JUDY WOODRUFF: Good evening. I’m Judy Woodruff On this Super Tuesday, Joe Biden is showing early momentum tonight, with projected wins in Virginia, and North Carolina. And Bernie Sanders takes his home state of Vermont, with many more states still to come. Then, As the death toll
from coronavirus in the U.S. continues to climb, the Federal Reserve reacts with the
most significant emergency action since the financial collapse. Then: We are on the ground all across the
country, bringing you the latest Democratic primary updates, as ballots are cast on Super
Tuesday. Plus, an epicenter of the outbreak — a report
from Iran, where cases of COVID-19 are skyrocketing, and distrust of leaders mounts, as government
officials come down with the virus. AMIR PARVANDAR, Retiree (through translator):
This is the result of the chronic weakness of the management of our country. When you lose people’s trust, even when you
tell the truth, people won’t believe you. JUDY WOODRUFF: All that and more on tonight’s
“PBS NewsHour.” (BREAK) JUDY WOODRUFF: On this Super Tuesday, it is
just after 9:00 p.m. on the East Coast, and the polls in 12 of the 14 states voting today
are now closed. And with a third of all Democratic delegates
up for grabs, today is the biggest voting day of the primary season. Here are the results so far. Joe Biden, the projected winner in Virginia,
in North Carolina, and in Alabama. Bernie Sanders, projected winner in his home
state of Vermont and just moments ago in the state of Colorado. We do not yet have projected winners in these
following states, Maine, Massachusetts, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Arkansas, Minnesota, and Texas. And, again, all the polls have closed in those
states, but we’re waiting for the results to come in. We have much more to look for this evening. But, as of right now, Joe Biden has for the
first time taken the lead in the all-important delegate count. We do have a host of “NewsHour” correspondents
and public media reporters who are spread out in Super Tuesday states across the country,
from California, to Minnesota, to North Carolina, Massachusetts, and Virginia. But we start with Texas. It is the second biggest delegate prize of
the night, 228 delegates at stake. And that’s where “NewsHour”s political reporter,
Dan Bush, is now. And he joins me from Houston. So, Dan, clearly, the polls just closing there. We don’t have a call yet, but this is a state
where Bernie Sanders had been doing well. Mike Bloomberg had put some money in. It’s also the state where Joe Biden had some
very big endorsements last night. DANIEL BUSH: That’s right, Judy. Biden is surging here, seemingly. And, yes, we don’t have results yet. It’s a big state, some of the biggest cities
in the country. It will take a while. Texans are used to that. It might be a long night here. But, already, Democrats here in the state
are saying that they’re breathing a sigh of relief, as one source told me. These are moderate Democrats who see a very
good night cropping up for Joe Biden elsewhere. A senior Biden official just told me that,
looking at these other states, two things are clear, the Biden campaign is arguing. Number one, Mike Bloomberg invested a lot
of money in states like North Carolina and Virginia, might not win delegates there. And, number two, the Biden campaign says,
Bernie Sanders’ electability argument is not holding up. Now, here in Texas, we’re going to have to
wait and see. As you said, two of the biggest delegate prizes
are still up for grabs, Texas and California. Biden is doing well here. Sanders has made a lot of inroads here, Judy,
in recent weeks, especially with Latino voters. So we’re waiting to see how those sort of
key voting groups play out here in Texas. And one more thing, Judy. The Bloomberg campaign is saying, wait a second,
let’s slow down a little bit. One senior adviser texted me, said: “Nothing
surprising here so far.” But they invested a lot of money in Texas. So, they may not have won the other states. They do need to do well here, Judy. JUDY WOODRUFF: And you’re right. They did invest a lot of money there, as they
have in a number of other states, Texas a state that we don’t expect to have an early
projection in, but we will see. Dan Bush, thanks very much, joining us from
Houston. And now, from Minneapolis, Mary Lahammer of
Twin Cities PBS. Mary, this is Amy Klobuchar’s home state,
but it’s a state that she knew she was going to have a tough time in. You have been talking to voters in the last
hours who are big supporters of Bernie Sanders. Tell us about that. MARY LAHAMMER, Twin Cities PBS: Yes, I talked
to three different Sanders voters. And two of them are young men. And they both said the issue that they are
backing Sanders on is Medicare for all, and, also, they want a change in politics. They said they didn’t want to go back, and
I think perceive Biden as going back to politics as usual, old Washington. They want change. And they said Trump changed everything, and
Bernie works to that change. Now, that is also borne out in some of the
early exit polls. The Associated Press is showing the number
one issue in Minnesota is health care. And the number two issue is the environment. So, that definitely is in line with some of
those younger Bernie voters who are feeling the Bern. Now, the interesting thing, this third Sanders
voter I talked to is a Republican. It was a Republican who was going to vote
for Amy Klobuchar, didn’t think he was going to vote, at the last minute, decided to jump
in the Democratic presidential primary here in order to create mischief. He said he voted for Sanders because he thinks
that’s the best for Trump and the worst for Democrats. He doesn’t think that will help Democrats
down-ballot here. So a lot of interesting things happening with
the Sanders voters, as we’re waiting for our results to come in here pretty soon. JUDY WOODRUFF: And, just quickly, Mary, you
were telling us that health care, big issue for the voters there in Minnesota? MARY LAHAMMER: Absolutely. We are home to many, many large medical companies. We have the world famous Mayo Clinic, one
of the largest medical institutions in the world, and also things like Medtronic, one
of the largest medical device companies. So, definitely, health care is an issue that
voters not just care about, but are really smart and are educated. And it pays their paychecks around here. JUDY WOODRUFF: All right, Mary Lahammer reporting
for us, Twin Cities PBS in Minneapolis, Minnesota, tonight. And we are able to share a projection now. And that is, in the state of Oklahoma, Joe
Biden projected by the Associated Press to pick up that state. That would make, by my count, four states
where Biden has been projected to win, in Virginia, in North Carolina, in Alabama, and
now in the state of Oklahoma. So, we will continue to look as the numbers
come in from there. In the meantime, let’s skip over to Virginia,
