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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL

Super Tuesday Coverage: Western States

Aired February 6, 2008 - 00:00   ET

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


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Barack Obama speaking to his supporters in Chicago. "Yes, we can." That's become his familiar refrain in addition to the theme of change. He scored several impressive victories tonight. You can see them right up here on the screen. Alabama, Delaware, Utah, Idaho, Kansas, North Dakota, Minnesota, Connecticut, Colorado.
We're also ready to make another projection right now.

Another win on the Republican side for Mike Huckabee. Tennessee, the former Arkansas governor will carry Tennessee, an important win for Mike Huckabee. He's been doing very, very well in his native south. Fifty-two delegates at stake in Tennessee. Another win for Mike Huckabee.

Lou Dobbs, you've got to give Mike Huckabee a lot of credit.

LOU DOBBS, CNN ANCHOR: Oh, absolutely.

BLITZER: He's done this without the staff, without the money that some of his rivals have had.

DOBBS: You're exactly right. And for Huckabee to be the other Republican we're talking about tonight rather than Mitt Romney is certainly one of the headlines of this, as Senator Barack Obama put it, super-duper Tuesday. Huckabee has to be thrilled. His campaign has to be thrilled.

Senator McCain is probably not thrilled because he wanted to walk out as the -- with a mantel of the presumptive nominee. I think that's been denied him.

BLITZER: This race continues on the Republican side, as it will on the Democratic side. Remember, we're still waiting for the super- duper state of California to come in...

DOBBS: Super-duper.

BLITZER: That could really color what's going to happen next.

DOBBS: Absolutely. Gloria?

GLORIA BORGER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, you know, I think we have to wait until California comes in to see whether McCain does become the presumptive nominee. All of these wins are very, very impressive for Mike Huckabee. But he may just be that regional candidate that we thought he was. And we just don't know. And I think that he's done really well. Some of us were joking that maybe a McCain-Huckabee ticket would be in the offing, and then my friend Bill Bennett reminded me that Huckabee is not conservative enough for a lot of conservatives. So that perhaps he would not be a good bet to put on the ticket for me.

DOBBS: Let's turn to Jamal Simmons who has been patiently waiting throughout all of these speeches. Senator Obama was not -- he did not give a speech of celebration tonight. All he gave a speech of exhortation to his supporters and it was -- it looks like he took advantage of some relatively inexpensive airtime tonight.

JAMAL SIMMONS, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Well, you know, he's got a couple of big contest coming up, Louisiana is going to be big, and then they go into Washington, D.C., Maryland, Virginia. So he's got a good stretch of contests that are coming up. I think what we saw today is Barack Obama won all over the country. He won in the south, he won Connecticut, Colorado, North Dakota, and he won in states that Democrats have to do well in, not just in states that are traditionally blue states.

Senator Clinton did very well in some of the big states but if Democrats don't win New York and Democrats don't win Massachusetts, then we got much bigger problems than we do -- what running in Colorado and North Dakota and some of these other places the Democrats can do well.

And don't forget, Barack Obama raised $32 million in January. Hillary Clinton raised about $13.5 million. So a lot of more money that he's going to have to campaign in his upcoming states. He's going to do very well.

DOBBS: Paul Begala, all the talk going into this was the Obama momentum. All of the talk was Hillary Clinton on the defensive. We're looking at what looks like right now, you know, a split decision. What's your reaction?

PAUL BEGALA, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Right. And in fact, you know, who knows how the delegates go.

DOBBS: Right.

BEGALA: I think California will determine that. And Missouri is still out. But, you know, I think the exit polls have probably undercounted Hillary's supporters so much and frankly the coverage and the commentary did.

DOBBS: Right.

BEGALA: Why? Because the big divide in my party, bigger than race, is class. And if you look at the exit polling, how people voted by income group, Hillary Clinton carried everybody who makes less than $50,000 a year. Barack Obama carried everybody who makes more than $50,000. Well, guess what? The people who are reporting on this race they all make more than $50,000 a year. They don't know anybody who makes less than $50,000 a year except you and me.

(CROSSTALK)

BEGALA: But this is...

DOBBS: I think that is a powerful point that you're making because the issue of income, people forget in this country, just about half of the income earners are making $35,000 or less in this country so that...

BEGALA: But listen to what Barack said tonight, very smart. He spoke about his experience as a community organizer working with poor people. The income demographic that Hillary did best with were the poorest Americans. People who make less than $15,000 a year. The income group, cohort that Barack did best with, people making $150,000 to $200,000. So Barack gets the message from the exit polling here. He wants to get back to his roots as a community organizer, poor folks. But Hillary is going to try to beat him there. And she's already ahead there.

CARL BERNSTEIN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: He also wants the Edwards folks. And perhaps, the Edwards nod from the candidate himself. And part of that speech was about that on top of which he very carefully delineated the politics that he wants to enunciate, make her look like the candidate of the past, almost a machine politician, the old Clintons.

DOBBS: What was your reaction to her speech tonight? Because again, it wasn't a victory speech.

BERNSTEIN: Stump speech.

DOBBS: I thought it was remarkably, if you'll forgive the expression, wonkish.

