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Continuing Coverage of March 4 Primaries

Aired March 5, 2008 - 01:00   ET


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world, what a historic night in the United States. Right now I am Wolf Blitzer at the CNN Election Center. Let's get the scene. A huge comeback for Hillary Clinton tonight in this Democratic presidential race. And a major, major achievement for John McCain. He captures the Republican presidential nomination.
Two story lines unfolding. John McCain is the Republican presidential nominee. Mike Huckabee dropping out. John McCain going over the number needed to guarantee he will be the Republican nominee. But Hillary Clinton now coming back from a series of losses to Barack Obama since Super Tuesday. She has captured tonight Rhode Island, Ohio and Texas, losing Vermont to Barack Obama. But the wins in Ohio and Texas are oh, so significant for Hillary Clinton in going forward.

Let's take a look and recap what has happened on this day. Step-by- step, we'll begin in Vermont, first of all. Barack Obama managed to win in Vermont 86 percent of the precincts have now reported. That he scored a decisive win in Vermont. As is the case for John McCain. We'll get to that in a moment. Hillary Clinton in Ohio, 88 percent of the precincts are now in. We projected a while ago that she is the winner in Ohio, a major industrialized state in the Midwest. Here's Vermont, as I said, John McCain, the Republican presidential nominee. He is the winner in Vermont, beating Mike Huckabee, who has since dropped out of this race.

In Texas, this is the big win. For Hillary Clinton, 76 percent of the precincts are now in. We have projected that Hillary Clinton is the winner in Texas. She needed Ohio. She desperately needed Texas. She got both of those. This campaign continues. The Texas caucuses, though, we don't know -- this is a separate race in Texas in addition to the primary. A third of the delegates in Texas will be determined by these caucuses. Only 5 percent of the caucus results are in, Obama slightly ahead. But it's still very early in determining the caucuses.

Ohio went to John McCain over Mike Huckabee. 88 percent of the precincts have now reported. But John McCain won in Ohio rather handily. In Rhode Island, Hillary Clinton did win in Rhode Island, 98 percent of the vote is now in. She, earlier in the evening, was projected the winner. Rhode Island, an important state for her. She won as expected. Same is the case for John McCain in Rhode Island. He had a clean sweep. He won all of the contests on the Republican side tonight. Hillary Clinton won 3 of the 4, the caucuses in Texas remaining outstanding. John McCain, the easy winner in Texas as well over Mike Huckabee as we said, he has dropped out.

Let's take a close look at Texas and what we know, 77 percent of the precincts have now reported in Texas. Hillary Clinton with 51 percent of the vote to 47 percent for Barack Obama. Let's take a close look at the actual numbers, the votes that have been tallied so far, 1,227,000 or so for Hillary Clinton, 1,145,000 for Barack Obama. That's a difference right there that Hillary Clinton needed and has received. Even though she's going to win the Texas primary, we don't know how the delegates are going to be distributed given the nature of the distribution that they have in Texas. Certainly we don't know how the caucus delegates will be distributed as well.

Anderson Cooper is back with the best political team on television. Her husband, Bill Clinton, a while ago said if she wins Ohio and Texas, he flatly went on to predict she will be the Democratic nominee. She has won the popular vote in Ohio, won the popular vote in Texas. We'll see what happens if she eventually becomes the Democratic nominee. But she did what she had to do and you have to give her credit for that.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely. A big night for Hillary Clinton. How does this -- where do we go from here? It seems like things start all over again.

GLORIA BORGER, SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: We go to Pittsburgh, I think, is where we go.

COOPER: You say that with such enthusiasm.

BORGER: I think this race continues on as Bill Clinton said. If she wins these two, it continues on. I think it's going to freeze all of those super delegates for a while.

COOPER: So it becomes, once again, the super delegates come to the fore in terms of importance.

BORGER: Momentum and winning big in important states, Hillary Clinton said that tonight.

COOPER: She has also said she doesn't see it as a matter of coming down to the convention.

BORGER: Right. And in the end, I don't think this party wants to self-destruct and I think at some point and it may well be after Pennsylvania that something happens. But I do think you have a couple of other primaries. You have Mississippi, you have Wyoming, but I think it's going to come down to a big, important state and a showdown in Pennsylvania is going to make anything we've seen so far look really small because every journalist in the world is going to converge.

COOPER: You're implying that somebody's got to blink. It becomes the showdown in Pennsylvania after which somebody blinks and bows out. Jeffrey Toobin, do you see that happening?

