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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL

Obama Wins North Carolina

Aired May 6, 2008 - 20:00   ET

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


PAUL BEGALA, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: 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.

And, in fact, Dr. King's father, Daddy King, was a Republican and publicly said he voted for Nixon against JFK. So, I don't think anything -- I think Jamal is exactly right. Nobody should suggest that somehow Democrats take African-Americans for granted. My party has earned their votes, just like Barack Obama has earned their votes.

The challenge now for Barack, both the key to the primary and the general election for Barack will now be white working-class voters. And at the very, very beginning of this entire election season, Lou, you and I and a bunch of us all got together in New York and we talked about what the election would be about. And I said then and I say it again tonight my advice to Barack Obama is put the jam on the lower shelf, where the little folk can reach it.

In other words, talk more about those blue-collar economic populist issues that John Edwards first raised and now Hillary Clinton is raising so effectively. If he can do that, he will hold this wonderful base that he has built. But he needs to reach out now to those white working-class voters and it means a very different sort of message than he generally talks about.

He's got to stop with all the arguments for the Volvo-driving, NPR tote bag-toting liberals. He needs to talk to middle-class working people.

LOU DOBBS, HOST, "LOU DOBBS TONIGHT": Well, as you might guess, Paul, those populist notes you were sounding are pure music to my ears.

Alex, your thoughts?

ALEX CASTELLANOS, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Well, I think, would Barack Obama's vote look a lot of different if he were a white college professor liberal candidate in the Democratic primary, if he were a white college professor from Chicago?

And I say no. A lot of Democrats left in the Democratic Party have put together a voting coalition that looks like what Barack Obama's getting. It's not necessarily just race. Hillary Clinton is winning centrists. She is winning moderates. She is winning conservatives. But the liberal bloc of the Democratic Party is where the votes are and that is where Barack Obama is scoring.

DOBBS: Donna, do you agree?

DONNA BRAZILE, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I think he should drink more beer.

(LAUGHTER)

BRAZILE: The truth is, is that the Democratic Party...

(CROSSTALK)

DOBBS: Well, in North Carolina, he did pretty well with whatever he's drinking.

BRAZILE: Well, he's sipping something. But maybe should chew some tobacco because he's going to West Virginia. But, no, he doesn't smoke anymore.

But, Lou, the truth is, is that you like mashed potatoes and gravy?

DOBBS: I do.

BRAZILE: That's the Democratic Party. We have a lot of potatoes and we are the gravy. Simple.

DOBBS: I love it. I love it.

(CROSSTALK)

BRAZILE: To put you over the top.

(LAUGHTER)

DOBBS: And if Bill Bennett has a cuisine metaphor to describe the Republican Party, I'm just wondering what it might be..

BILL BENNETT, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: I'm not supposed to talk about food. My wife...

(CROSSTALK)

BENNETT: No, no.

(CROSSTALK)

BENNETT: I'm just not going to do it.

But, bear in mind, you're right about the black vote. But one understands this is American history. Paul's history lesson was very good. For 120 years, it was the Republican Party that was the solace for blacks in America. It shifted to the Democrat Party. That there's joy and pride in Barack Obama, I think is natural. But back to what Alex was saying, I will bet you the vote in Chapel Hill is pretty close to the black vote. I will bet you it's 80 percent in Chapel Hill and in Bloomington and places like that.

The problem is for -- I don't want to rain on the parade. It's a big night for him in North Carolina. But we have seen this before.

DOBBS: I don't think you could rain on his parade...

(CROSSTALK)

BENNETT: Then I will pass. Then I will pass.

But, look, this is a party that nominated George McGovern, nominated Michael Dukakis, nominated John Kerry. Are they doing the same thing? By the record, he is as liberal as anybody they have ever nominated.

We shall see. One way to talk about it is the blue-collar voters in the middle. Another way to talk about it is positions. The advice is very good advice about beer. And it's not just about what he drinks. It's about what he talks about.

DOBBS: Well, one of the problems for the Republican Party here, because, in Obama, you have basically a blank slate. You have in the Republican Party's nominee, it is his turn, Senator John McCain.

It is what we have seen before in the Republican Party. Does this pose a problem in the dynamics between what will be ostensibly a race between Senator Obama and Senator McCain?

BENNETT: Well, you start with a major problem for John McCain, just, again, numbers -- $140 million for Hillary Clinton, $240 million for Barack Obama, $80 million for John McCain.

Add those first two together. Even if you get defections, the numbers of registrations are enormous. So, McCain has got an uphill battle.

DOBBS: I want to go back to Paul Begala and ask him this question. We're talking about the presumptive nominee in the Republican Party, the likely nominee in the Democratic Party. How does Senator Clinton get back into this contest?

BENNETT: She doesn't.

(LAUGHTER)

BEGALA: Well, no., you never -- of course it's now become a cliche. But you never count Hillary Clinton out.

Her folks -- I mean, one of her people e-mailed me today saying, we are going to going to beat Barack in West Virginia and Kentucky like a borrowed mule, using sort of a down-home aphorism. It sure doesn't look like they beat that mule in North Carolina at all. It looks like they got beat pretty bad there.

But I think Hillary is still going to make the case that she can win those blue-collar white voters that Barack still can't, that may very well along with Latinos be the key to this general election. That's what's so interesting about this primary, why I think it's good for my party, because the voters who are in play in this primary are the exact voters who are going to decide the general election as well, working-class white folks and Latin Americans.

(CROSSTALK)

DOBBS: I want to ask each of you...

(CROSSTALK)

BEGALA: Hillary will argue that she can carry them better than Barack.

DOBBS: I want to ask each of you the same question that effectively I asked Paul. Can she get back into this thing?

