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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL

Newfound Momentum for Senator Clinton?

Aired March 5, 2008 - 00:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


BORGER: You're adding up the delegates and he may wind up this evening enhancing his lead, his delegate lead a little bit. But you can't win by losing. And she made the case in her speech this evening that she has proven that she can win in those big battleground states.
The Democrats need to win in if they're going to win the election in the fall. And that's a point that people will start listening to, whether it affects the outcome of this race remains to be seen.

LOU DOBBS, CNN ANCHOR: Roland Martin, let me ask you, is this newfound momentum for Senator Clinton or is it, in point of fact, just simply an interlude of -- if she fails, through the course of this evening, and this morning to win Texas?

ROLAND MARTIN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Look, I run three newspapers and I write headlines and we wrote headlines, it was always a matter of what is the headline. The headline is, if Clinton wins Ohio, she might win Texas. The subhead is going to be, Obama has more delegates. I can tell you right now. Subheads don't sell newspapers.

And so that's really what the focus is going to be. And so what Obama has to hope in Harris County, 14 percent of the votes are in, that he's able to pull that out. And so -- a couple of things are going to happen, Lou. First and foremost, the Obama press operation has some issues. It was exposed when it came to this -- Canada NAFTA deal.

DOBBS: Right.

MARTIN: And so you're going to see some changes made there in terms of how they respond to the attacks. He cannot be soft in terms of how they respond to issues. They're going to have to take high road. They're going to have to play more aggressive because what you notice is, Clinton has not been able to frankly build upon her -- she has a ceiling. OK? So what she did was to say, "You know what? I can't grow my base so I'm going to take away from you by going after you."

And so they have to be prepared for it. Pure and simple.

DOBBS: Let me ask you this, because what we did see, and I want to return to the issues because I'm one of those people who get weary with group and identity politics.

MARTIN: Right. DOBBS: What we have seen here is a change in direction with these issues. Suddenly both Senator Obama and Senator Clinton in Ohio and Texas sounded like populous, for crying out loud. And their voices starting to ring true. The NAFTA issue, Carl, when it exploded in the Obama campaign, seemed to have an impact. We don't know how much at this juncture but some impact. The economy is starting to dominate as an issue.

CARL BERNSTEIN: Well, because it's real. People are hurting and those two candidates are smart enough to know -- Hillary Clinton has come tantalizingly close today to what she wants to do, which is to be perceived, particularly by us talking tonight, as a winner and as somebody who's moving forward even though the numbers don't add up.

And if she wins Texas, she has really gotten all she wishes, including getting through Ohio and getting through Texas without having to give up her own tax returns. This is a big deal for them. And it really was, because they were...

MARTIN: Right.

BERNSTEIN: They were scared out of their minds that the press was going to come after them, after Hillary Clinton's tax returns, and after her records as first lady. And instead, Hillary Clinton's press operation really made the press turn around, take a close look at Barack Obama, and ignore the story on the other side. It was brilliant. It worked.

She went on "Saturday Night Live" and she is very close to getting what she wants, which is to be in this ball game and say, the numbers don't matter.

RICK SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR: I think there's a dichotomy we have to pay attention to with respect to that. When you talked about trade, 80 percent of the voters in Ohio thought -- it led to losses in jobs versus 58 percent in Texas.

DOBBS: Let's focus on that just for a moment because...

SANCHEZ: Right.

DOBBS: ...I think those numbers that you're putting before us are critically important. Eighty percent of the Democrats in Ohio say, so-called free trade practices.

SANCHEZ: Right. But if you look at the Fred Barnes...

DOBBS: (INAUDIBLE).

SANCHEZ: Exactly -- in the "Weekly Standard," he talked 55 percent of the exports coming out of Ohio are going to Mexico and Canada. I mean that's higher than the notion as a whole. So I mean in terms of telling the story I don't think the whole story's been told. But clearly the Democratic voters felt the jobs were leaving because of NAFTA. Texas voters, because you have the Laredo, the inland port, Hillary Clinton was much softer. But I think the more important point -- there were focus groups done in Texas among Latino voters who were very skeptical about the national security stance of somebody like Barack Obama who's never served in the military. You have a lot of conservative Democrats who don't want to see the American eagle be a lame duck.

MARTIN: Hold on. Here's the issue then. OK? She also hasn't served in the military. So -- I mean the whole notion of...

DOBBS: She what?

MARTIN: She hasn't served in the military. She hasn't been in our armed forces until -- I mean, so you have that particular issue. I think, again, moving forward, what you have is a matter of specifics but also remember, Mississippi is next week. Then, of course, you have Pennsylvania. And you know what, Carl? She's not going to be able to get away without releasing those tax returns, because they say they'll do them soon before tax day, April 15th, which is one week before the Pennsylvania primary.

BERNSTEIN: The question is which tax returns now. They can put out this year's. It's a whole...

(CROSSTALK)

MARTIN: It changes the headlines.

DOBBS: Let me throw this out to you if I may.

MARTIN: Sure.

DOBBS: This is, many -- in my judgment, and I would like to hear yours, last I plotted for the wiliness, the cleverness of the Clinton campaign in the issue of NAFTA gate than it is really bad judgment and misfortune for the Obama campaign.