JEFFREY TOOBIN: That's not necessarily the case. We keep saying that each primary is the climactic one and it's not necessarily Pennsylvania. You have West Virginia, you have Kentucky, you have Oregon all of which could be contested. No one thought these would even be contested. Everyone assumed these primaries wouldn't matter at all. But this could go on until June.

COOPER: In terms of money, both these candidates have a ton of money they've raised in the last month.

JAMAL SIMMONS, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: They've both raised perhaps even 85 million dollars between the two of them in the last month. And if that's the case, there will be a lot of Democrats who are rubbing their hands together going, wow, wouldn't it be great if we could be spending this money against John McCain instead of against each other. But that's not the case.

TOOBIN: But the good news -- good news for Democrats is John McCain in that month only raised $12 million. There is a tremendous difference in enthusiasm, in financial resources. It's just that the Republicans have a candidate and the Democrats don't.

SIMMONS: Here's the danger. I was listening to the radio today. A guy was saying, sometimes when you fight somebody you get tougher. But sometimes a boxer will cut another boxer's eye and it gets cut and you can't close it. One of these candidates could hurt the other that the Republicans could take advantage of in the fall.

COOPER: We are going to take short break. Go to to look at the numbers we're looking at and have been looking at. The numbers are still coming in in some of these areas.

We're also going to also take a look at how these victories were forged in the last several days. Stay tuned.


BLITZER: Four for four for John McCain tonight. He wins all the Republican primaries. He's the Republican presidential nominee. Three for four for Hillary Clinton, she wins in Rhode Island, Ohio and now in Texas. We're still waiting for the Texas caucuses on the Democratic side. Unclear what's going to happen there. But obviously a very important and good night for Hillary Clinton.

Let's bring in Soledad O'Brien and Bill Schneider to explain Texas, how Hillary Clinton managed to do what a lot of the experts didn't think she could do, score this win, Soledad, in Texas.

SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's very true. One of the answers to that question is she got help in some of the same areas we saw her getting help all along, older voters once again came out to support Hillary Clinton.

BILL SCHNEIDER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: In big numbers, senior power. Take a look at the voters among Texas Democrats over 65; she got two-thirds of the vote. And among everyone under 65, the race was a tie. Without the seniors, she couldn't have done it.

O'BRIEN: There were a lot of people in Texas who were very worried about the economy. People asked, are you worried about your own financial situation? They say yes. How did those numbers divide out? SCHNEIDER: Two thirds were worried about their own family's financial situation. They voted for Hillary Clinton. The economic financial conditions, very important factor in her victory in Ohio as well as Texas.

O'BRIEN: We've talked about momentum. The big mo you like to call it. We noticed the momentum was owned by Barack Obama. It was almost shifting towards Hillary Clinton, same thing in Texas.

SCHNEIDER: Same thing in Ohio and Texas. Those voters who decided within the last three days, they voted over 60 percent for Hillary Clinton. Those voters who decided before the last three days, that was about 80 percent of the Democrats in Texas. They were tied. So once again, the momentum of the last three days -- and trust me, there's going to be a big debate about what that phone ad had to do with the momentum we're seeing right here. But something happened in the last three days to deliver Texas for Hillary Clinton.

O'BRIEN: No question, a lot of analysis on that. People have sat through a number of debates. What were the big differences people saw in the exit polls?

SCHNEIDER: Not big differences on issues or ideology. But they saw a difference in the style and message of the candidates. When we asked people, do you think Clinton has a clear plan for solving the country's problems? Sixty six percent said yes. Does Obama have a clear plan? The majority said yes but not quite as big. Clinton has the edge on the ability to deliver. That attracts low-income voters and seniors, people who want something. A lot of Latinos want good jobs, education. Clinton delivers.

What's the advantage for Barack Obama? We asked, is Barack Obama inspiring you about the country? And 64 percent said he does. Clinton was right behind him, 59 percent said she's inspiring. But he has the edge on inspiration. So the bottom line on this, I think, is Clinton delivers, Obama inspires.

O'BRIEN: Going into Texas, we talked a lot about the Latino vote and how critical it would be. At the end of the day, did we see that?

SCHNEIDER: The Latino vote was important for Hillary Clinton but she would have won without it because she did very well with white voters in Texas, extremely well. And that, of course -- they were about half the electorate.

O'BRIEN: When people predicted the victory would hinge on Latino voters, it wasn't the point.

