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Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees
Barack Obama to Announce His Running Mate Saturday
Aired August 22, 2008 - 23:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JOHN KING, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening, again, John King here in Denver, the site of Monday's Democratic National Convention.
And we have "Breaking News" tonight and lots of it.
CNN has confirmed that Barack Obama will announce his running mate tomorrow morning; Saturday morning. And that crucially, Senator Hillary Clinton is not -- repeat not his choice nor is the Virginia Governor, Tim Kaine or Indiana Senator Evan Bayh.
The focus now shifting to Delaware Senator Joe Biden. Here's the shot this evening of his home in Wilmington, Delaware. And you can see there's quite a buzz outside. It has been that kind of a day, quite a day.
More now from CNN's Candy Crowley.
CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: The vow of silence inside the Obama campaign is holding amidst real intrigue and high hilarity. At least the candidate seems amused.
Some things are known. Many of those who are not Obama's choice have been told so. Some time in the last 48 hours, Bill Richardson learned it won't be him. And Hillary Clinton, always seen as unlikely, is now improbable. Several former Clintonites confirmed on the record what they had been saying anonymously, she was never vetted for Obama's number two.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you still want the job?
SEN. HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON, (D) NEW YORK: I have never said I did.
CROWLEY: Reporters staked out the home of the most frequently mentioned possibilities and the news ended up looking like a real estate show. A modicum of activity around the Delaware home of Senator Joe Biden was tantalizing, especially since a charter flight from midway in Chicago had landed in New Castle. Equally suspicious, Biden has been dodging cameras for days.
SEN. JOE BIDEN, (D) DELAWARE: I'm not the guy.
CROWLEY: Those potential candidates unlucky enough to emerge from their homes today were unhelpful. Long shot Kathleen Sebelius, the Governor of Kansas.
GOV. KATHLEEN SEBELIUS, (D) KANSAS: I don't really comment on my phone calls.
CROWLEY: And Chet Edwards, a Congressman from Texas, a self-confessed dark horse.
REP. CHET EDWARDS, (D) TEXAS: I'm probably better known at my son's little league ball games and Boy Scout campouts than the social circles in Washington, D.C.
CROWLEY: Trying to conduct their lives amidst the madness, the frequently mentioned Senator from Indiana Evan Bayh taking his sons to tennis camp. And the Governor of Virginia, Tim Kaine, taking his son to college.
Also unproductive - a tip that Obama-Bayh bumper stickers were being printed up at a political paraphernalia factory in Missouri. An official at the plant said nothing was being printed, but conceded there were templates being made. Which ends up to, be a big nothing any way, ask someone who's been there.
STEPHANIE CUTTER, FORMER KERRY STRATEGIST: They had four different signs made up with four different names on them. We had confidentiality agreements; four different speeches written; four different backdrops done. So we had done enough planning to throw people off the trail. But I thought we could continue to hold this.
CROWLEY: Campaigns have played this game forever. It's just that Obama has played it better than most.
KING: That's Candy Crowley there reporting earlier tonight from Chicago.
Let's digest all of this, and there's a lot of it. Our CNN senior political analyst, Gloria Borger is outside the Pepsi Center here in Denver.
Gloria, let's start with Senator Clinton. Now, we've all known, that 99.9 percent sure for some time she would not be Barack Obama's running mate. But this Convention Hall will have quite a sizable Hillary Clinton contingent in it.
Tonight, we are told they have sent some word to Hillary Clinton that it is not her. Has that part of it been handled right or will there be a problem here on the floor?
GLORIA BORGER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I think Hillary Clinton is always going to have her die-hard supporters. And I think you've seen in the polls John, that Barack Obama has had a bit more difficulty in attracting some of those Hillary Clinton supporters.
Those -- the Clinton folks used to call them the waitress voters. Those lower income women, those older women also. And so I think the Obama campaign is trying to do everything it can to kind of bring these folks in the fold. So they've given the Clintons prominent speaking roles. She's going to have a roll call vote they did some stuff for her in the platform. But in the end, this is Barack Obama's convention; it's not Hillary Clinton's convention.
KING: And so Gloria, let's continue through process of elimination. This is not a final choice yet but a lot of attention directed up to Wilmington, Delaware, tonight.
If in the end it is indeed, Joe Biden, he is someone who criticized Barack Obama during the primaries. A, does that make a difference? And B, what does a Joe Biden bring to the ticket?
BORGER: Well, I think -- it doesn't make that much of a difference, particularly depending on who John McCain picks. If he picks Mitt Romney, well, Mitt Romney criticized John McCain too.
And I think Biden and Obama grew to be kind of close during this campaign. If you recall, remember when Biden declared his candidacy for presidency and then an interview came out that day, John, in which he called Barack Obama articulate, and it created a huge stir?
