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Eliot Spitzer Under Fire Over Alleged Link to Prostitution Ring; Obama on V.P. 'Hoodwink'

Aired March 10, 2008 - 18:00   ET


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: And, to our viewers, you're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
Happening now: the breaking news we're following. We're going to have a lot more on the governor of New York. He's now caught up in an amazing prostitution scandal. Eliot Spitzer says he's sorry, but he is not saying exactly why. We're following the legal and the political shockwaves.

How did a crime fighter reportedly wind up under investigation himself? There are new details coming out this hour about a wiretap that apparently led the federal authorities to Spitzer.

Plus, a wakeup call for fans of the so-called dream team. Barack Obama says voters are being hoodwinked when his opponent hints at a Clinton/Obama ticket.

I'm Wolf Blitzer, along with the best political team on television. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world.

All that New York Governor Eliot Spitzer will acknowledge, at least publicly, is that he crossed the line between right and wrong and that he's sorry. But sources are confirming new details about the investigation into Spitzer's alleged meeting with a prostitute.

Let's go to Mary Snow. She's following the breaking news out of New York for us.

What's the latest that we're learning, Mary?

MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, for one, Governor Eliot Spitzer has made no indication that he will step down. He made a very brief statement this afternoon. He confessed to nothing. He apologized, but didn't elaborate why he was apologizing.

Here in New York, it's an understatement to call this shocking, since Spitzer made his mark as an ethics reformer.


SNOW (voice-over): The "New York Times" headline linking New York Governor Eliot Spitzer to a prostitution ring was so shocking, New York reporters at first thought it was a joke. But, soon after, Spitzer, with his wife by his side, made this public statement.

GOV. ELIOT SPITZER (D), NEW YORK: I have acted in a way that violates my obligations to my family and that violates my, or any, sense of right and wrong.

I apologize first and most importantly to my family. I apologize to the public, whom I promised better.

I do not believe that politics in the long run is about individuals. It is about ideas, the public good, and doing what is best for the state of New York.

But I have disappointed and failed to live up to the standard I expected of myself. I must now dedicate some time to regain the trust of my family.

SNOW: Spitzer, a father of three daughters, took no questions, and said he would report back in short order.

Two sources with knowledge of the investigation tell CNN that the New York governor allegedly met with a prostitute in a Washington hotel. The charges are especially shocking since the New York Democrat had built a reputation fighting corruption on Wall Street while he served as attorney general. "TIME" magazine even called him crusader of the year. His political star rose, and he was elected in 2006.


SPITZER: I pledge to be toil each and every day, so as not to disappoint the hardworking people of this state, who have placed their trust in this future.


SNOW: For now, Spitzer is calling this a private matter.


SNOW: As far as reaction, fellow Democrat Governor Jon Corzine of neighboring New Jersey said in a statement: "These are serious and disturbing accusations that are completely at odds with the man I know. They come as a complete shock."

As the governor said, his actions are a clear violation of his own sense of right and wrong. He will have to regain credibility, not only with his family, but with the public.

And, Wolf, also, a statement from the New York Republican State Committee is calling on Spitzer to resign immediately, as well as a statement from the Republican Governors Associations -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Thanks very much, Mary, for that.

Let's get a closer look now at how a politician known as a crime- fighter wound up at the center of this huge scandal. Our justice correspondent, Kelli Arena, has been talking to her sources out there.

What are you learning, Kelli?

KELLI ARENA, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, here's what we know at this point.

Sources say that Governor Spitzer met with a prostitute the night before Valentine's Day in Washington, D.C., that the feds have documentation relating to this encounter caught on a wiretap, that this is all part of a previously announced takedown of a very high-end prostitution ring known as the Emperors Club VIP, in which four people have been charged.

Now, Spitzer doesn't face any charges, Wolf, but investigators are expected to eventually look into how he paid for this alleged encounter, whether he hid the money trail, and whether he circumvented any banking laws.

Sources also say that Spitzer is identified as client nine in the criminal complaint against the prostitution ring. And it lays out how he allegedly owed money to the ring, how he was arranging for this new encounter. It goes into great detail about how the prostitute was allegedly going to get in his room, and it describes a conversation that the prostitute had with her boss after the meeting.

The prostitute, who was called Kristen, said that the session went very well and that she was given $4,300, which included money that client nine allegedly owed. Now, the feds say that this ring charged anywhere between $1,000 and more than $5,000 an hour. That's depending on the prostitute -- Wolf.

BLITZER: And there are some other sordid details that you're reading in that complaint as well. I don't know if you want to share them with our viewers.



BLITZER: If appropriate, go ahead.

ARENA: You know, it's always so lovely, Wolf.

Some of this, it says client nine asked what will Kristen looked like, needed to be reminded what Kristen looked like. It says that he was told she was American, petite, very pretty brunette, 5'5'', 105 pounds, talks about a conversation that, you know, Kristen allegedly had with a supervisor after the encounter, and said that she didn't think that client nine was difficult.

