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AMERICAN MORNING

Clinton Versus Obama: In Virtual Dead Heat; Super Tuesday: Final Push; Obama and Clinton Hometown Rivals; NY Giants Upset Patriots: Wins Super Bowl; Dream Ticket: Would Clinton and Obama Join Forces?

Aired February 4, 2008 - 06:00   ET

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


JOHN ROBERTS, CNN ANCHOR: Live from Chicago and New York on this AMERICAN MORNING.
And good morning to you. Thanks very much for joining us. It is Monday. Welcome to AMERICAN MORNING. I'm John Roberts live at Manny's Cafeteria and Delicatessen here in Chicago. Kiran, you would love this place.

KIRAN CHETRY, CNN ANCHOR: Oh, oh. I need to know what the top things on the menu are? But I've got to tell you, John, New York City is a city on fire this morning after yesterday. There was no sleep for the weary. The street -- you could just hear people screaming and cheering in the streets well into the night yesterday because of that surprise upset yesterday at the Super Bowl.

ROBERTS: There was actually a little bit of screaming in my hotel room last night, too, when I watched that pass that Eli Manning made into the end zone. Hey, let me just tell you quickly a little bit about where we are here. This is like the place to come if you want to talk politics, the south side of the main city of Chicago in the south loop area here. It's been around since 1942, it's Manny's.

And here's why you would love it, Kiran, because here and there, there are a little publicity blurb, they say. At Manny's you don't diet, you don't snack, you don't nosh. You come to this landmark lunchroom to pile your tray high and eat like there is no tomorrow. So we'll be sampling some of the fare here a little bit later on. We're also going to be talking politics. Lynn Sweet from the "Chicago Sun-Times" is here to join us as well. We are going to be talking with Mike Huckabee a little bit later on this morning, and also Bill Richardson. So lots on the plate today, and let's send it back to you, Kiran, to start us all off this morning.

CHETRY: All right, John, thanks so much. And you're right. The presidential candidates in overdrive this morning. They have just 24 hours to try to win over voters in about 24 states and about half of the available delegates for both parties.

Barack Obama covering a lot of ground in the northeast today. He's campaigning in New Jersey, Connecticut and Massachusetts. And if you take a look at our CNN Opinion Research Corporation Poll, this was just out moments ago. Barack Obama is at 49 percent with Hillary Clinton at 46 percent. It's really a tie when you factor in the margin of error, and I believe one of the first times that you see in those national polls Barack Obama pulling ahead. If you average five of the latest national polls, Clinton still does have the slight lead over Barack Obama, 45 to 43 percent.

The big battleground will be California, though. There are 370 delegates at stake. California's first lady, Maria Shriver, has announced her support of Barack Obama. She joins Oprah Winfrey, her cousin, Caroline Kennedy, and Obama's wife, Michelle, all of them at a rally in Los Angeles. Senator Obama told CBS's "Face the Nation" that Republican and independent voters are less inclined to support Hillary Clinton in the general election.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I don't think there's any doubt that the Republicans consider her a polarizing figure. The tone that I take, the ability to disagree without being disagreeable, the willingness to listen to Republicans about some of their ideas even though I may not agree with all of them, I think that creates a different climate and I think that we can attract independents and Republicans in the way that Senator Clinton cannot.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHETRY: Obama says he knows he will not be immune from attacks in what he calls the Republican spin machine in the general election.

As for Hillary Clinton, she is staying close to home before Super Tuesday, campaigning in New York and Connecticut, and she'll also be a guest tonight on the "Late Show with David Letterman." Clinton campaigned in Minnesota Sunday and celebrated New York's upset in the Super Bowl. She says she sees it as a good sign for her campaign on Super Tuesday -- John.

ROBERTS: Kiran, while the race is tightening on the Democratic side, the story is much different for the GOP. Republican front- runner John McCain is expanding his lead over Romney. Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee is in a distant third place in the national race, but he insists that the race is not a two-man between McCain and Romney. CNN's Dana Bash joins us now live from Trenton, New Jersey, with more on these new poll numbers. And a bold move today by Senator McCain. But first of all, Dana, let's take a look at what the polls are telling us. Is McCain now a clear front-runner?

DANA BASH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, according to the national polls, he absolutely is, John. And let's get right to it. First of all, the new CNN Opinion Research Poll does show McCain at 44 percent. Mitt Romney is trailing at 29 percent. Mike Huckabee has 18, and Ron Paul has six percent. That pretty much mirrors our poll of polls which has John McCain at 45 percent, Mitt Romney at 24 percent, Mike Huckabee at 17, and again, Ron Paul at six percent.

So, this really, given the fact that this essentially is what amounts to a national primary tomorrow with 24 states voting, you can't really affirmatively determine what the polling is in those states with this national poll, but it's pretty close. And that is why, John, the John McCain campaign, they are approaching this the way they are, which is to say that this is a national campaign and that he is a national front-runner. And to really kind of portray an air of inevitability saying to Republican voters, you know, you've got to be with me because I'm going to be your guy. And it is exactly why Mitt Romney is trying to say, wait a minute. He's not exactly going to be the nominee yet. And this is, Republican voters, your chance to stop John McCain.

It really has been -- the strategy from Mitt Romney has been not so much in the past couple of days, I'm your man, but I'm the guy who's sort of the anti-John McCain. And the way he is doing that is by saying that John McCain is simply not conservative enough, and voters should go look to Mitt Romney as the conservative alternative to John McCain -- John.