And Biden had to apologize to Barack Obama on day one of Biden's presidential campaign? Obama accepted it and they became friends afterwards. So I don't think that will be so much of a problem.
But what he does bring to the ticket is experience, particularly national security experience. He's a Catholic who can speak to working class voters. All of those things help Barack Obama.
KING: And it's an interesting choice if it is Biden, in the sense that the two others we've eliminated tonight, Evan Bayh of Indiana, Virginia Governor Tim Kaine. They were viewed as sort of the pick a guy to get a state. Virginia has been trending Democratic, but has gone Republican in past presidential elections. Indiana has gone Republican for some time.
So it's a different tactic isn't it in making the choice as strategic thing to not to say, let's pick a state?
BORGER: You know, it is, it's interesting because Obama himself, as well as top folks in his campaign, have been saying all along that this pick was not going to be to win a state.
They said it's going to be about a comfort level and about somebody who can help Barack Obama govern. And you heard Obama say that just in the last day that he wanted someone to help him govern.
Well, Joe Biden knows his way around the Senate. He knows his way around the foreign policy bureaucracy. And he's also somebody who's known as an independent thinker and somebody who has got quite a mouth.
If he thinks Barack Obama is doing something wrong, I guarantee you he would tell him. KING: And continuing the conversation in terms of how they made this choice, Gloria, they're sending out this text message with the official word in the morning.
KING: What is the strategy behind that? They obviously have done this amazing job, using the Internet as an organizing tool, as a fund- raising tool.
KING: Is there something to be gained by doing the announcement this way?
BORGER: Yes, it's very, very important to them. They've used it remarkably well to raise money. And the key to this campaign is to making their volunteers feel like they're a part of this campaign that has grown from the ground up. They use the word empowering our volunteers and supporters.
So they want their supporters to feel like they're in the loop. Why should we in the media be anymore in the loop than the people who have supported Barack Obama all along? And so this is an important way they feel not only to get more people involved, but to get the folks who are already involved to feel like they have a stake in the Obama candidacy.
And that the candidate himself wanted them to know first. And so they feel that it's a way of reaching out and they can reach a lot of people at once.
KING: And a big rally planned at the Statehouse in Springfield, Illinois in the morning; all part of a rollout, a parade if you will of the ticket into the convention here in Denver. I assume they hope -- there's a fire alarm going off inside the hall here.
So Gloria, what do they hope to gain from that as they move their way here into Denver?
BORGER: Well, you know it's going to be one of those rallies where they hold their hands up and they declare that they're finally the ticket and they kind of start reintroducing Joe Biden to voters.
Joe Biden, if he is the nominee, is going to tell people about Barack Obama and why he supports Barack Obama. And why he, Joe Biden, a man of some experience, again, if it is Joe Biden, why he would support this relative newcomer to take the job of President of the United States.
So it's a way for them to introduce themselves as a team to the American public.
And I think that's why Obama wanted to do it at Springfield. It's where he started his candidacy and it's where he wants to start this last journey he takes, he hopes to the White House. KING: And Gloria Borger outside the hall, a big exciting night, including a test of the fire alarm right here in the Pepsi Center.
BORGER: Right I'm here.
KING: You can hear me change versus experience.
Bill Schneider will punch the numbers.
And later tonight, in a world away from Denver a reminder of Barack Obama's humble roots. A long lost relative, watching his older brother, half brother, make history.
Also new developments tonight on those allegedly underage members of the Chinese gymnastics team; their parents weighing in.
That and much more when "360" continues.
KING: The view there, that's a rare shot, isn't it? That's Senator Joe Biden's driveway in Wilmington, Delaware.
Recapping our "Breaking News," CNN has confirmed that both Tim Kaine, the Virginia Governor, and Evan Bayh, the Indiana Senator will not, emphasis on not, be Barack Obama's running mate. Leaving a wild card, a big name like Hillary Clinton or Joe Biden.
As Candy said before the break, he's a blue-collar Senator. He takes AMTRAK to the office. He's got a class to teach tomorrow morning at the Widener University Law School. The dean there says, he's rarely missed a lecture in the last 17 years. The question tonight is, will he make an exception tomorrow?
A Joe Biden on the ticket will bring a great deal of experience, experience that John McCain already brings to the top of the GOP slate. The question tonight, is that what Senator Obama is looking for, and is that what the voters are looking for?
The "Raw Politics" now from CNN's Bill Schneider.
BILL SCHNEIDER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Barack Obama could choose a running mate who reinforces his message of change.
SEN. BARACK OBAMA, (D) PRESUMPTIVE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: We are going to fundamentally bring about change in America.
SCHNEIDER: How about a Washington outsider like Kansas governor, Kathleen Sebelius? Women are often seen as political outsiders.
GOV. TIM KAINE, (D) VIRGINIA: The finest of the fine.
