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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES

Polls Close Shortly in New Hampshire; Two Storms Combine

Aired January 27, 2004 - 19:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)
ANDERSON COOPER, HOST (voice-over): We are live from New Hampshire. One hour until polls close, and the Democratic candidates are running hard. Tonight, extensive primary coverage. Carlisle and Beagle live from the war room on the candidates' strategies and where they go from here.

Vanessa Kerry on her father's presidential hopes and life in the political spotlight.

And the big breeze is coming. What to expect from the Midwest storm moving east.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANNOUNCER: This is a special edition of ANDERSON COOPER 360, live from New Hampshire.

COOPER: And good evening. We are less than one hour away from all polls closing here in New Hampshire. The Democratic presidential candidates have been on the go all day visiting polling places, phoning voters, reaching out for every critical vote in the Granite State.

Tonight, from Merrimack, to Bedford, to Manchester, we have reporters covering the campaign. CNN's Kelly Wallace is at the Kerry camp. Senior political correspondent Candy Crowley is with Dean's team. Dan Lotion with Clark. And Suzanne Malveaux with Edwards.

We begin with Kelly Wallace and the presumed front-runner.

Kelly, how is the confidence at Camp Kerry?

KELLY WALLACE, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, John Kerry doing some last-minute stumping for votes. In fact, at this very hour he is at a polling place. And earlier, he did a round of local interviews with Massachusetts and New Hampshire stations. Those interviews scheduled just moments before they took place.

Asked if this means the Senator is worried, he said no, he will fight to the final hour. But he also used sports analogy, saying a win by a field goal is still a win.

This campaign facing two challenges right now. Number one, trying to win this primary, but also meeting expectations, with the Senator have a wide lead all week long. The Senator was asked about the expectations earlier today. And again, he said he would take a win by a single digit, because he said this campaign was written off by the pundits just three weeks ago.

The campaign is also already looking beyond New Hampshire to the February 3 contest. We are told the Senator will have ads in all seven states and will travel to all seven state between now and February 3 -- Anderson.

COOPER: All right. Kelly Wallace, thanks very much for that.

As for Howard Dean, he's hoping that when the votes are counted tonight he will be the comeback candidate. Let's go live to the Dean headquarters and senior political correspondent, Candy Crowley -- Candy.

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SR. POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, in one hour it will be the culmination of two years worth of effort by Howard Dean, who came to the Granite State just over the border from Vermont, where he was governor, of course. He has been here for two years. Came when no one knew his name or his face.

He catapulted up into the front-runner. Less than three weeks ago he was 20 points ahead of everyone else in the race. This morning, a rather low-key Dean at some of the polling places, handing out coffee, talking to supporters. Even some of those from the Edwards camp.

To take the simile from the Kerry camp here, a three-point loss would be considered a win. The Dean campaign says it believes it has really come back from a major blow after Iowa, and if they can place second in the single digits, that is a victory and gives them the momentum to carry on. Certainly, they say, they have the money. But tomorrow, after they see the results, this campaign will be looking as to where they can move ahead into which of the seven states and how many of the seven states they want to play in effectively with both their time and their money -- Anderson.

COOPER: All right. Candy Crowley, thanks very much for that.

Now to the Clark camp we go. They are keeping their fingers crossed for a strong finish tonight. The polls suggest Clark, John Edwards and Joe Lieberman are in a close race for third place.

For the latest on Clark, let's check in with CNN's Dan Lothian in Bedford, New Hampshire tonight -- Dan.

DAN LOTHIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, of course this is the first test of his political career. Wesley Clark spending some time today out on the streets of Manchester, New Hampshire, meeting and greeting voters, trying to key in on those Independents, those undecided voters, hoping to sway some of them to gain some of the momentum that he lost here in New Hampshire.

He also spent some time doing satellite television interviews in some of those states where they will be headed in the next contest, the February 3, February 10 contest. He was doing television interviews there.

The campaign saying when I asked if they would do anything to tweak their campaign after the showing here in New Hampshire, whatever that might be, they said no. They are continuing pressing forward. They will focus on a candidate who will stay on message, someone who is electable and someone who is an outsider.

Mr. Clark this morning began the day in the wee hours up in the northern part of New Hampshire in Dixville Notch. That is the community that is first to vote. He did win there with eight votes, but he said that he cannot predict in the bigger picture how things will turn out here in New Hampshire -- Anderson.

COOPER: All right. Dan Lothian, thanks for that.

We go now to Merrimack, New Hampshire. That's where John Edwards' team is gathered tonight, hoping to defy expectations yet again.

With more, let's go live to CNN's Suzanne Malveaux -- Suzanne.

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well Anderson, the Senator arrived with his wife and their daughter, Kate (ph). And just moments ago, to the hotel, standing by in their suite, anxiously awaiting the results. They say that they are hopeful, however.

I just spoke with an Edwards aide who said they will be happy with a third-place finish here. The reason why is they didn't expect it to be realistic to beat the other candidates from neighboring states, Kerry as well as Dean. But they figured if they can get anywhere, position themselves near Clark, then they certainly come out strong.

They are looking to the future, essentially South Carolina, Oklahoma and Missouri. South Carolina, as you know, the birth place of the Senator. That's where he is going to be tomorrow. The polls already show him in the lead there. They are certainly hoping to pull that out, they say, but they believe it's going to be tough.