The supervisor allegedly said that it was believed that he would ask you to do things that you might not think were safe, very basic things. And Kristen responded, "I have a way of dealing with that." Again, she said, things went very well. So, you know, I mean, do we have to go any further than that? I don't think so. I certainly am nauseated by the whole thing. So, there you have it.

BLITZER: So, let's leave it at that. Thanks very much for that. We're going to continue to watch this story.

I will be speaking with a reporter who has extensively covered Governor Spitzer's political life. Joe Mahoney of "The New York Daily News," he's standing by to join us live. He's got his own unique insight.

Let's get to the race for the White House, though, right now.

It's usually a compliment when your name is mentioned as a possible vice presidential candidate, except if you're Barack Obama, and the person dropping your name happens to be Hillary Clinton. Obama is accusing Clinton today of trying to hoodwink voters with hints that he might be her vice president.

Our senior political correspondent, Candy Crowley, is in Mississippi watching this story for us.

The back and forth is heating up a little bit, Candy. Update our viewers, what we learned today.


One of the things, as you just mentioned, is, it's usually a compliment to be mentioned as a possible vice presidential candidate, but not when you suspect that your opponent is trying to undermine your candidacy. And that's exactly what the Obama campaign thinks.


CROWLEY (voice-over): Dream team? With more state wins and more pledged delegates, Barack Obama wants an end to the talk.

SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D-IL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I don't know how somebody who's in second place...


OBAMA: ... is offering the vice presidency to the person who's in first place.

CROWLEY: It was strong pushback after three days of chatter about a ticket with both Clinton and Obama, a new go-round kicked off by the Clintons.

SEN. HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D-NY), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I have had people say, I wish I could vote for both of you. Well, that, might be possible some day, but, first, I need your vote on Tuesday.

BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You would have an almost unstoppable force.

CROWLEY: As popular as the idea may be among many Democrats, the Clinton-generated dream team discussions are also a political tactic, aimed at wooing undecided voters or those attracted to Obama, but hesitant about his experience level.

Hillary Clinton has been pushing hard on the experience issue recently, suggesting Obama is not ready to respond to either an international or economic crisis.

H. CLINTON: We have to have a president with experience, who has been around awhile.

CROWLEY: The dual campaign strategy of both attacking Obama's resume and suggesting he would make a good number two flies in the face of early January rhetoric from the candidate.

H. CLINTON: Look, the most important thing about picking a vice president is picking someone who could be president immediately.

CROWLEY: Obama told Mississippi voters, this the old okeydoke, an attempt to hoodwink them.

OBAMA: You remember with that -- that advertisement with a phone call. And I don't understand. If I'm not ready, how is it that you think I should be such a great vice president?

CROWLEY: The Clinton campaign had a hard time synching up the dual message of Obama as too inexperienced and Obama as vice president.

Communications director Howard Wolfson told reporters in a conference call, "Senator Clinton will not choose any candidate who has not at the time of choosing passed the national security threshold, period."


CROWLEY: This afternoon, Wolf, while Hillary Clinton was campaigning in Pennsylvania, she told reporters she thought this entire issue has taken on -- quote -- "a life of its own' and that it's premature to be discussing this -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Candy Crowley getting ready for the Mississippi primary tomorrow. She's in Jackson. Candy, thanks very much.

Let's check back with Jack for "The Cafferty File" -- Jack.

JACK CAFFERTY, CNN ANCHOR: Incredible. Didn't she bring it up?



New York Governor Eliot Spitzer apologizing to his family -- he's got three daughters and a wife -- and the public for a personal matter he's not giving details on. But we will give them to you.

"The New York Times" reported Spitzer told advisers he's involved in a prostitution ring. Apparently, the governor caught on a wiretap arranging to meet a hooker at a Washington hotel. Keep in mind, this is a guy who pledged to bring ethics reform to the state's capital. Back when he was attorney general, "TIME" magazine dubbed him crusader of the year. And the tabloids called him Eliot Ness.

What is it about politicians and illicit sex? Former President Bill Clinton tried to cover up the Monica Lewinsky scandal, remember, repeatedly declaring his innocence he -- quote -- "did not have sexual relations with that woman" -- unquote. Eventually, he was impeached by the House.

A few years ago, New Jersey Governor Jim McGreevey, also a married father of two, resigned after revealing that he was gay and had been having an extramarital affair with a man, a former employer who he also named to head the state's office of homeland security, a man who had no qualifications whatsoever for that job.

Then there was Congressman Mark Foley. He resigned after reports he was sending racy e-mails to teenage pages down in Washington, D.C.

And then this -- this mutant, Larry Craig, still a member of the United States Senate. They should be so proud that they haven't thrown him out on his ear. This is despite the fact that Craig was arrested in Minneapolis cruising a public toilet, trying to solicit sex from an undercover cop.

Why do politicians think they can hide this kind of stuff from the public and get away with it?

