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Iowa Caucus Results; Examining Results vs. Expectations

Aired January 4, 2008 - 17:00   ET


WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: And Ron Paul elbowing his way back into the spotlight with a double digit showing in Iowa last night and high hopes in New Hampshire.
I'm Wolf Blitzer at the CNN Election Center. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

Out of Iowa and into New Hampshire. The presidential candidates are on the ground and stumping in the granite state. With just four days to go until the first primary of the '08 race, a race that has been turned upside down.

The questions now. Can Barack Obama repeat his Iowa blowout? Can John Edwards sustain the momentum of his second-place showing?

And can Hillary Clinton make a comeback from a disappointing third- place finish. Here's what they're saying today.


SEN. BARACK OBAMA, (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: At this defining moment, you can come together as Democrats and Republicans and independents and stand up and say that we are one nation. We are one people and that our time for change has come. You can do that in four days.

SEN. HILLARY CLINTON, (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It's a short period of time but it's enough time. Time for people to say, wait a minute. Number one, who will be the best president for our country? On day one walking into the Oval Office after you're sworn in on January 20th, 2009. And who will be able to withstand the Republican attack machine to get elected in the first place to go in to the White House?

JOHN EDWARDS, (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: As New Hampshire voters make that decision over the next four days, the one thing is clear. What is clear is they're not interested in the status quo. They're interested in change. They want to see a candidate of change. And so they now have two choices in making that decision and this choice is somebody who will fight for the change that makes America what it's capable of being.


BLITZER: On the Republican side, the Iowa winner Mike Huckabee and the man he beat, Mitt Romney, are also crisscrossing New Hampshire today. Each touting his own experience.


MITT ROMNEY, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: What we're going to do to change Washington is to bring someone in, I'm talking about me, who -- I want to go to Washington to bring to Washington the kind of can-do change experience I had everywhere I've been. I changed a business, I helped change the Olympics. I helped change a state and I'm going to change Washington. We're going to take it apart, put it back together again. This time smarter, smaller and simpler.

MIKE HUCKABEE, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It's about convictions and character. I've been to 41 countries. It's not like the only place I've ever been is somewhere within the confines of my home state of Arkansas. Although that's not a bad place to spend some time. I think people recognize that when you're a governor you do trade missions and deal with CEOs of multinational corporations as well as with heads of state.


BLITZER: First the credit crunch and then the housing meltdown and now word that hiring practically came to a halt last month, sending the nation's unemployment rate to a two-year high of five percent.


GEORGE W. BUSH, U.S. PRESIDENT: This economy of ours is on a solid foundation but we can't take economic growth for granted and there are signs that will cause us to be ever more diligent and to make sure that good policies come out of Washington.


BLITZER: But Wall Street may not be buying that line. Stocks went into a deep tailspin today. The Dow was down more than 256 points and the NASDAQ dropped 98 points. That almost four percent. Our senior business correspondent Ali Velshi is here watching all of this. How big of a deal, Ali, is this?

ALI VELSHI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, this one is serious, actually. Jobs and good jobs with benefits are the backbone of the economy. Now, not everybody needs a mortgage or a big vehicle, but everybody needs a job and when the unemployment rate increases, that is, in fact, something to worry about.

Now an employment rate of five percent, which is where we're at, does not sound very high and compared to other countries, it's not. But as Wolf said it's the highest it's been in more than two years.

BLITZER: What about the next president of the United States, whoever that might be, Democrat or Republican, is that person walking into a recession?

VELSHI: Well, this is the interesting thing. This jobless rate has got people worried about a recession. The White House today, as you showed trumpeted the fact that the economy created jobs every year for four years in a row. In fact, there were jobs created in December, but only 18,000 of them. Economists say the U.S. needs to create 100,000 jobs a month or more just to keep pace with the growth of the working age population. So it's a concern. The next president of the United States taking office a year from now may get lucky. Because if there is a recession, a lot of economists are saying it will be short lived. So it may be by the time the next president comes into office, we're already past that recession, we've gone through it.

BLITZER: Ali Velshi, thanks very much, very, very worrisome numbers right now.

We're moving on now to another important story that we're following and it involves air safety. Could U.S. passenger jets soon be targeted by terrorist missiles? Federal authorities aren't waiting to find out. They're ready to take some defensive measures to test those measures right now on commercial airliners. Our justice correspondent Kelli Arena has been looking to this important story. Kelli, what are you finding out?

KELLI ARENA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, this is the first time that anti-missile technology will be tested on planes that are carrying passengers. If you're on one of them, the experts say you won't even know it.


