Return to Transcripts main page

ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES

Indiana and North Carolina Vote Tomorrow; Up Close with Female Voters in Indiana; More than 15,000 Lives Lost in Myanmar

Aired May 5, 2008 - 23:00   ET

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


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Barack Obama speaking tonight right now in Indianapolis; a Clinton event coming up shortly in Evansville. Neither candidate is resting until he or she takes one last try at wooing voters. We're going to be dipping into both events throughout the hour tonight so you can hear from the candidates themselves.
Senator Clinton seen here earlier at a fire station in Merillville has been on a roll lately, hammering Obama hard on the gas tax trying to paint him as out of touch. Obama has been coming out of a defensive crouch over the Wright affair.

New polling shows a slight Clinton edge in Indiana. She's up by four in our latest poll of polls. In North Carolina, he's up by eight. But in both states, still a lot of people saying they haven't made up their minds. We'll be covering all our angles tonight with our team of experts, insiders and political players.

We begin with the "Raw Politics" starting with the Obama campaign and CNN's Candy Crowley.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: From Indiana to North Carolina and back again, Barack Obama works to change the campaign Zeitgeist.

SEN. BARACK OBAMA, (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I want your vote. I want it badly.

CROWLEY: He campaigns to the cities and suburbs to hold on to his loyal base of upscale, well-educated white voters, young people and African-Americans. He courts working class voters to chip aware at her strength.

And he has reached out to independents who can vote in both states following the worst six weeks of his campaign he offers tacit reassurance that he's not his former pastor.

OBAMA: So you want to know who I am? You want to know what's in me? It is a love for this country that made my life possible. It is a belief in the American dream. That's why I'm in this race. That's what I'm fighting for.

CROWLEY: If he could win both states Tuesday, a long shot, imagine the argument he could make to superdelegates. You don't have to imagine. OBAMA: The fact that we're still standing here and still moving forward towards the nomination, I think indicates the degree to which the core message of this campaign is the right one.

CROWLEY: His campaign universe has shrunk. He still lines them up for mega rallies. This is Indianapolis tonight. But he works a lot of smaller venues now; a semi conductor plant, a diner, a coffee shop. Working people places talking working people issues trying to counter in word and picture her charge that he, the son of a single mother who once used food stamps, is an elitist.

OBAMA: I've been campaigning now for about 15 months.

CROWLEY: It is a critical election for Barack Obama. Two losses would be catastrophic but not fatal. North Carolina and Indiana will likely change the race. They are unlikely to end it.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Candy, this gas tax holiday issue which Senator Clinton is pushing, do we know how it's playing out on the campaign trail? I mean, is it working for her, is it working against him?

CROWLEY: Well, I can tell you that there is some fear within the Obama camp that it's a very good populist issue. That as they say, it sounds really good. They've pushed back very hard on this and tried to play to his strengths and her weakness.

He put up an ad today which said basically this is a political trick. He was talking today about his credibility. He said I think people believe that I am truthful and in fact, the polls bear him out on that; and as he said, more truthful than my opponent.

So he's trying to make this a matter of she's the same old kind of politician, she'll say anything, do anything to get elected but I'm going to tell you the truth and that's why I'm opposed to the gas tax.

COOPER: It's interesting, Candy, you've been talking about, we're seeing him right now live at an event; it's another big crowd event. But he really has been moving away from that very consciously over the last couple of days and weeks. Why is that? Are they fearful that somehow these big crowd events dilute the message?

CROWLEY: Well, I think that what they saw was that as they were being painted -- as he was being painted as an elitist after that small-town "bitter" remark, as people began to see him as something different from them, the idea of him up there sort of talking to the throngs put out the wrong image.

Now, they've always done small venues, they're just doing more of them now because they think that's a more kind of picture-friendly, user-friendly thing for people to see.

Here he is; he is talking to people. He's addressing their concerns as opposed to talking at them. Sometimes obviously he still has these big crowds, particularly in town hall meetings. But he does take a lot of questions which he again has done before.

He's just doing more of it because they thought they didn't want to feed into that whole, well, "All he does is give pretty speeches and he doesn't really talk issues. He thinks he's above everybody." So this is a way to kind of picture-wise and word-wise combat that image that she's trying to paint of him.

COOPER: Perception is everything as you've said before. Candy Crowley, thanks.

On now to the Clinton side and maybe it's a case of campaign hype or at least some serious abuse of the word literally. We know that in politics you play for keeps but as you see in this report from CNN's Suzanne Malveaux it sure sounds like Senator Clinton is saying vote for me or die. Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SEN. HILLARY CLINTON, (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You know, for the next 30, 32 hours, talk to everybody you know, call your friends, e-mail them, tell them literally their futures depend upon it.

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN CORRESPONDENT: So does her campaign. For Hillary Clinton the do or die scenario has become cliche but her performance in Indiana and North Carolina will determine whether she's got a good reason to finish out the remaining contest through June.

Clinton aides believe Barack Obama will win North Carolina; but by a small margin. She can't afford a blowout here, so she's campaigning up to the very last minute, hammering on differences with her opponent, over ways to improve voter's lives, like protecting them from losing their homes.

CLINTON: Freeze these interest rates. Freeze these home foreclosures. Senator Obama disagrees.

