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Ballot Bowl '08 - Hillary in L.A., Bill in Huntsville; McCain in Birmingham; Obama in Minneapolis

Aired February 2, 2008 - 16:57   ET

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


JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Welcome back to CNN BALLOT BOWL, BALLOT BOWL '08. I'm John King reporting live from Birmingham, Alabama. Thanks for spending some time with us on this Saturday afternoon as we try to show you what we see as we travel the country covering the candidates for president, the candidates unscripted.
Longer portions of their speeches, some from live events, some taped events as they discuss issues from Iraq to health care to their personal faith, social policy as well. All of this in advance of a truly remarkable day in American presidential politics, a historic day, some 20 states -- 23 states in all, plus American Samoa holding contests, critical contests as both the Democratic and the Republican nomination battles a decisive phase in the days ahead.

In the hour ahead we will show you one of the Democrats trying to break through, Senator Barack Obama, the junior senator from Illinois who has come to give Hillary Clinton a dramatic challenge from what was once considered the inevitability of her nomination on the Democratic side.

We'll also show you later this hour John McCain is campaigning in Georgia. And if he makes his events on time, we'll be able to squeeze in a little live coverage of that in our final hour of BALLOT BOWL today. Again, all of this as the candidates contest in the key Super Tuesday states.

One of those states is Minnesota. That is where Barack Obama will be shortly. And that is where our Suzanne Malveaux is standing by right now in Minneapolis -- Suzanne.

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: John, I want to just give you a sense of the crowd here. If you can just pan over and take a look here. It is very typical of many of these Obama rallies. We're talking about a very diverse crowd, young, old, all types of ethnicities and backgrounds and gender. And really a lot of enthusiasm here.

The event just before in Boise, Idaho, some 14,000 who had gathered. Obviously what they're trying to do is build a coalition -- a coalition of new voters, of female voters, of African-Americans, people who have not participated in the process before. The reason why this is such an important state, obviously a big Democratic stronghold.

But there's also an independent streak here. These are the voters that put in Jesse Ventura, the former pro wrestler, into office as the governor. This is also a very important state because of its anti-war sentiment. It was just yesterday that Barack Obama got that endorsement from moveon.org, the advocacy group -- a liberal advocacy group, very much against the war.

He is obviously going to be talking about that issue. And he is obviously going to be getting a lot of attention and a lot of praise from these folks here. One of the lines, if you follow him -- one of the lines that gets the biggest applause is when he goes after the Bush administration, Bush-Cheney, when he talks about them.

What he's trying to do is really set up the dynamic here, take on the Bush administration, not necessarily addressing Hillary Clinton, but taking on what so many people are frustrated over. You're looking at voters and people here who want something dramatically different. And that is what he says he is going to offer -- John.

KING: Suzanne, you mentioned his message of change, his message of trying to convince people he was on the right side of the Iraq War. Some of the new endorsements that have come his way in the past week certainly have helped Senator Obama. There has to be some sense of disappointment that he will not, at least at the moment, win the endorsement of his former rival, Senator John Edwards.

As you know, our Jessica Yellin reporting in the last hour that Senator Edwards has decided at least for now, according to her sources, not to endorse a candidate before the Super Tuesday primaries. Edwards was a candidate of change, many thought if he did make an endorsement, it would go in Obama's direction. Is there a sense of disappointment in camp Obama?

MALVEAUX: Well, John, there certainly is a sense that they wanted this to happen before Super Tuesday. That it would have made a much greater impact if it had happened, that just in these next couple of days that you would have had that momentum and it also would have been a very clear signal to those voters that this was a camp that -- in which they belonged, that they should go to his camp.

But there are things that have happened and have worked in his favor. We saw it was just yesterday in California, he was endorsed by the SEIU, it's the largest -- one of the largest labor unions in that state, the branch there. And so clearly that was the recommendation, a sign that those who were backing Edwards before that union decided to say, look, you members should take a second, look over here, look at Barack Obama.

They're hoping to gain that kind of momentum and those endorsements from other places. But, yes, I mean, they did hope that it would happen before Super Tuesday. We know Barack Obama, we asked him about it, has worked hard for it. He's had several discussions with John Edwards.