BLITZER: Sylvester Reyes the Congressman from Texas flatly predicted that she would do really well with the Latino vote, and that she would win in Texas. And he proved to be right. Let's take a closer look and see how she manages to do it in Texas. John King's been studying this state county-by and you have to give her a lot of credit right now because she's managed to do what she couldn't do, win in Texas.

JOHN KING, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And look Senator Clinton is the lighter blue, Barack Obama, the darker blue. Look at the sweep of the state of Texas. It's a giant state and she won almost everywhere. Barack Obama is keeping this very, very close, 51-48 with 82 percent of the vote in. And his margin is likely to get a bit closer because Harris County, a big population center, Obama is winning there. Still about 25 percent of the vote to come in in Harris County.

But, but, Senator Clinton -- Senator Obama is winning in the population centers, winning in Dallas, in Houston, winning in Austin. Senator Clinton countering that by winning in San Antonio and winning by a pretty good margin there. You just heard Bill and Soledad talking about two constituencies. This is the Latino belt from Corpus Christi all the way up to El Paso. Look at that, almost exclusively for Senator Clinton.

And Wolf, in some of these counties by huge margins. The other constituency, the white vote, out in the rural areas of Texas, the white voters, Senator Clinton running up big numbers. Not a lot of people live in these counties but she won them and won them big. A combination of a white rural vote to Latino vote, a lot of white voters down in the valley as well, Senator Clinton running up numbers across the state offsetting Senator Obama's wins in the urban areas, in Dallas, in Ft. Worth, in Austin the most liberal part of the state and in Houston. Obama gets the African-American vote. Obama gets the university vote here and the liberal vote. But Senator Clinton with a sweeping win across the state.

BLITZER: How significant, John, is it that she has won the primary contest in Texas, she won decisively, the contest in Ohio, yet the Obama people had a lot more money, they spent a lot more on the ads, perhaps 2 to 1 over Hillary Clinton and paid advertising in both of these states yet she manages to win the popular vote in both of them? That's a pretty significant development, I should say.

KING: It's a huge development. And you'll have two very loud competing arguments tomorrow. The Obama campaign will say, we're ahead in the delegates. And they likely, the Obama campaign will likely come out of Texas with at least as many if not more delegates because of the complicated caucus process still under way.

But Senator Clinton will make the case, I was outspent 2 to 1 in two big states, I held on and won those states. They're critical states. The Obama campaign will say, we're still ahead in the delegate math. Which means we go on. This is the national map so far. Again, the dark blue is Obama. The light blue is Clinton. He's won more states. But it is going to come down to a debate, first in Pennsylvania. And then if she can win Pennsylvania, which is more than a month away.

BLITZER: April 22nd.

KING: We're going to have a fight for a while now. I think this belt right here is going to be critical. She wants to make the case in these industrial states, these gritty, economic states where you have the old industrial steel belt here, down in West Virginia, white rural voters, Kentucky, another state with a rural population, if she can fight it out here over the economy, even if Barack Obama is ahead in delegates, then she will claim moral victories in momentum into the convention.

He is favored in Mississippi which comes up. But if they trade from here on out, Obama will be ahead in the delegates. She will have won some very important states in the general election. Then you'll have an argument over the super delegates and argument over momentum. This Democratic race is going on.

BLITZER: And it doesn't look like either one of them is going to get to that magic number of 2,024. Howard Dean told me earlier today, the real number is 2,024. It doesn't look like either one of them is going to get to that magic number any time soon.

KING: No, it does not. Assuming they both stay viable and they both keep raising money and they trade some victories, we're likely to get there without anyone reaching the number which brings us back to the question on our map Michigan and Florida. Senator Clinton carried the vote in those states. But the delegates don't count because those states voted in violation of the Democratic Party rules.

BLITZER: And none of the candidates could campaign in those states. In Michigan, only Hillary Clinton and Dennis Kucinich's names were on the ballot. In Florida, their names were on the ballot but they couldn't campaign there. Those two states have zero delegates there.

KING: Exactly right, so Governor Dean the chairman of the DMT, other Democratic Party leaders are facing -- Pennsylvania will vote in a few weeks. If this continues, Senator Clinton stays in, keeps winning. Obama wins some. They're going to face a tough decision over what to do about Florida and Michigan. Do you go to the convention with them not counting or find some way to relitigate those states.

BLITZER: A little more heartburn for Howard Dean and the Democratic Party leaders. Right now, Pennsylvania is going to be a key state April 22nd and Hillary Clinton already had one significant advantage there, Ed Rendell, the governor; he's in Hillary Clinton's corner.

