Return to Transcripts main page


Clinton Wins Kentucky

Aired May 20, 2008 - 20:00   ET


JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The problem is, that is out on the West Coast. We have a while to wait there, one of the reasons we expect Senator Clinton out momentarily.
When you win on this side of the country, you come out early and claim victory, easier to shape your message.

But the fundamental math of the race is still lopsided in favor of Senator Obama. Let me take away these numbers. And here is what is happening so far, based on what is happening tonight. And, again, he is this close to the finish line, the existing finish line, Wolf.

The Clinton campaign wants to move it out here with Michigan and Florida. But you can look right now. This is not rocket science. He is much closer to the finish line than Senator Clinton is. He needs only about 28 percent of the remaining delegates to cross it. She needs closer to 70 percent, over -- she needs more than 70 percent under the existing rules, actually, more than 75 percent.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: But I just want to remind our viewers, as important as these elective or pledged delegates are, from the DNC, the Democratic National Committee's standpoint, all delegates are created equal, superdelegates and pledged delegates. You need to reach that 2,025 or 2,026, the combination of pledged and super.

KING: And there is no question, the final votes will come from this pool of remaining superdelegates, that no candidate, no matter how the final contests turned out, no candidate will get enough pledged delegates to reach this finish line.

So, the person who goes across the finish line will do so based on support from these superdelegates. So, where they go in the end, Wolf, they come down here to Barack Obama, he is your Democratic nominee, which is why Senator Clinton's big argument to the superdelegates is, even if you won't endorse me, stay put. Give me a chance to finish out these remaining contests, to show her case, to make her case she is the stronger general election candidate.

Her argument in this speech she is about to give, trust me, is to these people right here, to at least stay put and not join the Obama campaign.

BLITZER: Let's take a look at the state of Kentucky right now, where she will have a huge win tonight, according to our projection. The rural vote, you see the light blue counties are counties where she is leading. I see two counties, darker blue, where he is leading. KING: Exactly right. And this has been a trademark of the states, particularly in this region of the country. Jefferson County is where Louisville is. It's the largest city, the largest county in the state.

It has the only large -- modest concentration, not even a large concentration, modest concentration of African-American voters. Barack Obama is winning that county, but just barely with about 89 percent of the vote counted, 50-47 percent. He is also winning out here in Fayette County which is to the east of Lexington, 6.5 percent of the state's population, a very smaller county though if you look at the votes being counted, the Democratic votes being cast out in that county, Barack Obama with a narrow lead.

But, Wolf, we have seen there before. Look at this swathe from Senator Clinton. In the rural parts of the state, she is not only winning, but in many of these counties, if you punch in and look at them, 79 percent, 84 percent, 82 percent. In -- out in the rural parts of the state, and I want to pull back out. And I want to go to this function here. Look at county by county.

This is a county-by-county look across the country of the Democratic contests. And this is Senator Clinton's argument to the superdelegates, Wolf. I want to get rid of this. This is her argument to the superdelegates. Look at Indiana. Look at Ohio. Look at Pennsylvania. Look at West Virginia. Look at rural Virginia, North Carolina, down here into Tennessee and Kentucky. Her argument to the superdelegates is, I am winning in white rural America.

Now, why does that matter? Let's to go a presidential election in years past. This is 2004, George W. Bush. This is Republican America when it come to the Electoral College map. What Hillary Clinton is saying is, I can be more competitive in the places that made George W. Bush president twice than Barack Obama. And that's her argument to the superdelegates.

Her problem is, in the short term, the Democratic nomination is decided by who wins the most delegates on primary days. And in that fight, Senator Obama as we have been able to show you is winning by winning more states and more delegates at the moment.

BLITZER: And we're waiting. We're standing by to hear from Senator Clinton. She's getting ready to speak to her supporters in Louisville. You can see some live pictures that we're showing our viewers right now.

This could change. The math could change if, on May 31, John, the Democratic Party decides to find a way to seat the delegates of Michigan and Florida. All of a sudden, the magic number goes up from 2,025.

KING: If you add that, add these two states, which we have in white, because they moved up and voted in violation of the rules, then you do change. The magic number moves out here. It is not 2,025. It becomes 2,210 or 2,209. The number of superdelegates moves a little bit and it moves out here and then Senator Clinton's math does improve without a doubt.

Under this scenario here, you can bring Michigan and Florida into the equation and you have more delegates at play. Now, if she gets even -- remember I said earlier, she needs 76 percent coming into tonight. She needed 76 percent of the remaining delegates, pledged and superdelegates, to get to the nomination under the existing rules.

Even if she was awarded delegates from Florida and from Michigan, under the proportions her campaign wants, in her perfect scenario with the Democratic Rules Committee -- and there no reason to believe she will get that. But, even if she did, she would still need in the mid- 60 percent of the remaining delegates even after they were apportioned exactly the way she wants them. So, it's still very tough math. But it is better math for Senator Clinton and it would help her.

