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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
GOP Presidential Candidates Campaign on Eve of Florida Primary
Aired January 28, 2008 - 23:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: I'll be hosting the next Republican debates. Senator McCain, of course, will be there. The GOP candidates face off at Ronald Reagan Library Wednesday night at 8:00 p.m. live on CNN.
Wolf Blitzer will host the Democrats on Thursday the 31st. These are, of course, the final debates before Super Tuesday.
There's a lot more to talk about tonight just hours before the hotly contested Republican primary in Florida, a week before Super Tuesday, the night of President Bush's last State of the Union speech. What a week.
We're going to get to it all and hear more from some of the leading candidates.
First President Bush with the economy growing shaky and his time in office growing short, Mr. Bush called for patience on Iraq, less spending on wasteful projects, and fast action on legislation to head off a recession.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The temptation will be to load up the bill. That would delay it or derail it. And neither option is acceptable.
This is a good agreement that will keep our economy growing and our people working and this Congress must pass is at -- it as soon as possible.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: In the hour ahead, we're going to get reaction to President Bush's speech from many of those seeking the White House. Senator Hillary Clinton had promised to join us. She pulled out at last minute. No explanation from her camp.
So we begin with Barack Obama who picked up a big endorsement today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. EDWARD KENNEDY, (D) MASSACHUSETTS: I believe that a wave of change is moving across America if we know not turn to aside, if we dare to set our course for the shores of hope. We together will go beyond the divisions of the past and find our place to build the America of the future.
My friends, I ask you to join in this historic journey to have the courage to choose change. It is time again for a new generation of leadership. It is time now for Barack Obama!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: That is Senator Ted Kennedy of course. It is an endorsement that comes at a pivotal time just a week before Super Tuesday when the bulk of delegates will be won.
Tonight Senator Obama was in Washington for the State of the Union address. We spoke just a short time ago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: What a big gap there was between the seeming lack of urgency on the part of the president and what people are experiencing day to day. People are anxious.
As I travel around the country, they're worried about losing their homes. They're worried about losing their jobs. They can't afford to retire. They're trying to figure out how to finance their kids' college education.
They want something much more robust than the warmed-over policy prescriptions and the extension of the Bush tax cuts that was the centerpiece of these policies. I think that we have got to be a lot bolder than that.
I believe we can come up with a short-term stimulus package that corresponds with both what the president and the congress had talked about. I think that we have to add unemployment insurance extensions as a part of that.
But the question is long term what are we going to do? And I've said that instead of providing an extension of the tax breaks that go to the wealthiest Americans we need to provide tax breaks to the middle-class and working class families who have been cut out of the growth period. That will generate more business and more jobs at the ground level.
We have got to have an energy policy that is so much more aggressive than the one that we have right now; both to deal with global warming and to also invest in solar, wind, bio-diesel, the green jobs of the future.
We should be laying broadband lines, rebuilding our infrastructure. We should be revamping how we teach science and math and funding research and development much more extensively.
There are a whole host of things that we could be doing that would reinvigorate our economy over the long term and make us competitive. I didn't hear any of that from the president.
(END VIDEO CLIP) COOPER: And now back to our political panel for some perspective on what Senator Obama is facing in the week ahead. CNN's John King, senior analysts Gloria Borger, Jeffrey Toobin and David Gergen.
David Gergen, the week ahead for Barack Obama, how does it compare to where he has been? What does he have to do in these next seven days?
DAVID GERGEN, SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: It's a very tough week for him, Anderson. But he has got great momentum. With a huge victory, an unexpectedly big victory in South Carolina and now back to back with this dramatic endorsement by Senator Kennedy.
That has revived the glow around his candidacy; given him a fresh sense of hope. And the question is --
COOPER: Do you think it really makes a difference?
GERGEN: Yeah, I think it makes a big difference. It makes a big difference partly, Anderson, because he needs it, straight through from Saturday right through Monday night.
Here we are talking about the Kennedy endorsement almost as if it is more dramatic, it is in some ways than President Bush's State of the Union address. And Kennedy goes and campaigns with him that will continue to give him that kind of media play.
It gives him the best chance he has to break through and to pierce the kind of commanding lead that Hillary Clinton has in so many of these big states coming up on February 5th.
As "The Wall Street Journal" pointed out today, if you look at the ten biggest states on February 5th around the country from California to New York and so forth, she has a significant lead in eight of the ten biggest and double digit lead in several of them.