Both camps said it was a tiebreaker, Indiana. She's won, apparently, the -- we haven't called it yet, but she is ahead in the tiebreaker state. If she wins that, what else is required for her to get back into this?

BENNETT: I don't think she can. I mean, the story is not over and, yes, you don't count out, but the suspense is going fast.

Look, I mean, I could go in and try to get the blue-collar voters. The problem is, I don't have the votes and neither does she. This guy has the delegates and the votes. This thing is coming to an end.

DOBBS: Alex?

CASTELLANOS: Hillary Clinton needs a meteor to hit. She needs some dramatic event that just out of the blue got in the machine to come down and change this race.

DOBBS: Well, she's gotten a few.

CASTELLANOS: But she's about done.

He's withstood a relentless attack and a bunch of bad breaks the past couple of weeks. He's still standing in North Carolina. And I think it's almost impossible.

(CROSSTALK)

CASTELLANOS: Look, it's come time for the Democratic Party -- this is the last trip to take the family pet to the vet. It's time. It's time.

(LAUGHTER) CASTELLANOS: It's time. You hate to do it. You would rather somebody else do it. Nobody wants to do it, but the time has come to do the unpleasant thing.

BRAZILE: Well, Lou, I have worked on a lot of Democratic campaigns, and I respect Paul.

But, Paul, you're looking at the old coalition. A new Democratic coalition is younger. It is more urban, as well as suburban, and we don't have to just rely on white blue-collar voters and Hispanics. We need to look at the Democratic Party, expand the party, expand the base and not throw out the baby with the bathwater.

DOBBS: Real quick, Jamal.

JAMAL SIMMONS, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Really quickly, I spent yesterday with a bunch of union voters and the best thing about the Democratic Party is that we have got the best coalition to go out and talk to people across racial lines, which are the unions.

If unions get back all together on the Democratic sides, we can go back after these blue-collar voters with the same -- with one nominee. They don't have to choose between two Democrats. They're choosing between one Democrat who wants to fix the economy and a Republican who doesn't know what he's doing on the economy.

DOBBS: The campaign is not even pausing as we continue -- Wolf, back to you.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: All right, Lou, thanks very much.

Let me just update when's going on right now.

In Indiana, we say it's too early to project a winner, this despite the fact that 36 percent of the precincts have already reported, and Senator Clinton continuing to maintain a sizable advantage, at least right now, 56 percent for Clinton, 44 percent for Obama.

Let's look at the numbers in Indiana right now, 241,800 or so for Clinton, 188,000 for Barack Obama -- 37 percent of the precincts have reported, but some of those counties where Barack Obama is expected to do very, very well in haven't yet started to report, so we're waiting to see what happens in Indiana.

In North Carolina, a very different story right now. Four percent of the precincts have reported. Obama, with only 4 percent in, 65 percent to 33 percent for Clinton. We projected, we projected at 7:30 p.m. Eastern that Obama is the winner in North Carolina, the biggest prize not only today, but of the remaining contests. Right now, he had 116,896 votes to Hillary Clinton's 59,844. But Obama will carry North Carolina.

And we are going to explain what's going on in Indiana right now, why we're still not able to project a winner. We will take a quick break. Much more of our coverage. Remember, you can always go to CNNPolitics.com and see these numbers coming in, review all the exit poll data that has been reviewed by all of us already as well, CNNPolitics.com. Watch us. Go there with your laptop.

Our continuing coverage continues after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: The Obama campaign very happy that they have won in North Carolina. In fact, some of their top strategists speaking to reporters right now in Raleigh.

I want to go out there and listen in, Robert Gibbs, the media coordinator, also David Axelrod alongside.

Let's listen in briefly.

(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

ROBERT GIBBS, OBAMA CAMPAIGN COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: ... state strategy, which took a big blow tonight.

QUESTION: Robert, David, either one of you, can you explain if possible in the simplest terms what seems to suggest that as well as things came out here, they may have been close to as bad for Barack in Indiana, which is next door to Illinois? And let's just assume it's not double digits, but close. What is the dynamic? What's the difference?

DAVID AXELROD, CHIEF OBAMA CAMPAIGN STRATEGIST: Well, first of all, let's wait and see what happens in Indiana.

There are a lot of results yet to come in. And we think some are from areas of strength, that there are more results to come in, in Indiana and we think that they will come from areas of strength.

I think we had improved performance in Indiana kind of across the board when you look at various demographic groups. So, I think that was -- that was encouraging.

But, you know, we knew we had a tough race there. Everybody knew we had a tough race there. I think most people predicted that she would win. I don't think she overperformed expectations there.

And, as you know, you know, they shifted their focus to North Carolina and they were going to make this the big prize. And they sent their key man, Ace Smith, into the state, who was telling everybody he was going to cut the lead down. They had Bill Clinton down here for a full week campaigning.

And they really -- and they were telling people as late as last week that they thought they were going to win North Carolina. So, I think this is a meaningful victory here and continues our momentum toward the nomination. QUESTION: David, it looks like you lost the white vote in North Carolina, even though you won the state. Can you explain why you think this is and how you can win -- how you're going to get over this problem before -- if you're going to be the nominee and go into the general election?

AXELROD: Well, I think that the Democratic Party is going to be unified come November.

You know, we have got enormous economic problems in this country that people feel in their own lives. John McCain is offering and has embraced fully the economic policies of George Bush. I think working families across the country understand. In their own lives, they can feel what a failure those policies have been. I think this party's going to come together in November. I have no doubt about it.

And I think that we have the ability to bring more people in. I mean, one thing that happened again today here and in Indiana, record turnouts, more -- you know, we have brought hundreds of thousands of new voters between the two states to -- into the process. And a huge number of them came out today.

