Return to Transcripts main page


McCain, Obama Sweep Potomac Primaries

Aired February 12, 2008 - 22:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: I'm here with Wolf Blitzer.
We have been watching another remarkable night unfolding in Maryland, in Virginia, and the District of Columbia. Icy weather kept the polls open late in Maryland, heavy turnout in all three races, a sweep for John McCain, a sweep and a blowout for Barack Obama.

We're going to be covering it all over the next two hours, and looking ahead to the next races.

First, let's get the big picture tonight from Wolf -- Wolf.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: All right, Anderson, thanks very much. Let's recap what has happened tonight.

Decisive sweeps, as you point out, for Barack Obama and John McCain. Let's take a look on the Democratic side and see what happened.

First, in Virginia, Barack Obama, a decisive, impressive win over Hillary Clinton. With 94 percent of the votes now counted, 94 percent of the precincts reporting, 63 -- 63 percent for Barack Obama, only 36 percent for Hillary Clinton. If you take a look at the actual votes, more than a half-a-million, 563,000, for Obama, only 317,000 for Hillary Clinton. Virginia goes for Obama.

Same for Maryland. Only 4 percent of the actual votes are in, in Maryland, but you can already see what's going on, Barack Obama so far with 68 percent to Hillary Clinton's 30 percent -- the vote tally small right now. We will zoom in and take a look at the actual count, 24,000 for Obama, only 10,400 for Hillary Clinton, but Maryland going for Obama.

Same is true in the District of Columbia, in Washington, D.C. -- 89 percent of the vote in Washington, D.C., has now been reported -- 76 percent for Barack Obama, only 24 percent for Hillary Clinton -- the actual vote, 77,400 for Obama, Hillary Clinton 24,563.

Let's take a look and see what happened on the Republican side. And we will go back and take a look and Virginia -- at Virginia first. On the Republican side, John McCain gets the win. Ninety-four percent of the precincts are now in, 50 percent for McCain, 41 percent for Huckabee. It was, earlier -- a lot closer earlier, as the count was going on.

But McCain pulls out an impressive win in Virginia, 223,000 to 185,000 or so for Mike Huckabee. Ninety-four percent of the precincts are in. Only 4 percent of the vote is in so far in Maryland, but McCain also doing well there, 56 percent, to 33 percent for Huckabee. You can see the votes, the actual tally as it's coming in, 6,300 for McCain, 3,700 for Huckabee, a small number. We have projected a win for McCain in Maryland.

The same is true in the District of Columbia. Eighty-nine percent of the vote is in, McCain with 67 percent, only 17 percent for Mike Huckabee, Ron Paul 8 percent, 3,425 for McCain, 874 for Huckabee. There aren't a whole lot of Republicans, as you can see, in Washington, D.C. It's a very, very heavily Democratic place.

Let's take a look at the all-important delegate count right now, how it stacks up, based on our estimates, as it's unfolding right now, first on the Democratic side. Hillary Clinton, we estimate, based on tonight and everything that's happened so far going back to Iowa, with 1,178 delegates to Barack Obama's 1,195. He's ahead.

If you take a look at how it breaks up, she has 944 won or pledged delegates to his 1,039. On the other hand, she has more superdelegates, 234, to his 156. But Barack Obama is now ahead in the delegate race. That's the all-important race for the Democratic presidential nomination in Denver at the end of the summer.

Remember, 2,025 delegates are needed to be the Democratic presidential nominee.

On the Republican side, McCain is much getting closer to that 1,191 he needs to get the Republican nomination. He now has 812 to Huckabee's 217. It looks like it's almost impossible, even though Huckabee believes in miracles, and he's saying tonight he's going to continue his struggle, going on to Texas March 4. But he's in a very, very difficult place right now, with McCain having his decisive, impressive clean sweep tonight, Washington, Maryland and Virginia -- same for Barack Obama.

That's the update -- Anderson, impressive wins for both of these candidates.

COOPER: And no doubt a disappointing night for Mike Huckabee. As you pointed out, he is saying he is staying in the race; his fight will go on.

He spoke earlier tonight. Let's listen to some of what he had to say.


MIKE HUCKABEE (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: ... will be coming up real soon after that.

