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Clinton's Weapon: Women; Bill Richardson to Drop Out of Presidential Race

Aired January 9, 2008 - 20:00   ET


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: This is a CNN "America Votes" special. I'm Wolf Blitzer at the CNN Election Center.
Iowa gave us the politics of change. New Hampshire was the land of comebacks. Now comes the endurance test, but, apparently, apparently not for everyone.

CNN is now reporting the breaking news that the New Mexico governor, Bill Richardson is -- repeat -- is dropping out of the race for the Democratic presidential nomination. The AP reported it first, saying a public announcement is planned for tomorrow.

Richardson finished a distant fourth in both Iowa and New Hampshire -- that announcement from Bill Richardson apparently coming tomorrow.

Tonight, as the other presidential candidates scatter to the South and the West, the best political team on television standing by to take a much closer look at the new battlegrounds.

Suzanne Malveaux is in New Jersey with Senator Barack Obama. Our chief national correspondent, John King, is watching the John McCain- Mitt Romney showdown that's getting under way in Michigan right now. Dana Bash is in South Carolina, where Mike Huckabee's campaign is reconnecting with its evangelical base. Ted Rowlands is in Nevada, where a major union's endorsement could make one candidate the odds-on favorite.

But we begin our coverage with our senior political correspondent, Candy Crowley, and the story the whole country is still buzzing about, Senator Hillary Clinton's stunning turnaround.

Candy, let's talk a little bit about what you're seeing, what you're hearing. Where do we go from here?

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Hillary Clinton was down most of the day. She did do a morning round of talk shows.

They are looking at where they're going to head next. They obviously want to play a bit in South Carolina and in Nevada, which are coming up next. But they are looking at those February 5 states, because you can't be everywhere, and you have got to pick which states you're going to play heavily in.

Now, the Clinton campaign obviously is studying those internal numbers within the digits that came out last night. One in particular strikes them. And that is the female vote. Hillary Clinton had a 12- point margin in winning the female vote in New Hampshire. That is opposed to her five-point deficit in Iowa.

What do they think did it? In the Clinton campaign they believe things began to turn around during that weekend debate and they believe that her policies begin to really hit home, especially, they say, with working single women.

They believe that somewhere along the line Hillary Clinton opened up a bit and made a real connection with those voters. Here's what she had to say.


SEN. HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D-NY), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'm really glad that I had a chance to say what I believe with all my heart, that, you know, politics isn't a game. It is not a horse race. It is about people's lives. They why I do what I do.

It is obviously really, really hard to get up every day and, you know, go out and stand up for people who don't have a voice, don't have an advocate, who, sometimes, they're just rendered invisible. But that's what I think I'm supposed to be doing. And I have done it for 35 years. And there was just a really wonderful moment there when, you know, people, I think, got a sense of why I do what I do and why I think it is so important, and why I'm going to wage this campaign for the future of our country, and to give everybody the same set of chances that I was given.


CROWLEY: Now, despite all this joy within the Clinton campaign for having sort of pulled itself back off the brink, I'm told that in conference calls today, this from someone familiar with those conversations, the staff was reminded over and over again, they have a very, very tough fight ahead -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Candy Crowley reporting for us, thanks very much.

With New Hampshire and Iowa out of the way, dozens of primaries and caucuses now looming on the horizon, among them, February 5's showdown in the delegate-rich state of New Jersey.

Senator Barack Obama made a quick stop there earlier today before attending a fund-raiser in New York City.


SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D-IL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: My voice is a little hoarse. My eyes are a little bleary. My back is a little sore.

But my spirit is strong.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) OBAMA: And I am ready to bring about change in America.

How about you?



BLITZER: Suzanne Malveaux is covering the Obama campaign -- Suzanne.

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, after the shocking loss in New Hampshire, Obama's campaign is trying to prove it's not lost its momentum or its mojo. Now it's all about big crowds, big money and big endorsements.

Here in Jersey City, I got a chance to talk to the mayor of Newark, Cory Booker, about what he sees his friend Barack Obama will be facing, some of his toughest challenges.


CORY BOOKER (D), MAYOR OF NEWARK, NEW JERSEY: The Clintons have been working New Hampshire for decades. And they have an incredible machine. They have the establishment. They have chips to call in. And Obama still did that well.

I think, if anything, those two primaries show us is that, yes, we can win. And I think that's a message in New Jersey we're carrying as well. And I think it's going to resonate throughout the country.

MALVEAUX: I spoke with D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty, and Deval Patrick, the governor of Massachusetts was also there. Clearly, you, as well as these others, are a new brand, a new generation of leadership. You have crossover appeal.

Do you think that this country is ready for a black leader on a national level?