And you also hear in his message, he will talk about that populist message about reaching out to those who do not have, to the working class. And he needs those voters. He needs those union voters and he needs those working class voters. And polls -- all the polls showing he does a lot better with the upper middle class, with African-American voters, with well-educated. He really needs to get some of those other voters, the Democratic traditional base -- John.

KING: Suzanne Malveaux, standing by for Barack Obama in Minneapolis, Minnesota, one of the Super Tuesday states. We'll get back with Suzanne when Senator Obama takes the stage there. We'll give you live BALLOT BOWL coverage.

His chief rival and now his only rival for the Democratic nomination is of course Senator Hillary Clinton of New York. As Suzanne noted, California, one of the big Super Tuesday prizes, if you saw our debate on CNN earlier in the week, the first fascinating opportunity to see the two candidates, the Democratic contenders, go one-on-one in a debate.

Senator Clinton in California earlier today, a state that is critical when it comes to the big delegate count these candidates need to clinch the nomination. Let's listen to a bit of Senator Clinton earlier today at the University of California.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SEN. HILLARY CLINTON (D-NY), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I have been very specific in this campaign, because I believe you have a right to know what I will do if you give me your vote. And I have been willing to talk in detail about all of the important and complex problems facing our country, because I want you and you and you and you to hold me accountable.

I want you to know when you vote for me that I will get up every day and try to do exactly what I told you I would do. There will be no guesswork. I'm not asking you to take a leap of faith. I'm asking you to hire me to do the hardest job in the entire world.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

H. CLINTON: And so...

CROWD: Yes, we can! Yes, we can! Yes, we can!

H. CLINTON: And so here is what I want to ask you. We have three days left for you to help me reach as many voters as possible with my message that I have the experience we need to make the changes we want in America, and that I will start on day one because on January 20th, after the next president is sworn in, there's going to be all of these problems waiting in the Oval Office, aren't there?

And there's a lot of problems we don't even know about yet. So what we have to do together is be resolved, that there isn't anything that stands in our way once we have leadership again that believes in the American people, sets goals for us, brings us together in order to achieve them.

So I want you to tell everybody you can reach -- some of you I hope will walk the streets of L.A. this weekend as part of our canvassing operation, to bring out as many voters as possible, because in a very real way this election is not about me or my opponent.

It is about you. It is about your lives and your futures. And you have to make this difficult decision. So are you ready for change?

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

H. CLINTON: Are you ready for an economy that will work for everyone again? Are you ready for universal health care? Are you ready for affordable college? Are you ready to end the war in Iraq and bring our troops home? Well, if you're ready for change, I am ready to lead. And with your help we will make history.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

KING: Senator Hillary Clinton campaigning in California earlier today. And if you were listening at the top, you heard her note, only three days left to campaign in advance of the Super Tuesday primary. So many states at play from the East Coast to the West Coast, way up north in Minnesota, down to the Deep South here in Alabama.

So to contest in all those states, well, you need some help from friends. And Senator Clinton has, of course, one of the best political assets in the Democratic Party, her husband, the former president of the United States, Bill Clinton. And before he was president, he was Arkansas governor. Bill Clinton playing to his southern roots earlier today, campaigning for his wife in Huntsville, Alabama.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BILL CLINTON, 42ND PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I believe that this is, first of all, a remarkable campaign. How many of you saw the debate the other night?

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

B. CLINTON: It was amazing. I thought, I am so proud to be a Democrat. I have loved this election. When all the candidates were in there, I said that this was a happy campaign for me because I did not have to be against anybody.

(LAUGHTER)

B. CLINTON: Well, you know, we've all been in elections where you voted for this one so that one wouldn't win. I don't feel that way. I've liked them all. I've admired them all. Senator Edwards and Senator Biden and Senator Dodd and Governor Richardson, who was in my cabinet, Congressman Kucinich, these are good people, they had things to say to America.

And I thought, again, when I saw that debate that our side is discussing things that their side is not even talking about.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

B. CLINTON: And that's what gives us the opportunity to win a great victory. But you have both a luxury and a heavy responsibility. You have to pick the person who would be the best president. And I want to tell you why I would be here today, knowing what I know about the presidency and the challenges America faces, the immense economic, health care, education challenges we face at home and the immense challenges we face around the world.

