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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Obama on Defensive; Fay - Round 3; Barack Obama Revealed; John McCain Revealed
Aired August 20, 2008 - 23:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good evening again. I'm John King. Anderson's off tonight.
Tonight Barack Obama says he's Chicago-tough. Well, now he's got a chance to prove it. Can he answer John McCain's attacks?
We've got new polling, fresh reporting, and the best political team on television weighs in.
Also, red state, blue state; I'm at the map. I've missed it. How about you? With some new projections, the trend now running in Senator McCain's favor.
And the latest on Fay's unpredictable path; it's stuck, and so are the soggy people stuck down below. We'll try -- no promises -- to get a handle on where Fay goes next.
All that and more in the hour ahead.
We begin with Barack Obama getting a taste of adversity, if by taste, you mean super size me. Senator Obama says he's had enough, but does he have an answer? He'd better if he wants to keep his lead over John McCain, which has been eroding lately.
Another lost August for the Democrats is how one veteran party strategist described it to me earlier today, drawing a most unfavorable comparison of Obama to Al Gore and John Kerry.
As if to prove that point, the latest nationwide CNN poll of polls shows a one-point Obama advantage, reflecting an across the board tightening of the race; some polling even showing a McCain lead.
Does it worry the Democrats? You bet. Does it worry the Obama forces? The public line is no, but they seem to be turning up the heat, which tells you something.
"On the Trail" for us tonight, CNN's Jessica Yellin.
JESSICA YELLIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Barack Obama promised to practice a different kind of politics, so he's largely avoided direct attacks on his opponent in favor of more gentle slights like this.
SEN. BARACK OBAMA, (D) PRESUMPTIVE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: John McCain and the Republicans, they don't have any new ideas. That's why they're spending all their time talking about me.
YELLIN: No longer. With Election Day now in sight, Barack Obama is taking aim at John McCain.
OBAMA: He wants to continue the same economic policies that George Bush has been doing for the last eight years. So my job in this election is to say I honor his service, but I don't honor his policies.
YELLIN: Here, insisting he's as patriotic as his opponent.
OBAMA: I have never suggested and never will that Senator McCain picks his positions on national security based on politics or personal ambition. I've not suggested it because I believe that he genuinely wants to serve America's national interests.
Now it's time for him to acknowledge that I want to do the same. Let me be clear. I will let no one question my love of this country.
YELLIN: Some of his top supporters are going even further; on a conference call today, slamming John McCain for making dishonest and desperate attacks and practicing gutter politics.
The Obama campaign insists the sharpened tone is what happens when a general election heats up, but Obama was drawn into this fight after McCain spent weeks challenging the Democrat's judgment and readiness. McCain has managed to almost eliminate Obama's lead.
So now the Obama campaign is trying to change the topic, and turn the focus on John McCain and his ties to George Bush.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: John McCain supports Bush's tax cuts for millionaires, but nothing for 100 million households.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Economics by John McCain, support George Bush 95 percent of the time.
Can we really afford more of the same? John McCain's tax plan. For big corporations, $200 billion in new tax breaks.
STU ROTHENBERG, EDITOR, ROTHENBERG POLITICAL REPORT: The number one criticism among Democrats, of Democratic presidential nominees of the past two cycles, has been that they have not been aggressive enough. They dismiss the attacks as unbelievable. Stylistically, they wanted to stay above the fray. He knows that, and he knows he can't afford to do that.
YELLIN: During the primaries, Obama even joked about Democrats' fears that he's not tough enough to win.
OBAMA: And I try to explain to people, listen, I may be skinny, but I'm tough. And I'm from Chicago, and we know how to play politics.
YELLIN: Now he's promising a spirited fight.
OBAMA: John McCain doesn't know what he's up against right now. I don't intend to lose this election.
YELLIN: Of course, if Obama steps up his attacks on John McCain, he could be accused of playing politics as usual, the very thing he's vowed to change.
Jessica Yellin, CNN, Washington.
KING: And speaking of a running mate, yes, we're going to talk a bit about that. We're expecting Senator Obama to announce his choice any day now, maybe any hour. Hope you'd signed up for the text message.
But Senator McCain may be trying to steal his thunder. One big question tonight, will Al Gore's running mate Joe Lieberman join the Republican ticket?
The "Raw Politics" now from CNN's Ed Henry.
ED HENRY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: John McCain's decision to put Joe Lieberman front and center at his convention has the unique distinction of unsettling both Democrats and Republicans.
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN, (R) PRESUMPTIVE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: What can I say about Joe Lieberman my dear and beloved friend.
HENRY: Democrats are furious Lieberman is playing along with McCain's push for Independent voters. But some Republicans are also anxious, fearful this is one of many signs McCain may be opening the door to a running mate who supports abortion rights.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you going to pick a vice president that conservatives can actually rally around in the future, or are you going to give us someone who will cause us to want to stay home perhaps?
