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Bush Endorses McCain; Clinton Grabs Momentum; Will Florida and Michigan Count?

Aired March 5, 2008 - 22:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Tonight, breaking news in the fight that could decide who wins the Democratic presidential nomination, the fight over Florida and Michigan.
The fight involves both. Obviously, both states held primaries. The results, however, do not count for now. Will that change? We will examine that tonight. Party bigwigs meeting tonight, trying to hash out whether the two states will hold primaries again. They have just wrapped up. We will have the latest live from Capitol Hill.

Also tonight, call it the big D vs. big mo'. Hillary Clinton is saying she got momentum, winning Ohio, Texas, and Rhode Island, and Barack Obama highlighting his delegate lead, ahead in the Texas caucuses, and could actually win more delegates there, despite losing the primary.

So, who is really winning? We will break it down with our panel and show you what went right for Clinton last night and wrong for Obama. John King maps out where each candidate goes from here and what happens with those superdelegates.

And, on the GOP side, it is McCain. But will today's big endorsement from President Bush help or hurt him with the independents and Democrats he will need to reach out to? We will explore all of that ahead.

We begin right now in Washington with breaking news, a bitter drama heating up tonight. A short time ago at the Capitol, Democratic lawmakers from Florida, a well as Michigan, wrapped up a closed-door meeting. Now, they are scrambling to find a way out of a huge mess, a mess that began when Democratic officials in both states broke party rules by holding their primaries too early. Now, that decision stripped them of their delegates. The primaries didn't count.

Now there's growing pressure to hold primaries in both states, and that -- well, that could change everything.

CNN's Joe Johns joins me with the breaking news from Capitol Hill.

Joe, what happened?


Democratic members of Congress from Michigan and Florida meeting here at the Capitol tonight, trying to figure out how to make the votes from their state count. It sounded very much like a brainstorming session, quite frankly. A lot of ideas, we have already heard about, starting a new primary, a firehouse primary, caucuses, perhaps, mail-ins, whatever you can do.

Nothing was decided, of course. Here's why it all matters. Right now, Michigan and Florida are simply black holes on the electoral map. Their votes simply don't count. The reason why is because they were punished by the Democratic National Committee for moving their primaries up, in violation of the state rules.

Now we're in a situation where the governors of both states have gone public, saying the delegates should be counted at the convention this year.

Let's listen now to Florida's governor.


GOV. CHARLIE CRIST (R), FLORIDA: The right to vote is at the very foundation of our democracy. This primary season, voters have turned out in record numbers to exercise that right, and it is reprehensible that anyone would seek to silence the voices.


JOHNS: (AUDIO GAP) about a lot of delegates here between these two states, 300 delegates, in fact. And with this very close primary race between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton right now, every single delegate counts.

As you know, in the case of Michigan and Florida, Hillary Clinton won both, even though neither of those candidates actually campaigned in the state. Hillary Clinton would love to see those delegates seated. Barack Obama says, he played by the rules. He didn't campaign in the state. Therefore, those delegates should not count.

Of course, Howard Dean, the Democratic National Committee chairman, weighed in as well today, putting out a statement, saying, in part, that the fact is that these rules of the Democratic Party will be abided by in any count.

Let me read some of that to you: "The Democratic nominee will be determined in accordance with party rules. And out of respect for the presidential campaigns and the states that did not violate party rules, we are not going to change the rules in the middle of the game."

On the other hand, he did call on the states to come up with some type of plan to figure out how they can get those delegates seated. As I told you right there at the top, there are a lot of different options, but nothing decided.

This is something that is going to be talked about for a while, because, to the candidates right now, those delegates could mean an awful lot -- Anderson. COOPER: So, bottom line, no decision tonight on whether or not they're going to have a revote in those states?

JOHNS: No decision at all.


JOHNS: As a matter of fact, a lot of the main players in this, the DNC, weren't in there. There wasn't anybody that I know of directly representing the campaigns. So, a lot of parties still have to get together and have a meeting before they figure out what to do.

COOPER: Right. Joe Johns reporting live from the Capitol -- thanks, Joe.

All this matters because, once again, after last night, the race could not be closer.

Tonight, we have new details about how Hillary got her mojo back and who helped her do it, in other words, what went right for Senator Clinton. The "Raw Politics" from CNN's Candy Crowley.


CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Hillary Clinton had to win, or it was done. So, she hit him with everything she had. In Texas, she stoked doubts about his commander in chief credentials with a play to the nightmares of a parent.


NARRATOR: It's 3:00 a.m., and your children are safe and asleep. But there's a phone in the White House and it's ringing. Something's happening in the world. Your vote will decide who answers that call.


CROWLEY: In Ohio, where NAFTA is blamed for thousands of lost jobs, Clinton jumped all over a story that a top Obama aide told Canadian officials that Obama's free trade criticism was more politics than policy.

SEN. HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D-NY), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The old wink-wink, don't pay any attention, this is just political rhetoric, I think that raises serious questions.

CROWLEY: Jugular on the trail, Clinton softened things up with a "Saturday Night Live" cameo and got a boost with two skits on two successive Saturdays, parodies aimed at complaints the media is hard on her, soft on him.


UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: Senator Obama, are you comfortable?


UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: Is there anything we can get for you?



CROWLEY: It was kindling to keep the fire burning beneath him.

CLINTON: Substitute my name for Senator Obama's name, and see what you would do with this story. That's what I would ask you to do.

CROWLEY: She was also working on friendly terrain. Ohio is full of traditional working-class Democrats she courted tirelessly with increasingly populist rhetoric.

