Return to Transcripts main page


McCain and Clinton Win Florida Primary; Clinton's Florida Fight: Wants to Restore Delegates; Can McCain Appeal to Conservatives?; Mortgage Investigation: FBI Looks Into Claims of Fraud in Subprime Loans

Aired January 30, 2008 - 07:00   ET


JOHN ROBERTS, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Winner takes all.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I intend to win it and be the nominee of our party.

ROBERTS: John McCain gets a lift from Florida. Can he win over skeptical conservatives?

Bragging rights -- Hillary Clinton wins the state that wasn't on the political map.

SEN. HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Obviously, the people of Florida thought this counted.

ROBERTS: The "Most Politics in the Morning" in a sprint to Super Tuesday.

Plus, extreme weather.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm not sure how quickly the warnings came out.

ROBERTS: Springlike storms and winter's bitter blast, on this AMERICAN MORNING.


ROBERTS: And good morning to you. Thanks for joining us. It is Wednesday, the 30th of January. Welcome to a special edition of AMERICAN MORNING. I'm John Roberts in the Oval Office in Simi Valley, California. Good morning, Kiran.

KIRAN CHETRY, CNN ANCHOR: Looking quite presidential this morning on this day. Good morning, I'm Kiran Chetry here in New York.

If you're just joining us, we finally have a front runner in the Republican nomination in the primary yesterday in Florida, and John McCain wins. Thanks to some key groups. It was moderates, senior citizens and Hispanics that lifted him to a five-point lead over Mitt Romney. McCain with 36 percent of the vote to Romney's 31 percent. And Rudy Giuliani, banking on Florida. It did not pay off for him. He came in a distant third at 15 percent with Mike Huckabee at 14 percent, and three percent for Ron Paul.

And McCain took home all 57 delegates. Rudy Giuliani is expected to drop out of the presidential race today and endorse the Arizona senator. McCain made a special point of thanking Giuliani in his victory speech last night.


SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I want to thank my dear friend, my dear friend, Rudy Giuliani, who invested, who invested his heart, invested his heart and soul in this primary and who conducted himself with all the qualities of the exceptional American leader he truly is. Thank you, Rudy. Thank you, Rudy, for all you have added to this race and for being an inspiration to me and millions of Americans.

RUDY GIULIANI (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'm proud that we chose to stay positive and to run a campaign of ideas in an era of personal attacks, negative ads and cynical spin. We ran a campaign that was uplifting.


CHETRY: And the endorsement from Giuliani coming to McCain may not be a surprise. McCain's staff said the two campaigns have been in ongoing discussions about getting Rudy's support.

Well, John McCain's second consecutive victory gets him huge momentum and frontrunner status heading into the Super Tuesday states. So, what was behind the Florida victory, and what lessons can be learned as we move on? Chief national correspondent, John King breaks it down for us. Thanks for being with us this morning.


CHETRY: You know, it's interesting that one of the first things we're going to be talking about is economy. That was on the minds of Florida voters. And for those who did say economy was their most important issue, it was McCain over Romney. You take a look at the numbers, 40 percent for McCain, Romney at 32 percent, and Huckabee and Giuliani trailing well behind.

KING: And you just heard Governor Romney wondering aloud about that, and immediately turning back to his attack on Senator McCain saying Senator McCain has said in the past he doesn't understand the economy. Well, the Romney campaign doesn't understand that number because if John McCain can sustain that number, break even or better with Mitt Romney on the issue of the economy going forward, well then, John McCain is going to be the Republican nominee. And the Romney campaign knows that.

Which is why I look for in our debate tonight very sharper attacks, focused attacks from Romney on McCain. He would call them critiques or criticisms or contrasts on the issue of taxes, on the issue of economic stewardship. That's the number issue in the campaign right now. And if Romney doesn't have a big edge, he will not overcome McCain.

CHETRY: Let's take a look at the quick vote. I mean, let's take a look at the voting. For people who said that they are conservative, most of them did go for Romney. This is the big question about whether McCain can deal conservatives into the fold. When you look at the numbers, Romney had 37 percent. McCain at 29 percent. Huckabee at 17 percent, and Giuliani at 13 percent.

KING: Right. Some conservatives who view terrorism as their top issue, not the social issues, backed Giuliani. The interesting question going forward, Giuliani gets out, he endorses McCain. Where does that vote go? How does this split? If you look at the exit polls last night, it was pretty much an even split. Many Giuliani voters said Romney was their second choice. So, it is not a sure thing that Giuliani endorsing McCain necessarily all of that goes to McCain. So we'll see how that goes going forward.

McCain's biggest weakness is still among the most conservative voters in the Republican Party.


KING: They're the most loyal voters in the Republican Party. He needs to do a better job there. But Florida was an all-Republican primary. Across the panhandle, which is all conservative, he did very well beating Mitt Romney in some places Romney expected to win. So, progress for McCain still, though, incomplete, if you will, of passing the test of having to consolidate more of his party behind him.

CHETRY: It's going to be fascinating tonight to see the tone of the debate as Mitt Romney is going to need to really step it up and prove or at least show in this debate where he's different and why he's better than John McCain, now the frontrunner.

