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Pennsylvania Primary Expectations; Ad Wars: Truth or Scare?

Aired April 21, 2008 - 18:00   ET


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: And, to our viewers, You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
Happening now, Hillary Clinton fights for a Pennsylvania victory. Barack Obama battles to keep it close. Will the long and unsettled Democratic presidential race take any dramatic new turns tomorrow?

Also this hour -- truth or scare? A red-hot new ad invokes frightening images from Pearl Harbor to Osama bin Laden. We are going to check the facts of the Democrats' latest attacks on the airwaves.

And John McCain takes the road less traveled for Republicans. Can he lock in some African-American votes? Will the Democrats still be duking it out?

I'm Wolf Blitzer, along with the best political team on television.


On this primary eve, we want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world.

A state rich in delegates and steeped in U.S. history is ready to shape this historic presidential race, Pennsylvania, the biggest prize left this primary season, with 158 delegates up for grabs tomorrow. At last count, CNN estimates that Barack Obama has 1,644 total delegates, compared to 1,498 for Hillary Clinton; 2,025 are needed to win the nomination.

Our senior political correspondent, Candy Crowley, is standing by in Pennsylvania.

So, Candy, what are the candidates' final pitches?

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, their final pitches really sound a lot like their opening arguments, she about experience. He's about change, a different way of doing business.

But, you know, these final 24 hours, Wolf, are about two things, first, getting your vote out, and, second, setting the bar for expectations.


AUDIENCE: Hillary! Hillary! Hillary! CROWLEY (voice-over): Pennsylvania is Clinton-friendly -- whiter, older, more female than the national average with nearly a million union households, all demographics that have favored her in other states. A loss here would be catastrophic.

SEN. HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D-NY), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Do everything you can. Convince people to go vote who say that they're not going to vote. Take them to the polls. Call your friends and neighbors. Make the case for the kind of results that we desperately need in America again.

CROWLEY: Barack Obama has outspent Clinton by more than two to one in Pennsylvania, which helped close what was once a considerable Clinton lead. Still, he told a Pennsylvania radio station he's not going to win.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you predicting a win here tomorrow?

SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D-IL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, no, I'm not predicting a win. I'm predicting it's going to be close and that we are going to do a lot better than people expect.

CROWLEY: The Clinton campaign will have none of it, arguing that Obama has spent so much money in Pennsylvania, a loss would bring his electability into question.

On the campaign trail, for a last round of rallies and restaurants, both candidates were relatively mellow compared to a rough and tumble weekend, with each accusing the other of misleading ads. Their campaigns did get into it over Clinton's final ad, which included the image of Osama bin Laden.


NARRATOR: You need to be ready for anything, especially now with two wars, oil prices skyrocketing, and an economy in crisis. Harry Truman said it best. If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.

Who do you think has what it takes?


CROWLEY: Taking exception, an Obama spokesman said, "We already have a president who plays a politics of fear, and we don't need another."


CROWLEY: Do not expect an end to these negative ads as we move forward to Indiana and North Carolina. The shorter the time left to pick up these delegates, the more negative these ads become -- Wolf.

BLITZER: All right, Candy, thanks very much.

So, how much might these final pushes from Clinton and Obama help propel them to victory tomorrow?

Let's bring in our chief national correspondent, John King. He's watching this about as closely as anyone -- John.

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: And, Wolf, those messages Candy talking about, some of them aimed at different parts of Pennsylvania, because it is such a diverse state.

Let's start by looking at the neighborhoods. I'm going to circle this he and stretch it out just a little bit. And you will see, if you look around, the light blue is Senator Clinton. She won most of the surrounding areas. She won New York. She won Ohio. She won New Jersey. Obama carried Maryland and Delaware, won this little bit right here, but even she won out here in Maryland in the rural counties.

So, let's zoom in a little bit closer to Pennsylvania and bring the state out. Here's what matters most if you're Barack Obama. If there is to be an Obama upset, it will happen right here in southeast Pennsylvania. In Philadelphia -- I'm going to circle this area here -- in the Philadelphia area right here, about 13 percent of the state here, 12.5 percent of the population, heavy African-American. More than half of the vote tomorrow in the city of Philadelphia is expected to be African-American. Obama needs those numbers and needs them big.

And then, Wolf, for Obama, another 15 percent of the vote out here in Bucks County, Montgomery County, Chester County, and Delaware County. If he can do well in the collar suburbs, where he has organized and registered a lot of new voters, that will be the key for Barack Obama.

A victory, he has to get huge numbers to keep the margins close. He has to do well out there. Now, I will leave that up, and so two areas for Senator Clinton, out there and over here. This is the blue- collar area, Scranton, where she has roots, Bethlehem and Allentown down here, Reading, Pennsylvania, white, blue-collar working-class voters. They are critical.

Out here in the Pittsburgh area as well, a large Catholic population out here, older voters -- Pennsylvania is the second oldest state in the country, second only to Florida. Hillary Clinton does well with senior citizens. She needs them to turn out in big numbers tomorrow.

