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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL
Obama Projected Winner North Carolina; Indiana Remains Tight Race
Aired May 6, 2008 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: In Indiana, in all of Indiana, within the next second or so, the polls in Indiana will have been closed, and we'll be able to report to you based that on all of the exit poll numbers that we've gathered throughout the day in Indiana, this race at least right now is too early for us to project a winner in Indiana; the race too early to project a winner.
We do have these numbers, with four percent of the precincts reporting in Indiana right now, 59 percent for Hillary Clinton to 41 percent for Barack Obama. If we take a look at the actual numbers that have come in, in Indiana so far, there you see it, 36,452 for Hillary Clinton to 25,673 for Barack Obama. But if you walk over and take a look at the counties that have reported the light bluer counties where Hillary Clinton leads, the darker blue are counties where Barack Obama lead.
But some of the strongest parts of the state for Barack Obama will be up in the northwestern part of the state, effectively, those are -- those are suburbs of Chicago, Illinois being the next door neighbor, the home state of Barack Obama. Once those counties begin to come in and the polls there have just closed in those counties, presumably, we'll see these numbers change a bit. But we're going to watch it very, very carefully.
We have reporters covering all of this very closely in Indiana and North Carolina. Let's walk over though to Lou Dobbs right now, he's got the best political team on television, ready to give us second by second analysis of what's going on.
LOU DOBBS, CNN ANCHOR: Second by second, Wolf, indeed you're right. I can't wait. I know you're excited to hear Gloria Borger here, Roland Martin and Jeffrey Toobin. Let's start with what's going to define, start with Indiana, since Wolf was leading us in that direction, what's going to define victory for either Senator Clinton or Senator Obama in Indiana, Gloria?
GLORIA BORGER, CNN SR. POLITICAL ANALYST: She's got to win. She's got to win Indiana. It would be better for her to win it by a larger margin. That would help make her case to the superdelegates. Because after all, Lou, that's what this is about right now.
You know, after tonight, there are only 217 pledged delegates left in all of those six states we've got to go through. There are 278 un-pledged superdelegates left. Those are the folks holding the margin. This is what she's got to do.
DOBBS: They are holding the margin, both campaigns, Roland, and if anybody's to blame here, Senator Obama has to take responsibility; his camp was the first to declare Indiana as the tiebreaker. What is the importance of Indiana in your judgment?
DOBBS: How will it be played by both camps?
ROLAND MARTIN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, obviously, if she wins, if she says I won a Midwest state that is close to Illinois. If she wins by six, seven, eight points it's a wider margin, but the closer he is to her even in losing, 52-48, 53, you know 47, they're going to be spinning left and right. You're going to have all kind of a spin going on because he wants to be able to say sure, ran against somebody whose core constituent, the kind of voters in Indiana did pretty well, so they're going to be spinning left and right. The bottom line is it all -- North Carolina is the biggest deal though, 115 delegates...
MARTIN: Indiana has 72.
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SR. LEGAL ANALYST: Fortunately I think, spin is not going to matter that much. Delegates matter. The numbers matter. He is ahead by about 150 pledged delegates. She's got to catch up somewhere and as Gloria just said, this is the night when the biggest chunk is available, if she can't cut into his lead tonight or add to it, then he's in trouble.
BORGER: Florida, Michigan, Florida Michigan, we'll get back to that.
DOBBS: Indeed we will, Gloria, but right now this margin, while it's ridiculously early, it's five percent of the precincts reporting, what kind of a margin does she need in Indiana if she is to prevail, what kind of margin does she need over Obama to have real talking stuff with the superdelegates?
TOOBIN: I think she's got to net 20-plus delegates at least on the night, combining the two states. I think that's very tough when you consider North Carolina his better state, is a much bigger state.
MARTIN: Forty-three more delegates. Although he may have said Indiana is a tiebreaker, North Carolina is really the bigger one because it has far more delegates. So it's going to come down to the numbers. So she needs a significant number in Indiana, a smaller number in North Carolina.
DOBBS: Because I know the spinning wouldn't begin yet so early...
MARTIN: Of course not --
(CROSSTALK) DOBBS: I don't want to even raise the specter of that possibility.
DOBBS: But the fact is I think it's probably serviceable for all of us to remember it's mathematically impossible for either one of these candidates to win the nomination...
MARTIN: The pledged delegates, right.
DOBBS: Are you going to finish my sentences all night long?
MARTIN: Well you know, you said the spin.
DOBBS: You got it.
Let's go over and talk with Jamal Simmons and Donna Brazile and Alex Castellanos and Bill Bennett.
How does it look to you in Indiana right now for your candidate?
JAMAL SIMMONS, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Well, we're still waiting to see what comes in, all the numbers come in. What's interesting is, we look at some of the white numbers, she's actually doing fairly well among white voters, and I think right now he's splitting, maybe doing a little bit better among white men looked like some of the early exits. And so if he holds that margin, that's not a back sign for Barack Obama. The one headline out of Indiana is going to be Obama survives, even if he loses this race, if he doesn't lose by 10 points, it will say Obama survives. If you take everything they had to throw at him and he didn't fall down.
DOBBS: Now are we talking about Indiana or North Carolina...
SIMMONS: Indiana. We're just talking about Indiana. He can lose...
DOBBS: Now, Toobin just set the bar considerably lower than you did. Now, you've raised it, so are we -- and then Roland Martin, he promised we wouldn't be spinning here.
