Return to Transcripts main page


Tuesday's Oregon and Kentucky Primary Results Analyzed; Senator Kennedy's Condition

Aired May 21, 2008 - 05:00   ET


JOHN ROBERTS, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning. It is Wednesday, the 21st of May, and welcome to a special edition of Election Center here on this AMERICAN MORNING. We are up early with the results from the big Kentucky and Oregon primaries, which didn't start coming in until 11:00 very late last night.
We're going to be breaking it all down with the best political team in television and our all-star panel. More from them in just a minute. But right now let's fire things up with Kyra who's over the big wall.

Good morning.

KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning. Good to see you. Hope everybody is awake at this early morning hour.

Senator Barack Obama now within 100 delegates of clinching the Democratic nomination. He claimed a majority of pledged delegates last night with a 58-42 win in Oregon.

Hillary Clinton, just like last week in West Virginia, won huge in neighboring Kentucky, 65-30. But it did little to help her gain any real ground.

Take a look. Obama still leads by 183 delegates and has won more than twice as many states. Now he's looking to unite, not only the party, but the entire country.


SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You're Democrats who are tired of being divided, but you're also Republicans who no longer recognize the party that runs Washington. And independents who are hungry for change, you've been told over and over and over again to be cynical and doubtful, and even fearful about the possibilities that things can ever be different.

The other side knows they have embraced yesterday's policies, so they will also embrace yesterday's tactics to try and change the subject. They'll play on our fears and our doubts. They'll try to sow discord and division to distract us from what matters to you and your future.

Well, they can take the low road if they want, but it will not lead this country to a better place. It will not work in this election. It won't work because you will not let it work, not this time, not this year.


PHILLIPS: Now Senator Hillary Clinton still clinging to some very unlikely math. After getting a huge boost from voters in Kentucky last night, once again, white working-class voters made her their choice.

Clinton claims that she actually owns the popular vote and is still making the case that she has the best chance of winning in November.

Take a listen.


SEN. HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Neither Senator Obama nor I will have reached that magic number when the voting ends on June the 3rd.

And so...


CLINTON: ... our party will have a tough choice to make. Who's ready to lead our party at the top of our ticket?


CLINTON: Who is ready to defeat Senator McCain in the swing states and among swing voters?


CLINTON: Who is ready to rebuild the economy and the war in Iraq and protect our national security as commander in chief? Who is ready on day one to lead?


You hear the crowds, but the speech gaining the most buzz this morning is Barack Obama's so-called victory lap address in Iowa.

CNN's Suzanne Malveaux was in the crowd.


SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Barack Obama all but declaring himself the Democratic nominee.

OBAMA: We have returned to Iowa with a majority of delegates elected by the American people...


OBAMA: ... and you have put us within reach of the Democratic nomination for president of the United States of America.

MALVEAUX: In the state that made Obama the frontrunner to beat, the newly energized candidate brought out his family to thank supporters. And in an effort to reach out to Hillary Clinton and her backers, he offered this personal appeal.

OBAMA: We all admire her courage, and her commitment, and her perseverance. And no matter how this primary ends, Senator Clinton has shattered myths and broken barriers and changed the America in which my daughters and your daughters will come of age, and for that we are grateful to her.

MALVEAUX: But Clinton conceded nothing. She trounced Obama in Kentucky's primary by 35 percentage points.

CLINTON: We've achieved an important victory.



CLINTON: It's not just Kentucky bluegrass that's music to my ears. It's the sound of your overwhelming vote of confidence, even in the face of some pretty tough odds.

MALVEAUX: She promised to fight on.

CLINTON: I'm going on now to campaign in Montana, South Dakota and Puerto Rico.

This is one of the closest races for a party's nomination in modern history. We're winning the popular vote, and I'm more determined...


CLINTON: I'm more determined than ever to see that every vote is cast and every ballot counted.

MALVEAUX: Obama, winning Oregon, saved his fire power for the presumptive Republican nominee John McCain.

OBAMA: This year's Republican primary was a contest to see which candidate could out-Bush the other, and that's a contest that John McCain won.

MALVEAUX: Suzanne Malveaux, CNN, Des Moines, Iowa.


PHILLIPS: So what is our political panel have to say? John, you've been talking to them this morning?

ROBERTS: They're smacking around, waking them up. Joining us now throughout the morning, Julian Epstein, Democratic strategist and Clinton supporter, Liz Chatterton is a Democratic strategist who supports Barack Obama, Leslie Sanchez, fresh back up a couple of hours sleep, thank you for doing that, our Republican strategist here this morning and, of course, John Dickerson, chief political correspondent for and a CNN political analyst. So you heard what Barack Obama had to say. I now lead among the delegates that you elected to represent -- have the majority of those.

What is -- I don't remember anybody making that claim in the past? What does that mean?