SCHNEIDER: Or Virginia Governor Tim Kaine?
OBAMA: Tim Kaine got in this thing for the right reasons.
SCHNEIDER: On the other hand, Obama's limited experience seems to be a weakness.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What process would you use to pull in the experience that you would need?
SCHNEIDER: He could go for Senator Hillary Clinton, who's been in Washington since 1992. Or Evan Bayh, two-term governor of Indiana, two-term Senator. Joe Biden's been in the Senate for 36 years. How's that for experience?
OBAMA: I've joined with people like Joe Biden to increase a billion dollars of investment.
SCHNEIDER: Is it possible for Obama to do both, reinforce his message of change and reassure voters he has people around him with experience?
OBAMA: The key to bringing about change in Washington is going to be to get some good people in there, get a good president, get a good Senator, get good Congressmen in there.
SCHNEIDER: Chet Edwards has been in Congress for 18 years. He's a moderate Democrat who sometimes supports President Bush and sometimes opposes him.
REP. CHET EDWARDS, (D) TEXAS: We have had a lot of disagreements on how to end the Iraq war and on the budget plan of the administration.
SCHNEIDER: After all, he's President Bush's Congressman.
Senator Obama talks a lot about bipartisanship and ending the partisan gridlock in Washington. That certainly would be a change.
Bill Schneider, CNN, Denver.
KING: Change versus experience. That was the big question for Barack Obama as he considered his running mate. We're getting closer to the choice. We have a lot of new clues tonight. We'll break that down when we come back.
Also, the Hillary Factor, she says she's going all out for Obama, but is she really, and is that relationship in jeopardy?
Then, a close Obama relative watching from a world away.
A break first, though, from Denver. This is "360."
KING: Back now, you're looking at a picture of Senator Joe Biden's residence there in Wilmington, Delaware. A lot of media attention outside the home tonight. And here's why. CNN's confirming tonight that two other leading names in Barack Obama's VP stakes have been told it's not them.
CNN knows now that the Virginia Governor Tim Kaine and that Indiana Senator Evan Bayh we are told are told by multiple sources are out of the running. Senator Obama will send the official word by text message tomorrow morning, innovation there, shortly before a joint campaign event in Springfield, Illinois.
Let's talk strategy now with CNN's political analyst Gloria Borger, David Brody from Christian Broadcasting Network, also a CNN contributor and CNN's Suzanne Malveaux, who has spent a lot of time with the Obama campaign.
Gloria, let's start with you, change versus experience, hope, changing Washington. Those are the big Obama campaigns.
KING: How do you meld Joe Biden into that message if it is in fact Joe Biden?
BORGER: Well, I think he clearly went for the reassuring route to reassure those people that believed that he couldn't go toe to toe with John McCain on national security. He also went the route of somebody I think he grew to feel quite comfortable with on the campaign trail.
And I also think that he believes that Joe Biden is Catholic, from Delaware, near Pennsylvania, could do him some real help with those folks, those working class voters that he has some problems with, that he believes, I believe the campaign thinks that Joe Biden could really help him with.
KING: And David Brody, what would it tell us about Barack Obama if in fact it is Joe Biden? A lot of people throughout this campaign, especially the Republicans say, "Huge ego, this guy is just so full of himself." Even some top Democrats. I have an old friend in the Obama campaign who calls him "Oba-me," says he has such a big ego. Joe Biden is no shrinking violet; you're not getting a quiet guy.
DAVID BRODY, CHRISTIAN BROADCASTING NETWORK: No, not at all. And I think the Obama campaign will spin it that way to say look, this is a guy, Joe Biden, that's going to give some straight talk to coin a phrase.
So I mean I think that's a big part of it. And I think, what we're learning about Barack Obama is that there's no doubt there is a killer instinct inside of him. And he wants to win and he knows that on foreign policy, which is where his weakness will be, that he needs Joe Biden, if this is going to be the case.
On the economy, McCain has had some problems of his own. So Barack Obama, the calculation could be at this point, that the economy he can handle on that front. But its foreign policy where he really needs the help and that may be why Biden is the pick. KING: Suzanne Malveaux, it is hard to find a presidential election, especially in recent years, where the vice presidential pick has made much of a difference, the pick itself. But it is a window on how the candidate thinks and when the candidate is 47 years old, a relative newcomer of the national stage, a lot of people want to look in that window.
What do we know about the process, the questions Barack Obama had for his staff and for himself about what he wanted?
SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: For sure. I mean, there was one thing that they didn't expect with this level of frenzy the fact that we're all carrying blackberries and we have all our cell phones waiting for this text message.
But this really does show the kind of discipline from the Obama campaign. I mean this is a man who has sat side by side, face to face with these candidates and he has needed to feel comfortable. He says he wants somebody who is an independent thinker, someone who offers something in addition, at the table here, bring something at the table and not someone who necessarily is going to want his job as president.
