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Obama Makes History; Clinton Doesn't Concede; Bill Clinton's Legacy: The Impact He had on His Wife's Campaign; Democratic Party Leaders Send Memo to Uncommitted Superdelegates

Aired June 4, 2008 - 06:00   ET


JOHN ROBERTS, CNN ANCHOR: So an appeal going out from the top two Democrats in Congress as well as the chairman of the Democratic National Committee and the head of the Democratic Governors Association for the superdelegates, the remaining uncommitted superdelegates, to make up their minds and make them up quickly.
America, no question, waking up to history in the making. Barack Obama, the freshman senator from Illinois, has secured enough delegates to make him the first African-American to clinch the presidential nomination of a major party. Obama staked his claim to the presidency in Minnesota last evening where his Republican opponent will be nominated three months from now.


SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D), PRESUMPTIVE PRES. CANDIDATE: Tonight, we mark the end of one historic journey with the beginning of another. A journey --


A journey that will bring a new and better day to America. Because of you, tonight, I can stand here and say that I will be the Democratic nominee for the president of the United States of America.


ROBERTS: Senator Obama now has 2,156 delegates. That is 38 more than he needed to go across the finish line. And after his win in Montana, Senator Obama praised his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton.


SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D), PRESUMPTIVE PRES. CANDIDATE: Senator Hillary Clinton has made history in this campaign.


She has made history not -- not just because she's a woman who has done what no woman has done before, but because she is a leader who inspires millions of Americans with her strength, her courage and her commitment to the causes that brought us here tonight.

(END VIDEO CLIP) ROBERTS: Hillary Clinton showing no signs of conceding after a split win last night. She praised Barack Obama but stopped short of calling him the nominee.


SEN. HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Now, the question is, where do we go from here, and given how far we've come, and where we need to go as a party, it's a question I don't take lightly. This has been a long campaign, and I will be making no decisions tonight.


ROBERTS: And Senator Clinton posed the question of the night in that speech, "What does Hillary want?"


SEN. HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I understand that a lot of people are asking, "What does Hillary want?" What does she want?"

Well, I want what I have always fought for in this whole campaign. I want to end the war in Iraq. I want to turn this economy around. I want health care for every American.

I want every child to live up to his or her God-given potential. And I want the nearly 18 million Americans who voted for me to be respected, to be heard and no longer to be invisible.


KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: So what is next for Senator Hillary Clinton?

CNN's Jim Acosta in Keystone, South Dakota, where she won last night. Jim, just standing there, looking at the presidents behind you, what do you think that they would say about this, looking at this historic election?

JIM ACOSTA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Kyra, I don't think George Washington and Thomas Jefferson had to go through all of this. I do think the electoral college had to take a look at that election between Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr a few times before it went to Thomas Jefferson.

But Barack Obama definitely has a task on his hands over the next several days. We essentially don't know what Hillary Clinton wants, as she raised that question in that previous sound bite. Only she knows what she wants. And as she said last night during her speech in New York, she has 18 million reasons to take her time making this next move.

She is obviously positioning herself for the vice presidential running mate slot. She said as much yesterday to the New York Congressional delegation. Charlie Rangel, the powerful chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, said as much to us yesterday. And she is just like Frank Sinatra, planning to do this her way.


SEN. HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: So many people said this race was over five months ago in Iowa, but we had faith in each other. And you brought me back in New Hampshire and on Super Tuesday and in Ohio, and in Pennsylvania and Texas, and Indiana, West Virginia, Kentucky, Puerto Rico and South Dakota.


ACOSTA: Now later today, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama will be speaking to the pro-Israeli lobby AIPAC in Washington. They will both be taking aim at John McCain and the war in Iraq.

Obviously, they will both be talking about how they believe that war has turned the countries away from fighting, they believe, the war against al-Qaeda and Afghanistan. That is something we heard from both of these Democrats over the last several months of this campaign.

But as David Axelrod, the Obama campaign chairman, has said on repeated occasions and said to many reporters last night, Barack Obama doesn't get too hot. He doesn't get too cool. He has the wherewithal to give Hillary Clinton the time she needs and the space she needs to make this next decision -- Kyra.

PHILLIPS: Jim Acosta in Keystone. Thanks, Jim -- John.

ROBERTS: As the Democrats were wrapping up their primary season, John McCain kicked off the general election fights, slamming Barack Obama in his speech, time to coincide with the final Democratic primaries. McCain told supporters that he is surprised by Obama's policies.


SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), PRESUMPTIVE PRES. NOMINEE: I'm surprised that a young man has bought in to so many failed ideas.


Like others before him, he seems to think government is the answer to every problem. It's the attitude of politicians who are sure of themselves but have little faith in the wisdom, decency and common sense of free people. That attitude created the unresponsive bureaucracies of big government in the first place. And that's -- that's not change we can believe in.


