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This Week in Politics

Aired February 17, 2008 - 13:00   ET


TOM FOREMAN, HOST: Can Hillary Clinton's fire wall stop Barack Obama's hot streak? If Mike Huckabee is betting everything on a long shot, why is he heading for a vacation paradise? And we'll tell you why even gamblers are losing their shirts on this presidential race. It's all this week in politics, straight from the horse's mouth right after a quick check of what's in the news right now.


FOREMAN (voice-over): Well, call out the fire trucks. The Democratic presidential contest was the hot topic in this week in politics with the race ever tightening up and very little going according to plan.

The Clinton campaign was supposed to sweep the nation like a wildfire. Months ago, her crowds, her coverage, her karma, all saying the nomination was hers. But Obama had plans to change everything.

BARACK OBAMA (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We are one nation. We are one people. And our time for change has come.

FOREMAN: The armies of young people, new voters and Independents, he blazed a trail around a simple theme. The old way of running government, Clinton's way, doesn't work.

OBAMA: We only bring about change when the American people get involved.

FOREMAN: Obama picked off states, scooped up money, and now he has passed her in delegates. Clinton is running to her fire wall. Three big states -- Pennsylvania, Ohio and Texas, hoping a flood of support there will drown the inferno raging around her presidential dreams.


FOREMAN: This week, those dreams didn't get any closer. On Thursday, after nine days of hand counting ballots, New Mexico declared that Hillary Clinton was indeed the winner of their Democratic caucus. That put her one, yes, one delegate closer to Barack Obama.

CNN's senior political analyst Candy Crowley joins us now to talk about all of this. And we're also joined from politico Virginia studio by their cheap political columnist Roger Simon.

Candy, let me start with you. It's never good when anything comes down to the fire wall. That means some things are going very badly. Is that pretty much the...

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely. Well, look, I mean, they can't afford to have a public feeling of wow, things are going wrong. But let's face it. They didn't really plan for a post Super Tuesday. They thought that was when she would pretty much clean up, that she would be such a formidable frontrunner that everyone would have to drop out.

And that's been part of their problem is that Barack Obama, you know, went to North Dakota a year ago, set up a plan. He had in all of these states, most of these states, he had some structure there. The Clinton people really didn't kind of look beyond this.

So they are on plan B now. And plan B is that fire wall. Remember, it used to be that the fire wall was New Hampshire. They said well, here's the fire wall, she's going to stop his Iowa surge in New Hampshire. She didn't really do that. They kind of wrestled each other to a tie. And they went on in South Carolina. And it was a disaster for them. So absolutely, you have to look at what they're doing and know that there is some consternation and some real worry inside the Clinton campaign.

FOREMAN: Roger, Candy is talking about one of the things that seems to be one of the most damning bits of faint praise that I've heard lately in this whole thing. Some people saying that for all of Hillary Clinton's talent and organizing all of her promise of being ready from day one, and being great at marshalling forces, that she's simply been out generaled by Barack Obama's team. Is that a fair thing for people to be saying now?

ROGER SIMON, POLITICO: I think it's a fair thing for people to say, and it happened from the very beginning. It happened where she could least afford it. And when we look back on this campaign once it's over in the next 100 years or so, we may say that really it was determined by the very first contest in Iowa.

Iowa was a contest where Barack Obama was not supposed to do well. It was a caucus state. It meant organization was important. And Hillary Clinton, everyone thought, had a superior organization. There's virtually no black population of Iowa. It's a state where people examine and explore the issues minutely. And Clinton was assumed to have an advantage there.

Well guess what? Barack Obama won Iowa, won it big. And really from then on, although Clinton certainly - Senator Clinton certainly had her victories in New Hampshire and elsewhere, California, other big states, from then on, from the very first contest on, this has been Hillary Clinton trying to play catch up in a system that discourages catch up.

You talked about her fire walls. In the Democratic party, it's really hard to have a significant fire wall because of the way candidates are allocated proportionally. She not only has to win these upcoming states, she has to win them by huge margins in each congressional district. And even then that might not be enough to put her ahead in the regular pledge delegate count. FOREMAN: You brought us really to the thing that we first have to watch when you look at our what to watch from the Democratic race. This Obama momentum and how much it's overall making things difficult for her. Also, you have to look at the coalition cracking, this group that Hillary Clinton put together to support her, is it really holding up?

