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Who's Ahead: Battling for Latino Votes, Crucial for Clinton and Obama; Radio Talkers vs. McCain; Al Qaeda Kids

Aired February 6, 2008 - 17:00   ET


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: We've got more coming up. To our viewers, you're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
Happening now, one turned himself into a clear frontrunner, another put himself in position to become a frontrunner. Super Tuesday lived up to its name and now all the candidates are plotting their next moves. We're watching.

Monster storms marching across parts of the states, smashing everything in their path and leaving dozens of people dead. We have the shocking images of the devastation.

And shocking images also coming in from Iraq. Captured video shows young boys apparently training to carry out kidnappings and assassinations for al Qaeda.

I'm Wolf Blitzer at the CNN Election Center. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

They ran a cross-country marathon stretching across nearly two dozen states, picking up delegates all along the way. The day after Super Tuesday, the candidates are now trying to catch their breath, at least a little bit. So who came out ahead?

On the Democratic side, it was almost a dead heat -- with both sides claiming victory.


SEN. HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I am, you know, on the path to win the nomination. That's what I intend to do. That's what this is about. And I think the results last night showed very clearly that, you know, we're ahead. We intend to be competitive in states that are going to be challenging, as well as ones that look like they will be very favorable toward me. But we're in this, as I said in the very beginning, to win it.


BLITZER: John McCain finished as the clear frontrunner on the Republican side, among those badly divided Republicans.


SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I know how we can unite the party. I know how we can bring us all together. And I know that the quote "Independents" voters and, frankly, the old Reagan Democrats, will come our way because I think we will have a message that will appeal to all of them.


BLITZER: Barack Obama is also looking at Super Tuesday as a big win for his presidential effort. But he's mindful of the very rough road ahead.

Let's go to CNN's Suzanne Malveaux -- Suzanne.

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, after it was called a draw, Senator Clinton is itching for four more debates. Senator Obama said he would accept at least participating in one. But he says Clinton has the advantage of a hundred percent name recognition and also the Clinton brand. He says he needs to spend time out on the campaign trail getting voters to know him. He believes that that is going to help him get the nomination.


SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The whole calendar was set up to deliver the knockout blow on February 5th. And not only did we play them to a draw, we won more delegates and we won more states.

MALVEAUX (voice-over): Barack Obama lives to fight another day. The self-described underdog who claims victory for Super Tuesday is still playing the low expectations game.

OBAMA: We are less of an underdog than we were two weeks ago. I think -- no, I mean, I think that's fair. I think that two weeks ago, we were a big underdog. Now we're a slight underdog.

MALVEAUX: The Obama campaign says it won 13 states and has more delegates than Senator Clinton -- a claim her campaign disputes. But Obama's numbers still show he lags behind Clinton among Latinos, white blue collar workers and older women. Even the Kennedy clan's endorsement couldn't clinch a win in Massachusetts, but did help elsewhere.

OBAMA: I don't think we would have won Connecticut, for example, without Senator Kennedy. I don't think we would have done as well in California without Senator Kennedy. I think he and Caroline provided an enormous boost to our campaign. I was extraordinarily proud to have their support.

MALVEAUX: But Obama admitted the fight for delegates may be so close, snatching the nomination may come down to who wins over the coveted super-delegates -- party officials who vote outside the state contest. Obama addressed them directly, making the case he's the only candidate who can steal Independent voters away from Republican frontrunner, John McCain.

OBAMA: I have no doubt that I can get the people who voted for Senator Clinton in a general election. It is not clear that Senator Clinton can get all the people that I'm getting in this process.


MALVEAUX: Obama traveled back to Washington, D.C. to vote for the economic stimulus package that was proposed by the Senate. And then it's back on the campaign trail to those critical states -- Washington, Louisiana and Nebraska -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Suzanne Malveaux, thank you.

For the Democratic candidates, the popular vote yesterday was super close. Hillary Clinton received 7,282,861 votes. Barack Obama received 7,066,622 votes. Incredibly close.

Coming up, we're going to take a closer look at what this all means and why the delegates -- why the delegates, though, could mean everything looking ahead to the convention in Denver.

It wasn't necessarily a Super Tuesday for Mitt Romney. He won several states, but he fell short of his goals. And that led to speculation that he may even have to give up his goal of the White House. CNN's Mary Snow is watching this part of the story for us.

Mary, what's next for Mitt Romney?

MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, Wolf, Mitt Romney always tries to see the silver lining in political setbacks. And today he is remaining optimistic.


SNOW (voice-over): Mitt Romney didn't have much to say to reporters camped outside his Boston headquarters waiting to hear if he had a change of heart about his presidential plan after Tuesday's disappointing results. But Romney's camp repeated the message he had given supporters Tuesday night -- he's not throwing in the towel.

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: One thing that's clear is this campaign is going on.


