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Election Coverage - Super Tuesday

Aired February 6, 2008 - 03:00   ET


FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: ... at Mel's Drive-In (ph) and I want to put my order in. I'll take a milkshake. I'm sure if I send in a little e-mail maybe he can get that milkshake delivered to us here in the studio, T.J., all right. Well how about on the GOP side? Let's talk about that.
John McCain scoring a string of delegate rich states, but his rivals Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee remain defiant, especially Huckabee who nailed some pretty big wins across the south.

T.J. HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR: It is just neck and neck, nothing is decided yet. We don't know anymore today than we did yesterday really. Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama trading victories and yes, they are splitting those all important delegates.

WHITFIELD: And the night is not over. We're still waiting for results from one western state. I'm Fredricka Whitfield live at the CNN World Headquarters in Atlanta.

HOLMES: And I'm T.J. Holmes here as well, continuing our round the clock coverage of this virtual nationwide presidential primary that we have seen today. I should say we're still waiting to call one race in particular only 30 percent reporting right now. Senator Clinton holds the lead in New Mexico's Democratic primary, but those numbers certainly as we know expected to change.

WHITFIELD: And some folks might find that not to be much of a surprise. She really does seem to be the candidate being favored by the Hispanic vote. New Mexico one of those states that she was hoping to clinch, but of course those numbers not in entirely. Hillary Clinton may have taken Super Tuesday's biggest prize by winning California, but Barack Obama posted some pretty impressive wins as well.

Our very own Suzanne Malveaux is at Obama headquarters in Chicago.

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Barack Obama tonight needed to hold his own and that is exactly what aides say that he has done this evening. Now he has won at least a dozen of the states and they are still counting those delegates. All along they believe that they said that Senator Clinton would get more delegates as well as more states, but if he came within a 100 delegate spread with Clinton then they could say that this was a successful evening, a successful event.

Now looking ahead here, they believe the longer this race, this contest lasts, the better Barack Obama will perform and they are looking at the dollar figures, $32 million raised in January compared to Clinton's 13.5 million. They are going to blitz (ph) the remaining states advertising. They say they are much more comfortable taking these small bite size bits, focusing on two or three states at a time as opposed to 20. They believe they are in a strong position in the weeks to come -- back to you.

HOLMES: Well Barack Obama may have picked up more states than Hillary Clinton, but she won the biggest prize on the state list this Super Tuesday, California. She is still gearing up for a tough though and historic fight ahead after strong showings by Obama. Here is what senator Clinton told her supporters.


HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D-NY), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: After seven years of a president who listens only to the special interests, you're ready for a president who brings your voice, your values and your dreams to your White House.


H. CLINTON: Together we're going to take back America because I see an America where our economy works for everyone, not just those at the top, where prosperity is shared and we create good jobs that stay right here in America. I see an America where we stand up to the oil companies and the oil producing countries, where we launch a clean energy revolution and finally confront the climate crisis.



WHITFIELD: Well you think she and senator Obama had a great night, well how about for Republican senator John McCain, some incredibly important victories have catapulted him to a front runner spot. What is his take on all of it? Well our Dana Bash is at McCain headquarters in Phoenix, Arizona.

DANA BASH, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: John McCain finally used the f-word, front runner, to describe himself after a big night for the McCain campaign winning from the East Coast to the West Coast, doing very well in some states that they expected to do well in like New York and New Jersey and Connecticut, but also in states that were real nail biters like Missouri and of course the biggest state, the most important and that is California. Now what John McCain is trying to do at this point is still make people think and understand that he absolutely has momentum to carry on, even though there are two other Republicans in this race who are saying that they are not going to get out.

But the big challenge for John McCain even as he revels in his big victories here on Super Tuesday is still to, as he puts it, unite the party. And in his speech here in Phoenix, he talked about the fact that he wanted to make sure that he is a Republican, kind of an odd thing for a Republican candidate for president to say, but he had a refrain in his speech, "I'm a Republican because". He said I'm a Republican because I want lower taxes. A Republican because I want lower -- less government in your life and a Republican because of your values.

Now that is the whole reason for that is because despite these big wins that John McCain has had and despite the fact that his campaign insists that they are on the fast track now to the Republican nomination, he still has to mend fences with many conservatives in his own party who simply do not want him to be their nominee because they say they think he is too liberal on many issues that matter a lot to them like stem cell research, like even campaign finance reform, so what John McCain is going to do even as he counts up his many, many delegates that he won here on Super Tuesday is to look forward and he is going to look forward to a big speech back in Washington where he is going to be headed next.

That speech on Thursday is going to be a conservative political action committee. That's a big gathering of conservatives. That McCain campaign thinks is his chance to really reach out to those people who he really will need if he wants to unite the party, but at the same time, the McCain campaign is making the point that he did exceptionally well in some of the traditionally blue states with moderate voters. And that they say is evidence and should be evidence to the Republican Party that he is the nominee who could widen the Republican Party and perhaps make some of those so-called blue states like New York and New Jersey that haven't had really competitive contests with general election competitive for Republicans for the first time in a very long time -- Dana Bash, CNN, Phoenix, Arizona.