ROBERTS: McCain also used the speech to knock down one of Obama's biggest talking points.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), PRESUMPTIVE PRES. NOMINEE: You'll hear from my opponent's campaign in every speech and every interview, every press release that I'm running for President Bush's third term. You'll hear -- you'll hear every policy of the president is described as the Bush/McCain policy.

Why does Senator Obama believe it's so important to repeat that idea over and over again? Because he knows it's very difficult to get Americans to believe something that they know is false.


ROBERTS: As for speaking in Louisiana, McCain spokesperson said it's not a traditional launching place for Republicans, but McCain "is not your typical Republican."

Barack Obama as we said has made history, but Hillary Clinton has not yet left the stage. Let's turn once again to our political panel. Democratic strategist Julian Epstein is a Hillary Clinton supporter, Democratic strategic Liz Chadderdon is an Obama supporter, Leslie Sanchez, Republican strategist and CNN contributor, and John Avlon, who is a self-proclaimed independent strategist.

Hillary Clinton last night, not conceding defeat. Talking about what's ahead in the future in rather obscure terms. Let's listen to what she said.


SEN. HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: In the coming days, I'll be consulting with supporters and party leaders to determine how to move forward with the best interest of our party and our country guiding my way.


ROBERTS: Best interest of the party and the country guiding her way. Julian, what does that mean?

JULIAN EPSTEIN, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: While we were in our punch-drunk moment at 5:00 in the morning this morning, we were joking about if she was the vice presidential candidate there will be like three presidents in the White House with the "Saturday Night Live" TV fun house skit.

ROBERTS: And I would be Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and Bill Clinton.

EPSTEIN: Yes. Look, there is -- I think that the Clintons ought to back off now.

ROBERTS: Really?

EPSTEIN: Yes. I think that Barack Obama is the nominee. You have to give him space to start making decisions. I don't think a public campaign for vice presidency is that becoming. Having said that, there is a very strong case for her to be vice president. And I don't want to dwell on this too much. But usually in a vice presidential candidate, you look for somebody who can bring you key states. In Hillary Clinton's case, she can bring you critical constituency groups: Hispanics, older voters, independent voters, young voters, women voters, (INAUDIBLE) older voters. So I think she brings very, very important constituency groups. So I think there's a case for her to be made.

ROBERTS: John, you're shaking your head.

JOHN AVLON, SELF-PROCLAIMED INDEPENDENT STRATEGIST: Yes, I don't think that's the case. I don't think she brings any states in play that the Democrats aren't going to win anyway.

EPSTEIN: You don't think --


AVLON: No, I don't.

EPSTEIN: You have Pennsylvania, Ohio, Florida.

AVLON: Pennsylvania was a close primary. There are a million independent voters in Pennsylvania who haven't voted. Independent voters have been going two to one for Barack Obama. John McCain has got the strongest --

EPSTEIN: That's not correct.

AVLON: It is correct.

EPSTEIN: No, no, no.

AVLON: Hillary Clinton is -- the independent voters in America are allergic to Hillary Clinton. They always have been, and that's exactly why she'd be a divisive vice presidential candidate.

EPSTEIN: That's totally contradictory to what all the exit polls showed in the since March, "The Wall Street Journal" poll showed that she was doing better with independents. It's totally, totally --

AVLON: She has edged up.

EPSTEIN: No, no, no. She was not edged up. She was winning with independents. And the "Wall Street Journal" poll would show you that.

She's also winning with Hispanic voters. She's winning with blue collar voters. She's winning with older voters. So --

LESLIE SANCHEZ, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: She is winning with Hispanic voters when you compare her to Barack Obama, but not if you compare her to John McCain who has a strong legacy of doing very well. He's a military veteran. You know, the safe issues are very strong with evangelical charismatic Catholic. That's a very different dynamic. ROBERTS: Now, the Obama campaign says that he does better among Hispanic voters than John McCain does?

SANCHEZ: That's ridiculous, and it's off the mark.

ROBERTS: They have the polling to prove it.

SANCHEZ: Well, 45 percent -- more people are going to say they're Democrats. But the Hispanics vote for candidates not for parties. I mean, that's what they keep in mind.

But there's an interesting thing. I think Hillary Clinton as a vice presidential candidate is the Trojan horse. You know, look at all the things that she brings with her.

And I think in many cases, people feel she'll be trying to undermine an Obama presidency.

ROBERTS: Liz, final thought from you. As Leslie was saying, would she undermine him if not intentionally, unintentionally? The Clintons have a rich and storied history of sucking all the oxygen out of a room?

