Return to Transcripts main page


America's Economic Pain; Clinton Expected to Endorse Obama

Aired June 6, 2008 - 18:00   ET


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: And, to our viewers, you're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
Happening now, the stock market in meltdown, big spikes in oil prices and unemployment sending the Dow plunging. We're following the breaking news on the economy, what it means for your wallet and what it means for the race for the White House. There are new developments.

Also, Hillary Clinton's concession. We have new details about the relationship she's forging with Barack Obama, as she prepares to endorse him in a critical speech.

And now that Obama has clinched the Democratic nomination, is he getting a bounce against John McCain? This hour, we have a brand-new snapshot of where the race for the White House stands right now. I think you will want to know what is going on.

All that coming up, and the best political team on television.

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

But, first, the breaking news -- from Main Street to Wall Street, right now, many people are devastated by the news that we're following.

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

Today, we learned that, last month, the number of people here in the United States out of jobs took its biggest monthly jump in over 20 years. Also, oil prices topping $139 a barrel today, before settling in just under that, a record that marked the largest single-day increase in oil on record.

And that spooked the Dow industrials, plunging it nearly 400 points. It's the biggest one-day point loss in some 15 months.

CNN senior business correspondent Ali Velshi is watching all of this in New York.

It's a pretty significant development, all of these economic indicators, reinforcing this notion, Ali, that the country is already in recession. What do we know?

ALI VELSHI, CNN SENIOR BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Well, here's the thing, Wolf. At this point, the discussion about recession becomes academic, to be 324,000 people who have lost their jobs in the United States since the beginning of this year. It's become academic people paying $4 or more for a gallon of gas, with no sign of relief, because oil hitting $139 today, that's a price higher than we have ever seen. And we know that leads to higher gas prices, higher diesel prices, higher transportation prices, higher food prices.

And then the stock market responding to news that that unemployment rate in the United States is now 5.5 percent. That went from 5 percent in April all the way up to 5.5 percent, the biggest jump that we have seen in more than 20 years, 49,000 people out of work in the month of May, continuing a cycle that we have seen -- this is now the fifth month in a row.

So, when you put that all together, Wolf, it almost doesn't matter to the average American in the street who is concerned about their jobs, about inflation, about gas prices, whether or not someone has made an official call about a recession. The bottom line is, this is not set to get better any time soon. These are serious problems.

We have now broken through points in the price of oil that most people can make sense of -- Wolf.

BLITZER: And 350,000 people have lost their jobs here in the United States since January 1, a staggering number if you think about it.

And it could have enormous political ramifications, Ali, for the race for the White House. What are these two presidential candidates saying?

VELSHI: Well, in terms of energy, they both talk about achieving energy independence. But let me give you the facts, Wolf.

We use 20 million barrels of oil a day in the United States. We produce five million. So, we are a long, long way away from energy independence.

In terms of job creation, they have different views about the whole thing. Senator McCain's view is that if you cut corporate taxes, businesses will have more money to hire people. Senator Obama's view is that government should be involved in stimulating the creation of jobs. He wants to create five million so-called green- collar jobs, creating a more environmentally friendly infrastructure and two million infrastructure jobs.

So, very, very different views on how to get jobs back in America, but in terms of the energy situation, neither of them have come forward with a comprehensive plan as to how we tackle this very, very real and urgent problem.

BLITZER: What they would do on day one, we want to know.

All right, Ali, thanks very much.

Let's continue our coverage of this historical presidential contest. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are beginning to put their long and often bitter rivalry behind them.

Tomorrow, Clinton expected to endorse Obama as her party's all but certain presidential nominee. The two Democrats took a first step toward mending fences with a secret meeting here in Washington last night.

Our Suzanne Malveaux has been reporting on this meeting and what is going on.

Give our viewers a sense, the aftermath of the secret meeting last night, today, getting ready for the big story tomorrow, Hillary Clinton's speech, Suzanne.

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: And, obviously, Wolf, they're really setting the stage for that. Hillary Clinton will remain in the headlines until she finds a comfortable role in the campaign.

And tomorrow's concession is part of that process.


MALVEAUX (voice-over): All eyes are on Hillary Clinton, set to make her concession speech Saturday to formally acknowledge he won, a realization Barack Obama is already relishing.

SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D-IL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: In 2016, I will be wrapping up my second term as president.