HOLMES: That was a bit of a rough night and a disappointing night for Mitt Romney, a lot of people already writing him off wondering where his campaign can really go from here. He is saying he's going forward. We want to head now to Romney's McCain headquarters -- Romney's campaign headquarters rather in Boston with our Mary Snow.

MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Mitt Romney's biggest setback came in California. He even went out there Monday night in a last minute attempt to court conservatives, hoping that a backlash against Senator John McCain would hand him a victory. It didn't. Now his camp will take a look at the delegates that it can pick up in California as it decides how to move forward.


MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Ann came to me and she said you know the one thing that's clear tonight is that nothing is clear, but I think she's wrong. One thing that is clear is this campaign is going on.



SNOW: Mitt Romney is vowing to move forward, even though he suffered a big setback in the south because of Mike Huckabee who won several states there. Mitt Romney did win states like Massachusetts and Utah, North Dakota and Colorado. Those are states that he was banking on, but the question is looming just how much further can he go at. He'll meet with his advisers and staff on Wednesday to decide what to do next. He is expected to go to D.C. on Thursday as planned for a conservative meeting, but the question looms how much further can he go on.

Mary Snow, CNN, Boston.

WHITFIELD: Well he has been called the spoiler, well now he could be in a position to be a serious contender again. Mike Huckabee talks to some very enthusiastic supporters in Little Rock, Arkansas after racking up a string of wins in the south.


MIKE HUCKABEE (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Over the past few days a lot of people have been trying to say that this is a two man race.


HUCKABEE: Well you know what, it is and we're in it.


HUCKABEE: One of the things you're seeing across this nation is that people are saying, the conservatives do have a choice because the conservatives have a voice and tonight they're getting a chance to express that and from here they'll get to continue expressing that choice and that voice.


HOLMES: All right, we want to go ahead and bring in CNN's deputy political director, Paul Steinhauser. He joins us now, still up in New York. We appreciate you sticking around with us, Paul, always good to see you. Tell us in all reality we hear Romney, we hear Huckabee, even though Huckabee had a good night -- nobody is taking that away from him, but in all reality, has McCain now done enough to make it pretty close to impossible for those two to get the nomination?

PAUL STEINHAUSER, CNN DEPUTY POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Well you know what I don't think they feel that way. You heard Romney saying quite defiant tonight we'll see what happens tomorrow and if there is a change of tune from his campaign. Huckabee as well saying the same things. You know it's a two man race and I'm one of the two now.

Huckabee is on cloud nine tonight and I can understand why. He swept the south and he did really well in Missouri. He almost won that state as well. It was a big night for Huckabee. He has definitely moved up the ladder. McCain, yeah, when the night is all over, I'm sure he's going to have a nice cash of delegates, but he still has some problems with conservatives. As you heard Dana Bash say, he is going to try to make the case to conservatives Thursday in D.C., but I wouldn't say the Republican campaign is over yet.

HOLMES: Where does Romney look to get some good news in the next couple of weeks? We got of course some more voting to do, but where does he look to possibly get some kind of a run going?

STEINHAUSER: Yeah, it is tough for Romney and it is even tougher for Huckabee though. You know a great night for Huckabee, but some of the states coming up are not really Huckabee states. These states are definitely states that are probably going to be more to McCain's liking. Romney, he could hope for, you know we've got the Potomac primary coming up in one week, Virginia and Maryland.

He could hope that some of the southern conservative voters there will come his way. You know I think Romney is still trying to make the message that I am the conservative candidate, although I think tonight Mike Huckabee stole a lot of those voters away from Mitt Romney and it's going to make Romney's case much harder.

HOLMES: OK, and we say McCain is doing well right now, but what -- how could he possibly slip up in the next couple of weeks?

STEINHAUSER: You know anything could happen. That's -- we've seen that. Remember last August, everybody wrote John McCain off. He was dead...


STEINHAUSER: And now he is the front runner by far in the Republican race. Something could happen. You know I think there are a lot of people on the right still that are not happy with John McCain. Some powerful people on the right as well and we'll have to see if they have enough clout to try to bring his campaign down. But that's not going to be easy, not going to be easy at all.

HOLMES: I know people you talk about, oh really just the talk show hosts and the bloggers, are we talking about some major inside Republican people, elected officials who won't back him, won't the party come together even though he might hear all that chatter over the airwaves that are saying he is not conservative enough?

STEINHAUSER: You know what I think? You're the analyst because you just made a very good point. It is true. We're hearing that a lot from the pundits on the right. How much power do they have? We'll have to see, but I think you're right. The party doesn't want this to go on much longer and they may like the opportunity of getting a nominee on the Republican side because on the Democratic side this thing could go on for quite some time.

HOLMES: OK and I talked to (INAUDIBLE) a little earlier as well talking about the Democratic side. Of course Obama can spin it to say this was a big night for him. Clinton can spin it to say it was a big night for her. Without any spin, who had a big night?