And there was luck. The corruption trial of an Obama fund-raiser opened Monday, on election eve. Exit polls show those who decided in the last three days voted heavily for Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Candy Crowley, CNN, Washington.


COOPER: Some perspective before we get to the panel.

There were 370 delegates at stake last night. But, because they're divided up proportionally, not winner take all, neither Senators Clinton nor Obama gained or lost much. Her net pickup, about a dozen delegates, give or take a few.

Of course, if this were only a question of arithmetic, there wouldn't be much to talk about. But it is not.

So, with us tonight are John King, CNN contributor Roland Martin, CNN political analyst Amy Holmes, and CNN senior political analyst David Gergen.

David, voters decided -- a lot of voters decided in the last three days, and, of those folks, they went for Hillary Clinton, by and large. Clearly, the kitchen-sink strategy seemed to work. Does she keep that going in the -- in the days and weeks ahead? I mean, is there more in her sink?


DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: No, but the sink hasn't been emptied yet. I mean, you know, he hasn't responded to a lot of the things she's put out there.

But, to underscore that, Anderson, about 20 percent of the voters in Texas and in Ohio decided in the last three days. And they went about 60-40 in each state for Hillary Clinton. And it probably made the difference in Texas, those late-breakers.

So, the conclusion that was reached by the Clinton people -- and, by the way, it was reached long before the results came in. They knew this about 36 hours ago, 48 hours ago, when they got their own numbers. They decided, look, going negative against him works. Attack him. This is something Bill Clinton has been arguing for a long time, asking, when are we going to go negative. When are we going to go after him?

They went after him. He wasn't ready for it, lets an opportunity slip by in responding, and they got him. And now, see, he's got -- I think they have -- whatever the math, they have successfully raised some doubts about him.

COOPER: So, what does he do now, Roland, in terms of, does he try to go negative? Today, on the campaign trail, he was talking about, when is she going to release her tax returns? Is that too little too late?

ROLAND MARTIN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I think that that's a nice little point, but I think what he first does, he wants to kick his campaign's behind for frankly being weak in the final 72 hours. She blew past him. They simply let up, and so they didn't.

I think one of the things that he does is try to challenge her on this foreign policy initiative. She was on "AMERICAN MORNING" this morning talking about the Irish peace talks in Kosovo. He has to say, wait a minute. What were you actually doing in that?

You say you were first lady. Well, what did you actually negotiate? She has taken this 35 years of experience. People have rallied around it, but what does that really mean? You're counting every year since college. He must challenge her directly on that, but also focus on the economy, which he did not do good enough in Ohio.

COOPER: But if he does that, though, Amy Holmes, does he risk kind of eliminating this different kind of candidate thing he has going?

AMY HOLMES, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, certainly. And Hillary Clinton wants him to fight with one hand tied behind his back, since it certainly advantages her.

But I agree with Roland that one of Barack Obama's sort of weaknesses throughout that's been pointed out by Republicans and Democrats is that his unwillingness to come out of the clouds and be specific. We have heard Barack Obama say, Hillary Clinton tries to cherry-pick what in her husband's administration worked and take credit for it, but she never talks about what doesn't.


HOLMES: He needs to get specific about what that means. That's a contrast. It's not an attack, and he needs to get right in there.

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Democrats -- I don't know whether they call it buyer's remorse or buyer's hesitation, but he has now twice has her backed against the wall and both times she has landed a square punch. And Democrats are saying, is this guy tough enough? Is this guy tough enough? Because John McCain -- the Democrats are favored in this election, Anderson. The economy is working in their favor. They're -- after an eight-year Republican administration, in the middle of an unpopular war, and Democrats are sitting there thinking, are we going to nominate someone who is tough enough to take on the Republicans?

Barack Obama was ahead in Texas. He had a chance to close the deal. I understand and appreciate all Roland's points about the Obama campaign, but this comes down to the candidate himself. He thought he was ahead, he could coast, and he would get Texas, and that would be enough, and he waited too long.


HOLMES: But, John, don't you agree, we saw this last summer? The media was telling Barack Obama, you need to get in there. You need to take off the gloves. Otherwise, she's going to roll right over you to February 5. And he started to get tougher.

Remember, he told "The New York Times," OK, I'm going to finally -- I'm going get in there.

That's what he needs to do in the next coming weeks.

GERGEN: A senior Democrat, Anderson, told me a few weeks ago that, before the campaign started -- this is someone who has worked with Bill Clinton, had been advising Barack Obama. Barack came to him and asked him about the campaign.

And this senior Democrat told him, look, I don't need to know whether you can take a punch. I need to know whether you can throw a punch.

COOPER: Right.

GERGEN: And that is the question that is suddenly front and center.

COOPER: And we still don't know the answer to that.

GERGEN: We don't know the answer. And there are some people around him who think that's not his nature. After all, he's been the candidate who wanted to get beyond that kind of politics. And that's the box he's got himself in now, because, if he starts throwing punches that don't land well, he's going to be -- they're going to come right after him. Wait a minute, I thought you were the new kind of politics.

I thought there was something interesting he did last night in his speech, that it was the beginnings of an argument. And that is, he paired up do -- he said, do we really want a campaign with John McCain vs. Hillary Clinton, two of the standard, old-politics kind of people? Can't we come to a new politics?

If he could sharpen that argument...

COOPER: Right.

GERGEN: ... he could actually go at both of them and not be too personal about it.

COOPER: We're going to more with our panel shortly.

I'm blogging throughout this hour, if I have time. So is Erica Hill.