Oklahoma, this is going to be the 13th time that he will be visiting that state. They have really established a strong grassroots base there. They hope that that is going to basically pay off in the end and.

And finally, Missouri, you know, a key battle ground state there. They have gotten the coveted endorsement of the lieutenant governor there. They're hoping that that as well is going to pay off.

But Anderson, a big week for Edwards. He is going to be visiting African-American churches, of course participating in that presidential debate. And there's even going to be a fund-raiser at the end of the week by Hootie & the Blowfish -- Anderson.

COOPER: A big week, but an exciting night tonight. Thanks very much, Suzanne Malveaux, for that. Joe Lieberman says that unlike some of the pundits, the voters of New Hampshire are not counting him out. That's what he says. He says he's encouraged by the vibes he's getting in polling places today.

Let's check in with CNN's Jeanne Meserve covering the Lieberman campaign -- Jeanne.

JEANNE MESERVE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, a Lieberman campaign official strenuously is denying tonight rumors and speculation that the senator might pull out of this race. "We are going on," he says, pointing out that considerable money has already been spent by this campaign in South Carolina, Oklahoma, Delaware and Arizona, and that plans are already in the works to move staff there. This campaign official pointed the finger for these rumors at the Edwards campaign.

Also in the Lieberman camp, unhappiness with some of the recent press. Look at these newspapers. "The Mew York Times" today, pictures of four candidates. In the "Boston Globe," pictures of four candidates. On the front of "U.S. Today," pictures of four candidates. And they are the same four candidates in every case.

We're looking at Kerry, Dean, Clark and Edwards. No pictures of Joe Lieberman. They say this is a distortion and it is frustrating to them, because they say polls going into the voting today in New Hampshire showed that he was in a three-way race for third place in the primary here today.

The senator saying today that he is going to exceed expectations here in New Hampshire, but a little bit of a jab at Edwards. One campaign staffer saying here that if there is a story coming out of here tonight, it may be that Edwards has not lived up to expectations that he had coming out of Iowa.

Anderson, back to you.

COOPER: All right. Jeanne Meserve, thanks very much. Thanks to all our reporters in the field right now.

We're going to be covering politics all across this next hour. But there is another big story right now at this hour. Snowstorms drawing a bead on the Northeast right now. A storm from the South and one from the Midwest.

You are looking at Indiana emerging, creating a slippery mess for folks in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut and New York. Maria Hinojosa is tracking the path.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MARIA HINOJOSA, CNN URBAN AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): If it isn't the biting and bitter cold...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Very, very frigid. It is not good.

HINOJOSA: ... then it's the snow. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You need four-wheel for this. This is really bad.

HINOJOSA: But this car in North Carolina didn't have four-wheel drive. Neither did this one in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where this highway accident pushed a car and then its driver off the road. And then another accident on a small Oklahoma street.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Snow creates the worst drivers in the world.

HINOJOSA: In Washington, D.C., even the White House looked gray.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: People get so freaked out. People around here are like, "Oh, my god. It is the storm of the century." There's like five inches of snow on the ground.

HINOJOSA: Except for the people who know how to ski and those who don't.

In Ohio, there is a new exercise. Maybe not snow shoeing, but ice stepping. And then there are the lucky ones who get to work inside.

(on camera): This latest East Coast storm is expected to get worse tonight. But already, ice south of here has caused power outages and train cancellations. Some schools in the South and Midwest have been closed. Since this weekend, at least 46 weather- related deaths have occurred, mostly due to car accidents.

Maria Hinojosa, CNN New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Not snowing yet here in New Hampshire, but the snow is on its way, we are told, and it's going to be a big one.

We are following a number of developing stories right now "Cross Country." Let's take a look.

Washington, D.C.: voice from 9/11. The commission investigating the September 11 attacks has played a taped telephone call from Betty Ong (ph), a flight attendant on the first hijacked plane to hit the World Trade Center. The tape gives a chilling account of what happened and contradicts earlier reports that Ong (ph) was hysterical with fear.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There is somebody strapped (ph) in business class. And we can't breathe in business class. Somebody has got mace or something.

OK. Another one got stabbed. Our (UNINTELLIGIBLE) is stabbed. Nobody knows who stabbed who. And we can't even get up to business class right now because nobody can breathe.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

COOPER: Just terrible to hear.

Buckeye, Arizona: prison standoff, day 10. Still no breakthrough, as two inmates hold one female guard hostage in the guard tower of an Arizona state prison. Here's a close-up look at the man in the guard tower. Workers from other prisons have been volunteering at the site which is under a lockdown.

Greenwich, Connecticut: TV talk show pioneer dies. Jack Paar, one of the other hosts of "The Tonight Show," passed away today after a long illness. Paar took over the then struggling late night show in 1957 and he turned it into a hit.

He talked to the big names in show biz and in politics, including President John F. Kennedy, seen right there. Paar's successor, Johnny Carson, says Paar "brought a new dimension to late-night television." And he certainly did that. Jack Paar was 85 years old.

That's a look at stories "Cross Country" tonight.

A lot ahead this evening. We are less than an hour away from poll closings in New Hampshire. John Kerry, they say he's got the big momentum. But what does he have to do to stay on top? Judy Woodruff and Jeff Greenfield are going to join us live with that.

Plus, undecided voters. They may hold the keys to the White House. What kind of mood are they in? We'll take a closer look at that as well.

And gloves off in the Martha Stewart case. We'll go live to the courthouse, where the trial kicked off today.