LIZ CHATTERTON, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Well, it means that they're really interesting, which is, we're almost done with this primary season, which I think most people might be grateful for at this point. And it means that the number of delegates that are still left -- he's won the majority and he's actually, probably on June 3rd, going to be sitting on the majority of elected delegates in the country. And...

ROBERTS: Julian, is it an answer to Hillary Clinton when she says, "I've got the majority of the popular vote?"


ROBERTS: Or I'm leading in the popular vote?

EPSTEIN: You know, this is getting harder and harder. I say this as a Hillary Clinton supporter. This is getting harder and harder for her now. Last night made it harder for her because the available math for her just gets more difficult.

ROBERTS: So is it over?

EPSTEIN: So -- no, I don't think it's over yet, but I think her -- her only argument can be, at this point, is if she does extremely well in Puerto Rico and she gets -- and she can somehow figure out how to -- how to solve this Florida and Michigan problem. She can, at the end of the day, make the argument that I won the popular vote and I did better in the second half of this primary season.

But him being able to come out and say, I've won the majority of the delegates that can be elected, that's his answer to that. So this is -- this gets -- this is not over but it does get harder for her.

ROBERTS: Is Hillary Clinton -- John and Leslie, is Hillary Clinton's only chance for survival -- changing the math, pushing the finish line out to 2210 delegates needed and -- I mean, still the math is against her. She needs to win 68 percent from here on. Can she do it?

JOHN DICKERSON, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: The math is against her and the story is against her, because he has these pledged delegates. And so many people, many of his supporters believe they have to take the nomination away from him.

Now she can make a case in an argument why it's not taking it away from him, why it's perfectly within the rules, perhaps, to do it, although the Florida and Michigan things, it's problematic when you talk about the rules. But it's an argument she has to make and there are plenty who would be infuriated by that argument. The superdelegates who may decide this find that argument just too volatile to take and they're going to go probably with Obama. LESLIE SANCHEZ, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: I think a couple of things that are really interesting. If you look at the exit polls in Oregon, 62 percent said they wanted this race to continue versus end it immediately. I mean...

ROBERTS: Sure. I think everybody knows this is going to go through and saw it to June 3rd.

SANCHEZ: Well, you know, what does that mean? We really don't know if they meant to the convention, which I think a lot of Hillary Clinton supporters would like to see it that way. They're not -- it's not unheard of for them to think that they can really drag her feet. She doesn't need as much money.

ROBERTS: You'd love that, wouldn't you?

SANCHEZ: Well, you know, it's an interesting contest. It's predictive because it's...

ROBERTS: You'd pay money to see that.

SANCHEZ: Yes, we would at Is that -- you know, donate now.

But I think -- but the interesting part is that it's becoming very predictive. You know that among anti-war, liberal elites, the African-American, urban community is going to go to Barack Obama and that's what you had in the green grass of Oregon, versus this white working middle class -- voter, you know, the Reagan Democrats, and women, which tend to be very much for Hillary Clinton.

ROBERTS: Julian, one of the questions we're going to be asking repeatedly this morning is, Hillary Clinton is making this argument, I'm leading in the popular vote, I can win the swing states therefore I would be the stronger candidate.


ROBERTS: Where are the superdelegates who are buying into that argument?

EPSTEIN: Well...

ROBERTS: Because Barack Obama has flattened her in the last couple of weeks when it comes to pledged superdelegates.

EPSTEIN: Well, the other side of that equation, however, is that they haven't deserted her. So if she can continue to make the argument -- again, this is the only argument she's got left, and I -- again, I say as a Clinton supporter, this is getting harder and harder every election we go through, and she doesn't fundamentally change the math.

The only argument that she has left is that -- if she wins, in fact, the popular vote when Puerto Rico had cast its vote, if she, in fact, can say I've won the majority of the elections since the beginning of March, I'm winning all the tough states, I'm winning the swing states, that's the argument she can make to the superdelegates.

They haven't deserted her yet, but she still got a -- she still an underdog here.

ROBERTS: Well, we'll see if the people will buy into that argument. As I said that will be one of the conversations in the morning.

And just before we toss it back to Kyra, let's take a quick look at the delegate math and where we are. 2,026 at present -- under the present rules, needed to clinch. Barack Obama has got 1,953. He needs 73, only 73 more. Hillary Clinton back at 1,770. She needs 256. Combined in the next three primaries -- Puerto Rico, Montana, South Dakota -- 86 available delegates, 215 uncommitted superdelegates left.

That's the math that they're dealing with.

More on that as we go throughout this morning -- Kyra?

PHILLIPS: All right, John. Thanks.

Also new this morning, Senator Ted Kennedy's doctors. While they're waiting for more tests before deciding how to treat a malignant brain tumor, pictures released last night show Kennedy in good spirits with his family by his side.

However, doctors say that tumor is an area of Kennedy's brain that could affect his ability to speak and move. It caused Kennedy to have a seizure on Saturday, as you know, and doctors said the usual course of treatment is a combination of radiation and chemotherapy.