And of course, the wild part we always look at -- Florida and Michigan delegates. We're going to have a lot more on that in just a little bit. But Candy, one of the points you've raised when you look at those points to watch is that the Clinton camp for all of its discipline, and they are superb politicians, have not stuck with the same message this whole time.

CROWLEY: Well, they started out saying invincibility.


HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'm the most qualified and experienced person to hit the ground running in January 2009.


CROWLEY: This is going to be the candidate who is certain to be the nominee. So they kind of ran this incumbent campaign. Look, she's going to win anyway. Let's just breeze through and let's blow them away in money. And we'll win Iowa. And then it'll all be good from then on.

The fact of the matter is that early on, Barack Obama raised a lot of money. So scratch that. And then they saw that the change idea was really catching on, that Barack Obama was drawing big crowds in Iowa. So she became the change with leadership you can count on.


CLINTON: Are you ready for change?


CROWLEY: Then they did at one point, I can be a tough commander in chief because that's sort of a hurdle that a woman has to kind of overcome, certainly the first woman with a real shot at the White House.


CLINTON: I'm tested, I'm ready. Let's make it happen!


FOREMAN: Then they sort of realized they needed to soften her up. So we had the Hillary I know campaign. She's really nice. She's been working since -- for 35 years for children.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) CLINTON: I just don't want to see us fall backwards.


CROWLEY: I will say that when she moved to New Hampshire, they decided it was her very grasp of all these issues that she ought to run on, that she ought to talk to these home and hearth issues, that she really ought to try and connect with people in a very real way at where their lives are. They have sort of stuck with that, but it's been tough. And that has been of concern inside the Clinton campaign that the message has been all over the place.

FOREMAN: Well, Roger, I know Hillary fans are going to be very dismayed by all of this talk. Tell us the strong points. What does Hillary Clinton really still have going for her as she heads toward this fire wall? And why might the strategy work?

SIMON: Well, she has huge name recognition. She is - has a masterful knowledge of the issues both in breadth and depth. If you go to a Hillary Clinton speech, I guarantee you you come out of there knowing more than when you went in. She is pretty good on the stump. She's not as good as Barack Obama on the stump, but she's not bad. If she can get Barack Obama to debate, and he's committed to at least one I think or two more debates. She has done better in the debates than Barack Obama has done. And she sells the message that she is ready from day one, that she is stronger on national defense, and a message which I think she is actually been under cutting herself a little bit on that she has been fully vetted, that she has been fully tested. Republicans have thrown everything at her that they could possibly throw at her while Obama has not been fully vetted. The only reason I say she's under cutting that a little is that by refusing to release her tax returns, she sort of undercuts the message that she has been fully vetted. And it leaves people to wonder why doesn't she release the returns?

FOREMAN: And with that, we'll have to leave it there and see if that all adds up to a fire extinguisher or not. Thanks, Candy. Thanks, Roger, very much.

Next, will the GOP nomination race ever end officially? Later in the show, a pitcher's duel on Capitol Hill. Doesn't Congress have anything better to do than play baseball? And don't forget the next big debate. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama will go head to head in Austin, Texas. That's next Thursday night live right here on CNN, starting at 8:00 p.m. Eastern. Don't miss it. And we'll be right back.


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




UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm voted for John McCain. I think he's the best for America. And it's what we need right now.


FOREMAN: Oh, Valentine's Day week and the voters and politicians all showing that they have hearts. The Republican National Committee had a card that you could send out to lampoon either Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton. Hers said "roses are red, violets are blue, I'll raise your taxes, and there's nothing you can do."

The Democrats weren't about to be outdone. They had a video on their website celebrating the fond dealings between John McCain and President Bush, a sort of heart attack in the making. That's all in good fun.

But John McCain's pursuit of conservative hearts is deadly serious. And it's an easy bet that no one's heart is more conservative than Grover Norquist, the president for Americans for Tax Reform. And he joins me now from Atlanta.

Grover, we've been talking about the problems the Democrats are having right now. What about the Republicans have with conservatives? Because conservatives don't seem to be too happy about how this is going.

GROVER NORQUIST, PRES., AMERICANS FOR TAX REFORM: Well, here's the good news. All of the candidates who are running for the Republican nomination from Tom Tancredo, to Romney, to Giuliani to McCain, all were trying to get dead center of the Reagan coalition.