ARENA (voice-over): Three American airline jets that routinely fly between New York and California will soon be carrying some very special cargo. The latest in anti-missile technology mounted on the belly of the aircraft.

BURT KEIRSTEAD, BAE SYSTEMS: This little device does what we call the jamming of the missile. You can think of it as a laser pointer. We have a high-powered multi-band laser that is pointed through this device at the missile, causes it to miss the aircraft.

ARENA: Rest easy, missiles won't actually be fired at planes. The tests are geared to see how well the devices withstand daily wear and tear. How much more airlines will spend on fuel to carry them and how much maintenance they need. BAE Systems first developed the technology for the military.

KEIRSTEAD: It can be operated in the airline industry without introducing any special new equipment, any new requirements. If something goes wrong with the system, it can be fixed very quickly.

ARENA: So how much of a threat are shoulder-fired missiles to passenger jets? They are inexpensive and available on the black market. They've been used against military jets and cargo planes overseas, but never on U.S. soil. Homeland officials stress there is no specific or credible information that that will ever happen. What's more, officials maintain the biggest threat by far to airlines are explosives smuggled onboard.

But Congress mandated testing of anti-missile technology four years ago and allocated about 30 million for this latest phase. GEORGE FORESMAN, SECURITY ANALYST: There are a lot of things the DHS is doing today that they were asked to do several years ago in what seemed like a good idea two or three years ago may not be the best use of resources today.

ARENA: American Airlines said it agreed to participate in tests just in case Congress makes the systems mandatory.


ARENA (on camera): The systems would cost about $1 million per plane to install and at this point it's not clear who would foot that bill. The systems are expected to be installed this spring, Wolf, and testing should last through the end of the year.

BLITZER: Kelli, thanks very much for that. Kelli Arena reporting.

Let's go back to Jack. He has got "The Cafferty File" here in New York. Jack?

JACK CAFFERTY, CNN ANCHOR: What do you mean it's not clear who is going to foot the bill?

BLITZER: You and I.

CAFFERTY: You know -- When is the last time we had an airplane shot down by a shoulder-launched missile?

BLITZER: El Al, the Israelis have these anti-missile systems on all their passenger jets.

CAFFERTY: They live in the neighborhood where there is a likelihood of that happening.

BLITZER: In Mombasa in Kenya that had that incident a few years ago and that sparked all this interest here.

CAFFERTY: My question is, when is the last time we had that happen here?

BLITZER: Long time ago.

CAFFERTY: Never. It has never happened here.

BLITZER: While the Democratic Party is approaching a swoon over Barack Obama, last night's Iowa caucuses turned the Republican race into a demolition derby. Although the contest in Iowa traditionally narrows the field, last night's results have actually done the opposite giving more Republicans a real chance at getting the nomination and you better believe it's likely to get very bloody before it gets decided.

Mike Huckabee's Iowa victory means it is a much more open race going into New Hampshire. He now has the opportunity to capitalize on his win and the momentum and show he can get support for more than just evangelicals, which he'll have to do in New Hampshire because there aren't that many of them there and turn his campaign into a national phenomenon.

He's far from the only one that stands a chance, though. John McCain, he had been surging the recent polls in New Hampshire anyway and he hopes to win there just like he did in 2000 and ultimately use that momentum to move forward. The fact that Mitt Romney didn't win last night in Iowa is good news for McCain in New Hampshire. When it comes to Romney, Iowa was a huge loss, having spent so much money and time there, he needs to find a way to recover because if Romney loses again in New Hampshire, you can stick a fork in him, he's done.

Then there's Rudy Giuliani. Iowa validated what many said is a risky strategy for him. At least partially validated it. The strategy is skip the early small states and count on Super Tuesday and being able to do well in big states like Florida. In other words, on the Republican side, game on.

Here's the question. Who do you think ultimately will emerge as the Republican presidential nominee? Go to and post a comment on my new blog.

BLITZER: Still wide open right now.

CAFFERTY: Oh, yeah. The Republican thing is going to be very interesting. The Democratic thing, we might have a pretty good idea of here in the next couple weeks.

BLITZER: You're probably right.

All right, Jack, thanks very much.

He says he was walking the walk before his rivals were even talking the talk. Republican candidate Fred Thompson says the only true conservative in the field. My interview, that's coming up.

Plus, meat and milk from cloned cows on your dinner table. The agency responsible for safeguarding your health may soon give the go ahead. But what about the labels? Will you even know what you're eating?

And get this, a window washer falls 47 stories and survives. Our Dr. Sanjay Gupta tells us why some doctors are calling it a medical miracle. Stay with us, you're in THE SITUATION ROOM.


