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AMERICAN MORNING

Super Tuesday: Now Open in Three States; Democrats Fight for Delegates; One-on-One Interview with Hillary Clinton

Aired February 5, 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: And good morning to you, Kiran. I'm John Roberts. We're here at the Atlanta Diner in Atlanta, Georgia, big southern state up for grabs. For the Democrats, 87 delegates at stake. For the Republicans, it's 72. The race is extremely close on the Republican side. Just outside the margin of error in some of the polls with John McCain leading. Mitt Romney coming in second and Mike Huckabee, a very close third.
On the Democratic side, this is a state where Barack Obama has got a big advantage. We'll see if he can hang on to that today as people go to the polls. Polls close tonight at 7:00. The returns will start coming in. So, Kiran, this is going to be a big day. We're here at the diner. People are going to come in, fuel up, make their last-minute decisions and then head out to the polls. Back up to you there in Harlem.

KIRAN CHETRY, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, our -- in the 2008 race for president and we'll be figuring out more about exactly how it all shook out, late, late tonight, perhaps into the morning. That's why CNN is going to continue to be live for the next 40 hours to bring you all the latest information. This is interesting because this area is sort of known as Clinton country if you will. Former Bill Clinton's offices about 20 blocks away from here.

There are 4,000 registered voters that are going to be coming to this poll that opens. It's actually open right now, and behind me, a little bit of a bustle of activity. So a lot going on here and it's all as close as we'll come to a national primary. There are today 24 states up for grabs, and we're live across the board. One thousand six hundred eighty-one delegates available for the Democrats, and 1,020 delegates for the Republicans. And the polls are opening right now in Connecticut, in New Jersey. Right here in New York as we said, we'll be checking with voters and our reporters across the country as more states open their polls throughout the morning.

All the top candidates are from Super Tuesday states. They are voting and they're also talking with us today. In fact, we're going to be joined by many of them. Mitt Romney will start in West Virginia before heading back to Massachusetts. We're going to talk to him live at 7:30. Senator John McCain starts the day with a rally in New York City before heading home to Phoenix. And Mike Huckabee is also in West Virginia before heading back to Little Rock, Arkansas. Senator Hillary Clinton, by the way, staying home. She is in New York and she's going to be joining us in just about 10 minutes before she makes her way to her own polling site in Chappaqua, New York, just a little bit north of Manhattan. We're going to be speaking to Senator Barack Obama as well, live at 7:50 Eastern before he heads home to Chicago.

So, it's really one of those days where you fasten your seatbelt. A lot going on this morning, and we hope to bring you another look at the candidates, maybe weigh in on some of those big issues before you, like many of the people today, are going to be going to the polls themselves, John.

ROBERTS: We're looking forward to all of that. Hillary Clinton up very early today. And we've got our team on the issues and talking to voters from coast-to-coast. Our Dr. Sanjay Gupta and Gerri Willis join us here in Atlanta. Chris Lawrence is in San Francisco this morning. Ed Lavandera in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Mary Snow is in Charleston, West Virginia. Jason Carroll in Fort Lee, New Jersey, and Suzanne Malveaux is in Boston.

And that's where we begin this morning. Polls in Massachusetts open at 7:00 Eastern. Forty delegates at stake for the Republicans, 93 for the Democrats. Suzanne Malveaux is in Boston. And, Suzanne, Senators Obama and Clinton in a fight for those delegates across the northeast. What's the message that they're out there with in these last 24 hours?

SUSAN MALVEAUX, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, John, I guess we're all up real early and we'll be continuing through the next 40 hours or so as the candidates are. And really the messages have been consistent. It's really about experience versus change, and at least that is the way they've formulated the debate here. Obviously, they have crisscrossed the country. They have spent millions of dollars in advertising. They've used rap videos, town hall meetings, all this to try to get voters to understand their positions on the issues.

The three things we're going to be looking for is obviously who wins the most states, who wins the most delegates and who wins the mother load of delegates. That is California, some 370. Now, both Senator Clinton and Barack Obama do not expect that this race is going to be over today. Rather, they predict that they're going to split the vote. They're not going to get the majority necessary for the nomination. That this is a contest that will continue. But this is what they're talking about. They really want the candidates -- rather the voters, to know them. And this is how they've arranged and presented their closing arguments.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I've been to more than 82 countries as first lady and as senator. I know a lot of the leaders, and I think the world will let out a sigh of relief when George Bush leaves the White House. So we can begin to work with each other again.

SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I was convinced that the American people desperately wanted something new -- that they were hungry for something different, that they didn't want a politics that involved tearing each other down, but wanted a politics that would lift the country up.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MALVEAUX: John, already the Obama campaign trying to lower expectations for today. They say they fully expect that Senator Clinton is going to get more states and more delegates. But if Obama can come within 100 delegates of Clinton and also win some states, they feel that that will really reach a threshold for success and that they'll be in a better position, a good position to win the nomination down the road. So what we're looking at is not only the numbers here, but also the perceptions, the expectation game, in terms of where they go forward.