What you heard for a year was each guy trying to push the other guy off Reagan Hill. People saying Romney, you weren't there five years ago on this issue. And hey, Huckabee, you know, six years ago, you raised taxes.

And everybody was arguing, I am Reagan and you other guys aren't. Well, who is the guy who wasn't part of that fight? John McCain. Because remember, he had that problem where his campaign kind of disappeared for almost a year. And he was campaigning in New Hampshire, but people didn't think he was a real national live candidate. So people didn't hit McCain for a year. Then he wins in New Hampshire. He wins in South Carolina.

FOREMAN: So what's the good news, that they're hitting him now and trying to get answers to this?

NORQUIST: No, the good news is that all the people who want the Republican nomination are trying to be in the same zone, including McCain. Dead center of the Reagan coalition.

The complaints you're hearing now about McCain now are what you would have heard about him over the last year and would have been thrashed out. But remember, his campaign kind of disappeared for a while. And they were exactly what you heard about every one of the other candidates. This guy was bad x number of years ago. So we are now going through with McCain what we went through over the last year with Giuliani, Huckabee, and Romney.

FOREMAN: Yes, but he's at the point now, pretty well locking this thing up. I'm thinking that as a conservative, you can't be thrilled about that because now your choices are pretty much gone.

NORQUIST: Well, I expect that McCain will be the Republican nominee. And I will be endorsing the Republican nominee as better on taxes than any of the Democrats running.

McCain is twice on national television, said that he'd veto any tax increase. He's come out for cutting the capital gains tax, but also cutting the corporate income tax from 35 to 25, full expensing, getting rid of the AMT, maintaining the Bush tax cuts. Pretty radical, strong, pro growth, low tax policy. It is true that McCain played hooky for a couple of years during the early Bush years where he voted against two very important tax cuts, 2001, 2003. He now says that those tax cuts turned the economy around, and that he wants to continue them. So McCain is moving towards the center of the Reagan Republican party certainly on taxes, but also on other issues as well.

NORQUIST: Well, let me ask you about something that he had to say on "LARRY KING LIVE," where he talked about what he thinks his job is right now.


JOHN MCCAIN (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: My job, if I am the nominee of the party, is to unite the party. And I think also then the next step is to try to get Independents and the old Reagan Democrats. And that's the way we win elections.


FOREMAN: Well, Grover, he's talking about Independents and the old Reagan Democrats. That doesn't sound like dead center Ronald Reagan territory. That sounds like the kind of territory that would make a lot of your pals nervous.

NORQUIST: Well, I would argue just the opposite. Ronald Reagan won the Independents and won the Reagan Democrats by being Ronald Reagan. He didn't win Independents by being for higher taxes. He won Independents and Reagan Democrats by being for lower taxes. He didn't win these people over by being weak on national defense, but rather strong on national defense. Being for limited government.

I mean, you know, McCain came in with the Reagan revolution and began that way. He wandered off for a little while, perhaps because of arguments with George Bush after the 2000 election, but he's coming back to the zone.

FOREMAN: But if all this...

NORQUIST: That he's occupied before.

FOREMAN: But if all this is so good right now, then why are so many of your fellow conservatives still pounding their fists and saying no, no, no, not John McCain?

NORQUIST: Because they're having the conversation with John McCain that they would have had over the last year, but didn't. And they're having it in a compressed time zone.

At the end of the day, when the choice says John McCain or Hillary, John McCain or Obama, I think most of those - most conservatives will cheerfully support McCain. McCain is also helping. His speech to the conservative Political Action Conference was a great Reaganesque speech, letting people know that he's going to run as a Reagan Republican, which by the way, appeals to Independents and to Reagan Democrats.

FOREMAN: Well, certainly sounds like you guys are rallying the wagons right now. Thanks so much, Grover. Appreciate you joining us. We'll talk again.

Mike Huckabee is down in the Cayman Islands this weekend. He's giving a paid speech on the theme, dare to dream. He's still in the race, still trying to rack up a few delegates here and there. But he says he does have to earn a living. After all, he's not getting paid to sit in the Senate like all of the remaining candidates.

And of course, they might sit in the Senate, but they're not necessarily getting a lot done. Look at this. John McCain missed more than half the votes in Congress, Barack Obama almost 40 percent, and Hillary Clinton only voted three-quarters of the time. We'll have more on the vital work up on Capitol Hill in just a moment. Stay with us.


