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Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees

Raw Politics: The Clinton-Obama Drama; Market Mayhem; What Went Wrong in Hillary Clinton's Campaign?; The Science of Politics; Uncovering America: Obama Making History

Aired June 06, 2008 - 23:00   ET


ERICA HILL, HEADLINE NEWS ANCHOR: In just a few hours, Hillary Clinton is expected to say she lost. And Barack Obama won. She'll then endorse his bid for president.

And while it may sound simple, after an especially long, tough primary season and last night's top secret meeting, you can bet it won't be.

And for Senator Obama, new polling tonight promises another tough campaign ahead. Those numbers show a statistical tie between him and John McCain; 49 percent to 46 percent, plus or minus 3 percent.

When it comes to Hillary Clinton as Obama's running mate, our CNN opinion research poll shows 54 percent in favor, 43 percent against the idea.

And as to the issues, today's soaring oil prices and sinking job market only reinforce the economy's position as issue number one this year.

We'll have more on all of these angles tonight.

But first, the Clinton-Obama drama; last night, tomorrow, and beyond. Here's CNN's Suzanne Malveaux with the "Raw Politics."


SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: All eyes on Hillary Clinton. Set to formally acknowledge he won. Something Barack Obama is already relishing.

SEN. BARACK OBAMA, (D-IL) PRESUMPTIVE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: In 2016, I'll be wrapping up my second term as president.

MALVEAUX: But first thing's first. Mending fences with Hillary Clinton. A late-night secret face-to-face meeting in Washington, after secretly ditching his press corps.

They met at Senator Dianne Feinstein's house chatting unaccompanied for an hour in her living room.

SEN. DIANNE FEINSTEIN, (D) CALIFORNIA: This is a deeply personal time, too. You're sorting out your feelings. MALVEAUX: No substantive breakthroughs say those familiar with the talks. The former rivals expressing relief the primary is over and pledging to work together. No talk of her joining the ticket.

Senator Feinstein said they emerged laughing.

ROBERT GIBBS, OBAMA CAMPAIGN COMMUNICATION DIRECTOR: The number one thing is -- for them was to talk about coming together and bringing this party together.

MALVEAUX: Hard work say both sides after a 17-month fight.

DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Each of them has to massage, in effect, the egos and the interests and the emotions of their supporters and bring this together. I think it's his first big challenge as a nominee.

MALVEAUX: Obama needs her voters, largely older women, white working class. Clinton needs a new role in the campaign and some help in paying off her $20 million debt. Both are on the table. But democratic leaders say what's most important now is making up for lost time.

SEN. HARRY REID, (D) MAJORITY LEADER: People need to understand that the primary's over. We have a candidate, his name is Barack Obama and the Republicans have had a candidate for a couple months and his name is John McCain.

MALVEAUX: I'm told the Obama-Clinton meeting was really just about the two candidates getting comfortable with one another. Supporters will be watching their body language and also listening to every word, taking their cues from that.

Suzanne Malveaux, CNN, Washington.


HILL: Digging deeper now with CNN's Candy Crowley and CNN's senior political analyst David Gergen.

Now, good to have you both with us tonight. We mentioned at the top of the program that 54 percent of registered Democrats want to see an Obama-Clinton ticket. But we can't forget that 43 percent that does not want to see this. That sounds like a highly and potentially damaging number. David, how does Obama overcome that?

GERGEN: Well, I'm not sure what - I think right now what he needs to do is await to see what Hillary Clinton does tomorrow. The signal she sends off will be very important. Especially after Tuesday night when she understandably took time to celebrate her own successes but did not acknowledge much less support him.

Tomorrow, if she gives fulsome praise to him, says he is the nominee, throws herself behind him; that could help on the numbers. And then he has to wait. Look, I think it's -- what we know in the polls now is this is still -- the Democrats are very divided as the polls suggest with just a slight majority favoring putting her on the ticket. But there are many, many Clinton supporters who avidly want her on the ticket enthusiastically want her on the ticket and may not vote for him.

And what we also know from your early polling is that she gives him a slight bump if she's on the ticket. But my sense is, Erica, that what he needs to do is let things settle down as he's saying but wait until early August and then find out from focus groups and surveys where people really are.

If he's 15 points ahead, 10 points ahead, which may happen by early August, if he's ten points ahead of John McCain, he may feel listen, this is too difficult to go with Hillary Clinton.

If he's only two or three points ahead or indeed if he's behind, that's a very different story and he may find that Hillary Clinton then becomes a really compelling addition to his ticket.

HILL: She's still -- she's got to be on the short list in some way, shape or form. Although Candy, I know in your interview yesterday, you tried pretty much every possible way to ask Obama whether or not in fact she would be his choice.