MARTIN: Yes, I think what they did was they let their guard down.

DOBBS: And that...

MARTIN: They let their guard down by, again, when they say, was there a meeting? And their response was, as opposed to let me check on it.

DOBBS: Right.

MARTIN: It was, no, there wasn't a meeting. And it cuts to integrity credibility because he's saying I'm going to be open. And so that's where, I guess, what's failed them. And so I wouldn't be surprised if you see some changes there as -- because again, after what happened in New Hampshire, Lou, they retooled their operation in terms of how they responded.

DOBBS: You're talking about...

MARTIN: Obama, of course.

DOBBS: You think the Obama campaign is going to make some changes at the top of the campaign?

MARTIN: Yes -- no, no, not the top of the campaign. They're going to retool how they respond to attacks because they were slow when it came to this particular issue.

DOBBS: I want to turn to Jamal...

BERNSTEIN: It's also true that Hillary's always been against NAFTA. You know? If you take a look at my biography of her, you see in there she told Bill Clinton, you know, this is a Republican plan. I don't think you should do it.

DOBBS: Did you say vast right wing conspiracy call, Carl?

BERNSTEIN: Yes, she did. It's what she told me. She said you shouldn't -- and you're going to endanger health care if you consider NAFTA first, my husband, but he went ahead and did what he thought.

DOBBS: That's what presidents often do.

MARTIN: Right.

BERNSTEIN: That's true.

DOBBS: As presidents often do.

BERNSTEIN: She hasn't...

DOBBS: This -- and it may be that she will have her turn.

BERNSTEIN: She -- but she hasn't told the whole story.

DOBBS: Carl, thank you very much.

Let's turn to my colleagues, Wolf Blitzer and John King, at the magic board with the wizard John King at the controls.

Wolf?

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Thanks very much, Lou. And this board is really amazing. I don't know if it's magic. But it's very, very sophisticated. We've grown accustomed to this board.

John, Texas, it's a critical state clearly in this Democratic race for the White House. Right now, Hillary Clinton maintaining a slight advantage, 59 percent of the precincts have reported. 1,057,000 voters (INAUDIBLE) for Hillary Clinton, 998,277 for Barack Obama. It's about a 60,000 vote lead. She's ahead 51-48 percent.

But, but tell us why the Obama people are still hopeful they can regroup. JOHN KING, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Their biggest hope, Wolf, is right here in Houston. Harris County, Texas, 16 percent of the state's population, only 14 percent of the vote in. He's winning 60-40.

If these numbers, if that margin holds, if this will up to 100 percent, and he's at 60-40, he will have more than enough votes to overtake her lead right now. Now there's no guarantee that will happen. But if you're the Clinton campaign, you're watching Harris County, you're saying why is the vote count taking so long, and you're hoping that margin does not hold. Because if that margin holds in Harris County, that alone could be enough to make up the gap. And why do I say that? Because most of her vote is in.

Another place where he's winning, up in Dallas County, 54 percent. Again, he's winning 62 to 38. So if that margin holds as we get out to 100 percent, he is going to cut into her lead up there. Move next door over to Fort Worth area, Tarrant County, again, Obama winning by 10 points there, 55-45. Only half of the vote counted.

So if these margins continue as the rest of the vote comes in and they've been pretty consistent as we've gone from 10 to 20 and up, Barack Obama does have the room in these major population centers, Wolf, to make up the ground.

Let's pull back out to the statewide numbers and you see he's starting to -- 60,000 votes right now. She's actually inching up a little bit more right now. One of the reasons she's doing that is her votes are right here in the smaller areas and the rural areas. El Paso now up to 28 percent. As you can see, she's winning big out there. But it's not as big of a population center. So she needs to keep that -- those margins up as she goes forward.

If you look at the statewide map, again, if you're just looking at it from a distance, you say, wow, Senator Clinton is winning and winning big across most of the state. Her problem is this is the rural areas out here, very small population centers. And where you see the darker blue, which is Senator Obama, these are your major population centers.

So as we go back to the statewide number, Wolf, and you watch these numbers come in, she has the lead but there are still enough votes out in these big areas that if the margins stay where they are for Obama right now, he has the room. Doesn't guarantee he will get them. But he has the room to make up the votes.

BLITZER: And still about a 50,000-vote difference. What is this? Do we know what -- this yellow seems to be coming out of nowhere.

J. KING: That is a tie. Watch this. I just looked at this a few minutes ago. So that's one, that's a green. That's a tie. We like to see those so we pulled them out. Coryell County, it's a very tiny county, less than 1 percent of the population, 24,034 votes to 24,034 votes.

BLITZER: That's pretty -- with 100 percent of the count reporting.

J. KING: With 100 percent in. So that's a tie. Unless somebody finds a ballot they didn't count tomorrow morning...

BLITZER: That's the first time I saw that. And these other white counties, they -- we have no results coming in from any of them right now. Based -- for example, this county, how big of a county is this?

J. KING: That's the issue here. You would expect, given everything you've seen all around it, one would expect Senator Clinton will carry that county because she's carried everything around it. But it's a very tiny county.