BOOKER: Well, I think this country is ready for a great leader, and Obama is a great leader. And our country's evolved to the point that we don't look at the color of a person's skin, but the content of their character, the spirit of the heart, the intelligence, their acumen.

And we have a new generation in America now of young men and women who has grown up post-civil rights movement who have benefited from the doors that have been opened up, who have gotten the kind of privilege that was paid for by the blood, sweat and tears of the generation before.

And with that opportunity, with that experience, with that training, we're now coming into the trenches and saying, it's ready -- time for us to serve.

MALVEAUX: How much do you think yesterday's defeat, New Hampshire defeat, was because of race, that there was some people who said they were going to vote one way and they voted another?

BOOKER: Listen, race and bigotry is narrow and small in America. We need to pounce it out. And the reality is, most Americans, most people in our country are great and look to the person's character, look for a person's ideals, look to a person's faith and passion. And Obama has that. And we're going to win this election because of it.


MALVEAUX: The Obama campaign says it does not believe that race was a factor in losing New Hampshire. But, nevertheless, they are not going to take the black vote for granted, specifically in South Carolina. Wolf, they say there's a lot of hard work ahead -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Suzanne, thanks very much.

Polls have shown us which issues are the most important to voters in Iowa and New Hampshire. But voters in some of the other states may have different priorities. And the candidates' messages may need some fast tweaking.

To discuss what the voters want to hear down the road, let's bring in our senior political analysts, Bill Schneider and Gloria Borger.

Gloria, they're probably going to do some tweaking. That would be smart. But what kind of tweaking?

GLORIA BORGER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, we have already seen the Hillary Clinton tweaking. We saw it last night when she won in New Hampshire. We're seeing a more personable Hillary Clinton, someone that's kind of less of a policy wonk and a little warmer, fuzzier. Her message is much more personal. She's going to try...

BLITZER: She thanked the people in New Hampshire for helping her find her voice.

BORGER: She did.

And she's going to try and take over John Edwards' economic anxiety message. She's going to try and knock him aside on that one and adopt it as her own. But she's going to say that: I'm doing this for you, the American people, no more, I'm in it to win it. It's now about you.

BLITZER: They're always tweaking. But that comes with the nature of this kind of ball game. Between now and February 5, the whole thing could be over.

WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: The whole thing could be over. February 5 of course is a very big primary. We're hoping, I'm hoping that it comes down to California. My goodness, it hasn't gone to California since McGovern vs. Humphrey.

BLITZER: That's when they vote, on February 5. SCHNEIDER: February 5. It's a huge state. It could go all the way there. Barack Obama has to tweak, too. He has to answer a question that was put to Gary Hart: Where's the beef? He has to go after the Democratic bails.

He's the insurgent. He depends on bringing new voters into the process, young voters and independents. And he will do well in states where independents can participate.

BLITZER: Where does John Edwards go from here? Because he's still in this race, and he says he's in it to win it until the end.

BORGER: Well, he goes to South Carolina. And then we will see, because I think South Carolina could really be his last stand, Wolf. He's going to run out of money at some point. And that's about it.

SCHNEIDER: Exactly. South Carolina. If he doesn't win South Carolina, he's got some serious reassessment.

BLITZER: There's an intriguing story that the Associated Press moved just a little while ago. Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the mayor of New York, it says, has quietly been conducting polling and doing a highly sophisticated voter analysis in all 50 states, looking at the possibility of being a third-party independent candidate.

That's sort of hovering over this entire contest, the notion that a billionaire could get involved and shake things up.

BORGER: He's a billionaire and he's got to have a business plan. OK, Wolf, he needs the model. And that's what they're working on for him is the business model.

But I would argue that, if Barack Obama becomes the nominee, and if John McCain becomes the nominee, he kind of loses his platform if he wants to run as a post-partisan candidate. But I think they're not going to make any decision, I have been told, until after Super Tuesday. They're going to see who look like is going to be the nominees. And then he's going to take a look at the business plan and say, is it a go or not a go? Because he's not in it to lose it. He really -- if he were to get in it, he would want to be number one.

BLITZER: He would want to win it.

What do you think?

SCHNEIDER: Look, the voters want a uniter. If the parties nominate candidates who can be uniters -- and, right now, that looks like it could be John McCain, it could be Barack Obama -- there's no room for Bloomberg.

But if they nominate divisive figures -- that could be someone like Hillary Clinton or a hard-line conservative -- then Bloomberg will suddenly see an opening. It depends on whether there's an opening. The meeting he attended almost collapsed because it looked like Barack Obama was certain to be the Democratic nominee.

BLITZER: The meeting in Oklahoma that he had last week.

SCHNEIDER: Yes, it almost collapsed, because everyone assumed Barack Obama is going to be the nominee. So, what's the point of a Bloomberg candidacy?

