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Tuesday Democratic Primaries: Game On or Game Over?

Aired May 5, 2008 - 21:00   ET


LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, it's primary eve. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama go for broke -- hitting hard with eleventh hour strikes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What's happened to Barack Obama?

He's attacking Hillary's plan to give you a break on gas prices because he doesn't have one.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: More of the same old negative politics. Her attacks do nothing but harm.


KING: The stakes sky high. Indiana, North Carolina -- game changers or game over?


We've panels coming later, but begin with two prominent United States governors.

In Santa Fe is Governor Bill Richardson, Democrat of New Mexico, who served as energy secretary and U.S. ambassador to the U.N. under Bill Clinton. He's a supporter of Barack Obama.

And in Raleigh, North Carolina Governor Mike Easley, a Democrat of North Carolina, a supporter of Hillary Clinton.

We'll start with Governor Easley.

Everyone seems to say that this gas tax proposal of your candidate has no chance, Congress is not going to pass it, the president is not going to sign it. All of the newspapers are knocking it.

Why -- are we going with this just as a pander?

GOV. MIKE EASLEY (D), NORTH CAROLINA: I don't think so. I think it's a creative solution. The people want it. The people -- here's the deal, Larry. There are record profits made by the oil companies. Now, we've got people living out in the country in North Carolina who are having to drive town to work. And they're getting hurt pretty bad. And they're not -- they're not able to make the $4 gas prices. And what they're doing is looking for a little bit of help here.

So all Hillary is trying to do is say let the record profit windfall tax be used to pay the gas tax during the summer. So that it's real simple, either they pay it or we pay it. And I'm them for them paying it. And I think most of the people are. And I don't think it's a gimmick, I think it's a creative solution. But it's only short- term. She's got a long-term proposal on energy...

KING: Governor, all right...

EASLEY: On how we, you know, do alternative fuels, the lithium on batteries, the plug-in hybrids and those things.

KING: Governor, Richardson, even though everyone supports -- is something everyone is opposed to except the people?

GOV. BILL RICHARDSON (D), NEW MEXICO: Well, I'm not sure the people are for it, either. Every energy expert, every economist, says this is bad energy policy and bad economics.

I was an energy secretary. You know, we considered this under President Clinton and we rejected it because, first, it is going to take money away from the Highway Trust Fund -- money for bridges and repairing highways and infrastructure. My state alone is $66 million lost in one year.

Secondly, it's a temporary fix that in no way will help the consumer. We're talking about 30 cents per day for a consumer over a three month period.

Now, I know people are hurting.

What we need is a long-term solution that weans away from fossil fuels. Plus, I think the oil companies will pocket this profit.

So on every front, this is something that I don't believe even the people are for.


We have limited time, so we want to get to some other areas.

When he endorsed Hillary Clinton last month, Governor Easley compared her to an iconic movie tough guy.



EASLEY: This lady right here makes Rocky Balboa look like a pansy. She's got get up and go. She's here today. She's going to be here next month, the month after that and the year after that as the president of the United States. I'm proud to support and endorse Hillary Clinton, the next president of the United States of America. (END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: How is she going to do in North Carolina tomorrow, Governor?

EASLEY: She's going to do pretty well. I had -- that was the day I had just gotten back into the country and she was 25 points down. And I was hoping we could make up a little ground, but, boy, she's making up a lot. And she's doing it with her own policies.

Her tax proposal, I might add, is one of those things people do like. It doesn't take money out of the Highway Trust Fund. The tax on the windfall profits of the oil companies, that pays for Highway Trust Fund. That's why I would favor it.

But she's -- let me tell you what's happened here, Larry. The economy is weaker. People know she knows how to fix the economy. She's been there before. She's done that before. So people are getting a little bit more focused on her. So she's making -- she's got a lot of momentum. She's making up ground.

Now, what can she make up between now and Tuesday?

Well, that's -- that's tomorrow. So I don't know. But she's doing pretty well here...

KING: Governor...

EASLEY: ...and she's connecting with the people.

KING: Governor Richardson, is Senator Obama slipping?

RICHARDSON: No. In fact, he's rebounding. I think the Reverend Wright issue has been put aside dramatically. I think you see him regaining his footing, his momentum. Now, I know Governor Easley is very popular in North Carolina and I'm sure that's why Senator Clinton is gaining.

But I feel good about North Carolina. I think it could go either way in Indiana. But the reality is that Senator Obama just needs about 273 more delegates to win the nomination. And if we continue this fight intensively between now and June 3rd -- and maybe, ultimately, to the Democratic convention -- John McCain is going to continue to be portrayed as a statesman. He's going into Democratic territories. He's talking about Democratic issues like health care and jobs.

I just believe that -- the big difference is I agree, Senator Clinton is a fighter. But I think the country right now needs somebody that it's a healer, that can unify the country, that can appeal to Independents and can appeal to Republicans, that can win in battleground states.