GLORIA BORGER, SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Look, I think that Ted Kennedy gives Barack Obama seal of approval in the Democratic Party. And it is not only that the Democratic elite were angry with Bill Clinton for what they considered campaigning that they went over the line.
Ted Kennedy has kind of validated that thinking but he will take it to rank-and-file Democrats particularly in a state like California where Ted Kennedy can attract Latino voters. He is very popular obviously with union members. He can take it to New England.
And Ted Kennedy isn't just going to endorse and the sit back in his senate office. He is going to go out campaigning with Obama. He can draw the crowds, he can draw the faithful, and he can also draw voters away from John Edwards.
JEFFREY TOOBIN, SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Certainly.
COOPER: Go ahead.
TOOBIN: I want to say of course this is good news for Barack Obama. But I think the magnitude of his task is really great. These are, as David said, very big leads. And also, I think we have to keep in mind Ted Kennedy is 76 years old, many, many voters were not alive when President Kennedy was president.
I mean this nostalgic glow is really now kind of dated. And even though this was a very thrilling moment I think for any political junkie, to see this, I question how much it means to 40-year-olds, 30- year-olds, 20-year olds.
COOPER: John King, do we know anything about -- how much the Clintons wanted to get endorsements from Ted Kennedy? Do we know anything in the back story?
JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: We know they wanted it quite a bit and President Clinton and Senator Clinton both personally lobbied for it and they received strong indications that Senator Kennedy's inclination was to sit it out because he has great respect for Senator Clinton. And great respect for Senator Obama.
As he said in the speech today, he has more affinity for the message of Obama than the message of Clinton. But he had full intentions of sitting this one out, Anderson until Bill Clinton is campaigning in South Carolina last week crossed the line for Ted Kennedy.
He believed it was race baiting and he has come to the conclusion I am told that he now believes Hillary Clinton cannot win a general election which made him get in.
And to just point, the symbolism of this is incredibly powerful. It is a crack in the wall of the Democratic establishment. The question is can Obama do more to make the wall crumble. If it is only a crack, she will still do well in all those big states you just talked about. But if there is more to follow then this could be the beginning of something. Emphasis on could be.
BORGER: And Anderson, let me --
COOPER: Actually Gloria, before you jump in I just want to play for our viewers, John King mentioned the idea that Bill Clinton crossing a line or at least that is in the belief of Senator Kennedy. I asked that to Barack Obama earlier tonight. Let's listen to what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
You know, as I've said before, I think that President Clinton has every right to campaign vigorously on behalf of his wife. And I don't begrudge him that at all.
There have been times when factual statements have been made that that were inaccurate. They just were wrong. We want to make sure that we correct the record any time that my positions are being misrepresented. But I have no problem with the president wanting to go out there and beat the bushes for votes on behalf of his wife.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Gloria Borger do you believe that?
BORGER: No. I think that Barack Obama personally believes that Bill Clinton's campaigning went over the line. And I know for a fact that Ted Kennedy called the former president and said to him, "Look, you have got to stop doing this." And I was told by somebody very close to the senator that when he got off that first phone call he was angrier than he was when he placed it.
So it was very clear that President Clinton was defending what he was saying. And I think that was sort of the final straw for Kennedy.
COOPER: We're going to have a lot more in this hour on the eve of the critical race for Republicans. We'll hear from Senator John McCain and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney weighing in on the State of the Union and the state of their campaigns next.
COOPER: The polls open in just a few hours; the increasingly bitter Florida Republican primary. Both candidates join us live tonight. Now let's hear a quick excerpt from Mitt Romney.
(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)
COOPER: In terms of politics on the campaign trail, things have gotten very heated obviously between you and Senator McCain, I want to listen to a little bit about what Senator McCain said about you on the campaign trail in Jacksonville, Florida. Let's listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MCCAIN: One thing I think we should really give Governor Romney credit for; he is consistent. He has consistently taken both sides of any major issue. He has consistently flip-flopped on every issue.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
That is the issue which many of your critics comment about you. They say that is the biggest problem they have with you that you have changed your position. Have you ever changed your position in a way that didn't help you at the polls?
MITT ROMNEY, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, absolutely. Of course anybody who doesn't learn from their life experience should be fired. They would be too stubborn to possibly consider for a position of leadership.
For instance in the past I was in favor of getting rid of the Department of Education. That's the way most conservatives feel. But I frankly conclude that it makes sense to have a Department of Education.
And there are other issues as well that are not terribly helpful to me. One is my health care plan. I know a lot of conservatives don't like it but I think it's the ultimate conservative answer. And I am happy to campaign on that.
