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Clinton, Obama Urge Unity; North Korea Destroys Part of Nuclear Reactor

Aired June 27, 2008 - 18:00   ET


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: And, to our viewers, you're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
Happening now: A long-awaited picture of unity leaves many Democrats cheering and still some uncertain. This hour, the best political team on television on the impact of the Obama/Clinton love fest.

John McCain tries to convince Clinton supporters that unity is overrated. His push for blue-collar voters moving into overdrive right now.

And changing colors -- two states on our CNN electoral map move out of the tossup column.

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


SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D-IL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This is one of those moments in our history when we have to tap the decency of the American people.


BLITZER: Barack Obama urging Democrats to move toward future -- toward the future together with Hillary Clinton at his side and in his camp.

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

It was the first time Obama and Clinton appeared shoulder to shoulder in public since she conceded. In every word and every action, they tried to live up to the name of the New Hampshire town that became the backdrop, the name of the town, Unity.

Listen to this.


SEN. HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D), NEW YORK: Senator McCain and the Republicans may have hoped that we wouldn't join forces like this. They may have wished that we wouldn't stand united to fight this battle with everything we've got. But I have got news for them: We are one party; we are one America; and we are not going to rest until we take back our country and put it once again on the path to peace, prosperity, and progress in the 21st century.

OBAMA: Hillary and I may have started with separate goals in this campaign, but we've made history together. Together, we inspired tens of millions of people to participate, some to cast ballots for the very first time, others who voted for the first time in a very long time.

And together, in this campaign in 2008, we shattered barriers that have stood firm since the founding of this nation.


BLITZER: And joining us now from Unity, New Hampshire, our own Candy Crowley.

All right, Candy, take us behind the scenes, what we didn't see in these remarks today. What's really going on between these two candidates?

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, listen, all they wanted us to see today were these pictures, him giving her a kiss on the cheek at the tarmac in Washington, D.C., the two of them together up in front of the plane.

They said, you can bring up the camera, but you can't bring up the microphone, although the photogs heard them talking about the plane, because Hillary Clinton had actually used that plane during her campaign.

So, behind the scenes, they spent an hour-and-a-half together on an R.V., because that's how long it takes to get from the airport in Manchester to here in Unity, so, lots of time for them to talk. We are told they did talk about issues that in fact are interesting to her and things she wants obviously to have him push.

So, and we heard some of that today, I think, in the speech, Wolf, when we began to talk about pay equity and things like that.

BLITZER: Are these two camps really working together, Candy?


CROWLEY: They're working -- look, they -- she has done everything they have asked her to do. She has gone behind closed doors and said to people, we need to get behind Barack Obama.

She cut him a check today for $2,300. That maxes out. Bill Clinton cut him a check today. So, they're doing everything right. But the fact of the matter is, there's the political. They're all big people. They understand somebody wins and somebody loses. And then there's the personal. And it takes a while to get over. But Hillary Clinton didn't have the time to do that. She needed to step up because she was the leader. It's her supporters, some of her fund-raisers that are still having a problem. The Obama campaign says, look, we recognize this is going to take some time. Obviously, this was the first unity week since she conceded. They're going to be talking more about some of her issues. Obama says he wants her to campaign for him in the fall. She says they will be there. This is -- this takes a little time when you get down to the grassroots and some of the fund-raisers.

BLITZER: Candy Crowley on the scene for us in Unity, New Hampshire -- Candy, we will see you back here in Washington.

CROWLEY: All right, thanks, Wolf.

BLITZER: And we're going to have more of what Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama said today in Unity, New Hampshire. We are also going to be hearing -- hearing from Senator John McCain as well. That's coming up here in THE SITUATION ROOM.

Now an important change on our CNN electoral map. Two states that were tossups, Minnesota and Wisconsin, now are considered to be leaning toward Barack Obama based on some new polling, those states changing colors to light blue. Together, Minnesota and Wisconsin have 20 electoral votes that CNN now is allocating to Obama.

That gives Obama 231 of the 270 electoral votes needed to win. McCain has 194.

Let's bring in our senior political analyst, Bill Schneider. He's watching this story for us.

Bill, how has this map changed since the 2004 election?

WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, Wolf, right now, Obama is carrying every state that John Kerry took in 2004, except for two, Michigan and New Hampshire, both of which are in the tossup category.

So far, the map does not show any Bush states in 2004 that are switching to Obama. And it doesn't show any Kerry states from 2004 that are switching to McCain. But it does show seven Bush states that are moving into the tossup category, that are becoming doubtful. And they include Ohio and Florida and Colorado.

