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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES

Senator Ted Kennedy Diagnosed With Brain Tumor; Obama Reaches Delegate Milestone

Aired May 20, 2008 - 22:00   ET

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


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: And welcome to 360.
Two breaking political stories tonight. We will have the latest on Senator Ted Kennedy's cancer diagnosis shortly. But we begin, of course, with the primaries tonight in Kentucky and Oregon, and Barack Obama crossing a milestone, winning a majority of pledged delegates. We're expecting, as I said, to hear from him any moment now -- the live shot there of the rally getting under way in Des Moines, Iowa, a careful celebration, we're told, Obama not wanting to alienate Senator Clinton's supporters by declaring victory.

But Obama will get those delegates, despite a shellacking in Kentucky at the hands of Hillary Clinton -- once again, whites in Appalachia making a huge difference. He's down there by more than 2-1 with nearly all the votes in, polls closing in Oregon in less than an hour.

As we wait for Senator Obama to begin, let's bring in our panel, CNN senior analyst David Gergen, Gloria Borger, and Jeffrey Toobin, also CNN contributor and undeclared superdelegate Donna Brazile.

We also got a very deep bench tonight. Paul Begala is here, the Democratic strategist.

(LAUGHTER)

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: Jamal Simmons, as well, Roland Martin, Leslie Sanchez, and Alex Castellanos.

Let's start actually with you guys in the back here, since...

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: ... up front.

What does Barack Obama try to do tonight? How much does he try to reach across to Hillary Clinton's supporters?

ROLAND MARTIN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: What he says really tonight is that, I have gotten the majority of the pledged delegates, because that's one of points David made earlier. That's one of the talking points.

But it's going to be a message of unity as well. And that is, they have to focus on beating John McCain. So, he -- and he will also acknowledge she could continue in the race. She wants to stay in, but we have to come together as a party, unite, to go against the Republicans, because all of this means nothing if you don't win in November.

COOPER: Paul, for our viewers who are just tuning in at the top of the hour on 360, what -- what has changed tonight for Hillary Clinton and for Barack Obama?

PAUL BEGALA, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: You know, precious little.

Hillary is still winning big in places where people expected her to, but, still, this is a woman who lost 12 primaries in a row in the middle part of this contest. And now she's really resurrected herself.

Senator Obama looks like he's running very strong in Oregon. They both continue to win on their home fields. But I think Senator Obama has the more difficult challenge, all right? He wants to reunite the Democratic Party. He believes that he's the likely nominee.

And it seems to me that, rather than make a case to superdelegates, the way Hillary did, I think, if I was advising Barack, I would say, become the change you seek. In other words, show us what you would do you as a general election candidate. Change is his brand.

And when you think about change, just conjure up the image of change, do you think of a 72-year-old guy who has been in Washington for 26 years? That's John McCain. That's the contrast that Senator Obama wants. And I suspect he's going to go out there and actually behave like a general election candidate, not so presumptuous as to declare victory, but simply show what you would do in the general election.

COOPER: Do you think earlier he had planned to declare victory, which is why he went to Iowa?

BEGALA: Who knows. I don't know. I don't have any inside knowledge of that campaign. There was certainly some chatter that they were going to. And they seem to have dialed it back.

This is a very well run campaign. There's not a better strategist in politics than David Axelrod, who is running this campaign for senator Obama. So, if they were getting a little ahead of themselves, I suspect Axe dialed them back.

(CROSSTALK)

MARTIN: Actually, Anderson, three weeks ago, we were actually talking about possibly doing an interview. And what they kept saying was, is that on May 20, 21, we're going to declare a majority of pledged delegates. And so there were some people who said, declare victory. But they kept saying pledged delegates, pledged delegates, sort of lay that out there. That was just three weeks ago. COOPER: I don't want to put you on the spot too much, Paul, but how much dissension is there within, if you know, the Clinton campaign in terms of true believers saying, stick it out, and those staying, look, the end is near?

BEGALA: I suspect very little, because, first off, she's not doing anything that harms the party, harms herself, harms her legacy, harms her ability to be a good presidential candidate, or harms Barack Obama, if he becomes the nominee.

So, I think there's a strong sense that, if she's willing, Hillary's willing to keep fighting this out, given the knocks that she's taking, I suspect most of her staff and her team are willing to as well. And I'm told by people who have been out there with her, that it's extraordinary the feedback she's getting on these rope lines.

She spoke about it tonight, women who were born before women could vote coming up to her and talking to her about this. This is real with her.

COOPER: Jamal, she has said on the campaign trail, you know, this isn't going to end any time soon. June 3, though, is relatively soon. Does it end then?

JAMAL SIMMONS, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Yes, well, she also keeps saying that this is -- we're at the beginning at the process. Some of this is just rhetoric.

I think, to get to Paul's point, I don't really get a sense from this campaign or from anybody around the campaign that they're having -- that they're going to really take this all the way to the end.

The arguments that we're having now between the Clinton and Obama campaigns are about process: Should you include Florida and Michigan? Should you not? Is the proper number 2,026, or is it another number? That's a very different argument that the substantive arguments we were having a few weeks ago.

So, I think, for Barack Obama, this is not a bad night for him to declare the majority of pledged delegates. A lot of superdelegates have said, I'm going to go with the person who wins the most pledged delegates. That's the significance of this tonight.

Once this becomes known, that he's won the majority of pledged delegates, I think more superdelegates will have the rationale to come on over to his campaign.

LESLIE SANCHEZ, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: I have to say, I have to disagree.

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: Well, you're a Republican strategist. I wouldn't expect anything less.

