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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL
Special Coverage of Primaries in Texas, Ohio, Vermont and Rhode Island
Aired March 4, 2008 - 23:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: We will hear some of this, but her aides have told us that there will be some new language in this speech, some new messages. So this will not be the standard thing we've heard on the campaign trail for some time, Wolf.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: It goes to show you what some of her supporters say, don't count Hillary out, don't count her out by any means. She's a fighter; she will go on. She certainly continues to fight when some analysts suggested she had no chance. She manages to break that very impressive slate of Barack Obama wins since Super Tuesday.
Tonight so far she's won in Rhode Island and she will win in Ohio as well. Vermont goes to Barack Obama, but the big prize is Texas still, and that remains a nail-biter right now.
We'll wait to see as the votes are actually counted in Texas what happens first in the primary and in the separate caucuses that are taking place as well.
Has anyone started calling her the comeback kid yet on her campaign trail over there, Candy? I assume that will happen at some point.
CROWLEY: well, I can pretty much almost guarantee it. There's nothing like a fighter. You know, voters love someone who fights back, who triumphs over adversity. Look at John McCain.
Any time she goes out and proves that she's a fighter, it's something that voters relate to, particularly here in Ohio which has had a lot of economic distress. They see someone coming back and they like to move her forward on that.
I can tell you that the Clinton campaign also very happy about the demographics. They think that she reclaimed her base which obviously in the previous primaries in Maryland, Virginia, Wisconsin, Barack Obama had really begun to make some headway into that. For Ohio, anyway, they feel that she's put together that same coalition that had her winning in New Hampshire and elsewhere.
So, look, the race goes on, but the night belongs to Hillary Clinton at least so far.
BLITZER: As far as the delegates in Ohio are concerned, just want to remind our viewers, 141 delegates in Ohio were at stake; 21 superdelegates. And those delegates will be distributed proportionately. It's not a winner-take-all in the state of Ohio. Some Republican contests are winner-take-all, so they will divide up those delegates according to a very complex formula in congressional districts and other aspects. We won't know probably for hours, maybe not until tomorrow how the delegate count in Ohio shapes up. We'll watch this closely.
We're standing by, Candy, as you say, to hear from Hillary Clinton. She's leaving her hotel, coming over to where you are in Columbus. She'll be addressing her supporters and we'll wait to hear what she has to say.
I want to go to Jessica Yellin in the meantime over at Barack Obama headquarters down in Texas right now. Are you getting any reaction to this projected win for Hillary Clinton in Ohio, Jessica?
JESSICA YELLIN: Obama people are saying this is hardly a sign of momentum. They say, as Candy pointed out, Hillary Clinton not so long ago had a 20-point lead both in Ohio and Texas, and she's eking out a razor-thin victory is their perception and that's hardly a sign of momentum.
The will point out that he had a significant come-from-behind effort to close this gap, and in fact, that Senator Clinton has gone very negative. I think you'll hear a lot about that in the coming days. She was only able to get this victory by starting to run a series of very -- well Paul Begala would disagree with me -- but negative attack ads.
The Obama campaign said that's exactly what Barack Obama is campaigning against. He'll even use that as part of his message on the stump. But he's not going to go there. He doesn't want to divide the Democratic Party.
The Clintonites would disagree with that. For the Obama campaign, her style of campaigning in the last few days in particular, is exactly what they're going to campaign against. I point out that the exit polls do show that people who have made their decision in the last three days or so went for Clinton right when that red phone ad came out. I wouldn't be surprised if you see a lot more negative ads from Clinton in the coming weeks -- Wolf.
BLITZER: At some point at that podium behind you, Jessica, we see the teleprompter. Barack Obama will be going out and reading his speech as well.
YELLIN: That's right, we don't expect him to speak until after Senator Clinton has spoken. I can tell you that Obama has been here in San Antonio this afternoon. He's been watching the results from his hotel room here. He actually called John McCain after McCain broke that key barrier in the delegate count to congratulate him and to say he looked forward to running against him in the fall.
They told us not to read anything against the assumption that he won't be running against him until the fall. It could go on for quite a while this primary match-up with Senator Clinton. But Barack Obama will be coming down here not for at least another half an hour or so -- Wolf.
BLITZER: All right, we were expecting to hear from Hillary Clinton very, very soon. That will be followed by Barack Obama. We'll bring both of these speeches to our viewers in the United States and around the world.
But a big win we should say for Hillary Clinton in Ohio. A fiercely fought battle right now in Ohio, but she comes out the winner.