where our Lisa Desjardins has spent the day. This is a state that was called, as we said,
for Joe Biden just as the polls closed at 7:00. Lisa, this is a big win for the senator. It was a state that Bloomberg was contesting. And you have got some — you’re trying to
get some sense of why it went so big for Biden. LISA DESJARDINS: We have a lot of sense of
that. One reason, Judy, is the area I’m standing
in. This is Alexandria. This is Northern Virginia. This is the most blue part of Virginia. And this area saw huge turnout, Judy. And it looks like a lot of that turnout went
for Joe Biden. Also, Judy, in the last day, we know those
who made the decision just in the last day, overwhelmingly, some 54 percent, according
to voter surveys, went for Joe Biden. That’s 40 points more than any other candidate
in the last few days. That is the effect of South Carolina and,
of course, the endorsements we have seen Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar over the last few
days. But I also want to drill down on another topic
that’s important to Democrats: race. Let’s look at how voters in Virginia, when
they identified their race, how they voted. If you look at first black voters, some 54
percent of them voted for Joe Biden. We saw, of course, that strength in South
Carolina, but he also won with white voters, with 40 percent of them voting for Joe Biden. So this is a sign, the Biden camp is saying,
that he can reach across different parts of the core Democratic base. And, Judy, I just was speaking to the Biden
campaign. And similar to what Dan Bush is reporting,
they say that the win in Virginia is important. It shows Biden can win in a swing state, and
they’re questioning whether Bernie Sanders can do that as well. Clearly, they see it as a matchup between
those two men. JUDY WOODRUFF: Interesting, so much — and
so interesting in Virginia, Lisa, that late-deciders, who made up a big chunk of the electorate
in Virginia, went very heavily for Joe Biden. Sorry about the wind. It looks like we may — do we have you? Lisa Desjardins, are you there? (LAUGHTER) LISA DESJARDINS: That’s right. We’re still here. JUDY WOODRUFF: OK, we will come back to you,
Lisa. LISA DESJARDINS: It was very dramatic, wasn’t
it? JUDY WOODRUFF: It looks like it’s raining
and windy, and we’re going to let her pull all that together and come back. Meantime, let’s skip one state south of where
Lisa is, from Virginia down to North Carolina, where Yamiche Alcindor spent a number of days. She’s got more on Vice President Joe Biden’s
victory there. Yamiche, this was another early call. As soon as the polls closed in North Carolina,
the projection was made that Biden would win. YAMICHE ALCINDOR: That’s right, Judy. And North Carolina is seen as a crucial state
when it comes to candidates and electability. While it has the third most delegates there,
with about — with 110 delegates, what you see is in this state Democrats really wanting
to wrestle it back from Republicans. So, in 2020, in November, that’s when Democrats
are really going to be trying to put in work to try to wrestle it back from Republicans,
who won it in 2016, with President Trump winning this state by about 3 percent. But looking at who — what voters cared about,
Joe Biden — if we can put it up for viewers, Joe Biden won something like 46 percent of
people who describe themselves as moderates here. Mike Bloomberg won about 17 percent, Bernie
Sanders 16 percent, Elizabeth Warren, who was seen as someone who was really struggling
in this rate, at 8 percent, and Pete Buttigieg, who, of course, dropped out, got 6 percent. It’s also important to note that voters here,
as they did, apparently, in Minnesota, in other parts of the state — in other parts
of the country, rather, they said that health care was their number one issue. And when you look at voters who thought health
care was the most important issue, Joe Biden was the one who won those voters. Also, if you looked at voters who were thinking
about race relations as their top issue, he also won those voters. And if you are a voter who was deciding late,
guess what? You also went for Joe Biden. So, the Joe Biden campaign is saying, look,
not only is North Carolina a good win for us. It also shows that we are the most electable
candidate and we’re the candidate who can beat Donald Trump. JUDY WOODRUFF: And, very quickly, Yamiche
— and sorry about that interruption a minute ago while you were talking. But looking at the survey of voters as they
went to the polls in North Carolina, health care far and away their most important issue. YAMICHE ALCINDOR: That’s right, Judy. And it’s an interesting issue, because Democrats
and Republicans have really been fighting over the issue of health care. Now, Bernie Sanders has been pushing Medicare
for all. He’s been saying, I wrote the blank bill. And he’s been saying, I’m the one who came
up with that idea. But Joe Biden has said, hold on, wait a minute. The Affordable Care Act was something that
I knew about very intricately as vice president to President Obama, and I know how to tweak
it to be able to make it so that health care is better for voters across this country. And in North Carolina, voters who thought
health care should be tweaked, rather than completely upended, meant that they wanted
to go for Joe Biden. And, as a result, voters who cared most about
health care voted for Joe Biden in large numbers. JUDY WOODRUFF: All right, Yamiche Alcindor
joining us tonight from Raleigh, North Carolina, a state that has been called, projected for
Joe Biden. Now let’s move up to New England, to Massachusetts. I’m joined by WGBH’s Adam Reilly in Boston. Adam, this is a Elizabeth Warren’s home state. She’s the senator representing Massachusetts,
of course. But Bernie Sanders was giving her a run for
the money. She’s already come out and talked with supporters. I think it was in Detroit. We saw her over an hour ago. ADAM REILLY, WGBH-TV: Yes. JUDY WOODRUFF: What do you make of all that? ADAM REILLY: You know, it’s — I guess, reasonable,
when you think about it from her campaign’s perspective, that she would move on to Michigan,
the next big contest, if she thinks she’s not going to have a terrific night this evening. I think it raised some eyebrows when she chose
not to stick around her home state. Also raising eyebrows is that the watch parties
that her campaign put together for people to take in the results as they came in, they
were actually closed to the press, which is unusual. I haven’t encountered something like that
before. So, you get the impression that she is girding
for a poorer-than-expected or anticipated night. I went back and looked at the memo that her
campaign manager circulated on the day of the New Hampshire primary, making their case
for a path to victory. And it’s interesting to note that, in that
memo, they said that Warren was on pace for a top two finish in eight of the 14 Super