(CROSSTALK)

(LAUGHTER)

SANCHEZ: You know, with all due respect.

It's so much more than process. It really is a commitment, I believe, from a lot of folks inside the Hillary Clinton campaign, a lot of the supporters and a lot of women voters that I know I see in focus groups that are saying they really think she can make it to the end, that she should fight to the end, and they want her to do so.

What is interesting is, even if she gets past this May 31, this DNC meeting, you're having a lot -- some superdelegates that I know I spoke to who think they have a 50 percent chance of getting to Denver, and they're going to keep pushing there.

She doesn't need as much money. She can have a small, leaner kind of fighting force that really kind of moves her through the summer, and she can continue to build her case. We're seeing -- it's very predictable what we're seeing right now. Barack Obama is getting the liberal elites, the anti-war group, African-Americans, and young voters. She's getting that white working middle-class voter and women, especially older women...

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: If you believe this Gallup poll, he's making inroads to all her traditional base of support, except, right now, she's still leading in older women.

SANCHEZ: Older women, but also I think David was talking about that, the hardening of the lines between those two, the number of these Democrats, conservative Democrats, Reagan Democrats, especially that you will see in the Rust Belt who don't -- who look more at a John McCain than a Barack Obama. Those numbers are starting to grow. And I know Alex has talked about that as well.

ALEX CASTELLANOS, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: It's funny. Both sides are engaging in this argument, well, we're gaining more yards in this football game than the other side. We have some -- well, that's not the way you win the game.

It's at the end of the game who has got the most points. Neither of them is there yet. Barack Obama is not there yet. He has got a majority of fledged delegates. Great. Congratulations. Until they get to the convention and they vote, that's it. So, why doesn't she stay in?

Which brings us to something we were talking earlier. We were talking about Barack Obama not only has to achieve change tonight. He also has to demonstrate strength. We were talking about Hillary Clinton being a strong candidate.

And I was trying to point out that there are Republican candidates and Democrats, male and female, who people find very irritating sometimes. I think it's entirely fair to point that out. Hillary Clinton can be a very strong candidate. She can be tough as trigonometry sometimes. And it's fair to point that out.

It's never fair of course to call anybody a name. And no one up here, including me, believes that. However, for Hillary Clinton to say somehow she's a victim of sexism in this campaign I think is just an outrageous coup, if she can pull it off, because she's actually the daddy bear, the toughest, strongest candidate in the race, and she's the one who has been calling Barack Obama kind of the weaker candidate.

(CROSSTALK)

SIMMONS: Let me get in here. I would never call Hillary Clinton a victim of anybody.

But what I will say is, there has been some really bad language used about Senator Clinton. There have been issues of sexism or gender bias that has shown up in the media. And I think it's very fair for her partisans and for Senator Clinton to point that out and say, this is unfair.

COOPER: She made these comments to "The Washington Post," which we will actually play.

(CROSSTALK)

CASTELLANOS: She's not perceived as the weaker candidate.

(CROSSTALK)

MARTIN: No Democrat wants to see this drawn out and go to the convention.

The Democrats are going to end their convention August 28. Republicans end the next week. They have got eight weeks to run against John McCain. You don't want to go there. When Michael Dukakis ran, that convention was in the middle of July. So, I don't think any Democrat -- hardened people on Obama's side, hardened people on Clinton's side, they're going to say, stick it out.

Well, if you actually want to win the White House in November, taking anything to the convention, you're killing your party and they might as well hang it up, because they do not have enough time to target John McCain.

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: We heard from Hillary Clinton -- we heard from Hillary Clinton earlier this evening in Kentucky. We're going to play you some of what she said later on. We're also anticipating Barack Obama speaking any moment. We're told one person will be introducing him. That person is now speaking. So, he's expected to come on that stage in Des Moines, Iowa, at any point.

What do you -- Jamal, as a supporter of Barack Obama, what does he need to say tonight? What does he need to say to the Hillary Clinton supporters? A question I asked Roland earlier. SIMMONS: Well, I think he's saying -- what he's going out there and saying every day is, we're going to be all together. Hillary Clinton says we're to be together. I say we're to be together. He's talking about why John McCain is the one where we have to have central fire on.

We saw last week, when President Bush made that outrageous allegation when he was in Israel about Barack Obama and the other Democrats being appeasers, when the entire party sort of unified.

Look, the more that George Bush shows up in this election, the more unified Democrats are going to become. So, George Bush is helping us out a lot to get this party back together.

COOPER: Paul, David Gergen had talked about the hardening of the lines in the Democratic Party among Hillary supporters and among Barack Obama supporters. Do you believe those lines are -- I mean, is that permanently hard? Is...

BEGALA: No.

COOPER: No?

BEGALA: Look...

COOPER: Because I get a lot of e-mails from Hillary Clinton supporters and Barack Obama supporters, saying, look, you may not believe this, but we're not going to vote for the other Democrat.

BEGALA: I understand that. They say that now. And, by the way, if they're motivated enough to e-mail you, that's admirable, I suppose, but they ought to take up a hobby, collect stamps or something.

(LAUGHTER)

(CROSSTALK)

BEGALA: They're not typical folk.

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: I appreciate all the e-mail.

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: But go ahead.

(LAUGHTER)

(CROSSTALK)

BEGALA: And I e-mail you, as you know, 4:00 or 5:00 in the morning.

(CROSSTALK) BEGALA: ... restraining order now.

(CROSSTALK)

BEGALA: ... stop hiding in front of your apartment.

(LAUGHTER)

BEGALA: But, no, the real Democrats at the end will be unified, if, theoretically, let's say Senator Obama is the nominee.

COOPER: And there's Barack Obama.