He was fairly evasive I think it is safe to say. Did he give you any sense, though, that he would seriously consider her coming forward?

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely. I mean, they have to seriously consider her. I think what was important for him yesterday and what is important for him as they go ahead is to stick with the "I'm in charge here; I have a process going on. It's a deliberative process. We're looking at a wide range of people, and settle down; we'll let you know when we get there."

That way I think you cool off the Clinton fervor in some ways. If he needs it cooled off, people will adjust to the idea of Barack Obama being the presumptive nominee. You'll see those numbers go back and forth. He's got time to play with it here. I agree with David, he needs to give it a month and a half or so.

HILL: A little bit of breathing room wouldn't hurt. And as we heard, of course, the most important thing we're hearing about last night's meeting was unifying the party, coming together. You would have to think the VP job came up.

But if they're talking about unity, some of the other numbers out there that could be a little perhaps make Democrats a little nervous today, 17 percent of registered Democrats said they would vote for McCain but 22 percent say they're not going to vote at all.

Is there enough time, as you said, Candy, to bring them back around to let things settle down?

CROWLEY: Sure there is. Absolutely, there is time. I mean this thing got over like earlier this week. People -- nerves are very raw. So much really depends on what she does.

He's very dependent on her, but in a lot of ways this is also about her future. She cannot be seen as not being fully onboard.

She wants a future in this party. Maybe she'll run again one day. Maybe she wants to be a major player, as she already is, on Capitol Hill, but in some sort of leadership way. Maybe she wants to be a governor. Who knows?

So he is dependent on her, but she can talk to those 22 percent. But she's also dependent on what she does for her future in the party.

HILL: Well, a lot of that support is going to depend on tomorrow, David. Of course, the 18 million supporters Hillary Clinton keeps mentioning. What does she need to say tomorrow to start bringing them over and warming them up to the idea of perhaps throwing their support behind Obama?

GERGEN: Well, I think she needs to make it extremely clear that she's an enthusiastic supporter of Barack Obama and enthusiastic supporter of the Democrats winning the White House. And then she has to make it also clear after that that she believes he shares her values, that they actually see the world in much the same way. And that she would like her supporters to come.

I think she has to give that. But now, let me just say one other thing, Erica. I think from his perspective, tomorrow is extremely important. It helps to start the healing process in a serious way.

But after a few days, what he wants to do is to let this vice- presidential question essentially float to the back burner. He needs to take charge not by spending the summer worrying about who's going to be his vice president, but by laying out a clear framework for what his presidency would be about, a compelling framework through a series of speeches about policy.

And then also, Erica, I think we're going to see some foreign travel in the next few weeks. I think it's extremely likely that we will see Barack Obama take a very high profile visit to some countries in which he can burnish his foreign policy credentials and very importantly show that there are a lot of people overseas who would like to see an AmErica that is led by an African-AmErican.

HILL: All right Candy, David, stick around. We're going to be checking in with you throughout the program. We'll are going to talk a little bit about those policies actually coming up.

And a quick reminder, Senator Clinton speaking tomorrow at noon. Our coverage live begins at 11:00 Eastern Time. Anderson, of course, has the night off. But we are still on the live blog. To join the conversation, just logon to

Up next, the sagging economy and how it plays into the race this year.

And our new poll, who you think can handle it better. We'll get some insights from David and Candy on that. And later, the inside story of what went wrong. Hillary Clinton's history making odyssey from sure thing to runner-up. That and much more tonight on "360."


HILL: From Wall Street to your street, a terrible day for the already battered economy. Stocks plunged nearly 400 points; the steepest drop in more than a year.

And at the same time, oil prices surged to a new record; up more than $10 a barrel. To make matters worse, new unemployment figures for May show nearly 50,000 jobs were lost; it is something we haven't seen in 20 years.

On the campaign trail, Barack Obama and John McCain immediately responded, both promising to save jobs while attacking each other's plans to do it.

Take a listen to what McCain had to say today.


SEN. JOHN MCCAIN, (R-AZ) PRESUMPTIVE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: These numbers are very disturbing. They're the worst in 22 years I am told. Americans are hurting. American families are hurting. American homeowners are hurting. And this is a very, very serious situation.


HILL: The economy is the most important issue in this election. The candidates know it. But can they convince you they actually know how to fix it?

Digging deeper now with our panel Candy Crowley and David Gergen.

David, right before the break, you mentioned that Obama needs to take charge, bring out some policy and give us that framework.

Today, he called that McCain more of the same while McCain said Obama's plan was a setback today. Has either one of them, though, really laid out enough concrete plans to show us how they get to their objective of fixing the economy?

GERGEN: No, I don't think they have, Erica. And I think both candidates right now are sort of far short of convincing voters that they have the right remedies for the economy.