BLITZER: What about the states that both of these candidates are targeting right now?

SCHNEIDER: Well, they're targeting most of those tossup states, the ones that are in yellow on that map. Obama is running ads in all nine of the yellow tossup states. He's also running ads in some Southern states that he thinks he can see some opportunity in, Georgia and Alabama. And he's running ads in North Dakota and Montana and Alaska. He's got the dough. He can be aggressive.

BLITZER: He certainly does. All right, Bill, stand by.

Let's go to another important story today, historic, in North Korea, where top officials are touting today's destruction of a cooling tower at a key nuclear facility. Pyongyang says it's a message they're serious about a deal to end their nuclear program.

So, how seriously, though, are U.S. officials taking this move by North Korea?

Let's turn to our State Department correspondent Zain Verjee -- Zain.

ZAIN VERJEE, CNN STATE DEPARTMENT CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, this was a big bang, a big show, a TV picture beamed around the world. It is serious because it means that North Korea can't fire off its reactor easily and can't make the plutonium needed for a nuclear bomb.

It's a big win for diplomacy because it delivered results. And it marks another stage in trying to get rid of North Korea's nuclear program.

Now, drowned out in the explosion was the important fact that North Korea just handed over 60 pages of information admitting the amount of plutonium they have. But the hard part really starts now. North Korea has to allow intrusive inspections to prove that they're telling the truth. And the big question is, will North Korea really give up its weapons when the time comes? There is very little trust on both sides right now -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Zain Verjee at the State Department watching this story for us.

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

JACK CAFFERTY, CNN ANCHOR: Bill Gates is walking off into the sunset, well, kind of. Today marks Gates last day as a full-time worker at Microsoft, the software giant he co-founded more than 30 years ago.

At 52 years of age, Gates isn't totally retiring. He'll still spend one day a week at the company. He will remain Microsoft's chairman and its largest shareholder.

But Gates plans to spend more time working on the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. It's the richest philanthropy in the world and is focused on global health and education, not too shabby for a kid who dropped out of Harvard, who was the richest person in the world for years. Gates was worth more than $100 billion in 1999, although he's only worth about half that much now because the decline in Microsoft's shares and the donations he's made through his foundation.

Gates leaves behind a truly amazing legacy. He's known as the company's genius programmer, its technology guru, its primary decision-maker, and its ruthless leader. He figured out how to turn software into a moneymaking industry. Boy, did he ever. And, in the process, it's safe to say he has changed the world forever.

Consider this. There are more than one billion copies of Microsoft Windows operating on P.C.s around the world. It's probably safe to say you are not going to find Bill Gates living a run-of-the- mill retirement at some old-age home in Florida, playing shuffleboard and lining up for the early-bird special.

So, here's our question to you on this Friday night: If you were Bill Gates, how would you spend your retirement?

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

BLITZER: Thanks very much, Jack. We will see you with the best political team on television shortly.

Family feud foregone. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton lay out more reasons why Democrats should get on board their unity tour. Unity, what unity? John McCain urges Hillary Clinton supporters to turn their backs on Barack Obama.

And a Democratic congressman's nasty exchange with a top Bush administration official. Republicans claim what the congressman said paints an al Qaeda target on the back of Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff.

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


BLITZER: Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama stood shoulder to shoulder near signs proclaiming unite and change. And their remarks to fellow Democrats drove home that message.

Take a listen first to Senator Clinton.


H. CLINTON: We have traversed America making our case to the American people. We have gone toe-to-toe in this hard-fought primary.

But today, and every day going forward, we stand shoulder-to- shoulder for the ideals we share, the values we cherish, and the country we love.



BLITZER: Senator Obama spoke about an issue that already unites many Democrats. That would be Iraq.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) OBAMA: We have to come together not just as Democrats, but also as Americans, united by our understanding that there's no problem we can't solve, no challenge we cannot meet, as one nation, as one people.

Now, the decisions we make in this election and in the next few years on Iraq and climate change, on our economy and making sure that it's working for everybody and not just some, those choices will shape the next generation and possibly the next century.

And on each and every issue, on each and every issue in this campaign, the choice could not be clearer.

It is a choice between moving forward and falling farther behind. It's a choice between more of the same policies that have failed us for eight long years or a new direction for the country we love.

We can continue spending $10 billion to $12 billion a month in Iraq and leave our troops there for the next 20 or 50 or 100 years. We can follow a policy that doesn't change whether violence is up or violence is down, whether the Iraqi government takes responsibility or not.