But first, let's take a look "Inside the Box" at the top stories on tonight's network newscasts.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: We are less than an hour away now from poll closing time in New Hampshire. We're about to show you a live picture of John Kerry's headquarters, where they are eagerly awaiting results. Maybe we won't show you those lives pictures. We'll go on, anyway. They are eagerly awaiting the results, I promise.

Right now, Senator Kerry, of course, is the man with what the first President Bush called with big mo, momentum. Kerry has won Iowa, and has been leading the polls here in New Hampshire. So what should we expect tonight?

Joining me, "INSIDE POLITICS" Judy Woodruff and senior analyst Jeff Greenfield.

I appreciate both of you being with us.

I want to ask this question to both of you. Judy, let's start off with you. What are you look fog tonight? You've covered a lot of these races. What should we be watching?

JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN "INSIDE POLITICS": Well, I'm looking for just how much has John Kerry or will Kerry, if you will, cement the lead that he picked up in Iowa. He came out of Iowa, surprised everybody, did much better than expected. Is he going to be able to do the same thing or something close to it here on his home turf of New Hampshire?

The other thing we're looking for is Howard Dean. He was dealt a severe blow in Iowa and the aftermath of Iowa. The question is, is he going to be able to come back? There is some polling evidence that he has. The question is, how much?

And when you put it together, how much of victory is each one going to have to propel them on beyond New Hampshire? Because the big states, the big delegate votes are coming up in the states.

COOPER: Yes. Who is going to latch on to that term, "Comeback Kid" and claim that for their own?

WOODRUFF: Well, both of them might do it.

COOPER: Well, that's true.

Jeff, what are you going to be watching?

JEFF GREENFIELD, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: I will be watching and listening to what the candidates say tonight when they come out. And not just because of what happened last week in Iowa with Howard Dean.

This is the end of the retail stage of this campaign. We've had two states that have occupied the lion's share of a year and a half of these candidates' time. Now in seven days they go to seven states with 296 delegates at stake.

And how they frame their arguments tonight is going to tell us how the next week goes. So, in other words, if John Kerry were to win, what's his message, that I'm the nominee, that I'm not taking anything for granted, that I'm a fighter?

What's Howard Dean's case against John Kerry? Is it a positive case for competence and experience on health care, or is it, you can't nominate this guy because he's a play-along, go-along guy? Same thing with Edwards and Clark.

So what they say tonight is really -- right now they're handlers, their advisers are sitting there figuring out exactly this question. I know. I used to do it.

COOPER: Judy, do you read anything into the fact that sort of late today John Kerry was out there, shaking hands? Jeff said he saw him on a bridge shaking hands with people in a car. They also booked a lot of local TV spots with local news reporters here for the 6:00 evening news unexpected.

WOODRUFF: That tells me that they were seeing numbers coming in. We all -- the news organizations doing exit polls. They're doing their own surveying and canvassing around the state.

They were seeing a closer race than maybe they thought they had expected. That means they were looking for every single vote. And to the point that the senator was out there in Manchester, they were making calls around the state. And we heard that this was the case with the Dean campaign as well. I wouldn't be surprised if all four of them...

COOPER: Were you surprised to see John Kerry out there on a bridge shaking hands?

GREENFIELD: Well, you know, I mean, yes, because I don't normally expect to see a presidential candidate doing that. But there are two parts to this.

One is exactly what Judy said. Four years ago, the early exit polls showed Bill Bradley beating Al Gore. And Gore sent his troops into the working class areas of Manchester, which was where Gore ultimately won it. John Kerry did the same thing.

The second thing is, it is a great way to say "I'm not taking anything for granted." Quite apart from the impact on the caucuses tonight, on the network news, if they see John Kerry working, as Bill Clinton said, until the last dog dies, it says, again, I'm not expecting you to give me this nomination. I'm still working up until the last minute.

COOPER: Anybody going to drop out tonight if things don't go well for them, do you think?

WOODRUFF: Well, there's been a lot of speculation, Anderson, about Joe Lieberman. But his campaign, up until this minute, is insisting that's not the case. They say he is going, he's leaving New Hampshire, he's going to campaign in Delaware and elsewhere. And they said he's not out of this.

COOPER: Do you believe that, Jeff?

GREENFIELD: You know, coming in fifth, if that's what were to happen, what our poll said, is a toughie. You can't say on the day of the primaries, "I'm about to drop out."

The other one I'm watching, oddly enough -- I'm not -- I don't do predictions, but General Wesley Clark, if he doesn't do well tonight, this is a very proud man whose whole pitch was, I am the leader. And the people who supported him said this guy is just a natural leader, he really connects. If he doesn't do well at all in New Hampshire, clearly he has the money to go on through the next two weeks. But does he have the will if he, in his first real test, having skipped Iowa, gets smacked hard by the voters here?

COOPER: It is going to be an interesting night. Jeff Greenfield, Judy Woodruff, appreciate you joining us.

Thanks.

Well, of course we want to hear from you. What do you think? Today's "Buzz" question is this: Does Howard Dean have to win New Hampshire to make a comeback? Vote now, cnn.com/360. We'll have the results at the end of the program.

In "Justice Served" tonight, courtroom fireworks in the Martha Stewart trial. Prosecutors branded the domestic diva a liar as open statements got under way. Business correspondent Allan Chernoff has been following the case.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ALLAN CHERNOFF, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Two years after the stock sale that would change her life, Martha Stewart stepped into a packed courtroom to fight criminal charges. Lead prosecutor, Karen Patton Seymour, told the jury this case is about lying to federal agents and cheating investors. "Stewart," the prosecutor said, "had a secret tip when she sold ImClone stock."

