Return to Transcripts main page

BALLOT BOWL 2008

Awaiting News on Senator Kennedy; More Campaign Happenings

Aired May 17, 2008 - 15:00   ET

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


T.J. HOLMES, CNN HOST: We have been here quite some time. Concerned about the health of the Senator. Nice to know he's doing OK.
FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN CENTER: We'll update you as we get word from Mass General Hospital.

BALLOT BOWL begins right now.

JIM ACOSTA, CNN HOST, BALLOT BOWL: Good afternoon from Portland, Oregon, I'm Jim Acosta with another edition of BALLOT BOWL '80. We are in the big city here in Oregon in advance of the primary coming up Tuesday, and as always BALLOT BOWL is a chance for you the viewers to hear candidates in their own words.

On this BALLOT BOWL Saturday, a lot of those words will be words of support coming from the candidates for Senator Ted Kennedy from Massachusetts. Obviously, he had somewhat of a medical scare this morning. Early and initial concerns that he suffered some kind of stroke-related illness this morning. But it turns out according to his family releasing a statement this was apparently a seizure and he is now resting at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. And that is where we now go now live to Dan Lothian, and Dan, you have the latest there on the senator. How's he doing?

DAN LOTHIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We continue to wait to hear from hospital officials. We expect they will be coming out here and giving us the latest information. There was indication earlier in the day they would be coming out in a matter of minutes, but that has not happened to this point. But I've been talking to some Democratic sources. Everything that we're hearing is that everyone is cautiously optimistic, that they feel that everything is going in the right direction. This is just a backup and recap just a bit. A 911 call came in this morning about 8:19 this morning. And Senator Kennedy was down in Hyannis port, at his compound there. An ambulance was sent to pick him up. Taken to Cape Cod Hospital. After evaluation there at the emergency room he was later transported by helicopter here to Mass General Hospital.

His family, as you mentioned, saying that he suffered some kind of a seizure. He's undergoing tests here, a battery of tests. But we're told he's resting comfortably and at least according to the family statement they don't expect they'll be releasing any information at all for at least the next 48 hours or so.

We are told that his wife Vicki is by his side at the hospital. Also others who have come here to visit him. We saw the junior senator from Massachusetts, Senator John Kerry come to the hospital. Spent about 45 minutes inside and then left without saying anything at all to reporters. We continue to wait. All the indications at this point are encouraging, but we haven't gotten any information, official information, from the hospital. We continue to wait to see if indeed they'll come out to the microphones and give us an update. Jim.

ACOSTA: The news from the hospital can be slow in coming. Thanks, Dan Lothian reporting live from Mass General Hospital in Boston. Dan, appreciate it very much.

And we want to let you know that right now Barack Obama is addressing supporters in Redberg, Oregon, in the southern part of state. He's coming up here to Portland tomorrow. Hillary Clinton, by the way, she is campaigning in Kentucky. Each of these candidates campaigning in the states that they're expected to do well in here on Tuesday that is the next big primary date on the calendar. Both Kentucky and Oregon holding primaries on that date.

Before we jump into all of the politics that we've been seeing over the last several days we want to stay with the developments on Senator Ted Kennedy's health, and we want to go live now to Atlanta to the CNN World Headquarters and our Elizabeth Cohen, who is down there, a medical correspondent. Elizabeth Cohen. And she is on the phone joining us at this time.

Elizabeth, I just wanted to ask you, because it was sort of confusing this morning to hear that the senator may have suffered some sort of stroke-related illness or was showing, perhaps, signs of a stroke. Now it turns out according to his family there was some sort of apparent seizure. Can those two things possibly be linked? Can they possibly exhibit or present some of the same symptoms? How do you explain that?

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: You ask two important questions. The first one first. Could they be confused with each other? Certainly yes. A lay person could certainly see convulsions, which is a sign of a seizure. Could see the body jerking and think that is a stroke. They could easily be confused. Your second question, can they be related? Yes, they can be related. Someone can have a seizure because they had had a stroke. Sometime as seizure is a sign of a stroke.

ACOSTA: So Senator Kennedy, from what you're saying, I don't want to speculate here, may not be out of the woods yet. We need to hear more from the hospital. His caretakers, his physicians and his family at this point before we can draw any conclusions that this was just a brief and perhaps minor scare?