SIMMONS: Who's raising the bar? I'm saying if Barack Obama losing in Indiana, but he still holds on to white voters in a substantial faction, then I think he's survived everything that was thrown out over the last two weeks. And he has not had a great two weeks.
DOBBS: Donna, do you agree?
DONNA BRAZILE, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well yes, I think Senator Obama has had a very tough two months, not two weeks. He's had to deal with...
DOBBS: Jamal would never spin that.
BRAZILE: Well of course, but he's had to deal with race which is always a very divisive topic. He's had to deal with (INAUDIBLE) and that was a very tough issue for him to also overcome and then religion, his relationship with his pastor. If Senator Obama survives tonight, winning one state, that means that Senator Obama will retain the lead in earned delegate, pledged delegates, as well as can go back to superdelegates and say, look, I can survive this. I can weather the storm.
DOBBS: Alex, your thoughts?
ALEX CASTELLANOS, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: You know, he has had a tough -- very tough couple of weeks. He's been tested and people...
DOBBS: I always love Republican analysis of Democratic contests.
DOBBS: There is something seems so liberating for you guys.
CASTELLANOS: It's so tough to see this contest just go on and on like this, Lou. No, we're seeing that he's been tested, but you know, it's not been without a cost. And the cost is he hasn't been able to put this thing away and unify the party. And if it's another split decision tonight, you know, the heavyweight champ still wins and that's Barack Obama. But the contest goes on.
DOBBS: And let's go to someone for whom...
DOBBS: ... a few thoughts on this? (INAUDIBLE)
PAUL BEGALA, CNN POLITICAL STRATEGIST: Yes, you know, I've been in situations where survival was -- felt like a victory, but, frankly, Barack Obama needs to do better than survive. He needs to win. And you know I think he's pretty well positioned, certainly, in North Carolina to win. But you know, Senator Obama's campaign has not had a big election night since February 12, about three lifetimes ago, when they won the Potomac primary.
That they really won. They won Maryland. They won D.C. They won Virginia, a blood red state and they won it overwhelmingly. Since then he's been, as Donna says, on a very bad run. You don't want to limp across the finish line.
(INAUDIBLE) look like -- remember I'm kind of a runner, you remember Greta White (ph) years ago in the Boston marathon when she was you know about half dead, but she finished the race, but you know she was falling apart. And I don't think the Obama campaign wants to finish that way. They I'm sure want to finish strong. They want to win, not just survive.
DOBBS: And from that am I to infer that you think that Senator Obama will barely survive tonight but nonetheless, prevail? BEGALA: You know, my powers of prognostication as you've been the first to point out Lou are pitiable. I was going to say confidently John Edwards would win in Iowa had that worked out. I was sure that Barack Obama would win New Hampshire and Nevada. He didn't win either, so I'm not going to try to like nail down predictions.
What I'm saying is when I worked for Bill Clinton, we locked up the nomination only and on June, and only by beating Jerry Brown (ph), the former governor of California in California. Now Barack doesn't have to beat Hillary in New York. Hillary doesn't have to beat Barack in Illinois. But if they just continue to win the home games, then neither of them is winning strong the way that I think most Democrats want their nominee to close this thing out.
BRAZILE: It doesn't matter if they win stronger.
BEGALA: That's right.
BRAZILE: A win is a win. And we said that last week in Pennsylvania. We didn't say she had to win by double digits, triple digits. A win is a win. And we've had 93 percent...
BRAZILE: ... of the earned delegates already been accounted for. We're not talking about a lot of delegates right now.
DOBBS: I never dream -- I'm sorry, go ahead...
SIMMONS: Barack Obama won 11 contests in a row.
DOBBS: Jamal wants to moderate and do your part. Go ahead.
SIMMONS: Barack Obama won 11 contests in a row. And everybody sort of washes that away as if it didn't matter. The reality is...
DOBBS: Not me.
SIMMONS: ... he's winning a huge state North Carolina. North Carolina has more pledged delegates than all of the rest of the states have yet to vote combined. If he wins North Carolina tonight, that is a huge win for him. The question ought to be asked why can't Senator Clinton win North Carolina.
SIMMONS: But you know if he's ahead on points, going into the last round, then he wins the fight.
DOBBS: Paul, I don't know about you, but I'm astonished at the reaction of Jamal because you were being so modest in talking about historic context for elections rather than this one. But he has a point, doesn't he? Paul?
BEGALA: Jamal will always have a point where he points that out I'm a terrible predictor in these primary campaigns. Most of the pundits have been. But Donna is right. Let me make it clear, Donna, I'm not disagreeing with you. A win is a win.
If Barack Obama loses in Indiana, that's bad. If he loses close, that's bad. OK, same thing with Hillary in North Carolina, if she loses North Carolina, it is bad. I don't want to spin this. You know I want to say win or lose, that's why I wish my party, and Donna you're on the Rules Committee, I'm going to start lobbying you, I wish our party had a sensible system in the primaries which would be winner take all, just like the...
DOBBS: Paul's being modest, Donna...
DOBBS: Paul, excuse me just for a second.
BEGALA: You know.
DOBBS: Paul has been very modest and that is sort of I think inspiring, don't you? And so...
BRAZILE: He's from Texas, so Texans -- most Texans are not modest.
DOBBS: All he wants -- I'm sure all that Paul wants is for those votes in Michigan and Florida to count, so perhaps maybe a redo. That wouldn't be difficult for you, would it?