COOPER: So, you can join the conversation. Just go to

Coming up, more on where Barack Obama went wrong last night, where Hillary Clinton went right in the last couple of days, and where they both go next, getting ready for Pennsylvania, a state that one commentator last night called more Ohio than Ohio.

We will be right back.



OBAMA: We are confident that, after last night, where Senator Clinton had a good night, but said that, you know, she had to win Texas and Ohio decisively, we end up emerging with essentially the same delegate count that we had going in, and feel confident that we're going to be able to go on to the nomination.


COOPER: Barack Obama this morning on "AMERICAN MORNING."

Barack Obama may have lost the latest battle, but his campaign continues to sound like he has won the war. He's spending more time focusing on John McCain as his opponent, not Hillary Clinton. The problem is, Hillary Clinton may have the momentum. So, exactly what happened to Obama in the last couple of days?

Once again, the "Raw Politics" from Candy Crowley.


CROWLEY (voice-over): The Obama campaign responded with lightning speed to Clinton's phone ad suggesting he doesn't have the credentials to manage a crisis.


NARRATOR: When that call gets answered, shouldn't the president be the one, the only one, who had judgment and courage to oppose the Iraq war from the start? (END VIDEO CLIP)

CROWLEY: It was not enough. His campaign suggests now Obama will toughen it up, not just tout his credentials, but go after hers.

OBAMA: In fact, Senator Clinton hasn't cited any particular experience that makes her prepared to make that -- to make that call.

CROWLEY: Still, the March 4 tea leaves suggest the self- inflicted wound cut the deepest. That NAFTA memo suggesting Obama doesn't really mean his criticism of the free trade deal was bad enough. But this, denial of the story before the memo surfaced, made it worse.

OBAMA: The Canadian government put out a statement indicating that this was just not true, so I don't know who their sources are. It wasn't true.

CROWLEY: But the memo proved the meeting did take place. At best, Obama's staff failed him. At worst, it's the Washington double- speak he rails against, and a double whammy, casting doubt on the core of Obama's campaign and his free trade rhetoric.

On the same day the trade memo blew up, a longtime Obama supporter went on trial for corruption and bribery of public officials. There are no accusations of wrongdoing by Obama, but there are unanswered questions. It made for a very messy news conference less than 24 hours before the Texas and Ohio primaries.

OBAMA: I just answered like eight questions.

CROWLEY: The three-day period before the primaries proved to be the roughest, costliest of Barack Obama's campaign.

Candy Crowley, CNN, Washington.


COOPER: Joining us once, CNN's John King, Roland Martin, Amy Holmes, and David Gergen.

Roland, today, Obama was asked what happened. I want to play some of what he said.


OBAMA: There's no doubt that Senator Clinton went very negative over the last week. And, you know, the kitchen-sink strategy, I'm sure, had some impact, particularly in a context where many of you in the press corps had been persuaded that you had been too hard on her and too soft on me.


COOPER: He's saying she went very negative. There are a lot of folks out there -- Paul Begala on the show last night, Clinton supporter, was saying, look, she didn't go that negative. And, if he thinks that's negative, wait until he sees what the Republicans can throw at him.

Does this play into her narrative that he can't take a punch?

MARTIN: She went negative compared to how this contest has gone on. But, no, it wasn't that particularly negative.

And the point is, they didn't respond. So, the issue is not her going negative. You didn't throw a punch back. That's what they have to do. They have to figure out what is the actually focus.

And, look, I wrote a piece last week on where she has to focus, focus, focus on the economy. What she did, she threw a punch on foreign policy. They responded on that, while she spent all her time focusing on the economy. And that is what you do. You distract your opponent and you focus on something else. Smart move.


COOPER: Amy, Obama did come out today talking about her tax returns. Is that an issue that could actually hurt her? I mean, do people care about that?

HOLMES: I think that it could. And from the Republican point of view, I know the RNC did research into what are Hillary Clinton's great weaknesses, and trustworthiness is a big one. That's the one that Republicans had been planning to use against Hillary Clinton should she have gotten that nomination February 5.

So, a little advice to the Obama campaign, the voters still are, you know, a little iffy, a little skeptical about Clinton and trustworthiness. And, so, if he brings out these tax return issues, if he brings out those library donations, where are they coming from, where is this money coming from, and that's a fair, legitimate question. It's not an attack. It's trying to illuminate...


COOPER: I thought you were going to say library books. I was like, are we really at the level of library books?


COOPER: David, other than the tax returns and the library donations, which Amy was talking about, I mean, what -- does -- does Obama need to go on the offensive, or does he keep doing what he's doing, keep talking about John McCain?

GERGEN: He absolutely needs to go on the offensive.

But going on the offensive is not just about raising questions about Hillary Clinton and inconsistencies. He has to now start -- freshen up his message. He has to tell us with a lot more precision what he's going to be doing substantively. And I would argue he ought to be arguing about how -- how politics will be different. What is he going to offer that would be different?

For example, I think he could -- he could promise, I will build the first true coalition government we have had in this country for 50 years, since Franklin Roosevelt, because we're in a time of crisis. We have got all these crises that are coming at us. I'm going to govern in a very different way -- lay out that kind of vision, as opposed to what Hillary Clinton and -- and John McCain represent, is the old-style politics.

Keep making that differentiation. And I think -- but I think he has -- by the way, Anderson. In some ways -- I know he doesn't like this -- the campaign doesn't like this -- but, for the country and for him, this is actually a good thing in some ways. We're going to really find out how much steel is in this fellow. We don't know that right now.


GERGEN: This is a good thing.