HENRY: At a town hall in New Mexico, McCain was pressed on the matter twice and kept his cards close to the vest both times.
MCCAIN: I will nominate a person to be vice president, my running mate, who shares my principles, my values, and my priorities. And that's the best that I can tell you.
I said on Saturday night that I have a proud pro-life record in Congress, and I am proud of that. I respect the views of others.
HENRY: Saturday was the Faith Forum, where McCain won raves from conservatives for speaking out forcefully against abortion. But the right is now bluntly warning McCain he will wipe out the goodwill from that forum if he selects someone who supports abortion rights, like Lieberman or Tom Ridge.
Veteran Activist Richard Viguerie issued an open letter to McCain Wednesday, declaring, "Poke the base of the Republican party, the conservatives, in the eye one more time by choosing a pro-abortion vice presidential candidate, and conservatives will show you that two can play the maverick game."
There's chatter within the McCain campaign that the Lieberman- Ridge trial balloon has really just been a smoke screen for Mitt Romney. According to this theory, if McCain picks Romney, he can address any conservative concerns by saying, at least he's not Ridge.
KEN DUBERSTEIN, FORMER WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: He can nominate or try to nominate anybody he wants. He is, in fact, the leader of the party now going forward, but it would be a very bumpy road.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The next president of the United States --
HENRY: Picking a moderate would be a road less traveled for sure, but as some McCain friends point out, the senator can be quite unpredictable, which is why conservatives are on edge.
Ed Henry, CNN, Washington.
KING: Let's talk strategy now. We've got quite a bit to talk about with CNN political contributors Alex Castellanos and Hilary Rosen, Republican and Democrat respectively. Also "Time" magazine's Joe Klein, his call "I'm in the Arena," appears in "Time's" up front section.
Joe, Hilary and Alex it's good to see you.
Let's start with Barack Obama. Hilary, you're the Democrat in the group here. Help us out. Many Democrats have anguish going into the convention. Democrats thought they'd be way ahead at this point.
Obama says he's going to get more aggressive now. He says he's going to attack now. Do you see him as being tough enough, or do you want more?
HILARY ROSEN, POLITICAL DIRECTOR, HUFFINGTON POST: Oh, I think he's tough enough and by the way, John, very good job on that documentary tonight. It was really good.
He's absolutely tough enough. But that's not really the issue. I think the campaign will be tough enough. I think the party will be tough enough.
The thing that Barack Obama is going to be doing over the next two weeks, and I hope he does big time in that speech at Invesco Field, is really talk less about the biography, which we've now gotten a good sense of, and more about how this party is going to change Washington and make things better for people out there in the country that are really hurting.
When he gets to the issues, the American people agree with him on the issues. And that's what he's got to stay focused on. Middle class tax-cuts, energy plans that favor folks instead of big oil companies like John McCain's been doing, ending the war in Iraq, which people still overwhelmingly want to happen and John McCain is not committed to.
So on the issues, when Barack Obama focuses people's attention, that's where people are going to come to his aid.
KING: Well, Joe Klein, let me ask you first if you agree with that point. But as you answer, why? I mean -- The Democrats first, the question why? We were up double digit as one point. All the fundamentals favor us. Why do we have a dead heat?
JOE KLEIN, TIME COLUMNIST: Well, as you said at the top of the program, August is the cruelest month for Democrats in presidential campaigns. I think that Obama has failed as a candidate in two ways during this month. One is that he failed to define his opponent. He had to do unto McCain what McCain did unto him, and he didn't do it.
The other is that he hasn't really defined himself in any but the most amorphous terms. He's for change. He's for hope. But he hasn't been driving home that economic message. On Saturday night at Saddleback Church, he had numerous opportunities to make himself obnoxious on the topic of the economy, but he chose to be very respectful of Rick Warren, which was a good idea.
But still he has a message. He hasn't been delivering it in the most forceful manner.
KING: And so Alex Castellanos, when you watch these newer Obama ads going up that are tougher, do draw a sharper contrast.
Do you see a tough Chicago street politician, or do you see a guy who doesn't like this way of fighting?
ALEX CASTELLANOS, REPUBLICAN CONSULTANT: That's the problem with Barack Obama. Every time you look at him, you see both. You see up and down, thin, fat, tall, short. It seems a very conflicted campaign and a conflicted message.
And I think that was -- the Saddleback Forum was, I think, a turning point in the campaign in that sense. You saw John McCain on one side, a man who's been around a while, tested in life, and sufficiently so that he knows who he is, he knows what he believes, and he doesn't have to think through what's important and true in his life.
