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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL
Senator Hillary Clinton Victorious in Pennsylvania Primary
Aired April 23, 2008 - 00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LARRY KING, HOST: We're the windup of the day. And we'll be talking with Wolf Blitzer and John King, getting there, looking at all of this. Lots of panelists still to come.
Let's first check with Candy Crowley. She's been on the scene all day in Philadelphia, CNN senior political correspondent.
Basically, no surprise, is it?
CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's not a surprise except for, you know, we saw those polls closing in the past couple of weeks. We saw in the exit polls it looked like it'd be fairly close, but it now looks as though she has a ten-point gap there. So it's a good win for her. The question really never was, was she going to win or not?
The Clinton campaign says, well, he spent all this money. He's been in the state. He should win. Everyone expected, because of the demographics, because of the deep roots, not that she has family-wise, but that he has, from his presidency, Bill Clinton, they thought Senator Clinton would win here. And the question was always the gap, ten-point gap, a ten-point win by Hillary Clinton is a good win for her.
L. KING: So Wolf, does a ten-point win is a good win and she won by 10 points, does that mean we don't trust the polls or they read it wrong or it wasn't diminishing? What does it mean?
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Well, in the last poll of polls, our average, Larry, of what we saw earlier going into the exit polls, I'm not talking about the exit polls, we did see a nine-point advantage for Hillary Clinton. It had been six points, five points, four points. Over the last few days, she increased it in these major polls in Pennsylvania to about nine points. Ten-point win, 55-45 is very close.
In the exit polls it was much closer actually. Usually the exit polls are more reliable than the other polls. It was 52-48 in those exit polls. So the -- you know, you can't always trust the polls, although she didn't win in the exit polls, she didn't win in our so- called poll of polls, and she certainly won in the most important poll of all, the actual results which are now in.
L. KING: If you read today's "New York Times," you saw a terrific story on John King, who's become such a major part of the coverage of elections here at CNN, and his little machine. In fact, the machine got as much press as he did. He does a great job with this.
So John, I assume you're at your machine. What happened tonight?
JOHN KING, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Larry, what happened tonight, and we are at the wall -- thank you very much -- what happened tonight is that Senator Clinton thumped Senator Obama in this state. And the Obama campaign will say, well, it's built for her. It's an older state, the second oldest state in the country. Only Florida has more elderly voters. It is a heavily Catholic state. That has been a Clinton base state.
It is a white, blue-collar working state. Clinton has done best with those voters. So the Obama campaign will say, well, she was supposed to win. The Clinton campaign will say, if you want to win in November, these are the voters you need to win.
Look across the state, Larry. The light blue is Senator Clinton. The sweep of her victory is dramatic and it is impressive. I'll start down here in Philadelphia, the one place where the Obama campaign can be happy. The predominantly African-American Democratic turnout in the city, a big win, a big, big win. About 130,000 votes for Senator Obama in central Philadelphia. They had hoped a margin that big would give them a cushion when she won in the more rural areas and the smaller cities.
They got a cushion in Philadelphia. They did OK in the suburbs just to the south of Philadelphia, Delaware County and Chester County, but not by huge margins. They won in not a high Democratic turnout there. Clinton's big victory came first because she did better than the Obama campaign had expected here in Bucks County, big suburbs outside of Philadelphia, Montgomery County, another Clinton win, more narrow there.
But then, Larry, look across the state. These are blue-collar cities, Scranton, Allentown, Bethlehem, Reading, come out here to the west, Erie, down the old steel and coal corridor, Pittsburgh, communities out here, most of out here in the center, smaller, not so populated, rural communities. She won big in all these smaller cities. Out here in the blue-collar cities, she won the elderly votes, she won the Catholic vote.
And her message now to the Democratic Party is the math is still fundamentally, some would say convincingly, in Senator Obama's favor. But she will go to the superdelegates now and say at least wait. Give me a chance. Let's this race go on to Indiana and the nine other remaining contests, eight other remaining contests, including Indiana. She will make the case that she is performing very well among the voters that are the swing voters come November that John McCain will try to get to turn Pennsylvania back Republican for the first time since 1988.
George H.W. Bush back in 1988 was the last Republican to carry this state. It matters in November, and it will matter now, and Hillary Clinton's argument to the superdelegates.
L. KING: As always, John king, outstanding work. John will be with us later in our hour as well.
Candy Crowley, back to you. Does Hillary have a shot?
CROWLEY: Well, sure. I mean, what everyone is suspecting -- both these campaigns is expecting that come early June when this is all over, the primary and the caucuses, it will come down to the superdelegates. What Clinton needs to do at this point is to come closer to him in pledge delegates, even if mathematically it looks as though she can't overtake him and she really needs to close in on the popular vote.
She did some of that tonight clearly, but she has to continue to do that because it's going to be very, very difficult to come to the end of the primary and caucus season and argue to the superdelegates when Barack Obama has more states, when Barack Obama has more pledge delegates, and when Barack Obama has won the popular vote, it is a very difficult argument to make and still keep the Democratic Party together.
So she's got to close in on the popular vote. She has to close in on the pledge delegates in order to be able to make an argument that she's more electable which right now is the core of her argument.
L. KING: Thanks, Candy. Outstanding work, as usual.
Wolf, do you think the possibility exists of going to Denver without a candidate?
BLITZER: It's possible. I think it's unlikely. I think the elder statesmen of the Democratic Party will try as best as they can to avoid that. But it's certainly possible that when all the dust settles on June 3rd, all the contests, nine more after tonight, have taken place, no one has that magic number. The superdelegates are not yet there. And as a result, they're going to continue.
Hillary Clinton has made it clear she's going to fight, and she's also going to fight to make sure that those unseated delegates in Michigan and Florida have a seat at the table in Denver. So while I think it's unlikely that there will be a floor fight, credentials battle in Denver, it's by no means out of the realm of possibility.
L. KING: And one other thing, Wolf. We've got Indiana and North Carolina two weeks from today. Does that look like a split?
