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Revote Effort in Michigan Falls Apart; P.A. Governor Ed Rendell Disappointed with Obama Campaign; Obama Passport Information Breached

Aired March 20, 2008 - 20:00   ET


CAMPBELL BROWN, CNN ANCHOR: The big political news today, it's an attempt to get a revote in Michigan. Well, it's fallen apart. And it has sparked a new battle between the Clinton and Obama campaigns over who is to blame and how to resolve this standoff. What is next?
Tonight, we're going to challenge representatives from each of the campaigns and try to get some real answers.

Also, Obama's speech has sparked a heated conversation about race. Is the debate dividing along racial lines?

And, tonight, where in the world is John McCain? Well, he is wrapping up a world tour. Was it a smart political move to get out of town right now? We have got a lot of ground to cover tonight.

Let's start with the delegate mess and our senior political correspondent, Candy Crowley.

And, Candy, is Michigan dead in the water? Any chance of a comeback here?

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know how many resurrections we have had in this campaign, from candidates to everything else? Anything is possible. But the window is closing on the time, because it would take so much time to set up an election, so much time to find out who was going to run in each precinct, who they were going to put there to watch the vote come in. So, they really are running out of time.

It doesn't mean that there aren't alternatives. We are told that both states could appeal and ask for a hearing to the DNC. That may be the next step, because I think the primary do-overs are looking really, really uphill.

BROWN: And, Candy, Hillary Clinton's campaign doesn't seem to be backing down. She had this to say about it today. Let's listen.


SEN. HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D-NY), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I do not see how two of our largest and most significant states can be disenfranchised and left out of the process of picking our nominee without raising serious questions about the legitimacy of that nominee.

(END VIDEO CLIP) BROWN: So, Candy, explain why Obama's camp is -- isn't, rather, pushing for this revote. Are they afraid they would lose both states if it happens?

CROWLEY: Well, they certainly believe that it would help Hillary Clinton's campaign, as she knows that it helps him not to have the revote. So, there are clearly politics at play in this whole win-lose column.

Beyond that, the Obama campaign says, listen this plan that Michigan came up with is not fair. Number one, it's very complicated. Number two, there were Republicans and Independents who voted on the Republican side in the Republican primary the first time around for Michigan, because they knew the Democratic primary wouldn't count, and yet they are barred from going to a Democratic primary redo. So, that's one of several things they say were unfair about the Michigan plan.

BROWN: And, Candy, I know everybody wants to kick this, as you said, back to the DNC, but is there much hope that the DNC can really do anything between now and Denver to try to avoid a convention fight?

CROWLEY: They're going to have to. I mean, I have yet to talk to a Democrat, be it a party official or an elected member or just a voter, who says, you know, let's settle this at the convention in Denver.

You know, those four days of a convention are the time for a party to present itself to the country. They have a knockdown, drag- out fight on the floor of the convention, it just blows up the party unity that they really want to have in August.

So, I think necessity will force them to come to some kind of agreement. I can't say what it is at this point. And I will tell you what. Neither can the DNC or either of these campaigns.

BROWN: All right, stay tuned, everybody -- Candy Crowley for us. She's in West Virginia, we should mention, traveling with the candidates.

So, with all of this in mind, let's ask the -- remind you, rather, where the Democratic candidates stand right now.

By CNN's estimate, Obama has a 142-delegate lead over Clinton, who has -- I believe the total, 1,621 to 1,479. It takes 2,024 delegates to win the nomination, and neither candidate may have that many by the end of the primaries, especially without Florida and Michigan.

So, how are the Democrats going to be able to pick a nominee? Well, we have top officials from both the Democratic campaigns.

And let's start with Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell, who has endorsed Hillary Clinton.

Welcome to you, Governor. Good to see you again. GOV. ED RENDELL (D), PENNSYLVANIA: Hi, Rebecca. How are you?

BROWN: Good. Thank you.

Well, I know you have got to be disappointed by what's happened today. Is it over in Michigan?

RENDELL: Well, I think there's some effort to have some sort of hybrid that the party wants. But let me say how disappointed I am in the Obama campaign, and even in the senator himself, who I have a high regard for.

On February 8, he said, if the DNC approved a plan for a revote, he would be in favor of it. The DNC did approve this plan for a revote, number one.

Number two, he's always talking about who has the lead in delegates and popular vote. And that's an important point. But how can we judge who is going to win the popular vote when we don't vote two of the most populous states in the country?


BROWN: How can you blame Senator Obama, just to go back to your first point, when you can't even get Michigan, the legislature there, the elected officials there to go along with it?

RENDELL: Oh, make no mistake. Had the Obama campaign given the go-ahead, Michigan would have voted to have a primary on June 3. No one can sugarcoat that. You can talk to everybody who was in on those negotiations.

They were waiting for word from Senator Obama himself that they -- it was fair to go ahead. And that word never came, and that's why they didn't vote it. So, that's number one.