KING: No question. Sharp contrast between McCain and Romney expected. McCain is going to have to hold his own on the economy. The question will be whether it's negative or whether it's policy. And watch Mike Huckabee tonight. Mike Huckabee is the other conservative in the race. He is a roadblock, if you will, in the way of Mitt Romney. Mitt Romney wants to call this a one-on-one race. Well, if you go to Alabama, you go to Georgia, you go to Arkansas, you go to Missouri, you go to Minnesota, Mike Huckabee is playing and playing well in those states.

CHETRY: I believe that Romney -- someone in Romney's campaign yesterday said, as you can he is not -- Huckabee is not doing well in some of the southern conservative states. So they're trying to point out that perhaps he can't win in some of these Super Tuesday states.

KING: He needs to convince Mike Huckabee supporters that if John McCain is not your second choice, a vote for Huckabee is essentially helping or a vote for McCain. We'll see how that goes. But Huckabee has been very friendly to John McCain. Interesting to watch the dynamics tonight in the debate.

CHETRY: Some vice presidents may be being picked along the way? KING: I think that's in the back of his mind. You run to win, of course. But if you're Mike Huckabee, you're looking at the map now and saying you need a miracle probably to win and we'll see how the tone is.

CHETRY: All right. John King, thanks.

KING: Thank you.


ROBERTS: He's going to have to wrestle Charlie Crist for it, I think.

Senator Hillary Clinton celebrated her win in Davie, Florida, last night. It had all the trappings of a victory party -- crowds, cheers, Dolly Parton music. But the impact of the Florida Democratic votes is up in the air because no delegates were awarded. The Democratic National Committee stripped Florida of all of its delegates after it moved up its primary date before the February 5th cutoff point. Still, Clinton promised that she would keep up the fight to make those delegates count.


SEN. HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I am thrilled to have had this vote of confidence that you have given me today. And I promise you, I will do everything I can to make sure not only are Florida's Democratic delegates seated, but Florida is in the winning column for the Democrats in 2008.


ROBERTS: There you go. Well, the Obama camp is poking fun at the Florida results saying that Obama and Clinton tied in the delegate race in Florida, zero for Obama, zero for Clinton. But as we said, Hillary Clinton trying to change all that. CNN's Jessica Yellin joins me now. She's been following the Democrats. So, Hillary Clinton made an awfully big deal out of really what was a beauty contest yesterday. Why?

JESSICA YELLIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: She did because the Florida win for her is such a significant margin, and because Florida has a demographic diversity that she says reflects America more accurately than any of the primary states so far. More of a mix of Latinos, African-Americans, old and young. And if she could win in that group, she says, she can win nationally. Let's take a listen to what she had to say.


SEN. HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Thank you, Florida Democrats. You know, I could not come here to ask in person for your votes. But I am here to thank you for your votes today.

(END VIDEO CLIP) ROBERTS: You know, it's interesting the way that she is playing that because they all agreed, based on the Democratic National Committee rules, that they would not campaign in Florida, and she's basically saying my hands were tied. And it's a very popular position to have in Florida because we talked to some Democrats yesterday who were really upset that they got stripped of the delegates.

YELLIN: Well, one of the arguments that you'll hear the campaign making is they didn't expect as massive a turnout as they got. In fact, more turned out on the Democratic side than the Republican side. And the Democrats didn't even run a race in Florida. The Clinton camp would also point to the fact that Obama had ads that ran in Florida and they could argue that in a way that accidentally violated the pledge.

ROBERTS: So, what happens now? If she wants to get these delegates seated and there have been some rumblings from the Obama campaign about making sure that Florida has some representation at the conventions in August, how would they do it? Would they say, OK, the results count? Now, seat all the delegates according to the vote, or would they go about it a different way?

YELLIN: Honestly, the answer is no one really knows. It's uncharted territory. One of the ideas that's been floated is to hold yet another vote in Florida or even a caucus. But Florida doesn't need more votes, some people have been saying today. The Clinton folks, as you might imagine, would just like these delegates to be seated exactly the way the vote came out yesterday.

ROBERTS: You know, after 2000, anytime anybody says vote in Florida, they start to cringe a little bit. Jessica, thanks very much.

Oh, boy. Well, you can see that the stage is being set at the Air Force One Pavilion here at the Reagan Library. It's being built around the plane's fuselage on the right. It's really incredible. You see the shot there. What you really need to see is underneath because they built an entire scaffolding to bring the audience up to the level of the cabin of the plane as opposed to previous debates where people were seated underneath the wing. It's going to make for a very dramatic setting tonight here at the Reagan Presidential Library for that debate.

Be sure to stay with CNN tonight for the Republican debate right here at the library. It all begins at 8:00 Eastern. Anderson Cooper moderates. And tomorrow night, don't forget 8:00 p.m. Eastern, the Democrats square off in Hollywood at the Kodak Theater. Wolf Blitzer will moderate that one -- Kiran.

CHETRY: Well, it should be great. We'll be watching.