Here's the question: Will New York Governor Eliot Spitzer have to resign after a report that he's involved in a prostitution ring? Here's the answer. Yes.

Go to and post a comment on my blog -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Jack, thanks very much.

We will be talking with the best political team on television in a moment about this and more.

Virtually everyone says it's a shocker that caught them off guard.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think no question, if he is involved -- and I'm not saying he is, because we don't know all the facts -- I would say he has to resign.


BLITZER: The New York state assembly Republican leader isn't the only person wondering if Governor Spitzer is guilty of something and will step down. How could a man who preaches high ethics become linked to prostitution?

Also, how's this scandal playing on the presidential campaign trail? Hillary Clinton is already responding. You're going to find out what she says.

And John McCain's been campaigning seemingly nonstop, and, if elected, would be the oldest person ever to become president of the United States. So, how is his health? McCain tells us what his doctor tells him.

Stick around. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.


BLITZER: Just a short while ago, I spoke with a person who has extensively reported on Eliot Spitzer, the governor of New York.

Brooke Masters wrote a biography on him entitled "Spoiling For a Fight: The Rise of Eliot Spitzer."


BLITZER: Brooke, how stunned were you? I know I was stunned. I'm sure all of our viewers who knew anything about Eliot Spitzer and his reputation as a crime fighter in New York were stunned. But give us your reaction.

BROOKE MASTERS, AUTHOR, "SPOILING FOR A FIGHT": I was completely stunned. I mean, I have interviewed this guy probably 30 times, and he's a lovely man who has always appeared to really love his wife, care about his family. And, you know, really acts like as if he were a pillar of moral rectitude.

I mean, he is a crime fighter. He's a prosecutor who went after monsters. He's a guy who wiretapped other people. His first big case involved wiretapping mobsters in the garment district. It is stunning to me not only that he would do this, but that he would take such amazing risks if this is true.

BLITZER: Is there anything -- because you have researched his life really thoroughly. Is there anything in his past that would now, based on what we know right now, and his apology to his family and to the people of New York, that would warrant you to say, well, maybe there was some clues there that I wasn't familiar with, but let me go back and look once again at some of those indications? Anything jump to your mind?

MASTERS: Well, one thing I would say, on the whole sex infidelity side, absolutely not. I mean, I interviewed gosh knows how many of his ex-girlfriends, all of whom talked about what a wonderful guy he was. I mean, there's no...

BLITZER: When you say ex-girlfriends -- you mean girlfriends before he got married?

MASTERS: ... you know Bill Clintonesque, you know, problem with women. He -- yes. I mean, he's never -- no. There was never hint of anything beyond that.

I will say that one thing his enemies on Wall Street always used to say, and some of the lawyers who were on opposite sides of the cases, was that they felt he had a double standard. I have to say, I didn't necessarily believe it, but they all felt that he would bust them for conflicts of interest and go after them for things while holding himself to a much lower standard.

That he had sort of a double standard. That it was OK for him to kind of use evidence and, you know, yell and shout at people. And it wasn't OK for them. And perhaps this is evidence of a double standard...

BLITZER: You think, Brooke...

MASTERS: ... that we all should have paid more attention to.

BLITZER: Do you think he's going to fight this? Because he came out and he apologized to his family, the people of New York. But he implicitly confirmed that there was something bad that he did. But is he going to resist resigning? Is he going to stay on as governor? What does your gut tell you?

MASTERS: Well, my gut says that I'm unclear exactly what he's done. I mean, if all that he's done is frankly, you know, use a prostitute, it's hard to argue that that's a -- you know, something that makes him unfit for the governorship. Gosh knows we know a lot of people who have feet of clay.

You know, if there's allegations of misuse of public moneys or something like that, that would be a completely different question. I don't think we know enough yet to really speculate exactly what it is he's, you know, allegedly done.

BLITZER: And for our viewers who aren't familiar with his background, he's an independently very wealthy man, is that right?

MASTERS: His father is independently wealthy. The family wealth structure's a little complicated. His dad is a self-made multimillionaire who builds apartment buildings in New York and came from absolutely nowhere to become one of the most powerful men in New York real estate. He's very impressive.

BLITZER: All right. Brooke Masters, thanks very much for joining us.


BLITZER: For some, it seems like deja vu, yet another politician, wife by his side, embarrassed by scandal, admitting some sort of wrongdoing. Carol Costello compares this with some other high-profile political bombshells. That's coming up.

And some Christian teachings say love thy neighbor and don't lie, cheat or steal. But might one more virtue be added, go green to protect the environment? Much more coming up -- right here in THE SITUATION ROOM.


BLITZER: Shock and disbelief, that's how some people are describing their reaction to New York Governor Eliot Spitzer's alleged ties to prostitution. He's known as a highly ethical crime-fighter. So, how did he find himself allegedly linked to a potential crime?

My next guest has extensively covered the New York governor for "The New York Daily News." Joe Mahoney is joining us from the state capital in Albany, New York.