Or we can decide that it's time to be in a responsible, gradual withdrawal from Iraq. It is time to rebuild our military. It is time to treat our veterans with the dignity and respect they deserve.

It's time to refocus our attention on the war we have to win in Afghanistan. It is time to go after the al Qaeda leadership where it actually exists. It is time to bring this war in Iraq to a close.

And that's what we will be working with and working on when I am president of the United States. That's the choice in this election.



BLITZER: John McCain is trying to convince Hillary Clinton supporters to forget about party unity and to side with him instead. The Republican candidate campaigning today in the swing state, the critical state of Ohio.

Dana Bash is watching this story for us.

Dana, he was going after a very specific group of Clinton supporters today.

DANA BASH, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: He sure was. It's actually the kind of voters we heard you, Wolf, and everyone else election night after election night during the Democratic primaries talk about falling into Hillary Clinton's camp, so-called Reagan Democrats.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) BASH (voice over): At first glance, this GM plant tour in Ohio is all about John McCain's push for fuel-efficient cars built here. But it's not just about the cars. It's about the workers, blue collar voters, the kind Hillary Clinton won in the Democratic primary and John McCain wants, badly.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R-AZ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The brunt of this incredible increase in the cost of a gallon of oil is being borne by the lowest income Americans. That's not fair.

BASH: In fact, Clinton came to this very plant before she beat Barack Obama in Ohio with the same message McCain is using against him now -- empty words.

H. CLINTON: Speeches don't fill up your tank. Speeches don't fill your prescription or do anything about that stack of bills that keeps you up at night.

MCCAIN: I do think we are able to attract some of Senator Clinton's supporters, not so much because of any reason that they think that I may serve America best.

BASH: McCain advisers say if they have any chance at winning battleground states like Ohio and Pennsylvania, they need to lure Clinton supporters. A new poll shows they are.

A large percentage of Clinton's Democratic primary voters in Ohio, 25 percent, say they'll vote for John McCain. It's roughly the same in Pennsylvania.

But here's McCain's problem. That's not enough. McCain is trailing Obama in both those pivotal states.

Still, McCain does need to hold on to Clinton supporters leaning his way. Not easy when she's telling them to vote Obama. So when a woman in a Hillary hat asks McCain a question...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There are lots of women who feel now disenfranchised.

BASH: ... he says this...

MCCAIN: All of us respect not only Senator Clinton, but the race that she ran. And she inspired millions of Americans. And millions of American women. And women all over the world.


BASH: McCain advisers say they're putting a high priority still on courting female voters. In fact, CNN has learned that Meg Whitman, a McCain adviser and the former CEO of eBay, is crafting an economic plan tailored towards small-business owners. And, Wolf, many of those small-business owners these day are actually women.

BLITZER: And Senator McCain next week is planning an overseas trip. What's going on? BASH: That's right. He's going to Mexico and Colombia. You remember, last week, he went to Canada.

The issue he was pushing there, just like he will next week, is his support for free trade. And I will tell you, it's actually interesting because John McCain's support for free trade may be one of the things that holds him back from getting some of these Democrats who might not like Barack Obama that much, because just today in this event that Senator McCain had in Ohio, he got an earful from one of the voters at that GM plant, saying, I know you're for free trade, but I'm not. It's hurting our jobs.

And he had a frank exchange, a little straight talk, as John McCain likes to put it, with this voter. So, he's pushing free trade, but again it might not be that popular. In fact, it's not that popular, we saw today, with some of those Democratic voters that he's trying to get from Hillary Clinton.

BLITZER: Dana is covering the McCain campaign for us. Dana will stand by.

Democrats present a picture of unity. But some wonder why Bill Clinton is missing from the picture.

Also new details regarding 2001's deadly anthrax attack. A former so-called person of interest will see a huge payday.

And few things can bring out world-famous actors, singers, and a host of other starts, but a milestone for Nelson Mandela certainly can. What a show it was.

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



CAROL COSTELLO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And more than 40,000 people are streaming out of London's Hyde Park right now. They were on hand for a concert celebrating former South African President Nelson Mandela's 90th birthday.

Hear the singing? The show featured performances from Queen and Amy Winehouse. She did show up. Among others, Will Smith served as the emcee. But the highlight came when Mandela thanked the crowd and said the fight for racial equality around the world is not over. Actually, his birthday is July 18, but, Wolf, he's a popular guy. He's going to have many celebrations.