BLITZER: He said he'd come in third in Iowa and guess what, he did. Fred Thompson is looking ahead, though, now to New Hampshire and beyond and he says among the Republican candidates, he is the one who deserves to be called a true conservative. I spoke with Fred Thompson just a short while ago and I asked him how he sets himself apart from Mike Huckabee or Mitt Romney on the issues starting with immigration.


FRED THOMPSON, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, you've given me a broad topic, there, but let me try my hand because I think that the Republic standard-bearer needs to be a conservative who has national security credentials. And I think I am that man. I think illegal immigration clearly is important. A nation that can't defend its borders will not remain a sovereign nation. We need to finish building the fence, we need more agents on the border, we need to crack down on employers who are deliberately hiring illegal immigrants and help them identify illegal immigrants before they hire them. And that technology is available now and we need to clamp down on sanctuary cities.

BLITZER: And you ...

THOMPSON: Cut off federal funding to sanctuary cities.

BLITZER: And what would you do differently than what ...

THOMPSON: If they continue.

BLITZER: ... Mitt Romney, for example, is proposing or Mike Huckabee?

THOMPSON: Well, I'm not sure what Mitt Romney is proposing these days, you know. He is the candidate of change. He changes his position from time to time on it. I know that he supported the original immigration bill in 2006. I think he has changed his mind about that now.

As far as Huckabee is concerned, he was practically a sanctuary state. He has been very liberal on the issue of illegal immigration across the border. He thinks it's compassionate for him as governor to take the money of people who are obeying the law in the form of their taxes and give it to people who are not obeying the law.

I don't think that's compassionate, I think that induces other people to come across the border and bring their children into a bad situation.

BLITZER: So on this issue which is atop the agenda for Republicans, at least in Iowa, that's what they told us in our entrance polls. You obviously strongly disagree with your friend John McCain, as well.

THOMPSON: As far as the issue of illegal immigration?


THOMPSON: Well, John has evolved, too. But I know that he hooked up with Senator Kennedy on an approach that I strongly disagreed with and still do. I think that amnesty should not be on the table. I think we need to secure the boarders first. I think John is talking that way now but I have been there all along.

BLITZER: On the issue of the economy, is there anything that jumps out, any one part of your strategy that you want to highlight which is different than your Republican rivals?

THOMPSON: Well, Wolf, on all three of the issues that you've mentioned I've put strong policy papers, they're on And this is the second one and it has to do with the fact that we're bankrupting the next generation. We're spending those who are too young to be at the table when these decisions are made, we're spending their birthright.

Part of this is Social Security. Part of it is Medicare. The expenditures we're making there cannot be sustained. We don't have to do anything radical, we don't have to hurt anybody but we have to reform the system. I've got a plan to reform our welfare program, our Social Security program. It has to do with changing the way we index benefits. It has to do with giving individual personal accounts.

Nobody else on either side has put forth a proposal and the entitlement situation is at the heart of the expenditure issue that we've got in this country that's in effect bankrupting the next generation. We've got to stop it.

BLITZER: I think that's a fair point. You are the only one who has spelled out a specific plan on dealing with the long term Social Security expenditures, some of these entitlements. What about on terrorism? Is there anything that jumps out as far as the voters could better appreciate where you come down on this issue as opposed to your Republican rivals?

THOMPSON: My experience and background. Obviously Senator McCain has experience in this area but I was on the Intelligence Committee, I have traveled the world. I have met with foreign leaders, friend and foe. I have met with President Musharraf, for example. I have been to Pakistan and Afghanistan. I know the nature of the world that we live in.

This recent problem in Pakistan where former Prime Minister Bhutto was assassinated is just a small part of a much bigger picture. So is Iraq. Radical Islam has declared war upon us and this is going to be a long term problem that we have to address by having a rebuilt military capability, rebuilt intelligence capability, especially human intelligence.

I was the floor manager for the Republicans on the Homeland Security Bill. I know these issues. I've been there. I understand the nature of the world we live in.

BLITZER: You call yourself, repeatedly, and I'm quoting now, the only true conservative running for president right now. Explain that, because Mike Huckabee says he is a true conservative, Mitt Romney does, John McCain does, Rudy Giuliani. Why is Fred Thompson the only true conservative running for president?

THOMPSON: Because I was walking the walk before they were even talking the talk. Some of them are very recent converts. I went to the Senate in 1994. I helped pass five major tax cuts. I helped pass welfare reform. We balanced the budget four years in a row. I thought for conservative common-sense judges who would abide by the law and the Constitution and not make it up as they run along.

And I had 100 percent pro-life voting record. I don't think anybody else can lay claim to that. We have had some recent converts and converts are welcome, but they can't claim the history of believing in the fundamental principles this country was founded upon and on which the Reagan coalition was built.