BERNSTEIN: No. Stump is stump speech. The same thing she's been saying out there pretty much every day. And he's laid out where he wants to go now. Look, this is going to be a war. And Begala...

SIMMONS: Exactly.

BERNSTEIN: No, Begala's been there. And this is where...

SIMMONS: Yes, it's been more civil than a war.

BERNSTEIN: Well, this is going somewhere though. Now we're going into the trenches. We're going to try and fight over Florida and Michigan and that's going to race holy hell among the Obama folks.

SIMMONS: This is a war on both sides. There's been no (INAUDIBLE) created. I mean nobody has dominated anybody else both on the Republican side and the Democratic side. What we've seen is a really spirited contest. And I know we're not giving Huckabee a lot of credit here, but the Huck is back. I mean I think he really has put up a (INAUDIBLE) back in this race.

(CROSSTALK)

DOBBS: Ari Fleischer, who's joined us, former White House press secretary.

(CROSSTALK)

(LAUGHTER)

DOBBS: And you've got an interesting contest to watch here. This was supposed to be the presumptive nominee night for Senator John McCain. What is it?

ARI FLEISCHER, FORMER WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Well, I wasn't sure it was the presumptive night. This was the night I think you could safely say he was trying to pull ahead, and it didn't happen.

What you have is a mess in both parties. Everybody is saying February 5th, the big states, everybody going one day, it's going to be over. Well, guess what? It's going to continue for both parties, which is just an amazing fact to think of.

But the strength here for Republicans is really watching two heavyweights fight and punch each other out on the Democrat side. And that is in a tough environment, bad year for Republicans, a ray of hope that Republicans have as Hillary and Barack go at each other.

I think the Republican race will still get settled before the Democrat does.

DOBBS: Now, you called...

BERNSTEIN: Which of the two is the better candidate against you guys?

FLEISCHER: Well, there is no question about it. Republicans want to, and we pray every night to run against Hillary Clinton.

BERNSTEIN: That's what Obama was talking about in his speech tonight.

DOBBS: You called this -- you called this a mess.

FLEISCHER: Yes.

DOBBS: And I have to tell you that I'm going to bet you that most folks in this country right now are saying, this is a splendid mess because we're going to see a political process in which we might actually see what's supposed to happen in a national campaign, a presidential campaign. That is, the creation of a national consensus around divisive issues, so we can move forward.

(CROSSTALK)

FLEISCHER: What this campaign is showing, too, Huckabee is showing it, is money doesn't count for what it used to count for. Mitt Romney has all the money and not enough of the votes. Mike Huckabee has virtually no money and he's getting votes. It's a very interesting new dynamic. A splendid mess, Lou, is a great way to put it.

DOBBS: I'm, frankly, getting excited about it, because we're hearing candidates...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're going to be here for a good while.

DOBBS: Well, that's great, because the American people are going to be here for a very long time.

BERNSTEIN: But one thing to keep in mind about these two Democrats is how much they don't like each other. That's what's underneath this thing.

BEGALA: You know, as my late Hungarian grandma would say, (speaking in foreign language), which is Hungarian for dog's blood, which is a different animal sort of metaphor. We've been using in Texas something different. That's baloney.

BERNSTEIN: No, it's not baloney.

BEGALA: This campaign has never, on the Democratic side, has yet to see its first negative TV commercial. OK? When I do campaigns, we run the first ad before the filing deadline. Neither Barack nor Hillary has attacked each other on television once yet. This is extraordinary. So look at the debate that Wolf moderator.

DOBBS: Is this a precursor of things...

BEGALA: They talked about issues the whole time. It was wonderful and civil and uplifting. This wasn't nasty. They don't hate each other.

DOBBS: This is a sweetheart deal.

(CROSSTALK)

DOBBS: Have you talked to your best friends over there?

BEGALA: I have friends on all sides of this.

SIMMONS: I think because the Democrats are doing a very historic and breathtaking, groundbreaking thing right now, we're going to pick either a woman or an African-American to be president. And one of the things that's happening is people around the country are having a chance to sign off on the choice. But nobody's going to be able to say anyone was round down their throat, they didn't have a say. People in America are going to be able to choose which one they want and that will be their nominee.

DOBBS: You're excited about it?

SIMMONS: I'm excited.

DOBBS: All right. Because I think most Americans -- this is my guess. Most Americans right now are thrilled with what they've seen transpire here. Now we're going to see the issues unfold, we certainly hope. If we in the national media and in pundit land do our jobs as we should.

Let's go over to my colleague Wolf Blitzer. We have another CNN projection. Wolf?

BLITZER: CNN projects that Hillary Clinton will carry the state of Arizona. Hillary Clinton, the winner in Arizona. Arizona states with 67 delegates at stake, 11 of those delegates, super delegates as they're called, 56 delegates to be determined proportionately today.

But in the popular vote, Hillary Clinton will win in Arizona. Let's take a look at the numbers that are coming in. Sixty-three percent of the precincts have now reported. Hillary Clinton with 51 percent to Barack Obama's 41 percent, 153,000 for Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, 124,000 or so. Hillary Clinton will carry the state of Arizona. Another win for the New York senator.