Sam Waksal, the head of the company, and a client of Stewart's broker, Peter Bacanovic, was trying to dump all his shares. "Bacanovic didn't want his friend, Martha Stewart, to be sitting on a stock that was about to be obliterated," said Seymour, charging that Stewart and Bacanovic lied about the sale to federal investigators.

Stewart's defense attorney, Robert Morvillo, countered, "The case is circumstantial. There is no direct evidence that Martha Stewart obstructed anything." The defense maintains Stewart and Bacanovic had a prior agreement to sell ImClone it if it fell below $60, which happened on the day of Stewart's sale.

Morvillo also argued that various branches of the government were ganging up on Martha Stewart. Referring to congressional leaks of the investigation into Stewart, Morvillo told the jury, "The same government leaked it on one side and prosecuted it on the other." "I think George Orwell was about 20 years early," he said, referring to Orwell's Novel, "1984," which depicts government as big brother.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CHERNOFF: The trial is on hold until Thursday because of the big snow storm hitting New York. Prosecutors then plan to bring their star witness to the stand, Douglas Faneuil, the stockbroker's assistant who actually put through Martha Stewart's ImClone sale -- Anderson.

COOPER: All right. Allan Chernoff, thanks very much, live from New York.

We are about 39 minutes away from the polls closing here in New Hampshire. It is going to be an exciting night.

Right now we are tracking a number of developing stories around the globe for you. Let's check the "UpLink."

Kabul, Afghanistan: growing violence. Two people dead, three wounded in a suicide bomber attack on a patrol convoy. One of the dead, a Canadian peacekeeper. The pace of attacks by the Taliban and al Qaeda is up dramatically in recent months.

Vatican City: papal audience. Vice President Dick Cheney meets with Pope John Paul II. There it is. They tried to bridge their differences over the war in Iraq.

Cheney presented the pope with a crystal dove and offered greetings from President Bush. The pope told Cheney that all nations should seek international cooperation and work for peace and respect.

Khaldiyah, Iraq: a very bloody day. Six U.S. soldiers died in two separate attacks. A roadside bomb kills three members of the task force All American Unit. An Iraqi was also killed.

The U.S. military was investigating that blast when another bomb killed three more soldiers in Iscandaria (ph). The soldiers were riding in a convoy when their truck hit a bomb in the road. They were part of Combined Joint Taskforce 7. Three other soldiers were wounded in that attack.

Once in a terrible while what we have to report from Iraq cuts particularly close to home. This is one of those days. Duraid Isa Mohammed, a CNN producer and translator, and Yasser Khatab, a driver for CNN, were killed today in a northern suburb of Baghdad.

The car they were traveling in, one of two in a CNN convoy, was pursued and presumably fired upon by a gunman in another vehicle. The gunman first attacked the lead CNN vehicle, injuring a cameraman inside, but that car managed to reach safety. By the time help could be sent back to Mohammed and Khatab, it was too late. Their bodies were found still in their car.

In a place like Iraq, there are no sidelines. Reporters take the same chances soldiers do. We grieve with the families of 27-year-old Duraid Mohammed and 25-year-old Yasser Khatab and honor them both for helping us to tell an important and, sad to say, still a very dangerous story.

We have more from New Hampshire when we come back. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Well, what happens this evening in New Hampshire may very well depend on undecided voters. And as I found out at a polling place earlier today, there are a lot of them.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER (voice-over): On this final day, in these final hours, for die-hard campaigners the race is still on.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, man, every vote counts. Every vote counts. You know? It will be a close race. And we're out here to get as many people energized as possible.

COOPER: You see them on streets, outside polling stations, hoping their slogans, their signs might make a difference.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Health care, (UNINTELLIGIBLE), human rights, Dennis Kucinich is going to fight.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Health care, (UNINTELLIGIBLE), human rights, Dennis Kucinich is going to fight.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Health care, (UNINTELLIGIBLE), human rights, Dennis Kucinich is going to fight.

COOPER: You'd think that after months of watching candidates campaigning, shaking hands, kissing babies, New Hampshire's residents would have made up their minds. But at polling stations today, many still seemed unsure. Elaine Gunther (ph) was undecided until the very last minute.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I stood in there for five minutes just now, as did the woman next to me. I was surprised. I was pretty undecided until about -- until I called in that last gut feeling. You know?

COOPER: For Mary Dupree (ph), electability is what made her finally decide.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That probably was the defining factor in going with Kerry.

COOPER (on camera): You think he can beat George Bush?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's it.

COOPER (voice-over): Even kids voting in a mock primary today seemed to share their parents' indecision.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I just decided today.

COOPER (on camera): You just decided today? Who did you decide to vote for?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Howard Dean.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Me, too.

COOPER: You, too?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Who is going to win New Hampshire today?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Edwards.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Edwards.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Edwards.

COOPER: Depending on which poll you believe, undecideds make up anywhere from 20 percent of likely primary voters to three percent. It seems in New Hampshire, it's tough even for pollsters to actually make up their minds. (END VIDEOTAPE)

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER (voice-over): About half an hour until polls close. Who has the new momentum in New Hampshire? Carville and Begala on winning strategies live from the war room.