ROBERTS: And, Dana, kind of a real in-your-face move from John McCain and Mitt Romney this morning?

BASH: Very much so. John McCain is waking up in Mitt Romney's home state of Massachusetts. Romney, of course, is the former governor of Massachusetts. And over the past couple of days, McCain has been racking up the endorsements from some of Mitt Romney's former colleagues up there, a couple of former Republican governors. He is up there, he says, to -- because Massachusetts, of course, is a Super Tuesday state and he says that he is viable there. Unclear how really viable he is, though, John, and the reality is he's also raising some much-needed cash in Massachusetts. That's part of the strategy.

But look, you know, the Romney campaign says, if you want to come up to Massachusetts, if you want to tweak me -- in fact, Mitt Romney himself said that that's fine, but they think that he's making a big mistake because there are other important states like California where it is neck and neck and a lot more delegates are at stake. So, perhaps the in-your-face move might pay off in the end, might embarrass Mitt Romney, but, you know, it might be a move that John McCain may regret. We'll see.

ROBERTS: Well, we'll find out very soon. Dana Bash for us this morning in Trenton, New Jersey. Dana, thanks -- Kiran.

BASH: Thank you.

CHETRY: Thanks, John. Well, CNN is your place for nonstop coverage before Super Tuesday. Republican candidate Mike Huckabee joins us live 6:40 Eastern Time. Former Democratic candidate Bill Richardson joins us at 7:30 Eastern. He could announce an endorsement.

CNN is your home for the "Most Politics" on Super Tuesday. Forty nonstop hours. It all kicks off right here. It starts with us on AMERICAN MORNING, 6:00 a.m.. Wednesday, we'll be live at 5:00 a.m. Eastern as well.

Our Alina Cho is here with some other stories new this morning including breaking news out of the Middle East this morning. Hi Alina, good to see you.

ALINA CHO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi there. Good to see you, Kiran. Good morning and good morning, everybody.

Yes, that breaking news this morning, Israel's first suicide bombing in more than a year. The suicide bomber killed at least one person and injured 11 others. It happened at a shopping mall about 50 miles south of Jerusalem. Israeli police say there was a second suicide bomber, but police killed him before he could detonate his suicide belt. A splinter group of Fatah, the party of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has claimed responsibility for the attack.

In just a couple of hours, President Bush will unveil the nation's first ever $3 trillion budget. The plan would boost military funding, but there would be cuts in more than 150 federal programs, including Medicaid and Medicare. The budget also projects a $400 billion deficit for this year and the next. The Democratic-controlled Congress is promising to oppose the president's budget.

The search for two missing skiers near Lake Tahoe, California, will resume in the next few hours. They disappeared Saturday afternoon following a storm in the area that dumped more than two feet of snow. The skiers are described as experts. That could help them. Rescuers say their chances of survival are pretty good if they're able to hunker down in a snow cave.

Prosecutors in Aruba say they're reopening their investigation against Joran Van Der Sloot. A Dutch television show aired secretly recorded conversations between Van Der Sloot and a "friend" who turned out to be an undercover reporter on the tapes. Van Der Sloot apparently admits he was with Holloway on a beach when she got sick and passed out. He apparently said he panicked, and when she didn't appear to be alive, he called a friend and arranged to have her body dumped in the ocean. Van Der Sloot said he made the comments but they were all "lies." Holloway disappeared in 2005.

Well, it could soon be illegal for restaurants in Mississippi to serve people defined as obese. Obesity is a big problem in Mississippi. The state ranks number one in the nation for obesity for the past three years and pays $221 million a year in obesity-related health costs. Critics say the government should not try to be the food police, but it looks like there's a fat chance the bill will pass. Sponsors say the goal is to simply bring attention to the obesity epidemic.

And some are calling it the most exciting Super Bowl in history. The New York Giants have ended the New England Patriots' hopes for a perfect season. The patience paid off. They beat the Patriots last night in a come-from-behind victory. And this was one of the most exciting fourth quarters I've ever seen. The Giants came back scoring two touchdowns in the fourth quarter, the last one with just 35 seconds left in the game. Final score, 17-14. After the game, the Giants said they believed in themselves all along, even if no one else did.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MICHAEL STRAHAN, GIANTS DEFENSIVE LINEMAN: You know what? We watched a lot of TV. We had a lot of free time. I remember hearing somebody say, the Giants got a false sense of confidence from the first time we played them. No. We got confidence. And you know what? My guys are the best in the world.

TOM COUGHLIN, GIANTS HEAD COACH: I told them last night that other than family, the greatest feeling in the world is when all of a sudden you realize you're the world champion.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHO: Something else, huh? Here in New York City, excited Giants' fans celebrated the big upset in Times Square. The Giants, by the way, will have their victory parade down Broadway here in New York City tomorrow. It might have been our "NEWSROOM." You know, I could actually hear the people screaming at 10:30 at night last night.

CHETRY: Me, too.

CHO: It was incredible. It was really incredible. I'm not a big sports fan, but that fourth quarter was something else.

CHETRY: Alina is like what's all that yelling for? Let me tune on the television?

CHO: A touchdown? What's that?

CHETRY: It was two totally different games. The first half was a snooze, and the second half you couldn't take your eyes away.

(CROSSTALK)

CHO: I watched the first half, but I always tune in to fourth quarter.

CHETRY: Thanks, Alina.

CHO: You bet.