Let's take a look at what's happening in Missouri right now. Incredibly, incredibly close on both sides. On the Democratic side right now, almost all the precincts have reported. 98 percent, a slight edge for Barack Obama, 49 percent to 48 percent for Hillary Clinton. If we zoom in on the actual numbers, you can see how tight this race in Missouri is, 391,470 for Barack Obama, 386,544 for Hillary Clinton. The total of 88 delegates at stake.

On the Democratic side, there will be huge bragging rights for the senator who carries this state, but in the delegates, they'll divide up the delegates because of the congressional district proportionate representation.

Look at what's happening on the Republican side right now. Ninety-eight percent of the precincts have reported. John McCain with a slight lead over Mike Huckabee, 33 to 32 percent. Mitt Romney, not all that far behind with 29 percent. But this has been a two-man race now for some time, 190,218 for McCain, 182,733 for Huckabee, 168,246 for Romney.

A very, very tight race. It's much more important for the Republican contest right now because Missouri is one of those winner- take-all states. Missouri, very, very close right now. We're going to wait and see how that state unfolds.

California closed its polls a little bit more than an hour or so ago. Fifteen percent of the precincts have reported on the Democratic side. Hillary Clinton with an edge, 55 percent to 33 percent for Barack Obama. Let's zoom in on the numbers that have been reported so far in California. Hillary Clinton has that lead. So far she has about 641,500 votes to Barack Obama's 381,000 votes. Fifteen percent, though, of the precincts still a while to go. We're still saying based on our exit polls this is still a competitive race.

It's competitive on the Republican side based on our exit polls as well. But with 15 percent of the precincts, McCain has a nice lead over Romney, 44 percent to 25 percent. Huckabee, a distant third at 12 percent. Let's zoom in on the actual numbers in California. So far McCain has 422,835 to Romney's 238,000 or so, 111,000 for Mike Huckabee.

You can get all the latest numbers, by the way, in real time, CNNpolitics.com, that's where you can go. You can see state by state. There's still the undecided states, county by county. CNNpolitics.com.

We have a lot more coverage coming up from the CNN Election Center. We're going to go out to California as well. Larry King is standing by to join our coverage. Stay with us. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: We're still awaiting the big results out in California right now. California, the huge prize for the Democrats and the Republicans. The competition there intense. We're still also waiting for the results in Missouri. That is a very, very competitive race. We've been watching McCain and Huckabee in Missouri, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama in Missouri. We're standing by for that. Still some uncertainty.

We have extensive coverage still to come here from CNN center. We're watching all of this unfold with the best political team on television, Bill Schneider and Soledad O'Brien. They're getting ready to share the latest exit poll numbers with us. They're coming up.

John King is looking at what's happening in the state of Missouri and in California. Right now we're getting new information as more and more of these details come in. Anderson cooper has got the best political team on television watching all of this. They have been busy all night, the analysts that are sharing their assessment what's going on. Larry King is also out in California watching all of this.

Larry, I don't know about you, but this has been an exciting, thrilling night for all of us who are political news junkies. And I know you are as well.

LARRY KING, HOST, "LARRY KING LIVE": You're not kidding, Wolf. This has been an amazing day of coverage on CNN's part and will continue to be throughout the night and in it tomorrow we're going to have more programming tomorrow night when we're back at our regularly schedule time. It's been an incredible evening. If I had to pick -- if something would jump out at you, Wolf, would it be Huckabee?

BLITZER: Yes, I think Huckabee has really emerged as a surprise tonight. He's done remarkably well for a guy who's got limited resources. That's been a very impressive ability for him to stay in this race. He says he's staying in. And you know what's surprising is it looks like these three-man race on the Republican side will continue, Larry, and the two-person race on the Democratic side, it continues, meaning we're going to be working Saturday, we're going to be working next Tuesday, probably the following Tuesday. We got a lot of work ahead of us.

L. KING: Yes, but we love it, Wolf. Can I -- let me ask Ari Fleischer a question. How, Ari, do you explain this Huckabee showing? FLEISCHER: Well, it's evangelical votes. It's really the conservative base of the Republican Party in the south and they identify much more with Mike Huckabee. It's still a sign of John McCain's problems with conservatives. That, too, shows his frustration among Republican rank-and-file with none of the above. It's still a problem John McCain is going to have to overcome if he becomes the nominee which still looks likely he just has to hang in there longer.

L. KING: All right. David Gergen is our friend from Illinois. Is that going to go down to the wire with Hillary?

DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: I think it's gotten a lot closer tonight than it looked like about three hours ago. Right now, Larry, Barack Obama has a lot of bragging rights coming out of this. He's -- there are 22 states up for grabs tonight. He's already won 11 of them. He seems to be closing in on Missouri which would be 12. He's behind in California but he might well pick up Alaska and New Mexico.

He could come up with as many as 14 states tonight. And while he probably will be a little bit behind on delegates that gives him a lot of bragging rights coming out of today.

