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Bill Richardson Endorses Obama

Aired March 21, 2008 - 13:00   ET

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


GOV. BILL RICHARDSON (D), NEW MEXICO: And then last year, as we campaigned against each other for the presidency, I came to fully appreciate his steadfast patriotism and remarkable talents, and I also realized that here was a really good guy. And I'll tell you -- and I'll tell you why. And I'll tell you why.
You all watched those long, tedious Democratic debates. Right? I could barely get recognized at any of them. The one time when I was recognized and I was sitting next to Senator Obama, I said, "Finally I've been recognized." So I turned to him, and we started chatting a little bit. And then all of a sudden the moderator, instead of going after other candidates that hadn't been recognized, came back to me and asked me to answer the question.

Well, needless to say, I wasn't listening, and I turned to Senator Obama in horror, about to say, "Could you repeat the question," and Senator Obama whispered, he said "Katrina. Katrina." And so I then gave my answer on Katrina. He could have thrown me under the bus, but he stood behind me. Now, don't tell anyone about that incident.

You know, I also felt a kinship with him because we both had one foreign-born parent, and we both lived abroad as children. In part, because of these experiences, Barack and I share a deep sense of our nation's responsibilities in the world.

Barack Obama, you're a leader who has shown courage, judgment and wisdom throughout the years. You understand the security challenges of the 21st century, and you will be an outstanding commander in chief.

Above all, above all, above all, you will be a president who brings this nation together and restores American global leadership. Your candidacy -- and this is an expression of your candidacy -- is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for our nation, and you are a once-in- a-lifetime leader. You will make every American proud to be an American, and I am -- and I am very proud today to endorse your candidacy for president.

Now, before...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes we can! Yes we can! Yes we can! Yes we can! Yes we can! Yes we can! Yes we can! Yes we can! Yes we can!

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes we can! Yes we can! Yes we can! Yes we can! Yes we can! Yes we can! Yes we can! Yes we can! Yes we can! UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes we can! Yes we can! Yes we can! Yes we can! Yes we can! Yes we can! Yes we can! Yes we can! Yes we can!

RICHARDSON: (speaking Spanish) Now -- now I -- I just asked Senator Obama if I was going too long. And he said, "No, go a little longer." So before concluding my remarks, I do want to say that we're blessed to have two great American leaders and Democrats running for president.

Now my great -- my great affection and admiration for Senator Clinton and President Clinton will never waiver. It is time, however, for Democrats to stop fighting amongst ourselves and prepare for the tough fight we will have against John McCain in the fall.

The 1990s were a decade of prosperity and peace because of the competent and enlightened leadership of the Clinton administration. And I was if that administration. But it is now time -- but it is now time for a new generation of leadership to lead America forward.

Barack Obama will be a great and historic president who can bring us the change we so desperately need by bringing us together as a nation here at home and with our allies abroad. And I know that all Democrats and all Americans are going to work tirelessly to get this man elected.

So, it is my distinct honor and privilege to introduce mio bueno (ph) amigo the next president of the United States, Barack Obama!

SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D-IL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Bill Richardson! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you, Portland! Thank you. Thank you. Please. Everybody feel free to have a seat. I know you guys have been standing for a while.

I -- I am so grateful to be back in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. I am grateful to all of you for taking the time to be here. What a magnificent crowd. And I am extraordinarily grateful to have the support of one of the great public servants of these United States, Governor Bill Richardson of New Mexico.

You know, Bill Richardson has served in so many different capacities. As a member of Congress, as a member of an administration's cabinet, as a governor of one of our most beautiful states. And in each and every task that has been assigned to him, he has done extraordinary work. He's done the kind of work that you want from your public servants, somebody who's driven not just by raw ambition, not just by an interest in personal aggrandizement.

He's been somebody who's been motivated by a desire to make the lives of his constituents and working people a little bit better, and he has been driven by the desire to make America a little bit stronger and a little bit safer and a little bit more prosperous.