A lot of people seem to think nowadays that that's passe, that that's over and done. I do not. I think these are fundamental principles. The issues change but the principles must not because that's what built this country.

BLITZER: You told me you would come in third in Iowa. You did. How are you going to do in New Hampshire?

THOMPSON: Not very well. We're not going to be very competitive in New Hampshire but we have an excellent chance of winning South Carolina. This has all really been about getting to South Carolina. If we get to South Carolina, then we go from there, South and West.

And you probably noticed the funny way I talk. But the South and West is a good territory for me so we could face a situation where each one of us has won one race going into that area and that's a good scenario for me.

BLITZER: For the record, I don't think you talk funny at all. Hey, senator, thanks very much for coming in. Good luck.

THOMPSON: Thank you very much.


BLITZER: A dark horse Republican presidential candidate is excluded from an upcoming weekend forum for White House hopefuls. We're going to show you why that New Hampshire's GOP and a fight with Fox News.

Plus, he fell 47 stories and lived to tell about it. Tell us all about it. Some doctors calling it unprecedented. Others are simply saying it was a flat out miracle. Dr. Sanjay Gupta is standing by to tell us what happened. Stay with us, you're in THE SITUATION ROOM.


BLITZER: Our Carol Costello is monitoring some other important stories incoming to THE SITUATION ROOM. Right now, Carol, what do you have?

CAROL COSTELLO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A couple of things, Wolf. The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to decide if a state may execute people convicted of raping children. The high-court will hear a challenge to the death sentence of a Louisiana man sentenced to die for raping his eight-year-old step daughter. Rape is one of the remaining capital crimes in the United States that does not require a victim's death.

An attorney says Diamond Pet Foods will pay $3 million to settle with pet owners over a toxic food case. The food produced at a Diamond plant in South Carolina became contaminate would a dangerous mold. Dozens of dogs nationwide died from eating it. The company set up a fund to reimburse people for the loss of dogs, veterinary bills and the cost of any unreturned tainted food. It acknowledges plant workers failed to follow internal testing procedures. The International Tennis Federation says star player Martina Hingis is banned from competing for two years. The decision is her punishment for testing positive for cocaine while playing at Wimbledon last year. The allegations against Hingis first came to light last November and Hingis denied them but a tribunal confirmed the test results in December. Hingis has been ordered to repay $130,000 in winnings since the '06 Wimbledon.

The Associated Press reports today that a man awaiting trial for a killing spree that began during his 2005 escape from an Atlanta courthouse has plotted another jail break. The AP cites law enforcement documents as outlining Brian Nichols' plan. Nichols allegedly enlisted his girlfriend, a paralegal and a couple of sheriff's deputy it help. The plot apparently never gelled and Nichols was moved to another jail in 2006. Nichols faces murder charges in a spree that left four people dead.

And a quick look around the world, Kenya's opposition party is demanding new presidential elections in the wake of massive and deadly unrest. Poor, hungry mobs swarmed aid workers after riots over Kenya's disputed vote cut supplies of grocery and water for days. A presidential spokesman in Kenya says a rerun of the December 27th election only if it is ordered by the court.

That's a look at the headlines right now, Wolf.

BLITZER: Thanks very much, Carol, for that.

A showdown over Republican White House hopeful Ron Paul. We're going to show you why it has New Hampshire's Republican Party now threatening to pull its sponsorship from an upcoming weekend presidential forum.

Plus, the considerable challenges facing Barack Obama after his Iowa win. Our CNN contributor Roland Martin just spoke with Obama and he is going to be standing by to join us live and share that conversation with us right here in THE SITUATION ROOM.


BLITZER: Happening now, a snag in the deal for North Korea to dismantle its nuclear efforts. Pyongyang saying it gave Washington a required list of the programs in November but now isn't getting the aid it was promised. The U.S. disputes all of that but says disarmament efforts are proceeding.

Also, DNA tests show the child of a Colombian hostage is living in a foster home, not with his captive mother as believed. The Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez had brokered a deal for their release, but was misled by rebels who backed out of the agreement.

And a three-year prison sentence for a disgraced Democratic fund- raiser stemming from an 18-year-old fraud conviction. Norman Hsu fled before he could be sentenced back in 1992, but continued to raise cash for politicians as a fugitive before being captured last summer.

I'm Wolf Blitzer, you're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

Call it the 10 percent solution, Ron Paul elbows his way back into the spotlight with the solid showing in Iowa and he's got high hopes, very high hopes for New Hampshire. Let's turn to CNN's Carol Costello, she's watching the story for us. Is Ron Paul suddenly emerging as a significant player in this GOP field?