MALVEAUX: Mandating universal health care.

CLINTON: Nobody will be left out. Not a single person. That's another big difference between me and Senator Obama.

MALVEAUX: Giving consumers a tax break.

CLINTON: Senator Obama wants you to pay the gas tax this summer instead of trying to get it to the oil companies pay it out of their record profits.

MALVEAUX: Her strategy has been to paint Obama as out of touch with working class voters who are struggling to make ends meet; those who traditionally have been most loyal to her. She unveiled a new ad today in North Carolina and Indiana to bring home the point.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What's happened to Barack Obama?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Right now we're living paycheck to paycheck. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's attacking Hillary's plan to give you a break on gas prices because he doesn't have one.

MALVEAUX: The former First Lady who spent eight years in the White House is painting a very different portrait of herself as the anti-establishment candidate.

CLINTON: I don't think folks in Washington listen enough because if we listened, we would hear this incredible cry, "Please, just pay attention to what's going on in our lives." You know what? I don't think they do, but I don't think they know half the time.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Suzanne, the populist message which she's clearly hitting right now, is that a big change from the way she's been campaigning, the message she's had over the last couple of months? Is this an evolution or is this the same, or are we just hearing more of it?

MALVEAUX: We're hearing a lot more of this, but you may recall, Anderson, before it was all about, as the former First Lady, she had all of this experience when it came to national foreign policy credentials. That was something she was emphasizing.

She seems to have tweaked and turned that message as she's become much more successful in reaching out to the working class voters and as Barack Obama has stumbled with that particular group. We're seeing his support diminish and hers gain strength over the last couple of contests or so. So she's definitely taking advantage of it.

COOPER: All right, interesting. Suzanne Malveaux thanks.

We've got an in-depth political coverage tonight. As always, I'm blogging throughout the hour. You can join the conversation, go to cnn.com/360.

Up next, our panel, Gloria Borger, Roland Martin, Joe Klein, and Mark Halperin talking tactics, strategy and expectations for tomorrow.

Later, they've been turning out in record numbers, tipping races, talking about women. How each candidate is trying to win their votes and why it matters so much tomorrow. That and a whole lot more.

John King is here with his magic map. All that and more tonight on "360."

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CLINTON: I'm asking for your help tomorrow. I'm asking that you think about what you want in the next president. Somebody who is prepared to do the job - ready on day one to be your commander-in- chief and to be the president who turns the country around.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Senator Hillary Clinton earlier today in Greenville, North Carolina. There's an event for her tonight in Indiana. We hope to bring you some of that live when she does get there. Both candidates are really trying to milk these final hours before the polls open in Indiana and North Carolina.

While Senators Clinton and Obama make a last push for votes, we're digging deeper with CNN senior political analyst, Gloria Borger; CNN contributor, Roland Martin; Time Magazine's Joe Klein and Time Magazine's Mark Halperin.

Let's game out a little bit of what could happen tomorrow. James Carville, Clinton supporter, of course says that if she wins both, she's the nominee. Do you agree?

GLORIA BORGER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: I wouldn't go that far, but if she does win both, to use her phrase, it is a game changer because she's not expected to win North Carolina. The conventional wisdom is they're going to split these races.

But if she were to win both and were to win handily with white, blue collar voters, I think you would have a lot of questions being raised about Obama as a candidate in the fall.

COOPER: If Obama wins both tomorrow, which again, is unlikely according to polls, is that a game changer too?

ROLAND MARTIN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: It is, because it changes the narrative. Then again, the way both campaigned is going to change the narrative. There will be some new measure tomorrow in terms of maybe, you know, how young rich white kids vote; I have no idea over the next one.

But I love what Carville had to say. Remember, James also said, win Texas, win Ohio, win Pennsylvania, it's over. She wins the nomination. She's still behind. So it just changes every single week. They'll come up with a new one tomorrow.

COOPER: So Joe, tomorrow are we likely to actually see any game changers or is it likely, as polls indicate, to be a split for each of them?

JOE KLEIN, COLUMNIST, TIME MAGAZINE: God, who knows?

COOPER: Really?

KLEIN: I really think that they're both going -- both races are going to be within ten points and it's really hard to tell. Right now, she is a hot candidate. I was out on the road with her on Saturday, and she's as good as -- in the last two months, she has morphed from Eleanor Roosevelt to Huey Long. She is, you know --

COOPER: You see a real change in her message?

KLEIN: Yes, and that's an important thing. You have to be able to grow and change in this process. Bill Clinton went through three or four major changes in 1992.

Barack Obama hasn't hit second gear yet. He's still kind of stuck where he was a month, two months, three months ago.

COOPER: What do you think, Mark, made the change? As she said a long time ago -- it seems like ages ago -- she found her voice, do you think she finally found her voice?

MARK HALPERIN, THE PAGE, TIME.COM: This time she's actually found it.

She's got -- look, she's a fighter. She doesn't want to lose. She's personally motivated. She's ambitious, but she also continues to believe that Barack Obama will lose the general election. And every primary that has occurred of late, she feels that more strongly.

She has not beaten him in a competitive -- or he's not beaten her in a competitive race in over two months. And I think she feels like she's on a bit of a roll.

MARTIN: This is a Hail Mary moment.

OK? Let's just be honest.