LIZ CHADDERDON, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: They absolutely do. And I'd say I think I'm going to go ahead and agree with Cooter when he said if she becomes the vice president, then that becomes the story. The story if this is going to be --


ROBERTS: In fact, it almost lost last evening...

CHADDERDON: Absolutely.

ROBERTS: To Charlie Rangel.

CHADDERDON: And the story here now needs to be Barack Obama, his message of change, and how he can defeat John McCain, and not Hillary Clinton, Bill Clinton, three presidents in the room.

That can't be the story. If that's the story in November, we're going to have message problems. So --

ROBERTS: We'll talk more about this this morning, folks. Stay where you are. Stay pumped up. We'll be right back with you -- Kyra.

PHILLIPS: Barack Obama wins enough delegates to put him over the top. Now, the real fight begins. We're going to take a closer look at the exit polls to see what he still needs to do to get all the way to the White House.

Plus, Bill Clinton on the campaign trail. He's played hardball, but has that helped or hurt his legacy?

And later, talk radio will hit the airwaves. We'll hear what listeners are saying. We'll be live with Tom Joyner ahead on AMERICAN MORNING.


PHILLIPS: You know, we've been talking about all through the night and the morning, Barack Obama making history. Earning enough delegates to clinch the nomination. But which voters does he need to appeal to in order to make history again in November?

Senior political analyst Bill Schneider joins us now, crunching all the numbers for us. What do you think?

BILL SCHNEIDER, SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, there was a division in the primaries that a lot of people did not expect. But it turned to be very powerful and we saw it yesterday in South Dakota, and it has implications for the fall campaign.

Take a look at South Dakota voters under 30. They voted two- thirds for Barack Obama, and that's been true in many primaries throughout the season.

Now, take a look at South Dakota Democrats who are seniors, 65 and older. Two-thirds of them voted for Hillary Clinton. They were mirror images of each other.

This could be a persistent division in the general election for two reasons. One is, the difference in age between the two candidates, McCain and Obama, is greater than any in history. They're 25 years apart.

And second of all, Obama's message is one of change that divided Democrats by age. It could divide the overall electorate by age. Young voters are enthusiastic about change. They flock to the polls to vote for Obama.

Seniors, some of them are uneasy with the concept of change. It threatens them. So we're likely to see this division persist.

PHILLIPS: Boy, the change, though, it's historic. I'm just curious, you've covered so many presidential elections. I mean, for you, what makes this so unique for you?

SCHNEIDER: Well, obviously, the fact that you've got an African- American, you've got a senior, you've got no incumbent running. What's interesting to me is it's a tradeoff between two factors.

Barack Obama is not an easy candidate to elect, and not primarily because of his race, but because a lot of people say he doesn't have enough experience. He may be tough to elect.

But this is a very tough year to elect a Republican. The Republican label is absolutely toxic, so we don't know what's going to happen.

PHILLIPS: Yes. That's the beauty of it, I think.

SCHNEIDER: Right. Exactly. PHILLIPS: Very, very mysterious. Bill Schneider, thanks.



ROBERTS: Fifteen minutes after the hour now. Bill Clinton, he was once thought to be one of his wife's biggest strength. But once the campaign began, did all of that change?

Coming up, the former president's impact on the race and what it means for his own legacy.

And now the real campaign begins. John McCain and Barack Obama. Both say they are the candidate for change. We'll see how they're making their case ahead on AMERICAN MORNING.


ROBERTS: Eighteen minutes after the hour. Former President Bill Clinton, once considered a huge asset for his wife's campaign, later became just as well-known for his hot-tempered outbursts.

CNN's Brian Todd has got more on Bill Clinton's impact on the campaign and his legacy.


BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): On one hand, he's sentimental about what he says could be the end of his final campaign.

BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It has been one of the greatest honors of my life to be able to go around and campaign for her for president.

TODD: On the other hand, Bill Clinton shows a temperament some observers say they've never seen before this campaign. He reacted to a magazine article describing him as an angry ex-president with, well, anger.

CLINTON: Sleazy. He's a really dishonest reporter, and he's a real slimy guy.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, it's all over cable news.

CLINTON: Totally slimy. You just blow it off.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But he's married to Dee Dee Myers.

CLINTON: Yeah, but he -- that's all right. He's still a scumbag.

TODD: His spokesman later said Mr. Clinton wished he hadn't used that language. A perhaps fitting punctuation to what analysts say has been a huge story in this campaign. Bill Clinton's insertion of himself into this drama, sometimes overshadowing his wife's improved campaign skills. In South Carolina, it cost her.

CLINTON: Jesse Jackson won South Carolina twice in '84 and '88, and he ran a good campaign. And Senator Obama has run a good campaign.

TODD: Some believe that minimized Barack Obama's stature as the most viable African-American presidential candidate in the nation's history. Bill Clinton later said he was misinterpreted, but the damage lingered.