And again, this is -- let me pull back a little bit and just show you. This is an anomaly in this place. But this is where Senator Clinton needed to do well and she is doing well, which is a Latino corridor from Corpus Christi all the way to El Paso. She's running a very impressive number and impressive margins, with this one county exception.

The only issue for her, Wolf, as the vote count goes on now, is again, while she's winning by big margins, they're not major population centers. Many of these tiny counties, this is the most -- right here, if you pull out the Starr County, 0.3 percent of the population of Texas, 98 percent of the population in this county is Hispanic. It is the largest per capital, the most per capita Hispanic county in the United States of America. She's winning it big, but it's a very small population.

BLITZER: And San Antonio, quickly, before I wrap this part of the discussion up.

J. KING: She's winning in San Antonio, which is very important for them, and she's winning by pretty good numbers, 56 to 43. And again, she needs that number to hold as the rest of the results come in because, as we were showing it earlier to you, if you assume Obama is going to run up more as Austin comes in, as the rest of Houston comes in, the rest of Dallas and Fort Worth come in, she needs to keep running upward.

She is -- the concern in the Clinton campaign is that most of her counties, the vote count is getting up to higher numbers. And Houston, especially, is the one big outstanding county. And it is big because it's more than 16 percent of the state's population and up to about 33 percent now. And you see Obama at 60-40. He needs to keep that going, if that goes forward, but got a lot of counting left to do -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Right, and we're going to be counting it every step of the way. We're not going anywhere. We're going to be here for a long time until we know what is going on.

Larry King is watching all of this as well.

Larry, it's been an amazing night so far. And guess what? It's not over with by any means.

LARRY KING, HOST, LARRY KING LIVE: You are not kidding, Wolf. By my count, Texas may not be over until tomorrow.

BLITZER: And certainly the two-part process, the primary and the caucuses, we're waiting for those results and we're waiting to see how they divide up all those delegates.

L. KING: Thanks. We'll be checking back with you later, Wolf.

Let's check in right now with Candy Crowley. She's in Clinton -- with Clinton in Columbus, Ohio, at Clinton headquarters. Obviously, they're very happy there.

Are they still expecting to win Texas?

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, they are, but not by a very big margin. But they really feel as though they won the big one here. You know, we started out, Larry, with Bill Clinton saying a couple of weeks ago, listen, she's got to win Ohio and she's got to win Texas if she's going to get the nomination.

They feel that they can sustain a loss in Texas if it happens. They also know that at the end of the day or early this morning, it may be, in fact, probably will be that Barack Obama has more pledged delegates. But you know the important thing to the Clinton campaign was to stop his momentum. He'd won 11 in a row. She now won two. So they feel like they have stopped him in his tracks and they have put their campaign back on even keel, Larry.

L. KING: Forgive me, Candy. But isn't the only thing that counts delegates?

CROWLEY: Well, yes and no. Yes, absolutely. I mean the bottom line is the person with...

L. KING: What's the no?

CROWLEY: Well, the "no" is that the perception, as you saw -- when Barack Obama won his 11th in a row, what did you see? You began to see a lot of superdelegates going, OK, you know, we're with Barack Obama, some big unions joined him, the teamsters joined him. So you know, there's something about a winner that people want to join. So you don't want that continuing on because people hop on the bandwagon.

So it's important to have that kind of psychological win. And statewide in Ohio, she won the most votes, even when they parcel it out, they'll probably be pretty even.

L. KING: Candy, thanks as always. She's -- you're heading on the plane, right? Going -- where is Hillary going?

CROWLEY: Actually -- well, she's going home. But I'm going to stay here just for you, Larry.

L. KING: All right. Hang there, Candy. We got a crowd in 45 minutes on this special late edition of LARRY KING LIVE.

By the way, among the guests tomorrow night, Senator Bob Dole hasn't been with us in quite some time. And then three former press secretaries tomorrow, Tony Snow, Dee Dee Myers and Ari Fleischer will all be with us when we turn to our regular hour of 9:00 Eastern.

We'll be back with our panel and lots more on this incredible night. Don't go away.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

L. KING: We're back.

Hillary Clinton has won Rhode Island and Ohio. Texas is too close to call. And Obama wins Vermont. By the way, both Senators Clinton and Obama will be on "AMERICAN MORNING" on CNN tomorrow morning, or should we say this morning. Both Senators Clinton and Obama will be on this morning.

Wolf Blitzer, did you expect this -- any of this tonight?

BLITZER: Well, we certainly expected that Barack Obama would win Vermont, all the polls showed he had a decisive advantage there. In Rhode Island, everyone expected Hillary Clinton would win Rhode Island. The polls suggested she was ahead, our so-called poll of polls in Ohio, and she has won in Ohio. It showed a very, very tight -- the polls showed a very, very tight race, Larry, in Texas. And that's exactly what we're seeing right now.

Almost two million people so far have voted and it's extremely tight. Only about 50,000, 60,000-vote advantage that Hillary Clinton has right now. But there's still plenty of precincts that have not yet reported. So we're still waiting to see what happens in Texas. But she desperately needed to win Ohio. And she did and she would very much like to win Texas. There's a possibility she will. But that remains unclear.