Let's take a close look at Texas right now because that remains the one, big undecided factor in these four primaries today. 35 percent of the precincts have now reported in Texas. Hillary Clinton is slightly ahead with 50 percent to Barack Obama's 49 percent, specifically 796,000 or so votes for Hillary Clinton and 770,000 votes for Barack Obama; 35 percent of the precincts reporting.
It's still relatively early and a lot could still happen. But she has a very slight lead in Texas in the primary. Remember also, there're separate caucuses under way in Texas right now where they'll distribute a third of the delegates as a result of the caucuses.
We don't have any of the results of the caucuses, but these are the results so far we're getting from the Texas primary.
Let's walk over and welcome back Lou Dobbs. He has the best political team on television. You wanted a tight race, Lou, you got it.
LOU DOBBS, CNN ANCHOR: Well, I think that we've got also one of the best stories of this election campaign season. Certainly in Texas and at 10:45 eastern Senator Clinton moved ahead of Senator Obama in Texas despite those early votes that were dumped into the counting process.
She overcame what was a 130,000-vote lead at that juncture and moved into the lead. Donna, how concerned should Senator Obama should be in what is happening here?
DONNA BRAZILE, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I think two things. First of all, a vote is clearly -- we're concerned about some of the allegations that Senator Clinton raised about his preparedness for the position. And perhaps their concern right now that Senator Obama is not going to be tough enough on national security.
This race is still far from over. Obama will maintain the lead in pledge delegates. He will continue to have resources, $50 million raised in the month of February. But he must begin to answer some of these charges by Senator Clinton.
She's gotten away with four days of Senator Obama, you know, not being able to get back on offense. Tonight is a great comeback for Senator Clinton in Ohio, but this race is far from over.
DOBBS: Far from over and in point of fact from the delegates, at this point your understanding how the delegates are breaking out in Ohio, should these ratios stay the same?
BRAZILE: We reward delegates based on democratic performance, democratic strength so while it's proportional, some congressional districts are awarded more delegates based on the democratic populations in those areas.
DOBBS: Donna Brazile, this is something else, and without question in Ohio Senator Clinton posting a comeback of significant proportions. What the impact will be on the delegate count is not certain.
Donna Brazile, Paul Begala was just talking about the way in which the Obama campaign has handled what the Clinton campaign has wanted everyone to refer to as Obamagate, that is the issue with the chief economic adviser to Senator Obama talking to the consulate officials of Canada.
How should Senator Obama, in your judgment, have handled this instead of the way he did, obviously?
PAUL BEGALA, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: First off, you have to show you're a commander in chief and be commanding. If you're top economic adviser, Professor Goolsbee of Harvard, takes it upon himself to meet with the Canadian government without your permission, you fire him.
That's what you do if you're a commander. By the way, the things he's reported to have said at that meeting are directly opposite to Senator Obama's stated positions; another reason to fire him.
Instead, Senator Obama was given bad information by his staff and so then he gave the voters bad information, it was factually false. I don't think he intentionally lied, I don't think he's that kind of man. But he certainly did say things that jus weren't true. That put egg on his face.
I think he needs to show a lot of command and strength here.
JAMAL SIMMONS, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Lou, I think we all need to take a little bit of a deep breath here. And let's remember what happened a week and a half ago when Bill Clinton said Hillary Clinton had to win both Texas and Ohio to go ahead.
Now, she's won Ohio. Texas is still out. I'm hearing from some people on the ground there that some of these precincts we're seeing are Hispanic precincts where Senator Clinton did vert well. There're some African-American precincts that are going to come in that we have not seen yet. These numbers may switch again.
So we all need to just slow down and remember the bar they made. We know that the Clinton campaign loves to move the goal post, but what they said a week and a half ago, win both Ohio and Texas and not one state.
AMY HOLMES, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Jamal, I admire your support for your candidate, but back to Paul Begala's point about this flak with Canada, I think it was less an issue of the policy as a policy and having an economics adviser freelancing diplomacy. This is amateur hour; this is keystone cops (ph). You don't have those sorts of people walking into the consulate and then trying to negotiate. This is something Obama can really -- that he's been getting a rap on. He doesn't understand exactly who is supposed to be doing what. This was early in the campaign. He seemed to have overcome it and then it reared its head again.
DOBBS: Out of the imperatives of fairness, I have to return to Jamal for rebuttal.
SIMMONS: We talked about this earlier. I think that they should have handled this a little bit better. Senator Obama went out there and gave information that led people in a direction and it turns out that may not have been what actually happened.
Let's all get back to the point what she said and the Canadian government said that this is not exactly -- he didn't exactly come out and say, oh, I'm not going to live up to what I said on NAFTA.