BEGALA: He will have to unite this party. And I think he will start to do that tonight.

And the magic words are Bush and McCain. As Jamal said, the more he links those two, the more he will unite the Clinton and Obama factions.

COOPER: We're watching Barack Obama approach the podium, obviously a very excited crowd.

Advanced copies of his speech have been circulating. I know a lot of people have been reading it.

What happens tomorrow? There was no game-changer tonight. So, the battle just keeps on rolling? I mean, for Barack Obama, how much of it is now just a general election fight?

DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: I think what we're seeing is a slowly unfolding coronation. Each day, it becomes more and more clear he's going to become the candidate. Her chances diminish. And I think we go through the next two weeks.

I do think he's paying a price for this. With all due respect to Paul Begala, whom I think is wonderful on these issues, I think, the longer this goes on right now -- these next two weeks, it would help him a great deal if he could cleanly break with the past and focus on John McCain.

He needs to start having some speeches, the way McCain has, that lay out his vision where to go, instead of having this kind of ping- pong kind of stuff with McCain, which he's been having on national security.

COOPER: I want to read you something that Howard Wolfson had said about this Obama rally in Iowa.

He called it -- quote -- "a slap in the face of millions of voters in the remaining primary states and to Senator Clinton's 17 million supporters." He then went on to say, "Premature victory laps and false declarations of victory are unwarranted. Declaring mission accomplished does not make it so."

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR ANALYST: I mean, that is ridiculous. (CROSSTALK)

TOOBIN: That is totally ridiculous.

There is nothing wrong with campaigning in Iowa. The candidates are not bound -- Hillary Clinton is campaigning in Florida tomorrow. Is that an insult to Puerto Rico, Montana, and South Dakota? You don't have to just campaign in those states.

COOPER: The notion that he would declare victory somehow tonight...

(CROSSTALK)

TOOBIN: But he's not declaring victory.

(CROSSTALK)

TOOBIN: That's...

GLORIA BORGER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: It's the new metric, as you point out.

COOPER: How increasingly -- I mean, how much do we now see Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle, campaigning together, as opposed to them campaigning separately?

BORGER: Well, I think we're -- I think seeing it a lot more.

I think one of the interesting things that we have seen in all of these exit polls again tonight in Kentucky is this question of whether Barack Obama shares your values. Fifty-three percent of the voters in Kentucky tonight, Democrats, said, he did not share their values.

And I think, the more you see Barack Obama with his -- with his children and his wife, and the more he talks about his values, and you will hear him talk more about his values, both tonight and throughout the rest of this campaign. They want to do -- they need to do that.

COOPER: How much of these early days in this general election campaign, if that is in fact the way Barack Obama now sees this, is about reintroducing himself to possible voters?

GERGEN: I think it's partly about reintroducing himself. It's also partly about trying to frame the race and trying to give -- to begin to introduce what is this race all about, because John McCain has pretty much had that floor to himself. And he's been giving these set of speeches. And that's why I think it's important for Barack Obama to begin doing it. We will see how much of that -- he may do that tonight. We will wait and see.

COOPER: Let's listen in to Barack Obama as he's among Iowans.

(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D-IL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: How's it going, Iowa?

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

It is good to be back in Iowa.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

OBAMA: I love you back, Iowa.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

OBAMA: First of all, let me say thank you to Candy Smieter (ph) for the wonderful introduction and the unbelievable work that she did on behalf of our campaign, and still does.

There are too many good friends and people who work tirelessly on my behalf to thank. You know who you are individually.

I just want to say, first of all, thank you, to all of you, for the great work that you did in helping to kick off this campaign.

And I do want to take a point of personal privilege and just say that I sure have a nice-looking wife and kids.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

OBAMA: You know, there is a spirit that brought us here tonight, a spirit of change, and hope, and possibility. And there are few people in this country who embody that spirit more than our friend and our champion, Senator Edward Kennedy.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

OBAMA: He has spent his life in service to this country, not for the sake of glory or recognition, but because he cares, deeply in his gut, about the causes of justice, and equality, and opportunity.

So many of us here have benefited in some way or another because of the battles he's waged and some of us are here because of them. And we know he's not well right now, but we also know that he's a fighter.

And as he takes on this fight, let us lift his spirits tonight by letting Ted Kennedy know that we are thinking of him, that we are praying for him, that we are standing with him and Vicky, and that we will be fighting with him every step of the way.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

OBAMA: You know, 15 months ago, in the depths of winter, it was in this great state where we took the first steps of an unlikely journey to change America.

The skeptics predicted we wouldn't get very far. The cynics dismissed us as a lot of hype and a little too much hope. And by the fall, the pundits in Washington had all but counted us out. But the people of Iowa had a different idea.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

OBAMA: From the very beginning, you knew that this journey wasn't about me or any of the other candidates in this race. It was about whether this country, at this defining moment, will continue down the same road that has failed us for so long or whether we will seize this opportunity to take a different path, to forge a different future for this country that we love.

That's the question that sent thousands upon thousands of you to high school gyms and VFW halls, to backyards and front porches, to steak fries and J.J. dinners, where you spoke about what the future would look like.

You spoke of an America where working families don't have to file for bankruptcy just because a child gets sick, where they don't lose their home because some predatory lender tricks them out of it, where they don't have to sit on the sidelines of the global economy because they couldn't afford the cost of a college education.

You spoke of an America where our parents and our grandparents don't spend their retirement in poverty because some CEO dumped their pension, an America where we don't just value wealth, but we value work and the workers who create it, as well.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

OBAMA: You spoke of an America where we don't send our sons and daughters on tour after tour of duty to a war that has cost us thousands of lives and hundreds of billions of dollars, but has not made us safer.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

OBAMA: You spoke of an America where we matched the might of our military with the strength of our diplomacy and the power of our ideals, a nation that is still the beacon of all that is good and all that is possible for humankind.