SNOW: But going forward means a steeper uphill climb. Romney won seven states, but California dealt him a big blow. He had hoped conservatives would rally behind him enough to put a sizeable dent in Senator John McCain's momentum. With those hopes dashed, Romney met with advisers on where to go from here. He also addressed his staff in his home base. A campaign spokesman says talks are going on about staff size and budget.

ERIC FEHRNSTROM, ROMNEY CAMPAIGN SPOKESMAN: The morale is very upbeat. And if you guys were out here and heard the cheering and the applause, that was for the governor and his performance last night. So everybody is feeling good about the future and we're going to move forward from here. SNOW: Romney's campaign is now zeroing in on two big states -- Ohio and Texas. Ohio, they say, because it has economic problems similar to Michigan, where Romney did win. And Texas, where he'll try once again to pick up support of conservatives.

Some political observers say while Romney has nothing to lose by staying in the race, his chances of winning the nomination are slim after Mike Huckabee won several Southern states.

CHARLES DUNN, REGENT UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF GOVERNMENT: That's very damaging because the South -- that's the key that unlocks the White House door. Without the South, no one wins the presidency.


SNOW: And as for money going forward, his campaign says that he has the resources needed to go forward and stay competitive. But it wouldn't say whether or not he's going to be pouring more of his own money on top of the $35 million he's already put into his campaign -- Wolf.

BLITZER: So just to put a finishing touch on it, which states -- if he stays in this race -- and we're assuming he will -- will he target in the immediate period ahead?

SNOW: Well, right now he's going to be targeting Kansas, Washington State. They have contests this Saturday. But immediately -- you know, tomorrow he's going to be in Washington, D.C. delivering a speech to a major conservative gathering. His campaign says he's working on that speech now.

Mary Snow, thanks very much for that. Mary Snow reporting.

Let's get back to Jack.

He's got The Cafferty File -- Jack.

JACK CAFFERTY, CNN ANCHOR: It looks like, Wolf, for the first time in my memory, that Americans might finally be learning how to tighten their financial belts. But it's not by choice. The U.S. economy is in trouble. People are feeling it. They're seeing the number of jobs shrink, housing prices come down, while their debt continues to grow. "The New York Times" reports that what this means for more and more of us is we're being forced to live within our means. Imagine that.

Some experts are convinced that most Americans, especially the baby boomers, will never stop living on credit. But the fact of the matter is that millions of families already have been left with very little choice in the matter.

It's starting to show, too. Some have stopped using credit cards or going to the movies or restaurants. There are clues at the shopping malls and shopping centers across the country, where people are going to the discounters instead of the high end retailers. Business at stores like Wal-Mart, TJ Maxx is booming, while places like Coach, Tiffany and William Sonoma are seeing a slowdown. It's important to remember consumer spending is two thirds of our economy and if people are starting to spend less, that'll only make any recession worse.

And then there's this. Economists say that people are going to have to start saving the old-fashioned way. Instead of depending on the stock market and rising home values, statistics show in 1984, we were saving about one tenth of our income. Today, our savings rate is actually slightly negative. Not good.

The question then, is this, in today's uncertain economic times, are Americans finally -- finally learning how to live within their means?

Go to, post a comment on my blog.

The bad news is if they stop spending, it'll deepen the recession. The good news is if they stop spending in order to get out of debt and start saving some money, ultimately we'll be a stronger nation for it.

BLITZER: You know, that latter point is significant, even though the short-term economic stimulus is designed to get the economy moving a little bit.

CAFFERTY: Yes. Get some of that Chinese money, give it to people so they can go buy Chinese imports.

BLITZER: That's what Mike Huckabee keeps saying.

CAFFERTY: He's right.

BLITZER: That's just going to stimulate the Chinese economy.

CAFFERTY: That's exactly right.

BLITZER: He's coming up here.


BLITZER: Thanks very much, Jack, for that.

He carved his initials on a big part of the South -- putting himself on the political map last night. Watch this.


MIKE HUCKABEE (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We did it going against the headwinds of talk radio and the pundits saying that I had simply disappeared, I wasn't even relevant, didn't matter.


BLITZER: We're going to talk to Mike Huckabee about his Super Tuesday surprise and where he goes from here. He's coming up.

And we'll also add up the delegates to find out where the candidates stand right now, who's sitting pretty and who needs to play catch-up.

And killer storms slashing across the South, leaving dozens dead along a shocking trail of destruction.

Stay with us. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.


BLITZER: At least 52 people killed, hundreds injured. It's the deadliest cluster of tornadoes to hit the South in almost a decade. Five states were strafed by dozens of twisters, leaving behind devastation you'll have to see to believe. Let's go to CNN's Brian Todd. He's watching the stunning images for all of us.

You've been talking to state authorities throughout this devastated area, Brian. What are they saying about this devastation?

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, just one story from all of this. We spoke to a sheriff's official in Tennessee. He told us that in the town of Castalian Springs, really hard-hit by the tornado, a woman was found dead in a creek bed not far from where her house once stood.