COOPER: All these candidates come out stronger from these kind of...


HOLMES: I would add to that -- I would add to that, you can walk -- you can walk and chew gum at the same time. And we saw that Hillary in the last four days was able to play both the bully and the victim.

She said that the media is attacking me, it's unfair, while, meanwhile, she's launching these attacks, these fusillades against Barack Obama. He's going to need to learn how to do that.

KING: I think the use of the word steel is a good reference heading into where this fight is going to go.

Look, he is favored out in the Wyoming caucuses. He is favored overwhelmingly Mississippi, which is a week from yesterday, so six days from now, because of the African-American vote. So, he will get a little bit of momentum back. And then you will have the big fight in Pennsylvania.

It's at the end of April, Anderson. It is an eternity from now. And it is a place where she, again, has a very energized, hyper- political Democratic governor, Ted Strickland in Ohio, Ed Rendell in Pennsylvania, fighting for her. The labor unions get involved more in a way there. The economy is a huge issue. The white, rural vote, like it was in Ohio, is a huge issue.

They're going to have to fight this out on the ground. And he's going to have to prove that he can deliver a better message. And his people are going to have to prove that they can grab people by the ear and get them out to vote, because they lost Ohio yesterday because they didn't do that.



I do want to get back, though, to -- to our lead story tonight, the breaking news tonight, which is about Michigan and about Florida. What are the options there?

KING: Well, the options are to do it again or to have caucuses, instead of primaries.

But, look, the two governors who are saying, our delegates must be seated, are the two governors who insisted that their state legislatures move this process up...

MARTIN: Right.

KING: ... even though they were warned doing so would break the rules.

Now, there are many questioning Governor Charlie Crist. He's the Republican governor. Jennifer Granholm of Michigan is a Democrat. Charlie Crist is saying, we need to have our delegates seated and democracy needs to succeed, and so let's have the Democrats do this again.

Well, there are a lot of people are saying, boy, wouldn't that help John McCain, to add Florida to the mix? We're talking about a bloody fight in Pennsylvania, then Indiana, West Virginia, Kentucky. Yes, let's throw Florida in there, too, and string it out longer, let them fight longer.


KING: A lot of Republicans say, let's keep going.



MARTIN: How hard is it for the Democrats to say, OK, you know what, we are going to take Florida delegates and Michigan delegates, we will split them down the line and we will seat them, OK?

But, obviously, Clinton doesn't want that. Obama folks really don't want that as well. But if you want to have the argument that we should seat the delegations, that's one way to do it, no harm, no foul. They get represented, and then there's no conversation.


HOLMES: And no advantage.


KING: It's impossible.



COOPER: We are going to have more from our panel.


COOPER: They're going to try to figure this one out during commercial breaks.

Tomorrow on 360: standing by her mom -- an up-close look at Chelsea Clinton on the campaign trail. She's traveling across the country, talking to voters, not talking to the media, but talking to voters, plugging Hillary Clinton of course for president. She's not afraid to tackle the issues, like Iraq.

Listen to this.


CHELSEA CLINTON, DAUGHTER OF BILL AND HILLARY CLINTON: My mother's on the Armed Services Committee, and so she does listen to General Petraeus. But she disagrees with General Petraeus.


COOPER: Chelsea Clinton miked up talking on behalf of her mom. She is drawing a lot of crowds, signing autographs. Is she a secret weapon for the Clintons? Up close on the campaign trail with Chelsea Clinton -- tomorrow on 360.

And coming up tonight: where the race stands now. What is next for the candidates? We will check in with John King in front of that map that we all love.


COOPER: First, Erica Hill joins us with a 360 bulletin -- Erica.

ERICA HILL, HEADLINE NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, one person is dead, another severely injured, tonight after an explosion destroyed a home in suburban Pittsburgh. There is debris scattered all over the block. Several other homes in the area were damaged. Investigators are now trying to figure out just what caused that explosion.

Actor Patrick Swayze is battling pancreatic cancer. The star of "Dirty Dancing" and "Ghost," though, is apparently well enough to continue working on upcoming projects. His doctor says Swayze has a very limited amount of the disease and is responding well to treatment.

And a Long Island, New York, couple the proud parents of identical triplets. So, why all the fuss? Well, it turns out doctors believe is the first set of identical triplets from one embryo using in vitro fertilization. In fact, one obstetrician estimates this happens just once in every 200 million births, kind of rare. So, to tell the three boys apart, the parents actually had to put nail polish, Anderson, on their fingers.


COOPER: Well, they're adorable kids. That's nice.

HILL: Yes.

COOPER: Erica, stay right there. "What Were They Thinking?" is next. You are going to meet a rat whose owner makes thousands of bucks off the rat's artwork, so-called artwork. Why would anyone pay for rat art? We will try to see what they are thinking, coming up.

After that, why is President Bush doing the old soft-shoe by the Rose Garden? And what does it have to do with John McCain? We will have that song and dance -- when 360 continues.


COOPER: Erica, now our segment "What Were They Thinking?"

Actually, I just got tell you, I was just live blogging, and I think I misspelled something. But I was in such a rush, so I apologize to those online.

HILL: It's rough when there's no spell-check. I'm with you.


COOPER: Yes. It was an easy word, too.

Anyway, "What Were They Thinking?" Meet Tony Blair, the pet rat. He got the name from his owner after she caught him eating a photo of the former prime minister.


COOPER: Tony is gaining worldwide recognition -- I'm not sure how much really worldwide, but at least tonight.

HILL: Well, now that he's on 360, it's worldwide.