So, you know, the next several weeks are going to be the very intense weeks, when a lot of delegates are at stake. And a lot will be decided, as far as the long-term impact of where this process is going. But one thing that we have continually said -- and I'm going to reiterate tonight -- that the nomination is not secured until somebody has 1,191 delegates. That has not yet happened. And we're still continuing to work and to give voters in these states a choice.

I think, if anything that we're doing is important, it's recognizing that the people in the states who have not had their elections have as much right to an election as all of these folks who are front-loaded for either Super Tuesday or prior to that.

And, if there are these calls to say, "Let's just call it off," well, that's a disservice to the people in Texas, and Ohio, and Pennsylvania, and North Carolina, and Nebraska, and other states and territories who have yet to have that opportunity to vote.

So we march on. Every time we win, we're ecstatic. When we -- when we don't win, we're disappointed, but we're not knocked out, and we continue to -- to believe that every day provides a new opportunity for us to keep the message going, show the contrast, and hopefully give people in the Republican Party a cause to be for and also to keep it, though, in a respectful and I think the kind of tone and tenor that has, I would like to think, brought some honor to the process.

So, let me take a few of your questions, and we will go from there.

QUESTION: Governor, tonight, McCain's -- Senator McCain's camp, Jill Hazelbaker, said that it is mathematically impossible for Governor Huckabee to secure the nomination.

Well, you said the other day that you majored in miracles, not math.


QUESTION: Has anyone on your campaign staff done any of their own delegate math? Would you be able to comment on that?

HUCKABEE: I mean, we understand, in terms of the conventional process, barring, you know, some -- something that could happen along the way in the campaign for Senator McCain, or if he doesn't acquire enough delegates -- that's -- that's really the possibility, that it could go to the convention.

So, you know, I hear all the things that are said. But, you know, it's still -- I go back to this fact. And I just can't say it loudly or maybe emphatically enough. You have got to have 1,191.

And while it may be mathematically impossible to see how it could play out right now, I know this: Right now, nobody has the 1,191 delegates. And, therefore, it would be a little premature to quit until the game has actually come to a conclusion.

And I will also remind everybody that it was the Republican National Committee who created the rules and the process and said, "Here's what it takes to be the nominee." Nobody's made it to that point yet.

And so, you know, I have not been one who believes that you -- you leave the field because it's gotten difficult. You stay, and you keep playing until the -- the last second of the clock has sounded.


COOPER: A much more somber Governor Mike Huckabee perhaps than we have seen before.

Let's get some perspective now geographically and otherwise from CNN's John King, who is at the map.

John, first of all, the headline from you tonight?

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: An impressive sweep for Senator McCain, Anderson, that gets him closer, very close to clinching the Republican nomination. But with the victories comes a warning shot.

Look at this spot on the map right there. The peach is Governor Huckabee, winning among rural, evangelical Republicans in the western part of the state. So, John McCain wins tonight, but still has a problem convincing some of his party to come along for the ride.

COOPER: We will also look at results for the Democratic side -- on the Democratic side. We will have a lot more from the map.

You can practically feel the power from the map right there. You can also go to for all the results, getting the results in online as we are getting them here. Follow along on your computer.

We are going to take a short break. And we will have more with John and the map.

We will be right back.



SEN. HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D-NY), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We're going to sweep across Texas in the next three weeks, bringing our message about what we need in America, the kind of president that will be required on day one to be commander in chief, to turn the economy around.

I'm tested. I'm ready. Let's make it happen.


CLINTON: You know, there's -- there's a great saying in Texas. You have all heard it: all hat and no cattle. Well, after seven years of George Bush...


CLINTON: ... we need a lot less hat and a lot more cattle.



COOPER: Senator Hillary Clinton speaking earlier this evening in El Paso, Texas, a sign of how important Texas has become for her and her campaign.

You heard her saying she's going to spend the next three weeks sweeping across that state.

John King right now is sweeping across the state of Virginia with the map.

What did we learn tonight in this overwhelming win for Barack Obama in the state of Virginia?

KING: Anderson, she better hope, in that three weeks, that Barack Obama's momentum fades a bit with that time.