The news pretty much stunned the colleagues on Capitol Hill. Senator Robert Byrd actually broke down as he was paying tribute to his friend.


SEN. ROBERT BYRD (D), WEST VIRGINIA: Ted, my dear friend, I love you. And I miss you.


PHILLIPS: Our own house surgeon, Dr. Sanjay Gupta says that the size of that tumor will determine how life threatening it is.

Sanjay is going to join us live at 7:00 a.m.

The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff says that Iran is directly responsible for violence in Iraq.

Admiral Michael Mullen told a Senate committee that irresponsible action by Iran's Revolutionary Guard is jeopardizing peace in Iraq. The assessment is prompting new calls from Senate leaders that the U.S. pursue diplomatic talks with Iran.

And Myanmar's military junta giving the green light to U.N. helicopters carrying supplies to cyclone victims in remote areas. But the government says it will not accept disaster relief from U.S. warships on standby because it would come with, quote, "strings attached."

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will get a firsthand look tomorrow. He says the situation is critical because aid is only reaching about a quarter of those who need it.

ROBERTS: Coming up on 11 minutes after the hour, Barack Obama gets a big win in Oregon. Find out which voters gave him the victory. A look at the exit polls coming up and some really interesting data when you compare to what happened in Kentucky.

And the chances of a woman taking over the White House, slipping away? Find out why some Clinton supporters say sexism is partly to blame.

We're covering all the angles of the election this morning ahead on this special AMERICAN MORNING edition of the CNN Election Center.



CLINTON: You know that the stakes are high. After all this country has been through the past seven years, we have to get this right. We have to select a nominee who is best positioned to win in November.


ROBERTS: That was Hillary Clinton after her 35-point win last night in Kentucky. She won Kentucky sort of like Big Brown won the derby. But Barack Obama also had a decisive victory in Oregon, beating Clinton by 16 points.

Joining us now with a look at the exit polls, our senior political analyst Bill Schneider.

Let's start on the West Coast. How did he win Oregon?

BILL SCHNEIDER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Two things. One, Oregon has -- the Democrats, they have a lot of education. That was a key. 78 percent of them had gone to college and those who went to college voted very heavily, 61-39, for Barack Obama. Those who didn't go to college were Clinton voters. But with three quarters going to college, he wiped her out.

Second of all, they have a lot of education, not so much religion. Protestant voters in Oregon split, Catholic voters split, so how did he win? Because 38 percent of the voters, either had no religion or said they had some other religion -- non-Protestant, non-Catholic, non-Mormon, non-Muslim, non-Jewish. Who are they? They are people with unconventional religion or no religion. And they are key to Obama's victory there by a big margin.

ROBERTS: And how did she pull out to win Kentucky? And -- I mean win is -- win is not the word. SCHNEIDER: Thirty-five points was very big.


SCHNEIDER: Well, Kentucky is an interesting match pair with Oregon. They're both overwhelmingly white states, 85 to 90 percent. Among white voters in Kentucky, Clinton 72, Obama 23. That was a huge victory.

But notice Oregon, also a white state, that voted for Obama, which means there is no such thing as a typical white voter.

The key to her victory in Kentucky -- rural voters. Urban voters voted for Obama in Kentucky. Suburban voters narrowly for Clinton, but the rural voters is where she wiped him out, 77-19, a huge margin and more than half the voters in Kentucky are rural dwellers.

And finally, we asked people, the voters in Kentucky, the Democrats, do you think Barack Obama shares the views of Reverend Wright? A bare majority, 53 percent said yes. Those who said yes voted 8-1 for Clinton. Those who said no went for Obama.

So clearly, Obama has a problem. There are a lot of voters in Appalachia, places like West Virginia and Kentucky, that are just not getting on the Obama bandwagon.

ROBERTS: Right. Well, we'll see if there continues to be a problem for him should he become the nominee in the general election.

And I'd love to see a head-to-head comparison of white voters, Oregon and Kentucky, and why there's such a difference there.

SCHNEIDER: There really is...

ROBERTS: Maybe you can do that coming up.

SCHNEIDER: Interesting reasons.

ROBERTS: Great. Bill Schneider, thanks very much -- Kyra?

PHILLIPS: He's leading in the delegate race and in the money race, too. Barack Obama announces his fundraising haul for the last month. See how he compares to Hillary Clinton and John McCain.

And Hillary Clinton talks about the ultimate glass ceiling last night. We hear from supporters who say sexism is keeping her from the oval office. Straight ahead on AMERICAN MORNING.


PHILLIPS: And welcome back to this early edition of AMERICAN MORNING.

Two states, two different winners last night. Senator Barack Obama win Oregon by 16 points. Senator Hillary Clinton takes Kentucky by 35. Obama's win gives him a majority of pledged delegates. And he took on the role of the nominee last night, talking to supporters in Iowa, criticizing presumptive Republican nominee John McCain.