BORGER: But you're going to see a less divisive Hillary Clinton, because I think she understands that what the voters were rejecting about her in Iowa was not so much her experience. They like her experience. But they were rejecting the polarization, the sense that she would divide the country.

So, you're going to see Hillary Clinton look more and more like John McCain, going to those town hall meetings.

BLITZER: Which she was doing in the last few days in New Hampshire. And she says she's found her voice, thanks to the people of New Hampshire.


BLITZER: Gloria, Bill, thanks very much, the best political team on television.

Remember, we're less than one week away from the Michigan primary. Republicans will be voting there. John McCain has won there before. Mitt Romney is from there. We're taking a closer look at who has the advantage, who has the most to lose. John King is there.

And Mike Huckabee is looking for born-again voters to help revive his campaign.

Stand by for all the latest from South Carolina as well.

Stay with us. Our special coverage, CNN, "America Votes," continues right after this.


BLITZER: John McCain and Mitt Romney were both in Michigan today, fighting on a new battleground. Michigan has been hit hard over the past many years by the decline of the U.S. auto industry and the housing crisis more recently.

McCain is bidding for a bounce from his New Hampshire victory, Romney hoping his Michigan roots will help him bounce back from defeats in Iowa and New Hampshire. His father, George Romney, served as the governor of Michigan.

Our John Kings is in Grand Rapids tonight watching all of this unfold.

Intriguing, what's going to happen between now and next Tuesday, when this contest takes place.

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It is fascinating, Wolf. And it is a rematch in so many ways. John McCain won New Hampshire in 2000. Mitt Romney was the governor of neighboring Massachusetts. John McCain won Michigan in 2000. Mitt Romney was born here. And, as you noted, his dad was governor back in the '60s.

So, it is a rematch in so many ways. McCain believes, if he can win here, he takes control of the race. Romney said today here, after gold -- silver medals -- excuse me -- in Iowa and New Hampshire, he very much needs the gold here.

The issue here, Wolf, is jobs, jobs and jobs. McCain got here first this morning, a rowdy rally at the airport in Grand Rapids, celebrating his New Hampshire victory. There was confetti. There was rap music. There was everything for McCain, a bit of celebration, then quickly to the issue at hand.

McCain said he understands that Michigan is suffering, understands the state is in recession. He said, as president, he would revamp federal job training programs. He said he would also get more money to community college to help people get new skills after being laid off in the automobile or any other industries.

McCain promised, as president, if somebody from Michigan lost a job, he would be there to help.


SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R-AZ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We are a Judeo- Christian-valued nation. And we cannot leave these great Americans behind. I want to tell you, I will help you create new jobs and new education programs and ways to keep these people in productive lives with great futures and a great future for the state of Michigan.


KING: Romney came rolling into Grand Rapids just a few hours later, campaigning in a street area. He said he takes this personally. He said, having been born here, having lived through his dad's campaign, watched his father work in the automobile industry long ago, that he took Michigan's economic struggles personally.

And what he said was that he believes he has the fix-it skills, if you will, from his years in business and his days as Massachusetts governor to turn things around here.


MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: But none of them cares about Michigan like I care about Michigan. And none of them has the deep roots here that I have here and something else that's -- that's even more important as it relates to Michigan. And that is, I spent my life in the private sector, in the economy. I learned why jobs come and why jobs go.

(END VIDEO CLIP) KING: If you need to understand how important this state is to Mitt Romney, Wolf, he stopped airing television ads in South Carolina. He had spent millions there trying to win the South Carolina primary. He went dark today, as they call it in the political business, no more ads, at least for now, in South Carolina, more money poured here into the state of Michigan. He knows he needs a win -- Wolf.

BLITZER: And, quickly, John, Mike Huckabee is a formidable factor potentially in Michigan as well, isn't he?

KING: He could be if he invested the time here. And that is the question. We're watching his schedule. He went first to South Carolina because he knows, after Iowa, he needs another win. And he thinks South Carolina is the best territory.

But there is a significant Christian conservative base here in the Republican Party here. It will be interesting to watch if Governor Huckabee decides to make a play.

BLITZER: Thanks very much, John King, reporting for us from Michigan.

Mitt Romney started the year as the front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination. But, like Detroit and the once dominant Motor city auto industry, he has been hit harder in recent days.

Joining us now, Republican strategist Bay Buchanan. She's working for Mitt Romney.

You have endorsed him, Bay. You endorsed earlier Tom Tancredo. Help me understand why you supported Tom Tancredo and Mitt Romney. What motivates you to do both of these candidates, because, on a lot of these issues, they may seem different?

BAY BUCHANAN, PRESIDENT, AMERICAN CAUSE: Well, and the key issue, of course, Tom Tancredo, a champion of illegal immigration. He wouldn't have endorsed anyone. We didn't think we could win it. We decided to move and try to make certain that somebody who was good on immigration would be the nominee.