And she better worry a lot more about Barack Obama than George W. Bush. Look at the sweep of his win tonight. The dark blue is Obama. And he won across most of the state -- Senator Clinton winning down here. And this is roughly the outlines of a congressional district. So, she will pick up some delegates down there, under the Democratic rules.

But look at the Obama win. I will use the red here. All the populous areas, the big suburbs up here, he won not only where the African-American votes are, down in the Richmond area, but he also won -- and what she needs to be worried about, if he can carry this forward.

The thing we saw tonight is, up in this area up here, Fairfax County, sure, there are affluent Democrats there, but there are also a large population of working women. You also have a large, significant Latino population out in the Washington suburbs.

COOPER: Both groups which, in other primaries, other caucuses had gone overwhelmingly for Hillary Clinton.

KING: And his numbers improved across the board tonight.

If -- sometimes, you win big, it's a one-state wonder. But, if he can carry these numbers forward into Wisconsin, into Ohio and onto Texas, Senator Clinton is in trouble. And that is what her campaign is looking at most closely tonight.

In the sweep of a victory like this, the Obama campaign says it is building support in demographics where it previously did not do well. That has to be a sign of worry for the Clinton campaign. Again, she won down here, rural Democrats. But she's getting crushed in the suburbs by sizable margins, Barack Obama making inroads into her coalition. If he can carry that forward, that is a warning shot at the Clinton campaign.

Let's switch over and look at the Republican side, again, John McCain winning big where the people are, now mounting up reasonably impressive numbers -- Republican turnout way down again, McCain up around 50 percent now. That is a sign -- a welcome sign for them. But this is a worry. This is where your Republican conservative base voters are, rural voters, evangelical voters -- Mike Huckabee still having considerable appeal there -- considerable appeal there.

The question for McCain going forward is, can he win those voters over, and does the Huckabee campaign, the continued Huckabee campaign, become more of a nuisance? Right now, the McCain camp says, it's fine, especially when he's winning, and...


COOPER: Because they're not attacking each other at this point.

KING: But he is -- Huckabee is not attacking McCain by name, but he is saying: McCain's not with you on a constitutional amendment outlawing abortion, not with you on a constitutional amendment outlawing same-sex marriage.

So, if he's convincing Republicans -- if he convinces them not to vote for John McCain now, that's not so bad for John McCain, as long as they vote for him in November. The worry in the McCain campaign is, will he convince conservatives to just stay home, that John McCain -- or will he engender a conservative third-party challenge from the right? That is a worry.

COOPER: In terms of delegates, what are we looking at?

KING: Well, that, of course, is what the game is all about, is delegates, in the end.

Look at this on the Republican side. Senator McCain is now within striking distance. That is the finish line. Huckabee is simply not a threat for the nomination. If Huckabee won them all with the rest of the way out, even with a 60-percent margin the rest of the way out, John McCain would cross the finish line and Huckabee could not get him. So McCain is way out here now.

The challenge is he still needs to win. It's not mathematically locked up so he has to run in Republican primaries. But as you've heard in that speech a short time ago, focus more and more on the Democrats in the fall.

And this -- get ready for this. This is simply stunning. Barack Obama, for the first time, has passed Senator Clinton, but look at this. This is stalemate. This is stalemate, and the map wants to play with me a little bit. It does that. That is simply stalemate. They are tied, essentially, with the rest of the way to go, Anderson. Twenty, 25 needed to win the Democratic race.

If Senator Clinton won the rest of the primaries, 55-45, she wouldn't make it to the finish line. If Obama won the rest of the primaries, 55-45, he wouldn't make it to the finish line. So this either means a break in a big way for somebody, or someone's going to end up around here, and we'll have that super delegate conversation all over again.

COOPER: We're going to talk about that a lot coming up. John, thanks.

More on the demographics going in. We knew, for example, that Senator Clinton does better with Latinos, and Senator Obama gets more African-American support. At least we thought we knew that. There have been gender gaps and education gaps and income differences, as well, among voters.

What is remarkable about tonight, some of which John got to, is that for Senator Obama, tonight he broke some of those patterns.

With me now, CNN's Soledad O'Brien and Bill Schneider. They've been crunching the exit -- exit polls numbers.