I mean, we have very few primaries left. And however you can throw the ball down the field, what will advance it, that's what you do. If it doesn't work, you move on. I think both -- I think where both candidates are, they have to figure out what is going to appeal to people.

She finds it, there you go.

BORGER: But you look at the many faces of Hillary, OK, if you will.

She started out the candidate with experience because she thought that was what was going to do it for her. Then -- and she was the inevitable candidate, also, and wasn't talking at these town hall meetings, right, until...

COOPER: But isn't this -- to Joe's point, Bill Clinton went through several incarnations.

Isn't this what all -- all candidates do; they get better as the process goes along?

BORGER: But you also change with the issues.

You change with the issues. Now the economy is issue number one.

COOPER: OK, well, let's talk the gas tax.

BORGER: Right.

COOPER: Joe, out there, how effective is this for Hillary Clinton? It is -- there is some irony here. I mean, Bill Clinton actually raised the gas tax, I think, Mark, you pointed out, after...

KLEIN: Well, you know, all of us high-minded sorts realize that it is -- it's ridiculous -- it's a ridiculous issue.

At one event on Saturday, there were these young people holding a sign that says, gas tax holiday is shameless pandering.

And she went right at them. And she was -- she was yelling at them and saying -- and saying, there are some people who can go to the supermarket and just afford anything, but the rest -- the rest of the public really needs those extra -- extra dollars from the gas tax holiday.

She went right at them in a way that her husband might have.

COOPER: But her husband campaigned against Paul Saunders, you were putting out, who was talking about the gas tax.

HALPERIN: Well, the Clintons have a checkered history, as does Obama. He supported this...

COOPER: Right, as a senator.

HALPERIN: Look, we deal with just the pure politics of it.

Both campaigns -- what's interesting to me about this issue, both campaigns think they're winning. Every day I ask them, are you still happy that this is the debate? And they both say, yes. And I think...

COOPER: They think they're winning on this issue?

HALPERIN: They both think they're winning.

He -- she thinks she's painting him as someone out of touch with working people. He thinks he's painting her as someone who is a shameless panderer. And those are the main themes they want to be pushing anyway.

Right now -- and I don't think we can say who is winning the issue.

But let me say, what we can say, though, is that these two are in a bit of a macho fight, backed up by their war rooms. When something strikes between them, it goes on longer than might be rational or sensible for at least one side, because neither backs down.

COOPER: That's interesting.

BORGER: You know what is interesting, though, what's been lost from all of this? Remember the candidate of change? And Hillary suddenly had a sign about change on her podium after Barack Obama won in Iowa. Now the economic times are threatening to people, and so they don't want to talk about change as much, as they want to talk how I can help...

COOPER: You don't hear Barack Obama talking about it as much?

BORGER: Not as much.

KLEIN: They talk about small change, 28 bucks a summer.

BORGER: Right, $28. The small change, right.

MARTIN: And, you know, Anderson, I had a longtime state rep from Illinois who called my radio this morning. And she said, look, we tried the gas tax for a whole year. The gas stations raised the prices. The governor, George Ryan, you know, he threw it out.

It's one of those issues. And, look, it's one of the things that appeals to the voters' sensibilities. And, sure, it may connect with them, but, in the end, does it make a big difference? Perception is reality.

COOPER: Mark, does it connect with superdelegates?

HALPERIN: No. I think her only chance remaining -- and, again, we can talk all about this sort of low-level stuff. The only thing that matters with superdelegates is can she say definitively, in a binary way, I'm electable; he's not?

She's gotten some data over the last few weeks that have given her the chance to make that argument. Winning North Carolina, though, would be one of the strongest chances she would have since his sweep of February to make that argument.

COOPER: We are going to have more with Mark, and Gloria, Joe, and Roland coming back. We're going to check in with them, as well as our other panel. We will have more with our other political panel ahead.

John King also is at his magic map, breaking down Indiana and North Carolina for us, where each candidate is targeting and avoiding.

Plus, winning over one of tomorrow's key voting blocs, women, the issues they care about most and the Democratic candidate they like best. We will examine that up close.

And later, breaking news -- the death toll climbing again after the cyclone in Burma. I don't know if you have heard this right now. The death toll stands at more than 15,000, say authorities. We will have a live report from Burma.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: We can go before the world's community and say, we are ready to lead again.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Final words for their final push -- that, of course, is Barack Obama speaking tonight at a rally in Evansville, Indiana.

The Clinton event -- excuse me, Indianapolis -- the Clinton event yet to start. She's running late, we're told. Each candidate campaigning practically up to the last minute before the polls open tonight.

Throughout this hour, we're trying to show you live comments from both Senator Clinton and Senator Obama. If we can't get Senator Clinton live, we will show you some of her comments from earlier today -- each side targeting key areas and voting blocs, both in Indiana and North Carolina.

For that, we turn to John King and the magic map.

Let's break down both -- both states.

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: And let's start in North Carolina. You were talking to your panel earlier about how, if Senator Clinton is change, not only the math, but the psychology of the Democratic race, she most likely has to find a way to come back here.

And it is a very tough state for her. One plus for Senator Clinton, over here in this part of the state, remember, in Pennsylvania, remember, in Ohio, rural, working-class white Democrats, lower income, they support her. You find a lot of them out here.