OBAMA: This year's Republican primary was a contest to see which candidate could out-Bush the other, and that's a contest that John McCain won.

The Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest 2 percent of Americans that once bothered John McCain's conscience are now his only economic policy.

The Bush health care plan that only helps those who are already healthy and wealthy is now John McCain's answer to the 47 million Americans without insurance and the millions more who can't pay their medical bills.

The Bush Iraq policy that asks everything from our troops and nothing of Iraqi politicians is John McCain's policy, too, and so is the fear of tough and aggressive diplomacy that has left this country more isolated and less secure than at any time in recent history.


OBAMA: The lobbyists who ruled George Bush's Washington are now running John McCain's campaign. And they actually had the nerve the other day to say that the American people won't care about this.

Talk about out of touch. I think the American people care plenty about that.


PHILLIPS: Barack Obama also battling his opponent on the financial side. He raised $31 million in April. For Hillary Clinton -- that's compared, rather, to the $21 million for Hillary Clinton and then $18 million for John McCain. And it was Obama's lowest monthly amount to date and so far, his campaign has raised $265 million -- John?

ROBERTS: So here's a look at some of the dates to watch in your "AM Extra" now.

On May 31st, the rules committee of the Democratic National Committee meets to figure out what to do with Florida and Michigan.

Both states, you'll recall, had their delegates stripped when they moved up their primaries earlier than February 5th, which was the cutoff date.

June 1st, primary day in Puerto Rico with 55 delegates at stake there. June 3rd, it's on to Montana and South Dakota for the last two primaries. 31 delegates between those two states.

Now if the rules committee does not resolve the dispute over Florida and Michigan on the 31st, which it is promising to do, the credentials committee will meet some time in June. There's also the chance that one or both of the campaigns could challenge the decision of the rules committee at the credentials committee as well, in which case then, the whole thing might push on to the convention which starts August 25th in Denver.

Hillary Clinton and the glass ceiling at the White House. Is the dream of a woman in the White House slipping away? We'll take a closer look at that.

And decisive wins by Hillary Clinton in Kentucky, and Barack Obama in Oregon. We'll look at how it's shifting the race this morning with our all-star panel.

That's ahead on AMERICAN MORNING.



OBAMA: No matter how this primary ends, Senator Clinton has shattered myths and broken barriers and changed the America in which my daughters and your daughters will come of age, and for that we are grateful to her.


PHILLIPS: Barack Obama praising Hillary Clinton in a speech to supporters in Iowa last night. But charges of sexism are being raised more and more in the homestretch of this primary campaign.

Here's CNN's Carol Costello.


CAROL COSTELLO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): The sense that Hillary Clinton's candidacy is doomed because of sexism is growing among some of her supporters.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't think they're ready for a woman yet.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm honestly going to vote for Ross Perot if she's not in the race.

COSTELLO: The math doesn't matter much to these supporters -- perception does. Another example? WomanCount, a political action committee, says it raised $227,000 in two days to take out full-page ads in newspapers across the country.

This one in the "New York Times" reads "Not so fast. We want Hillary to stay in the race until every vote is cast and we know our voices are heard."

ALLIDA M. BLACK, WOMENCOUNT PAC: What we need to do is to see this election to the conclusion. And Senator Obama and the media and all of the other voters in the United States have to realize that the gender gap in this country is real.

CLINTON: To be your president.

COSTELLO: Hillary Clinton is aware of how some of her supporters feel. She's talking about it, talking in Kentucky of the sexist treatment she's endured, use of the B word to describe her personality, references to her cackle, and her references to her cleavage.

Clinton told the "Washington Post"...

CLINTON: It's been deeply offensive to millions of women.

COSTELLO: Some say all of this will make it difficult for Barack Obama to woo certain women over to his camp if he wins the nomination. Organizations like NARAL, the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League, are trying to help but they're finding it difficult.

NARAL has endorsed Obama and the backlash from some of NARAL's supporters has been fierce. Take a look at its Web site. "What a sellout," one woman writes. Another says, "Shame, shame, shame." And another writes, "I am appalled, disappointed, disgusted, frustrated and outraged."

Senator Claire McCaskill is an Obama supporter.

SEN. CLAIRE MCCASKILL (D), MISSOURI: I understand what NARAL did and why they did it. I think that there many people in our party and many women who want us to unite and begin to turn our attention towards the possibility of four more years of George Bush.

COSTELLO: McCaskill says it's time to focus attention on one Democratic candidate so the party can win in November. And she says the math just doesn't add up for Hillary Clinton.

(On camera): Senator McCaskill says it'll take a long time for Clinton supporters to decompressed after this long, tough fight. But ultimately it will be up to Senator Clinton to convince voters to vote for Barack Obama.

Carol Costello, CNN, Washington.