I think it is too bad that Senator McCain is obviously so desperate in this last moment. He has campaigned for so long to be president that he levels the personal attacks. It has been an interesting week. He has gone after me personally one thing after the other.
And of course, Senator McCain, you know he was against the Bush tax cuts. Now he is for making them permanent. He was for McCain- Kennedy. Now he is for a new program for immigration. He has changed his view on issue after issue. He was against ethanol, then for it then against it again.
Everybody's got to learn from experience. And I don't begrudge him the fact he's had a change of heart on a number of issues. But at the same time I recognize that as an individual he is a man of character. I'm not going to attack him personally like he is doing. I just don't think that is an appropriate setting particularly in a primary.
(END VIDEO TAPE)
Well, attacks on all sides have gotten pretty personal no matter what the candidates are saying. Romney taking some shots also gaining some ground in some of the polls.
Let's see what our panel thinks. With me are CNN's John King, GOP strategist Amy Holmes, David Gergen, and Dan Schnur, a Republican strategist who was once a spokesman for John McCain.
Good to have you all with us.
Dan Schnur, as far as politics go, this has gotten personal on both sides.
DAN SCHNUR, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Well it has gotten personal, Anderson because the stakes have gotten so high. When we first jury- rigged together this primary calendar I don't think there was anybody who thought Florida was going to end up being the deciding factor in the nomination process.
But you can make a pretty big case that who ever is giving victory interviews tomorrow night is probably going to be the nominee come convention time this fall.
COOPER: And Amy Homes, for Rudy Giuliani who has invested so much time and money in Florida it has got to be a bizarre feeling these last few hours before the polls open?
AMY HOLMES, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: I would imagine that it is vertigo. That he knows that tomorrow could make or break his presidential ambitions. And you know this back and forth between McCain and Romney, Giuliani has to feel like he is left out here. They're not paying attention to him because they think that Florida is such a lost cause for Giuliani.
COOPER: David Gergen does Giuliani try to take the John Edwards' role when these two are squabbling or frankly does it not really matter what he tries to do at this point?
GERGEN: Well, he looks like he is trying to hold a coat sometimes doesn't it? But I think this is much, much bigger for Giuliani. This was a man who was the frontrunner for week after week after week. And traditionally, Anderson, the person who is the frontrunner in the Republican Party at the beginning of the year January 1 is the person who winds up, the guy who winds up with the nomination. That's been historically true for a long time.
Here was Rudy Giuliani way ahead. Stake everything. Now, terribly, he's made a terrible mistake staking everything on Florida. He is struggling to come in third in Florida right now coming according to the polls.
This is, tomorrow is a big and important. I think it may well knock Giuliani out of the race. As much as I like Dan Schnur, I do not agree that it will be decisive on the Republican nomination.
If Romney were to win tomorrow it's going to be competitive between Romney and McCain on February 5th.
COOPER: John King, in terms of money can John McCain compete with Mitt Romney moving forward?
KING: Well, that is the question of the moment, Anderson. John McCain does not have a lot of money and he has pumped most of what he has into Florida because Mitt Romney is advertising on television at historic levels for a presidential primary in the state of Florida. The McCain camp can't match it. But it has put quite a bit of money in trying to win Florida because that is the dynamic. They believe coming out of Florida you'll have a two man race - Romney and McCain.
The question is, if McCain has two wins in a row, South Carolina and Florida and that will have momentum going into the Super Tuesday states. So even if he is outspent he believes he can still do well.
Or does Mitt Romney win Florida and come out not only with a victory but with a checkbook and McCain then tries to win in big states like California, like New Jersey, like New York without the money to go on television.
That is why the McCain camp views Florida not as decisive but as a potential game changer going forward.
COOPER: Amy Holmes, can John McCain compete with Mitt Romney on the issue of the economy. John McCain earlier tonight said to me he is doing fine among conservatives. Is he?
HOLMES: Well, he can compete on the issue of economy if he keeps it focused on fiscal responsibility; cutting government spending. We know that in November of 2006 that Republicans got a stump and as George Bush put it in part because of government spending and that was John McCain's big platform.
When it comes to tax cuts Romney is on much firmer ground. John McCain voted against those Bush tax cuts. As we all know on this panel, Anderson, tax cuts are core issue for Republican and conservative voters.
So you have that seen each of them has tried to gain the ground that they're strongest on. I think they can go head-to-head depending on what is more important to the conservative voter.
COOPER: Up next we're going to hear from candidate John McCain himself.