BLITZER: Right now, if the election were today, the polls show it would be very close in Indiana, although he has a considerable lead in North Carolina right now. She's -- her people say she's going to work very, very hard in Indiana. They also insist she'll work hard in North Carolina, although I suspect she's going to work harder in Indiana than in North Carolina where he seems to have an advantage, at least two weeks, a lot of time.
She's raised a lot of money, by the way, Larry, according to her campaign over the past few hours since all the networks projected she's the winner in Pennsylvania. But she's got a long way to go to try to catch up with all the money that Barack Obama has. L. KING: Thanks, Wolf. Get a little rest. See you in "THE SITUATION ROOM" tomorrow.
BLITZER: Thank you.
L. KING: Wolf Blitzer.
And our panel is ready and waiting to jump in with what all this means in the weeks to come next on LARRY KING LIVE.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The pundits questioned whether Pennsylvanians would trust me with this charge, and tonight, you showed you do. You know you can count on me to stand up strong for you every single day in the White House.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
L. KING: We have an outstanding panel with us. They'll be with us most of the rest of the way. We'll have one segment with two opposing congressmen. But let's meet the group that will be with us, as we said, most of the rest of the way.
Reed Dickens, the former White House assistant press secretary for President George W. Bush. He was media liaison between the White House and coalition headquarters during "Operation Iraqi Freedom." Our old friend Ron Reagan, commentator, registered independent, has not endorsed a presidential candidate, son of the late president. In Philadelphia, Lanny Davis, was special counsel to President Bill Clinton, a major supporter of Hillary, has known her since law school. And old friend we haven't seen in a long time in Pittsburgh is Bev Smith, talk radio host at the American Urban Radio Networks and a supporter of Barack Obama.
You come from the other side of the field, Reed, as a Republican. How do you view what happened tonight?
REED DICKENS, SUPPORTS MCCAIN: Well, obviously, politics is a game of expectations. And tonight I think played out the way a lot of people thought it would. But I think it's important because Hillary Clinton's argument is the big state argument as it's come to be known. Barack Obama's pushing his popular vote argument. I think it's important, and I don't know if you got the Al Gore memo, but the popular vote can get you some good consolation prizes. But the electoral votes in these big states matter. So I think she made a statement tonight that -- and an important one.
L. KING: Ron, we have never, of course, seen anything like this. We know that a woman or a black is going to be a candidate of a major party against a former prisoner of war.
RON REAGAN, HAS NOT ENDORSED PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Yes.
L. KING: That's unheard of.
REAGAN: I don't think that's happened.
L. KING: What did tonight mean?
REAGAN: Well, Hillary Clinton did what she needed to do, to get to that double-digit threshold, I think, to really make the case to her supporters, the superdelegates, and also to her fundraisers who are out there, you know, trying to get money out of people that she can go on, that she still has a viable candidacy.
L. KING: She raised a lot of money in the last two hours.
REAGAN: This result, the ten-point spread, looks like that's what it's going to be, is the perfect one for this campaign because it's the least decisive of all. If she won by 20, we'd say, well, you know, something's changing here and she could really pull this off. Had she lost, it would have been over. Instead, we split it right down the middle.
L. KING: Lanny Davis, we know and for a long time you've been a major supporter of Senator Clinton. But can she get this nomination?
LANNY DAVIS, SUPPORTS CLINTON: Look, she's consistently proved the pundits, the media and the Obama campaign wrong. They counted her out after Iowa, and she came back in New Hampshire. They counted her out going into super Tuesday, and she won the big states. Now, today, the early results, even the Obama tracking poll last night, had it three points, he spent $11 million, and at HillaryClinton.com, $2.5 million has come in in the last two hours.
America is voting that they want her to stay in and fight for them on economic issues where Barack Obama has not connected, and there's a disconnect between Senator Obama and working-class people that we have to have to beat John McCain. That's the lesson for tonight, Larry.
L. KING: Bev Smith, was this a terrible night for your candidate, for Barack Obama?
BEV SMITH, SUPPORTS OBAMA: Not at all. I don't think it was a terrible night at all. As a matter of fact, I'm really proud of the way he showed in Pennsylvania, and let me tell you why. First of all, I think it was very interesting that most of the people talking talked from their perspective, and they keep talking about pundits saying that she wasn't going to take Pennsylvania. I don't know who they talk to. Most people knew ahead of time that Mrs. Clinton was going to win in Pennsylvania. It wasn't a question of her not winning, it was a question of how much would she win.
And I think that Mr. Obama, the senator who came from way behind, who had people in Pennsylvania going who? What? What's his name? I think he showed very well tonight. And I think that he has opened up the door for a lot of new people in this campaign. You're talking about the working-class American who is white and who is male. He has those people. I would like to note how much money has he been raising since this campaign was announced early on by your network and others.
So I am not at all discouraged by what Mr. Obama has done tonight. But more important, I'm a Democrat. I am very excited about what we Democrats are doing.
L. KING: OK.
SMITH: We have two good candidates. And both of them did well tonight from where I sit.
L. KING: Reed, have -- has the Democratic Party irreparably hurt itself with this battle or like in all previous battles do they come together?
DICKENS: I don't think they have. I think it's good for the country, I think it's good for their party, but I will say this. The one thing we know for sure about this elongated primary is that it shortened the general election. So for a GOP candidate that's having -- you know, that doesn't have -- for once the GOP candidate doesn't have as much money, they turn the general election into a sprint.
And I think Hillary Clinton needs to be very aggressive framing this win tonight as -- if I'm a superdelegate and I would like to put on that hat -- that's ironic, it's a more Republican concept, so if I'm a superdelegate, the only thing I should be thinking about is who can win in November. Barack Obama is an undefined candidate and every time they're learning more about him by the week. I don't know if that's a comfort -- you know, comfortable for them.