If I had never been married to Hillary, but she asked me to be here today, I would be here, because she's the best candidate for president I've had a chance to support in my lifetime.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

B. CLINTON: I have been a little amused by some of the campaign debates saying, well, if you vote for her, it's like a step into the past. Well, as if that all of the -- well, let me just say this, all past is not the same. The '90s weren't too bad, and they look pretty good compared to what the American people have been through.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

B. CLINTON: We did have the longest economic expansion, the biggest movement of people out of poverty, the lowest African-American poverty, the lowest child poverty, the highest home ownership among all Americans without regard to race, the highest business ownership among all Americans without regard to race.

We were growing forward together for the first time in over 20 years. Median, the ones in the middle, family income rose and inequality decreased. All of that has returned with a vengeance in this decade. So she does...

(CHEERING)

B. CLINTON: Hillary does not want us to go back to the past, but she thinks we've got to get back on our feet so we can walk into the future together.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

B. CLINTON: So here is my case. The president first has to have a vision for America. Where are we going to go and how are we going to get there? And plans to carry out that vision. First, her vision for America looks like this audience, that we should all be together without regard to race or gender or religion any other category, walking forward together.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

B. CLINTON: That we get by the divisive politics of Washington, not by talking about it but by doing together, by working on big things together, by building tomorrow together. And to do that she says we have to do three big things.

First, we have got to rebuild the middle class dream in America and let poor people have a chance to get into it.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

B. CLINTON: I know this is one of the most prosperous parts of the state, but let me just say, this debate in Washington in the last few days about the stimulus package and what should be done in the stimulus to forestall a recession, it's a fine debate. And Hillary thinks it doesn't go nearly far enough.

She thinks we should do more to extend unemployment support and we should start investing now in new jobs and green energy. But the main thing is, most Americans think this debate is crazy because they think they've been in a recession for several years now.

Most people even in prosperous parts of America are flat broke at the end of every month. Median income is $1,000 lower today than it was the day I left the White House after inflation.

Meanwhile, health care costs have doubled, the cost of college education has almost doubled. The cost of housing and gasoline and electricity have gone up. Now, last year for the first time in more than 20 years, the cost of food went up at twice the rate of inflation. And this is a serious problem.

One of the reasons people are in such trouble is that the so- called recovery of the last six years, unlike ours, has been dramatically unequal, 90 percent of the gains to the top 10 percent of earners, half of that to the top 1 percent, a big part of that to the top 0.1 percent. All of whom have been far bigger tax cuts than middle class Americans while we ran the country from surplus into deficit and put ourselves in bondage to people we have to borrow money from every single day.

That is not the right direction for America. We must restore the middle class dream.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

KING: Former President Bill Clinton campaigning earlier today up the road in Huntsville, Alabama. Trying to help his wife campaign in one of the key Super Tuesday states. More than 20 states at play on Tuesday. The primaries, from East Coast to West, north to south, his wife, Senator Clinton, was out in California today. President Clinton here in his native South campaigning in the state of Alabama, much more to come in our final hour of BALLOT BOWL '08 today. We're standing by for Barack Obama, live in Minneapolis, Minnesota, another key Super Tuesday state.

And we'll show you the Republican candidates as well. McCain, Romney, Huckabee, all out campaigning in advance of what could be a decisive day on Tuesday for the Republican field. Please stay with us. Thanks for sharing some of your day with us. Don't go away. CNN's BALLOT BOWL continues in just a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) DANA BASH, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Welcome back to BALLOT BOWL '08. I'm Dana Bash in Nashville, Tennessee. Tennessee is one of the two dozen or so Super Tuesday states that will be voting on Tuesday. There is a very important primary here in Tennessee. One of three southern states that Republican John McCain is hitting today. Another is the state of Alabama. And that's where my colleague, John King, is right now.

And, John, I want to ask you about what John McCain said in Birmingham there. Really interesting, something he didn't say at his first stop here in Nashville. And that is, he talked about his long- time opposition to abortion and also talked about the issue of judges, too. Very critical, crucial issues for social conservatives, conservatives obviously is that core block of Republican voters that John McCain has had a lot of trouble with, still having trouble with, clearly trying to reach out to.

KING: Exactly right, Dana. It's interesting to watch Senator McCain right now. Fascinating, in fact. He's campaigning almost on two tracks. Number one, he knows he is not yet the Republican nominee and he has to address the questions about his conservative credentials. On the other hand, he's increasingly confident and so more and more he is trying to contrast himself with the Democratic Party.