He's been a leader on energy security and the desire to free ourselves from dependence on foreign oil. And as a congressman and as an energy secretary, and now as a governor, he has taken the lead on the clean energy future that all of us so desperately want. And on foreign policy, he understands the importance of restoring diplomacy as a central part of our national security strategy, and he has, by himself, created the kind of diplomatic breakthroughs around the world that have been so lacking over the last seven years. He understands the need for us to reach out, not just to leaders we like but to leaders we don't. And so not only does he understand it, but he has done it. He has accomplished it.

And so for him to stand before you here today and not just offer his endorsements, but to offer his confidence that I will perform the task of commander in chief and president of the United States with the kind of excellence that I know he wants to see in the next president of the United States, I can't be more honored, and I want everyone to be giving a huge round of applause to Governor Bill Richardson.

I want to see if this mike work, because I want to move around a little bit. Can you guys hear me? Is that working? You need -- need it a little louder? All right. Volume up a little bit. I just want to make sure I'm not -- able to be heard. Oh, there's a wireless? Let's see. Oh, all right.

Well, listen. Bill and I started running for president about 15 months ago, and I'm sure that he started his candidacy in his home state of New Mexico. I started in the capital of my home state of Illinois, Springfield, Illinois. I stood on the steps of the old state capitol. This is the building where Abraham Lincoln served for so many years before he went to Washington to serve as president. This is the city where I served for many years in state government before I joined the United States Senate, and I announced this improbable journey to change America.

I have to say, at the time there were a number of people who asked me, "Why are you running this time? Why are you running so soon? You're a relatively young man. You can afford to wait."

And what I've explained to people is, I believe in what Dr. King called the fierce urgency of now. The fierce urgency of now. The belief that there's such a thing as being too late, and that hour is almost upon us.

This week we marked the fifth anniversary of the war in Iraq. We have spent well over half a trillion dollars. There are some estimates that, by the time this is over, we will have spent $3 trillion. We have lost thousands of lives. Thousands more have been maimed. And yet, we're not more safe. Our standing in the world is drastically diminishing.

Our economy is in a shambles. All across the country I meet people who have lost their homes or on the verge of losing their homes. All across this country I meet people desperate for health care. Maybe they can get health care for the kids, but they can't get it for themselves. Or the premiums or the deductibles or the co- payments keep going up and up and up.

All across this country we see schools that, despite the slogan, are leaving millions of children behind. All across this country, you meet people who are working, sometimes two, three jobs, but their wages and their incomes have flat-lined, while their costs of everything from gas in the pump to electricity to a college education keep going up and up and up.

In such circumstances we cannot afford to wait. We can't wait to fix our schools; we cannot wait to fix our health care system; we cannot wait to bring an end to global warming. We cannot wait to end this war in Iraq. We cannot wait. The time is now.

So when I got into this race -- I know Bill felt the same thing. But what we understood was that the size of our challenges had outstripped the capacity of a broken and divided politics to solve, that the American people were hungry, were desperate for something different: a politics that wasn't based on tearing each other down but was based on lifting the country up; a politics that wasn't based on spin and PR and half truths and doublespeak; a politics that was based on honesty and straight talk and truthfulness. But most of all, when I decided to run I was betting on you, the American people.

Some of you know I now live in Chicago, but I'm not originally from Chicago. I came to Chicago after college, because I wanted to work at a grass-roots level to help communities in need. There were a group of churches on the far south side of Chicago that were dealing with the devastation of steel plants that had closed. And I went and worked with these churches as a community organizers for 3 1/2 years, setting up job training programs for the unemployed and after-school programs for youth, and economic development for these communities.

And I always tell people it was the best education I ever had because it taught me that ordinary people can do extraordinary things when they're given a chance. It taught me that change doesn't happen from the top-down. It happens from the bottom-up, because the American people stand ready for change.