If they convince voters that they are the candidates that is electable, that they're the ones that have won the states where Republicans and independents may cross over, that is equally important as the numbers today, John.

ROBERTS: And who needs to turn out for Obama for his campaign to have a good day?

MALVEAUX: Well, he absolutely needs young voters to turn out. New voters, he's been very strong. He needs more women voters to raise those numbers. He needs more Latino voters to raise those numbers as well. And he also needs some of those Republican and crossover voters, the independents in some of those caucus states. That is what they're hoping for. A performance well in the caucus states where you have other voters who can cross over into the Democratic process, an open process. And that is going to be his coalition that he is looking at -- John.

ROBERTS: Suzanne Malveaux for us this morning. Suzanne, thanks very much. We'll check back in with you a little bit later on as we get into Super Tuesday here. Hillary Clinton took a break from the campaign trail last evening, appearing on "The Late Show with David Letterman." She got to show the audience her lighter side when Letterman asked whether she and Barack Obama would ever share the Democratic ticket.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I've been giving a lot of careful consideration to that, and it's really down to you and Regis.

(APPLAUSE)

DAVID LETTERMAN, HOST, "THE LATE SHOW WITH DAVID LETTERMAN": Well, you know, Regis is elderly.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROBERTS: So Barack Obama obviously going to have to get in line there. Clinton also did answer serious questions about issues like home foreclosures and health care. And now it's back to Harlem and here's Kiran. Hey, Kiran.

CHETRY: Hey, John. You know, on the Republican side, Mitt Romney is promising a Super Tuesday surprise saying don't count on a McCain sweep. Romney told voters in Oklahoma that he's the true conservative choice and the man who can protect their money.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: How executive leadership works, you've got to get out of the Senate and the House where you're there with what? Hundreds of other people voting yes or no, serving on committees. But the real economy is where I've been, it's where these folks have been and we need to have somebody from the real economy, in my view, go to Washington and make sure we keep the real economy strong.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHETRY: Senator McCain also heads to California later today after picking up an endorsement from former New York Governor George Pataki. Pataki says no one is better quipped to keep the country safe. McCain told the crowd that a vote for him means keeping more personal freedom.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We'll have a vigorous debate, and it will be all about a conservative Republican philosophy or a big government liberal Democrat philosophy. And I'm confident the American people will choose to let American families to make the choices for themselves in America rather than the government do that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHETRY: Senator McCain will head home to Arizona after a rally in San Diego.

And things are getting interesting in New Jersey as well. Fifty- two delegates at stake for Republicans, 107 for Democrats. But unlike the primaries in New York and Connecticut, independents can go to the polls in New Jersey today. CNN's Jason Carroll is live in Fort Lee where polls just opened. Hey, Jason.

JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And hello to you, Kiran. You know, independents can show up at the polls here. But just to clarify, once they do get here, they have to declare themselves either Republican or Democrat in order to vote. Let me set the scene for where we are here in Fort Lee. You can take a look. You can see a number of the volunteers are already set up and ready to go, ready to meet voters here at this fire station, which is now a polling place.

You know, Kiran, New Jersey actually moved its primary up so they could try to have more impact on the presidential nominee. And this year, the state really got its wish. The Democratic race, too close to call here in the state. Senator Barack Obama campaigned in East Rutherford yesterday where he was joined by Senator Edward Kennedy. It was the second major rally that he attended in northern Jersey just in the past month. Senator Clinton supporters say, look, they have a slight lead here in the state. Even so, they sent Chelsea Clinton out to campaign at the last minute. Also in terms of last-minute campaigners, Senator John McCain was here in the state as well. He holds by many polls a double-digit lead over Romney. But still, McCain stopped through a Trenton suburb yesterday and did a lot of last-minute campaigning there yesterday.

What it will all come down to, Kiran, is what happens when voters end up here at polling places like this one here in Fort Lee. In the past, voter turnout has been low. But since the primary has moved up, Kiran, folks here in the state expecting voter turnout to be much, much higher. The polls open just a little after 6:00 a.m. They got things together here. They're ready to meet voters. Polls here will stay open until 8:00 p.m. -- Kiran.

CHETRY: Jason Carroll for us in Fort Lee, New Jersey, this morning. Thanks -- John.

ROBERTS: Coming up on 10 minutes after the hour now, Kiran. And coming up, we are live with three possible presidents. Hillary Clinton joins us in the next few minutes. Mitt Romney will be with us. It's 7:30 Eastern. Barack Obama is our guest. It's 7:50 Eastern. We'll give you a final chance to hear from the candidates this morning at length and detail about the issues before you go out and make your choice today.

CNN is your election headquarters throughout this Super Tuesday and into Super Wednesday. Forty nonstop hours of coverage beginning right now, and we'll have returns tomorrow morning, a special early start to AMERICAN MORNING at 5:00 a.m. Eastern here on the "Most Politics in the Morning."