If it is close, and we're having a long night, I am going to move the state over and I'm going to show you this, what the locals call the T., up in the middle of the state and then across to the New York border. Why do they call it that? That is conservative country. This is George Bush's vote back in 2004.

Want to pull that out and I will shrink it back down. George Bush's vote in 2004, George Bush's vote in 2000. These are conservative. They will vote Republican in November, but, Wolf, some blue-collar rural Democrats out there, if it's a close race, Hillary Clinton needs them all across these rural counties. That would be her margin of victory. In very a close race, the small places could matter.

BLITZER: All right, John, thank you. Good work. We will be spending a lot of time at that wall with you tomorrow.

John McCain is in Alabama today, taking his campaign to places Republicans have often ignored. He's looking to win over moderate voters, while the Democrats continue their nasty primary battle.

Dana Bash is in Selma, Alabama.

Dana, what's McCain's message, and how is it playing?

DANA BASH, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, what McCain is trying to do all week long is choreograph events to try to help create his own political brand. He's going to impoverished parts of this state, for example, largely black parts as well, but, if you just looked at who showed up to his event here in Selma this morning, it shows he has a very steep hill to climb.


BASH (voice-over): Standing in front of Selma, Alabama, famous bridge, a tribute to civil rights leaders beaten for marching on it four decades ago.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R-AZ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: ... that the people who tried to cross the Edmund Pettus Bridge weren't a mob. They weren't a threat. They were patriots.

BASH: This was the first visit in memory from a Republican presidential candidate, John McCain's whole point in coming.

MCCAIN: There must be no forgotten places in America, where they have been ignored for long years by the sins of indifference and injustice.


BASH: McCain aides chose the bridge backdrop to symbolize this Republican's intention to reach out to the black community. Seventy percent of Selma is black. But almost all the audience was white, imagery telling a different story than scripted.

(on camera): You're here talking about civil rights, obviously, in a predominantly black town. But it's hard not to notice that many of the people here in the crowd are white. Is that an illustration of the challenge that you have?

MCCAIN: I am aware of the challenges. And I am aware of the -- of the fact that there will be many people who will not vote for me. But I am going to be the president of all the people. And I will work for all the people.

BASH (voice-over): Empty Selma storefronts illustrate economic hardship and high unemployment. McCain said his conservative principles will help. MCCAIN: It's time for change, the right kind of change, change that trusts in the strength of free people and free markets.

BASH: One of the few black voters who came to see McCain said she wasn't swayed.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's -- I'm just -- he's a Republican. I'm a Democrat. That's just like water and oil. It just doesn't mix.


BASH: They may not like McCain's gospel much here, but he got a taste of theirs.



BASH: And McCain spoke vividly here about the bloody beating of John Louis, who 40 years ago was one of the leaders who marched on that bridge behind me. Now he's a Democratic congressman who supports Barack Obama.

He released a statement saying he didn't know in advance that McCain was going to speak about him here in Selma, but he said he is grateful that he has decided to speak up about the struggle for voting rights. But, Wolf, he also made a point of saying that it is more profound that partisan politics -- Wolf.

BLITZER: All right, Dana, thank you.

Let's go back to Jack. He's got "The Cafferty File" here with us in New York -- Jack.


Six-week lull, but it's over now. We actually get to hear from the voters in Pennsylvania tomorrow, the long-awaited, much publicized primary. The stakes are enormous. If Obama should pull an upset, Hillary might be asked by the party leaders to stay home and bake those cookies.

If Clinton wins, as she's expected to, the battle moves to Indiana and North Carolina. Both campaigns hedging expectations about tomorrow's results. An average of the recent polls show Clinton with about a seven-point lead going in. Political experts have been saying that Clinton has to win Pennsylvania by at least double digits for her campaign for the nomination to remain viable.

Her supporters, not surprisingly, say no way, not necessary. Clinton has vowed to carry the campaign all the way to the convention. The two candidates have spent tons of time and money. And although Obama has outspent Clinton by perhaps as much as 3-1, she's still expected to win. If he's unable to get the support of those blue- collar workers that John King was talking about a minute ago, it could make some uncommitted superdelegates question just how strong Obama would be in the general election.

Meanwhile, "The Politico" reports the historic spike in Democratic voter registration could help Barack Obama cut into Clinton's lead. One pollster has taken a look at people who have switched parties in order to vote Democrat this time around. They represent roughly 7 percent of the two million Democrats expected to turn out tomorrow, and 62 percent of prefer Barack Obama.

This pollster says these voters could help Obama cut Clinton's margin of victory by two to three percentage points. So, it could be pretty close and exciting being it's all over.

Here's the question. Who has the advantage on this, the eve of the Pennsylvania primary? Is it Barack Obama? Is it Hillary Clinton?

Go to Post a comment on my blog. We will come back and read some of your stuff in a little while.