Barack Obama has got to be more forceful. He's got to get back out there on this front. He's also got to answer some of his questions about all the other issues that Senator Clinton brought up. I absolutely agree, but also just remember, Bill Clinton said Texas and Ohio. So far she only has Ohio.
DOBB: And CNN has said Ohio; one state still outstanding. It has been a remarkable evening in what has turned out to be a rather Super Tuesday in terms of the story of the primary election, right, Alex?
ALEX CASTELLANOS, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: I think it's a tremendous start. It's a new phase of the campaign. We're sitting here talking about Hillary versus Obama and it's getting nastier, a little more negative. Hillary Clinton succeeded tonight not by finding her voice but by taking away Barack Obama's voice; putting him on the defense all week.
For her to continue to be successful, what does she have to do? Is this going to escalate? I think Republicans will be thrilled if it does, but, you know, there's a danger in that for Hillary Clinton.
She may win a victory here, not at all, because Obama is the hope and future of the Democratic Party. I mean let's face facts. The Democrats and even a lot of Republicans are in love with the guy.
If she gets that negative and gets that aggressive, it's like killing Santa Claus in front of the kids Christmas morning.
DOBBS: Let's not get ahead of ourselves here. When you start talk about the enthusiasm on the part of the Republicans for Senator Obama, I think we may be just a little ahead of ourselves, don't you?
CASTELLANOS: Yes. It was interesting in Iowa to see this tremendous turnout at the caucuses, and this is great. It turned out to be Republicans voting in Democratic caucuses for Obama. He has crossover potential.
SIMMONS: We're not that far ahead of ourselves. The math does not work for Senator Clinton. She's behind in delegates. We don't see a scenario where she wins 60 percent of the vote from now until the end that puts her back into contention.
CASTELLANOS: Her goal right now is not to win. Her goal is to stop him from winning and get to a brokered convention. And if you get behind closed doors with the Clintons in a knife fight, the experience is --
DOBBS: I love the way you said that. You make the Clinton sound like boogeymen.
BEGALA: They're tough. And I like having Democratic leaders who are tough. I think Senator Obama is pretty tough too. He didn't get where he came from Chicago politics to be on the threshold --
DOBBS: Chicago politics are tough?
BEGALA: I don't know. I'm from Texas. It's all sweetness and light. I do think, though, that this notion that it's all -- this is nothing. We saw a negative campaign in 2000 in South Carolina where George W. Bush and his reporters viciously and dishonestly attacked John McCain and his family.
There's nothing even close to that here. Let's all take a breath; Obama gave his adversaries a big gift when he stumbled and mismanaged this math issue in a state that's economically pressed that Hillary moved ahead on that. And I think that's why we're calling Ohio for her tonight.
DOBBS: Yes, Amy.
HOLMES: But one thing that I would say to that is there's a danger in Hillary with her strategy. Mark Penn saying that in Texas that red telephone ad may have made the difference, but that's the type of ad that John McCain -- he wins on that issue every day. So Hillary should be hoping that what put her over the edge was NAFTA and not national security.
BEGALA: Hillary is doing so well, and Mark is even claiming he was working for her again. That's a good night for Hillary.
DOBBS: When she claims him, we'll know that she's there.
I want to turn now to David Gergen. David, I'm sensing the pulse is quickening here as a discussion of negative campaigning has taken hold in the consciousness of our analysts before me.
Your thoughts on what has driven Senator Clinton to victory in Ohio and what you might expect to see happen in this very tight race in Texas.
DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, Lou, it's very clear that he was gaining on her in both Ohio and Texas until the last few days, and she turned it around on him. I think partly because of her own fighting spirit out on the stump that made a big, big difference for her personally but I do think that going after him and taking the fight to him, going negative on him -- I disagree with Paul Begala -- I actually think they did go negative and it worked. And the box he's now got, he can't step in the next five or six days or ten days answering questions. He has to go on the offense. And the issue for him is he has foresworn going after her with negative ads, but he can't sit there and just be hit around the head and shoulders and not fight back. He has to be able to throw a punch.
DOBBS: Speaking of throwing a punch, David Gergen, we're going to Clinton headquarters in Dallas. Senator Hillary Clinton has stepped to the podium as you see her there -- I'm sorry -- in Ohio; and is obviously relishing a moment of absolute victory. I think we could even go to jubilation as she's amidst her supporters and tasting something that she hasn't for some considerable period -- victory. Let's listen in.
Senator Clinton claiming victory in Ohio.
SEN. HILLARY CLINTON, (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you all very much. Thank you so much. Oh boy, thank you Ohio.
For everyone here in Ohio and across America who's ever been counted out but refused to be knocked out and for everyone who has stumbled and stood right back up and for everyone who works hard and never gives up this one is for you. You know what they say. As Ohio goes, so goes the nation.