Here's what a key Democratic superdelegate said when asked if Mr. Clinton's behavior had any bearing on him throwing his own support to Obama.

REP. JAMES CLYBURN (D), MAJORITY WHIP: In some instances, President Clinton did in fact say some things at a time that made some of us a little bit uneasy.

TODD: Defenders say Bill Clinton's so-called retail campaigning, those day-to-day stops where he was a powerful draw have helped.

TERRY MCAULIFFE, CLINTON CAMPAIGN CHAIR: He helped her tremendously. Really brought in lots of people into the party. Huge crowds, lots of enthusiasm.

TODD: But what has this campaign done to Bill Clinton's own legacy?

ROGER SIMON, THE POLITICO: Because of some of the statements he made, because of how they were interpreted, especially about race, because of the rough and tumble of the campaign, he has really been shrunken as a figure. And he is diminished.

TODD: But Roger Simon believes Bill Clinton can build that legacy right back and will likely spend the next few years doing just that.

TODD (on camera): Other analysts we spoke to say it's way too soon to say this tarnishes his legacy, but they say this campaign is a narrative that has to be written into Bill Clinton's final story. And they say some of that narrative won't be positive.

Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.


PHILLIPS: Now, a historic milestone. Barack Obama becomes the Democrats' presidential nominee. So what do Americans have to say as they wake up to the news this morning? Ahead, Tom Joyner who is on the air right now is taking your calls.

ROBERTS: Barack Obama has changed history. From the fields of Iowa to the townhouses in Harlem, how they are embracing him in Clinton country. Ahead on AMERICAN MORNING.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) PHILLIPS: John McCain versus Barack Obama, each candidate stressing that he'll be the one to bring change to Washington.


SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), PRESUMPTIVE PRES. NOMINEE: Americans have seen me put aside partisan and personal interests to move this country forward. They haven't seen Senator Obama do the same. For all of his fine words and all his promise, he has never taken the hard but right course of risking his own interests for yours, of standing up against the partisan ranker on his side to stand up for our country.


He's an impressive man who makes a great first impression, but he -- but he hasn't been willing to make the tough calls. To challenge his party, to risk criticism from his supporters, to bring real change to Washington. I have.

SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D), PRESUMPTIVE PRES. CANDIDATE: In just a few short months, the Republican Party will arrive in St. Paul with a very different agenda.


They will. They will come here to nominate John McCain, a man who has served this country heroically. I honor -- we honor the service of John McCain. And I respect his many accomplishments, even if he chooses to deny mine.


My differences with him, my differences with him are not personal. They are with the policies he has proposed in this campaign. Because while John McCain can legitimately tout moments of independence from his party in the past, such independence has not been the hallmark of his presidential campaign.


PHILLIPS: Both candidates completely disagree with issues important to voters including the Iraq war, health care and the economy.

ROBERTS: Well, the battle has been joined. The general election has begun. So what do Republicans need to do to hold on to the White House, and what does Barack Obama need to do to knock them out of power?

Plus, campaign behind the scenes to get Hillary Clinton on the ticket as Obama's number two.


ROBERTS: Twenty-eight minutes after the hour. We have this just into AMERICAN MORNING. Just moments ago, Democratic Congressional leaders sent a memo to uncommitted superdelegates urging them to make up their minds by Friday. The goal is to unite the party. The memo was signed by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, along with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, West Virginia Governor Joe Manchin, who's the head of the Democratic Governors Association, and Party Chairman Howard Dean.

President Bush meets with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert today. On the agenda, Iran's nuclear program and peace talks with the Palestinians. Olmert is facing trouble at home. There are calls for him to step down after bribery allegations, but President Bush says he is not going to get himself involved in that scandal.

And worries in China this morning as water nears the top of a natural dam that was formed by last month's earthquake. The water is about eight feet from a spillway created to control the drainage of the water, but engineers say the dam has a 93 percent, 93 percent chance of rupturing. About 200,000 people have been evacuated from the area.

And let's go over to Kyra who's with our political panel this morning. Hey, Kyra.

PHILLIPS: Hey, good to see you. All right. Good morning. Gather my thoughts.

Just a few minutes ago, we were listening to Obama's speech, and all of us reacted to the one line he said, talking about John McCain. I respect his many accomplishments, even if he chooses to deny mine. And all of us reacted. John?

AVLON: Well, I think it's, you know, as Teddy Roosevelt once said, decency is the most practical form of politics. And I think Barack Obama has seen that.

You'll see whenever he does a policy contrast with McCain, he praises his service first. And I think that graciousness has served him well. He deserves a lot more credit than he's getting for staying out of the gutter in politics throughout this whole primary process to his great credit.