As Barack Obama makes the argument I have the majority of pledged delegates under the existing rules, Senator Clinton would have a stronger argument here about the popular vote, another key argument to the superdelegates, if she can get Michigan and Florida included. So, that meeting later this month is very important to her case.

BLITZER: All right, John, thanks very much. I know we're going to be getting back to this map throughout the night.

Remember, it is just after 8:00 p.m. here on the East Coast. We have projected that Hillary Clinton will have a major win in Kentucky tonight. We're still waiting for Oregon. The polls won't be closing there for almost three hours. We're watching Oregon very closely. Could be a different story out there tonight.

I want to welcome Campbell Brown. She's joining our coverage, together with the best political team on television -- Campbell.


And while we wait for Senator Clinton to take the stage and speak to her supporters at her victory rally tonight, let me ask you, Gloria Borger, what does she say tonight? What does she say to her supporters, to the Democratic Party and to everybody else out there?

GLORIA BORGER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: She says, we racked up another great victory in the double digits, way into the double digits. This is another sign that I can win this, that we are going to be ahead in the popular vote, as John was putting out, counting Michigan and Florida, of course.

And she is going to say that she is an electable candidate because she can win the states that the Democrats need to win in the general election. Again, this is her math. This will be her argument that she will make. And Barack Obama tonight is going to make a very different argument, that he has the majority of the pledged delegates and that he is well on his way to getting a majority of all delegates, and that therefore he should be the nominee.

BROWN: Does tonight matter, Donna? Does it ultimately matter? Let's do a reality check here. I know where Jeff Toobin stands on this. He's been very much, I'm in the math camp from the beginning. But does it matter, what she says? Or do we all -- do any one of you think that she's not going to the nominee?

DONNA BRAZILE, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: It matters of course, because the Democratic Party would like to see every state get involved and participate in the process.


BROWN: Do you think she's going to be the nominee?

BRAZILE: The math is the math. And I'm not going to change the math. It takes 2,026 delegates to secure the nomination. And the first candidate to reach 2,026, I will back him or her.

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Can I just offer a little nerdy point about this argument about the -- who has the most votes?

BROWN: By all means.


TOOBIN: No, no, this is a nerdy point.

We don't know who got the most votes at any of the caucuses, because those totals are never released. The Iowa caucus votes have never been released. There are delegate equivalents. So, the argument that somebody has the most popular votes, that is impossible to calculate. And that's one reason why it's an irrelevant fact.


TOOBIN: It is not something that is part of this process. It is a political argument by Hillary Clinton, but it is not based in a fact, because, to this day, we don't know who has the most -- who got the most votes in these states.

BORGER: It is part of a legal brief she is making to the superdelegates. And you're a lawyer, right?

TOOBIN: Right.

BORGER: She's laying out her brief, saying, this is why you need to support me.

Look, I think there is a very slim chance that she will be the Democratic nominee. Obviously, the odds are overwhelmingly, overwhelmingly with Barack Obama. Could a meteor fall out of the sky? Sure. We don't -- we just don't know.

But this is also a case that I think she wants to make, just go through until the very end, because her theme in this campaign lately has been that she is a fighter. And fighters don't give up until the fight is over. BROWN: Do you agree with think? And do you think that, Donna, is ultimately why so many uncommitted superdelegates like yourself are waiting, are still waiting?

BRAZILE: I can't speak for any other superdelegate, but I happen to like both candidates. I think they have had run a tremendous race. We have seen Democratic turnout surge across the board, Democratic fund-raising numbers.

This campaign ultimately is about delegates and who has the most delegates. But, at some point, we will count up all of the delegates, supers, as well as pledged, and we will declare a nominee, and we will prepare to take on John McCain.

BROWN: When do you think that is going to be?

BRAZILE: I don't know. I'm not a magician.

TOOBIN: Well, it's certainly going to be after June 3. They're certainly not going to anywhere before June 3.

And one point I think it is important to say in her favor, it has been several weeks now when everyone in the news media has been saying, it is all over. But her poll numbers in the states that are voting have not gone down at all. These people want to vote and they're going to vote for her no matter what.

BROWN: And look at the numbers in Kentucky tonight. How do you explain that?


TOOBIN: Well, I think...

BORGER: People want to vote.

TOOBIN: ... people want to vote. And they're going to vote for who they think is the best president. And they're not voting about polls. They are looking at the two candidates and deciding who is the best candidate.


BRAZILE: And they want to send a message also.

They want to send a message not just to superdelegates and pundits, and everyone else; they want to send a message to the country that they matter, their voices matter, and, of course, they're backing Senator Clinton, at least in Kentucky.

BORGER: So, here's my point. You are going to be in this meeting on May 31 of the Rule Committees, and they're going to make...