CHETRY: John?

ROBERTS: One of the better Super Bowls I've ever seen. Love it when it's that close.

Here in Chicago, the race for the nomination is the ultimate cross-town rivalry. Hillary Clinton grew up in Park Ridge. It's a suburb in the northwestern part of Chicago. And Barack Obama has lived in or near Hyde Park on Chicago's south side since the mid 1980s. This morning we're taking a closer look at how this town inspires their lives and their campaigns. We begin with Hillary's heartland roots.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ROBERTS (voice-over): Even on a snowy day, much of Park Ridge still looks the same as when a young Hillary Rodham once called it home. The elementary school where she was co-captain of the Safety Patrol. The Pickwick restaurant where she ordered hamburgers topped with chopped green olives. And the high school where she was the so- called Goldwater girl, a reference to her support of then Republican presidential candidate, Barry Goldwater. Most everyone was a Republican in Park Ridge in 1964.

PAUL GREEN, ROOSEVELT UNIVERSITY: It would have been a lot cozier for her to remain a Goldwater girl, you know, go into corporate law, marry some rich suburban guy and live in Lake Forest, have a big house and have a great, easy life. She chose the other way.

ROBERTS: That other way, of course, led her to the White House as first lady, and on to New York as a Democratic senator. But the transformation from Goldwater girl to liberal lightning rod began here in Park Ridge when she was a teenager.

SEN. HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: My youth minister from our church took a few of us down on a cold January night, to hear someone that we had read about. We had watched on television. We had seen with our own eyes from a distance, this phenomenon known as Dr. King.

ROBERTS: Reverend Don Jones is the youth minister who introduced Hillary to Dr. King here at Orchestra Hall. He also took her on trips from Park Ridge to Chicago's south side.

ROBERTS (on camera): What were you trying to expose a young Hillary Rodham to at that time? And how did she respond to it?

REV. DON JONES, HILLARY CLINTON'S YOUTH MINISTER: Well, one of the things I tried to do was to open up eyes to a wider world than what they were experiencing.

ROBERTS (voice-over): Jones says Hillary's political shift to the left was a process that took years, detailed in the many letters she wrote him while a student at Wellesley.

JONES: My opinions on most human conditions are being liberalized.

ROBERTS: Jones isn't sure why he saved all the letters and the photos from those years. Perhaps, he said, a premonition that the one-time young Republican was destined for something big.

JONES (on camera): So, as much of an impression as you made on her in her young life, she also made one on you?

JONES: She did, indeed, and she does -- still does. I learned from her, and she inspires me.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ROBERTS: And coming up at our next hour, we're going to take a look at what made Barack Obama Obama, working as a community organizer on Chicago's south side -- Kiran.

CHETRY: There are so many similarities in a way, you know, with the location, yet very different backgrounds. And, of course, I'm sure you heard all the buzz this weekend about the dream ticket. Why don't they just get together and be on a dream ticket together?

ROBERTS: Yes, a lot of people are talking about that. It was just about the biggest applause line of the night at the Democratic debate in Los Angeles on Thursday. But some people are saying that, you know, it really wouldn't be good for either one of them once they became president because the other one's presence, just their presence may serve to undercut them. So we'll see, you know. It's something that may gain traction, but we'll see how it plays out.

CHETRY: And, John, meanwhile, it was the thrill of victory for one, of course, the agony of defeat for another. Big Blue shocking the world, winning Super Bowl XLII. We're going to get reaction from the big game from reporters in Arizona covering both teams.

Also, one town in Oregon slammed with a foot and a half of snow over the weekend. That's on top of the six feet already there. Some people saying, I can't even see my house anymore. All I see is a little bit of roof. Calling in some unusual help to deal with the mess. We're going to explain ahead on AMERICAN MORNING.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANNOUNCER: Manning lobs it. Scores a lone touchdown, New York!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHETRY: It's just great to see on a big-screen TV, isn't it? An upset for the ages. The underdog New York Giants stunned the undefeated New England Patriots in one of the most exciting Super Bowls ever. A lot of screaming fans, honking cars last night here in New York City. In fact in Times Square, it looked like New Year's Eve as the party spills over onto the streets.

Steve Overmyer is a reporter with "Sports Net" New York and Dan Hausle is a reporter for our affiliate WHDH-TV in Boston, and both are in Glendale, Arizona this morning. Thanks for being with us, guys, and getting up early. Steve, you know, it's one of those times when you cover the Giants all-year long and you didn't get to actually be in New York City for the win, to see the fans' reaction. But what was it like there?

STEVE OVERMYER, SPORTS NET NY REPORTER: It was amazing to see what this team, who had overcome so much, started the season 0-2, giving up the most points that a Giants' team ever did in their first two games of the season and then go in that incredible run in the postseason. I don't think, Dan, I've seen a quarterback flip a switch like Eli Manning did in this postseason, to be able to turn it on. I don't know if it was Eli Manning out there or Peyton Manning because he was obviously the MVP of the Super Bowl. No longer can anybody criticize Eli Manning as not living up to his potential. He is now officially come of age as a Super Bowl champion over a team that was going for, I guess, the richest win in sports history.

DAN HAUSLE, WHDH-TV: Jackpot, 19-0. And I don't think anybody but New York fans believed that Eli Manning was going to do it. They thought the stage was set for another one of his collapses but it didn't happen, and as you say, he came of age. He out-Bradied (ph) Brady.