KING: Very much like Ohio as well in terms of the demographics, the economy of the state, the trade --

BLITZER: The loss of jobs because of the manufacturing collapse and all of that. A lot more to talk about. We're going to continue our special coverage here at the CNN Election Center. A huge night for John McCain. A huge night for Hillary Clinton as well. The Republican contest is settled. The Democratic contest, far from settled. Stay with us. Much more of our coverage right after this.


COOPER: Welcome back. Our coverage continues. A fascinating night of politics. I'm here with senior contributor Roland Martin. Where does the race go from here?

ROLAND MARTIN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: You've got Mississippi next week. That's looking good for Obama. You have Wyoming. But the big one is Pennsylvania. The real key is going to be, how do both of these campaigns move forward? For Clinton, will she continue the kind of campaign she's ran for the last three days, being very aggressive, attack, attack, attack. They weren't that negative but in terms of going after the jugular of Obama.

Obama is going to have to retool. Even the sentiment among the campaign, it's sort of the relaxed a little bit as opposed to, you have to put your foot on somebody's neck when you have them down. I think they need to be a little bit more aggressive. Nevada, the same thing happened. They thought the Ronald Reagan comment wasn't a big deal. The last 48 hours, it was huge. The whole Rezco deal as well as the Canadian deal -- we can weather it, it's not a big deal, and it was a big deal.

COOPER: If you were consulting with the Clinton campaign which is highly unlikely, but if you were and they were listening to your advice, what advice? Keep the kitchen sink approach?

ALEX CASTELLANOS, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: The dye is cast there. They learned something important this week. If they put the heat on Barack Obama, he doesn't hold up. There's a real question now about whether Barack Obama, I think, has a glass jaw. If you're a Democratic super delegate, what do you do? He's had one week of bad press, one week of pressure and he lost the lead in Texas. If that's going to be a problem in the general election, you want to find out now. So I think a lot of Democratic delegates are going to say, let's let this thing go a little longer before we make any decisions.

COOPER: If you're a Republican watching, as you are, Amy Holmes, there's got to be a lot of joy.

AMY HOLMES, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: You're smiling. It seems to be the same thing over and over with little adjustments. I just got an e-mail from one of Clinton's top fund-raisers telling me, I told you so, and he told me last week that Hillary would do a lot better than people predicted. We thought tonight was that popular vote in Texas. What Bill Schneider was getting at tonight, in terms of that popular vote, it's interesting that those late deciders, what you were talking about over the past three or four days when Barack Obama wasn't answering those charges effectively, those late deciders went with Hillary Clinton.

COOPER: We've seen that in race after race, the people deciding at the last minute are going for Clinton.

HOLMES: It's also been close where they split the late deciders. It looked like that phone call ad worked for Texas voters. There will be debate about that. But I think there's a real danger in that. That if Hillary was able to appeal to the national security concerns with who do you trust at 3:00 in the morning, in a general, they'll say John McCain.

MARTIN: I'm cracking up at how it changes. For instance, when Barack Obama was winning red states, Clinton says, we won't win those; we'll focus on blue states. Guess what? Texas is a red state. Early on, they were saying, forget this whole notion about in terms of how many states you won, it's about delegates. Now, its delegates -- forget the math. So both campaigns are sort of changing this whole language. Here's what Clinton is going to say, flat out, she's going to say electability, I can win the big states.

Obama is focused on, I've won more states, more votes and I have more delegates. That's going to be the narrative. And so for a super delegate, they have to say, which one is most important and how are people going to react based upon those two story lines?

HOLMES: I would say the super delegates should take a close look. In both Texas and Ohio, those people polled in the exit polls said the super delegates should go with the primary vote. They should not be basing their decision on elect ability.

One more point that I would make tonight too is, Hillary Clinton said very clearly it was very telling in her victory speech, we won Florida. And you've heard Hillary Clinton and Bill Clinton say it's the Republicans' fault the Florida was discounted by the DNC. I thought it was fascinating that Hillary is throwing that into the mix.

MARTIN: Everybody knew the rules; the bottom line is we're going to abide by the rules. He said everybody knew Florida and Michigan didn't count. And they're not going to count. That's the most definitive statement that Howard Dean regarding Michigan and Florida because he knows there is going to be hell to pay if they try to go there.

CASTELLANOS: And one of the important things is that the Clinton people learned something important compared to the other candidates. You saw John McCain giving his speech with Cindy standing next to him. You saw Barack Obama and Michelle. You saw Hillary Clinton, you didn't see Bill. Going forward, she looks better on her own.