L. KING: John King, no one covers this more thoroughly than you. What has surprised you the most?

JOHN KING, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Larry, the Huckabee is very interesting. We're looking at state of Missouri right now. I mean, Huckabee, the fiercely fought thing, the thing that has surprised me most, Larry, if you look at the entire map, though, is that Mitt Romney said this was going to be the night where he proved that he was the conservative alternative to John McCain.

And if you look at some of these Republican races, let's switch over to Republicans in Georgia, Mitt Romney only winning up here in the Atlanta area and the suburbs. Move over to Alabama, Mitt Romney not showing up on the map at all. And we shrink, come on down over here. Tennessee. Mitt Romney winning only in the Nashville area. So if you're Mitt Romney and you're tying to make the case you're the conservative alternative, you're having a hard time proving it tonight.

Arkansas, of course, Governor Huckabee's home state. This state, Larry, we're still watching to the very end. This is Missouri, 98 percent, and Senator McCain has pulled ahead. It is very close but he's pulled ahead because as the votes come in where the people are, in the St. Louis area, especially out here in St. Louis County, he has passed Governor Huckabee.

But again, if you're trying to say you're the conservative alternative to John McCain, the conservative alternative to John McCain in Missouri, and Georgia and Alabama tonight was Mike Huckabee, not Mitt Romney.

L. KING: Ed Schultz in Fargo, North Dakota, our prominent talk show host on the left, what has surprised you tonight?

ED SCHULTZ, HOST, "ED SCHULTZ SHOW": You know, Larry, what really I think jumps out at everybody on the Democratic side is the man that was not there tonight, John Edwards. It's very apparent to me anyway that a lot of his supporters went to Barack Obama. Barack Obama won in rural America tonight. He won in sections of the country that are probably the least diverse when it comes to cultural diversity. When you look at Utah, in Kansas, in Idaho, in North Dakota, he was strong in the caucus states. He won two southern states again tonight and Georgia and Alabama.

It's very apparent to me that John Edwards being out of the race that power shifted over with Barack Obama. Big shot in the arm for the Obama camp.

L. KING: All right. Ed, hold it right there. We have an important -- we have a couple of important projections in the state I'm in, California.

Wolf, what's up?

BLITZER: CNN can now project that Hillary Clinton will carry the state of California and John McCain will carry the state of California on the Republican side. Two huge victories for John McCain and for Hillary Clinton, and the biggest state in the union, the biggest prize in the union. The contest there -- clearly going in the favor of Hillary Clinton and John McCain.

Disappointments clearly for Barack Obama. He hoped to do better in California. It was always a long shot for him. But he worked aggressively there in recent weeks. Hillary Clinton only weeks ago was way ahead in California. That gap had narrowed, though, in recent weeks. But Hillary Clinton manages to score an important victory in California.

John McCain, there had been some narrowing in the polls out there. Mitt Romney was doing very well in some of the polls. But John McCain, emerging as the winner in California. Four hundred and forty-one delegates at stake for the Democrats in California. They'll be divided proportionately according to those congressional districts. The same basically in California for Republicans. It's not winner- take-all in California for the Republicans. A more complicated process. 173 delegates.

We have another projection ready to go right now.

In Missouri, a huge win, huge for John McCain. We can't over exaggerate how significant this is because 58 delegates are at stake in Missouri and the winner takes all. This is not divided up. Narrowly defeating, narrowly defeating Mike Huckabee in Missouri. But John McCain, CNN now projects will carry Missouri and it will be an important bellwether, an important bounce for him between California and Missouri.

John McCain scores two incredibly important victories on this super Tuesday. No doubt, he is smiling all over. No doubt his supporters are smiling. He doesn't have it wrapped up yet. Mitt Romney still in this race. Mike Huckabee still in this race. There is still a contest on the Democratic side. But important wins. Important wins for Hillary Clinton in California and John McCain in California and Missouri.

Let's go back to L.A. and Larry King.

L. KING: Thanks, Wolf. Let's go to Dana Bash at McCain headquarters in Phoenix, Arizona.

What's your read on this victory for the senator in California?

DANA BASH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's huge, Larry. Normally -- I am here at McCain headquarters in Phoenix, Arizona. Normally you would see this place absolutely erupting. But of course, John McCain has already come out and he's already declared himself even before these big wins in Missouri and California. He declared himself the frontrunner which, until now he has been reluctant to do. He's been reluctant to use that F word, frontrunner.

But I just spoke with Senator McCain's, one of his top aides here, Steve Schmidt who said that he called this a victory of immense proportions pointing out that John McCain has tonight won some of the biggest states from coast-to-coast, from New York, now Missouri, and of course, to California. And you know, he is making the point -- the second thing that they are saying here in the McCain campaign is the need already to unite the party. You heard John McCain talk about that tonight here. He is going to be talking about that nonstop as they go forward.

But one other note, you know, we've talked a lot about animosity between the McCain campaign and the Mitt Romney campaign. Well, Larry, another thing that Steve Schmidt, one of John McCain's top advisers said tonight, Mitt Romney has got a lot of thinking to do. He said it was a debacle for him tonight and he said if Mitt Romney were to be a ship he would be the "Titanic" -- Larry?