BLITZER: And let's say happy birthday to Nelson Mandela. Ten years ago, when he was 80, I interviewed him in Cape Town. And I must say, what a presence. He had just become the president of South Africa. Thanks to him, thanks to him, that transfer from apartheid, from a racist regime, to peace worked, largely because of him. He's one amazing leader. And we should say happy birthday. COSTELLO: It's amazing he's 90 after spending all that time in prison, and what a hard life he has had. But he's still going strong at age 90.

BLITZER: You're right. It's amazing. And we wish him a long, long life, because he's a great man.

He's going to be featured, by the way, in our 10th anniversary special of "LATE EDITION" that airs Sunday, July 6. You are going to see that interview in Cape Town a day after he showed the world his prison in Cape Town. He spent 25 years there.

Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton forged a new political partnership today. Now Democrats are wondering if the twosome will take the next step and become running mates -- lots of discussion opportunities for the best political team on television.

While his wife was rubbing elbows with Barack Obama, Bill Clinton's future campaign role still very iffy.

And why John McCain is invoking the name of a Democratic icon, John F. Kennedy.

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


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

Happening now: the picture of unity, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton calling on their supporters to come together and leave behind the primary bloodbath. But where is Bill Clinton?

Also, John McCain trying to link two major issues, energy independence and national security. We will talk about that and more with the best political team on television.

Plus, what a Democratic congressman said about a top aide to Vice President Dick Cheney and al Qaeda. Now he's having to apologize.

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

The Democratic message of the day, unity, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama preaching it jointly at a rally in a New Hampshire town named Unity. But where is Bill Clinton? He has yet to make a high- profile endorsement of Barack Obama. And some of his own words could make it awkward when he does.

CNN's Jessica Yellin is joining us live.

Jessica, why are we hearing in any dramatic way or even not so dramatic from the former president of the United States?

JESSICA YELLIN, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, he has been in Europe. But he's back in the U.S. now. And, so far, Barack Obama and Bill Clinton have not spoken. We talked to a campaign source with the Obama campaign. They say there is not even a plan for the two men to campaign together, at least not in the immediate future.


YELLIN (voice-over): Can you feel the love?

OBAMA: I am proud to call her a friend, and I know how much we need both Bill and Hillary Clinton as a party and as a country in the months and years to come.

Bill Clinton is one of the most intelligent, charismatic political leaders that we have seen in a generation.

YELLIN: It's a far cry from this biting assessment of the Clinton presidency during the heat of the campaign.

OBAMA: I think Ronald Reagan changed the trajectory of America in a way that, you know, Richard Nixon did not, and in a way that Bill Clinton did not.

YELLIN: That comment drew a barrage of criticism from the Clinton camp. But now it's ancient history because this is unity time. The former president has been out of the picture in Europe, but his spokesperson tells CNN he will do whatever he can and is asked to do to ensure Senator Obama is the next president of the United States.

If asked, he'll hit the campaign trail, but he'll have some explaining to do -- for example, why he no longer believes that voting for Obama would be to "roll the dice."


I mean when's the last time we elected a president based on one year of service in the Senate before he started running?

YELLIN: The former president has offered this praise for Obama's energy policy.

W. CLINTON: I favor Senator Obama's position, which is to go to 80 percent reduction in greenhouse gases, over Senator McCain's position, which is to go to 70.

YELLIN: But so far, no full-throated endorsement of the Democratic Party's presidential nominee.


YELLIN: Now, Wolf, there is another reason Bill Clinton isn't center stage right now. Hillary Clinton, as you know, is working to retire her debt. And top Democrats believe that she needs to be the one by Obama's side. She'll have more luck raising that money if she's in the picture and maybe her husband isn't -- Wolf.

BLITZER: All right. Interesting. Jessica, we'll get back to you.

Let's discuss Democratic unity and more with CNN's senior political analyst, Gloria Borger; our own Jack Cafferty; and Tara Wall, deputy editorial page editor for "The Washington Times".

Guys, thanks very much.

Let me get your reaction. What do you think -- everybody knows at some point he's going to be effusive in his support, but he's taking his time, Jack?

CAFFERTY: Well, I don't know that everybody knows he's going to be effusive in his support. I mean I haven't heard that. I think if the Democratic Party is serious about unity that, you know, it isn't over until the fat lady sings. Bill Clinton is the fat lady. He's got to come forward in public, put his arm around Barack Obama's shoulders and say, you know what, this is the future of the party and the country.