I think the Democratic Party has a very, very robust foundation on which to build a victory in November.

(CROSSTALK)

GIBBS: If you look at unaffiliated voters, independent voters in this state, and look at the -- look at some of the upcoming states' new registration numbers, Oregon put out new numbers today that showed a huge influx of Democratic voters and an actual decrease in Republican voters in a state that a lot of people think could be a swing state, and has been a swing state in the past, not unlike this state.

And I think I would encourage people to look at some of these early vote numbers and look at the sheer map-changing events that are going on by bringing in new people, people that have never voted before, people that haven't voted in a long time, but are eager to see change in Washington.

QUESTION: So, you think Joe Six-pack will eventually be with Barack if he's the nominee even they're choosing Hillary 2-1?

(CROSSTALK)

AXELROD: Let me make a couple of points about this.

One is that, based on the numbers that I have seen -- and we haven't had a chance to crunch them all -- Senator Obama won with voters, white voters, under the age of 65.

QUESTION: Could you speak up?

AXELROD: Senator Obama won among white voters under the age of 65. So, I think there is appeal there. And, in Indiana, from the numbers I saw, the split was in the range of 55/45 among these voters. So, I don't want you guys overstating the challenge. I think we have the ability to reach these voters. I think they understand how badly we need change in this country. They understand it as -- more than anyone, because they're feeling in it their daily lives I many different ways.

GIBBS: And, as you guys analyze this, as you guys analyze this, you know, look at the arc between -- as this whole narrative that's been started, started in Ohio. Then it got better in a place like Pennsylvania and it got even better tonight in both North Carolina and Indiana.

QUESTION: The senator started today at 5:00 a.m. and yesterday at 4:30 a.m. He's obviously been...

(CROSSTALK)

QUESTION: Yes. I do, too. Obviously, he's been putting in very long hours on the campaign trail in the last several days. And I'm just wondering how much do you think this last push, this last leg of campaigning helped to turn things around here?

GIBBS: Right.

Well, look, I think we saw him -- I think a lot of people wondered what our strategy was starting, say, last Thursday, when we moved him around to a lot of different places. That one day in Indiana, we talked to seniors, veterans, farmers, and families.

We spent a lot of time moving around over the weekend. Obviously, Michelle was a great benefit and the kids to have with him. But what I think that people saw starting at 4:45 yesterday morning and ending at 12:30 this morning was somebody who is eager to make -- to bring their case for change to Washington.

We were at that shift change at the automotive facility last night. People that are -- some of whom are going to have their jobs basically downsized to some degree in only a couple of years, these are people that are economically frustrated. And they see that things need to change. And I think he demonstrated over the course of the last few weeks the urgency that he has and that he will translate into bringing change into Washington for them.

QUESTION: Fellows, are you saying tonight that this election is effectively over? Has Barack Obama -- is the math now essentially impossible for her?

AXELROD: Well, the fact is that she is going -- I mean, the math is the math. And I know math has been reinvented several times here.

I saw Terry McAuliffe say tonight that this was a great momentum builder for them, even as they are going to lose delegates, even more delegates tonight, relative to us. It's an interesting measure of progress. GIBBS: Fund-raisers reinventing math I would presume is somewhat dangerous.

(LAUGHTER)

QUESTION: Is the race over?

AXELROD: Well, I think that's -- I think the reality of this is that, from this point on -- I think David Kluft (ph) talked about this earlier today -- that Senator Clinton would have to win close to 70 percent of the remaining delegates, both superdelegates and pledged delegates.

That's a very tall order. So, you know, we -- we really feel great about the position we're in, despite the sort of tortured, you know, constructions that we're getting from the other side. And we believe that this momentum is going to continue to build, superdelegates will continue to join, and we're going to be where we need to be long before the convention.

GIBBS: Obviously, you have got now more superdelegates...

BLITZER: Axelrod and Robert Gibbs from the Obama campaign, they're projecting their happiness as a result of his win tonight in North Carolina.

So far, there has not been a win in Indiana. We're saying it's too early to project a winner in Indiana, even though the numbers right now show her still pretty impressively ahead in Indiana. Right now, 42 percent, actually, 44 percent of the vote in Indiana has now been reported, 56 percent for Hillary Clinton to 44 percent for Barack Obama.

Still, almost half of the vote projected, but we haven't been able to project a winner yet.

And I want to walk over to John King.

And I want you to explain, because a lot of viewers are probably curious. Almost half of the precincts have reported. She is ahead 56/44 percent. Why have we not been able to project a winner in Indiana?

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Because we're conservative by nature. We believe in counting the votes. We think that's a good principle to start with.

And, as we watch the number -- and you are exactly right, Wolf. That's a pretty impressive number, 56 to 44, with 44 percent of the vote in. In most circumstances, at that point in a race, you can call it.

But what's missing is what matters now because we want to know what is still out. Well, we want to look up here and up here. These are two of the most Democratic counties in the state of Indiana. It is a Republican state, but we have a lot of Democrats, especially in Lake County here.

Want to turn the Telestrator off, so I can pull this down a little bit. Why does Lake County matter to us so much? Because Chicago, Illinois, right here, the home base of Barack Obama, this is a county that is about 8 percent of the state population.

Now, to catch up, he would have to not only win by a big margin. He would have to have high turnout. But we have no votes in from that county yet. So, we want to see some votes come in before we decide.

Another key area is down here in Marion County. This is Indianapolis. This is almost 15 percent of the state population, a huge population base for a Democratic primary and a turnout. Barack Obama is winning big there. Only about 37 percent of the vote in. Looking at the map, he's going to have to probably hold that margin or improve on it to catch Senator Clinton.