L. KING: Thanks, Dana.

John King, how is this going to break down tomorrow with delegates? And that's the most important thing that counts. The people who will vote when they come to Denver and St. Paul? How is it going to break down tomorrow?

J. KING: Well, Larry, we could show you a rough estimate and I emphasize "rough estimate" because, in most of the states, especially the Democratic states, where it's done proportionally, you have to see the final results, you have to go through the congressional districts. But let's look at something.

At the beginning of the night on the Republican side looked like this. This is the finish line. This is where you need to get to clinch the nomination. The beginning of the night was roughly this. So you see Romney and McCain about tied, Huckabee a little behind. So this is where we start the night. Now if we move this out and we come out here now. Look what happens. Again, it's a rough projection. We need to go through the states. But look at what happens. We started about here. John McCain is now, Larry, way out here. Now that only gets him halfway. And we still have to learn about California. But he's here. The other guys are back here.

And the Romney campaign before the night, Romney campaign said to be viable, they thought they needed to be over 400 by the end of the night to keep up with John McCain. More to go. The states could be Romney states, 340. Again rough estimates. Say that again and again. Some states are proportional. Need the final results by congressional district.

Larry, see there? John McCain moved the ball. I'll show it to you one more time. If we get out of the telestrator and come back. We go back to the start of the night. We're way back there. We come back to roughly, emphasis on roughly, where we are now. John McCain is way out here. A lot of progress. That only gets him to about the halfway point. There is more to go. As you can see he is using the front-runner word Dana talked about and he is pulling away.

This will change a little bit. I want to emphasize when we go through the Congressional districts, Georgia is a proportional state, and California. We have to see the congressional maps there. The results are early. We project McCain the winner. So a lot of work to do. That is a rough estimate on the gains McCain made on the Republican side.

L. KING: Gloria Borger, CNN senior political analyst, if we were to look at a loser tonight, would it have to be Romney?

BORGER: I think it would be Romney. When you look at the history of the campaign with Romney writing his campaign so many large checks, millions and millions of dollars and being a national front- runner at one point, seeming to have momentum, so far at the end of tonight we can say Romney has not won a primary outside of one of his so-called home states -- Utah, Massachusetts, and Michigan.

And so, you know this is not a great showing for Mitt Romney. Obviously Huckabee has upstaged him. Huckabee upstaged him in the south. Huckabee upstaged him in every way. That of course has been very good for John McCain. He has been the beneficiary of it. We can say tonight that John McCain is the presumptive nominee of the Republican Party.

KING: Ari Fleischer, is Mr. Huckabee the vice presidential nominee?

FLEISCHER: I wouldn't try to get into the guessing game. I think it is way too early for anybody to say that. That will be an individual decision who ever the front-runner, nominee will be has to make. Too early to say that.

I do think that -- for Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee if somebody is going to defeat John McCain one of the two has to get out. Otherwise it's a battle of attrition that John McCain wins. And Republican hierarchy will prefer to have this quicker, sooner and that way John McCain can mend fences with conservatives if he is the nominee, while Hillary and Barack Obama fight it out.

ROLAND MARTIN, POLITICAL ANALYST: Larry?

KING: Yeah?

MARTIN: Roland Martin here.

KING: I didn't know you were there.

MARTIN: Mike Huckabee has done a heck of a job tonight. He is making the case to potentially be the VP to John McCain. Shake your head all you want to. Say no doubt. He is doing well among evangelicals, the issue of conservatives. Look, he did well in Alabama, Tennessee, Georgia, Missouri. I just don't write this guy off. He is a governor, again, strong among evangelicals, southern state, likable guy, gets along with McCain, shores up the base. That's an important constituency. You can say Charlie Crist maybe, Florida governor. I like Huckabee. I say go Huckabee.

KING: Go Huckabee.

Ed Schultz, as a Democratic supporter, would you fear a McCain- Huckabee ticket?

SCHULTZ: You know, Larry, it's interesting. You ask me that question, when I was in New Hampshire. I told you I thought Huckabee was a guy that the Democrats got to fear. Because he is the one candidate out there on the conservative side that could get the Dobson and Tony Perkins crowd. He proved that tonight with a tremendous showing.

The losers tonight are right-wing conservative talkers in the country who tried to usher Mitt Romney to the nomination.

A big win tonight as far as money is concerned is Hillary Clinton's announced projected win in California. Money now becomes an issue for the Democratic candidates. Barack Obama seems to have enough to go the distance. But I think that the Clintons are going to have to rearm. Them winning in California helped them. They farmed that territory for a long time.

KING: Paul Begala, our friend, CNN contributor, Democratic strategist, supporting Hillary Clinton and is obviously elated over California. This is not a slam dunk is it?

PAUL BEGALA, CNN CONTRIBUTOR, POLITICAL STRATEGIST: No, no. A great race. We haven't seen the likes of this talent squaring off in the Democratic Party since I can't remember when.

But I think you got to say at this stage, call Super Tuesday for Hillary Clinton. She won the big enchilada of California. I will point out, 100 years ago, when we went on the air tonight before exit polls and returns, I said the states I would watch were Massachusetts, New Jersey, and California. Hillary won all three of them. Of course she won her home state. Barack won his home state. They divided up the country. The three big prizes went to Hillary. Last one out is Missouri. That's an important state. Let's see where that goes.