And until he does that, there will be lingering questions about how sincere everybody is in this thing.

BLITZER: Do you have any doubt, Gloria?

GLORIA BORGER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: I think he's going to do it. I think it's just a matter of the right time. I think it's a matter of not upstaging Hillary Clinton. And I also think there are a lot of hard feelings here. He thought that he was treated badly in South Carolina. They think he treated them badly. And it's his legacy, don't forget, that was discussed so much during this campaign. I mean Jessica showed it in her clip.

So I -- you know, I think they'll get around to it and then I think he'll go out there and he'll go full throttle as much as they want.

BLITZER: Tara, we talk about it all the time, but do voters really care?

TARA WALL, "THE WASHINGTON TIMES": Well, you know, evidently they do, because there was a poll out just this week that showed that there are only 37 percent of Americans believe that Hillary Clinton actually wants him to be in the White House -- Barack Obama to be in the White House. And the fact that they've had to work so hard, this hard, to impress upon their own supporters that they're unified, I think it should raise a little bit of questions. I mean I don't know what the wait is about. I mean think about the picture, if you will, if Hillary Clinton, Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, the three of them stood together holding hands, upraised, we're unified.


WALL: We don't see that picture.

BORGER: Let me make this prediction, that you will see Michelle and Barack Obama and Bill and Hillary Clinton. They'll look like a double date. And they will be out there holding hands together and campaigning together, because they feel they need to.


WALL: Yes, I mean...

BORGER: I can't...


BORGER: I can't predict that.

WALL: You know, the big question is I think -- I think it would have been -- I say this is why they are still struggling, I think, with getting the party behind them. The fundraisers had some bitter comments out in the press today following the meeting yesterday. You still have some Hillary Clinton supporters that want to get Barack Obama nailed down on just how he -- what kind of plan he has to help her pay off this debt.

So there are still hurt feelings. And, in some cases, some would say rightfully so. Bill Clinton made some very sharp comments about Barack Obama; Hillary Clinton, as well.

BLITZER: All right...

WALL: I think it's going to be easier for them to bridge that gap. But some folks are obviously still saying that there is a little bit of bitterness...

BLITZER: Jack...

WALL: ...that has not been healed as of yet.

BLITZER: Jack, I heard Terry McAuliffe, the former Clinton campaign chairman, former DNC chairman, say earlier that if -- if -- and it's a huge if, as all of us know -- if Barack Obama were to pick Hillary Clinton as his running mate, that would guarantee 16 years of Democratic rule in the White House.

CAFFERTY: Yes, and McAuliffe would probably want to run for president after Hillary. You know, it's not going to happen. He's not going to pick Hillary Clinton. If he had any intention of picking Hillary Clinton, he wouldn't have hired the woman that Hillary Clinton fired to come and head up the office for the vice presidential designate.

What's that woman's name?

BLITZER: Patti Solis Doyle.


CAFFERTY: Solis Doyle. I mean that was a pretty clear message to everybody that Hillary Clinton is not going to be on the ticket, I think.

BLITZER: All right. Stand by, guys. We have much more to talk about, including the changing electoral map. Barack Obama adds two states to his column, but the Iraq factor -- could it hurt him?

Could it help him?

More with the best political team on television.

And a Democratic congressman finds out you can't invoke Al Qaeda lightly.


BLITZER: The CNN electoral map is changing. By our calculation, two states aren't toss-ups anymore. More with the best political team on television next.


BLITZER: John McCain trying to win votes by promoting energy security.

Let's get back to the best political team on television.

I want to play, Gloria, a new ad that John McCain is releasing invoking a Democrat. That would be JFK.

Listen to this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: American technology protected the world. We went to the moon not because it was easy, but because it was hard. John McCain will call America to our next national purpose -- energy security.


BLITZER: Good ad?

BORGER: Yes, I think, actually, it's a very good ad. It's a very clever ad. And he's essentially saying to Barack Obama, look, you don't have the corner on the JFK comparison, just because he was young. But I'm the one who can move us into a different generation, if you will, even though I'm the older candidate, but I'm going to talk about energy security.

I'm going to talk about doing the things that are tough, like sending a man to the moon was tough for JFK.

So I think it's quite clever.

BLITZER: Jack, who's more like JFK?

CAFFERTY: I think, you know, it's nice. It's a lovely ad. The guy's got a nice baritone voice. It's the same stuff politicians have been saying for 20 years about our energy problems -- we've got to have energy independence, we've got to develop different fuels, yada, yada, yada.