But, again, we want to count the votes. Most of these places, if you look through rural Indiana -- I am just going to touch a random county -- 100 percent of the vote in these smaller counties. Most of these smaller counties, Wolf, are up at 80, 90, to even 100 percent. So much of the Clinton vote across Indiana is in.

But down here, this is just starting to come in, 37 percent. That is a Clinton advantage. So, if you look at the map right now, it is definitely advantage Clinton. But there are some population centers, Indianapolis, this college community down here in Monroe County, where Bloomington is, just 1 percent in, Obama winning 70/30 down there.

A few more places, we want to let some votes come in and count them. It looks like a Clinton map, but up here, up here, and up here, still some counting to do to be extra careful.

BLITZER: All right. That's what we want to be. And we want to be precise. We want to be cautious. We want to make sure we get it right.

All right. We are going to take another quick break -- much more of our coverage coming up from the CNN Election Center.

We will see what's going on. Remember, CNNPolitics.com is where you can see all the numbers come in, in real time.

So, stay with us. We will be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: Welcome back to CNN Election Center. I'm Wolf Blitzer, reporting.

Barack Obama has won the North Carolina primary. CNN projects he has won North Carolina. But it's too early for us still to call Indiana right now, even though 49 percent of the precincts have reported. Almost half of the vote have been counted. Hillary Clinton is ahead with 55 percent to 45 percent for Barack Obama. One of the reasons why we have not been able to project a winner in Indiana is because some of the heavily Obama areas have not yet reported any votes. So, we're waiting to see what happens there.

Let's go back to Campbell Brown.

Welcome, Campbell, because you have got some analysis of what is actually going on, on this important night.

CAMPBELL BROWN, CNN ANCHOR: I do, indeed, Wolf. Thank you.

And I'm going to bring back our panel here.

We have got John King, Gloria Borger, Roland Martin, and Jeff Toobin.

And let's kind of reset the table.

And, John, you have been doing the delegate math all night. Is there anything you're seeing at this stage that will make tonight a game-changer?

KING: A game-changer, no. And that in a sense is a big statement, because Senator Clinton needed a game-changer. The math is overwhelmingly in Senator Obama's favor.

The margin in North Carolina is going to make it more so in his favor, only by a little bit because of the Democratic rules. But she now has to make a case to superdelegates that he is weak and stumbling and fundamentally flawed at the end, not struggling at the end, but fundamentally flawed at the end.

How does she make that when he wins North Carolina by a significant margin? Much more difficult case for her to make. And, so, already, the Clinton campaign tonight is saying, let's say Florida and Michigan. We need to do Florida and Michigan.

(LAUGHTER)

KING: Listen, she was for these rules at the beginning of the race.

BROWN: Right.

KING: Now she is against them. So, she was for them until she was against them. We're going to through this all over and over again...

BROWN: Right.

KING: ... and that you cannot rewrite the rules in the middle of the process.

You can criticize everyone involved in this for, how did you have two big states not count? Fair game. But you cannot rewrite the rules. BROWN: Does anyone see Florida and Michigan coming back and really -- we're hearing all these scenarios batted about in the last 24 hours.

(CROSSTALK)

GLORIA BORGER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: It's clearly -- and our colleague Donna Brazile can talk about this -- and she's looking elsewhere, I know -- because she is on the committee. On May 31, the committee of the Democratic National -- rules committee is meeting.

And they're going to be talking about what to do about things like Florida and Michigan. And Hillary Clinton's campaign came out today and said, John, you don't have to talk about 2,025 as the magic number on your board. In fact, it's got 2,209, because you now have to count Florida and Michigan on the magic wall.

KING: It's like when you're losing, you add a tenth inning or a fifth quarter. Pick your sport, Campbell. I know you love sports. It just doesn't work that way.

BROWN: Another inning.

KING: These are the rules they started the process with. Maybe they're flawed, but these are the rules at the beginning. How can they not be the rules at the end?

ROLAND MARTIN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: And it's very interesting, Campbell, because Terry McAuliffe -- "Politico" had this great story.

In Terry McAuliffe's book, he talked about telling Senator Carl Levin, who said, I'm going to move the primary up in '04.

He said, you do it, I am going to punish you. I'm going to take your delegates.

And, so, McAuliffe, when he was DNC chairman, I'm going to punish you if you do it. Now, all of a sudden, he's saying, oh, well, you know, sure. That was four years ago.

And also here's the other piece. The Democrats have to be concerned also about four years from now, even eight years from now. If you acquiesce and tell Michigan and Florida, OK, we will go ahead and let you can come back in, now you open a door for even more chaos down the road, because other significant states could say, well, we will change it as well.

That's the problem -- 48 states followed the rules. Two didn't.

BROWN: Let me just play devil's advocate, because you're all -- I know, you, Jeff, you have been from the beginning, all about the math. And you haven't bought in for a second to their psychology argument in general, but a couple of things worth noting coming out of the exit polls.

The Reverend Wright issue, about half the voters thought it was important. It did have an impact. We're still waiting to see what the margins are in Indiana. This wasn't a horrible night for her either.

BORGER: No.

BROWN: I mean, she has a case she can make, whether you buy into it or not, but about his electability issues. He didn't make all these dramatic gains with white rural working-class voters, who he has been aggressively targeting for the last few weeks.

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR ANALYST: And you know who doesn't do well with white working-class rural voters? Democrats...

(CROSSTALK)

TOOBIN: ... period.

(LAUGHTER)

TOOBIN: And the fact that Barack Obama doesn't do well with them either, well, that's sort of too bad. But, you know, that's what it means to be a Democrat today. That is not a constituency that they win.