COOPER: That's right.

His art, it's rather expensive art. Take a look. Some of it has sold for more than $3,500. Tony...

HILL: That's crazy.

COOPER: Tony has his own blog, where he describes himself as a self-taught artist whose favorite mediums include foliage...

HILL: Hmm.

COOPER: ... fabric and electrical cables.

HILL: Yes.

COOPER: We just love the explanation about some of his artwork. Take a look.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Some of the work he's produced makes us ask questions. For example, he's taken a four-leafed clover, removed one the leaves, making it a three-leafed clover. And we sort of asked the question, is it still lucky? And then there's the other work he does, which is the sculptures. We have a cadre of sculptures, which are not asking questions, but they look attractive.


HILL: Yes.

COOPER: Yes, that's a sculpture.

HILL: Not asking questions, but they look attractive.

You know what kills me, too? Thirty-five hundred bucks? It's not even the actual piece of art. I think it's a picture of it.

COOPER: Is that right? Really?

HILL: Mm-hmm.

COOPER: You don't actually get the half-eaten...

HILL: No. I think some of them are pictures. Oh, look, I took a picture of my now three-leaf clover.


COOPER: Is it really a three-leaf clover?

Ain't the Internet great?

HILL: It makes us ask questions, Anderson.

COOPER: Yes, it does, makes us ask questions.

Well, still ahead tonight...

HILL: Like, what were they thinking?

COOPER: Many questions, indeed.

John King at the map to break down who won where last night and where the candidates will be fighting it out next.

Plus, John McCain stops at the White House for a big endorsement from the president. Will it help or hurt his campaign and trying to reach out to those independents and Democrats?

And here's tonight's "Beat 360."

Cue the music, John King.

Senator Hillary Clinton shouting with staffers on her airplane in Houston, Texas, yesterday.

Here's the caption from our staff winner, Julia: "Should be a smooth ride, guys. I already had my near-death experience for the week."

That's pretty good, actually, yes.

Think you can do better? Go to Send us your submission. We will announce the winner at the end of the program tonight.



CLINTON: For everyone who has stumbled, but stood right back up, and for everyone...


CLINTON: ... who works hard and never gives up, this one is for you.



COOPER: Hillary Clinton last night. Last night was certainly a good night for her, at least in Ohio, Texas and Rhode Island.

Hillary Clinton says she senses a change. She told CNN earlier today that her campaign has turned a corner. Maybe so, but what matters for Clinton and Obama now is the math. The candidates are in a ferocious numbers game and a sprint to the finish line now.

With more on what is next and why so much is still at stake, John King at the big board -- John.

KING: And let's go look at the delegate math.

Anderson, this gets wild, because this is about where we are after last night, still some delegates to be apportioned in some of these states, and the complicated rules, the Texas caucuses, for example. But this is roughly where we are right now. The finish line is out here.

Senator Obama has a slight lead. And his campaign said today, well, she's desperate. She should get out, because she cannot mathematically win. Let's put that theory to the test. Let's say Senator Clinton -- there's no reason to believe this. Remember, he's favored in Mississippi. He's favored in out Wyoming. But let's for the sake of argument give every state to Senator Clinton, every state left to vote. And I'm doing this by a 55-45 margin, giving them all to Senator Clinton.

This is not the order they vote in. I'm just doing them as we hit them. There we go. And look at this. Senator Clinton, at that, if we gave her all those states, 55-45, where is she? She's caught up with Barack Obama, actually still a little bit behind him.

So, the Obama campaign is technically correct in saying that, even if she wins, she can't win, if you will.

But the Clinton campaign comes back and says, guess what? Neither can he.

And let's do it that way. Let's give them to Obama by the same math, and you run them out -- again, this is not the order they vote in, and there's no reason to believe he would win them all. But let's assign them as we go. Make sure we get Pennsylvania. Michigan and Florida, of course, are the wildcards.

Look where Barack Obama gets. Now, I could give you a 65-35 scenario and the lines would move a little bit. One of them would get closer, but no one would get to the finish line. Obviously, the key here is Barack Obama needs to stop her in Pennsylvania.

Because let me go back to this map and play it out like we think it might happen. He's favored here. He's favored here. She's favored here. So after Pennsylvania, Anderson, we may end up right about here. He is still ahead, but she is close enough to then fight it out.

She likes these states. She thinks these states are going to go just like Ohio, especially if she can win Pennsylvania. She wraps herself around right there. And at that point she's still behind him, which is interesting. What the Obama campaign keeps saying this.

So let's assume Barack Obama -- take that off to do that. Barack Obama does this. And what do you get? You get stalemate. He's ahead, and this is where the whole super delegate argument comes into play. He's ahead in pledged delegates, should he get the stake? North Carolina will be a huge fighting match if it goes down to the wire like this.

But what happens in the end? Nobody gets to the finish line. And the conversation we just had, what happens to Michigan and Florida? And what happens to these delegates who get the super title?

COOPER: So once again we're back where it boils down to super delegates and/or Michigan and Florida.

KING: Unless somebody breaks this open in a way that we simply haven't seen. Which is why, again, just like Ohio and Texas were critical, Pennsylvania is now critical to Senator Clinton. A long way to the end of April, but if she wins Pennsylvania, then there is stalemate. It's almost guaranteed stalemate to the very end.

COOPER: Fascinating. John King, thanks.

When we come back, the man who's got nothing to worry about, from now until convention time, short of -- well, not that much to worry about except trying to convince people he should be president. John McCain and his strategy, now that he's locked up the Republican nomination ahead on 360.