One of the key tests, we will take -- the congressional districts, Anderson, in North Carolina are amazing in their wild shapes. There's a congressional district that runs something like this. It's Mel Watt's district in the middle of the state. It's about 45 percent African-American, 45 percent white. It leans Democratic because of the African-American population.

If Senator Clinton is to have any chance of coming back in this state, she has to not only win the white vote here, but make inroads among African-Americans. It is a huge test.

Another key thing we have seen in all the races so far, Barack Obama does well among African-Americans and among upscale Democrats. Right here, in the middle of the state, the Durham area, the Research Triangle, you have a significant African-American -- African-American population, and a lot of people who work in research or teach in college and universities, upscale, postgraduate, tend to be Obama voters.

If he's in trouble in this part of the state that would be a sign Clinton has a chance, a key thing to watch in North Carolina.

Now, let's clear that here and come back out and move over to Indiana, bring the map back and bring out Indiana. These people know Barack Obama. Remember, if we go to the national map, she won Ohio. She won Pennsylvania. You would think she would do well as you move over among the white blue-collar voters.

But what makes Indiana different is this right here, the city of Chicago, Barack Obama's home base. Almost everyone up here gets their television from here. So, Barack Obama is not the new guy.

COOPER: Although they have been playing so much Reverend Wright, that also may have an...

KING: That does play over as well.

And here's a key place you will get a test of that, right here, the 1st Congressional District, the most Democratic in the state, about 20 percent African-American population, a little less than that. In a mostly white state, your African-Americans are concentrated in Gary and in Indianapolis. Those are the key places to look for Barack Obama.

But you're right, a lot of white, blue-collar Democrats here. This used to be a huge steel-producing area, still has a steel business, still has blue-collar workers. It's more in decline. This is part Chicago, part Pittsburgh, a good test for both of the candidates to go at each other.

Another key test in this state right here, South Bend is, what, in Saint Joseph County, the home of the Catholic vote. Senator Clinton overwhelmed Obama in Pennsylvania among Catholics. The University of Notre Dame is right here, a key test for Senator Clinton in this state.

And another big area to watch, this is a big, long district. It runs down to Evansville here. Terre Haute is up about here. This is conservative white Democrat country. The congressman from here supports gun rights, opposes abortion, and says, don't rush the troops home from Iraq too soon.

And guess what? He's a Democrat, a conservative Democrat, helped make Nancy Pelosi speaker, is one of the conservative Democrats a little nervous about how liberal the party will be going into this election.

Senator Clinton, to hold this state, needs to run up big numbers out here, big numbers out here, and try to limit Barack Obama's margins with the African-Americans in the center of the state and up here in the corner.

COOPER: It's fascinating to watch it play out like that.

John King thanks very much.

Still ahead, we will dig deeper with our next panel of political insiders, Democratic strategist and Obama supporter Tanya Acker, senior Clinton campaign adviser Kiki McLean, and GOP strategist Ed Rollins. Plus, another key voting bloc in Indiana, women voters, what they want in a presidential candidate. Randi Kaye takes us up close with female voters in Indiana -- that coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: We have probably taken as many hits as anybody has in this presidential campaign. Senator Clinton has not. John McCain certainly has not and yet I'm still here and, you know, competitive in both North Carolina and Indiana.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Barack Obama heading into his first primary since distancing himself from Jeremiah Wright, clearly tired, seemingly confident. Clinton appears downright upbeat.

As our panel earlier was talking about, talking about North Carolina being a game-changer. There's a lot of maneuvering about perceptions going on.

Digging deeper tonight with a view from the inside, Democratic strategist and Obama supporter Tanya Acker, senior Clinton campaign adviser Kiki McLean, and GOP strategist Ed Rollins.

Tanya, in Indiana, we have seen Senator Obama moving away from these mass rallies -- although, right now, he's at a very big rally in Indianapolis -- to much smaller events, the kind we have seen Senator Clinton doing, and certainly former President Bill Clinton doing.

Why is that? Is that a sign that they feel they have been making a mistake by having him being kind of distant from individuals?

TANYA ACKER, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: I don't think it's so much about making a mistake, but I think it's a very pointed effort to make connections with smaller groups of voters and to reach out in a more personal and intimate way.

I think that there's been some backlash with the bad bowling and he doesn't drink beer right. And there are all sort of other things that he...

COOPER: Well, I think he was gulping his beer the last time I saw it. So, he's learned how to drink beer.

ACKER: That's right. That's right. Right. He's now drinking the beer appropriately.

But, on a more serious note, I do think that it's important for him and I think it's important for these candidates to connect with voters on a smaller, more personal level.

We all know that he's great in big rallies. He gives very compelling, passionate speeches. And I think that this is the next part and this is the next piece that is connecting with the American voters.

COOPER: Kiki, as supporter of Senator Clinton, when you hear critics say, look, she's pandering on this gas tax holiday, she's sort of a newborn populist, they -- they doubt the sincerity of it.

Do you have any doubts? What do you...

KIKI MCLEAN, SENIOR CLINTON CAMPAIGN ADVISER: Well, I have no doubts.

Hillary Clinton is a woman with a terrific record for middle- class families, for working for families, the kind of battles they're up against. This is why she's done terrific in places like New Hampshire, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas.