And then, we're going to have a fallout from this. The polls have shown, and you have run some of the polls yourself, about a quarter of the voters in both Florida and Michigan, the Democrats have said, they would have trouble supporting the party in the fall if their votes didn't count towards the nominee. And that's something we should be worried about.

BROWN: But Governor Rendell, what the Obama campaign has put forward is to say, let's split the delegates evenly? Why isn't that something that you would consider?

RENDELL: Because, first of all, that doesn't reflect the votes of the people. Let the people decide how the delegates are to be split. Nobody's saying, let's split the delegates equally in Pennsylvania.


BROWN: Well, I know, but, in fairness, in fairness, those states -- and I love Florida and I love Michigan -- they didn't play by the rules. So, why should they be treated the same?

RENDELL: Well, let me stop you right there. Let me stop you right there. The Florida Democrats are being punished for something that -- for a crime they didn't commit. They did not want to move the primary up and break the rules. It was the Republican governor and the Republican legislature who did that. The Florida Democrats had no choice. They didn't have the majority. They didn't have the governor's office. They wanted to play by the rules.

To punish them and to punish 1.7 million Floridians who went to the polls and voted...


BROWN: OK. So, what about Michigan?

RENDELL: ... makes no sense at all.

In Michigan, it's different. I think the Michigan Democrats were complicit and violated party rules. But here is what I would suggest. And I think this is a fair compromise. I don't think you can do Michigan, because, in fairness, Senator Obama wasn't on the ballot. John Edwards wasn't on the ballot.

You have to have some form of revote there or maybe split the delegates in some way. But Florida, where everybody was on the ballot, where 1.7 million Floridians turned out and voted, where we have national campaigns, thanks to CNN and all the other networks, count the delegates in Florida. Count them. If we can't revote, count the delegates in Florida, do some sort of compromise in Michigan, and let's get on with this.

But I don't want to hear from the Obama campaign that the superdelegates should follow the person who got the most popular votes, because my guess is, by the time Puerto Rico is over, this is going to be close enough that Florida and Michigan could have changed the outcome of a popular vote. And I think that's what the Obama campaign was worried about.

BROWN: All right, Governor Rendell, appreciate your time tonight.

We're going to hear right now from the Obama campaign. Former U.S. Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle is joining us from Washington right now. He's national co-chair for Obama.

You just heard Governor Rendell speaking on behalf of the Clinton campaign. Basically, they are saying you're afraid of a revote, that that's why you haven't been making more of an effort. Is that true?

TOM DASCHLE (D), FORMER SENATE MINORITY LEADER: Campbell, we're not afraid of anything. We have had a lot of votes and we have won most of them. What we're really concerned about is not making sure that it's fair. The Clinton campaign seems to be willing to roll over the rules, roll over all of the procedures in place that would guarantee everybody had the opportunity to be heard. We would be disenfranchising perhaps thousands of voters, people who voted last time, who couldn't vote this time.

We're concerned about that. We're concerned a lot about the degree to which we're going to be able to include everybody in this vote. They think that there are some very serious administrative issues as well that are very problematic. So, I only wish we had the ability to vote or to have the legislature abide by whatever it is the Obama campaign would have us do, but we don't have that authority.

They made the decisions they did in large measure because they knew we just didn't have the capacity to have the kind of fair election that we're looking for. We want to resolve it. We don't want to make anybody disenfranchised, Florida or Michigan. We want to find a way to include them without punishing them.

BROWN: Governor Rendell, though, was pretty blunt about blaming you, about blaming the Obama campaign for what happened in Michigan, for the fact that they didn't get anything done. Why didn't you get more actively involved in trying to bring some resolution to it?

DASCHLE: Well, because we don't think it's really the role of the campaigns to dictate to the states what they should do. What we have said is, we will agree to anything that's fair.

We will agree to anything that the party and the states can work out. We will agree so long as everybody gets an opportunity to vote. That wasn't happening. But we certainly didn't think it was our role to impose our will on Michigan, Florida or anybody else.

BROWN: But, for whatever happens in the general election, for whoever has the nomination eventually, these are going to be crucial states. They are battleground states. You have got to win Florida and Michigan to win the presidency. You know that.

So, are you really willing to risk disenfranchising all these people, even if they didn't play by the rules and they can't come to some resolution? Aren't the longer-term consequences, you know, really dangerous for whoever the eventual nominee would be?

DASCHLE: Well, Campbell, if this isn't resolved, that's exactly right. But we want it to be resolved. And we want it to be resolved fairly. And we're going to campaign aggressively in Michigan and Florida. I guarantee that. And I believe we're going to win Michigan and Florida.


BROWN: Do you really? Do you really, based on the results of the previous elections and the polls as they now exist? Do you think, if the revotes were held, you would win those two states?

DASCHLE: Absolutely. I can't imagine why it would be in Michigan and Florida's best interest to vote for more of the same, to vote for four more years of Bush policies. But that's what they're going to be asked to do if John McCain goes to Michigan or Florida to ask for their support. That's four more years of exactly what we have been given by the Bush administration for the last eight years. And I don't think they, or anybody else in this country will want to do that.

