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Ballot Bowl 08

Aired March 1, 2008 - 20:00   ET


SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Welcome to CNN special edition of BALLOT BOWL, I'm Suzanne Malveaux in Dallas, Texas. For the next hour or so you will get a chance to hear and see the candidates before obviously going for the nomination's unscripted, unrehearsed in live events as well as taped events. Joining me at this hour we have a full game plan ahead. Our own Dana Bash, she is in Sedona, Arizona where she is following the Republicans. Dana?
DANA BASH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Unscripted including trains, planes and automobiles Suzanne. Well, we're going to have a very busy hour ahead, no question about it. Because we are just a few days away from very, very important contests. Primaries on Tuesday in four states that really could change the landscape of the Republican race and of the Democratic race as these candidates try to vie for their party's nomination. What we are going to have in terms of the game plan ahead is we're going to hear from Barack Obama. He spent most of the day today campaigning in Rhode Island, that is one of the states holding its primary on Tuesday. But at this hour, he's going to be speaking live in Ohio. We're going to bring you some of that. Also Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton spent a lot of time today campaigning on the issue of national security and defending her new ad on national security. And on the Republican side I am in Arizona because the senior senator from Arizona, John McCain, also the presidential candidate, spent some time off the campaign trail here in his home state. We're going to bring you some of what he has been saying on the trail, particularly in the state of Texas over the past week. And also we're going to talk about Mike Huckabee, the former Arkansas governor who is still in this race. He is campaigning very hard today in the state of Texas. We're going to have all of that in a very busy hour. Suzanne?

MALVEAUX: Dana thanks. We want to start by giving viewers a sense of the poll of polls, as CNN takes a lot of these polls and they put them together. They are regional as well as these local polls, to give you a better sense, a big picture of the national scale here. This is what the candidates are looking like in Ohio, CNN poll of polls. We have Senator Clinton who is ahead at 47 percent. Senator Obama at 40 percent and then those who have yet still to decide who they're going to vote for, likely Democratic voters at 13 percent. Now let's go to Texas, another key state in CNN's poll of polls. We have here Senator Obama who is leading, that is at 48 percent to Clinton's 44 percent. As you know the Democrats obviously competing in the very important primary states of Texas and Ohio, coming up on March 4. Both of them campaigning very, very hard, giving aggressive messages going back and forth on issues of health care, national security, education. You name it, voters are paying very close attention. They are also not forgetting of course the smaller states, that being Rhode Island and Vermont. We heard from Senator Obama earlier today out of Providence, Rhode Island, let's take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEN. BARACK OBAMA, (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I am reminded every day of my life, if not my events, but by my wife that I'm not a perfect man. And I will not be a perfect president. But here's one thing you can count on from me. I will always tell you what I think and I will always tell you where I stand. I will be honest with you about the challenges that we face as a nation. I will listen to you even when we disagree. We will disagree sometimes. Most importantly, I will spend every day of my presidency thinking about you and how to make your lives a little bit better. That is what brings me here today and what brings you here today. The sense that we can make America better. A sense of hope. I have been teased in this campaign a little bit. Senator Clinton says ah, he talks about hope all the time. In fact I think he was here, right? And she was saying, right in this building she was saying, ah, you know, he thinks that the clouds will part and he is so naive. Wait, wait. He thinks he can waive a magic wand and suddenly everything will be great. It is true that I talk about hope a lot. Out of necessity, the odds of me standing here are very slim. I was born to a single mom. I was born to a teenage mom, my dad left when I was 2. So I was born and raised by a single mom and my grandparents and they didn't have money, they didn't have fame or fortune. They gave me love, they gave me an education and they gave me hope.


MALVEAUX: We also heard from Senator Hillary Clinton talking about national security. There is a big spat between these two because the Clinton camp feels that they have made some inroads here that they have a strong case when it comes to her resume with national security matters, competing ads back and forth over who would best able to handle a crisis situation. To pick up the phone as commander in chief at 3:00 in the morning. We heard from Senator Clinton earlier here in Dallas, Texas. She is addressing the undecided voters but she is also fine tuning her message looking at military families and veterans and people who say national security is the number one issue for them. Let's take a listen.