So I just believe that after tomorrow, you've got two big states, and eventually, by June 3rd, we will have completed every primary. And it is my view that this is the time to coalesce around Senator Obama, who has pretty much of an insurmountable lead -- 141 delegates ahead. KING: All right...

RICHARDSON: ...270 more to go. He's won 31 states, Larry...

KING: All right...

RICHARDSON: 15. So I think it's pretty much...

KING: Thank you, guys.

We'll be calling on you again, two of the more popular governors in America, Governor Bill Richardson of New Mexico and Governor Mike Easley, who seems to land just in time to make appearances -- Democrat...

EASLEY: Only for you, Larry. Only for you.

KING: Democrat of North Carolina.

What's at stake tomorrow?

Not just delegates.

Stick around for the discussion next.



SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We can't wait to bring the war in Iraq to a close, that I believe has been an enormous distraction from what we need to do to keep America safer.



SEN. HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Upon being inaugurated, I would ask the secretary of defense and the joint chiefs and my security advisers to give me a plan that would enable me to start bringing our troops home within 60 days.


KING: Now let's meet our panel.

In Washington, Lanny Davis, who served as special counsel to President Bill Clinton, a supporter of Hillary Clinton.

In Fargo, North Dakota is Ed Schultz, a prominent talk radio host, supporting Barack Obama.

In Washington is Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Democrat of Florida, a supporter of Hillary Clinton.

And in San Francisco, Kamala Harris, district attorney of San Francisco and a supporter of Barack Obama.

I want you all to watch something.

In the closing hours before tomorrow's primary double header, Clinton and Obama are battling over this gasoline tax question.

Here are their competing ads and we'll get your thoughts.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: More low road attacks from Hillary Clinton. Now, she's pushing a bogus gas tax gimmick. Experts say it will just boost oil industry profits. They'll simply raise prices and pocket the difference. Clinton aides admit it won't do much for you, but would help her politically.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What's happened to Barack Obama?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Right now, we're living paycheck to paycheck.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's attacking Hillary's plan to give you a break on gas prices because he doesn't have one.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The price of gas going up.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's hard to fill up the tank.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hillary wants the oil companies to pay for the gas tax this summer, so you don't have to.


KING: This concept, Lanny Davis, apparently no chance to pass and a lot newspapers -- in fact, most newspapers are against it.

Is this pandering?

LANNY DAVIS, FORMER SPECIAL COUNSEL, PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON, SUPPORTS CLINTON: Well, first of all, the fact that it has no chance to pass hasn't seemed to bother Senator Obama and a lot of his proposals. We're not proposing things that necessarily are going to pass, we're proposing things that are right for people who work for a living and who drive trucks and who need $30, $50 -- which means a lot to them. And economists, who don't need to worry about $30 or $50, shouldn't be really of concern.

But I'd like to ask everybody a question who's watching who's for Senator Obama. Are you aware that he made the exact same proposal when he was state senator of the Illinois legislature and he wasn't quoting wealthy economists who didn't care about the price of gasoline?

And he also doesn't say that Senator Clinton is paying for this by windfall profits tax?

Those commercials are simply misleading.

KING: All right...

DAVIS: He ought to be saying he proposed the same thing when he was in the state legislature...

KING: Ed Schultz...

DAVIS: I think it's hypocritical.

KING: Ed Schultz, fair game?

ED SCHULTZ, TALK RADIO HOST, SUPPORTS OBAMA: Well, Larry, it's political pandering at its absolute best. I understand Senator Clinton wants to do something about gas prices. Everybody in the country does. But I think the senator from New York needs to explain to the American people why she never supported the windfall profits rebate in the past on four different occasions. In the most recent occasion, for the Dodd-Dorgan amendment, she voted against it. It only got 34 votes in the Senate.

I mean, the fact is, is that Senator Clinton knows that President Bush isn't going to do this. But she's playing and pandering on the stump to people saying that hey, she's really going to do something for gas prices.

It absolutely isn't going to go anywhere. Harry Reid told me it won't go anywhere. So did Steny Hoyer. So did Nancy Pelosi.

It's political pandering...

KING: All right...

SCHULTZ: the eleventh hour to try to turn this thing around.

KING: Congresswoman Schultz, what's your read?

REP. DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ (D), FLORIDA, SUPPORTS CLINTON: You know what my read, Larry, is, is that I'm a minivan mom. That's all I know. And that the last time -- a few days ago, I filled up my minivan, the one that I use to drive my kids around my district. It cost me $67. And what Hillary's plan will do is it will put $70, potentially, back into the pockets of people who, from week to week, if the federal government is going to give them a tank of gas and make sure that they can put food on the table that week and make sure that they can stay in their house and not get foreclosed on, I think every American would take that $70. We need to make sure that we continue -- that we put pressure on focusing on the oil industry and their profits and make sure that we can keep the focus when it comes to dealing with ending our addiction to foreign oil on American families.

KING: Is that $70 a month?