STEINHAUSER: No spin here, no spin whatsoever, you're not going to like this answer but they both had a big night. The Obama campaign is going to say we never thought we'd be in this position and we are very happy that we're just keeping close to her in the delegate count. You know what, I guess this night really on the Democratic side decided nothing. We had a two person race before tonight and we're going to have a two person race tomorrow.

Both campaigns are going to come out with about an equal amount of delegates. They won about an equal amount of states. I think Obama took a few more states than her, but she won some of the bigger ones like California, so they're well positioned with about an equal amount of money and this race is going to go on. You know you've got some big contests this Saturday, Louisiana, Washington State and then the Potomac primary next Tuesday. This thing could go on into March, maybe even April on the Democratic side.

HOLMES: Does that certainly favor Obama because it seems like all he needs is time because the more time passes, he gets closer and closer to her in all of those polls and more people get to know him and it's just a matter of time for him. And if this thing continues to stretch, he's eventually going to overtake her.

STEINHAUSER: Well that is one way of looking at it. Again, I think you're the analyst here because you're making some good points, T.J. And also look at some of the states coming up next. Louisiana is a state that can do -- that you know Obama could do well in. Virginia, Maryland, these are two other states that vote next Tuesday, but Obama could do very well and I think because of that you know you got to say that this race, I'm not going to say he's going to become the front runner because right now it still is tied, but he's got a very good opportunity here.

And isn't it funny how things have changed? A couple of months ago the Republican race was wide open and the Democratic race, Hillary Clinton was the presumptive nominee almost. Now it's just the opposite. The Democratic race is up for grabs and on the Republican side we've got a clear front runner, a very clear front runner. Boy times have changed.

HOLMES: Times have changed. Paul Steinhauser, sir, always good to see you and of course I'm not the analyst. I'm just the last CNN anchor standing, so I just -- I've been watching everybody else's analysis all evening, so I sound a lot smarter than I really am.

STEINHAUSER: You're a smart man and do me a favor. If you speak to Richard Quest (ph) again, get an order in for me, please.

HOLMES: Get an order...


HOLMES: Everybody is taking orders. Paul, good to see you, sir.


HOLMES: All right, Fredricka.

WHITFIELD: And it's going to be a big order and if you're the last anchor standing, then I'm the second to last standing. We're standing here together.

All right, Super Tuesday all day, all night coverage continues and little on this morning we're going to be joined by some radio talk show hosts. You know they have a lot to say about what's going on. They'll be recounting the races. They join us next.

Plus we're keeping you covered on severe weather, tornados in the middle of the night and in several states.


WHITFIELD: Well they can shape a presidential race, really, influence the debate and then perhaps even mobilize millions of voters. We're talking about radio talk show hosts and they're talking Super Tuesday. Joining me now is conservative talker Dennis Prager -- good to see you.


WHITFIELD: And liberal radio host Ed Schultz -- good to see you as well.

ED SCHULTZ, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Nice to be here. Thank you.

WHITFIELD: Well Dennis let me begin with you because we heard a lot of talk from some conservative radio hosts from Laura Ingraham to Rush Limbaugh, all of them who put John McCain in the category of being liberal, saying it's Hillary Clinton who is a lot more conservative. Might they have influenced this day of elections or not?

PRAGER: Well it's very hard to know if they influenced because obviously John McCain did quite well, so it's hard to know actually.

WHITFIELD: And so did Hillary Clinton.

PRAGER: Yes, but let me say something, though, on behalf of those -- my colleagues, those conservative talk show hosts that you mentioned. You don't have to go to them to find problems that conservatives will have or even just Republicans will have with John McCain. Charles Crowdhammer (ph) and George Willis (ph) and Thomas Sole (ph) are not right-wingers. And they have written columns, George Willis (ph) described John McCain as essentially a Democrat. Charles Crowdhammer (ph) also a Pulitzer Prize winner at "The Washington Post" says he is a serial (ph), a postdate (ph) and Thomas Sole (ph) doesn't think he's fit for the presidency and he's a fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford.

WHITFIELD: OK, and so now John McCain is the front runner. Clearly there's a good part of America who said he is conservative enough for us. That is if that's the kind of candidate that we're looking for...

PRAGER: Well here's the sad news for Republicans and I'm not wearing a Republican hat here. I'm wearing just an analysis hat as it were. The sad part is that pretty much Republicans have voted -- they have more voted against someone than for someone. It seems that a lot of evangelicals still won't vote for a Mormon and so you will get the strong Huckabee vote in the south and almost nowhere else.


PRAGER: And it seems that a lot of people won't vote for McCain because he's not conservative and so you have a lot of "I won't vote fors" rather than great enthusiasm for one particular Republican.

WHITFIELD: All right, well Ed let me give you a little airtime on that. Do you agree with that? That people are voting against something, not necessarily for something or someone.