On the Republican side, what do we find out?

SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You raise an interesting question. We can go right to that Latino question. Something we saw in the exit polls. Exactly that, Obama really made some inroads.

What do we see in the exit polls?

BILL SCHNEIDER, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: In the exit polls in both Maryland and Virginia, was that Obama carried Latino voters in those two states.

O'BRIEN: Small population, of course.

SCHNEIDER: Small population. He carried them narrowly, 53-47, but she is relying on Latino voters to help her carry Texas. And they've just begun to inch away towards Obama. That's momentum for you.

O'BRIEN: It's indicative of the problem if you're the Clinton campaign and that keeps up.

Let's talk, Anderson, a little bit about those Republicans in Maryland. You heard Senator McCain talking about his victory a little bit. So let's drill down on why he won in Maryland right now. Voters who are 65 and older is part of the reason.

SCHNEIDER: Seniors. And he's always done well with seniors. He did extremely well in Maryland, nearly 3-1 for McCain over Mike Huckabee. Those have always been his base, and that's the people who came out for him today in Maryland.

O'BRIEN: And sort of ditto for veterans.

SCHNEIDER: Veterans also his peeps, if you want. He's a military veteran. Of course, a heroic war hero, a veteran of Vietnam. McCain 53 percent, Huckabee 35. And veterans were a quarter of the Republican voters in Maryland. So significant constituency.

O'BRIEN: I think it was really interesting when John King was pointing out on the map the next issue we're going to talk about. Maryland and also Virginia, when we're talking about conservatives, this was a very big problem for John McCain at first. What have you seen?

SCHNEIDER: Break-through. This is a big break-through for John McCain, among conservatives in Maryland. This is the first state I've seen all year in which McCain has actually carried conservative voters. Not by a majority, not by a big margin, but in Maryland he edged out Mike Huckabee among self-described conservatives by exactly seven points: McCain 43, Huckabee 36. He finally did it somewhere.

O'BRIEN: It doesn't last, though, through Virginia.

SCHNEIDER: No, not in Virginia. And that's where it gets interesting. Take a look at how Virginia conservatives voted. They voted 51 Mike Huckabee, 30 John McCain. What does that mean? It means Mike Huckabee...

O'BRIEN: That's my question. What does that mean?

SCHNEIDER: What does it mean? Huckabee gets conservatives in southern states. He's a regional candidate. Southern conservatives vote for Huckabee. Northern conservatives used to vote for Mitt Romney. He's not there any more. Now they seem to be tilting slightly to John McCain.

O'BRIEN: So if you're John McCain's campaign, what do you do?

SCHNEIDER: You -- you essentially worry about how you're going to appeal to those southern conservatives, the base of the party. You might think about a running mate who appeals to them.

Or you might just say, "You know what? They're going to vote Republican in November anyway, so why do I have to worry about them?"

O'BRIEN: Thanks, Bill. Let's send it right back to Anderson.

COOPER: Soledad, Bill, thanks. Fascinating numbers. We'll check back in with you shortly.

Tonight in this two-hour program, we are going to hear more from Senator Clinton, more of her speech, in case you missed it, as well as Senator Barack Obama and Senator John McCain. All of that ahead.

We're going to take a short break. Our coverage continues. So does our online coverage at Stay with us. We'll be right back.



SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R-AZ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We don't believe that government has all the answers. We believe that government must respect the rights, property and opportunities of the people to whom we are accountable.

We don't believe in growing the size of government to make it easier to serve our own ambitions. We believe that what government is expected to do, what we cannot do for ourselves individually. It must be done with confidence, resolve and wisdom.

The American people don't send us to Washington to serve our self-interests, but to serve theirs.


COOPER: We've been watching the remarkable night unfolding in Maryland, Virginia, as well as in the District of Columbia. Icy weather kept the polls open late in Maryland. There was heavy turnout in all three races. A sweep, of course, for John McCain. A sweep, a blowout for Barack Obama.

Before we hear from the two Democratic candidates, let's quickly get a sense of the big picture from Wolf -- Wolf.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: All right, Anderson. Let's take a look and see what happened to the Democratic side first.