I believe that the American people are a decent people and a generous people, willing to work hard and sacrifice for future generations. And I was absolutely convinced that if we could just come together, all of us -- black, white, Hispanic, Asian, Native American, young, old, rich, poor -- if we could come together to challenge the special interests that have come to dominate Washington, but also to challenge ourselves to be better, to challenge ourselves to be better neighbors and better parents and better citizens, then there would be no problem we could not solve, no destiny we cannot fulfill.

That was the bet that I was making 15 months ago. And I'm here to report that, after 15 months of crisscrossing the country, after visiting 46 states, after speaking to hundreds of thousands of people, after shaking tens of thousands of hands, after kissing hundreds of babies, after eating hundreds of chicken dinners -- you miss those chicken dinners, Bill? -- I am here to report that my bet has paid off, that my faith in the American people has been vindicated, because everywhere I go, Americans are standing up. And they say, "We want something new. We want something different. We want to turn the page. We want to write a new chapter in American history." So we -- we have been seeing record turnout everywhere we go: people who have never participated, young people coming out in record numbers like never before. Those like me who are young at heart and who have been disaffected from politics for so many years, getting re- engaged, re-involved.

Now, I would like to take credit for all of this, but I have to admit -- I think Bill will acknowledge -- that part of the reason everybody's so excited is, no matter what happens, people will be going into the polling place next November to choose the next president of the United States, and the name George W. Bush will not be on the ballot, and that has everybody psyched. No Bush.

The name of my cousin, Dick Cheney, will not be on the ballot. Some of you read about this. Cheney and I are distant relations. It hurt me in the polls, but people have been forgiving me lately and been picking things back up.

So that means that the era of Scooter Libby justice and Brownian confidence of Katrina, and warrantless wiretaps, Karl Rove politics, all of that will finally be over next year.

But you're not here just because you want to be against something. You're here because you want to be for something. You know, so much of our politics is based on "Well, I'm not as bad as that guy," or, "Well, those folks are just terrible." But that doesn't help move the country forward. That doesn't describe the path to create a more perfect union. That may win elections; it may be good tactics; but it doesn't tell us who we should be and what this country should do, the course we should take.

And so what I've spent the last 15 months doing -- and I know Bill agrees with this -- the greatest privilege of running for president is you're in a conversation with the American people. And what I hear from the American people is that they've lost trust and they've lost confidence in their government. They've lost trust and confidence in their leaders. They don't feel like they're being heard. They don't feel like anybody's fighting on their behalf.

That politics has become a sport. Because if we were really listening, if we, as leaders, were really listening to the American people, here's what we'd hear. We would hear -- I love you back.

But we'd hear the voice of the young woman that I met when I was campaigning who is going to school full time, has a sick sister with cerebral palsy so she's got to work, too. She goes to work, takes care of her sister, goes to bed at 10, wakes up at 1 in the morning to go work the night shift at Federal Express, taking packages out to an airplane. She gets three hours of sleep every night.

And she's determined to make a better life for herself, but she doesn't understand how it is that Washington is not doing more to help her pay her student loans or making sure that her sister has the health care that she deserves. She's not looking for a handout. She wants to work for her American dream, but she doesn't feel like anybody's listening. If Washington was paying attention, then they'd know the story of a woman that I met in Oakland named Pauline Beck, who is a home care worker. I went with her because the Service Employees International Union had organized every -- had organized -- yes, I see SEIU in the house. I see AFSCME (ph) in the house. Thank you. I appreciate you guys, representing people who need representation.

SEIU had organized each of us to spend a day walking in the shoes of one of their members. And so I went -- we had Ms. Beck. We woke up early in the morning, went over to the home of an 86-year-old amputee. And I did that day the work she does every single day: helping him out of his bed into a wheelchair, helping him get dressed, helping him get clean, making the bed, making the house, making breakfast. Hard work, back-breaking work.

Pauline Beck, she's 61 years old. She does this every single day. She can't take a day off, because she can't afford it. So she works every single day.