So he's given us a lot of indication, a lot of clues. But it also shows too that this whole text message idea is one that he's reaching out directly to voters, directly to the people, not to the media necessarily. That that is something that they want to focus on and they want to keep that message. That has been very important as a part of the process.
KING: Does it matter? If you look -- again, if we go back, George H.W. Bush picks Dan Quayle --
KING: -- everybody vilifies him for it and he goes on and wins 40 states.
BORGER: If it's a real mistake it matters. If you blow it and you pick someone who's really not up to it, and you pick someone who can't be president, and you pick someone who can't help you govern.
And again, that's where I think Joe Biden could help Barack Obama. He knows his way around the senate. He knows his way around the foreign policy bureaucracy in Washington.
BRODY: Yes, that's a good point. Because part of this -- the way the Obama campaign will spin this, is to say look, if Joe Biden is the guy, and we could say and if, but they will say that he has gotten things done in the Senate.
They'll point to that Gun Bill that he was able to shepherd through a while back. But they'll got -- that they have a litany of bills that he feel say look, this is a doer. This is a guy that can get things done. And that's how it will play into the Obama narrative.
KING: And Suzanne, how will it play right here in the floor of the Pepsi Center? Because Barack Obama's message to the country on television and the world is I'm ready. I might be 47 years old, I might be new, but I'm ready to be president. That's what he has to convey this week.
In this hall, there are a lot of people are going to say, "Wait a minute, where the Biden delegates? This room is going to be packed with a lot of Obama delegates, but a lot of Clinton delegates.
MALVEAUX: That's absolutely right. I mean he has Delaware, he doesn't need Delaware. So that's not really the gift that he gets. But he does get the gray-haired experience, he does get what he doesn't necessarily bring and that is that level of experience. A lot of people are looking for that kind of sense of reassurance, something that is familiar.
BORGER: But he also gets a guy with a big mouth.
BORGER: Just remember that, ok.
KING: Ok, all right, I need to quiet all of ours at the moment but not Suzanne. David and Gloria, thank you very much.
More in a moment, we'll introduce you to a man who shares a father with Barack Obama, but lives a very, very different life from his half brother.
But first, Erica Hill joins us now with a "360 Bulletin." Hi, Erica.
ERICA HILL, CNN CO-ANCHOR: Hi John.
Tropical storm Fay is expected to finally leave Florida this weekend. Fay made landfall in the state three times this week. That breaks a 50-year record. Homeowners swamped by the storm, and there were hundreds, were finally able to begin cleaning up today. At least six deaths in Florida are linked to the storm.
Just after takeoff in Las Vegas today, the pilot of a home-made plane radioed he was in trouble. Moments later that plane crashed into a home near the airport and exploded, killing the pilot and two people inside the house.
Four of China's six gold medals for gymnastics remain in question tonight. Were the girls who won them old enough to compete? The families of five medalists have now been asked for more documentation to prove the girls are in fact 16. If cheating is proven, those medals will be pulled -- John.
KING: That is a remarkable story. We'll keep an eye on that investigation. And Erica, here it is, tonight's "Beat 360" photo.
Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton faces reporters before touring the New York State Fair today. Here's the caption from Ashley, our staff winner, who quipped, "No, really, I'm for Obama. Can't you see the excitement on my face?" HILL: That is one's very happy expression.
KING: Odd, I thought it was pretty good. You think you can do better, though? Go to our Website, ac360.com, click on the "Beat 360" link, send us you entry. We'll announce the winner at the end of the program. And remember, this is the big thing, the winner gets a "Beat 360" t-shirt.
In a moment, how Barack Obama's running mate could tip the balance in key battle ground states. Yes, we brought the magic map right here to Denver.
And then Senator Hillary Clinton on Obama's choice and her role in his campaign.
Plus, they share the same father but have little else in common. Meet Barack Obama's half brother. We'll hear from him just ahead.
This is "360."
KING: A look here at some new pictures, fresh pictures of Barack Obama tonight leaving a restaurant in Chicago. He had dinner with his family. You see the daughters coming out here; Senator Obama following and then Michelle Obama.
A nice dinner at home in Chicago tonight as Senator Obama spent some time working on his speech, his big convention speech earlier today, taking a break there for a little valuable family time.
Ignoring questions about the big decision he will make and many think has made and the text message that will go out in the Obama campaign in the hours ahead. And when any candidate picks a vice president, one of the things we try to figure out, is how will it impact the race? Can it move a state in any way in his favor, would it hurt?
Let's look at the electoral map. And let's start from this perspective. We've confirmed tonight, CNN has, that the Virginia Governor Tim Kaine is not going to be Obama's choice.
You see 13 electoral votes here in Virginia. It has been trending Democratic in recent days, Obama deciding not to pick Tim Kaine. That is a calculation he thinks he can get this state by himself.