L. KING: Lou Dobbs, with all the years you've looked at politics and there's never been a year like this year, what, so far to this minute, has surprised you the most?

DOBBS: There has to be, without any doubt, the ups and downs of Senator Clinton's campaign and what has been a writeoff of her efforts, at least twice, perhaps three times, over the course of the campaign.

Tonight, whether she prevails in Texas or not and certainly Jamal Simmons, Paul Begala, if they had to guess right now, they told me that they believe in point of fact that Obama is likely to prevail based on the distribution as John King pointed out of the votes in the locations.

But I think the fact that she has been resurgent in her campaign in New Hampshire and now in Ohio, the fact that on the other side of the campaign, John McCain was completely written off, some five months ago and is now the nominee of the Republican Party. That's pretty good for any story line.

L. KING: Going to be a hell of a fall, isn't it?

DOBBS: Absolutely. It's going to be interesting to see which of these Democratic candidates prevail. You have to give the edge certainly to Senator Obama now, leading as he does in delegates. It's interesting to hear people talk about it, including, of course, the Obama campaign, about the huge lead he has in delegates. This lead is not that large. It is not, in fact, insuperable.

It will be fascinating, I think, to watch what happens in Wyoming and Mississippi and ultimately Pennsylvania.

L. KING: Thank you, Wolf Blitzer and Lou Dobbs, atop the scene as always.

We'll be back with our panel right after this. Don't go away.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: We'll get back to Larry King in a moment. I'm Wolf Blitzer at the CNN Election Center.

Just want to update you right now on what we're seeing in Texas. A very, very close contest in the Texas primary right now, 66 percent of the precincts in, 50 percent for Hillary Clinton, 48 percent for Barack Obama.

Take a look at the huge numbers of Democrats who have voted. 1,119,00 have voted for Hillary Clinton, 1,066,000 for Barack Obama. What that -- a difference of about 50,000 or so votes out of more than two million cast. So this is an extremely close race on the primary side, as far as the primary is concerned in Texas. 126 delegates are at stake in the primary.

We're also getting the first votes -- first look now at the separate Texas caucuses. Two separate contests have been under way in Texas, for all practical purposes. The primary, secret ballot, two- thirds of the delegates determined by the primary. But the caucus is a third of the delegates, determined in the caucuses, 67 delegates at stake.

Five percent of those caucuses have now reported Barack Obama with 56 percent to Hillary Clinton's 43 percent. Very early, though, in the caucuses right now. It's going to take a while to get all of those results.

But clearly, we're showing that there are two separate contests under way in Texas. And the bottom line, Larry, is we don't know the answer to either question, who's going to win the Texas primary and who's going to win the Texas caucus. It's still -- these are still open questions that we're going to have to simply -- the old fashion way, Larry, wait and see what happens.

L. KING: Aha. Thank you, Wolf. Maybe David Gergen has the answer.

Mr. Gergen, what's -- who's going to win Texas?

DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: I don't know, Larry. But I'll tell you this, I -- this has been a very good night for Hillary Clinton. And -- but I don't think she has the momentum. I think she stopped Barack Obama's momentum and she's reopened the race.

But, you know, Larry, when you think about it everybody talks about -- well, Pennsylvania, that's going to decide. Pennsylvania is not going to decide this. There are a lot of contests left. He's going to win a number of them. Even if she wins Pennsylvania, he will still be ahead in pledged delegates. He'll be ahead in the number of states won. He'll be ahead probably in the popular vote.

You know, the Democratic Party is going to have a really hard time resolving this. Larry, they could have a train wreck in the Democratic Party over this. Because this could end with Obama ahead and with all this enthusiasm among the young, and she yet, she could take it away with superdelegates and that could fracture the party in many ways.

So this is going to be a hard, hard thing to resolve.

L. KING: Couldn't we have another '68 type convention?

GERGEN: Well, I don't think we'll have blood in the streets. I don't think we fist (INAUDIBLE) in the streets. More like people like, you know, Mayor Daley, yelling out obscenities, as you recall. But I do think we...

L. KING: I mean in the battle, though?

GERGEN: I think we can have a real sense of a joined battle, because one thing we've learned about Hillary Clinton, that she is a fighter. She's very resilient. And he hasn't been able to close the deal. The story tonight is he can't seem the close. She's twice been on the edge and he can't put her away. And so she's got a strong argument. Look, I win the big states, you can't win the big states. He's got a strong argument, but look, I win far more states, I've got more delegates, and he's going to -- they're very -- unless his campaign goes into collapse, and I don't see that coming -- if that -- unless he goes into collapse, it's very likely he's going to wind up with more delegates than she is, even if she wins Pennsylvania.

L. KING: Let's check in with the loyal opposition, Karen Hanretty is the Republican strategist. She was deputy communications director for Fred Thompson's unsuccessful campaign.

Do you look at this battle going on on the Democratic side with glee, Karen?