And a little later, why the fight among front liners in both parties will not be over on Super Tuesday.
We'll be right back.
COOPER: And welcome back. Our political coverage continues; a very big political night; a very big political week to say the least. Ordinarily, Senator John McCain would have been sitting in the audience at tonight's State of the Union address. But on the eve of this crucial Republican primary in Florida he was watching from Tampa after a day of heavy campaigning. Some pretty rough shots from Mitt Romney including the allegation that he is not really a conservative. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)
MCCAIN: Their major concern is the transcendental threat of radical Islamic extremists and how to keep this nation safe. They know that Governor Romney wanted to set a timetable to get out of there when things were really going tough.
Look, he -- he ran millions of dollars in negative ads against Governor Huckabee, he has run them against me and they aren't going to succeed in Florida. And then people are going to be looking at his record as governor; very weak economy, jobs fleeing the state, loss of manufacturing jobs, $730 million in tax increases, and now they're saddled with the $245 million debt from his government mandated health care system.
So, look -- I'm giving my positive vision. There is a lot of people here in the state of Florida that reject this kind of attacks that he has been engaging in. And I'm confident that we are going to do well tomorrow. Though I think it will be close.
COOPER: You said that he wanted to set a timetable. There are a lot of folks who -- even those who support you -- say that is not the straight talk they're used to. I know you are referring to --
MCCAIN: It is absolutely straight talk. It is absolutely straight talk. It is --
COOPER: He gave a quote in April. He said --
MCCAIN: It is absolutely straight talk. Yeah. It is absolutely straight talk. He said he wanted to set a timetable. I read it many times I would be glad to read it again.
COOPER: Well, he said -- right here it says, "There's no question that the president and Prime Minister Al-Maliki have to have a series of timetables and milestones that they speak about. But those shouldn't be for public pronouncement."
I mean he is not saying --
MCCAIN: No, you have to read the rest of the quote.
COOPER: -- timetable for withdrawal.
MCCAIN: You have to read the rest of the quote where he says we are not going to tell the enemy when we are going to be gone. That is an important part of that quote. If you'd read it and it is obvious that he was ready for the timetables.
That was the toughest time; that's when the Democrats declared the war lost. That was when timetables were the buzzwords.
(END VIDEO TAPE)
COOPER: Back with our panel: CNN's John King, Amy Holmes, and David Gergen also with us Republican strategist Dan Schnur, former spokesman for John McCain.
Amy, is that straight talk? He does seem to be interpreting comments of Mitt Romney.
HOLMES: I agree with you. I don't think that straight-talking conservatives have told John McCain that is not straight talk. And what Romney was talking about, you could interpret that as political time tables and that it's a private discussion.
And that Romney was encouraging George Bush to play good cop/bad cop. That we're going to stay there and protect Iraq's move towards democracy and towards self governance. But some really tough decisions need to be made by the Iraq government.
I don't think John McCain is being candid. But clearly he must be getting a lot of traction to keep using it and repeating it over and over.
COOPER: Dan Schnur, do you believe it benefits John McCain to have the discussion be about Iraq and not on the economy as much?
SCHNUR: Of course it does. I will go back to the point that Amy was making before the commercial because I think she was absolutely right and just simplify it a little bit. If the debate is about Iraq, and about national security and about terrorism then John McCain is the Republican nominee for president. To the extent that it's about the economy and jobs and economic growth, it is Mitt Romney.
So the lengths that the two of them will go to to change the topic back to the area of strength is ultimately going to decide the outcome of the nomination process.
HOLMES: Yes, and something I would look to add to what Dan is saying. I completely agree with that is that as we know neither of the candidates is the ideal conservative.
You know Mitt Romney has the flip-flops on abortion. John McCain is 100% pro-life but he was against the tax cuts. So each one of them of course is trying to highlight those credentials that endear him to the conservative base of the party but both of them are on pretty shaky ground.
KING: Anderson, there are 1.7 million military veterans who live in the state of Florida. In South Carolina when McCain won a plurality, 25 percent of the Republican electorate on that day described themselves as military veterans.
The McCain calculation here is get the military and especially the veteran turnout up; get it up around 25 percent, hopefully a little higher in the McCain camp's view and he wins a very close race in Florida tomorrow night. If it is lower than that he loses a very close race in Florida tomorrow night. That's what this is about.
COOPER: And David Gergen, there is no doubt this goes through Super Tuesday. Does it go beyond Super Tuesday?