BROWN: All right, Senator Tom Daschle for the Obama campaign tonight -- Senator Daschle, thank you. Appreciate your time.

DASCHLE: My pleasure.

BROWN: And, if you thought Obama's speech was the end of his talk on racism, well, wait until you hear what he had to say today. He's got the talk radio lines lighting up again.



JOE SCARBOROUGH, HOST, "MORNING JOE": Let me tell you something. While elites in Manhattan are calling Geraldine Ferraro a racist...

TUCKER CARLSON, HOST, "TUCKER": She's not a racist.

SCARBOROUGH: ... while elites in Georgetown are calling people in Queens racist, people in Ohio racist, people in Florida racist, they're making a huge mistake. They don't understand the difference between white racism and white resentment.



MICHAEL SMERCONISH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: I had the privilege of being in the room for that speech, and I thought it was stunning. And I have been saying so on my radio program. What's interesting are that my callers aren't buying it. They think I had a Bono kind of a moment.



JAY LENO, HOST, "THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH JAY LENO": As you know, Barack Obama gave a big speech on race. And there was one heckler in the audience who kept screaming crazy stuff the whole time. It turns out it was his pastor.


LENO: Yes.


BROWN: From prime time to late night, Barack Obama's race speech remains topic A, and, more and more, new questions are emerging.

Is the speech and the issues surrounding it hurting Obama by dividing people along racial lines, along class lines? And this could be a critical question in the upcoming primaries.

Well, joining us now, we have got three of the top radio talk show hosts in the country, Lars Larson from Portland, Oregon, Kevin Miller from Pittsburgh, and CNN contributor and Chicago radio talk show host, our very own Roland Martin.

Welcome to all you guys. Appreciate your time tonight.



BROWN: Kevin, let me start with you. To say that speech touched a nerve is an understatement. And you say that you have been seeing reaction split along racial lines and along class lines. What kind of things have you been hearing from people?

KEVIN MILLER, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Well, Campbell, I have been doing this for about 20 years. And I tell you, the lines at KDKA have never been fuller. And that's including impeachment and everything else.

Basically, you have African-American, or black, callers saying what Reverend Wright was saying is correct. It happens in black churches. And there needs to be more dialogue.

You have white people saying they thought they would consider Obama and they say, at KDKA, it's done. The fact that Obama has not come and really addressed us -- he has spent most of his time in Philadelphia -- adds to the resentment here.

BROWN: Go ahead.

Roland -- sorry.

MARTIN: Say it again?

BROWN: Could you hear what he said, Roland?

MARTIN: Yes, I heard what he said. I'm not surprised by that, because, when you have the intersection of race, faith and politics, you get a different viewpoint. And I think, as Obama talked about in his speech, it speaks to how we view things differently.

And so we see this all across the country. I get callers who say the same thing that Kevin just said. I think what you have here is, this is where the point, in terms of what we're able to do, in terms of being able to try to move people to a different level in the conversation, and that is, how do a people see the world differently?

The Kerner Commission talked about it in 1968. We're talking about it in 2008, how different people, black, white, view the same thing from a different lens, through a different prism.

BROWN: Lars? LARS LARSON, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: And should we all be looking at it differently because people see it differently? I suppose you could say that bigots see things differently. There are all kinds of different points of view, but we don't honor them.

In this case, Barack Obama is trying to explain to the American public that it was legitimate for him to sit them and absorb these points of view, never having the guts to stand up and tell his pastor, you're wrong to say these evil things about America.

And then, after he had included the pastor as his mentor, as the inspiration for his book, and put him on his presidential campaign as spiritual adviser, the minute people said, hey, what was your pastor saying, he says, well, I will kick him to the curb; his views are now inconvenient. Barack Obama has got a lot more explaining to do.

MARTIN: You know, Campbell, what you just heard is precisely the point there. I doubt very seriously Lars has probably even heard one full sermon. And I will give you an example. Today, I actually wanted to hear the 9/11 sermon. I wanted to hear what he said.

And, in fact, what was interesting, when he talked about that whole point about chickens coming home to roost, he was actually quoting Ambassador Edward Peck, who, in an interview on FOX News, talking about Americans' foreign policy. I listened to the entire sermon. He talked about, in that particular sermon, that we are going to have to deal with people who do not have militaries, but have people out in the world who want to be able to send folks and blow up the United States.

And that's what he talked about. So, as opposed to coming on television and going on radio and only taking a snippet and then all of a sudden expounding on it, I chose to do what journalists should do and talk show hosts do, and actually listen to the entire sermon for the context.

Lars, I will be happy to send you a copy, so you can have an actual perspective that is true and factual.

LARSON: Roland, I don't need to -- Ms. Brown, I don't need to hear the whole sermon...


MARTIN: You don't? You don't want to hear the whole sermon?


BROWN: Let him make his point.

LARSON: Roland, Barack Obama didn't need to hear all of what Don Imus had said over the years to know that saying what Don Imus said on the air, according to Barack Obama, was unacceptable.