Tuesday states. And, at this point, I don’t believe that she’s
hit that in any of the races that we have had called. And she might not even hit in Massachusetts,
which would be, I think, a real blow in terms of perception. JUDY WOODRUFF: Massachusetts still not called. The polls close there at 8:00 Eastern. Adam, what is your thinking about that? ADAM REILLY: Well, I think there’s no question
that the exodus of candidates that we saw has changed the landscape here. I mean, it looked like it was going to be
Warren and Sanders. Sanders seemed to have a slight edge for a
long time. He came to the state over the course of the
weekend, held this great big rally in Boston. There’s a lot of Sanders enthusiasm here. He almost beat Hillary Clinton back in 2016
in the primary. But to have all those moderates consolidate
around Joe Biden, I think, probably hurt Warren’s chances of a strong finish here, a one or
a two. We will see how she does. It’s worth noting, just for viewers at home
who might not be familiar with Massachusetts politics, the state has this stereotype as
a liberal bastion, but the Democratic Party here contains multitudes. And they range from people to the left of
Elizabeth Warren to very moderate Democrats in the legislature who are basically ideologically
just like our Republican governor, Charlie Baker. So there’s a market for that kind of Democratic
politics. And I think we’re seeing Biden tap into it
tonight. JUDY WOODRUFF: You are right, a lot of stereotypes
going around, and often they are not on the money there. We need to rethink a lot of those stereotypes. ADAM REILLY: It’s true. JUDY WOODRUFF: All right, Adam Reilly, thank
you very much, WGBH in Boston. So, all the way to the West Coast now and
to California, the biggest prize for this evening, 415 delegates up for grabs. Our Amna Nawaz is in San Francisco. Amna, the polls don’t close there until 11:00
Eastern, 8:00 your time. But what is so interesting about this state
is, clearly, it’s the biggest treasure trove of delegates. But the candidates have to be so strategic
in how they think about what they want to pick up. AMNA NAWAZ: That’s absolutely right, Judy. It is the big kahuna, we have heard it called,
the gold rush of delegates here. And there’s still a long way to go before
we know where those delegates will be going. It’s worth pointing out we’re standing here
in San Francisco outside of City Hall, which is both a polling location, meaning people
can show up and fill out the ballots and cast them, as we see happen in other parts of the
country. It’s also, if you can see the tent over my
shoulder here, a drop-off ballot location, because we know mail-in voting is so huge
in California. And I should know that, just over the last
couple of hours, as offices have closed, as people are getting off of work, we have seen
a significant increase in the number of people coming up to drop off their ballots there,
walk away with their little “I Voted” stickers, and come in and out of this building to cast
their ballot. So there’s still a lot of activity happening
right here in San Francisco, more lines here. Also, we’re getting reports from other parts
of California, specifically around Los Angeles County, of hour- or two-hour waits to vote. Los Angeles, we should mention, the mayor
there, Eric Garcetti, of course, endorsed to Joe Biden, so we don’t know exactly what
that means. We should also point out that Joe Biden picked
up a late endorsement from California’s Central Valley. You talked about those many individual congressional
races here. California has those 53 distinct congressional
districts. That’s where all the candidates are fighting
to pick up those delegates. And an endorsement from a congressman in the
Central Valley for Joe Biden means that that area, where Senator Sanders had been putting
in some effort, where Mayor Buttigieg, before he dropped out, had been putting in some effort,
will be likely breaking for Joe Biden there as well. So, we’re looking at those individual districts. We don’t have results to share just yet. But, of course, we know there were a lot of
late voters here. Of the 16 million ballots that were sent out
to Californians weeks ago, just a fraction so far have been returned, just over four
million, just over a quarter of those ballots. We don’t know where those late-deciders were
going to go. Maybe many of them, like the voters we spoke
to in the Central Valley, were waiting to see how Joe Biden or some other moderate candidates
were doing. That’s — some of the voters we talked to
were telling us exactly that. So maybe they’re waiting until the last minute
to cast their ballots. It’s still a very long way to go here in California. JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, you’re — in effect,
you’re telling us to brace ourselves, because it is going to take some time. It’s such a — people salivate to think — the
candidates do, the campaigns do, to think about the number of delegates available in
California, but it’s going to be a while before we know how it all shakes out. Amna… AMNA NAWAZ: It will be a while. We should mention — yes, that’s right, Judy. It will be a while. We should also just mention that Senator Sanders
has been leading in the polls. His campaign says they remain optimistic,
as the whole contest moves West, he will continue to perform strongly. But we wait and we watch. JUDY WOODRUFF: Amna Nawaz reporting from San
Francisco, thank you. Thank you, Amna. And we want to share with you right now, one
of the candidates has come out and spoken to his supporters in West Palm Beach, Florida,
Mike Bloomberg. Here’s what he had to say just a little over
half-an-hour ago. MICHAEL BLOOMBERG, Presidential Candidate:
My fellow candidates spent a whole year focusing on the first four states. I was out campaigning against Donald Trump
in the states where the election will actually be decided, like Wisconsin, and Michigan,
and Pittsburgh, and Ohio, and North Carolina, and, of course, Florida. (CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) MICHAEL BLOOMBERG: President Obama proved
that a Democrat can win all of those states. But, in 2016, we lost them all. Well, I’m running to win them back. (CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) JUDY WOODRUFF: That was Mike Bloomberg speaking
to supporters in Palm Beach, Florida, just a short time ago. At this point, Bloomberg is projected the
winner in only one of the places voting on this Super Tuesday. That is American Samoa, the U.S. territory
out in the — out in the Pacific. And we do have a race to call. And that is in the state of Tennessee. The projected winner, based on early results
and interviews with voters as they were heading out or into the polling places today, Joe
Biden, in the state of — in the state of Tennessee. So, that is racking up another win. I think, by my count, that’s five states where