FOREMAN: Baseball. Some people say it's just not what it used to be, but we disagree as long as there have been spitballs, there have been scandals. And this week when Roger the Rocket Clemens came to town was no exception.


FOREMAN: The curious were everywhere on Capitol Hill that day. When Congress in its wisdom put the rocket on display. One man said that the rocket juice that hormones filled his veins. And the media like jackals came to feast on his remains.

BRIAN MCNAMEE, FMR MLB STRENGTH & CONDITIONING COACH: I injected those drugs into the body of Roger Clemens at his direction.

ROGER CLEMENS, MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL PLAYER: Brian McNamee's statements about me are wrong.

FOREMAN: The rockets primed by years of toil and uncounted no hit nights stood firm in his denial, not flustered by the lights.

REP. HENRY WAXMAN (D), OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: It's impossible to believe that this is a simple misunderstanding.

FOREMAN: The chairman spoke, the gavel banged, the lawyers stood in rage. And then the mighty Clemens walked slowly from the stage.


FOREMAN: Well, It's no Casey at the bat, but joining us now in his day job. Ryan Smith is a sports attorney and a talk show host on BET Radio. He joins me from New York. And let me start with this, Ryan. The same question comes up every time this happens. What business is this of Congress?

RYAN SMITH, SPORTS ATTORNEY: Well, it comes down to this. Congress looks at baseball and says you know what, you've been ineffective in putting forth a good drug policy.

Now baseball operates outside of what normal sports operate in, because they have an antitrust exemption. It basically takes them away from being - competed with by other entities.

So what can Congress do about this? They can threaten to pull that exemption unless baseball follows its recommendations. So once this Mitchell report came in, one of their own produced it, they said let's follow this. Clemens disputed it. So they have to find in a very public way whether or not this plan will work in terms of forcing change in baseball.

FOREMAN: Yes, but does anybody in baseball really believe that that's what this is about? I mean, we have different kinds of drug problems all over the place. And boy, does this look like some kind of grandstanding.

SMITH: Well, it did. And that's the only problem I have with this. I think the fact that there was a hearing is necessarily the worst thing. But the grandstanding was a little bit much. It made people think hey, this is just a dog and pony show.

But when you think about it, Congress is really just trying to protect the public health of the kids out there, who are sitting out there seeing Roger Clemens, seeing Jose Conseco, Mark Mcgwire, the others who have been accused of this, and saying you know what, if I want to be a great player, I have to emulate what they're doing.

So Congress does have an interest in stepping in, but I think this way just made it seem like a dog and pony show and made it seem a little ridiculous.

FOREMAN: It seems like it would read a little bit better if they were having equal amounts of hearings on kids using steroids and on high schools and talking to coaches at all those levels.

SMITH: But better yet...

FOREMAN: You don't seem to see that much.

SMITH: Well, better yet Tom, mention the word "children" more than once or twice, which is all they did in that five-hour hearing. So that made people think, you know, you don't really care about children. You don't really care about public health. What you really care about is embarrassing this person or at least having this dog and pony show and showing off a little bit in front of the public.

I think they should have made it, just as you said, had coaches, kids in there talk about the effects. There are 12 and 13 and 14-year-old kids out there taking steroids because they think that's the only way to succeed. And that's what we need to see.

FOREMAN: Yes, that's a real problem. But does anybody believe that this whole special treatment that major league baseball gets is going to be changed in any way because of this?

SMITH: You know, I think it's more of a cumulative effect. I think if over time, baseball and the player's association continues to act in this way that flies in the face of conventional wisdom or better yet Congress, then I think you're going to see it erode a little bit.

But in general, pulling it away, that's not going to happen. This has been around since 1922. And it's not going to change wholeheartedly all at one time.

FOREMAN: Well, I'm sure we'll still have plenty of screw balls up on Capitol Hill. Thanks for joing us, Ryan.

SMITH: Sure thing.

FOREMAN: Hey, here's a quick quiz. Can you name any one praised by both the president of the United States and the dictator of North Korea? Stick around, we'll tell you who gets that honor.

And straight ahead, the controversy that may well turn the Democratic convention into a no holds barred steel cage death match. It's just the kind of thing we love to watch on THIS WEEK IN POLITICS.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Obama makes a difference. It makes everybody makes a difference. And I'm excited. I'm really excited. It is -- I'm enjoying it.