SEN. HILLARY CLINTON, (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We are going to start solving problems like global warming and global epidemics and take on global terrorism the smart way. My opponent, he basically said there are two reasons why he is qualified to be commander in chief. He gave a speech against the Iraq war in 2002 and I give him credit for that. He gave a speech at an antiwar rally. Well, then within two years he had decided that maybe he wasn't sure which way he would have actually voted if he had been in the senate. That maybe George Bush wasn't doing such a bad job in Iraq after all. By the time he got to the senate, he and I voted exactly the same way. When you could actually make a comparison, those are the facts. Then he often cites on his resume the fact that he is the chairman of the subcommittee on European affairs which has jurisdiction over NATO which as you know is our ally in Afghanistan. But he didn't tell you until the debate the other night that he never even held a single substantive hearing to figure out what we could do better. When it counted he was missing in action. Well, at 3:00 a.m., you have to be there and you have to do it without on the job training and a bunch of advisers around. So I welcome this debate because I know how important the job is of protecting and defending our country. I know that Senator McCain who is a friend of mine will stand on the stage as the Republican nominee and he will make this election about national security. I relish the opportunity to stand on the same stage and go toe to toe with John McCain.


MALVEAUX: Of course looking ahead to March 4, those key primary states, Texas, Ohio, Rhode Island and Vermont, CNN will have old returns from those competitive contents that will start at 7:00 p.m. eastern. You're not going to want to miss this. Obviously both of these candidates looking at those critical states to see who moves forward, perhaps who drops out, what happens ahead as BALLOT BOWL continues.

BASH: After the break, we are going to turn to the Republican side. It is certainly a different dynamic, but it is as dramatic nonetheless when we look at what is going to potentially happen on Tuesday and what the out come could be with those primaries. Those four primaries on Tuesday. We're going to listen to both Mike Huckabee and John McCain on the other side of the break. Stay with us.


BASH: Welcome back to BALLOT BOWL '08, I'm Dana Bash in Sedona, Arizona. For all you political junkies out there, you might be wondering, why is she in Arizona. Arizona had its primary back on February 5, on Super Tuesday. Well the reason is because this state's home state senior senator, John McCain, the Republican presidential candidate is here this weekend. He is off the campaign trail. We're going to show you some polls that might suggest and tell you why he feels comfortable enough even though we're just a few days away from four really important primaries, why he's comfortable enough to be home and not on the campaign trail. First, take a look at one big state, the state of Texas. John McCain according to CNN's poll of polls right now is at 53 percent. Mike Huckabee is trailing him with 25 percent and Ron Paul at 9 percent. Then, let's go to the state of Ohio, the other big state holding its primary on Tuesday. John McCain has 56 percent according to CNN's poll of polls. Mike Huckabee 26 percent and Ron Paul at 6 percent. Nevertheless John McCain understands that Tuesday is very important because what his campaign is hoping is that that will be the day that mathematically puts him over the top that will make him clinch the Republican nomination, give him that magic 1,191 delegates. So he is not campaigning today, but he was campaigning over the past week in Ohio and Texas. We want to bring you some of what John McCain said yesterday in Round Rock, that's right outside of Austin. He was speaking at a town hall with employees of Dell Computer and talking about the issue that is topping the agenda right now for voters and Republicans. The Republican and Democratic side, and that's the economy.


SEN. JOHN MCCAIN, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I am confident in the long term, but I will hasten to add, that is small comfort to some of these families and businesses and others who have lost manufacturing jobs overseas. We do have an obligation and that obligation I think first of all for the workers who have been laid off and lost their jobs that probably will not be coming back is to provide education and training programs for them to make them eligible to come to work here, to work here and the other high tech corporations all over this nation. We have that obligation to them. Well how do you do it? Well first of all, the displaced worker programs that are in place today don't work. Ok, they don't work. They were designed and the unemployment insurance programs were designed for the 50s when their would be an economic downturn and someone would lose their job and the economy would come back and they'd go back to the same job any more. We know that's not the case, we know what kind of revolution this nation is in. We need to go to the community colleges and have them design and implement training programs and education programs so that they can work here. So that they can work and take part in this high tech revolution, this information technology revolution that we were in. My friends, I study history. The last time there was a revolution was called the industrial revolution and we left people behind and that's the way they were then. We can't do that today. We can't tell a worker in their 30s or 40s or even their 50s that their life is finished as far as being able to have gainful and meaningful employment. So I think that has to be our first priority. The second thing my friends is that we don't want Americans to experience either businesses or families, experience the impact of a tax increase. That will happen if we don't make the tax cuts permanent. We have to make those tax cuts permanent so that we don't experience a tax increase.