KAREN HANRETTY, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Well, I have to tell you, it's rather enjoyable listening to David Gergen talk about the potential for a real bloody fight at the convention. I tend to think it probably won't go that far. The good news for John McCain is that while Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are battling it out, John McCain is free now that he has the final delegate count he needs and Mike Huckabee has dropped out and he is in fact the nominee. He has -- he's free to go out, campaign and define himself.

You know, typically, the race is to define yourself before your opponent can define you. And I think that the real battle we're seeing on the Democratic side is an advantage to John McCain.

L. KING: It does, though, keep them both in the limelight?

HANRETTY: It keeps them in the limelight. But it will be fascinating to see how Texas comes down. Will there be some sort of recount? Will there be lawsuits? I mean there's a lot of harsh words being flown around by both camps today in -- between Obama and Hillary's campaigns, and we'll see how nasty it gets.

And it's not even just a matter of nasty, I mean, it's a matter of what are the rules? You know, some of these precincts that were kept open longer, was it fair, was it the right thing to do? And what are they going to do about Florida and Michigan? They have a lot that is unresolved on the Democratic side.

L. KING: And Hillary did mention when she mentioned all the states she won, mentioned Florida and Michigan.

Thanks, Karen. We'll try to check back with you later.

HANRETTY: All right.

L. KING: When we come back, we're going to have a kind of mini debate between two top supporters, one for Obama and one for Clinton.

And both Obama and Clinton will be on "AMERICAN MORNING" tomorrow morning, that's Wednesday morning. Both candidates, both United States senators, will be on.

We'll be right back. Don't go away.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: I'm Wolf Blitzer.

We're going to get right back to Larry King in a moment.

I just want to update you on the two remaining contests that we're watching, both of them in Texas, where there's been this Texas two-step, a double pronged approach to how to select their delegates in Texas.

First, the Texas primary, where two-thirds of the delegates in Texas are at stake -- 126 of them, to be precise. With 66 percent of the precincts reporting, 50 to 48 percent in favor of Hillary Clinton, at least right now -- 1,123,000 votes or so for Hillary Clinton. Barack Obama, 1,068,000 votes for Barack Obama. That's a difference of, what, about 60,000 votes out of more than two million cast.

Among the caucus goers, 5 percent of those results are now in. Barack Obama maintaining his advantage, 56 percent to 43 percent. At stake in the Democratic caucuses in Texas, 67 statewide delegates. It's still very early in adjudicating this delegate outcome because only 5 percent of those caucuses have reported.

So, Larry, the question marks continue, Texas being still very much undecided -- Larry.

LARRY KING, HOST: You are not kidding.

We're going to have a kind of mini debate here.

Jamal Simmons, the Democratic strategist, a supporter of Obama, is in New York.

And in Washington, Lanny Davis, the former White House counsel in the Clinton administration and a supporter of Hillary Clinton.

Jamal, did your man slip tonight?

JAMAL SIMMONS, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST, OBAMA SUPPORTER: You know, I don't think that he slipped tonight at all. I think, in fact, what happened is Hillary Clinton was a -- ran a very negative campaign. And that campaign did what David Gergen said, it slowed Barack Obama's momentum. And we have yet to see what happens in Texas. But I suspect that Barack Obama will pull Texas out.

And, you know, the truth is that we could go -- Hillary Clinton was saying that she had to win both Texas and Ohio. And now they've moved the goal posts again, which is what they do. And I'm sure they'll come up with a reason why Texas doesn't count.

L. KING: Lanny, your candidate is still behind in delegates.

And isn't delegates the only thing that counts?

LANNY DAVIS, CLINTON SUPPORTER, FORMER WHITE HOUSE SPOKESMAN COUNSEL, CLINTON ADMINISTRATION: Well, first of all, I'm sorry to hear -- Jamal is usually a lot more pleasant -- being so angry tonight. But it tells you why I'm smiling so much and he's angry.

SIMMONS: (INAUDIBLE).

DAVIS: This is a landslide victory in a major bellwether industrial state. Barack Obama, the only state he's carried is Illinois, his own state, that is a Democratic big state industrial state.

And if you look at the issue, Larry, it's not about delegates. There still is not a majority of delegates committed to either candidate and many more delegates need to be selected.

The issue is electability. And what we're seeing is that Hillary Clinton is carrying the Democratic Party base in every big state a Democrat has to win. And the pundits talk about Idaho, Utah and North Dakota as three states that Barack Obama won, with 1 percent of the caucus turnout in states that we never actually can win in the presidential campaign.

SIMMONS: Well, Lanny...

DAVIS: The issue for everybody is electability and Hillary Clinton is a fighter. She disproved the odds once again and she is going to be the nominee of our party.

L. KING: Jamal?

SIMMONS: Lanny, so would you argue Missouri is not a big state -- a big industrial state?

I think it is. And, at the same time, would you also argue that Barack Obama is not going to win California and New York or New Jersey or any of those states that Hillary Clinton has won so far?

I think you -- I think if Barack Obama is the nominee, you can pretty much count him in as having won all the big Democratic states in the general election.