FOREMAN: For all the excitement, it's safe to say that almost nothing in this campaign has gone as planned. The Democrats planned not to count the delegates from two major states at least until the nomination was nailed down. But it isn't nailed down. And now those delegates are a very hot topic.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) FOREMAN (voice-over): North and south in sunshine and snow, the issue is the calendar. Both Michigan and Florida wanted to have more impact on the nominating process. And so, both sent word to national party leaders they were jumping their primaries up to January.

But the national party rules say no one can vote that early except for a few traditional bellwether states such as Iowa and New Hampshire. The national parties hit back. The Democrats parted, telling candidates that no delegates won in Florida or Michigan would count towards the nomination.

Then it got messy. The votes were held anyway. Clinton won big. And now she wants the delegates seated while Obama says no way. We were not on a level playing field. After all, Florida and Michigan originally had 366 delegates between them. More than enough to sway this very tight race.


FOREMAN: We should point out that Hillary Clinton had to beat some tough competition at least in Michigan, where 40 percent of the voters chose no one at all. So what does it all mean?

In New York, Mark Halperin, a senior political analyst of "TIME" magazine and the editor of And with me in Washington is radio talk show host and Democratic strategist Bill Press.

Bill, let me start with you with the first question.


FOREMAN: Is there any way for the Democrats to settle this that doesn't end up in a fist fight?

PRESS: No, somebody's not going to be happy, but I just can say, you know what, I'm glad we're having this fist fight. Because this proves that having Iowa and New Hampshire always first is not going to work. And they tried to fix it this year. And they just made it worse. As long as they leave Iowa and New Hampshire in that prime spot where they don't belong, we're always going to have problems like this.

My own feeling is let them count the delegates. They voted. People came out to vote. Count the delegates.

FOREMAN: Count the delegates.

PRESS: Count the delegates.

FOREMAN: Mark, what's wrong with that as an idea?

MARK HALPERIN, TIME MAGAZINE: Well, first of all, Bill, California hates Iowa and New Hampshire. I know we're not here to debate that, but I'm a big defender of the role in Iowa and New Hampshire in the process. I think it's good. I don't think other states can match what they do. Look, Hillary Clinton is not some firm believer in the civil rights and voting rights of people in Florida and Michigan more than Barack Obama. She wants those delegates to count because she won overwhelmingly. And she needs those extra delegates.

I can't imagine a scenario where those results stand and Hillary Clinton gets the delegates she won on those dates. Barack Obama would be at a huge disadvantage for that. It would be a reversal, but the DNC decided there may be some compromise down the road. But I would be stunned if those delegate votes counted just the way they were cast in January.

FOREMAN: You know, after what happened in 2000 in Florida where they didn't count the votes, for Democrats to have a nomination where they didn't -- based on not counting the votes in Florida, I think that's a bad message to send.

HALPERIN: There's no perfect solution here, but the notion that, and again I'm not advocating one side or the other, but I find it impossible to believe that Barack Obama, who is likely to be leading in delegates going forward at least in the short-term, that he would stand for a situation where in two states where he did not compete, where the state party leaders - look, they made their decision. The DNC was crystal clear. You moved to January, you're going to lose your delegates. And they ended up penalizing them their full complement of delegates.

They knew what they were doing. They took a risk and they lost. And I think again, Hillary Clinton is not going to be able to turn that around.

FOREMAN: Well, let's listen to what Hillary Clinton said about this. Her argument is about why these people should be counted.


CLINTON: Obviously, the people of Florida thought this counted. And I have said that I will do everything I can if I'm the nominee to make sure that the Florida delegates are seated. Because I want people in Florida to feel empowered and part of this process.


FOREMAN: Bill, here's the thing that I don't get about this. How can you have a vote in the state where everybody's not running and not campaigning, and the state has been told you won't count and then come back. You know what that's like? That's like having a warm up for a baseball game and then seven innings in when you're behind, saying I want to count the home runs from the warm up.

PRESS: I know. Mark and I agree on one thing. I mean, there's no perfect solution here. I mean, there is no easy solution here either. But you know, these people in Florida, they thought it counted. They came out.

FOREMAN: They knew what the rules were. They knew it actually didn't count. They were told it would not count.

PRESS: But they still came out in record numbers because they're so excited bout this. And by the way, Barack Obama was on the ballot in Florida. Now he took his name off the ballot in Michigan. I think...