John McCain by his own acknowledgement is a national security candidate. He has not spent a lot of time on economics in the past. He needs to strengthen himself. He's doing that.

And Barack Obama was actually losing in terms of the economic question. Hillary Clinton was winning the votes of those who said the economy was most important to them. He was winning people on Iraq. So he needs to get seriously into this too. But I think John McCain was very smart today to jump right into this about the unemployment and express his concern. But from Obama's point of view, you know, he has got -- this is sort of a lay down issue for him. This is a pile driving issue for him on the results of 7 1/2 years of Republican economics.

I mean, he ought to be going not after McCain per se, but on do you really want the Republicans to run this place for another four years with this kind of economics? That's the kind of argument that I think is -- in other words, he has to lay out the negative first in a really hard way and then come back with "here's what I would do."

I think John McCain has some good arguments on his side and he's got to stay in this. But the advantage on the economy ought to lay with the out party on this.

HILL: And in some ways, it sounds like Obama is doing that. Those three numbers by the way you are referencing to best handle the economy, registered voters were asked 50 percent say it would be Senator Obama to 44 percent in favor of McCain.

But when you look at, as you mentioned, David, do you want more of what you've had for 7 1/2 years, that's what Obama is trying to do, frame McCain as a third Bush term.

Candy, if the economy continues to head south, can McCain overcome that?

CROWLEY: It's going to be tough. I mean first of all, he is running against eight years of George Bush and Democrats are sort of the default economic party. When people get in trouble economically, they tend to look toward the government.

The Democrats are more friendly toward government help on that, and that's how it seems. So Barack Obama has sort of a turf advantage. Plus, he has a Bush advantage here. But it is not going to be enough for Obama to campaign through the fall saying he's the third term of George Bush. He needs to have something positive out there.

But you're right, at the moment what he has to do is sort of drive home that "Ok, let's look at who's got us into this mess." So McCain is definitely at a disadvantage. But I think he is doing what he is first of all needs to do for any Republican and say, "I care."

And Republicans have had a tough time doing that. He got hammered, McCain got hammered early on because he looked to not sort of toss out the economy as an issue.

So it was quite by design that we have put him out there and to go this is terrible and this is awful. People are feeling pain.

HILL: Do you think he's taken full advantage over the past few months being the presumptive Republican nominee, knowing what he needs to do, sort of having that time to circle your wagons? Because I think it's 44 percent of registered Republicans don't want to see John McCain on the ticket, David. GERGEN: Well, listen, I think given the landscape, and that is so heavily tilted against the Republicans, John McCain is doing remarkably well in these national surveys. He is in a statistical dead heat with Barack Obama in a race ordinarily the Democrats would win by five, maybe and probably by ten points.

So you have to say for starters, John McCain is doing much better than any Republican thought he would be doing at this stage of the game.

But I do think that Barack Obama is missing some tricks and not taking advantage of the economic circumstances in which we find ourselves. He's only leading by 50-44 on the economy? Give me a break.

But he's also -- and this today -- one of the things that happened Erica, that's really important, is one of the reasons that the oil prices spiked as they did today, by Club Dollars driving down the stock market was a remark by the transportation Minister of Israel saying war with Iran was inevitable.

And that sent oil prices soaring. That really means how we deal with Iran is going to have a lot to do with the price of gasoline at the pump.

HILL: And we know that is something we're not going to hear the last of. We have to leave it there. We have to take a break. But much more discussions, still to come on this topic with both David and Candy.

Up next, what went wrong? From presumed shoo-in to dropping out, we go up close just hours before her exit. How Hillary Clinton lost the Democratic race for the White House.

And later, your brain on politics. All those campaign ads and speeches, do they really make a difference when you go to vote? You may be a little surprised at what you see when "360" continues.


HILL: Up close, what went wrong in Hillary Clinton's campaign? That's coming up.

First though, Gary Tuchman joins us with a "360" bulletin. Hi Gary.


A veteran New York city crane inspector has been arrested and arraigned on charges he accepted in cash bribes in exchange for falsely reporting the cranes had been inspected and that crane operators had been certified. But the city says his alleged actions don't appear to be connected to the two recent crane collapses that killed nine people.

Scott Peterson is heading to civil court over the murder of his pregnant wife Laci. Laci's parents have filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Peterson and are seeking a multimillion dollar judgment. Peterson still insists he's not guilty. Barry Bonds is also headed to trial today. Baseball's home run king pleaded not guilty to charges of lying to a grand jury about his alleged use of performance enhancing drugs. His trial will take place next March.

And Erica, in this town, Atlanta, number two on the home run list, Hank Aaron, it will be ver interesting down the road to see if he becomes number one again if Barry Bonds is convicted, you'll be sure of this.