BRAZILE: You know, Wolf...
DOBBS: Lou. Lou.
BRAZILE: Lou, that's right. You're my boo tonight.
BRAZILE: You're my boo tonight because you know -- you're my boo tonight.
DOBBS: You got it. OK.
BRAZILE: Lou is my boo tonight.
DOBBS: I've been promoted. I'm been promoted.
(CROSSTALK) BRAZILE: I'm going to come over there and squeeze you like orange juice.
DOBBS: Gentlemen, excuse me a second, I think we're going to have -- we just need a moment of privacy.
BRAZILE: Lou, we forget that last year, we averted a train wreck. We were -- the Democratic Party, the Republican Party, we were trying to stop these candidates from -- these states from holding their contest before Christmas.
DOBBS: Right. And you did that.
BRAZILE: We did it.
DOBBS: And about four million folks got disenfranchised in Michigan and Florida thereby. Bill...
BILL BENNETT, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Yes, we're for those primaries in late August. We think it's a great idea. They should keep doing, but...
BRAZILE: He needs a tan...
BENNETT: Can I say something as an outsider?
BENNETT: It's a huge thing for Barack Obama. Go back a year ago before the six months, Hillary Clinton, a presumptive nominee of the party was going to be a coronation.
BENNETT: ... one-term senator comes out and he's beating her, he looks like he is going to get the nomination, it's a titanic struggle. They got the money. They got the voters.
DOBBS: And we've got Wolf Blitzer. Wolf, back to you, partner.
BLITZER: All right. Lou thanks very much. I want to walk over to Soledad O'Brien and Bill Schneider because they're getting exit poll numbers, more of them coming in. Soledad, we learn a lot based on what these voters in North Carolina and Indiana tell us as they emerge from the polling booths.
SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, absolutely. And one of the questions that we're looking at more closely at tonight is the question of who shares your values. So the first question we asked was does Clinton share your values and the answer was...
WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, she does. This is the elitism notion is either Clinton or Obama seen by other Democrats as being a elitist snob who's disdainful of the values of ordinary voters? No, in Clinton's case, 62 percent in Indiana said she shares their values. Not a problem. O'BRIEN: How about for Obama. We ask the same question of course with Obama. Does he share your values?
SCHNEIDER: Now he is supposed to have a problem because he's been charged with elitism ever since he made those comments in San Francisco which a lot of voters took aspersion to. Well, does Barack Obama share your values? Indiana Democrats, 65 percent said yes, he does. By 2-1, they said he shares their values, which is a suggestion that at least to fellow Democrats Barack Obama doesn't seem to have an elitist problem.
There was another question we asked, too. What about a candidate who cares about people like yourself? Their...
O'BRIEN: What's that euphemism for?
SCHNEIDER: It's elitism, you know? Does he or she care about you? And the voters who said that's what they were looking for split 50/50. So it doesn't look like it's a problem.
O'BRIEN: Which means it's going to be tight; it would be my guess, Wolf.
BLITZER: Thanks very much Soledad and Bill. We'll check back with you.
By the way, Bill Schneider is going to be at CNNPolitics.com. If you want to get his running commentary on what's going on, you can do that. It's also a good idea to watch us, but also have your laptop, CNNPolitics.com. All the raw data is coming in there, the exit poll numbers, the real numbers.
We're watching Indiana right now. All the polls in Indiana closed about 15 minutes or so ago. And in about 15 minutes from now, all the polls will have closed in North Carolina as well. The numbers will begin coming in from North Carolina. The numbers are now coming in from Indiana.
In fact, about 9 percent of the precincts have now reported in Indiana. You can see these counties here, the light blue are counties that Hillary Clinton is ahead in; the dark blue, Barack Obama. You see that one gray county over there, that's a tie at least right now, as these numbers come in.
Hillary Clinton with 57 percent, so far to 43 percent for Barack Obama with under 10 percent of the precincts reporting. I want to check in with our correspondents covering these two campaigns. Candy Crowley is over at the Obama headquarters in Raleigh, North Carolina. Suzanne Malveaux is at the Clinton headquarters in Indianapolis, Indiana right now.
Candy, first to you, at some point tonight, we'll be hearing from Barack Obama behind you, he'll be speaking to his supporters. I assume they think they're going to do really well in North Carolina, otherwise, presumably he would have moved on? CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SR. POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: They think that they'll win here in North Carolina. And obviously, if you listened to the conversation just before this on your set, there's going to be a lot of definitions of what's doing well. But they do expect to win here, Wolf.
And I was listening to them tune up here to Barack Obama's theme song on these election nights which is "Sign, Sealed and Delivered", but I can tell you what they will argue if they win here and they win here substantially in North Carolina. They will argue that the theme song ought to be "I'm Still Standing."
They looked back at the last two months. He has in fact taken a lot of hits both in Pennsylvania, both in Ohio, Jeremiah Wright, a weatherman terrorist and his association with him. So they will argue that and they will also argue the math.
They will say, listen, here's how many pledged delegates we have. Here's how far we are away including the superdelegates from winning this nomination. They say, look, this is what this is about. It's about pledged delegates. They will also argue, depending on the size of the popular vote here that it will be next to impossible for her to catch up on the popular vote.
Obviously, the Clinton campaign will argue Michigan and Florida. But at this moment, they believe that they can get to June 3 with the most pledged delegates, with the most popular vote and with the most states won. And they think that is going to be a very, very hard set of mathematics for superdelegates to turn down -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Have they already announced, Candy, what the Obama campaign is going to be doing tomorrow?