COHEN: Right. It's really impossible to say now how serious this is, because there is so many different things that can cause a seizure. It could be -- just to list some of them, could be a brain infection, it could be high sodium levels in the blood. To be a sign of kidney or liver problems. As I said, it could be a sign that someone had a stroke. There are so many different things.

So in a way, the seizure is not really so much the issue as finding out what caused the seizure. There's a whole battery of tests that one would do to figure that out. The first thing would be look at electrical impulses in the brain and see what's going on.

ACOSTA: And I guess some of these anecdotal stories coming out of the Kennedy camp this morning, that he was perhaps on the phone this morning canceling some of his appointments today, I suppose that might be a sign that things may not be so serious and that he might be OK and this is just a big precaution being taken at this point?

COHEN: Right. It is very difficult to say. Sometimes people have seizures and when they do -- when the doctors do investigation you find something serious. The person has a brain tumor, for example. Or there are times when people have a seizure and after the investigation they find it's not nearly that serious. There are so many different things that can cause seizures.

ACOSTA: Thanks, Elizabeth, very much. Elizabeth Cohen joining us on the phone from Atlanta. Appreciate very much for that medical perspective on this very important story.

And we want to know go back to the candidates. This is BALLOT BOWL after all. We'll get to the candidates now. Barack Obama is campaigning in the southern part of this state in Redberg, Oregon, and he took a moment a few hours ago to talk about his response to Senator Ted Kennedy's sudden turn for the worse in terms of his health. Here's Senator Obama on the senator from Massachusetts and how he's doing at this point.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We're putting in a call to Vicki Kennedy, and we're going to try to find out as quickly as possible what is going on. Obviously, my thoughts and prayers are with Ted, who is one of my favorite people.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ACOSTA: So there's Senator Obama saying that he's been in contact with the Kennedy family and, of course what we're hearing not only from Senator Obama but from Senator Clinton and John McCain is that they are all expressing their concerns for Senator Kennedy at this hour, and Hillary Clinton, she in Kentucky obviously campaigning in a state that she's expected to do well in on Tuesday. Here's what Senator Clinton had to say about Senator Kennedy's condition earlier today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SENATOR HILLARY CLINTON, (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: And, you know, speaking of health care, we had word this morning that my good friend and a great champion of working people, Senator Ted Kennedy, was rushed to the hospital with symptoms of a stroke and our thoughts and prayers are with him and his family, because he has been a champion for health care. Nobody has fought harder to make sure everybody got good health care, and I know that we all join together in wishing him well.

(END VIDEO CLIP) ACOSTA: And we should note that John McCain has also responded to Senator Kennedy's sudden illness today. Senator McCain also expressing his support to the Kennedy family talking about Senator Kennedy's days with John McCain in the senate. Talking about how Senator Kennedy, when you lock horns with him, there in the senate, that Senator Kennedy shows great skill but also a great civility when it comes to engaging on the very critical issues that are at stake in Washington.

John McCain also releasing a statement today on Senator Ted Kennedy, and Senator Ted Kennedy has certainly changed the dynamics of this race. If you'll recall back in late January, just before Super Tuesday, Senator Kennedy came out with the daughter of the late President John F. Kennedy, Caroline Kennedy, at a big, splashy event in Washington, D.C. at American University where Senator Ted Kennedy took the stage with Caroline Kennedy and Barack Obama.

That is when the senator from Massachusetts, a lion in the liberal wing in the Democratic Party, threw his weight, threw his political weight, behind Barack Obama, and at that moment, taking a page from Senator Clinton, if you recall, sort of a blast from the past, Senator Clinton was running with the campaign slogan, ready on day one, suggesting that she was the experienced Democrat in the race. Senator Ted Kennedy hit right back at Senator Clinton at this event saying that he believed Barack Obama was ready on day one. Here's Senator Ted Kennedy in that now infamous endorsement for the senator from Illinois.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SENATOR TED KENNEDY, (D) MASSACHUSETTS: I'm proud to stand with him here today and offer my help, offer my voice, offer my energy, my commitment, to make Barack Obama the next president of the United States!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ACOSTA: And we want to bring in now Bill Schneider of CNN, senior political analyst, who is following this story as well as Mark Preston, out of Washington, D.C. And, Mark, we appreciate you joining us, and, Bill, you as well. Bill, let me turn to you first. What is -- what is your take on today's developments? Obviously this was very serious situation for the senator initially. It now appears he will be OK. But this -- this is certainly a senator who changed the dynamics of this race. Is that fair to say?