You spoke of a future where the politics we have in Washington finally reflects the values we hold as Americans, the values you live by here in Iowa: common sense and honesty, generosity and compassion, decency and responsibility.

These values don't belong to one class or one region or even one party. They are the values that bind us together as one country.

That is the country...

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

OBAMA: That's the country I saw in the faces of crowds that would stretch far into the horizon of our heartland, faces of every color, of every age, faces I see here tonight. (CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

OBAMA: You're Democrats who are tired of being divided, but you're also Republicans who no longer recognize the party that runs Washington, and independents who are hungry for change.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

OBAMA: You're the young people who've been inspired for the very first time...

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

OBAMA: ... and those not-so-young folks who've been inspired for the first time in a long time.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

OBAMA: You're veterans and churchgoers, sportsman and students, farmers and factory workers, teachers and business owners, who have varied backgrounds and different traditions, but the same simple dreams for your children's future.

Many of you have been disappointed by politics and politicians more times than you can count. You've seen promises broken, good ideas drowned in the sea of influence and point-scoring and petty bickering that's consumed Washington.

And you've been told over and over and over again to be cynical, and doubtful, and even fearful about the possibility that things can ever be different, can ever be better.

And yet, in spite of all the doubt and disappointment, or perhaps because of it, you came out on a cold winter's night in January, in numbers that this country has never seen, and you stood for change.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

OBAMA: You stood for change. And because you did, a few more stood up, and then a few thousand stood up, and then a few million stood up.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

OBAMA: And tonight, Iowa, in the fullness of spring, with the help of those who stood up from Portland to Louisville, we have returned to Iowa with a majority of delegates elected by the American people...

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

OBAMA: ... and you have put us within reach of the Democratic nomination for president of the United States of America.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

CROWD: Obama! Obama! Obama! Obama! Obama!

OBAMA: You know, the road here has been long. There have been some bumps along the way. I have made some mistakes.

But also it's partly because we've traveled this road with one of the most formidable candidates to ever run for this office.

You know, in her 35 years of public service, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton has never given up on her fight for the American people. And tonight I congratulate her on her victory in Kentucky.

You know, we've had our disagreements during this campaign, but we all admire her courage, and her commitment, and her perseverance. And no matter how this primary ends, Senator Clinton has shattered myths and broken barriers and changed the America in which my daughters and your daughters will come of age, and for that we are grateful to her.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

OBAMA: Now, some may see the millions upon millions of votes cast for each of us as evidence that our party is divided. But I see it as proof that we have never been more energized and united in our desire to take this country in a new direction.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

OBAMA: More than anything, we need this unity and this energy in the months to come, because, while our primary has been long and hard- fought, the hardest and most important part of our journey still lies ahead.

We face an opponent, John McCain, who arrived in Washington nearly three decades ago as a Vietnam War hero and earned an admirable reputation for straight talk and occasional independence from his party.

But this year's Republican primary was a contest to see which candidate could out-Bush the other, and that's a contest that John McCain won.

The Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest 2 percent of Americans that once bothered John McCain's conscience are now his only economic policy.

The Bush health care plan that only helps those who are already healthy and wealthy is now John McCain's answer to the 47 million Americans without insurance and the millions more who can't pay their medical bills.

The Bush Iraq policy that asks everything from our troops and nothing of Iraqi politicians is John McCain's policy, too. And so is the fear of tough and aggressive diplomacy that has left this country more isolated and less secure than at any time in recent history.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) OBAMA: The lobbyists who ruled George Bush's Washington are now running John McCain's campaign. And they actually had the nerve the other day to say that the American people won't care about this.

Talk about out of touch. I think the American people care plenty about that.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

OBAMA: Now, I will leave it up to Senator McCain to explain to the American people whether his policies and positions represent long- held convictions or Washington calculations, but the one thing they don't represent is change.

Change is a tax code that rewards work instead of wealth, by cutting taxes for middle-class families, and senior citizens, and struggling homeowners, a tax code that rewards businesses that create good jobs here in America, instead of the corporations that ship them overseas. That's what change is.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

CROWD: Yes, we can! Yes, we can! Yes, we can! Yes, we can!

OBAMA: Change is a health care plan that guarantees insurance to every American who wants it, that brings down premiums for every family who needs it, that stops insurance companies from discriminating and denying coverage to those who need it most. That's what change is.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

OBAMA: Change is an energy policy that doesn't rely on buddying up to the Saudi royal family and then begging them for oil, an energy policy...

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

OBAMA: Change is an energy policy that puts a price on pollution and makes the oil companies invest their record profits in clean, renewable sources of energy that will create millions of new jobs and leave our children a safer planet. That's what change is, Iowa.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

OBAMA: Change is giving every child a world-class education by recruiting an army of new teachers with better pay and more support, by promising four years of tuition to any American willing to serve their community and their country, by realizing that the best education starts with parents who turn off the TV, and take away the video games, and read to their children once in a while. That's what change is.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

OBAMA: Change is ending a war that we never should have started. (CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

OBAMA: Change is finishing a war against al Qaeda in Afghanistan that we never should have ignored.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

OBAMA: Change is facing the threats of the 21st century, not with bluster or fear-mongering or tough talk or suspending due process, but with tough diplomacy and strong alliances and confidence in the ideals that have made this nation the last best hope on Earth.