FOREMAN: Yes, everybody did except for her almost.

PRESS: Exactly. Their dumb mistake. I think she showed a little savvy judgment there.

FOREMAN: Mark, you've got to jump in on this.

PRESS: Forty percent of the voters...

HALPERIN: It's horribly imperfect if the people in those major states don't get their votes to count towards the nominating process. That's a bad thing. It's bad for the Democratic party to extent their hurt feelings in those states.

But Hillary Clinton, when the DNC was penalizing those states, she didn't step forward and say, you know, this is unfair. We really should let these people count. Only after the results, and after she avoided any penalty in the States that cared about this, Iowa and New Hampshire, did she speak up.

I think it's a bad - there's no good situation. As I said, I'm not advocating one side or the other. All I'm saying as we say here on the streets of New York, is I find it impossible to believe that the votes are going to count because it would put her at a big advantage, Barack Obama at a disadvantage. And he's -- unlike other insurgent candidates from the past, he's not some lightweight when it comes to the DNC. It's people understand the process, understand the rules. I don't think they'll have a revote. That's too expensive and too complicated.


HALPERIN: And I don't think they're going to let those delegates go.

FOREMAN: I want to quickly let us hear from what Barack Obama had to say about this very same issue, just like we did Hillary Clinton.


OBAMA: It certainly wouldn't be fair to allocate voters or allocate delegates based on a non-campaign. We did not campaign in those States. So there may be ways that we can manage this having a caucus, for example, in either of those states that gives both of us an opportunity to compete for delegates.


FOREMAN: Bill, it seems to me that this is the fundamental issue for a lot of voters. The question of fairness, it may be unfair to keep them out, but there seems to be no fair way to bring them in. Doesn't this do just a lot of damage to the Democratic party no matter how they settled it?

PRESS: Well, Democrats will work this out. Don't worry. I'm not worried about that in the long run.

But at the risk of knocking the halo off of Saint Barack Obama's head, he wants to keep the rules in Florida and Michigan, but he wants to change the rules for the super delegates which is the next big question. There almost 800 of those. And so, he's saying that those people ought to vote for the person who wins the most popular votes and the most - has the most delegates and wins the most states.

So he wants to keep the rules in one place and change them in the another. You can't have it both ways.

HALPERIN: No, but Bill, that's not clear. One is not really a rule. One is a line of argument. The DNC rules - look, there's just not a secret process. It was not a surprise to the Democrats in Florida, the Democrats in Michigan when they got their delegates taken away. They knew they were breaking the rules.

Separately, Barack Obama's trying to win as many super delegates as he can....


HALPERIN: ...through rhetoric. But that's a separate issue. And I think, if there's more complexity and there is about how to arrange the calendar four years from now, believe me, there will be plenty of fights and this will be one of them.

But you cannot possibly imagine, I'll just say one last time, or maybe second to last time, but you cannot imagine a situation where suddenly Hillary Clinton would be given all these delegates when not only did Barack Obama not campaign there. It wasn't like he skipped the state, because he wanted to campaign elsewhere.

PRESS: And that is going to have to be...

HALPERIN: He was barred from going there by the DNC.

PRESS: Let everybody vote. That's my - I think that's...

FOREMAN: And that is going to happen in the final word from both of you. Bill, Mark, thanks for being here. I'm sure the dispute will go on.

Straight ahead, how you can get a piece of the action in the presidential sweepstakes. And yes, we're talking about gambling. Grab your wallet. But first, a look at life on the campaign trail from CNN producer Evan Glass.


EVAN GLASS: I've been on the campaign trail nonstop for almost three months now, which started by spending hours and hours traversing snowy Iowa and New Hampshire before a single vote was cast. Being at Mike Huckabee's victory party in Iowa, and John McCain's in new Hampshire were electric experiences made all the more important because they are essentially the last men standing. You don't get much sleep on the road, but taking photographs helps me remember all the wonderful members of the CNN team I've worked with, all the different places I've been, and all the candidates who were once in the running. But as the campaign season lingers on, at least the weather's getting better.



FOREMAN: I've got something I want you to take a look at. Look at this. It could be the price of a stock or a mutual fund. It isn't. It's the odds that a particular candidate, the red here is Hillary Clinton, who will become president of the United States. It's called the predictive market. And while supporters say it's no different than any other type of investment, for example, hog bellies or pork futures, or crude oil, it sure looks like gambling.