BILL SCHNEIDER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: It's very fair to say that. When he endorsed Senator Obama, it was an electrifying moment, and I don't speak those words with abandon. It was an electrifying moment, because it was the embrace of the Democratic Party establishment for this young senator and his campaign for president of the United States. He had the endorsement of Ted Kennedy, Caroline Kennedy, and the Kennedy family.

At the time, Hillary Clinton was regarded as the establishment candidate of the Democratic Party, and after he had won, this came after he won the Iowa caucuses, there were so many questions. Was he ready? Was he seasoned? Could Democrats really have confidence in him? When Ted Kennedy embraced Senator Obama at this moment and it was quite an event there was dancing in the streets of Washington, I've never seen anything like it when that happened, it meant that he had the blessing of all the senior Democrats.

ACOSTA: And Mark Preston, just to pick up on that. We'll all recall that Bill Clinton, the former president there are those iconic pictures of a young Bill Clinton shaking hands with John F. Kennedy back in the early '60s. Those other pictures of the Clintons sailing in Martha's Vineyard with the Kennedy's there, and so they had thought that the Camelot mantel had passed to them. So for Senator Ted Kennedy to pull the switch aru here and go Obama that was certainly, if not a major earthquake, perhaps a significant seismic event?

MARK PRESTON: No question. It was a devastating blow to the Clinton's. They thought they had Ted Kennedy in their column. He hadn't endorsed before the New Hampshire primary, just a few weeks before he decided to come out for Barack Obama. When he came out for Barack Obama, it was right before Super Tuesday. Clinton and Obama had been trading winds back and forth Obama had gained a little momentum out of Iowa going into Super Tuesday, as Bill says, really having that stamp of approval, having the old guard, having Ted Kennedy say, Barack Obama should lead us into the next century. Lead us the next four years, was extremely, extremely important, Jim. Look, we can't tell you how many votes might have gone into Barack Obama's column, but momentum certainly was swinging Barack Obama's way.

ACOSTA: And I remember that day. Some of us referring to this as the Kennedy primary, but it's important to note that Robert F. Kennedy, Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, they were throwing their support behind Hillary Clinton and I talked to Robert F. Kennedy that day. The son of the late senator, and he referred time and again to Uncle Teddy. I only throw that out there, because this senator from Massachusetts who is recovering, we hope, quite well from what happened earlier this morning, he was not just an uncle to the surviving Kennedy children. He was in much way as father figure. Bill Schneider and Mark Preston, thanks for joining us. We appreciate it.

We're going to go to a break. But coming up after a break here on BALLOT BOWL on CNN we'll have some live sound from Barack Obama out on the campaign trail here in Oregon. That's after a break. This is BALLOT BOWL on CNN.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ACOSTA: Welcome back to BALLOT BOWL '08, I'm Jim Acosta in Portland standing here in front of a majestic back drop, Mt. Hood here in Portland. Senator Barack Obama will be here in this city tomorrow, he is scheduled to make a campaign stop here tomorrow. He's right now at a campaign appearance in Roseburg, Oregon. We want to get some of that live sound in just a moment.

But just to recap with our top story that we've been covering the developments covering throughout the day. The rapidly improving condition, we hope the rapidly improving condition of Senator Ted Kennedy, who is resting in a Massachusetts General Hospital room there in Boston. We understand that Barack Obama at Roseburg addressed to Senator Kennedy's health earlier at this event. Let's play some of that sound.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SENATOR BARACK OBAMA, (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'd like to say one of my dearest friends in the senate, Ted Kennedy, was, had a little emergency this morning, and we are all worried about him. I've spoken to the family and there have been reports that indicate that it was a seizure rather than a stroke, and we hope that he is going to be OK. We think he's going to be OK, but I just want everybody to -- I want everybody to keep Ted Kennedy and his family, his wonderful wife Vicki in our thoughts --

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ACOSTA: And so there you have it. Barack Obama addressing the health condition of Senator Ted Kennedy, who we understand is resting comfortably in Boston at Massachusetts General Hospital recovering from an apparent seizure according to his family and his senate office.