And, yet, somehow, found the comments, stupid comments of Don Imus to be unacceptable, but the comments of his pastor apparently to be acceptable for 20 years, until actually realized what this man had been listening to in church.

MARTIN: You haven't heard one sermon.

LARSON: You don't need to hear the whole sermon.

BROWN: Let me play something else and get you guys to react to it, because a lot of this conversation, you get the sense that we're all hearing different things, in terms of our interpretation of language.

Listen to this sound bite. This is Obama in a speech, as you know, in his initial speech. He talked about some of his white grandmother's feelings about race. And he brought it up again today in a radio interview. And let's listen to it.


SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D-IL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The point I was making was not that my grandmother harbors any racial animosity. She doesn't. But she is a typical white person, who, you know, if she sees somebody on the street that she doesn't know, you know, there's a reaction that's been bred into our experiences that don't go away, and that sometimes come out in the wrong way. And that's just the nature of race in our society.


BROWN: Now, today...


LARSON: Hey, Campbell? Campbell?

BROWN: Yes, go ahead, Lars.

LARSON: Can you imagine what would happen if John McCain had responded to a comment by saying "typical black person"? Can you imagine how fast the media would string him up?

BROWN: Well, people are talking about this comment.

Roland, what did he mean by that?

MARTIN: And, Campbell, and what he talked about in the speech when he talked about stereotypes, and I can tell you, I have gotten on elevators, Campbell -- it's interesting how even I'm sitting here in a suit, I have actually seen people clutch their bag.

This is why we have to have the conversations, because, again, we have people who do harbor feelings, even if they have no reason whatsoever. I have African-Americans who I tell on my radio show every day, how can you sit here and walk around with the stereotype when you haven't even asked anybody?

You are believing an assumption. We have a nation full of stereotypes. And when we don't have dialogue, when we don't have conversation, guess what, Campbell? We walk around and think that. So, why shouldn't we as talk show hosts be trying to educate our listeners and saying, why don't we get over our stereotypes? And, so, that's what we should be doing. It's the reality in America.

BROWN: OK, guys hold it right there. Kevin, I'm going to bring you into this as well.

We're going to take a quick break. We will be right back with a lot more ahead. Stay with us.


BROWN: Picking up where we left off before the break on Senator Obama's speech on racism and the heated debate it has triggered.

And back with me are radio talk show hosts Lars Larson, Kevin Miller, and CNN's own Roland Martin.

And, Kevin, let me go to you. Critics continue to hammer the point that Obama didn't do enough to distance himself from Reverend Wright.

And Geraldine Ferraro, who was mentioned in Obama's speech, was very unhappy about it, said this, that "To equate what I said and what this racist bigot has said from the pulpit is unbelievable. He gave a very good speech on race relations, but he did not address the fact that this man is up there spewing hatred."

Are you hearing the same kind of thing in terms of reaction from your listeners?

MILLER: Campbell, I am at KDKA. And, again, it's split along racial lines. You have people saying that never mind the broader context of racism that Obama brought out. I think the speech would have been a lot more credible if he had done it not in reaction to Reverend Wright, but as a proactive measure.

Now it seems like he's just a regular politician trying to back up. And he's become the black candidate. Now he can't escape race. He's on a radio station in Philadelphia. We haven't heard from him at KDKA. We would love to have him on. The people of Pittsburgh would love to get to know Barack Obama, because it's not just racial. It's also economic.

He has to show that he can relate to the blue-collar workers, if he wants to win Pennsylvania, if he wants to make it competitive. Clinton has the politicians sewn up, including Governor Rendell. Barack Obama needs to come here, bowl a few games, prove that he's one of us. And I think people would respond. Otherwise, Reverend Wright and those comments continue -- continue to brand him.

MARTIN: And, Roland, I know you think that people are misinterpreting what he said and that they have heard it the wrong way. But you clearly have this problem. People do think he's become the candidate of race. So, how does he get beyond that? What does he need to say now? How do you take this to the next step? MARTIN: Well, obviously, in terms of you can talk about Iraq. You can talk about any number of things, talk about the economy.

But also the issue of class also comes in. I was watching another cable network where a host was saying that, well, the white blue-collar worker doesn't want to hear race coming from a black guy who went to Harvard, and his wife, a black woman who went to Princeton.

What's interesting, though, is, the same black guy grew up in a single-family home, where a mom had to go and get some food stamps to feed her family. The black woman lived in a two-bedroom home on the South Side of Chicago and go to public schools.

The reality is, middle-class blue-collar white workers, and many in terms of middle-class blue-collar African-Americans face the exact same thing. Both want their kids to go to top schools. Both want to have good education. Both want to be able to have health care.

And that's how link the two. The reality is, you have always had two separate views. And there, frankly, is no difference between those ethnic conclaves in Pennsylvania, between inner cities in Philadelphia, as well as across the country. That is, they have the exact same issues. But they see it differently in terms of who is getting what.

That's how he should focus on how to bring the classes together through economics and healthcare.

BROWN: Lars, do you think that's possible?