MALVEAUX: But first things first, making amends with Hillary Clinton. Late Thursday, Obama and Clinton had a secret face-to-face meeting in Washington, after Obama ditched his press corps in a highly orchestrated ruse.

They met at Senator Dianne Feinstein's house, where they chatted alone for an hour in her living room.

SEN. DIANNE FEINSTEIN (D), CALIFORNIA: This is a deeply personal time, too. You're sorting out your feelings.

MALVEAUX: Those familiar with their discussion say there were no substantive breakthroughs. They expressed relief that the primary was over and pledged to work together. They did not talk about her prospects of joining the ticket. Feinstein said they emerged laughing, a first step to healing wounds.

ROBERT GIBBS, OBAMA CAMPAIGN COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: The number-one thing is for them was to talk about -- was to talk about coming together and bringing this party together.

MALVEAUX: Both the Clinton and Obama camps recognize they have got a lot of work to do to unite the warring factions, who have been fighting for 17 months. DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Each of them has to massage, in effect, the egos and the interests and the emotions of their supporters, and bring this together.

MALVEAUX: Obama needs her voters, largely older women, white working-class. Clinton needs a new role in the campaign and some help in paying off her $20 million debt. Both are on the table. But Democratic leaders say what's most important now is making up for lost time.

SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV), MAJORITY LEADER: People need to understand that the primary is over. We have a candidate. His name is Barack Obama.


MALVEAUX: I'm told that, in the Clinton-Obama meeting, it was really just the two trying to get comfortable with one another. Many of their supporters, Wolf, are going to be watching their body language and listening to their words and taking their cues from that -- Wolf.

BLITZER: And we will get an introduction to all that tomorrow.

Suzanne, thanks very much.

Stay with CNN for our special coverage of Hillary Clinton's rally and her expected endorsement of Barack Obama. You can join me and the best political team on television. Our special coverage will begin at 11:00 a.m. Eastern. It's all live right here on CNN and

We also have a brand-new snapshot right now of where the Obama- McCain race stands, now that Obama has clinched the Democratic nomination. Our brand-new CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll shows them running neck and neck among registered voters nationwide, with Obama holding a three-point advantage. We are going to have much more on this story coming up.

And check out this McCain photo opportunity today. He toured the Florida Everglades, wrapping up a three-day campaign swing through that important battleground state. We will discuss this as well.

But let's go to Jack right now. He's got "The Cafferty File" -- Jack.

JACK CAFFERTY, CNN ANCHOR: Mercifully, it's finally over. The interminable primary season has breathed its last.

Republican Duncan Hunter, remember him, was the first of a parade of candidates to enter the race for president in October of 2006. By the time they were all through declaring, a small gymnasium wouldn't have held them all -- 20 months of highlights and lowlights -- it just seems longer than that -- the drama over Michigan and Florida, the rantings of the Reverend Jeremiah Wright, the flameout of Rudy Giuliani, Hillary Clinton's fictional tale from the tarmac in Bosnia, John McCain being left for dead in the summer of '07, only to rise like the phoenix and eventually grab the nomination, Mike Huckabee who burst on the scene and then disappeared almost as quickly, the dizzying disappointment that was Fred Thompson, former President Bill Clinton running through the countryside tossing hand grenades, questions about Mitt Romney's Mormonism, charges of sexism and racism, and more bowling, shot-drinking and eating in diners than we should ever have been asked to watch, except one diner, where Hillary Clinton got teary-eyed and shocked the world by grabbing New Hampshire.

For the cable networks, the primaries were ratings gold, but for the rest of the country, they were much more than endurance contests. And the poor voters sat through it all, the primaries, caucuses, the debates, speeches, TV ads, the phone calls, the flyers, the requests to send money.

Here's the question: What will you miss least about the 20-month- long primary season?

Go to You can post a comment on my blog -- Wolf.

BLITZER: That's the playoff. Now we're in the championship season. And I loved every minute of it, Jack, I have to tell you.

CAFFERTY: I know you did.

BLITZER: All right. I know our viewers know that as well.

All right. Hillary Clinton surely needs reassuring words from supporters after a difficult defeat. So, what did one supporter say to her when it became clear it was time to bow out? Congressman Charlie Rangel, a key Hillary Clinton supporter, he's standing by live right here in THE SITUATION ROOM. We will discuss.

President Bush's approval ratings are low. You know that. So, how do voters rate John McCain? We have the numbers, and some of them will no doubt surprise you.