L. KING: I know but...

DAVIS: Well, I hope you're right, Jamal, because I'm a good Democrat. I'm very happy tonight. But the Pew Research Center says that there are twice as many Democrats right now defecting to John McCain as would defect if Hillary Clinton were the candidate, that the Democratic Party base is where those defections are occurring and Barack Obama is matched against John McCain and the two of them, despite all of the media hype, are running exactly even. Obama is not running, according to Pew Research -- this is the most recent national poll -- any stronger against McCain. They're both about the same.

SIMMONS: But you're talking about...

DAVIS: What I worry about is electability. And Hillary Clinton -- and you're right about Missouri. That is a middle Western -- not an industrial state, but certainly an important state.

SIMMONS: Well, Lanny, what you're talking about...

DAVIS: And the percentage difference there was about .10 -- 1/10 percent. California, plus 10. Massachusetts with Ted Kennedy, John Kerry endorsing Obama, he lost Massachusetts, lost New Jersey.

Now, with Ohio, inexplicably, that was not, according to the polls, supposed to be a 14 point landslide, Jamal.

Why did he lose Ohio?

It's not about a negative campaign.

L. KING: All right, let him answer.

DAVIS: There's something about Barack Obama that is concerning people.

L. KING: Jamal?

SIMMONS: Thanks for letting me in.

It's not about -- you talked about a double digit number of Democrats that would go for a Republican. That's 25 percent versus 10 percent. You know, that means 75 percent of Democrats would stick with Barack Obama who are with Hillary.

You also didn't mention the fact that Independents were going for Barack Obama heavily. And so what we're looking at in the general election is a Democratic nominee who could appeal to Independents, along with John McCain and rally Democrats.

DAVIS: I hope you're right, Jamal.

SIMMONS: So I think your arguments just don't hold water.

DAVIS: I think that that's a hope...

L. KING: And thank you both very much.

DAVIS: But not likely.

L. KING: Jamal Simmons and Lanny Davis.

We'll have you back for an hour one night before the Pennsylvania primary.

DAVIS: (INAUDIBLE).

L. KING: Back with a major panel right after this.

Don't go away.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

L. KING: We're back.

Senator Bob Dole and three former presidential press secretaries will be with us tomorrow night on LARRY KING LIVE, when we return to our regular time of 9:00 p.m. Eastern, 6:00 Pacific.

We have a great panel for you in our remaining moments.

John King is CNN's chief national correspondent.

Ron Reagan is the political commentator. He's in Seattle.

Karen Hanretty will return.

Laura Schwartz, the Democratic strategist, is with us here in L.A. . David Gergen is on board in Philadelphia.

But we want to start with John King. Nobody does this better. Break down the map of Texas for us so we know where we're at and why.

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: We're close, Larry. We know that. Much else we don't know at the moment.

Let's show you first the headline. Sixty-nine percent of the vote is in. Senator Clinton is hanging onto this narrow lead -- 50 percent to 48 percent, about 57,000 votes right now. And she's been holding this lead tenaciously, Larry. But there is still time and still places for Obama to make it up.

I want to show you why I say that. Harris County, Texas -- that is where Houston is. It is a big county. There's a significant African-American population. Barack Obama is winning it big -- almost 60-40, 58-41. Fifty percent of the vote in, Larry.

So if you project this forward, that's about a 50,000 margin. If you project it forward to 100 percent and he keeps that margin, he can get 50,000 votes right here in Harris County. So that is a lot of the margin.

Now, there are still places for her to get votes, don't get me wrong. El Paso County, only 28 percent of the vote in. It's a smaller area, not as many people as Houston, but Senator Clinton is winning there almost 70-30, 69 to 29.

So you have the two campaigns right now, as the vote comes in -- and we're up to 69 percent now -- essentially trading off. Obama is narrowing her gap by winning big in Dallas and in Houston and in Austin. But Senator Clinton has swept through rural Texas. Now, they're smaller areas, not as many people in each of these counties. But she's winning so many of them. And particularly significant, Larry, she's winning this Latino belt from Corpus Christi all the way over to El Paso and winning it by big numbers and running them up.

Can she hold on?

That is the question. We're now up to 71 percent of the vote counted. You see it's 51-48. She has been holding that narrow lead tenaciously throughout the night. But we still need to watch the final votes come in in Dallas, come in in Houston. A few more votes still to come in in Austin. And Senator Clinton is winning in San Antonio and we'll watch that, as well.

So some population centers still slow counting the votes. It is very, very close. We'll keep an eye on it -- Larry.

L. KING: Thanks, John.

Superb work.

And we'll be you until Texas is in.

Laura Schwartz you're a Democrat. You're a strategist.

What does this say to you? LAURA SCHWARTZ, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Well, this says that Hillary can change the narrative. She has a win now. That's good. She can fundraise off of that, because although she got about $35 million in fundraising this last month, Barack Obama is going to announce that he did about $50 million. So she needs that money to continue. And, again, she got some wins. That's good for her.

The Barack Obama team is going to say, listen, last week we were behind by double digits, so this is really good for us to come this close in Ohio. And they might just eke out Texas. And they'll say it's the math. They lead in the pledged delegates. And for her to take over that lead, she'd have to win by more than 60 points the rest of the states.