HILL: That it will, good point, hey Gary you got to figure out to the "Beat 360" photo. President Bush did a little finger pointing and little shouting apparently at something as he walks with the First Lady, the Vice President Cheney and his wife at the Congressional picnic at the White House yesterday.

The caption from our staff winner, one of our new summer interns Tim "You're dead to us, McClellan."

TUCHMAN: Erica, it's amazing that the Bushes and Cheney's are smiling at Mr. McClellan.

HILL: You got to smile for the camera, Gary. It is very important as you know. If you think you can do better, logon to and send us your entry and we'll announce the winner at the end of the program.

Still ahead, Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign now in it's final hours. As a reminder you can watch her announcement live tomorrow at noon right here on CNN. Before she steps aside, though, we're going to take a look at just what went wrong.

An up close look at how the former Democratic front runner lost the nomination. That's next.



OBAMA: She's been an extraordinary public servant for years now. She ran as tough a race as could be imagined. And I have nothing but respect for Senator Clinton and what she's going to contribute to the party. And I'm also confident we're going to be unified in November.


HILL: The victor thanking the vanquished. A gracious Barack Obama sharing his thoughts about Hillary Clinton to CNN's Candy Crowley.

Tomorrow, Clinton will officially endorse Obama for president and no doubt, she'll praise the presumptive Democratic nominee. It's not the ending, though, that Clinton was hoping for nor the one she expected.

You may remember she was once the front-runner, seemingly unstoppable. So just what went wrong? Let's take a look at her rise and fall, up close. (BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)

SEN. HILLARY CLINTON, (D-NY) FORMER PRESIDENTIAL: No campaign loses because of one thing, it loses because of everything.

MALVEAUX: When I first started covering all of the candidates -- all of the Democratic candidates, it was very evenly split. A lot of people loved Hillary Clinton in the beginning and a lot of people turned. Their opinion of her changed during the campaign. And you ask them why and they just didn't think that she conducted herself in a way that they could relate to.

JESSICA YELLIN, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: She was over tested, marketed, researched and she was trying to be what people told her she should be instead of being herself. And she discovered herself too late.

H. CLINTON: Thank you, thank you.

ROLAND MARTIN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: She became as some would say more human, more passionate, more emotional as her message began to change.

CROWLEY: If you came out of a Barack Obama event and asked people what they thought, they would say, "Oh, he just gives me hope. He makes me think I can make a difference."

OBAMA: Ordinary people can do extraordinary things.

CROWLEY: You come out of a Hillary Clinton event and you say to people what do you think about Hillary Clinton, what do you think about that speech? They would say "She's so smart, she knows so much stuff." So there was just a huge difference in that crowd and I think she underestimated it. I think we all underestimated it.

H. CLINTON: It's not over until the votes are cast.

YELLIN: I think the Clinton campaign folks are very frustrated because they think this is a campaign they could have won if they done things differently. If they doled out the current Hillary Clinton back in Iowa, if she showed more of a personality, let herself be passionate or strong, or even shrill, God forbid, they were so worried about that. They kept her contained.

CARL BERNSTEIN, JOURNALIST AND AUTHOR: She and her campaign apparatus were unprepared for a modern post-millennial presidential campaign. Obama understood the process. It's why he won in the caucuses. It's why he spent his money wisely. It's why she squandered hers.

YELLIN: I mean skipping the caucus states was bizarre. There's somebody who said to me, a close Clinton supporter said, if only we knew these caucus states mattered too. They were joking. But the point is it was so in retrospect foolish of them, and they know it, to not invest time and effort in those states.

CROWLEY: She lost in those caucuses and she lost in those states that they decided not to play in.

MARTIN: When she made that comment, well, these are small states that we're not going to win in November. And I was sitting there going, "Yes but there are Democrats living they are not who are actually voting." That was just a stunning blow-off. That's why she lost.


HILL: Do you think that's why she lost?

Next on "360," Bill Clinton speaking his mind. Did his controversial remarks do in his wife's campaign? That's ahead.

And later, forget about the issues, it's your emotions that may decide your votes. We'll show you why when "360" continues.



H. CLINTON: I understand that a lot of people are asking what does Hillary want? I want the nearly 18 million Americans who voted for me to be respected, to be heard, and no longer to be invisible.

HILL: A speech to remember; Hillary Clinton conceding nothing to Barack Obama earlier this week. She talked a lot about what she wanted and topping that list, of course, was to be president. But it won't happen this year.

While her supporters pushed for her to be Obama's running mate, it is important to understand why she didn't capture the nomination. Those reasons may be found in some critical turning points along the campaign trail.

Let's take another look now at what happened, up close.


YELLIN: The Bill Clinton thing is tricky. Bill Clinton hurt her on the national stage and helped her enormously in small towns across the country.