John McCain, as a member of the Washington establishment for the last 26 years, bears some responsibility for the fact that this country doesn't have a cohesive, long-term energy policy and that sometimes gets overlooked. And I didn't see anything in that commercial that said wow, there's a revolutionary idea, I'm going to go out and vote for him because I never heard that before. It's the same old stuff.

BLITZER: Tara, what do you think?

WALL: I think it also, essentially, is an attempt to appeal to some of the more Independent voters. As you can see, this is more the moderate side of John McCain when talks about green energy. And he does have a more distinct plan as it relates to addressing energy. He does -- he is in favor of drilling, for example, while Barack Obama is not and while most Americans do favor drilling.

But I think it's an attempt here to kind of say I'm a little bit -- I'm on the moderate side when it comes to these issues. I'm not as staunchly conservative. It's a way to draw in some of those more independent-thinking voters that he has the ability to tap.

BORGER: Well, it's the Reagan Democrats that Dana was talking about in her piece earlier, talking about bipartisanship, which, by the way, is something he is now campaigning on quite heavily, saying look, I've got the proof. I can work across the aisle.

Where's the proof about Barack Obama?

WALL: Yes, he's a -- Republicans are definitely honing in on Barack Obama's lack, in their opinion, of bipartisanship, that it's -- it's just words and nothing matches the rhetoric as it relates to his bipartisanship. When you're voting with the rest of your Democratic leadership, that's not bipartisanship, how has he bucked the trend by going against the party?

So you will see some of that tit for tat going back and forth when it comes to who's really more bipartisan.

BLITZER: You know, Jack, the polls in those four states that we reported on earlier, in Colorado, Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin, Barack Obama is opening up a pretty impressive lead.

But when this question is asked, he suffers -- should the U.S. stay in Iraq until stable or should it go for an immediate withdrawal?

Fifty-six percent in Colorado say stay until stable, 39 percent immediate withdrawal. Sort of similar numbers in Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin.

Does this pose, as things -- a lot of people believe -- get a little bit more stable in Iraq, a pitfall -- a potential pitfall for Obama?

CAFFERTY: I don't think so, because if you look at the ranking of the Iraq War in all four of those states against the economy as an issue, the economy outpolls it by a margin of two, two-and-a-half, or even three to one. The economy is the 800-pound gorilla, I think, in the voters' living rooms.

Also, this CNN electoral map, in the last two weeks, Barack Obama has picked up 41 electoral votes in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Minnesota. That has caused those states to go on our map from being toss-ups to leaning Obama.

What we haven't seen yet is Ohio, Florida, Michigan and Colorado, where Obama is also leading, not by as much. But he's ahead in those four states. Obama is only 39 points away, on our map, from having the electoral votes needed to win. This is threatening to become a little bit of a one-sided affair.

BLITZER: All right. Well, it's still a long time to go, Jack.


BLITZER: So stand by. We've got "The Cafferty File" coming up.

Ladies, thanks to both of you.

WALL: Sure.

BLITZER: A House Democrat is apologizing, but Republicans still are outraged by his remarks to a top aide to the vice president.

Here's our White House correspondent, Ed Henry.

ED HENRY, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, we already know that civility in Washington has largely broken down. But Republicans say this week it reached a new low, while Democrats insist it was all just a big misunderstanding.


REP. JERROLD NADLER (D), NEW YORK: And the committee will come to order again.

HENRY (voice-over): It was already rough -- Democrats grilling Vice President Cheney's chief of staff, David Addington, about harsh interrogation tactics for terror suspects.

NADLER: If the CIA program is found to be unlawful, would you bear any responsibility for that?



ADDINGTON: Would I bear responsibility for that? NADLER: Any responsibility. I didn't say (INAUDIBLE).

ADDINGTON: Is that a moral question, a legal question?

HENRY: But it also got nasty, as Democrat Bill Delahunt suggested he was happy about the possibility al Qaeda was watching the hearing and could now identify Addington. Delahunt was pressing on whether waterboarding, a controversial tactic that simulates drowning, was discussed at White House meetings. Addington, who had not testified before, said he could not talk because this was an open hearing.

ADDINGTON: I can't talk to you. Al-Qaeda may watch C-SPAN.

REP. BILL DELAHUNT (D), MASSACHUSETTS: Right. Well, I'm sure they are watching and I'm glad they finally have a chance to see you, Mr. Addington, given your...

ADDINGTON: I'm sure you're pleased.