Another candidate we learned was taken off the list tonight, told he is not the choice, Indiana Senator Evan Bayh. This has been a reliably red state for some time, a Republican state; 11 electoral votes out there. Had it been Bayh, this state would have been in play.
The Obama campaign says it still plans to contest here. A much more difficult road now in a state that has been reliably Republican in presidential politics for some time.
Let's look at the map. Joe Biden is the choice that many are indicating tonight. The leading indicators are pointing at Joe Biden. Delaware is way down here. You would have to pull out the map. Its electoral votes have always been Democratic. So what is the value of a Joe Biden?
KING: Number one, it's the big national picture, foreign policy experience if it is Senator Biden. Number two, he is a Catholic originally from Pennsylvania; that's a key battle ground state, 21 electoral votes. We give it to the Democrats right now.
But it's a contested state; the McCain campaign playing hard. Joe Biden would help out there.
They also believe that he could help, someone like him a blue-collar guy, in West Virginia, which has been Republican, but the Democrats want it back. And in Ohio, a toss-up as we put it right now. The Republicans have never won the presidency without carrying Ohio; the Democrats trying to take that one away.
So the key question is, how much impact would it have? That's tonight with our strategy session focus on the jump ball for Obama in this election; the big selection of his running mate. How does that potentially change the map?
Joining me here, CNN senior political analyst, Gloria Borger; David Brody, again from the Christian Broadcasting Network.
Do we overthink these things?
BORGER: Yes, you think?
KING: Vice-presidential picks? We spend so much time on them, and then we're going to move on to McCain once we get through Obama.
But it is an interesting race. You have two guys with very different challenges. Obama 47, a newcomer, the first African-American. McCain will be 72, the oldest guy on Election Day.
BORGER: Their image.
KING: So they each have different things to prove with their pick. But let's stay on Obama at the moment. We talked to Suzanne right before she left.
I want to follow up on the point again because I find the whole convention stage craft fascinating in that one challenge. The big projection you want to make is ready to be president. But inside here, I think a lot of these Democratic delegates almost half of them will be for Hillary Clinton, just shy of that, will think, well, he didn't show her much respect.
We were talking to Paul Begala earlier tonight, didn't call Bill Clinton to ask him his opinion. Didn't call Hillary Clinton to even say I can't pick you. What do you think? Think that matters?
BRODY: Yes, yes. I think it does matter and I think there will be anxiety throughout the week about this. I'm sure within the Obama campaign, how is this going to play out exactly? There's already rallies that we know planned and Hillary Clinton speaking and Bill Clinton speaking.
So sure, this is going to be a big part of it. The question really will be how much will the week get overshadowed by all of this Hillary Clinton potential madness that may go on? And that is going to be a big factor in all of this, especially going forward in terms of party unity.
BORGER: I heard Paul Begala's complaints but I also think that Hillary Clinton has got a prominent speaking role. Bill Clinton has a prominent speaking role. Hillary Clinton's name is going to be put in nomination.
During the platform committee discussions, there were some things the Clinton folks wanted that they did get in the platform. I think that they've gone out of their way to say we understand that you had 18 million votes.
And if they do pick an experienced vice presidential candidate like a Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton really can't say, well, he's not qualified, because of course, he would be qualified. If it were a Tim Kaine, it might be a different story.
BRODY: But they can't control the visual images. The Obama campaign has done this, maybe textbook as you say. But they can't control what signs we're going to see that night, or whatever night, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday.
They can't control what's going on outside in those streets of Denver. And that will be the wild card in all of this. How will the media and others play that story line? Very interesting.
KING: And if the Republicans go up with an ad that Barack Obama picked a guy who a few months ago said he wasn't qualified to be president, does that matter? We see vice presidents get in line all the time.
BORGER: It depends who John McCain picks. If John McCain were to pick a Mitt Romney, Mitt Romney said some things about John McCain and John McCain said some things about Mitt Romney. So that might be a watch.
BRODY: My guess is you'll hear Senator Biden, if it's Senator Biden...say over these last few months I've really seen Senator Barack Obama come into his own. We're going to have a narrative in that and they'll be able to somehow --
KING: Did we learn anything about Obama, his management style? This is a pretty tightly kept process. This is about as disciplined and as secretive, especially, and I'll get a lot of e-mails for this one, but the Democrats aren't usually so good at this.
BORGER: No, they're really not. And I think we've seen that it is as Suzanne was saying earlier, a very, very disciplined operation. And I think, you know, they don't call him "No drama Obama" for nothing. He said look, I don't want this to leak, kept it to a handful of people. Those people did not talk about it. And if it is Joe Biden, the most interesting thing will be that Joe Biden has kept a secret, because I talked to people on his staff who say they've spoke with him this morning and that he didn't mention it. So maybe it will be a different Joe Biden.