COSTELLO: Well, I have to tell you, Wolf, certainly the Republican National Committee in New Hampshire thinks so. The chairman telling me today Paul could finish third in New Hampshire. The big controversy over Paul in that state, though, is swirling around a Sunday Fox News forum. Five republican candidates are invited, Paul is not. New Hampshire Republicans are not happy.



COSTELLO (on camera): Is campaign has always seemed like the little engine that could, with a lot of money. A popular candidate online, a not so popular candidate in the traditional sense. In national polls, Paul has single-digit support. Then came Iowa.

PAUL: I know we didn't come out (inaudible) and I knew we beat Giuliani.

COSTELLO: That's right, Ron Paul the anti-war, fiscally conservative libertarian leaning Republican scored 10 percent of the vote in Iowa, not great. But he did beat Rudolph Giuliani. Giuliani got just four percent and today Paul almost scored another modest win. The New Hampshire Republican Committee met with Fox News to, again, threaten to pull its sponsorship of the network's Republican forum.

The New Hampshire RNC is upset Fox has excluded Paul because, it says, Paul has solid support in their state. But Fox isn't budging saying Paul doesn't fit its criteria to be included in the forum. Paul doesn't have double-digit support nationwide and besides, its remote studio is too small for all the candidates to participate. Critics say, hogwash.

BOB BARR, LIBERTARIAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE: This is all about politics and it's about the Republican establishment trying to keep out a Republican candidate simply because he doesn't fit the establishment mode.

COSTELLO: Other conservative voices echo Barr saying Paul is easily beating Thompson in New Hampshire and Thompson who is touted as Reaganesque is part of the Fox Forum. Richard Viguerie wrote "Conservatives Betrayed."

RICHARD VIGUERIE, AUTHOR, "CONSERVATIVES BETRAYED": He is clearly a serious, viable candidate and why an important network like Fox wants to silence his voice is a mystery to me and many Americans.

(END VIDEOTAPE) COSTELLLO (on camera): Richard Viguerie there. We called Fox News, Fox parent company did not return our calls, but the RNC chair in New Hampshire tells me talks are continuing with Fox and the New Hampshire Republicans, wolf, could pull its sponsorship at any time, but you know the forum is coming up on Sunday, so there is not much more time to decide.

BLITZER: All right. We'll see what happens on that front. Thanks very much. But almost by all accounts a lot of people think that Ron Paul could be a spoiler, could be a factor Tuesday in New Hampshire. We'll see what those independent voters out there decide to do.

Does Barack Obama's solid win in Iowa finally prove that he has broad- based appeal? Joining us now our CNN contributor Roland Martin of WVOM radio, just interviewed Barack Obama this afternoon about his win in Iowa and also joining us our CNN contributor Carl Bernstein, whose best seller on Hillary Clinton was entitled "A Woman in Charge."

Let's talk about Barack Obama, Roland. First, you had a chance to speak with him. I'm going to play a little clip of the interview did with him. The radio interview.


ROLAND MARTIN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: It's interesting that African Americans somehow were waiting for white voters to validate you as a candidate before many of them would embrace your candidacy. How does this now change that dynamic, especially in South Carolina?

SEN. BARACK OBAMA, (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE (on phone): I think if there is any African American voter out there who still that thinks whites won't vote for me, you know, they just need to read the papers from this morning. And that should put that to rest. Now, if there are African American voters out there who think someone out there can represent their interests better, then that is not a problem. If an African American voter is selecting another candidate on the platform or just because they like that person better, that's fine.

But they certainly shouldn't use the excuse that whites will not vote for me. We've show that wasn't the case in my U.S. Senate race, we showed it last night in Iowa. I believe that we're going to show it again in New Hampshire.


BLITZER: You know, because that had been the argument. A lot of people made against Barack Obama. You know, we love you Barack Obama, but, you know what, you simply can't win because you're African American and, as a result, they say they have to support Hillary Clinton or somebody else.

MARTIN: And many elected officials were saying that, we saw that Alabama with Joe Reed, we saw it in South Carolina so the Obama campaign believe that because of this showing, and depending on how he does in New Hampshire, they're going to get a considerable bump in South Carolina and then come February 5th, Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama. They say, absolutely. This is going to give confidence among African Americans who have sort of been sitting back, waiting, saying we don't think he is actually going to make it.

BLITZER: What do you think about that theory? You think it has got some legs?