BORGER: But let's be fair.

TOOBIN: And I don't think that changes any of the calculus that we've been talking about.

BORGER: But let's be fair, I mean, because your question is really a fair one. What is the argument Hillary Clinton has left to make? And she does have an argument. She will come out tonight if she wins Indiana. She will say this is a split decision. She will say --

CAMPBELL BROWN, CNN ANCHOR: Possibly rule anything (ph), a split decision.

BORGER: Fine. Right.

BROWN: And she will likely win by a sizable margin.

BORGER: Right. And she will say that the popular vote is very close. That she is within four-tenths or five-tenths of a percentage point behind Barack Obama. She would say in delegates, there's just over 100 delegate difference. And she's going to say to those superdelegates, OK, I'm more electable.

What's missing from this argument, though, Campbell, and I've talked to some superdelegates, is if these national polls had shown that she was running against John McCain, a lot better than Barack Obama, is like, say, running -- beating John McCain by 10 points and Barack Obama was losing to John McCain or --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right.

BORGER: That would really add to her argument but you haven't seen that shift in the national polls, and I think that's the problem.

TOOBIN: The problem is you get a lot of that argument.

ROLAND MARTIN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Campbell, if you're going to say electable -- if you're going to say electable, it kind of helps to beat the person in the primary. I mean, it's a little hard to make that argument if you can't beat somebody. I mean, it's a little hard.

TOOBIN: But the arguments that they have trotted out, and, you know, changing whether -- you know, obviously this is about delegates but then, you know, first they talked about what about popular vote? You know? Who's ahead in the popular vote? Well, it turns out it's Obama.

Who won more states? It turns out it's Obama. Now, Hillary Clinton could make the argument in states with more than three vowels in them. She's ahead but this argument doesn't mean anything. I mean, this is about who gets the most delegates.

BROWN: OK, hold that thought, John, because I want to bring in Wolf into this. We've been talking about the popular vote, and he has numbers that are sort of reflective of the arguments we're hearing right now.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's not as simple as it might look to see who has actually more votes. We're going to walk through some scenarios right now and see who actually has done better now.

If you take a look at the primary states, these are states where there have been primaries only, and we're not including Florida or Michigan because those primaries are disputed. They moved up. They moved up their primaries against DNC Democratic National Committee rules.

But if you take a look at the popular votes under scenario one, Obama has 49 percent of the popular vote to Hillary Clinton's 48 percent. Very, very close; 14,650,000 to 14,260,000, about 400,000 difference under that scenario number one.

Now, let's take a look at scenario number two. If you take a look at the primaries, plus you estimate how many people voted in the caucuses, it's not as simple as it sounds because some of those caucuses, they don't release the actual popular vote. But by our estimate, Obama still ahead 49 percent to 47 percent for Hillary Clinton, 15,300,000 to 14,640,000, about 700,000 difference if you take a look at scenario number two, the primaries and the caucuses not including Michigan or Florida.

Now, we got a scenario number three that we put up as well, including Florida. Both of these candidates, their names were on the ballots in Florida even though they didn't campaign there. Michigan, his name was not even on the ballot. So we haven't included Michigan but we have included Florida just for argument's sake right now.

It's still Obama with 49 percent to Clinton 47 percent, but it's narrower. We're about a 400,000-vote difference between 15,910,000 to 15,516,000. So you could see how split the Democratic Party is between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. It underscores the nature of the popular vote right now under these three scenarios.

And, by the way, in all of these scenarios, we have included the popular vote from North Carolina and Indiana. The actual numbers that have been coming in so far. So, Campbell, let me go back to you and I don't know if that helps clarify the situation or muddies the situation, but we do see a deeply divided, almost evenly divided Democratic Party.

BROWN: And that's her challenge, selling that argument. If that is her challenge, then John, what's his challenge? Because it seems to me just, again, looking at these exit polls, he has a few challenges. Again, historically the late deciders have gone with her. They did again tonight. That's closing the deal.

You know, the last few days of the campaign they're going with her. So what are his biggest challenges and what does he need to do? We said it a million times, but I'll say it again to close the deal.

JOHN KING, CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, to close the deal, he simply has to keep doing what he's doing. Even if he loses the rest of the states by 10 points, he will have the most delegates and probably the most in the popular vote at the end. It might be closer.

What he needs to do, there's jitters among the superdelegates. There were jitters in 1988 when the Democrats nominated Michael Dukakis. Many people in the party from the middle of the country said he's too liberal. There were jitters four years ago when they nominated John Kerry. Many people in the middle of the country said he's too liberal.

But they didn't try to take the nomination. Probably they just wrung their hands and went to the convention, and they moaned and they complained and they worried. They didn't try to take the nomination away because they won.

What Barack Obama has to do is make a case to some of the superdelegates would like to hear him say in public I've learned a lot in this campaign. I understand that I have to change some of the ways I talk to you. Maybe even some of my positions. Traveling this country has been a great gift. Because I grew up in Illinois, that's been my political base and I've learned a lot in the small communities of Ohio and Pennsylvania and I've learned a lot from the people who have voted against me.

Democrats want to hear him somehow connect and relate to the people who have been voting for the other candidate, and they find him too stubborn and sometimes too detached to do that. That is their worry.

But what does he have to do, Campbell? He's winning. That primary state graphic Wolf just showed you, that's what the Clintons want. Now, they want us to count Florida and Michigan. That is new math outside the rules. I don't think that's going to happen. But in the primary states that have voted so far, he's winning even under her scenario.