As opposed to Barack Obama, who seemed very caring and positive guy, certainly a tremendously well-spoken and articulate, but just doesn't seem to have lived long enough to have -- to really know what he believes and who he is and what's important. And I think that gets to Joe's point.
The reason he can't define himself is because it's hard to define something that's not that solid and doesn't seem to have that solid a core. And so when you don't have -- you have that experience on McCain's side and you have that kind of lack of shape on Obama's side, I think people are wondering if that can sit in the Oval Office.
KING: We'll have more from our panel. I ask all for you to standby and more with panel shortly.
As always, you can join our conversation on our blog. Just go to ac360.com and follow the links. That's where you'll also find Erica Hill's live behind-the-scenes commercial cast.
And later, more on McCain's little buddy Joe Lieberman and the running mate talk surrounding him. Hear what the panel thinks as we count down to the convention.
And speaking of panels, we'll take a tour of mine, the magic map. And see how it's changing as John McCain gathers momentum.
That and much more ahead tonight on "360."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: Now you can't do what George Bush did and say, I looked into Vladimir Putin's soul. You don't look into somebody's soul to make your foreign policy. You look at your national interests. And what's right for American security.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Barack Obama "On the Trail" today talking tougher, hitting President Bush and John McCain harder on a range of issues; taking some tough shots at Senator McCain's economic plans. Covering that plus running mates, possibly Joe Lieberman on the Republican ticket, you name it.
Joining us again for our "Strategy Session," "Time" magazine's Joe Klein and CNN political contributors Alex Castellanos and Hilary Rosen.
Joe, you've been saying all along Obama needs to be tougher and he needs to hit back. Hitting back there more at President Bush than John McCain, but is that what he needs to do, draw a sharper lines?
KLEIN: Well, I think he has to remind everybody, I mean President Bush has kind of disappeared these last few months, and it might not be a bad idea for Obama to remind people just how awful a presidency this has been.
KING: And so, Alex, I want to come back to John McCain. We saw Ed Henry's piece a little bit earlier. Maybe it's a head fake just so conservatives will be happy with, who they get in the end, but what purpose does it serve for John McCain to be telling a Republican base that doesn't trust him, I just might pick Tom Ridge, who supports abortion rights, or I might even pick the guy who was Al Gore's running mate in 2000.
CASTELLANOS: Well, because I think McCain has three things he's looking at for vice president. My guess is that the old fighter pilot wants someone he could be in the cockpit with for four years, that he likes and trusts.
Somebody who'll keep the country safe is the second thing. And I think those people would meet that criteria. And then you look at the other political considerations. And Ridge passes those tests. Lieberman passes those tests. And -- Romney probably passes those tests.
But those guys have to be on the short list.
KING: And so, Hilary, if you're watching this play out, you're watching this play out, Democrats are already a bit anxious because you have a very tight national race. Do you worry that McCain will be so bold, if you will, to risk a revolution, a revolt at his own convention and pick somebody who supports abortion rights, which many would argue would help him in the general election?
ROSEN: No. John McCain has changed his mind in this election on every single issue to win this nomination. He's changed it on immigration. He's changed it on drilling. He's changed it on the president's tax cuts. He's gone kissing the ring of the right wing, which he said he'd never do.
There is no way that all of a sudden now he's going to flip on that. He wants to get elected with his base. He's going to focus on somebody that energizes his base. I just don't see -- I think he's just playing games with people.
KING: Playing games with people, Hilary says. Joe, Rudy Giuliani on a conference call for the McCain campaign said, if he made that decision to pick somebody who supports abortion rights, the party would support him because he's their nominee.
Do you believe that?
KLEIN: No. I think the party would take a vacation.
But listen, I was kind of laughing when I was listening that Alex talked about how solid and experience and predictable John McCain was a little while ago, because you and I were both nailed when at a crucial moment in the 2000 campaign, he hauled off and gave a speech that accused Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson of being agents of intolerance.
I mean this guy is unpredictable, but he loves to live in his comfort zone. Joe Lieberman is a crucial part of his posse. I don't think he's ever going to pick him, but then again, it's John McCain.
KING: Alex, is he trying to remind the Republicans, even if in the end he picks someone who is anti-abortion as he is, is he trying to tell the party we've been sort of poking at each other for 25 years, I'm in charge now?
CASTELLANOS: I think obviously that's one of the perks of being the nominee. You get to do that. But also Lieberman is a slightly safer choice than Ridge because with Lieberman, you're not putting him as the -- lining him up as the heir, the successor to Republican leadership.
And with Ridge, you would be putting him at the front of the line. So I think actually Lieberman would be a safer choice. And there is one big issue that dominates Republicans now and unites everybody, and it is keeping the country safe.