About 250 yards away, rescuers found her infant baby alive -- no one else around. We're told the child is not seriously injured. The accounts of close calls and lives disrupted seem to get more dramatic by the hour.


TODD (voice-over): There you can see where a tornado came right down on these dormitories, then twisted out -- blasting the buildings wide open. On the ground, vehicles are tossed upside down like discarded toys -- a pickup truck almost knocked right into the dorm.

ANDREA NORMAN, UNION UNIVERSITY STUDENT: Then the windows exploded and all this dirt came flying in and it was -- I've never been through anything like it, for sure.

TODD: This is what's left of Union University in Jackson, Tennessee, where at one point more than a dozen students were trapped. Some were injured. But it could have been so much worse.

TIM ELSWORTH, UNION UNIVERSITY SPOKESMAN: It's just utter astonishment that not only was nobody killed, but that there weren't dozens or hundreds of people killed.

TODD: Luck didn't prevail in many other places in Tennessee, which recorded the most fatalities from a series of storms that ripped through five Southern states.

GOV PHIL BREDESEN, TENNESSEE: You're always supposed to love your neighbor. Love him a little extra over the next few days, especially those who have been, you know, have been impacted by this. And, you know, and just pray that it never happens to you and your family.

TODD: Near Southaven, Mississippi, this video from an eyewitness captures one menacing twister gathering strength. This aftermath in Atkins, Arkansas repeated all over the mid-South. Residents start to pick through debris of houses where there's so little to find.

JEFF STEVENS, TORNADO VICTIM: And then I just started hearing a rumbling. And I got my daughter off the couch. She was asleep. I got my wife out of bed and within seconds, the house was just destroyed. We just ran into the hallway and laid down. I laid on top of them and ears started popping like you was in an airplane. And just debris started flying everywhere.

TODD: Listen to this man in Jackson, Tennessee describe driving down the street when a twister hit with almost no warning.

JAMES BASKIN, TORNADO VICTIM: And it just hit us. It just blew all the glass out and scooped us up in the air. And the next thing I know, we were flipping and flying. And I thought we were across the intersection. And we're alive. You know, we're alive.


TODD: The federal government is now scrambling to the region. FEMA is sending several teams to the five states to help with response and recovery. We are also told the National Guard and Reserves are on hand helping with rescue efforts, deploying helicopters and heavy equipment -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Brian, have the emergency personnel at the state level, do they really have a good sense of what's happened so far?

TODD: They really don't, in almost any state that's been hit by this. One official in Arkansas told me they may not get that sense for weeks. They're still coming across neighborhoods that are flattened by these storms.

BLITZER: Brian Todd watching this devastating story for us. Thank you, Brian.

Let's go to our Internet reporter, Abbi Tatton. She's been looking at the I-Reports of this devastation over at Union University in Tennessee.

Abbi, what are you seeing?

ABBI TATTON, CNN INTERNET REPORTER: Wolf, we're really getting the scope of this by the number of pictures from different states, different counties, of the devastation.

I'm going to take you again to Jackson, Tennessee here. We just saw the aerials of what happened to Union University. Well, this is the picture of the dorm rooms with the entire wall ripped off. You can see right in there. These pictures from Jessica Fulbright, who was driving just nearby. She's from North Jackson, and went out with her kids today to look at some of the devastation.

Some of the buildings left damaged, but still the roof of this building here with a huge amount of damage. But it just goes on and on, as these are coming in here.

Some of the language these I-Reporters have been saying to describe what was happening -- cars sprinkled around, roofs of buildings tossed aside, as well. And some more pictures, again, of Jackson here. This is a medical building, just one of the many that sustained such terrible damage in the area here. This from Tracy Weidner, sent in to CNN's I-Report. That's -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Thank you, Abbi, for that. What a story. Our hearts go out to those individuals who have suffered.

Mike Huckabee is energized by his Super Tuesday victories. But what's the plan for the long haul? I'll ask him when he joins us live. That's coming up, my one-on-one interview with the Republican presidential candidate.

Plus, the battle between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama for Latino voters. You're going to find out why it may be closer than many people think.

Stay with us. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.


BLITZER: Mike Huckabee made himself into a force to be reckoned with on Super Tuesday, winning several Southern states, moving his campaign beyond changing the nature of this Republican race for the White House. Mike Huckabee, the former governor of Arkansas, is joining us right now from Little Rock.

Governor, thanks very much for coming in.

HUCKABEE: Well, it's great to be here, especially after last night. I don't know if I wanted to show up if things hadn't have turned out like they did.

BLITZER: Well, you did well in several of those Southern states. You almost won in Missouri, as well. You did win in West Virginia. But you're still way behind in the delegate count, as far as John McCain is concerned. What do you need to do to catch up?

HUCKABEE: Well, if he'd drop out, it would really help a lot.