We looked around. And, obviously, McCain is just Mr. Amnesty, king of amnesty back there in the Senate. He was not a chance we could help -- we wanted to make certain he didn't win. Huckabee is terrible, a terrible record on this.

So, we went and sat down with Mitt Romney for about an hour. And it's incredible. We were extremely pleased. He understands the issue. He also understand it can be solved. He understands that you need to secure the border and enforce the laws of this land, and you can never give amnesty. He has the right formula. He has the will and the courage. And he convinced us he will do the job as president.

That's why he has both Tom Tancredo and my endorsement, Wolf.

BLITZER: Interesting, Bay. Mike Huckabee, who is a main challenger to Mitt Romney, as you well know, he's got a new ad that's running.

I'm going to play a little portion of that ad, because he seems to take a direct swipe at Mitt Romney.


MIKE HUCKABEE (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I believe most Americans want their next president to remind them of the guy they work with, not the guy who laid them off.


BLITZER: How do you read that line, Bay?

BUCHANAN: Well, you know, some people have said that that suggests that maybe it's somebody like Mitt Romney, who has been in the business, who has had to really work with small business, large businesses, turn them around. Sometimes, they weren't able to be turned around.

But, you know, in fairness to Mike Huckabee, he specifically said it had nothing to do with Mitt Romney. So, you have to call him on that. Clearly, there is a concern out there in Michigan. I believe that Mitt Romney, without question, has the understanding of how to turn that state around.

He's done it up there in Massachusetts. He's done it with small business. He's done it with big business. He knows how to resolve that issue out there and across the country. John McCain, of course, as you know, Wolf, has been sitting here in the Senate, passing rules and voting on policies that have sent those jobs overseas.

And then he has tried to pass legislation that would bring foreign workers, tens of millions of them, into this country. He's the wrong person to be answering the problems of Michigan; that's for sure.

BLITZER: Mitt Romney's lucky he has got a supporter like a Bay Buchanan.


BLITZER: Bay, thanks very much for joining us.

BUCHANAN: Certainly.

BLITZER: Welcome back.

BUCHANAN: Thanks, Wolf. Good to be with you.

BLITZER: Iowa shattered Hillary Clinton's aura of inevitability. New Hampshire put her back on track. So, what's ahead? They have put together some people who have seen her up close. You are going to want to stick around to see what's going on. It's getting a little personal.

And born-again Christians helped Mike Huckabee win the Iowa caucuses. They're also a huge factor in South Carolina politics. Does that make Mike Huckabee the favorite? I will ask Jerry Falwell's son. He's standing by live.

Stay with us -- much more of our special coverage coming up.


BLITZER: In just 10 days, the Republican battleground moves south. The veteran John McCain will go head-to-head once again with the surprising upstart Mike Huckabee. Both will be competing for the Christian conservative vote, along with Fred Thompson and the others.

CNN's Dana Bash flew down South with Mike Huckabee earlier. She's joining us from Greenville in South Carolina right now.

Give us a little flavor on this day after New Hampshire. What happened, Dana?

DANA BASH, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, what happened, Wolf, is that Mike Huckabee has come to this state of South Carolina and he is going to try to prove that he's not just a one-state wonder, that he's not somebody who can just win in the state of Iowa, but he can continue to win.

Obviously, he came in third, a distant third, in New Hampshire. Considering the fact that he was very far behind, perhaps that's respectable. But he understands he needs more than that. He needs to continue to have victories.

And that is why, coming on the plane here with him today, he made it very clear that he feels that he has a connection with the people of South Carolina, because, of course, he's a former Arkansas governor. He's a Southerner. But there's another reason why Mike Huckabee and more importantly his campaign is convinced that he can and should do well here.

And that is because of the dynamic inside the Republican Party. They -- just like inside Iowa, there is a large contingent of evangelicals or Christian conservatives that Mike Huckabee is trying to appeal to. And it was really fascinating to listen to how different his stump speech was here in South Carolina vs. in New Hampshire, where the evangelical base simply does not exist.

He talked about the fact -- many, many times back in Iowa -- about the fact that he is an authentic conservative, particularly when it comes to the issue of life, or abortion. That evaporated from his speech in New Hampshire. It was there right back in his stump speech today here in South Carolina.


HUCKABEE: And I want you to know, I'm not confused about the value of a human life. And it's not something I have had to wrestle with and change my mind over, because I believe with all my heart that one of the fundamental issues in this country that we have got to deal with is the sanctity of every human life, the intrinsic worth and value of every human being.