COOPER: On Super Tuesday, we were talking about the Clintons, plural. Now in the last week or so or last couple of weeks, we've been talking about Hillary Clinton. That seems to be in her benefit. Do much better on her own. I want to bring in our other panel to talk about Michigan and Florida. How do they deal with this?

BORGER: I was just e-mailing with a Democrat who is sort of involved in the Clinton campaign and said, look for them to put together a public effort in Florida and Michigan. Howard Dean has said "no, absolutely not." But the Clinton campaign and she hinted at it tonight is clearly going to say, seek though delegates in Florida and Michigan. They voted, don't disenfranchise them.

And you're going to start having that whole argument again. The truth of the matter is, Anderson, that neither of them have the delegates at this point. They have to get them somewhere. And Florida and Michigan are two --

COOPER: But Hillary Clinton does keep saying, I don't foresee this going to the convention. Where does it get resolved?

KING: It doesn't get resolved. You need to play it out one state at a time. If we've learned anything in this campaign, stop trying to look past the next contest. He consumer he wins Mississippi, assume he wins in Wyoming; you go to the states around Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania is five weeks away. The Clinton campaign will argue Michigan and Florida should get their vote. They would be smart, most Democrats would tell you, to save that argument and make it worthwhile by winning a bunch of states first and then dealing with Florida and Michigan. You don't want to be saying now let's change the rules in the middle of the game just like many of the Obama supporters, all due respect intended, are saying, well, we're ahead in the delegates, let's just call it a day before somebody gets hurt. That's like saying at 475 miles through the Indy 500, I'm ahead, well you're only two car lengths behind me but let's stop before somebody gets hurt.

No, you finish the race. And then you see where you are at the end of the race. And if no one's at the finish line, well then you deal with Florida, Michigan, the rules committee, the super delegates, the lawyers and who knows what. But let's keep going.

SIMMONS: I think her winning Texas and Ohio means that that really does open the door. I think if she had lost one, I think that there still would have been some ground swell against her still going negative.

Here's the thing about stopping it. (INAUDIBLE) said he stopped the race. But you've got to be careful again that you're not just opening up a wound on someone that they're going to have to live with from the Republicans. That's what a lot of Democrats are really concerned about. I do think this is going to go clearly now for a few more weeks. And we'll see what happens.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: It's also -- I mean talk about open wound. You have Hillary Clinton saying, you know, John McCain has experience, she has experience, but Barack Obama made a speech.

SIMMONS: Yes. And, you know, the Obama campaign is going to have to figure out how it is they go back at the Clintons. You know, they've got to find a way to change the story and to get them back on the defense without sacrificing the man from hope.

COOPER: That's the thing. I mean do they start a kitchen sink strategy?

GLORIA BORGER, SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: How can Barack Obama do that? Barack Obama's run his whole campaign on a different kind of politician. So he's got to figure out how he can either go on the attack, answer her charges, let voters understand that he's not soft and that Hillary Clinton is tough, that she can get things done and he can just give a good speech. He has to fine-tune a little bit.

JEFFREY TOOBIN, SENIOR ANALYST: But let's remember that Barack Obama is still in pretty good shape here. I mean the idea that he has to completely retool his campaign I think is unduly panicy. The argument that he was right on Iraq when she was wrong on Iraq is a very powerful argument in Democratic primaries. He's not going to give that up. And I don't think he should if he wants to win.

So even though it didn't work in Texas, he had a very bad week with the Canada thing, with Rezko. A lot of what he's doing is still working. And wholesale changes seem like a pretty bad idea. COOPER: We've been talking a lot about what Hillary Clinton said earlier. Let's play a significant chunk of her speech I think it's about a three-minute bite -- in case you missed some of it. Let's play that.


SEN. HILLARY CLINTON, (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Thank you. Thank you. Thank you all very much. Thank you so much. 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 but 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 primary.

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!


COOPER: An enthusiastic Hillary Clinton earlier tonight. Now let's hear from Senator Obama talking about the road ahead.


SEN. BARACK OBAMA, (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: In the weeks to come, we will begin a great 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, a straight talk and independent thinking, and I respect that. But in this campaign, he has 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've 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.


COOPER: Senator Barack Obama earlier tonight. It is interesting, though, to see him not without a crowd behind him, as we normally do, and also hear him solely focused on John McCain.

KING: He was trying to show in that speech right there he's not rattled. I still think I'm going to be the nominee. I'm going to take the case to John McCain.