Stick around for that.

And the news media isn't always the first to know, so you can imagine the surprise once the press realized they would had outfoxed regarding Obama and Clinton's secret meeting. Howard Kurtz has an incredible story for you. That's coming up later right here in THE SITUATION ROOM.


BLITZER: Tomorrow is going to be a very important day in this presidential season. Hillary Clinton is expected to bow out of the presidential race and formally endorse Barack Obama.

But what was some of the thinking that led her to this very significant decision?

Congressman Charlie Rangel is a strong Clinton supporter. He had serious discussions with her about all of this. Congressman Rangel is joining us now in THE SITUATION ROOM.

Congressman, thanks very much for coming in.


BLITZER: All right. Take us behind the scenes as much as you can, Congressman, and tell us about that heart to heart conversation you had with Hillary Clinton when the dust settled Tuesday night.

RANGEL: Well, as Hillary had said, that she really wanted to talk with her supporters before she decided what to do. Unfortunately, the Congress and the supporter were very, very anxious to bring this unity team together, and you just can't do it unless you endorse.

And so the magic word was, let's endorse. And she did reach out to her supporters, and they agreed the time was now. We had hoped that it would have happened Friday, but she decided, since the Congress wasn't going to be in, she wanted nationally the people to come together and meet with her tomorrow. So, we're very excited, and, of course, the congressional delegation in New York, we're starting our reunion, our unity together today.

BLITZER: She must have been so disappointed. She worked so long to get this nomination. At one point, she was considered the all-but- certain Democratic presidential nominee. How did she feel? How did she sound to you when you spoke to her?

RANGEL: Surprisingly, really upbeat. She's really ready to get this doggone campaign started.

And you have to remember that 36 million people have come out excited about what was going on. Some people were asking her to leave the race. I really think that staying in this race makes it greater and easier for both sides to come together and have an outstanding, overwhelming victory come November.

BLITZER: Were there any members of the New York delegation that were actually saying, don't drop out, continue this fight, take it to Denver, to the convention? Did you hear that from any of your colleagues?

RANGEL: Not only did I not hear it from my colleagues in New York, but among her strongest friends and supporters, while some have been bruised by the fact that they thought this was a woman's chance to do it, there is no one that I have met with that hasn't totally agreed it's time to call the race to an end and concentrate on the race to win, and that race is going to be in November.

BLITZER: All right. So what does she do next? A lot of us remember you were among the first, if not the first, who urged her, as a former first lady, to think about running for the Senate seat in New York State. You convinced her to do it. What do you think her next challenge should be?

RANGEL: Well, I think a lot has to do with the chemistry between she and Obama.

It seems to me that it would be the best thing for the ticket if she was named as vice president. But, by the same token, I don't think any pressure at all should be placed on Senator Obama. This is a decision that he has to make and probably live with for eight years.

Having said that, she can go into the areas in which she won overwhelmingly to make certain that she earns her stripes for this campaign. But I don't think she will be considered any longer as the wife of Bill Clinton's presidency. She has proven herself to be a national leader. And I think there is a vacuum in the Senate if she goes right back to it.

BLITZER: Well, what do you say to those Obama supporters who feel she would be a liability on the ticket, that she would bring more baggage than would be worth it; it would take away from his notion that he is the candidate of change?

Let me hear your convincing argument to those doubters who don't want her on the ticket.

RANGEL: Had she won the nomination, I would assume that a lot of people would want her to name Senator Obama as the vice president, since so many of us thought in terms of this as a dream ticket.

And I would suspect there would be a lot of Clinton people that would feel very, very uncomfortable with that. I think we have to let things cool off and let the rival camps, the Obama camp and the Clinton camp, get to know each other and to remember that the common goal is the Democratic victory in November. And there will be just as many reasons why she should be on that ticket. And some of Obama's people are a little reluctant now.

But, believe me, we Democrats fight hard when we're fighting and when we unite, you can't stop us.

BLITZER: And one final thought about Barack Obama. He's got a formidable opponent in John McCain. How close is this battle going to be?

RANGEL: I don't think it's going to be close at all.

You have to remember that all the concentration was on Senator Clinton, Senator Obama, and people hardly knew that McCain had won the nomination. Now that these two Democratic forces are going to come together, people are going to say, John who? There's not going to be an alternative for them to really compare us with.