BASH: Now, Mike Huckabee is doing better here in the polls. But he is not a shoo-in by any means. And it is going to be a very interesting dynamic between Mike Huckabee and a man who he's really had a lovefest with long distance. And that is John McCain.

Remember, they had a common enemy in Mitt Romney both in Iowa and in New Hampshire. But now it is really potentially going to be between the two of those men in a head-to-head battle. Mike Huckabee insists that he's not going to go negative. John McCain has said the same thing about Mike Huckabee.

But it is going to be interesting to see how they deal with it, particularly in this kind of rough-and-tumble state of South Carolina. No Republican candidate has won -- every Republican candidate -- forgive me -- who has won South Carolina has gone on to win the nomination. It's just that crucial here in South Carolina -- Wolf.

BLITZER: That's got a pretty good track record as a barometer.

Thanks very much, Dana, for that.

Huckabee enthusiastically courting the evangelical vote, and they have responded with very strong support.

Joining us now is the attorney, the president of Liberty University, Jerry Falwell Jr. He's endorsed Mike Huckabee.

Mr. Falwell, thanks very much for -- for coming in.


BLITZER: Your father, your late father, who we all knew, very, very well, he made peace with John McCain at the end, when McCain came and spoke at Liberty University.

Could you support John McCain, if -- if he were the Republican presidential nominee?

FALWELL: Absolutely.

We invited all the candidates, Democrat and Republican, to speak at Liberty. Liberty is the largest evangelical university in the world. And when Mike Huckabee spoke here in October, he so impressed the students and all of us with his authenticity and genuineness, that we decided, many of us, that he was the candidate that we would endorse.

But I do believe there are other good candidates. Evangelical voters have become more sophisticated over the years. In the early '80s, when my father first recruited evangelicals into the political arena, all a candidate had to do is give lip service to the issues that were important to evangelicals.

We have been burned many times over the years. And now I think our people are looking more for authenticity, sincerity, more than what the candidate says about what he believes, but what he really believes in his heart. And that's what we're seeing Mike Huckabee...

BLITZER: And that's why you like Mike Huckabee.


BLITZER: Pat Robertson, the Reverend Pat Robertson, endorsed Rudy Giuliani, the former mayor of New York, even though he supports abortion rights, supports gay rights.

I will ask the same question to you I asked about McCain. Could you support Rudy Giuliani if he gets the Republican presidential nomination?

FALWELL: If it came down to Rudy Giuliani and a liberal Democrat who was against all of the positions we hold on the social issues, it would be a tough decision, but we would have to support Rudy.

BLITZER: But you would be able to go into that voting booth and push that button, you're saying? It would be difficult for you, but you would be able to do it?


BLITZER: All right.


BLITZER: Jerry Falwell Jr., thanks very much for coming in. Appreciate it very much.

FALWELL: Thank you.

BLITZER: Huckabee may have strong evangelical connections, but his strongest rival now is the rejuvenated Senator John McCain. And he has the hard-earned support of many Hispanics.

Joining us now is McCain supporter the Florida Congressman Lincoln Diaz-Balart. He's a Republican.

Congressman, thanks very much for coming in.


BLITZER: What do you make of the biggest criticism that you hear from your fellow Republicans about John McCain who you strongly support, that he supported comprehensive immigration reform, co- sponsored legislation with Teddy Kennedy, supports campaign finance reform, co-sponsored legislation with Russ Feingold, Wisconsin? You hear that kind of criticism from a lot of Republicans, and as a result they say they don't like John McCain. What do you say in response? DIAZ-BALART: Well, you're never going to agree with anyone completely. And I think, and I was listening to Mr. Falwell before and he was saying how, you know, folks are maturing. I certainly think that throughout the country, communities are maturing, and Republicans were maturing. We realized we're never, never going to agree 1,100 percent with anyone.

But when we look at the key issues, for example, on the issue of support for pro life, John McCain has always been pro life. A fighter against government waste. A fighter for the correct strategy in Iraq. Because the crucial issue, the most crucial issue is the survival of the nation and the war against our enemies. And John McCain, I remember how he fought month after month after month against experts, and with low polling information, that we had to change --

BLITZER: So are you suggesting now, his stance in favor of the so-called surge in Iraq is going to actually pay off for him?

DIAZ-BALART: Oh, yes. Because that is an example of when someone, like Senator McCain stands on principle, and stands for what is right and what is necessary. How ultimately because people are maturing, and they're considering the alternatives and they're considering people's records, they're coming around. That's why they're giving a second look on John McCain.


BLITZER: Are you with -- are you with him personally on the issue of comprehensive immigration reform, what he tried to do, including a pathway to citizenship for many of the 12 million illegal immigrants in the United States?