GERGEN: I think it does. If John McCain were to win Florida and I do think that that would help him enormously. More than it does if it helps Romney moving because it will help solidify his lead in California. He is doing very well in New York now against Rudy Giuliani. If he can take series of those big states, it will be gigantic strides for the nomination.
Don't think he wraps it up on February 5th. But you could see, Dan's earlier point, you can see a pathway for John McCain if he would win Florida tomorrow to really pile up the score.
On the other hand for Mitt Romney, you know if he wins tomorrow -- John McCain is still very strong in California. He may not have a lot of advertising money but he is well known. This is not exactly as if he has to introduce himself to a lot of people.
SCHNUR: Anderson, can I make a point just to follow-up on that? I think what John King said earlier about McCain and not only veterans but senior citizen voters are obviously a big factor in Florida could make the difference for him.
For Romney the key is Republican voters. And the reason I think Romney would come out of Florida as such a strong frontrunner for the nomination, if he does manage to win tomorrow is that if he does defeat McCain, McCain will have yet to win a Republican contest. He won South Carolina and New Hampshire both on the strength of his support from independent voters.
As we move into Super Tuesday with a lot of closed Republican primaries in New York and California and other states, at a certain point, John McCain needs to show that he can win a Republican vote.
HOLMES: And there is -- on top of that there is the money problem and the money issue for John McCain that winning South Carolina has not opened up the check books. He needs to win in Florida to be able to get some of those big donors and small donors as well to start sending him money.
COOPER: Amy Holmes, John King, David Gergen, Dan Schnur, appreciate your comments. Interesting discussion.
Just ahead, Erica Hill has the latest headlines including a deadly attack on American troops in Northern Iraq. They were on a mission to root out Islamic fighters loyal to Al-Qaeda.
Plus a middle of the night rescue on a frozen pond. I don't know if you have seen this video, it is remarkable. The victim had been in the freezing waters for nearly 30 minutes, trying to keep his head above water. Coming up - how a quick-thinking neighbor helps save this guy's life.
COOPER: More on tonight's State of the Union address ahead, as well as a look at the race for delegates. Who has got them now and why this year is different than anything we have seen in decades. First, Erica Hill joins us with a news update at "360 Bulletin".
ERICA HILL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Anderson. Five U.S. soldiers are dead killed by road side bombing in Mosul today. Now, the securities were in the area as part of an operation to rid out insurgents and al Qaeda loyalist. U.S. military that recently in Mosul is the only major Iraqi city that remains in al Qaeda stronghold.
At Tampa's International Airport, a rare look at an undercover test of airport security for CNN's Jeanne Meserve, but the result not exactly reassuring. The man there in the purple shirt is a TSA tester. He manages to slip past an airport screener with a fake bomb strapped to his back.
New home sales hoping the biggest drop on record, down 26 percent in 2007. Today's new report by the Census Bureau is the latest measure of the battered housing market.
And a rescue just in time. The Massachusetts man survives nearly 30 minutes in frigid water after he fell through the ice on a frozen pond yesterday. But a quick thinking neighbor grabbed his canoe, which firefighters then used to rescue the man. The man was released after being treated for hypothermia, Anderson.
COOPER: Unbelievable. Amazing that he could last for 30 minutes. Erica, thanks very much.
Up next back to politics and the scramble for delegates. Why the race for the Democrats may get even tighter after Super Tuesday. Same goes to the Republican in election year that has been full of surprises. We'll tell you why ahead on 360.
COOPER: Well, without a doubt, this is one of the most exciting and contentious presidential races the country has seen in a long time and it may well last beyond Super Tuesday as we've been talking about tonight. That's because the critical factor, the number of delegates maybe simply too close to call. CNN's Tom Foreman explains how it works.
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, if you want to be the Democratic nominee for president, you need just over 2,000 delegates to support you at the convention. And Obama has won the most so far through the primaries and caucuses. He has 63, Clinton has 48, and Edwards has 26. And that's why Super Tuesday matters so very much.
Almost 1,700 Democratic delegates will be divided on that day. And it's tricky, because depending on local rules, strange things can happen. The candidate that wins a state may not win the most delegates from that state. For example, Clinton won the statewide popular vote in Nevada by capturing a few heavily populated urban areas like Las Vegas. But Obama did better in a good number of rural areas throughout the state so he actually got one more delegate than she did. But don't feel bad about that.
The Democrats also have something called Super Delegates. These are party leaders who vote at the conventions and right now, even though Obama has actually won more delegates nationally, Clinton has more support from these super delegates. So she is winning the overall delegate race. It's terribly confusing and it is much more straight forward on the Republican side.