L. KING: Tomorrow, Ron Reagan, President Bush, will, at the White House, officially endorse John McCain.

Does that help or hurt?

RON REAGAN, POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Oh, it helps, in a sense. I think what John McCain is going to want to do is go to the White House, sit down with President Bush, get his endorsement, of course. And then give him a list of things he wants him to do for him. Mostly that's going to involve fundraising. And then I think he's going to say to President Bush, you go out there and raise a lot of money for me and then I really don't want to see you again until November.

(LAUGHTER)

REAGAN: I do not want to appear with you anywhere. I don't want to be, you know, photographed clutching your arm on any stages.

It's a delicate balance that McCain has to strike with Bush.

L. KING: David Gergen, are the Democrats going to make this a McCain/Bush race?

DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ADVISER: They're going to try. And, you know, the Democrats in the Senate, Larry, are going to try to put up -- put John McCain through some votes in there to hurt him, to make him look bad.

But you know what I think John McCain needs to do, he needs to go to the White House. And the next thing is go to Iraq. He needs to go over there and take his own assessment. He wants to run a campaign in which Iraq is going to be a centerpiece. And instead of being -- you know, waiting for George Bush to announce what his policy is with General Petraeus coming back in April and the Democrats are off scuffling on their own in places like Pennsylvania, what John McCain needs to do is to get over to Iraq and come back with his own position before the president does, so he's not just a derivative. He's not just an arm of the Bush administration, but he stakes out his own position for the future of what ought to go on there.

He's been right before about the surge, of course. He was proven right about that. But he now -- he has this luxury that's so important about what just happened tonight. With him wrapping it up, the Democrats (INAUDIBLE) one, this is not going to end in April with the Democrats. This is going to go on until June and probably to the convention.

And he now has the luxury not only to define himself, as was said earlier, but to begin staking out positions in his campaign coming on things like, you know, a show with you, doing a relaxed conversation with you, as he did a couple of weeks ago, it was.

L. KING: Yes.

GERGEN: And I think that was very -- that really worked for him. That was a very, you know, for him, that was...

L. KING: Yes, he was very good.

GERGEN: He was very good there. And I think he's now got the luxury to start doing things like that, that the Democrats don't have that luxury. They're going to be out there, as I say, scuffling with each other.

L. KING: Paul Begala, fantasize with me.

Could we have it...

(LAUGHTER)

L. KING: Could we...

PAUL BEGALA, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST, HILLARY CLINTON SUPPORTER: What?

L. KING: Not in the direction you think.

BEGALA: OK.

L. KING: Could we have it a brokered convention to the point that they turn to Al Gore?

BEGALA: No, Larry. I mean I -- look, I think...

L. KING: A compromise candidate -- it can't happen?

BEGALA: Look, we ought to be finishing out the second term of the Al Gore presidency if those thieves in black robes in Washington hadn't stole it from him. Let me get that on the record.

But, no. And I don't think it's going to come to a brokered convention at all. This is not going to be Hillary and Barack playing rock paper scissors and Howard Dean being the referee. You know, it's going to resolve itself.

L. KING: All right.

BEGALA: It may take a long time, the way David suggests. But it may not. I think what's noteworthy, though, is a lot of pundits thought tonight we were coming to a funeral for Hillary Clinton. Instead, we saw a resurrection.

L. KING: That we did.

BEGALA: I mean this is a remarkable comeback story in this campaign. And it's going to keep going on because voters want it to. Democrats want it to. And I am not a Democrat who is at all upset or worried about that. I think this is good for my party, I think it's good for our country.

And why do we want to shut this down?

When I worked for Bill Clinton, it was June 2nd before he locked up the nomination. He had to go all the way to California and beat Jerry Brown on his home turf. And he didn't even beat him by that much. He only beat Jerry about 47 to 40 percent back then.

So there's nothing wrong with this thing going on until June. It certainly didn't hurt Bill Clinton. And I don't think it will hurt Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama.

L. KING: Well, when we come back, on this special edition of LARRY KING LIVE, we'll check in with Karen Hanretty and we'll get some thoughts from John King apart from the map.

Don't go away.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: CNN is now ready to project Texas. The Democratic primary in Texas, we project, will go to Hillary Clinton. Hillary Clinton winning the Texas primary, based on the numbers that have actually come in, all the exit polls that our analysts have been studying. An important critical win for Hillary Clinton tonight in the State of Texas. Hillary Clinton winning, according to our projection, the Texas primary -- the first contest of the state in Texas, with 126 delegates at stake, although they will be distributed proportionately. They'll divide them up between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.

The second contest in Texas underway right now. The caucuses -- only a small percentage of those caucuses have reported. Sixty-seven delegates at stake in the caucuses.

But let's take a look at the Texas primary vote right now. Seventy-five percent of the actual vote is in. Hillary Clinton with 51 percent to 48 percent for Barack Obama.

Let's zoom in on the actual numbers to see how she's doing -- 1,206,000 votes for Hillary Clinton and 1,134,000 votes for Barack Obama. That's a difference of about 70,000 or so votes right there. And 75 percent of the precincts have now reported in Texas.

