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Update on Polygamist Custody Case; One Week Left Until the Pennsylvania Primary; McCain Cruises While Democrats Continue to Battle

Aired April 15, 2008 - 21:00   ET


LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, one week and counting -- the primary clock is ticking in Pennsylvania.
Clinton attacks.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Barack Obama said that people in small towns cling to guns or religion as a way to explain their frustrations.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was very insulted by Barack Obama.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It just shows how out of touch Barack Obama is.


KING: Obama reacts.


SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D-IL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: When we get past the politics of division and distraction, and we start actually focusing on what we have in common, there's nothing we can't accomplish.


KING: And McCain talks tax.


SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R-AZ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We're going to create a new and simpler tax system and give the American people a choice.


KING: Plus, the women speak -- the latest as the polygamy scandal takes a turn.

It's all right now on LARRY KING LIVE.

We'll get into politics hot and heavy in a little while. But we'll begin with David Mattingly, our CNN national correspondent. He's been inside YFZ compound, the polygamist compound in Texas. In fact, he talked to some of the compound members a little earlier.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: While were over there, it felt like that in the land of the free and the home of the brave, we were the Jews taken to the concentration camps, persecuted for our religion.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was all based on a phone call. I cannot believe they would uproot a little community over a phone call that somebody made up. There is no girl named that name.


KING: David, do you think they represent the majority of women?

DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Larry, we were brought into this compound one reason and one reason only -- that was to meet face-to-face these mothers who are very upset at being separated from their children that day. They were very emotional. There were some tears going on. They wanted us to see that. They wanted to hear the mothers protesting what had happened. They -- every single mother we talked to said they want their children back.

So they're very clearly appealing to the sympathies of the outside world -- something they have never done in the past. And this was extraordinary. It might give you some idea of the gravity of the situation this compound now faces.

All of the children have been taken from here. These custody hearings will begin on Thursday. Every single parent inside that compound us faced with the possibility that they may lose their child because of these allegations of sexual abuse that the state is bringing against them.

So we were brought in to hear their protests and to possibly hear what they're saying about these allegations. And all of them, they say that these allegations are not true, that these women are not required to marry, that they do have a choice, that girls under 16 are not married at this compound.

So every single item that has been brought against them they are saying is not true -- Larry.

KING: What, David, is the latest on the children?

MATTINGLY: The latest on the children, they are now being prepared for court. They have all been assigned attorneys. The attorneys are meeting with them. They are preparing their cases as they go into -- will be going into court before a judge on Thursday. And that judge is going to be making some of the first determinations of what's going to happen to these children in the near future -- will they remain in state custody, will they go into some sort of foster care program?

A lot of decisions have to be made about them before they actually even get to examining the evidence of possible sexual abuse that was possibly -- that was allegedly going on inside this compound.

KING: What's your read on all this, David? Is it -- it's more than just legal, isn't it?

MATTINGLY: It's a cultural clash, to say the least. Until this raid happened, this compound behind me was completely cut off, pretty much, from the outside world. Only the men would come out and they would come out to do business only with some of the businesses around here in the community. But the women were never seen, they were never heard from. Until this raid happened, they were never seen outside the gates. And they went with these children when the children were taken, all 416 of them.

But now, most of those women have been brought back to the compound and that's why yesterday was such an emotional day. For about 10 or 11 days since that raid, they had been allowed to stay with their children. But the state decided that they needed to be separated. They felt like they weren't getting enough information from these children and they felt that if they took the mothers away, that they might be able to make some headway and find out what was really going on from these children.

Now, remember, Larry, it's been well over a week-and-a-half and the state is still struggling, at this point, to positively identify all of these children. They're not sure that they have the correct names on a lot of them. They're not even sure if the children know who their biological parents are, in some cases. So they have a lot of work to do. They felt like they'd be able to make more headway with the mothers back here at home and not at the shelter with the children.

KING: Are you going to stay there or will you cover the custody hearing?

MATTINGLY: Well, the custody hearings are during the day. We'll be going in there on Thursday, watching what the judge has to say. There is -- the parents are expected to be there, as well. It's been joked that they may have to have these court hearings inside the city's coliseum because there's going to be 416 children, lawyers representing each of those children. There's going to be parents for each of the children and attorneys representing those parents. It's going to be a lot of people involved and a lot of cases to look at.

KING: Thank you, David, as always, right on top of the scene.

David Mattingly, our CNN national correspondent.

Clinton versus Obama -- it's war in the battleground state of Pennsylvania when LARRY KING LIVE returns.


KING: We have an outstanding panel prepared to go at it in Philadelphia.

In Philadelphia, Mayor Michael Nutter. He is mayor of Philadelphia and a supporter of Hillary Clinton.

Also in Philadelphia, Flavia Colgan, columnist, editorial board member of the Philadelphia "Daily News," former chief of staff to Pennsylvania's lieutenant governor. She supports Obama, but is not a campaign surrogate.

In Washington, Kiki McLean, the Democratic strategist, a senior adviser to the Clinton campaign.

And in New York, Jamal Simmons, Democratic strategist, president of New Future Communications and a supporter of Barack Obama.

Mayor Nutter, was it difficult for you, as a prominent black American, to support a white American running against a black?