CARL BERNSTEIN, AUTHOR, "A WOMAN IN CHARGE": Yes, I also think what happened in Iowa is the Clinton's worst nightmare. Race is what they have been best at through their adult lives. Understanding the tragedy of race in America. They have dreamed of this day when a black candidate could credibly run for president and perhaps win and they didn't dream it would happen on their watch and that is now what they're up against and how they deal with that is very tricky, very difficult and people are going to start to have to address it.

MARTIN: Wolf, one of the amazing things is the Obama campaign also says is by them reaching out to young voters and reaching out to independent voters, they're bringing in, frankly, a new group of people that Democrats have not really been touching and it's very remindful of 1984 and '88 when Reverend Jesse Jackson ran. He brought in, what, 2 million new voters in Shelbyville, (ph) Alabama when he was a Democrat. That's how several other people won down ballot tickets and all of a sudden you have someone who can bring in, in essence, bring in their own base.

BLITZER: He resonates with a lot of young people, black and white.

MARTIN: Absolutely.

BERNSTEIN: And Republican. Look at what people like Peggy Noonan, David Brooks, columnists like that who have been writing about Obama as if he is what America has been looking for. This has become a kind of crusade and you can see it beginning. Now, whether it will continue because, look, this is going to be like a 15-round fight. And Hillary Clinton has gotten really knocked backwards.

BLITZER: We'll see how she comes out of this.

BERNSTEIN: The question is she has great endurance, but the Clintons, plural, have got to find a different way and a different message from here on in.

BLITZER: What else did you hear from Barack Obama today?

MARTIN: First of all, he was, obviously, excited about the broad- based appeal and he kept emphasizing the female voters who they touch. Emphasizing the older voters. He was trying to make the point, that look, this was not just aberration.

BLITZER: Those were the voters that were supposed to go for Hillary Clinton.

BERNSTEIN: Absolutely. So he's trying to say look, we're reaching a wide variety of people in this race but he also nailed the whole notion of electability. He said, look, any question about my electability. Tell them to look at last night. It was real quick. BLITZER: Premature, though, to write off Hillary Clinton. You studied her for years.

BERNSTEIN: First of all, she is the most resilient of people and the Clintons are the most resilient of people and they have come back before. Also, since high school, she's never lost an election.

BLITZER: Did she lose one in high school?

BERNSTEIN: She lost one in high school, but won the presidency of Wellesley, but, somebody said to me in the afterward in my book that comes out on Tuesday, which is a total coincidence ...

BLITZER: Paperback edition.

BERNSTEIN: ... in paperback. In a total coincidence, said you know in the change department Hillary can't match Obama. This is the problem and at the same time you also have the press, which is not inclined at this point to give many breaks to the Clinton campaign because they feel that they've been dealt with very heavy handedly, at the same time Obama now is going to be subjected to the kind of vetting, he had a kind of free ride up until now.

He's going to really get a hard look now and they're going to be, look, even today, Edwards threw some real tough punches at him saying he's really a tool of the lobbyists. This kind of thing he has to get through.

BLITZER: Very quickly, though. Oprah. How much of a factor do you think she was in Iowa in propelling Barack Obama to this, let's call it a historic win.

MARTIN: Senator Barack Obama told me point blank Oprah Winfrey is going to bring people that were not otherwise involved in the process. He says she might not bring them over to me but I get a chance to talk to them. I think that was critical because she reaches a different group of people that otherwise don't pay attention.

BERNSTEIN: Young people and women.

MARTIN: Absolutely.

BLITZER: She's a phenomenon in her own right. All right, guys, Roland Martin, Carl Bernstein, thanks very much.

Food from cloned animals could soon be in your grocery store but is it safe? And will you know what you're eating and what you're buying? We're going to show you why some groups are outraged.

Plus, the man who fell 47 stories and survived. Details of a truly remarkable story. Our Dr. Sanjay Gupta is standing by live. Stay with us. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.


BLITZER: Milk from a cloned cow on your breakfast cereal. Cloned steak for dinner. Government regulators may soon give the go ahead, but will we even know what we're eating? CNN's Brian Todd is standing by. He is watching this story for us. A lot of experts, well, at least some experts, Brian, are queasy about all of this. What is going on?

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A little rumbling in the stomachs, Wolf. Consumer groups saying there hasn't been enough testing of cloned animal products and they place the blame squarely on the agency that is supposed to watch that process.


TODD (voice-over): Warnings from Congress and consumer groups. The agency that's supposed to protect your food supply may soon clear the way for meat and milk from cloned animals to make it to your table. Some say without testing it enough.

JAYDEE HANSON, CENTER FOR FOOD SAFETY: The concern is that the FDA might rush approval and not do the studies that Congress is asking them to do.