OVERMYER: Yes, he played better than Brady.

CHETRY: (INAUDIBLE) about that because there really was this feeling of inevitability for the Patriots going into this. Do you think you can point to one thing that went wrong last night? Or was it just the Giants played better overall yesterday?

HAUSLE: I think it was the Giants' defense playing better.

OVERMYER: Yes.

HAUSLE: Getting to Tom Brady, hitting Tom Brady more than he's been hit all season. Maybe the ankle wasn't 100 percent, but he is never going to say that. And it was just the fact that they were getting to him time, time, time and again, and he was unable to do what he has done all season long.

OVERMYER: Yes. And Michael Strahan made a comment before this game that he thought that Brady was a little too comfortable in the pocket. He was battered and bruised after this game, Kiran.

CHETRY: Yes. And the other thing I want to ask you is what changed over last year, Steve, for the Giants? I mean, I know there's a lot of talk about Eli Manning being able to mature. But, you know, you had Tiki Barber last year, one of the best running backs, and he's out of the mix this year. They talk about some changes with Tom Coughlin. But how does this team -- and a lot of rookies making plays last night coming through the way they did.

OVERMYER: Yes, I don't know if you want to say addition by subtraction, but it seemed to have played well for the Giants in this one. And you're right, the rookies, we had five rookies, key significant contributions to this game. So, it's really an amazing transformation we've seen out of the Giants, and considering Strahan and Toomer are the only real aging guys on that team, maybe this could be the team that could be starting to...

CHETRY: Wow.

OVERMYER: ... supplant the Patriots as the new dynasty. I don't know.

HAUSLE: Don't forget we've got young guys.

(CROSSTALK)

CHETRY: Feagles, right?

HAUSLE: We've got to give Tom Coughlin credit, too.

CHETRY: Wasn't he the oldest player in the -- wasn't he the oldest player to win a Super Bowl? Jeff Feagles, the kicker, at 41? OVERMYER: Yes. Twenty years in the NFL, and finally he gets to hoist a trophy.

HAUSLE: But he's a kicker. Come on, the kickers could stay around forever.

OVERMYER: You know what? You know what? I think he actually might kick until he's 50.

HAUSLE: He might.

(CROSSTALK)

OVERMYER: He's got eight more years --

HAUSLE: In fact, I'll give more than Anderson, anyway. So --

CHETRY: Well, it's certainly an exciting --

HAUSLE: The kicker -- he's a young guy certainly.

CHETRY: ... an exciting game. I know not many people thought it would end that way. I know you talked to a psychic, Steve, and he told you the Giants were going to win. I don't know if anyone bet based on what the psychic told you.

OVERMYER: No. I know, I'm not kidding. Yesterday, and we have videotape proof of this which you guys have in your hand, if you want. Beretta (ph) from Vision Quest here (ph) in Phoenix said the final score of this game was going to be a final score combined total of 31 points. One will end with a seven, the other will end with a four. The Giants would win this game.

(CROSSTALK)

HAUSLE: Did he give you any lottery numbers? Did he give you any lottery numbers here?

OVERMYER: We're going there tomorrow to try to find and will hook up for it.

CHETRY: Hey, Steve Overmyer and Dan Hausle, thanks to both of you for being with us.

OVERMYER: All right, thanks.

CHETRY: John?

ROBERTS: All right, thanks, Kiran. The Giants' defense certainly did a great job of knocking out a lot of passes that could have put a lot more points on the board for the Patriots.

Hey, a snowstorm so bad that inmates are picking up shovels, and the town says the extra hands are still not enough. Is there any relief in sight? We'll have the forecast for you straight ahead. And the Giants beat the Patriots on the field, but another battle was going on during the commercials. Which Super Bowl ad won with viewers? Our Veronica De La Cruz will have the answer to that coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ROBERTS: Well, we're following extreme weather this morning in Oregon. Eighteen inches of snow slamming the town of Idana, about 60 miles southeast of Portland over the weekend. That's on top of the six feet of snow that they already have there. The state sending inmates to help clear some of the roads, but the mayor says buildings are in danger of collapsing because there is so much snow on the roofs and there is nowhere to put it.

Reynolds Wolf is in the weather center down there in Atlanta tracking all of the extreme weather across the country. They got slammed, Reynolds.

REYNOLDS WOLF, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yes, they really did. Right now, we're seeing much of that snowfall move more into the Central Rockies where they could see another one to two, maybe as much as three feet of snow in the highest elevations.

Let's go right to the weather computer. And as we go to the weather computer, we'll give you an idea of just how that storm system is tracking. Again, they're getting a break now in California and in points west. But now, into the Central Rockies, here it comes.

What we anticipate is more of that moisture to sneak its way in from the pacific and then spots of, I would say, mainly southwestern Colorado, anywhere from two to three feet of snow from northern Arizona, anywhere from a foot, maybe up to 18 inches in a few locations and wind is also going to be especially strong. Some spots with gust topping 70 miles per hour.

This morning, across parts of the Midwest, we're seeing a little bit of freezing rain and some snow up near Sioux Falls south and into Des Moines. As we make our way a little bit more to the east, seeing some scattered snow showers and raindrops from Pittsburg, back to Altoona, even in Williamsport. Scranton getting some scattered snow showers as we speak. Same story up in Albany and back towards Pittsfield. New York, you may get a touch, slight touch of winter precipitation as we make our way through the midday hours.