BLITZER: It could be a long night tomorrow.

CAFFERTY: Could be an interesting story, I think.

BLITZER: I love this kind of stuff.

CAFFERTY: I know you do.

BLITZER: Thank you, Jack.

Hillary Clinton slams liberal groups like and suggests they're part of the reason she's lost some contests. Is Barack Obama only attracting liberals? Can he win more conservative Democratic support? I will ask Obama supporter the Arizona governor Janet Napolitano. She's standing by live.

Also, he says/she says. We're taking some promises that Clinton and Obama are making to you, and checking what's true and what is not.

And a Republican reportedly says John McCain's temper is so bad, it would put the world in danger and -- quote -- "It should disqualify him." Find out how McCain responds to that and more.

We will be right back.


BLITZER: Hillary Clinton says liberal groups like are part of the reason she's lost some contests. Now that's raising questions about how much liberal vs. moderate and conservative support Barack Obama is actually getting.

Earlier, I spoke to Clinton campaign chairman Terry McAuliffe.

Joining us now is a major Obama supporter, the Arizona governor, Janet Napolitano She's joining us from Tempe.

Governor, thanks for coming in. GOV. JANET NAPOLITANO (D), ARIZONA: Oh, thank you.

BLITZER: Let's talk a little bit about this Hillary Clinton statement that has only recently come to light, in which she laments the crowd going in support of Barack Obama.

Listen to what she said.


H. CLINTON: We have been less successful in caucuses because it brings out the activist base of the Democratic Party. MoveOn. org didn't want us to go into Afghanistan. I mean, that's what we're dealing with. And they turn out in great numbers.


BLITZER: All right. You're a moderate Democratic in Arizona. Are you comfortable with and other sort of left groups who have been so ardently in support of your candidate, Barack Obama?

NAPOLITANO: Yes. Senator Obama has attracted a broad continuum of Democrats and independents and indeed Republicans, because a lot of these old labels just really don't match his candidacy, his quest for the presidency.

And Senator Clinton, she is in a tough spot right now. She's got to win Pennsylvania tomorrow, but she's got to win by double digits, a convincing win, and go on to the other nine states and do the same. And that doesn't look to be in the cards. So, she's got to go after everything she can right now, and that's what's happening.

BLITZER: All right. One of the issues that's come up, a significant issue, in which there's some question -- there seems to be some difference between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton -- is that he wants to raise the capital gains taxes from 15 percent, which is currently the level, to, what, around maybe as high as 28 percent, according to "The Wall Street Journal."

"Mr. Obama has also said he's open to raising, indeed nearly doubling to 28 percent the current top capital gains tax rate of 15 percent, which would in fact be a tax hike on some 100 million Americans who own stock, including millions of people who fit Mr. Obama's definition of middle class."

Are you comfortable with that tax hike?

NAPOLITANO: Well, I think what you're doing is giving the other side's critique of some of Obama's economic proposals.

But here's the thing. His focus is on getting relief to the great majority of Americans in the middle class who, over the last eight years, have seen the value of their dollar go down, down, down, and the economic policies of the Bush administration really put them in a terrible, terrible squeeze. And, so, when you look at the whole universe of the things that he's proposed, you know, health care, tax relief for the middle class, help with college funding, such a big need right now, what he's doing is saying, look, our government hasn't been listening to the great majority of Americans who are really hurting out there.


BLITZER: Let me interrupt, Governor. Are you comfortable raising the capital gains tax rate from 15 percent maybe to 20 percent, 25 percent, maybe even 28 percent?

NAPOLITANO: I think you have to look at all of these things and you have to look at them in context. What in the end will be the best thing for the United States? How do we get our economy back on track? How do we get our economic policy to be fair?


BLITZER: Are you open to that? Because, you know, the Republicans are going to say that John McCain wants to cut your taxes; Barack Obama wants to increase your taxes.

NAPOLITANO: Yes, Senator McCain, that's kind of interesting, his view on the Bush tax cut, for example.

He voted against it, understanding at the time that our country cannot meet its requirements, cannot fight a war, cannot balance its budget, all the things that we need to do, and continue that tax cut. Now he's for it. We're going to see a lot of different sides of John McCain during this presidential race.

BLITZER: All right. So, but you're not really answering the question on the capital gains tax increase.

NAPOLITANO: No, I think you have to look at all of those things in order to balance the budget. And, of course, you don't raise taxes lightly. You don't raise it as your first thing. I'm a governor. I have balanced budgets. I'm dealing with a deficit right now in my own state. We are going to get through it without raising taxes. But you have got to do something to get this American economy back on track.

BLITZER: All right. I spoke to Terry McAuliffe, the Clinton campaign chairman, earlier here in THE SITUATION ROOM today. I want to play a little clip of what he said.