You know, I'm a Texan. I understand the conversation she's having. I think she's having a conversation with working families, what's going on.

COOPER: Do you think there's any politics or pandering involved in this gas tax holiday?

MCLEAN: I think the gas tax holiday, her position -- everybody needs to understand, her position is very different from Senator McCain's. She believes the oil companies really ought to pay for this out of their excess profits. And Senator McCain's doesn't pay for it. I think that's the issue. She has a solid policy around here.

COOPER: But none of it's really going to happen. It's all sort of make-believe, isn't it?

MCLEAN: Well, not necessarily make-believe. The point is, in a campaign, you talk about the positions you believe in, what your recommendations are, what you want to do.

You know, she has a terrific record behind her on issues of things that she's actually accomplished, battles she's led, arguments that she has stood up for, and the kind of fights that she's been willing to take on.

And I think that's really -- it's almost bigger than just this gas tax issue, OK? I think there's also an issue here about, this is the person who has put forward a plan on the foreclosure crisis. This is a person who, when you look at the big issues we're facing, two wars abroad, an economy that's failing at home, who's going to take the action and who is the person that can best beat John McCain in the fall, so that we have a chance to deal with these issues in a good way?

COOPER: And you say it's pandering?

ACKER: I do think it's pandering.

I think it's a short-term solution. And, with all due respect to Kiki and to Senator Clinton, while it's fine to put forward a short- term solution, I think that, when we're talking about gas and the environment and our overdependence on foreign oil, we need far more than just $30 over the course of a summer to -- to remedy the problem, not to mention the fact that this is going to cost America and American infrastructure about $10 billion.

MCLEAN: Not under her plan. It wouldn't. That's the difference.

COOPER: OK.

Ed, I just want to bring our viewers to -- this Barack Obama event has ended. He's now working the crowd. We just want to show some of those pictures, as we wait for Senator Clinton to appear at this other event that we're hoping to cover and bring you her comments as well.

Ed, at this point -- there was a Democrat in Louisiana who won a seat in the House, even though being linked in ads to Barack Obama. Some see that as a sign that maybe Barack Obama would do just fine in a general election campaign against a Republican. At this point, who do you think the Republicans want to run against?

ED ROLLINS, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: I don't think we care anymore. I think the bottom line is...

COOPER: Because you think they're both beatable?

ROLLINS: My personal -- my personal feeling is that both of them will basically be strong fall campaigns. But I think -- I think we can beat them.

Still -- still 270 electoral votes. We still -- tomorrow, the two big races that they're fighting for delegates are two states we're going to win. We won 59 percent of the vote in Indiana. We won 54 percent in -- in North Carolina. So, we're going to win those states.

And I -- and, when you look at the dynamics of the -- of the race, when we get to the fall, I think what McCain is trying to do is get back in the game, get his money raised, his team put together, reach out. And in the fall it's going to be a very close, competitive race.

COOPER: Kiki, how do you see this playing out for -- the best- case scenario, for Senator Obama? How do you see her actually getting...

MCLEAN: For Senator Clinton.

COOPER: I'm sorry, for Senator Clinton, yes.

MCLEAN: I'm not going to give any advice for Obama.

COOPER: One of the best...

MCLEAN: My husband is an Obama supporter and he does that, not me. Listen, I think that there are still millions of votes to be counted. We've said that for weeks, and we've said it as we've gone through each of these primaries.

Now, you know, Mark Halperin made an interesting point earlier, which is the big races in the last couple of months have been won by her. Ohio -- a place that we are going to battleground for you -- with you there. In Texas and Pennsylvania, another state we're going to fight you for there.

COOPER: So you say do well enough in the popular vote from here on in to get the superdelegates?

MCLEAN: I say, keep taking her case to the people. She continues to make the case that she wants to make for them and on their behalf. They're going to keep voting for her, we're going to get across the line. And that's part of what this process is.

COOPER: But ultimately, it's about convincing the superdelegates?

MCLEAN: Well, ultimately, it's about having the American people with you, too. And I think that's what she wants to do or she wouldn't be engaged in this.

You know, I was laughing with my husband earlier today. I feel good about tomorrow. May 6 is a great day in my family. I got married. I had my first baby. And I'm counting on big days in Indiana and North Carolina.

And you have to remember these are two states that the Obama campaign and Senator Obama predicted big wins for him. They have a record of predicting solid wins in both these states.

COOPER: Tanya, how do you see this playing out?

ACKER: I just have to jump back and point out really quickly: 2008 is not 2004, and I dare say that there are going to be states that Republicans took four years ago that are very much up for grabs this year. And I say that, irrespective of who our candidate is.

COOPER: You say the country has changed so much?

ACKER: The country has changed. The economy has changed. And we've had -- we've had another four years of this administration and some very disastrous policies.

And I think that -- I also wouldn't underestimate the impact of the incredible new voter registration and voter turnout the Democrats are doing in historically red states.

But putting that aside, now with respect to tomorrow, I'm not a big one for making big predictions. Senator Clinton was predicted to win Pennsylvania by 20 points. She won it by about nine. I think that Senator Obama is expected to win North Carolina. I think he will. I think Indiana is a toss-up. I think that if neither of them wins both, then this race is going to continue to go on.