First of all, in Virginia, Barack Obama, the winner, 98 percent of the precincts now reporting. Sixty-four percent for Barack Obama to 36 percent for Hillary Clinton. An impressive win: 606,000 for Obama, 339,000 for Clinton.

Take a look at those numbers, because Democrats voted largely 2-1 in terms of the outpouring in Virginia as opposed to the Republicans. You'll see that later.

In Maryland, another impressive win for Barack Obama. Thirteen percent of the precincts have actually reported. They closed late, as Anderson just noted, because of bad weather, 90 minutes late. Sixty- two percent so far for Obama, 35 percent for Hillary Clinton. We'll zoom in on the numbers, 56,000 for Obama, 32,000 for Hillary Clinton.

And with almost 90 percent of the vote in for Washington, D.C., 76 percent for Barack Obama, to only 24 percent for Hillary Clinton. In terms of the actual votes, 77,400 for Barack Obama, 24,500 for Hillary Clinton. A decisive, impressive win for Barack Obama. Another clean sweep for him on this night.

Let's take a look at the Republican candidates right now, see how they did on this night.

And John McCain wins another clean sweep for him. McCain with 50 percent of the vote so far in Virginia, 98 percent of the precincts reporting, to 41 percent for Huckabee. It had been much closer earlier in the night. But McCain gets his win.

An impressive win if we take a look at the numbers in Virginia: 238,000 to 194,000 for Huckabee. And remember, that's about half of the turnout in Virginia that the Democrats have. Shows the Democrats are very energized there, and elsewhere, as well.

In Maryland, McCain does very well once again, only 13 percent of the precincts reporting. He's going to be the winner with 54 percent so far to 30 percent for Huckabee, 4 percent -- excuse me, 6 percent for Ron Paul. Seventeen-thousand votes for McCain to 9,400 for Huckabee. And impressive win for McCain in the state of Maryland.

And in the District of Columbia once again, 90 -- almost 90 percent of the vote in. McCain gets 67 percent so far to 17 percent for Huckabee, 8 percent for Ron Paul.

Look at the small numbers of people who voted in the Republican primary in the District of Columbia. Not a whole lot of Republicans there to begin with: 3,400 for McCain, 874 for Huckabee, 437 for Ron Paul.

And let's take a look and see the actual states that have won so far. And we'll go back to Barack Obama. He's carried these states since these contests began way back in early January, with Iowa. It seems like such a long time ago. These dark blue states are the states that Obama has carried. And we can add tonight the so-called Potomac Primary states, Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Virginia. Add those states to Obama.

Let's take a look at Hillary Clinton, the states that she has carried so far. I'm going to back up, and you can see these are the light blue states. Hillary Clinton carried some of the two biggest ones, New York state and California. She's clearly done well there.

We've included here Florida and Michigan, even though the primaries there really don't count. There are no delegates. She did win. But in fairness, nobody was allowed to campaign there, because Florida and Michigan moved up their primaries before the Democratic National Committee allowed them to do so. And in Michigan, only Hillary Clinton's name and Dennis Kucinich's name were on the ballot. In Florida, all of their names were on the ballot, but they couldn't campaign there. She did carry those states, but they won't have any delegates.

On the Republican side, these are the states that John McCain has racked up so far. He's got these dark red states, including the biggest states, California, Florida, New York, impressive wins for John McCain. He's getting closer and closer and closer to that all- important 1,191 delegates he needs to be the Republican presidential candidate.

Although Mike Huckabee, who has carried these states -- you can see them over here in the lighter red -- he says he's staying in this contest. He wants to see what happens in the coming weeks in, not only in Texas, but North Carolina and elsewhere. So Huckabee is staying in, if we want to take a look at that.

All of these contests are important, but there's more to come. The race, especially on the Democratic side, is very, very tight. Wisconsin, next Tuesday, we'll see what happens there. But then March 4, Ohio, Texas, Rhode Island, Anderson, those states are going to be very, very critical to see if Hillary Clinton can regain some momentum.

COOPER: Yes, I mean, to say this race is tight on the Democratic side is an understatement. It is the most remarkable race probably any of us covering politics has ever seen.