MAYOR MICHAEL NUTTER, PHILADELPHIA, SUPPORTS CLINTON: Well, that's a lot of twists and turns there. The short answer is no. I actually had an opportunity to talk with and meet with both Senator Clinton and Senator Obama last year. I talked about the issues that I thought would matter to the people in Philadelphia and many other cities across the country, whether it's public safety or education, poverty, infrastructure investments, mass transit and a variety of other issues.

And after talking with both, listening to their responses, their understanding of the issues, it became clear to me that Senator Clinton was the -- was the choice. I thought she'd match up well with any Republican that was nominated. This was back in December when I endorsed her. And I'm pleased and proud of the endorsement.

She gets it. She understands these issues with the depth and breadth of understanding that will be meaningful for cities like Philadelphia and many others across the country.

KING: Flavia, the latest poll that we see here -- CNN's poll of polls -- has it 5-point spread, with Hillary ahead.

How did it get so close and what is this going to be like in a week?

FLAVIA COLGAN, COLUMNIST, "PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS": Yes, well, I think that Hillary -- it's still hers to lose. And I think, ironically, Bittergate might end up helping Obama in terms of it's really about expectations and perception. And, as you mentioned, if you look a month back, even though Hillary keeps trying to push the goal post, he really has closed a huge double digit lead to within five points. And a lot of these polls coming out right now, despite her pummeling him, despite the negative ad out, despite the media saying that this was sort of a death knell to him, these bitter remarks -- it really hasn't resonated or made an impact at all.

So I think if he does lose only by a small margin, which I think will happen, he could almost spin it as a win and I think also make the argument to superdelegates, look, the Reverend Wright thing happened, I made a speech in Philadelphia, but now the Bloomberg poll is saying he actually picked up points after Reverend Wright. And, again, another big issue -- and it really shows and speaks to how he responds to these negative attacks, which certainly will come up in the general.

KING: Kiki, before we have your comment, the Clinton campaign was quick to launch a TV ad featuring Pennsylvanians speaking out about Obama's bitter remark. And the Obama Team countered with its own commercial.

Let's take a look and then we'll get Kiki's thoughts.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Barack Obama said that people in small towns cling to guns or religion as a way to explain their frustrations.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was very insulted by Barack Obama.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It just shows how out of touch Barack Obama is.

SEN. HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D-NY), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I know that many of you, like me, were disappointed by recent remarks that he made.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's a reason people are rejecting Hillary Clinton's attacks. Because the same old Washington politics won't lower the price of gas or help our struggling economy. Barack Obama will represent all Americans.


KING: Where is this going, Kiki?

KIKI MCLEAN, SENIOR ADVISER, CLINTON CAMPAIGN: Well, look, I think this is going to a place which is where Hillary Clinton's campaigning, talking about important issues -- relationships with communities, the small towns, what people know and understand about what she wants to do for them on the economy. That's why 100 mayors in Pennsylvania, in addition to the great Mayor Nutter have endorsed her. That's why this week and last week she's been talking about important issues -- a crime plan, what's happening with manufacturing, what's going on with the economy and also what's going on with national security.

These are all issues she's been out talking about. And, frankly, there is a disconnect between Senator Obama's comments and what's going on. This has resonated with some people.

And when it comes to polls, this is like "Groundhog Day" -- every time we go through this, Larry, we talk about the polls and you know what, I think people -- and I think even Jamal and I will agree on this, that we're not going to predict based on polls anymore, because there's just been too much uncertainty. And I mean the really -- the thing that's going to be really certain is the vote a week from tonight.

KING: Jamal, your candidate said that people are bitter. There's a recession. Aren't they bitter?

JAMAL SIMMONS, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST, OBAMA SUPPORTER: Well, you know, I grew up in Detroit, Michigan, where people used to work in the auto factories. My dad graduated from high school. Most of his graduating class went to work in the auto factory. And they said to him -- and he tells the story -- that they were wondering why he was going away to college when he could have made all this money working in a car company.

Those jobs don't exist anymore and I think people aren't happy about it. The same thing is true in Pennsylvania, when you talk about the steel industry, that a lot of those jobs don't exist anymore. And people aren't happy the economy is not doing well anymore. And I think when you say that people are bitter, they're frustrated, they're angry, they say, yes, somebody understands how I feel.

And that's why I think it's probably not going to be as big of a deal as the Clinton campaign will try to make it. And I've got to tell you, it was a little disappointing because, you know, Bill Clinton ran in 1992 -- when I worked for him, Bill Clinton ran on the economy and the fact that the people were upset and people were hurting and they wanted somebody to fix it.

And Barack Obama is trying to channel that anger to someplace where it can be fixed and he's being attacked for it. And it's just not fair.

KING: Mayor Nutter...

MCLEAN: I think one of the things that...

KING: Mayor Nutter, what's going to...

NUTTER: I don't know where all this anger -- you know, it's interesting to hear people from outside Pennsylvania talk about us, you know, as if we're sitting around pouting all day long. People are very energized about the election. They want to talk about issues that really matter to them, some of the things that I mentioned earlier. And there's been a revitalization. In some of those places, where there was steel mill activity and other manufacturing, there have been other new jobs created in a lot of those places.