But on the point you just made, Senator McCain knows especially here in the South there are many who question his conservative credentials. And Governor Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts, is, of course, at every stop in the campaign saying John McCain often sides with the Democrats, John McCain often takes liberal positions.

So here in Birmingham earlier today, he went out of his way knowing this is a culturally conservative state, a state where people want to hear him address the conservative issues. He in his speech, unprompted, talked about his career opposing abortion rights, saying that he was a proud pro-life vote in the United States Senate and would be a proud pro-life president. That, of course, to answer some of the criticism coming in direct mail pieces and others from the Romney campaign.

He also said as president he would appoint strict constructionist judges. That is a code word to social conservatives that he would appoint judges who oppose abortion rights and who oppose an expansion of gay rights. Senator McCain saying that Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Alito are his models of how he would approach naming judges as president.

So McCain clearly going out of his way to answer the criticism that he is not a conservative, both on fiscal issues and on those key social issues. And yet, at the same time he is increasingly confident that he will be the Republican nominee, that he will have a good night on Super Tuesday and get into a dramatically close position to clinching enough delegates for the Republican nomination.

So more and more we are hearing him talking about contrast between a McCain candidacy and then running against either Senator Barack Obama and Senator Clinton. And what Senator McCain told his crowd here in Birmingham was that one of the key issues of distinction that he would have in the general election, if he is the nominee, is the issue of Iraq.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R-AZ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We're going to have a great debate between myself and either the senator from New York or the senator from Illinois. And I'm telling you, my friends, part of it is going to be how to make America safe and whether we're going to surrender and wave the white flag or not, whether we're going to win this titanic struggle against al Qaeda.

And we will win, my friends. We will never surrender, they will.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

MCCAIN: And we're going to have that debate.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

MCCAIN: We're going to have a bigger Army and we're going to have a bigger Marine Corps and we're going to have a bigger Navy, and we're going to have a bigger Air Force, because, my friends, I'd love to tell you that there's not going to be any more wars.

But I have to tell you that this is a dangerous world. When America has been the beacon of hope and liberty and will remain so. Let me just tell you -- by the way, speaking of General David Petraeus, you might have seen that TIME magazine had Vladimir Putin as the "Man of the Year."

I looked into Mr. Putin's eyes and saw three letters, a K, a G, and a B. The "Man of the Year" for the United States of America and the world was General David Petraeus, my friends. That was the man of the years.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

MCCAIN: And I want to mention one other guy to you. I want to mention one other guy to you, Osama bin Laden. He has been getting out his message over the Internet, as you know. And he's able to recruit and motivate and instruct other evil radical Islamic extremists.

I look you in the eye, my friends, and I will tell you, if I have to follow him to the gates of Hell, I will get Osama bin Laden and I will bring him to justice. I'll get him.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

MCCAIN: I'll get him, my friends. I will.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) MCCAIN: So let me just end up with a very brief story. Lindsey Graham and I, and my favorite, favorite Democrat in all the world, Joe Lieberman...

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

MCCAIN: we were in Baghdad over Fourth of July. General Petraeus asked us to be present at the reenlistment of 688 brave young Americans who could have gone home, who could have served and laid down their sword and shield. Instead they reenlisted to remain there and fight for the freedom of the Iraqi people.

And on the way back from there, I said, you know, Lindsey, we can't let these people down. We can't let these young people down. I know it's unpopular for us to support the surge. We know it's unpopular to say, you need more troops over there instead of less. We knew that.

And at the time I thought, you know, if these young people are willing to do what they're doing, why should I worry about my political fortunes? And I'm sure you may know that many of the experts at that time said that McCain's political ambitions were at an end. And that was fine with me. I said at the time I would much rather lose a political campaign than lose a war.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

KING: Senator John McCain, the Republican candidate for president here in Birmingham, Alabama, a bit earlier today. More from the Republican candidates and more conversation with my colleague Dana Bash in just a few moments. But right now we want to take you live to Minneapolis, Minnesota, the scene of a rally by the Democratic candidate for president, Senator Barack Obama. Let's listen in.

SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D-IL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You won't hurt my feelings and you'll be a little more comfortable. For those of you who don't have seats, hang in there.