TODD: A Senate source tells CNN that the Food and Drug Administration is just days away from declaring meat and milk from cloned animals safe. The FDA would not comment on that on or off camera with us, but did say it's finalizing its own risk assessment. More than a year ago a draft of that assessment concluded that those products are safe. What are the health risks?

HANSON: We don't actually know. But we know the studies that the FDA has relied on so far can't tell you that. I suspect that it will probably taste quite similar. But that doesn't mean that there are no changes in the milk and that there are no changes in the meat that we need to be worried about.

TODD: In a December 2006 press release, the FDA says their assessment that the meat and dairy products would be safe was peer reviewed by a group of independent scientific experts.

HANSON: There is only three peer reviewed studies. The so-called peer review that the FDA did of its own risk assessment and two of the three people own patents on different parts of the cloning process.

TODD: No comment from the FDA to that today, but a representative for cloning companies says the FDA has done years of very credible testing. As for the nutrition of food from cloned animals ...

JEFF JOSEPH, BIOTECHNOLOGY INDUSTRY ORGANIZATION: It gives producers more control over the type of animals that are bred so that theoretically some producers could have a better tasting and better quality steak with less fat. So in that sense, it could be more healthful.


TODD (on camera): But consumer groups have another big complaint, that the FDA won't require labeling of meat and milk from clones so we'll never know if what we're buying is from those animals or not. The FDA would not respond to that but the spokesman from the cloning industry says because cloned animal products will be so similar to those from natural bred animals, we don't even need labels, Wolf.

BLITZER: A whole new world out there. Brian, thanks very much. Brian Todd watching the story for us. High interest in that story.

Right now a major and very dangerous Arctic storm is slamming into the West Coast bringing pounding rain, hurricane-force winds and blizzard conditions to the mountains. It's also threatening to trigger landslides, especially in the area scorched by wildfires only a few months ago.

Let's turn to CNN's Thelma Gutierrez. She is watching all of this unfold out in Los Angeles. How are these so-called burn areas holding up?

THELMA GUTIERREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, so far we've checked with scientists who are monitoring that area, wolf, they tell us that the rain hasn't been hard enough yet to cause any type of a landslide, but, as you can tell, it is starting to come down now. It is going to intensify into the night and that is a nerve-wracking prospect for the homeowners in that area because with the water comes the prospect of mudslides.


GUTIERREZ (voice-over): La Conchita, California 2005, a monster mudslide buries 10 people alive. Laguna Beach, 2005. Two dozen homes buckle when a hillside collapses. Virian (ph), Washington, last December. Residents flee for their lives during the landslide.

What is your greatest concern right now?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The greatest concern is certainly the mudslides and all the loose hills.

GUTIERREZ: That's because Felix Naugalin (ph) lives deep in a canyon in Malibu in an area recently devastated by wildfires.

(on camera): How many of your neighbors actually lost their homes in this fire?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's roughly, I think, on our street and some of the free-standing homes around it, it's a good 15 or 16 homes.

GUTIERREZ (voice-over): Now, the hills are barren and right for a possible landslide during a rain storm. A big concern for scientists like Jonathan Stock (ph) with the U.S. Geological Survey. He took us to some of the most vulnerable areas. The charred Malibu hillsides that burned just two months ago.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But this is steep enough, we think, to generate hazardous debris flows.

GUTIERREZ: Stock and other scientists hope to predict exactly where killer slide is likely to occur. So, they placed 20 sensors on this treacherous 30 degree slope to monitor rainfall, sediment flow and wind speed and placed cameras deep in the canyon to call (ph) an event.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It rained so quickly nobody is there, you don't want to be there. So, that's why we're using some video equipment and lots of instruments to try to be our eyes.

GUTIERREZ: There are 40 sensors in the hills around Felix Naugalin's house, but right now they're only gathering data from storms. Scientists hope that information will help predict how much rain it takes to trigger catastrophe. So one day they'll be able to create an early warning system to evacuate residents before the earth gives way.


GUTIERREZ (on camera): And even though the USGS not able to predict exactly where a mudslide will occur, they do have maps of some of the vulnerable areas. They've been able to give those maps to local authorities who are able to evacuate people out of those dangerous areas in an event that there is enough rainfall. Wolf?

BLITZER: It's amazing. Mudslides, fires, floods, what's next in California? Locusts? What is going on out there? It's a beautiful state, wonderful people but you guys have some serious problems, Thelma. Thanks very much for that. Let's wish all of our friends in California only the best.

The man who fell to death (ph). A window washer taking a 47-story plunge. Details of a recovery some doctors are calling miraculous.

And what does John Edwards make of Barack Obama's Iowa win? I'll ask him in a one on one interview. Stay with us.