What do you make of this? What's going on, Joe?

JOE MAHONEY, "THE NEW YORK DAILY NEWS": Well, Wolf, I can't think of a bigger shock really at this point.

He came in with about a 70 percent vote in 2006, claimed he was going to turn everything around, that everything would change on day one. That was his slogan. And we have had gridlock, problem after problem. There was a scandal last year involving an effort to tarnish the top Republican in the state legislature, trying to leak these state police records to the media to try to damage his number-one rival. But this is -- tops that by a mile.


BLITZER: Because you know, Joe, you have been a reporter for a long time, me too, and those of us who cover somebody for a while, you know, you hear things that may not necessarily be reportable. But you don't report it, because it's just gossip or whatever.

Is there anything going back in the years you have been covering Eliot Spitzer that would have pointed you toward this kind of a situation?

MAHONEY: Nothing at all, and no personal quirks, no slide to the deviant side, nothing of that nature. In fact, people have said just the opposite, that he was too tight, that he was wound up very tight, and needed to relax, but nothing like this, Wolf.

BLITZER: What about what we heard from James Carville here in THE SITUATION ROOM just a little while ago? This is a guy who had a lot of political enemies. And sort of -- James, he doesn't know anything, but he sort of smells a rat. Was he set up to be embarrassed for -- politically -- for the enemies -- by the enemies he's created over the years, going after them?

MAHONEY: Well, I think there were certainly people out there who would throw him under the bus. But I think, if he did this, then he did this all on his own.

He's a Harvard law graduate, a Princeton graduate, very, very intelligent person. And for him not to think that he was going to get caught trying something like this, the huge risk that's involved, and not realizing there was a wiretap on this prostitution operation, shows that maybe he's not at all streetwise.

BLITZER: Joe Mahoney, thanks very much.

Joe writes for "The Daily News" in New York. He's joining us from Albany.

Shock and scandal in New York, we're all over the story, the governor at the center of it all.


SPITZER: I have disappointed and failed to live up to the standard I expected of myself.


BLITZER: With a prostitution scandal unfolding, does Eliot Spitzer have any hope of keeping his job? The best political team on television standing by to discuss.

Also, is Hillary Clinton helping or hurting Barack Obama by touting him as her possible running mate? Ahead, the political calculations and Obama's testy response today.

And John McCain responding to renewed questions about his health, given his age and his history of melanoma, the most serious form of skin cancer.

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


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

Happening now: the New York governor, Eliot Spitzer, engulfed in scandal that could potentially end his career. We're getting new details of his alleged tryst with a prostitute. You're going to get the latest. That's coming up in a moment.

The shockwaves from New York reverberating along the campaign trail. We will take a closer look at the impact and the implications for the race for the White House.

And the Clinton campaign opening the door wider to a possible so- called dream ticket with Barack Obama, only to have him slam it shut -- all of this coming up, plus the best political team on television.

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

The New York governor is sorry for something, but he's not saying exactly what for. He is talking about pain and disappointment that he's caused his family and the public.

Once again, let's listen to what the governor said today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SPITZER: Today, I want to briefly address a private matter. I have acted in a way that violates my obligations to my family and that violates my, or any, sense of right and wrong. I apologize first and most importantly to my family. I apologize to the public, whom I promised better.

I do not believe that politics in the long run is about individuals. It is about ideas, the public good, and doing what is best for the state of New York.

But I have disappointed and failed to live up to the standard I expected of myself.


BLITZER: The governor speaking, with his wife at his side.

Let's go back to Mary Snow. She's watching the story for us.

I know we have been checking with the governor's office. Amid all these rumors that are out there, Mary, what are you hearing from the governor's office itself?

SNOW: Well, Wolf, we just checked in with the governor's office because of all these rumors about Spitzer's political future. Can he survive this politically?

And here is what the governor's press office is telling us at this point, saying there will be no press conference this evening. There had been some rumors about 7:00 p.m., that there could potentially be a press conference. They're saying that is not going to happen, also reconfirming that the governor has not resigned or made any indication that he would step down.

We asked Will Sheehan (ph) of the press office, is he going to resign? And the answer was, he didn't say that anywhere in his statement.

So, that very brief statement that Eliot Spitzer gave earlier this afternoon is what his press office right now is sticking by, and not confirming any of these rumors. And that is all at this point they're about to say.

BLITZER: Mary Snow in New York for us -- Mary, stay on top of this story for us.

So, can Eliot Spitzer survive this, or is it a career-ending scandal?

Let's go back to Carol. She has been working this part of the story for us.

Give us some background. How does it look for the governor, Carol, right now?

CAROL COSTELLO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I would say, right now, it's not looking good: another politician, with his wife by his side, apologizing for past sins. This time, it's Democrat Eliot Spitzer, a man known for his integrity. Can he survive?

Well, even Larry Flynt, publisher of "Hustler" magazine, is calling the Spitzer scandal hypocritical. Flynt's office just e-mailed me, in fact.