TERRY MCAULIFFE, CLINTON CAMPAIGN CHAIRMAN: Clearly health care, there is a division between the two plans. Hillary covers everyone. Senator Obama's plan leaves out 15 million people. His has options that people can opt out. Hillary, everybody's in the system, economies of scale. Everybody's included.

(END VIDEO CLIP) BLITZER: I asked him the major difference on a substantive policy issue between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. He cited health care, as other Clinton supporters often do. What's your response?

NAPOLITANO: Well, yes.

And the thing that Terry didn't say is that, as I think Senator Clinton herself has recognized, if you have a mandate, you have to have a sanction for people who don't go into the plan. That means you're garnishing wages. And, quite frankly, that's sort of a mandate is not going to pass the United States Congress.

There are other ways to get people to get into the health care system, as Senator Obama has proposed. And, so, you know, from the get-go, she has proposed something not likely to happen, not realistic, and, in many instances, probably not fair.

BLITZER: Janet Napolitano is the governor of Arizona.

Governor, thanks for coming in.

NAPOLITANO: Well, thank you a lot.

BLITZER: Now that Jimmy Carter has met with Hamas, something he said is sparking this question. Is Hamas really ready to recognize the existence of Israel living in peace next to a Palestinian state?

Also, one of Bill and Hillary Clinton's biggest political enemies of the 1990s, considered part of the vast right-wing conspiracy, does something surprising. Wait until you hear what he's now saying about Hillary Clinton.

Stay with us, you're in THE SITUATION ROOM.



BLITZER: Bill Clinton suggests his wife can give Americans something Barack Obama can't.


BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Empowerment is even more important than inspiration. She's the best at that I have ever known.


BLITZER: So, how far will the Clintons go to try to win in Pennsylvania tomorrow and then beyond? The best political team on television is it standing by.

Plus, millions of dollars, thousands of ads. We're reading between the lines of the latest commercial attacks. Do they tell us the truth, though?

And later, a former president's fish story -- the big one that didn't get away.

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


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

Happening now: after a six-week lull, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton preparing to go head to head in delegate-rich Pennsylvania. She's favored, but there's much more to it than win or lose. We will show you.

Also, we will go inside the surprise endorsement that Clinton got from a newspaper notorious for its anti-Clinton stance. After years of picking her apart, why is it now backing her?

Plus, John McCain ventures off the GOP path and deep into the Democratic territory -- all of this, plus the best political team on television.

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

Hillary Clinton wants you to believe she's far more ready for what her campaign calls the toughest job in the world.

Barack Obama wants you to believe he's better prepared by virtue of what he sees as better judgment. Both arguments are themes seen in TV commercials airing now in an 11th-hour blitz in Pennsylvania. We're checking the facts for you.

CNN's Jessica Yellin is standing by live.

Jessica, you're looking into some of their latest claims. What are you finding?

JESSICA YELLIN, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, both campaigns are airing negative ads. Senator Clinton's goes after Obama's claim that he takes no money from special interests. Senator Obama is challenging Hillary Clinton's health care plan.


YELLIN (voice over): This Clinton ad takes aim at Obama's squeaky clean image.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: you have seen the ad.

OBAMA: I don't take money from oil companies.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No candidate does. It's been against the law for 100 years. But Barack Obama accepted $200,000 from executives and employees of oil companies.

YELLIN: True, but not the whole story. It's illegal for corporations to contribute to presidential candidates.

According to the Center for Responsive Politics, as of late March, Barack Obama has accepted more than $222,000 from oil and gas company employees. What the ad doesn't tell you, Senator Clinton has raked in even more, at least $309,000 from oil and gas interests. And she takes contributions from PACs, groups that bundle donations. Obama doesn't.

OBAMA: She's essentially saying, yes, I'm bad, but he's just as bad.

What kind of argument is that?

SNOW: Obama's gone negative, too, with this ad attacking Clinton's health care plan.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hillary Clinton is attacking, but what's she not telling you about her health care plan?

It forces everyone to buy insurance, even if you can't afford it. And you pay a penalty if you don't. Barack Obama believes it's not that people don't want health care, it's that they can't afford it.


SNOW: Partly true. Clinton would require everyone get health care coverage. Obama wouldn't. Now, she'd have to enforce that somehow -- possibly with a fine. But she says if you can't afford the health coverage, the government will help you pay.

CLINTON: The last thing we need is to have somebody spending as much money as he has downgrading universal health care.

SNOW: You can't turn on a television in Pennsylvania without seeing these political ads.

LARRY EICHEL, "THE PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER": I think when you have so many commercials like that, sometimes the impact of any individual spot is pretty negligible.


SNOW: It really is ad saturation here, Wolf. To give you a sense, in the last two weeks alone, Clinton and Obama's political ads, all tolled, have aired almost 11,000 times -- Obama's almost twice as often as Clinton's. It is record-breaking -- Wolf.

BLITZER: And those ads are not cheap, especially in big media markets like Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.

Thanks, Jessica, very much.