In talking to her, she was glad about her capacity to help somebody, help somebody older than her, more frail than her, stay in their home, stay in their community. She wasn't looking for a handout, but what she was looking for was somebody who might fight for her so she could have decent health care.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CO-HOST: We are watching a campaign rally for Barack Obama in Portland, Oregon. And he's getting into his stump speech right now. But just before this we saw it made official, an endorsement by New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson.

This is an endorsement that is significant for at least a couple of reasons. One, because he is a super delegate. Super delegates are going to play a major role in who's going to clinch the nomination. So maybe, you know, could he possibly influence other super delegates? That's a major question, but there's also another reason.

DON LEMON, CO-HOST: Yes. Also very significant when it comes to the Hispanic vote.

KEILAR: Sure.

LEMON: Because Bill Richardson, of course, the nation's only Hispanic governor, and now he is endorsing Barack Obama.

And really, the most interesting thing I heard is, like, "he's a really good guy" is why he says he's endorsing him, among other things. But very friendly among the two of them.

And of course, Bill Richardson talking about during the debates. He goes "Those long, drawn-out debates when I couldn't get recognized." And Barack Obama was there, and then adding a little anecdote about he forgetting Katrina and that sort of thing and then Barack Obama whispering in his ear.

But Brianna, I want to real quickly get to our Rick Sanchez here -- you see him sitting next to us -- to talk to him about the Hispanic vote in all of this.

And the question is, this has sort of been Bill Richardson's -- excuse me, Barack Obama's Achilles heel: one, that the experience thing that he's been getting hit hard on; but also the Hispanic vote. A lot of people saying he's not making traction with the Hispanic community or hasn't made real inroads. Why would someone in the Hispanic community vote for Barack Obama?

RICK SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: If there was a turning point for Barack Obama it was with his Reverend Jeremiah Wright speech just the other day, not only for African-Americans but very much for Hispanics, as well. Let me tell you why. Let me try to explain to you in terms that you usually wouldn't hear watching cable television or, for that matter, network television, because there's really not that many people with my experiences who would tell you something like this.

If you're a Hispanic-American living in the United States, like many African-Americans who live in the United States, you're conflicted. You love the United States and everything that it stands for, but you also know that this nation has imperfections.

It's that same conflicted feeling that Barack Obama was talking about the other day when describing the Jeremiah Wright speech...

LEMON: Right.

SANCHEZ: ... that will key in to people like Richardson and other Hispanics in this country, that will likely help him. It's the thing that says, I love the United States, but I can't forget what they did in 1972 in Chile to Allende. I love the United States, but I can't forget what they did in the Dominican Republic. I love the United States, but my goodness, why did they do that in Panama?

It's -- people who know this, people who bring this as part of their ideology question those things. It doesn't mean they can't be great Americans and love this country even with that...

LEMON: They just question (ph) those things.

SANCHEZ: But they are...

LEMON: They talk about it at home, and they talk about it among themselves.

SANCHEZ: But they won't talk about it amongst Americans...

LEMON: Yes.

SANCHEZ: ... who rarely leave the American border or don't have family members who grew up in another place who know those things.

LEMON: OK. So then the question is, so then why are Hispanics voting for Hillary Clinton in droves? Why is that?

SANCHEZ: Two words: Bill Clinton. LEMON: OK.

SANCHEZ: Her husband, for Hispanics in this country, was fabuloso. OK? I mean, Hispanics in this country who live here are about one thing and one thing only: jobs, because jobs means providing for their family.

During the Clinton administration you talked to taxi drivers in New York City, you talked to construction workers in the south, you talked to Hispanics across the board and they'll tell you that, economically, Bill Clinton was a hero to them. They associate the Clinton name with a strong economy. They look around them now and, not only is the economy weak for all Americans, but especially weak for them.

Toss in the immigration debate, and what you have is a scenario they don't like. They want to go back to what it was pre-2000.

LEMON: OK.

SANCHEZ: That's the Clinton era. That's what they're yearning for.