When somebody is trying to break into your house and kill you, you're going to worry about other issues later. You're going to worry about keeping the country safe first. So with that in mind, I think that the ticket is a little broader than it otherwise might be.
KING: I always enjoy conventions. And boy, would I enjoy that one. Alex Castellanos, Hilary Rosen and Joe Klein will be with us a little bit later. Thanks all.
All votes count, but maybe, just maybe, some votes count more than others this fall. Which states will be blowouts and which states squeakers? Is there a 2008 version of 2000 Florida out there? We'll break down the numbers on the magic map.
And speaking of Florida and numbers, the number three is not popular tonight in Florida as tropical storm Fay takes a third swipe at the state. A live report and details on the damage, just ahead.
KING: It's a national election, but choosing the next president will be done, as always, state by state. And it's the battle ground contest that very well will decide the winner. Remember the Florida recount?
So as we move closer to November, let's take a look at those do or die showdowns "Across the Board." We're going to bring in Joe Klein from "Time" magazine and CNN senior political analyst Bill Schneider in just a moment.
But first, let's take a look at the map and how it's changed over the last month. Remember we were just talking about Democrats saying another bad August.
Now I want to show some states if you look at polling in the last month, down here in Florida, the polling has moved where? In John McCain's favor. In North Carolina, a place where the Obama campaign thought it might be able to play, new polls moving in John McCain's favor.
McCain's standing has improved in Ohio. It has improved out here in Minnesota. It has improved out here in Colorado.
Obama is still way ahead, but John McCain even closing the gap in a state like Washington, a Democratic strong hold. Why does that matter? Maybe the Democrats will now have to put more time, money, and resources into that state.
Let's stop there for a minute and let's bring in Joe and Bill and try to get a sense.
Bill Schneider, let me ask you first, when you look at all these polls, why is momentum not just in these states either, nationally as well, moving John McCain's way? Is there one factor driving the numbers?
WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I would say it's Obama's lack of a populist touch. He's not Bill Clinton on economic issues. He's ahead on the economy, but not as far ahead as you might imagine.
Most polls in most states show him in single digits. This ought to be his natural issue. Who do you think would do a better job handling the economy? Obama, but not by much and one reason is, that people want change, but he is unable to relate so far to the lives of most ordinary Americans, working Americans.
They look at him. They find him very impressive; very articulate; very smart; conversing with the issues. But they wonder, how much does he understand about my life?
KING: And, Joe Klein, McCain's progress -- I thought ahead in all these states but the polls have tightened in his favor, in these states. Here on the east coast, in the south and North Carolina, way down here in Florida, here in the Midwest, out here in the Mountain West.
If it's happening in all these places, does that change the tone, the tenor, the goal of Barack Obama's convention? He's going in now in a national dead heat, not with the 8, 10, or 12 point lead, many Democrats think he should have.
KLEIN: Well, Barack Obama's convention is uncharted territory because he's not going to -- even if he gives a bang-up speech next Thursday night, he's not going to have much time for a bounce.
On Friday, in fact, next Thursday night, the conversation is going to be divided between his speech and the kind of wild speculation we're doing now about his vice presidency, only it's going to be McCain's vice presidency. So the schedule really doesn't work in his favor.
I continue to think that all of these trends are transitory and that this election will be decided in the debates when the two of them are standing up next to each other and when John McCain cracks a joke or tells an anecdote, Obama will be able to flash back at him.
KING: Let's follow right on that very point. And before I do, I want to go back to the map for just a second. I sat down with Democratic pollster Peter Hart this week, one of the smartest in the business. He's been to a lot of these races. He suggested watching two places, and I want to highlight them on the map.
One is here in southeast Ohio. This light blue is back from the primaries. Hillary Clinton won this area. He says this is the area that voted for Jimmy Carter in '76, voted for Bill Clinton in '92 and '96. Those are the two Democrats, the last three elections the Democrats have won the White House.
Al Gore and John Kerry lost down here. They didn't get the White House. That is one area as Peter Hart said watch and watch closely. That is small-town rural America and largely-wide America.
The other place he said to watch is in the suburbs among white women over 30, and he suggested especially in the state of Missouri; the St. Louis suburbs here. Even more importantly, he said conservative suburbs around a place like Kansas City.
Bill Schneider, let me start with you. When you're looking at those two demographics, does that tell you maybe he needs to do a better job managing the Hillary Clinton relationship?
SCHNEIDER: It tells me he might want to think about putting Hillary Clinton on the ticket because that would really close ranks among Democrats. It would appeal to the women voters. And remember how well she did in those Appalachian areas of the country, West Virginia, Ohio, Pennsylvania, all Clinton states?
Those are precisely the constituencies that she appealed to and he's having trouble with right now.