Let's get some more now on the Pennsylvania primary. We're only hours away from when people will actually start voting. Let's discuss with our senior political analyst, Gloria Borger; our own Jack Cafferty; and our senior analyst, Jeff Toobin. They're all part of the best political team on television.

And just for the record, in our average poll of polls, the latest ones in Pennsylvania, right now, among likely Democratic primary voters, 50 percent say they'll vote for Clinton, 43 percent say they'll vote for Obama, 7 percent still unsure.

I don't know what they're waiting for, Jack, but...

CAFFERTY: It's hard to tell.

BLITZER: If it stays like that, let's say that's the bottom line, she wins by 7 points, what does that mean?

CAFFERTY: It means she picks up -- what, she'll get 53 percent of the delegates and he'll get 46 percent, something like that. But at the end of the day, if she wins by seven, she's not going to be measurably...

BLITZER: But what will it say to the superdelegates out there, who are looking for someone who can carry an important state like Pennsylvania?

CAFFERTY: I have a little problem with that whole campaign spin that the Clinton campaign puts on these big important states. With one Democrat in the race, Democrats are going to win a lot of these states that Hillary has won. It doesn't matter who it is. A Republican is not going to win California. A Republican is not going to win New York. So this idea that she won some of these big states, therefore he can't, I think, is a bogus claim.

BLITZER: Is that a bogus claim?



BORGER: ...because he could possibly win some of those states.

But let's take your 7 point scenario, Wolf. If it were 7 points, that's kind of the middle muddle we would be in, where each side would be claiming a victory. And the other outcomes are obviously clearer. If she wins with a blowout -- 10, 15, 20 points -- that's going to be very important to her in making that case about...

CAFFERTY: Is 10 a blowout?

BORGER: ...about those battleground states. I think 10 is a good victory, given the fact that he has outspent her so dramatically, two to one.

BLITZER: She won by 10 points in Ohio and New Jersey...

BORGER: Right. BLITZER: ...two neighboring states.

BORGER: But the other thing is, if she wins by three points, not so much of a victory.


BORGER: But 7 points is kind of in the middle.

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: We'll know pretty soon, because this is all now about the superdelegates. Everybody knows that they're going to decide the outcome of this race. And since she won in Ohio and Texas, he's gotten the overwhelming majority of the superdelegates who have expressed a preference. So she's going to need to turn around that momentum and I don't think seven points is going to do it. And I don't even know if 10 points is going to do it.

BORGER: Well, and the interesting thing is popular vote, too, because what they're hoping is that they can make up some of that 700,000 or 800,000 vote difference they have in the popular vote with Obama and maybe get 200,000 more votes to sort of narrow that gap, as well.

BLITZER: She did get the endorsement of the "Pittsburgh Tribune- Review," which may not necessarily be a big thing except for our political news junkies out there, who know that the publisher is Richard Mellon Scaife, who spent a lot of his own money and effort trying to hurt the Clintons during the whole Monica Lewinsky and other scandals of the Clinton administration.

CAFFERTY: What makes you think this isn't designed to hurt the Clintons, as well?

BLITZER: You think it is?

CAFFERTY: And here's theory. I don't think he suddenly got religion when it comes to the Clintons. I think he envisions Hillary Clinton as being more vulnerable and probably the weaker of the two candidates. Ergo, there's a better chance that a Republican holds the White House. Ergo, that's better for his business empire. End of discussion.


TOOBIN: He spent all that money to fund investigations of the Clintons for murder, for rape...



TOOBIN: ...for sexual harassment. I mean this is classic Clinton. They are nicer to their enemies than they are to their friends, often. And the fact that she went so far out of her way to meet with Scaife is just kind of astonishing.

BORGER: Well...

BLITZER: She met with the editorial board of that newspaper.

BORGER: She said, what do we have to lose?

TOOBIN: Right. Including Scaife himself.

BORGER: She said what do we have to loose?

TOOBIN: But I mean...

BORGER: And the answer was nothing.

TOOBIN: Some people might say you know what, you accused me and my husband of all these horrible things, to hell with you.

BORGER: I'll take your endorsement, however.

CAFFERTY: Yes, she's a politician.

TOOBIN: I guess.


BLITZER: I want to leave you guys -- I want to -- because we're going to continue this. Listen to the...

TOOBIN: Don't leave us.


BLITZER: Listen to these two ads. This is the latest in the series -- we don't live in Pennsylvania, so we're not seeing these ads...

CAFFERTY: Yes, mercifully.

BLITZER: But I want our viewers to get a little flavor of what the television viewers in Pennsylvania are about to see.

Watch this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's the toughest job in the world. You need to be ready for anything, especially now, with two wars, oil prices skyrocketing and an economy in crisis. Harry Truman said it best -- if you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.

Who do you think has what it takes?

CLINTON: I'm Hillary Clinton and I approved this message.


(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP FROM BARACK OBAMA FOR PRESIDENT CAMPAIGN AD) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who has what it takes to really bring change, to finally take on the special interests, not take their money?