Let's talk about expected delays. I know a lot of people are heading out today, starting off their week heading to the airports. And here's what we anticipate. For New York metros, we're expecting those low clouds. We could see delays in excess of an hour. Same story in Atlanta. Some thunderstorms here in the area this morning. Nothing severe.

And in Chicago, fog could be a big problem. And again, looking for delays around an hour, perhaps extending in to two hours by mid morning. That's the latest from the forecast. Let's send it right back to you guys.

ROBERTS: All right. Looking forward to it. We'll see you a little bit later on. Reynolds, thanks very much.

WOLF: You bet.

ROBERTS: Kiran?

CHETRY: John, you and I were just talking about this a couple of minutes ago. Ever since last week's Democrat debate -- and you said they got the biggest applause about the idea of a dream ticket. Would there be an Obama-Clinton ticket, perhaps, a Clinton-Obama ticket? What would happen if the two joined forces on a single ticket now?

During the debate, both candidates said that they do think that they're making history now. Neither candidate necessarily ruled it out. Analysts do say that each one's political ambition, though, could be a bit too large to settle for second fiddle to the other.

And it brings us to this morning's "Quick Vote" question. Regardless of who gets the nomination, should Clinton and Obama become running mates? Cast your vote, CNN.com/am. We're going to get a tally of the votes a little later in the hour.

Still ahead, the "Most Politics in the Morning" rolls on on this super Monday. Governor Mike Huckabee is behind in the polls, but he says don't count him out yet. He joins us live with his message for Super Tuesday and beyond.

Also still ahead, the key suspect in the disappearance of Natalee Holloway is caught on tape confessing. Will that confession stand up in court? We're going to talk about it with our legal analyst, Sunny Hostin, coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KIRAN CHETRY, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back to AMERICAN MORNING on this Monday. I'm Kiran Chetry here in New York, where they are certainly celebrating, of course, the Giant's big and quite unexpected win over the Patriots last night in the Super Bowl.

Hey, John?

JOHN ROBERTS, CNN ANCHOR: Hey, good morning to you, Kiran. I'm John Roberts. We're at Manny's Cafeteria and Delicatessen in Chicago this morning. This is the place to be if you want to talk about politics. And we got a ton of politics to talk about today on the eve of Super Tuesday.

Hey, some results to tell you about as well coming in from the Republican main caucuses. It took a while to get the results in, but here's what we've got for you. Mitt Romney won with 52 percent of the vote. John McCain came in second with 21 percent. Look at this. A great showing for Ron Paul, coming in with 19 percent in Maine. Mike Huckabee, well back at 6 percent. But really, Romney, the only winner there because he got all 18 delegates in Maine. On the Democratic side, as we've been talking about this morning. Things are really getting tight. A new CNN Opinion Research Corporation Poll nationally has got Obama now three points out ahead of Hillary. But when we take all of the polls together, it would suggest that Hillary Clinton still holds a two-point lead nationally over Obama.

Of course, all of this is going to be fought in the state's 22 contests in the contiguous 48 for the Democrats on Super Tuesday. One contest in American Samoa. How is it all going to go? Let's bring in Lynn Sweet. She's with the "Chicago Sun-Times".

You just were in California where Oprah was out on the stump for Obama and Maria Shriver just threw her support behind him. What is that going to mean for him in the state of California and how might he do there, Lynn?

LYNN SWEET, CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: Well, I think he's going to do very well in California. He's looking in these last closing hours and days in the campaign, John, for independent and Republican voters and having Maria Shriver pop up in a surprise yesterday in Poly Pavilion was a message to these people that come on in the Democratic Party. So, two messages yesterday.

Maria Shriver is bringing in who is consummately in the Democratic royalty, the Kennedy Family. So come into the primary to vote. And Oprah Winfrey was there speaking very much trying to say, "Look, we have made our accomplishments for women's rights and civil rights. Feel free to do what you want." And that was to -- she was very explicitly more or less, you don't have to vote for a woman because you're a woman

Powerful messages. Won everything quickly in the California primary. Independents can vote in the Democratic primary. They cannot vote in the Republican primary. Big advantage for Obama.

ROBERTS: We are taking a look at the history of both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton here in Chicago. Of course, Hillary was born here. This is Barack Obama's adopted home. Yet in the state of Illinois, he seems to be doing much better than she is. What's the reason for that?

SWEET: Well, the reason is that Hillary Clinton did live here. She went on, you know, just to live in Arkansas, Washington, and New York. You know, we're just a few miles from where Senator Obama who lives here right now. But there is a lot of fondness still for anyone who is from here. That's why Senator Clinton is having a campaign in Illinois and she probably can pull some delegates out of Illinois because this is a proportional state, not a "winner-take-all".

ROBERTS: Now, she has got, sort of, what, three adopted homes, I guess. Can you just say that she's a home state woman in Arkansas, a home in Washington, and a home in New York?

SWEET: That's true but when you say where she was born and this is why people in Chicago do think to a degree that there are two Chicagoans running right now. And you know, she was born just off of the road from here in a place called Edgewater Hospital. The very apartment where her folks lived before they moved to Park Ridge does not exist anymore. But it wasn't far from Lake Michigan on the north side.

So you have, as you mentioned, a little north-side, south-side thing. But there's a sense that these are two people from this city. But Senator Obama is so much more of Chicago in the present. That's why he has overwhelming popularity.

ROBERTS: Why do you suspect, Lynn, that the numbers nationally are as tight as they are right now?