BROWN: ... to decide Florida and Michigan. BORGER: Absolutely.

And I guess my question to the Obama folks, and maybe some of our folks back there could answer this is, why wouldn't Barack Obama just give Hillary Clinton almost everything she wants if he has got a comfortable lead? He could look like a problem-solver. He could look magnanimous. He could look like somebody who could come up with a solution to something that has been stymying the entire Democratic Party. Why doesn't he do something that the Clinton campaign could work with, and win anyway?

TOOBIN: This is a process that begs for a compromise solution. There are many delegates out there. They can be split up in many ways. Rather than keep this festering sore open in the Democratic Party, settle it and get the thing over with.


BROWN: We have got a couple of Democrats back here.

So, let me go back and take that question to Paul Begala and to Jamal Simmons.

Jamal, you're a supporter of Barack Obama's. Why isn't there a compromise? Why hasn't there been an effort already? I know he is going to Florida tomorrow. But why is this still lingering out there?

JAMAL SIMMONS, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Well, I can't speak on behalf of the Obama campaign on this.

But what I will say is, the deal is not done yet. He doesn't have the 2,206 that he needs to become the nominee. And until that point, he can't leave a door open for Senator Clinton to come through, because she might come through it. And then who knows? We're back in the middle of some contest that we're all trying to figure out what the answer is.

The reality is, Barack Obama is narrowing in on the nomination. He's almost getting there. It is hard mathematically to see how it doesn't happen. But there are a lot of people who do like Senator Clinton who think, among the Democrats, she is a very good choice. They want to vote for her. They will have the opportunity to vote for her, but it looks like that is a little too little too late.

BROWN: Paul?

PAUL BEGALA, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes. The Michigan-Florida problem is not a delegate problem for the Democratic Party. That can be resolved. That's the least important part of it.

The most important part is, the Democratic Party didn't have primaries in Michigan and Florida, two of the most important potentially swing states in the union. Everywhere else that Democrats have run, turnout has gotten up, voters up, volunteers up, all good for the Democrats. Michigan and Florida are left out. Now, I know it is the fault of the Democratic Party elites in those states and some Republican legislatures -- legislators in Tallahassee. But I don't really care. We could resolve the dispute between Detroit Pistons and the Boston Celtics, too. But we don't want to. We want to play the game.

OK? Democrats like me -- and this is where I think Hillary has the moral high ground. At first, she did not. She said, just give me the delegates, even though there was no primary there.

BROWN: Right.

BEGALA: That's not fair. That's not right.

Now, though, she and her supporters are saying, we will pay for a revote. It may be too late now, but I think they're right. The party needs a revote irrespective of who their nominee is, because the Democrats need to have been around the track in Michigan and Florida before the November elections.

BROWN: Do you agree with that? Go ahead, Roland.


ROLAND MARTIN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: First, Senator Clinton said they were not going to couch. All right, that's what she first said to the NPR folks in New Hampshire. Then, of course, when it changed, then, I want the delegates and all of sudden, have them all count. So, that has changed there.

The Democratic Party, though, has to be concerned in terms of those 48 states that followed the rules. Look, if you're Obama, you are not going to sit here and give somebody an opportunity. You do need 2,206. That's what you do. If I'm Senator Clinton, if Senator Clinton is in the exact same position that Obama was in, she would be doing the same thing.


BROWN: ... Paul's point. Why does the Democratic Party have to worry about the 48 states that followed the rules? They're not the problem. The problem is Florida and Michigan and wanting those people energize and ready to go come general election time.


MARTIN: ... the same argument that Terry McAuliffe made in 2004, when Carl Levin wanted to move the primary. He said, if we do this, we're going to cause chaos to our schedule. They're not just thinking of just this year. They're also thinking ahead.


BEGALA: They're talking about moving it back. The last shall be first and the first shall be last. That's what the Bible says. Make them last. Make them vote after Puerto Rico. But let them vote. (CROSSTALK)

SIMMONS: The issue here is, although I'm a little -- I'm still focused on the Boston Celtics thing.


BEGALA: As a Pistons man...


SIMMONS: But the thing is here that we almost had -- we were supposed to have primaries in those two states. We didn't have them, because those two states moved.

It is a hard thing now to argue that they should be rewarded in fact for having moved so they become more important by coming in at the end of the process. That's part of the damage here.

Also, there is the question of all the people in Florida who did not vote in the primary because they were told the primary wasn't going to count. So, we talk about disenfranchising those people having been left out it, as well as the people in Michigan who probably would have voted had those votes counted.

MARTIN: And, Campbell, the folks in Florida also aren't in agreement. I talked to House members who say, well, we didn't like Bill Nelson's proposal. We didn't like the party's proposal. So, there is an assumption that, oh, yeah, we can just have it there. They aren't even in agreement in their own state.