LARSON: Campbell, it's going to be really tough for him. And here's one of the reasons why it's going to be tough. Look at why he joined that church. Perhaps he joined the church because he actually believes the things that are said at Sunday services. If so, that's disturbing.

But maybe he joined that church because he was attacked in some of his earlier political campaigns for being too Hyde Park, for being too Harvard. So he joined a church that was an inner city church, that was a very strongly, if you will, black church that had these kinds of sermons, to get his credentials.


MARTIN: Campbell, can we please correct --


MARTIN: This is incorrect information.

LARSON: If that is the case -- if that is the case -- well, go ahead. What's your --


BROWN: Guys, you know what? I hate to do this to you, but we have got some breaking news.

So, I'm going to say thank you to the panel for now and get to this information.

We have got some information we want to share with you involved Barack Obama's passport and a breach. And Candy Crowley is standing by with more on all of this.

Candy, what do you have?

CROWLEY: Campbell, we have that somebody has been looking at Barack Obama's passport files at the State Department.

The Obama campaign says it was informed of the breach this afternoon, that the breach happened earlier this year, January of 2008. And the Obama campaign wants an investigation.

I want to read you this statement from spokesman Bill Burton: "This is an outrageous breach of security and privacy, even from an administration that's shown little regard for either over the last eight years. Our government's duty is to protect the private information of the American people, not use it for political purposes. This is a serious matter that merits a complete investigation, and we demand to know who looked at Senator Obama's passport file, for what purpose and why it took so long for them to reveal this security breach."

So, again, somebody at the State Department has discovered that, in fact, Barack Obama's passport files have been breached. Someone has looked at them. The Obama campaign, Campbell, wants a complete investigation.

BROWN: And, Candy, has there been disciplinary action of whoever -- or anybody at the State Department at this stage?

CROWLEY: Way too early. Way too early.

You know, this happened in -- this may have a familiar ring to you; I know it does to me. In 1992, when Bill Clinton was running for the presidency, there was also a breach of his passport files. It took a months-long investigation that involved some top people in the State Department. It was finally tracked down to kind of a low-level political person, who was ushered out of the State Department.

So, it will take a while. So, as far as I know, there have been some reports that contract employees have been sent out, but just how it happened, I think, is going to take a little while.

BROWN: All right, Candy Crowley for us tonight -- Candy, thanks.

And we should mention we will be following this throughout the night and bring you updated information as we have it.

Coming up, more than 4,000 pages of Hillary Clinton's papers have information redacted, they say, to protect the privacy of third parties. Was all that really necessary? My next guest says that that mystery raises more questions than answers.


BROWN: Hillary Clinton spent much of her day in Indiana, fighting to give new life to her battle for the White House. But she also faced some old battles from her White House years as first lady. Reporters and opponents have been poring over the more than 11,000 pages of Hillary Clinton's White House schedules, looking for a smoking gun or at least the hint of a scandal.

Well, investigative reporter, Michael Isikoff of "Newsweek," has been digging through the Clinton papers, and he's joining us now. Welcome to you.

Good to see you, Mike.


BROWN: You have probably covered the Clintons more closely than anybody I know. You've been going through all this paperwork. Let's talk about what isn't in those papers because I know that's what interests you most. All of those redactions. And you found something involving Johnny Chung. Tell us about that.


BROWN: But also remind our viewers who Johnny Chung is.

ISIKOFF: Right. Well, this is a classic example of what, of the kind of curious deletions and redactions you do see in these documents. And Johnny Chung, of course, was one of the more notorious figures from the campaign fund-raising scandals of the 1990s.

He had been -- he was convicted of illegal campaign cash. He had made 49 trips to the Clinton White House. Later it turned out much of this cash had come from Chinese military intelligence.

March 9, 1995, a key day, he comes to the White House carrying a $50,000 check that he hand delivers to Maggie Williams, Hillary Clinton's chief of staff, now her campaign manager, and then has a photo op with Hillary Clinton picture taken that later got flashed around the world. You look at the Hillary Clinton calendar that was released yesterday, for that day, and you see a photo session in the map room, and the name is blanked out. Johnny Chung's name doesn't appear.

A few minutes later, there's another photo op that Hillary Clinton does, the name does appear. Who is it? It's Eileen Collins, the astronaut. So why they deleted the name of the controversial figure and left in the name of the noncontroversial figure is unclear, but it does raise questions about how revealing these documents really are.

BROWN: But they're not redacting them. It's not the Clintons. It is the archives, right? ISIKOFF: Well, it is -- it's a little bit of an interplay between the two of them. The archives is redacting them under the guidance that former President Clinton, who controls the papers for the first 12 years after his presidency, provided to the archives.

BROWN: Right.

ISIKOFF: And he wrote a letter that we first reported about in "Newsweek" last year in November 2002, in which he said he wanted to ease restrictions on his documents, except for six areas. And then you look at the six areas that he wanted to see considered for withholding, and it involves almost anything that you might be -- that the public might be interested in. All confidential advice, all foreign policy matters.

BROWN: Right.