L. KING: We'll take a pause with our panel. We'll take a break. When we come back, we'll meet two distinguished congressmen, both Democrats of Pennsylvania, both representing or endorsing two different candidates. Join us after the break. Stay right where you are.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CLINTON: Some people counted me out and said to drop out. But the American people -- well, the American people don't quit, and they deserve a president who doesn't quit either.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
L. KING: Joining us now in Philadelphia is Congressman Patrick Murphy, a Democrat of Pennsylvania, Iraq war veteran, author of "Taking the Hill from Philly to Baghdad to the United States Congress." He's a supporter of Barack Obama.
And also in Philadelphia is Congressman Joe Sestak, Democrat of Pennsylvania, a supporter of Hillary Clinton.
We'll start with you, Congressman Sestak. How big was this win for the senator tonight? REP. JOE SESTAK, (D) PA., SUPPORTS CLINTON: This was a big win for her for three primary reasons. First, the last few months, her character has resonated in the major states that she needs to win, Texas, Ohio and Pennsylvania. That toughness, that tenacity really resonates with Americans. Second, she's been outspent in each of these states 3-1 or 5-1. You know, something's elevating her up. She truly seems to have become the grassroots candidate.
And third, we all have a choice among two fine, outstanding people who care. I very much support Senator Clinton. I spent 31 years in the military, retiring as a Navy admiral. This is one tough woman that I believe is from day one will be a great commander in chief.
L. KING: Congressman Murphy, was this a bad one for your candidate tonight?
REP. PATRICK MURPHY, (D) PA., SUPPORTS OBAMA: Not at all, Larry. In fact, the fact that Barack Obama was able to dramatically cut into the 33-point lead that Senator Clinton had a few months ago speaks volumes for his inspirational campaign throughout Pennsylvania.
And Larry, look at the end of the day. He has won 30 contests now. He lost this one to Senator Clinton. She's won 15. 30-15, I like our chances. I like where we are right now.
L. KING: Do you see any way, Congressman Sestak, that Hillary Clinton can get this nomination?
SESTAK: Without question. I mean, first of all, this is tremendous for America. Think how many more individuals have actually come into the Democratic with a small D process. She's won almost 220,000 votes now in Pennsylvania. There may be a tradeoff between Indiana and Carolina, but she's ahead in the polls, it appears, in Kentucky as well as West Virginia, and then there's Puerto Rico and potentially Oregon.
If she goes into this convention much -- with the popular vote mandate and having won those states where she now has more electoral votes in the states that we need to win for the general election, then we go into the superdelegates. And, you know, superdelegates may appear to be un-Democratic, yes. But so are caucuses. What we now go into is two fine candidates going into a brokered convention where now judgment needs to be made upon who not only can win against John McCain but who's best for this nation.
And if our party cannot come together after this convention, shame on us. We don't deserve the mantel leadership to lead this nation. It's going to be a great one, I believe.
L. KING: Congressman Murphy, if you have a brokered convention, that means you'll have an election campaign of a month and a half. You won't have a candidate until September.
MURPHY: Well, and I agree with Joe Sestak. Listen, he's a Navy guy. I'm an army guy, but we both agree on this issue, Larry. The fact is, is that we all need to come together as a family, a Democratic family. I don't want to see a brokered convention. I'm hoping that it gets cleared up by June. As I said earlier a lot of these other contests will be decided. I like our chances in North Carolina. I got to serve in the great 82nd airborne division down at Fayetteville, North Carolina. I like our chances also in Indiana, where my brother used to be at South Bend at the University of Notre Dame.
The fact is, is that Barack Obama in both those states will be competitive. I think he's going to win both those states. But we'll see. I mean they're going to be fighting back and forth these next two weeks. But there's no doubt, Larry, there is no doubt that he dramatically cut her lead here in the great commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and the wind is at his back. And I like exactly where we are right now.
L. KING: Congressman Sestak, is all of this helping John McCain?
SESTAK: No. It's not. Look, John McCain's having...
L. KING: No?
SESTAK: No. Listen. He has having problem raising money. He's off to the side. Everybody we have seen -- my district, used to be 35 percent registered Democrat just three months ago, now it's 40 percent registered Democrat. Montgomery County, which is in the district, is now a majority. No. Think about how many more individuals have come into the democratic process, Democratic Party and the vast majority.
And second, Hillary Clinton today went -- all of a sudden showed up in one of the polls at (INAUDIBLE) in my district. I walked around with her as she shook hands, three individuals, two my age, men, and one woman unemployed, she said, about my ,age said, "We've never voted before." Think about that change that this has wrought for -- not only our party but this nation.
No, this is really very good and is strengthening the Democratic Party and therefore I believe this nation.
MURPHY: And Larry, I would agree -- Larry, I would agree with Joe here, again. We have over 320,000 new Democrats. One of those is my wife. She voted twice for George Bush. She's a lifelong Republican. She said, listen. The Republican Party left me. I didn't leave the Republican Party. She cast her vote today for Barack Obama. But the fact that our party in Pennsylvania has reached over four million Democrats now, they worked their tails off both Clinton and Obama.
The fact is, John McCain has not been seen in Pennsylvania. I think he had one trip maybe. You know, that has given the ability, the people here in Pennsylvania, to kick the tires of both Clinton and Obama. Make sure they're seen as advertised, and they are in a spirited campaign. They're sowing the seeds, Larry, in Pennsylvania, a battleground state, where a victory for our nominee on the Democratic side come this November.
L. KING: Joe, are you going to go with your candidate to Indiana and North Carolina?
SESTAK: I'd be honored to be asked. I really like to go outside my district. You know, it's -- I'm a freshman, but I've gone to several places with her, Nevada, New Hampshire. And I'd be quite honored. Why? Larry, this is the most defining election in a generation. I believe since Franklin Roosevelt and Al Smith went into a brokered convention and the party came out, and what a change was wrought under the leadership of FDR.