We want to go to Barack Obama now he is campaigning in Roseburg, Oregon at that event. You just heard the sound bite in which he addressed Senator Kennedy. Here is the senator from Illinois who is now taking on the front-runner status almost without question at this point, talking about green technologies and how that may affect the job picture here in Oregon.

BARACK OBAMA, (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Is a huge opportunity but we've got have leadership from Washington, the same way we had leadership when Kennedy said we're going to the moon, we want to invest what we need to make it happen and there are all sorts of spin offs benefits from that. So that's what we want to do on global warming here in the United States.

We are also, though, going have to negotiate with other countries. China, India, in particular Brazil. They are growing so fast that they are consuming more and more energy, and pretty soon, if their carpet footprint even approaches ours, we're goners. That's part of the reason why we've got to make the investment; we've got to lead by example. If we lead by example -- if we lead by example, then we can actually export and license technology that have been invented here to help them deal with their growth pain. But keep in mind, you're right. We can't tell them, don't grow. We can't -- drive our SUVs and you know, eat as much as we want and keep our homes on you know, 72 degrees at all times, and whether we're living in the desert or we're living in the tundra, and then just expect that every other country's going say OK.

You guys go ahead and keep on using 25 percent of the world's energy. Even though you only account for 3 percent of the population, and we'll be fine. Don't worry about us. That's not -- that's not leadership. That's not going to happen. And that's, by the way, why, for example, I had this big argument with Senator Clinton and McCain about the gas tax, holiday. Which was an example. That's how Washington works. It's not thinking long term. It's thinking, how do we get through the next election?

And, you know, John McCain, for him to come to Oregon as an environmental president, but his big strategy is to do more drilling and to have a gas tax holiday for three months, that's a phony solution. You know, you can't -- John McCain has consistently been opposed to fuel efficiency standards, raising fuel efficiency standards on cars. How is he going to meet any of these targets? Maybe he's imagining it the way he did imaging getting out of the war in Iraq. You know? We -- we need somebody with a plan. And who is willing to talk to the American people about these difficulties and how we're going to get through these challenges together. All right? OK. All right. OK. Over here.

BARBARA CHURCHULL: I'm Barbara Churchill and I'm a disabled veteran from Vietnam -- and -- my -- my question deals with domestic partnership. We recently here received domestic partnership with state benefit. What I want to know from you is what your opinion is for federal benefits for our spouses, whatever, our life partners. Federal benefits. So in effect, if I die, the other person gets buried with me and things like that.

OBAMA: I am -- I am in favor of full recognition of domestic partnerships and civil unions under federal law so that those benefits are the same. All right? I want you to be able to get the same benefits. Social Security. You know, Social Security. Being able to transfer property, hospital visitation, burial benefits. You name it I want them to be the same. All right. Gentleman right there.

ACOSTA: There you have it. Barack Obama talking about green collar jobs there in Roseburg, Oregon, and Barack Obama obviously is looking ahead to this Tuesday's primary here in Oregon. There's another primary happening on Tuesday, by the way. It is happening in Kentucky. That is where Hillary Clinton is campaigning, and we want to remind our viewers that coming up on Tuesday night, that's right, CNN will have live election coverage starting at 7:00 p.m. Eastern. Tune in there. CNN election coverage, Tuesday night right here on CNN. And coming up after a break here on BALLOT BOWL on CNN, we will turn to Senator Clinton who is campaigning in Kentucky and John McCain that is coming up after a break. This is BALLOT BOWL on CNN.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ACOSTA: Welcome back to BALLOT BOWL. We want to switch gears now and turn to Senator Hillary Clinton who is campaigning in Oregon. Over the last couple of days we heard Senator Clinton change the tone of this campaign with respect to how she is out there campaigning in front of voters in Kentucky and here in Oregon one dramatic departure for the senator from New York, she is not mentioning Barack Obama so much by name and that has a lot of people in Washington reading the tea leaves perhaps she charting a more positive course through these remaining primaries left on the calendar, but never the less she is campaigning in Loreto, Kentucky today sticking to the issues. We have sound from her now talking about the high cost of college, and education. So here's Senator Clinton in Loreto, Kentucky. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SENATOR HILLARY CLINTON, (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think the president of the United States should actually listen to teachers who are in the classrooms on the front lines, working with our children and their families. I know how hard that job is, and as president I want to make it, you know, both easier and more successful than just pointing fingers and having top down unfunded mandates from Washington. I also want to be sure that everybody who wants to go to college can afford to go to college. I don't know about here in Marion County but everywhere I've traveled, Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio, West Virginia, I have met so many families who are having a hard time paying to send their child to college.