ISIKOFF: Anything related to the investigations of the Clinton White House, and all communications other than nonroutine between the president and the first lady.

BROWN: And Mike, a huge campaign issue has been her involvement in his foreign policy. It's an argument for her experience as commander in chief.


BROWN: So, did the schedule shed any light on that in particular?

ISIKOFF: You know, nothing that is really going to help her case. Not necessarily anything that's going to hurt her case. But what you see is her, for the most part, performing the traditional first lady role; meetings, the ceremonial trips and visits.

When King Hussein from Jordan comes, Hillary Clinton meets with Queen Noor. When the president of Portugal comes, she meets with the president's wife. This is the kind of thing you would expect a first lady to do.

BROWN: Right.

ISIKOFF: But it doesn't really shed much light on what role she was playing in foreign policy.

BROWN: All right, Michael Isikoff for us tonight. Michael, thank you.

ISIKOFF: Any time.

BROWN: While Democrats fight it out stateside, Republican John McCain took his campaign to Iraq, to Israel and to Great Britain. Well, did his trip bolster his foreign policy cred? We're taking that on the political loop? That story coming up.


SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R-AZ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The problem with Iraq, in my view, is because it was mishandled after the initial success. And that caused great frustration and sacrifice and sorrow on the part of the American people and our allies. We are now succeeding in Iraq.


BROWN: That was John McCain talking Iraq outside number 10 Downing Street, after his visit with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown. And it has been quite a week for McCain. He's visited Great Britain, Iraq, Jordan and Israel. So, was it a smart political move for him to get out of town?

Well, A.B. Stoddard is associate editor of "The Hill," the newspaper that covers Congress, and she's joining us right now.

Welcome to you. So what was Senator McCain hoping to accomplish with this week-long trip abroad? Was it a success also?

A.B. STODDARD, ASSOCIATE EDITOR, "THE HILL": I do think so. I think the timing was perfect. Everyone is looking at John McCain saying, poor John McCain is probably the nominee, he's out of the headlines. All the attention is focused on Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. But I disagree, I think.

Look at the week he had. While you have the spectacle of the Democratic nominating fight, where Hillary Clinton is telling the voters of her party that John McCain would make a better commander in chief than Barack Obama, he gets to brandish his foreign policy bona fide overseas, meeting with Mideast leaders, appearing presidential, while at home, you have the contrast of the Jeremiah Wright videos being played repeatedly on TV, this historic speech on race that Barack Obama had to give in response to the controversy.

And Hillary Clinton's records as her period, you know, as first lady being released to the press so that all the questions can come up again about what is her foreign policy credential. And so, I think it actually was really good timing for him.

BROWN: So, does he have to address all of these questions? I mean, there was a lot of news this week. Does he have to deal with all that when he does get home?

STODDARD: Oh, yes. There will be huge questions on the economy, not a subject he's very comfortable talking about. But he's going to have to improve on this. And of course, he's going to have to respond to the Barack Obama troubles. I think for John McCain, he has one choice, which is he needs to come home.

Luckily for him, some time will have passed. But he needs to take the high road and stay out of the fray and keep presenting that contrast to the Democrats. BROWN: You know, people always think of John McCain as somebody who really knows his stuff when it comes to national security. But he did stumble over who is fueling Iraq's civil war when he was visiting Jordan with his supporter at his side, Senator Joe Lieberman. Let's listen to what he had to say.


MCCAIN: It's a common knowledge and has been reported in the media that al Qaeda is going back into Iran and receiving training and are coming back into Iraq from Iran. That's well known, and it's unfortunate. I'm sorry. The Iranians are training extremists, not al Qaeda.


BROWN: You know, Barack Obama has already been using this against him. So, a slip of the tongue or a potential real problem for McCain?

STODDARD: I don't think it's a real problem. I think we all look at John McCain with his experience in the Armed Services Committee and all these years over all these issues overseas. And, I think, we say he knows the players on the ground. He tied his candidacy to the surge in Iraq. He absolutely knows what's going on and was possibly jetlagged.

The problem for McCain is that he made the same mistake several times in a month. And if he makes it again, the problem becomes, people grow suspicious, especially maybe Independents watching closely his candidacy and say, does he use the word al Qaeda instead of Shia extremists to try to scare up votes? And that's something that people will be watching.

BROWN: All right. A.B. Stoddard, who's from "The Hill" newspaper, thanks for your time. Appreciate it.

STODDARD: Thanks, Campbell.

BROWN: All right. Get ready for the sparks to fly. We've got this married couple who is caught in the Democratic divide.


MICHAEL ERIC DYSON, PROF., GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY: In my own estimation, Senator Hillary Clinton has yet to deliver a speech that would galvanize the nation in such a unifying vision, E pluribus unum --


M. E. DYSON: First of all, no, I disagree with that. I'm telling you now --

(END VIDEO CLIP) BROWN: He supports Obama, she supports Clinton, and they're both ministers, too. How do they manage to get along?