Well, this nation's coming back, and so is this campaign. The people of Ohio have said it loudly and clearly, we're going on. We're going strong. And we're going all the way.
You know, they call Ohio a bellwether state. It's a battleground state. It's a state that knows how to pick a president. And no candidate in recent history, Democrat or Republican, has won the White House without winning the Ohio primaries.
You all know that if we want a Democratic president, we need a Democratic nominee who can win the battleground states just like Ohio. And that is what we've done. We've won Florida, Nevada, New Mexico, Arizona, Michigan, New Hampshire, Arkansas, California, New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Oklahoma, and Tennessee. And today we won Rhode Island, and thanks to all my friends at the quarters there. This is a great night.
But we all know that these are challenging times. We have two wars abroad; we have a recession looming here at home. Voters faced a critical question. Who is tested and ready to be commander in chief on day one? And who knows how to turn our economy around, because we sure do need it?
Ohio has written a new chapter in the history of this campaign, and we're just getting started. More and more people have joined this campaign, and millions of Americans have not spoken yet.
In states like Pennsylvania and so many others, people are watching this historic campaign and they want their turn to help make history. They want their voices to count. And they should. They should be heard.
So, please, join us in this campaign. Go to www.HillaryClinton.com. This is your campaign and your moment, and I need your support. For more than a year I have been listening to the voices of people across our country.
You know, the single mom who told me she works two jobs, neither provides health care for her kids. She just can't work any harder. The little girl who asked how I'd help people without homes; turns out her family was about to lose their own. The young man in a Marine Corps shirt that said he waited months for medical care. He said to me, take care of my buddies, a lot of them are still over there. And then will you please help take care of me?
Americans don't need more promises. They've heard plenty of speeches. They deserve solutions and they deserve them now. America needs a president who is ready to lead, ready to stand up for what's right even when it's hard.
After seven long years of George W. Bush, we sure are ready for a president who will be a fighter, a doer and a champion for the American people again. Oh, I think we're ready for health care, not just for some people or most people but for every American.
I think we're ready for an economy that works for everyone not just those at the top, but every single hard-working American who deserves a shot at the American dream. I think we're ready to declare energy independence and create millions of green power jobs.
We're ready to reach out to our allies and confront our shared challenges. We're ready to end the war in Iraq and win the war in Afghanistan. And we're past ready to serve our veterans with the same devotion that they served us.
You know, protecting America is the first and most urgent duty of president. When there's a crisis and that phone rings at 3:00 a.m. in the White House, there's no time for speeches or on-the-job training. You have to be ready to make a decision.
I congratulate Senator McCain on winning his party's nomination, and I look forward to a spirited and substantive debate with him.
You know, I want to thank the wonderful people of Ohio for your support and your confidence in me. I especially want to thank Governor Ted Strickland and his wonderful wife, Frances. You know, Governor and Mrs. Strickland are working so hard on behalf of Ohio, and they deserve a president who will work hard with them to give Ohio the future that you deserve.
I want to thank Senator John Glenn and his wonderful wife, Annie. I want to thank -- I want to thank the Lieutenant-Governor Lee Fisher and his wife Peggy.
I especially want to thank Congresswoman Stephanie Jones. She does an extraordinary job for her constituents and she has been a champion on behalf of the people of Ohio and America. I look forward to working with her to bring more opportunity to the people that she loves and represents so well.
I want to thank my extraordinary staff, volunteers, and supporters here in Ohio and across America. And I especially want to thank the two most important people in my life, Bill and Chelsea. And, of course, to my mother who I know is watching, thanks very much, mom, for everything.
And finally, to Senator Obama who has brought so much to this race, I look forward to continuing our dialogue in the weeks ahead on the issues that matter most to our country.
I want to end by sharing with you a message that I got late last month from someone who didn't have much money to spare but sent me $10 for my campaign and sent an e-mail in which she wrote, "My two daughters are two and four. We chant and cheer for you at every speech we see. I want them to know anything is possible."
Tonight I say to them, keep on watching together. We're going to make history. To those little girls I say this is America, and we do believe you can be anything you want to be. We want our sons and our daughters to dream big.
I have big dreams for America's future. The question is not whether we can fulfill those dreams, it's whether we will, and here's our answer. Yes, we will.
We will do what it takes, and we will once again make the kind of progress that America deserves. We're going to protect our country and preserve our constitution. We're going to lead with our values. We will reach out to those on the margins and in the shadows, because that's what we do in America.