PHILLIPS: What do you think, Leslie?

SANCHEZ: I think to some extent that's going to be overplayed in that statement. I think he's going to be somebody who is subject to a lot of criticism, more now on his policies. And I think Hillary Clinton really kind of laid the groundwork in terms of inexperience and when we're talking about generational differences between the two, he has to be gracious to the more senior statesman. I think it would behoove Senator McCain to sound the same way back to him.

PHILLIPS: Well, Liz, is John McCain been too disrespectful to Barack Obama?

LIZ CHADDERDON, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: I don't know about disrespectful, but I did see a stark contrast in their speeches last night where John McCain in some ways made it personal. He's very much Barack Obama. He's not really the change candidate. And Barack Obama actually never sort of called out John McCain on specific things.

He said I have -- he has a record of accomplishment. I respect that record of accomplishment, but he's not the right person to lead America. What the tone was completely different. And I think Obama's tone is what America is really looking for.

PHILLIPS: But Julian could that tone change as things get heated up here heading towards the White House?

JULIAN EPSTEIN, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: No. I think Liz is exactly right. I think that, I think that -- look, it was McCain's (INAUDIBLE) was petulant. It was personal. It was low road. I think Obama had a lot of advice from a lot of people to take the bait in the primary campaign to hit back and get personal with the Clintons. He never did.

He always took the high road. And I think more than anything else, voters like that. They don't like the personal negative aspect that American politics has become. Obama and his own -- and this is -- Obama making this decision. This isn't the campaign advisers. Obama has understood that he needs to stay on the high road. This has served him very well. And I think he will continue to do that. Independent voters will like that. A lot of Americans like that.

PHILLIPS: I have less than a minute. I want all of you to give me your insight on this, because we got to hit Tom Joyner on the radio simulcast.

Hillary Clinton, what is she going to do next? Is she going to concede? Is she going to say OK, I want to be the VP?


JOHN AVLON, AUTHOR, "INDEPENDENT NATION": She should take the high road. I don't think she should play her cards and try to pressure her VP slot. She should try to genuinely unite the party. And in the process, they can begin uniting the country.


SANCHEZ: She's never taken the high road. I think she may suspend the campaign and see what putters out and still potentially see what viability she has.


CHADDERDON: She's out by the weekend, and she takes the high road, and brings the party together.

I agree.

PHILLIPS: We have 10 seconds.

AVLON: She will take the high road. She's out by the weekend. She will make a strong case on VP, but then I think she recedes and let Obama make this decision.

SANCHEZ: She hasn't yet. I don't why the Democrats (INAUDIBLE).

PHILLIPS: We'll be talking again. Thanks, guys. All right. Tom Joyner now with John.

JOHN ROBERTS, CNN ANCHOR: Hey, thanks, Kyra. It's 32 minutes after the hour. After a long and hard-fought campaign that went all the way to the end of the primary schedule, Barack Obama had amassed enough delegates to become the presumed nominee of the Democratic Party.

Tom Joyner is the host of the "Tom Joyner Morning Show." He is an Obama supporter. He joins us now from Dallas. In an interview that we're simulcasting on his radio show this morning.

Tom, it's great to see you. What are you thinking this morning?

Hello, Tom? It's -- Tom?


ROBERTS: Here we are. Tom, John Roberts here in New York. Good to see you. What are you thinking this morning after last night's historic victory?

JOYNER: I'm trying to calm myself down. I don't want to be like Jeremiah Wright and get to have Barack Obama have to apologize for my actions and quit me as a DJ. So I'm really trying, I'm really trying to be cool today, John Roberts, but I'm bubbling inside. I'm bubbling.

ROBERTS: What does it say about this country? Where we are now and where we're headed?

JOYNER: I think this says that we are ready for some change. If the gas prices don't say it, then this really says we are ready for some change. It is a great day in America.

ROBERTS: How fundamental a change is this in America?

JOYNER: How fundamental is this for change in America? You know, I have a 2-year-old granddaughter. And I'm sure, one day, she's going to ask me -- flat pop (ph), I won't be grandpa, flat pop (ph), what did you do to help make change in America?

And I'm going to say -- honey, princess, I was on the campaign trail for Barack Obama when no one said he could. And I think that is -- that is what this whole thing is all about. We are about change in this country. We are at a position in this country where we got to have change. Everything is crumbling around us.

We don't want to believe it, but Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton represents change in this country. And that's, I think, is the fundamental, a reason behind what we got today. ROBERTS: Tom, in his speech last night, Barack Obama acknowledged that it's going to be a tough road ahead. Let's listen to a little bit about what he said.



SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D-IL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The journey will be difficult. The road will be long. I face this challenge -- I face this challenge with profound humility.