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: No. It's -- the savings would result in, potentially, $70.

KING: Total. OK.

Kamala, what's your read?

KAMALA HARRIS, DISTRICT ATTORNEY, SAN FRANCISCO, SUPPORTS OBAMA: I think that, really, what we should be talking about is what only Barack Obama has been talking about, which is that middle class families want relief. They want tax relief. And he is the only candidate who has outlined a plan for giving them that. He is the only candidate who has outlined a plan that will save middle class families up to $1,000 a year.

It would be nice to save some pennies on gas, to be sure. But really what middle class working Americans want is an outline for what will be tax relief in the coming years for hardworking people and not a temporary, short-term, small fix.

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Larry, with all due respect, that's just not the case. Senator Clinton has a short-term and a long-term plan to save Americans money when it comes to oil prices. And, you know what I did a few years ago was sat in that House chamber, listened to President Bush throw around a lot of talk about ending America's addiction to foreign oil. Hillary has a plan that would raise CAFE standards to 55 gallons by 2030, would make sure that we cut our imports of foreign oil by two-thirds by 2030. There are long-term components of her plan and short-term components and Americans need both.

KING: Ed Schultz, are these two people, frankly, going to come together and take on the fight against the Republicans or is this battle going to linger into the fall?

SCHULTZ: Well, the good news for the Democrats right now, Larry, is that John McCain is not making any headway. He's not raising any real big money, number one. And, number two, he's kind of stagnant in the polls right now.

So I think the Democrats are pretty much getting a break by hogging all the media time right now with this conversation. And as long as it stays on the high road...

KING: Even though they fight?

SCHULTZ: Pardon me?

KING: Even though they fight? SCHULTZ: Well, they're fighting, but it's not, you know, low road personal. I mean they're fighting over issues. They're fighting over different policies, to a certain extent. But it's not to the point where it can't be repaired.

I think, as I've said in the past, the person who loses the nomination bears a tremendous responsibility to hold things together.

KING: Yes.

Lanny, isn't that true, the loser has a big, big job here.

DAVIS: Look, I agree with Ed. I often agree with Ed when we're not debating Hillary versus Barack. He's a great commentator. And he does represent, as the congresswoman and myself also do, progressive Democrats.

And if you take a look at Hillary Clinton's record and at Barack Obama's record, they're very much the same.

But I think there's a symbolic moment about to happen again tomorrow. That is people who work for a living, who earn less than $50,000 a year, who need this gas tax, who see this as a symbolic difference, where Barack Obama doesn't seem to get and connect with working class people. And he hasn't been able to carry the big states. He lost Ohio, he lost Pennsylvania and he's about to lose, I believe, Indiana.

And from a 25-point lead, remember all the comeback talk we heard about Obama in Pennsylvania?

We're now in single digits. I think there is a case that's going to be made by Hillary Clinton -- as much as that we're all going to get together whatever the outcome, I agree with Ed, is that she is the candidate who can hold the Democratic core base. We see Democrats defecting in the national Gallup Poll to John McCain who are working class people, senior citizens. Our base is defecting if it's a contest between Barack Obama and Senator McCain.

KING: All right, I've got to get a break and we'll come right back with our panel.

Who do you want to win the Indiana and North Carolina primaries?

That's the vote right now. And you can vote on our Web site, And while you're there, download our newest podcast, Michael Moore. Head to the Web site.

We'll be right back.



CLINTON: Senator Obama wants you to pay the gas tax this summer instead of trying to get it so the oil companies pay it out of their record profits.



OBAMA: If we suspended the gas tax for three months, as they propose, the most you could hope for is a 30 cent a day savings, for a grand total of $28 for the entire summer.


KING: Kamala, are you surprised by Hillary's toughness?

HARRIS: Oh, no, I'm not surprised. I think she is tough. She's smart. She has been through a lot. And I think she's a strong woman. So that doesn't surprise me at all.

But I do want to get back to an earlier point that was made about which candidate appeals to which Americans. I think, Larry, we have to look at the evidence and then make decisions about which candidate is doing what in terms of their message.

You look at Barack Obama's base in terms of his donor base, he has raised $96, on average, from 1.2 million Americans. So when we talk about the level of support he has in this country, I think it is clear evidence of the fact that working families and working people are supporting Barack Obama.

When we look at the states he has won -- Iowa, Wisconsin, Virginia -- those are populations of people that cover the dynamic in terms of socioeconomic background. And when we look at where he is in terms of who he is as an American and his life story -- being raised by a single mother, by his grandparents, working his way through school -- I think we see clearly that Barack Obama and his message and his life experience resonates with all Americans, and, in particular, working class Americans.

KING: Congressman Wasserman, I want you to watch something here.

The Clinton campaign has sent out a campaign mailer in Indiana, asking where Obama really stands on guns and claiming it depends on who he's talking to.

Has this been -- are we showing it?

OK. There it is.

Is this effective, in your opinion, Congresswoman Schultz?