It has been almost a year since I stood on the steps of the Old State Capitol in Springfield, Illinois, a building where Abraham Lincoln once served before he went to Washington, a city where I served.

You know, I can hear somebody coming out of my sound system. Does somebody have a mike on them? Does somebody have a mike on them? It's just coming through here real quick. Sorry. A little technical difficulties here.

So this was the city, Springfield, Illinois, where I served for many years before I went to Washington as the United States senator. And I announced this unlikely journey to change America. Now I have to say that at the time some people asked me, why are you running this time? You're a relatively young man. You can afford to wait.

And what I said to them was that I am not running because of some long-held ambition. I know that people have looked through my kindergarten papers. But that's not why I decided to run.

(LAUGHTER)

OBAMA: I am not running because I thought it was somehow owed to me, because I thought it was my turn. I am running because of what Dr. King called the "fierce urgency of now."

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

OBAMA: The fierce urgency of now. Because I believe there's such a thing as being too late, and that hour is almost upon us. We are in a defining moment in our history. Our nation is at war. Our planet is in peril. The dream that so many generations fought for feels like it's slowly slipping away.

And you see it in your own lives and your own communities. People are working harder and harder just to get by. They've never paid more for college, never paid more for gas at the pump, never paid more to heat their homes. It's harder to save. It's harder to retire. Seniors are still struggling to get prescription drugs. Our health care system is broken. Our education system, despite the slogan, still leaves millions of children behind, unable to compete in a global economy.

Given these facts, we cannot afford to wait. We cannot wait to fix our health care system. We cannot wait to fix our schools. We cannot wait to bring an end to global warming. We cannot wait to create good jobs with good wages and good benefits. We cannot wait to bring an end to this war in Iraq and begin to bring our troops home. We cannot wait.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

OBAMA: We cannot wait. I realized a year ago that the size of our challenges had outstripped the capacity of a broken and divided politics to solve. And I was certain that the American people were hungry for something new.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

OBAMA: That they wanted a politics that was not about tearing each other down, but was about lifting the country up.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

OBAMA: That the people wanted a politics not based on ideology, but based on practical common sense, that they wanted not spin and PR, but they wanted honesty and truth and straight talk from their elected officials.

In other words, when I decided to run, I was betting on you. I was betting on you. Because I believe that change in America does not happen from the top down. It happens from the bottom up.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) OBAMA: Some of you know that I got my start in public service as a community organizer working in Chicago, helping laid off steelworkers who had been laid off their jobs, black, white, Hispanic, on the South Side of Chicago. We helped to set up job training programs for the unemployed and after-school programs for youth, and tried to bring economic development into these communities.

And there's a direct line, a direct path between that work as an organizer and me sitting in the United States Senate. And some of you know that when I first got to the United States Senate, I opened up the drawer of the desk where I was assigned. And it has the names of some of the great senators who have served. They carved their names in their own hand into the desk drawer.

And one of those names was somebody who shared with me this belief that change doesn't happen from the top down, a guy named Paul Wellstone.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

OBAMA: A guy who helped to create a movement here in Minnesota because he believed in you the way that I believe in you. And this is part of that movement for change all throughout America.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

KING: Senator Barack Obama campaigning there live in Minneapolis. Minnesota is one of the many Super Tuesday states where the Democrats and the Republicans competing for votes in advance of what is certainly a critical day, and at least on the Republican side could be a decisive day in the campaign.

We will keep an eye on Senator Obama, check back in with him later in the day. More coverage of the Republican candidates still to come as well. Please stay with us. Thanks for spending some time with us on this day. You're watching the CNN BALLOT BOWL.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: Welcome back to the CNN "BALLOT BOWL." Much more of our coverage still to come, more from the Republican candidates in just a few moments.

First let's dip back into Minneapolis, Minnesota, with Barack Obama, the Democratic candidate for president. Let's listen.

BARACK OBAMA, (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: And we -- at these rallies, I see Independents and I told the reporters, I think we're going to have a big turnout from Independents. They said Independents never participate in caucuses. They wait until the general election. That caucus night you saw them filing in. They said to me, I never participated in a caucus before, but I thought this was too important to sit out. I want to make sure that we get it right this time.

And then I had to confess to some of these one pundits. I said I think we're going to get some Republicans. I know because they're in my rallies. I know because they whisper to me afterwards as I'm shaking hands. They say, Barack, I'm a Republican. I'm a Republican.