And John Kerry's daughter, Vanessa, speaks out.

360 continues.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Welcome back to 360. I'm Anderson Cooper live in New Hampshire where the polls are closing in just under half an hour. Twenty-nine minutes, exactly. John Kerry hoping, of course, for a second win in a row after Iowa. Howard Dean hoping to make a strong finish in order to stage a comeback of sorts and regain the frontrunner's position. Complete election coverage still to come.

First, let's check our top stories in tonight's "Reset."

In Washington, President Bush says the hunt for weapons of mass destruction will go on in Iraq, even though the former top inspector says there is no evidence of such weapons. Today, the president defended the decision to go to war.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: There is no doubt in my mind the world is a better place without Saddam Hussein. America is more secure, the world is safer, and the people of Iraq are free.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Elsewhere in Washington, some commodity futures market players are under a federal investigation. There is a belief that some may have known about the first U.S. case of mad cow disease before it was made public, and may have profited from it. Traders have denied having any prior knowledge.

In Hollywood, the Oscar race has officially begun. "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King" got the most nominations today, 11, including best picture. "Lost in Translation," director Sophia Coppola is now part of Academy history. She's the first American woman ever nominated for a best directing Oscar. One big surprise, "Cold Mountain" was not nominated for best picture. And it starred Nicole Kidman. Well, they say she was snowed. Renee Zellweger did get a best supporting actress nomination, and Jude Law got one for best actor. The Oscars will be handed out February 29.

Well, all the polls will be closed here in just about half an hour. For a look at where things stand right now, I'm joined by my colleague, Wolf Blitzer. Wolf, thanks for being with us tonight. WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Thank you, Anderson.

COOPER: What do you make of the news we got late today? John Kerry suddenly booked for a lot of 6:00 interviews on local news stations. That was a surprise.

BLITZER: It was a surprise. I think they take the attitude that they cannot go into a prevent defense, using a football analogy. They have to pretend, even if it's not the case, that they are the underdog. They have to fight for every single vote. Even if they might win or they might not win, they want to have a decisive showing. So they sent out all their staff, they got going even at this late moment because a few votes one way or another in a small state like this could make a significant difference.

COOPER: Howard Dean, what is he looking for tonight? Obviously, he would like to win, but does a win necessarily mean first place for Howard Dean?

BLITZER: He would love -- he would love to get first place, obviously. But a strong second place would, presumably, be rather good for him, coming on the heels of a disastrous third place a week ago in Iowa. I think his campaign will -- if he comes in second and the earlier polls that we had over the past several days, the tracking polls, showed that he was in second place. If he does come in second, he will interpret that as a huge win coming after Iowa and he'll go forward.

COOPER: Any sense about voter turnout at this point? I mean, expectations are pretty high.

BLITZER: Most of the experts were projecting about 180,000 voters. It hasn't started snowing in this state yet. As you and I know, Anderson, it is very cold out there. But these are hearty folk here in New Hampshire.

COOPER: This is nothing for them.

BLITZER: Yeah, they're going to vote, and in a few minutes the polls will be closed. Then if it starts snowing, who cares.

COOPER: All right, Wolf Blitzer, we'll be watching tonight, thanks very much. Coverage starts at 8:00. Thanks, Wolf.

Well, let's talk now about the expectations tonight. And there are a lot of them, tonight and in the weeks to come. If preparing for one primary looks tough, consider what the candidates are facing next Tuesday, when seven states hold primaries. Joining me now, CNN political analysts Carlos Watson and Joe Klein. Gentlemen, thanks very much for being with us. Joe, let's start off with you. If Dean finishes in second place, can he call that a win tonight?

JOE KLEIN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, listen, in 1992, Bill Clinton finished in second place. He came out and made his announcement before everybody else. He announced he was the comeback kid. And now we're stuck with that for all eternity. COOPER: Everybody wants to be the comeback kid. It's so annoying.

(CROSSTALK)

KLEIN: And so Dean can legitimately, you know, if he finishes a good second place tonight, claim to be the comeback kid.

COOPER: A good second place meaning single digits?

KLEIN: I don't if single digits -- I think that a second place that has him separate from the third and fourth and fifth place people. There is a big gap there.

COOPER: All right, Carlos, let's talk about John Kerry. Expectations certainly high for that candidate. The frontrunner, according to the polls. Anything other than a strong first place finish? Is that a loss for him?

CARLOS WATSON, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, remember, he began to try to reduce expectations in the last day or two, trying to say if I win by one point, that will still be a victory. But make no mistake about it, the fact that you just asked Wolf about the fact that he was booking these last-minute interviews. That says they think that this could be, who knows, this could be a tight race. And so to the extent that it ends up being a one-point or two-point or three or four, five- point race, if you are Howard Dean, you got to get excited, because all the polls showed you behind by double digits.

COOPER: Were you surprised to see John Kerry out making these last minute interviews?

KLEIN: Well, I'll tell you something, I was in the Kerry headquarter at about 6:00, having a conversation with John's brother, Ken Kerry (ph), when his sister, Diana Kerry (ph), came up and said, we're all going out into the blue collar neighborhoods in Manchester, because the turnout there is soft. And the Kerry people believed that they'd do much better in blue collar districts.

Now, the interesting thing to me is that they were really flying blind. They didn't know how the vote was going, who was ahead or who was behind. They just saw the turnout down, and there goes the candidate's sister out there knocking on doors at 6:00 tonight.