So I mean, you know, it's interesting for the commentary, but I think until folks are actually on the ground in Pennsylvania, in our cities, in our small towns, it's a little difficult for folks to talk with any authority about how we feel.

SIMMONS: You know, Larry... NUTTER: I've been a Pennsylvanian for 50 plus years. And if you come to Philly, if you come to our suburbs and other places, you'll see people who are excited about this election. They want to hear from a candidate who has something to say about real issues that matter to people on a daily basis, not be characterized in certain ways that don't make any sense.

COLGAN: But, Larry, I...

SIMMONS: You know, Larry, look...


COLGAN: Larry, I haven't been in Pennsylvania...

SIMMONS: Larry, hold on a second.

COLGAN: ...for 50 years...

SIMMONS: One second.

KING: One at a time. One at a time.

COLGAN: Well, let me just say, because I've lived in Pennsylvania my whole life, too, not quite 50 years. But another thing that I have sensed...

NUTTER: Thanks, Flavia.

COLGAN: ...that I have sensed on the ground is that people are also very tired of this kind of constant got you moment and of Democrats fighting against each other. They're really looking toward November so they can get some long-term relief from what has been the Bush administration policy.

So when I say I think there's going to be blowback on these comments, it's just that I think people are forgiving and that Barack Obama came out right away and said, look, I mangled the way I said this. It wasn't like the Bosnia incident, where it had to be two and three times...

MCLEAN: Flavia, you're actually...

COLGAN: ...before she admitted it.

MCLEAN: You're actually wrong about that, Flavia.

SIMMONS: Get out of here.

MCLEAN: Because -- Flavia, you're actually wrong about that, because on Friday night, Senator Obama wouldn't budge an inch. On Saturday it got a little softer. And by Sunday he did something.

But here's the important thing out of that. You can have debates about bitter not bitter. I'm listening to what Mayor Nutter is saying. But, really, it was really a misunderstanding of the culture, that clinging to guns and faith is a bad thing.

You know what, my in-laws, half of my family are in a small rural town in West Tennessee. I don't think that they turn to those things out of any bitterness. I think that they have a culture and their faith and their hobbies are important to them.

And I think it talks about a disconnect and a misunderstanding of communities and cultures. And I think that was really the disappointing thing.

I do agree with Mayor Nutter. I do agree with Flavia. It is important that we keep talking about issues. And I think that's why Senator Clinton this week has really focused -- and last week -- on important issues...

KING: All right, let me...

MCLEAN: crime, like national security, where we're going on the thing.

KING: I've got to get a break, Kiki. I've got to get a break.

Is there any TV show the White House wannabes won't appear on, ahead on LARRY KING LIVE.



CLINTON: Someone goes to a closed door fundraiser in San Francisco and makes comments that do seem elitist, out of touch and, frankly, patronizing.

OBAMA: That is, I think, a good example of what happens on the presidential campaign is that we try to tear each other down instead of lifting the country up.

CLINTON: I don't think he really gets it, that people are looking for a president who stands up for you and not looks down on you.

OBAMA: It's politics. And this is what we do politically. When we start getting behind in races, then we start going on the attack.


KING: Mayor Nutter, your candidate has been ahead in the polls all the way, but now they're diminishing. Can she lose?

NUTTER: Are you talking about Pennsylvania, Larry?

KING: Yes.

NUTTER: I think Senator Clinton is going to do tremendously well in Philly and our suburbs all across Pennsylvania, because people know her, they respect her, they know that she's a quality candidate. She is certainly doing well in Pennsylvania.

I've led my life, Larry, not making predictions about polls and numbers. This time last year, I was in fourth place in the mayor's race, but somehow won.

So we're certainly pushing hard for Senator Clinton to win. I'm anticipating, with all our hard work, that she should win. And that's the way I'm going to spend my time, working hard.

KING: Jamal, can Obama win or is that unlikely?

SIMMONS: It's pretty unlikely. These polls are sort of like an accordion -- they keep going back and forth. But Senator Clinton has maintained a lead in Pennsylvania all along, so you probably expect her to win it. But there are a bunch of other states that will come after that -- North Carolina, Indiana, West Virginia, all these, Puerto Rico, Montana. All these states that are coming after that that I think people are going to look at.

You know, Larry, what is the most disturbing is -- or, frankly, sort of disappointing out of the Clinton campaign is that here you have Barack Obama, who did everything that everyone said you're supposed to do. He studied hard in school. He got a scholarship to go away to school. He gave back to his community. He came back, he ran for office. And now he's being attacked as an elitist and it is, frankly, sort of disappointing, because how does that -- how do you represent that to our children, when you tell them to do the same thing?

I don't think he's being elitist. I think he's trying to challenge the frustrations people have. And I think Americans recognize that and they recognize the politics that are being played on the other side.

KING: Kiki?

NUTTER: Larry, I think there's a lot of ways to express how people feel. I'm not going to spend a lot of time talking about that particular issue. I think we're all best served talking about issues that really matter to people. And a lot of folks have, you know, done the right thing, went to school and many of the things that Jamal mentioned.

KING: Kiki?