I'm a Republican. But I support you. And I say, thank you. Thank you. Why are we whispering?

Sure enough, on caucus night, this time they weren't whispering. They'd come out and shout like this guy did. I'm a Republican, but I'm changing registration so I can participate in this caucus because I, too, want to bring a change in America.

So people have been engaged and people have been involved. I can't take all the credit because we have had some outstanding candidates. Just this past week John Edwards decided to get out of the race, but John ran an outstanding race. He elevated poverty, talked about the working class. He was true to the Paul Wellstone tradition. I'm proud of the work he did. He is going to be working alongside me and everybody else to make sure that we bring about the kind of future that we believe in here in America.

KING: Barack Obama, the Senator from Illinois, campaigning in Minnesota, one of the Democratic candidates for president.

Also making his way to Minnesota this hour is the Republican candidate, Mitt Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts. Governor Romney off the campaign trail for much of today because he was in Salt Lake City attending the funeral service of Gordon Hinckley, the president of the Church of Jesus Christ for Latter Day Saints. He's now making his way to a campaign event in Minnesota.

We wanted to bring you a flavor of Governor Romney's campaign as well as we continue our "BALLOT BOWL" coverage on CNN.

One of the states where he's trying to contest John McCain for delegates is California. Listen here as Governor Romney draws some sharp contrast with his rival John McCain, this is on Friday in Fountain Valley, California.

MITT ROMNEY, (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: What's going to be the heart and soul of the Republican Party? What are we going to stand for? You've got two people that have narrowed the race. I don't want to be disrespectful of Governor Huckabee and Ron Paul. They're both good men. If you look at the votes we've each received, it's come down to basically a two-person race. We're different, Senator McCain and I. I respect his service. I also think when the economy is in trouble, it's helpful to have a person as president who has actually had a job in the real economy.

And if you question whether there's a difference in our understanding of how the economy works, go back and look at the debate last night and listen to Senator McCain's answer about the housing crisis. He took sort of a stream of consciousness walk and mentioned something about punishing people on Wall Street and something about a town in Norway. I'm not sure whether you followed that. I'm serious.

The answer to our housing crisis and to our economy is of a very different nature than what he described last night, I'm afraid. I do understand the economy. It is in my DNA. He says it's not his strong suit. It is my strong suit. I'll strengthen our economy.

But there's some other differences. There are some other differences that you've probably noticed. That is, when it came time -- the last time we had an economy in trouble, when it came time to decide what we're going to do, President Bush stood up and, despite the fact that a couple people in his own party argued against him, he said, you know what, I'm going to lower taxes on all the American people. Senator McCain was one of two who stood up and said I'm going to vote against it because of the tax cut for the rich which is just what the Democrats were saying. That's not the direction the Republican Party wants to see in their candidate for president.

You know, I think Senator McCain is known for three major pieces of legislation. You think what are...

AUDIENCE MEMBER: McCain-Feingold.

ROMNEY: OK, we're going to have a contest here. What are they?

McCain-Feingold, McCain-Kennedy and McCain-Lieberman. Now McCain-Feingold took a wack out of the First Amendment and exchanged the way we could finance campaigns and said we're going to put limits on the candidate's campaign fundraising ability. And we're going to limit what parties can receive. But we're going to leave an open door for these outside groups that George Soros and people like that run. And they're going to take over politics and they out-spent us in the last presidential election by $170 million. That's what McCain- Feingold did to us and did to America. I don't support it. I don't want our nominee to support it.

KING: The former Massachusetts governor, Mitt Romney, Republican candidate for president. That event in Fountain Valley, California. California one of the big prizes on Super Tuesday. Hoping to pick up delegates in California, one of the states where under Republican rules they do things proportionally based on winning congressional districts throughout the state. Governor Romney hoping to have a good Super Tuesday to get back into the delegate hunt with Senator McCain.

Dana Bash is in Nashville, Tennessee where McCain was campaigning earlier today.

Dana, it is clear there is bad blood between Senator McCain and Governor Romney. Senator McCain doesn't like Romney so much and that shows up from time to time on the campaign trail. It is without question that the criticisms on Senator McCain reaching across the aisle to work with Democrats have forced a change as he tries to prove himself to core Republicans.