BLITZER: Well, I don't think John McCain is dropping...

HUCKABEE: I'm just hoping that will happen.

BLITZER: I don't think John McCain is dropping out.

HUCKABEE: I don't think so, either. So we've just got to get a bunch of delegates. But we have Ohio and Texas coming up in a few weeks. But before that Virginia, Maryland, Washington State, Wisconsin. We have to do well. We're going to be in Kansas this week and try to win some delegates over there. Keeping our feet on the floor is part of the game right now.

BLITZER: You wanted to -- speaking of dropping out, would you like Mitt Romney to drop out of this race?

HUCKABEE: You know, I'd like everybody to drop out but me, but I'm not going to go suggest that to him. That's his decision to make. I've had enough people suggest that I should do that, and I'm not particularly fond of them suggesting it. You know, the people who will influence me are the people who got me here -- my supporters, not my critics.

BLITZER: What would happen, though, if he were -- and this is a hypothetical and it's a huge if -- if Romney were to drop out and it became a two-man race, basically, between you and John McCain? Would you change your strategy? Would you be any different or would you have a better chance of catching up?

HUCKABEE: Well, I think it would change the dynamics of the race in many ways. Obviously, it would be a focus on two people. We have, I think, a very, very decent respect for each other. I think it would be kind of an unusual political race, where it was not bitter and harsh. You wouldn't see the kind of demolition derby that you often see. We would show contrast, because there are quite a few contrasts.

BLITZER: Well, let's talk...

HUCKABEE: But it would be respectful.

BLITZER: Let's talk about that. Would you argue that you are the true conservative and he's not?

HUCKABEE: I wouldn't try to say what he's not. I would simply say that there's no doubt that I am, with great clarity, a true conservative, because of my positions on everything from the Human Life Amendment to the Second Amendment to lower taxes to reduced spending and more transparency in the spending, the idea to abolish the IRS with the fair tax.

There are a host of ways in which I think I could show that I'm a conservative. That doesn't mean that he isn't one. But we might approach some things very differently.

BLITZER: He's suggested that your so-called fair tax proposal -- what effectively is a national sales tax -- is not going to generate the kind of revenue that you think it will generate because it's not -- the percentage of the tax is not high enough on the purchases and the conduct of doing business, if you will. You've heard his criticism of your fair tax proposal.


BLITZER: What do you say? HUCKABEE: Well, it's designed by some of the top economists in the country, from Harvard, MIT, Stanford, Boston University. I think it's had the best research of any economic plan out there. And the fact is, it would also not only bring a level of money to the system -- in part because you end the underground economy. Right now, you and me, we're paying taxes not just for us, we're paying taxes for the drug dealers, the prostitutes, pimps, gamblers, illegals.

They'd have to pay their own tax under a consumption tax. And we'd see $12 trillion that's currently parked offshore to get away from our tax system -- it would come back to the United States. When you invest that kind of capital in the marketplace, you're going to see some real economic recovery.

BLITZER: Your critics say that your support -- your base is really limited -- Evangelical Christians in the South and some other places, but you would really needed to broaden that base if you were to go anywhere and become the Republican presidential nominee. What gives you hope outside of your native South?

HUCKABEE: Well, first of all, it's ludicrous to suggest that the only people supporting me are people who are values voters or faith voters. They split three ways. But a lot of the people who support me, sure, they are strong pro-family and pro-life voters. Good. That's the Republican base. That's who we are.

But I also have a lot of people who support me because I champion small business. I'm the only person who's out there saying that the Republicans needed to do a better job of that. I talk about environmental policy. I'm one of the few Republicans that ever bring that up. I talk about poverty, hunger, disease -- issues that we don't hear a lot about. And nobody has more to say about health care, education policy. I'm the only guy talking about infrastructure.

Those are a lot of reasons that some people are saying Huckabee is the guy that's showing real leadership on issues that could change America.

BLITZER: Well, you're certainly a proven vote getter, at least in all of these contests. You've outlived a lot of the other Republicans who had much more money and a much bigger profile. And you know who we're talking about. Some are suggesting, on the Democratic side, that the so-called dream ticket is Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, or Barack Obama/Hillary Clinton.

And some are now suggesting maybe the John McCain and Mike Huckabee dream ticket could be alive on the Republican side, without any particular preference. What do you think about that possibility of you and McCain running on the same ticket?

HUCKABEE: Well, I would have a preference. It would be the Huckabee/McCain ticket. And I think that might be formidable. But, again, I just want to make sure which name would be listed first on the bumper strip.

BLITZER: Well, what if he gets the nomination? Would you like to be the vice presidential nominee?

HUCKABEE: I'd really rather be the president. You get that nice house that comes with it and all. But, the truth is, you know, that's not my decision to make. If I don't get to be the nominee, I have to step aside. I still plan on being the nominee. And when one of us gets 1,191 votes, then we have gotten the delegates needed to be the nominee.