That is the legacy of Roosevelt and Truman and Kennedy. That, Iowa, is what change is. That is the choice in this election.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

OBAMA: The same question that first led us to Iowa 15 months ago is the one that's brought us back here tonight. It's the one we will debate from Washington to Florida, from New Hampshire to New Mexico, the question of whether this country, at this moment, will keep doing what we've been doing for four more years or whether we will take that different path.

It's more of the same versus change. It's the past versus the future. It has been asked and answered by generations before us. And now it is our turn to choose.

We will face our share of difficult and uncertain days in the journey ahead. The other side knows they have embraced yesterday's policies, so they will also embrace yesterday's tactics to try and change the subject.

They'll play on our fears and our doubts. They'll try to sow discord and division to distract us from what matters to you and your future.

Well, they can take the low road if they want, but it will not lead this country to a better place. It will not work in this election. It won't work because you will not let it work, not this time, not this year.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

CROWD: Yes, we can! Yes, we can! Yes, we can! Yes, we can! Yes, we can! Yes, we can! Yes, we can! Yes, we can! Yes, we can! Yes, we can! Yes, we can! Yes, we can!

OBAMA: My -- my faith in the decency and honesty and generosity of the American people is not based on false hope or blind optimism but what I've lived and what I've seen in this very state.

For in the darkest days of this campaign, when we were dismissed by all the polls and all the pundits, I would come to Iowa and see that there was something happening here that the world did not yet understand. It's what led -- it's what led high school and college students to give up their vacations to stuff envelopes and knock on doors. It's why grandparents have spent all their afternoons making phone calls to perfect strangers. It's what led men and women who can barely pay their bills to dig into their savings and write $5 checks and $10 checks and why young people from all over this country have left their friends and their families for jobs that offers little pay and less sleep.

Iowa, change is coming to America. Change is coming. It's the spirit, it's the spirit that sent the first patriots to the Lexington and Concord and led the defenders of freedom to light the way north on an Underground Railroad. It's what sent my grandfather's generation to beachheads in Normandy and women to Seneca Falls and workers to picket lines and factory fences.

It's what led all those young men and women who saw beatings and billy-clubs on their television screens to leave the safety of their homes and get on buses and march through the streets of Selma and Montgomery. Black and white, rich and poor.

Change is coming to America, Iowa. It's what I saw all those years ago on the streets of Chicago when I worked as an organizer, that in the face of joblessness and hopelessness and despair, a better day is still possible if there are people who are willing to work for it and fight for it and believe in it. That's what I have seen here in Iowa. That's what is happening in America.

Our journey may be long. Our work will be great. But we know in our hearts we are ready for change. We are ready to come together, and in this election, we are ready to believe again.

Thank you, Iowa, and God bless you. God bless America. Thank you.

COOPER: Des Moines, Iowa, reaching out to Hillary Clinton supporters, reaching out to disaffected independents and Republicans, beginning to try to knit together a winning coalition in November.

He took a beating tonight in Kentucky, of course. He's expected to do well in Oregon. The polls there closing at the top of the hour.

"Digging Deeper" tonight, CNN analysts David Gergen, Gloria Borger, Jeffrey Toobin, also CNN contributor and undeclared super delegate Donna Brazile.

You still undeclared, Donna Brazile?

DONNA BRAZILE, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Oh, I'm dropping (ph) that. There's nothing like a good speech to just get your spirit moving. Senator Clinton moved me, now Senator Obama. I'm just moved tonight, Anderson. Why don't you just give me a speech and just pull me over?

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: I didn't actually see you rocking until the Obama speech. Is there any significance to that?

BRAZILE: With Hillary I do a different dance.

TOOBIN: This is spin now.

COOPER: David Gergen, you've heard a lot of speeches. What jumps out at you?

DAVID GERGEN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: This was not his best speech, but it was high up. And I think he did the best job -- I wondered why he was going to Iowa. It just seemed peculiar, if he wasn't going to declare a victory there.

I think the first part of the speech he was very, very effective at reconnecting on the values question. He used Iowa as a place to say the values of Iowa are the values I share. And everyone knows Iowa's the epitome of the Midwest. It's, you know, the very -- the heartland itself. I thought that worked well.

I thought his -- he had a very graceful note about Hillary Clinton, saying, "My daughters will benefit because of her." He wrote into the speech -- it was not in the text -- where, "It was a long campaign, partly because I made mistakes," which I thought was great.

But the heart of the speech then came when he did begin to frame the general campaign. And he's clearly taking the message of change, which he's used in the primaries, and now applying it to John McCain to say, "He represents the policies of the past. He represents the tactics with the past. We represent change. That's what the election is about. It's not about Iraq or Iran, it's about change in the larger sense, domestic and international."

GLORIA BORGER, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Right.

GERGEN: That's going to be a pretty powerful message.

TOOBIN: We've talked a lot about the things that -- that Obama has to do differently, but this has been a very successful campaign so far. And I think the fact that change has been his theme from day one, change will remain his theme. I think that is an intelligent decision, not to fix what isn't broken. And I don't think his campaign is broken.

BORGER: Well, he did and he started adding some meat on the bones. You know, change is a tax code that rewards work; change is a health-care plan that guarantees insurance to everyone; change is a new energy policy; change is giving every child a good education. So...

GERGEN: And he went back to what Paul Begala was talking about earlier. He didn't just go to Iraq and Iran, the questions that have been bouncing around the news the last few days. He widened the conversation to really go after these big domestic issues. And really framed it more about economics than about foreign policy.

Foreign policy was very secondary in this piece tonight. Quite interesting how he's trying to reframe the conversation. BRAZILE: What I liked best is that he didn't use his speech to say, "I have more delegates. I have more, you know, popular votes." But he said, "I have -- I have a message to America. I have a message of change. And this is where we should go as a country."