Joe Biden has been projected the winner on this Super Tuesday. Joining me now in our “NewsHour” studio for
some more analysis, Stu Rothenberg, senior editor of Inside Elections. Good to have you with us again, Stu. STUART ROTHENBERG, Inside Elections: Thanks,
Judy. JUDY WOODRUFF: So, the projections are starting
to come in. It’s looking like a really good night for
Joe Biden. We have a way to go. But we’re beginning to see the outlines of
something here. STU ROTHENBERG: I’m tempted to introduce you
to my friend Mr. Mo’, Momentum. (LAUGHTER) STU ROTHENBERG: If you think back, it was
just a few weeks that Joe Biden had no field operation, he had no money, he had no organization. He wasn’t in a good place in many of the states. And, suddenly, things have changed. Obviously, candidates have dropped out. He won South Carolina. He won it big. But much of this, seems to me, momentum. I mean, he is competitive in Massachusetts
now… JUDY WOODRUFF: Which was not expected. STU ROTHENBERG: So, we weren’t — we were
expecting that to be a Warren-Sanders fight, with Biden not in the race. So, Bloomberg seems to be viable in a handful
of states, Texas, Tennessee and Oklahoma. Just the numbers I saw, he was in the low
20s. So he might be viable, and that could keep
him going. He seems to want to keep going. JUDY WOODRUFF: What was the other state? Texas? Oklahoma? STU ROTHENBERG: Texas, Tennessee and Oklahoma. I showed him around 20 percent. JUDY WOODRUFF: Although Biden has now been
projected the winner in Tennessee. STU ROTHENBERG: Right. Right. JUDY WOODRUFF: But you’re saying he may have
picked up… STU ROTHENBERG: But I’m just talking about
viability, more than 15 percent of the vote. JUDY WOODRUFF: Picked up some delegates. STU ROTHENBERG: Yes. JUDY WOODRUFF: And we haven’t been talking
a lot about delegates tonight, but that is going to be part of the equation. STU ROTHENBERG: Right. And we’re waiting for Texas and California
to see. California could change the entire narrative. If Senator Sanders has a big night in California,
that will change things. But, at the moment, I think you have to say
that former Vice President Biden is holding the South. He is showing muscle in places we weren’t
sure he was going to hold. He’s holding senior citizens very well. Older voters 65 and over, he’s winning overwhelmingly. And he’s doing great among African-Americans. JUDY WOODRUFF: And among young voters, Bernie
Sanders still… STU ROTHENBERG: Bernie Sanders still clobbering
the field with younger voters. It’s just that there aren’t as many of them
as there are voters 65 and over in most states — in all states. JUDY WOODRUFF: I believe, Stu Rothenberg,
we have a graphic right now we can share with our audience. This is what it — what the delegate count
looks like at this point. It’s still early. But here you see — I mean, Joe Biden started
out before Super Tuesday, Stu, not way out in the lead. But look at that, 174. Again, it’s early. There’s still… (CROSSTALK) STU ROTHENBERG: And he’s winning some states
that Hillary Clinton won against Bernie Sanders. So, some of the states, he should win and
he needs to win. But there is a — kind of the subtext, there
is an undercurrent of overperformance for Joe Biden. And, again, it wasn’t long ago that people
were saying, can Bernie Sanders be stopped? Maybe not. JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, exactly. I mean, the conversation you were hearing
coming into Super Tuesday was, Bernie Sanders could come out of this big delegate-rich day
with such a lead that it would be very difficult. (CROSSTALK) STU ROTHENBERG: Hundreds of delegates. Hundreds of delegates. JUDY WOODRUFF: Right, 300 — even 500-delegate
lead. STU ROTHENBERG: Yes, hundreds of delegates. JUDY WOODRUFF: But it looks like Joe Biden
has, I don’t want to say risen from the dead, but… STU ROTHENBERG: I would say there’s more pressure
on the Sanders campaign now to perform late in the evening and overnight and tomorrow,
when they count in California — when California finishes counting, whenever that is, more
pressure on him to show that we didn’t overestimate his strength. JUDY WOODRUFF: But I want to drill down, Stu,
in just the minute or so we have left on how this happened, because his campaign did not
expect that he would do so poorly in Iowa and New Hampshire and Nevada. But they came — they spent, what, a week. They lived — he lived in South Carolina for
about a week and came out of that state with an enormous 30-some-point advantage. And that has made all the difference for him. STU ROTHENBERG: Well, Judy, all along, Joe
Biden and his campaign said, I’ll do well among a diverse electorate. And we kind of — oh, yes, OK. We pooh-poohed. And he didn’t do anything in Iowa, didn’t
do anything in New Hampshire. I mean, finishing fourth and fifth is terrible. And although he finished second in Nevada,
I think it was with 19 percent of the vote — 19 percent of caucus participants. So, it was a poor showing. But he turned out to be right. The firewall held. The more diverse states, he’s piling up wins. And now he appears to be the — kind of the
pragmatic alternative, although Mike Bloomberg is still in the race and may do well enough
tonight to continue. JUDY WOODRUFF: It’ll be very interesting to
see, in those surveys done with voters… STU ROTHENBERG: Yes. JUDY WOODRUFF: … today, what they say about
whether they think Biden is best positioned to defeat Donald Trump, because that has been
— that electability question has been hanging over this entire election. STU ROTHENBERG: I think you might see a change
in those numbers, because, in most national polls, equal numbers of people said that Biden
and Sanders — they would vote for Biden and Sanders over Donald Trump. You might — you — with these victories goes
a sense of inevitability and a so-called bandwagon effect. And that’s a problem for Bernie Sanders, if
Joe Biden looks as if he’s taking a commanding lead. JUDY WOODRUFF: But, right now, we do have
a projected win for Bernie Sanders in the state of — of his home state of Vermont. But, beyond that, Joe — it’s a good night
for Joe Biden. STU ROTHENBERG: Well, I think we also have
him in Colorado, too, in an early call in Colorado… JUDY WOODRUFF: That’s right. We have him in Colorado as well. STU ROTHENBERG: … which is important for
him. JUDY WOODRUFF: Very important. All right, Stu Rothenberg, thank you. STU ROTHENBERG: Sure. JUDY WOODRUFF: And please join us right back
here tonight at 11:00 p.m. Eastern — that’s 10:00 Central — for our Vote 2020 “PBS NewsHour”
Super Tuesday election special. The coronavirus outbreak has claimed more
American lives and more American wealth. The death toll reached nine today, with more
than 100 diagnosed cases nationwide. And as economic damage spread, Federal Reserve
Chair Jerome Powell announced that the Central Bank is cutting a key interest rate by half-a-point. JEROME POWELL, Federal Reserve Chairman: The