With the oil prices going up, unemployment going up, and life just being miserable for the last eight years, I hardly would think that someone is going to ask for an extension of four years for Senator McCain.

BLITZER: And Charlie Rangel will be out there working hard for Barack Obama. I have no doubt about that.

Congressman, thanks very much for joining us.

RANGEL: Thank you.

BLITZER: If the election were held today, who would win? It's an unbelievably tight race, actually. If you thought the primary was exciting, wait until you see these brand-new CNN poll numbers about a race between John McCain and Barack Obama. We will share those numbers with you. That's coming up.

And John McCain had three months as his party's nominee. Barack Obama's only had three days so far. But is he doing a better job at motivating his party's voters to turn out in November?

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



BLITZER: A lot of buzz happening right now about Hillary Clinton and what she will do to try to get Barack Obama elected.


REID: She's a very good woman. She's been a great senator. And she's going to be a great help to us in this primary, no matter what role she has in the campaign.


BLITZER: On the eve of Senator Clinton's concession speech, we will consider what she needs to say and do tomorrow to bring Democrats together.

Plus, fasten your seat belts for the race ahead. There's new evidence that Obama vs. McCain may be a wild ride. We have the numbers.

And a new introduction to Barack Obama, but it's coming from Republicans. And it's nasty, not very nice. We will tell you what's going on right here in THE SITUATION ROOM.


BLITZER: To our viewers, you're in THE SITUATION ROOM. Happening now: The battle lines are drawn and the fight for the White House promises to be just as fierce, maybe even more so, than the unprecedented contests we have seen so far. We have brand-new evidence to back that up. Stand by.

Also, it's one thing on the mind of every Democrat right now. That would be party unity. But how can Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama help them achieve it?

And John McCain flexing his national security muscles right now with a brand-new ad. We are going to show it for you, all of this coming up, plus the best political team on television.

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

But first, we have some brand-new numbers, a brand-new snapshot of McCain vs. Obama, the matchup, now that Obama has clinched the Democratic nomination. It suggests the race for the White House will still continue to be a very thrilling ride.

Let's bring in our senior political analyst, Bill Schneider. He's got the latest numbers for us.

All right, Bill, what's the headline from this brand-new poll?



SCHNEIDER: If you liked 2000, you may love 2008, because the race between Barack Obama and John McCain looks like a close one. Right now, Obama's leading McCain by three points. That's within the margin of error.

Here's the big puzzle in this election. President Bush's job rating is 32 percent. McCain is getting 46 percent. Shouldn't the Republican presidential be dragging the Republican candidate down with him?

Obama thinks so.

OBAMA: He is running for George Bush's third term.

SCHNEIDER: McCain does not think so.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R-AZ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Why does Senator Obama believe it's so important to repeat that idea over and over again? Because he knows it's very difficult to get Americans to believe something that they know is false.

SCHNEIDER: Right now, 16 percent of all voters disapprove of President Bush, but are still voting for McCain. Obama's going after them.

OBAMA: There are many words to describe John McCain's attempt to pass off his embrace of George Bush's policies as bipartisan and new, but change is not one of them.

OBAMA: Does Obama have a problem with white voters?

Most whites are not voting for Obama, but white voters have not voted for a Democrat for president since Lyndon Johnson. Obama is getting 42 percent of the white vote. John Kerry got 41 percent, Al Gore got 42, Bill Clinton got 43, Michael Dukakis got 40. Obama is not doing any worse with white voters than other Democrats.

Are Democrats happy with Obama as their nominee? Nearly 60 percent say yes. Thirty-five percent would prefer Hillary Clinton.

Are Republicans happy with McCain?

Only 55 percent say yes. Forty-four percent of Republicans say they would prefer somebody else.

McCain clinched his party's nomination three months ago, but Obama's actually done a better job solidifying his base.


SCHNEIDER: Do Democrats want Obama to pick Clinton as his running mate?

Well, Fifty-four percent say they do. This is a dream ticket for a lot of Democratic women -- 60 percent say they want Obama to pick women. Men, not so much. Forty-six percent of Democratic men want Obama to pick Clinton. Fifty-one percent of men say, nah -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Interesting numbers.

All right, Bill. Thank you.

So with Hillary Clinton bowing out of the Democratic race tomorrow, what do she and Barack Obama need to do to unify their fractured party right now?