Families that started saving years ago. Families that thought they'd have enough money. I've met families who refinanced their homes to afford to send their child to college. I've met young people who have gone into deep, deep debt trying to afford to go to college. That's not the way it used to be. My dad was a small businessman and he saved enough money back when I went to college to pay for room, board and tuition, but he didn't buy book or you want to buy cup of coffee, you have to pay for it yourself. That's what we did. I worked all through college and I was proud to do it because I worked ever since I was 13.

Then I told my dad I wanted to go to law school. He said that's not part of the deal. We can't afford that. So I kept working. And I got a little scholarship. The way both my husband and I afforded to go to law school was by borrowing money directly from the federal government. In those days, you could borrow it like at 2, 3 percent interest. You didn't feel like were you going into some deep debt hole that you would never dig your way out of.

I meet young people today who owe 20,000, $50,000, $100,000. Are paying 10, 15, 20, 25 -- I met a young woman in Indiana paying 30 percent interest on her college loan. So here is what I want to do. Double the college tax credit so you keep more of your own money to use it to send your child to college. I also want to expand something called the Pell Grant. Some may know that. Year round, tie it to the cost of college. As it goes up, the Pell Grant value goes up.

I want to offer two years of national service. So if you're willing to work in your community on behalf of education, health care, the environment, you'll be able to earn up to $10,000 a year from the federal government that goes right to your college education. But I'm also going to take on the student loan companies. I want them out of the way. I want to get back to the direct lending that I had when I went to school to get those costs down so that more families and young people will be able to afford it.

If you've gone into debt, here's my offer. It you're willing to do public service when you graduate, like teaching or nursing or law enforcement, we will allow you to pay off your debt. So that it will be forgiven over time. So that you can get on with your life and not feel like you're burdened by all of that debt. And I also want to be sure that we do more for the young people who don't go to college. More job training and apprenticeship program and community college programs. There are lots of good jobs in America we're not filling because we don't have the right mix of the skills for the job and the people to do the job. So, we're going to tackle that, as well.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ACOSTA: So, there you have it, Senator Hillary Clinton standing in front of some barrels of Maker's Mark bourbon whiskey, there. She is in Kentucky, after all, so that backdrop makes perfect sense, talking about the high cost of education. And I want to turn now to -- pardon the segue, Paul, to our deputy political editor, Paul Steinhauser, who is standing by with the CNN "Election Express" there in Frankford, Kentucky, the capital there of the Blue Grass State.

And, Paul, that was a coincidence, am I right? That Hillary Clinton was standing in front of barrels of Maker's Mark? Is that what we understand?

PAUL STEINHAUSER, CNN DPTY POLITICAL EDITOR: Yeah, just a mere coincidence. She actually took a tour of the distillery, as well. This is the oldest distillery of Kentucky bourbon, here in the state, so you know, kind of a symbolic place for her to be today. Remember we made a lot of it when she took the shot of whiskey a couple months ago, back in Pennsylvania, when she was campaigning there in the Keystone State, but, yeah.

You know, also, Jim, besides jobs she was just also, talking about, you heard in that tape, she was also telling Kentucky voters here, about her plan to cut middle-class -- to cut taxes on the middle class and she wants to kind of rescind the tax benefits, right now, that companies get, companies that send jobs overseas. So, it's really an economic message here and you were talking about it as well, Jim. Ever since the Indiana and North Carolina primaries, she's really kind of softened up when it comes to Barack Obama.

Yes, she still criticizes him on his healthcare plan, that he doesn't cover enough people and she still criticizes him for not supporting what she and John McCain support, which is rescinding the federal gas tax this summer. But overall, it's a much friendlier tone from Hillary Clinton. As you said, she's going after John McCain, she's going after George Bush, not Barack Obama. She's up with new ads, here in Kentucky and in Oregon, Jim, and none of them attack ads against Barack Obama, so definitely a different shift, a different tone from Hillary Clinton, now.