KING: We need to leave it there for tonight. Looking at the map, I want to thank Bill Schneider and I want to thank Joe Klein from "Time" magazine as well.
And before we go to break, we want to take a moment to note the passing of Congresswoman Stephanie Tubbs Jones of Cleveland. She died tonight of a brain hemorrhage caused by an aneurysm. Miss Tubbs Jones was a pioneer and the first African-American woman to represent Ohio in the Congress.
Barack Obama tonight calling her an extraordinary American, the flags has been lowered tonight outside the Capitol. Congresswoman Stephanie Tubbs Jones was 58.
KING: Tropical storm Fay, now swirling up the east coast of Florida after it dropped a load of rain on the state. Within a few hours, the storm is expected to come ashore for a third time.
We'll go live to Gary Tuchman in just a bit but first, Erica Hill joins us with a "360 Bulletin."
ERICA HILL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: John, U.S. troops could be withdrawing from Iraq sooner than expected. Negotiators reached a preliminary agreement in Iraq which would have U.S. troops leaving Iraqi towns and cities as early as next June. U.S. officials, however, stress that this would not be a deadline and also that this is only a draft agreement.
153 people dead, 19 injured when a Span-Air flight crashed in Madrid today shortly after takeoff. Officials say the plane went down after an engine apparently caught fire. This is Spain's deadliest air disaster in more than 20 years.
And a "360" follow-up for a, tough to forget this video right here, the kite surfer in Ft. Lauderdale who ignored the warnings and decided to test his luck on the water during tropical storm Fay. Well, tonight we have learned Kevin Kearney is doing better. Doctors have upgraded his condition from critical to serious, John.
KING: Glad to hear that, frightening, frightening, frightening pictures there.
Erica, time for tonight's "Beat 360 photo." This one is more upbeat. Senator Barack Obama looking oh, so surprised after receiving a sunflower from the Greensboro Farmer's Curb Market today in North Carolina.
Our staff winner today, our intern Jon, his caption, "Clinton loves me, Clinton loves me not. Biden loves me -- yes!" That's pretty good.
HILL: The question is does Jon actually have the real winner not just for the caption but for the VP slot.
KING: Think you can do better? He's got a future. Think you can do better. Go to our web site, ac360.com, click on the "Beat 360" link, send us your entry. We'll announce the winner at the end of the program. Don't forget, this is big. Winner also gets a "Beat 360" T- shirt.
KING: Snazzy it is.
Next on 360, the path to the White House. Digging deeper on the stories you haven't heard about John McCain and Barack Obama in our revealing profiles of the candidates.
Plus storm surge. Fay's wrath continues in Florida as rising floods sweep parts of the state, a live report coming up.
KING: Before you vote in November, we're trying to help you get all the facts about the candidates. Who they really are, and what they stand for. That critical focus was the back to back documentaries that aired earlier tonight on CNN.
We called them "McCain Revealed" and "Obama Revealed." We want to show you highlights of the profiles tonight.
Let's begin with Barack Obama and the journey he took after his father died.
Here's CNN's Suzanne Malveaux.
MALVEAUX: In 1988, like his father 30 years earlier, Barack Obama was accepted into Harvard where he planned to study Law. But before opening the next chapter of his life, he knew he needed to close one in his past.
MAYA SOETORO-NG, BARACK OBAMA'S HALF-SISTER: It was important, I think, that he travel to Kenya, that he meet his family there; that he began to understand his father in all of the man's complexities.
MALVEAUX: That summer, he traveled to Kogelo, Kenya, to meet his father's family and learn who the man really was.
You said, "Every man is trying to live up to his father's expectations or make up for his mistakes. In my case, both may be true." Can you explain?
OBAMA: In my case, you had this person who was almost a myth in our family. About how smart he was and how well he'd done in school and how well spoken he was and so forth. So that was something to live up to, high expectations.
On the other hand, here's somebody who wasn't there and that -- I would come to learn was an alcoholic and somebody who had not treated his family well. And so that was something that you felt you had to make up for.
MALVEAUX: The myth of his father was soon replaced with the reality of a complicated and broken man.
OBAMA: He generally had trouble providing stability for his other children and his subsequent wives. He fought, when he got back to Kenya, against tribalism and nepotism, but ultimately was consumed by it, black-balled from the government, ended up having a serious drinking problem. Was in a severe car accident; ended up dying a tragic and bitter man.
MALVEAUX: sitting between the graves of his father and grandfather, Barack Obama's feelings of abandonment and frustration gave way to understanding and acceptance.
OBAMA: It was not until I traveled to Kenya and heard from relatives of who he had been and the story that he had lived that, I think, that I fully was able to understand him and obviously in some ways understand myself.
KING: Suzanne Malveaux joins us now. I bet you're glad to be done with that. That's a lot of work.