And I think that was what made this speech so important tonight.

TOOBIN: No process. He wasn't talking process. He was talking substance, and I think that's -- that's always a good idea for a politician.

BORGER: And he also, as Hillary Clinton did, by the way, this evening, he also talked about party unity and how important party unity is and that that's the way the Democrats are going to be in the fall. Very clear.

GERGEN: There's also something that struck me (ph). This is a speech that Bill Clinton could have been given back in 1992.

BORGER: He did.

GERGEN: This has a lot of the echoes of what Bill Clinton was all about when he first...

COOPER: Paul Begala, as a Clinton supporter, listening to this, are there things that will anger the Clinton campaign in this?

PAUL BEGALA, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: No. Not fairly anger them, no. I think David makes a good point. I traveled with Bill Clinton in that campaign and I wrote some of those speeches. And I think that's the highest compliment I could pay him, is that it sounded like Bill Clinton at his best in 1992.

A leader must know himself and the times. Obama clearly knows himself and anybody who's read his remarkable autobiography knows that. But he knows the times.

By my count, 14 times in this speech, he used the word "change." Seven times he used the word "McCain." Five times he used the word "Bush." He's framing this up exactly right for Democrats in a time of change.

And as Gloria pointed out rightly, he's putting some more meat on the bones. You know, back in the very, very beginning of this election, we were here in New York at some event, and I said he needs to put the jam on the lower shelf so the little folks can reach it. He did that tonight.

Very accessible speech, and yet still very passionate. He didn't lose any of the inspirational ability that he showed throughout this campaign. I'd give him an "A" plus. This is as good a political speech as I've heard in a long time.

COOPER: Roland Martin?

ROLAND MARTIN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: One of the things that -- you know, I talked to political observer Martin Lawrence, who said you ride it till the wheels fall off. And that's what he's going to do with this whole issue of change. This notion that you someone should get away from who you are makes no sense whatsoever.

But ultimately, when you look at the speech, he went right at the economic message that I think speaks to the voters tonight. He spoke of an America where workers (ph) don't have to file for bankruptcy. He talked about them getting sick, talked about losing their homes, talked about CEOs dumping pension plans. He began to speak the things that, again, those independent voters, those rural voters need to understand.

He's saying, "Look, you can have an issue when it comes to faith. You can talk about guns. You can talk about being from a small town. But the reality is you can't vote against your economic interests." That's where he is going to go after John McCain.

COOPER: With -- I mean, looking at this crowd tonight, largely Caucasian crowd, does Barack Obama still -- has he made inroads -- I mean, obviously, he won in Iowa a long time ago, so he clearly didn't have a problem there. But has he made inroads with Hillary Clinton's core supporters?

JAMAL SIMMONS, OBAMA SUPPORTER: Sure. I think if you talk to people in the Obama campaign, what they'll say the places he does best are places where he gets to spend a lot of time. And over the course of the next few months, voters all over the country will get to hear from him, see him a lot more than they have in some of these individual states. He hasn't campaigned as hard personally in Kentucky. He hasn't campaigned as hard personally in West Virginia, but he will start to do that.

And if you look at Iowa, it's more rural. It's more industrial. It's more white. You know, he can make the case, "I've won here, I can win all over America."

MARTIN: Flip it. If Senator Clinton was in his position, if she was leading and you look at the fact that she has not been getting the black, she's not been getting the young vote, she would be doing the exactly same thing. She would be pivoting, targeting those voters, shoring up the weaknesses, obviously recognizing where her strengths are, so she would be doing the exact same thing.

The reality is you have two awesome candidates. I think the Democrats in any other year would take one of these candidates and ride them to November. And so they have to say, "Fine, you've got your core. I've got my core. We've got to bring them all together."

COOPER: I want to give Hillary Rosen here, just joining us, a chance. As a Clinton supporter, how did you view the remarks?

HILLARY ROSEN, HILLARY CLINTON SUPPORTER: Well, I agree with you. I thought it was a great speech.

And I also think that, you know, reform as a message really isn't that important overall for voters. I mean, when you do surveys, they care more about health care. They care more about education. They care more about gas prices than they do about sort of throwing the bums out in Washington.

And I think that what Obama did tonight was he was talking to super delegates and saying Hillary Clinton has been effective with voters, talking about bread and butter issues, and I can do that, too. I think both of these speeches, actually, were directed at super delegates.

COOPER: We've got to -- as we continue to watch Barack Obama, it's clearly a good night for him in the state of Oregon, if you believe the polls. We're expecting numbers shortly out of Oregon. It is already a Clinton blowout in the state of Kentucky, an overwhelming win for her there.

Is that is cause for concern for the Obama campaign? The chairman of the board is with us. What are you looking at across the board tonight? What can we learn about what happened in Kentucky?

JOHN KING, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Before we zoom in on Kentucky, let's look at the neighborhood around Kentucky. The light blue is Senator Clinton, and this is her biggest argument right now: "I win in white, small-town rural America." And that is important.

She is telling the super delegates because of this. This is why George W. Bush is president of the United States and was re-elected, because the red is Republican and, except for Pennsylvania, he carried all those states.

But let's take a close look now and come back to this year and this contest. Take a look at the state of Kentucky. We've used this word before for both Obama and Clinton, but this, Anderson, is a thumping.

Senator Obama posting some decent numbers here in Jefferson County. Very modest African-American population in the state of Kentucky. To the degree there are black voters, they are concentrated in Jefferson County. He won Jefferson County but just barely, and he also a very smaller county out here just east of Lexington, Fayette County. A very small county. You can see, 22,000 votes, 23,000 votes was his margin there to win that county.

