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CNN NEWSROOM

Democratic Candidates Prepare for Primary; Courting Catholics; Pope's Visit to New York; Secretary Rice Visits Iraq

Aired April 20, 2008 - 18:00   ET

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


FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Thanks so much, Soledad, a spiritual and emotion-filled hour there in Yankee Stadium. You have been watching history unfold in New York this afternoon, as the pontiff wraps up his visit to the United States from Yankee Stadium, to this dramatic moment -- Pope Benedict and prayer at Ground Zero. We'll have much more on the pope's journey to America straight ahead.
Plus just hours ago now, to the critical presidential primary in Pennsylvania, what happens Tuesday could change everything for the Democrats.

And an ultimatum in Iraq from Muslim cleric Muqtada al-Sadr. It's all ahead this hour in the NEWSROOM.

Two days ago to go until the primary and it's getting personal in Pennsylvania. Senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are going all out, if the level of insult is any indication. CNN's Mary Snow is in the manufacturing town of Bethlehem in Pennsylvania's Lehigh Valley, one of Hillary Clinton's stops today. Mary, Senator Clinton is making issue with Senator Obama's television ads, right?

MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: She is, Fredricka. Senator Clinton here in Bethlehem criticized Senator Obama for his negative tone. Senator Obama has been saying that it's his opponent who is guilty of what he calls slash and burn tactics and both of the candidates are unveiling negative ads in these final days before Tuesday's primary.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SEN. HILLARY CLINTON (D-NY), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Isn't this exciting? Pennsylvania's going to pick the next president!

SNOW (voice-over): And for Senator Hillary Clinton, Pennsylvania is a must win to stay in the presidential race. Senator Barack Obama is trying to chip away at her lead and stage an upset. With the pressure on, both are pulling no punches.

SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D-IL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: There have been times where, you know, if you get elbowed enough eventually you start elbowing back.

SNOW: Obama is taking aim at a core issue for Clinton, health care.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hillary Clinton's attacking, but what's she not telling you about her health care plan? It forces everyone to buy insurance even if you can't afford it and you pay a penalty if you don't.

SNOW: One day after Obama took to the airwaves with the ad, Camp Clinton fired back.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He couldn't answer tough questions in the debate, so Barack Obama is making false charges against Hillary's health care plan. She has a plan everyone can afford.

SNOW: In Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, Clinton seized on Obama's debate performance to try to portray herself as a candidate with experience.

CLINTON: You know, this week, we had a debate, and it showed you the choice you have. And it's no wonder that my opponent has been so negative these last few days of the campaign, because I think you saw a big difference between us. It's really a choice of leadership.

SNOW: Obama this weekend has been trying to portray himself as a candidate fending off attacks from a candidate he paints as a Washington insider.

OBAMA: Over the last several weeks since she fell behind, she's resorted to what's called kitchen sink strategies. She's got the kitchen sink flying and the china flying, and the, you know, the buffet is coming at me.

SNOW: As the candidates take aim at each other, they're scrambling to sway the undecideds and make their mark on a state that could be pivotal in deciding who will be the Democratic presidential nominee.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SNOW: Now as the pressure is on, the candidates are canvassing the state. Senator Clinton at this hour in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, where she's campaigning. Senator Obama is in Scranton. These are some of the stops making, they're making today, and you know, Fredricka, while the candidates have had some sharp criticisms of one another, Senator Obama actually had somewhat of a compliment for Senator John McCain today at a stop. He said that either Democrat would be better than the presumptive Republican nominee, Senator John McCain, but he also added that all three candidates would be better than President Bush. Fredricka?

WHITFIELD: All right Mary Snow, thank you so much from Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

Well the battle is being measured in other ways. How about national polls? Which seem to be changing by the day. In a poll designed to detect even the slightest shifts among voters nationwide, the Gallup daily tracking poll shows Obama leading Senator Clinton by two percentage points. Yesterday's poll showed a one-point lead for Clinton, her first since mid-March. But hold on, take a look at this, a "Newsweek" poll released Friday suggests Senator Obama's lead among Democrats nationwide is much larger, 19 points. The previous "Newsweek" poll last month had the race a statistical tie.