CROWLEY: Yes, he's going -- actually tonight he's going back to Chicago. We expect him to be in Chicago throughout tomorrow, perhaps a news conference. I suspect that depends on how well he does. But he is headed home.
BLITZER: Going back to Chicago and then presumably, assuming his fight continues, they'll move on to West Virginia one week from today. Candy, stand by. I want go over to Hillary Clinton headquarters, at least on this night in Indianapolis. They're doing it there, Suzanne, I assume, because they think they're going to win in Indiana?
SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, they're confident they're going to win in Indiana. And just to kind of follow up on Candy's theme of music here, obviously we've been hearing John Mellencamp's "Small Town". That is where Hillary Clinton has really gained momentum, those rural areas, those voters, working class voters.
We heard from Hillary Clinton earlier today and she says no matter what happens this evenings, she is moving forward. She is very determined to make sure that Florida and Michigan count in some sort of way that that is resolved before she gives up. So that is -- whatever happens this evening, she is moving forward. The same thing, she is looking at all of the primaries in June that has got to play out. And then third, there really is this issue not only of how voters view her but also what they call the branding of Barack Obama. Does he make any kind of headway into those groups, whether it's white, working class, female, rural, older voters?
Does he actually gain any ground tonight? If he does not, they feel they have a relatively strong argument to once again go back to the superdelegates and say, she's got the group, the core group, that's going to make a difference ultimately in those swing states for the general election.
So that is what they're going to be looking at tonight, whether or not those numbers shift. Obviously, they feel they're going to win in Indiana, that it might be kind of close. They do acknowledge that they probably will lose in North Carolina, hopefully not by more than five percentage points. That would be a good evening for them tonight, Wolf.
BLITZER: And quickly, Suzanne, has the Clinton campaign told us what she is doing tomorrow?
MALVEAUX: She's actually going to go back to Washington and then obviously you know a quick break and then she's going to be heading back on the campaign trail. They're not going to waste a minute here. But as you had mentioned before, they're also going to be on the phones with those superdelegates. And they're going to be looking to that date at the end of May when there might be some decision or at least the beginning of that process to find out how the Florida and Michigan delegates are actually seated, Wolf.
BLITZER: All right, Suzanne is in Indianapolis. Stand by. We're going to be getting back to you.
We're only about 10 minutes or so away from the polls closing in North Carolina. Once they're closed there, we'll start getting numbers coming in; we'll tell you what we know as well.
The polls are all closed in Indiana right now. Based on the exit polls and the hard numbers we're still saying it's too early to project a winner in Indiana -- much more of our coverage coming up right here from the CNN Election Center.
BLITZER: Seven minutes until the polls are closed in North Carolina. All the polls are closed in Indiana. Right now, we're watching this very closely -- the Republicans are watching this very closely as well. Our Dana Bash is in Winston-Salem, North Carolina with the McCain campaign. Interestingly he was in North Carolina today of all days delivering a major speech on judicial appointments. What's going on from the Republicans' perspective, Dana?
DANA BASH, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: What's going on, Wolf, is just as you said it, they are watching this very closely, especially given the fact that the Republicans, obviously, the McCain campaign in particular, they really are learning from all of these Democratic contests, Wolf. Not only is this something that they're more and more reveling in because Democrats are bloodying one another and leaving John McCain free to sort of plot his strategy the way he wants to do for the most part.
But they are also learning and looking and pouring over the data after these contests. For example, Pennsylvania what we saw, what we've all been reporting is the fact that Hillary Clinton did so well with blue-collar workers, blue-collar voters, and Barack Obama did not. It's not an accident that the week after that, John McCain really did seem to tailor his message, his rhetoric toward those blue- collar workers.
Why, because the reality is they still do believe at the end of the day Barack Obama will be John McCain's opponent. So that is the kind of thing that Republicans and McCain campaign are looking at with regard to contests that the Democrats are having right now. And the other thing that McCain is continuing to do is really involve himself in this sort of niche marketing, trying to brand himself certain ways for certain audiences.
I talked about blue-collar voters. Today what John McCain did is come here to the state of North Carolina and really tried to provide a contrast to the Democrats, tried to do what he has to do frankly, is still shore up that conservative base, he talked a lot about judges, talked about his conservative philosophy. That certainly raised the ire of Democrats saying uh-huh, he's not really a middle of the road kind of -- kind of Republican as he might be trying to present himself in some respects.
But it's still very, very important for him to be doing this. Kind of interesting that John McCain decided to do that, to talk about his conservative philosophy at a time when conservatives aren't really of paying attention to that kind of thing. But maybe Democrats, maybe those Independent voters they are not paying close attention to that kind of rhetoric on a day like today when there's such interest in the Democratic race, Wolf.
BLITZER: A huge day today. Dana thanks very much.
What, in less than five minutes, four minutes and counting the polls will be closed in North Carolina. We're going to be watching to see what we can report in four minutes and 32 seconds or so -- much more of our coverage from the CNN Election Center right after this.
BLITZER: All right less than a minute now until the polls close in North Carolina. The polls already are closed in Indiana. We can only say it's too early for us to project a winner in Indiana. Right now, 16 percent of the precincts in Indiana have reported. Hillary Clinton is ahead with 57 percent to Barack Obama's 43 percent. If we look at the hard numbers coming in from Indiana, you see 106,000 or so for Hillary Clinton, 80,700 or so for Barack Obama.