DELAHUNT: ...given your penchant for -- for being unobtrusive.

HENRY: A Cheney spokeswoman called the comments inappropriate and a Republican congressman expressed outrage about the potential for Addington to now be targeted.

REP. STEVE KING (R), IOWA: He has family. And he has a home. And this message that Bill Delahunt sent was a chilling thing to think coming from someone on the other side of the aisle.

HENRY: In a phone interview, Delahunt told CNN he was sorry because he had merely phrased his comments inartfully. He meant to say he was glad Addington was finally testifying before the American people about controversial policies. "Obviously, I wish him no harm at all," said Delahunt. "That was not my intention."

But a former aide to the vice president was not buying that explanation.

SHANNEN COFFIN, FORMER COUNSEL TO VICE PRESIDENT CHENEY: Well, words matter. And any time you start a sentence with, "I'm glad al Qaeda..." you should probably cut yourself off right there.


HENRY: The congressman told me that he would also apologize to David Addington's if he comes up to his office and agrees to continue the conversation about interrogation techniques. I don't think the vice president's chief of staff will be taking him up on that offer any time soon -- Wolf.

BLITZER: I suspect you're right.

Ed Henry reporting for us.

Presidential debates between Barack Obama and John McCain -- we've just learned some new details have been announced. We'll share them with you.

And a show of unity in New Hampshire today.

Our own Jeanne Moos notices some most unusual moments, as she always does. A look at the events in a way that you haven't seen.


BLITZER: Carol Costello is monitoring some other important stories incoming into THE SITUATION ROOM right now.

Carol, what's going on?

COSTELLO: Well, Wolf, I'm going to talk about rats -- muskrats, to be exact -- helped foil human efforts to keep a levee in Lincoln County, Missouri from failing. The rodents bored holes in the Pine Oak Levee, causing it to fail. Residents quickly sprang into action, adding more sandbags to try to keep the waters back.

Insurgents aren't delaying the U.S. military security handover in the Anbar Province, but nature is. Forecasts of high winds and dust storms are holding up this handoff. The U.S. military wanted to transfer security responsibilities to the Iraqi military in a Ramadi ceremony tomorrow, but that will be rescheduled.

How much does it cost every British taxpayer to maintain the royal family?

Well, the equivalent $1.32 per person, according to a Buckingham Palace report. That is the equivalent of $80 million in the last fiscal year.

Eighty million dollars -- Wolf.

BLITZER: It's expensive to have a queen.

COSTELLO: Well, you know, they have castles and upkeep.

BLITZER: Buckingham Palace is not cheap.

COSTELLO: It's not cheap.

BLITZER: Thanks, Jackie.

Let's go to Jack Cafferty. He's joining us with "The Cafferty File."

I meant Carol. I didn't say Jackie. I meant Carol.

CAFFERTY: I understand. It's Friday. It's been a long week.

BLITZER: You're Jack.


BLITZER: You're Jack. CAFFERTY: That's correct.

The question this hour is, if you were Bill Gates, how would you spend your retirement?

This was his last day as a full-time employee -- well I guess he's not an employee -- at Microsoft. He's going to leave there and go do some other stuff.

Anthony in Wildwood Crest, New Jersey writes: "Go to the 60 neediest countries, spend a month or two in each one giving out a billion dollars at a time. After 60 months, I'd return to the U.S. broke. Feeling bored and challenged, I'd develop technology that rids our need of foreign oil entirely. I'd make trillions this time. Feeling bored and challenged again, I'd decide to run for the highest office in the land, beating out little brother, Jeb Bush."

Michelle writes: "I'd buy an island where no one could find me so that when the next crappy Microsoft product hits the market, I'd be off the radar."

Michael in New Orleans: "If I were Bill Gates, I'd use my retirement years trying to find a hair stylist."

Zach writes: "Jack, I'd start by buying Delaware. After that, possibly Utah."

Kim in Dodge City, Kansas: "I know it's been a long week walking across the hot coals of network news. So I understand the need for a fantasy question on Friday. The answer is easy. I'd split the money with you, Jack, and we'd spend the rest of our lives enjoying our families in the quiet splendor we so much deserve."

Ross in California: "Buy all the foreclosed homes from whoever owns them now, give them back to the original owners at 1 percent interest of current value. Or I'd buy both houses of Congress back from the corporate lobbies."

Chris in Ottawa writes: "Be careful. With today's gas prices and inflation, $50 billion might not go as far as it used to."

Craig in Tampa writes: "I'd spend my money on booze and women. The rest I would spend frivolously."