They have fewer delegates and you need about 1,200 to be nominated. Romney is leading there. He has got 67, McCain has 38, and Huckabee 26. And the rest trail behind them. But they're also scrapping it out district by district for approximately 1,000 Super Tuesday delegates. Knowing that in a race this tight, the wrong move in the wrong place can cost you delegates and that can cost you the nomination.
COOPER: Tom, thanks. For Republicans, the nomination of course could rest on what happens tomorrow in Florida as we talk about. The latest poll, poll shows a statistical dead heat between John McCain and Mitt Romney. Rudy Giuliani spent most of his time and money in the state as a distant third. Let's bring back our panel, John King, Gloria Borger, and Jeffrey Toobin. Also with us tonight, CNN's senior political analyst Bill Schneider.
Bill, in terms of these polls, how consistent have they been? How long has it been this close for in terms of Florida?
BILL SCHNEIDER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, in Florida things have gotten very close, very quickly. You know, I see the certain similarity between the campaign polls this year and the stock market. You watch those numbers too closely, you're going to get whiplash.
What we have seen in Florida is a real closing up. Giuliani has tumbled in Florida. McCain and Romney are now neck and neck. If McCain wins Florida, it will show the strength in the Republican base because only registered Republicans can vote in the Republican primary.
COOPER: And what does it look like in the rest of the country in terms of the polls?
SCHNEIDER: Well, the biggest state is Super Tuesday. In California, we have also seen a lot of motion. Right now, two candidates, two Republican candidates have made significant gains. John McCain has nearly doubled his support in California over the last two weeks.
And Romney has picked up, you see here, about ten points. But the system for winning delegates could help Romney because you have a separate contest and every one of California's 53 congressional districts, some of them with 300,000 Republican voters, some with 30,000 Republican voters. They all get the same number of delegates. And Romney is the only Republican who has the resources to compete in all 53 districts.
COOPER: And John King, how does this -- state-by-state, precinct-by-precinct, literally, this fight for delegates, how does it change campaign strategy?
KING: Well, the congressional district point that Bill just made, it changes significantly in states where it is decided by congressional district. You now send your surrogates in or you can advertise in a small market in the middle of the state in California. Maybe in the Fresno market, trying to get a congressional district, even though you can't afford television advertising in Los Angeles.
So you have to look at your state. You have to pick, some states are winner-take-all. The candidates try to amass delegates pass. Look for winner-take-all states, but you can come at it from different approaches. And again as Bill just said, it can put a premium on resources which is why McCain needs that momentum coming out of Florida. Because if Romney has it, he also has more money than McCain. Money will come in to McCain but not fast enough.
COOPER: Gloria -- I'm sorry. Go ahead. JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: There's a real difference between the Democratic and Republican rules. And I think it very much favors McCain. The Democrats work in a system of proportional representation. If you win 40 percent of the vote, you are going to get about 40 percent of the delegates, in every state just about as Democrats.
Republicans are different. There are more winner-take-all primaries. If you win primaries, do a little better than your opponent, you will generally do a lot better in the delegates. So in Super Tuesday, McCain is ahead in almost every state. If he wins every state, even by a small margin, he will take a very big delegate lead. So I think, in a Super Tuesday really could end the Republican race where it really can't end the Democrats.
COOPER: And Gloria, on Super Tuesday, you got 20 states up for grabs. I mean, the whole idea of town hall meetings, retail politics, that's kind of gone when you have that many states in play. Money obviously becomes the crucial element.
BORGER: Yes. You know, in a way the retail politics is gone, because you have to spend millions and millions of dollars advertising. But in another sense, Anderson, this gives micro- targeting a new name. Because you got to not only get down to the congressional district level on the Democratic side, but for example, say there is a district that has three delegates, they're going to pay more attention to it because it can't be a tie. And you could possibly win one more delegate than the other fellow.
So there are folks in these campaigns now going over these voter registration rolls, going over these congressional districts, cherry picking where they maybe ought to send Ted Kennedy because he could win one more delegate for them. I mean, it's really, really micromanaging an election.
COOPER: Bill, what do the polls look like for Democrats in California?
SCHNEIDER: Well, our polling shows that nothing much changed. But our poll was done before the South Carolina primary and before the Kennedy endorsement. Here you can see, it shows Clinton with a big lead.
The race is actually tied among white voters in California. African- Americans are heavily for Obama, but they're outnumbered by Latino voters who are giving Clinton her lead. And that is where Ted Kennedy might help Obama cut into the Latino vote.