ACOSTA: And obviously we don't want to read too much into it without the Clinton campaign itself saying that perhaps they're winding things down, but as Senator Clinton presses this case moving forward and noting the positive tone that you just mentioned there, is it something we should take note of, these e-mails coming from the Barack Obama campaign, pointing out what they hope to be some sort of statistical victory on Tuesday night? Can you explain that? That he hopes to have what is considered to be a majority of the pledged delegates on that night? STEINHAUSER: Exactly, that's what campaign officials tell us that, you know, if he does well or as expected to do. You know, and we think if the polls live up to what they promise, she's going to win big here in Kentucky, he's going to win big there in Oregon. And the Obama campaign on Tuesday night will say they have won now half of the pledged delegates, and they won't say that they won the nomination, because they haven't, Obama needs 2,026 delegates to clinch the nomination, but they will make this kind of a -- somewhat of a landmark that they passed half the pledged delegates and that nobody else who has ever won half the pledged delegates has gone on to loss the nomination. So, they are going to make something of that. And also, it's all about location, Jim -- location, location.

We just learned today that Barack Obama will be spending Tuesday night in Iowa. Now wait a minute. Iowa was the first state to vote. Remember they did the caucuses back in the beginning of January, so he's in the state has that has already voted, so he's kind of looking ahead to November, because Iowa is one of those states that we call a battleground state, a swing state. It went closely for Al Gore in 2000, George Bush won the state by 10,000 votes back in 2004. This is a state the Democrats would love to have.

He's going to be in Iowa Tuesday night, and then on Wednesday and Thursday we see he's going down to Florida. Another state that had its primary, but another very important battleground state. And last week, he was in Michigan and was also in Missouri. So, we're seeing him start to go to states that have already had their primaries, but are states that really matter come November -- Jim.

ACOSTA: And Iowa also is a state that launched Barack Obama's chances here in this Democratic primary race, so that's also of note, as well. So, I'm sure it will have some mention of that as well on Tuesday night. Paul Steinhauser thanks very much, joining us live with the CNN "Election Express" and our team there in Frankford, Kentucky. Paul, we'll check in with you a little later on. Appreciate it very much.

And coming up after a break, here on BALLOT BOWL on CNN, we'll check in on the Republican side and John McCain. That's coming up after a break, here on BALLOT BOWL on CNN.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WHITFIELD: Hello, I'm Fredricka Whitfield. More of the BALLOT BOWL in a moment, but first an update on our top stories.

A gunman opened fire today at church school festival in southern California. Police say three people were wounded, one of them critically. An off-duty police officer and some other bystanders tackled the suspects who was armed with a semiautomatic rifle and they held him until police showed up and took him into custody. No word on a possible motive for the attack.

Rachel Calderon from our affiliate KTLA, joins us live with an update.

Rachel, what can you tell us?

RACHEL CALDERON, KTLA REPORTER: Good afternoon, Fredricka. Unfortunately, there were several, several witnesses to what happened here and many of those witnesses were children. Now, what happened is that a man opened fire, as you mentioned, just as the festival, here at Saint John the Baptist de la Salle was about to begin.

Now, what happened is this man intended to shoot his ex- girlfriend and what we understand is, she was shot in the shoulder, she in stable condition at a local hospital. He also hit two other people in the crowd. They were two men, we are not sure of their relation to the victim or to the shooter. One man shot in the leg, he is said to be in stable condition while another man is in critical condition, he was shot in the chest.

What we understand is that the suspect was, as you mentioned, taken down by several witnesses, here. These are people who are volunteering for the school, for the church, to help set up this festival that was set up to begin at 11:00. They were all here volunteering when they heard the shots ring out, they ran after this man and what I have been told is that he put up quite a fight. He was struggling, he was taunting these men as they were trying to take him down. He, as well as the weapon, are actually in custody right now at a park, another side of this area.

Now, as far as the victims, as we mentioned, they are in a local hospital. One man is in critical, two other people are in stable condition, and what we understand is the shooter, the suspect, in this situation, is the father of the student who goes to this school, so really a tragic situation, here. We have several children and their parents who are here who witnessed what happened and, of course, this is something that unfortunately they're going to have to explain their kids -- Fredricka.

WHITFIELD: All right, Rachel Calderon, thanks so much from KTLA.