It's these gaffes that get picked up and broadcast through YouTube and the Internet in this era that really hurt Clinton, both Clintons, on the national stage.

BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Jesse Jackson won South Carolina twice, in '84 and '88.

GLORIA BORGER, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: There was a sense after South Carolina that he had, in fact, raised the race issue in ways that they didn't like.

CARL BERNSTEIN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: You have watched Bill Clinton try to save her campaign and simultaneously undermine it. CROWLEY: If her last name weren't Clinton, you'd have to think she probably wouldn't have been running for president with so much wind behind her.

GERGEN: Overall, he was an enormous asset to her. She would not have been the presumptive nominee of the party or the clear front-runner in the beginning had she not been Bill Clinton's First Lady. But he was a little off his game at times.

MALVEAUX: The one incident that really undermined her credibility was this whole story that she talked about when she came under sniper fire in Bosnia.

H. CLINTON: I remember landing under sniper fire. There was supposed to be some kind of a greeting ceremony at the airport, but instead, we just ran with our heads down to get into the vehicles to get to our base.

MALVEAUX: And the tapes came out, and they were playing for days where you saw that that just wasn't the case.

YELLIN: I think the sniper fire incident resonated with people who already had doubts about her. If they already wondered about her motivations or were suspicious of who she was, then this proved to them that she's dishonest.

CROWLEY: The reason that Bosnia stuck to her was that there were people out there who believed that she would say or do anything to become president.

GERGEN: There is a very strong feeling, almost universally shared within the Clinton entourage, that the press contributed to her defeat, that the press held her to a double standard, that we were not fair to her in a variety of ways, that there was some sexism shown.

Did we play a role? Did we play the wrong role in -- and bringing her down? And I don't have an answer to it, but I do think that it's something that deserves consideration.

MARTIN: You listen to Bill Clinton and others complain about the media, the media, the media. Yes, but you weren't complaining for a whole year when everybody was saying she's inevitable, when they said nobody can beat her.

H. CLINTON: The question is where do we go from here?

BORGER: It's not the end of Senator Clinton's career. I think we're all watching the end game pretty carefully.

BERNSTEIN: This is an extraordinary story that's playing out and another element is this angered army that is behind her that the party hierarchy fears to some extent, because if those people stay home, Obama is going to have a terrible time winning.

CROWLEY: We'll see when it turns out where she goes. If Barack Obama loses, I can assure you that the day after Barack Obama loses, everyone will talk about Hillary Clinton's next run. Whether or not she'll do it, whether or not she'll be successful, I don't know. But she is a national politician who will have a national role in some way, shape or form.


HILL: We want to continue tonight's strategy session with Candy Crowley and David Gergen.

Candy, you mentioned at the beginning there that no campaign is lost over one single thing, but it does have to start to unravel at one point. What was that point for Senator Clinton?

CROWLEY: I actually think it was when she voted to -- yes on the Iraq war resolution. I think it goes back that far. She did it at the time, and we all said Democrats have a tough time convincing people that they can be tough on national security. This is certainly the first vote she cast with an eye on running for president in 2008.

But it turned on her. The war turned, and her vote turned on her. Because before Barack Obama became a rock star and his numbers started to rise, before Hillary Clinton was out on the campaign trail, that campaign trail and the people waiting for their candidates to come was already heated up by the war. It was the anti-war core of the Democratic Party, the activists, who were fueling this campaign, who really brought the crowds in.

Now, that anti-war sentiment spread out and encompassed the entire party eventually. But when she cast that vote, it gave him the time, because he was against the war, though he was not in the Senate, but he gave the famous speech against it and used it during the campaign. It gave people, those anti-war people someone to look at. And I think it was the match that lit his campaign.

HILL: Do you think she was doomed from the beginning?

CROWLEY: No. But I think when you look -- when you look back, this is where he got his foot in.

HILL: OK. We've taken so much time to look back at what went wrong. But there were a number of things over the last 17 months that did go right or that were done well, David. What are some of those things that Senator Clinton got right?

GERGEN: Well, I think it was extraordinary how many times she sort of came back from being, you know, "The Perils of Pauline." The train was coming down the tracks. She was about to be run over, and she escaped.

And in New Hampshire, she was on the verge of defeat. There was a -- there was a period of time, two or three hours, when her campaign thought it was over in New Hampshire, and she bounced back. Super Tuesday, she came back again.

There are three or four times in this -- in this campaign when she was right on the edge of being pushed out, and she rallied. And she rallied very effectively.

I think, in fact, many of her supporters, in retrospect, were most for her when she seemed vulnerable and down. It was when she was up and in charge and there was a certain arrogance factor that crept in, a certain entitlement factor that seemed to creep into the campaign. That's when people were less, you know, "I'm not so sure. Let's look at Barack Obama."