Let's discuss this and more with our senior political analyst, Gloria Borger. She's here in Washington. And joining us from New York, Jack Cafferty and our senior political analyst, Jeff Toobin. They're all part of the best political team on television.

It's a simple question. No simple answers, though.

What do you think, Jack? What does she need to do tomorrow?

CAFFERTY: Well, it seems to me, in following all of these primaries, that her most ardent supporters and the area where she has the distinct advantage over Barack Obama is among elderly white women. If she can make a compelling case to those voters -- elderly white women -- that rather than either staying home or voting for John McCain, in the interest of their own welfare, they ought to look at Barack Obama. McCain says we could be in Iraq 100 years.

Do those women want their sons and daughters over there sometime during that period of time?

McCain and the some of the people in the Republican Party would like to do weird things with "Roe v. Wade".

Do elderly white women want to vote for John McCain or sabotage Barack Obama risking the woman's right to choose?

I think that's the key group that she has to somehow appeal to and change their minds.

BLITZER: I think Jack's onto something -- Gloria.

GLORIA BORGER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, I totally agree. I think she can personalize it to a certain degree and tell these voters, these women, what she learned about Barack Obama that she likes and why she will not only be supporting him, but enthusiastically supporting him. I don't think she has to be on the ticket and she can even say that. She really needs to tell them why this election is so important and why he is preferable to the man he's running against.

BLITZER: Jeffrey?

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Well, you know, I've been looking at the blog at And you have never seen such venom directed at Barack Obama, even by Republicans. I mean a lot of her supporters are still very angry. And I think tomorrow is a start -- but it's only a start. Because Hillary Clinton has got to get out there and support Barack Obama for a long time with a lot of enthusiasm to prove to these -- as Jack said -- mostly women that he is worthy of their support.

And Obama has got to be respectful of Hillary and her supporters, as well.

BLITZER: So what...

TOOBIN: So I think it's not just a one day proposition.

BLITZER: It leads me to the next question, Jack.

What does Barack Obama need to do to convince those supporters of Hillary Clinton that he's the guy?

CAFFERTY: Well, I think he probably ultimately will have less to do with changing their minds than she will. It seems to me, watching the tone of his campaign almost since the beginning, he has gone out of his way to be polite and respectful to Hillary Clinton. He has not engaged in some of the kitchen sink type campaigning that -- that her campaign has been accused of.

So I think, ultimately, if there is anger or stridency in the Clinton electorate, it's going to be more up to Hillary to try to dilute that than Barack Obama.

I don't know what Barack Obama could do beyond what he's done.

BORGER: You know, he's talked about how he gets it in terms of Hillary Clinton's supporters. I think he has to continue to do a little more of that. He's talked about how her campaign has made such a difference to his own daughters. Hearing that is important.

But I think -- I think Jack's right. He's got to just do more of the same with feeling.

BLITZER: And, Jeff?

TOOBIN: Well, I think one good opportunity is to put one of Hillary Clinton's most effective campaign workers to work for him -- Chelsea Clinton. Have Chelsea Clinton play an important part in his campaign.

CAFFERTY: There's an idea.

TOOBIN: I think that is a really -- would be a symbol to the Hillary people that look, we trust this guy, we like him, you should vote for him.

BLITZER: And she did, arguably, an excellent, excellent, excellent job for Hillary Clinton over these many months. She worked very hard for her mom.

All right, guys, stand by. We're going to come back to you in a moment.

We're also going to talk about the war and the race for the White House. We're going to show you a brand new commercial that John McCain's campaign has just released.

Here's the question -- does he have an advantage over Barack Obama when it comes to national security?

And we'll show you the new Republican Web site that's now up there. And it's going after Barack Obama, hammering away. We'll tell you what's going on on that front.

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


BLITZER: We're back with the best political team on television.

Jeff, I want to play for you and our team this snippet of this new John McCain ad, trying to introduce himself to a lot of voters out there.

Listen to this.


MCCAIN: I was shot down over Vietnam and spent five years as a POW. Some of the friends I served with never came home. I hate war. And I know how terrible its costs are.

I'm running for president to keep the country I love safe.


BLITZER: All right, Jeff, how effective is that going to be?

TOOBIN: Well, he certainly has an impressive war record. But it's worth remembering, in the last four presidential elections, the candidate with the better war record lost. So I really think these elections are about the future, not the past. And, yes, his record is impressive and his life is impressive, but the question is what is he going to do for the voters?