DANA BASH, CNN NEWS ANCHOR: Absolutely right. Mitt Romney has forced a change in a couple of ways in what McCain is saying. It's typical for any kind of campaign. You have to adjust based on what your opponent is saying about you.

But the way he has forced McCain to change is, number one, about the economy, about the fact that, as you heard there, really kind of a big dis to John McCain suggesting he had no idea what he was talking about with regard to what was going on in the housing market. That's why you heard here today in Nashville and where you are, of course, John, in Birmingham, Senator McCain talking about the economy. That's because Mitt Romney is hitting him on the issue saying he really doesn't get it, but also the reality that this is what voters want to hear about. This is the dominant issue on the campaign trail and in the country right now, the downturn in the economy.

But the other way Mitt Romney is trying to get John McCain to change his message is in his appeal to conservatives. You heard it in Birmingham today, John McCain talking about the fact that he has been staunchly anti-abortion for his entire career. He does want judges that are strict constructionists. That is code for somebody who is not going to be for abortion rights, if you will, on the bench. Those are ways that John McCain has had to shift because of what Mitt Romney is saying.

It's also the reality for John McCain that he understands that this is something he has to do whether Mitt Romney is sort of poking his weak spots or not with regard to conservatives. John McCain with this broad, big primary and caucus day on Tuesday has to really, really appeal to Republicans in a way he was able to in Florida, where it was a Republican-only primary, but not so much in some of the early important contest states that he won in New Hampshire and South Carolina where he was propelled by a big number of Independents in those states with his victories -- John?

KING: Dana Bash in Nashville, Tennessee.

Three days until Super Tuesday. We'll get a sense where McCain is having success that he is the true conservative as he says.

Dana, thank you very much.

As you're watching us here on "BALLOT BOWL," you're seeing the candidates in their own words unfiltered. If you live in a Super Tuesday state or a state that has already voted, you're probably seeing them from time to time the way they want you to hear them, in their carefully scripted TV ads.

When we come back from a quick break, our senior political analyst, Bill Schneider, with a bit of flavor on how much the candidates are spending on their ad campaigns and just who they're targeting.

Please stay with us. You're watching the CNN "BALLOT BOWL."

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: Welcome back to "BALLOT BOWL '08." I'm John King, live in Birmingham, Alabama.

As we've been telling you for the past several hours, more than 20 states play on the Tuesday primary, huge swarth for them to compete in. It takes a lot of travel and it also takes a lot of money.

Our senior political analyst, Bill Schneider, joins us from Los Angeles.

Bill, heading into these contests, especially after the candidates spent so much on the earlier contests of Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, Florida, when you look at the numbers, who is in the best shape financially?

BILL SCHNEIDER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: The Democrats, Barack Obama particularly -- Obama raised $32 million in the month of January which is an all-time record. As important is that is the fact he raised it in small amounts, small givers over the Internet who continue to give money.

Hillary Clinton has also been very successful in fundraising. She gets it in larger amounts. Both of the Democrats are miles ahead of the Republicans when it comes to raising money.

McCain has had to scramble every time he wins a primary, some more money comes in.

Mitt Romney is heavily in debt, although, of course, he has a lot of his own money that he can spend.

KING: Bill, that money is used to fuel up the plane, get the buses, pay for the events, banners and signs, but a lot when you're heading into a multi-state primary goes into TV ad spending. Explain that.

SCHNEIDER: How can you communicate with voters from coast to coast? You're not going to appear everywhere. The only way is with TV ads. The candidates are taking out ads, some on national cable, some in local markets. They're doing it all over the country.

Some are a bit more targeted. Barack Obama is targeting his ads at large urban areas where there are a lot of liberal and anti-war voters; Mike Huckabee in areas where there are a lot of evangelical voters; Mitt Romney in conservative areas. They're doing it from coast to coast.

Some the Democrats are spending about $4 million a week on these ads.

With all the spending on all the ads for the Super Tuesday primaries in 24 states, the estimates are that the candidates will have spent about $80 million in Iowa and New Hampshire and about $20 million on all the Super Tuesday states put together.

KING: So the emphasis still on those early battle grounds. Bill Schneider joining us, breaking down the dollars and cents. Thank you very much.