Well how do you explain poll results that look like night and day? We'll get some help with that answer later on this hour with Joe Mathieu of XM's Radio Potus '08.

Well this contentious battle for the presidency has galvanized interest in the race for the White House. Yesterday Democrats in Georgia flooded 13 district-wide caucuses to elect convention delegates. Party veterans said the overflow turnout appeared to be unprecedented. And in Wake County, North Carolina, the Democratic faithful are hard at work this weekend. The reason? A last-minute surge of registration forms ahead of May 6th presidential primary there. County Democrats say their voter polls are up 35 percent from October.

CNN will be the place to be to keep track of the Pennsylvania primary. Our special coverage begins Tuesday evening, 7:00 Eastern, Larry King will follow at midnight.

Senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are fighting to win over Pennsylvania's estimated four million Catholic voters as well. CNN's Jim Acosta is live in Philadelphia with more on the politics of denomination and faith. Jim, the catholic vote in particular is quite significant in the Keystone State. Have the candidates been focusing on courting them?

JIM ACOSTA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely, Fredricka. And Hillary Clinton has done quite well in this demographic beating Barack Obama by wide margins among Catholics in places like Texas and Ohio. But Obama has a key catholic on his side here in Pennsylvania.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ACOSTA (voice-over): With Catholics making up a third of the Democratic vote in Pennsylvania, they are a force to be reckoned with.

MAUREEN KELLY, CATHOLIC VOTER: I would love to see a woman in office.

ACOSTA: Maureen Kelly, who spends her lunch breaks at midday mass in Philadelphia, is passionate about ending the war in Iraq.

KELLY: And that's why a lot of people do not want to vote Republican, because if John McCain gets in, that's going to be a continuation of the Bush administration of war. We need to stop it.

ACOSTA: Hillary Clinton is heavily favored to win over Keystone State Catholics and she may get a hand from Barack Obama, who offended some Catholics when he talked about his own daughter's abortion rights.

OBAMA: If they make a mistake, I don't want them punished with a baby.

ACOSTA: But Democratic Senator Bob Casey, Obama's top surrogate in Pennsylvania and a pro-life Catholic himself, isn't so sure that punished with the baby comment will be decisive.

SEN. BOB CASEY (D), PENNSYLVANIA: That's a difficult burden for someone that young to bear and I think that's the point he was trying to make.

ACOSTA: Casey believes the Democratic Party is actually engaging Catholics in a way not seen in years, by speaking more openly about its faith.

CASEY: It had the image years ago of being a secular party and I think that was a mistake. So we should talk about it more in a way that's constructive, not as a way to divide, not as a way to dictate.

ACOSTA: And the pope's message to America, which sought to heal, rather than divide, could resonate in Pennsylvania, according to religion and public policy expert Ram Cnaan.

RAM CNAAN, PROFESSOR, UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA: I expect a much larger percentage of Catholic in Pennsylvania to go because vote than if it was without the pope visit.

ACOSTA: Because they'll be energized?

CNAAN: They'll be energized.

ACOSTA: Maureen Kelly is inspired but says she's uncomfortable mixing politics with her religion.

KELLY: I think the last president emphasized religion, and I don't think he has proven himself with his so-called Christian beliefs.

ACOSTA: She insists her vote is much more than a leap of faith.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ACOSTA: And today both Democrats appear to have Catholic voters on their minds. Barack Obama was on the trail with Ted Kennedy and Hillary Clinton, she was campaigning in Bethlehem. Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, that is. Fredricka?

WHITFIELD: All right, thanks so much, Jim Acosta there in - Philadelphia.

Well Pope Benedict did not address the presidential race or its candidates, but his presence has left a deep impression on Catholics and non-Catholics alike, over his six-day visit. The pope's day today began on hallowed grounds, Ground Zero in Lower Manhattan before mass at Yankee Stadium. CNN's Stephanie Elam is live in the Bronx, pretty full day, Stephanie.

STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Very full, Fredricka, no doubt about it. And you know you mentioned that visit to Ground Zero. That trip was particularly poignant because so many of the victims on 9/11 that died there that day were actually of the Catholic faith.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ELAM (voice-over): Pope Benedict XVI began his last day in America with a historic visit to Ground Zero in New York, lighting a candle in honor of those who lost their lives in the September 11th terrorist attacks.

POPE BENEDICT XVI: We ask in your greatness to give eternal light and peace to all who died here.

ELAM: Family members of some who died in the World Trade Center attacks as well as a few surviving rescue workers were invited by the pope to pray.

POPE BENEDICT XVI: We ask you in your compassion to bring healing to those who, because of their presence here that day, suffer from unchosen ailments.

ELAM: The pope headed to Yankee Stadium to hold mass where he was greeted with applause by the nearly 60,000 people there. In his homily, the pope addressed the role of the Catholic church in many social issues facing Americans today.

POPE BENEDICT XVI: The Catholic community in this nation has been outstanding, for the defense of life and the education of the young, the care of the poor, the sick and the support of solid foundations, the future of the church in America, and even now it's beginning to rise.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ELAM: And Benedict's first visit to America as pope will wrap up here in just a couple of hours, as he will board his flight, Shepherd One, and head back to Italy. Fredricka?

WHITFIELD: All right, Stephanie Elam, thanks so much, at Yankee Stadium.

Well overseas a surprise visit to Iraq by U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice that's coming up. It comes as a powerful Muslim cleric promises war if the U.S. doesn't end attacks on his followers.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WHITFIELD: U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice makes a surprise visit to Iraq at a critical time. Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr has issued an ultimatum. He says he'll declare war unless U.S. and Iraqi forces stop attacks on his followers.

Today Secretary Rice met with Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki and other top officials and just a couple of miles away in Sadr City, the U.S. military reported an uptick in fighting between Iraqi forces and al-Sadr's Mehdi army. Well Secretary Rice said the Iraqi government needs to seize the tremendous political opportunity following its assault on militias. More now from CNN's Jill Dougherty in Baghdad.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JILL DOUGHERTY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): With violent clashes just a few miles away, mortar rounds lobbed at the Green Zone, it might seem hard to argue that conditions in Iraq are improving, but that's the case U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is making.

CONDOLEEZZA RICE, SECRETARY OF STATE: It is, indeed, a moment of opportunity in Iraq.

DOUGHERTY: Iraq's prime minister, Nuri al-Maliki, tells her his government has the will to confront armed militias that he says have no place in today's Iraq. For weeks, his government forces, backed by U.S. soldiers, have battled the Mehdi army militia, loyal to radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr. The government ordered al-Sadr to shut down his militia, but he's scorning that ultimatum, threatening "open war" if Iraq's government and U.S. forces do not stop their crackdown. Sunday a key al-Sadr ally upped the ante.

FAWZI TARZI, AL-SADR PARLIAMENTARIAN (through translator): Let it be known that disbanding the Mehdi army will mean the end of Mr. Maliki's government and therefore the seize of Sadr City should end immediately or all options are open to us.

DOUGHERTY: But the Iraqi government isn't backing down. A spokesman telling CNN "we cannot accept the presence of armed groups. Iraq cannot be the new Somalia."

The commander of U.S. forces in central Iraq, Major General Rick Lynch warns if al-Sadr and the Mehdi army become very aggressive "we've got enough combat power to take the fight to the enemy."

Secretary Rice says, although Iraq's military operations against the Mehdi army brought more violence, they're also bringing the country's sectarian and ethnic groups together. The heir to the leadership of Iraq's largest Shiite political party agrees and says al-Sadr must now make a choice.

AMMAR AL-HAKEEM, ISLAMIC SUPREME COUNCIL OF IRAQ (through translator): If he wants to go along with the political process, then he will be strong because all of the national force also stand and applaud him. But if, god forbid, he decides to continue supporting armed groups then I don't think this will be a positive thing for him.

DOUGHERTY: Muqtada al-Sadr announced a unilateral truce last August. The U.S. military says it's had an effect.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: His pledge that he made last year for the freeze has been a contributor, significant contributor to the decrease in violence that we've seen since 2007.

