polling doesn`t reflect that. Most of the polling has about 60 percent of Democrats, 40 percent of independents. So, if independents are motivated tomorrow, some of those independents are Bernie folks. I think they`re already kind of engaged.

But some of them are those moderate, moderate conservatives, and that could tip the balance.

MELBER:  Right. And you`re talking about something that is often forgotten, which is any poll is a combination of a prediction about the turnout universe, and then a question of the preferences across, right?

So general election polling in 2016 was broadly accurate across the country, which is why it showed leads fairly Clinton, and she had a lead nationally, right? But people forget that, particularly at the state level, the turnout universe is everything.

So, when you see that, and then we were talking about across the street, you got huge lines for the Trump rally here in New Hampshire tonight, what does it mean if less traditional Democratic voters turnout tomorrow?

GALDIERI:  Well, it`s probably better for candidates like Mayor Pete or Amy Klobuchar, who are talking about transcending party lines, being able to just put partisanship aside and get things done.

I think there are some who will come out to vote for Bernie. But I think one of the big questions is, will all those non-Democrats who vote in a Democratic primary, will they coalesce behind one candidate or will they scatter the same way that Democrats seem to be scattering if they`re not supporting Bernie?

MELBER:  And real quick, you`re against one of our shortest breaks, a 30- second break.

I got to ask, how many surveys, polls have you guys been a part or crunched in your career, roughly? Hundreds?

GALDIERI:  I don`t do polls, but...

MELBER:  But that you have analyzed. How many times have you looked at a poll?

(CROSSTALK)

GALDIERI:  Yes, lots, a lot, yes.

MELBER:  Over 100 times?

GALDIERI:  I would 100, at least.

DELLA VOLPE:  Hundreds and hundreds of hundreds. Yes.

MELBER:  And is it true -- because I heard a rumor that, statistically speaking, these are actually the best survey respondents we have ever had. Is that right?

DELLA VOLPE:  No question, much better than people across the street.

MELBER:  OK. All right.

(APPLAUSE)

(CROSSTALK)

MELBER:  I just wanted to get a little science in here.

DELLA VOLPE:  Plus or minus.

(LAUGHTER)

(CROSSTALK)

MELBER:  Margin of error.

Jon and Chris, thank you. And thank you for putting up with polling humor. Always very difficult.

(LAUGHTER)

MELBER:  We`re going to turn next to the co-chair of the Sanders campaign.

And we`re back in just 30 seconds.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MELBER:  It`s the eve of this pivotal New Hampshire primary, a time when the race turns from the campaigning and the persuasion to turnout.

The latest polling showing two campaigns for the most momentum for that are Senator Sanders and Mayor Buttigieg. They lead the latest CNN poll 28 and 21 percent, while many rival candidates agree, and that is clearly seen in how many are attacking Bernie Sanders like he`s now the front-runner.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KLOBUCHAR:  It is not real, Bernie, because two-thirds of the Democrats in the Senate are not on your bill, and because it would kick 149 million Americans off their current health insurance in four years.

BUTTIGIEG:  How are we going to pay for it? Are we going to pay for it in the form of still further taxes, or are we going to pay for it in the form of broken promises?

BIDEN:  If you can win North Carolina, you can win in Pennsylvania, you`re going win in those states in the Midwest. It`s not -- I`m not -- I didn`t put the label on Bernie. Bernie calls himself a Democratic socialist.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER:  And we are joined now by national co-chair of that very Sanders campaign Nina Turner.

Thanks for being here tonight.

NINA TURNER, NATIONAL CO-CHAIR, BERNIE SANDERS CAMPAIGN:  Thanks, Ari.

MELBER:  Let`s start with a little bit of policy.

Bernie Sanders has again a lot of attention for his economics. I want to show you briefly where his plan stacks up against Senator Warren and now Mike Bloomberg. A wealth tax for billionaires by Sanders is the highest, 8 percent. Warren has that at 3. Bloomberg doesn`t have that.

But, interestingly, while his tax rate is 52, Warren at 40, Bloomberg is in with a rate at 45 percent and a surtax on people making over $5 million. Translation, it looks like even Mike Bloomberg is moving in your direction.

What do you make of that? And do you think it`s fair to say that several candidates now have economic populist proposals here?

TURNER:  Well, Ari, all of the Democrats are running on some version of the platform according to Senator Bernie Sanders.

So it is very clear the courage and the conviction that the senator had in 2016 is percolating throughout the Democratic Party so that any Democratic candidate worth their salt who is running for president has to maneuver in that space one way or another.

MELBER:  Interesting to hear you put it like that.

I want to also ask you about a point of criticism we have heard -- and you know I do this with all the different candidates, so people can hear the answers.