KEILAR: But you hear a lot of experts and even the candidates themselves saying, look, endorsements don't equal votes. So how significant is it, really, that Richardson is endorsing Obama when it comes to the Hispanic vote?

SANCHEZ: I think it's only as significant as the news media gives it attention, really. I don't think -- Bill Richardson is a great guy. He's been very successful. And it's interesting that he, too, was probably was as conflicted as anybody. This is a guy who was part of the Clinton administration.

KEILAR: He watched the Super Bowl with Bill Clinton this last Super Bowl. They're friends, I mean, a very close relationship.

SANCHEZ: Right, all good betting money would have told you he would have gone with Hillary Clinton. I wouldn't be surprised if what I just explained moments ago, in terms of the speech on Jeremiah Wright that Obama gave the other day, could have been the turning point for Bill Richardson, which may have made the difference.

Will Hispanics tend to vote for him because Bill Richardson endorsed him? Probably not. You know from covering politics that endorsements don't mean people are going to go out in droves, but it will add up, it will be that extra push. Plus they'll see it on the news, they'll hear the sound bites, and they may be driven to him a little bit more.

LEMON: That's what I was going say it certainly helps and he certainly garnered so much media attention and a lot of hours here on CNN and a bunch of other networks today with this speech and with this endorsement.

SANCHEZ: What Shakespeare said, "I must be cruel to be kind." What is it? Whatever it is that doesn't kill you only makes you stronger?

LEMON: Yes.

SANCHEZ: Well, these negative things that are happening to Barack Obama, if you treat them the right way -- which who knows, some people say he may be -- actually ends up hurting him in the -- helping him in the end.

LEMON: Rick, you sit in the same chair that I sit, so we've got to get to a break. But I was going to say, besides (SPEAKING IN SPANISH), he said something in Spanish?

SANCHEZ: He said, (SPEAKING SPANISH). That's a big word in the Hispanic community -- respect. This is a man who will respect us. That's what he said when he put his arm around him. And that's important for this reason. Probably right now Hispanics feel dissed, or disrespected as much as they've felt in a long time in this country because of the immigration debate, no matter what side you're on. That's a key word, and that's what he was meaning to say with it.

LEMON: All right, Rick Sanchez, thank you so much.

SANCHEZ: Code speak.

LEMON: always appreciate it.

SANCHEZ: Thanks, guys.

LEMON: Thank you, sir.

KEILAR: Thanks, Rick.

LEMON: All right, how will Bill Richardson's decision to back Obama impact the Democratic battle for the White House? We'll find out what our political roundtable has to say.

KEILAR: Floodwaters and more roll down river. The losses stack up as the water keeps going up.

LEMON: Money may not buy you love but it can make you happy -- if you spend it right. Turns out it really is better to give than to receive.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. BILL RICHARDSON (D), NEW MEXICO: You will make every American proud to be an American. And I am very proud today to endorse your candidacy for president.

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: All right, that happened just moments ago live here on CNN. Let's hear from our political roundtable. Joining me now from Washington, Pamela Gentry, senior political producer for BET. Nice to see you, Pamela. And Gebe Martinez, columnist and contributor to Politico -- and she is -- where are you? In Washington? Yes, Washington D.C. right behind you. Mark Halperin, "Time" magazine, senior political analyst, joining us from New York. Thanks to all of you for joining us.

OK, you guys just witnessed the speech. You saw that. Jimmy, I spoke to you yesterday, maybe the day before, and we talked about Barack Obama not making inroads to the Hispanic community. Those were your thoughts. Has changed for you? Does this help, hurt him? Where do you see this now?

GEBE MARTINEZ, COLUMNIST & CONTRIBUTOR, POLITICO: Well, first of all, I have to say that the reason why Obama has had trouble is because Clinton has been so strong with the Hispanics. But that speech that he gave on Tuesday concerning race relations was a very adult speech that obviously moved Governor Richardson. So it's something that is going to be very significant. It's a psychological lift for Obama's campaign to get Richardson's endorsement.