COOPER: And John King, the super delegates more, they right now support Senator Clinton than Obama, but they're not committed to supporting her throughout the whole thing. I mean, will something like Ted Kennedy endorsing Obama, will that sway super delegates?
KING: That is a key question? Will he personally help lobby some people to come over? To those Clinton in California, just there, that has always been Bill Clinton's strongest state. The state of California. It held Bill Clinton up when his ratings were dropping out of places. So it is a very strong state for Senator Clinton as well.
But in case to super delegates, Hillary Clinton does have a lead right now. They're not committed to the very end. There are still a significant number of Democrats still out there at play and that will become. Bill Clinton between events, Anderson, his driving from event A to event B. He makes phone calls to members of Congress and other super delegates, saying come on board I need you to work for Hillary. So this lobbying is furious. It's just great that Senator Kennedy can help, he certainly will.
COOPER: Do any of the super delegates ever record those phone conversations? It would be fascinating to hear.
BORGER: But we have given them some tape recorders and told them we would like them to do it. But you know, they are really fickle. They're going to go with who they think is going to win.
KING: Absolutely. Those are super delegates.
TOOBIN: They are the opposite of profiles in courage.
TOOBIN: They will do whatever it takes to be with the winner at the end. So the fact that Hillary Clinton has the lead among them now, I don't think counts.
BORGER: And by the way, I think these polls are all fungible, too, right now, Anderson. I think that, you know, we have learned a lot about polls in this election, but all this statewide polls we're seeing could just change in an instant.
SCHNEIDER: But there is something unusual happening. We're seeing Barack Obama put together a coalition we haven't seen before. He is getting young, more independent, better educated voters. The same way Gary Hart and Paul Tsongas, and Bill Bradley and Howard Dean did, but they didn't get many black votes. He is putting that together with the black vote and that's a powerful new coalition.
COOPER: Bill Schneider, appreciate your comments. Gloria Borger, Jeff Toobin and John King as well, thanks.
Next on the special edition of 360, more on the showdown in Florida up close.
COOPER: Polls in Florida open at 7:00 a.m. There are no delegates on the line for the Democrats. This contest is all about Republicans. And they have been campaigning as if everything is at stake and a lot of them, it may be. More now from CNN's Dana Bash.
KENNEDY: I feel change in the air.
SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): You cannot overstate the power of this picture. Whatever way Barack Obama's campaign goes, this will be a similar moment.
KENNEDY: I am proud to stand with him here today and offer my help, offer my voice, offer my energy, my commitment, to make Barack Obama the next president of the United States.
MALVEAUX: Known as the lion of the senate, the keeper of the flame, Democratic icon Senator Ted Kennedy was fully on board.
BARACK OBAMA, (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The Kennedy Family, more than any other, has always stood for what's best about the Democratic Party and what is best about America.
MALVEAUX: Kennedy's endorsement was part praise for Obama and part swipe at both Clintons. All in weeks of ugly politicking which many blame the former first couple for crossing the line.
KENNEDY: Let us reject the counsels of doubt in calculation.
MALVEAUX: I sat down with Obama to ask him what the endorsement meant for him.
OBAMA: I don't think this was an endorsement against anybody. I think that Senator Kennedy felt that I was tapping into a spirit in this country of thinking big, dreaming big, trying to bring the American people together, trying to get young people reengaged in the process of remaking this country and I think that that excited him and I am extraordinarily humbled and thrilled to have his support.
MALVEAUX (on-camera): The hope is Kennedy's endorsement will give Obama that kind of gravitas he needs with the Democratic establishment. Kennedy also has a very strong relationship with Latino community, which Obama will lean on going into Super Tuesday. Suzanne Malveaux, CNN, Washington.
COOPER: Obviously, that was not Dana Bash. I apologize for that. We'll be back for the panel next.
COOPER: More now on tomorrow's primary in Florida. Crucial race of course for the Republicans, with me again are CNN's John King, Amy Holmes and David Gergen.
John King, tomorrow, I don't want to ask for your prediction, I guess, because frankly nobody knows and it's a recipe for disaster. But what are the things people at home should be looking for as results come in tomorrow?
KING: This a year, Anderson, that even if I had a prediction I would just put it away and file it. Things to look for is turnout. This is one of the strange states where we have all talked about. Can John McCain get conservative votes? People I talked to in Florida say if turnout is high that actually benefits John McCain because they believe that means more moderates are turning out, not just the conservative base of the party.