MARTIN: Paul, does it say anything about the other states he won in the midsection. David said earlier he will make the case in terms of the states he won. She won the biggies, but don't you have to show you can win multiple states versus big urban centers?

BEGALA: I don't think Barack has a problem.

CARL BERNSTEIN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: There's also states that had been written off a few weeks ago that in fact were given to Hillary and Obama has come back.

What is so extraordinary is how the race has moved. It's down the middle in delegates right now where we are. It'll be pretty evenly divided. She has more super delegates. Now you go into all of these states that are an unknown equation, Texas, Ohio, they think work for them, the Clintons. But you got six, seven states coming up first, particularly Washington, D.C., Maryland, Virginia. And then you got Pennsylvania, Louisiana. You heard Obama talking about people down there without their homes. It is going to be a fight.

And Vernon Jordan, you know the Clinton's great friend said, said the other night to some people, he said "you know it is hard to run against a movement." That's what is going on here. There has never been a situation where someone who is almost been an incumbent, such as Hillary Clinton, has run against a movement. That's a real interesting juxtaposition.

BEGALA: Before we get too far down the road, in what states are next, tonight is not over. As far as California is concerned, there's an old expression in real estate "location, location, location." Tonight we have to wait for margin, margin, margin. How much did Hillary win by? How much did John McCain win by? 50-50.

KING: Let me get a break in. We'll check in with Jeffrey Toobin. We haven't checked with him tonight. Bill Schneider still to come. Lots more on our continuous coverage on CNN. I'm Larry King. Don't go away.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: We're back with our coverage of Super Tuesday. The best coverage on television.

Let's check in with my old pal, Jeffrey Toobin, our CNN legal analyst. He's in New York.

What surprised you tonight?

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: What surprised me is it's hard to tell who won on the Democratic side. Paul Begala gave you the case for Clinton winning because she won California, New Jersey, Massachusetts. It looks like Barack Obama will either win 13 or 14 out of the 22 primaries and caucuses tonight. That's a pretty good batting average. I think that allows him to continue raising money at the clip he is raising. I think the Clintons are going to have trouble raising money at anywhere near the pace that Obama has. Because most of his -- many of his -- her contributors have already given the maximum. Whereas most of Obama's contributors are low- dollar contributors who can come back, go back to again and again.

I think as the campaign moves forward Obama will have more money. And at least equal bragging rights to having done well tonight.

BORGER: Larry...

KING: Sorry, go ahead.

BORGER: I think you have to say winning California for Hillary Clinton is the tone setter for the evening. Imagine if Hillary Clinton had lost California. But heading into the next states, as everyone has said, Barack Obama has a money advantage. And now Hillary Clinton wants to debate every single week because she doesn't have the money to compete with him for paid media. I think we'll be seeing a lot more Obama and Hillary Clinton one-on-one.

KING: How do you explain, Carl Bernstein, Barack's unusual ability to raise money?

BERNSTEIN: Because it's from the bottom up. As he says, he hasn't taken money from lobbyists thought he has had some bundling going on for organizations that are one step removed from him. This is a movement, as Vernon Jordan has said. Movements have the ability to, you know to gather moss, and that's what's happening. And he is going to keep raising money, as Gloria said, because he can get the small contributors.

But this question of debates is really crucial. Because we heard Barack Obama tonight talk about the issues he is going to raise, tough issues and Hillary Clinton is going to go back to her strengths and we'll be back in this territory of experience-change, inspiration- specifics on health care. And it is going to go back and forth like this as well as a huge struggle for super delegates, which is the other part of this that is not about money.

MARTIN: Carl, one thing we saw Thursday night, interesting in Los Angeles.

Obama became a policy wonk Thursday night, Larry. Paul and I were talking earlier, basically he said, "That is your strength. I will go at you on your strength."

What's interesting the first time this entire campaign season, nearly after every debate, the Clinton campaign send out a memo saying the reviews are in. She wins hands down. Thursday night was the first time they did not send an e-mail saying she won the debate.

So he wants to be able to say I am going to combat you policy by policy because the weakness people say is he is talking inspiration, hope, change. We don't hear specifics. If he goes at her being a policy wonk, acts like he is back in the classroom I think he is able to counter the notion of you got specifics, I got specifics, let's do battle.

BERNSTEIN: Look at the fact that the war is the second big issue. The issue that, indeed, there is a 30 percent differential that voters are saying that's why we want Obama. Because we do not like the stand that Hillary Clinton took on the war. That counts for a lot.

But you know the truth is we don't know where this is going. That's part of the -- that anybody up here. I don't think -- we don't know where this is going. This is really uncharted territory.

(CROSSTALK)

BEGALA: We do know one place it is going -- it's going on, especially on the Democrat side.

(CROSSTALK)

KING: David Gergen, you have been around a lot of political races, campaigns.

DAVID GERGEN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Probably too many.

KING: What jumps out at you the most about this one?