NUTTER: But we're...


NUTTER: We are in a political campaign and a lot of things get said.

MCLEAN: Yes, look, you know what...

KING: Kiki, do you think Obama is an elitist? MCLEAN: Well, I think his comments definitely came off sounding that way. And I think what you heard all weekend, the last three of four days, these are the voices of people from small towns and rural communities who are offended. The statements they put out, the people in that commercial you showed, Larry.

And I think, ultimately, we're in a race that will be competitive always. Senator Obama clearly believes Pennsylvania is important. He's spending millions and millions of dollars -- dramatically outspending the Clinton campaign there in Pennsylvania. But she's got a great relationship with the people of Pennsylvania and I think that that's what next Tuesday's going to show us, is what kinds of messages.

Do you want to talk about the economy and the things that are important to you and understand what these communities are all about and are you going to best represent them as president?

KING: Flavia, you've lived there all your life. Can Obama win?

COLGAN: No, I agree with Jamal. I think it's very unlikely, although, like Michael Nutter said, there's always surprises in politics. And certainly one of the things that Obama has done a great job of throughout this campaign is really bringing a lot of new people into the fold. And we've had tons of new registration -- a lot of people switching from Independent to Democrat for the primary. And you have to assume, if it follows the same pattern, that a lot of those people will be for Barack Obama.

Also, it's very hard in the polling to really see how the youth vote is going to turn out. We have over 50 colleges in Pennsylvania.

But I agree with everyone on the panel in that Hillary Clinton started with a huge, huge lead. And she, you know, still, I think, maintains that. And so I think it would be very surprising. I think if Barack Obama has a five or six point -- only loses by five or six points, I think he can spin that as a win.

KING: Mayor Nutter, will there be a big turn out?

NUTTER: Well, Larry...


NUTTER: A win is a win.

COLGAN: It's an expectations game.

NUTTER: I mean, Flavia, come on. No. It's called winning, OK? If you win, you win. You can't spin a loss into a win, you know?

SIMMONS: Well, Mayor Nutter, you're the first person from the Clinton campaign who ever agreed that that was true.

COLGAN: Right, actually.

NUTTER: It doesn't exactly work that way. MCLEAN: You know, but here's the beauty of it...

NUTTER: Because of the...

MCLEAN: The beauty of it...

NUTTER: I mean...

MCLEAN: The beauty is Jamal...

NUTTER: what?

Are the New England Patriots saying that they won the Super Bowl last year?

I mean...

SIMMONS: Well, Mayor Nutter, I'm glad that you say that...

NUTTER: Get out of here.

SIMMONS: ...because 30 states that Barack Obama has won against Hillary's 14, more delegates, more popular vote.

NUTTER: Right. Yes.

SIMMONS: It's nice to be able to win (INAUDIBLE).

NUTTER: And there's a one percent difference in the vote between the two of them. Come on.

SIMMONS: You just said yourself, a win is a win.

NUTTER: And there's a one percent difference between them and the game is not over, Jamal. So we're going to play the game out. It's very, very close and it's not over yet.

SIMMONS: It's not that close.

NUTTER: So don't count your chickens before they hatch.

SIMMONS: It's not that close.

KING: Kiki, you would be surprised if...

NUTTER: Oh, it's not that close?


KING: ...Hillary lost, wouldn't you?

MCLEAN: Pardon me?

KING: You'd be surprised if Hillary lost Pennsylvania?

MCLEAN: Well, you know what, I'm surprised by nothing anymore this year, Larry. I think we've had a -- we've had some big wins on big nights when people didn't expect it for Senator Clinton. And I think it's because of her message and the kind of president she wants to be. You know, the great part about tonight is Jamal -- Hillary Clinton could win by 40 points and Jamal would say it tightened up at the end.


MCLEAN: You know, so that's...


MCLEAN: ...that's sort of where we are. So now my new bar is we have to win by 40 for a win.

NUTTER: Right.

MCLEAN: So that's my new bar.

SIMMONS: I agree. I agree.


KING: Thank you very much, Mayor Mutter and...

NUTTER: It's Nutter.

KING: ...Mayor Nutter, rather, and Flavia.

And Jamal and Kiki, you stay around. We're going to have you take on Ed Schultz for a few minutes.

MCLEAN: Great.

KING: As Kiki gets ready to rumble, she goes into the ring with a tough opponent, right after the break on LARRY KING LIVE.


KING: Kiki McLean remains with us.

Joining us now from Fargo, North Dakota is Ed Schultz, the syndicated talk radio host, who, by the way, is a gun owning Evangelical Christian. He lives in a small town. He supports Obama. He's the one.


KING: It's your turn to weigh in on the impact of the Obama bitter remarks. We're getting tired of this already, but we keep it up.

What do you make of it?

ED SCHULTZ, TALK RADIO HOST, SUPPORTERS OBAMA: Well, Larry -- well, you know, Larry, I think there's a disconnect between the words that were used and the message that was being sent. I think that maybe bitterness or angry are pretty tough words.

But you know what, it's not far from the truth. There are a lot of people in this country who are disenchanted with Washington, disenchanted with the campaign rhetoric. And Barack Obama has been able to go, really, to the high ground time and time again.