SCHULTZ: Well I think that the conservatives probably have a little bit more of an identity crisis than the Democrats do right now. On the Democratic side, there's two strong candidates that have got a lot of support and the turnout tonight was absolutely outstanding...

WHITFIELD: Except for a lot of folks...

SCHULTZ: As far as McCain is concerned...

WHITFIELD: A lot of folks we've already heard saying you know Barack Obama and Senator Clinton really stand in the same position on similar issues. The only difference here is personalities.

SCHULTZ: Well their health care plans are a little bit different and I'm not so sure that their foreign policy wouldn't be a little bit different as well, but you're right. I mean you know 90 percent of what they want to do is pretty much the same. As far as McCain is concerned, look, the question is what kind of judge is he going to appoint to the Supreme Court if he is the next president and he has assured conservatives that he's going to put somebody in the realm of an Alito (ph) or Roberts on the Court.

Now that's pretty conservative. Just because he doesn't love every tax cut that comes down the pipe doesn't mean that he's not conservative.

WHITFIELD: Do you think voters have forgotten to think about that long term effects from these folks that they you know might select, that they really are thinking the immediate needs, which is the economy right now. That's the number one issue that's facing all Americans right now and that seems to be how they're voting, how they're making their selection, Ed.

SCHULTZ: I think that among Republicans I think there was...

WHITFIELD: Go ahead.

SCHULTZ: ... a big part of the vote for John McCain and John McCain is a wonderful man. That's, though again I'm analyzing more than I am advocating here. A big part of the vote for John McCain was not -- he's necessarily my guy. But he is the best guy to win. I wrote a column, which came out yesterday where I argue that both Democrats and Republicans should not vote based on who they think will win in November because nobody has this ability for prophecy, but rather just vote on this is the person I think would make the best president of the United States. We're like out sophisticating ourselves, gee I'll vote not for the guy I really guy, but for the guy I think or woman that will win in November. I don't think that's the wisest way to vote.

WHITFIELD: Ed, how do you think people are trying to vote? Are they looking at that way or are they looking at you know who is most likely to get some of the...

SCHULTZ: Well...

WHITFIELD: ... things done first that most affect me.

SCHULTZ: I think that the American electorate is ready to go across party lines and find somebody that they're comfortable with. I think that there is a real freshness and newness to Barack Obama. Look at what Barack Obama did tonight. He won in the most least cultural diversity places in America.


SCHULTZ: Utah, you know, you're looking at Idaho, North Dakota, Kansas, Alabama, Georgia, I mean these are parts of the country where a black person has never gone and had such unparallel political success, so that tells me that people in this country really want change. That they're ready to go out and do something different. Now it's true that Hillary Clinton won in a lot of Democratic strongholds tonight, but this is far from over. And also I should point out that you know Barack Obama did well in the caucus states, so this is a long way from over and I think it does come down to electability, but I think Democrats are comfortable with either Hillary or Barack, Barack or Hillary or however you want to do it is really coming down to who's got the money I think at this point.

WHITFIELD: And indeed it seems the point being underscored no matter who you are voting for this election season, it is about change. That is the common denominator. Ed Schultz, Dennis Prager, thanks so much, gentleman. Thanks for staying awake with us...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Good to be with you.

WHITFIELD: ... this early hour -- T.J.

HOLMES: All right, I want to turn back to some of that horrible weather that's just hit points of the south, specifically Arkansas, Tennessee and Kentucky. We have 23 people now we can't confirm have been killed in tornados that hit several areas of those three states. The Memphis area was hit pretty hard as well. We do know at least 100 people were injured as well, don't know the severity of those injuries, but that is a good chunk of folks and a lot of people have been affected by these storms.

You're seeing some of the aftermath here, some of the latest video we are getting in here to CNN, but you can see here and a lot of this is going to get a whole lot worse once that daylight hits some of these areas. A lot of these storms ripped through at night actually caused some issues at a few polling places even as the storms hit.

But we have 23 confirmed dead over three states this evening described by our Chad Myers certainly as spring like storms, even though we're not in sprint time, but as he mentioned, it was 70 degrees in many places today across the south including in Little Rock, which gave a lot of these storms the energy just what they needed to build up and become these violent storms that have resulted in at least three people -- excuse me -- 23 killed in these storms and of course in storms we have this video here that some of the reporting we get, some of the first video we get a lot of times are from our viewers, our I-reporters. Josh (INAUDIBLE) been looking through some of those I-reports and once again, are they coming through for us?

UNIDENTIFIED CORRESPONDENT: Yeah they are and they're during the middle of the night and this is such a big story. I mean obviously on the day of the election, but we'll be tracking it through the night anyway because it's a huge, huge story. More than 100 people injured now in addition to the 23 killed and what we get from our I-reporters is pretty astounding.

I'm going to start with this one video that we got from Cherifa Wingbush (ph) who sent us a video from seeing -- she was actually seeing a tornado form in this area near Memphis. Just pulled out the cell phone camera -- there you go, you can see it right now. She pulled out the cell phone camera as she was driving and was able to take that powerful video. You can see the drummer right there. You can see how quickly it is moving as well.