BLITZER: I don't know if you've ever been to the vice presidential residence on Massachusetts Avenue in Washington, near the Naval Observatory, but it's a lovely -- a lovely house, as well.

HUCKABEE: (LAUGHTER) I'm glad to hear that, Wolf.

BLITZER: But, then again, I've been to the governor's mansion in Little Rock. That's been refurbished. It's a nice place, too.

HUCKABEE: It is a nice place.

BLITZER: For public housing, as they say.

HUCKABEE: You bet.

BLITZER: Thanks very much, governor. Good luck.

HUCKABEE: Thank you, Wolf.

BLITZER: The all-important battle for delegates -- we're going to show you where the candidates stand after Super Tuesday and what happens next.

Also, they've been blasting John McCain -- so what are the conservative radio talk show hosts saying after his strong Super Tuesday showing?

And you'll also find out how Latino voters could make the difference for Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.

Stay with us. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.


BLITZER: To our viewers, you're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

Happening now, a major snowstorm is blanketing parts of the plains and the Midwest. Chicago bracing right now for as much as nine inches of snow. Some 1,000 flights already have been canceled at O'Hare airport.

Also, the white house defending waterboarding, saying it's legal and it saved American lives. A spokesman says President Bush can authorize the controversial interrogation technique that simulates drowning under certain circumstances.

And a cell phone boom. The United Nations says more than half the world's population will have them by the end of this year. That's up from only 12 percent only eight years ago.

I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

So here's the question. Who actually won on Super Tuesday? Let's take a fresh look at the delegate counts. It's all important and what's at stake in the upcoming contest. Let's go to our chief national correspondent, John King. He's joining us. The smoke is cleared. Do we have a really good picture of where things stand right now?

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: We have a much better picture, Wolf and we are getting to a very clear picture. Let's recap quickly. This was the swath of America in play on Super Tuesday, those states that are flashing. As you know, the key battle was of course for delegates.

Let's look at the democratic race. At the beginning of the night, you had Clinton and Obama over here, roughly tied. Senator Clinton with the slight advantage and to be the nominee, you have to get way out here. Well, that was the beginning of the night.

Now, watch those lines up top as we come up, we take this out and come up to where we are now. Look at this. We have come all the way out here, roughly half the delegates counted. You have the candidates out here who are not done yet, Wolf, because we are going through the state by state results. The democratic rules especially are done by proportion so we're going through congressional districts results.

Come over here on this wheel, we know Barack Obama won Georgia and won it pretty big. As we go through congressional districts, he is likely to gain delegates. You can see as he does that, he's likely he can pick up substantially there. Now that's one of the states we expect Obama as we move on to pick up in Georgia. Another key state, remember Missouri. That was a very close race. Clinton led throughout the night. Obama came in late and picked up but he did win in the Kansas City area and the St. Louis area. There's more congressional districts there because of the population. Perhaps as we go through that, he will pick up a little more there. It will move the line along.

It's much the same as we go over to the republican side. Wolf, I will move this and we'll clear the telestrator. And we'll go back to the beginning of the night. This is the beginning of the night on the republican side. You see Romney and McCain pretty much in a dead heat, way back here at the beginning of the race.

What happened on Super Tuesday? Come all the way up here. Look at that dramatic gain by Senator McCain. He's way out here now with Romney and Huckabee back here. Still a way to go for Senator McCain but remember, this was a big one. Missouri, winner take all. We have that state highlighted. We are still looking at the proportions. Georgia is a proportional state. So we have to go there. We take the telestrator off first. John has to remember to do that. Then you come down here to a state like Georgia and here's the big one for the republicans, Wolf.

Out in California, Romney expected to do quite well. We thought at one point California might look something like this. Now, we still don't know exactly what it's going to look like but we do know Senator McCain has won almost all of the congressional districts out in California. When we're done sorting the votes, California could actually end up something like that, which would push McCain ever closer and look at the gap then.

So as we count these remaining congressional districts, it is critical, especially in California, where the democrats have split them although Clinton gets the advantage out there so far but the McCain sweep of California, our best account right now is that Romney has won two, perhaps three congressional districts. That is dramatic for Senator McCain. As we update the totals and go through the results, you could see, like I was saying, a pretty significant swing, more delegates in Senator McCain's favor as we go forward.

BLITZER: The more we study these delegates, the better the night was for John McCain. All right, John. Thanks very much.

The battle for delegates is only part of the picture. There is also a fierce battle under way between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama for Latino voters. That's part of the race -- that part of the race is making it closer than you might think.

CNN's Thelma Gutierrez is joining us live from Los Angeles. How did Clinton and Obama actually do when it came to Super Tuesday and the Latino voters?

THELMA GUTIERREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, I can tell you they did very well in terms of inspiring Latino voters to get out to vote. Some of the exit polls suggest voter turnout at 29 percent among Latino democratic voters and that is much higher than usual.