Television shows and movies could go back into production soon. We will tell you about a possible deal in the writers strike. Plus, Hillary Clinton one-on-one. Can her voice hold out to Super Tuesday? And what was going through her mind during another emotional moment on the campaign trail on Monday?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I said I would not tear up. Already, we're not exactly on that path.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROBERTS: We're going to talk live with Senator Clinton about the issues including her plan to make sure that all Americans have health care coverage. That's emerging as one of the dominant issues on this Democratic campaign. Three potential presidents joining us on this special Super Tuesday edition of AMERICAN MORNING. Stay with us. We will be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) ROBERTS: Back here live this morning at the Atlanta Diners, 24 hours a day. Not a big crowd in just yet. In fact, hardly anybody here. But we're expecting people to come in this morning as the polls open very soon in Georgia. This is probably the big southern contest in this Super Tuesday. For the Democrats, it's 87 delegates that are at stake. For the Republicans, 72.

The Democrat race, it seems that Obama has got a substantial edge. But on the Republican side, way, way, way too close to call. The weather here today, at least for the first part, expected to be pretty good but we've got some bad weather moving in across the country which may affect people's ability to get out to the polls. Let's check in with Rob Marciano. He's just down the street in the CNN Center in Atlanta. What are we looking at today, Rob?

ROB MARCIANO, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Oh, you know, we've got a pretty bad outbreak of severe weather actually, John. It looks like they'll be a handful of states that will be affected by bad weather today. But the real core of where we expect the severe weather to be will be in some states that, well, at least right now, it's moving through an area that's not too affected. But places like Missouri and through Illinois and through the Ohio River Valley, these are areas that are going to be definitely under the gun.

We have a severe thunderstorm watch across central Texas including Dallas until 10:00 -- 9:00 local time, 10:00 Eastern. Look at this line of severe weather moving through Indianapolis, just to the south heading into Ohio as well. This is a line that could produce some gusty winds, some hail as well. But as we get into the heat of the day and temperatures today are going to be well above average south of the front, that's really going to stoke the fuel for the fire here.

New York will see some rain. Some of this will be heavy at times, especially starting from western upstate New York and then traversing across the state to the more heavily populated areas. So that will be a state certainly that will be affected by bad weather. Western parts of Pennsylvania today as well.

The backside of this system, some snow. So look snows across parts of eastern Colorado heading into states like Iowa, which shouldn't be too much of an issue today as far as voting goes, obviously. But back through Kansas, even Oklahoma seeing a little bit of severe weather this morning. So you got the idea.

Cold and flu reports, we'll take you to it. The reds now popping up on the map. More widespread activity from Alaska all the way down paradise. By the way, Hawaii seeing tremendous amount of rain the past four days. Texas under the gun for bad weather or bad feeling people. Cold and flu widespread also in upstate New York. Hope you're feeling well, John. Back over to you.

ROBERTS: Feeling great, Rob. And we were going to Chattanooga today but we got a little bit worried about the weather so we decided to stay here in Atlanta. But very important state, Georgia, is to Super Tuesday. So good thing that we're here. MARCIANO: Yes, it's a big weather.

ROBERTS: We want to be talking to Hillary Clinton. Yes, we want to be talking to Hillary Clinton in just a couple of seconds. So let's take it back up to New York, and here's Kiran.

CHETRY: That's right, and we're at a polling station here in Harlem. Right behind me, the preparations are under way. The polls are officially open now. Here, they expect about 4,000 people to come out. They're registered to vote at this public school. And voting is already under way in three states right now, including, as we said, New York, where 101 Republican delegates as well as 232 Democratic delegates are up for stake this morning.

Senator Hillary Clinton would certainly like to earn those Democratic delegates, and she joins us this morning from Chappaqua, New York. Good morning, Senator Clinton. Good to see you.

SEN. HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Good morning.

CHETRY: Well, you know, today really is the day. It's a big one, and what we want to try to do is go over a couple of the issues that separate you from Barack Obama so that people can make a better and informed decision. One of the big issues on the domestic front is health care. And I'd like, if you could, to explain for us exactly how your universal health care plan would work for people who can afford insurance but choose not to get it.

CLINTON: Well, I am the only candidate left in either party who has a universal health care plan that will cover everyone, and there will be financial help through health care tax credits and limiting the amount of percentage of income that anyone ever pays for a premium. People will be signed up when they come in contact with various agencies, like schools or even at the workplace or their health care providers. Because if we don't have everyone covered, we will, number one, not be doing what we should in America to take care of our people, but also we'll be wasting money because we know we spend more money than anybody in the world.

And my plan has actually been evaluated independently by a number of experts who have said that it would cover everybody, and the costs would be affordable and I tell you how I'd pay for it. So, if people are more interested, they should go to the HillaryClinton.com Web site and see all of the details.

CHETRY: Could you clarify one point, though, about people who can afford it, meaning, let's say a family of four that makes $125,000, they can clearly afford health insurance but they choose not to. How would you enforce it?