But look across the state. This is rural, small-town America. You find it in Kentucky. You find it in West Virginia. You find it in southern Ohio. You find it in Southern Indiana. You find it in Virginia, in the west out here, a state the Democrats do hope to put in play this year.

So if you are Barack Obama, as you gave that speech tonight, you know you have a lot of work to do right in here.

Democratic pollsters, Republican pollsters tell you, in their focus groups in this part of the country, voters, including Democrats and swing voters, view Barack Obama as culturally out of step with them. So his work in the general election campaign is right here. He has time. He believes he has a way to get it done. But if you're looking at this part of the country right here, Barack Obama has a problem with voters, older voters and white working-class and rural voters, who tend to decide who gets to be president of the United States. Not only in this part of the country but the older voters particularly important down here.

COOPER: In terms of trying to solve that problem, and Jamal Simmons was saying, well, if he spends time in places he improves. Is it as simple as that?

KING: Well, to a degree that is true. Barack Obama, where he has spent time and effort campaigning, has done better. But I would remind you, this is where the Reverend Wright controversy sprung up, so it was bad timing, as well.

He spent a lot of time on the ground in the state of Pennsylvania, and he was thumped by Senator Clinton here. So it is not -- not exactly. Yes, in general, but there are specifics to deal with.

Now, Barack Obama can make a compelling case for other states, as well. If you go to an electoral map for the fall, Anderson, that OK, maybe I had a problem. Let's put a McCain-Obama hypothetical up. Barack Obama says he will do better in this part of the country.

But he would argue, "Even if I don't, if I increase African- American turnout and get most of Senator Clinton's votes, you know what? I can turn Virginia from red to blue. Maybe I can put Georgia back in play." Bill Clinton won Georgia in one election. If you get a high African-American turnout, you might be able to do that.

He also says, with new and younger voters, I can come out here, put Colorado in play. We switch that over. And possibly New Mexico, as well.

Now, all these states were close in prior elections. The Democrats are growing out there in the west, so we'll light up swing states. This is where you can expect McCain and Obama, if that is the race, to slug it out in the fall.

But there's no question, particularly in this part of the country, Obama has a lot of work to do.

COOPER: All right. Across the board with John King. John, thanks very much.

Up next, inside the exit polls. The million-dollar question, will Hillary Clinton supporters vote for Barack Obama if he's the nominee? We've got the "Raw Politics," the exit polls when 360 continues.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: Our journey may be long, our work will be great, but we know in our hearts we are ready for change. We are ready to come together, and in this election, we are ready to believe again.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Barack Obama from earlier tonight in Des Moines, Iowa, sounding a distinctively post-primary line, but they're not over yet.

Kentucky results are in. We're expecting results shortly from Oregon. You look at the Kentucky results: 65 percent for Hillary Clinton, 35 percent for Obama.

Polls close in the state of Oregon in a little bit more than 11 minutes from now. We're going to have the latest exit polls. This information critical to the candidates, letting them know who's voting for them and who's not and why.

CNN's Bill Schneider is watching the results with us tonight with our "Raw Politics."

Bill, what have we learned?

BILL SCHNEIDER, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: We have learned that the hard and fast rule of this campaign may not be so hard or so fast. Like, young voters. Everybody knows young voters in primary after primary have been voting for Barack Obama.

How did they vote in Oregon? Just like you would expect, they voted for Barack Obama 70 to 30 percent. That's better than 2-1. Well, that's been happening everywhere, except where it doesn't happen.

And it did not happen today in Kentucky. Take a look at how young voters under 30 voted in Kentucky. They voted for Hillary Clinton. Barack Obama, 41 percent. That's almost 30 points worse than he did among young voters in Oregon.

Demography is not destiny. It's a different political culture in Oregon than in Kentucky. And Clinton did not -- Clinton campaigned heavily in Kentucky; Obama did not.

COOPER: What else did we learn?

SCHNEIDER: Well, we learned that there is a warning sign in Kentucky for Barack Obama. And it is that a lot of Democrats are not getting on the Obama bandwagon.

We asked Clinton voters in Kentucky, and she handily won that state, how will they vote for president in November if the choice is between John McCain and Barack Obama? And take a look at this, these are Kentucky -- these are Obama voters. The Obama voters would vote for Clinton, but take a look at the Kentucky voters here. Only 33 percent of the Kentucky voters would vote for Barack Obama. Forty-two percent, more of them, say they would vote for John McCain.

She appeals to a lot of so-called red Democrats, more conservative Democrats, rural Democrats, who can vote for Republicans, who may have voted for Republicans. And they are just not getting on the Obama bandwagon, even if it looks like he's going to be the nominee.

COOPER: All right. Bill Schneider tonight crunching the numbers for us. Thanks very much. We'll have more exit polls coming up.

Let's go back to our panel. Another strategy session. We're joined by Paul Begala, Jamal Simmons, Hillary -- Hillary Rosen, and Republican strategist Leslie Sanchez.

Paul Begala, tomorrow, you're Hillary Clinton, what do you do?

BEGALA: You call them out in Michigan and Florida. Right? That's her last best hope. She keeps saying that she wants all the votes to be cast and all the votes to be counted. Why doesn't she go to Florida, where she's going to -- and I can't remember where in Florida she's going -- but she stands up there.

And she says, you know, "Meet me in Miami and then meet me in Michigan, Barack, and I'll make you this deal. If you beat me in either one of these two states, I'll step out of the race the next day and endorse you. But let's make sure all 50 states get a chance to play in this game, not just 48."