We break barriers and open doors, we make sure every voice is heard. Together we will turn promises into action, words into solutions, and hope into reality. It will take -- it will take leadership and hard work, but we've never been short on either. So I hope all of you will join, join with the Ohioans whose voices and votes have been heard today. Together we will seize this moment, lift this nation, and heal and lead this world. Thank you all, and god bless you!
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Hillary Clinton enjoying this moment, a huge win in Ohio tonight for the Democratic senator from New York. You see Chelsea, her daughter, standing alongside her. Supporters very excited about this win in Ohio. An earlier win in Rhode Island.
Barack Obama captured the first primary results tonight in Vermont.
Still at stake right now, Texas. What's going to happen in this contest? We're watching Texas very, very closely. Right now, almost half of the precincts have now reported in Texas. Take a look at this. Hillary Clinton slightly ahead of Barack Obama in Texas for the primary with 50 percent of the votes to 48 percent for Barack Obama. Earlier, she had been trailing.
Let's zoom in on the numbers. 920,900 or so for Hillary Clinton 892,298 for Barack Obama. She's ahead right now with almost 50 percent of the precincts reporting.
Remember, this is the primary in Texas. There's a separate caucus under way in Texas as well. We don't have any of the results of the caucuses in Texas. A third of these delegates of Texas will be determined as a result of the caucuses, and two-thirds will be determined as a result of the primary.
They're going to be proportionate the distribution of these caucuses and the vote of the primary in Texas, given the nature of how the Democrats divide this situation. In the Democratic primary, 126 delegates are at stake. In the Democratic caucuses, 67 delegates at are at stake right now, and we are not projecting a winner in the Texas primary because it's simply very, very close right now and almost half of the precincts have yet to report.
Hillary Clinton made it abundantly clear if there were any doubt what happens in Texas tonight, she's continuing on to the Wyoming Democratic caucuses taking place this Saturday and a week from today next Tuesday, the Mississippi state Democratic primary and presumably looking ahead to April 22nd, a huge content in Pennsylvania. This could go on to April 22nd and perhaps even beyond wrapping up in Puerto Rico in early June. That's the last scheduled contest before the convention in Denver at the end of the summer. Dramatic developments tonight in Ohio for Hillary Clinton. We're waiting to see what happens in Texas. That's the story we're watching right now, because the other results basically are known.
On the Republican side, John McCain has wrapped it up. He's the Republican presidential nominee. Mike Huckabee has dropped out.
This is a battle under way in Texas right now. She's slightly ahead. I look at the state and see all these counties, John, in the state of Texas. The light blue is Hillary Clinton and the dark blue is Barack Obama. She looks like she's running away with it.
JOHN KING, CNN CORRESPONDENT: In terms of the sweep of the state, she's winning most of the places. Her problem, Wolf, and the reason they have to be nervous at Clinton campaign headquarters even though she's ahead right now by about two percentage points with half the vote in as you said and building her lead over the past few minutes, as we've gone from about 45 percent up to 48 percent, her lead has grown a little bit.
Why should they still be worried in the Clinton camp? Because a lot of votes still out are in the major population areas where he's running ahead. Let me show you what I mean by that.
Let's look in on Dallas County. It's about 10 percent almost 11 percent of the state population. Only 35 percent of the vote in. Barack Obama winning 63 percent to 37 percent. Look at that margin there. If that continues, if the vote stays consistent there, he will narrow her lead just in Dallas County alone if that continues. That's an if. We don't know that to be true. We don't know the precincts out.
Move next door, Tarrant County is where Forth Worth is. Again, Barack Obama winning that county 57 percent to 42 percent. Still 45 percent of the volt to be counted there. So if Barack Obama keeps that margin there, he continues to do well.
I'll move to a couple more quickly. Harris County. This is the biggest worry in the Clinton campaign. Only 14 percent of the vote counted in Harris County, and he is winning 61 to 39. It's a huge population center. We're still waiting. There's vote-counting delaying in Harris County. If those margins continue, he could easily overtake Senator Clinton in Harris County alone.
If you're Senator Clinton just won Ohio, the delegate rules in Texas are incredibly complicated. The delegates are also decided based on state senate districts in Texas and bonus delegates for state senate districts that voted Democratic in the past. If she could say I won Texas on top of winning Ohio, symbolically and from a momentum standpoint that would be huge for Senator Clinton, but they have to be a little nervous. Because if you watch, here's her vote out here, 3 percent in El Paso County, she's winning big out there. Notice the vote counts from El Paso County, a place where she is wining big but look, she's winning 70 to 30 essentially there. Look at the small number of the votes in the county and then you go to a bigger county like Travis County where Houston is, and you're talking tens of thousands more votes, where Obama is winning.
He's running up big numbers so far in the major population centers, which is why we vote count the vote for quite sometime to go. She's swept through rural Texas. The issue is in these areas.