COOPER: Getting new information about our breaking story from the top of the program. What happens to the Democratic delegates from Michigan and Florida? That's what we're wondering about tonight. Will there be new primaries? Members of the Florida and Michigan congressional delegations met tonight just a moment ago.

Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz described the mood in the room this way. "Both delegations," she says, "feel very, very strongly, adamantly, that our delegations be seated at the national conventions." She goes on to say, "We agree with our governors, who released a joint statement today, and the conversations will continue about what the various possibilities are to help us make sure our constituents have delegations at both conventions."

No doubt more on this in the coming days.

On the Republican side, Senator John McCain sealed the deal last night. His new stop today as the newly-minted presumptive nominee was a stop at the White House. You've heard the saying politics makes strange bedfellows. Well, today, Senator McCain's once bitter rival, President Bush, became his new best friend, endorsing McCain and raising some -- well, some awkward questions.

Here's CNN's Dana Bash.


DANA BASH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): An early president was left to awkwardly shuffle his heels in front of the cameras, an anxious wait for John McCain. Then a formal White House greeting to show his respect and a changing of the GOP guard.

After a private lunch, the one-time bitter rivals appeared side by side for a political blessing.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: John showed incredible courage, strength of character and perseverance in order to get to this moment. And that's exactly what we need in a president: somebody who can handle the tough decisions.

BASH: Unprompted, the new presumptive Republican nominee answered a key question of his candidacy. Would he enlist the unpopular president to help? Yes. SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R-AZ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I intend to have as much possible campaigning events and together as in keeping with the president's heavy schedule. And I look forward to that opportunity.

BASH: McCain plans to use the president to raise money for what is still a cash-strapped campaign.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The president of the United States.

BASH: His advisers hope Mr. Bush, still popular with the GOP faithful, helps rally a dispirited base around a nominee many do not trust. But Mr. Bush's approval rating with independent voters McCain is courting is only 26 percent. And Democrats promise to use this embrace against McCain.

BUSH: It's not about me. You know, I've done my bid.

BASH: The president may not like it, but he gets it. There will be times McCain will keep his distance.

BUSH: If my showing up and endorsing him helps him, or if I'm against him and it helps him, either way, I want him to win. I'm going to be in Crawford with my feet up. He's going to be sitting in there behind that desk making decisions on war and peace. And I'm thankful our party has nominated somebody plenty capable of making those decisions.

BASH (on camera): McCain advisers say they hope to get the president out raising money as soon as possible and even insist they welcome his help making the case for staying in Iraq.

But those same advisers also tell CNN not to expect the presumptive nominee to appear side by side with Mr. Bush.

Dana Bash, CNN, Washington


COOPER: Well, is President Bush's blessing really such a blessing in terms of reaching out to independents and Democrats? That's one of our questions for our panelists, CNN's John King, David Gergen, Roland Martin and Amy Holmes.

Amy, how much do you really expect to see President Bush out on the campaign trail with John McCain?

AMY HOLMES, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: I expect to see him in a lot of rubber-chicken dinners. I expect to see George Bush going to that conservative base, getting those conservatives to open up their wallets, get their support.

You know, I went to the CPAC convention a few weeks ago, and where George Bush spoke. We just saw a little clip of that. And the crowd was just enthusiastic, euphoric, chanting, "Four more years." I'm not even sure George Bush wants that. He still is held in great affection among conservatives, and that's exactly the group that John McCain needs to rally to his side.

COOPER: David, do you agree with that? Last night Paul Begala was saying, look, seeing John McCain and George Bush together in the White House is the best thing the Democrats could have hoped for.

DAVID GERGEN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: I think that people are underestimating what George Bush can do for John McCain. Amy's actually right. Fundraising is part of that.

Secondly, George W. Bush is a much better politician than he has been a decision-maker on some issues in the White House. He's -- he's won two elections in a row. He knows how to play this game, and he can do that.

But there's a third thing, Anderson, which hasn't been much discussed, and it's going to come right around Pennsylvania time. And that is the debate over the future of Iraq and American foreign policy in Iraq. John McCain and George W. Bush can be allies in trying to frame this debate in ways that will be very tough and very interesting to watch.

To have Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama in that same chamber with John McCain is going to be -- just around the Pennsylvania primary is going to be absolutely riveting, I think.

COOPER: John, how fine a line does John McCain have to walk in terms of reaching out to conservatives and, yet, at the same time trying to talk to those independents and those Democrats? I mean, last night he addressed independent-minded Democrats in his speech, and yet it was a very conservative speech.

KING: It's tough. But the McCain people don't think it's all that hard, really, in the sense that it's tough that that picture -- Democrats will use that and say, "Look at them. It's a third Bush term."

Well, guess what? The people who are going to have that reaction to that picture aren't going to vote for John McCain anyway.

So what they say is you -- it's March. Remember, it's March. The election is a long way away. You raise a lot of money; you send him to places where he's still popular. This president, as David said, he gets it. He was around all his father's campaigns. We're not going to have the Al Gore, "What do I do with Bill Clinton?" And nervously dancing around each other for months.

George W. Bush will call the campaign and say, "What do you want?" When they say come out, he'll come out. When they say hide, he'll hide. And McCain will agree with him. He'll try to reframe the Iraq debate, use the bully pulpit of the presidency. On issues where they disagree, say climate change, Senator McCain will say, "I disagree with the president on this one." And if he says it openly, he thinks independents will say, OK.

COOPER: And Roland, we're going to hear from Clinton and from Obama, whoever is the nominee, as much as possible, linking McCain with George Bush?