BROWN: All right. OK.

We want to close this down for a moment, because Senator Clinton, I understand, has actually come into the hall now. She is about to take the stage.

You can see Chelsea Clinton and Bill Clinton on stage. And she is about to give her victory speech to her supporters there. We're going to take that speech live coming up in just a few seconds.


BROWN: All right, they are in Louisville, Kentucky, we should mention.

Paul, what do you think she says tonight?


BROWN: Oh, wait. Hold on. I'm going to cut you off. She's taking the mic.



CROWD: Hillary! Hillary! Hillary!

CLINTON: Thank you all so much.

Thank you, Kentucky. Thank you very, very much.

You know, I am so grateful for this victory, and I am so appreciative, because tonight I'm thinking about why we're all here. And it's not just to win a primary or even just to win an election.

What propels us is the struggle to realize America's promise: a nation where every child can achieve his or her God-given potential, where every man and woman has a fair chance, where we fulfill...


CLINTON: ... where we fulfill the ideals our founders pledged their lives to defend and our nation was born to uphold.

I want to say a special word this evening about someone who has spent his whole life dedicated to realizing the promise of America.


CLINTON: Senator Ted Kennedy...


CLINTON: ... is one of the greatest progressive leaders in our party's history and one of the most effective senators in our country's history. He's my friend, and he's my inspiration. More than that, he is a hero to millions of Americans whose lives he has fought to better.

I'm proud to have stood side-by-side with Ted Kennedy to increase the minimum wage, to extend health insurance to millions of children, to help stop insurance companies from discriminating against the sick.

But the privileges that I have had and so many others have had, because of the battles we have fought side-by-side with him are just a mere handful of what he has done during his entire public service, five extraordinary decades devoted to America.

And as a lifelong champion for social justice and equality, his work has made the path easier for me, for Senator Obama, and for countless others. He's been with us for our fights, and we're with him now in his.


CLINTON: And I know he's going to fight with all of his legendary might, supported by his wonderful wife, Vicky, and his entire family against this latest challenge. And we wish him well and send our thoughts and prayers to him.


CLINTON: Tonight, we've achieved an important victory.


CLINTON: It's not just Kentucky bluegrass that's music to my ears. It's the sound of your overwhelming vote of confidence, even in the face of some pretty tough odds.

Some have said your votes didn't matter, that this campaign was over, that allowing everyone to vote and every vote to count would somehow be a mistake. But that didn't stop you. You've never given up on me, because you know I will never give up on you.


CLINTON: This is one of the closest races for a party's nomination in modern history. We're winning the popular vote, and I'm more determined...


CLINTON: ... more determined than ever to see that every vote is cast and every ballot counted.

I commend Senator Obama and his supporters. And while we continue to go toe-to-toe for this nomination, we do see eye-to-eye when it comes to uniting our party to elect a Democratic president in the fall.


CLINTON: But I need your help. Your support has made the difference between victory and defeat. Though we have been outspent massively, your support has helped us make our case on the air and on the ground, and your help will keep us going.

We've made it this far together, so please go to


CLINTON: ... and together we will make history. And I can't do it without you.

Now, you know that the stakes are high. After all this country has been through the past seven years, we have to get this right. We have to select a nominee who is best positioned to win in November.


AUDIENCE: Hillary! Hillary! Hillary! Hillary! Hillary! Hillary! Hillary! Hillary! Hillary! Hillary!

CLINTON: And someone who is best prepared to address the enormous challenges facing our country in these difficult times. That's what this election is all about.

Now, I'm told that more people have voted for me than for anyone who's ever run for the Democratic nomination.


CLINTON: That's more than 17 million votes. Now, why? Why do millions keep turning out to vote in the face of naysayers and skeptics? Because you know that our political process is more than candidates running or the pundits chattering or the ads blaring.

It's about the path we choose as a nation and whether or not we will solve our toughest problems, whether or not we will have a president who will rebuild the economy, end the war in Iraq, restore our leadership in the world, and stand up for you every single day.


CLINTON: And, you know, the people I meet along the campaign trail don't always make the headlines: the nurses and teachers, the truckers and soldiers, the waitresses and firefighters, the police officers and coal miners, the college students and line workers, the men and women who get up every single day, work hard to make a difference for their families, the people struggling to make ends meet, to find a good job, to pay the bills, to have a shot at the American dream.

For too long, too many Americans have felt invisible in their own country. Well, you've never been invisible to me. I have been fighting for you my entire life.


CLINTON: And I want you to remember we are in this race because we believe that every single American deserves quality, affordable health care, no exceptions, no one left out.


CLINTON: We are in this race because we believe everyone deserves a shot at the American dream, the opportunity to work hard at a good job to get ahead, to save for college, for a home, for retirement, to fill the gas tank, and buy the groceries with a little left at the end of each month to build a better life for you and your children.