Senator Barack Obama spoke a short time ago in Madison, Wisconsin. He's already moving on to the next battles a week from tonight. CNN's Candy Crowley joins me now from Madison, Wisconsin.

Candy, on the Obama side tonight, there was a lot that they are thankful and happy about, no doubt.

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Oh, absolutely, Anderson. And it isn't just that he won Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C., because they expected that. It is sort of the scope of the demographics, you know, the victory with women, the victory with older voters. All of those things coming together, even winning majority of Latino voters, although they were a small slice of the electorate in Virginia and in Maryland.

But nonetheless, this was a comprehensive victory for them. They think it bodes well for the future.

You're right. He came here to Madison, Wisconsin, another victory, another night in another huge arena full of cheering people. He gives basically the same message almost everywhere he goes. He did talk tonight about several of the issues that he's been campaigning on.

But when you get down to the fundamentals of Barack Obama, it centers around forming what he calls a new political majority.


SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D-IL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We have given young people a reason to believe, and we have brought -- and we have brought the young at heart back to the polls who want to believe again.

We are bringing together Democrats and independents, and yes, some Republicans. I know there's -- I meet them when I'm shaking hands afterwards. There's one right there. An Obamacan, that's what we call them.

They whisper to me. They say, "I'm a Republican, but I support you."

And I say, "Thank you."


CROWLEY: Now, as for Wisconsin, Barack Obama will start out his pitch here with what is called a substantive economic speech tomorrow at a GM assembly plant. Barack Obama going to the core of Wisconsin Democrats, working-class Democrats that inhabit the suburbs and also the cities of this state. They believe that they can be competitive here with Hillary Clinton, although there have been some polls showing her ahead. Working in his favor, Anderson, is the fact that this will be an open primary. So those people he just talked about, the Republicans, the independents, the Democrats, they can all come in and vote for him.

So they think Wisconsin is shaping up well, but they do think it's going to be competitive, Anderson.

COOPER: What about Texas? I mean, clearly, Senator Clinton, Candy, has planted her flag in Texas. She was there tonight. She says for the next three weeks they're going to be sweeping across the state of Texas.

How seriously -- I mean, clearly, the Obama campaign is taking Texas very seriously. What are they going to do to try to reach out, particularly to Latino voters, who Senator Clinton traditionally has done better amongst, although certainly tonight Barack Obama has raised his -- his appeal among Latinos, as well?

CROWLEY: Well, part of this is about the roll. You know, moving it along. I mean, as we've noted, there was a huge weekend for Barack Obama, winning five contests. Now he's swept the Chesapeake, the Potomac Primary. So they obviously want to pick up Wisconsin. They've got Hawaii coming up. He's from Hawaii. You know, there are a number of things sort of rolling into Texas and Ohio that they do think will bring people to the table.

Having said that, they are up in Texas with Spanish ads. They are, in fact, making a play. They have surrogates that they send out there.

But I think you will see this week -- I know you will see this week the concentration on Wisconsin, because they want this to be a steady march forward as they try to pick up momentum. Because you know as well always I do, Anderson, that so far in this Democratic race, momentum has been momentary. So they want to try to capitalize on what has been a very good week for them and see if they can't make moment -- make momentum a little longer-lasting than it has been.

COOPER: All right. Candy Crowley, thanks.

As we said, Senator Hillary Clinton is banking on a big win next month in Texas, where 228 Democratic delegates are at stake. It is a big prize. Latinos could make up half of primary voters there.

Now all along, that's been seen as a likely plus for Senator Clinton. We all know that by now. But as we mentioned just a second ago, exit polls showed that Barack Obama actually won the Latino vote in Virginia. And tonight, there are more signs of turmoil in the Clinton campaign.

CNN's Suzanne Malveaux joins me from El Paso, Texas.

Suzanne, another campaign manager, this time deputy campaign manager, quote unquote, "resigned." SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN CORRESPONDENT: He did, as a matter of fact, a couple of days ago. He was also aligned with the original campaign manager, Patti Doyle. It is not surprising that you have this kind of movement now, because obviously, they're moving in a very different direction, and they want to make that known, make that clear, that their message on the ground from state to state is going to be consistent. Also a lot of problems in terms of spending the money too quickly.