Economics Professor Koleman Strumpf is on the faculty at the University of Kansas School of Business to talk about it now. And in Las Vegas, another scholar in the art of predicting future events, Johnny Avello, the director of the Sports Book at Wynn, Las Vegas.

Let me start with you, professor. How well does this work? When people start betting online as to who's going to win, does it work?

KOLEMAN STRUMPF, UNIVERSITY OF KANSAS: Yes, the markets have a really tremendous track record dating back at least on the online markets to 1988. And actually earlier, there were impromptu markets that existed outside of Wall Street in the early 20th century.

These things have been around for at least 100 years or probably more. 150 years. And with maybe only one or two exceptions that I can think of, they've done a just totally dead on job at forecasting.

: Long before polling existed, then you're saying we had betting. And there were betting lines in newspapers. And if you want to know who's winning the presidential race, that's what you looked at?

STRUMPF: That's exactly right. So in 1904, "The New York Times" reported on the front page what was going on at the Wall Street betting markets since there was no Gallup Poll that existed at that time.

FOREMAN: Johnny, why do you think that this is generally so successful compared to polling?

JOHN AVELLO, DIR. OF RACE & SPORTS, WYNN HOTEL: Well, first of all, you are taking actual bets. And you know, each person that puts their money up is a good indication of, you know, which way they like it.

When you're doing polling, you know, that's kind of an ambiguous way of finding out who the winner is because you're getting a fraction of the people who you're actually finding out who they like. So I like to call it money versus unpredictability.

FOREMAN: You're saying the difference is that in a poll, somebody may say something that they believe in generally, or they think that the pollster wants to hear. But when they put money down, they're going to really bet on what they think is going to happen?

AVELLO: It's the real thing.

FOREMAN: It's sort of interesting when you look at these different types of polls. There's the In Trade system, which is out of Dublin, Ireland that's sort of interesting. In Trade allows people to bet actual money and large amounts of it on all sorts of outcomes all around the world.

The Iowa markets is one the people have talked about a lot. Set up by a university there. Basically the Iowa markets allow people to bet in limited amounts of money. About $500. And it's used simply to see how well this works for educational purposes mainly.

Professor, when we talk about these, though, why did polling ever become popular if betting works so well in telling how we would win?

STRUMPF: Well, I think a kind of -- much like today, the newspapers, the media was always uncomfortable reporting these markets. There sort of was dubious legal status and maybe some moral issues with it.

Polling for whatever reason seems to have been morally acceptable to the media. And I think as a result when Gallup came around in the late 1930s, the betting markets kind of fell by the wayside. They never of course disappeared, but I think it was sort of a moral issue, the same kind of moral issues that I think arise today in thinking about gambling.

FOREMAN: So let me ask you this, Johnny. Why do you think it's been so difficult this year, though? Because as far as we can tell, the betting lines have not done any better than the pollsters this year in predicting this election. It has been all over the map. And the betting has been all over the map.

AVELLO: Well, one thing to remember, Tom, is that when the book maker's putting up a line, what they're trying to accomplish is divided action. So they're not trying to pick the winner because let's take for instance if the book maker put up Hillary Clinton at one to two, and she was bet from to three to win the Democratic nomination. You know, and Obama won. People would say, wow, the book maker really got killed on that.

FOREMAN: The book maker's not trying to predict it, but obviously, the gamblers are, the people who are betting on these things. And they haven't done well this time, not compared to past elections. Why do you think that is? Why is this so hard to sort out?

AVELLO: Because they're not always right. No one's right at 100 percent of the time. I would say best case. You know, I know that history has shown that the bettor has done well on this. But to be perfectly honest with you, I think if you do 60 percent, you've done a great job of picking the winner.

FOREMAN: And Koleman, do you think there's anything unique that's making it harder for the betting markets to be as accurate as they had been in the past?

STRUMPF: Well, it's obviously a close market and opinions are changing rapidly. I just want to kind of maybe extend a little on what Johnny just said in terms of thinking about what these markets mean.

The markets give us a probability of an event occurring. So even if, for example, Obama is a 80 percent favorite in the upcoming Wisconsin primary, which he is, that still means on the flip side that there's a 20 percent chance that he's not going to win. So the markets, again as Johnny had said, don't - they - by sort of definition can't predict an upset. An upset is a surprise which people hadn't anticipated. So sometimes there are these quick shifts of opinion, which I -- to the best of my knowledge, there's no way to forecast that in advance.