Who had the right judgment about opposing the war and had the courage and character to speak honestly about it?

And who, in times of challenge, will unite us, not use fear and calculation to divide us?

OBAMA: We are one people.


BLITZER: I guess you get a little flavor of those ads.

We'll continue our discussion and talk about that -- and also talk about this. He's known for having a short fuse.

But could John McCain's temper actually disqualify him for being president?

You're going to find out why one former Republican colleague has said yes.

Plus, the dollars that could make the difference -- find out how much more cash the candidates have in their war chests.

Stay with us.



BLITZER: John McCain seems to be campaigning somewhat off the GOP irregular path.

Let's continue our discussion with the best political team on television.

Gloria, he was in Selma, Alabama, trying to reach out, I take it, to African-Americans in Alabama.

BORGER: I give him credit. I think that this is not a Republican town. It's not a Republican constituency. And I think he gave a very emotional speech there and said, look, I am going to try and work for your vote.

And some conservative Republicans may say why isn't he calling us and meeting with us?

But I think he wants to start this campaign by presenting himself as a Republican -- like Ronald Reagan -- who will reach out to all constituencies. So good for him.

TOOBIN: Well, but Ronald Reagan started his campaign in 1980 in Philadelphia, Mississippi, where civil rights workers had been murdered. And he was speaking to white people. So I think John McCain is very much drawing a difference there and trying to say, you know, we conservatives were on the wrong side in the '60s and now we want to be on the right side. Whether there's any substance to back that up is a different question.

But I mean I do think that was an honorable thing for McCain to do.


CAFFERTY: The history of Republican policies toward that part of the United States, including in the aftermath of the Hurricane Katrina, would suggest to me that he's wasting his time.

BLITZER: So you think it's -- it's going to be true, the traditional so-called Southern strategy that the GOP has used...

CAFFERTY: I think so.

BLITZER: the South pretty effectively going back to Nixon...

CAFFERTY: Well, you're talking about the whites vote Republican...


CAFFERTY: ...and the blacks vote Democratic. I don't know. We'll see how Obama does if he gets the nomination. I mean he's had the ability to make some funny things happen elsewhere. He might be able to upset that equation.

BLITZER: Gloria, yesterday in "The Washington Post," former Senator Bob Smith of New Hampshire was quoted as saying this about John McCain: "His temper would place this country at risk international affairs and the world, perhaps, in danger. In my mind, it should disqualify him."

To which McCain said this on ABC's "This Week" yesterday.



MCCAIN: Yes, I served with him and had significant differences on several issues. But the point is, look, those -- many of those -- all of -- the majority of those stories are 15, 20, 25 years ago. The point is that I feel passionately about issues. I work across the aisle. I've been successful in getting legislation done.


BLITZER: Is this temperament issue really an issue or is it being overblown?

BORGER: I -- what? I think it is an issue for John McCain. And I think that Mark Salter, one of his top advisers, came out after this piece appeared in "The Washington Post" and on the record called 99 percent of it fictional. So you understand how worried they are about this issue, because there are lots of stories about John McCain's temper. I think he has worked hard to get it under control. And you know that during the campaign, one of the things we're all going to be watching for is when John McCain blows his lid.

TOOBIN: But you know what there is not?

There's not video of John McCain's temper. None of the public has ever seen it. And as long as it's just other people talking about it, without a video of it...

CAFFERTY: No, there was...

TOOBIN: I don't think it matters.

BORGER: Bill Clinton had a temper, didn't he?

TOOBIN: He sure did.


TOOBIN: It didn't -- none of it matters, I think, unless the public can see it.

CAFFERTY: There's a clip on an airplane that we showed on this network when he was engaged in a conversation with a reporter -- a conversation he didn't want to have. She kept asking him questions and you could see his blood pressure go up. I mean...

BORGER: But he didn't blow his...


BORGER: ...his temper.


And who wouldn't be irritated by reporters now and then, you know?


BLITZER: I thought the best -- when he's asked about this, I think the best answer he gives, which is a pretty effective answer, is you know what, I'm passionate about these issues, and sure, I feel strongly, and maybe even lose my temper from time to time, but when the stakes are so enormous, what's wrong with that?

TOOBIN: I don't think there is much wrong with that. And unless it shows something really uncontrolled, which none of us have seen, then I don't think it's a problem. BORGER: You know, he has, in the past, lost his temper -- Barack Obama -- in a letter he wrote when Obama went to another side on the lobbying reform issue. He issued a public letter that was -- just excoriated Obama. And it was -- I've never read anything like that. So I'm sort of wondering whether there's any animosity there on McCain's side toward Obama and whether that could come out if Obama is the nominee.

CAFFERTY: The story in "The Washington Post," too -- I mean going to the point that we haven't seen video, if you buy that premise, then have you to assume that maybe none of those stories are true.