But I have to say this evening was very interesting. If you're going to lose three primaries and the delegate count, what are the possibilities? How do you handle this?

One of the things that they did is they simply ignored it. The Potomac Primaries never even came up this evening. We saw Senator Clinton out on the stage, 12,000 people, surrounded by the kind of adulation that you usually see with an Obama campaign rally. She went on to take on health care, as well always the minimum wage, got rock- star treatment and wild applause when she took on some of those issues.

Now, afterwards, I asked her aides where do they go from here, in light of the fact that Obama did cut into some significant groups, cutting into the women, to the elderly, to rural voters, to Hispanics? And he simply said, "Well, look, this is the first day of the Texas campaign. That is what we're focused on. We're going to be rolling out endorsements starting tomorrow."

I spoke with another senior adviser, and I said, "What do you do? How do you create this momentum that you're talking about from now until March 4 when you have that critical Texas contest?"

And he said, "Well, what you do is you roll out the endorsements; you hope to have a strong showing when it comes to Wisconsin. You also try to capitalize off of the press, with putting out President Clinton. You also look at the super delegates. You try to push them along, as well."

There are a lot of things that they need to do here. They are very much aware of that. They're focused at Texas.

And I want to make another point here, too. One of the advisers said, look, they are fighting for those super delegates just as hard as they are for these March 4 contests.

And one of the things they think they can do to at least appeal to some of the male voters that Obama has, is to set up this race as a race between John McCain and Barack Obama over national security. They think that would be a disaster. They believe that is the way that they will track some of the men back to Senator Clinton's side -- Anderson.

COOPER: Suzanne Malveaux reporting from El Paso, Texas. Suzanne, thanks very much.

Up next, we're going to talk about the night and what comes next with our panel. While you keep an eye here, track results yourself at our Web site Still to come, we'll also talk about the Republicans. We'll check in with our reporters on the trail with John McCain and Mike Huckabee.

Tonight McCain pulled off a win in Virginia, close -- in Virginia. A close win, of course. Let's take a look at what it means for him and Huckabee who says, no matter what, he is staying in the race. All that coming up.


COOPER: We are back. Another pivotal night in Election '08. As always, the best political team on television is here to provide us some perspective.

Joining me now, CNN senior political analyst, Gloria Borger; CNN political contributor and Clinton supporter, Paul Begala; Democratic strategist and Obama supporter Jamal Simmons; and CNN contributor and Democratic strategist Donna Brazile. I don't really know who she's supporting. And who she's supporting actually matters, because she's a super delegate.

So I'm not even going to ask you...


COOPER: ... if you've made up your mind. Let's just talk to Gloria.

How does what happened tonight, what we saw with Barack Obama in Virginia, in Maryland, and the District of Columbia, how does it change the game?

GLORIA BORGER, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I think it does change the game. This is a huge opportunity now for Barack Obama, to take this and to run with it.

He beat Hillary Clinton among women, and nearly even among white voters. He also beat her, Anderson, 2-1 among independent voters. The Clinton campaign now is in a situation where it has to go to Texas and Ohio and win. And not only just win, but I mean win big, because these are proportional states.

COOPER: Where is she right now in the polls in Ohio and Texas?

BORGER: Well, she's doing fine; she's winning. But you know, these polls are fungible, Anderson.

COOPER: Really? I'm shocked.

BORGER: And the question is, when does this momentum kick in? And will what happened tonight affect those voters in Texas and Ohio, who might be undecided, who might say, "Gee, maybe I might want to jump on the Obama bandwagon, or maybe I don't"?

And also, will it affect those 450 uncommitted super delegates out there who would like to be on the side of someone they think could win?

COOPER: Paul Begala, as a Clinton supporter, there's obviously a lot to be afraid of in some of these numbers. What gives you hope when you look at the numbers tonight?

PAUL BEGALA, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Well, the calendar, the number 21, which is three weeks before Ohio and Texas.

COOPER: You think the calendar works in favor of Senator Clinton?

BEGALA: It has to. Because we're -- I coach my 12-year-old's basketball team. OK? When the other team is on a run -- they're really moving, they're scoring -- you call time-out. Just cool them off, stop for just a second. You know, the writers are back at work, maybe people are going to watch commercial television...