We're also watching across the north and Midwest this morning. There was a deep chill. Also, blizzard warnings posted in parts of Iowa and Illinois, 50 mile-an-hour winds also prompting a blowing snow advisory. In fact, 150 flights were canceled at O'Hare Airport yesterday. We'll keep you posted on the situation there today as well.

The temperatures also plunging further north. Windchills of 54 below in parts of the Dakotas. A very strong cold front blasted through Wisconsin. Yesterday, the mercury plunged 40 degrees in just a matter of hours in many places.

And on the eastern edge of the storm, high winds carved a deadly path through a small town in Indiana. Firefighters say they pulled two bodies out of a mobile home that was leveled. Hail and tornadoes also reported in the Midwest. Our Rob Marciano is here in New York with us this morning. He's tracking all of this extreme weather. And your map is just lighting up today.

ROB MARCIANO, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yes. Well, this is from last night. I just wanted to back things up because you're talking about that storm that rolled through Indiana. And you see all the watch boxes that were posted. They have since been discontinued. The tornado watches that are out. But the line that moved through right through here, there it is again, moving to the east. Mostly just high winds. And whenever you see a line like that, kind of bow out like that, that's when you know you got some heavy winds that are rolling through that area.

All right. Let's show you what the satellite picture is doing right now. And we've got the center of the storm right in through here, and it's moving up towards the north. So that's good news for folks living in the northeast because most of the punch with this now is moving away. But there is still some seriously cold air moving in behind it.

We have winter storm warnings that are posted for western parts of Michigan and the U.P. under a blizzard warning for that area. We could see winds gusting to 60 miles an hour just to the east of the Great Lakes there. So a high-wind warning there with winds probably picking up some snow across the Great Lakes

And here we go again. Forty in New York. Minus 24 in Chicago is the current windchill. It was 71 degrees for a high temperature yesterday in St. Louis. Currently, it's 12.

CHETRY: Yes. What causes that drastic in just a matter of hours drop?

MARCIANO: Well, it's just the coldest air of the season and then we had a storm develop along that cold front and that pulled in some warm air ahead of it. That's where you get all this action, and that's where you get the drastic off in temperatures.

CHETRY: And that's why the weather has been so extreme as well with the winds and --

MARCIANO: Absolutely. And we've got another winter storm coming in through the plains and another one coming into the Pacific northwest. Very active pattern right now shaping up across the U.S.

CHETRY: All right. Rob, thank you. MARCIANO: All right.


ROBERTS: All eyes are on the Federal Reserve today, Kiran. Another rate cut is expected. The question -- how big is it going to be? The Fed wraps up a two-day meeting with an announcement later on this afternoon. Economists figure that the Fed will slash interest, though, probably not by the three-quarters of a percentage point that we saw last week. That's all being done to ward off a possible recession. A lot of people expecting a 50-basis point cut today.

Crying for help. Men, women and children banging on the windows as gunmen threaten their lives. How it all ended. That's coming up.

And John McCain winning over voters but some conservative talk show hosts still not happy with him. What will it take for them to rally behind him? Will they ever? The "Most Politics in the Morning" coming right back live from California and New York.


ROBERTS: A terrifying image this morning of a hostage standoff. It happened after a botched bank robbery in Venezuela. Women and children were crying for help and banging on the windows of the bank. Police say as many as 50 hostages were inside, including a pregnant woman and a 15-day old baby. Most of them were held for about 30 hours before the gunman escaped with five human shields. Four of the five suspects were captured. Police say one of them got away. No injuries, thankfully, reported in that -- Kiran.

CHETRY: Well, John McCain scored a key victory in Florida's winner take all primary, even though exit polling showed that many of the conservative voters, those who identified themselves as conservatives, ended up casting a vote for Mitt Romney, at least in Florida. In his victory speech last night, McCain spoke about activists judges, an issue that conservatives care deeply about. Let's listen.


SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The judges we appoint to federal benches must understand that that is their only responsibility and leave to elected officials their responsibility to make the laws they enforce.


CHETRY: Rick Roberts host the "Court of Public Opinion." It's his morning drive talk show on 760 KFNB in San Diego, and he joins us this morning. Rick, thanks for being with us.


CHETRY: Summing up, a nod to conservative voters, an olive branch, of sorts. Can you explain, first of all, why conservative radio talk show hosts as well as the conservative leaders in the party have been so critical of McCain?

R. ROBERTS: Well, you know, the McCain-Kennedy bill still rings in the ears of many conservatives, and McCain has never been viewed, at least by the majority of conservatives, as one of them, if you will. Sort of the middle of the road, one of those guys that, yes, he's got some great ideas but you really can't count on him.

And, you know, I think that's changing because really what we're seeing -- what hangs in the balance here is what's going to define a Republican party. Is it the conservatism that we've all been hoping for and the leader that we've all been looking for? I'm seeing that shift. I've got people calling me four hours a day saying I don't have anybody to vote for if McCain is the nominee. You know, that's going to change, obviously, you know that. I mean, as the candidates fall away, people find reasons to vote for candidates. But people simply don't believe McCain is a conservative.

CHETRY: You echo, though, it's interesting, it's in "Time" magazine. Is Romney fighting the last war? And it asked, is there that broader shift that you just brought up that Romney, it says, "may be running to lead a Republican Party that no longer exists."