But this is relatively still early, and if you see these counties; the light blue counties are counties where Hillary Clinton is ahead. The dark blue counties are counties where Barack Obama is ahead. But if you see in the northwestern part of the state, no numbers are in yet. Precincts have not reported. That's among the areas in Indiana where Barack Obama is strongest, effectively, a suburb of Chicago, right next to his home state of Illinois. And as a result, we're still getting -- we're still waiting for more numbers in Indiana.
CNN projects that in North Carolina with the polls now closed, Barack Obama is the winner. Based on the exit poll information we have received, Barack Obama the winner in North Carolina.
This was expected, given the exit poll indications that we had, how strong he was, especially among the African-American community in North Carolina, perhaps more than 90 percent going for Barack Obama. Also, the polls that we have been seeing over the past few days showed that he was doing very, very well in North Carolina.
He earlier carried neighboring South Carolina, carried neighboring Virginia, now will carry North Carolina as well.
So on this important night, the biggest prize in the delegate count so far, the biggest prize remaining North Carolina, that prize will go to Barack Obama. They will divide up the delegates based on the proportion of the votes, but Barack Obama, we project, is the winner in North Carolina.
I want to go back to Lou Dobbs and the best political team on television. We're waiting for the results in Indiana.
She's doing well so far with the precincts reporting, but it's too early for us to project a winner, Lou, in Indiana. It's not too early for us to project a winner in North Carolina. Barack Obama, the winner, in North Carolina.
DOBBS: Absolutely, and it looks like it may be by a sizable margin given the earlier part of this call, and as you've been pointing out, Wolf, we still have not received in Indiana those votes from in, particularly the northwestern pat of Indiana.
Expected as Wolf said, the victory for Barack Obama in North Carolina, its impact, Jeff?
TOOBIN: No less significant for being expected. Barack Obama hasn't won a big state in quite a few weeks. This is a very big deal for him, plus, the fact is, he is going to get a large share of the delegates tonight. That's what North Carolina means. That means Hillary Clinton is going to be deeper in the hole than she started at the end of the night, and she was already 150 pledged delegates behind.
I just don't see how the math adds up for her. I don't see how she persuades the superdelegates to put her over the top when she's going to end in June being behind.
DOBBS: Your thoughts, Roland? MARTIN: I think you look at as you go inside the numbers, I mean North Carolina obviously a significant African-American population but it's not to the degree that South Carolina was in terms of 50/50. North Carolina, two-thirds white, two-third white, one-third African- American. So also we'll begin to look at how he did among whites, white men, white females as well because that also speaks in terms of the some of the other states, in terms of how they perform but again a solid win in a southern state.
BORGER: But if you do look at these, what you were just talking about, Roland, it seems that the voting patterns that we've seen before continue. That he wins overwhelmingly with African-Americans. She wins with white voters by a considerable margin and that could be a problem that those superdelegates continue to take a look at.
DOBBS: It is part of the demographic mixture that somebody is going to be taking a look at, eye I'm sure, besides us, over the course of this primary campaign.
But nobody does it better than Bill Schneider and Soledad O'Brien.
SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: Thank you for that compliment. I was going to say, yes, we're willing to weigh in.
If you take a look at the electorate. Let's break it down by race that's very important in North Carolina, especially when you're trying to see why Barack Obama won.
SCHNEIDER: Let's look at North Carolina Democratic voters as a whole. The voters there were 63 percent white. One-third, 33 percent were African-American. Which means Barack Obama, the African-American vote was critical, he could not have done it with just African- American voters. He had to get a substantial segment of the white vote.
O'BRIEN: Let's begin with the African-American voters, what percentage did he get?
SCHNEIDER: Barack Obama did get almost all of the African- American voters. He got 91 percent of African American voters. Hillary Clinton was down to just 6, single digits which is worse than she has been doing. She's gotten over 10 percent of the African- American vote in other states including southern states but now Barack Obama clearly dominates that vote. What's interesting is white voters.
O'BRIEN: Yes because often we talk about the black voters and say well, they're 33 percent which is a lot. But there's 63 percent that are white that we often don't talk about.
SCHNEIDER: That's right. And he could not have done this without the white vote. The white vote went 59 percent for Hillary Clinton, 36 percent for Barack Obama. Which means well over a third of white voters in North Carolina did vote for Barack Obama, if you look at it the other way, more than 40 percent of his vote was white. So he could have claimed to have put together a pretty biracial coalition.
O'BRIEN: There you have, Lou, back to you.
DOBBS: All right. Soledad and Bill, thank you very much.
Gloria, you were trying to make a point about some of these demographic ...
BORGER: Well, what was interesting, I was talking to a Democrat on the phone today that had done John Edwards' Senate race, he reminded me that when John Edwards won his Senate race in 1998 in North Carolina, he won with 41 percent of white voters. If these numbers hold up, that's pretty close to what Barack Obama is getting. That's generally the high water mark for Democrats in North Carolina.
DOBBS: But that's also -- we're talking about a rather sizable bonus here. We're talking 91 percent of the African-American vote in anybody politic. That's overwhelming, Roland.
MARTIN: Absolutely but what's also interesting I had a poll through North Carolina on my radio show today, he said that North Carolina by registration is a Democratic state. It's amazing that Republicans -- Bush won North Carolina by 438,000 votes in 2004.