DOUGHERTY: If this fighting is part of a truce, Iraqis can only wonder what all-out war would be like. Jill Dougherty, CNN, Baghdad.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WHITFIELD: And now to Somalia, where street fighting raged for a second day in the capital of Mogadishu. A human rights group says government and Ethiopian troops and Islamic troops have been battling for control of the capital. He says 81 civilians have been killed in the past two days and more than 100 wounded. Many people are scrambling to get out of neighborhoods where the fighting is taking place.

Alarming reports out of the African nation of Zimbabwe. A lawyer for the opposition party tells CNN the government has arrested dozens of party members. Zimbabwe still has not released the results of elections three weeks ago. Instead the government of strong man Robert Mugabe has begun a recount in some precincts in search of so- called voting irregularities.

Here in this country in Arizona, thousands turn out to honor the memory of Pat Tillman. The fourth annual charity run took place yesterday in Tempe, Arizona. Tillman was a stand-out player for Arizona State University and the Arizona Cardinals. He put his NFL career on hold to join the army. He was killed by friendly fire in Afghanistan in 2004. Proceeds from yesterday's event went to the Pat Tillman Foundation.

All right, the powerful winds coming off Lake Michigan are quite legendary. Up next, a small child is caught in a gust, and blown right into the water. Their dramatic rescue, right after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JODY P. WEIS, SUPERINTENDANT, CHICAGO POLICE DEPT: I just don't see a need for an AK-47. I've been an avid hunter throughout my whole life, I've served in the military and I just don't know when you would need an AK-47 to engage in any type of sporting activity. You can hunt any type of game in the world and you do not need an AK-47 to do that. AK-47s have one intent and that's to kill human beings.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: Officers also called on parents to help fight gang violence by keeping their kids off the street at night.

Take a look at this. This is a freak accident in Chicago. A strong gust of wind blew a 2-year-old boy in a stroller in the frigid waters of Lake Michigan on Friday. His frantic grandfather jumped in, but couldn't reach him. About 15 minutes later, rescue divers did get the boy out, as you see there. He was taken to a nearby hospital. He was unconscious and right now he is still listed in critical condition.

A challenging fight against wildfires across the country. This one has charred about 1,300 acres in central New Mexico. It's only 30 percent contained. Officials say the cost of fighting had already reached about $1.5 million.

On the other side of the country, in southern New Jersey, this large brush fire. Nearby neighborhoods had to evacuate in fact. Firefighters managed to contain the flames after about four hours.

And then in Massachusetts, 189 brush fires scorched nearly 400 acres yesterday, at times threatening the homes. The dry sunny weather is creating ripe conditions for accidental fires. People there are being warned to fully extinguish any camp fire and of course, cigarettes.

Stormy weather and some pretty scary moments for travelers particularly in the Washington, D.C. area. Take a look at this.

Unbelievable, and caught on tape. Our affiliate WJLA reports two planes were actually struck by lightning simultaneously today. One was a Continental jet heading to Dulles Airport in Virginia. And after it was hit, the flight was diverted to Baltimore, where it did land safely.

The second jet, a United Express flight, that was hit by lightning as well, as it headed out of Dulles Airport outside the Washington, D.C. area. It turned around and it landed safely and no one on either flight was hurt, just incredibly shaken up.

I cannot imagine what that feels like, Jacqui Jeras in the Weather Center, yeah for that to happen and no less for it to be caught on camera.

(WEATHER REPORT)

WHITFIELD: Well I know Jacqui, you'd be mad as would I if this happened to you. Dozens of New Jersey drivers stranded by the side of the road, why? Because they filled up their tanks with tainted gasoline. Of course they didn't know it. Officials suspect the gas was contaminated with too much water. The station that sold the fuel says it will reimburse drivers for any repairs. The supplier believes the problem happened while converting storage tanks from winter blends of gas to summer gas. A federal anti-pollution requirement these days.

Perhaps it is fitting that Mother Nature would speak loudly during Earth Day ceremonies, that story next in the NEWSROOM.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Travelers to Africa are giving back. A stay at Okonjima, a luxury lodge and wildlife reserve in Namibia is one way tourists are helping to save wildcats.