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Well, you know, when you're talking about the working class voters in Indiana that are going to the polls, they want consistency. We've been trying, as Democrats, to restore voters' confidence in their government. It was badly shaken by the Republican leadership. There was a culture of corruption hanging over the capital. We rid the capital of that culture of corruption and now we need to rid the White House of someone who is essentially catering to the corporate interests.

And that's what Hillary Clinton has always been about. That's why her gas tax plan and her long-term plan to reduce our dependence on foreign oil is resonating so well.

When it comes to consistency, we need a candidate that is going to consistently be supportive of the issues that Americans care about. And that's an example.

KING: Well said.

Ed Schultz, is the Reverend Wright thing over,, in your opinion?

SCHULTZ: Well, I will admit, Larry, that I think that Senator Obama needs to get a post-Reverend Wright victory to prove that he's weathered the storm. It looks, poll-wise, that he has. But I think a win in North Carolina is going to be awfully big and maybe we'll put this to rest.

You know, I've never seen a candidate in American political landscape say, you know, so many things correctly and get blamed for so much as Senator Obama.

Why isn't anybody asking John McCain where he's going to church?

Why isn't anybody asking John McCain how close he is to Pastor Hagee?

Yes, I do think that Obama has put the Wright story behind him and he's done everything he possibly can. Yesterday on one of the news shows, he answered it for 20 minutes. And I think that Democrats are understanding that.

And I'd like to just quickly make this point about working class Americans. I think that Senator Clinton is struggling with people under 35. I think she's also struggling with people in the African- American community. And I think that there's a lot of focus on working Americans. Keep in mind, Indiana is 94 percent white. She's supposed to win there tomorrow and she probably will.

KING: All right...

SCHULTZ: But North Carolina is probably going to be a big victory for Barack Obama.

KING: Lanny, was Reverend Wright a bad rap in that because he's your minister doesn't mean you support what he's saying?

DAVIS: I've talked about this before, Larry. The answer is he never addressed for me the issue of why he remained silent and didn't speak out on the very same language that he finally called a press conference to denounce. It was the same language that he did not do before then.

But I think it is time to move on. I'm a lot more troubled by when he campaigned in Idaho, he emphasized his commitment to the Second Amendment and guns. And then when he campaigned in 1996, he checked a box that said he was in favor of banning all guns. Then he denied that he checked the box until the handwriting showed that he did.

I was also concerned about this gas tax proposal. He forgets to tell people he supported the supported the Cheney energy, bill with subsidies to the billions of dollars that passed. That one passed, the one that he says can't pass. He voted for the one that passed -- the Cheney energy bill.

So -- Senator Clinton voted against that. He has not shown consistency, yet he engages in personal attacks by saying that Senator Clinton is pandering.

Why doesn't he assume that she is sincere...

SCHULTZ: That's not a personal attack, Lanny. You know that.

DAVIS: Well, pandering is certainly a personal attack.

If he says I disagree with her tax proposal...

SCHULTZ: No, it's not.

DAVIS: Well, we're allowed to disagree...

SCHULTZ: It's a political description.

DAVIS: We're allowed to disagree on that, Ed. But in any event, he did support the Cheney energy bill. She opposed it. And he supported the very same suspension of the gas tax which he accuses her of pandering -- if you want to use that word...

SCHULTZ: Well, Lanny, why didn't Senator Clinton...

DAVIS: So why did he support (INAUDIBLE)...

SCHULTZ: the windfall profits rebate?

DAVIS: What -- why -- first of all, she has supported windfall profit taxes in the past.


DAVIS: And she's supporting it now.

SCHULTZ: Never, Lanny.

DAVIS: You haven't answered my question...

SCHULTZ: She's never supported it. She's voted against the last one.


DAVIS: Why did he support suspension of the gasoline tax? KING: All right...

DAVIS: Why was it not pandering in Illinois...


KING: Who's the lady...

DAVIS: ...but it is in (INAUDIBLE)...

KING: ...who wants to jump in. All right.

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: You know, at the end of the day, Larry...

HARRIS: You know, it...

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: The bottom line here, at the end of the day, is that the electoral map, the way it looks, is that the states that Senator Clinton has won are the one that's add up to victory. What we're talking about here in terms of the bottom line is...

KING: Yes, but he...

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: ...going to be our strongest nominee. And on every score, Hillary Clinton -- she's up by 8 points in -- against McCain in Florida, my home state. She's up by 10 points in Ohio.

When you look at the electoral map and we get to the electoral votes that we need to win the presidency, Hillary Clinton wins hands down. And she's our strongest nominee and that's why we could nominate her.

KING: All right, we'll be...

HARRIS: I think...

KING: We'll be right back with this panel.

HARRIS: But, Larry...

KING: Hold on. We want to remind you that the best reality TV is on tomorrow night. That's LARRY KING LIVE Tuesday, our special midnight results show. That's tomorrow night. Got to love these primaries.