DOBBS: He won it overwhelmingly.
MARTIN: Absolutely. It's still considered that people I've identified themselves as Democrats but they still in terms of people calling them Reagan Democrats. Some call them Nixon, southern strategy Democrats, what have you, but it's amazing the Democratic Party, they have numbers there, but they cannot get them voting solely for the party the candidate in the presidential election.
DOBBS: Jeff Toobin what's your reaction, as you hear them talking about black voters, white voters, who's voting for whom, 90 percent overwhelmingly for black. We talk about race and transgender would be transcendent in this race. This has become a race in which we seek to analyze it by race, by gender.
We are so embedded now in group and identity politics, what is the impact in your opinion?
TOOBIN: Well, you know, certainly there is an element of dividing the candidates by race, but the reason Barack Obama is leading this race is not just because he's getting black votes. He's got an enormous, enormous number of white votes. He's won in states, starting with Iowa without very few white voters.
DOBBS: Sort this out for me then Jeff because I know that feels good for all of us to hear it and for you to say it but here's the reality. He has 40 percent of the white vote, 92 percent of the black vote. That is by any definition not symmetrical, and it is -- it has to be of great concern to the superdelegates.
TOOBIN: But I think it's also true that's how Democrats have done in the south for a long time. That's how Bill Clinton has won. That's the Democratic coalition.
DOBBS: So you don't think this will have any influence at all on --
TOOBIN: Not a bit. Not a bit.
MARTIN: If the Democrats don't get 90 percent of the black vote come November, they lose. It's not like getting black vote is somehow shocking to a Democratic primary.
Also, Lou, here's another piece. We've always have his breakdown. OK. In 2004, whenever you heard soccer moms, they were talking about white women in the suburbs. When you hear NASCAR dads, they're talking about white men in the suburbs. We call it different things but we've always broken down our campaigns.
DOBBS: You call it no difference at all -- excuse me just for a second --
BORGER: But there is a difference. There is a difference in the campaign because we have a woman running against an African-American.
DOBBS: I hadn't noticed that.
BORGER: Right and you see that with white women, Hillary Clinton beats Barack Obama generally 2-1, OK and we see the Democratic Party being split right down the middle. Its coalition is split wide open right now. And that's the worry among Democrats. But these are two very good candidates having a really tough fight.
DOBBS: So, Wolf, there you've got it. There's either a problem here for the Democratic Party or there's not.
BLITZER: It depends if you're an optimist or a pessimist from the Democrat's perspective.
Guys, thanks very much.
Let me just reset what we know right now. In North Carolina, we've projected that Barack Obama is the winner. He will go on and win the bulk of these delegates in North Carolina. They'll be divided up based on the proportion. We don't know what percentages will be, but we do know based on the exit poll numbers that Barack Obama will be the winner.
It's too early for us to project the winner in the other big contest tonight, Indiana, right now. We do know that 21 percent of the precincts in Indiana have reported. Hillary Clinton has a sizable lead so far, 57 percent for Hillary Clinton to 43 percent for Barack Obama, with just over 20 percent of the precincts reporting.
If we look at the actual numbers in Indiana right now, you can see 135,500 or so for Hillary Clinton to 101,300 for Barack Obama. We're watching Indiana very, very closely especially now that we know that Barack Obama is the winner in North Carolina.
We'll be taking a much closer look at this state. We're going to be joining John King. He's over at the big board, looking at Indiana county by county by county, the early precinct it's reporting. What do we know? What are the signs out there?
Remember, you can watch together with him and all of us go to CNNPolitics.com. That's where the raw numbers are coming in, a lot of information. Watch us here on CNN, but have your laptop at CNNPolitics.com. It's an excellent way to go through the night.
At some point later tonight, we'll be hearing from both of these candidates. You'll hear every word they say later tonight live right here from the CNN Election Center.
Our coverage continues right after this.
BLITZER: Welcome back to the CNN Election Center. I'm Wolf Blitzer reporting.
There is a winner, we projected Barack Obama the winner in North Carolina. It's too early for us to project a winner in Indiana, but let's take a closer look at both of these states right now. John King is studying the numbers coming in.
What about 25 percent of the precincts have reported in Indiana so far? She's got a sizable lead.
JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: And you would think, Wolf, under most circumstance, exactly right, 57/43 with a quarter of the vote counted. Why can't we call Indiana? If the map continues to fill in like this, it would likely be a Clinton state. But, and this is a very important but, let's go back in time to show why we aren't comfortable calling this state right now.
This is the Kerry/Bush contest in 2004. George Bush obviously swept through Indiana. It is a reliably Republican state. But where are the Democrats? Let's circle where the Democrats are. John Kerry won down here. John Kerry won in Indianapolis. He won up here and he won over here in Gary, just outside of the Chicago suburbs. So we've circled those areas. Those are the pockets of Democratic vote.
Now let's fast forward to where we are tonight. What are we missing? We're missing the vote here. We're missing the vote there. We're missing the vote here in Bloomington, a college town. That's where I.U. is so we're missing completely in three of the Democratic centers of the state. All three of these places, Barack Obama is expected to do well.
So we want to see and the reason we're still not comfortable, this is the largest population center in the state, 14 percent of the state, Indianapolis, Marion County, and Barack Obama is winning big at the moment with only 11 percent of the vote in. There are places that offer Barack Obama the opportunity to make up this vote. He obviously has to win in huge margins in the areas that are circled. He has to have significant turnout but that is a possibility which is why we are waiting to call this state because it can be done. Those are the major Democratic vote centers right there.