That's obviously what Obama is going to want to talk about.

BLITZER: Gloria?

BORGER: I think this is really more about inoculating himself against charges that he might be a warmonger, that he's too trigger happy, that he's a hawk. Remember, Ronald Reagan had those problems, too. And what you -- what you do is you kind of try and soften your image and say, yes, I understand all of this, but I know the consequences of war because I've been there, so don't worry, I would not get us into an unnecessary war.

Because people are worried, you know, he had that joke about bombing Iran and all the rest. And he kind of needs to -- to put that to rest.

BLITZER: And Barack Obama, Jack, every time he mentions the name John McCain, he always begins by praising him as a genuine American hero. And then goes on to criticize some aspects of his policy. So it's a difficult -- it's a difficult line that he's got to draw right now.

CAFFERTY: Well, I think Jeff's right. It's like, you know, what have you done for me lately?

His claims about being more experienced when it comes to national security ring a little hollow. He supported the war in Iraq and a lot of people think that war was not only unnecessary, but has made the country less safe. He's been a member of the United States Senate for all of the years since 9/11 that we have failed to secure the borders, failed to secure the ports, squandered a trillion dollars and 4,000 plus lives on an illegal invasion of a sovereign nation that had done nothing to us.

And he's squarely involved in a part that history, too -- not just Vietnam -- the stuff that's happened in the last five years. So I'm not so sure that that commercial is going to go a long way if you really look behind the headline.

BLITZER: Jeff, let me get back to the breaking news we've been following, the economic numbers today. The stock market, its worst day, dropping, what 400 points. The worst day in a year. The joblessness numbers going up -- 350,000 jobs lost now since the beginning of this year.

How is all of this going to play out in this campaign?

TOOBIN: Well, it's obviously terrible for the Republicans.

What I think Obama's challenge is, though, is to give people a clear sense of what he's going to do about it. Now maybe it's enough simply that he's a Democrat and that he's out and they're in and things are bad. But I don't think there is a clear, cogent message yet from the Obama campaign that on day one, I'm going to do the following things for the economy.

BLITZER: What -- go ahead, Gloria.

BORGER: But, you know, now that you have a Democratic nominee and you have a Democratic Congress, what I think you're going to see is a joining of forces, kind of like what -- remember Newt Gingrich had his Contract with America?

You're going to see the candidate and the Democrats come up with an economic plan that they can talk about on Capitol Hill and that he can talk about on the campaign trail. Because this is where they can tell the American public, if you keep the Congress Democratic and you increase our majority and you elect a Democratic president, these are the things we can get done.

BLITZER: And one analyst...

BORGER: So I think you're going to see it.

BLITZER: on Wall Street, Jack...

CAFFERTY: Let me...

BLITZER: Yes, I was going to...

CAFFERTY: Let me just...

BLITZER: Go ahead.

CAFFERTY: Let me just disagree a little bit with tying yourself too closely to Congress.


CAFFERTY: Their approval rating is lower than pond scum -- and with good reason. They're worthless, whether it's Republicans or Democrats.


BORGER: But...

CAFFERTY: And drawing up more plans that we can all sit around and say we worked on this in committee and we have a consensus here, is -- pardon the expression -- it's something you sweep out of the barn at night.

BORGER: But, you know, they have to have something they can run on together.

CAFFERTY: Barack Obama has gotten to where he has in this campaign on his singular vision for how to change Washington, D.C. I'd stay the hell away from the people in Washington...

BORGER: But, you know, it's...

CAFFERTY: ...and just keep doing what he's doing.

BORGER: But it's in his interests to get the largest majority he can in the Congress so he can have a veto-proof majority or filibuster-proof majority in the Senate and really get some things done.

CAFFERTY: If he...

TOOBIN: Yes, but he's got to win first.

CAFFERTY: If he wins the presidency...

BORGER: Right. Yes. Yes.

CAFFERTY: a big enough majority, he can drive the agenda in Congress right down their Congressional throat.

BLITZER: All right...

BORGER: I think it works.

BLITZER: And I'll leave you guys with one thought. One analyst on Wall Street predicting $150 a barrel by July fourth. Think about that.

All right, guys, stand by.

Jack, we've got "The Cafferty File" coming up.

The Republican Party wants to meet their opponent with a new Web site going after Barack Obama.

Let's go to our Internet reporter, Abbi Tatton -- what's this Web site, Abbi, all about?