DONNA HANSSEN, OKONJIMA: In 13 years we've rescued over 900 cats and 86 percent of them have been released back into the wild.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Money from guests help fund Africats, a nonprofit organization that rescues cheetahs and leopards. HANSSEN: We've basically take the orphans once they're adults and release them.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Accommodations fit any budget. At Abu camp in Botswana, travelers ride on the bank of the world's largest land map with elephant back safari.

DENIS DE SYLVA, ELEPHANT BACK SAFARIS: It's not just about climbing on an elephant and going on a ride, it's sharing the time and getting to know the elephants.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: One camp is a hub for elephant research and release.

DE SYLVA: We have a research out here, half of the elephants we release are behaving in the wild.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WHITFIELD: New protests in China today but the Communist government is hinting it's uncomfortable with the ongoing wave of anti-Western fervor. Demonstrators took to the streets to protest a French business with alleged ties to the Dalai Lama. The government-run newspaper reminded demonstrators to express themselves calmly and rationally.

Meantime in this country, protests in Los Angeles, Chinese demonstrators have targeted CNN primarily over comments from contributor Jack Cafferty. CNN explained that Cafferty meant the Chinese government, not the Chinese people, in a commentary that used the words thugs and goons. Beijing rejected the explanation and accused CNN of trying to sew divisions between the government and its people.

Earth Day, well it's coming up this week and activities are taking on a new urgency this year because of the heightened awareness of climate change.

Today in Washington, thousands of people there braving bad weather to attend an earth day rally on the Mall. Actor Edward Norton urged people to contact Congress and demand legislation to combat climate change.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

EDWARD NORTON, ACTOR: Make no mistake, it's going one way or the other. We can either be the authors of a tragedy that the world is never going to forgive us for, or we can be heroes that, like Abe Lincoln down on the lawn here, the world will never forget for what we did. This is our generation. This is every generation gets a mission, every generation finds its cause. This is our cause.

(END VIDEO CLIP) WHITFIELD: Today's event was eventually canceled because of stormy weather. The video of the aftermath, litter and all, by the way, Earth Day is Tuesday.

Food and gas prices rising pretty fast. They're forcing more and more people to actually turn to the nation's food banks. CNN's Don Lemon takes a look.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She had open heart surgery when she was born. She does a lot better, but she still has breathing problems, you know. She's like, yes, table food.

DON LEMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT, (voice over): Crystal (ph) and Ariana (ph), like some 16,000 other Atlanta area families, depend on the Atlanta Community Food Bank for help. The fourth largest food bank in the country was founded 28 years ago by Bill Bolling. He says his agent has never seen a higher demand and from people who never needed his services before.

BILL BOLLING, FOUNDER & EXEC. DIR., ATLANTA COMMUNITY FOOD BANK: Actually we're seeing almost half the people who are coming to our member agencies having a job, sometimes two jobs, and not being able to make ends meet.

LEMON: Joann Cainion uses the services. She has no health insurance. And even with two jobs, doing domestic work five days a week and alterations, she still can't afford to put food on her table. Add to that the spiraling cost of driving across town to work.

JOANN CAINION, FOOD BANK RECIPIENT: It's sickening. But, see, if your gas keeps going up and your paycheck don't go up, you're just -- you're working to pay gas.

LEMON: Mark Wilson (ph), a brick layer, mows lawns to make ends meet. He can't find a construction job, but said says he and his four children still have to eat.

MARK WILSON, FOOD BANK RECIPIENT: Thank you very much.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You're very welcome.

LEMON: America's working poor, feeling the economic downturn, with food banks coming to the rescue.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You're welcome.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you so much.

LEMON: Don Lemon, CNN, Atlanta.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WHITFIELD: And for more stories impacting your world, log on to CNN.com/Impact. You can share your stories on site and you can find out how you can help others as well.

Well if you're watching the national polls of the Democratic presidential candidates, one day he's ahead, the other day she's ahead. When we come back we'll talk to Joe Mathieu of XM Radio about the poll numbers why they can be so different.