SWEET: That's because they're looking at something that doesn't really reflect the reality of the separate states and it does reflect more familiarity probably with Clinton than knowing more. Obama does well in the states that he can spend time and that's why he did so well in some of the primaries getting to New Hampshire.

The national numbers, I'm always am a little skeptical of because they don't tell -- they tell a story, but it's not necessarily the story of who's going to win delegates and who will be the nominee.

ROBERTS: Because of the way that the Democratic Party allocates for these delegates, since its all proportional as opposed to some of this winner-take-all contest that the Republicans have, you can even lose a state and win in delegates. You can lose some popular vote and win in delegates. Is this going to be over tomorrow? How long will it go on?

SWEET: I doubt it. But I think it will give an edge of momentum to somebody who does better. That's why Obama is campaigning in a lot of states who don't have a lot of delegates, who might say "Lynn, why, what sense does this make?"

He wants to be able just to have you when you have your states on your map, say I do won this, he won that. Now, the delegate count maybe different, but there is a sense of kind of political momentum that I think Obama campaign does want to create in winning states with small number of delegates just to show that he can prevail places.

ROBERTS: And of course, the big question is, if this does not end tomorrow, how long does it go on?

Lynn Sweet from the "Chicago Sun-Times." It's great of you to come in this morning. I know you got back from California really late last night. So, have a corned beef sandwich on us and we'll let you back home. All right, Lynn, thanks very much.

Let's send it back to New York and here's Kiran.

CHETRY: We have some breaking news this morning, John, coming to us from the Middle East.

An Israeli air strike targeted and killed one of the most wanted militants in Gaza. This is according to Palestinian officials. They say it was an attack on a car that was traveling in the northern Gaza Strip this morning.

Confirmation coming from the Israeli army confirming that they attacked a PRC activist. Now this is the Popular Resistance Committee. This is a group that has fired hundreds of rockets into Southern Israel. This is what sparked a lot of these air strikes and reprisals that have been going on in the area. But according to Palestinian officials, the leader of that group has been killed in an Israeli air strike. When we got more details, we'll bring them to you.

Meanwhile, rebel forces are pulling back from the capital of Chad in central Africa. CNN's Nic Robertson is on his way to Chad now. He's reporting that the government of Chad and rebel forces may be organizing for a new battle. Thousands of refugees are now fleeing and nonessential American diplomats are being evacuated from the country.

There are some new details this morning about a deadly shooting at a clothing store in Chicago. News of a sixth victim has emerged. The "Chicago Tribune" is reporting that she was able to call 911 after a gunman opened fire and killed five women. The gunmen still on the loose. Sources telling the "Tribune" that the sixth victim was able to describe the gunman and that could lead to a police sketch to help in the hunt for him.

Well, a judge in Aruba has now reopened the case against Dutch student Joran Van der Sloot in the death of Alabama teenager Natalee Holloway. This is a case, of course, that has captured international attention. And we've seen the ups and downs, where suspects have been arrested and then released again. But now, this could be a game changer.

There was a new tape that surfaced in which Van der Sloot is heard saying that Holloway's body was dumped at sea. In fact, he describes her being on the beach and being unresponsive and said, quote, "I don't know what happened to that girl. We were on the beach, suddenly she wasn't moving anymore. I tried to shake her. I was shaking that B. I almost wanted to cry. Why does this have to happen to me?"

Van der Sloot then says he called a friend who took her body out in a boat and dumped it in the ocean. On the tape he also says, "I haven't lost a night's sleep over this".

The tape was part of a sting operation by a Dutch crime show. Van der Sloot now says that he knew it was a sting and that he was lying to tell the informant what he wanted to hear.

We'll bring in AMERICAN MORNING legal analyst Sonny Hostin right now. And I see you smiling in this situation. This is really shocking. I mean, this only -- this seems that it only happens in the movies, but it was really possibly. This case is now reopened. They could hold a cold case before this. So a Dutch TV show and private investigator with a phone call could break this case?

SONNY HOSTIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I mean, it's just unbelievable. You're right, Kiran. The bottom line is in the United States, this would be a tape-recorded confession as far as I'm concerned. He answers all of the questions on this tape of what everybody really thinks happened anyway.

We know that they said they took her to the beach; they left her there, allegedly. She's never been seen again. He was the last person with her by all accounts. And now we have him saying, you know, Kiran, listen, I took her to the beach, we had sex, she somehow for some reason just stopped moving. I called my friend and he took her. And I think one of the other quotes is, you know, he took her, he threw her out to sea and he threw her out like an old rag.

CHETRY: Are they going to be able to use this in court?

HOSTIN: You know -- it's so hard to tell in this case. I think in an American court, yes, absolutely. And he would have the opportunity to testify and deny it. And the person that he spoke to would have the opportunity to testify as to his demeanor and that sort of thing. But this case is just been so convoluted and it's been since 2005. I don't even know what to say at this time.

CHETRY: What about the fact on the tape he actually wasn't describing the worst case scenario, which would be premeditated murder. Could that actually help him get a lower or actually get the charges lowered in this situation?

HOSTIN: Absolutely. This is someone that didn't have a criminal history. I don't think anyone thinks he went out there and intentionally tried to kill her. But the bottom line is these things happen. We have crimes of passion. We have people that make mistakes. And maybe he did panic. But you know, we need justice for this family. And as far as I'm concerned, you've got a taped confession. Come on.