ROLAND MARTIN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Of course. Absolutely when it comes to the Iraq war. One of John McCain's weaknesses comes to the economy. You have the president trying to drive this whole issue of the stimulus package, also, how do we fix the economy, also the tax cuts.

Bush can help McCain by saying, "OK, you know what? Sure he was against my tax cuts initially, but he came out for them."

If McCain has to focus on the economy, you know what, he's got national security. If it's Clinton, if it's Obama, we know he's a veteran, POW. He's got that. He should spend this time between now and the convention really boning up on the economy, offering initiatives, not only as a candidate but also as a U.S. senator, that will help him.

COOPER: We're going to have more with our panel, coming up right after this short break. A lot more to discuss. We're going to talk about the ongoing Democratic battle and whether that gives John McCain an advantage leading up to the November vote, as Roland was talking about. We'll be right back.



MCCAIN: I am very, very grateful and pleased to note that tonight, my friends, we have won enough delegates to claim with confidence, humility and a great sense of responsibility that I will be the Republican nominee for president of the United States.


COOPER: John McCain and his wife last night. We're joined again by CNN's John King, David Gergen, Roland Martin and Amy Holmes.

How much, Amy, does a protracted battle among the Democrats favor John McCain? The conventional wisdom is, well, it helps him enormously, because he's able to sharpen his attacks while they're off fighting each other. And yet it does make them sharper candidates on the Democratic side.

HOLMES: Well, you hear talk on the Democratic side that throwing these punches, as we've been talking about, makes them tougher candidates and they'll be a tougher -- whoever is chosen will then be tougher going into the general. But it does help John McCain enormously. It gives him time to reach out to conservatives, gives him time to sharpen his message, as we said, gives him time to steady up on the economics that he said he doesn't have a grip on and then time to own that issue while the Democrats are...

COOPER: You think he's doing a lot of studying on the campaign trail these days?

MARTIN: I think it also hurts John McCain in the sense that they're going to dominate the headlines. Like it or not with Mike Huckabee in the race, John McCain was still in the news. He was on television. He was in newspapers. They are going to now dominate that. He has to figure out a way how to break through the media, you know, to get his message out. Because now you're the nominee. Who cares? We'll wait till August.

KING: It depends. I really think this chapter is not written yet. If in the end the Democrats are bleeding, of course, it helps John McCain. If at the end, they just have a good tough fight and then whoever comes out is stronger, then probably not so much.

He does have time to do some of the business he needs to do, but they have the spotlight. And they're going to dominate most of the media coverage.

The big question is does a significant portion of the Democratic Party, say the African-American vote, in the end feel mad about this and sit on their hands in November. That's when it would help John McCain, if the Democrats hurt themselves and send a piece of their party off to the sidelines.

HOLMES: I disagree with your idea about dominating the headlines. I don't think in politics that all publicity is good publicity, that if you have a severely wounded candidate because of those fights, that's helpful to John McCain, whether he's in the headlines or not.

COOPER: It's a very long road, David.

GERGEN: It's time when he can have a creative period, Anderson, to do some things that they can't do. He can travel. He can travel internationally and look like a future president who's talking to world leaders. He can go to Iraq.

COOPER: Well, here's one of the remarkable things about John McCain, to his credit, whether you like him or not. I mean, he went to Iraq -- I think it was for Thanksgiving at the height of a campaign, a very, you know, bruising campaign against Mitt Romney and others.

No other candidate was doing that. I don't think Rudy Giuliani has ever been to Iraq. He went in the middle of the campaign. That takes some guts.

GERGEN: That's right. And it's -- the more he does of that, the more he brings national security into the centerpiece -- as a centerpiece of the campaign and -- and especially against Barack Obama, but also against Hillary Clinton, who are out there scrapping with each other. You know, he's off talking to Putin or something like that, or he's having some talks in Israel. And he goes to Iraq and Europe, that is very presidential stuff.

He also doesn't have to -- he's not a very good stump speaker, but he's very good in a studio. That's where I think he has gravitas to do that sort of thing. MARTIN: John brought up a great point when he talked about African-Americans and the ability in terms of sitting at home if Clinton gets the nomination.

Now I'm not saying that McCain is going to somehow get 30 percent of the black vote. But George W. Bush spoke five out of the eight years to the National Urban League. Today they released their State of Black America report.

I believe that John McCain has an opportunity to go to their convention this summer, talk about economics, talk about vouchers, talk about economic autonomy and homeownership. He has the potential that, if she gets the nomination, and African-Americans -- trust me. I am getting on my radio show, on my blog and every other forum, that she gets the nomination, some of the things she's done, they're very ticked off.

If he's able to pull even two to five percent, she cannot afford to lose anything. He has an opportunity. So if I was him, I would think about that strategy.

COOPER: There was this NBC News/"Washington Post" poll, basically a general election match-up between John McCain and Hillary Clinton versus Barack Obama. I want to put it up on the screen there. It basically showed McCain would trail Obama by 12 points, 52 to 40, and by Clinton, six points, 50 to 44. These are kind of meaningless. I mean, who knows.

KING: Yes, but in the sense that this is McCain's weaker in these polls than he was just a month ago. And the question is why. The McCain campaign needs to look at that. And their initial analysis is that he's out of the economic debate. And they've said they're going to have a bold economic plan. But those numbers -- yes, it's March, but those numbers are not as good as it was before.

GERGEN: They're going to make a big difference to the super delegates, the Democrats, who's ahead.

COOPER: All right. Thank you all, David Gergen, Amy Holmes, Roland Martin, John King.