A quick break now. Our "BALLOT BOWL" coverage will continue. Also just on the other side of the break, an update on other stories making news today. Please stay with us. You're watching the CNN "BALLOT BOWL."

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) TONY HARRIS, CNN NEWS ANCHOR: I'm Tony Harris at the CNN headquarters in Atlanta. More "BALLOT BOWL '08" ahead, but first, here is what's happening right now in the news.

Police in suburban Chicago say five females were shot and killed at a Lane Bryant store this morning. A search is on for a gunman. Right now police aren't sure what his motive was.

Officials in Chad are denying reports that President Idriss Deby has fled the country. Hundreds of rebel forces have entered the capital. Fighting has been reported near the presidential palace. A battle near the airport complicated plans to evacuate Americans.

Funeral services were held for Marine Lance Corporal Maria Lauterbach. Beside her casket, a smaller silver one containing the remains of her unborn baby. The pregnant Marine's charred remains were found at a fellow Marine's home. Police suspect Marine Corporal Cesar Laurean is expected in killing her. Police suspect he fled to Mexico.

An Amtrak train is now moving again bound for Chicago and way behind schedule. A snowplow fell and blocked the tracks yesterday. Another train was towed away and its passengers redirected to their destination.

More winter weather. One highly regarded groundhog suggests, yes, or at least his shadow does. We put our highly trained and decorated Jacqui Jeras up against -- there's no contest, Jacqui.

JACQUI JERAS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Thank you. Although I think we concur that there's going to be more winter weather, particularly across parts of the west.

(WEATHER REPORT)

This storm is going to be affecting the weather for Super Bowl Sunday. The big game for tomorrow, expecting to see cloudy skies and showers. We might have to put up the retractable roof. Temperatures in the 60s -- Tony?

HARRIS: Jacqui, appreciate it. Thank you.

That's a quick look. Let's get you back to John king live in Birmingham, Alabama, for more of CNN "BALLOT BOWL '08."

John, it's all yours.

KING: Excellent call, siding with Jacqui, Tony. A smart man you are.

We're back to continue our coverage with "BALLOT BOWL" here. A few minutes left of "BALLOT BOWL" coverage today, but much more tomorrow.

But in the few moments we have left, we want to dip back in briefly. Barack Obama is campaigning for the Democratic presidential nomination in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Let's listen in.

OBAMA: ... we could have put our people back to work. We could have sent our kids to college. We could have claimed teachers and nurses and doctors, laid broadband lines in rural communities. That would have made us more safe.

All the lives, who knows what they might have done. So we should have never gone into that war. And I will end that war when I'm president of the United States. And I will bring our troops home in 2009.

But I don't want to just end the war. I want to end the mind set that got us into war. I want to end the politics of fear, that tries to use tragedy to scare up votes instead of bring us together in a common purpose.

Early in this campaign I got in an argument with Senator Clinton. I said I would meet not just with our friends, but with our enemies, not just with leaders we liked, but leaders we didn't. And all the talking heads in Washington said, oh, that's a gap, that's so irresponsible, that's so naive. You can't do that. And I said, watch me.

Because I remember what John F. Kennedy said. He said we should never negotiate out of fear, but we should never fear to negotiate. Strong countries and strong presidents talk to their adversaries and tell them where America stands and try to resolve our differences without resorting to war.

When we do that, I'm looking forward to going before the world community and saying, America is back. We are ready to lead. And we will lead.

KING: Barack Obama campaigning there in Minneapolis, Minnesota in advance of the Super Tuesday primaries.

That's all the time we have for our edition of "BALLOT BOWL." We thank you for spending time with us. We hope you've enjoyed seeing and assessing the candidates on all the issues from healthcare, Iraq, and economy.

I thank my colleagues Dana Bash, Suzanne Malveaux and Candy Crowley.

We'll be back with more "BALLOT BOWL" tomorrow starting at 1:00 eastern time. We hope you'll join us. More politics on CNN tonight. A replay of the debates this past week out in California. That's at 7:00 p.m.

Also join us on Tuesday for our Super Tuesday coverage, a dramatic day in presidential politics history making and potentially decisive in the contest of the run for president. Special coverage here on CNN. We hope you'll join us.

I'm John King in Birmingham, Alabama. Thanks for spending time with us on Saturday. We'll be back tomorrow. And "Lou Dobbs this Weekend" after a short break. Good night.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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