CHETRY: Is this type of thing that as a prosecutor of this would be dumped on your lap, I would call you and say I'm an investigative reporter, I have proof. Is that someone that's welcome?

HOSTIN: You know, it's hard. When you get these types of things as a prosecutor and you get tips. But absolutely, in a case like this, you just can't ignore it.

CHETRY: All right. We'll see what happens with this tape. Sonny, thank you. Good to see you.

HOSTIN: Thank you.

CHETRY: John?

ROBERTS: Kiran, thanks. He's down in the polls but he says don't count him out yet. We're talking live with Mike Huckabee about his message heading into Super Tuesday? Just ahead. There he is. Chattanooga, Tennessee. We'll be talking with him in just a moment.

And he calls her the rock of the Obama Family and his secret weapon in the campaign. One-on-one with Michelle Obama and her message for voters. That's ahead on AMERICAN MORNING.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ROBERTS: It's coming up now to 16 minutes to the top of the hour. He is down in the polls but Mike Huckabee insists he is not going anywhere until someone else locks up the Republican nomination. Mike Huckabee joins us this morning from Chattanooga, Tennessee, which -- governor, by the way, is where we're going to be tomorrow morning. We should have coordinated this better. Good morning to you.

MIKE HUCKABEE, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Yes, good morning, John. You just can't come in a day late, that's all.

ROBERTS: There you go. Well, at least, we're not a dollar short at this point. Hey, yesterday, you called for Governor Romney to step out aside -- step out of this race after you suggested that he said you should do the same thing. Here's what his response was. Listen to this and let me ask you about it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MITT ROMNEY, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Wow, obviously he's smarting. I don't want to see him get squirrelly like that. But the truth of the matter is, he is a good man. Everybody has every right to stay in this race to the very end. You know, we all battle in Florida and Senator McCain and I came in number one and number two, very close. And he came in a distant fourth. And I think by virtue of that, I think most people around the country have said, OK, it's been narrowed down to a two-person race.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HARRIS: So, governor, he says you're smarting, you're getting squirrelly, and that this is down to a two-person race. What do you say in response?

HUCKABEE: Well, It's not surprising that Mitt Romney is now even taking two positions on whether I should stay in the race. He's taken two positions on everything else from abortion to gun control to Bush tax cuts to same-sex marriage. So now he's taking a double position on whether or not I should stay in or get out. He's the only man I know who can play tennis by himself, covering both sides of the court.

But, John, this is what's troubling about Mitt Romney. He suggests that I get out of the race and has the audacity to say that the reason is because the voters that I'm getting are voters that would go to him. I think it's incredibly presumptuous and even arrogant to suggest that the voters who are voting for me would automatically gravitate to him. I think quite frankly they would not.

If people are looking for someone who is an authentic conservative, who didn't just make up that platform to run for president, then I'm going to be their logical choice. And it really, I felt, rubbed me the wrong way that after working as hard as I have to be here, strong supporters that I have, that he sort of dismisses me as an irritant in his quest for the presidency. ROBERTS: Well, let me just come back to that for a second, governor, because Governor Romney insists he never, at any time, said that you should drop out of the race. He says that he only says that you're taking votes away from him and that this is a two-person race. Yet you said it's arrogant and presumptuous. Those are pretty harsh words.

HUCKABEE: Well, they are harsh words. But it's also harsh to be as dismissive as he has. And I'm quoting from A.P. stories and also from things that he said on CNN and Fox News Sunday yesterday. Things that his surrogates have gone out and said. And, so, it's not something I just made up out of thin air. But you know, the more important thing is, when people are looking for who they want to vote for president, I think they want someone who maybe won't agree with them on everything, but they'd like for someone to agree with himself.

And when it comes to key issues that really kind of define your moral center, your sense of purpose, I think people want to know that you have clarity. And that your convictions are just that. They're true convictions. That you believe in a strong defense. My position on getting rid of the IRS and changing our tax system, those aren't just poll-related positions that I've taken. I really believe those things, John. And I think Americans look for a president who does really believe some things.

ROBERTS: Governor, you've called Mitt Romney an inconsistent conservative. You, again, portray yourself here as the consistent conservative. Yet he has the support of much of the conservative establishment and you have conservatives like Rush Limbaugh saying things like if Mike Huckabee becomes the nominee, he's going to destroy the Republican Party? How do you explain that disconnect?

HUCKABEE: Well, you know, there's a lot of the Wall Street Republicans who don't really like the Wal-Mart Republicans. And that's who I represent. I represent rank and file people that aren't the powerful. They may not be the swells that go to the nice cocktail parties, but there are a whole lot of people in this party that if they get abandoned and they get left out, it's going to be real hard for Republicans to win this fall.

And I think people ought to be thinking very seriously about dumping a lot of the folks that gave the Republicans their victories. That people who hammer in the yard signs, the people who go out there and work for the candidates. They may not write the biggest checks, but they have, in many ways, the biggest role to play, because they're the foot soldiers in this whole process.

ROBERTS: Governor, I just want to come back to something you and I talked about a few weeks ago when you appeared on AMERICAN MORNING, talking about amending the constitution. You say that you favor a human life amendment. You're also considering the idea of an amendment to ban gay marriage. In a Huckabee White House, where would you draw the line in amending the constitution? Would it stop there? Or could you get in to other issues such as school prayer? Where do you draw the line? HUCKABEE: No, I mean, I repeatedly, repeatedly said there are two issues. And that's the sanctity of human life and just affirming the definition of traditional marriage. That's it. Only two issues that I would use the political capital to put forth. But the reason is -- and not just because these are sort of issues out there in thin air, states are enacting laws that, in fact, really create a confusion about whether same-sex marriage is legal or not.