We are in this race because we believe this new century poses new challenges to meet and new opportunities to seize, if we only had a president ready, willing, and able to lead...


CLINTON: ... and turn the climate crisis into an energy revolution and create millions of new jobs, to turn the risks of the new global economy into the rewards of new prosperity shared by all of our people. We are in this race because we believe it will take a commander- in-chief with the strength and knowledge to end the war in Iraq, safely and quickly, and a president with experience, representing the people of the United States in more than 80 countries, to restore our leadership and moral authority in the world.

And, yes, we are in this race because we believe America is worth fighting for. This...


CLINTON: This continues to be a tough fight, and I have fought it the only way I know how: with determination, by never giving up and never giving in.


CLINTON: I have done it -- I have done it not because I have wanted to demonstrate my toughness, but because I believe passionately that, for the sake of our country, the Democrats must take back the White House and end Republican rule.


CLINTON: This country needs our combination of strength and compassion to help people struggling with their bills, living the hard reality of everyday life, in need of our leadership on issues from health care to energy to Social Security.

That's why I'm still running, and that's why you're still voting.


CLINTON: And I'm going on now to campaign in Montana, South Dakota, and Puerto Rico.


CLINTON: And I'm going to keep standing up for the voters of Florida and Michigan.


CLINTON: Democrats in those two states cast 2. 3 million votes, and they deserve to have those votes counted.


CLINTON: And that's why I'm going to keep making our case until we have a nominee, whoever she may be.


CLINTON: Now, it's especially sweet tonight because Kentucky has a knack for picking presidents.


CLINTON: This state delivered two terms to a president named Clinton.


CLINTON: And it's often been said, as Kentucky goes, so goes the nation.


CLINTON: Neither Senator Obama nor I has won the 2,210 delegates required to secure the nomination. And because this race is so close, still separated by less than 200 delegates out of more than 4,400, neither Senator Obama nor I will have reached that magic number when the voting ends on June the 3rd.

And so...


CLINTON: ... our party will have a tough choice to make. Who's ready to lead our party at the top of our ticket?


CLINTON: Who is ready to defeat Senator McCain in the swing states and among swing voters?


CLINTON: Who's ready to rebuild the economy and the war in Iraq and protect our national security as commander-in-chief? Who is ready on day one to lead?


CLINTON: You know, there are so many Kentuckians that I want to thank. I am so honored by your support and hospitality to me, to Bill, and to Chelsea.

And I want to thank Jerry and Charlotte Lundergan and my entire Kentucky steering committee, including former Governors Wendell Ford, Julian Carroll, John Y. Brown, Martha Layne Collins, and Paul Patton.

I want to thank Speaker Jody Richards and his wife, Neva, former Attorney General Greg Stumbo, Majority Leader Rocky Adkins, and Tina Ward-Pugh and...


... Terry McBrayer, Jo Etta Wickliffe, and Moretta Bosley.

And I want to thank my friends in labor for standing by us every step of the way.


I am grateful to the Kentucky Veterans for Hillary and honored by your support and your service.

I want to thank my chairman, Terry McAuliffe, and my family.

I am so grateful to the outstanding staff, volunteers and supporters in Kentucky and in Oregon and across America who have worked so hard.

Now, I have one more request to all of my supporters tonight. To the people I've met along the campaign trail, to everyone who has knocked on doors, and volunteered, and put up signs, and donated to this campaign: Keep working, keep fighting, keep standing up for what you believe is right...


... because that is exactly what I'm going to do. People ask me all the time, "How do you keep going?" Well, it is you who keep me going.

And tonight I'm thinking about all of the women I've met who were born before women could vote. Just this week, I met 89-year-old Emma Hollis (ph), an African-American woman. She has seen so many barriers crumble and fall in her lifetime, but she's not finished yet.

She's been volunteering out of our campaign office in Covington to help our campaign break the highest and hardest glass ceiling in the land.


I'm thinking about Andrea Spiegel (ph), a strong and composed young woman, 20 years old, who drove across Kentucky to meet me. Her husband, Justin, is deployed in Afghanistan. And she told me how important it is that we have a president who will always stand up for our veterans. And I'm honored by her support and by her family's service and sacrifice.


And I'm thinking, again, about Dalton Hatfield, the 11-year-old from Kentucky who sold his bike and his video games to raise money to support my campaign.


And then he asked others to give, too, and he was able to really give me a boost. And this week, I finally had the chance to meet him in Crestenberg (ph) and to say...


... Dalton, thank you so much. The $422 you raised helped carry the day in Kentucky. (APPLAUSE)

That's why I'm in this race: to fight for your future. And that's why, whatever happens, I'll work as hard as I can to elect a Democratic president this fall.