MALVEAUX: It took a long time.
KING: It's a lot of work but it's great. It's fascinating to watch that story because, on the one hand, he's so different. His story, his life story is so different; the international appeal, living overseas, the father from Kenya. In some ways it's so fascinating and compelling. But do they worry sometimes that being different a potential liability, that a lot of Americans won't understand him?
MALVEAUX: Well, certainly one of the things that they really have do, is show he's not the "other." Sometimes we've seen it before with Hilary Clinton's campaign, whether it's the McCain's campaign, painting him as somebody who's so different from everyone else that they can't relate to.
Michelle and Barack Obama say only in this country is our story even possible. When he talks about his mother in particular, the fact they lived in Indonesia for a bit of time when he was a child, he really does get a lot of the qualities from his mother, that sense of confidence, that sense of comfort, of being around people who are different from himself, whether it's overseas, whether it's in Hawaii, whether it's just kind of across a diverse group of people.
That's something they need to continually focus on that he can force those kind of relationships. In that way, he really takes something away from his mother. She was very, very unique at the time, the two of them; African father, Kansan mother getting together. She didn't seem to have any problems with it at all. A lot of that really was passed along to him.
KING: And you have another chapter and it's fascinating that when he has to, he can play hardball. He likes to say that he's new and he's different and he doesn't like politics. But in Chicago, he knocked a very popular African-American politician off the ballot by challenging her signatures.
That's an inside game of hardball. Do they think that he'll be tough enough in the outside game, in the debates, in the convention, punching back at John McCain?
MALVEAUX: Well, he certainly has to be. And we've seen examples in the past as you'd mentioned with Alice Palmer. That really, he is willing to make tough choices, bold decisions here.
Some people said, look, it was pragmatic; it was smart politics. It was controversial because Palmer's own supporters were upset by the maneuver itself. But essentially that's the same kind of thing he has to do; show that kind of pragmatism and that kind of confidence.
And also pick, obviously -- we've been reading the tea leaves about the vice presidential pick -- somebody who can perhaps be that attack dog person who can play that role if he wants to step back a little bit.
KING: Might be talking a bit about that more? Maybe later tonight -- but more likely tomorrow night.
Suzanne Malveaux, thanks for joining us very much. A fascinating look at Barack Obama.
And just ahead, we continue our in-depth look at the candidates with highlights from "McCain Revealed." Painful details about his prisoner of war in Vietnam, including what it took to finally break him down and how he feels about that today.
Later, CNN's Gary Tuchman in Florida, where tropical storm Fay is once again about to come ashore -- Gary.
TUCHMAN: Well, John, Fay is about to make its third Florida land fall, but the central Atlantic coast is getting hit and getting hit hard. We'll have the story when "360" continues.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MCCAIN: On Iraq, senator Obama says he wants peace, but he still opposes the surge that succeeded. No rational observer could go to Iraq and see what we've succeeded in doing in the last two years and say that the surge hasn't succeedED.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: That was John McCain at a town hall meeting today in New Mexico; once again hitting Barack Obama on the Iraq war. McCain has been playing up his military credentials throughout the campaign. His time as a fighter pilot and as a POW in Vietnam is a crucial part of his biography. The profile of McCain that aired earlier tonight on CNN took a close look at that chapter of his life. Here's an excerpt now from "McCain Revealed."
KING: At age 31, John McCain had bent just about every rule, cheated death at least twice. But on a late October morning in 1967, flying low in the skies over Hanoi, his luck ran out.
MCCAIN: I just started to pull out and got hit by a surface-to- air missile. So I was gyrating very violently, almost straight down. Knocked unconscious when I ejected, and when I hit the water, I woke up.
I've seen pictures. A large group of them towing me in, and then there was an even larger group awaiting me on the bank of very angry citizenry.
KING: Talk about that moment. Bayonets, beating?
MCCAIN: Yes, it was very tough. I was kind of dazed because of what had happened to me, but I was certainly aware, and certainly when they inflicted pain. So I wasn't sure what was going to happen.
KING: In May, 1968, his father Admiral Jack McCain was named Commander of U.S. Forces Pacific.
As Admiral McCain took the new command, the Vietnamese offered John McCain freedom. He was tempted but came to believe it was a propaganda ploy to embarrass his father and anger other prisoners. He said no.
The POW's code of conduct called for release in the order of capture. There were dozens ahead of McCain, men taken prisoner as much as three years before him. And that earned John McCain more respect from his comrades, but the wrath of his captors.
MCCAIN: Because after it was clear to the North Vietnamese that I would not do that, then the treatment got very much worse.
KING: McCain recalled being beaten by as many as ten guards at a time, tortured with ropes, and given little water. After four days he broke, signing a statement confessing to performing the deeds of an air pirate and expressing gratitude for being saved by the Vietnamese people.