ROLLINS: Indiana and North Carolina are not going to be competitive. If they are, we're in big trouble.

ACKER: I think you're in big trouble.

COOPER: Tanya, Kiki, Ed Rollins, thank you very much. Appreciate you being with us tonight.

Just ahead, the coveted bloc of voters that could sway both primaries tomorrow. We're talking about women. Which candidate has the best shot at winning their support? Randi Kaye takes us up close.

And later, a live report from inside Burma. Breaking news tonight on the rising death toll, now believed to be more than 15,000 lives lost in Saturday's massive storm. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CLINTON: This is going to be exciting tomorrow, because I started very far behind. The Obama campaign has predicted consistently that he would win both Indiana and North Carolina by significant margins. I think we've closed the gap, but we're working hard. We want to get everybody we can to come out and vote tomorrow.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Hillary Clinton leading the voting drive. She's the underdog in North Carolina but not ceding the state at all to Barack Obama. Still, much of her energy's focused on Indiana, where she is leading Senator Obama in the latest CNN poll of polls by just four percentage points.

Senators Clinton and Obama know that their chances may rest with women voters. Nationwide, they outnumber men by 9 million.

So the question is, what is this crucial voting bloc looking for in a presidential candidate in particular in Indiana? CNN's Randi Kaye tonight went to find out. Tonight, she is "Up Close."

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: What does it sound like in Indiana these days?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: At least I'm going to go in and I'm going to be informed.

KAYE: That's the sound of an informal caucus.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I kind of look at them both as individuals regardless of their race or their gender.

KAYE: One of dozens happening daily around the state. Just days before the primary, Nicole Schoville was still undecided.

NICOLE SCHOVILLE, UNDECIDED VOTER: I am doing my homework, and I'm very methodical and analytical when I make decisions. Sometimes it drives my husband crazy, but that's how I am.

KAYE: That, some experts say, is why most women wait longer than men to pick a candidate. Women want specifics and solutions.

Dawn Yingling, a single mom, is voting for Hillary Clinton. CNN polls show she's trailing Barack Obama among women nationwide, though leading among white women.

DAWN YINGLING, HILLARY CLINTON SUPPORTER: She doesn't just talk about what she wants to do. She talks about how she's going to go about doing it.

CLINTON: Let's investigate these high prices.

KAYE: What do women want here in Indiana? Affordability and security. They want a candidate who can deliver on the economy, education and health care. Someone who gets it, who can prove to them he or she understands their daily struggles.

OBAMA: If you don't have health insurance, then I want to make sure you can buy health insurance that's as good as the health care I have as a member of Congress.

KAYE: Do you see the difference in what men and women think about?

SCHOVILLE: He's more about the economy and, you know, about the war. And he's more on a global perspective than I am. I feel like I'm more centered in the community, on more of a local level, a more personal level than he is.

KAYE: Women look at issues that hit close to home, survival issues, the rising cost of gasoline and groceries.

YINGLING: We fill up the gas tank. We buy the groceries. I want to think about the whole world, but day-to-day, I'm thinking about what's happening in my house. I'm thinking about whether or not I can pay the electric bill.

KAYE: Women like candidates they can identify with. Stephanie Spirer, just 26, favors Obama. Like him, she was saddled with student debt.

STEPHANIE SPIRER, VOTING FOR OBAMA: And I know how much it costs to go to college. The debts that students accumulate right now is astronomical.

KAYE: Nicole works two jobs and still can't afford health care.

SCHOVILLE: Do we stand a chance of losing our health because we can't afford, you know, our hospital bills? I mean, these are really huge issues for us. KAYE: Finally, women like to be inspired. Sally Zweig was so moved by Obama's message, she switched her vote.

SALLY ZWEIG, SWITCHED FROM CLINTON TO OBAMA: That's really what turned it for me, and I think that's something you cannot walk away from, you cannot ignore. I remember Kennedy as president. I remember a 45-year-old president and what that did for the country.

KAYE: Bottom line: you don't have to be a woman to get the woman's vote. But you may have to think like one.

Randi Kaye, CNN, Indianapolis.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Up next, the battle for super delegates. Our political panel weighs in.

Also ahead, the cyclone's deadly path across Myanmar, formerly known as Burma. More than 15,000 people believed to have lost their lives. CNN does have a reporter on the ground, witnessing the devastation first hand. That's not a live picture right there. That's probably the -- that's an old -- that's video from earlier today. Though he'll join us live when 360 continues.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Just hours to go now until the Indiana and North Carolina primaries. So much is at stake in Indiana and North Carolina for Hillary Clinton, who's on an upswing, and for Barack Obama, struggling to put the Wright controversy behind him.

"Digging Deeper," let head back to our panel: CNN senior political analyst, Gloria Borger; CNN contributor Roland Martin; and "TIME" magazine's Joe Klein and Mark Halperin.

It's interesting, Mark, hearing Clinton supporters kind of putting the focus on the popular vote, not on superdelegates. What's that about?

HALPERIN: No. They figured out that, even though the superdelegates, the popular vote argument isn't really rational. It has nothing to do with how the people actually get nominated. They've been told in private conversations from superdelegates, "Look, if there's a chance we can be for you, we've got to have something to hang our hat on." We have to have something to say to people, "This is why we're abandoning the guy who's won the elected delegates."