Plus change is not always a good thing especially to some elderly voters. Pennsylvania senior citizens put their two cents in, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WHITFIELD: All right, welcome back. It's been nearly six weeks of nonstop campaigning, at least for this one state now. At last the Pennsylvania primary is just hours away. CNN's Rick Sanchez in live in Philadelphia to get a real flavor for the race and I'm not talking about Philly cheese steaks, Rick.

RICK SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, not only in Philadelphia, I'm at the University of Pennsylvania. This is an Ivy League school. Now, I wouldn't think they'd let me in, but they have. They've been gracious enough to allow us to come here, where we're going to be doing our shows from tonight. We're going to be on from 10:00 to midnight and boy are we stacked. We have so much information that we're going to talk about. Students are going to be joining us by the way, they're going to be a part of our audience while we talk to some of our panelists and guests about these topics like John McCain, temper problem? Perhaps a shoving match, a senatorial shoving match. They had to be broken up.

"The Washington Post" is reporting that some of his colleagues are saying that his temper issue is, in fact, something that could affect him. We're going to talk about that. To be fair to the senator, this is not recent. This is something that happened before but the senators are now on the record.

Also the Bush administration manipulating the truth and using the military analysts who come on our shows, on our shows, on CNN and MSNBC and FOX and ABC and so forth by getting to them before they supposedly get to us before telling us that they've even been talking to members of the Pentagon or the Bush administration. This is a huge story. The "New York Times" is reporting about it. We'll be getting into that.

George Stephanopoulos this morning also played what Barack Obama said about his debate but he left out a very important part about what Barack Obama said. We're not going to leave it out, Fred. We're going to have it for you tonight and we're going to be talking about that as well. And then it's called the league of first-time voters. Have you heard about it?

WHITFIELD: Yes, I have.

SANCHEZ: Do you know what it is?

WHITFIELD: I saw it through our promos. Well, it means people who are voting for the first time in this election.

SANCHEZ: You got it! Exactly! We're going -- I've been all over the country, women in Scranton who are for Hillary, Jewish-American students in Chicago who are for the most part between McCain and Obama. Muslims in Detroit, we are scouring the country, Fred. We are talking to all types of people who are pumped, juiced, energized, invigorated, about this particular election.

And you're going to be surprised by what many of them have to say and then of course we'll break down the polls with the latest on Hillary Clinton and Senator Barack Obama. How tight is this thing in Pennsylvania?

WHITFIELD: It is very tight. I know people are excited about it, because I know, no matter where you go and wherever I go, people mention it all the time. That this is the most exciting presidential race that they recall and they like it.

SANCHEZ: And who would have thunk it, huh? The state of Pennsylvania would have a primary that matters!

WHITIFELD: Yeah.

SANCHEZ: And boy does it matter.

WHITFIELD: All right, folks are happy about that. OK, Rick, we will be tuning in, 10:00 Eastern Time. Rick Sanchez, Rick on the road. You don't want to miss it. He takes the polls to the voters as you've heard him explaining. Who is voting for whom, how will the recent remarks play out with the voters? Find out tonight 10:00 Eastern, a special two hours of this CNN NEWSROOM.

Well as averages go, Pennsylvania voters are some of the oldest in the nation, and that should be a boom for Senator Clinton. Here now is Randi Kaye to explain.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ARNIE FREEDMAN, CLINTON SUPPORTER: Well, I'm 62. She's going to be 62.

SHELLY WINSTON, CLINTON SUPPORTER: 61.

FREEDMAN: Sixty-one, excuse me.

RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): They argue over how old the other is, but agree on this, both want Hillary Clinton in the White House.

WINSTON: I think you need to know the ins and outs of Washington. I think she knows it.

FREEDMAN: Obama, to me, doesn't have in my opinion, the full experience, and with experience comes wisdom.

KAYE: Arnie Freedman and his companion of 12 years, Shelly Winston, represent the typical older Pennsylvania voter. They're concerned about how Barack Obama may handle the economy, social security, and their retirement savings.

(on camera): He was in diapers when you were in Vietnam. Does that bother you?

FREEDMAN: Absolutely.