R. ROBERTS: Great.

CHETRY: If conservatives have the clout and they want to unite behind a candidate, why wouldn't Romney do better in a state like Florida?

R. ROBERTS: Well, as I just said a moment ago, what hangs in the balance here to most conservatives, to most Republicans, what will define this party? Or what is defining this party? Is it the conservatism that they believe in, or is it going to be something else? We'll see as we get closer to Super Tuesday.

You know, Duncan Hunter, very well qualified conservative. Pushed to the edge. Fred Thompson, conservative, never showed the commitment for the job. So people are starting to find reasons to like McCain. And I think that will continue. He's not -- let's be honest, he's not the nominee yet, but he very well could be. There is hope held out for Romney that most people view as the conservative in the race. But, but -- again, this is bigger than Romney, it's bigger than McCain. This will define a party. Will the Republican Party be the conservative party they once were under the Reagan years? Or will it shift and become something quite different?

And that's what I think most people are concerned about and that's something nobody can determine at this point. People are trying to find a reason to vote for McCain. I have talked to any number of people in the last 24 hours that are shaking their heads saying, I just won't vote. You know, I predicted yesterday on the air I believe if -- if indeed this thing continues the way that you've been reporting it...


R. ROBERTS: If McCain ends up being the nominee, I predict the lowest voter turnout for Republicans in at least my memory.

CHETRY: But before -- let me ask you this. Why sit it out rather than rally behind Mitt Romney?

R. ROBERTS: I agree. I agree. That's my message and I'm screaming from the roof top. You've got to be a part of the process. You know, we can all live with something we don't like if we understand it. But if you don't understand it and you don't like it, you can't live with it. You got to vote. You got to get involved. You got to be a part of the process.

CHETRY: All right. It will be interesting to see how it shakes out and how those two go at it tonight in the big debate. Rick Roberts, great to see you, from 760 KFNB in San Diego.

R. ROBERTS: Thanks, Kiran.

CHETRY: It brings to this morning's "Quick Vote" question. Can John McCain unify the GOP? Right now, 31 percent saying yes. Sixty- nine percent saying no. Cast your vote, We'll continue to tally your votes throughout the morning -- John.

ROBERTS: What is really going on in the lending industry? The FBI now investigating fraud related to the mortgage meltdown. We'll have the story coming right up.

And what would you do if you had $1 billion. If you are the one of the world's most wealthy men, you would use it to build a skyscraper home. Find out where it is and what's inside next on AMERICAN MORNING.


ROBERTS: Twenty-three minutes after the hour. We're back on AMERICAN MORNING addressing a lot of the problems of the day from the Oval Office here at the Reagan Library. One of them, the subprime mortgage crisis which is now a federal case. The FBI is looking into 14 companies in complaints of potential mortgage fraud. CNN's Personal finance editor Gerri Willis is following this for us. Good morning to you, Gerri. What's this all about?

GERRI WILLIS, CNN PERSONAL FINANCE EDITOR: Hey, good morning, John, good to see you. Yes, the FBI is investigating 14 companies but they are not naming them. We're quickly moving into the end game of what has been the subprime mortgage crisis. They are looking into accounting fraud and insider trading related to subprime loans.

Now, the FBI has been on this case for sometime. Take a look at the number of reports that they've been getting in their office, as you can see, The numbers of complaints have skyrocketed from 3,000 in 2003, an estimated 60,000 in 2008. Big jumps in investigations there. But I have to tell you, the FBI typically has investigated what you would think of as small-time fraud in the mortgage industry, looking into all kinds of problems with real estate agents, appraisers, et cetera. Their cases typically involve losses of $500,000 or more. Here are the top 10 mortgage fraud states that the FBI is taking a look at here. California, New York, Texas, Florida, Georgia, Utah, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and Michigan. Let me just explain here that the thinking here is that the FBI is stepping up what it's doing and taking a look at many Wall Street firms here, really looking at the folks who packaged these securities and sold them around the globe.

They're joining a lot of other regulatory agencies, also looking at some of these practices. We've got attorney generals all over the country who are looking at it, including New York's own Andrew Cuomo. And, of course, the SEC has literally dozens of investigations going on. So there is a lot of competition now as people start looking at all these subprime loans that have gone sour -- John.

ROBERTS: So Gerri, quickly. What do you expect this will do to consumer confidence, which is take another dive here in January? Might it, you know, sort of restore a little bit of confidence in the whole market?

WILLIS: Well, I think that's a helpful thought that, you know, people out there will see what's going on and have a little more confidence, maybe spend a little bit more money. But I think people are more locally focused on what's going on in their neighborhood and if they have foreclosures going on next door to them, because at the end of the day, that's what really affects their investment -- John.

ROBERTS: Sure. It's pretty dramatic when you go around these neighborhoods and you see all those foreclosure signs. Gerri Willis for us this morning. Gerri, thanks.

WILLIS: My pleasure.

ROBERTS: Well, if your home is not in foreclosure and you've got an extra billion dollars burning a hole in your pocket, you might want to think about this.