GERGEN: What really struck me tonight, Larry, we had two front- runners who couldn't put it away tonight. A lot of people thought John McCain would be able to put it away. He simply did not do that. I think he is still the likely nominee of his party. But this reveals a certain inability -- he hasn't made the sale, hasn't closed the case with conservatives. That's very clear, as Bill Schneider has been reminding us. I still think, because he can divide and conquer, he is likely to win the nomination.

On the Hillary Clinton side, winning California, as Gloria said, is a major, major development here. We'll be looking to see what the margin is.

Still when you look at the whole evening -- I think Jeffrey Toobin was right. When you look at the whole evening, for Barack to come out with 13 or 14 of the 22 states and play means that this -- she has not been able to convince her electorate either.

On the Democratic side in contrast to the Republican, there is a sense the longer this goes on, the more it favors the challenger. The more it favors Barack Obama. He has got good states coming up. But the -- the fact is he gets better when people get to know him more. In California, the people who decided more than three days ago went heavily for her. And the people decide in the last three days he won the people. In other words, the more he gets known the better he does. Now he has a chance to take, go take his case to a lot more people, places like Pennsylvania, where he can really surprise.

KING: We've had a terrible weather tonight in three states. In a minute Anderson Cooper will get us up to date.

First, let's go to Wolf Blitzer and another breaking news update -- Wolf?

BLITZER: Larry, we could project now that Barack Obama will carry the state of Alaska. The Democrats had caucuses there tonight. They're closed. Barack Obama will carry Alaska. 18 total delegates. They will be distributed proportionately according to congressional districts out there. There is one congressional district. Maybe there is two. I'll check that. But clearly Barack Obama wins in Alaska. Right now, another win for the junior Senator from Illinois.

Let's go back to Anderson Cooper. He has other important news we're following.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: We've been following the terrible weather that hit in the Arkansas-Tennessee region.

Let's check with Chad Myers at Severe Weather Center.

Chad, what is going on?

CHAD MYERS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: All the numbers are moving targets. So far, 51 reports of tornadoes. Now we're up to 18, 18 now dead there, seven in Arkansas, three in Kentucky. We only had six in Tennessee. Two more just found in Sumner, Tennessee, that makes eight there. Add them up, that's 18 fatalities. Many people are still missing at this hour.

Some video from earlier, Jackson, Tennessee. This is Union University. The girls' dormitory completely destroyed by a tornado. This tornado that you see there, that is Arlington, near Memphis. Here is the building now in Jackson, only about 75 miles or so away. And this is just an ugly scene here.

The chancellor says basically that this storm is unusable -- this dorm is unusable. Wiped out. Not able to be repaired. Some damage to the boys' dorm. That looks okay.

Still had some trapped an hour ago. Don't have updates whether the trapped girls are out there or not. There were nine at one point. They were getting to them. They all were responding. Good news there.

This is the very first storm we had a tornado warning on early, near Memphis. Believe it or not, Memphis was hit twice. This storm moved up towards Memphis, then out towards the Jackson area. As it got to Jackson, it was much larger and then became a strong tornado with baseball-sized hail in Jackson, Tennessee, this evening.

Now Jackson, let's go with this, put the numbers together. You won't believe them. 36 people injured at the university, 50 injured at a retirement community, 86 injured -- 15 actually went to the hospital. The rest treated at the scene. Hickory Ridge Mall, in Memphis, was hit at the sear's building. That building almost a complete loss. The infrastructure is lost in the building. The airport was actually brushed in Memphis as planes were moved around, jet ways were moved around as well. Even the fire building for Federal Express was damaged. Federal Express says all packages are going out. They're moving.

The Highland Park, Arkansas, fire department, completely destroyed. And about 40 tractor trailers flipped over on its side because of the wind on I-40. Many of the storms literally went right up the I-40 corridor and all the way from Memphis in to Jackson, Tennessee.

Now they're moving to Lexington. Just had a tornado warning for Louisville, Kentucky. That has since expired. It's moved a little farther to the east. Many, many polling places -- this is going to affect the outcome of the elections. Many polling places were evacuated when the tornadoes came in. Then when you could get back in, there was no power. Hundreds of thousands are without power this evening. We're still trying to tally those numbers. All of the numbers are moving targets. Obviously, the fatalities will not be going down. They're confirmed at this point, 18. Probably. likely to go up. We'll keep you advised -- Anderson?

COOPER: Fatalities, a horrible toll. Chad, we'll continue following the story.

We heard a number of candidates commenting about the fatalities, sending their thoughts and prayers to people affected by that. We'll continue to follow the story.

A lot more close races, a lot of numbers we're watching at cnn.com. While we're in the break, you can check more numbers coming in there. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: I want to take this moment in time to welcome back to the air a sorely missed talent. Campbell Brown is back, our new anchor. She'll be hosting the 8:00 hour preceding my hour at 9:00 eastern. This was her first day back on the air.

Let's hear it, Campbell. Welcome back.

CAMPBELL BROWN, CNN HOST: Thank you, Larry. First day back from maternity leave so we'll see how this goes.

KING: How is the baby?

BROWN: He's hopefully at home watching our coverage as we speak.

KING: All right. What is his mother's analysis of this night?