ABBI TATTON, CNN INTERNET REPORTER: Wolf, there's a video that greets visitors to the new And in it, the Republican Party is letting the Democrats do the talking.


SEN. HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Senator McCain will bring a lifetime of experience to the campaign, I will bring a lifetime of experience and Senator Obama will bring a speech that he gave in 2002.


TATTON: This new Web site from the Republican National Committee combines opposition research and Web video. The Democratic Party rolled out something -- a similar idea last month for their Web Mccainpedia.

But the Republican Party asking Web users to meet Barack Obama? Online, millions have done that already. Look no further than his own YouTube page, where one speech alone has had more than four million views. The most watched video about John McCain, on the other hand, is one attacking him -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Thanks very much, Abbi, for that.

Tonight Hillary Clinton will no doubt be thinking about her major announcement tomorrow. You'll see it live here at CNN. Our special coverage will begin at 11:00 a.m. Eastern.

But up next, how other political giants have said goodbye to the presidency. We're going to play some clips for you. You're going to want to hear it yourself.

And later, Obama and Clinton work together to pull a fast one on the Washington news media. I love this story. We're going to take a closer look at the mad scramble to find them. You're going to want to see what happened. Howard Kurtz is standing by with that.

We'll be right back.


BLITZER: Lou is getting ready for his show, that begins at the top of the hour.

Lou, what are you working on?


Tonight we're reporting on a new setback for our middle class -- a big jump in the unemployment rate, a sharp increase in crude oil prices and tumbling stock prices. We'll tell you what, if anything, these presidential candidates may do about it.

Also, outrage after a pro-amnesty group invites a United Nations investigator to intervene in our illegal immigration crisis. The investigator is not exactly an impartial objective observer. He's already accused Americans of xenophobia and racism, despite all the evidence to the contrary.

And a federal judge thwarting the will of the majority in Oklahoma. He's blocking part of a law to punish illegal employers of illegal aliens. The Oklahoma lawmaker who authorized the law is among my guests.

Also joining us at 7:00 Eastern for all of that and a great deal more -- Wolf, back to you.

BLITZER: Thanks very much, Lou. See you in a few moments.

Let's check in with Jack. He's got "The Cafferty File" -- Jack.

CAFFERTY: The question is: What will you miss least about the 20-month long primary season that mercifully ended Tuesday? Dave in Boston says: "The thing I'll miss least about the primaries is Lanny Davis, AKA the Iraqi information minister. He was fun and painful to watch, especially his constant assault on anyone who dared to argue the facts."

Nicole in Oregon writes: "As much as I enjoy your daily postings of questions to the world, I must say I'll miss the magic map that John King provided for us every Tuesday night during the primaries. That machine is quite impressive."

Dick says: "I am a most, not a least person. It's a very confusing question. It was clearly written by a frustrated person who believes the glass is always half empty." That would be me. "I believe in the future, CNN should frame all their questions in a more positive tone."

Anderson writes: "Flag pins, sniper fire and loud reverends -- although I doubt any of them will be gone for long."

J. in Tennessee: "Nothing. Let's get on with the general election. Too bad it isn't next Tuesday so we could get a jump-start on fixing this Republican mess."

Gerry writes: "What will I miss the least? The blatant attempt by the mainstream media to push Hillary Clinton to keep the story and TV ratings high. It was pathetic."

Laurel writes: "I'm glad the suspense is over. Now I can count sheep instead of delegates at night -- at least until November."

Brandon says: "Fox News."

Rocky in Massachusetts says: "I'll miss everything. As a 56- year-old guy who paid little attention to politics since I worked polls for Hubert Humphrey, I became a CNN junkie. I talk back as much to you guys as I do to my wife and you guys pay about the same amount of attention."

If you didn't see your e-mail here, you can go to my blog at You may find yours there. There are hundreds of them to look through -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Have a great weekend Jack.

CAFFERTY: You, too.

BLITZER: Thanks very much for that.

On our Political Ticker right now, Hillary Clinton's big concession, as she prepares to admit defeat and endorse Barack Obama tomorrow.

Let's take a look back at some memorable clips from past concessions by presidential candidates.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP FROM NOVEMBER 11, 2004) SEN. JOHN KERRY (D), MASSACHUSETTS: It was a privilege and a gift to spend two years traveling this country coming to know so many of you. I wish that I could just wrap you up in my arms and embrace each and every one of you individually all across this nation. I thank you from the bottom of my heart.