Look, I'll say it again. Two great, caring, passionate titans. I honestly believe that Hillary Clinton, without any question on my mind, I served with her in the White House when I served as director of defense policy as a young Navy captain for President Clinton, I saw what she accomplished there such as helping to establish Agent Orange as a recognized disease. And I cannot be taken more by her ability on day one to help get this nation going.
L. KING: All right.
SESTAK: Whoever wins, I believe we'll come behind him and serve well behind him.
L. KING: Patrick, are you going to travel with Barack to Indiana and North Carolina?
MURPHY: Well, we'll see what the future holds, Larry, for the next two weeks. To be honest with you, I'm with Senator Obama 150 percent. He knows that. I talked to him tonight. I have to focus a little bit on my congressional district because this primary had us, you know, doing a lot of campaign stuff. I assume the official side, I'm only a freshman Democrat, you know, in a district that I only won by 0.6 percent.
So I got to make sure that my constituents know I'm fighting for them. I'd be honored that...
L. KING: Gotcha.
MURPHY: ...to help him out if I can.
L. KING: Thank you both very much. Congressman Patrick Murphy and Congressman Joe Sestak, two strong voices for the Democratic Party in Pennsylvania.
John King will walk us through tonight's primary with his trusty magic board, and our panel returns, all ahead on LARRY KING LIVE.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: Whether they were inspired for the first time or for the first time in a long time, we registered a record number of voters, and it is those new voters who will lead our party to victory in November.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Welcome back to this special edition of LARRY KING LIVE. With our panel of Reed Dickens, Ron Reagan, Lanny Davis and Bev Smith. We'll get back with them in a moment.
Right now let's get another look at the board and John King. John, by the way, do you have a name for that board?
J. KING: Larry --
KING: I'm not kidding.
J. KING: It's a --
KING: It deserves a name.
J. KING: It's officially the CNN multi-touch. That is what we call it. It comes from the manufacturer. It's called a multi-touch. Around the shop here, some people call it the magic wall. Some people call it the magic board. Most of the time, when I'm getting along with it, I call it wonderful and beautiful. When it defies me a little bit, we fight a little bit.
KING: In other words, you're in love with this board?
J. KING: You know, it has taught me a lot and has helped me try to explain some things with statistics and numbers. It is a great and fascinating tool. This is a fascinating election. You've been talking about it with your panel. More people are interested, more people are watching. We're having a conversation with our viewers and the board helps.
KING: Let's show them how it works.
J. KING: It's amazing. Let's look quickly at what happened tonight, and then I want to look forward. Amazing to see what happens; Barack Obama wins the city of Philadelphia by a huge margin, Larry, 65-35 percent. Normally, if you're a Democrat in the state of Pennsylvania, that's what you want, because that carries you when you move out to other places.
But then look what happened. He won in Philadelphia. He won in some not-so-populated counties down here. But then wow, Hillary Clinton just swept out blue-collar corridor here, blue-collar corridor here, rural voters out in the middle, and out here. Hillary Clinton just trounced him across, in some places, by 80-20, 65-35. An impressive demographic and geographic sweep by Senator Clinton across this state, Larry.
What does that all mean? You zoom out to the map here. You see the contests still to come. Well, Kentucky, West Virginia and Indiana are in this neighborhood. That will be a big fight ahead. You've been talking a little bit about North Carolina tonight. Oregon, the next big state that matters out there.
But here's what heart matters the most. This is what the conversation is about in the Democratic party right now. Senator Clinton makes up some ground tonight in the delegate chase. She's still behind Barack Obama. The green line is where we are tonight. Here's what's left out there to allocate. A little under 500 delegates remaining and then 311 super delegates.
Let's just say, Larry -- this is a hypothetical. Let's say they roughly split the delegates the rest of the way. Of the 490, I'm going to give here -- let's see, that's around -- that's a little more than half. Let's give a little more than half to Senator Clinton. It's a hypothetical. Let's give the rest down here to Senator Obama.
Well, then she's still behind Obama at the end, if they split them roughly in half the rest of the way out. So what happens? These 300 super delegates decide who the Democratic party's nominee is. How will they make their calculation? Will they make it on who has the most pledged delegates? Under this scenario, Obama does narrowly.
Will they make under who has the lead in the popular vote? Under this scenario, Obama probably would just narrowly. Or will they make it about who's electable? That's up to them. That's the call they make. But if they did, let's say Senator Clinton got this many. She gets close to the finish line. The big calculation is that Obama needs a smaller number, Larry. If he got 123 of them, he would cross the finish line there.
So these super delegates -- I'm going to take them away and put them back in their home in the undecided for now. These are the people who are going to decide your Democratic nominee, unless something dramatic and something completely out of line with what we have seen happen so far happens in the future. Even if they split going forward, your super delegates in the end make the decision.
KING: Very well said. Thanks, John. Get some rest.
J. KING: Thank you.
KING: John King, terrific reporting. Ron Reagan, are super delegates Democratic?
KING: That's not fair.
REAGAN: No. They should be -- Why don't the Republicans have super delegates? No, they're not. There's a question hanging over this whole proceeding here. And that is, what is Hillary Clinton's plan B? See, I don't -- listening to John, I don't think she can pull this off. I just don't think the numbers are there for her. So plan A, obviously, win the nomination, go to the White House. But what is plan B?
Is plan B, a campaign hard for Obama, our nominee, and I go back to the Senate with my head held high and I become the first woman Senate majority leader? Or is plan B I want Obama to lose the general election, and I'll do whatever I can subtly to see that that happens so that in four years I can run again as the I told you so candidate. KING: What about third choice? I run as vice president?
REAGAN: I don't think that's going to happen.
KING: OK, Lanny Davis, I know that scenario doesn't appeal to you, but how do you counter it?
DAVIS: Well, I'm not a psychologist. Ron does a great job of psycho analyzing, but I deal with facts. Fact one, she won a very good victory, and she showed that she can appeal to the broad center of the electorate as she did in Ohio and in the battleground states that Democrats must win to win the White House.