CLINTON: Well, I don't think enforcement is that going to be that big a problem once it's made available to people, but people will be required to participate. And there are a number of ways of doing that. As I said, people can be automatically enrolled when they are at the workplace. We'll ask employers to make sure that everyone is covered. Not the small employers. We're going to have to do it themselves. They, too, will be able to go into the Congressional health plan that Congress has, and it's a good plan for itself and Federal employees and it will be affordable.

You know, this idea that somehow it's going to be difficult, I just don't buy. I think what's happened is that, you know, a few of the people who don't have health insurance now choose not to have it and they will be required and they'll be many different ways that they can sign up. But most people don't have the financial help, and we are providing that through my plan. So I think we're going to get everybody covered.

And, you know, I think that it has to be a goal. The idea that we would start without trying to cover everyone is just not acceptable to me. That's what we've done for too long, and the problems get worse. The costs go up for everyone. We have more and more people who are not only uninsured completely. But, you know, they have insurance but when they really need it to pay their doctor or their hospital, it's not there for them. So we're going to regulate the insurance industry differently. And we've put together a package that will lower cost for everyone, improve quality for everyone and cover everyone. Those have to be the three goals. And that's why as a Democrat, I'm so committed to making sure nobody goes without health care.

CHETRY: Senator, you've said in recent days that a mailer that's going out by Barack Obama paints an inaccurate picture. It says it forces everyone to buy insurance even if they can't afford it and forces some families to pay a penalty. Is that accurate?

CLINTON: No, it's not accurate, and it really is the Republican talking point. It's as though his literature is being written by the Republicans and the health insurance companies. You know, it's so ironic because he has a requirement for parents to buy health care for their children, which has to be enforced. And the idea that you would have parents going uninsured, who are the main stays of their families, while they are required to cover their children makes absolutely no sense. So, I think both on the merits and on the politics, his approach is just not doable and it doesn't really represent Democratic values or solving the problem.

You know, I've said many times, we've got to solve this problem of health care coverage. Otherwise, we're going to continue to spend more money than anybody in the world, cover fewer and fewer people, raise the costs for everybody who does have insurance, until finally our system just breaks under the weight of this dysfunctional financing. So I'm going to be committed to solve the problems and not put out misleading Republican talking points about trying to cover everybody in our country.

CHETRY: Let's talk a little bit about another huge issue for people and that's the economy, recession. Some people argue we're already in one. Others say that we need to pass some sort of stimulus plan and quickly to avoid one if that's the case. Right now, the House has a version. You're going to be heading back to Washington to vote on a Senate version. And meanwhile, there is talk that perhaps the longer this takes, the less effective it is. What would you do right now to try to stem the economic troubles we seem to be getting into?

CLINTON: Well, I would have a very aggressive policy toward trying to stop home foreclosures. Again, I'm the only candidate left in this race on either side who's been talking about the mortgage crisis for nearly a year. We need to put a moratorium on foreclosures to help people stay in their homes, and we need to freeze these interest rates that continue to escalate, driving more and more people into foreclosure.

A lot of people were misled. They were the victim of predatory lending practices, and we need to stabilize the housing market. And then, I put forth a plan of how we would put investments into the economy, make sure the unemployment compensation system and assistance for heating aid is available quickly to people. And let's start generating new jobs, the green collar jobs in addition to the rebates. So, I'm going to be going back to vote on what I consider to be some good steps that the Senate has put out. But I don't think it's enough.

And the most important thing is number one, we get the stimulus out. And number two, we start working to turn the economy around. We have two wars abroad. We're on the brink of a recession. Some states say they are already in a recession. We need a president who is tested and ready on day one to turn the economy around and make it start working for middle-class families again.

CHETRY: I want to show you two pictures quickly. One of them -- the first is from the day before the New Hampshire primary when you teared up, when you were speaking at that roundtable discussion. And the other one was from yesterday when you became emotional on the campaign trail. The CNN wire described it like this.

"Senator Hillary Clinton became teary eyed during an event at Yale University Monday, a moment that hearkened back to her much talked-about display of emotion on the eve of the New Hampshire primary."

Now, is this the cynical press? Is it just a coincidence, Senator Clinton, that these moments happened right on the eve of critical votes?

CLINTON: Well, you know, that was a very touching time for me. I went back to the Yale Child Study Center where I started my work on behalf of children 35 years ago. And the man who introduced me was not only a friend now, but he was the lawyer that I worked for to defend children in foster care, and he gave such a moving introduction of me that it was very touching.

But this is about, you know, trying to make sure that people know what they need in a president. And, you know, emotions about the problems facing kids in foster care, kids who are abused or neglected, families without health care, families without child care, I had lots of those stories yesterday. Make sure that I will always remember what I'm there for. You know, I feel like I have a job to do to help people with their own lives. And yesterday, we heard from a mom of five. The insurance company won't pay for the therapy that her son needs. We heard from a young single mom who's, you know, working as hard as she can to support her kids. She has to have a job during the day to pay for the child care she needs for the job she has at night.