COOPER: Whatever it takes.

WATSON: What they remember, Anderson, is 2000. That race at this point was very close between Bradley and Gore, and the Gore folks got back into the streets in the afternoon and turned out what they think ultimately was the winning margin. Remember, that was only decided by four or five points. So that could happen here again. Who knows. But the fact that they are, as Wolf said, not playing a preventative defense but trying to be proactive I think is important.

COOPER: Let's talk about John Edwards. What he needs to do to really push forward from here and distinguish himself from the others. KLEIN: Well, I think that -- this is one of the nicest weeks of New Hampshire politics I've ever seen. Nobody attacked anybody else. And that was very good news for John Kerry because...

COOPER: He sort of got a free pass?

KLEIN: Yeah. And Howard Dean gave him time to recover with his wounds. But John Edwards is at a point now where he really has to distinguish himself, and he has to start making the case, me rather than him and rather than him.

And we're going to see it. It is going to be very tough, because he has billed himself as the positive, optimistic candidate.

WATSON: And back to that point, two things stand out. I think John Edwards is going to have a big decision to make. Do I want to be vice president or do I want to be president? Because lots of people are talking about a Kerry-Edwards ticket. And it's early to do that. But if he decides that he wants to be vice president, then he can't attack. It limits him. He decides he wants to be president, he is going to have to be more aggressive. In fact, you saw him start to do it today. He doesn't call it negative campaigning. He calls it I'm drawing, I'm pointing out a difference.

COOPER: There you go.

WATSON: Right, I'm pointing out a difference. But it got more aggressive. And we'll see more of that.

COOPER: It is going to be an exciting night. Carlos Watson, Joe Klein, good to talk to you. Thanks.

WATSON: Good to see you.

COOPER: John Kerry is getting some special help on the campaign trail. His daughter, Vanessa, Harvard medical student, has been out stumping for support. I met with her today at her father's headquarters. I asked her what the mood for her on the campaign trail has been like. Let's take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

VANESSA KERRY, JOHN KERRY'S DAUGHTER: We start calling madly to get people out to the vote. We are not taking anything for granted. And I think that, you know, if I were true (ph) to anything, there is a huge power in people coming out to vote and a huge sort of you know -- it's really getting people to be involved in this process. It is democracy at its best. And we are just trying to do what we can do to support that today.

COOPER: And these are all veterans here making calls. How important have they been for your father's campaign?

KERRY: Incredible. I think you know, the veterans have been a huge support, I think not only in hoping to tell my father's story but also in -- when you look at the fact that we are in a shooting war in two countries right now and we're bringing veterans home every day, you know, veterans I think are going to play an incredibly important part in the face of this campaign and in the face of this nation right now.

COOPER: You've been talking to a lot of young people on the campaign trail. Do young voters matter? I mean...

KERRY: Absolutely. The tax cuts that went through two years ago are only going to kick in really in eight years. That's us ascending into a time of, you know, paying taxes and jobs and stuff like that. Young people have to matter, because frankly, we need to be making decisions for our own future.

COOPER: Let's go back to Iowa a little bit. Because I mean, what was it like for you that night when the results came in and it became apparent what was happening?

KERRY: I just was so unbelievably proud. I mean, I have faith in my father every moment of this campaign. And I think to stand up there and know that he had won the Iowa caucuses was just -- was a great moment.

COOPER: What is it like for you personally to be, I mean, on the campaign trail? You are not a politician. Although you do very well.

KERRY: Don't say that.

COOPER: But I mean, you know, you're going to Harvard. You are a student, a medical student. What have you learned on the campaign trail?

KERRY: You know, it's a funny thing. I'm still in the midst of it. And to be fair, I think that a lot of my lessons will be clearer when I step off the campaign trail. And the things I think I've learned, the big lesson I've learned is there really is a huge power of the vote, and I think that the power of the vote sometimes can override the power of the media, and that was a pretty impressive thing to watch. And it was probably the greatest lesson I got, because it gave me a faith in the system again.

COOPER: There were some pretty nasty days out there, where people say nasty things. And whether it's the people that he's running against or just voters out there or the media or whomever. I mean, it's got to be tough hearing those kinds of things said about your dad.

KERRY: Yeah. You have to learn not to take it personally. And the one thing I was told is you are going to have to thicken your skin. And I'm not sure I did. I mean, I went on hiatus from reading the papers for a little while. I was sort of -- flipped through the domestic papers and keep an eye on what was happening internationally. And you know, what are you going to do? But I know the truth, at least I know the truth. And I think in knowing the truth, you -- you just wake up every day and you are that much more willing to fight back.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Vanessa Kerry. Well, all the candidates, of course, want to win tonight. That can't happen, of course. That doesn't mean if you lose you're out of the race. How quickly we forget the New Hampshire primaries of the past. That's ahead.

Also tonight, the political titans of CNN's "CROSSFIRE" weigh in on what they think will happen tonight.

And did you hear about the dust-up at a campaign speech yesterday? Seems like Al Franken was in the thick of it, somewhere in there. Is that Al? Where is he? All right. Somewhere. We have got details in tonight's political edition of "The Current."