In conversations, the thing they've heard the most is, "Hey, if you won the popular vote, that's an argument we could make."

COOPER: But the popular vote argument, Joe, doesn't that depend on Michigan and Florida?

KLEIN: Well, it certainly does. All those -- tighten up some of these last races, but not nearly enough. And that, you know, Michigan and Florida are still very much up in the air. There's a rules committee meeting that's coming in late May, and we'll see what they determine.

COOPER: So they could still be in play?

MARTIN: I love how this all changes. In Terry McAuliffe's book, when he went after Senator Carl Levin and said, "I'm not going to lie to you to destroy this party. I'm not -- if you move your primary, you're not going to be counted."

Now he's saying, "Oh, no. We've got to count them. I know they moved. They broke the rules. But it's OK."

I mean, bottom line is when you're losing you will do anything and everything to put yourself in the lead. And that's what they're doing. They want to survive. So no one should be surprised at what they're doing.

BORGER: The only way the popular vote really matters is it's another metric to judge how you would do in the fall and how you would do in those battleground states you were just talking about before. So she can use that argument, but it really...

KLEIN: She's got to...

BORGER: She really has to...

KLEIN: The popular vote really isn't going to do it. She's got to win North Carolina, which she is not expected to win. She's got to win Oregon, which she's not expected. She's got to win them all.

BORGER: But by big margins. She's got to run the table.

KLEIN: And she's got to cast significant doubt in the minds of a lot of people in the party that Barack Obama just isn't going to get white, working-class votes.

HALPERIN: Without eliminating her prospects of winning, which are still very small. I think we're all spending a little too much time talking about these things in the context of will she win? Can she overtake him? And more on the context of what is this doing to Barack Obama for a general election?

If she continues to eat into his popular vote lead, it's going to be in some of these battleground states, which he does need to win to win a general election. And that's the danger.

COOPER: But I mean, can you also make the argument that she's making him a better candidate, by hitting him with this stuff now?

HALPERIN: Only in the abstract. I don't think out in the real world, on the ground, she's making him a better candidate.

BORGER: She's -- she's giving -- she's giving the Republicans their playbook. I mean, and -- and she's done a very good job on re- identifying Barack Obama as an elite, out of touch candidate, which is clearly...

KLEIN: Let me give you the other side of this argument. Four years ago, Terry McAuliffe dropped the dime on George W. Bush's National Guard service, in February/March, was it? And that whole thing was argued out in the spring. If it had been left until the fall, which is what the Kerry campaign really wanted to do, it would have -- it might have hit like a bomb, if it happened in September.

All of this stuff -- all of this stuff that we've seen, the Reverend Wright stuff and all the rest, has been argued to a fare- thee-well here in the spring.

HALPERIN: There's two reasons why I don't think that's the case. One is Reverend Wright still has not come out and spoken. Falls in his court, since Obama repudiated him. That can happen at any time, and that can play out all false.

And I don't think that's playing out.

The other thing is that there are things that Hillary Clinton can't say in the context of the Democratic fight and her allies can't even say that Republicans and John McCain's allies can say in a general election that I think changes a lot of these stories.

KLEIN: And vice versa, by the way.

HALPERIN: Yes, absolutely. Absolutely.

MARTIN: Obama is hurt in the sense that, again, there are only eight weeks between the end of the Republican National Convention and the general election. If Obama is the nominee, the sooner you get this over with -- middle of June or whatever, the more time they have to put the party together and to attack John McCain.

I mean, the clock runs out for them, as well. They have to define him.

COOPER: I mean, do you want to give a sense of one of what some of those things that Hillary Clinton can't say.

HALPERIN: ... in agreement with you.

BORGER: But you know -- well, it works both ways. That's what we're saying. There's lots of things that Barack Obama is not saying about Hillary Clinton now, or Bill Clinton, right now, that Republicans will say, you know, in a general election.

COOPER: Do you think -- I mean, Ed earlier said Republican strategists said they don't really care who they're running against, that both are strong candidates. Do you think that's true?

MARTIN: Yes, they do. I think they do care. I mean, look...

COOPER: Who do you think they want to run against?

MARTIN: I think they want to run against Hillary Clinton. They know when you simply say "Hillary Clinton," the emotion that it evokes. Even among the Christian conservatives who John McCain has not really reached out to enough and locked up.

COOPER: Mark, do you agree with that?

HALPERIN: I think the McCain campaign wants to run against Obama. They have less respect for him as a potential president. They have less respect for his ability to withstand the kind of scrutiny he'd get.

They pretty much agree with Hillary Clinton on that. They may not be right; I'm not saying they are. But I'm pretty confident that they'd prefer to take on Obama.

KLEIN: Hillary Clinton brings out the Republican base in droves and solidifies the McCain vote.

COOPER: Do we -- how much do we -- it's a stupid question, actually. Sorry.

BORGER: Go ahead.

COOPER: I'm going to edit myself. I'm going to do something rarely...

HALPERIN: Editing a live show.

MARTIN: Right, right.

COOPER: I'm going to do something rarely people do in cable television. I'm going to edit myself. I'm not going to ask the question.