BRODY: Let me also say the YouTube clips are ready at RNC headquarters, obviously. If the Obama campaign, when they knew this pick was coming, they realized that Biden is good for a good let's call it five gaffes before November 4th. They know this. They understand this. They're willing to take that risk if it's Biden, here we go again. But yes, sure.
KING: A little more reporting to do but a lot more drama ahead as well.
David Brody, Gloria Borger, thank you both.
They have the same father but their lives could not be more different. Meet Barack Obama's half brother.
Plus, ready, set, go, here in Denver where the Democrats are just raring to go.
Stay with us. This is "360."
KING: We're back now outside the Pepsi Center in Denver, Colorado. More information, more indications, Barack Obama has made his choice and increasingly we are being pointed to the Delaware Senator Joe Biden. Let me give you some more information here at the CNN.
Prominent Democratic source telling us that the Biden campaign, you're looking at Senator Biden's house right now in Wilmington, Delaware, a Democratic source telling CNN that Senator Biden has been asked to provide to the Obama campaign a list of friends and associates who could give media interviews vouching for him, his character, his record in the United States Congress and his life story.
That request has been made we are told by the Obama campaign to Senator Biden. We also are told that Senator Biden has been asked to provide a list of top aides that he believes it would be critical to travel on any campaign trip, on any campaign plane from Wilmington, Delaware, perhaps to Springfield, Illinois for a big announcement tomorrow.
But also we are told that list would be to blend his staff in with an Obama vice-presidential staff if it comes to that. Our source telling us that that request for that kind of information could have been made to other top prospects as well, but the source then going on to say, given the level of activity among top Biden advisers tonight, he thinks quite otherwise.
That is one of the indications we are getting tonight, short of official confirmation that Barack Obama has made his choice and that the appearance is, that it is likely to be the Delaware Senator Joe Biden.
I want to bring my colleague, senior political analyst, Gloria Borger into the conversation. We have been outside the Pepsi Center here working the email, making phone calls.
It's careful. We need to be careful and cautious, we're out of the limb a bit because of all of these signals pointing.
We don't have the official confirmation. You're hearing more, though.
BORGER: I just got another signal. I was talking to somebody who's very close to Joe Biden, who has spoken with him today and when I asked whether he knew, he said he did know. I asked whether he could confirm or deny whether it's Biden. He said he could not do that.
But clearly I was not being dissuaded from this. And I would assume that if Joe Biden has been told that he were not going to be the nominee, he would have found out the way that others have, like Governor Kaine or Senator Evan Bayh.
KING: Let's pause for a second to remind anyone just tuning in, part of this is the process of elimination. We do have several sources and all that information we've conveyed to you pointing to Senator Biden. We also have definitive sources telling us that tonight other members of the short list, Indiana Senator Evan Bayh, the Virginia Governor Tim Kaine have been told by Barack Obama that they are not his choice.
We also have reporting from our Jessica Yellin that signals have been sent in more indirect channels to Senator Hillary Clinton making clear what many people have believed and relatively known for some time that Hillary Clinton is not Barack Obama's choice.
I understand we have Jessica Yellin standing by for us on the phone. Jessica, give us the latest on your reporting. I haven't been in close contact with you so I don't know what else you might be able to tell us and then jump in on the conversation where the indications are taking us late this evening.
YELLIN: John, I can tell you that the person that I heard this from had a conversation with Hillary Clinton and reported to me what you just said, essentially that it was an indirect, it wasn't a direct call from Barack Obama to Senator Clinton. But she was -- it was made clear to her that she is not the vice presidential selection.
But this did not come as a surprise to anyone in the Clinton camp. They have known for some time that it was highly unlikely. Not just because she hasn't been asked for the papers and the materials that one would think a person might get if they're being vetted but also because they were given other signals and it was clear to so many people early on.
The one outstanding issue, John, is that a number of people I've talked to who are in the Clinton orbit and in touch of some of her most avid supporters are concerned that the Obama campaign didn't necessarily make it clear enough to the supporters, not to Clinton but to the supporters, that she was unlikely to become the vice president.
And so there could be some extreme disappointment among these folks and that perhaps they could have done a better job of laying the ground work for her not to get the nod because, you know, there's such concern about bringing these folks over to Barack Obama, him wanting to do everything he can to woo them and this may have been a small misstep. But something still the Clinton folks think can be overcome. But a slight concern as we head into convention week. -- John.
KING: Jessica, stand by and continue your reporting.
As you do, I want to continue our conversation with Gloria Borger. We are going to have something rare in our history, two senators as the nominees for president. Senators aren't very well known for keeping secrets. So the word of this has to be buzzing among Joe Biden's colleagues.