TOOBIN: I'd like to make the case perhaps for Obama for his stubbornness and his detachment though. I mean, here you got a guy whose name sounds like the most hated man in America, running against the most famous woman in America and by every calculation we can come up with, he's been winning. Now, he has problems like every candidate has problems. But I think to suggest that this is a campaign that needs to change a great deal misses the larger point, which is that he has come from nowhere to beat someone that very few people expected him to beat.

BROWN: But you would stand by that when we look ahead to the general election and you see numbers like, again, I'll go back to the exit polls, half of Clinton voters tonight said they would not support Obama in the general election if he were the nominee.

TOOBIN: With all due respect to our polling colleagues, I do not believe that for one second. We have the same --

KING: It doesn't take much. That is you're right. I don't believe -- I don't believe that number for one second. But if you have a Republican radio host and a Republican ad man back there, I'd love to hear what they think about this because remember how close the last two presidential elections have been. It only takes that much.

BORGER: John McCain is attractive to independent voters. You know, he's --

MARTIN: Campbell, but what the Democrats have to do is make the case, vote your economic interests. And so, if they give it to him within June, then they can focus on McCain. But as long as we have Clinton and Obama duking it out, you cannot target him.

BROWN: All right. I do -- Bill Bennett has been waving his hand at me. I'm coming back here. And John wants to hear what you guys thought about that anyway, Bill.

BENNETT: Well, I mean, the graphs are very interesting and they're very close, and he's ahead in every single one of them. What was the old ad? You don't have to be Jewish to like Levy's rye bread. You don't have to be black to say they're going to take this away from me. What do I have to do?

I win the delegates. I win the votes. I'm winning the big states. I mean, sure he's got problems. All people have problems running for president, but the guy is winning and there's just no denying it.

What's that? There's that great line, even paranoids have enemies, you know. And I mean, he's got -- he's got to wonder, why won't they let me win this thing when I'm winning it? It's a real --

BROWN: But do you think, Alex, it was because of the number that we talked about a minute ago? That 50 percent of Hillary Clinton's supporters say whether you buy this or not or whether you think it may change between now in the general election that they would not support him if he were the nominee.

BENNETT: Let me just -- can I just make one more point and then I'll shut up.

Ask conservatives how they feel about John McCain.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right.

BENNETT: You know, the people who hate John McCain the most are going to vote for him. They're the conservatives, not liberals. They're the conservatives.

BROWN: That by the time we get close to November, everybody will hold their nose.

BENNETT: We're the procedural regulars, you know. We count the votes. The guy that gets the votes wins. I mean, for Pete's sake, let's do the math. This is bad math.

ALEX CASTELLANOS, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: I do think the Democrats have figured out. You know, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama figured out how to take a landslide and turn it into a close race in the fall. And yes, there are some divisions.

Barack Obama was once a transformational broad reaching candidate who went all the way across the spectrum. He was that in Iowa. He is that no more.

I do warn Republicans, however, that, you know, doors that are closed can be opened again. I think we are -- you know, John, I think was heading in the right direction. Any political guy that looks at these numbers is going to see Barack Obama who wants to, you know, be a much more optimistic American candidate in the fall, who is going to talk about family and values in the fall, and who's going to I think try to reach across that, stick his fingers as to shoulder alike (ph) and the Democratic base as I a couple of times, demonstrate some strength.

So, yes, I think he can come back but he has shut some doors on some voters that he had a few months ago that he does not have now.

BROWN: OK. I got to bring Paul Begala into this and get his take on what everyone has been saying, beating up your candidate. Begala, we should mention to everyone again, is a Clinton supporter -- Paul.

PAUL BEGALA, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Well, I think Alex makes an interesting allegation for us to swear a point. He said that Obama is closing the door on those white working class voters. I don't think that's the case at all, although some of the commentary tonight kind of bothers me.

When people say things, I love Donna. I mean, we go back 22 years. We've never been on different sides of an argument in our entire lives. But if she's -- if her point is that, you know, there's a new Democratic Party that somehow doesn't need or want white working class people and Latinos, well, count me out.

DONNA BRAZILE, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I didn't say that.

BEGALA: We cannot win with eggheads. Definitely (ph) different points. We cannot win with eggheads and African-Americans. OK. That's the Dukakis coalition which carried 10 states and gave us four years of the first George Bush.

President Clinton, you know, reached across and got a whole lot of Republicans and independents to come. I think Senator Obama and Senator Clinton both have that capacity. They both have a unique ability. Well, it's not unique. They both have it. They both have a remarkable ability to reach out to those working class white folks and Latinos.

Senator Clinton has proven it. Barack has not yet, but he can, and I certainly hope he's not shutting the door on expanding the party.

BROWN: OK. The eggheads and African-Americans, that's in a new coalition?

BRAZILE: Paul -- first of all, Paul, you didn't hear me right. Maybe I should come and cook you something because you've got a hearing problem.

I was one of the first Democrats who are going to those white working class neighborhoods, encouraging white Democrats not to forget their roots. I've drank more beers with Joe six packs, Jane six pack and everybody else than most white Democrats that you're talking about.

In terms of Hispanics, you know, Paul, I know the math. I know Colorado, I know Nevada, I know New Mexico. So that's not the issue. I'm saying that we need to not divide and polarize the Democratic Party as if the Democratic Party will rely simply on white, blue collar male. You insult every black, blue-collar Democrat by saying that.

So stop the divisions. Stop trying to split us into these groups, Paul, because you and I both know we've been in more campaigns. We know how Democrats win. And to simply suggest that Hillary's coalition is better than Obama's, Obama is better than Hillary. No. We have a big party, Paul.

BEGALA: That's right.

BRAZILE: Just don't divide me and tell me I cannot stand in Hillary's camp because I'm black, and I can't stand on Obama's camp because I'm female, because I'm both.