Fact two is that Barack Obama has not connected to these major battleground states, and there is something missing in his ability to talk to people who work for a living, who earn less than 50,000 dollars a year. We've seen that in every major primary state, including in Pennsylvania.
And fact three is today in Massachusetts, John McCain and Barack Obama are in a dead heat in a general election national poll, whereas Hillary Clinton is ahead by 15. Now, how is it possible that in Massachusetts, which even George McGovern carried out of 50 states, the only state, Barack Obama is not defeating John McCain in Massachusetts? The answer is the reason why he lost Pennsylvania. He's not connecting to blue-collar, working-class voters that we Democrats must have to win back the presidency.
KING: Bev Smith, I'm going to take a break. When I come back, we'll have you respond. You're watching a special edition of LARRY KING LIVE on this historic night of the Pennsylvania primary. Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CLINTON: It's a long road to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, and it runs right through the heart of Pennsylvania! You know, for six weeks, Senator Obama and I have criss-crossed this state, meeting people up close, being judged side by side, making our best case. You listened, and today you chose.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: OK, Bev Smith in Pittsburgh, you want to respond to what Lanny said about your candidate?
SMITH: Absolutely, I do want to respond to what Lanny said. I think he does a very good job of promoting his candidate as a Democrat. I applaud him for that. But let's look at the facts. When Barack Obama entered into the Pennsylvania race, she had 31 points or so ahead of him. He has been able to narrow that. And she has a ten- point lead. Most people thought she was going to have a bigger lead than ten points. When you say he's not able to connect, to contact the working- class Americans, you're not listening to the voices of America. You're not hearing the coal miner. You're not hearing the steel worker. You're not hearing the airline worker talk to him as he goes around America.
And certainly he knows about this. He knows what it's like to be unemployed. He knows what it's like to be on welfare. His mother became ill. He knows what it's like not to have insurance. And that resonates. He was able to take what the pundits said, what the people said -- he was not going to be able to do in Pennsylvania, he did. He has not failed in Pennsylvania.
As a matter of fact, she has a ten-point lead. He came from almost a 30-point lead to a 10-point lead. He has not failed because he connects. A lot of people say he can't connect with white working men. I want to get that out of the way. He's connecting to white working men. I want the media to report that. He's connecting.
KING: Okay, thanks, Bev. Hold it, Lanny. Reed? Technically this should be a sweep for the Democrats. If I give you this condition. A very unpopular war, a tremendously down economy, gas prices at four bucks, foreclosures. This should be --
DICKENS: On and on.
KING: No-brainer, done deal, duh, right?
KING: Why isn't it? Is it because of the conflict between these two?
DICKENS: No, I think it's -- if it -- if the election were tomorrow, I think the Democrats would have an advantage. I've called a few people. It's not tomorrow. There is a long way to go. And I think Democrats are bringing a lot of people into the process. They have a lot of excitement, a lot of voter intensity. But what's the climate going to be in November? If it's a national security climate, if Israel takes Iran matters into their own hands, you'll see John McCain, people looking at him through a different lens.
I want to clarify something for people in normal America watching tonight, thinking, confused; Obama put 11 million dollars, he ran 10,000 ads, and he lost tonight. He out-spent Hillary Clinton three to one. So I think people are probably confused listening to us act like it was a good night for Obama or it wasn't as good of a night for Hillary Clinton as it should have been. She won by ten points. I think --
KING: So you're saying that was a tremendous win for her if she's outspent three to one.
DICKENS: It was a double-digit victory and she got outspent three to one. Barack Obama based his campaign on two things, his judgment and his bipartisanship. I think his judgment's being called into question. I think there's not a lot of record to show bipartisanship. I think super delegates are going to have to take a hard look at this.
KING: What does an independent do. You're an independent. How does an independent look at this?
REAGAN: Well, I think an independent is going to look at a very unpopular war. An independent is going to look at an economy that's going into the tank and ask themselves, who better to deal with this sort of thing? You've got a candidate in John McCain on the Republican side who seems rather confused about who we're actually fighting in Iraq, and who Iran is supporting in the Iraq. Al Qaeda seems to be popping up everywhere now, except nobody seems to be interested in going after them where they actually are, in Pakistan.
The economy? John McCain says he doesn't know about the economy. That would be a little bit of a drag on his campaign.
KING: You're going to vote Democrat?
REAGAN: Yes, I will. I will vote for anybody who is a viable candidate against the Republican. We cannot afford four more years of a Republican.
KING: Do you think the Democrat will win?
REAGAN: Yes, I do.
KING: A hesitant yes.
REAGAN: Yes, but it's going to be tougher than it ought to be. It should be a rout for the Democrats, but I don't think it will be. And I think that --
KING: That's their fault?
REAGAN: Race will play a factor if Obama is the nominee. I think we've seen it here in Pennsylvania, as we did in Ohio. I know it's an uncomfortable thing to talk about, but it's something he is going to have to deal with. I don't know how exactly he does that, but he is going to have to appeal more to the white working-class voter.
KING: Lanny, is race still a factor, honestly?
DAVIS: There's no evidence of that. Indeed, there's lots of people like me that would be thrilled to have an African-American president. I have a great deal of admiration and respect for Senator Obama. I think you've heard two of us tonight as Democrats disagree about the interpretation of this election, but we don't disagree about the need to get out of Iraq. Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama agree on every central issue facing this country, and that's where Democrats come together is on the issues.
I only am concerned that Barack Obama is not carrying the state of Massachusetts because of the reason he didn't carry Pennsylvania and all of the major battleground states. He's got to learn how to connect with people earning less than 50,000 dollars a year, who work for a living, consistently in every state, that's been his problem. Hillary Clinton has touched those people. She's talked about the economy. And at www.HillaryClinton.com, we're now at three million dollars tonight and she's touching America.
KING: Lanny, but she's much wealthier than Barack.
DAVIS: Well, for sure, when she left the White House, when I was there with her and known her since the '60s, Larry, she and Bill Clinton left with a net negative -- net worth of minus nine million dollars after he was in office for 22 years. They were broke and in debt. So nobody, I think, would --
KING: Not now.