BORGER: Yes. It is. I talked to a bunch of his Democratic colleagues and they all believe it is Joe Biden. And they're shocked that he hasn't told them because he normally does talk about such things.
I've also talked to somebody who is close to both Biden and to Obama and says that he thinks it is too. He has not gotten official word from this campaign. He said, you know, they're not known in this campaign for sharing information with lots of people. But I've spoken to at least two senators who I know are very close to Joe Biden who say they believe that it is Biden.
KING: And in short, if it is Joe Biden, and we'll keep the conditional on that --
KING: What does he bring to the ticket?
BORGER: Well, experience, knowing how to work with the senate, knowing how to get things done; brings that foreign policy credibility. And also in terms of being a campaigner, he's a Catholic. Barack Obama has performed really badly with Catholic voters.
Catholic voters are the swing voters in this country. As you know, John, it's very important for Obama to do well with those swing voters in those battle ground states.
KING: And as we see some pictures of Joe Biden traveling overseas in the big box on your screen, the Afghan President Hamid Karzai there at the bottom box; that driveway, that's an unfamiliar shot because it's not often we show you the home of a United States senator. That is Joe Biden's house in Wilmington, Delaware. A great deal of activity outside as people may have a long night ahead.
Let's walk through again what we know about the official plans for this announcement. Sometime Saturday morning, the Barack Obama campaign will send out a text message, and thousands have signed up to receive it. That will be the official word from the Obama campaign on his vice presidential choice.
But again, through process of elimination and a number of other source conversations tonight, we have more and more indications that that house you were just looking at in Delaware could be a critical scene and a critical piece of the puzzle as Barack Obama picks his vice presidential running mate.
Much more on this developing breaking news tonight when we return. "AC 360," our coverage continues from right here at the Pepsi Center in Denver, site of the Democratic convention.
KING: We're back outside the Pepsi Center, site of the Democratic convention, in Denver, Colorado.
Forever I will consider this to be the fire drill night. Little bits of information we're gathering all night long. Barack Obama's official announcement will come in the morning. Saturday morning he will tell us who his running mate is.
All indications are tonight and much of our resources, many of our resources tonight pointed at Wilmington, Delaware.
We want to show you a little video from a short time ago. We're getting little bits and pieces all night long. Here you go right here.
Joe Biden with his mother outside his house in Wilmington, Delaware tonight; her name is Catherine. Outside of Joe Biden's house tonight, you're watching his driveway here and there you see Senator Joe Biden walking his mother Catherine out to the car, obscured by some trees there.
That's what you call reporting on a night like this when you're trying to put together the clues of where we go from here by process of elimination. We know Governor Kaine of Virginia out of the running, Senator Bayh of Indiana out of the running.
Many sources telling us about information requested of the Biden campaign and the like.
I want to go to our senior political correspondent, Candy Crowley. She joins us from the phone in Chicago. Candy, a lot of conflicting signals, a lot of confusing indications from sources on a night like this; put things in perspective and tell us the latest you have.
CANDY CROWLEY, CNN, SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: For a couple of days, Barack Obama has know who it so. And so when you look at the description, I want someone who is ready to be president, that's the first one. I want someone who will tell me what they think really of what I'm saying, that will try to argue my positions with me. I want someone who can help me steer the economy and foreign policy.
It was the most specific he's been as we went through this process since June when he won the nomination. And all of those things, when you look at it, fit into Joe Biden's resume.
I'm thinking particularly when you say someone who will tell me when I'm wrong; Joe Biden has been in the U.S. Senate for 35 years. He is someone who has no problem telling people what he happens to think. So there are many, many things that -- clues that Obama has dropped that certainly seem to fit into this overall picture that we're now seeing.
KING: And Candy, the downside if it is Joe Biden, what would the downside be?
CROWLEY: Well, the downside is, this is a campaign of change, who is selecting -- which is selecting a man who's been in the senate for over three decades. There is that.
There is also the fact that as you always have after a campaign and the primary campaign, some things that Biden has said that he's going to be asked about, a number of times particularly a statement that he didn't think Barack Obama was ready to be president.
He also is known, as you know, has an ability to kind of say things that he probably shouldn't say. He also is on the liberal side of the center at any rate, and he has a very long record. When you have 35 years in the Senate, there are lots and lots of votes that you have to explain.
But I tell you what, on the plus side, he is going to be an excellent debater, is an excellent debater. And he is very, very good at slicing and dicing people with a huge old smile on his face.
KING: And what you've been watching as Candy gives us that excellent reporting is a slide show that you can see on Joe Biden's Senate Website: pictures of him at work, pictures of him with friends and family and colleagues, even a picture with Vice President Dick Cheney who is the President of the Senate back there. There you see the welcoming page on Joe Biden's Website.
We have much more reporting to come. Jessica Yellin standing by, Candy Crowley still as well, Gloria Borger with me here in Denver.