(CROSSTALK)

BEGALA: Donna, you make -- OK. BRAZILE: And I'm grumpy so I might -- I might go with McCain and go sit with Bill Bennett, Paul.

BENNETT: That's right.

BRAZILE: Don't start with me, baby.

BEGALA: We're having a vigorous agreement then, Donna.

BRAZILE: Gentlemen --

(CROSSTALK)

BEGALA: Our biggest agreement then because --

BRAZILE: We're not doing -- we're not doing --

BEGALA: My point is --

BRAZILE: OK. All right.

BROWN: Go ahead, Paul.

BEGALA: What worries me is this notion that somehow there's -- and I hear this sometimes from some of my friends who are for Senator Obama. That there's a new Democratic Party and we don't really need all those folks, where Donna is exactly right.

The only way to win this in my party, we're not the monochromatic Republican Party. And the Democratic Party the only way we win is to just stitch together white folks and African-Americans, the Latinos and Asians, and that's what President Clinton did twice. That's how he won two national elections.

(CROSSTALK)

BRAZILE: And Paul, I was there with you. I was there.

BEGALA: I'm glad, Donna. I mean, again, she had done this a ton of times all across the country.

BRAZILE: It's our party, Paul. It's our party, Paul. Don't say my party. It's our party, because it's time that we bring the party back together, Paul.

BROWN: But Donna, doesn't he have a point in that it is divided? I mean, he is going to have to reach in to her coalition and bring some people over and she, where if she gets the nomination, is going to have to reach into his and bring people out.

BRAZILE: When John McCain secured the Republican nomination, he had to do some homework reaching out to the Bill Bennetts. If Barack Obama secures the Democratic nomination, he will have to reach out to blue-collar white voters and neutralize Senator Clinton's advantage on the economy but --

BROWN: Why hasn't he been able to do that yet?

BRAZILE: He has reached out and he's won. Do you think that Barack Obama will be leading in the pledged votes, the delegate votes, the money, if it was simply because somehow another black people somehow or another became the majority? Barack Obama has won the hearts and the minds of white voters as well as blacks and Hispanics.

I think he has to continue to do his homework, and that's what he showed just today in North Carolina. He must prove that in the races to come.

CASTELLANOS: He was a much broader-reaching candidate when this process started. And now, I think it's fair to ask would the people that you see in Barack Obama's life be the same people you see in his administration? You know, would you see Bill Ayers? Would there be people like Reverend Wright? The answer may be no, by the way.

BRAZILE: Alex, that is so small.

CASTELLANOS: But he has raised -- no.

(CROSSTALK)

BRAZILE: That is so small, Alex.

CASTELLANOS: No, no, no. But I'm saying -- no, I'm saying that --

BRAZILE: That is so small.

CASTELLANOS: Whether -- yes or maybe no. But the question is certainly out there for a lot of voters.

BROWN: I think in fairness --

BRAZILE: To walk on a lie and see all of our troops die on a lie? And not actually preventing it --

CASTELLANOS: The plane's crashing into a building.

BRAZILE: Come on. Come on, Alex. Don't do that.

CASTELLANOS: Planes crashed into a building. It was not a lie.

BRAZILE: You all want to make it superficial conversation, not a real substantive conversation. Let's make it about substance and not do all of this.

BROWN: OK, guys. Hey, you know what, Donna, let me --

BRAZILE: You know, that's destiny, Alex. You know better.

BROWN: OK. All right, guys. Let many ask you something because you -- hold on, Paul.

BEGALA: Let me defend Senator Obama here. BROWN: I want to -- hold on, Paul. Hold on. I want to ask Donna something because you have been on these panels time and time again with us as an undecided voter and you sound very much --

BRAZILE: I'm not undecided. I'm not undecided.

BROWN: Uncommitted?

BRAZILE: I'm undeclared.

BROWN: Undeclared. There you go. Well, it sounds very much -- hey, no.

(CROSSTALK)

BRAZILE: Words matter.

BROWN: I'm happy. Words matter.

BRAZILE: Words matter. It sounds very much to me tonight like you have made up your mind.

BRAZILE: No, it sounds like I am ready to unify my party. I'm ready to bring the party back together, and I'm sick and tired of hearing people say my party, my party. This is the Democratic Party. We have stood through thick and thin, and I'm sick of the divisions. That's all I'm saying.

I'm not saying that this is about -- I think Hillary is a fabulous candidate, and she is doing a remarkable job in the closing days of this campaign. But Barack Obama is also a great candidate and I respect John McCain's service. Now, what does that make me?

BROWN: All right. Well, Paul -- hold on, Alex. I want to go -- Paul is desperate to get a word in and I cut him off -- Paul.

BEGALA: Yes, I'm sorry to intrude with a fact but Alex is raising something that I think is going to be a loser for his party. His party believes that they think they can beat Barack Obama by attacking his former pastor or some guy he has used to live in a neighborhood with 30 years ago. I think it's all nonsense.

We have some empirical proof. In the Louisiana House race, it was last week, this is a district that has been solidly Republican for 34 years that voted 55 percent for George W. Bush. This is not a swing district, and they went in there, the Republicans did, and they ran ads attacking Barack Obama and attacking Reverend Wright.

And you know what the Republicans did? They lost. So, I, as a Democrat, I don't even support Barack in the primaries but I'd gladly support him in the general election. And if Alex thinks they can win this by attacking people other than Barack Obama, somebody he used to know, somebody he used to listen to preach, I think that's a loser strategy for the Republicans.

BROWN: OK, guys. Hold on. I know -- to be continued. Throughout the general election campaign, to be continued. I want to throw it back to Wolf now -- Wolf.