DIAZ-BALART: Yes, I was. And I also think that it's important to note that he says that now he is going to secure the border first. And it's real important for people to listen to what he's actually saying. He's going to require the border governors, the border state governors to certify, and put concrete measures in the legislation -- in legislation in the future requiring that the border has been secured.

But then he says, yes, we do need a temporary worker permit program. We need it for the economy. And we need to deal with the issue in a reasonable manner, but secure the border first. Let's actually listen to what he's saying. I think people are. And that's why on issue after issue, they're realizing he's prepared to be president on day one. And he is a fighter for change in the sense that he fought for the right strategy in Iraq. He's fought against government waste. He's a real agent for change.

BLITZER: All right. And he did really well in New Hampshire. Let's see how he does in Michigan, South Carolina and Florida, down there. Thanks very much, Congressman, for coming in.

DIAZ-BALART: Thank you very much.

BLITZER: Appreciate it very much. Hillary Clinton surprised a lot of people in New Hampshire. Up next, two people who know her. They'll talk about what she's thinking and feeling and what may be ahead for her campaign. You're going to want to stick around and hear this. Stay with us. Our special coverage, America Votes 2008 continues right after this.


BLITZER: The big question after the stunning victory of Hillary Clinton in New Hampshire is coming up. It's been a roller coaster week. It's probably still time to fasten your seat belts for a very bumpy primary ride over the next four weeks.

Joining us now, two guests. Lisa Caputo served as press secretary for Hillary Clinton when she was the first lady. And CNN political contributor Carl Bernstein is the author of the Hillary Clinton biography "A Woman in Charge" now out in paperback. Guys, thanks very much for coming in. What turned it around, Lisa, for Hillary Clinton in New Hampshire? Because going in, you were nervous. A lot of Hillary supporters were really, really nervous.

LISA CAPUTO, PRES. & CEO, CITIGROUP'S WOMEN & CO: I think a couple of things happened, Wolf. I think she took matters into her own hands, clearly. She ditched her schedule and began to just have these open forums where she took a ton of questions and I think --

BLITZER: Sometimes for two hours.

CAPUTO: Yes. And so I think substance ruled the day. I think that was also something you saw in the debates, and I also think the emotional moment showed that she was human. And, you know, you know you've covered her forever, she has this perception of being superhuman. I think substance combined with human dynamic really ruled the day.

BLITZER: She's referring to that emotional moment when she choked up the other day. And she thanked the people of New Hampshire last night. She said for helping her find her voice. What do you think, Carl?

CARL BERNSTEIN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: I think that she did exactly what Lisa said, and I think that will work once. That she -- you know, Jon Stewart did a funny thing on the daily show saying, that was it? But it worked. And I don't mean to say it's premeditated. But now, she is going to have to run a different kind of campaign that takes the high road. She recognized, along with some people inside, I think Lisa knows about this, that there was a perception that the Clinton campaign was going low, going negative, not going as substantive and inspirational as it could, and it needed to change direction. And the question is, can it keep doing that against somebody like Obama?

BLITZER: She didn't win the women vote in Iowa but she did in New Hampshire. What changed things for the Democratic women out there and the independents?

CAPUTO: I think women reacted to what they saw happen in Iowa, quite frankly. So I think that they mobilized and came out for Hillary. I also think, you know, women, when they think about a purchase decision or making a decision, they gather information. And I really think in this instance, substance and facts, I mean, what Hillary was doing was putting out factual differences between herself and her opponents. She was specific about what she was going to do on various different --

BLITZER: And that debate Saturday night with Charlie Gibson, she was pretty tough.

CAPUTO: She was. And I also think the kind of teaming up between Obama and Edwards worked in Hillary's favor. And I think the combination of all of those really worked to mobilize women and get them out to vote.

BLITZER: I can't tell you, Carl, how many people, Democrats, have suggested to me, I'm sure to a lot of other people, looking at what's happened in Iowa and New Hampshire, wouldn't it be great for the Democratic Party if Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama somehow wound up on the same ticket. Unclear who would be number one, who would be number two. But how unrealistic do you believe, and you've studied politics for a long time, that could be?

BERNSTEIN: I would from what I see, very unlikely. But you know the dynamic better than I, but it seems to me there's an awful lot of enmity at this point that I don't think can be bridged.

BLITZER: Hold on a second. Let's me ask -- let's get Lisa's reaction.

CAPUTO: Well, first of all, I think it's way too soon to speculate. I think, you know, clearly there's a dynamic here that is a changed dynamic. They're both now campaigning on change. It's a question now of how they're going to go about the change. And I think we'll see going into February 5th. Where is the public support?

And I think, you know, Edwards will probably get out of the race. He's going into South Carolina. If he doesn't show in South Carolina, I think that's it for John Edwards. And February 5th will be very telling. And I think that will set the stature for both of these candidates.

BLITZER: I give you the last word.