So how does this play out? I mean, tomorrow is not a game- changer, unless -- it's not a game changer. This thing goes on anyway.

KLEIN: It can be a game-changer the rest of the way. I mean, if one of them wins both primaries, it's a game changer. That's the last time we can say that before June 3.

BORGER: Otherwise it goes on; it goes on until June 3. And at some point those superdelegates who, by the way, are hiding because they don't want to -- they really don't want to cause any waves here. They really -- you know, these are elected officials. They're going to have to get off the fence. And they're hoping that...

COOPER: After June 3.

BORGER: And they're hoping that it's going to become so clear- cut that whatever they do won't be controversial.

MARTIN: But it's not. The superdelegates need to go ahead and wake up, OK? This is going to be changing baskets. She wins, he wins, you trade baskets. If they're going to have to make a decision and you're a superdelegate. So guess what? Man up or woman up and stop waiting for the voters to do it, because these two candidates have core constituencies who they both appeal to. So deal with. You've got to make a decision.

HALPERIN: Again, if you think about these contests in the context of the general election with Obama as the almost certain nominee, if she wins both of them tomorrow, as we were talking about before, she goes on to win, almost certainly, West Virginia and Kentucky.

He will have lost a lot of votes in a lot of states with a large rural vote of white working-class voters. And he becomes the nominee, but he becomes the nominee, having ended with a dig losing streak in important states to someone who is not the world's greatest appealer to the white working class, in general.

COOPER: We're going to have to leave it there. Mark Halperin, Joe Klein, Roland Martin, Gloria Borger thanks very much.

Up next, another major story we're following tonight. At least 15,000 people are dead. That's according to the government of Burma after a cyclone slammed across the country this weekend. The latest on that next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: The aftermath of a massive cyclone in Burma, also known as Myanmar. Breaking news tonight: a death toll that sadly just keeps on rising.

These are images that we have started to get in of the actual cyclone hitting. Obviously, it is very difficult to get images out of Burma. According to the ruling junta, the death toll now tops 15,000 people.

We do have a correspondent, Dan Rivers, on the ground in Burma. All this hour we have been waiting to hear from him. We are trying to make contact, but we have lost contact with him right now.

The situation tonight, grim; going on three days now since the storm hit, much of the country without power. Global relief agencies scrambling to send aid. This the aftermath of those earlier pictures you saw. A little bit hard to tell from the air because you don't get, really, a close-up look. But street after street just completely decimated.

Aid agencies are scrambling to send aid tonight though it's not entirely clear the military government will accept it. The junta coming under fire today from First Lady Laura Bush who accused it of giving the country no warning on the storm.

In fact, new reports say there was some warning, but it came much too late for the military there, leaving no time to obtain food and emergency supplies or seek shelter from the storm. Obviously, this is an impoverished country, and especially in this part of the country, a lot of fishermen, a lot of very ill -- badly-built small construction, small lean-tos. Fifteen thousand people are believed to have lost their lives.

If you'd like to help the victims of the cyclone, you can find a list of relief organizations at cnn.com/impact.

Randi Kaye joins us now with the other headlines in the "360 News and Business Bulletin" -- Randi.

KAYE: Hi, there, Anderson.

Police today released the suicide note of Deborah Jeane Palfrey, who was convicted of running a prostitution ring in Washington catering to political big wigs, including one U.S. Senator. Palfrey said she could not live behind bars and described what happened to her as a modern-day lynching.

In business news, a surge in oil prices to a record $120 in trading today sent stocks into a deep slide. The Dow dropped 88 points at 12,969. The NASDAQ fell nearly 13 points to 2,464. And the S&P 500 lost just six points.

Today also brought more pain at the pump. Nationwide, the average price of gasoline was $3.61, but in California, Hawaii and other western states, gas prices are already topping $4 a gallon.

New CNN polling suggests that 78 percent of consumers expect gas prices to hit $5 a gallon, Anderson, sometime this year.

COOPER: Unbelievable.

Still ahead, Randi, hundreds of college students get nearly naked in the name of charity, or so they say. Is there more to the story? We'll find out.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Looking at a live event there with Senator Clinton. We'll bring you that event. Hopefully, she'll start talking in just a moment. We'll bring that to you live.

But first, time for "The Shot." The first time when I saw this shot, I've got to tell you, I thought it was -- Randi, I thought it was a -- like an office party for "THE SITUATION ROOM" at Blitzer's house.

But it's apparently -- it's called the Undie Run. Hundreds of students at Arizona State University stripping for an all-night party. Their annual disrobing is their way, apparently, of celebrating the end of the spring semester. The evening of revelry was capped off with a half naked sprint on the campus.

KAYE: I thought I saw Wolf in there, Anderson.

COOPER: I am pretty sure if you slowed down the VIDEOTAPE, it is Wolf Blitzer and some of the producers from the Blitzer show.

There, the guy in the blue.

KAYE: There you go. There's the...

COOPER: If you see some folks from "THE SITUATION ROOM" running around half naked, tell us about it: cnn.com/360. You can go there to see all the most recent shots, other segments from the program. Read the blog. Check out the "Beat 360" picture. Again, the address: cnn.com/360.

For our international viewers, "CNN Today" is next. For those of you in America, Larry King is coming up.

Thanks for watching us. I'll see you tomorrow night.