virus and measures being taken to contain it will surely weigh on economic activity
both here and abroad for quite some time. Of course, the ultimate solutions to this
challenge will come from others, particularly health professionals. We can and will do our part, however, to keep
the U.S. economy strong as we meet this challenge. JUDY WOODRUFF: The Fed’s emergency move failed
to reassure Wall Street, however. Instead, the market mired itself in doubts
about whether this rate cut will help, and stocks gave up much of Monday’s record rally. The Dow Jones industrial average lost nearly
786 points today to close at 25917. The Nasdaq fell 268 points, and the S&P 500
dropped 86. All of this came amid mounting questions about
whether federal agencies are ready and nimble enough to confront the outbreak. William Brangham has that part of the story. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Concern is mounting across
the U.S. today, as the novel coronavirus, known as COVID-19, emerges in a growing number
of states. Top U.S. health officials took center stage
before a Senate panel in Washington today to face a barrage of criticism and to defend
their response. Democratic Senator Patty Murray represents
Washington state, where the first American deaths were reported. SEN. PATTY MURRAY (D-WA): The administration has
had months to prepare for this, and it is unacceptable that people in my state and nationwide
can’t even get an answer as to whether or not they are infected. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: The head of the Food and
Drug Administration, Dr. Stephen Hahn, said more testing kits will be made available later
this week. STEPHEN HAHN, Commissioner, Food and Drug
Administration: Our expectation in talking to the company that’s scaling this up is that
we should have the capacity by the end of the week to have kits available to the laboratories
to perform about a million tests. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: But other officials later
walked back that number, saying the number of tests might be much lower. Republican Senator Mitt Romney voiced concern
about the lack of protective equipment for health workers. SEN. MITT ROMNEY (R-UT): What percentage of what
we would need for our medical professionals is in the strategic national stockpile? DR. ROBERT KADLEC, U.S. Assistant Secretary of
Health and Human Services: Right now, if it were to be a severe event, we would need 3.5
billion N95 respirators. We have about 35 million. SEN. MITT ROMNEY: So, about 10 percent. It strikes me that we should have substantially
more than 10 percent, what would be needed for a substantial pandemic that. We should have that in stock. I can’t believe that we, Congress — I’m not
blaming the administration. This is Congress and appropriating. And it’s prior administrations as well. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Congress is working to pass
an emergency spending measure of potentially up to $8.5 billion to help bolster the U.S.
response. Overseas, the virus continues to spread through
more communities. Italy, the epicenter of Europe’s outbreak,
now has the highest number of virus-related deaths outside China, 79. Iran’s death toll also rose today to at least
77 people. Meanwhile, in South Korea, drive-through testing
centers were set up across Seoul to minimize as much human contact as possible. The country reported its largest daily increase
in official cases, more than 850 new infections. Elsewhere in the capital, troops fanned out
to spray streets and alleys with disinfectant. President Trump today said he’d consider cutting
off travel from other nations with large outbreaks. DONALD TRUMP, President of the United States:
We’re watching Italy very closely, South Korea very closely, even Japan very closely. And we will make the right determination at
the right time. We have cut it off, as you know, with numerous
other countries. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: In China, where the virus
originated, the number of new cases today fell to 125 people. China’s ambassador to the U.N. celebrated
that news in New York. ZHANG JUN, Chinese Ambassador to the United
Nations: China’s fight against the coronavirus is indeed making huge progress. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Thousands of patients in
China have recovered and have been released from the hospital. For the “PBS NewsHour,” I’m William Brangham. JUDY WOODRUFF: We will take a look at the
toll of coronavirus in Iran later in the program. At least 24 people were killed in Central
Tennessee early today when tornadoes tore through the area. The storms blasted downtown Nashville, damaged
or destroyed at least 140 homes and other buildings, and forced the state to extend
Super Tuesday voting hours. Stephanie Sy has our report. WOMAN: We have been through lots of tornado
warnings, and never thought that this would happen. STEPHANIE SY: Nashville is in shock today. Residents emerged from a night of deadly tornadoes
that ravaged neighborhoods. The tornadoes were part of a band of storms
that stretched across four states late Monday night into Tuesday morning. More than 40 buildings were damaged in Nashville
alone, some beyond repair, as a tornado cut through the heart of the city. Four Tennessee counties reported storm-related
deaths, and Nashville hospitals treated dozens of people for injuries. Bill Lee is the governor. GOV. BILL LEE (R-TN): Let me just acknowledge tragedy. It is heartbreaking. We have had loss of life all across the state. There are a number of people that are missing
in different areas, many that are injured and being transported. STEPHANIE SY: In the hardest-hit areas, which
included some of the most expensive neighborhoods in Nashville, the tornado reduced homes and
other structures to a debris field. Search-and-rescue teams went door to door
overnight, looking for trapped or injured people in damaged buildings, as road and power
crews worked to clear downed lines. Still, the closure of more than a dozen polling
stations didn’t stop many voters from lining up at alternate sites to cast their ballots. President Trump is planning to visit Tennessee
on Friday. For the “PBS NewsHour,” I’m Stephanie Sy. JUDY WOODRUFF: President Trump spoke by phone
today with a top Taliban leader in a first for a sitting American president. It followed Saturday’s signing of an agreement
for a U.S. troop withdrawal from Afghanistan. Mr. Trump said that today’s conversation was
— quote — “a very good talk.” In Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
waited for final election results to see if he had eked out a majority in Parliament. Netanyahu celebrated last night, but exit
polls indicated that his political bloc fell two seats short. That could prevent his forming a government. The prime minister also faces a criminal trial