Don't go away.


KING: Kamala Harris, what do you make of Bill Clinton out on the stump in rural areas in North Carolina pressing the flesh?

Is it going to be effective?

HARRIS: Oh, Bill Clinton is usually effective wherever he has a chance to meet people one-on-one. I've always been very impressed with him every time I've met him. But I think that we're seeing with Barack, on the other hand, is that when he has the ability to go into each of these areas, with each day and each moment that he has with voters, his message resonates and he becomes an attractive and desirable candidate for the people of these states. And so Bill Clinton is always going to be effective. He is charming. He's intelligent. But, you know, people are going to be judging this race based on who will be a leader for this country in a way that we need to go into the future and not the past.

KING: Let's take a call. We've got a call from Kalamazoo, Michigan. Hello.

CALLER: Hi, how are you?

KING: Hi, what is the question?

CALLER: We're wondering when's going to happen with Florida and Michigan.

KING: Lanny?

DAVIS: Well, I actually would prefer to hand it off to my friend the Congresswoman from Florida. But let me just say this and then I'll do the hand-off; between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, there could have been a solution if they had united to allow Florida and Michigan to revote. And Barack Obama opposed that revote. And to this day, I don't know why because we cannot win the White House without Michigan and Florida. Congresswoman, I don't know if you agree.

KING: Congresswoman, what will happen in your state?

WASSERMAN-SCHULTZ: I completely agree. We have to make sure that the Democratic nominee is chosen by voters from all 50 states. The DNC Rules Committee is going to meet on May 31st to hear Florida's appeal. We're hopeful and confident that we will have our delegations seated and our votes counted based on the votes that were cast on January 29th.

The voters in Florida didn't break the rules. They followed the rules. The state legislature set the date of the primary on that day and 1.75 million Democratic voters went to the polls, a record turn out. They knew what they were doing and they deserve to have the votes counted.

KING: Ed Schultz, why didn't Obama sign off on that?

SCHULTZ: Well, he left it up to the state legislatures to determine that, Larry. He played by the rules, and so did other Democratic candidates at the time. You see, there's three parties, the Republican party, the Democratic party and then there's the Clintons. And the fact is that the legislative session in Michigan decided not to have that revote. Barack Obama didn't have anything to do with it. If they did a revote, he would have been right in there campaigning, getting after it. The state decided not to do it. I want to caution Democrats about putting -- KING: Let him finish.

SCHULTZ: -- in the hands of Florida.

WASSERMAN-SCHULTZ: Why hasn't Barack Obama ever said that he thinks Florida's delegation should be seated and that our votes should be counted? It is unacceptable.

SCHULTZ: Your state didn't play by the rules either.

WASSERMAN-SCHULTZ: No. Our voters played by the rules.


WASSERMAN-SCHULTZ: Ed, we have a Republican-led legislature that totally controls the legislative process.

SCHULTZ: The Democrats in Florida suggested the change. The DNC --

WASSERMAN-SCHULTZ: Excuse me. One Democrat did, not the Democrats. You can make sweeping generations.

KING: One at a time!

SCHULTZ: Not true.

WASSERMAN-SCHULTZ: With all due respect, I'm from Florida and I served in the legislature for 12 years and have pretty significant relationships with my former colleagues.

SCHULTZ: So no Democrat proposed it? You're saying tonight on LARRY KING that no Democrat proposed the change?

WASSERMAN-SCHULTZ: There was one Democrat that proposed it. The Republicans forced that amendment into their overall election package.


KING: OK, hold on, hold on, hold it. I want to thank Kalamazoo for erupting the program.

WASSERMAN-SCHULTZ: Larry, at the end of the day, we have to make sure that Florida's voters get their votes counted.

KING: Let's have the thoughts of a district attorney. Kamala, what is your read on Florida and Michigan?

HARRIS: Listen. Barack wasn't even on the ballot in Michigan. So the reality is that he did play by the rules. We knew when at the time of Michigan and Florida that the DNC said they couldn't do it. Barack wasn't even on the ballot.


KING: Let her finish! HARRIS: He played by the rules. The reality is that the people who turned out to vote knew the rules also. And so, in some regard, we have to also acknowledge that the people who went to vote some people didn't go to vote because they understood the rules, and they decided that if these are the rules, I'm not going to vote.

DAVIS: Larry, may I state --

HARRIS: That's a reality. But I think Barack has been very clear from the beginning that every vote, in terms of the right of people to weigh into this very important presidential election, should be honored and respected. But we have to do it through a process that's fair.

DAVIS: Let me just --

KING: Lanny, quickly.

HARRIS: Is clear in terms of rules and required people to follow those rules.

DAVIS: I would like to get one fact out. Barack Obama opposed a revote when both Carl Levin and Senator Bill Nelson had raised or were ready to raise the money to allow Floridians and Michigan voters to revote in June. Barack Obama and his campaign blocked that. That is a fact no matter how you spin it. He didn't want the revote because he would have lost again. He lost by half a million votes in Florida when he was on the ballot.