ROBERTS: How tough, Tom, is that road ahead going to be? We lost your video signal, hopefully, we still got your audio signal. How tough, Tom, is that road going to be?

JOYNER: How tough is it going to be? You know, after watching John McCain yesterday -- last night. I don't think it's going to be that tough.

SYBILL WILKES, "TOM JOYNER MORNING SHOW": No, it's going to be tough.

JOYNER: Do you think it's going to be tough?

WILKES: I think it's going to be extremely difficult. I think if anything, a lot of people who voted for Senator Obama or Senator Clinton in the primaries are going to go back to voting for who they normally vote for, which will be a Republican candidate. And I think that the Republicans are historically a party of dirty tricks.

They -- long live Richard Nixon. And I think they are going to do everything they possibly can to makes this a difficult fight.

JOYNER: Hey, John, maybe one of the dirty tricks will be raising the gas prices so high that people can't afford to go to the polls. Only Republicans will have enough money to go to the polls.

ROBERTS: Hey, Tom. Tom, can you just introduce us to your co- host there who is speaking just a second ago?

JOYNER: That is my Sybill Wilkes.

ROBERTS: All right. OK. We know that Sybill's on board now. But when we talk about how difficult is the road ahead. I mean, for all of the progress that has been made in the very first African- American candidate to lead a national party here, as the nominee of their party, there are still a lot of hurdles to get over in this country.

There are still a lot of lingering issues that have yet to be settled. That's why I'm wondering how difficult you think the road ahead is?

JOYNER: The road to November or the road to January?

WILKES: And beyond.

JOYNER: And beyond.


JOYNER: That's what's going to be very difficult. It's the road after January and beyond. I mean, he's going to be president of the United States at the time when the United States is at its worst point. And all of that's coming on his watch. All of that is going to be on his table. And so it's going to be very, very difficult, beyond January.

ROBERTS: All right. Tom Joyner for us this morning. Tom, it's great to see you. Glad you're happy this morning.

JOYNER: How are you doing, John?

ROBERTS: All right. OK. No question, Kyra, Tom Joyner very happy this morning.

PHILLIPS: I'm wondering what's in that coffee.

Barack Obama has changed American history from the fields of Iowa to the townhouses in Harlem. How voters are embracing him in Clinton country, straight ahead.

And the controversial priest who mocks Hillary Clinton has been placed on leave. How long he'll be away from the pulpit. That's ahead.



SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D-IL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: America, this is our moment. This is our time. Our time to turn the page on the policies of the past. Our time to bring new energy and new ideas to the challenges we face. Our time will offer a new direction for this country that we love.


PHILLIPS: Barack Obama's big moment being shared by millions of people this morning. And many of those voters live near Former President Clinton's office in the Big Apple. Here's CNN's Jason Carroll.

JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, when Former President Clinton opened his office in Harlem, it represented a symbol of change in the city. Now residents there are embracing another man who represents a symbol of change in the country.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) CARROLL (voice-over): In a place like Harlem, the names and faces of those who have earned their place in history make for street signs and hot-selling T-shirts. Now, another face of a man who has made his mark.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I see it as history being made, of course.

CARROLL: This man says he never thought he'd see someone like Senator Obama get this far in his lifetime. Neither did Edgar and Linda Redwood (ph).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was hoping but I never really thought I'd see it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And even up until now, many of us have had our hearts in our mouths hoping things would turn out OK. So we're very excited about it.

CARROLL: These high school girls say they've always believed the United States is ready to accept a man of color in the White House.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He has education, and he's speaking -- he's saying good things. He's promoting good things with his campaign, so why couldn't he get as far?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And I feel like the country is stepping up a lot.

CARROLL: The Reedley (ph)'s understand the optimism of the younger generation but still question the willingness of some to get behind Obama in a general election.

JON RIEDER, SOCIOLOGIST AND AUTHOR: When you think about the nastiness in the last couple of months in the Democratic primary. We've had this resurgence of this image of a nation divided. So wounded women against wounded African-Americans. So we've got this incredible spectacle of kind of wounded identities and warring groups.

CARROLL: One key group the senator will need, white women. New York's upper west side those we spoke to say they were hoping Senator Clinton would be the one making history. But most say they'll now support Obama.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think it would have been just a good start if we had a first woman president, however I think it would have been terrific.


CARROLL: The next question, once the glow of this historic moment wears off and reality sets in, how will Senator Obama fare in the match up against Senator John McCain.

John, Kyra?

ROBERTS: Jason Carroll for us this morning. And we are following breaking news this morning. One of Hillary Clinton's high-profile supporters, billionaire Bob Johnson, the founder of B.E.T., is urging the Congressional Black Caucus to pressure Barack Obama to make Hillary Clinton his vice presidential running mate.