But then when she got hit and went down, she had this resilience. Just as her husband has always had this capacity to bounce back.

I also felt that, even though she got off to a very bad start in the campaign -- and Candy has a good point about her vote on Iraq -- but I also felt that there came a point where she did rally and find her voice much more.

She became the fighter. She sometimes overdid it. She sometimes looked like she would do anything to win, as Candy said. But there was also a sense that she was a brave, resolute woman who was willing to fight to the end. She wasn't a quitter.

And I think a lot of people, especially women, liked that in her. And they -- and they are now -- they're stronger in their support of Hillary today than they were when the campaign started. And that's one of the dilemmas for Barack Obama as you head into tomorrow.

HILL: Right. That will be one of the big hurdles.

Candy Crowley, David Gergen, always a pleasure. Thank you both.

GERGEN: Thank you.

HILL: And just a reminder: you can see Senator Clinton's announcement tomorrow at noon right here on CNN. Our coverage begins at 11 Eastern.

Up next, your brain on politics. Now, most of us probably think when we choose a candidate, we do it based on reason and fact, the issues. But it turns out it's really much more about emotion, and the candidates know it.

And later, disturbing video of a hit and run. The worst part here, the witnesses seem to be ignoring rather than helping the victim. But things aren't exactly what they seem. We'll have the full story for you, coming up on 360.


HILL: Tonight, we are taking an in-depth look at the new science of politics. Not political science, but literally, we're looking at your brain on politics.

And as much as we may like to think we choose presidential candidates based on reason and fact, new research suggests our guts actually calls the shots most of the times. It's a lesson neither Barack Obama nor John McCain can afford to ignore. Here's CNN's Randi Kaye.


RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The year was 1964. Lyndon Johnson was running for president against conservative Barry Goldwater when his campaign unleashed this.

A little girl, a mushroom cloud and a booming voice, warning the stakes were too high not to vote for Johnson; enough to scare the voters and help elect Johnson. He won by the widest margin in history.

Fast forward more than 40 years, and those same fear tactics are still playing out today. Have you noticed the candidates trying to scare you with attack ads? You may not like these ads. You may even think they don't work, but your brain knows better.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Two wars, oil prices skyrocketing and an economy in crisis.

KAYE: Emory University psychologist Drew Westen, author of "The Political Brain," says fear-based attack ads are very effective because they reach the voters' subconscious.

Is the subconscious smarter than we think?


KAYE: To prove it, we asked Westen and his business partner, Joel Weinberger, to measure how this group of undecided voters responds to attack ads. Their company,, has developed software to probe the subconscious.

The voters watched the ads, then identified the color of key words like "weak," "inexperienced," or "terrorist." If they hesitate, even for a thousandth of a second, it means the words had impact and so did the ads.

WESTEN: If the word is on their mind, if the word was activated, it will slow them down.

KAYE: Westen says that response time measures voters' subconscious feelings. Take Hillary Clinton's 3 a.m. ad, designed to make Barack Obama look inexperienced.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's 3 a.m., and your children are safe and asleep.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That one, to me, was pandering and fear-mongering.

KAYE: Did it make you think Hillary Clinton is a stronger leader than Barack Obama?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Not at all. It made me think that she's much more political than he is. KAYE: in fact, no one in the group thought it made them doubt Obama, but it did. The group had the strongest associations with words like "weak" and "lightweight," which Westen says means the ad made them question Obama's readiness, and they didn't even know it.

WESTEN: Its purpose, too, is to make him seem like he's scary, like he's dangerous, like you need to be afraid if this guy as a president. And I think that message unconsciously got through.

KAYE: Still not convinced? Watch what happened with this ad against John McCain.

MCCAIN: I don't think Americans are concerned if we're there for 100 years or 1,000 years or 10,000 years.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A hundred years in Iraq? And you thought no one could be worse than George Bush.

KAYE: It got a thumbs-down from our group, but Westen's data shows it left them feel feeling McCain has poor judgment and is too close to President Bush.

When this test was given to a much larger group, 100 voters, the results were nearly identical.

Why does this happen? Westen says the ads trigger a response in a part of our brain that experiences emotion. Still, Westen believes attack ads are risky. They can backfire.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think the attack ads try show the weakness of the candidate who's pushing the attack ad. So it looks like Hillary Clinton with the 3 a.m. phone call is saying that "People don't think I'm fully capable, so I'll make this ad."

KAYE: The ticket to the White House, Westen says, is making voters feel inspired by you and worried about your opponent. If you don't believe that, just ask your subconscious.

Randi Kaye, CNN, Atlanta.


HILL: Your brain on politics. It really brings a whole new meaning to winning hearts and winds.