I mean, we really are not taking care of people. I want to put the American people first again. And, you know, I think there is a lot of reason for people to worry that the president just doesn't pay attention. And I want them to know that I get it and I'll be there for them if they are willing to go out and vote for me today, and I hope everybody watching will do that.

CHETRY: All right. Well, good luck to you today. I know you're heading out to cast your own vote in just about an hour from now at a school in Chappaqua.

CLINTON: I am.

CHETRY: Thanks for spending some time with us this morning, Senator.

CLINTON: Thank you so much. Say hello to everybody in Harlem.

CHETRY: I sure will.

John?

ROBERTS: All right. Thanks, Kiran.

We are bringing you the top candidates live as you get ready to go out and vote on this Super Tuesday. In the next hour, we're going to be speaking with Republican Mitt Romney. That's at 7:30 Eastern. Mitt Romney is suddenly catching fire in the Golden State in California. He was actually out there late yesterday, flew back overnight, and he'll be in Charleston, West Virginia, this morning.

And then, Democrat Barack Obama at 7:50 Eastern. He has also recently caught fire in California. So, things very close over there on the west coast. We'll talk to both of them about that.

There is word that a deal could be close in the Hollywood writers strike. An update on that coming your way in just a moment. And anyone who flies will not be happy to hear this -- the first airline to charge passengers for checking an extra piece of luggage. We'll tell you which one ahead on AMERICAN MORNING.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ROBERTS: Twenty-eight minutes after the hour now. There is word of a breakthrough that could end the Hollywood writers strike as early as this week. Unnamed sources close to the talk say negotiators have come up with a tentative deal. But specific language of a new contract is still being worked out. And if union leaders like it, they could call off the strike in time for the Academy Awards on February the 24th. Major points of contention in the three-month old strike include how much and when writers are paid for projects delivered online after being broadcast on television. The next time you fly, if you plan to pack extra bags, it's going to cost you extra if you're flying a certain airline. United Airlines is charging a $25 fee each way to people who check in a second piece of luggage. And if you want to bring a third bag, that's going to cost you $100 extra. United says more bags means more weight on the plane, and more weight means more fuel which means higher costs and they're passing them on to you.

You're watching the "Most News in the Morning." Will today's ballot bonanza put John McCain in the clear for the Republican nomination? We'll have a live report coming up in the GOP race.

And as Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama battle it out in states across the nation, the African-American vote will be key. Which way are those voters leaning? That story and today's headlines when AMERICAN MORNING returns.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ROBERTS: Welcome back to AMERICAN MORNING. It is Super Tuesday, the 5th of February. I'm John Roberts at the Atlanta Diner this morning.

Good morning, Kiran.

KIRAN CHETRY, CNN ANCHOR: Hey, there. I'm Kiran Chetry. We're here at PS 152, I believe, right here in Harlem this morning. And it's funny, you know, Super Tuesday is a huge thing, John, where, you know, there are 24 states that are all going to be having their population head to the polls.

Yet, at the same time, it's such a small thing, I mean, we're looking around there's like six voting booths. There's something about 4,000 people here. So, you know, on one hand, it's just so huge. On the other hand, every single vote is really going to make a difference today. So very exciting. A lot of anticipation today.

John?

ROBERTS: Yes. A lot of votes up for grabs as well. 1681 delegates available for the Democrats. 1,020 for the Republicans.

Right now, the polls are open in three states, Connecticut, New Jersey, New York. We could start seeing the first returns by 12:30 this afternoon and that will be in West Virginia. That's where we start this morning. No primary or caucus here but a state Republican convention that gets under way about 9:00 a.m. Eastern. There are 10 delegates at stake today. Our Mary Snow is live in Charleston, the state capital, where she is following the Republican race for us.

And Mary, Charleston is where Mitt Romney touches down after an overnight flight from California. Things are starting to pick up for him there. What kind of shape is the Romney campaign in heading in to Super Tuesday?

MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, John, they believe that there's a change in the tide and they believe that they have some real opportunity in California and states like West Virginia. You mentioned the convention, Mitt Romney will be here, along with Ron Paul, Mike Huckabee. John McCain is the only candidate who won't be addressing the convention today. He'll send a representative. But they were hitting the campaign trail hard.

Yesterday, Senator John McCain campaigning in New York City. One of the main themes, of course, has been national security. But also another theme -- the Republican Party. He's been stressing that he can be the uniter.

Mitt Romney has been trying to make the case that he is the true conservative, trying to take and poke a holes in Senator John McCain's conservative credentials. He made that last-minute trip to California in hopes of securing a good portion of delegates out there. Here's a little bit of what they had to say on the campaign trail.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHN MCCAIN (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: If you look at the numbers, I can match up against either Senator Obama or Senator Clinton very well and compete with them in every state in the United States of America.

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Just stay ahead on the race for the world. And I think, at a time like this, it makes sense to have a president who's actually had a job in the real economy.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SNOW: Mitt Romney making the economy, of course, one of his big themes. This really, John, is his last chance to derail Senator John McCain's momentum. He's hoping that California will help him do that if he can do well there.