Now Hillary Clinton obviously did much better among Latinos. Some analysts are suggesting that is because she was out early in this whole campaign to try to reach Latino voters nationally, also to get key Latino endorsements.


GUTIERREZ: It was a battle for Latino voters. They campaigned heavily on radio. And on television. In the end, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton won in key Latino states in different parts of the country. Clinton won the Latino vote by more than 60 percent in New Jersey, New York and California. Obama edged out Clinton for the Latino vote in Illinois and did better than expected among Latinos in Arizona, but he won the democratic caucus in Colorado, a key Latino state.

ARTURO VARGAS, NATL. ASSN. OF LATINO ELECTED OFFICIALS: It would be a mistake for Senator Clinton to believe that she has the Latino vote sewn up and it would be a mistake for Senator Obama to think it's out of reach.

GUTIERREZ: But Hillary Clinton did considerably better among Latinos overall. Was it race? Analysts say no and exit polls back that up. One expert says Clinton's advantage among Latinos has more to do with name recognition and memories of happier times, before immigration raised and mass deportation.

VARGAS: I think Latinos fondly remember the Clinton administration, strong economic times, we were not at war. It was a time when many Latinos were in the Clinton administration.

GUTIERREZ: Political analyst Arturo Vargas says historically Latinos will back a candidate they know. They have done it before for black candidates.

VARGAS: Tom Bradley in Los Angeles. Willington Webb in Denver. Harold Washington in Chicago.

GUTIERREZ: The Spanish radio host says Clinton has the power of her name and the Clinton organization behind her. He says Obama's biggest challenge is getting the message out to Latino voters, something he needs to do by campaigning in their communities. Analysts say Obama may only need time to close the gap with Clinton and win over Latino vote.


GUTIERREZ: The next battleground state is Texas. This has the second largest Latino population in the entire United States; one in five registered voters in Texas is Latino. We are going to have to look to that state to see exactly how Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton do. That's where they are going to have to leave their mark, Wolf.

BLITZER: You spoke lot of Latino voters on this day after Super Tuesday, what were they saying about their willingness to vote for a black presidential candidate?

GUTIERREZ: You know, Wolf, we've spent a lot of time in the 32nd congressional district, which is 63 percent Latino in east L.A. and I can tell you that each and every one of the voters that we talked to said that race has absolutely nothing to do with it. I said would you vote for an African American candidate. They looked at me and said of course we would. It's not about that.

It's about the issues. It's about name recognition. It's about where those candidates stand on the issues they care about. The economy, immigration, the war. The war, a big one. Many Latinos have family members that are fighting in this war. Those are some of the key issues they're looking for and again, they just want to be able to connect with that candidate.

BLITZER: Thelma Gutierrez, doing good reporting for us as she always does. Thelma, thanks very much.

Rush Limbaugh is up in arms over John McCain's strong Super Tuesday showing. You will find out what the conservative radio show host and others are saying now that the candidate they love to hate seems to be doing so well.

Plus, children being trained as terrorists. We will show you shocking new al Qaeda video just released by the U.S. military.

Stay with us. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.


BLITZER: Many of the conservative radio talk show hosts have been burning up the airwaves with condemnations of John McCain but his latest success is enough to leave at least some people speechless, almost that is. Let's go to Carol Costello. She is watching this story for us.

All right. What are you hearing? We use the word hearing pretty specifically in this case.

CAROL COSTELLO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I have been listening all day, Wolf. You know it's actually left those radio talkers kind of grumpy. Yes, grumpy. But unbowed despite John McCain's super, Super Tuesday, they are not throwing their support behind him now.


COSTELLO: It was like watching their view of the world slowly die for conservative talkers. There he was, Mr. Maverick, not only celebrating but congratulating that other undesirable republican, Mike Huckabee.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I salute you. I salute Governor Huckabee.

COSTELLO: The talkers called McCain's big night a win for liberal democrats since part of John McCain's platform was reaching across party lines.

RUSH LIMBAUGH, TALK SHOW HOST: We want is to defeat those people. We view those people as threats to the American way of life as we have always known it.

COSTELLO: On Laura Ingraham's show, she lamented McCain's victory, reminding her listeners Ronald Reagan would not have been happy, especially today, on what would have been his 97th birthday. She then urged them to go to a heritage foundation Web site called What Would Reagan Do.

FMR. PRES. RONALD REAGAN, UNITED STATES: Tomorrow night in the kitchen, I hope the talking begins and children, if your parents haven't been teaching you what it means to be an American, let them know and nail them on it.

COSTELLO: Still, Ingraham wasn't ready to declare McCain's win meant the death of Reaganism or conservative talk radio just yet.