And talking about following the rules, here's a fact. He advertised contrary to the rules on television the week before the Florida primary. That is a fact.

SCHULTZ: Not true.

WASSERMAN-SCHULTZ: Yes, it is true.

DAVIS: Anyone saying it's not true, Ed --

SCHULTZ: What about the legislative session in Michigan, Lanny?

WASSERMAN-SCHULTZ: You can't just make up the facts as you go along.

SCHULTZ: I'm not making up the facts. I've got the facts. The fact is the legislature --


KING: Guys, hold it. All right. Lanny and Kamala will remain with us. Ari Fleischer and Katrina Vanden Heuvel will join us. We thank Ed Schultz and Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz for being with us. We'll have them back frequently and we'll be right back with more of LARRY KING LIVE after this.


OBAMA: The day before the election, those of you who have not early voted, I want your vote. I want it badly. So if there's some undecideds here, I am hoping that you guys take the time to ask questions and figure out what it is that you're looking for in the next president of the United States.


KING: We're back. Lanny Davis remains with us. He's in Washington. And Kamala Harris remains with us. She's in San Francisco. Joining us here in New York is Katrina Vanden Heuvel. She's the editor of "The Nation." And our old friend Ari Fleischer, who served as White House press secretary for President George W. Bush. We'll start with them. Katrina, give us your outlook for tomorrow.

KATRINA VANDEN HEUVEL, "THE NATION": Well, may I give you my outlook for the general picture, which is that this country faces fundamental decisions, a cratering economy, a war that has to end. I think we need to change course. And McCain will be more of the same, worse, in many ways, more of a neo-con. I think tomorrow we see -- it's hard to tell, but what we see is a test of a nation.

I think with Barack Obama, he's had a very rough few weeks. I am speaking about Reverend Wright, which I think is real. But at the same time, there's media over-kill, manufactured scandals. But it's a test of tolerance. It's a test of how he's connecting with a message about concrete economic issues.

KING: If he wins both tomorrow, is it over?

VANDEN HEUVEL: I think it is over, Larry. I think at that point you see a move of super delegates toward Barack Obama. And I think you see a party -- I think it's great by the way. I'm a contrarian. I think it's great that voters who haven't had a chance to vote in states which haven't played a role in our contest for years, have a chance. But it's getting bruising and I think we need to define McCain and not have two candidates pummeling each other as they are.

KING: What do you see tomorrow?

ARI FLEISCHER, FMR. WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: First, Larry, if that previous panel is any indication of how the Democrats are going to come together, this might be a pretty good year for Republicans. I think tomorrow Hillary is going to win in Indiana. Barack Obama is going to win in North Carolina. At the end of the day, not much will have changed, except the day of reckoning is closer because the delegates aren't going to shift a whole lot, which means it's good news for Barack Obama.

I still think Hillary has too high a mountain to climb, not impossible. But I put it at about a 20 percent chance for her.

KING: Will the loser get involved in the winner's campaign? FLEISCHER: Not after tomorrow because tomorrow Hillary Clinton should continue on.

KING: But when it's over.

FLEISCHER: Me prediction is, Larry, that after June 3rd when final delegates vote and then the super delegates start to break and break toward Obama, I think Hillary is actually going to be gracious. She's going to ignore her husband's advice and she's get out of the race in June.

KING: She will?

FLEISCHER: That's what I think that will happen.

KING: Kamala, do you think that's true?

HARRIS: I think it has to happen. The reality is I think about when my sister and I were growing up, we often fought with each. But you bring in a third party and, you know, nobody better mess with us. I think Democrats are very much about unifying once we get through these next few contests. And when you look at the pledged delegates, Barack has 1744, Hillary has 1602; I think he comes out the winner. And I have to believe that she will support his candidacy and support having a president of the United States who actually is respected by the international community, and has a plan for ending the war and a plan for taking care of middle class Americans.

KING: Lanny, will your candidate, if Obama is the nominee -- will she vigorously support him?

DAVIS: Absolutely. Every single time I go through one of these before election sessions, sometimes with you, Larry, and sometimes with others, it's amazing the short memory span. The night before the New Hampshire primary, this kind of session was already predicting she should drop out. The night before Super Tuesday, with Caroline Kennedy and Oprah in California, with the polls showing Obama winning California by about ten to 14 points, everybody counting her out.

Everything that has happened in this campaign is short memory. Hillary Clinton has swept the big, industrial states that we have to win in the general election. She's going to win tomorrow. The Barack Obama campaign predicted they would win in Indiana in the spread sheet they leaked somehow several weeks ago. We're going to defeat Obama tomorrow in Indiana. We are going to be close in North Carolina. I think she will sweep the rest of the states or most of them.

