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Reports from the field in key Super Tuesday states

Even as the votes roll in on Super Tuesday, candidates from both parties are anticipating future primaries. Gwen Ifill and Judy Woodruff consult Celeste Headlee of Georgia Public Broadcasting and Emily Rooney of WGBH in Boston for more on the Super Tuesday battles in their states. Also, general correspondent John Yang in Florida weighs in on the brewing contest there.

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  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    The focus today is obviously on the states that are voting, but both parties' front-runners are already looking ahead to the March 15 contests, including in Florida, and will end this day in that critical battleground state.

    It also happens to be where we have sent our new "NewsHour" correspondent, John Yang.

    Welcome, John.

    We sent you to Florida on your second day on the job. And I guess it's no coincidence that the two front-runners are heading there, too.

  • JOHN YANG:

    That's right, Judy.

    You know, on a night like this, you can really tell a lot about how a campaign is feeling by where they are. This was not a Super Tuesday state, as you say, but here in Miami is where Hillary Clinton will be, and just a little bit north of here in West Palm Beach is where Donald Trump will be, both very confident, a sign of confidence about how they expect to do tonight.

    If Donald Trump can sweep all the states outside Ted Cruz's home state of Texas, he will be poised to put this contest away in two weeks, when there are big contests, including here in Florida.

    And, Judy, on the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton hopes to pull away from Bernie Sanders in the delegate count in a very big way. Sanders didn't even really compete in the delegate-rich states of the South, focusing on other states where the voters, the voting population had a lower percentage of African-Americans.

    Here in the South, the — that African-American population expected to give Clinton an edge. If Clinton does have a good night, expect when she comes out here tonight that she will sound a lot more like a nominee, rather than a candidate for the nomination — Judy, Gwen.

  • GWEN IFILL:

    John, let me add my welcome to the "NewsHour."

  • JOHN YANG:

    Thank you.

  • GWEN IFILL:

    Florida is so often the lock to the key — the key to the lock of who wins these elections, whether in the general or in the primary.

    So, that — so, why is it that it has already leapfrogged over so many other states that we're watching tonight?

  • JOHN YANG:

    Well, for — partly, one reason on the Republican side, it's the home state of one of the candidates, Marco Rubio, who is also returning here to Miami tonight.

    He has only been on the ballot here once before, statewide ballot. That's why a lot of the Republicans I talk to said, to their chagrin, it is likely that Rubio is not going to be able to win his home state in two weeks.

    On the Democratic side, it goes back to the mantra of Florida, Florida, Florida. This is a state that's going to be crucial to both sides. I think that Hillary Clinton, as she makes the pivot toward a general election campaign, toward going after the Republicans, wants to really stake out the ground here in Florida.

  • GWEN IFILL:

    John, we look forward the hearing from you a little bit more later on tonight when we begin to get results. Thanks.

  • JOHN YANG:

    Thanks a lot.

  • GWEN IFILL:

    Now we move north to Georgia, with the second largest number of delegates at stake for both parties in tonight's contests.

    And joining us to explore the political landscape there is Celeste Headlee of Georgia Public Broadcasting in Atlanta.

    Celeste, give us a sense of what you're going to be watching and what we should be watching in Georgia tonight.

  • CELESTE HEADLEE, Georgia Public Broadcasting:

    I think the biggest thing to watch is turnout.

    Bernie Sanders has taken a risk in playing for the young vote here, and especially young African-Americans, young Hispanics. If they turn out for him, he could do better than expected. If they don't, then, as the polls suggest, Clinton will take the race here for the Democrats.

    And Donald Trump has a sizable lead in the polls as well. If the polls are accurate, Donald Trump and Clinton will take tonight in Georgia.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    Celeste, it's Judy Woodruff.

    Tell us how Georgia differs from its next-door neighbor South Carolina, where Clinton and Trump both just absolutely wiped out the opposition.

  • CELESTE HEADLEE:

    Well, you know, Georgia is a very diverse state.

    Georgia is really on the leading edge in the changing demographics in this state. In fact, Clarkston, Georgia, is known as the most diverse square mile in America.

    This, however, is also the place where the Tea Party really got a lot of its momentum as well, so there's kind of a number of forces pulling and pushing. Also, in reference to the black vote, which really helped carry Clinton in South Carolina, this is Dr. Martin Luther King's home town. This is a place where the question of whether Clinton can carry the black vote nationally will really be tested.

    If Clinton comes away with the vast majority of the black vote here in Georgia, that means she can probably carry it through the rest of the nation. And in Georgia, the bulk of the Democratic Party is made up by African-Americans. So, that's really something to keep your eye on here.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    Celeste Headlee with Georgia Public Television, we thank you.

    And much farther north, Senator Bernie Sanders is hoping to score a home field advantage in New England with contests in Massachusetts and his own home state of Vermont.

    And we turn now to Emily Rooney of public TV station WGBH in Boston.

    Hi, Emily.

    So, tell us. We know Bernie Sanders does have a big advantage in Vermont, but Massachusetts is a little different, isn't it?

  • EMILY ROONEY, WGBH:

    Yes, I mean, I don't think Massachusetts people have really paid that much attention to Bernie Sanders until recently, of course, the New Hampshire primary.

    But there has been a huge, huge media push here, radio and television, and it was locally oriented. It wasn't national advertising. It was local. And it's every other advertisement, all doing the Oscars, AM radio, every other commercial, so, personalized, local, and I think very effective.

    About 20,000 Democrats, who were enrolled as Democrats, have switched their party affiliation. Now, that could be because they want to kind of offset what's going to happen on the Republican side, but interesting that it's kind of leveling the playing field a little bit.

  • GWEN IFILL:

    Emily, I want to ask you. It's Gwen.

    I want to ask you about the Elizabeth Warren factor. There was a very odd moment yesterday in which someone fabricated a "New York Times" front page which suggested that Emily — that Elizabeth Warren had endorsed Bernie Sanders, which did not happen, I want to be clear.

    But everybody has been kind of watching the shadow of the progressive senator from Massachusetts, very popular progressive senator, and the fact that she seems to not have gotten into this at all.

  • CELESTE HEADLEE:

    No. No matter how hard you push Elizabeth Warren, she stays silent. That's been our experience right now.

    She's not waded into this at all. Even our very popular governor, Charlie Baker, as you know, originally endorsed Chris Christie. He hasn't endorsed anyone right now. And there has been a big push from the editorial pages for both of them to endorse someone, but neither one of them has.

  • GWEN IFILL:

    OK.

    Well, thank you very much, Emily Rooney. As always, you step in for us up there in New England. We appreciate it so much.

  • CELESTE HEADLEE:

    Thanks.

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