He could have taken a negative ad out about the Bosnia story. He could have taken a negative ad out about the hospital story or Mark Penn or the Colombian free trade agreement. He stayed on the high road. He's been talking about the issues.

And now the Clintons come out and take this ad out about a misinterpretation about what he was saying about rural America. Look at the poll numbers. I think Pennsylvanians and Americans have got this thing figured out, Larry. I think that Barack Obama is going to win in Pennsylvania.

There's a real parallel from what happened in Texas. Everybody was saying that that was her Texas. Guess what? He took out more delegates in Texas than Senator Clinton did.

KING: All right...

SCHULTZ: And we're seeing the same pattern here in Pennsylvania.

KING: Kiki, Ed is saying the following, Kiki. What did he say specifically that you disagree with?

MCLEAN: I disagree with the fact that he casts turning to your faith as a result of something negative in your life or that it, in fact, that you turn to it --

KING: But shouldn't your candidate --

MCLEAN: Well, I turn to my faith during tough time, but it's a good thing. He casts it like they're bitter and they cling to their guns and their faith as if that's an indictment, that it's a bad thing to turn to your faith and to your sports and hobbies. I just disagree with that, Larry.

Listen, I think that Barack Obama has hit a button here and that is a disconnect, to Ed's point. It is a disconnect with some people in communities. There are people who feel. I love it, because Ed tries to make it out that Barack Obama is not a politician. Barack Obama has dropped negative direct mail in races, with factual errors that are incorrect against Hillary Clinton. Barack Obama has put negative ads of his own up. It's not like he's not a political guy, because he is.

He's been through a campaign. He's in a campaign, and he does political things. But I think this question and this debate is really about an understanding of these communities, these workers. These are both candidates who have had a lot of support. He can talk about what happened in Texas.

Hillary Clinton won Texas. She totally won Ohio. When people talked about what was going to happen in Massachusetts, after the Kennedys made their endorsement, with all due respect to Senator Kennedy and Senator Kerry, she totally won there.

She won New Mexico. She won Tennessee. She won Oklahoma, California in a big way. The fact of the matter is I think the voters on Tuesday night are going to tell us who won. It's not surprising that the race will contract when you're spending the kind of money that Barack Obama is spending for paid advertising in Pennsylvania.

KING: You're about to be in debate heaven. Our satellite has gone down momentarily to Fargo, North Dakota, Kiki.

MCLEAN: I didn't do it!

KING: So you own the moment. Back to the statements made by Obama. Did he say that they go in anger to church, or that they go to church.

MCLEAN: He said that with these economic conditions -- I don't have to direct quote in front of me to read you. But he said in these economic conditions, and the fact that these communities, in his opinion, haven't been able to regenerate, people are bitter, and so they, "cling to their guns and their faith."

He makes as though it's a negative. And the quote goes on further to talk about what they believe about immigration policy and also what they believe about trade policy. I happen to believe, in my house, for my husband and myself, we turn to our faith out of hope, and we turn to our faith in a way that is positive.

I am not a hunter. My husband is a duck hunter, and he's found that to be a great sport in his life. It's a pastime he shares with his family and cousins when we're in Tennessee in the summers, on the holidays.

My son is young yet, but I know he hopes to share that with him. And I think for lots of other families -- so it is about, what does it mean? And as I said earlier in the show, these are people from Pennsylvania and other communities and Indiana and Ohio who have had their own statements and reactions, not just the reaction of mine.

KING: Let's watch a clip. Some are accusing Obama of being out of touch because of the bitter comments. He's trying to turn that around. Watch.


OBAMA: If anybody denies that people are frustrated and angry, and yes, sometimes bitter, then they are out of touch. They're ignoring the truth of what's been happening in our communities for far too long. People feel like nobody's looking out for them.


KING: Was he right there? Are people frustrated, Kiki? MCLEAN: I think there are people frustrated in this country by the kind of presidency that's been had for the last eight years, with leaving us in the situation in Iraq that we're in, an economy that's in a recession. John McCain's speech today, which isn't going to help anybody, except the really rich guys in this country. I think people are absolutely frustrated.

But I think what you heard voters in Pennsylvania and Indiana respond to with Senator Obama's comments were not about whether or not they are frustrated, but about whether or not that he understands their culture, and what they do in reaction to that. I think that's where the problem is. I think that --

KING: Hang with us. Kiki's going to remain. We'll be joined by other panelists as well. Are the bickering Democrats paving the way to the White House for John McCain? Some answers next.


MCCAIN: We have a responsibility to act. If I'm elected president, I intend to act quickly and decisively.


KING: Our panel is assembled for the rest of the way. Here in L.A., Kellyanne Conway, the Republican strategist, founder and CEO of the Polling Company. In New York is Michael Smerconish; he is a talk radio host at WPHDN in Philadelphia, a weekly columnist for the "Philadelphia Daily News," and the "Philadelphia Inquirer," and a best-selling author.

Back with us, in contact with us by satellite, is Ed Schultz, the syndicated talk radio show host. And rejoining us in D.C. is Kiki Mclean. Kiki the Democratic strategist and senior adviser to the Clinton campaign.