KAYE (voice-over): Pennsylvania's population is the second oldest in the country behind Florida. And that's good for Hillary Clinton.

KETTL: The state is Hillary Clinton's to lose. She has a lead in the polls. She has a demographic that lines up behind her.

KAYE: Political expert Don Kettl says Hillary Clinton's eight years as first lady means something to older folks. He says they should look deeper.

KETTL: Having circled the world 15,000 times doesn't necessarily make somebody a better pilot. It's having experience to how to operate the controls.

KAYE: Bill Clinton operated the controls for two terms. Back then, the economy was stable. It was a good time to save for retirement. Hillary Clinton may benefit from that just by association.

WINSTON: I just don't want to wake up one day and everything is gone because somebody didn't do the right thing economically.

KAYE (on camera): Anything Obama can say or do to win over the older voter?

KETTL: Assure older voters that the stability in the economy they're looking for and the stability in their savings is going to be there. Medicare is going to be funded. Social security is going to be there.

KAYE (voice-over): Shelly and Arnie want specifics.

WINSTON: I know that Barack Obama want to make change and unity and people coming to the. But I don't know what he wants to do.

KAYE (on camera): Here in Pennsylvania, all Obama's talk of change may actually hurt him. Sure, the younger voters like it, but Kettl says change can be disturbing to older folks. They like what they have. They know what they want. And to them, change can sound uncertain, maybe even a bit scary.

(voice-over): History may be another hurdle for Obama.

KETTL: Older Americans have also lived through a lot of periods of tremendous racial tension in their lives.

KAYE: Whichever Democrat wins Pennsylvania, he or she can expect to run against Republican John McCain, who would be the oldest person ever to become president. Raising the question, who will older voters lean toward then? Randi Kaye, CNN, Ardmore, Pennsylvania.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WHITFIELD: And as we told you earlier today, Barack Obama has reclaimed his lead in a poll designed to detect even the slightest shift among Democratic voters nationwide. The Gallup tracking poll shows Obama leading Senator Clinton by two percentage points.

Yesterday's poll showed a one-point lead for Senator Clinton, her first since mid-March. But then take a look at this, a "Newsweek" poll released Friday suggests Obama's lead nationwide is much larger, 19 points. The previous "Newsweek" poll last month had the race a statistical dead heat.

So such conflicting information. How much stock should we actually put in these poll figures, if any? Joe Mathieu hosts the XM Satellite Radio's POTUS '08. He's live in our Washington bureau for some number crunching and polls analysis. Good to see.

JOE MATHIEU, XM SATELLITE RADIO: Great to be here.

WHITFIELD: All right Joe, what's with the disparities?

MATHIEU: Well I guess it just shows us that we shouldn't pay too much attention to polls. We've been through this over and over again. Just think about New Hampshire how far off some of the numbers were. The only poll that counts is the one on Tuesday in Pennsylvania when people actually show up to vote.

WHITFIELD: So why go through this exercise then?

MATHIEU: Well it is significant to actually have an opportunity to take a snapshot at what's happening at a specific moment in time and looking at the movement of these numbers over the course of the week is noteworthy.

Senator Obama was up by about 10 points in the Gallup poll that you mentioned just about a week ago and well, he had a pretty tough week when you think about it, starting with the bitter comments over the weekend, going straight through the debate on Wednesday night when he was on the ropes for a good 45 minutes. These movements do show up in the numbers.

WHITFIELD: All right, so then you have to wonder, do these polls influence the outcome or is it the events that are taking place in between the polling that's actually influencing the outcome?

MATHIEU: I think that there's a certain amount of truth to both. People want to pick a winner. Democratic voters right now want to win this election, whether it's Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton. So there is something to be said for that. There are cases where they say, look, he or she is ahead in the poll right now. I think she might have a better chance against Senator John McCain. I'm going to vote for them. We'll find out Tuesday.

WHITFIELD: All right, so Tuesday is a big day. Pennsylvania right now both Senators Clinton and Obama are crisscrossing the state, trying to make sure they leave no stone unturned, but who particularly do these candidates need to focus on? What demographic, what segment of the population?