Let me just mention something else that I know a lot of you know very well and I'm sure you know this. But I'm not sure how many Americans are aware that American corporations pay the second highest taxes of any nation in the world. The highest corporate taxes in the world are paid in Japan. That's not exactly the role model obviously. So, sometimes businesses and corporations leave the United States of America, take those corporations and they take workers and jobs and businesses with them. We need to cut the corporate tax rate in America. It's not a very sexy kind of a thing you know, but it's real. Because we want to keep jobs and corporations in the United States of America. There is a lot of other things we need to do. We need to accelerate depreciation. We need to do a whole lot of things but I also think that one of the areas that we have to focus our attention on today is the amount of money we are paying for imported oil. My friends we are spending $400 billion a year now with oil over $100 a barrel, sending that money to countries that don't like us very much and some of that $400 billion will end up in the hands of terrorist organizations and that's a fact. It's half of our trade deficit. So we have to make a national priority out of eliminating over time our absolute dependence on imported oil. We can do it with wind, solar, tide, unleash the technological capability of America to develop green technologies, green technologies I believe are vital because of climate change as well as our dependence on foreign oil. And by the way, one of those is nuclear as well. We have to go to nuclear power if we are going to really eliminate some of our dependence, but also reduce green house gas emissions. My friends the United States navy has sailed ships around the world for 60 years with nuclear power plants on them. We never had a big problem. It's a matter of whether we are going to reprocess or whether we're going to store the spent nuclear fuel. And we can do it, it's just a matter of national will.


BASH: That's Republican presidential candidate John McCain speaking yesterday in Round Rock, Texas talking about what he says is his prescription or at least part of his prescription to try to help the economy. Also at the end there, talking about climate change, talking about green technologies. Something that really sets him apart from other Republicans and frankly makes some Republicans, some conservatives and some others in his party a bit skeptical of him. But we are going to hear more from John McCain and from the other Republican in this race, the Republican who says that he doesn't understand math very well perhaps, but he says he understands miracles. He's hoping that is going to help him in Tuesday's primaries because he is very far behind John McCain, but he's still campaigning very hard. In fact he is out on the campaign trail today in Texas. We're going to hear from him, that's Mike Huckabee, right on the other side of the break. Stay with us.


MALVEAUX: I want to bring you live now to Senator Barack Obama. He is now speaking in Parma Heights, Ohio. Let's take a listen.

SEN. BARACK OBAMA, (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: -- things this administration has failed to do. It means treating our troops, our veterans properly when they come home. No more homeless veterans, no more begging for disability payments, no more waiting for hours to get into the VA. Most importantly, it means using our military wisely. I believe the war in Iraq was unwise. It fanned the flames of anti- American sentiment and made terrorist recruitment more easy. It has cost us not just hundreds of billions, but some trillions of dollars. Money that could have been spent reinvesting in the infrastructure of the United States of America and our homeland security and making us safer. Most tragically it's cost us thousands of lives. I can't tell you how many parents I meet like the woman who gave me this bracelet. Her son died in a roadside bomb at the age of 20 and she asked me to wear it. I meet families like that all across the country. If their loved ones haven't been killed, then they have been grievously wounded and they're suffering post traumatic stress disorder. The costs of this war are in some ways unimaginable. But most importantly, in addition to the costs, it's also distracted us from what should have been our central focus which is the war against al Qaeda and Afghanistan, those who've killed 3,000 Americans. And so I opposed this war in 2002 and I will bring this war to an end in 2009. I will be careful getting out. Careful getting out, but deliberate getting out. I don't want to just end the war, I want to end the mindset that got us into war. I want to end the fever of fear.

The politics of fear that has driven so much of our domestic and foreign policy over the last several years. I want to restore that sense of diplomacy, the power of diplomacy. I said very early in this campaign that I would meet not just with leaders we liked, but leaders we didn't. Not just with our friends but with our enemies. Many in Washington were skeptical and in fact Senator Clinton and Senator McCain and George Bush continued to go after me on this. I continue to insist on what John F. Kennedy once said., that we should never negotiate out of fear, but we should never fear to negotiate. That strong countries and strong presidents talk to their adversaries and then tell them where America stands. When we do that, we will be able to go before the world community once again and say America is back. America is back and we are ready to lead. We are ready to lead, we will lead in the battle against terrorism and we will hunt down those who will do us harm, but we are also going to lead on stitching back together a nuclear proliferation, non proliferation treaty and we lead on climate change and lead on helping poor countries deal with HIV AIDS and we will lead on the genocide in Darfur, bringing that to an end.