This one was summarized by, you know, your friend Larry David, but it`s a joke that touches on a criticism. Take a listen to the new Larry David impression.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LARRY DAVID, ACTOR:  I don`t know how or why it happened, but I am king of an army of Internet trolls called Bernie bros.

(LAUGHTER)

DAVID:  Could I stop them in their tracks? Of course. Should I? Yes. Will I? Eh.

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER:  Obviously a joke, but the punchline is the idea, the insinuation that Senator Sanders does not do enough to address that so-called -- quote, unquote -- "bro culture."

Your response?

TURNER:  I mean, give me a break.

Listen, that`s satire and I get it, but there are too many people trying to push that agenda. It`s very similar to the same calculation that folks had in 2008, when they called the supporters of then Senator Barack Obama Obama boys.

And the same folks are pushing this same kind of message against the people who support Senator Bernie Sanders. The senator has been very clear to everybody about staying on the issues, not talking against people.

But the last time I checked, he does not control what comes out of everybody`s mouth or their tweet. But if people align themselves, Ari, in a way the senator conducts himself, you know and everybody in this country knows that the senator stays on the issues and not on people.

Furthermore, other candidates have people who support them who have been very vile and negative. And I don`t hear the media or other people among the elites labeling their supporters as such.

MELBER:  And last thing I want to ask you, there has been a lot of talk here about the idea that Bernie Sanders could do very well tomorrow, could do well in the upcoming states, and has a financial edge over every other Democrat running right now, with the exception of former Republican Mayor Mike Bloomberg.

If this gets out in a couple of weeks to a race one-on-one between the two of them, do you like that? Do you welcome them that? Do you think that`s a race you win, even outspent?

TURNER:  I do, Ari, because the difference between Senator Sanders and Mayor Bloomberg is that he has a movement behind him.

He went to the people to lay out his vision and his message, unlike the billionaire that`s buying the elections. As you know, he skipped Iowa. He is skipping New Hampshire, skipping Nevada, skipping South Carolina. So instead of bringing a message to the people and helping people to see a vision that he does not have, he is flat-out trying to buy the White House.

Also, the people who donate to our campaign can donate over and over and over and over again, and they are motivated to continue to fuel a people- powered movement to catapult Senator Bernie Sanders to be the 46th president of the United States of America.

And that`s how we should want it, Ari, whether we`re Republican or Democrat. We should not want the oligarchs or the plutocracy of this nation...

MELBER:  Right.

TURNER:  ... to be able to buy elections. It should it be fueled by the people. And that`s how we`re running and that`s how we`re going to win.

(CROSSTALK)

MELBER:  I see you with the O-word. I know you guys like that word.

TURNER:  Oh, yes, I`m saying it. I`m saying it.

MELBER:  Can`t stop, won`t stop, oligarch.

Well, as you know, we have all the different candidates on the show. We had Bloomberg the other day. We will keep asking everybody the questions.

I appreciate you joining us on THE BEAT, Nina.

TURNER:  Thank you, Ari.

MELBER:  Thank you.

Now we turn to someone who knows how to win statewide in New Hampshire far better than most.

Judd Gregg served as governor and U.S. senator from New Hampshire, a moderate Republican. He backed Bush and then Kasich in that last Republican primary. We should note he has criticized Donald Trump. And President Obama asked Gregg to serve in his nomination, though he withdrew his nomination for that potential position as commerce secretary.

A lot of experience. I`m in a room in Manchester where a lot of people know you. Thanks for coming on THE BEAT tonight.

JUDD GREGG (R), FORMER NEW HAMPSHIRE GOVERNOR:  Thank you for having me on, Ari.

MELBER:  What do you see as key here on primary eve? Which Democrats running do you think have done the best to address the way that New Hampshire makes its choices?

GREGG:  I think, as your audience seems to reflect, Amy is coming up very fast.

She really is sort of a New Hampshire-type politician, in that if you look at Jeanne Shaheen, who is the senior senator now and was our governor, she and Amy are sort of cut out of the same cloth, very serious, moderate, thoughtful individuals who are nice people and easy to get along with.

I enjoyed working with Amy in the Senate. I like Mike Bennet a lot too. I was interested one of your listeners -- one of the New Hampshire voters mentioned Mike. I think Mike is a superb talent.

Clearly, Bernie Sanders has a base in New Hampshire. He was able to beat Hillary Clinton here. I don`t think that base has been eroded significantly. There is within the Democratic Party a very strong progressive socialist movement.

And I think that he`s got a 20 to 30 percent base here. But I`m just not sure how this turns out if Bernie wins in New Hampshire, and he wins in South Carolina. My sense is that, rather than he being the winner, that maybe Mike Bloomberg`s the winner, because the Democratic Party is going to want to nominate someone who they think can beat Donald Trump, and it`s unlikely, in fact, I think it is literally impossible for a socialist to beat Donald Trump, no matter how aggressive and how pure and how committed he is to his cause and how fanatical and how strong his followers are.