And that obviously is one of the things the forecasters look at. As she was driving under this bridge, there it is, that's a tornado forming, it went on to be a full tornado and there were indeed deaths in Tennessee. You know she obviously made it safe. And I'm going to emphasize this again. When you see a storm, do not ever put yourself in danger. We talk to people and make sure they didn't do crazy things to get the video. We don't use it if they did. Do not put yourself in danger ever.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yeah, she was able to get that from her cell phone. It is pretty astounding video. She did send it to us. It's very powerful. We've got it right here. You'll also be able to see it on through the night. Again, this is from Cherifa Wingbush (ph). She's in Bartlett, Tennessee (ph) where she was just outside Memphis, Tennessee.

And for those of who know the region, she says she was driving west on Interstate 140. That was about 5:00 in the evening and the video just keeps going (INAUDIBLE). OK, let's take a look now at something else we have. Some photos that have come in. AP photos from Memphis. Now there was a storm that tore a large part of a north wall off of what's called Hickory Ridge (ph) Mall in Memphis. The storm was so powerful it actually managed to pull off part of a wall. And police there are saying a few people suffered some minor injuries north of the mall. People actually took shelter under a bridge and then these people got washed away, but then they were pulled up out of that and only in the end had minor scrapes. Again, these are some AP photos we've got now of what that area looked like after the damage was done to it. Some really powerful video or photos as you're able to see there. We're expecting more to come through the night. I just want to let you know in order to send us these photos it's very easy. All you need to do is go to, click on the I-report link at the very top. It walks you through the process. It just takes you a couple of minutes, but yet again, make sure you do not do anything dangerous at all.

And T.J. I'll tell you the breakdown. We said 23 people killed tonight. Arkansas, 13, Tennessee, seven, Kentucky, three and we're expecting more numbers to come through the night of casualties in general. Hopefully no more deaths, but obviously the police are trying to now find what happened to some people.

And we expect to do hear more through the night.

HOLMES: Probably won't be accounted for, that work will continue for a while. We see the radar here. We just got word of new warnings, tornado warnings being issued for some parts of Mississippi this evening. Folks certainly need to take shelter. I certainly hope that the sirens are going off for many folks at this time of day, you know people in bed asleep right now, don't know if they checked the weather before they went to bed, don't know if they have those weather radios to wake them up, but certainly hope so. But we'll continue to keep an eye on this, bring you the latest in the watches and the warnings. We'll continue to track all these severe storms, a really tough night.

We will do that as we continue to do our Super Tuesday coverage as well. A lot of candidates shaking those hands, but they're also updating their Web pages. We'll get into that. Stay here.


WHITFIELD: We're still waiting to call one race. With only 30 percent reporting, Senator Hillary Clinton holds the lead in New Mexico's Democratic primary, but the numbers could change. She was hoping to go into New Mexico as the front runner, given that she does well with the Hispanic vote, just as she did in Nevada, clinching 63 percent of the Hispanic vote there. That was the intention as well in New Mexico.

Again, we're waiting for those numbers. As soon as we get them, we'll bring them to you. Meantime, let's talk about California, T.J.

HOLMES: Yes, California a big state for both sides, Republicans and Democrats. It turns out to be a big state for John McCain. John McCain has pulled of a major win out here in California; 173 total delegates available on the Republican side.

California, as you see there, he picked up 43 percent of the vote. Romney comes in second, Huckabee, fairly distant third there with 12 percent. But this state is not winner take all like so many other Republican primary and caucus contests. Here they will have to divide up according to their proportion of the vote that they got. So everybody's going to get a little something coming out of there, at least.

On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton picks up the big win there in California. Much bigger prize, 441 delegates available on the Democratic side. She did beat out Barack Obama, 53 percent to 39 percent, as you see there. Votes still coming in. Only about 60 percent of the precincts reporting. Again, we don't know the delegate break down in California. We don't know how many Clinton is going to get, how many Obama is going to get. So still some math to be done.

WHITFIELD: Yes, but impressive numbers, none the less. The other very rich delegate state, New York. John McCain victorious there, 101 delegates up for grabs. He is really impressed with those numbers. I would say he really moved into New York as the under dog, because most folks felt pretty comfortable it was a liberal state. It would certainly turn out to be a favorable state for Hillary Clinton. Of course, Senator Clinton representing New York.

You see the numbers coming up for the Democratic delegates at stake in New York. Let's bring it on, the Democratic ticket right there, 281 delegates at stake. Hillary Clinton winning handily there.

HOLMES: We turn to Georgia now. A big night for that guy right there. Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee the winner in Georgia. I don't want to call this a surprise, not a surprise to him, of course. But this is state that Mitt Romney was really hoping to do well in, hoping he could pick up. Instead, he ends up third. Governor Mike Huckabee ends up pulling out this state with 34 percent of the vote. A very close second was Senator John McCain. But 72 delegates up for grabs there in Georgia.