MALVEAUX: Senator Barack Obama out of Parma Heights, Ohio talking about his plans, his agenda, not only dealing with national security issues but also his foreign agenda in dealing with AIDS and poverty and other issues. Voters paying close attention, specifically when it comes to national security. We've heard Senator Clinton taking him on over the last 48 hours in a very aggressive way over who has the kind of resume to deal with a crisis situation. I now want to toss it back to Dana Bash in Sedona, Arizona. Dana, I know that you are watching the Republicans.

BASH: That's right. A very, very different dynamic in the Republican race obviously Suzanne, just evidenced by the fact that I'm here in Arizona, John McCain is not on the campaign trail this weekend, even though there are big primaries as we have been talking about for the whole hour on Tuesday. Actually his only real opponent left in this race, viable opponent, and that is Mike Huckabee, he is on the campaign trail. He has been in Texas all day today. He is hoping that his southern roots and his connection to conservatives in Texas is going to help him do well in Texas. You know he is looking for a miracle. He says that at pretty much every campaign stop. He understands that is a very uphill climb for him to do extraordinarily well in Texas. Nevertheless he spoke earlier today in College Station about an issue that really set him apart from all of the other Republican candidates throughout the race and that is the fact that he is not only a staunch supporter of the second amendment, but he is himself a hunter. So he was speaking to outdoor journalists about hunting and about being a gamesman.


MIKE HUCKABEE, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Sometimes there is an economic impact of those who enjoy the outdoors and the sportsmen of our country and people don't recognize this is more than just a recreational pursuit. This is a major part of the economy of this country.

One of the things that's interesting, 19 percent of the costs that hunters spend is spent for example on land access. That is as I said in Arkansas an increasingly very sensitive subject. Because we wanted to make sure in our state that the guy who is working for an hourly wage barely making the payments on his used pickup is still going to be able to have a place to take his sons and daughters hunting and fishing on the weekend.

The day that he can't do that, that's when we're going to see a dramatic drop in hunting and fishing licenses. That's when we're going to see a dramatic drop in amount of money that comes back into the economy. The greater loss is the loss of the incredible heritage that this provides for us which I want to speak of in a few moments.

By the way, I really get upset when I hear people who either talk disparagingly towards people who enjoy the outdoors, hunters and anglers, or those who say they love the environment a whole lot more than those of us who hunt and fish, and here's why. Seventy five percent of all of the state game agencies in this country, 75 percent of their monies comes from the sportsmen themselves.

The fact is if it were not for those who hunt and fish, there would not be a conservation budget in any of the 50 states. That's one of the reasons it's very important.

In addition, there are some 600,000 jobs that are a direct result of outdoors activities in this country. I want you to think about 600,000 jobs in this country. By the way, that's more jobs than in all of the McDonald's restaurants put together in America. And sometimes we forget that there's a huge level of employment. I guess it would be fair to say that there is a lot of employment in this room represented by the great outdoors.

So there is an economic impact that can't be minimized. I know when we were trying to attract bass tournaments to Arkansas one of the things that I did as governor was to try to get as many tournaments into Arkansas. A lot of people thought well you're just doing that because you like to fish and I get to hang out with some of the pros and they'll give me tips on how to fish or dock or whatever. And the answer to that is you better believe that's part of the reason I did it.

But the other reason is, is because every single day that a tournament fisherman is in the water, he or she spends somewhere between $125 and $150 per day. That figure is probably a little low now because this has been a few years ago. That's per day. Now that's an amateur. You can take in the pros and what they're going to bring in if they come in with a big tournament, and I'm telling you there is a huge economic impact and it's a tourism issue.

What we found about tourism is, it's the greatest industry we could ever hope for. Because tourists come and they leave their money, but they don't put graffiti on our bridges, we don't have to educate their kids, we don't have to take care of them when they're sick. It's basically the easiest best money a state can ever make is lifted right out of the pockets of tourists.

And by the way, about 50 percent of all Arkansas tourism comes from Texas, most of which from the Dallas-Ft. Worth area. We appreciate you folks a whole lot, please keep them coming.