A private skyscraper for you and your family. India's richest man is spending $1 billion to build this 27-story high-rise in Mumbai. There he is -- Mukesh Ambani. It's got a helipad, a swimming pool, a health club, safe rooms, a theater, hundreds of staff members and six floors of parking -- all just for him and his family, his wife, their three children, and his mother, of course. The building should be completed sometime next year. Now, that is exuberant excess, I would say, Kiran, what do you think?

CHETRY: Yes. It sure is, but creative. How about it?

Well, you're watching "Most News in the Morning." He gambled and lost. What is Rudy Giuliani's next move? And what does it mean in the sprint to Super Tuesday?

Also, maybe it's not your job or yourself, maybe it's just you. I told you about this one yesterday. But it's a thing called the midlife slump. We're paging Dr. Gupta. Hey, Sanjay.

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Hey, you know, it's interesting. If you sort of look at happiness from when you're very young to when you're very old, it actually goes like this. It's a big "U" right here at the very bottom, around age 44. I'll tell you why, what you can do about it. Stay with us on AMERICAN MORNING.


KIRAN CHETRY, CNN, ANCHOR: A live look happening now more than 200 miles above earth. Astronauts venturing outside a space station. They're fixing a power problem today. It's a busted motor. It's supposed to keep some of the giant solar panels turning with the sun. And this morning's space walk a little bit tricky, because if they unlock the motor the wrong way, the whole solar panel could come loose. A live look this morning from space at 7:30 here on the east coast. 4:30 in the morning out in California on this Wednesday, January 30th. I'm Kiran Chetry in New York. Hey, John.

JOHN ROBERTS, CNN, ANCHOR: Hey, good morning to you. I'm John Roberts in Simi Valley, California. Where are we? We are live this morning in the Oval Office at the Reagan Presidential library in Simi Valley, California. Now, this isn't of course the real Oval Office. It's not even full-scale facsimile of it. This is about a half-sized Oval Office that's been constructed here in the Air Force One hanger building here at the library. In the main part of the library, there is actually a full-sized replica of this Oval Office. But it's very ceremonial. Very ornate. They didn't want us in here with all of our television gear, so we're here in the hangar today.

Let's take a look outside here in the Reagan Library. Some amazing views about an hour or so northwest of Los Angeles. The library opened back in 1991. Tonight, look at that, snow on the mountain tops. The republican candidates face off in front of President Reagan's Air Force One, the old 707. Tomorrow, it's the democrats' turn, they're going to be on the Oscar stage, at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood. Both debates are the last ones before super duper Tuesday on February 5th.

John McCain comes here to California as the clear GOP frontrunner. Fresh off his big primary victory in Florida. And he'll likely get another boost today. Rudy Giuliani is expected to bow out of the race and endorse him. Hillary Clinton's Florida win was a shot in the arm for her campaign. But she gets no delegates from it. They were stripped from Florida by the Democratic National Committee because they went ahead of the February 5th cutoff date.

McCain is already looking forward to super Tuesday and all of the delegates that are up for grabs. Take a listen.


JOHN MCCAIN (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: In one week, we will have as close to a national primary as we've ever had in this country. I intend to win it and be the nominee of our party.

(END VIDEO CLIP) ROBERTS: It's a huge challenge, 21 states up for grabs on super Tuesday for the republican candidates for president. It's a lot of ground to cover, more than a thousand delegates at stake as well. Mitt Romney came in second, but he came in first among the self- proclaimed conservatives. Exit polls showed Romney with a ten-point lead over McCain with voters who called themselves conservative. We talked with Governor Romney about it earlier on AMERICAN MORNING.


MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think I can't stop it, but it's no sure thing at this stage. I think Rudy Giuliani's endorsement will help somewhat. I think it's kind of hard at this stage just to say how it's going work. But you know, it's a two- person race, with myself and Senator McCain, I like my chances.


ROBERTS: Well, Romney and McCain will go head-to-head again tonight at a debate here in the Reagan Presidential Library. Looking forward to that at 8:00 p.m. tonight here on CNN, 8:00 p.m. Eastern time.

Rudy Giuliani's third place finish here in Florida was a stunning disappointment for him. The one-time republican national frontrunner expected to bow out today and throw his support to John McCain for the GOP nomination. Mark Halperin is the author of "The Undecided Voter's Guide to the next president," and he also writes "The Page" for He broke the story last night about Giuliani dropping out and endorsing McCain. And he joins us now from our bureau in Los Angeles about an hour south of us. Mark, good to see you. So what are we expecting Rudy Giuliani to do today, how is this going to unfold?

MARK HALPERIN, SR. POLITICAL ANALYST, "TIME": Well, with maximum drama. These two guys are old friends and the talks between the two campaigns has been going on in a way they try to maximize the impact of this endorsement. Giuliani is going to fly 3,000 mile out here. Normally when you drop out of the presidential race, you kind of slink home and lay low. Giuliani is going to come to California, to the Reagan Library where you are, and where the debate is and sort of lay hands on John McCain and say, this is my guy. I think it's going to help him, again, we always try to put endorsements in perspective. A lot of the super Tuesday states that are important to John McCain -- California, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut have rules that favor a strong front running candidate. And there are states that although Giuliani has declined in popularity, he's still popular with a lot of voters.