A big, big victory tonight for Mike Huckabee, who had a big night, picked up a couple of other southern states.

Also, this was to be expected here. Georgia goes on the Democratic side in the win column for Barack Obama; 103 total delegates there up for grabs. He won pretty handily over Senator Clinton, as you can see there. But one of the earliest victories we saw, I think the first victory we saw of the evening. Georgia polls close about 7:00 Eastern time, so he had that in the win column early.

WHITFIELD: Yes, and Obama doing well in the neighboring state of Alabama as well. Since there is no clear winner over all, all of the numbers, all of the delegates at stake, let's break down how many delegates each Republican candidate is able to get.

All right, out of 1,375 delegates at stake, so far it's looking John McCain has 40 percent of the popular vote, which means, including those winner take all states, he's likely to walk away with a good majority of the delegates. You see Mitt Romney coming in second place, even though this is considered to be a disappointing night for Mitt Romney, especially since he did call Mike Huckabee kind of the spoiler of the race, that he didn't have enough fight in him, and that he really would be dividing the Republican party and dividing the votes, and that a vote for Huckabee would be a vote for McCain.

Well, look at how this turned out. It looks like a pretty good three way race with those leading candidates.

Now let's see where the delegates are stacking up on the Democratic side. Right there, a two person race, 2,610 delegates at stake. It really is neck and neck, 48, 49 percent. It really does mean that it's straight down the middle. It could go either way. It's exciting night for these two candidates. No clear front runner between the two.

We'll see what the progressive tally of some of the delegates of certain states, versus the winner take all states. It's unclear how the delegate estimate will break down. But you're seeing the early numbers right now, with Senator Clinton getting 669 and Barack Obama getting 556. So, indeed, a very close race that we continue to watch throughout the evening here -- I guess we can consider it now the day after Super Tuesday. Right, T.J.?

HOLMES: Yes, it's the day after. It is almost breakfast time the day after for a lot of folks.

WHITFIELD: We've got to get Richard Quest on the line again. Where is our order.

HOLMES: He's still at the diner, I'm sure. But I don't think a milk shake was the way to go at 3:00 in the morning.

All right. Well, of course, folks, things would be so much easier if each vote counted the same, one person, one vote. Simple stuff, right? Well, it isn't quite that easy, because you keep hearing about these Super Delegates. CNN's Brian Todd tries to explain.


BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Exhausting themselves -- pushing for every vote, every delegate. But in the end, their race could be so close that super-delegate votes may be more crucial. Who in the world are super-delegates?

When Democratic voters go to the polls, they'll select standard delegates committed to either Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama. Super- delegates are different -- an elite and influential group, often with more name recognition, allowed to vote just because of who they are.

CHRISTOPHER ARTERTON, GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY: Public office holders, senators, members of congress.

TODD: And former members, as well as former presidents, vice presidents. Bill Clinton is a super-delegate. So is Tom Daschle. But the former senate majority leader is also now courting them as co- chairman of Obama's campaign.

TOM DASCHLE, OBAMA NATIONAL CO-CHAIRMAN: What you've got do is one-on-one talk to these people, call them, call them frequently, have the candidate call them and do as much as possible to try to influence their judgment.

TODD: Unlike standard delegates selected in a primary, who, in most states, have to be committed to a candidate based on that primary's vote, super-delegates have free range.

ARTERTON: Those people can go and vote at the convention and they're not bound by the state party results.

TODD: Meaning even if they say they'll commit to a candidate, they can change their minds at the last minute and support someone else.

(on camera): Analysts say the democratic race could be so close heading into the convention, that super-delegates, with about 20 percent of the total delegate count, could put one candidate over the top.

STUART ROTHENBERG, ROTHENBERG POLITICAL REPORT: You've got to figure that right at the end, they're going to make a decision, in part, based on electability, based on the candidate they think that can unite the party and beat the Republicans.

TODD (voice-over): If the Democratic nomination comes down to the super- delegate vote for the first time in decades, it's unclear who's got the edge. Hillary Clinton had an early lead in the super- delegate count -- an equation that could easily change.

Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.


WHITFIELD: OK, so you've seen the numbers and you've heard from the candidates as well. Up next, what you have to say. Plus, the warnings keep sounding and we keep bringing you extreme weather rolling across parts of the country. It's rolling throughout the night.


WHITFIELD: The war, the economy, a chance to make history; all factors that drove millions of you to the polls on Super Tuesday. Here's what you had to say in your own words.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think it's delightful. We have a woman running. We have an African American running. We have a Mormon gentleman running. And we have a preacher running. This is astronomically interesting stuff happening. It's happening at a time in our lives when people wouldn't have believe it. My father would never have believe that this would have happened.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why do you feel it's so important to cast your vote today?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm really concerned about the morals of this country, about the way this country is going.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm voting for a change. I've voted for a Republican in the past. I've been very unhappy with things over the past eight years, so I'm voting for change this time. So I'm voting in the Democratic primary.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The biggest issue would probably be the economy and national security, kind of up there the same.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, you voted for?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Obama, and the reason was -- Hillary I like. I like her issues. I like Obama's issues. I like Obama's a little more. And I have thought about a black many being president or running for president for so many years that, I guess, now that the opportunity has presented itself, I would be remiss on some levels if I didn't vote for him.