Did you let down yourself, your father, your family, your country, your cell mates?
MCCAIN: Everybody, but mostly me. Mostly me.
KING: How so?
MCCAIN: Because the standards that I set for myself.
KING: At the time when you were writing those words, what were you thinking?
MCCAIN: I was obviously in very desperate physical shape.
KING: Joining me now, Republican strategist Dan Schnur, who served as communications director in John McCain's 2000 campaign.
Dan, you know the biography well from your past work with Senator McCain.
How do you take something like this -- this is obviously compelling, his military story, his family legacy of the navy service, what he went through in Vietnam. But it was 40 years ago.
How do you take that and make it relevant in today's campaign to people, not just saying, hey, look at me, I served. But, hey, my service is meaningful because --
DAN SCHNUR, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Well, I think you've put your finger on it, John, because very few voters are going to support John McCain because he was a prisoner of war 30-some, 40 years ago. What he needs to do and what he has done successfully in the past is he's found a way to make that experience relevant to the voters.
If you look at -- if you look at John Kerry four years ago or at Bob Dole eight years before that, two people with exemplary military service, both talked about their experiences in wartime, but neither found a way to make that relevant to the concerns of voters on a daily basis. KING: I was -- go ahead.
SCHNUR: When John McCain talks about national service, when he talks as he has in the past about political reform, and certainly when he talks about national security and foreign policy issues, he finds a way to take that experience and make it much more directly relevant to what voters care about.
KING: One of the things that fascinated me doing the work on this is you're reminded of the generational differences between these two candidates; 47-year-old Barack Obama, John McCain will be 72 on Election Day.
He's a child of World War II and the Cold War, shaped really during the Eisenhower administration, from the days when you put on a jacket for dinner and called your father sir. How much of a worry is that in the McCain campaign?
SCHNUR: Well, I think it becomes more of a worry if the campaign becomes overly dependent on his wartime experience. If all he does is tell old war stories, no, he's not going to get a lot of votes.
Once again, it's a matter of showing why what he experienced in Vietnam and why what he experienced not just in the military, but through his political career is something that voters in 2008 ought to pay attention to.
I'll give you an example, John. If you look at this morning's "Los Angeles Times" poll, which showed the race very, very close as you know, it asked voters their opinions about the candidates on Iraq. And the voters, by a margin, showed that they preferred Senator Obama's approach to dealing with Iraq, but the same voters said that they trusted John McCain more to handle the situation over there.
So by virtue not only of his military biography, but of his political work and his time in the Senate, he's able to take that past experience and show voters why it should matter to them on issues that are important to them today.
KING: It is a fascinating race with ten weeks to go.
Dan Schnur thanks for sharing your thoughts tonight. We'll catch up with you between now and the conventions in ten weeks. Here we go.
Dan, thanks very much.
SCHNUR: Thanks for having me.
KING: All right.
Still ahead, the tropical storm that just won't go away. Tonight Fay is creeping at a snail's pace and soaking parts of Florida. The latest with Gary Tuchman. You see him right there on the floods and the forecast.
Plus chaos in a Tokyo subway. It started with one little monkey and turned into a major chase. We'll tell you how that turned out when "360" continues.
KING: As you can see, it is a tough scene; parts of central Florida under water tonight after three days of drenching by tropical storm Fay. Hundreds of homes have been flooded with some people reporting three to five feet of water in their houses.
Fay hit the Florida Keys Monday, veered over the Gulf then headed east across the state before stalling on the Atlantic side, dropping up to 22 inches of rain on the central coast.
CNN's Gary Tuchman is toughing it out in Marineland, just south of St. Augustine. Gary, how are you holding up and what's the latest?
TUCHMAN: Well, John, it is, the Central Atlantic Coast of Florida is absolutely getting shellacked. I'll tell you this is the tropical storm that just won't go away.
You're talking about 22 inches of rain. That means we're talking feet; that's almost two feet of rain, and authorities expect up to 30 inches of rain, 2 1/2 feet in some areas. Cape Canaveral, though, 22 inches of rain; if you did that as a snow equivalent that would be 220 inches of snow. That gives you an idea.
Thousands of people have their homes flooded, particularly south of here in St. Lucie County. But Marineland -- it's actually the name of a town because this is the Marineland Oceanarium -- it's been here over 70 years.
There are dolphins in these pools. We're right on the beach right now; 14 dolphins. There are workers here 24 hours protecting them. You'll see them in a couple of seconds swimming around. But one of the dolphins -- there you saw one just pop up. The other one, that's Nelly and Lilly.
Nelly the one who is on the outside just coming around towards us right here, that's Nelly. Nelly is 55 years old. We know that because she was born here.