ROBERTS: Open question here, Mark, is how is it going to help John McCain among conservatives. He lost to Mitt Romney among conservatives in Florida. The score was 37 percent to 29 percent in favor of Romney. Rudy Giuliani, not the favorite son of conservatives in the republican party either. So, how much does it give McCain on that front. Or does it make up among independents and moderates what he might lose in conservatives? HALPERIN: Well, it may make it up. And as you know, John, the states vary in their rules. Some states allow independents to vote, others don't. I think that John McCain has one problem going forward. One potential big threat which is Mitt Romney now has him effectively one-on-one. Mike Huckabee and Ron Paul are still in the race. For a lot of voters, it's that one-on-one choice. There are a lot of people in the republican party who say John McCain isn't conservative enough, that he's got issue position and a record on some issues that don't make him the right nominee. Romney's hope is to consolidate those people. Now, is it easier to consolidate those people with Rudy Giuliani staying with John McCain? I don't think so.

A lot of conservatives like Rudy Giuliani. They like his positions on taxes, they like his record in New York, they like this national security record. So I don't think that is the issue. But generally, that contrast and Romney is going to try to create, I'm a conservative, McCain isn't. That's the one chance, I think, that Romney has to try to get back in this race.

ROBERTS: What do you make of the fact, Mark, that John McCain beat Mitt Romney on the economy. McCain has admitted himself that the economy isn't his strongest suit. Romney was out there saying it was his strongest suit and he lost on it.

HALPERIN: John, sometimes the exit polls in trying to understand them, is looking at chicken bone and trails. You can't always decide what exactly happened. It doesn't really make sense. John McCain talked about the economy because he sort of defensively because he knew that's what Romney was going on. Romney talked about it too, biographically, it's his strength. But I can't really explain the results except to say that John McCain did effectively talked about the economy a lot more than he usually does, a lot more effectively than he did in Michigan where he lost, Mitt Romney. If going forward, John McCain is going to beat Mitt Romney with voters who care about the economy, I think we know how this thing is going to end.

ROBERTS: Yes, we'll see how it plays out here in California where it would appear that McCain has got a substantial lead over Romney.

Mark Halperin for us this morning from our Los Angeles bureau. Mark, always good to see you, thanks. Kiran.

HALPERIN: John, save me a seat up there.

ROBERTS: Will do.

CHETRY: He, too, wants a shot at looking presidential.

All right. Thanks, guys. Well, Hillary Clinton won the democratic primary by a wide margin over Barack Obama, 50 percent to 23 percent. John Edwards took 14 percent. There were no delegates at stake, though, yet, at least. Florida was stripped of its delegates as punishment for moving its primary. Clinton celebrated the win anyway, had a big victory party in Florida last night. And she is going to be fighting to get those delegates seated at the national convention. Now, if that happened according to party rules, Florida may hold another primary or caucus to decide just how many delegates to go to each candidate.

So what if the Florida winners do go on to win the general election? Bill Clinton said it would be the most civilized election in American history. Our Wolf Blitzer asked Senator Hillary Clinton about that comment and her relationship with John McCain.


SEN. HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I have a very good one. And I look forward, if that is the case, to campaigning on the issues. There are big differences between us. Obviously we have different approaches about what we should do here at home and around the world. But I think the American people are hungry for an election about specifics. I want to be held accountable.


CHETRY: Bill Clinton said that the election would be so civil that it might, "put the voters to sleep."

Well, be sure to stay with CNN tonight, the republican debate is taking place at the Reagan Presidential Library right where John is this morning. 8:00 p.m. Eastern. And tomorrow night, the democrats have their turn, 8:00 p.m. Eastern. It will be at the Kodak Theater in Los Angeles.

Still ahead, disasters on the road, powerful winds, and freezing conditions behind this nasty multi-chain reaction pileup on the bridge. Where going to tell you more about where it happened and how it turned out.

Also, people in their 40s apparently feel more unhappy than any other age group. There is a positive side to this, though -- Dr. Sanjay Gupta is telling us why and what you can do to avoid those 40s blues. Sanjay joins us next on AMERICAN MORNING.


CHETRY: Well, we are tracking extreme weather this morning. And check out these pictures, this is a snowstorm that ended up causing a massive pileup. It happened in Minnesota, 20 cars involved in a crash on a bridge near Dover, Minnesota. Interstate 90 shut down for hours as crews worked to clear the tangled mess of metal. A few injuries, none life-threatening though there were so many vehicles involved in that. Rob Marciano here in New York today, tracking severe weather. No doubt you tried to drive in those whiteout conditions when the blowing snow makes it near impossible to see anything in front of you.