Still, it is clear some politicians can survive even hypocrisy.


COSTELLO (voice-over): Maybe Larry Flynt would say of Spitzer there will soon be one less known hypocrite in government. That's how he described Louisiana Senator David Vitter. Flynt accused him of having been a client of the alleged D.C. Madam, Deborah Palfrey, after the senator's number was discovered in her phone records.

Vitter responded, wife by his side, to committing a very serious sin before he became a senator.

But he survived.


SEN. DAVID VITTER (R), LOUISIANA: Unfortunately, my admission has encouraged some long-time political enemies and those hoping to profit from the situation to spread falsehoods, too.


COSTELLO: Flynt was hoping more scandal would follow. He released this philander wanted ad, looking for documented evidence of illicit sexual relations among public figures.

LARRY FLYNT, PUBLISHER, "HUSTLER" MAGAZINE: So I'm saying, you know, this is payback time.

COSTELLO: It was back in 1998 that Flynt launched his first hypocrite hunt. And had he some success. Angry at what he called the hypocrisy of Republican efforts to impeach Bill Clinton, Flynt made life miserable for Georgia Congressman Bob Barr. The "Hustler" publisher cited an affidavit from Barr's wife, saying that in contrast to his public opposition to abortion, he'd driven her to a clinic for an abortion. A federal court dismissed Barr's lawsuit against Flynt, saying there was nothing to suggest Flynt's accusation was false.

Another prominent Republican, former Representative Bob Livingston, suffered, too. He was among those calling for President Clinton to resign over the Lewinsky affair, saying apologies were not enough.


BOB LIVINGSTON (R), FORMER LOUISIANA REPRESENTATIVE: The president has his own actions to justify. I will not seek to give him counsel. (END VIDEO CLIP)

COSTELLO: Livingston urged a vote to impeach. And just as he was about to become House speaker, Larry Flynt accused him of infidelity and Livingston resigned.


LIVINGSTON: And I beg your forgiveness.


COSTELLO: But other politicians plagued by scandal also survived. Idaho Senator Larry Craig, wife by his side, denied improper contact in a men's restroom at a Minneapolis airport.


SEN. LARRY CRAIG (R), IDAHO: I am not gay. I never have been gay.


COSTELLO: And although the Senate Ethics Committee admonished him for conduct that reflected poorly on the Senate, Craig remains on the job -- he says until the end of his term.


COSTELLO: And Larry Craig remains on the job even though some Republicans have urged him to step down. Other politicians that survived -- Bill Clinton, of course, and Congressman Barney Frank, who admitted to a sexual relationship with a male prostitute. He received a reprimand, but he is in office today.

As for Eliot Spitzer, well Republicans have called for him to resign. We'll see what the Democrats say -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Carol, thank you.

Let's talk a little bit about this scandal involving Eliot Spitzer and more.

Joining us, our senior Pentagon correspondent, Candy Crowley. She's in Jackson, Mississippi. Our own Jack Cafferty. He's in New York. And our senior political analyst, Gloria Borger. She's here in Washington. They're all part of the best political team on television.

You've met the governor on a few occasions, Jack.

What do you think?

Can he survive based on what we know right now?

And, obviously, the information we have is sketchy.

CAFFERTY: You want the short answer? No, I don't think he can survive. I can't wait personally to see the New York tabloids in the morning, when Eliot Spitzer will probably forever become known as Number 9, which is how he was referred to in this complaint.

I don't see how he survives this, particularly having occupied the moral high ground, as he has, both as attorney general and as governor.

The other thing I don't understand about this story is how these guys always get their wives to go stand on the podium with them when they cop to this stuff. I remember during the Monica Lewinsky thing, some member of Congress -- I don't remember who it was -- said, you know, if that was my wife, she'd be standing over my bleeding body in the kitchen saying how do you reload this thing?


CAFFERTY: And I think that's probably a more typical spousal response.

But these guys get their wives to go stand there with them.

BLITZER: How do you read this, Gloria?

GLORIA BORGER, SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Look, I think this is really tough for Eliot Spitzer to survive. He's the man who created the state Public Integrity Commission. And, you know, in the 1990s, the Democrats made it very clear that your personal peccadilloes are your own, but when it comes to corruption or public corruption, that's a problem.

If this is true, then Eliot Spitzer broke the law. And as the governor of the State of New York, you cannot break the law. And the Democrats that I've spoken with today were a little surprised that he did not resign. Privately, they're hoping that he will because the ethics issue, quite frankly, has been a pretty good issue for the Democrats lately. They don't want to lose it and they would just like this all to go away.

BLITZER: And, Candy, I want you to weigh in. But I want to remind our viewers of your history and my history. We go way back -- at least 10 years -- to the whole Lewinsky scandal involving Bill Clinton. It was your duty -- and I remember it very vividly, as our viewers probably do, as well -- you had to read excerpts -- sordid excerpts from the Ken Starr Report that was released. And it certainly wasn't one of the more pleasant parts of your job history here at CNN.