Senator McCain may be just beginning his search for vice president, but his running mate is guaranteed. We're talking about his wife, Cindy. 360 correspondent Randi Kaye has been looking into McCain's relationship, the role that she plays in his life and his campaign. He credits her with where he is today. She's a fascinating lady who could be the next first lady.

Randi blogged about her story today. Check it out: And we'll let you know when Randi's story is going to air on 360.

Still to come, with water so scarce out west, how come there is flooding in the Grand Canyon and why? Look at all that water. The answer next.

And later, "The Shot." But watch fast. It's over in a streak, and a smash hit. Yes, it's a streaking Australian, and no, it's not Michael Ware. We'll be right back.


COOPER: Well, if you think cricket is dull, you might want to think again and stay tuned for "The Shot," which could be the only exciting thing to happen at a cricket match ever. That's right: a naked streaker. Well, actually, those are the only kind of streakers, aren't they?

First, Erica Hill again with the "360 News and Business Bulletin" -- Erica.

HILL: Anderson, I want to warn you first that this piece of tape we're about to play for you could be a little tough for you to listen to. Police in Palm Beach County, Florida, today releasing the 911 tapes from Monday's shooting at a local Wendy's, where an armed man killed one person and himself.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The guy shot up the whole Wendy's.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK. Listen to me very carefully.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I can't move my arm. He blew my arm off.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Listen to me carefully. I already have police on the way. All right.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Tell me who did this.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hurry. I can't -- my arm is blown half off. I'm losing lots of blood. Hurry, please.


HILL: Scary stuff.

In business news today, oil prices topping $104 a barrel, another record-high for crude. But don't expect any sympathy from OPEC. It said members will not boost production, blaming the rise on, quote, "mismanagement of the U.S. economy."

And from oil to water, and lots of it, the government opening up a Glen Canyon dam today to unleash the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon. The goal here: to restore part of the canyon's ecosystem, which was damaged by that same dam.

And that's what I wrote about on my blog today.

COOPER: You know, I heard sad news today, that the guy who created Dungeons and Dragons passed away. Do you remember?

HILL: I saw that, as well. He did. COOPER: I was a big Dungeons and Dragons geek. I admit it.

HILL: Really?

COOPER: Yes, I was.

HILL: Interesting.

COOPER: Yes, but anyway, brought back lots of memories.

All right. Erica, pull up a chair, fasten your seat belt, and as always, put a little cheese on the old iPod. Time for the "Beat 360" winner.

You'll remember Hillary Clinton peeking out from behind a bulkhead on her campaign jet. Our staff caption -- you can know we chose carefully -- comes from associate producer Julia: "Should be a smooth ride, guys. I already had my near death experience for the week."

I actually rather like that. John King liked it too.

From viewer Ralph in Allentown, Pennsylvania -- he's the winner. He wrote, "Who would you like flying this plane at 3 a.m. in the morning?"

HILL: Very topical.

COOPER: Very topical, exactly.

Don't forget, you can play along or check out past winners. Go to And as always, there is no wagering.

So up next, a shot and what a shot it is. A naked Australian. No, it's not Michael Ware for once. Boom. And he gets taken out. All right. And his bits and pieces are fine. We'll be right back.


COOPER: Welcome back. Gary Gygax was the creator of Dungeons and Dragons who passed away. I just wanted to throw that out there.

All right, Erica. We don't often say this, but tally ho. Take a look.


HILL: All right!

COOPER: Look out for that wicket. Sticky wicket.

HILL: Ooh.

COOPER: There's a whole host of cheesy lines I could say, but I'm just going to move along.

HILL: Are you sure you want to move along? There are so many good ones to be had.

COOPER: Yes. Boom right there. Let's see.

HILL: You need somebody to take this guy out.

COOPER: In Perth, Australia, a streaker did not get far. A player, a cricket player flattened him. Then a judge fined the guy; the streaker got fined to 1,500 Aussie dollars.

HILL: That will teach you to take your clothes off and run across the field.


HILL: Although like you said earlier, it probably was the most exciting thing at the match.

But I'll see your bats man tackles the streaker, and I will raise you a streaker.

COOPER: Really?

HILL: Taken down by none other than Birdie the Bee.


HILL: That's right. He floats like a bee and stings like one, too.


HILL: Yes. Someone's in pain now.

COOPER: He went right for the bits -- the bee went right for the bits and pieces in the tackle right there.

HILL: He did.

COOPER: I think we may be over using that phrase. It's just a thought.

HILL: I don't think so.

COOPER: Maybe that's not possible.

HILL: Now look at the bee. That's right. That's right, I'm the bee. Yes. Don't mess with me. And I'm a worm too.

COOPER: And he does the worm. Nice.

HILL: Impressive. Ow!


HILL: Yes.

COOPER: Wow. Interesting, though, the bee chose to take it on, like, as if that were the bee's job, to tackle...

HILL: That is the bee's job.

COOPER: Apparently so. All right, Erica.

If you see some streakers or some bees or batsmen or whatever, or whatever you see, let us know: Go there to see all the most recent shots, all the streakers that we've had here. We need a streaker on the program. That's what we need. The address again...

HILL: Be careful what we wish for.


Up next, at the top of the hour, the breaking news, the Florida and Michigan delegate battle. Also, Hillary, 2.0. How did she turn her 11-race losing streak around?

And John McCain's big day in the White House. Is a presidential endorsement a good thing, when it's from this president, in terms of trying to reach out to independents and what John McCain calls independent-minded Democrats? We'll talk about that and more when 360 continues.