DAVIS: But after all those years in public service, nobody begrudges that they are at least doing better. Hillary is touching people who earn less than 50,000 dollars consistently better than Barack Obama.
KING: Let me get a break. More with Bev and the rest of the panel. Our panel has lots more to say. That's why we're bringing them back next on this special edition of LARRY KING LIVE.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: If we're willing to believe in what's possible again, then I believe we won't just win this primary election, we won't win just here in Indiana, we won't just win this election in November, we will change this country. We will change the world. We will keep this country's promise alive in the 21st century. That's our task. That's our job. Let's get to work!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: OK, Bev Smith, Lanny says that Barack Obama cannot appeal to that low-income American.
SMITH: Well, he left out the word white, but that's what he means, because that's what the polls say. But I would like to live in Lanny's world. Unfortunately, I live in Ron Reagan's world. Thank you, Ron, for raising the word that's in the room like an elephant, and that is the issue of race. In Pennsylvania, that was the elephant in the room that no one wanted to talk about.
Barack Obama has been able to change a lot of that though, because I like to look at the glass half full, as opposed to half empty. He's been able to put people together who ordinarily would not work together. It's a miraculous thing to see in America. And you have to be close, because mainstream media is not showing, have not shown and have not talked to these people.
Students, I haven't seen this since I marched with Dr. King. Senior citizens -- so he changed a lot of people's minds in Pennsylvania, who at the beginning of this race said Obama who? He will do the same thing in Indiana, and he will do the same thing in North Carolina. I promise you, America is changing.
KING: Reed, does he, in a sense, override -- is he not a black man when he walks in the room?
DICKENS: No, I think race is a factor. I think during the Democratic primary not so much, but race will be a factor. I'm no Hillary Clinton fan, but let's be fair here. This is a guy who served about three weeks in the Senate before he started running for president. Hillary Clinton is a known commodity and has a lot of experience. I think people tonight showed that they appreciate that and trust her. I think he's got a lot of other vulnerabilities besides, if you want to say race.
KING: She also has a high respect factor in the Senate among Republicans who work with her.
REAGAN: She voted with them on the war.
DAVIS: She was a Republican. She was the Republican.
DICKENS: In fairness, Hillary Clinton -- there was a lot of bipartisan activity that went on in the last five years and she was a part of it. Barack Obama makes all these claims of uniting. The record does not show Barack Obama being a uniter in the Senate for the few weeks he's been on the Senate floor. Hillary Clinton has been.
REAGAN: It's been a little more than a few weeks, Reed.
KING: Last night on this program, Hillary said that she and McCain have always gotten along, worked together on bills.
REAGAN: Obama and McCain have gotten along, too. There's this idea floating around here that Barack Obama hasn't been vetted yet. I'd like to know what Hillary Clinton's op-O research has been doing for the last couple of months. He's been vetted. I don't think there's any secret that has yet to be unturned or displayed about Barack Obama. We know everything there is to know, you know?
KING: He says no. Let me get a break.
REAGAN: Where is it, then?
KING: We'll be back with more of this very good panel, don't you think? Got me going. Don't go away.
KING: Lanny Davis, we were talking about this during the break. Why does Senator Clinton have so many negatives?
DAVIS: Well, she's been the object of a right-wing hate machine for perhaps 15 years, at least. I find it incredible, since I know her so well. She's a personal, charming, down-to-earth, caring, great person, great friend. And everyone who gets to know her, including the Republicans in the Senate, not just John McCain, but Lindsey Graham, who I came to know during the impeachment battle, has worked closely with Hillary Clinton and tells me she's one of the best people in the Senate.
I am telling you that Hillary Clinton showed what happens in Pennsylvania and in the course of this campaign when you get to know her. You get past the cartoon character created by the right-wing hate machine in the 1990s, Larry. That's the truth.
KING: You share that view, Reed?
DICKENS: I think there's a lot of truth to that. I think she has been in the cross hairs of talk radio, of Republican pundits and talking heads for almost two decades.
KING: Why do they hate her?
DICKENS: I think she represented -- I think the Clintons came along around the same time as the Christian Coalition and the evangelical movement in politics. I think they became a good pinata for the base of the Republican party.
REAGAN: And the Republicans also thought they were entitled to the White House and were furious that a Democrat took it back. Remember, Tom Delay, when Clinton was first elected, saying he's not our president. Can you imagine what the Republicans would say about a Democrat who said about George Bush, he's not our president? They'd have gone -- you'd still be hearing about it, you know?
KING: Bev, do you think the party will come together in November?
SMITH: I absolutely do. I think they'll come together at the convention. I think they're together now. I think what's going on in the Democratic inner circle is the same thing that went on when it was determined that John McCain was going to be the front-runner for the Republican party. Remember, the Republicans were not excited about John McCain. On your show or on other shows, Pat Buchanan and Bay Buchanan said he wasn't a conservative.
They mended that battle and they circled the wagons. We Democrats are going to do the same thing. Larry, come on, it's like a marriage. You know, you argue and then you go to bed with each other.
REAGAN: I think -- that's a picture I don't want to --
DICKENS: I think the number of the Democrats have to watch very carefully is this number of Democrats that say they're willing to vote on McCain. It is two and a half to three times larger than the number of Republicans that say they would vote on Obama or Clinton. I think that's a number they have to keep an eye on. Part of that's because the primary is still going on.
KING: What happened to the McCain is not a conservative idea?
DICKENS: He's been poking his finger in the eye of conservatives -- or at least that's the long-held belief of conservative establishment, and now they've got to get on board. I mean, the train has left the station. He's the nominee. And so I think people are looking at what they can be positive about, which is that he's the guy we want to inherit the war on terror and he's the guy we want to appoint judges.
KING: What do these tremendous turnouts mean, Ron?