on corruption charges. U.N. inspectors report that Iran has almost
tripled its stockpile of enriched uranium since November. They also said today that Tehran will not
answer questions about three possible nuclear sites. Iran has slowly violated the 2015 nuclear
accord since the U.S. under President Trump pulled out and reimposed sanctions. The military confrontation between Turkey
and Syria intensified again today in Syria’s Idlib province. A Turkish soldier was killed overnight. And, today, the Turks shot down a Syrian fighter
yet, the third since Thursday. U.S. special envoy James Jeffrey visited the
Turkish-Syrian border today and offered military equipment for the Turkish military. JAMES JEFFREY, U.S. Special Representative
for Syria Engagement: Turkey has asked for help from NATO. They have asked for help from us. As the president said recently, we will provide
supplies and other things to Turkey. We are also looking at other requests that
Turkey has made either to us or to NATO, as this conflict goes on. JUDY WOODRUFF: Turkey intervened in Idlib
to stop a Syrian offensive that has driven almost a million people to the Turkish border. Refugees already in Turkey are now trying
to cross into Greece with Turkey’s support. So far, though, Greek authorities have blocked
most of the attempts. Back in this country, the U.S. Supreme Court
agreed today to let states prosecute immigrants who use fake Social Security numbers to get
a job. In a 5-4 decision, the court’s conservatives
said nothing in the law prevents such action. The Kansas Supreme Court had barred state
action. President Trump’s reelection campaign has
filed another defamation lawsuit, this time against The Washington Post. It accuses the newspaper of falsely reporting
as fact that the 2016 Trump campaign conspired with Russia. The organization already filed a similar suit
against The New York Times. And a passing to note: Former CNN anchor Bobbie
Battista has died after a long battle with cervical cancer. She joined CNN Headline News as one of its
original anchors in 1981 and remained with the company for 20 years. Bobbie Battista was 67 years old. As the coronavirus spreads globally, few places
have been as hard-hit as Iran. Twenty-three members of the Parliament are
sick. The director of emergency services is infected. And a third Iranian government official died
from the virus today. Special correspondent Reza Sayah tells us
from Tehran how the country is handling it, and whom they blame for their travails. REZA SAYAH: At a popular gym in the heart
of Tehran, workout music blares, but the weight room is nearly empty. MUSTAFA, Gym Manager (through translator):
People are a little scared. Attendance has definitely dropped. We have seen at least a 50 percent drop. REZA SAYAH: On Tehran’s Iran’s usually bustling
streets, the bumper-to-bumper traffic has suddenly vanished. Everywhere you look, surgical masks and reminders
of personal hygiene. At offices throughout the capital, desk after
desk empty. MEHRAB KABOLI, Mechanical Engineer (through
translator): Tehran is frozen. It’s like we’re stunned. REZA SAYAH: What stunned this megacity and
much of Iran is the coronavirus. The outbreak hit here two weeks ago. The numbers of people infected and the death
toll have climbed ever since. Today, Iran is one of the global epicenters
of the virus. Iran’s Ministry of Health confirms more than
2,300 cases in all but four of Iran’s 30 provinces. The death toll remains the highest outside
of China. Everywhere you look, people are trying to
figure out how to contain the virus. All right, we’re entering maybe the most posh
shopping center here in Tehran. And, as you can see, you have volunteers taking
everyone’s temperature here in their indoor parking complex. So, my temperature reading is 35.5. Centigrade, which is normal. Up until a few weeks ago, Mohammad Reza Vakiyan
was a parking toll collector here at the Palladium Shopping Center. Never did he think he’d be wearing a lab coat
and taking temperatures. MOHAMMAD REZA VAKIYAN, Shopping Mall Employee
(through translator): Hopefully, this will soon past, and no one else faces any problems. FAEZEH KHORASANI, English Teacher: I sometimes
even have nightmares about corona. REZA SAYAH: Faezeh Khorasani is an English
teacher. FAEZEH KHORASANI: Welcome to the class. Happy to see you. REZA SAYAH: She teaches her students online
from home these days, because, like the rest of Tehran’s schools, hers is shut down. FAEZEH KHORASANI: I feel a bit worried, and
I can say scared. You came here, you put the key chains on the
counter. I was thinking, oh, my God, I should remember
to disinfect that. REZA SAYAH: Amir Parvandar doesn’t have much
trust either. He’s looking for protective masks for his
family, but he can’t find a pharmacy that has them in stock. AMIR PARVANDAR, Retiree (through translator):
This is the result of the chronic weakness of the management of our country. Unfortunately, when officials come and speak
on television, it seems as if everything is great, but that’s not the case. When you lose people’s trust, even when you
tell the truth, people won’t believe you. REZA SAYAH: Many here wanted to believe Iran’s
deputy health minister when he appeared on television. In a heavy sweat, he said the outbreak was
under control. One day later, he was diagnosed with coronavirus,
one of several government officials who’ve tested positive. The growing number of cases have led some
to question if the government is hiding the spread of the virus. It didn’t help that,just two months ago, it
took the government three days before acknowledging it shot down a Ukrainian passenger plane,
killing all 167 on board. But many Iranians say, in the struggle to
contain the coronavirus, their government is not solely to blame. They say crippling U.S. sanctions against
Iran have put severe pressure on the country’s public health sector. The Trump administration insists sanctions
don’t target humanitarian trade. But human rights groups say banking restrictions
limit Iran’s ability to buy humanitarian goods. Tehran pharmacist Ali Mazlomi says sanctions
have made it impossible to purchase vital medical products. MOHAMMAD ALI MAZLOMI, Pharmacist (through
translator): The sanctions put in place by America, without a doubt, it’s the people
who are paying the price. They are the most vulnerable. REZA SAYAH: Last week, the U.S. Treasury eased
some humanitarian trade restrictions against Iran. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Washington
was ready to help Iran fight the outbreak. In his weekly press conference streamed online
due to the coronavirus, the Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman’s picture was fuzzy, but
his message to Washington was clear. SEYYED ABBAS MOUSAVI, Iranian Foreign Ministry
Spokesman (through translator): We have doubts about the United States’ intention, and we