You know, the state motto of Kentucky is, "United we stand, divided we fall," words that have a special place in our history. They inspire American revolutionaries to unite the colonies, to defy an empire, and create a new nation, to invent a new form of government, of the people, by the people, and for the people, and they bound our nation together in service and sacrifice, even in our darkest hours.

We will come together as a party, united by common values and common cause, united in service of the hopes and dreams that know no boundaries of race or creed, gender or geography. And when we do, there will be no stopping us.

We won't just unite our party. We will unite our country and make sure America's best years are still ahead of us.

Thank you. And God bless you, and God bless America.


BROWN: While we keep an eye on the room there where Hillary Clinton has just wrapped up her speech in Louisville, Kentucky, we want to bring in our own Candy Crowley who is traveling with Senator Clinton.

And Candy, give us a sense for the mood in that room tonight.

CROWLEY: Well, these are the true believers. These are the people that have knocked on the doors, have stuffed the envelopes and gone around and gotten their friends to vote. So obviously, they are thrilled.

We had a sign here tonight that said Kentucky says hold your horses. So obviously, these people here in this room think that she has -- that Kentucky has played a big role in moving her forward.

The speech at some point I think was interesting in this way. She is more than usual reaching out to women. I thought that was obvious in the speech.

We heard her earlier today talking about how women voters have been offended by what she sees as the sexism that has surfaced in this race. And I think we saw tonight, again, a reach-out to remind women of the history here.

The tribute to Teddy Kennedy, a shout out to him. Remembering, of course, that Kennedy has endorsed Barack Obama and perhaps of all the folks that have endorsed Barack Obama, the Kennedy endorsement stung the Clintons the most. They feel very close to the Kennedys. But obviously, this kind of illness sort of renews, transcends politics.

What you heard basically, Campbell, was a combination of her campaign speech to voters, health care, the end of the war in Iraq, as well as her argument to superdelegates that she is A, more electable, B, more experienced.

I thought that it was also interesting. She again mentioned being ahead in the popular vote. And when she said the words, we need someone who is ready, willing and able, the emphasis was on able. Again, the underlying message here is that Barack Obama has less of a chance of being elected than Hillary Clinton and that she is the one that has the experience to get things done.

So this is a constant theme in the Clinton campaign and I think you heard it tonight, Campbell.

BROWN: And it will be interesting to contrast what she said tonight with what we hear a little bit later from Senator Barack Obama.

Candy Crowley for us tonight from Louisville, Kentucky. And as we mentioned, we will be hearing from Senator Obama a little bit later tonight. We're still waiting on the numbers to come in from Oregon.

And we should also mention that the Obama campaign released fundraising numbers, their latest fundraising numbers while we were listening to Senator Clinton speak. And we're going to have these numbers for you after we take a very short break. Stay with us.


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Huge win tonight for Hillary Clinton in Kentucky. Take a look at this. Almost 90 percent of the precincts have now reported; 65 percent for Hillary Clinton to 30 percent for Barack Obama. That's a 35-point spread right now. Still 12 percent of the precincts outstanding.

We're watching this very closely but you can see CNN earlier projected a big win for Hillary Clinton, perhaps by 30 points. Right now, it's 35 points.

The polls are closing in Oregon in just more than two hours from now. It could be a very different story there. The polls going in to today's primary in Oregon showed Barack Obama ahead of Hillary Clinton. We're standing by for that.

We're also standing by to hear from Barack Obama himself. He has decided that on this night, he will speak to his supporters and to people across the nation and the world from Iowa back in early January. That's where he won the Iowa caucuses that got him going on this remarkable ride he's had over these past several months.

I want to go to Suzanne Malveaux. She's joining us from Iowa right now watching this story. You're getting ready for that Obama rally. He's going to be speaking behind you, Suzanne. But while Hillary Clinton was addressing her supporters in Kentucky, the Obama campaign released some numbers about their supporters there fund raising. What did they tell us?

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, here the mood is very different than what we saw at the Hillary Clinton rally. They are waiting for Barack Obama. The band is playing Marvin Gaye's "Let's Get It On," a real kind of mellow group here. But obviously, some very good numbers that they just released from the FEC.

These are the numbers from April here. Ninety-three percent of those contributing contributed $100 or less. There were 200,000 new donors, and 52 percent of those contributions were $25 or less. What does this mean?

It means a lot of energy, a lot of excitement, a lot of new people. And not only new people, but people who can continue to contribute over and over and over again. That is what you're seeing the strength of the Obama campaign. The total here, the number of donors for April, 1.47 million donors just in the month of April alone.

What does this mean going forward? Well, cash at hand, $37.3 million. Barack Obama's campaign has done extraordinarily well. Really breaking all records when it come to using the Internet, when it comes to getting those small donations, and then hitting people over and over again. There's a lot of excitement, a lot of enthusiasm.