PHILLIPS: Hillary Clinton may be the most famous woman to run for president, but hey, she's not alone. It's your "AM Extra." The first is Victoria Woodhull who ran in 1872 with Frederick Douglas as a running mate. In 1940, comedian Gracie Allen made a run for the White House with a surprise party.

And 1972, Shirley Chisholm became the first African-American woman to see a major party nomination. She actually received 151 delegate votes at the Democratic National Convention.

ROBERTS: Hillary Clinton is making the case that Michigan and Florida votes put her over the top in the popular vote. We break down the numbers with John King coming up at the magic wall.

And we'll see what messages the candidates will be carrying with them as the race rolls on. We'll check in with our political panel ahead on AMERICAN MORNING.


PHILLIPS: A victory lap for Senator Barack Obama. Last night he returned to Iowa, where he won the first-in-the-nation caucuses and he claimed a majority of pledged delegates for the Democratic nomination. Obama won the Oregon primary over Hillary Clinton by 16 points, the final tally, 58 percent to 42 percent. Obama now leads Clinton by 183 delegates and last night, he was setting himself up for November.


SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Tonight, Iowa, in the fullness of spring, with the help of those who stood up from Portland to Louisville, we have returned to Iowa with a majority of delegates elected by the American people and you have put us within reach of the Democratic nomination for president of the United States of America.


PHILLIPS: Meanwhile, it was another blowout for Hillary Clinton, this time in Kentucky, another win backed by her base of working class voters. It's enough to keep her in the race, but it may not be enough to keep super delegates from slipping away. Clinton rallied supporters last night in Louisville. Take a listen.


SEN. HILLARY CLINTON (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This continues to be a tough fight and I have fought it the only way I know how, the determination by never giving up and never giving in. I have done it, I have done it, not because I've wanted to demonstrate my toughness, but because I believe passionately that, for the sake of our country, the Democrats must take back the White House and end Republican rule.


PHILLIPS: Clinton is counting on the Democratic Party to count Florida and Michigan. That will be decided on May 31st. Those delegates aren't being counted now because the states held the primaries earlier than party rules allowed. John, how's the political panel doing. They boxing it out still?

JOHN ROBERTS, CNN ANCHOR, AMERICAN MORNING: Well, let's find out. They are given sometimes to mixing it up a little bit, but they haven't turned violent yet and we only hope that they won't before the end of this morning. Democratic strategist Julian Epstein, a Hillary Clinton supporter with me, Liz Chadderdon, who's the Democratic strategist, supports Barack Obama, of course Leslie Sanchez, Republican strategist here with us and John Dickerson, "Slate" magazine and a CNN political analyst. Let's listen - we heard a little bit of what Hillary Clinton said last night in terms of her determination. She reiterated last evening that she's in this all the way to the end. Let's listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) CLINTON: We're winning the popular vote and I'm more determined, more determined than ever to see that every vote is cast and every ballot counted.


ROBERTS: All right, so she's staying in until every vote is cast, every ballot is counted. That's a little after midnight on the third of June going in the fourth of June. Julian, what happens then?

JULIAN EPSTEIN, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Then super delegates probably make this decision by the second week of June. The reasons...

ROBERTS: So it's not over on June 4th.

EPSTEIN: I think it's over when the super delegates decide it's over and I think they will decide by the second week of June. The reason that she stays and her rationale I think is a very good one. Who Hillary Clinton is and why her voters and supporters love her so much is because she never quits. It's not just important because of what Paul Begala was saying last night in terms of paving the standard for the next woman that may run for president. It's because she doesn't quit and people like that about her. Voters think if she doesn't quit for herself, she won't quit for them. And her argument will be, I think she's setting up a kind of an Al Gore type argument, which at the end of the day, she will be able to say if she does particularly well in Puerto Rico and she does win the popular vote, I won the popular vote. I was the choice of the voters, particularly in the second half of this campaign. I won the swing voters, but the rules prevented me from getting this nomination and if she bows out, she goes out on a high note.

ROBERTS: Just for people who didn't see it last night, Paul Begala said that he thought that one of the reasons why Hillary Clinton was going to stay in until the very end was because she wanted to set the bar. She's the first woman in the Democratic Party or any political party who's had a real shot at becoming the nominee. She wanted to prove that she was not a quitter, set the bar so the next woman who came along would look at that as something to shoot for and possibly, who knows how long she'll be in the record books. Do you buy that?

LESLIE SANCHEZ, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: It's a great altruistic vision, but I think one thing the Republicans know is that the Clintons are about the Clintons and in having battled them repeatedly in different elections, I think one thing we fundamentally understand is they're going to do whatever it takes to get to the end. I think what's interesting is to listen to her message. She's talking that populist message. You don't have health care. You don't have a job. I'm with you. You stick with me. I stick with you, very much to what he's saying. But that message does resonate and there's a reason we all know that the super delegates can break and make this decision, but they're also the safety valve. They can weigh all this and say, can we still be competitive in Ohio with Pennsylvania and Kentucky. You can argue that the electoral map can change, but that Reagan Democrat, that conservative Democrat, do they have a base and a place to come home to in our party. And you can't - I think one thing to speak about the intensity of these voters.