BROWN: If you think the Democratic Party is divided, well, wait until you meet our next guests. They are a house divided. Two university scholars, both authors, both ministers. But you can call them the dueling Dysons. He supports Barack Obama. She supports Hillary Clinton.

And joining us now is Georgetown University professor, Michael Eric Dyson, and Reverend Marcia Dyson, who's a contributing editor to "Essence" magazine.

Welcome to you both.

Michael, let me begin with you. Has your candidate, Barack Obama, been shaken up a bit, especially given the controversy over his pastor, Reverend Wright?

MICHAEL ERIC DYSON, PROF., GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY: Well, shaken, but not stirred to con a phrase. I think that Barack Obama has done a brilliant job of being able to articulate a vision that is transcendent in American politics.

First of all, he gave a speech unlike any other that an American president has given in a very, very long time about race in American society. He did not shrink from the task of being open and honest about the bitter bigotries that have divided the nation, about the bitter legacy of white supremacy, social injustice and racial division. But he also challenged African-American people to acknowledge that bitter past while looking toward a future, challenging white brothers and sisters to deal honestly with their resentments, but also to embrace this future of E pluribus unum.

BROWN: And Marcia, I know that you believe that Obama has, to a certainly extent, gotten a free pass from the media. Has that changed? Do you think he's still getting or that he's getting scrutinized rather, to the same extent that Hillary Clinton has?

M. DYSON: Well, I would like to disagree with my husband. We've had for the State of the Black Union, almost nine years where we've had a covenant with America where we addressed issues by race. I'm sorry if other Americans didn't tune into CSPAN when we were having those conversations with the wonderful black orators and people who discuss race like Dr. Michael Eric Dyson and Cornel West and Tavis Smiley and Charles Ogletree.

So, yes, he gave a great speech. Yes, he was a little bit shaken. Yes, after two days, and when he was pressed into a corner, he came out fighting about race. But you know, you got to not only talk about it. I know that my husband would agree, the State of the Black Union, we have been trying to act upon it for a long time, and Senator Clinton has to -- thank you.


M. E. DYSON: Well, but what the Reverend Marcia Dyson -- we're not talking -- I did not say that America hadn't grappled with issue number one. Number two, as an American politician who's on the point, so to speak, for issues of race, Barack Obama has had to walk a very tenuous and tight tightrope.

On the one hand, he's had to acknowledge the bitter bigotry that I referred to. On the other hand, he's trying to take America forward into a new future in a different way.

M. DYSON: Oh, I agree.

M. E. DYSON: Arguably -- arguably, the racial divisions that have been played upon by your candidate, perhaps, or those surrogates representing her, have done more to soil and stain the legacy of them than anybody else.


BROWN: OK, Marcia?

M. DYSON: Yes. OK. Dr. Dyson, I disagree with you, because I think that one of the surrogates from your camp today said out of the state of Missouri that it's the first time in America that we have a black presidential candidate who is coming not as a victim, but as a leader. Which, I mean, come on, now.

BROWN: Do you guys have this same conversation at home, essentially? I mean, you're not the only politically divided family in this country. Are you having the same debate at home?

M. E. DYSON: Oh, absolutely.

M. DYSON: Yes. Yes.

M. ERIC DYSON: I think that, you know, we're engaging in some rhetorical fisticuffs, so to speak, a kind of pugilism of the domestic sphere. But I think what we understand is that we're both committed to transforming this nation and doing the right thing. That doesn't mitigate against the fact that Barack Obama has had to negotiate some very tough times.

BROWN: Right.

M. E. DYSON: And I think that gender and race here have played together. But I'm saying that in my own estimation, Senator Hillary Clinton has yet to deliver a speech that would galvanize the nation in such a unifying vision, E pluribus unum --


REV. DYSON: And I think -- well, first of all -- no, I disagree with that. I'm telling you now. Senator Clinton, you heard my husband. Media, you heard my husband. Give her an opportunity to take two days rest off this campaign trail and watch her throw down in a very deliberate insightful speech, not only with words...

BROWN: All right.

M. DYSON: ... but with past history of what she's done. Thank you.

BROWN: Professor Dyson and Reverend Dyson, we have to end it there.

M. DYSON: Thank you.

BROWN: Thank you both. Appreciate your time tonight.

M. E. DYSON: Thanks for both having us.

M. DYSON: You're welcome. Thank you.

BROWN: And now, a quick update on tonight's breaking story. Barack Obama's campaign tells CNN the State Department has confirmed a breach of Obama's passport file. The State Department is investigating who may have been reading the information.

The Obama campaign has issued a statement calling it "an outrageous breach of security and privacy, even from an administration that has shown little regard for either." The campaign is calling for a complete investigation to find out who looked at Obama's passport file and why.

We are going to stay on this story, and we will bring you whatever updated information we may have. We're going to take a quick break. We'll be back right after this.


BROWN: Former presidential candidate John Edwards has kept a mighty low profile. Lately, he's abstained from major appearances and endorsements. But tonight, he is making a grand appearance on "The Tonight Show With Jay Leno." So, will we get anything new from him besides a few jokes? You have to tune in to see.