That might be a little overconfident because, Anderson, what we have right now, especially after what Senator Clinton did tonight, Obama will probably do just fine in the delegates tonight because of Texas. Even if she wins, it's very narrowly in the popular vote. She is going to win but very narrowly on the popular vote. He seemed to be doing a little better in the caucuses, which are still going on. He'll come out OK delegate wise.

But this is like one of those games of Monopoly, you own Boardwalk, I own Park Place. I own two of the greens, you own the other one. And we keep going around the board and going around the board and no body can knock the other one out because we can't build enough hotels. We both have enough money to keep going, but nobody can win the game.

COOPER: But it is a fascinating quandary that he is now in. I mean if you're having the kitchen sink thrown at you, how do you respond? I mean there's plenty of stuff that could be thrown and will be thrown probably at Senator Clinton in a general election. Can Barack Obama be the person to do that?

BORGER: Well, and I think, you know, that question makes Hillary Clinton's case. And her case is, I'm tough enough. I know how to take on these Republicans. I've been attacked by Republicans my entire life. I know how to beat them and he doesn't. And Democrats, you want to win.

And what Obama has to do -- Jamal and I were just talking before -- I think their campaign made a bunch of rookie mistakes during this Texas and Ohio stuff because they had this kitchen sink thrown at them and they didn't quite know how to respond to it and they didn't do a very good job of responding to it.

COOPER: Were they overconfident? I mean were they focusing on John McCain? BORGER: Hanging on. Hanging on. Like hanging on. We have 48 more hours to go and we're hanging on to the rails here and just let's get through it so we can win Texas and Ohio. And I know I'm right, right? When Roland agrees with me, I know I'm right.

ROLAND MARTIN: That was a feeling among the campaign that people sort of just relaxed thinking, tracker (ph) polls showing us up in next. Oh, she'll probably win Ohio, we can just sort of relax. That's what they did.

BORGER: Hang on.

COOPER And 48 hours makes the difference?

SIMMONS: It absolutely does. And here's the thing. The Clintons are not confined by the rules. I mean they've shown time and time again they will do whatever it takes to try to win this election.

COOPER: Spoken like you're an Obama supporter.

SIMMONS: I am an Obama supporter. But let's put it this way, that I don't think -- you know, they didn't worry about whether that it was caucus states or primary states. They're not worried about whether Michigan or Florida gets in. They're not worried about the Nevada caucuses. They'll sue. I mean, they'll do what it takes to try to win this fight. And if it goes to a convention, I think the Clintons probably win a convention fight because they know what levers to pull. So Obama's got to beat her on the field, in the states, and that means he's going to have to use things like maybe the tax records or the foundation money or all these things that are sitting out there that have to be talked about.

KING: But imagine that. You know, Alex was talking earlier, does Obama have a glass jar. There are a lot of Democrats who worry about his toughness. But if Obama's going to come out now and say the tax records, the foundation, where is Bill getting his money in the paid speeches and then the Clinton campaign comes back with the Rezko trial and this and that, well the McCain campaign is going to sit there and say, more, more, more. Obama can shut this off by going into Pennsylvania, he has five weeks, by winning a debate with Hillary Clinton on the economy. He lost Ohio. He has to win Pennsylvania.

TOOBIN: But the idea that Hillary Clinton is not going to have to deal with her tax returns or how Bill is raising money, if she's the general election candidate, is folly. I mean, you know, these issues can't -- I mean just because a Democratic contestant doesn't raise them, doesn't mean they're not going to go -- it doesn't mean they're going to go away. So the ability to deal with these issues is an important way of winning the nomination

KING: And she's on the record in the most recent debate, the MSNBC debate, as saying she would release them soon. I think the Obama campaign, probably by sun-up tomorrow morning, is going to say define "soon."

BORGER: And by the way, she's going to throw more. KING: But it's just (INAUDIBLE).

BORGER: She's going to throw more at him. I mean this worked (ph).

SIMMONS: But, you know, she's already started it. She's already started it. She's already problems that she's not going to hold back. She's raised questions about his readiness to be commander in chief. There's nothing more damaging for someone running for president than someone in their own party raising questions that they're ready to be commander in chief.

ALEX CASTELLANOS, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: It wasn't really Obama's experience that was challenged this week, it was his toughness. And it was found wanting (ph). He took hits from Hillary Clinton. He was challenged by the press. And he just kind of floated above it all. And in an uncertain world where you've got, you know, metastisizing (ph) threats in foreign policy, an economy turbulent, housing crisis, people want a guy who's tough enough to deal with these challenges. They didn't see that this week.