ROBERTS: (INAUDIBLE) does she have an argument to make to super delegates? John King was outlining this last night. We'll do it again today that, when you take a look at what she's won in the last few weeks, Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, that's Republican territory in a general election. Does she have a valid argument to say to the super delegates, you want somebody who can be competitive in November in those states, some of which we need to win. I'm your person.

JOHN DICKERSON, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: She has this - she has that argument. She's been making it for a long time. The question is, is the argument strong enough. Obama has counter arguments. He can show lots of polling that shows him doing better than John McCain with white, downscale voters, this group he supposedly has so much trouble with. He can show other polls where he beat John McCain across all white voters. So this is an argument he can push back against Hillary Clinton which waters down her case. Her case needs to be strong enough to take super delegates who are very worried about blowing up the party by reversing this victory Barack Obama has with pledged delegates, to keep that explosion from happening, they don't want that to happen. And so her argument has to be good enough to say, look, yes, we're going to have to have this explosion because the argument is so much more in my favor.

ROBERTS: And Liz, what does it say about a general election if Barack Obama were to be nominee, that he got blown out so badly among white working class voters in the heartland?

LIZ CHADDERDON, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: I definitely think he's got some work to do with those voters, but I also think it's important to note that he won some key swing states in this primary season too. He won Colorado. He won Missouri. He won Virginia, which actually is probably going to be a big state come November of 2008.

ROBERTS: But he also needs to win, also needs to win Ohio, Pennsylvania or...

CHADDERDON: No question.

ROBERTS: ...even if he implements that western strategy in Virginia.

CHADDERDON: No question. He's got some work to do, but going back to Hillary briefly, I think she's managing the Hillary Clinton legacy here. She is not going to go quietly into the night. She's never gone quietly into the night, can't tell her to sit down and shut up. She's not going to do it. That's her legacy and she's going to stick to it.

ROBERTS: I don't think at this point anybody wants her to. They want to see this thing play out. Everybody I think is resigned to the fact that this is going to play out. Let's watch the rest.


ROBERTS: All right folks thanks, lots more to talk about this morning. Right now let's take you back to Kyra. PHILLIPS: We're talking about other news now. Senator Ted Kennedy waiting for more test results to determine treatment for a malignant brain tumor. Pictures released last night show Kennedy smiling and with his family at Massachusetts General Hospital. Our in-house brain surgeon, Dr. Sanjay Gupta says that the tumor's size will actually determine how life threatening it is and doctors said the tumor caused Kennedy's seizure on Saturday and that stunned colleagues on Capitol Hill, as well as the presidential candidates. They all offered prayers and well wishes.

Now here's a look at what Kennedy is facing in your "AM Extra": Senator Kennedy's tumor is called a malignant bioma. It's the first common form of brain cancer with about 10,000 cases a year. Surgery is difficult and Kennedy's doctors have not yet mentioned it as an option. And most patients are treated with radiation and chemotherapy. The prognosis varies depending on how severe that tumor is.

ROBERTS: Coming up on 38 minutes after the hour and looking ahead to November, John McCain and Barack Obama sparring over Cuba as they set their sights on winning Florida and another split decision, another battle for Hillary Clinton to fight on, but she is looking for help along the way. Coming up, I'll look at what could happen if those suspended votes in Florida and Michigan come into play.


ROBERTS: Nineteen minutes to the top of the hour. Welcome back to AMERICAN MORNING and a special early edition of the most politics in the morning. Barack Obama takes Oregon by 16 points. Hillary Clinton routed Obama in Kentucky by 35 points and has vowed now to fight on until the very end. With last night's primaries tallied up, Obama has crossed over to now hold the majority of pledged delegates. There are still 86 delegates left before the contest is over. We have about 214 super delegates, so still plenty of wrangling back and forth, arm twisting and what not yet to go. Kyra.

PHILLIPS: Senator Clinton used her win and went again to make a case for Florida and Michigan, saying the suspended votes there should be counted.


CLINTON: Democrats in those two states has 2.3 million votes and they deserve to have those votes counted. And that's why I'm going to keep making our case until we have a nominee whoever she may be.


PHILLIPS: Let's (INAUDIBLE) what the numbers say about that. Chief national correspondent John King is at the magic wall.


JOHN KING, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Right now, look how close, under the existing rules, look at how close Barack Obama is to finish line, Senator Clinton way back here. Barack Obama is now, needs fewer than 100 delegates to get to the finish line. Now here's what would happen if they switched, if they switched. You want to put Michigan and Florida into play. That moves the finish line out to 2210 which moves everybody back a little bit further from the finish line. Barack Obama still in the lead; he's here. Senator Clinton would have a much longer way to go, but Barack Obama obviously would need more of the remaining delegates because then, you would put in play the delegates from those states. This would include the delegates from Michigan and Florida.