We spent all our time on Democrats, so let's begin this portion with Kellyanne. What is McCain making out of all this fuss?

KELLYANNE CONWAY, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Well, the unintended beneficiary of the internecine warfare for the Democrats is John McCain. He's out there giving speeches to large groups, small groups, raising money, sending direct mail pieces that we don't cover in the major media. And he doesn't have much of an ill word to say about anyone. He once in a while takes the opportunity to express his view on something that Senators Clinton and Obama have said, but he basically remains above the fray.

Larry, last week we released a poll among women nationwide and women in Pennsylvania, and it was very astonishing to me that among Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton voters, these women are concerned about the negative campaigning and they're concerned that this all benefits John McCain. They're very worried that by the time they get to the convention, super delegate or not, it's going to be too late to prepare the way John McCain has.

KING: Michael, how will McCain do in the general election in Pennsylvania?

MICHAEL SMERCONISH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: I think he's well- suited for Pennsylvania because of his maverick status. Larry, Pennsylvania has not gone for the GOP in a presidential race since '88. That was Bush 41. And I think there has been a moderation in the state, particularly on social issues, evidenced by the defeat of United States Senator Rick Santorum by Bob Casey Jr.

So I think he's well suited. All that conservatism from the right by Rush Limbaugh and the conservative crowd I think was ill advised, because John McCain is well-suited for Pennsylvania. And if you carry Pennsylvania, you can carry the nation.

KING: Ed Schultz, how well-suited is Obama, assuming he does not win the primary, in the general election in Pennsylvania?

SCHULTZ: Well, I think you've got to look at the big picture, Larry. A couple of months ago, Barack Obama was down by 30 points in Pennsylvania. He's closed it to five points. The folks in Pennsylvania are engaged and they're shifting here. And with a week to go, this is dangerous territory for Hillary Clinton.

Now, moving on down the road, I think that Bob Casey is certainly going to help out either Democratic candidate. Ed Rendell is going to help out either Democratic candidate, whoever gets the nomination. So I think Pennsylvania's going to be blue. I think that when you look at the Supreme Court justices that John McCain's going to go with, that's out of step with folks in Pennsylvania.

He wants to make permanent the Bush tax cuts, doesn't have any way to pay for the war. Those kinds of issues are going to deep-six McCain in November. I think he's going to be easy to beat.

KING: Kiki, would Hillary win Pennsylvania?

MCLEAN: Yes, I think she would have a really good chance to win. It's interesting, Michael talks about as Pennsylvania goes, and part of that equation is also as Ohio goes. And those two states married right up there, twin powerhouses. Hillary Clinton, obviously, already having won Ohio in the primary, with a very strong opportunity to win Pennsylvania here. This is a state that has been a really important state in the last several presidential elections, and we just really can't take that for granted.

I do think that what Ed talks about is very important, because at the end of the day, John McCain is still for being in Iraq for 100 years, and has already admitted he doesn't exactly know what to do for the economy, except give rich people a tax break.

KING: Kellyanne, April 15, today, is tax day. John McCain laid out more of his economic agenda today. Also used the title of Barack Obama's best-selling memoir to take a hard shot at the Illinois senator and the Democrats. Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MCCAIN: All these tax increases are under the fine print of the slogan hope. They're going to raise your taxes by thousands of dollars a year and they have the audacity -- audacity to hope you don't mind.


KING: Kellyanne, does he have a solid financial plan?

CONWAY: He was out here a couple weeks ago talking about his financial plan, and he took advantage of tax day to lay out his plan, rather than lay out his opponents, which is what the other two were doing. I'm very struck, Larry, that he was very specific.

I think some Republicans are going to disagree with his call for more regulation of the financial industries. But Henry Paulson, George W. Bush's secretary of the treasury, is basically going down that same path this past week.

KING: Not a Republican conservative path, though.

CONWAY: No, it's not a traditional one. Here's something that really struck me in the polls this week. According to the CBS poll, John McCain is now more-liked among Republicans than either Senator Obama or Senator Clinton are liked among Democrats. I think that's the by-product of what's going in Pennsylvania.

I'll say this about Pennsylvania; it trends blue. It has some red spots. But the same people in Pennsylvania that are witnessing Obama and Clinton really tearing into each other are going to remember that come the fall. And I think Hillary Clinton does best when she sticks to the issue, not the personal attacks.

KING: Do they remember it, Michael, or once the primary's over, is it forgotten the next day?

SMERCONISH: Larry, mine is a minority view. I happen to think that this has been a muzzled campaign that has been run so far. Candidly, I think with regard to the Democrats, they're scared to death to be critical of one another, because if you criticize Barack Obama, you're tagged as being a racist, and if you criticize Hillary Clinton, you're accused of being a sexist.

Consider that Bill Clinton stood up and said that the Obama campaign, or at least his position vis-a-vis Iraq, was a fairy tale, and immediately there was a hue and cry of folks saying that as African Americans, they took umbrage with that remark. My view is that John McCain is out of sight, out of mind, and that this is all hurting him, because I think that the charges back and forth have been relatively minor and the D's will probably get it together.

I think he would be better served if they wrapped this up and got to the general election now.