REAGAN: Well, it's a good thing for the Democrats. Turnout favors Democrats. The more people who vote, the more likely a Democrat is going to end up in the White House. Listen, there's no question this Democratic race is exciting people. And both candidates, actually, Hillary and Barack Obama, are exciting people. I would have to say particularly Barack Obama. He's bringing a lot of young people out. You never know whether they're going to actually vote or not, of course. That's a risk if you're counting on young voters. But nevertheless, they're registered.
KING: That gives you pause, doesn't it, Reed? This kind of swell?
DICKENS: Absolutely. The Democrats are doing what Republicans did in '04. There were about 19 million new voters in '04 and about 17 million of them were Republicans. Now you're seeing the reverse. The Democrats are creating excitement. I would be careful, if there's a Playstation tournament in a dorm room, the youth might not even show up on election day.
KING: Why don't they?
DICKENS: Statistics prove that. History proves that.
REAGAN: Maybe this year will be different. We don't know.
KING: Bev, you think they will vote, right? Lanny -- hold it, Bev. Lanny, you think they'll vote?
DAVIS: Yes. I think they'll vote, but there's one caricature here that I wanted to disabuse Ron of. In his state of California, the youth vote under 30 voted for Hillary Clinton in a big ten-point win in the California primary.
REAGAN: Lanny, I'm --
DAVIS: And I saw last night more excitement and more inspiration caused by Hillary Clinton lifting people up. I think we have two inspiring candidates, not just one.
REAGAN: Lanny, I actually live in Seattle, Washington. And in that state, young people voted for Obama.
KING: Well, I have good news for the viewers. Hold it. Viewers, hold it. If you're enjoying this, enjoying this, hold it. We're going to come back. They've given us an extra ten minutes. So stay with CNN for continuing coverage. Yes, we'll be right back. Don't go away.
KING: We're going overtime with our panel discussion on this special edition of LARRY KING LIVE.
Let's reintroduce the panel: they're Reed Dickens, former White House assistant press secretary for President George W. Bush, media liaison between the White House and coalition headquarters during Operation Iraqi Freedom; Ron Reagan, political commentator, registered Independent, has not endorsed a presidential candidate and is the son of the late president; Lanny Davis is in Philadelphia, special counsel to President Bill Clinton, a strong supporter of Hillary Clinton -- he's known her since law school; and in Pittsburgh is the well-known talk radio host, Bev Smith, with American Urban Radio Networks, and she is a strong supporter of Senator Barack Obama.
Reed, give me a look at what November's going to be like. No matter who's running against McCain. We've got big turnout, close -- how do you see it How do you see Election 2008?
DICKENS: Well, I think there are a lot of unknowable unknowns, in terms of the climate. If this climate continues that we're in right now, the Democrats have more excitement -- I think it comes down to two things. They have higher voter intensity, and they're registering more new voters. So the simple math favors the Democrats.
I think if the climate shifts to a national security climate, you could see that favor McCain, even as unpopular as the war in Iraq is, you could see the Colonel Jessop factor coming out with McCain's tough, gritty --
KING: But that's an if for McCain. Are you saying McCain needs that?
DICKENS: I think he probably does. Unless it's Obama. Obama, I think, has some vulnerabilities as a candidate --
KING: You think Hillary is a stronger candidate?
DICKENS: I do.
KING: Ron, how do you see it?
REAGAN: No, I think Obama is the stronger candidate on the war. Maybe not national security, per se, because of the experience issue, but he's the guy who was against the war from the beginning, the war that the American people have now rejected. That's a strong calling card.
I also think that, if he stood up next to John McCain, say, in a debate format, people would be amazed at how well he'd do and how McCain, I suspect, would seem to falter. He seems to have trouble, sometimes, with his facts and things, even on a foreign policy issue, and Obama does not. He's a wonk. He knows what he's talking about.
KING: Lanny, how do you see November?
DAVIS: First of all, low-hanging softball: Ron Reagan says he'll stand up well against McCain in a debate. He won't debate in North Carolina, and they have pulled out of that debate.
REAGAN: Come on, Lanny, they've had 20 debates now. Come on.
DAVIS: You just said something that is a low-hanging softball, Ron. It is a fact that he won't debate Hillary Clinton in North Carolina. The fact is -- (INAUDIBLE).
REAGAN: Come on, Lanny. This is where we get crazy.
KING: What does that have to do with the November question?
DAVIS: Hey, Ron, if I said, Come on, Ron, after every outrageous thing you said tonight, we'd be arguing with each other all night.
Here's the facts --
REAGAN: Well, hey. I'm not stopping you.
DAVIS: The general --
KING: The question was November.
DAVIS: The general election in November -- the general election in November will be decided on the war and on the economy. And those are the two issues that people care about most. Both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama agree on the basic issues involving the war and the economy. And then the question will come down to leadership.
I have a great deal of respect for John McCain. He has the strongest military and national security record, and he will be tough to beat on those issues. But I do agree that Hillary Clinton versus John McCain would be the strongest and toughest competition, and Barack Obama's inexperience next to John McCain would be a big vulnerability. That's what I believe.
KING: Bev, will the turnout be huge?
SMITH: Yes, but if I could just say, a p.s. to what Lanny just said. I find myself following Ron Reagan, and I have to invite him on my show so we can talk. Can we talk, Ron? Because here's what I'm concerned --
REAGAN: I'd be happy to.
DAVIS: You both would be on Obama.
SMITH: My people will call your people. Here's my concern: my concern is what Reed echoed. You see, while we're talking about someone's minister or someone being misspoken, what's happening is the United States and Iraq has banded together, and they are crossing the border into Iran, provoking an international incident.
Now, I know that probably you gentlemen will not agree with me, but I hear and see and smell the hand of the Republicans behind this. Because on Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh's show, they're talking about the fact that they want people to support Hillary Clinton because she cannot win against John McCain.
Well, that is saying, in my regard, that my candidate, Barack Obama, can win. And we need to put our eyes on exactly what is happening --
KING: Wait a minute.