do not count on its help. REZA SAYAH: Many Iranians feel the same. A couple of days ago, U.S. Secretary of State
Mike Pompeo said, we care about the Iranian people. We want to help them. What was your reaction when you heard that? FAEZEH KHORASANI: B.S. REZA SAYAH: B.S.? FAEZEH KHORASANI: Exactly. MEHRAB KABOLI: America is one of the root
causes of this problem. I have no expectations at all that America
will help solve problems that America itself played a key role in creating. No, I don’t have any expectations. REZA SAYAH: Tehran-based economic analyst
Saeed Laylaz says U.S. sanctions are proof that the Trump administration doesn’t care
about the Iranian people. Mike Pompeo said, we’re worried about the
Iranian people. Why are you laughing? SAEED LAYLAZ, Economic Analyst: Because he
make joke. I don’t — I know that he’s lying. He’s a big liar. Mr. Pompeo doesn’t like Iranian nation. REZA SAYAH: Laylaz says the Trump administration’s
maximum pressure campaign has escalated tensions between Washington and Iran, crippled Iran’s
economy, and led to a sweeping victory by anti-U.S. hard-liners in Iran’s recent parliamentary
elections. SAEED LAYLAZ: This current radicalism which
you are seeing in Iran, radicals who are governing the country, who are occupying Parliament,
next coming Parliament and so on, directly is a fruit or consequence of United States’
sanction against Iran. REZA SAYAH: But, somehow, many Iranians remain
hopeful for better days. AMIR PARVANDAR (through translator): I hope,
one day, these two countries can be friends. This is our wish. I am serious. Life, after all, is for happiness and peace. REZA SAYAH: With challenges mounting, amid
what could be a deadly pandemic, happiness and peace for many Iranians will have to wait. For the “PBS NewsHour,” I’m Reza Sayah in
Tehran. JUDY WOODRUFF: And we will be back shortly
with a Brief But Spectacular take on how forests reveal the beauty of the natural world. But, first, take a moment to hear from your
local PBS station. It’s a chance to offer your support, which
helps to keep programs like ours on the air. A groundbreaking career in dance has led to
an innovative approach to health and aging. Jeffrey Brown went to the American Ballet
Theatre to stay in step with Twyla Tharp. This encore look is part of our ongoing arts
and culture coverage, Canvas. TWYLA THARP, Choreographer: Sternum up. Breathe deep. Shoulders back. Now we stride. JEFFREY BROWN: A lesson from Twyla Tharp in
allowing our bodies to take up space, even as we grow older, what she refers to as amplitude. TWYLA THARP: Amplitude, moving out, constantly
feeling that you can move out. As age becomes reality, I think we start to
retreat, we retract, we become protective, we become secluded, and we begin to ossify. JEFFREY BROWN: But the body becoming smaller. In a way, it is becoming smaller. TWYLA THARP: Well, that’s its problem. Let’s just get on with it, shall we? JEFFREY BROWN: Tharp is one of the great choreographers
of our age, and, at 78, she’s got a new dance — we met at a rehearsal at the American Ballet
Theatre — and a new book, “Keep It Moving: Lessons For the Rest of Your Life.” TWYLA THARP: I wrote this to help others believe
that constantly you can be evolving, that you don’t accept the rumor that, as the body
ages, it becomes less. It becomes different, hopefully more. JEFFREY BROWN: So do you think of this as
a self-help book? TWYLA THARP: I look at it as a self-survival
book. JEFFREY BROWN: As a girl, Tharp took dance
and music lessons of all kinds. In the 1960s, she was dancing and choreographing
as part of an important experimental modern dance scene. And by the ’70s, she was creating groundbreaking
works like “Deuce Coupe” for the Joffrey Ballet. Set to music by the Beach Boys, it brought
together elements of both ballet and modern dance. She made “Push Comes to Shove” for Mikhail
Baryshnikov, part of an acclaimed partnership that included the award-winning PBS special
“Baryshnikov By Tharp” in 1984, dance after dance combining rigor and boundless energy. She also choreographed films, including “Hair”
and “Amadeus,” and the Broadway hit “Movin’ Out” to the music of Billy Joel. Tharp has been recipient of pretty much every
prestigious artistic award, including a Kennedy Center Honor in 2008. In her new book, she provides a series of
exercises, and says age is not the enemy; stagnation is the enemy. TWYLA THARP: We all have that laid on us by
our culture. Being squirmy is not really — you can’t do
this at dinner parties, but this is how you keep your system, your metabolic system rolling
by going — you don’t do it like this. JEFFREY BROWN: Yes. But you can’t — I’m going to — you can’t
do this even in the way we’re talking about. But you want me to? You want us to? TWYLA THARP: Yes, because, if you keep doing
this, chances are your body is going to be more productive in the moment, and you will
have something left in the evening, particularly as you become older, and you buy into this
reality that older folks can do less. OK, prove it. JEFFREY BROWN: Her own physical regime is
legendary. We watched an early morning workout at her
home studio, breathing and stretching, cycling, and various kinds of strength and resistance
exercises. TWYLA THARP: I could bench my body weight
for three, and I dead-lifted 227 pounds to the waist… JEFFREY BROWN: Wow. TWYLA THARP: … which was twice my body weight,
OK? So — but I developed core strength that the
classical dancer doesn’t have. Now, in making a piece of this sort for a
classical dancer, I can bring that kind of physical intelligence to them and say, try
it this way. JEFFREY BROWN: In fact, her new dance, notated
over three months in intricate detail, directly addresses aging. Titled “A Gathering of Ghosts,” it’s made
for dancer Herman Cornejo, now 38, who’s being honored this season for 20 years at the ABT. Beyond talent, Tharp says the quality she
most looks for in a dancer is optimism. TWYLA THARP: Have a sense that you can do
it, and if you don’t, you will fix it, you will make it work, and you’re going to laugh
this time. No, you haven’t failed. You turn it into comedy. JEFFREY BROWN: You have had, of course, great
success. But you have also experienced failure, which… TWYLA THARP: Really? JEFFREY BROWN: Yes. I’m… TWYLA THARP: Are you kidding? (LAUGHTER) JEFFREY BROWN: I’m sorry to tell you. But you advise us in this book to accept those
failures, right, to take risks. TWYLA THARP: They’re not failures. JEFFREY BROWN: What are they? TWYLA THARP: They’re adventures of a different
kind. You may not have gotten what you set out to
get, but there is something to be learned from everything. JEFFREY BROWN: There was a profile in The
Times that says — I’m quoting — “Ms. Tharp remains among the very few female choreographers…” TWYLA THARP: Oh, please. Give me a break. JEFFREY BROWN: “… to have had a lasting