Johnson says it needs to be done for the sake of the Democratic Party. We will be speaking with Bob Johnson right here on AMERICAN MORNING, coming up in about 18 minutes' time, 7:00 Eastern.


PHILLIPS: Well, the race for the Democratic nomination is page one news around the world this morning. We're hitting the streets from Asia to Europe, all for reaction.

ROBERTS: And on the night that Barack Obama was making history, his presumptive Republican opponent was questioning his judgment and experience. We'll have a live report on John McCain's speech from Louisiana, ahead on AMERICAN MORNING.


ROBERTS: We're following breaking news this morning. One of Hillary Clinton's high-profile supporters, billionaire Bob Johnson. He is the founder of Black Entertainment Television is urging the Congressional Black Caucus to pressure Barack Obama to take Hillary Clinton as his vice presidential running mate.

Johnson says that it needs to be done for the sake of Democratic Party. He has issued a letter to Congressman James Clyburn, who is the House Majority Whip who you'll remember yesterday came out in favor of Barack Obama. We spoke with him here on AMERICAN MORNING. This morning, we're going to be talking with Bob Johnson about this appeal right here on AMERICAN MORNING at 7:00 Eastern.

PHILLIPS: As you know, Senator Barack Obama making history. The first African-American to lead a major party ticket and the world is reacting. We've been looking at papers from the "Irish Times" to China to Russia to Puerto Rico -- and front page.


PHILLIPS: They're talking about Barack Obama.

ROBERTS: Here's the front page of "London's Independent" newspaper, blaring the headline. "Now Bring on McCain." The "Times," of London has a similar sentiment -- "Obama Waits on the Threshold of Victory." And here is the "Chinese World Journal." Chinese newspaper published in the United States.

PHILLIPS: You're going to read that.

ROBERTS: I think it's obvious what it says. Do I have to translate for you? And this is the "Xingtao Daily" as well. Another Chinese newspaper published in the United States. "El Bosero" (ph) in Puerto Rico.

PHILLIPS: There we go. That is Spanish, we can say, "Gana Nominacion Obama." That's Puerto Rico, right? And then which one is this one?

ROBERTS: This is "El Dyaryo" which is a U.S.-published Hispanic newspaper -- "El Candidato."

PHILLIPS: Candidato --


ROBERTS: So around the world, front page news what happened here in the United States. And we called on CNN reporters around the globe to see how people are reacting to this historic moment in U.S. politics. Here's what they found.


KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on camera): Kristie Lu Stout in Hong Kong. At the Foreign Correspondents Club, a popular gathering place for reporters and media junkies. Even though Hillary Clinton has not conceded, the newspapers here have already called the race.

Take for instance this headline in today's "Apple Daily". It says "Clinton to Admit Defeat, Obama Makes History." So the attention now shifts to what's next. How will Obama address China? And will he bow to the instincts of fellow Democrats like Nancy Pelosi who is very critical of China. Now, that is the next headline.

FREDERICK PLEITGEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on camera): Of Course, Barack Obama clinching the Democratic nomination is making big headlines here in Germany. Good morning, everyone. My name is Fred Pleitgen coming to you from Berlin. And this country is very much in Barack Obama's corner.

As early as a month ago, 52 percent of Germans said Hillary Clinton should quit immediately and make room for Barack Obama. And this building here is the reason why. This is where John F. Kennedy stood as he spoke to Berliners and pledged America's allegiance to Germany in the face of the Soviet threat.

And many here see Barack Obama as something like a new John F. Kennedy, and that's why this candidate is electrifying Germany.

KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on camera): I'm Kyung Lah in Tokyo, where the town of Obama -- Japan says it doesn't matter that Hillary Clinton hasn't dropped out of the race. A town delegation says it is planning on going to the U.S. to try to meet candidate Obama now that he's clinched the nomination.

The town delegation says they do hope to try to meet Barack Obama some time in August. As far as the rest of Japan, they're getting a crash course in U.S. presidential politics. They're learning it's not quite over yet. There's another candidate for them to know and his name is John McCain.


ROBERTS: So what do you think of this milestone? Put your thoughts on video for us and tell us what you think Barack Obama's victory means for America in the presidential race. Send your video to

PHILLIPS: Did you know there was an Obama, Japan.

ROBERTS: I'm on Google Earth right now. I'm trying to find this.

PHILLIPS: I know you would be. I'm going to do Wikipedia in two seconds.

Will Hillary Clinton supporters in an all-out campaign to get her on the ticket. Breaking news, the Congressional Black Caucus being asked this morning to back Clinton as vice president. The man behind the message billionaire Bob Johnson. He's going to join us live at the top of the hour.

Also the question of the morning. What does Senator Clinton want? We're going to ask the campaign chairman live in the next hour of AMERICAN MORNING.