CROWLEY: No, not my highlight, that's for sure. But I have to tell you, Wolf, since you brought that up, that, in fact, when we first learned of the Monica Lewinsky scandal, it was around the time of the State of the Union address, I recall, in January. I couldn't find a Democrat on Capitol Hill saying if this is true, he's done.

Now, you do have the illegality of it. And I know Republicans will argue that the president lied under oath. But you've got the illegality thing with Governor Spitzer. You also have his reputation. And I think, you know, it's the hypocrisy thing.

But what I would watch -- because I think this could actually go either way. I think it's very tough and you'd have to weigh on the side of he'll probably resign. But I would also say you have to watch the Democrats. Watch what leading Democrats say about him. Right now, they've kind of said well, my thoughts and prayers are with the family, I don't know much about it, let's see what happens, that kind of thing.

I think it's survivable. But I think you'd have to bet on the non-survivable side at this point. We don't know the full story yet.

BLITZER: We don't know the full story. But you did hear James Carville say here in THE SITUATION ROOM, Jack, that he sort of smells a rat out there, given the enormous number of political enemies that Eliot Spitzer has developed over the years.

CAFFERTY: Well, he does have a lot of the enemies and he always sort of looked down, I think, to a degree, on other politicians as being sort of beneath his station in life. I mean he really did see himself as a crusader for the public good. And it was offensive to some of the people that he had to work with.

So I wouldn't be surprised -- but you -- I mean you can't be governor of anything and not have political enemies. That's part of the job description.

BLITZER: Especially in New York State.


BLITZER: Any political fallout, Gloria, on the campaign trail in the race for the Democratic nomination we're going to see from this?

BORGER: You know, I had -- I had one -- one Democrat say to me, well, does that mean that Eliot Spitzer won't be a super-delegate?

And can we get -- you know, is an Obama super-delegate going to take his place?

You know, that's how tight the presidential race is.

Look, I think, obviously, Hillary Clinton was asked a question about this today and she really didn't want to comment on it. And I don't blame her. He's a Hillary Clinton supporter. You know, I think, this is an Eliot Spitzer problem right now, that he's got to resolve and the State of New York has to resolve. And, as Candy was saying, we don't have all the facts yet. But, you know, this is somebody who has been Mr. Public Integrity and that's a problem.

BLITZER: Let me let Candy -- you're out on the campaign trail, Candy.

Do you see any political fallout from this?

CROWLEY: Not right now. As two smart candidates, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama sort of immediately said I don't know enough about it. Hillary Clinton said my thoughts and prayers are with him. As long as they can stay away from it -- it's probably a little bit trickier for Hillary Clinton, because, obviously, Spitzer is a supporter. You can expect those kind of questions to come up. She's obviously from New York. So it might be a little more difficult for her if this thing goes on for days and days.

But at this point, these candidates can say I don't know enough about it and, you know, the next step is that's his to decide. And then if the snowball gets bigger, they begin to sort of move toward, you know, well, maybe he should leave.

But at this point, you know, it doesn't have a noticeable effect on the campaign, rather, they just sort of kick it off.

BLITZER: All right, guys. Stand by. We have more to discuss. We're going to take a quick break.

Coming up, there's more talk now of the Democrats so-called dream ticket. You're going to find out what the Clinton campaign is now saying that's fueling the some are suggesting fantasy and why Barack Obama is saying wakeup.

Plus, delegates or the popular vote -- which is more important for the Democrats?

We're going to show you why that question all of a sudden becoming increasingly urgent.

Stay with us.




SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I don't know how somebody who is in second place is offering the vice presidency to the person who is in first place.


BLITZER: All right. Barack Obama responding to what some suggest would be that dream ticket of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.

Jack Cafferty, what do you think about the strategy that Hillary Clinton has in laying out that opportunity -- if you like both of these candidates, vote for Hillary Clinton because she'll pick Barack Obama? CAFFERTY: But the people like Barack Obama. That's why he's in first place. And besides, she's been raising all these questions about whether Barack Obama is qualified to be president and qualified to be commander-in-chief. But all of a sudden over the weekend, she says oh, well, maybe he'll be my vice president?

You know, this is Clinton politics at its most odorous.

BLITZER: Gloria?

BORGER: Well, in talking to Democrats today, there seems

to be a fine line and they're a little worried that the Clinton campaign has begun to cross it. And that is, it's one thing to say I am better prepared to be commander-in-chief. It's another thing to say that he is not qualified to be commander-in-chief. And in some of the statements that Hillary Clinton was making last week, when she was saying that, you know, McCain is qualified, I'm qualified and Barack Obama gave a speech, there was a little worry about that.

So this may be kind of an overcorrection, sort of saying in the public's mind get used to -- you know, get used to me as number one and him as number two.

BLITZER: What is going on Candy?