BLITZER: Astonished doctors are calling it a miraculous recovery. One month after falling 47 stories a New York City window washer is conscious and talking and may soon be walking again. Our chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta is watching this story for us. Sanjay, I guess a lot of people are asking you this question. Have you ever seen anything like this before?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, I have never seen anything quite like this before and I take it even a step further to say that I doubt that probably anybody has. We couldn't find a single documented case of someone actually surviving from that height, Wolf. There may be cases out there, but they haven't been documented. An amazing thing. How did he do it and what exactly happened to him? We took a look.


GUPTA (voice-over): A busted scaffold dangles 500 feet in the air from a New York skyscraper. That's a dizzying 47 stories high. When that scaffold collapsed the window washer Alcedos Moreno (ph) and his brother Edgar were on it. One brother would die, the other would live. Leading doctors to use a word they don't use very often.

DR. HERBERT PARDES, N.Y. PRESBYTERIAN HOSPITAL: If one can talk about medical miracles, I think you'll see and hear you probably already have the sense that this certainly qualifies.

GUPTA: (on camera): It was hard for me to wrap my mind around just how far the Moreno brothers fell. 500 feet, almost two football fields from all the way up here.

I'm on the roof of this 47-story building, they were roughly this high when the scaffolding gave way. One second they were stable and the next second they were falling and accelerating. It took them just 5.5 seconds to fall and to reached a speed of nearly 100 miles an hour. When they hit, they were all the way down there.

Witnesses were certain both men had died, but Alcedos Moreno actually sat up and was able to speak. He was picked up by ambulances and rushed to the emergency room. He reportedly received 24 units of blood and 19 units of plasma and platelets and he was sent to surgery.

We spoke to a physicist who said it's like a high-speed head-on collision except four times worse.

(on camera): We now have a better idea of the types of injuries Mr. Moreno he sustained when he actually fell. First of all, he broke his spine. He had actually spine fractures all around. He also broke ribs all on this area, on one side of his body. If you actually look inside his lungs, he had contusions and he had bleeding inside his abdomen as well. He actually had to have his spleen removed. In addition to that, if you look at his body overall, he had blood clots in his brain, he broke both of his legs and he broke one of his arms.

To put this in perspective, 50 percent of people who fall from three stories or higher, die. Again, Moreno was 47 stories in the air. The doctors we talked to never heard of anybody surviving a fall of that height.

One fall we did hear about was 29 year old Joshua Hanson (ph) who fell 16 stories from a hotel in Minneapolis. He was estimated to be falling 69 miles an hour. He survived but had many injuries.

We may never know exactly why Moreno survived. He may have surfed the wood window washing platform all the way down. Safety training for window washers teaches tuck, don't flail. In the end, this, a wood plank, may have saved him.

His wife Rosario doesn't know if it was the plank or divine intervention. She does know why he has a tough road ahead of him. He is alive.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He knows about his brother's death but my husband is very religious and he believes when it is time for you to go, you just go.

(END VIDEOTAPE) GUPTA (on camera): And I'll tell you as well, Wolf, he just got out of another surgery. We just were talking to his neurosurgeon. Say he is in remarkable condition, all things considered. He does have a tough road in front of him. But consider, Wolf, that he is probably going to walk again, he's speaking and it looks like all of his organs survived this incredible fall, Wolf.

BLITZER: I would call it a miracle. Thanks, Sanjay, very much. What an amazing, amazing story.

Who ultimately will emerge as the republican presidential nominee? It's our question of the hour, Jack Cafferty is standing by with your e-mail.

And John Edwards is trying to set himself apart from the Democratic presidential rivals. We're going to show you how his positions differ. My one-on-one interview with John Edwards. That's coming up.

Stay with us, you're in THE SITUATION ROOM.


BLITZER: Check back with Jack Cafferty with "The Cafferty File." Jack?

CAFFERTY: Interesting thing last night with Huckabee's win in Iowa. It actually opened up the field to more possibilities, instead of fewer. So the question we ask is who, ultimately, will emerge as the republican presidential nominee.

Bruce writes, "The Huckster, of course. He'll win the nomination and if he doesn't and the die-hard Republicans push through McCain the beating will be even worse on November 7th, 2008. McCain can only play to the fear."

John disagrees, Tempe, Arizona. "I think when it's all said and done on the Republican side, John McCain will probably get it. Romney was finished yesterday when he lost to Huckabee. Huckabee doesn't have enough cash to get much past South Carolina. Giuliani would literally have to lose five consecutive states and then make a comeback. And I don't think that's ever been done before. Thompson failed last night. He's no longer the choice of the far right Reagan conservatives. So, McCain is the only one left."