Breaking news tonight, Barack Obama has made his choice, official word to come in the morning. A lot of source suggestions, the choice could be the Delaware Senator Joseph Biden.
Stay right with us. "360" will be right back.
KING: Back in Denver, Colorado, site of next week's Democratic National Convention. The breaking news tonight, Barack Obama has made his choice; the official announcement coming just hours from now at a big rally in Springfield, Illinois tomorrow. The senator from Illinois will introduce his running mate.
We know several who have been eliminated from the running tonight and we have a great number of sources pointing us increasingly in the direction of Delaware Senator Joe Biden. No official confirmation yet, though, as we continue our reporting.
Others were on Barack Obama's short list as well that we cannot rule out at this hour. But Jessica Yellin, you've covered Obama campaign for quite some time. Jessica joining us on the phone.
Explain to those watching us what will happen tomorrow. They have this elaborate plan to roll this out with the text message then the big rally. There've been a great deal of discipline around keeping the secret so that they can have this planned the way they wanted it. What is the political goal?
YELLIN: Isn't it remarkable how disciplined they've been. Usually these things break at some point before the campaign intends it to.
This one is expected to happen sometime, say 7:00 or 8:00 Eastern time, Saturday morning. That's the working theory right now.
And people are already in this area and I'm in Springfield, Illinois, where Barack Obama kicked off his presidential election. He will come back here tomorrow for a rally with the VP pick and he's already generated a lot of interest in the area.
A big crowd is expected to turn out for him as the two of them hold what will no doubt be a camera-friendly event. And expectedly that will dominate the coverage or drive the coverage of our depiction of this vice-presidential selection. And the Obama campaign no doubt is hoping that will continue until the convention so there won't be much time for us to dissect and analyze whoever this choice is.
I'll tell you, John, if it is Joe Biden, Senator Biden, I spoke to one of Barack Obama's close advisers, this is last week, before Obama had necessarily made the pick or announced he made the pick.
This person was a strong advocate of Biden by and said the reasons they think Biden would be strong is because, one, he's a great attack dog, in the view of this person. He's beloved in Pennsylvania where they think that they need to do well, and this advisor thinks that Biden can truly help to deliver that state.
In their view, they think the press loves Biden and so the press will sort of go easy on him on the past gaffes when he's contradicted Obama. I'm not so sure on that last point but that is one view close to the Obama camp -- John.
KING: Jessica Yellin continuing her reporting.
And remember, in the last two campaigns Democrats groaned after the presidential debate performances of John Edwards and Joe Lieberman. Joe Biden certainly would bring a more aggressive posturing to that.
Also joining our coverage, Suzanne Malveaux.
Suzanne, take us inside the selection process. This was quite different. Jim Johnson at first appointed to head the Obama search team. Then he stepped aside.
I think we've lost Suzanne Malveaux.
But Gloria Borger -- Candy Crowley in Chicago still on the phone with us. Eric Holder, a former deputy attorney general in the Clinton administration; Caroline Kennedy, a famous Kennedy name, not your orthodox vice presidential search panel. Candy, take us inside the process a bit.
CROWLEY: Well, a lot of this -- a lot of the vetting was certainly done in Washington D.C. And you're right. Caroline Kennedy is not who you would think of as somebody who would be vetting Obama's vice presidential picks. But indeed she was. Eric Holder, a long time Justice Department official.
They did a lot of this inside of the DNC headquarters, talking to people. They spent a good amount of time on Capitol Hill getting suggestions.
And what's interesting to me, as I just have a second, but Jessica was saying, because I called around on Capitol Hill about a week ago, asking people who they thought it was, what they'd heard. I didn't find one person that didn't say, that had talked to the vetters that didn't say, I think Joe Biden would be perfect for this.
There was a lot of wind behind Biden's back at this point. He sort of seemed to people to be the logical choice for Obama.
KING: I'm going to sneak in a quick break, all our correspondents continuing their reporting tonight.
"360" will be right back at Denver, the site of the Democratic National Convention in just a minute.
KING: Live again outside the Pepsi Center in Denver, Colorado, site of next week's Democratic National convention.
A busy night of breaking news here tonight. CNN can confirm that several people we knew to be on Barack Obama's short list have been eliminated. Indiana Senator Evan Bayh, sources tell us, was told he is not the choice. Virginia Governor Tim Kaine told tonight, we are told, he is not the choice.
A number of indications, no confirmation but a number of indications pointing to the Delaware Senator Joseph Biden as the leading contender to be Barack Obama's running mate; including a request for key information that the campaign would use to help promote Senator Biden.
We're continuing to report this story tonight; continuing our live coverage. Here in Denver, our reporters are making calls in Chico with the Obama campaign.
I want to turn things over right now to Larry King for a special edition of "Larry King Live" -- Larry.