COOPER: You're hoping for something to kill Barack Obama's momentum.

BEGALA: Slow this down. And then I would go try to make a stand in Wisconsin. She's behind there already. But even if she can't make a stand in Wisconsin, she has a couple of weeks. And then she's got to make her final stand at the Alamo and in Ohio. But she's got a little bit of time. But tonight, she...

COOPER: She literally could be at the Alamo.

BEGALA: Sure. And she's started to...

COOPER: Not a good idea, though. In terms of imagery.

BEGALA: Well, that's true. But she's starting to make a turn tonight. She told more stories tonight. She didn't talk about Section 8 housing vouchers. You know, she talked about a woman who's losing her home. She talked about real people and started to tell stories.

And she had a good little line in Texas, about all hat and no cattle. Wink-wink, that was all about George Bush. No, it wasn't. It was about Barack Obama, who gives a great speech. But she wants to say, you know, as Walter Mondale said to Gary Hart, where's the beef? So she -- she's got a strategy.

COOPER: Jamal Simmons, Obama supporter, it's obvious there's a reason, a lot to be hopeful about Barack Obama tonight. What makes you worry? What gives you pause?

JAMAL SIMMONS, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Well, what gives me pause and gives me worry is the Clinton campaign keeps moving the goal line. You know, when Barack Obama won Iowa, they said, "Oh, well, it's a caucus state. Caucuses don't matter."

Then he won South Carolina. They said, "Oh, it's an African- American state. African-American states don't matter."

And then he won a lot of small states on Super Tuesday. They said, "Oh, they're small states. Small states don't matter."

And then today he wins a bunch of states in the mid-Atlantic. He won states on Saturday. At some point it all starts to matter.

And I grew up on Dexter and Davidson in Detroit, and in my neighborhood, where I grew up, winning counts. And people -- you know, people respect it. And he's been winning states. He is -- right now he's ahead in delegates. He is, right now, ahead in the number of states that he's won, because 20, 21 states he's won so far. Hillary Clinton's won 10. And he's ahead -- he's going to be ahead in national polls, I assume. The number keeps fluctuating up and down. You know, he's ahead. He's running very well. So she's got to try to win something.

What makes me nervous is that we get to Texas and Ohio, if he wins one of those, they're going to say, "That doesn't matter. Let's see what happens in Pennsylvania."

COOPER: Donna Brazile, it is remarkable, looking at these exit polls that Bill Schneider and Soledad O'Brien have been looking at all night. We see that Obama has made inroads among white voters, among people making under $50,000 and among Latinos, all supposed Clinton strengths.

How does he continue to bring those groups into his camp?

DONNA BRAZILE, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Well, there's no question that Barack Obama now has two types of momentum. First, he will have momentum in terms of the race for pledged delegates. And perhaps even later this week, or next week, super delegates.

He will also have momentum in some of the categories of voters that, at first, didn't know Barack Obama. He did well tonight with Latino voters, with the Dunkin Donut Democrats as well as the Starbucks Democrats. That's important in terms of putting together a winnings coalition. So this was a very impressive win.

Look, Senator -- Senator Clinton cannot change the game. Obama has momentum. She needs to change the conversation. She cannot run as the anti-hope, anti-inspiration candidate. People are flocking to Obama because they're hearing something that they're thirsting for. They want a new direction in this country.

Look at the results in Virginia. This is a red state, at least by my calculation. It may become purple. But he beat John McCain and Mike Huckabee combined by over 100,000 votes. That shows that Barack Obama has become a metaphysical force in American politics.

COOPER: A lot more to talk about in the hour ahead. We are at the top of the hour. I just want to recap for those who are just joining us.

Another big night in campaign '08 now in the books. The Democratic race, razor-thin going in, with Hillary Clinton barely out front, is now razor-thin with Barack Obama opening up a lead. We're talking about the delegates, of course. Very big night for him. Three more primary wins. D.C., Virginia, Maryland, the winning streak now at eight since Super Tuesday. He claimed victory tonight in Madison, Wisconsin, the crowd adoring, as we have seen so many times before, a week before the Wisconsin primary.