MATHIEU: The battle has really come down to white working class blue collar men and women, who live in the middle of the state. A demographic that Hillary Clinton has done very well with, and Senator Obama stood to offend according to a lot of people with the bitter remarks last weekend, which is why we're still talking about it in a lot of circles right now.

He is going to do very well in the cities, as he has been so far in this race. It's really the middle of the state which had been referred to as Alabama, if you might remember, by one noted Democratic strategist a couple of years ago.

So that blue collar edge in Pennsylvania, the folks who were referred to in Senator Obama's remarks as clinging to religion and guns, they're going to decide this thing on Tuesday.

WHITFIELD: There was a lot of back and forth about the interpretation of the use of the word "bitter," there were some people who seemed to fit in the category of the populists he was talking about, who said well we feel like he was in touch with our frustrations. Others who said wait a minute, we don't like being described that way so really a lot will be determined I guess come Tuesday in terms of how those words were actually interpreted.

MATHIEU: I think all in all, with the numbers that we've seen over the past week, the folks that we hear from at "POTUS '08" via telephone and e-mail and just the conversation that's been going on over the course of the week would suggest that those comments have really not had much of an impact on the race despite the blowup in the media. We've been talking about it all week. It really may not end up being that big of a story.

WHITFIELD: Joe Mathieu, XM Satellite Radio's "POTUS '08." Thanks so much, good to see you.

MATHIEU: Great to be here.

WHITFIELD: And of course CNN will be the place to keep track of the Pennsylvania primary and everything else. Our special coverage begins Tuesday evening at 7:00 Eastern and Larry King will follow at midnight.

All right, hold up. Put the brakes on it. No jokes, people, about women drivers here. Why? Because an historical first for professional racer Danica Patrick.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) WHITFIELD: All right, welcome back. An historic first for an often maligned female driver. Danica Patrick in her 50th career Indy car race made her move with two laps left to take the checkered flag in the Japan 300. She also drove right into the record books as the first female, first ever winning female driver of a major race. Patrick has garnered so much press coverage and moral victories as well, but finally, she has a "W" to her name.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP0

DANICA PATRICK, RACECAR DRIVER: I didn't really expect to cry, I guess. I expected to actually probably do more what I'm doing now and that's kind of nothing. I'm a race car driver. I'm supposed to win races. That's what I'm supposed to be doing. And I feel bad it took so long, but so therein lies the feeling of relief, and expectation to win. So when it happens, it's not such a shock.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: "W" for winner, Danica Patrick, the first woman ever to win a major auto race. You go!

Not everyone is cut out to drive a high performance auto. Take a look at what happened here. They had to pull it out of Lake Garda in northern Italy yesterday. It doesn't look familiar? Maybe not the underside. Well it's the Aston Martin DBS belonging to Agent 007. That's right, Bond, James Bond. Producers of the new movie say the car's driver lost control of the vehicle as he was taking it to a film location. He's OK, but the car of course is not. Here is what it looked like in better days, the ride that is.

Italian media reports the water-logged car is adding to the film's production woes. The new 007 movie, by the way is titled "Quantum of Solace" due out in November. By the way, 007 was not the one driving the vehicle.

I'm Fredricka Whitfield. "LOU DOBBS THIS WEEK" is next. First a final look at the pope at Yankee Stadium today. CNN i-Reports set up a booth outside the stadium for people to record their thoughts, so we leave you now touching and humorous stories of why so many people came to see the pope.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ELEANOR MATTINA, I-REPORTER: Hi, everybody. We're at Yankee Stadium waiting in the line. I'm freezing my nighty off, but we'll be getting in there soon.

BARBARA GALECKI, CAME FROM ILLINOIS: I'm from Illinois. And I took the advantage of bringing my mother here because she's 88 and it's probably her only opportunity to come to see the pope.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is my first time.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm here today to see the pope because of my grandmother because she admires him. JOHN HAAS, VISITOR: God bless the pope.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: God bless the pope.

FATHER ROB WOZNIAK, DIOCESE OF BUFFALO: We're here to see the pope, listen to the words and carry the message back to the place we live, where the kingdom of God begins.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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