Let's pull out Lubbock County. It's only one percent of the state's population. She's winning 50 to 40. Look at the small vote counts there. Even though you see this broad sweep of blue, light blue across Texas, and Barack Obama winning only in a few places where he's winning, Wolf, are heavy population centers and in Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston and even to a degree in Austin the vote still being counted in places where he is running up pretty big margins.
BLITZER: San Antonio is the third largest city, metropolitan area in Texas right now, almost 7 percent of the population. How are they doing there?
KING: That is a place for Senator Clinton to be encouraged. She's winning there 56 percent to 43 percent. A little more than half the vote counted there. The former mayor of that city a big Clinton supporter down there helped her out there. That's a place where you had a competition for the African-American population, along with the competition for the Latino vote. Senator Clinton is doing well in San Antonio. She needs that margin to continue to offset some of Obama's gains in places like Austin, places like Houston and Dallas.
BLITZER: We see Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle there. They've walked out there. He's about to speak to his supporters in Texas as well at his headquarters. This is still before midnight on the east coast, so clearly all of the candidates are anxious to get their message out before a lot of people on the east coast go to sleep. Some have already gone to sleep, but Barack Obama still waiting for the results in Texas right now. Ohio not good news for him tonight. Rhode Island not good news. He did have good news in Vermont. He captured that small state earlier in the night.
We're going to hear what Barack Obama has to say as soon as he starts speaking to supporters. We'll get his message and clearly, John, as we wait await Barack Obama to start his address tonight, it's obvious that this contest is not over with on the Democratic side tonight.
KING: It is not over. It's pretty evident as we wait for Texas he will end the night and even build on his delegate lead. She with the Ohio victory claims she will go on.
BLITZER: Here he is, Barack Obama speaking in Texas.
SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Thank you. Thank you, Texas. Thank you. Thank you, San Antonio. Thank you.
Well, we are in the middle of a very close race right now in Texas. We may not even know the final results until morning. We do know that Senator Clinton has won Rhode Island, and while there are a lot of votes to be counted in Ohio, it looks like she won there, too. So I want to congratulate Senator Clinton for running a hard-fought race in both Ohio and Rhode Island.
We also know that we've won the state of Vermont, and so we want to say thank you to the people of Vermont.
And we know this. No matter what happens tonight, we have nearly the same delegate lead as we did this morning, and we are on our way to winning this nomination.
You know, decades ago as a community organizer I learned that the real work of democracy begins far from the closed doors and marbled halls of Washington. It begins on street corners and front porches, in living rooms and meeting halls with ordinary Americans who see the world as it is and realize that we have within our power to remake the world as it should be. It's with that hope that we began this journey, the hope if we went block by block, city by city, state by state, and build a movement that spanned race and region, party and gender, if we could give young people a reason to vote and the young at heart a reason to believe again, if we could inspire a nation to come together then we could turn the page on the politics that has shut us out, let us down, and told us to settle. We could write a new chapter in the American story.
We were told this wasn't possible. We were told that the climb was too steep. We were told our country was too cynical, that we were just being naive. That we couldn't really change the world as it is.
But then a few people in Iowa stood up and said, yes, we can. And then a few more of you stood up from the hills of New Hampshire to the coasts of South Carolina, and then a few million of you stood up from Savannah to Seattle, from Boise to Baton Rouge and tonight because of you, because of a movement you built that stretches from Vermont's green mountains to the streets of San Antonio, we can stand up -- we can stand up with confidence and clarity to say that we are turning the page and we are ready to write the next great chapter in America's story. Now, in the weeks to come, we will begin a debate about the future of this country, with a man who has served it bravely and loves it dearly, and tonight I called John McCain and congratulated him on winning the Republican nomination.
But in this election we will offer two very different visions of the America we see in the 21st century, because John McCain may claim long history of straight talk and independent thinking and I respect that, but in this campaign he's fallen in line behind the very same policies that have ill-served America.
He has seen where George Bush has taken our country, and he promises to keep us on the very same course. It's the same course that threatens a century of war in Iraq, a third and fourth and fifth tour of duty for brave troops who have done all we've asked of them, even while we have asked little and expect nothing from the Iraqi government, whose job it is to put their country back together, a course where we spend billions of dollars a week that could be used to rebuild our roads and our schools to care for our veterans and send our children to college.
It's the same course that continues to divide and isolate America from the world by substituting bluster and bullying for direct diplomacy. By ignoring our allies and refusing to talk to our enemies, even though presidents from Kennedy to Reagan have done just that, because strong countries and strong leaders aren't afraid to tell hard truths to petty dictators.