The question will be, how do you proportion them? Do you proportion them based on what happened in those states? That's what Hillary Clinton wants. The Obama campaign said wait a minute. We didn't campaign in those states yet we weren't on the ballot in Michigan. You can't do that. So what the Democratic National Committee's rules committee does at the end of May, the 31st is the meeting I believe, will go a long way in determining how a big chunk of these get out. But in the end, either way, I'm going to - these are the people who are going to decide who the Democratic nominee is. Whether you accept the Clinton math and you move the finish line out to 2210 with Michigan and Florida or you go back to without Michigan and Florida and go into the current math. Under the current math, it is - this is why I say, it's not impossible, but it's usually improbable under the current rule. Look how close Barack Obama is to the finish line.


PHILLIPS: That is our John King. We'll hear more from him of course later

ROBERTS: We mentioned yesterday briefly John's going on his honeymoon soon before the last two primaries.

PHILLIPS: You're going to be the chairman of the board.

ROBERTS: Well, I'll be the guy at the board. I was learning it from him last night. It's just a fascinating piece of technology, really incredible.

PHILLIPS: That's your thing is technology, so the computer or the big board, we all know...

ROBERTS: Hope I don't blow it up.

Hillary Clinton still believes she's got a shot at the nomination. She makes her case in her Kentucky victory speech. Hear what she had to say and that's coming up.

And Republicans with anti-Castro positions have long been able to count on the votes of Cuban Americans. Democrats are unveiling a bold move to try to break the Republican stronghold. We've got that ahead.


PHILLIPS: Hillary Clinton back on the trail today after her big win in Kentucky, her victory speech last night, while she pressed the argument that she's got a better chance of beating presumptive Republican nominee John McCain.


CLINTON: You know that the stakes are high. After all this country has been through the past seven years, we have to get this right. We have to select a nominee who is best positioned to win in November. And we want somehow who is best prepared to address the enormous challenges facing our country in these difficult times. That's what this election is all about. Now I'm told that more people have voted for me than for anyone who's ever run for the Democratic nomination. That's more than 17 million votes. Now why, why do you millions keep turning out to vote in the face of nay sayers and skeptics, because you know that our political process is more than candidates running or the pundits chattering or the ads blaring. It's about the path we choose as a nation, whether or not we will solve our toughest problems, whether or not we will have a president who will rebuild the economy, end the war in Iraq, restore our leadership in the world and stand up for you every single day.


PHILLIPS: Clinton is campaigning in Florida today, a pivotal state in the general election.

ROBERTS: For years, Republicans have done well in south Florida, but could Cuban-Americans who have overwhelmingly voted Republican, be ready for a change? Democrats think so. We'll tell you why.

And Barack Obama easily wins Oregon, but it's how he did it that's important. We're going to break down the exit polls, coming up next on AMERICAN MORNING.


ROBERTS: Ten minutes now to the top of the hour, John McCain looking to shore up support among Cuban-American voters. He was in south Florida yesterday, saying he would maintain the decades old U.S. trade embargo on Cuba if he is elected president. He also criticized Barack Obama for what he calls a willingness to sit down the Cuban leader Raoul Castro.


JOHN McCAIN (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: He also wants to sit down unconditionally for a presidential meeting with Raoul Castro, an unconditional meeting with Raoul Castro. These steps would send the worse possible signal to Cuba's dictators.

OBAMA: I have never said that I was prepared to immediately normalize relations with Cuba. The only person who's flip flopped on this issue is John McCain, who in 2000 said that he would be prepared to start normalizing relations, even if a whole host of steps had not yet been taken.

(END VIDEO CLIP) ROBERTS: Obama said that his policy would help move the U.S. Cuban relationship in the quote, direction of normalization. For more than the past decade, the Republican policy of isolating Cuba has played well with Cuban-American voters in Florida's Miami Dade County. But this November, Democrats are hoping to change the political face of south Florida. CNN's John Zarrella explains.


JOHN ZARRELLA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A big political fight is brewing in south Florida and it pits Cuban-American against Cuban- American. Democrat Joe Garcia is running for U.S. Congress against Republican incumbent Mario Diaz-Balart.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is your form to register to vote.

ZARRELLA: Garcia needs every vote he can get including looking through newly sworn in American citizens. For years, his opponent, Diaz-Balart has been virtually untouchable. Garcia claims Diaz-Balart is obsessed with Cuba.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's a one trick pony that doesn't know the trick.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't apologize for caring about the plight of enslaved people.

ZARRELLA: Garcia says Diaz-Balart is in lockstep with the tired, worn Bush hard line stand against Cuba.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Visionless, status quo policy towards Latin America and particularly to Cuba, towards Cuba, has turned off a lot of people. And I think it's created an opening.