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: And it is going to be an exciting night of politics here from New Hampshire. The polls close 17 minutes from now. It is going to be quite an evening. Whoever may lose tonight may be down but not out. How quickly we forget the lessons of New Hampshire primaries past. Of course, that may be because there's absolutely no telling what those lessons really are. Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER (voice-over): As a Democrat, you can win the primary and lose the nomination. Estes Kefauver did it, twice, in '52 and '56. LBJ did as a write-in in '68. Edwin Muskie in '72. Gary Hart and Paul Tsongas in '84 and '92, respectively.

So six winners of the New Hampshire primary failed to become the Democratic nominee.

But there have been 13 elections since 1952. This must mean that about half the time, the losers in New Hampshire have become their party's nominee. Sure enough, there are six cases of that. Stevenson, Humphrey, McGovern, Mondale and Clinton. Of course, of the six nominees who lost in New Hampshire, only one, Bill Clinton, went on to become president.

So if you win the primary, you have got a 50-50 chance of becoming the nominee. Same as if you lose the primary. And if you are the Democratic nominee, why then, a little less often than half the time you become precedent, which is why we all follow New Hampshire so closely.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: How quickly we forget.

Let's talk predictions tonight. We've asked Tucker Carlson of CNN's "CROSSFIRE" to play psychic a little bit. He joins us now live from Dean's headquarters. All right, Tucker, I am going to put you on the spot. Who do you think will win tonight?

TUCKER CARLSON, CO-HOST, "CROSSFIRE": I have to go out on a limb. I guessed Howard Dean in the last contest, the Iowa caucuses, and I'm still a little embarrassed about that. I'd have to say John Kerry. But it's not for lack of trying. All around here, Dean victory headquarters, there are sign that say "hope, not fear. Vote Dean." In other words, don't be afraid of Howard Dean. He's not that scary. That's been the message all week. I think it's working. I think if this contest were a week from today, he might win. But it's not.

COOPER: And you think that for Howard Dean, I mean, a win doesn't necessarily have to mean first place, a lot of people are saying? Is that what you're hearing from the headquarters over there that, you know, a good place -- a good second, a strong second would be good enough?

CARLSON: I'll tell you what I'm not hearing, that's really striking to me. I'm not hearing this scenario. Every candidate who doesn't win has a scenario. Alan Keyes had a scenario in 2000, sort of Rube Goldberg's (ph) like bank shots for how they are going to win, normally involving voting in Wyoming, say. I have not heard anybody in the campaign, outside the campaign, explain exactly how the Dean campaign is going to go on to win from here. I really think the whole strategy was predicated on dual wins in the last-- just last week, culminating in this win, and then sort of overwhelm everyone in the seven contests a week from today.

I have not heard how they are going to pull it off. Of course, I hope they do. I'm powered by Howard personally. But I haven't heard how it's going to happen.

COOPER: I've heard that about you, Tucker. With 14 minutes before the polls close...

CARLSON: Yes, I am.

COOPER: ... what are you going to be looking for tonight as you watch these returns come in?

CARLSON: Well, since I'm at Dean headquarters, I am going to be looking for body piercings. But coming in, like everybody, I am going to be looking for how John Edwards does. And also, it will be interesting to see how Wes Clark does. I think the feeling is his campaign is about to be euthanized tonight. And also, less gleefully I can report, the feeling is that Joe Lieberman is out also.

But no, Edwards. I mean, that's kind of the interesting thing. I mean, the idea is he will do well in the South from here if he finishes strong tonight, solid third or maybe even second. Who knows. I really have no idea. But that's sort of the interesting, most interesting poll result.

COOPER: All right. Tucker Carlson at Dean headquarters looking for body piercings. Thanks very much, Tucker, appreciate it.

CARLSON: Oh, yes. Thanks, Anderson.

COOPER: We want to hear from you. We want to hear from you. Today's "Buzz" question is this: Does Howard Dean have to win New Hampshire to make a comeback? What do you think? Vote now, cnn.com/360. We are going to have the results in just a few moments at the end of the program.

Time to get the latest political news, a spin in tonight's edition of "The Current." Let's take a look.

President Bush yesterday lashed out at what he calls junk mail practice lawsuits. Mr. Bush has often said juries should not be allowed to hand out big payments to malpractice victims. Juries remain free, however, to hand out less important things than money, such as the death penalty.

There was a scuffle yesterday that eventually included Al Franken. Yes, Al Franken. He took out a Lyndon LaRouche supporter who was trying to shout down Howard Dean. Franken could be in trouble here as Lyndon LaRouche supporters are, of course, an endangered species.

Wesley Clark's campaign is explaining why he said, quote, "I have never taken money from a lobbyist," despite having taken money from several lobbyists. The answer, he meant that he had never done so while holding public office. That answer beat out the expected favorite that he never took money from a lobbyist. I, myself, had $5 riding on the answer he didn't take the money, they paid it to him. That was my guess.

President Bush is confirming some of Paul O'Neill's claims. He said he did let O'Neill talk for 45 minutes without saying anything, not because he was disengaged but because he was, quote, "bored as hell." O'Neill was treasury secretary at the time, boring the president with boring facts about the boring economy which affects the lives of millions of boring Americans.

There are now fewer than 10 minutes -- actually, I was wrong. Twelve minutes, 12 and a half minutes left until all the polls close here in the New Hampshire primary. It is going to be an exciting night. We're covering it all. You are looking at a live shot of John Kerry's campaign headquarters. There is a lot of excitement there. They're hoping their candidate has the big mo.