BERNSTEIN: I think that the different factor we're starting to see is Bill Clinton receding. That there's been a perception of restoration to her campaign up until New Hampshire. And as she moved away, visibly from the concept of restoration as perceived by voters, it helped her a lot. And part of what we've been seeing is a bit of a psycho-drama with the Clintons, and I don't know that it served her well and I don't know if she can avoid it.

BLITZER: Carl Bernstein, Lisa Caputo -- guys, thanks very much for coming in.

CAPUTO: Thank you, Wolf. BLITZER: To be continued down the road.

CAPUTO: Absolutely.

BLITZER: Senator John Edwards has already moved on to South Carolina. Edwards is looking to rebound from defeats in Iowa and New Hampshire with the repeat of his 2004 primary victory in South Carolina. CNN's Dan Lothian is in Columbia, South Carolina, tonight where the Democratic contenders are fighting some divided loyalty. Dan, what's going on?

DAN LOTHIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right. They have been fighting those divided loyalties for months here in South Carolina. And here's what it is. You have those African-Americans who have been supporting Hillary Clinton. Those include some of the established political leadership here in South Carolina. And then those who've been supporting the newcomer, Mr. Obama. Many of those also in leadership, but the younger voters here supporting him.

And then those who have been looking at him and asking some questions. We were at a barbershop talking to a barber and he told me that while he supported Mr. Obama, there were some of his friends who had some questions as to whether or not he was electable. I asked him if any of that had changed over the last few days, and he said certainly, he thought so because of Obama winning in Iowa and showing a strong support in New Hampshire.

But clearly, these two campaigns are looking at this whole issue of African-American votes. I talked to them today, both campaigns, and I said, you know, are you specifically targeting African- Americans? And they wanted to back away from that whole issue of race, whether or not they're going after someone because of their race. They told me that they're going after all voters. But again, this is an important group here. Fifty percent of Democratic primary voters are African-American, and they really need that African- American support here in order to win.

Both of the campaigns are reaching out to African-American communities. They're sending out their volunteers to barber shops and beauty shops trying to wheel in that vote. And one other note, Wolf, earlier you were talking to Senator John Edwards. He's the only Democrat currently here in the state campaigning. He has an event going on tonight. He has been reaching out to those working class voters, trying to tell them his personal story, saying, I am from here. I know what you're going through. But I don't have to read it in a book.

BLITZER: Dan Lothian, thanks very much for that. Dan Lothian reporting for us.

The best political team on television will be providing full coverage of the crucial primary coming up in South Carolina. First, the Republican primary 10 days from now, on Saturday, January 19th.

By the way, we'll be broadcasting the South Carolina Congressional Black Caucus Democratic presidential debate, 8:00 p.m. Eastern on Monday, January 21st. I'll be there. Joe Johnson, Suzanne Malveaux will be joining me in the questioning. The best political team on television will be covering all of that, the South Carolina Democratic primary including the presidential debate on January 21st.

The coming days are crowded with primaries, caucuses and candidate debates. We've updated our calendar. Jeff Toobin is standing by to share with us what's coming and when. There are things you absolutely don't want to miss. This is information you need to know. We'll be right back.


BLITZER: The candidates are already looking ahead. They have to. Rudy Giuliani is already in Florida campaigning for that primary, almost three weeks away. The race for the White House is now wide open for both parties following the split decisions in New Hampshire and the Iowa caucuses. The campaign calendar is jam-packed from now until the super Tuesday bonanza of primaries and caucuses, less than four weeks away on February 5th.

Our Jeff Toobin is taking a closer look. Jeff, you're at our, I don't know what we're calling it, the multi -- CNN multi-touch screen, but you're going to walk us down this calendar because it's jam-packed over the next four weeks.

JEFFREY TOOBIN, SENIOR ANALYST: It sure is. And next stop is Michigan for the Republicans. Next Tuesday, as you've been discussing, Mitt Romney has pulled all his advertising except in Michigan. It's do or die for him there. Next, we've got two events on that Saturday. You have the Democrats, with the caucuses in the afternoon.

One thing I think we can say for sure, is that no one is going to predict the results, having lived through the first. And then we've got the Republicans in South Carolina. Will that be Fred Thompson's last stand? He has got to make some progress there, or it's pretty much all over.

As you mentioned, Congressional Black Caucus debate we'll be covering on Monday, the 21st. On the 26th, the Democrats are in South Carolina. This is the first time the black vote is going to be a big factor. The Democratic National Committee scheduled South Carolina because they wanted to give African-Americans a voice in the process.

BLITZER: About 50 percent of the Democratic likely voters are African-Americans.

TOOBIN: And that's -- and that is going to be the reason why South Carolina is there. Then three days later, Rudy Giuliani. He's put all his chips on Florida. He's been invisible in the race so far.