But based on those numbers, based on the exit polls, based on all of the remaining counties and precincts that are outstanding, we're projecting an important win for Hillary Clinton in Texas. Hillary Clinton winning in Texas, in Ohio, in Rhode Island, losing to Barack Obama in Vermont.

But, clearly, this is something she desperately, desperately needed and certainly is going to give her campaign some new life going forward.

Let's take a look at the caucus numbers right now. With 5 percent of the caucuses actually reporting, 56 percent so far for Barack Obama, 43 percent for Hillary Clinton. But it's very, very early in this much more complicated and deliberative process for the caucuses in Texas. A third -- a third of the caucus -- a third of the delegates in Texas will be the result of the caucuses. And they'll be divided up in a complicated formula. Two-thirds of the delegates in Texas will be determined as a result of the primary. And we are now projecting that Hillary Clinton is the winner of the Texas primary -- a critically important win for her.

Let's go back to Larry King, who's watching all of this together with our best political team on television.

You've some analysts over there -- Larry.

L. KING: Thanks, Wolf.

BLITZER: She needed Texas and she got it.

L. KING: She sure did. Amazing.

What a night.

Gloria Borger, what do you think of this?

GLORIA BORGER, SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: I think, Larry, that this Texas win is huge for Hillary Clinton. I think that she went into this day -- remember Bill Clinton saying that she needed to win both Texas and Ohio if she was going to be able to continue in this presidential race?

And guess what?

She did. And he may still emerge this evening with a delegate lead -- a clear delegate lead. But the Clinton campaign -- and you heard her say this earlier this evening -- is going to say this is about winning, this is about the popular vote. This is about winning those big states like Ohio that are going to count in the fall, that are going to be real battleground states against John McCain.

So I think for her tonight, three out of four was really, really important for the survival of her campaign. And I say on to Pennsylvania. That's going to be a heck of a fight, too.

L. KING: Jamal Simmons, as a supporter of Obama, how does he explain this tomorrow on "AMERICAN MORNING?"

SIMMONS: Well, first of all, I'm not yet in the camp that this Texas fight is over. We'll see, once all these votes get counted. I've got people in Texas who are telling me that the last vote was cast in Harris County at 10:52 p.m. Texas time, which is maybe about 50 or 60 minutes ago.

So we're not sure. There are a bunch of African-American voters in Dallas and Houston whose votes haven't been counted yet. So I want to wait and see what those votes look like.

If she did win Texas, it's a big win for her. You know, Punxsutawney Hill just saw her shadow and now the Democrats have got six more weeks of winter to live through in this campaign.

But I think a lot of Democrats are really ready for this campaign to start to move to its conclusion. And if Gloria Borger is right, you want to talk about winning races, Barack Obama has won 26 or 27 contests. He is probably still going to be ahead in delegates. He's still going to be ahead in popular vote. He's still going to be ahead in the number of states won.

At some point, we've got to make a decision.

L. KING: Jeffrey Toobin, it is a ding dong race, isn't it?

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: You know, there's never been a political race anything like this in any of our lifetimes. Yes, many races have gone on longer. In fact, most political primaries have gone on longer. They often been resolved in June with the California primary, whether Bill Clinton in '92 or George McGovern in '72 or the -- in 1968, of course, was when Robert Kennedy was assassination in June, at the end of the California primary.

But there has never been a race with this many contested races, this many contested contests, and it still hasn't been resolved. Usually, it's sorted out by now. And I think one thing you can say for sure is this race is not sorted out. They're very close in delegates. Obama's ahead, but not by much. Neither one of them can get to the finish line without the help of the super-delegates. So I think all bets are off.

BORGER: And, Larry, one thing we really were thinking about before tonight is that if Obama had won these two big states, that there would have been a huge melt of those super-delegates to the Obama camp. And the Obama camp was, in fact, counting on that.

Now that Hillary Clinton has won Texas and Ohio, it's going to freeze those super-delegates for a while, because they're politicians. They don't -- they're not kamikazes. And so they're going to wait and see which way the wind is blowing in this race. And so those super- delegates are just going to probably sit tight.

L. KING: John King, I've got a minute before I take a break.

Do we know who's favored in Pennsylvania?

J. KING: Hillary Clinton would be favored in the early polls, Larry. Remember, things have changed. He has the support of the Governor Ed Rendell.

Let me show you something very quickly here.

Why does Hillary Clinton want to stay?

And obviously winning three out of four tonight helps. But she won in Ohio. It's a gritty industrial state. Look what's left -- Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Kentucky and Indiana. Look where they are on the map, Larry. Those are states where she thinks she can win. Yes, Mississippi is an Obama state. Some of these Western Mountain states are probably Obama states.

But she thinks she can win these and make the case I'm winning in the gritty industrial states that will be critical in November. And then if she can do that, neither candidate will have the delegates to clinch the nomination and they'll make the argument to the super- delegates. And because of Florida and Michigan, Larry, they may be making it in court, too.

L. KING: And we'll be back with our remaining moments on this special edition of LARRY KING LIVE right after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

L. KING: The best political team in broadcasting now continues with our outstanding coverage of this incredible night in American politics.

Don't go away.