But 95 percent of the Hispanic voters have already voted in the primaries that have past. There aren't that many more places to go for Hispanic votes.

So just in terms of the Latina community and the Hispanic vote, Richardson will serve Obama best if Obama gets the nomination, and it goes through to the general election.

LEMON: OK, Gebe makes a good point, Mark Halperin. You say this will all come down to superdelegates, and that's more important than the Hispanic vote in this.

MARK HALPERIN, SR. POL. ANALYST, "TIME": I think it is. Given the states that are remaining and given Bill Richardson's special status, yes, he is the only Hispanic governor in the country now. Yes he was a presidential candidate. But the fact that he served in the Clinton administration, the most publicly pressured superdelegate by the Clintons, Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton, of any of them, I think there is a category of superdelegates in not insignificant number, who want to be for Obama, but haven't been up until now because of pressure from the Clintons. Bill Richardson is kind exhibit a. Going for Barack Obama I think will loosen up some of the others, if not right away, eventually.

LEMON: OK, Pamela Gentry, Senator Clinton in her response to this endorsement, here's what she said: "Senator Clinton likes and respects Bill Richardson, but both of us have many great endorsers and the voters, not endorsers, will decide this election, and there are still millions of voters in upcoming contests who want to have their voices heard."

She's downplaying this, but obviously this is a big loss for her, Pamela.

PAMELA GENTRY, SR. POL. PRODUCER, BET: It is a huge loss of course because of the relationship; it's a friendly relationship. And now he's decided to support someone else politically. But I think what it really gives him is it gives Senator Obama now a very strong Latino surrogate who can go on these national television shows, on Telemundo, Univision, as well as Spanish-speaking radio stations, and talk about him as a candidate. It preps him well for going into the general election if he gets the nomination.

LEMON: OK, Hillary Clinton been hitting Barack Obama hard with the leadership and experience question. Here's what Bill Richardson said at his endorsement announcement just moments ago.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RICHARDSON: It is now time for a new generation of leadership to lead America forward.

(APPLAUSE)

Barack Obama will be a great and historic president who can bring us the change we so desperately need by bringing us together as a nation, here at home and with our allies abroad. And I know that all Democrats and all Americans are going to work tirelessly to get this man elected.

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: Mark Halperin, what does this do to Hillary Clinton and the experience question?

HALPERIN: Well, look, the Obama campaign is very good. Can I use a football metaphor during the basketball finals, March Madness?

LEMON: Go for it.

HALPERIN: The Obama campaign is very good at blocking and tackling. And the basic thing when you get a high-profile endorsement, is you make sure that endorser highlights the things you want highlighted. Richardson in his speech not only talked not only about experience, but he talked about Senator Obama's speech about race. He talked about the Clintons, and in fact even went further in his remarks than anyone else I've heard in this context, not demanding Hillary Clinton to get out of the race, but calling for Democrats to close ranks behind Obama so the focus can be on John McCain.

So it's easy to overstate endorsements. This is a big one. And as I said, it is particularly big symbolically because the Clintons worked so hard to stop it.

LEMON: OK, I want to get to a number of things real quickly here, but I want to talk about the National Democratic Poll of Polls that we have out. March 14th to March 18th, Democratic voters' choice for the nominee, Obama 49 percent, Clinton 43 percent. He appears to be ahead here in the national polls. It doesn't appear that over the last couple of days, just from this poll of polls that we have here, which is a sampling of a number of polls, that the Jeremiah Wright thing has hurt him because he's still in the lead here -- Pamela.

GENTRY: Well, I don't know if it's Jeremiah Wright has hurt him or not. I think what you're seeing there is that basically, his speech reaffirmed what people thought about him.

Again, this was not something that Barack Obama had said. This is something someone else had said. And surprisingly, you're going to find out that almost anyone that runs for a national office or an office in the state of Illinois is going to end up in Jeremiah Wright's church. I mean, he has 8,000 folks, so.