PHILLIPS: And checking the headlines from CNN's political ticket this morning. Two of Hillary Clinton's biggest supporters, James Carville and Campaign Chairman Terry McAuliffe said that they will back Barack Obama when Clinton concedes.

Carville says as soon as Clinton gets out, quote, "I'm going to write him a check."

Both men predict the two rivals will soon join together to help unify the party.

And assigned Democrats may unite after all. In exit poll from South Dakota, nearly 70 percent of voters say that both candidates were honest and trustworthy. It's the first time that percentage has been that high since the first contest five months ago.

ROBERTS: He turned down the presidential bid, but Michael Bloomberg may be thinking of a third term as New York City mayor. You're saying wait a minute, he can't do that, right?

Well, "The New York Times" says he and his adviser may campaign to overturn the city's term limit law. A recent poll shows that most voters are opposed to changing law despite approval of Bloomberg's job performance. Bloomberg is also said to be considering a run for governor of New York.

The controversial priest who mocked Senator Clinton at Barack Obama's former church has been placed on leave. Reverend Michael Pfleger has been told by the Archbishop of Chicago to, quote, "Step back from his obligations for two weeks." Days after Reverend Pfleger's comment, Obama left the Trinity United Church. Obama called the priest comments about Clinton, quote, "Divisive and backward looking rhetoric."

And for more up to the minute political news, just head to

Breaking news, a high-powered Clinton supporter sends a petition to Congress saying make her the VP.

Plus, drawing the line.


OBAMA: I respect his many accomplishments even if he chooses to deny mine.


ROBERTS: Two men with very different vision of this country state their claims on the same night.


SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R-AZ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The direction of this country is going to change dramatically.


ROBERTS: Start making your decision right here ahead on AMERICAN MORNING.



SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R-AZ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Americans ought to be concerned about the judgment of a presidential candidate who says he's ready to talk in person and without conditions with tyrants from Havana to Pyongyang. But hasn't traveled to Iraq to meet with General Petraeus and see for himself the progress he threatens to reverse. Americans should be concern.


PHILLIPS: John McCain welcoming Barack Obama to the general election campaign with a blistering attack in that speech that you heard a bit of there in New Orleans. It's kind of a political language that you're sure to hear a lot more of between now and November.

CNN's Joe Johns live in New Orleans this morning.

Hi, Joe. JOE JOHNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Kyra. While Obama was soaking up the moment, McCain was ripping him apart here in New Orleans. He essentially said that while Obama is a much younger man, he represents old-fashioned, old-school liberal ideas. And as far as Obama's message of concern is concerned, pick an issue from Iraq to health care, you name it. He said Obama represents the wrong kind of change.


MCCAIN: No matter who wins this election, the direction of this country is going to change dramatically. But the choice is between the right change and the wrong change, between going forward and going backward.


JOHNS: So McCain wants to position himself as the real agent of change in this election. He also distanced himself from President Bush, saying that he, McCain, is the type of person who essentially has been a maverick in the United States Senate for years with a lot of independent ideas. He wants to explain to the American people that in his view, he is the agent of change, not Barack Obama.

Back to you.

PHILLIPS: Well, Joe, you know what's interesting this morning, all the pundits talking about the tone of these speeches last night. And the tone of Barack Obama, it was very gracious. It was talking about moving forward, it was very patriotic, and it talked a lot about love and compassion and hope for the future.

And then the talk about John McCain, his mannerisms, and it wasn't as confident, and he was taking a lot of stabs. The complete opposite of what Barack Obama was trying to do. What's your sense of how those speeches played out?

JOHNS: Well, it's hard to say how it played out on TV because, of course, I was watching McCain in a room here in New Orleans. But I can tell you that McCain wanted to make a point. He wanted to contrast himself with Barack Obama and say there are a lot of clear differences here.

One of the things he really talked about and got a lot of attention for, I think, was the notion that Barack Obama has been going around the country again and again and again in speeches comparing McCain to George Bush. And McCain basically said that's a very unfair comparison because he's trying to make it look like -- hey, I'm different from George Bush in a variety of different ways.

However, you know, the facts speak for themselves. McCain has voted with George Bush in the United States a lot of times.

PHILLIPS: Joe Johns, live from New Orleans. Thanks, Joe.

JOHNS: You bet. ROBERTS: It is just coming up now to the top of the hour. Breaking news this morning. One of Hillary Clinton's most adamant supporters is putting the pressure on Barack Obama to make Hillary Clinton his vice presidential running mate.

Billionaire Bob Johnson says it needs to be done for the sake of party unity. And he is now petitioning that Congressional Black Caucus to urge Obama to select Clinton as his running mate.

Bob Johnson is the owner of the Charlotte Bobcats.