BASH: Mike Huckabee, somebody who tends to have unique perspectives on how to stimulate the economy. There you heard him talking about hunting and perhaps that being a good way to continue to stimulate the economy, particularly in the state of Texas. An interesting take there for Mike Huckabee who one week ago he was on "Saturday Night Live" making fun of himself about the fact that he is still in this race despite his very, very long odds. When we come back, we're going to go to our Bill Schneider, our senior political analyst, and look at just how long his odds are on the Republican side and look at that very, very tight race on the Democratic side. We'll look at public opinions with Bill Schneider. Stay with us.


BASH: Welcome back to BALLOT BOWL '08. Here at BALLOT BOWL we are getting ready for a very, very important day on Tuesday. Four states are going to hold their primaries, Ohio, Texas, Rhode Island and Vermont. The reason why they are so important, we want to show you just in terms of where the delegate count is right now on the Republican and Democratic side. First of all let's go to the Republican side. It is crucial for John McCain because if you look at these delegates, right now he has 1,033, he is very well ahead of Mike Huckabee with 247 and Ron Paul at 21. John McCain needs 1,191 to actually mathematically clinch the nomination. He is hoping Tuesday will allow him to do that. Now let's go to the Democratic side where it is a big, big toss up. You have Barack Obama who currently has 1,369 delegates. Hillary Clinton has 1,267. Either one of them needs 2,025 in order to clinch the Democratic nomination to be the presidential candidate for the Democrats. So it is very, very fascinating to be watching and that's why we have been bringing you the candidates live from the campaign trail, also big chunks of their stump speeches all day long and we will continue to do that all evening. But first I want to go right now to our senior political analyst Bill Schneider and Bill is joining us from the state of Rhode Island. It is of course one of those states holding its primary on Tuesday. Bill, you have been looking at the polls there and it's really interesting. There seems to have been a shift recently with regard to the Democratic race.

WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, that's right. Here in Rhode Island, you have Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are fighting over little Rhode Island. I mean how amazing is that. It only has 32 delegates, but it's also supposed to be Hillary Clinton's base state. She's expected to win here, but they are fighting over it. Why? Look at the latest Rhode Island poll, it just came out this morning from WPRI. Clinton is still ahead in Rhode Island, but only by single digits, Clinton 49, Obama 40 with 11 percent undecided. That means the race is really up in the air, it's within the poll's margin of error. So, Barack Obama decided hey, maybe he should make a visit to Rhode Island and that's exactly what he did today. Speaking at Rhode Island College in the same arena where Hillary Clinton spoke last week. She mocked Barack Obama and he mocked her right back. Listen to him talk about change. He said other candidates have started talking about change, but he is the only one talking about real change.


SEN. BARACK OBAMA, (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It seems like this change thing is catching on because everybody is talking about change now. Everybody is saying how they stand for change, but I want you to understand what real change is. Don't be fooled. Real change means saying what you mean and meaning what you say, not just during election time, but all the time.


SCHNEIDER: Hillary Clinton has a lot at stake here in Rhode Island. It is not a swing state. Democrats always win Rhode Island and if she can't win Rhode Island over Barack Obama, she's in serious trouble, it means she's lost the Democratic base.

BASH: Bill, thank you very much for that analysis. It is going to be fascinating. You're right, little Rhode Island, every single one of these states large or small is going to make a big difference in that incredibly tight and really fascinating Democratic race. Bill thank you so much and Bill Schneider is going to be one of the many members of our political team. You're going to want to tune in to hear from on Election Day and election night in particular. Our election night coverage starts at 7:00 eastern on Tuesday. We're going to give you all of the results. You don't want to miss it. You want to tune in to get every bit of news and every bit of analysis from our election team. Again that's Tuesday at 7:00 eastern. Suzanne?

MALVEAUX: Dana, coming up next, we're going to be taking a look at the really hot issue of national security where the candidates stand on that issue and this heated debate that is taking place between Senator Obama and Senator Clinton over who is best prepared at commander in chief when you put the kids to bed and that phone rings at 3:00 in the morning. Who's going to be the one picking up that phone and dealing with that crisis situation? Senator Clinton making the case here that her resume is beefier and stronger that she is the one who should be commander in chief. Barack Obama accusing her of fear mongering. All of that coming up when BALLOT BOWL continues.