Mike Huckabee, though, has been courting southern voters, saying he's the true conservative. And Ron Paul has been campaigning in states like West Virginia and Alaska, hoping to pick up a competitive number of delegates, although he hasn't really been scoring any big wins up until now. But he has been raising enough money to stay in the race.

John?

ROBERTS: So, Mike Huckabee in the south. Ron Paul in Alaska. Of course, California, West Virginia important to Mitt Romney. Also to John McCain. California would be important. Where else are they looking to score some votes today, because there are those big states like New York and New Jersey, which are winner-take-all in a statewide basis? Whoever wins the popular vote there gets all those delegates.

SNOW: Yes and Senator John McCain, certainly, has his eye on the prize there. You know, he's picking up Rudy Giuliani's endorsement. After Rudy Giuliani pulled out, helped John McCain in those states. He's also hoping to do well in Massachusetts. That's Mitt Romney's home state. And if Mitt Romney does not win that state, that is going to be problematic.

Senator John McCain, who's campaigning there, as we know yesterday, and he is trying to make his mark on the northeast. But, of course, those big states, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Senator McCain has really been focusing on. Mitt Romney has not been.

ROBERTS: All right. Mary Snow for us this morning in Charleston, West Virginia. Mary, thanks. We'll check back with you in just a little while.

Right now, let's go back to Harlem and here's Kiran.

CHETRY: Well, we're all politics, but believe it or not, there's other things going on in the world this morning and for that, Alina Cho, is in New York and she is following the latest developments overnight, of course.

Good morning, Alina.

ALINA CHO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Holding down the fort, Kiran, as we like to say. Good morning to you and good morning, everybody.

New this morning -- baseball's Roger Clemens heads to Capitol Hill today. The seven-time Cy Young Award winner will speak privately with lawyers from a congressional committee. That panel is investigating performance-enhancing drug use in baseball. Clemens, as many people know, was named extensively in the Mitchell report on steroids in baseball. He has vehemently denied the charges.

Meanwhile, his former Yankees teammate, Andy Pettitte, testified yesterday, admitting he has used human growth hormone before it was banned.

Aruba's chief prosecutor says a hidden camera interview with Joran Van der Sloot can be admitted as evidence in the Natalee Holloway case because it was recorded by a private citizen. ABC News aired the tape yesterday. It was first shown on Dutch TV over the weekend.

In the secret recordings, Van der Sloot said Holloway was drunk and that she appeared to have a seizure while they were kissing on the beach, before she disappeared back in May of 2005. And in one clip he says the death didn't bother him at all.

(VIDEO CLIP)

JORAN: Patrick, I had absolutely no bad feelings about it. I have not lost one night of sleep over it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHO: A judge has denied a new request to detain Van der Sloot. Prosecutors say they will file an appeal today.

Two missing skiers stranded in the Sierra Nevada are safe this morning after surviving the freezing cold for two days. The two men were stranded in whiteout conditions while skiing near Lake Tahoe over the weekend. They disappeared on Saturday. A rescue helicopter spotted them Monday, about seven miles from their ski resort.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHRISTOPHER GERWIG, RESCUED SKIER: We're just on the edge of a cliff, basically waving our poles in the air and that's when they saw us. Our attitude never changed us just we're going to make it. We didn't think that we're not going to make it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHO: Well, that probably helped them. The men survived by building snow caves, rationing energy bars, even melting snow in plastic bags. Techniques they say they learned from watching the Discovery Channel. Incredibly, they suffered only minor frostbite to their toes.

And here in New York, the Super Bowl champion, New York Giants, will be honored today with a ticker-tape parade. The first one in the city in eight years. Later this afternoon, another celebration at Giants Stadium in New Jersey. The Giants arriving home last night from Arizona after pulling off what some are calling Super Shocker Sunday. Beating the previously undefeated, New England Patriots in the most-watched Super Bowl ever.

Listen to this -- an estimated $97.5 million people watched Super Bowl XLII. This year, Super Bowl was also the second most-watched TV program ever. Second only to the final episode of "Mash" back in 1983. That finale drew 106 million viewers. I wonder how many of them, watching the Super Bowl came in on the fourth quarter like I did. But most exciting fourth quarter I've ever seen. And I know, Kiran, you watched it start to finish too.

CHETRY: It was fabulous. 106 millions viewers can't be wrong. It really was one of the most exciting games I've ever seen.

CHO: It sure was.

CHETRY: Thanks, Alina.

CHO: You bet.

CHETRY: John?

ROBERTS: Almost as many people as who will be watching our Super Tuesday coverage today. Ali Velshi in New York "Minding Your Business" this morning. Ali, has got a look at what the candidates are planning to do for your wallet. Good morning, Ali.