I think that's a W.C. Fields line.

And J.T. in New York writes: "I'd buy CNN and then make you read my answers whether you think they're funny or not."

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

BLITZER: Have a great weekend, Jack.

CAFFERTY: You, too. BLITZER: We'll see you back here.

CAFFERTY: See you.

BLITZER: On our Political Ticker today, the Presidential Debates Commission has now formally unveiled its proposals for three face-offs between Barack Obama and John McCain in the fall. McClatchey newspapers reporting the panel is pushing for two of the 90 minute debates to be in a controversial talk show format. The third would be a town hall style session. No answers yet from the McCain or Obama campaigns.

It will be a very special Sunday for John McCain. He'll be meeting with Franklin Graham, the son of the Evangelist Billy Graham. Just a short while ago, McCain talked about that meeting aboard his campaign bus.


MCCAIN: He is a man, and his family, that is respected -- incredibly respected. And I consider it a privilege to have the opportunity to meet with him. (INAUDIBLE) it's just incredible. I think the Graham family really transcends politics in America.


BLITZER: Remember, for the latest political news anytime, you can always check out

Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are arm in arm in New Hampshire. But our Jeanne Moos says it's a bit like watching an awkward first date.

And the best pictures from around the world in today's Hot Shots.

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


BLITZER: Here's a look at some of the Hot Shots coming in from the A.P.

In Oregon, Hyleas Fountain clears a hurdle at the U.S. Track and Fields trials, breaking three records today.

In India, stock traders watch with dismay as stocks tumble.

In Switzerland, a man carries his horn to the yodeling festival.

And in New York, the mayor, Michael Bloomberg, gets ready to take a dip in one of the city's free pools.

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

Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton join hands and join forces in a campaign rally in Unity, New Hampshire. CNN's Jeanne Moos has a Moost Unusual take on it.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Think of it as an escalating arms race -- his arm around her, her arm around him.

H. CLINTON: Look at this. Look at that.

MOOS: Lots of intimate whispering, even if it's just about the scenery. A cool kiss or two. She pats his back. He pats hers. All the better to show the Democrats are...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (SINGING): Reunited, and it feels so good.

MOOS: Unity day seemed a little like a first date, one when you know that there's a camera trained on every single move you make. It's no longer me, me, me.

H. CLINTON: Barack and I.

Barack and me.

OBAMA: Senator Clinton and myself.

MOOS: Even the chanting crowd...


MOOS: Aimed for equal time.


H. CLINTON: You know...


H. CLINTON: You know...

UNIDENTIFIED SUPPORTERS: Hillary! Hillary! Hillary!

MOOS: At times, they looked like twins, at least in gesture.

She in her blue pant suit, he in his blue tie. Both campaigns laughed off questions about whether the outfits were coordinated. But there was a skunk at the unity party. Amid the Obama/Hillary perfect pair and "Unite for Change" signs, rose a defiant "Hillary for President" instead of yes, we can.

UNIDENTIFIED SUPPORTERS: Yes, she can! Yes, she can!

MOOS: The die-hard Hillary supporter turned heads...


MOOS: ...but we got never got a look at her. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hillary! Hillary! Hillary!

H. CLINTON: And I am proud that we had a spirited dialogue. That was the nicest way I could think of phrasing it.


So, shame on you, Barack Obama.

OBAMA: She knows better. Shame on her. She's talking like she's Annie Oakley.

H. CLINTON: Enough with the speeches and the big rallies.

MOOS: Big rallies like the one for unity?

There they were whispering sweet nothings about the stool.

OBAMA: Well, don't fall backwards here.



UNIDENTIFIED SUPPORTERS: Thank you, Hillary! Thank you, Hillary!

MOOS: And to think Bill Maher once described these two this way...

BILL MAHER, COMEDIAN: Is it just me or do they look like the local weekend news anchor team?

MOOS: Well, let's see what unity does for Team Obama's ratings.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (SINGING): We both are so excited, cause we're reunited hey, hey.

MOOS: Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.


BLITZER: Enough said. We'll leave it to Jeanne.

Among our guests this Sunday on "LATE EDITION," the governor of New Jersey, Jon Corzine; the governor of Louisiana, Bobby Jindal. "LATE EDITION" starts at 11:00 a.m. Eastern.

And remember, I'm here in THE SITUATION ROOM weekdays from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. Eastern.

Thanks very much for watching.


Kitty Pilgrim sitting in for Lou -- Kitty.