They're continuing to build this kind of financial network, if you will, Wolf, leading into obviously, what they hope is going to be the general election and ability to raise that kind of money, take it from state to state and really use this to try to define Barack Obama, or redefine Barack Obama in some cases against John McCain.

That is something that they have struggled with from time to time. They were very successful in the beginning. But then, we've seen as events have turned with the Reverend Wright, with some of the other controversies that they have had to really use that money in ads, in travel, in personal ways to reach out to voters directly and try to define who their candidate is.

Obviously, they're going to have their task, their work ahead of them, but that is something that these dollars speak too. They're going to be using those dollars and they may need those dollars and so far, Wolf, they've been very successful in generating them -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Are you getting any indication when Barack Obama might be coming to that podium behind you, Suzanne, and speaking?

MALVEAUX: Sure. There was one thing that they're going to look at, and that is obviously what happens in Oregon. The numbers that come out of that. So they're going to wait for a little bit.

But we expect perhaps around 10:00 Eastern is when he's going to go ahead and make a speech. His wife Michelle will be with him here.

In the meantime, you have this local band and they're entertaining the crowds here. A lot of different kind of eclectic music as you probably hear behind me, Wolf.

BLITZER: It sounds great. Enjoy the music while you can. Suzanne is in Des Moines, Iowa, where this journey for Barack Obama began in early January. Thanks, Suzanne. We'll be checking back with you.

And, of course, once Barack Obama starts speaking, we'll go there live. We'll hear what he has to say.

About two hours and 15 minutes from now, the polls will be closing in Oregon. We're watching that very closely. We'll take a quick break.

Howard Wolfson from the Clinton campaign is here at the CNN ELECTION CENTER. When we come back, we'll speak with him. We'll try to find out what the Clinton strategy is to pull this one out if they can. Stay with us.

Much more of our coverage. Remember is where you can watch the numbers come in just as we see them. Stay with us.


BLITZER: Welcome back to the CNN ELECTION CENTER. I'm Wolf Blitzer reporting.

Joining us now is Howard Wolfson. He's the communications director for Hillary Clinton's campaign. He's here at the CNN ELECTION CENTER with us tonight.

Howard, thanks very much for coming in.


BLITZER: You heard these amazing fundraising numbers from the Obama campaign. It's really been a record-shattering opportunity for him. He's really done well. What about the Clinton campaign fundraising in April?

WOLFSON: We had a great month in April. We raised $22 million in April. We actually raised more in April than we did in March. We had a great month online. Our fundraising is strong.

Senator Obama is going to continue to outraise us. I expect he's going to continue to outspend us. He has outspent us in state after state, Wolf. We've beaten him in state after state.

He outspent us in West Virginia. We beat him by 40 points last week. He has outspent us in Kentucky 2-1. We beat him by 35 points this week. So Senator Obama can continue to outspend us. We're going to be able to have the resources we need to get our message out like we did this week in Kentucky.

BLITZER: How do you explain though his amazing success in fundraising compared to the Clinton campaign? You guys have some pretty good fund-raisers out there as well. Terry McAuliffe is one of the best in the business.

WOLFSON: The best in the business. Look, we have a great fundraising operation. Both candidates have broken all previous fundraising records. Both candidates are going to have the resources they need to get their message out.

We've proven that we can be outspent two to one, three to one, four to one, as we were in Pennsylvania, and still win. That's the amazing thing.

You have voters in West Virginia and Kentucky told that the race was over. Their votes didn't matter. They didn't need to come out.

All they saw were Barack Obama ads. And yet 40 points in West Virginia, 35 points in Kentucky. These are huge wins, Wolf.

BLITZER: Now, let's talk a little bit about your strategy for winning the Democratic presidential nomination. We heard Senator Clinton speak a little bit about it in her remarks to her supporters in Kentucky.

When all is said and done, it's basically based on the assumption that Michigan and Florida, the Democratic Party will rule on May 31st that those delegates there will in fact be seated.

WOLFSON: Well, we do believe that Michigan and Florida will be seated exactly as the good people of those states voted.

BLITZER: Is that your only hope though right now?

WOLFSON: It's a key part of the process, but it's not about us. It's about whether or not the Democratic Party is going to exclude two states from its nominating convention. And it's about whether the Democratic Party is going to be true to its principles of making sure that every vote is counted.

We believe that the Democratic Party is going to -- it will seat those delegations exactly as the votes were cast in those primaries. Record turnouts in Florida and in Michigan, we think that they're going to be seated. We will obviously get those delegates. It's important.

But there's other things that matter. We're going to continue to do well in the upcoming states. Puerto Rico is ahead of us, South Dakota, Montana. We need to do well.

We did well tonight. We are ahead in the popular vote. More people have voted for Hillary Clinton. BLITZER: A lot of people, Howard, just think it's going to be over with the results shortly after June 3rd, when Montana and South Dakota have their contest. Are you leaving open the possibility right now that this will go on all the way to the end of August to the Democratic convention?