And it's the same course that offers the same tired answers to workers without health care and families without homes, to students in debt and children who go to bed hungry in the richest nation on earth. Four more years of tax breaks for the biggest corporations and the wealthiest who don't need them and aren't even asking for them. It's a course that further divides Wall Street from Main Street where struggling families are told to pull themselves up by their bootstraps because there's nothing government can do or should do. So we should give more to those with the most and let the chips fall where they may.
Well, we are here to say tonight that is not the America we believe in, and this is not the future we want. We want a new course for this country. We want new leadership in Washington. We want change in America.
John McCain and Hillary Clinton have echoed each other, dismissing this call for change as eloquent but empty; speeches, not solutions. And yet, they know or they should know that it's a call that did not begin my words. It began with words that were spoken on the floors of factories in Ohio and across the deep plains of Texas, words that came from classrooms in South Carolina and living rooms in the state of Iowa, from first-time voters and life-long cynics, from Democrats and independents and Republicans alike.
John McCain and Hillary Clinton should know that there's nothing empty about the call for affordable health care that came from the young student who told me she gets three hours of sleep a night because she works the night shift after a full day of college and still can't pay her sister's medical bills.
There's nothing empty about the call for help that comes from the mother in San Antonio who saw her mortgage double in two weeks and didn't know where her 2-year-olds would sleep at night when they were on the brink of being kicked out of their home.
There's nothing empty about the call for change that came from the elderly woman who wants it so badly that she sent me an envelope with a money order for $3.01 and a simple verse of scripture tucked inside.
These Americans know that government can't solve all of our problems and they don't expect it to. Americans know that we have we have to work harder and study more to compete in a global economy. Americans know that we need to take responsibility for ourselves and our children, and we need to spend more time with them and teach them well and put a book in their hands instead of a video game once in a while. We know this.
But we also believe that there is a larger responsibility that we have to one another as Americans. We believe that we rise or fall as one nation, as one people. That we are our brother's keeper, we're our sister's keeper. We believe that a child born tonight should have the same chances whether she arrives in the Barios of San Antonio or the suburbs of St. Louis, on the streets of Chicago or the hills of Appalachian. We believe when that she goes to school for the first time, it should be in a place where the rats don't outnumber the computers, that when she applies to college, costs should be no barrier to a degree that will allow her to compete with children in India or children in China for the jobs of the 21st century.
We further believe that those jobs should provide wages that can raise her family, health care for when she gets sick, a pension for when she retires. We believe that when she tucks her own children into bed, she should feel safe knowing that they are protected from the threats we face by the bravest, best equipped military in the world led by a commander in chief who has the judgment to know when to send them into battle and which battlefield to fight on.
If that child should ever get the chance to travel the world and someone should ask her where is she from, we believe that she should always be able to hold her head high with pride in her voice when she answers, I am an American.
That is the course we seek. That is the change we are calling for. You can call it many things, but you can't call it empty.
If I'm the nominee of this party, I will not allow us to be distracted by the same politics that seeks to divide us with false charges and meaningless labels. In this campaign, we will not stand for the politics that uses religion as a wedge and patriotism as a bludgeon.
San Antonio, I owe what I am to this country, this country that I love. I will never forget it. Where else could a young man who grew up herding goats in Kenya get the chance to fulfill his dream of a college education? Where else could he marry a white girl from Kansas whose parents survived war and a great depression to find opportunity out west? Where else could they have a child who would one day have the chance to run for the highest office in the greatest nation the world has ever known? Where else but in the United States of America?
It is now my hope and our task to set this country on a course that will keep this promise alive in the 21st century. And the eyes of the world are watching to see if we can.
You know, there's a young man on my campaign whose grandfather lives in Uganda. He's 81 years old and has never experienced true democracy in his lifetime. During the reign of Edi Amin, he was literally hunted and the only reason that he escaped was thanks to the kindness of others and a few good-sized trunks. On the night of the Iowa caucuses, that 81-year-old stayed up until five in the morning huddled by his television waiting for the results of an election on the other side of the world.
The world is watching what we do here. The world is paying attention to how we conduct ourselves. What we say, how we treat one another, what will they see? What will we tell them? What will we show them? Can we come together across party and region, race and religion to restore prosperity and opportunity as the birth right of every American? Can we lead the community of nations in taking on the common threats of the 21st century, terrorism and climate change, genocide and disease? Can we send a message to all those wary travelers beyond our shores who long to be free from fear and want that the United States of America is and always will be the last best hope on earth?
We say, we hope, we believe, yes we can! Thank you, San Antonio. God bless you! God bless America. I appreciate you. Thank you.