ALI VELSHI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, John. This is an excellent opportunity for people in those states and others to take a look at how the candidates who are running. What they plan to do about money. You know, the economy has been changing so quickly during this campaign that the -- the positions of the candidates have changed. I'm going to spend the next couple of hours, bringing you up to speed, on four of the candidates. Our colleague, Jeanne Sahadi, at cnnmoney.com has looked into what Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Mitt Romney, and John McCain are saying about issues.

Now, I'm going to start by telling you what they have in common. While we like to think of Democrats as wanting to increase taxes and Republicans wanting to cut taxes. The tax cuts that went into effect in 2001 and 2003. Those tax cuts that are due to expire at the end of 2010. All of those four candidates agree that at least for middle and low-income earners, those tax cuts should stay in place.

That means lower tax rates for middle-income earners and low- income earners. Lower taxes for married couples and a higher standard deduction. That's about all they have in common. After that, they start to differ on what taxes should be increased -- AMT, different types of taxes. So I'm going to talk to you about that in the next little while.

In about an hour, I'll come back and tell you what Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton have in common and what they differ on so that if you're voting in the Democrat primaries, you'll have some information on that. And then just after that, I'll tell you about Mitt Romney and John McCain.

John?

ROBERTS: Looking forward to that, Ali. And Sanjay Gupta is going to be along in just a little while to talk about the health care plans of the Democratic side as well -- that emerging as one of the major issues in this campaign. We'll get to that in just a couple of minutes, but let's get back up to Harlem and here's Kiran.

CHETRY: Yes, you're right, John. In fact, we've heard the point-counter point, the back and forth between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama on their respective health care plan. One of the top issues as you said, so Dr. Sanjay Gupta will be breaking down the real differences for us coming up next on AMERICAN MORNING.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CHETRY: And welcome back. As we said, we are here this morning. The polls opened about an hour ago. We are at Clayton -- Adam Clayton Powell Elementary. Its public school 153. And the voting booths are open for business this morning.

And while New York State is really the state, of course, that Hillary Clinton represents, and this is known as Clinton Country here in Harlem. In recent weeks, Barack Obama has gained some momentum across the country and right here in New York, turning this into really a key battleground state for delegates. Joining us now is "New York Daily News" columnist Errol Louis. Thanks for being with us this morning.

ERROL LOUIS, NEW YORK DAILY NEWS: Good morning.

CHETRY: What a difference about a month makes when it comes to the polling showing Barack Obama making some big gains when comes to Harlem though, and as we know, Bill Clinton -- former president office is only 20 blocks away. Can he win Harlem or is this going to the Clintons?

LOUIS: Oh, I assume he's going to win Harlem. The swing in the polls which is happening in a lot of places around the country has certainly happened here and this happen with black voters in New York. I mean -- dramatic swings, just in the last couple of weeks. This is very political. I mean -- not just Bill Clinton's up here but Charlie Rangel, a long-time congressman, lives not far from here.

This school, in fact, is named after Adam Clayton Powell, the famous congressman. New York's first black congressman elected in the 1940s. It's a very sophisticated -- very, very politically active neighborhood. And folks -- they kick the tires and what they've been telling polls is they like Obama.

CHETRY: It's very interesting you mentioned Charlie Rangel, because, actually, all four black members of Congress here in New York are endorsing Hillary Clinton. Is that an accurate reflection of African-Americans in general here in New York?

LOUIS: Well, it's an accurate reflection of what was in their best interest, because if she loses, Hillary Clinton will continue to be a senator. I think some of those folks are going to get a little embarrassed by tomorrow because, I think, some of these districts, the one I live in Brooklyn, even the one in Queens. I think, those are clearly going to go Obama. And I've been around and talk with people. I've talked with the Obama people. They think they're going to win all of Brooklyn. They think they may win all of New York City.

CHETRY: And the reason that's important, as we've said, because it's not a winner-take-all state. So these congressional districts and the way things shake out make a huge difference in racking up these delegates.

LOUIS: That's right. There will be five or six delegates available in each district. So they're going to be scrapping all over the -- all over the state, really. And there are 29 districts statewide. Everybody's up for grabs. No one is yielding anything.

CHETRY: Yes. We know, it really is a huge state. I want to play a clip from Senator Barack Obama right now, where he talks about race and how it factors in. Let's listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It's never been my style and never been my interest to run a race-based campaign. My whole message has always been that I want everybody included in the broad coalition to bring about change.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHETRY: He has the potential to be the first black president in the history of America. Is it naive to think that race isn't going to play a role in some way, shape, or form in deciding how voters decide? LOUIS: You know, when I hear him say that, what I'm thinking is, what he really means and what I've begun to see out on the campaign trail is that it's not going mean, what he has traditionally meant. A week and a half ago in South Carolina, he got 50 percent of the white vote under 30.

And what that means is that there are changing attitudes, especially among the young people. And he has played straight to that change, that call for change. So, I think -- you know, will it mean something? Sure. It will mean something. Especially the older voters but what it will mean especially the younger voters is changing and it's up for grabs.