CROWLEY: Well, what's going on as far as the Obama camp is concerned is they think that Hillary Clinton is trying to undermine him, number one, by suggesting, oh, well, you know, he might be OK for number two, and that she's also trying to woo those voters who are really attracted to the Obama campaign but have some concerns about his experience. This kind of listen, you can have both of us, you know?

We can bring him on. So they are pushing that very hard, because, obviously, they see this as a way to kind of draw votes from them.

As far as the Clinton camp is concerned, both Hillary Clinton and Bill Clinton were out over the past couple of days pushing this notion. He said, oh, it will be a -- it would be a formidable ticket. She had said well, I know some of you wish you could vote for us both. Maybe you'll have that opportunity.

So, clearly, they are dangling it out there. And Obama's strategists look at it and obviously it is an attempt to kind of woo those wavering voters. As we know, in the past couple of primaries, when you look at the undecideds, those are the ones that swayed the election in those final days.

BLITZER: Would it be, Jack, unstoppable, as Bill Clinton says -- whether it's Hillary Clinton as the presidential candidate or Barack Obama, the other, as the vice presidential candidate -- could this team -- and it's unclear who would be in what order -- would it be unstoppable, as Bill Clinton says?

CAFFERTY: Well, I'm not sure it's all that unclear what order it would be in. The way it stands right now, Barack Obama has won more states, a greater percentage of the popular vote and more pledged delegates. He wins Mississippi tomorrow. That's a foregone conclusion.

If he gets to the end of the primaries leading in the number of states won, the popular vote and the number of pledged delegates, and they somehow trial to take it away from him, hold onto your hats, because it will get real, real ugly in this country.

BLITZER: All right. We're going to stay on top of this part of the story.

Guys, thanks very much.

Gloria, Candy, appreciate it.

Jack's got The Cafferty File coming up shortly.

Let's go to Lou.

He's going to give us a preview of what's coming up right at the top of the hour.

What are you working on -- Lou?

LOU DOBBS, HOST, "LOU DOBBS TONIGHT": Wolf, we're working on that sex scandal that could destroy the car -- the political career, at least, of Governor Eliot Spitzer.

Did the good governor break the law?

Will he resign?

He says no. We'll have complete coverage and analysis.

Also, corporate and business elites in this country stepping up their campaign to import more cheap labor from overseas to replace well-paid American workers. That's right -- this Congress, this Democratically-led Congress just about the same deal as the previous Republican-led Congress.

And Boeing officially protesting the Pentagon's stunning decision to award that huge tanker aircraft contract to Europe. Congressman Todd Tiahrt joins me. He says the Pentagon is outsourcing our national security. He'll be among our guests here tonight.

An influential governor, Ed Rendell, also joining us. Governor Rendell of Pennsylvania will be talking about the deadlock over the primaries in Florida and Michigan. He'll tell us why Florida and Michigan should be holding new primaries and how it just might be financed.

Join us for all of that, all the day's news and much more at the top of the hour, 7:00 Eastern, right here on CNN -- Wolf, back to you.

BLITZER: All right, Lou.

Thanks very much.

John McCain is now answering questions about his health, specifically his battle with skin cancer -- melanoma, to be precise. Now he's sharing the results of his latest checkup. You're going to hear what he's saying.

And will the New York governor, Eliot Spitzer, have to resign after a report he's involved in a prostitution ring?

Jack with your e-mail, coming up right here in THE SITUATION ROOM.


BLITZER: In our Political Ticker, running for president could pose challenges and questions about your health.

So how is John McCain, a cancer survivor, doing?

Today, he was asked.


SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Yes, everything's fine. In fact, I got the full cancer check a couple of weeks ago with my dermatologist.


MCCAIN: No, no, I just went to a regular routine that I go to my doctor all the time. I go see -- like most Americans, I go see my doctor fairly frequently.


BLITZER: He had the most serious form of skin cancer, melanoma. McCain also spent part of the day trying to raise money for his campaign. He's holding a fundraiser in St. Louis. He has more planned this week in New York, Boston, Pennsylvania and Chicago. McCain badly trails Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton in fundraising.

The former White House counsel and the current White House chief of staff are being sued. The House Judiciary Committee filed a lawsuit against Harriet Miers and John Bolten today. Lawmakers want to force them into talking about and providing documents for the firing of those nine U.S. attorneys. Miers and Bolten invoked executive privilege in their refusal to meet the demands of the committee. The White House calls the lawsuit -- and I'm quoting now -- "partisan theater."

Remember, for the latest political news any time, you can check out The Ticker is the number one political news blog on the Web. That's also where you can read my latest blog post. I just posited one a little while ago,

Let's go back to Jack. He's got The Cafferty File -- Jack.

CAFFERTY: What did you write about?

BLITZER: I wrote about the factors that super-delegates should consider in deciding who's going to be the Democratic nominee.

CAFFERTY: There you go -- a little lesson in how the system works.

The question this hour is this -- will New York Governor Eliot Spitzer have to resign after this report that has been vastly overplayed by all of us for several hours now that he was involved in a prostitution ring?