LEMON: OK, all right -- my next question -- my next question -- sorry, hate to cut you off ...

GENTRY: That's OK.

LEMON: ...because I want to get here, is for Gebe. "Despite Obama's campaign push to disenfranchise Florida and Michigan," this is from Hillary Clinton, "and end this primary early, we believe everyone's vote should count."

Hillary Clinton on the Florida and the Michigan no re-votes. So, she's saying voters are being disenfranchised, Gebe, by not allowing -- by their vote not being allowed to count.

MARTINEZ: Well, and this goes back to the significance of Richardson's endorsement. You know, the Hispanic voters have always worried along with African-American voters about being disenfranchised. That's a very, you know, that's a word that sends out red signals.

But what Obama has done by getting Richardson's endorsement is to tell the other superdelegates who are with him, who are Hispanic and getting pressure from the Clinton campaign to switch is to just stay there, you know, just ...

LEMON: Right.

MARTINEZ: ...calm down. You know, I know that there are a couple of Congressmen who endorsed Obama from California and Texas, states that went for Clinton. And they're being told, look, Obama says that your superdelegate votes should go with the way your constituents voted.

LEMON: Yes.

MARTINEZ: Bill Richardson is saying my state went with Clinton, but I'm still with Obama.

LEMON: OK.

MARTINEZ: That's significant and (ph) important. LEMON: Hey Mark -- Mark, I'm going to give you the last word here because we're running out of time. But I have two things I want to talk to you about. One, obviously it's going to be a very interesting convention, and for me, it seems that Hillary Clinton has been awfully quiet the last couple of days and Barack Obama has really been absorbing most of the media attention here, whether it's negative or positive, he is still in the spotlight.

HALPERIN: Well, he gave a big speech on Iraq and of course, that big race speech. He got some attention for her fighting to try to get re-votes in Michigan and Florida, so I think ...

LEMON: But who might be advising her? I mean, it just seems like she's been awfully quiet the last couple of days where he has been out there and on every single, it appears, network, media report. It's been really all about Barack Obama.

HALPERIN: Well, to some extent, she's been stepping back because most of the coverage for most of the week was about Wright. She is gone down there, she's home in Chappaqua, New York for the next couple of days, I suspect mostly for rest, but there's got to be a lot on her mind.

I've got a piece now on the page at time.com talking about the kind of things that she's got to be thinking about because there are a lot of swirling issues, particularly related to the superdelegates, particularly related to how she can try to catch up. Her chances now are small. She's not the favorite by any means.

The question is can she keep this fight going on. The fact he's able to get a lot of news coverage has usually worked to his advantage. This week, it's been more mixed.

LEMON: OK, yes or no, do you see this all coming down to the convention?

HALPERIN: At this point, I think unless Hillary Clinton's able to win Pennsylvania big, North Carolina and Indiana, I think probably by June, she'll see the handwriting on the wall and get out of this race if I had to say right now before the convention.

LEMON: Mark Halperin, Pamela Gentry and Gebe Martinez, thank you all. Have a great day, guys. Have a good weekend.

HALPERIN: Thanks.

GENTRY: You too.

KEILAR: Money may not buy you love, but it can make you happy, that is if you spend it right. Turns out, it really is better to give than receive.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KEILAR: Bill Clinton touched on it in his book, "Giving." Oprah Winfrey brought it to primetime television, though as ideas go, it's hardly new. This may be new though. Scientific evidence that giving, in particular, spending money on others, not on yourself, that it actually makes the giver happy.

And CNN's Elizabeth Cohen is here to talk about the benefits of benevolence.

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right, that's right, because you know, sort of instinctively, we know that one way to make yourself happy is to make others happy. But these are actual studies that showed that this is true, they looked at hundreds of people and found that those who were the most generous, both with their friends and family through gifts, and also with strangers through charity, were the happiest.