AL GORE, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I know I'll spend time in Tennessee and mend some fences, literally and figuratively. Some have asked whether I have any regrets. And I do have one regret, that I didn't get the chance to stay and fight for the American people over the next four years.



GEORGE BUSH, SR. FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And we have fought the good fight and we've kept the faith. And I believe I have upheld the honor of the presidency of the United States.


BUSH, SR.: And now I ask that we stand behind our new president. And regardless of our differences, all Americans share the same purpose -- to make this the world's greatest nation.


BLITZER: Our special coverage of Senator Clinton's speech tomorrow morning. It starts at 11:00 a.m. Eastern. This is a speech a lot of people are going to want to hear. We'll be here for that.

It's the meeting everyone was waiting for. So how did Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton manage to pull it off in secret?

Howard Kurtz is standing by. This is a story you're going to want to see.


BLITZER: They're two of the most closely watched people in America.

So how did Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton elude reporters to hold their secret meeting last night?

Howard Kurtz of CNN's "RELIABLE SOURCES" shows us.


HOWARD KURTZ, CNN'S "RELIABLE SOURCES" (voice-over): It was a night of mystery, a night of history, a night where journalists scrambled for the story and wound up with bumpkus.

The challenge -- where in the world was Barack Obama?

Imagine the horror when reporters on Obama's plane realized that the doors had closed and the man who had just wrapped up the Democratic presidential nomination was not on it. He had stayed behind in Washington.

Blackberries buzzed. Sources were hunted down. And finally, breaking news.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: NBC's political director, Chuck Todd, confirming that Barack Obama is meeting with Hillary Clinton tonight at her home -- at a home in D.C. ?

At Hillary's home in Washington, D.C. .

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Sources now tell CNN that Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, after one of the toughest primary campaigns in memory, are sitting down behind closed doors at Clinton's home in Washington.

SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: And this is a Fox News alert. A senior Democratic source has now confirmed to Fox News that at this very hour, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton and Senator Barack Obama are meeting at an undisclosed Washington, D.C. location.

KURTZ: This wasn't just any meeting, it was a secret meeting -- a secret meeting at an undisclosed location. But this was television and television needed pictures. Otherwise, it's just a bunch of people sitting around yakking -- yakking about things like, what were they talking about?

Would it, could it be the vice presidency?

And so the camera crews converged on Clinton's Washington home.

The two of them were in there, weren't they?

They had to be in there. And that meant, at some point, they had to come out and the crews would get their money shot.

COOPER: But first, CNN's Tom Foreman is outside Senator Clinton's house right now. He joins us on the phone.

Tom, what are you seeing?

VOICE OF TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, we're not seeing a whole lot, except several Suburbans outside the house, as you would expect, the Secret Service -- a fair amount of Secret Service activity, sort of walking back and forth.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: Clinton and Senator Barack Obama are meeting at this moment. Major Garrett is live in Washington with all the details -- Major.

MAJOR GARRETT, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Greta, we know less than we'd like to know about this meeting.

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: I had two sources, our Suzanne Malveaux had another, so we had three sources, two of them saying that it's at her house. But what we got wrong and what they got wrong -- and sometimes this happens -- is that it's not -- that the location is not right. It was not taking place at her house.

KURTZ: But as the night wore on, the awful truth emerged -- the meeting wasn't at Hillary Clinton's house, after all. It was somewhere else. Not until this morning did we learn that Obama and Clinton had held their rendezvous a couple of miles away, at Senator Dianne Feinstein's house. It lasted an hour. They drank water and they outfoxed all the journalists who tried so hard to track them down.

This is Howard Kurtz at an undisclosed location in Washington.


BLITZER: I love this story.

All right, remember, stay with CNN tomorrow for our special coverage of Hillary Clinton's rally and expected endorsement of Barack Obama. Please join me and the best political team on television. We'll be on at 11:00 a.m. Eastern. It's also live on 11:00 a.m. Eastern tomorrow.

And it's going to be a busy weekend. Among my guests Sunday on "LATE EDITION," Senators Bob Casey and Jon Kyl. We'll talk about the race for the White House, the war in Iraq, the economy and lots more. "LATE EDITION" starts at 11:00 a.m. Eastern.

I'm Wolf Blitzer in THE SITUATION ROOM.

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