And as far as the human life amendment, I think this is a defining issue for our civilization and culture. Are we going be a culture of life or a culture of death? And I think it's important for America to take the stand that we value every human life. We believe life has intrinsic worth. And I think pro-life people, deep down know that -- as Abraham Lincoln said "If slavery isn't wrong, nothing is wrong." Well, if taking an innocent human life is not wrong, then maybe nothing is wrong.

ROBERTS: Governor Mike Huckabee, it's always good to talk to you. Good luck tomorrow, sir. We'll be watching very closely.

HUCKABEE: Thank you, John.

ROBERTS: All right, take care.

Kiran?

CHETRY: Well, still ahead. The teenage son of the world's most wanted man was targeting Benazir Bhutto. That's one of the shocking details in a new autobiography about Pakistan's assassinated opposition leader and former prime minister. We have details coming up.

And the stars come out to support Barack Obama. Oprah and California first lady Maria Shriver campaigning with Obama's wife Michelle who says she knows why people from different backgrounds are drawn to her husband's campaign.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MICHELLE OBAMA, BARACK OBAMA'S WIFE: I'm supposed to be sitting here. You know, I am beating the odds at every turn.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHETRY: One-on-one with Michelle Obama ahead on AMERICAN MORNING.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ROBERTS: Coming up on 54 minutes after the hour now. If you're just joining us, here's a look at what's making headlines this morning.

Benazir Bhutto was warned before suicide bomber squads were targeting her. That's according to a soon-to-be published autobiography of Pakistan's assassinated opposition leader. One of the squads was to be led by Osama Bin Laden's 16-year-old son. Intelligence report had said the teen is being groomed to take over al Qaeda. The autobiography will be released next week.

Senator Barack Obama dispatched his big guns to California to campaign for him on Sunday and that's where California first lady Maria Shriver endorsed him, joining her cousin, Caroline Kennedy, Oprah Winfrey and Obama's wife, Michelle.

Michelle Obama told CNN's Soledad O'Brien that campaigning wasn't always easy.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MICHELLE OBAMA, BARACK OBAMA'S WIFE: I am like most Americans. Cynical about what you can do and there was a level of selfishness. This is going to be hard for me, you know. But when I took off those hats and started thinking and hoping and dreaming for the things I would want for this country and the kind of leadership that I would be looking for, I thought, if I weren't married to Barack, I would desperately want him to do this.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROBERTS: Barack Obama would be Wolf Blitzer's guest today in "THE SITUATION ROOM," that's 4:00 p.m. Eastern here on CNN.

Kiran?

CHETRY: All right, thanks a lot, John. 54 minutes past the hour now. Ali Velshi is here AMERICAN MORNING. When we last left you on Friday, we were talking about that proposed deal of Microsoft to buy Yahoo. And now you're saying, Google is saying, hold on a second.

ALI VELSHI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, this is it. The Microsoft bid to buy Yahoo for 44 points. $6 million is really actually all about Google. Because five years ago, no one would have thought Google was the big challenge to Microsoft. They were in different spaces entirely. Well, Google has now come out and the chairman of Google made a phone call to, according to "The Wall Street Journal," to the CEO of Yahoo, saying let's talk about this. Let's see what we can do. Maybe get somebody else to come in and make an offer for yahoo.

Google put out a press release or at least posted to their official blog, the senior vice president posted the following. He was talking about the dangers of Microsoft taking over Google. He says Microsoft plus Yahoo -- I'm sorry, Microsoft taking over Yahoo.

Microsoft plus Yahoo equals an overwhelming share of instant messaging and web email accounts and between them, the two company's operate the two most heavily traffic portals on the Internet. Could a combination of a two take advantage of a PC software monopoly to unfairly limit the ability of consumers to freely access competitors email, IM, and web-based services?

Now, this is very clearly directed at regulators at Washington. The Department of Justice said late Friday that they would like to take a look at the terms of this proposed takeover. But Google is sort of trying to get everybody's attention to say Microsoft has had some bad habits in the past in terms of being less than competitive.

It's kind of interesting, Kiran, to look at these two companies that kind of between the two of them, control what we do in the Internet and computing world, fighting with each other about this. I'm just waiting for Apple to chime in and see what they have to say about it.

CHETRY: Yes. We'll see what happens. Ali, thanks.

VELSHI: OK.

CHETRY: Still ahead. A man loses 200 pounds with a very simple diet. We're going to tell you how he did it, coming up.

Also, new concern about baby lotion and shampoo. You think it's better for your babies than soaps and creams for adults. But there are other concerns to what parents need to watch out for. Coming up on AMERICAN MORNING.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ROBERTS: Final push.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHN MCCAIN, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We think we may be able to finish this thing up.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROBERTS: The candidates and the stars scramble to Super Tuesday.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OPRAH WINFREY, OBAMA SUPPORTER: I'm just following my own truth and that truth has led me to Barack Obama.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROBERTS: New national polls just in, the Democrats, too close to call.

Hail Mary.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We always talk right through the commercials that we haven't seen.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROBERTS: The Clintons look to lock up an old friend over football. We're live with Governor Bill Richardson. TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.voxantshop.com