BLITZER: All right, Campbell, thank you very much. We're going to continue our coverage here from the CNN ELECTION CENTER. We're also going to tell you why a 98-year-old nun, let me repeat this, a 98-year-old nun was not allowed to vote in Indiana today. Much more of our coverage from the CNN ELECTION CENTER right after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: We're getting word from the Obama campaign. The Democratic senator, the Democratic presidential front-runner expected to speak shortly to his supporters in Raleigh, North Carolina. Once Barack Obama starts speaking, we'll go there live.

Later today, we're also expecting to hear Hillary Clinton. She's speaking to her supporters in Indianapolis. Once she starts speaking, we'll go there live as well.

Let me update you on what we know right now. In North Carolina, we projected a winner. Barack Obama will win in North Carolina. Right now, with all of 20 percent of the precincts reporting, he's got 62 percent to Hillary Clinton's 36 percent. If we zone in on the actual numbers, we see he has a pretty decisive lead, at least with almost 20 percent of the precincts, 341,000 or so for Obama to 201,000 for Hillary Clinton.

A different situation in Indiana right now. Almost 60 percent of the precincts there have reported. Hillary Clinton continuing to maintain her lead, 54 percent to 46 percent. We have not, repeat, not been able to project a winner in Indiana yet because some of those counties where he's expected to do well have not yet started to report.

But right now, with 59 percent of the precincts in, he has about 386,000 to 326,000 for Barack Obama. You can see in the state of Indiana, these are the counties that have already started reporting. The light blue are counties where Hillary Clinton is ahead. The darker blue counties where Barack Obama is ahead. The white counties have not yet started to report, so that's one of the reasons why we have not been able to project a winner in Indiana right now.

I want to go Indianapolis, though. Right now, Jessica Yellin is watching this story for us over with the CNN Election Express. You're seeing some interesting developments, some suggestions, what a voter irregularity. I suppose they're pretty minor, but what do we know, Jessica?

JESSICA YELLIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, overall those who are monitoring this election say it has been rather smooth and they are impressed with the way they've been responding to some of the voting irregularities that have developed.

The biggest problem here in Indiana is there is a new voter I.D. law. It requires anybody who went to vote to show a state-issued, government-issued I.D. from Indiana. And some folks have shown up with an I.D. from school or an old passport and have been denied the right to vote.

Now, it happened to a group of nuns who were going to vote in South Bend, Indiana. They showed up at their local precincts. They had some I.D. but it was outdated, and they were refused the right to vote. They didn't meet the laws. The secretary of state has even put out a statement saying that the sisters didn't bring proper I.D., and he hopes the sisters get the right I.D. before November's election.

Now, this has been a particular problem on the state's college campuses because as you can imagine, college students don't always have a government-issued I.D. That's where the most reports of this have happened. They've shown up with student I.D.s and have been turned away.

We've heard a few reports, Wolf, of mechanical problems with the electronic voting machines, but I have to emphasize that the election monitors who we've talked to in every primary so far say today's primaries have been smoother than almost any they've seen. And particularly in North Carolina, they were impressed with just how responsive the Board of Elections was to every problem.

So very smooth so far. A few polling places had to stay open late, but no major, major complaints -- Wolf.

BROWN: And the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in recent days 6-3, that a voter -- that voters would require photo I.D., government-issued voter I.D., upholding the Indiana law. That's why perhaps those sisters, that 98-year-old nun was not allowed to vote. She apparently did not have a government-issued photo I.D.

All right, Jessica, thanks very much for that. But the Supreme Court made that decision and that's why you need a government-issued I.D. in Indiana. Several other states and presumably more as we go down the road.

Abbi Tatton is looking at the I-reports that are coming in tonight. What are we seeing across Indiana and North Carolina?

ABBI TATTON, INTERNET REPORTER: Well, sticking to Indiana for this set, Wolf, what we're really seeing is the turnout. Going to Jeff Ello here, this is in Lafayette. Early today, about 3:15 when he showed up, he said about 30, 40 people in line ahead of him at his polling place. He also sent us a picture of when he got to the front of that queue there, he said the line had grown but says Jeff, no problems there when he voted. Just a lot of people, a lot of people excited to vote.

Going north now to Porter County where a few polling stations did stay open a little bit longer because of the long lines. This was the experience of Arlan Brooks. He sends this picture of what he says are Democratic voters waiting for Democratic ballots. So the point when he arrived at about 5:30 p.m., there weren't any left at that point. They have to bring some more, but he said the majority of people stuck around to vote and the mood was very excited to be a part of this -- Wolf.

BLITZER: All right. Thanks. I know we're going to get a lot more I-reports as the night goes on. Abbi Tatton, thanks very much.

We're standing by. Barack Obama, the winner of the North Carolina primary, expected to speak shortly. We'll go to Raleigh once he starts speaking. We're also waiting to get some more results in Indiana before we can project a winner there. Much more of our coverage from the CNN ELECTION CENTER right after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BROWN: Welcome back to the CNN ELECTION CENTER. We're standing by to hear from Barack Obama. This is Obama headquarters in Raleigh, North Carolina. Right now, we're told he's in that building. He should be walking up to the stage fairly soon to address his supporters in Raleigh, North Carolina. We projected now that Barack Obama for sometime is the winner of the North Carolina primary. Once he goes up to that stage, starts speaking, we'll hear what he has to say.

We're also watching the Clinton headquarters in Indianapolis, Indiana, right now. We have not been able to project a winner yet in Indiana, although we do show that she remains ahead in the actual vote that is coming in. We're waiting for some more counties to start reporting before we can project a winner in Indiana, and we don't know how long -- how much longer that will take.

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