CHETRY: It is very interesting when you look at how it breaks down, not only by race, not only by gender, but by age especially on the Democratic side. It is fascinating. Now, you know, we have 23 Democratic contests today. And it's still possible that we may not be any closer to knowing a frontrunner after today. Where does that leave us?

LOUIS: Well, it leaves us in a nip-and-tuck battle. The next round of states. We're going to see, I think, Kansas, Louisiana, Washington State, come up next. And then, there is Potomac Primaries in which you've got Maryland, Virginia, Washington, DC. After that, we go into the March contest in Texas and Ohio. I would assume that by the time those big states are done, someone on the Democratic side will have enough of the lead.

CHETRY: You don't think this is going all the way to the convention?

LOUIS: No, I don't think so. Well, although, Super Delegates who are about a quarter of them, those 800 or so who can vote any way they want, and are mostly holding their closer to that. They will continue to exercise some influence. I think the party is going to call a halt to this at some point. It should be pretty obvious before the convention.

CHETRY: Errol, great to have you with us. Errol Louis for the "New York Daily News." Thanks for being with us this morning.

LOUIS: Thank you, Kiran.

CHETRY: John, you know, one of the things I notice this morning, it doesn't matter what school you're in across the country -- all cafeterias look the same.

ROBERTS: They all taste the same too, Kiran. Hey, you're watching a special edition of AMERICAN MORNING. We are at the beginning of CNN's nonstop all-day, all-night coverage of Super Tuesday. And set the alarm for the very special early edition of AMERICAN MORNING, beginning at 5:00 a.m. Eastern.

Were used to no sleep during this primary process. So we'll be up bright and early for you tomorrow. And today, CNN's Campbell Brown moderates a discussion on the candidates and the issues facing voters. Her "AMERICA VOTES SPECIAL" is at noon Eastern on CNN and cnn.com if you can't get near television set.

Health care, a hot button campaign issue for Democrats. Our Dr. Sanjay Gupta will tell us what's really different between the plans propose by Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. That's ahead on AMERICAN MORNING.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ROBERTS: Well, voters have been hearing a lot lately about the dueling health care plans offered up by Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama? Just how do they differ from each other? Our chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, has been taking a closer look. He joins me now.

But before we get started, we just want to say, for full disclosure, that in 1997 and 1998, Sanjay works as a White House fellow, which is a nonpartisan appointment. It was about three or four years after Hillary Clinton's health care plan went down to defeat.

So what are the real differences here? When voters are shopping, give me some idea of what this model (INAUDIBLE).

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: I've been thinking about this a lot, John. And I would say, in terms of what they hope to achieve, they're about 95 percent similar.

They both want universal health care coverage, they both want to increase preventive care, and they both want to pay for it in the same way. It's not cheap, as you might know. The big difference, really, is that Senator Clinton's plan mandates or requires that everyone had health care insurance. If you like your health care insurance now, keep it. If you don't have it, you're going to have to buy it and they will bring down cost if you can't afford it.

Barack Obama's plan -- Senator Obama's plan requires it for children but not for adults. He says he will simply lower cost. It is very -- there something in there -- in that small difference, it's very important and words matter. Here's how the candidates themselves put

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HILLARY CLINTON, (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I want everybody to pay something according to their ability and we'll make it affordable with health care tax credits, we'll limit the amount of the percentage of income that anybody has to pay as a premium, we won't require small business to do anything, but if small business wants to, they, too, can go into the congressional plan.

OBAMA: I'm actually not interested in just capping premiums, I want to lower premiums by about an average of 2500 per family per year, because people right now cannot afford it.

(END VIDEO CLIP) GUPTA: It is, as you might imagine, there are significant costs involved here. The campaigns themselves, say Hillary Clinton plan says cost about $110 billion. Senator Obama's plan about $50 billion to $60 billion. Take a look at the numbers there. There have been other numbers as well proposed John, as you know, by outside economists who say -- wait a second. It's not quite -- it's about $124 billion, for Senator Clinton's plan. So close to what she says -- that's to cover all Americans.

And about $102 billion for Senator Obama's plan, which covers only about 23 million of the uninsured. So, similar in costs, but very different in terms of who would be covered. Now, keep in mind, John. You know better than anybody else, this is all the campaign rhetoric right now. Getting it through Congress -- getting elected and getting it through Congress maybe a whole different thing.

ROBERTS: These things could look very different by the time they make it through the House and the Senate.

Sanjay, thanks very much for that. Good breakdown.

Kiran?

CHETRY: Well, John, we are here at the Adam Clayton Powell Elementary School, it's PS-153. The polls opened here about an hour ago. They also open across the state as well as in Connecticut and New Jersey. And in just about two minutes, polls are opening in even more states across the country, including Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Massachusetts, Missouri, and Tennessee. So a lot going on. You're going to want to stay with AMERICAN MORNING.

We have an interview coming up with Mitt Romney as well as Barack Obama and we're going to continue to bring you the issues, let you hear from the candidates on this huge decision day, Super Tuesday. AMERICAN MORNING continues in just two minutes.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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