SMITH: -- because -- and there may be a war. If there's a war, that's a setup, to me, for John McCain.
KING: Reed, are radio talk show hosts telling people to vote for Hillary?
DICKENS: You know, I can't speak for all radio talk show hosts.
KING: Sounds bizarre to me.
REAGAN: Rush Limbaugh did.
DICKENS: Rush Limbaugh may have. What I would say is --
KING: He did?
REAGAN: He did.
KING: Sounds bizarre.
DICKENS: I can't speak for Rush Limbaugh.
What I will say is, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, there's a different playbook for each of them. So I don't think Republicans are sitting home as much as people think, trying to decide. I think they're watching it play out. I think if it's Hillary Clinton, the playbook is much more predictable.
If it's Barack Obama, is he such an inspirational figure, he is such a skilled campaigner, but he does have strategic flaws, in the sense that he based his campaign on his judgment and his bipartisanship, and there's not a lot of proof of either of those. And his judgment is clearly being called into question.
And I don't think normal America have even been through the Reverend Wright-gate yet.
KING: What do you think of Joe Lieberman being invited to speak at the Republican convention?
REAGAN: Well, I imagine that the Democrats are hoping that they get enough of an advantage in this election so that they can cut Joe Lieberman loose, because, really --
SMITH: He's a good Republicrat (ph).
REAGAN: He's a good Republican.
SMITH: He's a good Republicrat (ph).
KING: Except his voting record --
DICKENS: He's the Zell Miller -- he's the Zell Miller of this election.
REAGAN: He's the Zell Miller of this year, that's right.
KING: His voting record is the 92 percent liberal, except on Iraq.
REAGAN: It's true, in foreign policy on Iraq, he goes way over, but that's a big issue. That's a big issue, Larry. You can't abandon your party on that one.
KING: Do you think he will speak to the Republicans?
REAGAN: He may well, he may well -- sure.
KING: Lanny, are the Democrats going to take the -- are they going to get 60 votes in -- are they going to have 60 senators?
DAVIS: I think there's a pretty good chance, if the economy stays as bad as it is, and if Hillary Clinton is our presidential candidate, I think we will get up to 60. I would also remind Ron Reagan that Joe Lieberman voted with the Democrats to control the United States Senate, and 95 percent of the time votes with the Democrats as a liberal progressive Democrat.
REAGAN: You're right. You are right. Larry was just saying that.
DAVIS: So Ron is very quick with words, and we've got to bring Ron back to the facts. He's very glib, but the facts are more important than the quick phrase, Ron.
REAGAN: Well, I've got some facts on my side, too, Lanny.
KING: Lanny, you've really been taking Ron Reagan on tonight.
REAGAN: I know. I must scare you a lot, Lanny.
DAVIS: I know that. And I usually love Ron, but he's been very biased towards Barack Obama, which is his right, but he ought to at least state the bias. But I like Ron. He's a great guy. REAGAN: Lanny, what do you think Hillary Clinton would be saying about Barack Obama right now if Barack Obama had made up a story about dodging gunfire?
DAVIS: Well, the same thing she said when he made up that he introduced immigration legislation or passed a nuclear energy waste bill that never passed.
REAGAN: He didn't make up any of that stuff.
DAVIS: He made a mistake.
SMITH: No, he didn't.
REAGAN: No, he didn't make anything up.
DAVIS: That is a fact. His own lie facts (ph). Chris Dodd said that he never touched the bill.
REAGAN: You're not answering my question, Lanny.
DAVIS: The answer is, he cheated and you can't --
REAGAN: You're not answering my question. You can't answer my question.
DAVIS: You don't let me because you're talking over me, Ron.
REAGAN: You're not answering it, though.
DAVIS: He said the same thing about his misstatements as he said about hers, they were honest mistakes. You're the only one who won't answer (ph).
REAGAN: No, he wasn't dishonest.
DAVIS: Injecting some poison into what are mistakes.
REAGAN: No, she did that.
DAVIS: Barack Obama misstated the record --
KING: Lanny, let's give Reed a thought.
DAVIS: -- and he did not get accused as being a liar.
KING: Lanny, let's give Reed a thought.
DICKENS: I want to chime in on one thing, about if the Democrats get 60 votes in the Senate. A lot has been said about McCain's weakness on the economy. I think the one thing McCain has going for him is that no matter how tough of a patch the economy's going through right now, I think that a lot of griping and complaining -- higher taxes and more regulation is not exactly a shot in the arm for the economy. And that's what the Democrats are selling.
So I don't think bad policy is going to make up -- is going to overtake McCain on the economy.
KING: But he can't continue the Bush policies, can he? I mean, he can't go down the line with them.
DICKENS: Here's the thing. I think it's, pro-business policies are always a good thing for the economy. And that's where I think the Democrats really have a vulnerability.
REAGAN: What's happened in the last few years, then?
SMITH: Yeah, really. Where'd you get that from?
REAGAN: We've had a lot of pro-business -- and the economy's going in the toilet.
DICKENS: So higher taxes and more regulation is the answer? That's absurd.
REAGAN: Apparently lower taxes for rich people and laissez fair attitude isn't the answer.
DICKENS: One last thing -- small businesses, Larry -- small businesses are lumped into that highest tax bracket. So when the Democrats say they're going to raise taxes on the rich, you've got to hold on to your wallet because 76 percent of the economy is small business.
KING: Okay, guys. Thank you all very much. Reed Dickens, Ron Reagan, Lanny Davis, Bev Smith -- and we had an extra ten minutes, too.
Head to our website, CNN.com/larryking -- we've got all kinds of good stuff there, including our latest podcast, Stephen Colbert. Check out our "King of Politics" section. E-mail upcoming guests. Tell us who you'd like to see on our show.
Tomorrow night we'll be in Washington with Laura and Jenna Bush. That's tomorrow night on Larry King Live. Friday night, John Walsh. Next week, Sidney Poitier.
Stay tuned now for continuing coverage on CNN. Good night.