influence on ballet.” TWYLA THARP: And why don’t they say, one of
the few short choreographers to have an influence on the ballet? The female nomenclature is highly abusive. It’s ghettoizing. And it’s irrelevant to what I have done. JEFFREY BROWN: You don’t want to hear it at
all? TWYLA THARP: I’m not interested. JEFFREY BROWN: Yes. TWYLA THARP: I’m a worker. I’m an artist. I make dances, end of story. Judge me with the best. Don’t judge me with the best women. JEFFREY BROWN: You wrote in the book that
you’re always asked, how do you keep working? And the subtext, you know, as you say, is,
at your age. What’s the answer? How do you keep working? TWYLA THARP: Day by day, daily. Do it every day. It’s what you do. I look at the past to see there what works
and let go of what doesn’t work, and build on what does work. JEFFREY BROWN: In the meantime, the final
piece of advice that you give all of us in this book is, shut up and dance. TWYLA THARP: That’s right, shut up and do
what you love. And be grateful and keep doing it. And stop second-guessing it. I’m getting old. I can’t do what I love. Bull (EXPLETIVE DELETED), in a word. (LAUGHTER) TWYLA THARP: It’s going to change. That’s all. It’s not going to be the same. It’s going to be different. JEFFREY BROWN: The dance is “A Gathering of
Ghosts.” The book is “Keep It Moving.” For the “PBS NewsHour,” I’m Jeffrey Brown
at the American Ballet Theatre in New York. JUDY WOODRUFF: And now tonight’s Brief But
Spectacular explores old growth trees and the natural history of Wisconsin’s Northwoods. Author and naturalist John Bates takes us
there. He’s worked in the area for more than 30 years
helping people understand the diversity and the beauty of nature and our place within
it. Bates’ most recent book is titled “Our Living
Ancestors.” JOHN BATES, Author, “Our Living Ancestors”:
My interest in old growth took off in, oh, about 2003. I’d been walking in older forests, and found
that they were quite rare and wondered why. Why did we cut so many down? They’re a filter for air. They’re a storage of carbon. They provide shade to our streams. I felt humility walking into these sites in
a place where trees are 400 or 500 years old. I found myself feeling a deep gratitude that
these trees were resilient enough to still be here. My job, as a naturalist, is to help people
gain environmental literacy, so that they have a deeper understanding of place based
on this enriched understanding of where they are. If you’re standing under an old white pine
here in Wisconsin that’s 400 or 500 years old, you are standing underneath a tree that
Native Americans had stood under. The trees are living tissue. They’re not hardened amber. They’re not footprints. They’re not stories people have told with
all the biases that we have as human beings. They’re travelers through time. And standing next to them, you can get this
feeling of time having taken place. And you can’t find that in any other setting
literally in the world. When you think about the history of Wisconsin,
in 1830, we had our first census. There were 3,000 people. We became a state in 1848. And by 1870, there were one million people
here. Every one of those people needed wood. And so we ended up cutting and then burning
all of Northern Wisconsin. So, 99.8 percent has been cut. Rare to find a big white pine like this. This is a crown jewel of the Northwoods. Most of this land was sold on the dream of
land that couldn’t support farms. We have very poor soils, compared to Southern
Wisconsin. We also have this thing called winter, which
lasts for five months. And we had almost no market. So, even if you could miraculously grow something,
who were you going to sell it to? And so farmers went belly up. The land became tax-delinquent. And in the early ’20s, 1930s, six million
acres of Northern Wisconsin was made into public land, because we couldn’t figure out
what else to do with it. In my old age now, my job, as I understand
it now, is to help people fall more deeply in love with the world. I can’t think what else I’m here for. My name is John Bates, and this is my Brief
But Spectacular take on connecting time through old growth forests. JUDY WOODRUFF: Such beautiful pictures. And you can find all of our Brief But Spectacular
segments online at PBS.org/NewsHour/Brief. To recap tonight’s results as we know them
at this hour in today’s Super Tuesday primaries, of the 14 states voting today, polls have
now closed in 12 of them. Former Vice President Joe Biden is projected
the winner in Virginia, in North Carolina, in Alabama, in Oklahoma, in Tennessee, in
Minnesota, and just moments ago in Arkansas. Senator Bernie Sanders projected to win in
his home state of Vermont and in Colorado. And former Mayor Michael Bloomberg projected
to capture most delegates in the U.S. territory of American Samoa. Now, it is too early for projected results
in the following states. But here’s where the count stands just before
10:00 Eastern in Maine. With over — more than a third of the results
in, you saw — it moved too quickly for me — Bernie Sanders just barely ahead of Joe
Biden. They are neck and neck. That’s in Maine. In Massachusetts, Joe Biden ahead with over
33 percent, almost 34 percent of the vote, Joe Biden backed by about six points. In the state of Texas, here we are. With just a little over 8 percent of the vote
reporting, and Bernie Sanders is out front. This is a state he invested a lot of effort
in, 28 percent, as you can see, to Joe Biden’s 23, Mike Bloomberg’s 18 percent, meaning they’re
all viable. They all could end up with delegates. But it’s early. And the polls have yet to close in Utah and
in California. Joining me now from Houston, Texas, is our
politics reporter, Dan Bush. Dan, we’re hearing about long lines still
at the polls in Texas. DANIEL BUSH: That’s right, Judy. A lot of long lines. Here in Houston, I was at one very large precinct,
where voters told me they waited for up to two hours. That was because the precinct had a set number
of voting machines. They split them in half, so the Democrats
got half, the Republicans got half. But, of course, not a lot of Republicans in
this Democratic-leaning voting precinct, so Republicans could just walk right in, Judy. Democrats had to wait for up to two hours. I heard similar things happening out in Austin,
the capital of the state. So, yes, the lines here are pretty long, but,
as you said, the results are starting to roll in. And we’re watching them very closely. JUDY WOODRUFF: Sad story in democracy, when
people can’t get to vote. Dan Bush, joining us from Houston, thanks
very much. Please join us online throughout the night
for the latest results on our Web site, PBS.org/NewsHour, and on our “NewsHour” YouTube page. And tune in here on PBS at 11:00 p.m. Eastern,
8:00 Pacific for our “NewsHour” Super Tuesday special. I’m Judy Woodruff. For all of us at the “NewsHour, thank you,
and stay with us.