Joining us now, Dr. Gail Saltz, who's a professor of psychiatry at New York Presbyterian Hospital.

Good to have you with us, Doctor. We heard in the story there, Dr. Westen suggesting that Senator Clinton, her focus on policy over emotion actually hurt her. So is that part of the reason, now, that we're waiting on her concession speech and not a victory speech?

DR. GAIL SALTZ, PROFESSOR OF PSYCHIATRY, NEW YORK PRESBYTERIAN HOSPITAL: I think it's very, very possible. If you look at it, at this time in history when the president has the lowest ratings ever and the country is really demoralized, we're feeling hopeless over the economy and the war.

Obama used words like "change," "hope," "action." They have high emotional valence, particularly at this time. Clinton used words like "conversation" and "leader," and they didn't have the same emotional valence. And in addition, Obama delivered them with a tremendous inspirational tone. That also affected things greatly. So yes, I think actually it did play a big role.

HILL: And you thought of something that really struck a cord with me. You mentioned the words and also the delivery. Is one more important than the other? Or do you have to have the combination to make it work?

SALTZ: I think they're additive. Words matter all by themselves. So for instance, the word "gun," in some parts of the country where hunting is favored, you know, it's going to conjure up ideas of family, sportsmanship and warm, fuzzy good feelings. In some urban areas, it's going to smack of crime, of people getting hurt, of violence. So you need to know who you're delivering that word to and what their psyche will do to interpret then.

And then in addition -- additive -- can be your presentation of it. So if you have a lot of charisma, if you do it in an emotional way. And what kind of emotion are you transmitting? Is it inspiration or is it something fearful or anxiety producing?

HILL: Is that something that you can learn and make it believable in your delivery, especially for a politician?

SALTZ: Yes, I do believe so. I mean, if you think about it, right there, actors and actresses who deliver things in a very believable way and those who don't. So it is, in some ways, a gift, but it can be a talent. And it can be something that's delivered.

If you think about it, a campaign is really about PR and marketing. And interestingly, the father of public relations was the nephew of Sigmund Freud. He used those same concepts of the unconscious.

And that's what we're talking about here. It's not the conscious meaning of the word: it's the unconscious emotion it evokes. Because when it's out of your awareness, it has the ability to make you behave and do certain things that you wouldn't if you knew it was present.

HILL: And is that reaction, though, the same in every brain for every person?

SALTZ: Great question. People are incredibly individual. Some people are more emotionally based. Some people's amygdale (ph), as you saw in the piece, have more -- are ready for anxiety more than others. So they're more primed, and they're going to be more susceptible.

But it is the very analytical person who thinks that emotion doesn't affect them at all, who's probably at greatest risk, because they don't know that this is playing in for them. And, unless you have brain damage and don't have those emotional centers, it plays out for everybody.

HILL: So how well, then -- we have about 30 seconds left -- but how well do you think politicians and especially the candidates understand this and, in turn, program to it and to us as voters?

SALTZ: Well, I think for a long time, in some ways, Republicans have known this. They have delivered, with a lot of emotional valence, their message.

Democrats are now catching up. I think they're starting to understand and are using these techniques and are using people in their campaigns to, in fact, tap into this, this unconscious message that plays such a big role and can even override reasoning, particularly in the voting booth.

HILL: So that being said, I only have time for a name either way. Who do you think gets it more right now, the McCain campaign or the Obama campaign?

SALTZ: Well, it remains to be seen, but I do think -- I do think Obama really has a special talent in this arena of deciding what words to use with a particular valence.

HILL: Dr. Saltz, always a pleasure. Thank you.

SALTZ: Thank you.

HILL: Just ahead, something that maybe gets lost in all the moment- by-moment political coverage; the fact that Barack Obama's victory is literally history in the making. When we return, the kids who are watching a moment unfold that their parents and grandparents could only dream about.

Also, the video, so disturbing; a man hit by a car, then left alone in the middle of the road. So why didn't anyone help?

Well, apparently someone did. The 911 calls coming up.



OBAMA: I will be the Democratic nominee for the president of the United States of America.


HILL: With those words, Senator Barack Obama made history this week, a milestone that came nearly 45 years after Martin Luther King's "I have a dream" speech. Obama had just turned 2 when Reverend King led the massive march that became a defining moment in the civil rights movement. Now the Illinois senator is giving a new generation new dreams.

"Uncovering America," here's CNN's Gary Tuchman.


TUCHMAN: It's time for U.S. Government class at North Community High School in Minneapolis.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Britney, you're going to be president.

TUCHMAN: And there's excitement and adrenaline in the air at this predominantly African-American school. Barack Obama walked into the history books Tuesday night just a few miles from here.

Valencia McMurray is a junior.

When you were a little girl, would you have thought it would be possible for a black person to be president of the United States?