Coming up, we're going to be talking with James Carville and Paul Begala in the war room. All ahead. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Welcome back. Polls close in just a few minutes. We are looking forward to a very exciting night of politics. Nine minutes until all the polls close here in New Hampshire. I'm joined now by Paul Begala and James Carville in the war room. Guys, thanks for being with us. What are you looking for tonight? Any surprises?

PAUL BEGALA, CO-HOST, "CROSSFIRE": Who wins.

COOPER: Oh, that old surprise. BEGALA: The press -- yeah, well, they love to do expectations, this and that. You know, spend 20 years in politics, you learn winning is better than losing. First is better than second. And so we got two New Englanders in a New England primary. I want to know who's the king of New England.

COOPER: But what's weird about this is that winning doesn't necessarily mean first place for some of these candidates. I mean, yes, everyone wants to get first place, but some candidates can claim a win even not...

(CROSSTALK)

JAMES CARVILLE, CO-HOST, "CROSSFIRE": Yes. And everybody is going to claim some kind of a version of victory here. All right? The point is -- and I think everybody should go to the next round. However, come a week from Tuesday night, if you don't have any Ws on there, you have to win or leave. At some point, the Democrats are focused. The Democratic voters are very focused on beating Bush. I think they're going to be very, very unkind to anyone who stays past their welcome. And I think the welcome to all these guys will extend another week. I mean, that...

COOPER: But even if they're not doing well in the polls, I mean, General Clark has a lot of money behind him. So he could stay in theoretically...

CARVILLE: He could. But you know what, no one wants to sit out here and get their (UNINTELLIGIBLE). And if he doesn't, he could do very well in Missouri or Oklahoma, he could do very well in any number of places coming up next Tuesday. If he doesn't win any primaries next Tuesday, you just don't want to sit there and get pounded every week.

COOPER: All right, let's talk about John Kerry. If he does not win by a comfortable lead, is that considered a loss of momentum for him?

BEGALA: I think some people may say that. I don't think so, no. I think there's only one king of New Hampshire that comes out of here, right? But the big thing is if you win outside your region. Kerry has already won in Iowa, in the Midwest. That's a long way from home.

He comes back home to his region -- he was 32 points behind here. And so if he comes back from 32 behind, even if he wins by one, he wins. And then they move to the south and to the west, and Governor Dean has to ask himself, if I can't win here, where I once led by 32 points, where can I win? South Carolina, Oklahoma? Doesn't seem very likely.

CARVILLE: I mean, it does -- I mean, obviously if Kerry does win, and that's an if, the margin helps some. I mean, he's not...

COOPER: Should we read anything into the fact that John Kerry was suddenly out there late today at the last minute decided to... CARVILLE: Yes. Yes. He's like any candidate -- and I tell you what. I would be doing the same thing, too. He's got a lot at stake here. He's worked real hard, and we should read that he's scared to death and that he's willing to working for something. Absolutely, and I would be the same way in any campaign I'm in. I was mortified in every time I'd get in a campaign, no matter what, at 6:00. And you say, jeez, we can do -- there's something else that I can do to help me get more votes, let me go do it. I just can't sit in this hotel room and just wait.

COOPER: Howard Dean in the last couple of days, did he stop (ph) the bleeding? I mean, he had some brutal days there after Iowa, in terms of the coverage, in terms of people's perception of him.

BEGALA: He seems like he did. Certainly in the polling data he looked like he did. He was on a terrible downward spiral, death spiral coming out of Iowa. I think at first he overcorrected. You know, he looked like he was on Valium, he was way too nice. You know, his appeal is that he is the angry guy, he's the anti-Bush. He is the most strident on issues like Iraq. In the last few days, he was back on the attack, but not in a very screeching way, and I thought that seemed to work for him.

COOPER: Very quickly, we don't have much time left. How do these guys attack without being mean, without being...

CARVILLE: Well, they're going to have to -- well, they're trying, they're trying. Let me tell you. This cease-fire is over tonight.

I promise you one thing, when they hear (ph) that any seven states, all of this talk about, gee, we just got to talk about positive and what good guys we all -- believe you me, cease-fire is over.

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: We're going to have to leave it there. That's a good thought to leave it on. Paul Begala, James Carville, thanks very much.

All right, it's going to be an interesting night of politics ahead. We're covering it all. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Time now for "The Buzz." We asked you, does Howard Dean have to win New Hampshire to make a comeback? Here is what you said, 57 percent of you said yes; 43 percent of you said no. I want to point out, this is not a scientific poll. Maybe we won't put the numbers up. But 57 percent said yes, 43 no. There it is. We appreciate your votes.

Tonight, taking democracy to "The Nth Degree." The 2004 New Hampshire primary started off today with retired General Wesley Clark kicking some Dixville Notch. We don't know the ultimate winner yet, but in the meantime, the fight for a tiny state that controls about 2 percent of the party's delegates led men who've led their states, the nation and international armies to scrap, flip and shake for votes with all the dignity of, well, a future president.

The primary process is as grueling, ugly and expensive as Ryan and Trista's wedding. But when you hear people complain about the process, or whine about the whining about the criticism, keep in mind, this is how it's supposed to be. Just like the courts or the branches of government, it's no accident that it's adversarial. That's the point. It is not a perversion of the founding fathers' vision, it is the realization of it. Thomas Paine meets mortal combat. Messy, unforgiving, and it eats up quarters as fast as you put them in. Just not supposed to be this cold.

I'm Anderson Cooper. Thanks for watching. Coming up next, CNN special coverage of the New Hampshire primary.

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