But it's not just him being a black man. It's, for me, the issues as well.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Trying to figure out the strategy for the long term, I think is what led me to choose Hillary. I thought that Barack is going to be around in four or eight years. Maybe something could get going here. I like the fact that I think we're heading towards a more liberal agenda. I'm all for that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: John McCain -- I kind of lean towards him on account of his military service, and I like some of the policies that he put forth. But Huckabee, right now, I'm leaning kind of heavy toward him.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I voted for Mitt Romney. I think he has the business knowledge to run the country. He's really cute.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: John McCain is a retired military person. He spent five years a prisoner of war. He served in Congress for twenty something years. If he wants to be president, he has earned it.


HOLMES: There you go. Here's some of what the voters have to say. Now let's check in to see what some of the talk show folks are saying. Joining me now conservative talk show host Dennis Prager and liberal radio host Ed Schultz. Thank you all for sticking around. I'm going to send you guys something.


ED SCHULTZ, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Always wanted to work the graveyard shift.

HOLMES: This is what it's like. Welcome to our world. Gentlemen, we will start -- I will start with something I heard a voter in there say, "I think the morals of the country are a little off and that's why I'm voting and that's why I'm getting involved." Now, I'll ask you this question, Mr. Prager, is that something you're hearing? What do you think people mean by that when they say they think the morals of the country are off?

PRAGER: Most of the time when people say the morals of the country are off, they are referring to the way in which there's a break down of ethics, the amount of cheating in schools, cheating in colleges that students do. When you really think about it, the amount of downloading of things that people don't pay for. The general sense of I'm out for me and not anybody else.

HOLMES: How do we get to that point? Does what she is seeing from the current government, the recent administration, the current administration, have anything to do with that downfall in her opinions and other voters' opinions?

PRAGER: Anybody who blames -- I have never understood this, whether it's Democrat or Republican. I remember people saying to me, why do you expect our kids to act sexually if they look at President Clinton. I looked at them and said, you've got to be joking. You think kids are taking their sexual ethics from the president of the United States?

This notion that people look to the White House for how to behave in their private lives is to me utter nonsense, whether Republican or Democrat. There is a break down in honesty. There is a break down in the most fundamental sense of sex being anything other than an animal act and learning to put condoms on bananas gets you a high school degree. There's a real sense that something is awry.

HOLMES: Ed, tell us what else is driving people to the polls. We heard a few things from voters there. We always like to think it's issues, but how much are personalities driving people? We see kind of an uptick in people that are going to the polls in this primary season. A lot of that being credited to Barack Obama for bringing in a new younger crop of voters. Are personalities driving a lot of this?

SCHULTZ: Well, I think there's a lot newness to Barack Obama, and also the fact that it's a gender issue with a lot of people as well. There's a lot of women in this country that would love to see the first women president in their lifetime. I think it's the general feeling that the country is going in the wrong direction that is driving a lot of people out. We're see record profits by oil companies. We're seeing the middle class really getting squeezed. We're seeing a lot of untruthful things coming out from our government.

The American people are fed up and they're ready to go out and do something about it. I think the turn out tonight on the Democratic side shows that this could be some real trouble for the Republicans.

You look where Barack Obama won tonight, you look at the margin of his victory in rural America -- it's pretty clear to me that the John Edwards supporters went to Barack Obama. You look at Hillary Clinton, she won in all the traditional strongholds for the Democratic party. This is a real battle. It's a real battle for the heart and soul as to who can move the country forward and get us out of the Bush years.

HOLMES: Tell me -- I'll ask both of you. Mr. Prager, I'll start with you. Who's going to benefit here if the Republicans are close to settling on a nominee and then the Democrats have to fight it out for a couple months? Well, sure, the Republicans might already have their person, and they can start to mount that defense, or that offense against whoever the eventual Democrat will be. Also, the Democrats will continue to demand a whole lot of media attention for a lot of months, a lot of free publicity in covering that race.

PRAGER: That's right. Your points are very well taken. The advantage will generally go to the party that makes peace with itself sooner. The sooner either one of them has peace in its how house, the better it is for that party. Right now, there is no peace in either house.

In the case of the Democrats, it's not because they don't like both, but because they do like both. But there is tremendous tension for who will win. When you have Ted Kennedy and you have the world that supported the Clintons now supporting the opponent of the Clintons, you have real tension in that party.

When you have a man on the Republican side who is distrusted by over 50 percent of the Republican party at this time, namely John McCain, you've got trouble on that side.

HOLMES: Ed, do you agree with that?