BLITZER: You can see Indianapolis is a big chunk of the state right there. But how big is the population up in Gary and in the northwestern, the suburbs, effectively, of Chicago?
KING: These are the two biggest population centers and Democratic bases are right here. Marion County and Indianapolis is by far the biggest. But you make a big point. Because the other, the next biggest is right here.
I'm going to clear this so you can see the number there. Lake County is 8 percent of the state population. That is Gary. That is Hammond. That is the Chicago suburbs. Very important to note. Because it is Chicago television. This is Barack Obama's home base. They know him well here. He tends to perform better in places where they know him. So we need to wait for those votes to come in.
Again, this is filling out like we've seen other states. These are African-Americans here, college town here. These are African American voters up here, about 25 percent of that county is African- American. Those are places that should go for Barack Obama.
But, South Bend, Catholic part of the state, that should be a Clinton vote. We'll have to see how Barack Obama does.
If the map continues to fill in just like this, it would lead you to believe looking at it now, a narrow Clinton victory, but again, Wolf, it is a critical but, we need to see if he's holding it in Bloomington, just starting to come as we speak. Monroe County, it's a small place, but Barack Obama winning 70/30 roughly with just one percent of the vote in. If he's going to overcome Senator Clinton's overwhelming advantage in these smaller rural counties, he has to do it with high turn out and huge margins, here and here and here. We'll wait to see as the votes come in.
BLITZER: All right.
We've projected that Barack Obama is the winner in North Carolina. We projected that immediately as the polls closed at 7:30 p.m. Eastern, which suggests based on the exit poll numbers, this could be an impressive decisive win for him in North Carolina.
KING: And if it is impressive and decisive, it will go a long way in helping Barack Obama make the case, yes, a period of jitters, a period of stumbling, but that he'd at least make the case that he's back on track winning in the state, yes, with a significant number of African-American population, but if he wins by the margins the exit polls suggest, it will because of a decent white vote as well which is the message he needs for superdelegates.
Very early in this count. We don't even have enough so far to get a statewide vote count because we're less than 1 percent of the total vote. But you have Obama winning out here in Buford County, 57/39. That is a place that was a wild card because you have some retirement people moving in here.
The Sunbelt is changing but across the state, Wolf, significant African-American population. All in this area in here. Rural white Democrats out here. This is a Democratic base right here, former tobacco country. That congressional district roughly in this area, about 50 percent of African-American, a sizable population for Barack Obama there.
The question for Barack Obama -- how does he do out here, in rural white land? How does he do in the center of the state where you have the more affluent in the research and development triangle in the area? But as we watch these results come in, obviously we've projected Barack Obama and by all indications it will be a significant victory.
That will be a key test going forward because as we talked about for so long, Wolf, we go out to the delegate map, the question now getting closer to the finish line is the math overwhelmingly favors Barack Obama. If Hillary Clinton cannot significantly change both the math and the psychology tonight, it's more than a victory and a state for Barack Obama. You get to the point where there are no more delegates, so few delegates left for Senator Clinton to change the game.
BLITZER: And I just remind our viewers in North Carolina that was the biggest prize not only today but of all the remaining contests, 115 delegates at stake in North Carolina, 72 delegates at stake in Indiana. That's a significant prize as well but given the Democratic Party rules, they will divide up those delegates unlike the Republicans. It's not winner take all.
KING: Not winner take all. And so let's just - we've called North Carolina for Barack Obama. Let's give him the state. That's giving it 55/45 and it significantly moves out his lead. He's out here; Senator Clinton, here's the finish line out here. That's giving it to him at 55/45. We'll see what the final result is. Because of the proportional Democratic rules, if he wins 55/45, he'll get roughly 55 percent of the delegates. It depends on how they do in each of the congressional districts across the state but we assign Barack Obama North Carolina, we've already called that state.
Look what it does. Even if, Wolf, even if Senator Clinton on the other hand can come in and I need to take that off to do that, even if Senator Clinton can hold Indiana let's say by 55/45, there's no reason to believe she'll win that big if she carries it but let's say hypothetically she does, look what happens. She moves up a little bit but Barack Obama moves up too because he will still get delegates out of Indiana. That's is the difficult math, the difficult trajectory, if you're in the Clinton campaign, if he keeps winning and we've given him North Carolina tonight, her math gets increasingly difficult, some would say almost impossible.
BLITZER: So if there's a split decision though, there's no indication that she would drop out given the problems -- even if she has enormous mathematical problems. This will continue into West Virginia next Tuesday. KING: No reason to believe she will drop out at all. She said in advance of the votes she will not drop out. But Wolf, let's just say for the sake of argument, West Virginia goes Clinton, Kentucky goes Clinton. Obama leads out here but let's given them to Clinton, 55/45. Let's give her Puerto Rico. Now, we're done. We've run out of all the contests and look what has happened. I just gave her the last five states and Puerto Rico and Barack Obama is still ahead.
There's no reason to believe that she would win all of that but even if she does, this is the difficult mathematical question for the Clinton campaign, even if she won the rest of the contest left tonight, now that we've called North Carolina for Obama, she still will not catch up if she wins by 55/45.
BLITZER: That's why the Clinton people pay so much attention to Florida and Michigan which remain - we can discuss those later.