ROB MARCIANO, CNN, METEOROLOGIST: It does. The only thing you can really is put the hazards on and may be pull over to the side. As a matter of fact, the Michigan State Police where there is now in part some winter warning and blizzard warning is advising folks in the northern part of lower part of Michigan to stay off of the road until this whole thing clears up. Look at this wind chills, 35 below is what it feels like in Minneapolis. It feels like 40 below right now in Green Bay. In places like Chicago, minus 24. Yesterday around this time, they had temperatures that were in the balmy 40s. So, definitely a big change. There is your blizzard warning across parts of Michigan. Also, winter storm warnings, it's going to get some lake effect enhancement but the backside of this is really cranking up the winds, cold winds at that. And high wind warnings, does this thing cruises along the great lakes, winds could gust up to 60 miles an hour in places like northeast Ohio, western parts of Pennsylvania and upstate New York. It just rained here in New York city, up through Boston. It shouldn't be that big of a deal.

Really, the bulk of this energy of this system is definitely going to head up into Canada as opposed to cruising across in to the Atlantic. There's the back half of the system. We had winds in many parts not only Indiana, Illinois, in Kentucky damaging winds but we're getting reports there were winds in Georgia of over 60 miles an hour and people without power for now struggling to get it restored this morning. So, everybody feeling the brunt of this very being storm. We got another one coming across the pike for the Pacific northwest and the plains. Very active weather pattern, Kiran.

CHETRY: All right, Rob. You want to listen to this next story, by the way. If you're in your 40s and life seems a little well, blah to you. You're not alone. There is a new study that says your 40s are prime time for unhappiness. That study spanned thousands of people across 80 countries. We're paging Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN's chief medical correspondent. And you know, we first heard about this story yesterday. Since Rob is in his late 20s as well as you and I, we really can't relate but we wanted to find out more. Because we know so many people in their 40s.

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN, CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes and you know, it's interesting. First of all, this study was about well-being and happiness and how it might decline at certain times in our lives as opposed to depression. It was a very large study, cross- cultural, 80 cultures, anything from Albania to Zimbabwe. And about two million people are actually surveyed. This is a broad study.

And what they found is exactly what you said, Kiran. You sort of have this u-shaped curve in your life, starting off when you're very young. You're happy and you sort of go through this down period. And then it does come back, up again. For the United States -- the period of the largest unhappiness was right around the age of 44.5. It did not seem to be related to class. It did not seem to be related to money. It did not seem to be related to children. It just seemed to happen, especially in -- pretty similar to what we saw in western Europe as well. Interestingly, countries like Portugal, their unhappiness sort of area -- the greatest unhappiness area was around age 6. So there is a bit from culture to culture, everyone seems to have a slump of sorts. Kiran.

CHETRY: I was joking. Because, you know, we do know a lot of people in that age group. There is this feeling that you go, go, go, go, go. And you're just trying to accomplish things, and you're worried about your kids and suddenly you're like, hold on a second, I can see the end of the road when you're 40. You know, you can sort of Life seems to wind down a little bit down the road. Are these emotional factors that weigh in to it? Or does anything have to do with the physical?

GUPTA: Well, we ask the same question - why is this? Why is this actually happening. There are a few different reasons. Most of it is conjecture as you might imagine. The study is largely based on surveys, sort of asking people at different times in their lives, are they happy? Are they satisfied with the way things are.

One conjecture around was that, around that age, around 44.5 for Americans is when they start to realize that maybe some of the greatest aspirations are not going to be attained, things they have been dreaming of their entire lives simply are not going to happen. That can cause a bit of a slump. It could be that they could take another look at their spouse, and look at their job, their kids aren't as happy as they would have liked to have been. So, that's obviously sort of a sad thing. The one thing that I think was important and the researchers pointed out is this seems to happen to just about everyone. Everyone has a slump like this. That should be a little bit of solace for anyone out there to know that a lot of people go through the exact same thing around that age.

CHETRY: And they say when you make it to 40, and you're physically fit, you're happy as you are in your 20s. So, it all comes back around.

GUPTA: That's right. We did a lot of polling on this, if I just can tell you for one second, Kiran, about this - older people, especially older men are the happiest of all. Younger men, they found, were the unhappiest. As far as political affiliations go, republicans are happier than democrats and both of them are happier than independents. Married people are happier than unmarried and married people without children, Kiran, you'd be interested to know, actually happier than those with children?

CHETRY: Really?

When you go through the terrible 2s with your kids, I guess you can understand. Wow.

GUPTA: You still look pretty happy, though.

CHETRY: All right. You too. I know you got two little ones at home. All right, Sanjay. Great to see you. Thanks.

GUPTA: Thanks. All right.

CHETRY: By the way, if you have a question for Dr. Gupta email it to us Sanjay answers your questions each and every Wednesday -- Thursday morning. He'll be doing that tomorrow for us here on AMERICAN MORNING. John.

ROBERTS: The best part of having kids, Kiran, is when they get their license and they can go out to the grocery store for you. That's when you really start to appreciate them. A van versus train. The driver getting out just seconds before a fireball. And police say he shouldn't have been behind the wheel in the first place. We'll tell you about that story. And it has served many presidents. Now you can find it here at the Reagan Library. Coming up, we'll take you for not really a ride, but a tour of Air Force One. It's the most politics in the morning, live from California and New York.