MALVEAUX: There is a heated debate that is taking place between Senators Clinton and Obama over the airwaves and also on stage in their debates, that is over national security matters. Who can handle a crisis situation and who has the resume, who has the experience, who has the judgment to make the right decisions if there is an emergency situation and voters are looking at this possible scenario. It is a scenario that Senator Clinton put forth in an ad that launched on Friday in Texas here when she sets up this possibility here of something happening in the early morning hours. Let's take a listen.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's 3:00 a.m. and your children are safe and asleep. But there's a phone in the White House and its ringing. Something is happening in the world. Your vote will decide who answers that call. Whether it's someone who already knows the world's leaders, knows the military, someone tested and ready to lead in a dangerous world. It's 3:00 a.m. and your children are safe and asleep. Who do you want answering the phone?

HILLARY CLINTON: I'm Hillary Clinton and I approve this message.


MALVEAUX: Senator Barack Obama addressing that ad very clearly and aggressively saying that he does not believe essentially that that is the right question. It is all about judgment and making the right decision. He says it's a legitimate question to ask who is the one you would prefer to pick up the phone during that hour, but he has a different kind of answer for Senator Hillary Clinton.



SEN. BARACK OBAMA, (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: And I do want to take a moment to respond because the press is, I'm sure, curious, to an ad that Senator Clinton is apparently running today. It asks a legitimate question. It says, who do you want answering the phone in the White House when it's 3:00 a.m. and something has happened in the world? It's a legitimate question. We've seen these ads before. They are usually the kind that play upon people's fears and try to scare up votes. I don't think these ads will work this time because the question is not about picking up the phone. The question is what kind of judgment will you exercise when you pick up that phone. In fact, we have had a red phone moment. It was the decision to invade Iraq. Senator Clinton gave the wrong answer. George Bush gave the wrong answer. John McCain gave the wrong answer. I stood up and I said that a war in Iraq would be unwise. It would cost us thousands of lives and billions of dollars. I said that it would distract us from the real threat that we face and that we should take the fight to al Qaeda in Afghanistan. That's the judgment I made on the most important foreign policy decision of our generation, and that's the kind of judgment I intend to show when I answer the phone in the White House as president of the United States of America. The judgment to keep us safe. The judgment to keep us safe, to go after our real enemies and to provide the men and women who wear the uniform of the United States with the equipment they need when we do send them into battle and the respect and care that they have earned when they come home. I will never see the threat of terrorism as a way to scare up votes because it's a threat that should rally the country around our common enemies. That is the judgment we need at 3:00 a.m. and that's the judgment that I am running for as president of the United States of America.


MALVEAUX: Now in case voters didn't actually catch the argument that Barack Obama was making during that speech and his follow-up speeches throughout the weekend, he released his own ad, launched his own television ad in Texas to engage in this debate with Senator Clinton over that possible scenario, making his case here that he believes that this is a legitimate question but that he believes he is the person who has the judgment to make the right decision when he gets that call. Let's take a listen to that ad that was launched on the same day as Hillary Clinton's.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's 3:00 a.m. and your children are safe and asleep, but there's a phone ringing in the White House. [ ringing ] Something's happened in the world. When that calls gets answered, shouldn't the president be the one, the only one, who had judgment and courage to oppose the Iraq war from the start, who understood the real threat to America was al Qaeda in Afghanistan, not Iraq, who led the effort to secure loose nuclear weapons around the globe. In a dangerous world, it's judgment that matters.

BARACK OBAMA: I'm Barack Obama and I approve this message.


MALVEAUX: Now to underscore just how important this issue is of national security, this is something that has happened over the last 48 hours, this intense back and forth between these two campaigns. Barack Obama and his ad having the millions to respond as quickly as possible to Senator Clinton. Senator Clinton coming out afterwards as well talking about her foreign policy experience as she has been making her case to voters that she has traveled to more than 80 countries as the first lady as an ambassador if you will to the American people. She talks about her role in bring peace in northern Ireland, about a speech that she made in Beijing, China talking about women's rights, the Obama camp saying that all of this is exaggerated and overstated. But Senator Hillary Clinton coming out strong once again, making this point here. They believe it is a strong point, at least they hope that this is going to resonate with voters that she is the stronger candidate when it comes to national security.