Meantime, for hours now, we've been following the health situation of Massachusetts senator, Ted Kennedy. As you know, if you've been watching CNN, Kennedy was rushed to Cape Cod hospital this morning after an apparent seizure, then flown to Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. CNN's Boston bureau chief, Dan Lothian picks up the story from there.

Any comment from the hospital as of yet?

DAN LOTHIAN, CNN BOSTON BUREAU CHIEF: No comment from the hospital. You know, we've been talking all day now about someone from the hospital coming out and giving us updated information. We have tried it repeatedly to find out what the revised time is for them to come out and give us that updated information, but have yet to hear back from them.

All I can tell you is that according to Democratic sources here, in the Boston area, that they are cautiously optimistic about his condition. One telling me that at least it appears that he's moving in the right direction. Now, we do know that Senator Ted Kennedy's wife, Vicki, is by his side. And earlier today, we saw the junior senator from Massachusetts, John Kerry, come to the hospital. He spent about 45 minutes inside and then left without talking at all. But, that's the very latest information that we have from here.

We, of course, all we are going on, the information that we receive from the family members, a statement put out that said he suffered, Senator Ted Kennedy, suffered some kind of a seizure, that he was brought here to the hospital for evaluation, that he's resting comfortably and according to the statement that they would not have any additional information for at least 48 hours -- Fredricka.

WHITFIELD: All right, senator -- Dan Lothian, thanks so much on this report about Senator Ted Kennedy. Appreciate it.

And I'm Fredricka Whitfield in Atlanta, now back to more CNN's BALLOT BOWL.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ACOSTA: Welcome back to BALLOT BOWL '08, I'm Jim Acosta in Portland, Oregon. And Oregon, one of two states coming up on Tuesday, having primary contests and both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama fighting hard for votes in both of those states. We heard from both of those candidates over the last several minutes, over this past hour. We now want to switch gears now and get to the Republican side and John McCain who is making his own campaign swing through Kentucky earlier this week.

He made a pitstop in Louisville, Kentucky and spoke to the National Rifle Association convention, there that was happening in Louisville. And John McCain spent much of that time there, as you'll expect, drawing to differences between himself and the Democrats on the key issue of gun control. Here's John McCain speaking to the NRA.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHN MCCAIN (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Over the years, we have not agreed on every issue. I've supported efforts to have NICS background checks apply to gun sales at gun shows. I recognize -- I recognize very well that gun shows are enjoyed by millions of law- abiding Americans. I do not support efforts by those who seek to regulate them out of existence, but I believe in accurate, fair and instant background check at gun shows is a reasonable requirement. I also oppose efforts to require federal regulation of all private sales, such as a transfer between a father and son or a husband and wife.

I supported campaign finance reform because I strongly believed our system of financial campaigns was influencing elected officials to put the interests of soft money ahead of the public interest. It is neither my purpose, nor the purpose of the legislation to prevent gun owners or any other group of citizens from making their voices heard in the legislative process.

Those disagreements do not detract from my long record of support for the Second Amendment and the work we have done together to protect the rights of gun owners from the political attitudes of the moment in Washington that view the Second Amendment as a once quaint custom that must now yield to the judgment of modern enlightened opinion.

We have real differences with the Democratic candidates for president. They have learned something since 2000, they don't talk about their plans for gun control. They claim to support hunters and gun owners, but just because they don't talk about gun control doesn't mean they won't support gun control. And let's be clear, either Senator Clinton or Senator Obama is elected president, the rights of law-abiding gun owners will be at risk, my friends, and have no doubt about it.

(APPLAUSE)

They have both voted as senators to ban guns or ban ammunition, or to allow gunmakers to be sued out of existence. It seems every election politicians who support restrictions on the Second Amendment dress up in camouflage and pose with guns to demonstrate they care about hunters, even though few gun owners fall for such obvious political theater.

After Senator Obama made his unfortunate comment and inaccurate and wrong comment that Pennsylvanians "cling to guns and religion out of bitterness," Senator Clinton quickly affirmed her support for the Second Amendment. That drew Senator Obama's derision: "She's running around talking about how this is an insult to sportsman, how she values the Second Amendment," he said, "like she's out an a duck blind every Sunday packing a six shooter." Someone should tell Senator Obama that ducks are usually hunted with shotguns.