Well, I don't think all those people are making that stuff up. And I think over a long political career in Washington, he probably did stick his finger in people's faces and call them names that would make Dick Cheney proud. And whether or not it's a worry on the part of the voters, we'll find out. But he's got a temper, as evidenced by the people he's been in the Congress with all this time.

BLITZER: All right.

Stand by, Jack.

TOOBIN: Wait a second. Wait.

Can you settle something?


TOOBIN: Did you really ask the pope to pray for the Wizards in the NBA (INAUDIBLE)?


BLITZER: No, I did not. I did not.


TOOBIN: Come on.

BLITZER: But I'm hoping that the Wizards do well in tonight's NBC basketball game, right after this show.

BORGER: Are you sure?

BLITZER: ...against the Cleveland Cavaliers. But that -- I did not ask that.


BORGER: Oh, OK. Good.

TOOBIN: Oh, I just wanted to settle that. You know, you hear talk.

CAFFERTY: (INAUDIBLE). BLITZER: But not -- I would never ask anything like that.


BLITZER: Thank you, guys.

Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton -- who has the advantage on the eve of the Pennsylvania primary?

That's Jack's question this hour. He's back with your e-mail.

Also, new fundraising reports from the candidates. We're going to show who's raking in what.

Stay with us.



BLITZER: On our Political Ticker, we're crunching the numbers from the candidates' latest fundraising reports. Barack Obama has a huge cash advantage over Hillary Clinton in their fight for the Democratic nomination. As of March 31st, Obama had $42.5 million available to spend in the remainder of this primary season. Clinton had $8.7 million. But Obama trails Clinton in cash available to spend in the general election. He had more than $8 million at the end of last month. She had more than $23 million.

John McCain is lagging behind both Democrats in the money race. He reports a total of $11 million cash on hand. We don't have a breakdown yet between McCain's primary and general election dollars, but we will soon.

The presidential candidates are taking part in a new smackdown. All three will make special appearances tonight on the World Wrestling entertainment "Monday Night Raw." In the battle to win over wrestling fans/voters, you can bet the candidates are going to the mat with their best WWE lingo.

Listen to this.


CLINTON: Hi. I'm Hillary Clinton. But tonight, in honor of the WWE, you can call me Hill Rod.

OBAMA: I've got one question -- do you smell what Barack is cooking?

MCCAIN: And what are you going to do when John McCain and all his McCainiacs run wild on you?


BLITZER: The WWE says it offered to let Senators Clinton and Obama settle their primary battle in the wrestling ring. They took a pass on that.

And check out this big fish -- and what a big fish. Former President George H. W. Bush caught a huge tarpon in the Florida Keys over the weekend and here's the picture to prove it. Mr. Bush released the fish alive.

Good for him.

Let's check in with Lou to see what's coming up right at the top of the hour -- Lou, what are you working on?


Coming up at 7:00 p.m. Eastern here on CNN, we'll have much more on what is an increasingly bitter battle between Senators Clinton and Obama in the final hours of campaigning in Pennsylvania.

Also tonight, President Bush, President Calderon of Mexico and Prime Minister Harper of Canada -- the so-called three amigos -- they're holding a summit meeting in New Orleans. Critics say the three men are trying to create a North American Union without the consent of Congress or the American people or their governments, for that matter. We'll have that report.

And stunning new evidence tonight of the harsh consequences of the federal government's open border policies. We'll have that special report for you tonight from Los Angeles.

And working men and women and their families in this country being devastated by skyrocketing energy costs, our housing crisis and stagnant or declining wages. But some people are becoming fabulously wealthy, even as our economic slowdown worsens. We'll have that story.

Join us for all of that and more at the top of the hour, all the day's news -- Wolf, back to you.

BLITZER: Lou, thank you.

Let's go back to Jack.

He's got The Cafferty File -- Jack.

CAFFERTY: So after six weeks, we asked the question on -- finally, on the eve of the Pennsylvania primary -- who has the advantage going into tomorrow's voting, is it Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton?

Peter in Texas writes: "Neither has the advantage. When they leave Pennsylvania, neither of them will have won much more than half the delegates in the state, therefore neither will be any better off. If Hillary Clinton does not win by a very large margin, she'll have nothing to offer the superdelegates as far as why she should be the nominee over Obama."

Barbara in Hazleton, Pennsylvania: "Of course, Clinton will have the advantage, with roots in the state, but it won't matter anyhow. She's not going to be the Democratic nominee when all is said and done. It will be Barack Obama."

Tom in South Carolina: "It's Hillary -- substance over charisma in a big way."

Lynn in Tennessee: "Hillary has a slight advantage in Pennsylvania. But in the long run, I believe Barack Obama will get the nomination and, hopefully, the election in November. Her ad that came out today, featuring, among others, Osama bin Laden, shows what a fear monger she really is. And that's not something needed in this country at this time."