VALENCIA MCMURRAY, STUDENT: Never. Because it just -- it just never would have crossed my mind. I have a good imagination, but I couldn't have thought of this.

TUCHMAN: Do you feel you have a voice?


TUCHMAN: At many schools across America, school work is now combined with inspiration.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's history in the making, really because if he gets elected, it will go down in history as him being the first black president.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thirty years from now, we could be anything, you know?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It just gave me hope that change is on the way.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't think people should get overexcited because he's not in office yet.


TUCHMAN: The discussion, sometimes candid.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What if circumstances were different -- another white senator running against another white senator, would you feel as excited or enthused about the opportunity to participate in this coming November election?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I would see it, you see, as just another election.

TUCHMAN: One of the three Caucasian students in this class of 36, told us something that caught many here by surprise.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I know people who would, under normal circumstances, voted for Hillary, but they're going to vote for Obama because this has happened. Their friend has told them if you don't vote for Obama, you're a racist.

TUCHMAN: All in this class agree this will be a dramatic time for them and the country.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Frederick Douglass said -- this isn't an exact quote. But he pretty much said that people who want change without any work or any struggle are like people that want rain without thunder and lightning.

TUCHMAN: For these students, the lesson plan has never seemed so relevant.


HILL: It's so great, Gary because I imagine there are so many young people around the country who are also looking at this and seeing new hope for themselves.

TUCHMAN: Their only fear in that classroom, Erica, is that classroom is that racism could rear its ugly head between now and November.

HILL: An interesting comment, too, from that one student who said people said if you don't vote for Obama, you're a racist.

A great story, as always Gary Tuchman.

And we also have a few more up for us including an update on one a lot of people have been following in this "360 News and Business Bulletin".

TUCHMAN: That's right, Erica.

Your home state, Connecticut, authorities there are offering a $10,000 reward for help finding the drivers involved in a hit-and-run incident that critically injured a 78-year-old man.

A surveillance camera recorded everything. And in the video, no one steps forward to help the man. Today, police released audiotapes of two 911 calls made from the accident scene.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Send an ambulance quick. He's hit hard.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is the car still there?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you get the license plate of the car?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, no. Send an ambulance quick, quick, quick. He's bleeding hard.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This guy, oh my God, he's bleeding so bad. (END VIDEOCLIP)

TUCHMAN: Pitiful situation. Once again, he's in critical condition.

The White House said today that President Bush is considering new measures to help stimulate the economy, but during a speech on the economy, Mr. Bush didn't unveil any new proposals. This as oil prices and unemployment soared and Wall Street took a big dive.

And in northern Japan a rare black watermelon weighing 17 pounds was auctioned off for a record $6,100; it's about $359 a pound. This type of fruit is sort of the caviar of its class. We hope it tastes like caviar. Interesting combination, Erica: fish eggs and watermelon. It might work.

HILL: Yes, I'm passing on that one.

All right, Gary, time now for the "Beat 360" winners. We know how it works. We post a picture on the blog. Viewers compete with our staff to come up with the best caption.

Tonight's picture was taken at the annual congressional picnic on the White House South Lawn yesterday.

Our staff winner is our summer intern Tim. His caption: "You're dead to us, McClellan."

Oh, the horror.

And tonight's viewer winner, Wayne from West Virginia. Did he do better than Tim? Here's what he had to say: "Fulfilling a lifelong dream, President Bush finally finds Waldo."

Tim, I got to say I really liked Wayne's.

You can check out all the other captions we received on our blog at

Just ahead, he may not be faster than a speeding bullet, but he did manage to leave a plane in the dust. He calls himself Sputnik. It's our "Shot of the Day," next.


HILL: All right, Gary. Ready for tonight's "Shot"? It's a bird; it's a plane. No, it's just a guy from Switzerland in a puffy white suit. This is high over the windswept Arran Islands in Ireland.

You're looking at a stunt man who likes to be called Sputnik. What Sputnik did was fly faster than an airplane. No kidding here. In a race he actually beat his fixed-wing competitor by nearly six minutes to the airport.

He likes the daredevil life, apparently. Earlier this year, he jumped off the Eiffel Tower. Of course, the downside to being Sputnik is you really can't bring much luggage with you, Gary. TUCHMAN: They allow you to jump off the Eiffel Tower if you want to?

HILL: I would imagine it wouldn't be that well-received. Maybe he had special clearance. He is Sputnik, after all.

TUCHMAN: I suppose. If you're Sputnik, you can do it. If you're Gary Tuchman or Erica Hill, forget it.

HILL: Not happening for us.

Gary, thanks. Have a great weekend.

TUCHMAN: You, too.

HILL: For international viewers, "CNN Today" is next. Here in the States, "Larry King" is coming up.