It`s just not going sell in America today. We`re not a socialist nation. People are going to look for somebody else to coalesce around. And right now the people who have seen all the other candidates don`t seem to be building the momentum to do that.

And maybe Mike Bloomberg comes out after Super Tuesday and is the competitor.

MELBER:  Have you ever seen a race heading through New Hampshire that`s this unsettled?

GREGG:  Oh, yes, often, very many, many times.

New Hampshire voters are, number one, very serious about this. They take the role of being the first primary as something that is a social and community responsibility. And a lot of your listeners in that room have gone to a number of hearings, a number of events, listened to a lot of different candidates.

MELBER:  Yes.

GREGG:  Put a lot of their personal time into this. And decisions in New Hampshire are always made very late.

Now, one of your pollster folks there said that there are still a lot of people undecided. I don`t agree with that. I think the majority of New Hampshire people over this weekend made their decision, but it was -- they`re late coming to the decision because they`re very serious about getting to that decision.

MELBER:  And, lastly, while I have you, given your record in public service, one broader news question.

The president appears to be clearly retaliating against people who by all accounts provided honest testimony in the impeachment investigation. Does that concern you? Is that wrong for the president to do, or do you think he can pick whoever he wants regardless?

GREGG:  You know, I`m discouraged by the president`s approach on a number of issues that involve the way the presidency is characterized and demeaning the presidency.

His language, number one, bothers me when he is in the White House using words that are inappropriate for our kids to listen to. And he tends to be a polarizer. And I think that is unfortunate. We want a president that speaks to our better angels, like Ronald Reagan did, in my opinion.

And we want a president who speaks to decency, like George Bush and George W. Bush did, in my opinion, and Barack Obama. And, unfortunately, I don`t think that`s in the president`s characteristic and it`s not his style, and it disappoints me.

MELBER:  Yes.

Look, Governor, Senator Gregg, I appreciate you spending time with us tonight here in your home state.

GREGG:  Thank you. Thank you. Happy to be here.

MELBER:  Yes, sir, thank you very much.

And we will be right back live from New Hampshire.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MELBER:  This is the New Hampshire primary.

And you`re looking at a rally by the Trump campaign, Mike Pence already speaking here in Manchester.

We are back with "The Washington Post"`s E.J. -- "Washington Post" columnist E.J. Dionne.

His new book is "Code Red: How Progressives and Moderates Can Unite to Save Our Country."

And we want to do a final thought with you. Thanks for coming back.

DIONNE:  Oh, it`s good to be here.

(APPLAUSE)

MELBER:  We got a lot of good energy in the room.

(CROSSTALK)

DIONNE:  Smart voters too.

MELBER:  Very smart voters, and very informed. We have had people so involved.

I want to show you a little bit more of the hangover coming out of Iowa, something that is both meaningless in the big scheme of things, but also strangely symbolic.

Take a look at this short goof moment out of Iowa.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  because these sheets are signed not only by the precinct chair and the precinct secretary. There we go -- by the precinct chair and precinct secretary. They`re also signed by campaign representatives.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER:  Sometimes, the little things and the big things are challenging.

That`s getting laughs online.

But coming out of Iowa and into high stakes tomorrow, where New Hampshire officials say, we got this, there`s not going to be any of those kind of problems, what are your final thoughts for us this evening?

DIONNE:  I have been joking the real conspiracy here is Democrats wanted to show what happens when you privatize public services.

You`re going to have a regular election here counted by election officials, and we`re not worried about it.

I think the thing that struck me -- I love Iowa. I have been there a lot. I love New Hampshire. I have been coming here since I was a kid.

And the thing that strikes me about this race this year is, I have never seen voters so worried about their particular responsibility. In other words, a lot of elections, you pick the person you really love, you pick the person you agree with.

This time, people are thinking so hard about how a candidate will place somewhere else. What will other people think about that candidate? And they feel that because they feel the stakes are so high in 2020. It`s really appropriate, I think, that there is a Trump rally across the street, because I think the Trump presidency, all the abuses you talk about every night, have really concentrated people`s minds on the idea that their job as voters is to figure out, what can we do to stop this in November?

MELBER:  A really fitting final thought for us.

E.J., thanks for being here.

DIONNE:  It`s great to be with you.

MELBER:  As always, I want to give special thanks to everyone who joined us here in New Hampshire.

(APPLAUSE)

MELBER:  We will actually be back in this room at 1:00 p.m. Eastern for more of our special coverage.

Don`t go anywhere, because, if it`s a politics night, you have got to join Chris Matthews on "HARDBALL" straight up next.

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