ZARRELLA: Democrats are also going after the congressional seats of two other powerful Cuban-Americans, Mario's brother Lincoln and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen. The Democrats say a growing disenchantment with the Republican Party has made all three incumbents vulnerable.

LOURDES DIAZ, CUBAN-AMERICAN DEMOCRAT: We have been made a lot of promises by the Republican Party. They come here. They say, viva la libertad, down with Fidel Castro and then they ignore us.

ZARRELLA: Diaz-Balart says he's heard it all before.

REP. MARIO DIAZ-BALART, (R) FLORIDA: The reality is, there's no change. This community is steadfast. It's solid and understands the value of freedom.

ZARRELLA: Republican leaders here say Senator Barack Obama actually helped their cause when he stated he would meet with Raoul Castro. That they say will unify Cuban-Americans for John McCain. And it's a theme they intend to play up from now until November.

John Zarrella, CNN, Miami.

(END VIDEOTAPE) PHILLIPS: He went there, Spike Lee goes presidential. Hear why he says the Democratic race is over.

Plus John McCain targeting Barack Obama -- former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani on the debate over foreign policy. He joins us live ahead on AMERICAN MORNING.


PHILLIPS: Welcome back to the most politics in the morning. Barack Obama went to Oregon by 16. Hillary Clinton takes Kentucky by 35. Let's find out who voted for whom and why. Senior political analyst Bill Schneider has all those exit polls for us. It's interesting, even asked someone last night, why do people care who votes for whom whether they have a college degree, no college degree, where they live, what's their ethnicity and people are really fascinated to know the dynamics.

BILL SCHNEIDER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Exactly right and one question they keep asking is, will white voters support Barack Obama? And the answer is, yes and no, because there is no such thing as a typical white voter. Take a look at white voters in Kentucky. That was a state where 85 or 89 percent of the voters were white and in that state, Clinton wiped Obama out among white voters, 72 to 23. But those are Appalachian whites, more religious, less liberal and more rural.

Now look at white voters in Oregon. They were 85 percent of the voters in Oregon and when they voted, they voted for Obama, 57 to 43. There's no such thing as a typical white voter. These are coastal whites as I call them. They are less religious, more liberal, more urban. These are two states, the same size, both overwhelmingly white with completely different political cultures.

PHILLIPS: And speaking of political cultures, the blue collar workers, this has been a tough one for Barack Obama. How did he fare with those with a college degree, without a college degree. If you talk to the The former congressman from Georgia -- you know, old Cooter Jones, right? -- he said he's just got to get down there and start eating his grits and going to the Nascar races.

SCHNEIDER: Well, that appears to be the problem, because if we look at, in Kentucky at white voters without a college degree, Clinton again wiped him out, four to one, 76 to 19. She beat Barack Obama, but in Oregon, he did a lot better with those same voters. White voters without a college degree in Oregon, it was close, Clinton 51, Obama, 48. Obama didn't quite win them. This is not a group he ever does particularly well with, but he did 30 points better among these blue collar whites in Oregon than he did in Kentucky which suggests that the differences aren't primarily class. A lot of it has it do with political culture.

PHILLIPS: So Bill, do you think it's the voters that are more interested in these breakdowns or the candidates, because then they know who they need to go after and not go after. They want you to find out where they should be rallying. SCHNEIDER: The candidates are interested for strategic reasons. Where am I weak? Where am I strong? Voters are interested because they want to explain things. They want to know, how did this happen? How do you get two states that are the same size, both overwhelmingly white, voting in opposite directions? How did that happen on the same thing?

PHILLIPS: Bill Schneider, thanks so much.

ROBERTS: The next hour of AMERICAN MORNING starts right now.

On the brink...


OBAMA: ... put us within reach of the Democratic nomination.


ROBERTS: Barack Obama wins Oregon. It starts putting primary season in the past.


OBAMA: The contest to see which candidate would out push the other.


ROBERTS: Hillary Clinton takes the political run for the rose in Kentucky and say, hold your horses.


CLINTON: I'm going to keep making our case until we have a nominee whoever she may be.


ROBERTS: The best political team on television on why she still fights.

And Obama's plans for the fall on this AMERICAN MORNING.

Barack Obama now just 73 delegates away from becoming the Democratic nominee. He claimed a majority of pledged delegates last night with a 58 to 42 win in Oregon. Hillary Clinton just like last week in West Virginia, won in neighboring Kentucky. That one was a blow out, 65 to 30 percent. But it did little to help her gain any real ground though. Obama still leads by 183 delegates. Last night, Obama, his wife and his two young daughters went back to Iowa where it all started back in January.


OBAMA: For Democrats who are tired of being divided, but you're also Republicans who know longer recognize the party that runs Washington and independents who are hungering for change. You've been told over and over and over again to be cynical and doubtful, even fearful about the possibility that things could ever be different.