(APPLAUSE)

Senator Obama hopes he can get away with having it both ways. He says he believes that the Second Amendment confirms an individual's trite bear arms, but when we had a chance to weigh in on the most important Second Amendment case before the United States supreme court in decades, Columbia v. Heller Senator Obama dodged the question by claiming, "I don't like taking a stand on pending cases." He refused to assign the Amicus briefs, signed by a bipartisan group of 55 senators, arguing that the Supreme Court should overturn the D.C. gun ban in the Heller case.

When he was running for the state Senate in Illinois, his campaign filled out a questionnaire asking whether he supported legislation to ban the manufacture, sale and possession of handguns, with simple, yes.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ACOSTA: So, there you have it, John McCain speaking to the National Rifle Association in Louisville, Kentucky. John McCain, we should mention, is going to be on "Saturday Night Live" tonight. This is not ground he's unfamiliar with. He did a stint on "SNL" a few years back and so he's making a repeat appearance. So, the lighter side the presumptive Republican nominee coming up tonight on "SNL." We're going to take a quick break, but after a break, here on BALLOT BOWL on CNN, we'll have some final thoughts. Stick with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ACOSTA: Welcome back to BALLOT BOWL on CNN. Just a few moments left and we just wanted to confirm to our viewers that if they're watching at home and paying attention to this backdrop behind me, which is a heck of a lot prettier than I am, that is Mount Hood, standing at 11,235 feet, that mountain is 50 miles from us, and can you see it quite well over my shoulder behind me, if I'll turn in the right direction. I don't think I'm doing it correctly, but we are standing on top of Council Crest Park, here in Portland, Oregon. So we appreciate the folk here in Portland allowing us to have this terrific backdrop for our BALLOT BOWL coverage.

I want to remind our viewers that the primaries here in Oregon and Kentucky are coming up here on Tuesday. For all of you Oregonians with your mail-in ballots, you want to make sure you pop those in the mailbox. I think Friday may have been your last time to do it, so you may want to drop those off at the nearest election authority.

And the delegates at stake, a little over 100 between Kentucky and Oregon, 51 in the Blue Grass State and 52, here in Oregon. And I want to remind viewers as we watch the delegates being sought after by Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, that they can tune into CNN for our live election coverage starting at 7:00 p.m. Eastern, right here on CNN.

And, of course, we'll be following the developments on the condition of Senator Ted Kennedy who is apparently recovering from an apparent seizure at Massachusetts General Hospital. We're awaiting a press conference there at the hospital in Boston, and so we wish a speedy recovery to the senator, there from Massachusetts.

And I want to remind viewers there that there's more BALLOT BOWL coming up at 5:00 Eastern, so you'll want to stay tuned for that. But in the meantime, NEWSROOM with Fredricka Whitfield is coming up at the top of the hour. Thanks for watching BALLOT BOWL.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WHITFIELD: It's been a story we've been following for a bout four hours, now -- a health scare for one of Washington's most influential and recognizable senators, Ted Kennedy, rushed by helicopter to a Boston hospital.

A developing story from southern California now, shots fired at a church festival. Three people rushed to the hospital. And this:

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's eating my brain. I can feel it, I know it's happening.

(END VIDEO CLIP) WHITFIELD: Boy, graphic, hard to hear. Attacked by a grizzly bear. One incredible tale this hour, in the NEWSROOM.

Hello everyone, you are in the CNN NEWSROOM I'm Fredricka Whitfield.

Our top story is the health of Ted Kennedy. Here's what we know. His office says the 76-year-old Democratic icon was rushed to Cape Cod Hospital this morning after suffering a seizure. From there, he was quickly flown to Massachusetts General in Boston, where last Fall he had surgery to clear plaque from an artery in is neck. Well, he is said to be resting comfortably right now while doctors try to figure out exactly what happened. Our Boston bureau chief, Dan Lothian is at Mass Gen with the very latest.

Dan, we're still awaiting official statement from the hospital to update us on his condition. Aren't we?

LOTHIAN: That's right. Oh, it's been a long wait and I explained to you this morning, when I first gave that information that, you know, typically in these situations, you're always told that they're going to come out with information shortly and it's always sort of rolled back and it could be many hours. So far we have not been able to get any updated information from the hospital.