AMY HOLMES, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: I think that's true. I think that's true. But I think there's also another element that we're missing. That she was able to play both the bully and the victim. If you remember, she's a victim of the media. And we saw a lot of voters saying that they thought the media was being unfair to Hillary. And she goes on "Saturday Night Live." She goes on "Jon Stewart" to play the underdog. To play the person that's been unfairly beat up on. And I think that worked for her while she was simultaneously beating up on her opponents which is, hey, politics.

MARTIN: And a month ago the Obama campaign allowed Clinton to say 35 years of experience. She said it in the New Hampshire debate. She kept hammering it. And the networks said, wait a minute, you're 60 years old. So you're counting every year after college. I think what they have to say is, take this whole national security thing away and say, wait a minute, what crisis have you responded to? If you're counting the White House, so were you there with Mogadishu? Where you there when it came to Rwanda? Where you there when it came to some of those foreign policy crises? They have allowed her to present herself as a better commander in chief when they say, wait a minute, what experience do you really have at that? They gave her that ground and she simply walked all over it (ph).

COOPER: We've got to take a break. We'll have a lot more of this discussion. Our coverage is going to continue. We can guarantee you that. You can follow along online as well. We'll be right back.


COOPER: A few minutes ago we brought you remarks by Senator Clinton and Senator Obama earlier tonight. Let's listen now to Senator John McCain from earlier this evening speaking from Dallas.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEN. JOHN MCCAIN, (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I am very, very grateful and pleased to note that tonight, my friends, we have won enough delegates to claim with confidence, humility and a great sense of responsibility that I will be the Republican nominee for president of the United States.

I want to thank all of you here, all the Republicans, independents and independent-thinking Democrats in all parts of the country who supported our campaign for the nomination and have brought us across the finish line first. An accomplishment that once seemed to more than a few doubters, unlikely.

My friends, I know that all of us, all of us want to again commend my friend, Governor Mike Huckabee. He's a great and fine and decent American. And we appreciate the campaign he run, his supporters for their passionate commitment to their campaign that Governor Huckabee so ably represented. And I also want to thank all my former rivals for the nomination and their supporters for their steadfast dedication to keeping America safe, prosperous and proud.

Of course, I want to thank my family, my wife, Cindy, my children and our dear friends who have been throughout this campaign and will remain in the challenging months ahead an unwavering source of support and love.

My friends, now we begin the most important part of our campaign -- to make a respectful, determined and convincing case to the American people that our campaign and my election as president, given the alternatives presented by our friends in the other party, are in the best interest of the country we love.


COOPER: Senator John McCain from Dallas tonight. Now let's listen to some of Governor Mike Huckabee's comments as he conceded the race earlier this evening.


MIKE HUCKABEE, (R) FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: But what a journey. What a journey. A journey of a lifetime. It is not lost on me where I started. The Prophet Isaiah said, and I've quoted it often, "look to the rock from which you were hewn, the quarry from which you were dug."

I know of the earth from which I have come. The humble circumstances of the son of a firefighter and who worked a second job barely paying the rent on the rent house in Hope, Arkansas, where we lived. A mother who was the oldest of seven kids and grew up in a house, dirt floors, outdoor toilets, no electricity when she was little. Parents, who like so many across this country, wanted for their kids to have a better life. I don't think they could have ever imagined that that better life would included running for president and getting this close to getting there.

Let me say, while many among the establishment never really believed I belonged, there were a lot of people in this country who did. And most importantly, these are the people across this nation who gave me a voice over these past 14 months. It was their sacrifices, the sacrifices of a truck driver in Michigan, of a housewife who sold her wedding ring on eBay and gave the contribution to the campaign, a janitor in Alabama who has a wife in a wheelchair who gave $20 not out of his abundance, but out of his poverty, so that our campaign could stay on the track. Those are the folks who have given me a voice. And I only pray to God that I've been able to give them a voice.


COOPER: That was Governor Mike Huckabee earlier tonight. John McCain really trying to test out some of the themes that we're going to hear a lot from him in the next couple of weeks.

KING: I thought one of the defining things he set out to start doing tonight is to redefine the Iraq debate on his terms, saying let's not go back to the decision to go to war. That's been done. That decision was made. Not worth relitigating. Let's start with, what do we do from here forward. He thinks he can win that argument about his argument that the surge has worked, that Iraq is in a better place than it was six months ago. Whoever the Democratic candidate wants to go back to George Bush made a mistake, took us into a war we never should have been into. McCain wants to look forward, not backwards.