FOREMAN: And this campaign has been just filled with them. Johnny, one last thing here. Any sense of where the smart money is going these days?

AVELLO: Well, let's say that there's been a shift. I believe the smart money was on Hillary Clinton early, and has shifted to Obama. But surprises do happen. And all you need to do is look at the Superbowl to find that out.

FOREMAN: Johnny, thanks so much. Koleman, as well. We appreciate you being here. And speaking of gambling, Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum here in Washington is hedging its bet. And that kicks off our political side show.


COLEMAN (voice-over): The latest addition to their political panorama, Barack Obama standing right alongside Bill and Hillary Clinton in the Oval Office. He's smiling and he ought to be. The museum placed him behind the president's desk.

Russian President Vladimir Putin lost his shirt to promote help last year, but he kept his wits about him during a 4.5 hour press conference. That's right. 4.5 hours in front of 1,000 journalists. We only get that kind of press attention and heat here when pop stars begin to lose parts of their wardrobe.

Speaking of oops I did it again, the Senate Ethics Committee said Senator Larry Craig acted improperly after he was busted in an airport mens room, saying that he couldn't retract the guilty plea he made "knowingly, voluntarily and intelligently." Where as only a congressional committee would only think that all or part of that was intelligent.

And finally, another story of our broken borders. In 1818, surveyors spooked by an Indian rating party just north of them made a quite rational decision to put the Tennessee-Georgia state line just a bit further south, leaving the Tennessee River in Tennessee.

Now however, Georgia lawmakers want to fix this 200-year-old mistake, moving the boundary back into the middle of the river. Why now? Well, even a piece of a river looks pretty good when you're caught in a record drought.


FOREMAN: Well, it's time to take a ride on the fast track, where we tell you everything you really need to know to follow the next week in politics. And who better to do that than CNN senior political analyst Bill Schneider, who joins us. And we start off not talking about Super Tuesday, but next Tuesday, which we might call ruby Tuesday. Why does it matter?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It matters because Hillary Clinton wants to make the point that she's still showing some fight. The momentum has been with Obama, but she's going to make a stand in Wisconsin. At the last minute, she decided to go there. And she's sending her daughter Chelsea to Hawaii, which is Barack Obama's native state, to show she can fight him there, too.

FOREMAN: Two days later, we're going to have another debate right here on CNN in Austin, Texas. Boy, both of these candidates have been getting much more chippy lately. We are we going to see?

SCHNEIDER: What have they got left to fight about? They fought about just about everything on their agendas. Well, they can fight about the rules for the Democratic convention. What role will the super delegates play? Will Michigan and Florida be seated? That could be a tough fight.


FOREMAN: The Democrats are still fighting a two front war right now. They're fighting each other and they're fighting John McCain. What do we expect to come out of that?

SCHNEIDER: Well, we expect to see Barack Obama, who's now slightly the front runner in delegates. Suddenly, he's got a war going on with McCain over lobbying with the rules and who took money from whom. And he's also still got to fight Hillary Clinton. So he's fighting a two- front war.

FOREMAN: So what about Mike Huckabee? This is the remaining question. He can't win right now from all indications. I suppose if you hang around and something bad happens to McCain, he gets in there. But otherwise it's just a slow drip, drip. When is that faucet going to get turned off?

SCHNEIDER: Well, the rumors are Texas will be the last stand. That's the Alamo scenario. He'll make his last stand in Texas. And if McCain gets the majority of the delegates by then, Huckabee will have to throw in the towel. He says he'll get out when McCain has the majority. And not until then... FOREMAN: The secret is in the timing. Just like it is with comedy. And we check in now on the late night laughs this week to see how the politicians fared.


CONAN O'BRYAN: After John McCain swept yesterday's primaries, he purposely stole a line Barack Obama's been using. I'm fired up and ready to go.

Yes, when Obama heard this, he stole a line McCain's been using. I'm old and not sure where I am.

JON STEWART: So one needs a miracle. The fire wall. Mike Huckabee basically very close to McCain. He's Jesus and Hillary Clinton blown out three times in a row. All she needs is an IT guy.

JAY LENO: I guess Bill bought Hillary a dozen roses for Valentines Day. And it turns out seven of the roses were committed to Michelle Obama. Yes.