BLITZER: In the delegate rich state.

TOOBIN: They've got 57 delegates at stake. And Rudy Giuliani has said, I've got to win there, or he said in effect, that he's got to win there or he's out. Then we have two debates in a row. The next day, at the Reagan Library in Simi Valley, the Republicans.

BLITZER: The Republicans.

TOOBIN: And then the following day, Los Angeles, the Democrats.

BLITZER: At the Kodak theater.

TOOBIN: At the Kodak Theater where the Oscars are.


TOOBIN: Then, February 5th --

BLITZER: Look at that.

TOOBIN: I mean, it's practically --

BLITZER: Most of the country.

TOOBIN: It's most of the country. And it's all the big states. It's New York, Georgia, Minnesota, Illinois, California.

BLITZER: The big prize.

TOOBIN: And that's where we thought the nomination was going to be decided. But you know? At the rate things are going, it may not be decided then.

BLITZER: We're going to be very busy, at least, at least, for the next four weeks. Jeff, thanks very much.

Larry King is coming up in a few minutes, right at the top of the hour. He's standing by to give us a preview of what he has in store. Larry, what's going on?

LARRY KING, HOST, "LARRY KING LIVE": Wolf, tonight we're going to talk to those in the know about the incredible events in New Hampshire last night. And we've got an exclusive with the one and only Dr. Laura Schlessinger. She's a straight shooter as you know. She tells it like it is. She'll take calls.

We'll have Arianna Huffington here and Ari Fleischer and James Carville and David Axelrod and Ed Schultz and Margaret Hoover. It's going to be quite an hour at the top of the hour, and look forward to seeing you in New York next week.

BLITZER: Can't wait to see you, Larry. We'll have a few laughs here in New York. Larry's got a big show coming up in a few minutes at the top of the hour. You're going to want to see it.

Nevada is this year's new entry to the early caucus club, and a big union there has just announced its choice for president. Will Democratic voters there follow its lead? We're going to take you out west as our America votes election special continues.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) BLITZER: Senator Barack Obama picked up a key union endorsement in Nevada today. Support from the Culinary Workers Union and its parent organization is Obama's first endorsement from a major national union. Our Ted Rowlands is joining us now live from Las Vegas. This is a very important endorsement for Barack Obama. Ted, explain to our viewers why.

TED ROWLANDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, the Culinary Union here in the state of Nevada is the largest union in the state, 60,000 members strong. It is a significant endorsement for Barack Obama. John Edwards picks up a lot of union support. But for Obama, this was critical and he got it. According to union representatives, not only for what he's promising to do, if he's elected president, but also for his track record. They say he has supported labor since he was a state senator in Illinois.


D. TAYLOR, CULINARY WORKERS OF NEVADA: Politicians divide us up all the time. And what this union is about, and what America needs to be about is not dividing people up. It's bringing people together from all walks of life for the common good. That's a Las Vegas dream. That should be the American dream. And we're very excited endorsing Senator Barack Obama today.


ROWLANDS: Now, not only did Senator Obama pick up the Culinary Union endorsement, he also last night picked up the Service Employees International Union in the state of Nevada. Support of about 17,000- plus strong. Another significant endorsement. After the announcement today, after the press conference today, the Culinary Union was passing out these pledge cards to its members. They say that they will be out in force getting people to the caucus on the 19th, a Saturday. Barack Obama will be here on Friday addressing the union members undoubtedly, he will be urging them to do the same. A big endorsement for Senator Obama.

BLITZER: One of the major reasons why the Democratic Party picked Nevada to move up in the schedule because of the large union presence there. A major ingredient, a major component of the Democrats out there. Ted, thanks very much for that report.

We're following that breaking story that we reported on earlier out of the campaign trail. Right after the break, we're going to update you on what we know about the governor of New Mexico, Bill Richardson.

Also, Larry King is talking politics and a lot more tonight. Coming up at the top of the hour, Dr. Laura is among Larry's guests. She not only has advice for this week's winners and losers, she's taking your phone calls and e-mails. Only minutes away. Stick around. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) BLITZER: Before we go, we want to recap the breaking news this hour. CNN has confirmed that New Mexico's Governor Bill Richardson is dropping out of the race for the Democratic presidential nomination. His official announcement expected to come tomorrow. The numbers are the reason, not enough votes, not enough money.

That's what a Richardson strategist is telling CNN. However, he enjoyed it. He enjoyed what he did. He believes he made a contribution the same time though. Bill Richardson will no longer be a candidate for president of the United States.

Remember to join me in "THE SITUATION ROOM" tomorrow from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m. Eastern. I'm Wolf Blitzer at the CNN Election Center. "LARRY KING LIVE" starts right now.