Here's what I would like to say to my friend, Kamala: the rules say the majority of the delegates is the nominee, not the majority of pledged delegates or super delegates or any adjective; it's the majority of delegates. When Senator Obama gets that majority or when Senator Clinton gets that majority, the two will come together because they agree on the issues.

HARRIS: And Lanny, and you know that super delegates weigh into that equation. DAVIS: Absolutely.

KING: Hold it. Here we go again. Hold it. Hold it! All right. Katrina wants to say something.

VANDEN HEUVEL: Larry, you need to be the umpire. I would like to talk, just for a moment, if I could, before I mention super delegates; Hillary Clinton the other day talked about how we could obliterate Iran, right? This is an issue, Larry.

KING: If they destroyed Israel.

VANDEN HEUVEL: But listen. We don't need that kind of saber rattling, tough talk, bluster which has just strengthened Iran.

KING: What are you supposed to say if the question is what if Iran destroys Israel?

VANDEN HEUVEL: Leading Arab allies want Americans to invest in tough diplomacy, sanctions, carrots and sticks, to make sure Iran doesn't get a nuclear weapon, which it's far from getting. Israel has a nuclear deterrent already. We don't that kind of fear mongering, saber rattling after years of Bush. On the super delegates, if I could just say --

KING: Quickly.

VANDEN HEUVEL: As Lanny says, they were set up as a fire wall to protect the party establishment. This is an historic year of up-surge from below. If the nomination is taken away with Barack Obama more pledged delegates and popular votes, I think you could see a very bruising civil war, with a lot of African-Americans and young people leaving the party.

KING: I have to get a break. We'll be right back with more. We'll get Ari Fleischer's thoughts right after this.


KING: Back with our panel. Ari Fleischer, is all this very helpful to John McCain?

FLEISCHER: For the time being it is. For the short term it is. But I think it's still largely right. The Democrats are going to mostly unify. The question is; if five percent or 10 percent don't unify, that could tip the election and that's why this has been such a decisive primary for the Democrats.

KING: Technically, with the condition of the country, the Democrats should not lose this.

FLEISCHER: John McCain should be losing, any Republican should be losing by about 10 to 15 points right now, given the economy, given Iraq, how unpopular my old boss is, I hate to say.

KING: Only 15 percent say we're doing well. FLEISCHER: That's correct. Everything adds up to a Democrat landslide in the fall. But people are finding something enough wrong with both Hillary and Barack Obama and something just enough right with John McCain, the maverick, the independent Republican, that he runs neck and neck in just about every poll. It's a remarkable year. It has been a remarkable year. And I think it's going to continue that way.

KING: Kamala, what is wrong? Why aren't the Democrats ahead by 20 points?

HARRIS: Well, I think that what we're going to see is that there's going to be a substantial jump once we have decided who the Democratic nominee is. And I believe that nominee will be Barack Obama. And then the differences between he and John McCain are going to be become very apparent. And on the issues that are important for Americans, I think we're going to see that the numbers are in Barack Obama's favor. We're going to see that his early and very consistent position on the war is in line with what most Americans want.

KING: So --

HARRIS: Most Americans want, again, tax relief for the working class. Most Americans want to know there's a real policy and an agenda around reducing reliance on foreign energy and oil. And when the two of them stand side by side, I think the contrasts will be stark.


HARRIS: And will be very persuasive for Americans, in terms of who we want to reflect the country as the next president.

KING: Katrina, Louisiana, a Democrat wins the weekend special election. That's two special elections the Democrats have won now in Republican areas. Is that an indication?

VANDEN HEUVEL: I think that's an indication. I think Republicans tried to nationalize and rationalize that election and it didn't go anywhere. I would also say that I think the Democrats are going to pick up at least six seats in the Senate. I think you're seeing a country trending bluer. Demographically, you're looking at a Democratic party with flaws, but which represents the diversity, multi-culturalness of America, and a Republican party which doesn't have a single African-American in its delegation. I think that's quite stunning.

You are seeing a younger America. This is part of the Barack Obama candidacy, but it's also part of the Democratic trend and the blue trend in this country.

KING: Therefore, Lanny, is McCain almost the perfect candidate for the Republicans? A kind of maverick, a war hero beyond imagination, someone liked by everybody?

DAVIS: Well, I think Senator McCain is a formidable candidate. I think the strength he shows in the Gallup polls -- he's defeating Senator Obama in Ohio. He's defeating Senator Obama in Pennsylvania. And he's defeating Senator Obama in Florida. On the other hand, Senator Clinton is defeating Senator McCain in those states.

KING: That wasn't the question.

DAVIS: My regard for -- your question was, which I answered, I think he is a formidable. I have a great deal of admiration for him. Depending on who he's running against, he's going to be weaker or stronger. Right now, every single state poll in the battleground states, every poll shows Senator Clinton stronger against Senator McCain than Senator Obama. I believe Democrats will unite. I believe with Katrina that we have the issues on our side. But we are seeing a serious defection rate of what were Reagan Democrats -- the children of Reagan Democrats seem to be defecting to McCain when the name is Obama, and they seem to be staying, by at least two to one margins, with Hillary Clinton when the name is Clinton.