WOLFSON: We don't have a nominee until we have a nominee. Neither candidate has gotten to the requisite number of delegates needed to secure the nomination. If Senator Obama gets to that number, we'll salute him. We're going to work hard to get him elected.

But until that happens, and we don't believe that it will, we don't have a nominee. Will that happen in June? That would be great. Could it happen later? It could.

I don't think we know right now. And Senator Clinton is going to continue to make her case to the superdelegates that she has won in the swing states of Michigan and Florida and Ohio and Pennsylvania, West Virginia.

BLITZER: So you're leaving open the possibility of a floor fight in Denver.

WOLFSON: My expectation, Wolf, is that we are going to have this resolved well before the convention. That we will have a nominee. I believe that nominee will be Senator Clinton.

But unless and until one of these two candidates gets to the requisite number, we don't have a nominee, which is why I think it's clearly premature of Senator Obama to be declaring victory tonight.

BLITZER: Howard Wolfson, thanks very much.

WOLFSON: Thank you.

BLITZER: We're going to be speaking shortly with a major Obama supporter, Senator Chris Dodd of Connecticut, himself a former Democratic presidential candidate. We'll get his perspective. We'll hear what he has to say about what we just heard from Howard Wolfson, among other things.

Remember, is where you can follow the results coming in all the time, county by county in Kentucky. We're standing by to get some results in the not too distant future, a little bit more than two hours from now in Oregon where the polls will be closing there.

Stay with us. Much more of our coverage from the CNN ELECTION CENTER right after this.


BROWN: And we are back now. I want to bring back in our political panel and reintroduce Gloria Borger and Donna Brazile and Jeff Toobin. And I just want to follow up on what we heard from Howard Wolfson a moment ago, and Suzanne Malveaux, the fundraising numbers.

Suzanne reporting that the Obama campaign just for April have raised $31 million. Howard Wolfson just saying that Hillary Clinton has raised $22 million. Still enormous amount of money pouring into this campaign on the Democratic side. For John McCain?

JEFFREY TOOBIN, SENIOR ANALSYT: $18 million. Much, much less than the Democrats, and that has been true throughout. That is really, I think, one of the major stories of this entire campaign. That the Democratic Party, which is in the last generation, the party that always has less money, is going to have a lot more money.

And that's not just true with the presidential level. It's true for the Senate. It's true for the House, and it's something that has really not happened in a generation. And I think it's a significant fact about this political moment.

GLORIA BORGER, SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: And these are also small donors. These are not, you know, the big fat cats. These are people who are giving over the Internet, donations under $100, $200. These are people.

This is important because you can just keep going back to these people as you need money because they haven't given the maximum amount allowed by law. So, you know, these are very, very important donors to the Democratic Party and very important list for them to have.

DONNA BRAZILE, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: This is a sign that people won't change. They're voting with their pocket book.

They are sending money to Senator Clinton and Senator Obama saying keep on. We want to win. We want a new direction. We want change in the fall. That's why they're giving money to these two candidates.

BROWN: Is this sustainable? Because a lot of people thought that once there was a nominee on the Republican side, that the money -- fundraising would pick up a lot for John McCain. That hasn't happened at least not yet.

TOOBIN: It hasn't happened. And I'd like to point out another thing about the results tonight. In Kentucky, John McCain it looks like he's going to get about 72 percent of the vote, which is not that great when he is unopposed and the presumptive nominee of his party. He's gotten a similar percentage in Pennsylvania. I think he did a little better in Ohio.

But the party is unifying but John McCain's problems with the conservative base of the party I think really do translate to the financial difficulties that he's going to have, and even the vote totals tonight.

BORGER: We should say that the 18 million is a new high for John McCain. It's not as if his --

(CROSSTALK) BROWN: And that's a far point.

BORGER: It's not as if his fundraising is going in the wrong direction. His fundraising is increasing. And so, he's, you know, he's clearly connecting with some Republicans out there to get up to this level.

BRAZILE: Well, if he keeps bruising his campaign of all the lobbyists and all the fat cats, he might need to borrow from Paul Begala.

BROWN: All right. You know, and I'm being told I got to give it to Wolf on that note. Donna gets the last word tonight.

Thanks to our panel. I'm going to send it back over to Wolf Blitzer.

BLITZER: All right, Campbell, thank you.

I want to update our viewers on what we know right now, because the night is going on at least in Kentucky very much in Hillary Clinton's favor. Ninety-two percent of the precincts in Kentucky have reported.

A very impressive, decisive win for Hillary Clinton, 65 percent of the votes so far to 30 percent for Barack Obama. Seven percent of the precincts have not yet reported. Let's take a look at the hard numbers in Kentucky right now for this 35-point advantage.