BLITZER: Now we've heard from all of the presidential candidates on this important night in the contest for the white house; Barack Obama, the last of the candidates to speak.
Like all of us, he's waiting for the results from Texas. He lost to Hillary Clinton in Ohio and Rhode Island. He won in Vermont.
John McCain tonight captured all four of the states. He's the Republican presidential nominee. Mike Huckabee has dropped out.
We heard all of them earlier. We heard Hillary Clinton and now Barack Obama.
The big question mark remains. What happens tonight in the Texas primary? What happens tonight in the Texas caucuses? Important contest; two separate races under way in Texas. We don't know yet.
Let's take a look first at the Texas primary. With about 55 percent of the precincts reporting, Hillary Clinton maintaining her slight advantage over Barack Obama in Texas, 50 percent to 48 percent. Take a look at the numbers. We'll zoom right in, more than 1,015,861 for Hillary Clinton and 963,453 for Barack Obama. It's a difference of about 50,000 votes out of nearly two million that have been cast in the state of Texas but only 55 percent there, still a lot of votes out there that we're waiting for. We'll take look a closer in the counties and see what's going on. Let's go to Barack Obama headquarters in San Antonio right now. Jessica Yellin, like all of us, just heard the speech.
What are you hearing, Jessica, from the Obama camp? They must be pretty disappointed that they lost Ohio. They were hoping to knock her out of this race tonight. That obviously is not happening.
JESSICA YELLIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, the Barack Obama top adviser says when he looks at these results he sees a wash. Because when you count up the delegates, Obama is still ahead in pledge delegates and they suspect he'll do quite well in delegates here in Texas.
I have to say there's escalating animosity between the two campaigns. The senior adviser to Barack Obama saying, well, of course, the Clinton campaign has to say she has momentum. It's sort of refreshing. She hasn't been able to say that in a very long time.
On a conference call tonight with reporters, the two campaigns got in a fight with one another over Texas, an argument about Texas voting irregularities. There's a lot of hostility between these two campaigns right now.
You heard Barack Obama moving right past this loss saying he plans to contest John McCain making it clear he's looking forward to being a nomination, the general election nominee.
And also I should note hitting a lot more policy notes. Fewer lofty speech and much more grounded discussion of some of the specifics he's been criticized for not including in his speeches.
I will tell you in sum the Obama campaign, if they're very disappointed they're not showing it. They expected it to be tight, and they think they can keep it tight enough to make sure Obama has a healthy lead in delegates tomorrow mortgage.
BLITZER: All right, Jessica. Stand by, because we're going to talk to you about what goes forward from here; Wyoming on Saturday and Mississippi next Tuesday, April 22nd in Pennsylvania. I want to check in with Larry King. He's standing by as well.
Larry, you got a special program coming up. You're joining us in our coverage. The big question mark of Texas remains undecided, at least right now, Larry.
LARRY KING, CNN ANCHOR: I'll bet it does all through the night, Wolf. Texas -- a lot of counties are slow in counting, but we're here with Ohio in the rear-view mirror. We look at what's ahead in the white house. We'll hear from CNN's team of correspondents and our panel. They'll tell us what today, tomorrow and the coming months mean for the candidates and the country, the big one, of course, Pennsylvania. We're headed your way with the latest on a pivotal Tuesday night bringing it to you live right after the top of the hour.
BLITZER: All right, Larry. Thanks very much.
Larry is going to be part of this best political team on television as he always is.
Let's take a quick -- actually, we're not going to take a break. We're going back to Lou because he has part of that best political team on television as well.
It's an exciting night for all of us, certainly exciting for the candidates. There's still a huge question mark remaining.
LOU DOBBS, CNN ANCHOR: Texas now 53,000 votes the margin between Senator Clinton and Obama. There's nothing safe about the lead, is there, Gloria?
GLORIA BORGER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: No, there's nothing safe about that lead. And I think we're looking at Lou is an epic political contest we've never seen and no matter what the final results are tonight, this is a contest that's going to continue and I think there's going to be a huge showdown in the state of Pennsylvania and it's going to be a huge showdown. It's going to make the showdown in Iowa and New Hampshire look like small potatoes.
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR ANALYST: But I mean you just have to admire the gumption of Hillary Clinton. Three times in this relatively short period she has had a political near death experience. It looked like she was going to be out in New Hampshire. She came back to win. Super Tuesday it looked like she might lose in California and New York well not New York but Californian, she came back and won. Now this time, again she's won Ohio and Texas is very close. I mean it's extraordinary how each time she gets to the cliff and gets back to dry land.
BORGER: And this really is kind of a shift in the momentum. You understand the math point and the arithmetic that the Obama campaign is talking about because it's very real.
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