COOPER: If you are Barack Obama, do you continue talking about John McCain or do you start refocusing and start talking about Hillary Clinton?

BORGER: I think you have to start talking about your Democratic opponent because she is going to start talking about him. And she's going to throw everything that she hasn't already thrown at him, at him this next time. And he's going to have to find some tricks of his own.

Having said that tonight, when all the dust settles, Anderson, Hillary Clinton could end up winning fewer delegates than Barack Obama this evening, depending on what happens in those Texas caucuses. So he's going to also start talking about -- keep talking about his delegate count. But they're going to start going at each other and that's not quite what the American public wants.

COOPER: We have a lot more coverage ahead. Stay tuned. We'll be right back.


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Let's update where we stand right now in terms of the all-important delegates. First, on the Democratic side. Remember the 2,025 are need to nominate. Some suggesting Howard Dean maybe 2,024. A new technicality.

But right now it's very close. And we've just started allocating the delegates from Vermont, Rhode Island, Ohio and Texas based on what we know so far. But this is going to take several hours, maybe even a few days for the complete allocation to go forward. Right now, Barack Obama leads with 1,451 delegates to Hillary Clinton's 1,365 delegates. It's close. It might get a little bit closer as this night and tomorrow goes on.

On the Republican side, it's all over. The magic number that was need to nominate the Republican nominee, 1,191. Right now we have John McCain with 1,226. John McCain is the Republican presidential nominee. That contest is over. He's going to be at the White House later in the day on Wednesday to formally get the endorsement of President Bush.

John, let's take a look at this race for the nomination. Among the delegates, the Democratic side, specifically, because we can see you need 2,024, 2,025 to win. They're close, the two of them, right now, but they're still not there.

KING: Obama has a slight lead right now. I've just given Senator Clinton Texas, but that's based on a 55-45. And that could easily go to other way if Obama wins more delegates because of the caucuses.

But take this as a hypothetical exercise, what we're doing right now. Let's just give Senator Clinton a slight edge in the delegates in Texas. Might end up being a slight edge for Obama. But hypothetical, let's do it for now.

But let's just assume she won Ohio tonight. Let's say she wins Pennsylvania. Let's say she can win West Virginia. Let's say she can win Kentucky and Indiana. Now let's go over here and say Obama wins in Mississippi, he wins out here in the mountain states where he's had success so far. These wins are going at 55-45. So they're proportional delegations even though one candidate wins the state.

Look what we've done. We've moved the bar way out here. Obama still ahead in the delegates but shy. And the state we haven't given up yet, and let's give that one away, is, pick your winner, we'll just give it to Obama, North Carolina could go to Clinton. If they trade states, and you could flip this math either way, we could do another hypothetical, I could give the other states to somebody else, you end up somewhere out here. Puerto Rico, it's not on our map, but you end up out here.

What could become critical at that point is the difference between pledged delegates and super delegates. Obama currently leads among the pledged delegates. And unless somebody starts winning by bigger margins, Wolf, that is likely to stay the case.

Now his argument will be, I have more delegates actually picked by the voters, if you will, the ones you win in the primaries. She would argue at that point, I've won more of these states late. And they'd have an argument back and forth. And again, I'm going to say it one more time, it's a broken record, Florida and Michigan, even though Governor Dean says for now broke the rules, not going back there, the Clinton campaign, if she can keep winning and keep it in play, will argue we need to do something about Florida and Michigan.

BLITZER: We haven't heard the last of those two states yet. KING: No.

BLITZER: All right. Let's go back to Anderson Cooper. He's watching all of this as well.


COOPER: Well, thanks very much.

Gloria Borger, as you watched what happened tonight, when you wake up in the morning, what do you need to know? What should people out there, who are going to sleep now, look for first thing in the morning?

BORGER: I think they're going to look for different spins from the different campaigns. Hillary Clinton is going to say, it's all about the states I've been winning, the big states. He's going to say it's all about the delegates.

COOPER: Jamal.

SIMMONS: Barack Obama's got to change the story. He's got to get Hillary Clinton on the offensive. And he's got to get all these big stories off the front pages.

TOOBIN: For the past month it has really looked like it was just a matter of time for Barack Obama, and that is no longer true. This race is wide open once again.

COOPER: Certainly a very big night for Hillary Clinton. A very big night for John McCain. And this thing is nowhere near over. You will be seeing us quite often in the weeks ahead right here on nights just like this.

Thanks for watching. Our coverage continues right now.