KING: Here's something to think about. Why are the presidential candidates courting a crowd that can't vote? The answers coming up. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: Anderson Cooper will be hosting "A.C. 360" at the top of the hour.

Anderson, what's up?

ANDERSON COOPER, HOST, "A.C. 360": Larry, tonight, new pictures from inside the polygamist compound when the raid in Texas took place. This time, the pictures were actually taken by the members of the sect. They showed what really happened when authorities raided the compound with some serious fire power. You see it there.

We'll show you the pictures, all of them, and tell you how the state of Texas is now preparing for its court room showdown with the church on Thursday.

We're also going to look at the Pope's arrival here in America. It comes at a time when more and more American Catholics are saying the Vatican is out of step with their lives. We'll talk with Vatican analyst John Allen, who was actually on the Pope's plane today.

That, plus new information over whether those, quote, bitter comments by Barack Obama have had any impact on Obama's standing in Pennsylvania. And we'll take an up close look, a profile, if you will, at the senator from Illinois.

That's "360" at the top of the hour, Larry.

KING: Thanks, Anderson. That's "A.C. 360," 10:00 Eastern, 7:00 Pacific.

Back with our panel, last week, the 2008 White House wannabes were on "American Idol Gives Back." Last night, they took part in a taped comedy skit on the "CMT Music Awards."

Watch an excerpt.



MCCAIN: Miley, it's John McCain.

CYRUS: John McCain?

MCCAIN: I think you know why I'm calling.

CYRUS: I can't vote yet.

MCCAIN: No, no. I need tickets for the show. And as a U.S. senator, of course, I'd have to pay for them.

CYRUS: Wish I could help, but I'm all out. Miley Cyrus speaking.

OBAMA: Miley, it's Barack Obama.

CYRUS: Let me guess, you want tickets.

OBAMA: Yes, I've got two daughters and they really, really love you.

CYRUS: Sorry, but --

OBAMA: Four words: Treasury Secretary Hannah Montana.

CYRUS: Got to go. Since when are award shows so political.


KING: Ed, they're playing to the people who don't vote. Is that smart?

SCHULTZ: It doesn't hurt, Larry. And we're all smiling here. It's good for a laugh. We've got to have a little bit of fun with this as we go along. It can't all be jabs and jars all the time. It is a fact that parents are influenced by their kids. And there's a lot of kids that pay attention to Hannah Montana.

Take, for instance, Senator McCaskill from Missouri. Her daughter told her, mom, you've got to get in this thing. You've got to support Barack Obama. So I think parents listen to their kids. I know we listen to our kids, and I just think it's just a demographic fight for the next generation. It's just a different way to get to it.

KING: Good idea, Kiki?

MCLEAN: Listen, it's a terrific idea to communicate with people about all parts of life, even with a little humor. To Ed's point, I have a five-year-old son who picked up a Hillary Clinton sign when he visited me at the campaign office one day and said, mom, we need to put this in the front yard, and it is in the front yard of my house. It's a good thing, because these are all parts of our culture and our community and how we engage one another with some fun and humor, and that's a great thing.

KING: And John McCain, obviously, Kellyanne, has a good sense of humor.

CONWAY: He has a great sense of humor. It's good to show the levity. Ultimately, voters ask themselves two questions about the presidency. Do I like you? That's the classic litmus test. But the real connective tissue is are you like me? And this shows a kind of realness, if you will. It makes them more accessible.

Every candidate tries to do that. I think Bill Clinton really changed the job description, and that's the irony because it kind of hurt Al Gore, helped George W. Bush, hurt John Kerry.

And I'm not sure it benefits his wife, Hillary Clinton, in that people expect the president to discuss cultural issues, to be accessible, to be real. This is Bill Clinton who went on MTV and answered the question, boxers or briefs, went on Arsenio Hall and played the saxophone, really set the, "standard," if I can call it that, for this kind of campaign appearance.

KING: Michael, doesn't Obama fit the likability concept?

SMERCONISH: Yes, I'd like to have a beer with him. I think, if that's the standard, it probably works. I also think, Larry, that those television appearances to which you refer are more sophisticated than perhaps we would give the candidates credit for. It's such a compartmentalized world in which we live when talking about radio and television and print.

And they are casting lines in each one of those communities, much like a fisherman in a pond, and reaching a different demographic, whether it's "American Idol" or going on "Ellen DeGeneres" or coming on a program like yours, or going on CMT. And with each one of those moves, they're trying to broaden their base in the hunt for votes.

MCLEAN: I have to add here, I disagree a little bit with Kellyanne, in that Senator Clinton has had terrific feedback from appearances on "Saturday Night Live" and Ellen and Tyra Banks and talking about real and important issues that are -- those audiences are dealing with, and having some fun and humor along the way.

CONWAY: Well, she is losing, so maybe there's a second act for her on one of those shows afterward, Kiki, but there's no question that she's a little bit too much Hillary and not enough Clinton in this race.

KING: As a Republican strategist, do you think Obama will be the nominee?

CONWAY: I do think he'll be the nominee. And I really fail to see why or how he would pick Hillary Clinton as his running mate. I don't know what the rationale would be for him. And this would mark, if he becomes the nominee, Larry, a post-Clinton era, particularly in Democratic politics. Every vote that he has gotten, every dollar that Barack Obama has raised, is really sort of a non-Clinton dollar, a non-Clinton vote, and for some people, an anti-Clinton dollar.