BROWN: I'm struck by a number of things. On the Democratic side, how much we still don't know at this point. Still numbers crunching to be done before we have a delegate count. It's clear the Democrats want this race to continue. And it will be interesting to watch how things evolve in the weeks ahead. I'm curious about whether John Edwards will endorse and who. And where his voters are going? Do we have a sense for that after tonight? Also Al Gore, whether he will make an endorsement in the weeks ahead that could make an impact.

On the Republican side, you have to be struck by the resiliency of Mike Huckabee. You know, no one predicted he would pick up the number of states he did tonight. Clearly, he is resonating with voters and he made it clear in our interview with him that he is not planning on getting out of this race until there is a nominee -- Larry?

KING: Welcome back, Campbell. Good to have you with us.

BROWN: Thank you.

KING: Now let's check in with the man on the bus, Bob Greene. He has been on our CNN bus traveling everywhere in the United States.

What's it been like for you, Bob?

BOB GREENE, CNN NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Well, today -- today was really great. We keep talking about the candidates and who has done better, who is up and who is down.

We are at a polling place in Fullerton, California. And all day to see the people coming to vote, both the sometime first-time voters, some times parents with their children, I think about the people standing in line, because if someone came up to you on the street and said will you do me a favor? Will you go to this address in the city for me? I know it is your day of work. Take an hour off. And you said why? And the person said I need you to stand in line for a while and when you get to the front of the line. Will you please, you know officially declare that you like me. That's what the candidates do. That's what they're doing. We don't know them really. And these people stand in line. And there is something quietly majestic about it. To see the people coming all day.

So often, politics is thought of as a game or contest. It's not a game. And these people play it straight. And to see them coming to vote makes you think that it's -- it's not really about the candidates. It is about the people who come here because they believe this makes a difference.

KING: Well said, Bob. Very well said.

Let's check in with John King for a little look at California.

If you will, John, how are those delegates breaking down? I know we don't have 100 percent of the vote counted do we get any sense of who is getting how many delegates?

J. KING: Larry, making my way back to the board as fast as I can get there. Show you what is happening right now. You make a good point. This is the election map, it is coming in. Only 18 percent of the vote. We need to be careful. John McCain is winning, convincingly all up and down California including at the moment Orange County. You start saying where are the conservatives, where would Mitt Romney do well? Here's Orange County. McCain winning, 5 percent of the vote in there so we need to be careful.

Let's switch it to our delegate map where it gets interesting. Pull California out. Make it a little bigger. As I make it bigger, see the lines? Those are congressional districts. I can't make it big enough to show you all 53. It is a giant state. Clear the telestrator here.

Watch these lines up here. OK? Here is the finish line. That makes you the Republican nominee. Here's our rough guess of where McCain is about now. Emphasis on rough. We don't know a lot about tonight. You see Romney around here. Huckabee around here. Romney a little ahead. Based on what we know so far. A lot to do.

But this can all change. California is 53 different races. The winner of each congressional district gets delegates. Right now, John McCain is wining up and down the state. But it's very, very early. We need to see how the congressional delegates go early. But you could have something.

Now watch the numbers up top. Watch the numbers up here. If John McCain runs the state, meaning he wins all the congressional districts, then he comes way out here. But if Mitt Romney or Governor Huckabee -- probably Mitt Romney -- in the state of California, Governor Huckabee's not very strong out there -- if he starts winning, the lines start moving and the numbers too.

So this is very dependent, Larry, on how these congressional districts go and you could literally see a swing of as many as 100 delegates based on how the congressional districts break in California. We are early in the count.

It's the same if we switch and go Democratic. You see that now Senator Clinton winning up and down the state. We don't have a good sense of the districts yet. Again, numbers can move based on congressional districts. California will be a fascinating study and it will be a fascinating study for a number of hours. We'll be past breakfast, into lunch before we can start assigning those congressional districts. But if McCain and Clinton keep the early numbers in California, they'll end the night very happy.

L. KING: Isn't Obama doing very well in Los Angeles itself, John?

J. KING: Let's come back out to the map. This is the delegate map. Now back to the election map. Let me clear this. Again, 20 percent of the vote, 19 percent of the vote in, Senator Clinton winning statewide. And Los Angeles at the moment, to answer your question, let's bring it out. 28 percent of the population in the state. At the moment, the answer is no. Senator Clinton is getting 58 percent. Only 8 percent in Los Angeles though. Big city, as you know lot better than I do, Larry. So 8 percent of the vote in. Clinton blue now. A long way to go if that is truly the case. The votes are starting to come in.

You see, Obama starting to pick up in the northern part of the state. But it's very early on. Remember, this is your early look at California. The light Clinton shade of blue. We'll see if that hold up as the count goes on.

L. KING: Thank you for an excellent job as always, John King.

Ari Fleischer, is this the largest turn out election ever?

FLEISCHER: It seems so. I remember in 2000 when John McCain was the upstart, challenging, George Bush. Huge turnout then. We are seeing it even bigger on both sides right now. Frankly, there is more energy, passion, hate to say it, on the Democrat side than on my side. But both parties -- big turn out. And that's a good thing. That's what you want for this country.

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