KING: I'm going to ask Ari if he's surprised by the tenacity of Hillary Clinton. There's still time to get in on our quick vote; who do you want to win the North Carolina and Indiana primaries? Obama is winning so far, by the way, with 70 percent. Go to right now. Don't be left out. Down load our newest podcast, too, while you're at it. It's Michael Moore. You're watching LARRY KING LIVE.



CLINTON: I am asking for your help tomorrow. I believe that we have -- we have everything at stake in this election. I am running because I think with all my heart that I am best prepared to be the president, and I am the stronger candidate to take on John McCain in the fall.


KING: Ari Fleischer, as a Republican, has she surprised you?

FLEISCHER: Well, you know, Larry, she is tenacious, but she is behind and that's what this is all about. This is an election and she's lost. She's lost enough that she's in a very difficult position to win at the end.

KING: Relentless?

FLEISCHER: I don't think she's relentless. I think she's driven and nothing wrong with that in politics. If you want the White House, you better run hard to get to the White House. I think her problem is she didn't capture the mood of the country, which was a change mood this year. and she's been planning for so long to try to become the president, I think she was seen as too calculating in a Democratic primary where change is a much more powerful driver.

KING: Will Bill hurt her? FLEISCHER: Very hard to say because Bill's still popular in Democratic circles, and I think he's gotten some exceptionally rough coverage from the press. Anything he said, the press seemed to use against him. But I think on balance he's been a wash. Fundamentally, these races, and it's a good thing about our country, always come down to the people at the top. Husbands, endorsements, governors are always secondary or tertiary. It always comes down to what people think about the candidates.

VANDEN HEUVEL: I want it to be about people from below. I think that is what the Obama campaign, in so many ways, has been. Think about a year ago, the fact that Obama would take on the Clinton machine, the most formidable establishment Democratic force in recent generations.

KING: Sure.

VANDEN HEUVEL: I think that suggests something about the resilience of our country's politics. It will require, and he gets it, more change from below, mobilization and grass roots. And that's what I think is powerful to push him.

KING: Lanny, do you ruefully agree?

DAVIS: I don't agree because of the short memory my friend Katrina seems to have. All of that grass roots -- we were out-spent, Larry, in Ohio, three to one. We were out-spent in Pennsylvania four to one. All of those grass roots, all of those dollars he lost. He can't win the big ones. And every time she's counted out, she comes back. So my good friend Ari, she may have lost some of the states that we have haven't carried for a long time, like the great Democratic state of Utah and Idaho, but she's won where we have to win in Ohio. If John Kerry had carried Ohio, he'd be president.

FLEISCHER: My wife is from Indiana. You're not going to win there.

DAVIS: Well, we have a very good chance in a general election with Evan Bayh. If you look at the Gallup poll in Indiana, it is actually pretty close. Even Indiana may turn blue. You never know.

FLEISCHER: You will win there. Obama won't win Indiana. I'm sorry. You won't win North Carolina.

VANDEN HEUVEL: Until we abolish the electoral college, which I'm for -- my husband is from Indiana. The Democrats haven't taken that state in how many decades, which they could.

KING: Kamala?

HARRIS: Well, Lanny, you cannot deny, however, that the reality is that if Barack Obama were not in this race, it would not be interesting. It would not be as exciting? Why? Because he has brought into the fold --

DAVIS: I agree with that. HARRIS: -- people who have not been talked with before by any of these candidates. And they have all been on the ticket.

DAVIS: Maybe we can end on a note where --

HARRIS: They have not been able to bring out the people that Barack has. In that way, he has been good not only for the Democratic party, but good for our democracy.

DAVIS: I agree with that.

HARRIS: People know that. And that's the sign of a great leader. What we need in this country right now is someone who makes us proud to be Americans.

KING: I got about 30 seconds.

DAVIS: I agree with you.


KING: He's trying to agree with you.

DAVIS: Kamala, you just keep talking. He's done a great job in energizing the younger generation of our party. I don't think he can win in a general election.

KING: Hold it. Katrina, go.

VANDEN HEUVEL: Final word about this campaign moving ahead. The media is going to play a role and the media --


VANDEN HEUVEL: The media treats John McCain as what he is not in my view. He's neither a maverick nor a reformer. The media -- Chris Matthews once said, the media loves John McCain. We are his base. We need to contest that.

KING: Thank you. Can't get enough of our show. Our new podcast, Michael Moore, is ready for downloading. We're open 24-7 at for quick votes, transcripts and our King of Politics section. Speaking of politics, we're on at a special time on Tuesday night, midnight Eastern, 9:00 Pacific. We'll talk about who won and who lost in Indiana and North Carolina. That's what you call a results show. LARRY KING LIVE midnight edition tomorrow. Time now for Anderson Cooper and "AC 360." Anderson?