Michael writes: "I'm a retired business agent and there is tremendous pressure on union members to tow the leadership line publicly. I believe the rank and file, in the privacy of the voting booth, will break for Obama. I'm voting for Obama, as is my wife. And, by the way, my union has supported Hillary Clinton."

And Mary writes: "Hillary has the advantage, but it's not going to help her. We are angry and bitter out here, even if you media pundits won't acknowledge it."

I acknowledge it. I said I thought he was right. He should have said angry instead of bitter.

If you didn't see your e-mail here, you can go to my blog at and look for yours among hundreds of others.

One very fairly high profile member of our CNN staff is predicting an upset tomorrow.

BLITZER: Really?


BLITZER: Off-camera you'll tell me who that is.

CAFFERTY: I might.


Thank you.


BLITZER: See you tomorrow.

Cindy McCain -- for the most part, she's stayed out of the spotlight, but not necessarily any more. We'll tell you what's going on right here in THE SITUATION ROOM.


BLITZER: Here's a look at some of the Hot Shots coming in from our friends over at the Associated Press...

Pictures likely to be in your newspaper tomorrow. In Nepal, a Tibetan demonstrator yells after he's detained by police.

In India, a man takes a nap next to a mound of mangos at a fruit market.

In Israel, Jews wearing traditional prayer shawls pray at the Western Wall during the Passover holiday.

And in Iraq, Iraqi national police celebrate their graduation by showing off their skills.

Some of this hour's Hot Shots -- pictures often worth a thousand words.

John McCain's wife Cindy -- we've seen her on the campaign trail. But for the most part, we haven't heard much from her -- until today.

CNN's Jeanne Moos reports it's Moost Unusual.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): She tends to come across as perfectly quaffed and perfectly silent -- casting admiring glances at her man.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: With very few exceptions...

MOOS: Like Garbo before talkies, her voice is seldom heard.

CINDY MCCAIN, JOHN MCCAIN'S WIFE: I'm very proud of my country.

MOOS: Cindy McCain tends to let her fingers do the talking on a BlackBerry as her husband speaks.

MCCAIN: The Iraqis just passed a budget.

MOOS: So it came as a shock to hear Cindy McCain was co-hosting "The View". True, the only funny secret she spilled was her husband's nickname.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What do you call him?

C. MCCAIN: Johnny boy.




C. MCCAIN: To be honest with you, yes. Johnny boy.



MOOS: In talking about the business that made her family millions, beer distribution, Cindy McCain was asked if she drinks brews.


BARBARA WALTERS, CO-HOST: Do you drink beer?

C. MCCAIN: Not that much.


MOOS: And if you want to know more, read the book.


C. MCCAIN: And I am going to write a book, a memoir of what's going on.


MOOS: At least Cindy didn't fidget, as Senator Obama did on "The View".

Leno counted the fidgets.


MOOS: And Senator McCain mocked him. With Cindy McCain co- hosting, comedian Craig Ferguson joked about all the John McCain age jokes.


CRAIG FERGUSON: May I speak for us all on late night? We kind of, you know, he's old -- that's all we've got, you know?



DAVID LETTERMAN, HOST: And, John McCain, on the other hand, he looks like the guy who has to be told to close his robe. John McCain looks like the guy who picks up his TV remote when the phone rings. Hello! Hello!


MOOS (on camera): And speaking of picking up the remote, if I see one more candidate or politician on one of these comedy type programs, I might just have to zap it.

(voice-over): We've seen Obama on "Ellen" dancing and Hillary on "Ellen" bowling and Obama on "Real Sports" shooting hoops.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: With a game winning lay-up.


MOOS: Hillary did Letterman's Top 10 Campaign Promises.


CLINTON: My vice president will never shoot anybody in the face.


MOOS: Ditto for Obama.


OBAMA: I'll put Regis on the nickel.



MOOS: They both...


OBAMA: Live from New York...


MOOS: ...did "Saturday Night Live".


CLINTON: Do I really laugh like that?


CLINTON: Yes, well, all right. OK.


MOOS: Obama and Hillary even showed up on the same show -- "The Colbert Report" -- on the same night.

Back on "The View," the subject of age resurfaced.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you like dating an older man?

C. MCCAIN: I married him.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I mean you guys are more serious, you're married.

C. MCCAIN: I love him. I love him to death, yes.


MOOS: Loving Johnny boy to death might not be the best word choice -- unless you're running for V.P.


MCCAIN: And you look like the guy who enjoys getting into a hot tub and watching his swim trunks inflate.


MOOS: Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.


BLITZER: Good to see a little humor out there on the campaign trail.

We're here in New York for a special edition of THE SITUATION ROOM tomorrow, our coverage of the Pennsylvania primary starts right here in THE SITUATION ROOM at 4:00 p.m. Eastern, 7:00 p.m. Eastern, with the best political team on television. We'll start covering the results right here.

Until then, thanks very much for joining us.

I'm Wolf Blitzer in THE SITUATION ROOM.

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