COOPER: Do you believe she -- if things don't go her way?

BEGALA: Wouldn't she do that? Seriously.

COOPER: Do you believe she would go with vice president?

BEGALA: Oh, I -- sure, why not? It's like Mike Huckabee said. Nobody ever says they want it, and nobody ever turns it down if her party and her country thought she needed it.

I doubt that's where her head is right now. I mean, that's why -- look, she's got to throw deep. But I would -- I would try real hard to get a rerun in Michigan and Florida. It may be a fool's errand. It may be too late to do that. But it sure would be exciting and, frankly, I want to see those two run around the track a couple more times.

COOPER: Jamal Simmons, you're an Obama supporter. Do you want to see the two run around the track some more?

SIMMONS: I think they've been running enough the last few months. And also I think we're running out of time for Michigan and Florida to have a revote.

What will happen, my guess is -- Donna is the expect on all this -- but what would happen, I assume we'll get to May 31. We'll see where we are with the delegates. If Barack Obama is far enough ahead, I think his team may be feeling a little a little bit more magnanimous.

If it's still pretty close, though, we're still inside the margin, where she can make an argument that you can win. You probably will see a little bit more wrangling going inside of that meeting. But whatever way this shakes out, I think this is -- this campaign is starting to sort of wrap. Again, a lot of super delegates said they would go with the person who won the most pledged delegates. We now know that person is Barack Obama, and we should probably see more super delegates begin to move to his side.

MARTIN: You know, Anderson, if I had a certain amount of money and I haven't paid my mortgage off, I'm not going to loan Jamal some money. I'm going to pay my mortgage first. I don't think he's going to give up any delegates until he's got 2,026. I think once he has that, he's got the nomination, then let's talk.

There's no way in the world you give up anything to give anybody a sense of hope. You just don't do it. Because something could happen. And so no, you lock the nomination up, then you play nice.

COOPER: Leslie Sanchez?

LESLIE SANCHEZ, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I think that's exactly the Hillary Clinton argument: anything could happen. I think that's what's interesting about it, is she's making the case to the super delegates.

We know that the super delegates in many ways are the safety belt. They're the ones that are going to weigh this conversation about white working-class, middle-class voters. Looking at the electoral map, we don't want to change all of history, but what is feasible. That's a very fair argument, and I see Hillary Clinton going all the way to the end.

COOPER: In terms of fund-raising, though, Hillary Rosen -- you're a Clinton supporter -- it's got to be tougher and tougher to get those big bucks.

ROSEN: Although they had a very good month in April. That, you know, they raised $20 million in the Clinton campaign. Now, they raised $30 million in the Obama campaign, but $20 million has kept them going. And I don't think money is really the issue here.

I mean, Paul's got a good point. Her only choice may be to throw deep, but I think she understands the consequences of that. It's a high-risk strategy, and she's got to decide over the next several days whether she wants to engage in that.

COOPER: We're watching very closely the polls in Oregon. They are closing any minute now. We'll continue to watch the clock.

We're going to take a short break. Our coverage continues online. CNNpolitics.com. We'll be right back. 360 continues.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Two minutes, 36 seconds for polls to close in Oregon. Some of tonight's other headlines. Let's get a quick update. Erica Hill joins us with a "360 News and Business Bulletin" -- Erica. ERICA HILL, HEADLINE NEWS ANCHOR: Anderson, a story we've been following throughout the day: Senator Ted Kennedy said to be in good spirits tonight as he and his doctors plan on treatment for his malignant brain tumor. Sources say more testing is expected to determine whether surgery may be an option for the senator.

Incredible rescues in China. At least three people have now been found alive in the earthquake rubble in just the past two days. The latest one, a 60-year-old woman who survived on rainwater. She was trapped for more than eight days. Amidst these stories of survival, though, a grim tally as the death toll topped 40,000 today.

And another record high for gas prices. According to AAA, the nationwide average now for regular unleaded, $3.80 a gallon. Oil prices also hit a new trading record today. They climbed above $129 a barrel. Not very uplifting, unfortunately.

COOPER: Hate to see that. Erica, thanks very much.

Let's get an update now. We're keeping a close eye on the clock. Ballots for tonight's primary will be accepted until 11 p.m. Eastern Time in the state of Oregon. Just moments away, let's get the latest right now from Wolf Blitzer -- Wolf.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN NEWS ANCHOR: All right, Anderson, thanks very much.

Let's just recap where we stand right now. We're only about a minute and a half, less than a minute and a half, before the polls close in Oregon. We'll be able to, perhaps, make some sort of projection at that time.

But right now, Kentucky, that was the big state for Hillary Clinton. She won decisively in Kentucky earlier today, by 35 points, a clear win in Kentucky. We expect something different, though, to happen in Oregon as we get ready to see what unfolds.

Oregon, an important state out in the west. Barack Obama has been doing relatively well out there, certainly a lot better than he's done in some of the other closer contests, contests that Hillary Clinton has won decisively, West Virginia last week, more recently in Pennsylvania and in Ohio and now in Kentucky, where she scored a very, very impressive win tonight.

In Kentucky, she won even though a lot of the pundits had projected or suggested the math really wasn't in her favor, but a lot of the Democrats went out in Kentucky and voted for her overwhelmingly in that state.

Once again, we're only seconds away from Oregon. We do know that, based on the way they allocate delegates in these states, Kentucky has put Barack Obama over the top as far as a majority of those pledged or elected delegates are concerned.

Kentucky gave him enough to make sure that he has more -- more than enough pledged delegates, but the super delegates will be the final say in who will be the nominee.