"LARRY KING LIVE" is coming up in just a few minutes, and Larry is back tonight with Senator Barack Obama. Among the points of discussion, Senator Clinton's campaign.


LARRY KING, HOST, "LARRY KING LIVE": Has her campaign disappointed you? Surprised you?

OBAMA: Well, no, I mean, look. As I said, she's a tenacious campaigner. I don't think either her or her husband like to lose. And, you know, she herself, and her campaign talked about a kitchen sink strategy where we're just going to throw a bunch of stuff at Senator Obama and see what sticks.

(END VIDEO CLIP) BROWN: So, keep watching. It is Senator Barack Obama for the full hour on "LARRY KING LIVE" at 9:00 p.m. Eastern time.

So much has been changing so fast in the Democratic race. You got to wonder what that means for Clinton and Obama's campaign strategies. We're going to dive into that next.


BROWN: So let's see if my next panel can shed some light on the Democrat's big picture strategies in the weeks to come. Joan Walsh is the editor in chief of "," a San Francisco-based Internet magazine. And Mike McKeon is a Republican strategist and served as press secretary for former New York Governor George Pataki.

Welcome to you both.

It's good to have people in the studio with me. So, let's be forward-looking here. You know, we've rehashed the week, and what a week it was. Very interesting. But come Monday, where do both of these candidates go? And Joan, you start. Obama, especially.

JOAN WALSH, EDITOR IN-CHIEF, "SALON.COM": Well, I think Obama made a terrific speech about race, but I don't think it put the issues about Pastor Wright to rest.

BROWN: You don't?

WALSH: No, I don't. I think that -- you know, we saw it today again. He made a reference to his white grandmother. I think, you know, the independent and Republican voters who have been core to his argument that he's electable are really having second thoughts about his candidacy, so I think it's tough for him.

On the other hand, Hillary Clinton is pretty far behind in terms of pledged delegates. And so, her only hope is for Obama to make a mistake. And he's had a couple of tough weeks, but how she capitalizes on this without alienating more black voters and more of the liberal base, that's a very difficult question for her.

BROWN: Mike, is this a general election issue or is it still, for him, dealing with the issues Joan was just talking about, or is it still a primary battle?

MIKE MCKEON, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: He's got to lock it down still. I mean, I think that he has the race to win. Hillary's path to victory goes through Obama. If he makes a mistake, that's her only hope at this point. So she needs to keep the pressure on him, keep forcing him his hand.

His remark today was a pretty bad remark. The typical white people remark was a gaffe. That's the kind of thing you would expect out of Jeremy Wright, not out of Obama. Give him credit, give him the benefit of the doubt. You make mistakes on the campaign. You get tired. He sounded pretty tired when he said it. But he needs to fix that probably tomorrow, and move, so he can move forward. BROWN: Do you think so, too? It's not something he needs to come out and address? It feeds in to what a lot of people were feeling coming out of the speech from what we're hearing.

MCKEON: I thought the speech was great. I thought it was helping him, but this sets him back.

WALSH: I think, you know, I don't know if he needs to address it tomorrow because today, he was trying to address the use of his grandmother in the speech. Today, he kind of made it worse. I don't know what more he can say.

I think he's got to try to change the subject. I think the more he is putting a box as a racial candidate, the worse it is for him certainly in the general election. So --

BROWN: The bottom line here, though, is superdelegates. I mean, I ask this question of every panel every day, it seems like. But it really is the bottom line question.

WALSH: Right.

BROWN: Who is winning the battle for the superdelegates? Has anything really changed from that front?

MCKEON: That's Hillary's only hope is to create enough doubt in their mind that he can't be elected. Electability is her only argument at this point. That he can't win. And so, she needs to keep as much pressure on him, make more mistakes so that they abandon him.

WALSH: I think it's got to be -- he's got to commit a pretty serious gaffe or set of gaffes...

MCKEON: I agree.

WALSH: ... for the superdelegates to then say, it's OK to reverse the ruling of the pledged delegates. I think that's going be a very, very dicey moment for the Democratic Party, if anything like that happens. So, I think a lot of people fear that. On the other hand, that is what the superdelegates are there for.

BROWN: Right.

WALSH: You know, they really are not expected to ratify the pledged delegates' vote, or else the Democrats wouldn't have them.

BROWN: You're absolutely right.

MCKEON: Listen, it's a near -- it's a near and possible path for her to get through. And it leaves the party in tatters going into the general.

BROWN: OK. Got to wrap it up there. Joan and Mike, good to have you here. Appreciate it.

WALSH: Nice to be here. MCKEON: Thank you.

BROWN: And more on our breaking story coming up in just a moment about Barack Obama's passport. We'll have the details on that. Be right back.


BROWN: More now on tonight's breaking story. Barack Obama's campaign telling CNN that the State Department has confirmed a breach of Obama's passport file. It happened in January, February, and again, just last week.

We're going to have a lot more coming up tonight on "Anderson Cooper" at 10:00.

"LARRY KING LIVE" right now.