CHETRY: Well, a quick-thinking witness saves a man from a fiery death on the train tracks. Check it out. Police say the driver was drinking. Decided to take a ride and his mini van got stuck on the tracks and someone actually pulled him away seconds before the first train hit at 60 miles per hour. Two trains ended up crashing into it. No injuries reported. That man was charged with DUI.

ROBERTS: Nine minutes now to the top of the hour. We're coming to you this morning from a replica of the Oval Office at the Reagan Presidential Library. But just outside of these walls, there is an authentic piece of presidential memorabilia. It is the Boeing 707 that served as Air Force One in the Reagan presidency. It opened here as an exhibit in October 2005 and will serve as a backdrop for our republican debate tonight.


ROBERTS: When Ronald Reagan was president, he was considering exhibits for his presidential library, the one thing that he really wanted to put is was special air mission 2700, otherwise known as Air Force One.

So let's start with the back of the plane because this is where members of the press ride. This is the press section here. I was never on the 707. Rode many times on the 747. I can tell you. The press section in that aircraft was quite a bit larger. The seats -- even though these were first class of the day, a little bigger, a lot more comfortable in the new 747. This is where U.S. air force personnel would sit moving forward a little bit more. This is the president's security detail.

This is a conference area where the president could get together with members of the staff to talk about the particular policy issues that they were looking at. A lot of memorabilia, a lot of photographs, as you can see here, President Reagan with Gorbachev, one of his many visits overseas. There is so much history associated with this aircraft, that it really is a unique perspective to be able to come in here and be able to walk around and take a look.

This is Nancy Reagan's office. The first lady actually had her own office on this aircraft. A real demonstration of how big a part of this administration Nancy Reagan really was. This is the state room. This is President Reagan's area. You can see his flight jacket, Ronald Reagan. This is where he would sit, go over his speeches, go over the issues that he needed to discuss with foreign leaders. This pulls out into a bed. Here's the communications area. And this is so different from the 747. The entire top bubble in the new aircraft. Somewhat antiquated by today's standards. Don't forget, we're talking about an aircraft built in the 1970s. And right here, this is called the football. This is what contains the nuclear codes and you have a couple of officers who are operating that area and see the picture of President Reagan there. If there were ever a nuclear attack, this is the area they would call a response to.


ROBERTS: Really interesting to walk around that aircraft. As I said, I had never flown on that one. I covered the Clinton and the Bush administrations as a White House correspondent, flew around the world many times in the 747. But to set foot and kind of go back in time, Kiran, was a really interesting exercise this morning.

CHETRY: Pretty neat. Now, any major advances since the new reincarnations of Air Force One?

ROBERTS: Oh, one or two -- not to mention that the galleys on the new 747 are a lot bigger. I don't know if the food is particularly better, but certainly there's a lot more that comes out of it. It holds a lot more people as well. Accommodations in the 707 were pretty tight and you were limited to the number of people that you could carry. The 747 is a large aircraft.

CHETRY: Pretty neat. Well, it was a cool tour. We're glad you had a chance to give it to us. We're going to take a quick break. Two teenagers kicked out of school for a kiss. They're family is now challenging the decision, did the school go too far? The story ahead.

Also, some of America's biggest brands slashing prices to try to get you into their stores and spending money. We'll see if it's working ahead on AMERICAN MORNING.


CHETRY: Well, two South Carolina teenagers are challenging a school board decision to kick them out of school. Dominique Goyner and his girlfriend expelled in October for kissing on the school bus. The kissing was caught on surveillance tape and the school board expelled them for what it calls sexual misconduct.


DOMINIQUE GOYNER, EXPELLED FOR KISSING: It hurt me deeply. It really did. I was shocked at what happened because I didn't think it would go this far to a point that I would be expelled from the district.


CHETRY: Well, Goyner who admits that what he did was wrong is on R.O.T.C. program. He hoped to attend a military academy after graduation. He is currently being home schooled. The school board has refused to change it's ruling. The families are now appealing that in court.

Well, all eyes are on the Fed today. Interest rates expected to be cut again, but by how much? We're following it for you ahead.

And we also have a rare glimpse into the President's old battle with addiction. How he says fate saved him and whether or not faith helps when you're trying to beat an addiction.

The next hour of AMERICAN MORNING starts right now.


ROBERTS: McCain'S super Tuesday.

JOHN MCCAIN (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I intend to win it and be the nominee of our party.

ROBERTS: First, Florida then the nation? His first key test tonight. Live from the Reagan Library.

ROBERTS: Where is the party?

SEN. HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Obviously, the people in Florida thought this counted.

ROBERTS: Hillary Clinton got the most votes but no delegates. What now for the democrats?

The most politics in the morning.

And dollar sign of the times. How the biggest companies in the company, are they trying to keep you spending? On this AMERICAN MORNING.


ROBERTS: Good day and thanks very much for joining us on this Wednesday, the 30th of January. It's a special edition of AMERICAN MORNING. I'm John Roberts in the Oval Office. Good morning to you, Kiran.

CHETRY: That's right. It's not really "the" Oval Office unless something major changed in the primaries last night. I didn't even know were you running? By the way...

ROBERTS: It's not. You're right, it's not the Oval Office. It's in the Reagan Presidential Library.