There are some key cities to look at, go from Jacksonville, across north Florida to the Panhandle. We have conservatives who live there. The evangelical base is in those areas, just south of the Georgia and Alabama borders, and also large military communities. That is a critical battleground. Huckabee, McCain and Romney fighting it out there.
And then can McCain cut into the Rudy Giuliani support in south Florida. We have the northern transplants where moderate Republican voters. Those are the keys for John McCain. It's a fascinating state. The most diverse state the presidential campaign has visited so far.
COOPER: And David Gergen, if Rudy Giuliani obviously does not win tomorrow. If he does not win tomorrow, does he get out tomorrow? Does he wait until Super Tuesday?
GERGEN: Well, he has to make that choice. I think he will be well-advised to withdraw and not lose New York. I mean, that would be a humiliation if he were to go down in New York to say John McCain if that were to happen.
But you know the other thing, Anderson, about tomorrow, what we should not be looking for, just spending a lot of time talking about how it comes out on the Democratic side. There's been a sudden, in the last 48 hours, it was like because after the Clintons lost in South Carolina, they suddenly said, Florida matters. And she is going to go in there tomorrow night after the voting occurs for what looks like a victory rally.
But you know, they agreed a long time ago. They weren't going to campaign there as a beauty contest, all sorts of reasons why that's true. And so now, to turn around and say what really does matter. You know, I think that's one, the press, it a lot depends on how the press plays it. But it doesn't seem to me it matters very much after they agreed it doesn't matter.
COOPER: John King does it seem, feel like the press is going to buy into that or are they going to kind of talk about it for what it is?
KING: We'll see where we are just time tomorrow night. There is no question, David, is dead right. It is a stunt by Hillary Clinton to go to Florida tomorrow night. But it is an important stunt in a sense that she is hoping to change the psychology of the race heading into Super Tuesday. She believes she will win Florida. She believes she will win it by a decent margin. And so she wants to say, well the people of Florida may not get delegates, this is a big, a critical state in the general election and I have just won a big victory tonight. That will be her message if she wins in Florida. And the question is, will we portray it that way or will we say this is a state where nobody else campaigned, where she had establishment support and went down and made a big speech. It is an interesting question because voters don't follow it as closely as we do. We know the delegates don't count. We know, it is a fake contest, a beauty contest, a symbolic contest, call it what you will. But do the voters across the country, who will see a headline, Clinton beats Obama in Florida. I don't know.
HOLMES: And you know, Anderson, given all that, I can make a prediction. I don't think we will be paying a lot of attention it. I think we're going to be paying attention to Republicans. And an answer to your question about Rudy Giuliani, you know, he said something -- he laid down a real marker and he was just quoted as saying that who ever wins Florida, wins the nomination. And he is saying this when he looks at polls showing him coming in third.
You know, I've just got on a human note, on a personal note, we talked about it a little bit earlier. You know, what's going in tomorrow? You look at this politics is such a tough business that any event can get a good night sleep before the polls open at 7:00 a.m. is amazing. I toss and turn after, you know, like a big date, given let alone trying to run for president of the United States. So, I really admire these guys.
COOPER: And how is Bill Clinton being used now, John King. I haven't been following today what's been happening. I mean -- is he still out there on the trail, saying the same kind of stuff he has been saying?
KING: Well, we were talking a bit earlier. We got a schedule update from the Hillary Clinton campaign about Bill Clinton's travel schedule. He is in Illinois. He has a busy travel schedule. We are told, though, to look for him to stay much more on a positive message talking about her policy agenda. How he believes she is better to govern than Obama.
Don't look for anymore comparisons of Barack Obama to Jessie Jackson -- any language like that. We are told that inside the campaign, they realize that he can be an important asset, but he needs to be more careful in what he says.
COOPER: Yes. Well, we'll see what happens. David Gergen, John King, Amy Holmes, thanks. More next, we're going to show you where the GOP candidates are going to be fighting it out later this week when 360 continues.
COOPER: We're looking at time lap photos shot by CNN photographer, Ted Rooter (ph) at the set being built at the Reagan Library for Wednesday night's GOP debate. Pretty cool there. I'm in L.A. to host that debate. The candidates will face off at 8:00 p.m. Eastern.
Wolf Blitzer is going to host the Democrats, the day after, on the 31st. These of course the final debates before Super Tuesday. Hope you watch. And that does it for this special edition of 360. Thanks for joining us.
An encore presentation of the State of the Union address starts right now.
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