B. writes: "You hit it on the head. Why these politicians feel they can roam with free reign is beyond me. Why do elected officials feel they can put themselves in situations where they jeopardize their integrity and embarrass those who support them?

Sean in L.A. writes: "Spitzer will probably have to resign. Why? Because he's a Democrat. Louisiana Senator David Vitter also cavorted with prostitutes, but he didn't have to resign. Why? Because it's always OK if you're a Republican."


CAFFERTY: Matt in Pennsylvania: "Of course he won't have to resign. In this sort attention span of ours, something else will come along and draw our focus away from this, just like it did the Larry Craig scandal."

Robert writes: "It's been too long since we've held politicians to a higher standard. I feel that ethics and morality are driven by society. What we expect is what we get and if we don't expect quality, how can we expect to receive it? Spitzer ought to resign."

Gary in North Carolina: "Does this mean Hillary will lose one more super-delegate?"

Todd writes: "He should tell the people what sins he's committed and let them decide. Politicians have lived through sex scandals before and many have survived them."

Jim in New York: "Spitzer is Client 9. His enemies are on cloud nine. Who cares? Why don't we focus on the real problems that our country is facing?

Randy says: "If he's guilty, he should resign, get counseling and hire a good divorce lawyer."

And Joe in Illinois says: "Today, we got reports of pharmaceuticals in our drinking water. Maybe Spitzer got some of The Ventures' Love Potion Number 9 in his drinking water."

Silly. BLITZER: Very creative writers you've got, Jack.

CAFFERTY: It's cute, right?

BLITZER: See you tomorrow.


All right.

BLITZER: I'll be in New York with you.

You know that will Hillary Clinton ad where little children are sleeping peacefully amid hints of a national disaster?

It turns out one of those little kids is no longer all that little and certainly doesn't want Hillary Clinton answering the phone.

Jeanne Moos standing by with a Moost Unusual report.

We'll be right back.


BLITZER: That cute little girl in the latest Hillary Clinton ad is not so little anymore -- and she's certainly not a Hillary Clinton supporter.

CNN's Jeanne Moos finds this Moost Unusual.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Then and now -- now and then makes for a big oops.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's 3:00 a.m....


MOOS: Do you know where the children in this Hillary commercial are?

For instance, this sleeping angel, who was only nine-years-old is now about to turn 18 -- old enough to vote.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who do you want answering the phone?


CASEY KNOWLES, IN CLINTON AD BUT SUPPORTS OBAMA: I want Barack Obama answering the phone. MOOS: Casey Knowles served as a precinct captain for Obama during the Washington State caucuses. She wound up in Hillary's commercial because as a kid she had done some acting and Getty Images sold the stock footage for use in the Hillary spot. It was Casey's brother who noticed when he saw the commercial on "The Daily Show".

KNOWLES: That's me, by God.

MOOS: Now she and her family are doing the media rounds, swearing allegiance to Obama.

(on camera): Do we have information on any of the other sleeping children in the ad?

KNOWLES: I've not heard from them. We could all get together and form a coalition.

MOOS: Sleeping Children for Obama.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sleeping Children for Obama.

MOOS: You know, little Casey Knowles isn't the only one in bed. Check out "The New Yorker" cover.

(voice-over): Hillary and Barack lunging for the red phone, as if to say, "I'll get it." The 3:00 a.m. Commercial was a gift that keeps on giving.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm Hillary Clinton and I approved this unfair and deceptive message.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's 3:00 a.m....


MOOS: It's "Saturday Night Live".


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hillary, I'll sorry to call this late again, but I need your help.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. President, what can I do?


MOOS: Iran's got the bomb and Russia, North Korea and Venezuela helped.



What do I do, Hillary?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Go to our key allies -- the British, the Germans, the French -- and show them our intelligence.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hold on, I'm trying to write this down.


MOOS: And the 3:00 a.m.. Call doesn't stop there.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think the heat may be off in the White House.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Go down to the basement, open the panel in front of the furnace.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hold on. Let me get my pen.


MOOS: By the way, the supposedly sleeping girl?

(on camera): I think the real scandal here is were you really sleeping?


KNOWLES: That is a scandal. Hillary is using footage of a girl that's not even really asleep.

MOOS (voice-over): But if she were, we'd now know who she was dreaming of.

Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.


BLITZER: Leave it to Jeanne.

Thanks very much.

Please join me tomorrow night for our special election coverage. We'll be live from the CNN Election Center for the Mississippi Democratic presidential primary. Our special coverage will begin at 8:00 p.m. Eastern.

You've helped make our politics pod cast one of the most popular on iTunes. To get the best political team to go, you can subscribe at or you can go to iTunes.

Remember, you can always read my daily blog post at, as well. Thanks very much for joining us.

I'm Wolf Blitzer in THE SITUATION ROOM.

Up next, "LOU DOBBS TONIGHT" -- Lou.