They even did one study where they gave students little bits of money, $5, $10, $15, $20, and those who were told you got to spend it on yourself, they ended up being less happy than those who were told spend it on others. So, some interesting evidence that spending on others makes you happy.

KEILAR: But how much do you have to spend? And of course, some people, you know, they have different needs. Maybe I can't spend as much as say, Don Lemon can on Elizabeth Cohen or something. So, how much ...

LEMON: Here you go.

(LAUGHTER)

KEILAR: You have to buy her something.

COHEN: Oh, for both of -- oh, I get $20 and Brianna gets $5. OK, that's good.

KEILAR: I'll take it -- no, I'm just kidding. But how much do you have to spend?

COHEN: You know, you don't want to certainly spend something that would hurt yourself.

KEILAR: Sure.

COHEN: That's not -- that's not the point of what they were finding. But I'll give you an example. In one study, they looked at people who got year-end bonuses. And so, let's say some of these people got about a $5,000 bonus. Those who gave away about a third of it, they went up one point on a one-to-five happiness scale. There was something about giving it away that made them happier. And since it was a bonus, you know, they weren't suffering because they gave away that money.

KEILAR: And I know in some studies like this, they actually look at brain activity and do imaging and see which parts of the brain might light up or something. Did they do anything like that here?

COHEN: They did do that. They put people in machines to sort of image their brains and to look at them and to compare folks who give a lot and folks who don't. And what they found is that an area of the brain -- the striatum, that you see right there, it actually lit up. And actually, you could see it lighting up more in people who are generous. And that's one of the -- you could call it a pleasure center of the brain, so it's good when that part of your brain lights up. It makes you feel good.

KEILAR: Is that the same part that lights up when you maybe have food or something like that that you like?

COHEN: It's probably one of the them, there is probably one of the parts that's involved there.

KEILAR: Oh, well, very cool. Neat study, thanks for cluing us in on it..

LEMON: Floodwaters and more roll down river. The losses stack up as the water keeps going up. Look at that.

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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Took care of that.

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KEILAR: The misery is mounting in the Midwest where rivers are still rising and getting quite destructive. Look at what happened here in St. Louis, Missouri. The floodwaters collapsed part of a road, tore through an earthen dam, sending a muddy water -- basically, a waterfall rushing into this lake.

Now, from southern Illinois to Arkansas, thousands of people are out of their homes, many more could be by Sunday. This flooding is being blamed for at least 16 deaths. Two people in Arkansas still missing at this point.

And once the winter snow starts melting, well, you've got to expect even more flooding. Of course, it has to stop snowing first. Here for instance is a live look at Chicago, which could get up to nine inches -- actually, it's not live. I should say these are some pictures of Chicago -- up to nine inches of snow that they're expecting today.

LEMON: Unbelievable -- Chad Myers, you see all these pictures. We showed you that -- was that like a wall of water just rushing through there? And we've seen pictures like that all over the Midwest.

CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes, that was perfect (ph), man.

LEMON: I wonder, can it get much worse for these folks?

(WEATHER REPORT) MYERS: We do have Chicago Airport delays. Although 114, 115 planes are now in the air from Chicago, so people are getting out, it's just taking a while to get that backlog of all those planes that were canceled earlier today. LaGuardia and Newark, about an hour or so for you.

LEMON: And Chad Myers, we know it happens every year, but it just seems like it's late in the year, late in the season for snow. But you know, I've seen it up until like May in Chicago, yes.

MYERS: Well, yes, absolutely. I sat in Tiger Stadium on opening day with a snowstorm, too, with a snow delay.

LEMON: Yes.

MYERS: So it does happen, absolutely.

LEMON: All right, thank you, Chad.

MYERS: Sure.

KEILAR: So, we're talking snow there, but also floodwaters, and more. Rolling down river, the losses stacking up as the water keeps going up.

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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That took care of that.

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LEMON: All right, something you have just got to see to believe. We've showed this video a couple times, but it's just amazing, just amazing.

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