SCHULTZ: Well, I think the news coverage is going to go where the competition is. I think that if John McCain is the nominee and the selection of the Republican, he could look pretty old and be pretty quiet pretty fast. There's not going to be any news stories there.

You want to call it peace? I think the American people are ready for some friction. They're ready for some debate. They're ready for the healthy debate. They're very engaged. I think every talk show in America right now has got a lot passion, a lot of emotion to it. We just have to get through it.

And I think there's going to be a healing process, so I think that there's a responsibility, as far as Hillary Clinton is concerned, and as far as Barack Obama is concerned, to keep it on the high road, because there's going to have to be some healing later on if they really are concerned about taking the White House and changing the direction of the country.

HOLMES: Ed Schultz, Dennis Prager, gentlemen, really, we're going to find a CNN mug or t-shirt of something we can send you guys. We really do appreciate it. Gentlemen, thanks so much. We will see you.

WHITFIELD: Maybe they want to order milk shakes too, T.J.

HOLMES: You're still talking about food.

WHITFIELD: That's all I'm thinking about right now. We're going to get back to our Super Tuesday coverage.



WHITFIELD: The process of primaries, caucuses, delegates, super delegates, all so confusing to a lot of folks. That's why we have Josh Levs to break it all down for us. Simplify it for us.

JOSH LEVS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Doing my best. This is where comes in. First of all, I'm loving the election set in the news room. The power of CNN behind us. Loving it.

OK, we're giving you so many numbers tonight. You just keep hearing numbers, and obviously it's going to get confusing. Plus, it's the middle of the night, so then you're probably falling asleep and having nightmares about the Matrix.

What I want to do is help you understand what some of these numbers mean, the basic ones, the ones that matter most. Let's ask our videographer here, Johnny, to focus in on this main webpage now, If you go to right now, we have, front and center, the main ones that you need to know about. This here is a really great system. It runs through all the major races today.

While your on that main page, you can just flip right through. These are the Democratic races. These are the Republican races. See who won and by what percentage.

Now, over all, this doesn't tell you anything. This tells you everything that happened today, which is fantastic. But if you want to know where they stand on the delegate race, all you need to do is click on election center at the top.

John, let's show them this page now, Road to the White House. This right here, these are the key numbers. At the top of, click on election center, and you will see this run down of all the candidates, how many delegates they have right now, and, also, how many they need to ultimately clinch that nomination. That's the key right now. If you want to know the horse race, where does it stand, this is constantly updated throughout the night. You can't miss it.

One more thing I'm going to show you now before we go and that's an issues page, because Fred, we're not forgetting about the half the country that has not voted yet. Right?

WHITFIELD: This night is not defining everything. It's just a big pivotal moment in this election season.

LEVS: One thing that is great about this season is that peoples' votes matter throughout. It's not over after a few early states. So, if you go here and you're one of the states that has not yet voted, click on issues at the top and this is your opportunity -- I always encourage people. If you can, take some time to learn about the candidates. Put aside an hour, fiddle around at Click any issue that's important to you.

Here is the latest economic stimulus package. We have every single candidate, what he or she has said, he or she wants to do about it, and what has been proposed, and links to videos. That will trace you through what they're saying about it, what's being presented, real opportunities to dig into the issues, if you're in one of these states that has not yet voted.

All that and more at Any time you want to check it out -- so you know, we put a lot of numbers on the air, but obviously we want to send people over to the website too.

WHITFIELD: These numbers mean something. Sometimes you need a little bit of help navigating and understanding what these numbers mean and that's what is all about.

LEVS: And navigating away from the spin. With a million numbers coming out on Super Tuesday, any campaign can claim some kind of success. So you want to know what they really mean, come visit us.

WHITFIELD: Good advice. Thanks so much, Josh. T.J.?

HOLMES: All right, other story we are keeping an eye on this evening as well; severe weather has ripped through parts of the south. Right now we can update you about a tornado warning happening right now in Alabama. This latest coming to the southern Lawrence County in north west Alabama. Again, a tornado warning being issued. Going to be in effect until at least 3:30 Central Time there, so at least another half hour.

This has just been an awful night for many parts of the south. There's the map that you see those storms moving to the east still, but they have swept through Tennessee, Arkansas, and part of Kentucky as well. This is what you're seeing in Clinton, Arkansas from a little earlier. This is some of the latest video we're getting.

The death toll that we know right now is at 27 in these three states, Kentucky, Tennessee and Arkansas. Twenty seven dead this evening because of these storms, because of these tornadoes. That's what we have been able to confirm here at CNN. We also do know that another 100 have been injured. Don't know the severity of all those injuries, but 100 people injured as well.

Again, this is some of the latest video. We've been getting this in over the past several hours. As bad as some of the video we have seen is, as tough as some of these pictures are, we still don't expect to get a very good scope of the damage until daylight hits. This is always the case with tornadoes, often come in the middle of the night, and you see that damage. But you really don't get a full grasp of what has happened until you see it in the day light.

So we are expecting to really get a better idea of the scope of this damage when the sun begins to come up in the next few hours.