This is Billy Hurley. Billy Hurley is the general manager of Oceanarium. Chad, come on over here too. Chad is the trainer.
Can you play with the dolphins for a second so we can get a better look at them so we can see them? The reason it's so important to protect them is that three years ago during hurricane Katrina, there was an Oceanarium in Gulfport, Mississippi. Eight of the dolphins were swept into the Gulf of Mexico. Amazingly, they were all rescued.
But how concerned are you? Let's see if we can see -- here they are coming up. We'll give you a look right now. That is Lilly right there.
BILL HURLEY, GENERAL MANAGER, OCEANARIUM: Nelly there is on the right. TUCHMAN: Lilly and Nelly. Nelly's the dark one. Nelly's 55 years old, the oldest dolphin being taken care of by humans. And Lilly, the only blond dolphin, correct?
HURLEY: That's true. Yes.
TUCHMAN: How worried are you that these dolphins can be swept into the ocean?
HURLEY: Well, certainly in this kind of a storm we're not that concerned, but we've been very optimistic about what was coming until certainly the last 24 hours. Being that it's a tropical storm, even a category 1, it's certainly manageable. If it was a 2 or 3 or above, we'd certainly put our evacuation plans into play.
TUCHMAN: Well, good luck taking care of them.
We saw at firsthand those dolphins that got swept into the Gulf of Mexico during Hurricane Katrina. Because this isn't a hurricane, they hope that won't happen, but the beaches right over there and the winds keep picking up.
This tropical storm is expected to make its third landfall in Florida probably sometime tomorrow. John, back to you.
KING: It's remarkable, Gary. You hang in there, stay safe and please thank your guests for hanging in there with us.
Gary Tuchman down right in the center of it all, you can see that tonight in Marineland, Florida. Gary, stay safe.
There's monkey business ahead. Quite a scene in one of Tokyo's busiest subway stations, one monkey chased by 30 cops. Where did the little primate come from and how did the dragnet play out? "The shot's" coming up.
But first, Erica Hill joins us again with a "360 News and Business Bulletin."
HILL: John, in Warsaw, the United States and Poland signed a deal to base ten U.S. ballistic missile interceptors in Poland. Russia warns this deal could actually open Poland to attack.
A California man convicted of causing a deadly commuter rail crash sentenced today to 11 consecutive life terms without parole. Juan Alvarez parked his gas-loaded SUV on railroad tracks in a Los Angeles suburb in what he said was an attempted suicide. He says he later basically got scared. 11 people died in that resulting crash; 150 others were injured.
On Wall Street, a rise in financial and energy stocks, pushing the major markets higher after two days of losses. The Dow climbed almost 69 points to 11,417, the Nasdaq also basically flat but we can still say it was up 5. The S&P 500 up almost 8, John. KING: Don't know much about the markets, but I know up is better than down.
HILL: We always want the figures going up. That's right.
KING: Up is better than down. All right.
Now our "Beat 360" winners. It's our daily challenge to viewers to come up with a caption for a photo that's better than the one from our staff.
Tonight's picture, Senator Barack Obama looking surprised after receiving a sunflower from the Greensboro Farmers' Curb Market out in North Carolina. Our staff winner tonight is John, one of our interns. Today's his last day at "360" a winning day.
His caption: "Clinton loves me, Clinton loves me not. Biden loves me, yes."
HILL: Not bad. We receive one twice in the last two weeks, Jon has. Maybe we should keep him around.
KING: Closing that internship on a high note.
HILL: I tell you.
KING: Our viewer winner, maybe he'll apply for an internship, his name is Brian. His caption: "Wow look, my grass-roots campaign is really taking off." Good stuff.
HILL: That definitely deserves a new item of clothing.
KING: A new item of clothing. We can comply. The "Beat 360" t- shirt is on the way, Brian.
And to all our summer interns, thanks for all your hard work helping us out. We wish you the best.
For those of you at home, play along tomorrow by going to ac360.com. How can you resist for one of those?
"The Shot" is next; a monkey at a subway stop causing all kinds of trouble. Stay with us. We've got the wild antics.
KING: Erica, time now for "The Shot" and look who's on the loose in Tokyo; a monkey causing havoc at a subway station. This happened earlier today. The standoff between police and the primate went on for a while.
It seemed the monkey had no interest in leaving his perch, even with all their skill and all their nets, the authorities were no match for the wily monkey.
HILL: Go, monkey, go. KING: The monkey made a mad dash -- go, monkey, that's right -- for the exit then to the streets free to create more trouble in the future. Maybe join me for tomorrow night.
HILL: One lucky monkey. He could be here, who knows?
KING: Up next, the John McCain you might not know. What drives him? What makes him tick? What ticks him off? "McCain Revealed," my special report next.