SEN. HILLARY CLINTON, (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I know the difficulties that our men and women in uniform face every day. I also understand completely what it means when that phone rings at 3:00 a.m. There isn't any time to convene your advisers, to do a survey about what will or will not be popular. You have to make a decision. And in the world that we face with both the challenges and opportunities, we need a president who picks up that phone ready to decide.

Senator Obama says that if we talk about national security in this campaign, we're trying to scare people. Well, I don't think people in Texas scare all that easily. The American people aren't afraid of the challenges and dangers we face in the world. They want a president with the strength and wisdom to take those challenges and dangers head on. Now there's a big difference between giving speeches about national security and giving orders as commander in chief. There's a big difference between delivering a speech at an anti-war rally as a state senator and picking up that phone in the White House at 3:00 a.m. in the morning to deal with an international crisis. Senator Obama talks about these issues. But when it came time to act, he was missing in action. He gave a speech. He gave a speech in 2002 against the war in Iraq. And I commend him for that speech. By 2004, he was saying he wasn't sure how he would have voted because he never had to vote. And he basically agreed with the way President Bush was conducting the war. By the time he got to the senate, he voted exactly as I did. There's a difference between making a speech when you have no responsibility and having to step up and take charge and take responsibility for your actions. He was missing in action when he failed to show up for a vote dealing with Iran. He was missing in action when he failed to hold a single substantive hearing on a committee that he chaired that had responsibility for Europe and NATO and NATO's policies in Afghanistan. Protecting and defending this country is the most solemn duty of our president. It's the pledge you take when you put your hand on that bible and take the oath of office. And you swear to protect and defend our constitution and America. I understand that. That's why I have been endorsed by 25 generals and admirals who know that I will be there to answer that phone and that my experience equips me to give the right answer when I do.


MALVEAUX: Senator Hillary Clinton talking about the very serious issue of national security and what she would do in a crisis situation with that possible scenario of that 3:00 a.m. phone call. It will be interesting if she talks about that or even makes a joke about picking up that phone at that time in the morning when she appears on "Saturday Night Live" tonight. That is where we're going to see Senator Hillary Clinton next on the rest of the BALLOT BOWL. At the next break here of course, afterwards we're going to show you what some of the other candidates have done when they have made those cameos as well.


MALVEAUX: Tonight you will be seeing a different side of Senator Hillary Clinton , she's going to be appearing on "Saturday Night Live." We have seen her impersonator, or at least we think we've seen her on "Saturday Night Live" before from time to time in those skits. Let's take a quick look at how she has been portrayed for the last couple of weeks.


Not a good place to read?

Actually I was about to start.

Of course you were.


MALVEAUX: Of course not to be out done, we have also seen Senator Barack Obama on "Saturday Night Live" as well, giving a try at his own comedy. Let's take a listen.


Who is that under there?


MALVEAUX: It's not just the Democrats who have a sense of humor. Republican Mike Huckabee also making a cameo as well.


Governor Mike Huckabee, everyone.

Thank you. Thank you.

Thank you so much for stopping by.

Thank you. Great to be here.

It's great being here.


MALVEAUX: Senator John McCain also appeared on "Saturday Night Live," but it was several years ago. It was a rather old clip, all of these candidates giving their try there at a little sense of humor here, poking fun at themselves. We have seen today the Democrats wrapping up throughout this day the issue of national security taking national prominence, really putting forth that possible dooms day scenario. What would happen if the phone rings at 3:00 in the morning, who is the commander in chief, the leader who can best handle a crisis and who are voters going to be choosing. Dana, I can only imagine what Senator Hillary Clinton is going to do with this on "Saturday Night Live."

BASH: Well it's going to interesting to watch, obviously. "Saturday Night Live" was part of her stump speech and part of her discussion this week on the campaign trail, trying to make the case that the media may be a little bit biased towards Barack Obama. That obviously was the big skit that they had last weekend. I should just remind you that John McCain was on "Saturday Night Live" about four years ago, maybe six years ago. He sang Barbara Streisand songs and I can tell you it was about as well as I could sing a Barbara Streisand song Suzanne. But John McCain is here in Arizona, that is why I'm here in his home state off the campaign trail. We are going to be following him today and tomorrow. He is going to be back on the campaign trail on Monday along with all of the other candidates, Republicans and Democrats. CNN's BALLOT BOWL is going to be back at 10 o'clock eastern. You don't want to miss that but political coverage is going to continue. Our own Larry King is live tonight from Los Angeles with a political hour.

Hi, Larry.