LAURA INGRAHAM, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Before people start writing again the obituary, whether talk radio, blah, blah, blah, we've heard that before, or the obituary of conservatism, remember what happening last night in state after state, John McCain wasn't winning conservative votes. COSTELLO: McCain did come in third among conservatives but Huckabee won in five states on Super Tuesday, even though talkers told their listeners a vote for Huckabee is like a vote for McCain.

MIKE HUCKABEE (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: People across this country are saying that yes, we heard what the pundits said. But this is our vote, not theirs. This is our election, not theirs. This is our presidency, not theirs.

COSTELLO: And with Huckabee's success came talk of a McCain/Huckabee ticket, something conservatives cannot stomach.

INGRAHAM: McCain has so radicalized key conservatives that some have vowed to turn themselves into suicide voters next November by pulling the lever for Hillary Clinton.

COSTELLO: It was a common theme in the world of conservative talk, although some eventually admitted if it came down to a McCain/Huckabee ticket, conservative voters would abstain.


COSTELLO: Yes, they won't vote at all. Their only consolation, Wolf, Mitt Romney despite his less than super, Super Tuesday is staying in the race and he will target Kansas, Washington State and of course, he will be campaigning in D.C. later this week. Wolf?

BLITZER: Thanks very much, Carol. Carol Costello reporting.

While some conservatives call John McCain a liberal, the senator calls himself a conservative who has worked with democrats on bipartisan legislation. He has been at odds with President Bush on several issues.

Let's bring in Deborah Feyerick. She's watching this story for us. Deb, what are you finding out on John McCain's actual record?

DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well you know, when you look at John McCain's record, the one thing that really doesn't merge is that it's a mixed bag. He is likely to side with the democrats as the republicans on everything from supporting campaign finance reform and immigration amnesty to backing the war. But does that make him not a conservative? Take a look and decide.


FEYERICK: When it comes to spending and taxing, Senator McCain opposed President Bush's tax cuts in 2001 and 2003. But now says he supports them to stave off what would effectively be a tax increase. He is staunchly against all pork barrel spending and he voted not to raise the minimum wage.

On defense, McCain, who serves on the Republican Armed Services Committee, supports the war in Iraq and the subsequent U.S. troop surge. But he was highly critical of the administration's early strategy, saying how it was handled would go down as one of the worst mistakes in U.S. military history.

WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: He's a conservative. He's been a conservative for a long time but on occasion, he departs from the conservative orthodoxy. He's not a politically correct conservative.

FEYERICK: McCain's scorecard on immigration, he favored guest worker programs and temporary visas for illegal immigrants and the pathway toward citizenship, a bill he co-sponsored with democrat Ted Kennedy. But after a backlash this past summer, his campaign says he is focused primarily on tightening border security.

On the environment, Senator McCain believes climate change is real and a threat to the future. He favors reducing carbon dioxide emissions and developing nuclear energy. He opposes drilling in northern Alaska but sees ethanol subsidies as unnecessary.

On health care, he voted against Medicare prescription drug benefits, calling them an entitlement. He then sponsored a bill with democrats Ted Kennedy and John Edwards regulating HMOs and supporting efforts to bring inexpensive generic drugs safely into the U.S.

SCHNEIDER: He is advertising his ability to make bipartisan deals on issues because that's what voters seem to want this year.

FEYERICK: Finally, when it comes to social issues, here's the score. Senator McCain is against abortion but in favor of stem cell research.

As for same sex marriage, he says it's an issue states should decide, not the federal government.


FEYERICK: Now, John McCain does not back away from a fight even if it's with his own party. That's something the Bush administration and others in the Republican Party just don't understand, why does he have to fight with them all the time. Still, when you look at his ratings from the American Conservative Union, he gets an 82 out of 100. That's compared to Hillary Clinton's lifetime score of eight, which means McCain may not be a politically correct conservative but he's no liberal either. Wolf?

BLITZER: All right. Thanks very much for that. Deb Feyerick doing a fact-check for us on John McCain.

Terrorists take on a horrifying new tactic, training children to kill. We're going to show you the shocking new al Qaeda video the U.S. military has just released. It's been discovered. We will show it to you.

Also, are Americans finally learning how to live within their means? That's Jack Cafferty's question this hour. He has your e-mail coming up right here in THE SITUATION ROOM.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) BLITZER: Time to check back with Jack Cafferty. He's got the Cafferty File -- Jack?

CAFFERTY: The question this hour, Wolf, in today's uncertain economic times, are Americans finally learning to live within their means?

David writes from Vernon Hills, Illinois, "Americans save? Are you kidding? What would our economy be if Americans didn't spend all their money plus money they don't have? Just ask my 27-year-old daughter who makes over $60K and spends it all no matter what I say to her about saving. Spending in debt. That's today's America. The Chinese appreciate it."

Jeffrey in Boston, "Americans will likely never learn to live within their means with the entire system set up to work against us. Politicians and corporations work hand in hand to make sure that every American outspends his or her means in the name of continued economic growth."