KING: Give me a thought on a McCain running mate?

CONWAY: There are several prospects. I think it really comes down to who their nominee is. All this talk about Condoleezza Rice, I don't see that happening.

KING: She said no today.

CONWAY: That's right, but it would force the other team's hand. It would force them to make a different kind of selection. I think there are many people of national stature who would fit the bill. What McCain needs to pick is someone who is conservative, and known to move the conservatives on the right, who's younger than he is, and who can be president on day one, the old Hillary Clinton moniker, that may come back to hurt Barack Obama in the general. KING: Michael, who would the Democrats select? We've got to break them down. Who would Hillary select?

SMERCONISH: Can I start with the Republicans? I want to pursue what Kellyanne -- I've got someone straight out of central casting and he's a fellow Pennsylvanian, Harvard educated, Vietnam veteran, former governor of the state of Pennsylvania and the first secretary of homeland security, Tom Ridge. He'd be the ideal pick for John McCain. He'd carry Pennsylvania. I know there'll be some conservative angst out there, but I think that this man represents the demographics that the GOP needs to capture.

As for Barack Obama, because I do think he'll be the nominee, here it is, Larry, Bob Graham, former United States senator and governor of Florida, older guy. He'd be perfect!

SCHULTZ: I disagree with that. I think that Barack Obama, when he gets the nomination, is going to take a serious look at Jim Webb. You know, the big question here -- I really believe that the '08 map and the '04 map are probably going to come down pretty close. And what state can a senator bring? And it looks like the state of Virginia is shifting. You've got Warner, who is going to try to get into that Senate seat. You've got a Democratic governor, recently re- elected.

You've got Jim Webb, who's got some military experience. And on the McCain side, I think a dark horse in all of that is Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty. He's young, aggressive, well-spoken. He is a real conservative.

KING: Hold on a second, there. I'm just holding you a second because I want to get Kiki's thoughts, as we're into vice presidential sweepstakes right after these words.


KING: All right, Kiki. Who should Hillary select?

MCLEAN: Well, you know, as a person on this panel who's actually served as the spokesperson on two vice presidential nominee campaigns, I have to say those are decisions far better made once the nomination is secured, which she's working on. And even though Kellyanne really doesn't want to see her be the nominee -- I know that's why she's so negative on her, because she's the one she doesn't want to run against. I think we'll look at that after we secure the nomination, after we hear from millions of voters in ten more contests.

KING: Who would you love to see run?

CONWAY: I would love to run against Hillary Clinton. It's easy to do. She even tries to attack Barack Obama based on something he said and people are booing her at a Democratic event. I think this country is pretty post-Clinton. That play book has already been written. She also doesn't have the nimbleness that you would expect from a leader. She hasn't had that snap recovery all throughout this campaign. And I think John McCain versus Hillary Clinton would be the eighth time in the last 11 presidential elections that a Republican won.

KING: Michael, did Bill go wrong?

SMERCONISH: No. If I were calling the shots from the Clinton campaign, I'd have put him out there more often. I don't know why they've relegated him to the basement. I continue to think that he is the best spokesman that she has and the positive attributes of the Clinton years have not been stressed in this campaign because of the way they've treated Bill. I don't understand it.

MCLEAN: I don't think there's any basement -- you're talking about President Clinton campaigning in North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Indiana --

SMERCONISH: Not in big media markets. The guy doesn't come into Philadelphia. They sent him out to the hinterlands. I know, because we've tried to get him on my program. It doesn't happen.

MCLEAN: As you well know, there are a lot of counties in Pennsylvania and a lot of campaigning to do. I don't think those people consider their home towns basements. I think what the president has done has been a great biographer of Senator Clinton. The way spouses are -- I worked for Tipper Gore as well in the '92 race. That's the terrific role --

SMERCONISH: I'm giving him credit. I think he's a hell of a campaigner. They should have used him more.

MCLEAN: He's out there --

SCHULTZ: Bill Clinton has created more controversy for Hillary Clinton than anybody else on the campaign trail. He has been a walking, talking, one-man campaign wrecking machine. He got her in trouble on the fairy tale comment --

SMERCONISH: Over reaction.

SCHULTZ: No, it's not.


KING: Thank you all. We'll have you back. Thank you all, Kellyanne Conway, Michael Smerconish, Ed Schultz and Kiki Mclean.

Check out our Web site, You can download our current podcast or you can e-mail upcoming guests.

And if you're looking for real life inspiration, pick up "What's Possible," by our old friend Daryn Kagan. A former CNN anchor, Daryn is now the host of an amazing Web site that bears her name. "What's Possible" shares stories of people who have beaten the odds and done great things. If you have a dream and want to make it come true, Daryn Kagan's book is for you. Tomorrow, a mother's dread, losing the child in a custody fight. It's the moms against polygamist compound versus the state of Texas. We'll talk to some of those women.

That's Wednesday night on LARRY KING LIVE.

Time now for Anderson Cooper and "A.C. 360" -- Anderson.