Let me walk over here and take a look at what's going on in North Carolina. Less than 1 percent of the precincts have reported. Obama had 65 percent to 32 percent. This is just the beginning numbers, just trickling in from North Carolina -- 22,000 or so for Obama, 11,000 for Hillary Clinton. And many more precincts have reported in Indiana, 31 percent, she's ahead 57 percent to 43 percent.
You can keep track at home. Go to CNNPolitics.com and you can watch these numbers come in county by county and see what is going on.
Much more of our coverage from the CNN Election Center right after this.
BLITZER: Still too early for us to project a winner in Indiana, even though 33 percent of the precincts have now reported. Hillary Clinton ahead 57 percent to 43 percent for Barack Obama. We cannot project a winner yet. We have projected Obama will win in North Carolina. Tiny numbers coming in so far. But based on the exit polls, we see a win for Barack Obama in North Carolina.
Let's get some more of those exit polls. Soledad O'Brien and Bill Schneider are going through the numbers. We're learning a lot about these voters today.
O'BRIEN: Yes, I think there's a really interesting question which has been a question that we've revisited time and time again over different primaries which is can Barack Obama appeal to white blue collar voters? That's going to be critical not only in this primary, but we've seen it in the past of course now, we're talking the economy, very big issue.
What are we seeing, Bill?
SCHNEIDER: What we're seeing is he's still got a problem with those white voters, in this case, without a college degree. If you take a look, this is Indiana, he got just one-third of their vote. Clinton defeated him among these voters by about 2-1, nearly 2-1, those blue collar whites.
He had problems with them in Ohio, problems in Pennsylvania. He's doing a little bit better in Indiana. In Pennsylvania, he got less than 30 percent. Here he's up a little bit to 34, still a problem.
O'BRIEN: All right. How does it look when you go down south?
SCHNEIDER: South, North Carolina, the situation is a little harder for him among white, non-collegiate indicated voters. Here is North Carolina. Clinton 68 percent, Obama is down to 26. It's always been a harder problem for him in the south where there are more of these so-called Reagan Democrats.
In some southern states like Mississippi, he's gotten only 18 percent of their vote. In some like Virginia, it's gone up to 41 percent. North Carolina is sort of in the middle. It's still a problem for Obama.
O'BRIEN: Can he win if he does not get better numbers among these Reagan Democrats?
SCHNEIDER: It's going to be very tough because these blue collar Democrats, these non-college educated Democrats, they are the Democrats who have been defecting to the Republicans in large numbers in recent years. Democrats have got to get them back. It looks like Obama has an enduring problem appealing to those voters, even in his own party.
O'BRIEN: All right. We'll see how it goes.
Thank you very much -- Wolf.
BLITZER: All right guys. Stand by.
Remember, Bill Schneider is going to have running commentary at CNNPolitics.com. You can go there and get the numbers as they come in as well.
I want to go back to Lou -- Lou.
DOBBS: Wolf, thank very much.
I want to raise a question here with Jamal supporting Senator Obama first. The idea that this senator is getting, in my opinion, an electoral validation of what has been sort of an historic impulse in the Democratic Party, that is, African-Americans have supported the Democratic Party for a very long time. We're talking numbers in 90 percent plus.
Is this related, do you think, to the Republican "it's my turn?" Do you think this validation will carry the day with the superdelegates? Do you think that it is a validation?
SIMMONS: Here's what's interesting. We sort of make the assumption that African-Americans are going to vote for Barack Obama because he is. That wasn't always the case. We all remember last year Senator Clinton was getting 46, 48 percent of the African- American vote. Even in South Carolina, Senator Clinton got 19 percent of African-American vote.
Tom Shawler on Slate.com did a piece on this yesterday, which was phenomenal. 22 percent in Tennessee, she got 22 percent of the African American vote in Tennessee. If she had maintained that percentage, stayed at around 18 percent, 19 percent, 20 percent, she probably would have had the majority of the popular vote right now for the rest of the states. She may have picked up some more delegates out of the pledged vote.
It's not just that African-Americans move to Barack Obama because he's African-American. They also in some ways got pushed away from the Clintons because of some of the --
DOBBS: What we're dealing with now, Jamal as we all know, is empirical evidence. There are no assumptions here. We're watching African-Americans voting for Barack Obama in numbers of 90 percent.
SIMMONS: My point is, Lou, it didn't have to be that way. She could have held on to 15, 20 percent. You know who else is at 6 percent or 8 percent of the African-American vote? George W. Bush. Senator Clinton, if she were going to be the nominee, it looks less likely tonight, she'd have a major amount of road to catch up.
DOBBS: What I really ask you, Jamal, was do you see this vote as validation of an impulse for African American support of the Democratic Party? Does this rationalize and bring to some conclusion that historical chain, if you will?
SIMMONS: Well African Americans have historically supported the Democratic Party. The question here also is if you look at Barack Obama's coalition, he has not only 89 percent of the African American vote, he's also getting about 40 percent of the white vote and he's doing the same thing in the Latino community, 35, 45 percent.
DOBBS: I know.
SIMMONS: He has a coalition that looks like Democratic America.
DOBBS: All right.
Let's go to Paul Begala and see if he concurs with you, Jamal. I'm sure he will -- Paul?
BEGALA: I do, actually. You know, historically, African- Americans have been Republicans. It was John Fitzgerald Kennedy who began to earn African American votes, and it began with a very famous phone call that he placed from Chicago, Illinois, to Coretta Scott King when Georgia authorities had imprisoned Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.