Michael in Houston, Texas, "My wife and I are almost debt free with the exception of our mortgage. Americans could buy stuff until they turn blue. The only economies we will be helping are China, India, Mexico and places like that because all our jobs have been shipped over there so these greedy companies can get even richer."

Alan writes from Coon Rapids, Minnesota, "Yes, we may finally be getting it. But the problem is that we've all made our credit card charged bed and now we've got to sleep in it and pay for it. The recession is here, and it is a necessary correction. Admit it and start working through it."

And Jack writes from Chattanooga, Tennessee, "I've stopped spending and I've started saving my money. I stopped smoking, quit drinking (unless someone else is buying), stopped chasing women. I am now a reclusive, frugal hermit, going to work every day, staying home at night just buying what I need, nothing else. I have even cut down on food purchases, making it easy to lose some weight. I stockpiled several thousand dollars with my lifestyle change and I may need it with the way our country is going." Stop drinking unless somebody else is buying, quit chasing women.

BLITZER: Jack, no friend of yours.

CAFFERTY: Well ...

BLITZER: Thank you, Jack.

In news around the world, a very serious subject coming up. Young boys, look at this, training to carry out kidnappings and assassinations. CNN's Arwa Damon is in Baghdad.


ARWA DAMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The U.S. military today released what it calls al Qaeda propaganda video targeting and depicting children saying that this is part of al Qaeda's effort to recruit more children into the insurgency.

What we see in this tape is staged scenes where children following instructions heard off camera conduct a number of terrorist activities such as kidnapping a man on a vehicle, raiding a house, storming in, detaining individuals who are inside. We also see them sitting in a circle with guns in the middle, chanting al Qaeda slogans.

Now the U.S. military says they obtained this video in a raid that took place targeting a senior al Qaeda official in the province of Diyala some two months ago. They say that they do not have any information on the whereabouts of the children depicted in that video but they do believe that they were willing participants, part of what the U.S. military calls al Qaeda families.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Clearly, there are families in which the adult males are part of al Qaeda and you would assume that those children are growing up in that household environment, an environment that would unfortunately perhaps produce the next generation of al Qaeda in Iraq.

DAMON: The U.S. military also received what it says is a movie script obtained in a different raid in that same province that also shows children carrying out acts of terror. Now, the U.S. military says its main concern is not an increased use of children in the insurgency. We have seen this from the very beginning, children doing things like spotting for those that are planting roadside bombs, moving explosives around.

What the U.S. military says the main concern is, is that unless this cycle of violence is somehow brought to an end, unless somehow, the environment that these children are growing up in is somehow brought to an end, what we might be seeing here is the creation of the next generation of terrorists.

Arwa Damon, CNN, Baghdad.


BLITZER: The race for the white house is entering a critical new phase. Our own Lou Dobbs is standing by to talk about it. He's coming up next.

Also, a horse race of a different kind. They are losing their voices out on the campaign trail.

Stay with us. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.


BLITZER: Let's talk to Lou Dobbs. He's here in THE SITUATION ROOM. He's got a show coming up in an hour from now.

What did you think about yesterday's Super Tuesday? Did it turn out to be super? LOU DOBBS, CNN ANCHOR: I think it did. It's terrific because all of the concern about it being over are misplaced. Even the republicans, it's a race. There is a presumptive at least front-runner but not nominee in Senator John McCain. Obama and Clinton, you couldn't ask for it to be sliced any finer than that.

BLITZER: What do you think of the conservative radio talk show hosts who really, I don't know, they hate but they dislike John McCain so much, that they are threatening either not to vote or to simply vote for Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama?

DOBBS: Hey, it's America. Do what the heck you got to do. If Rush Limbaugh wants, you know, to vote for Hillary Clinton, that's fine. I mean I think it's great. We need more public dialogue in this country, more public debate about the issues, the candidates, not less. And we have this instinct that is growing up in this society of ours right now, in this media society, to say oh, my god, we cannot allow Rush Limbaugh to say what he means. Yes, we can. It would be great if we had even more people on the air expressing their opinions. We need more discussion, more debate, more free speech, not less.

BLITZER: It's healthy for the country to let it all hang out.

DOBBS: Absolutely. You know we are reaching sort of a point in society in my opinion Wolf where we've got idiots in corporate America and HR departments and all sort of places talking about diversity. They don't mean diversity. They want conformity. They don't want an expression of individuality and free thinking. They want conformity and we've got to break away from it. It's the great thing about this free press of ours is we have a responsibility to have these various opinions and to keep alive this great debate and this great society of ours.

BLITZER: And I know what's really good and I know you've been happy about this, a lot of us have been happy, you know what, it's so unpredictable and the pundits have not necessarily been all knowing.

DOBBS: Well, first of all they are never all knowing. There is a chattering class and we are part of it in our ways. It is great to see the people express themselves. What else? These candidates are now going to have the take absolutely take notice of the people. The real issues.