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Ballot Bowl 2008

Campaigning Continues; Obama Speaks at Wesleyan Commencement

Aired May 25, 2008 - 16:00   ET


SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome to CNN's "Ballot Bowl." I'm Suzanne Malveaux in San Juan, Puerto Rico. This is really your opportunity for the next couple of hours to follow the candidates live and unfiltered to get a sense of what they are saying to the voters to make up your own minds. We're following many different events that are taking place this afternoon, but one of them here in Puerto Rico, Senator Hillary Clinton making several stops throughout the day. One at a church. One at a restaurant. Let's take a quick listen here, just quickly turn this tape. This is an event that ended just moments ago.

SEN. HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I have outlined a very specific agenda to help mayors, like Mayor Torres. To create jobs here by helping to extend all of the economic incentives that are in the states to Puerto Rico. [ speaking in Spanish ] I also believe in equal treatment for the Puerto Rican people when it comes to programs like Medicare and Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program. [ being translated into Spanish ]

I will also work with mayors and other elected officials and leaders to bring more help to fight crime. [ being translated into Spanish ] and to encourage manufacturing. [ being translated into Spanish ] and that means that in a city like this, we must clean up the old manufacturing facilities from the petro-chemicals and the others with the brown fields and the superfund sites. [ being translated into Spanish ] and the government in Washington must be your partner to do that. [ being translated into Spanish ]

I also want you to be part of the energy revolution I intend to lead. [ being translated into Spanish ] look at this sun, feel the wind. There is so much that can be done right here in Puerto Rico to help you become energy independent by harnessing the sun and the wind. [ being translated into Spanish ] You need a president who believes that we should not be dependent on foreign oil, and here in Puerto Rico, 70 percent of your energy comes from oil, that you cannot any longer afford, especially when we have alternatives we should begin working on right now. [ being translated into Spanish ]

I also believe strongly that all people are entitled to a representative form of government that represents them at all levels of government. [ being translated into Spanish ] and I will, as your president, on day one, work with all the factions here in Puerto Rico. [ being translated into Spanish ] and with the Congress to enable you to determine your status by majority vote among all of the options that are available to you. (END VIDEO CLIP)

MALVEAUX: Senator Hillary Clinton basically going after those 55 delegates of Puerto Rico. Puerto Ricans will be voting in their own primary a week from today. Puerto Rico, a commonwealth, not a state, so she's obviously addressing the number one issue for Puerto Ricans and that is the issue of statehood, saying she would make it a priority in her first administration, her first term as president, if she becomes president to go ahead and leave it up to the Puerto Ricans to decide what is the best plan for their own status. So, addressing that as well as issues of education and health care. Barack Obama was here in Puerto Rico just yesterday. But Senator Hillary Clinton spending a good couple of days really through the weekend to try to get those 55 delegates as well as those popular - the popular votes or try to convince the superdelegates to go to her side. I want to bring in my co-host, Mary Snow, who is out of Sedona, Arizona, who is following all of the things that are taking place on the republican side. Hi, Mary.

MARY SNOW, CNN ANCHOR: Hi there, Suzanne. A very different scene here in Sedona, Arizona. This is where Senator John McCain has a home. He's not on the campaign trail with his -- he's the presumptive republican nominee, inviting three men, talked about as potential vice presidential candidates, although they say it's just a social gathering. We'll talk about that later today.

Also the libertarian party is holding its convention in Colorado, in Denver, Colorado. Later today we may hear - which choice of delegates for their presidential choice. And whether that will impact the election in November.

But first we want to head on back to Connecticut. Senator Barack Obama taking a departure from the campaign trail today. Filling in for Senator Ted Kennedy at Wesleyan University, this after the sad news earlier this week that Senator Kennedy has been diagnosed with a brain tumor. Jim Acosta is with Senator Obama and attended the graduation ceremonies. Jim, I imagine it was pretty emotional.

JIM ACOSTA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, Mary, it was emotional at times and Senator Barack Obama tried to lighten the mood here, relaying a message from Senator Ted Kennedy, essentially saying that he's still got some of that fight left in him. And to those out there who would like to see Senator Kennedy depart the scene, Barack Obama has this very funny part about his commencement address. He relays a message from Senator Ted Kennedy essentially saying don't get your hopes up just yet. So Barack Obama filling in for Senator Ted Kennedy today. There were some 15,000 people on hand for this commencement address and to get to that emotional aspect of this speech that you mentioned, Mary, I should note that Vicki Kennedy, Senator Kennedy's wife, and Patrick Kennedy, the congressman from Rhode Island who is also Senator Kennedy's son, they became quite emotional during this address from what we understand from various reports. But without further adieu, here's a portion of that speech from Senator Barack Obama. He touches on not only his own biography, but the Kennedy legacy of national service.


SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I have the distinct honor today of pinch-hitting for one of my personal heroes and a hero of this country, Senator Edward Kennedy. Ted is at home getting some much-needed and deserved rest. And we are so pleased to see many of his family here today, including his wonderful wife, Vicki. He called me up a few days ago, and I said that I'd be happy to be a stand-in, even though there was no way that I could fill his shoes. I did, however, get a chance to glance at the speech he planned on delivering today, and I'd like to start by passing along a message from Ted. To all those praying for my return to good health, I offer my heartfelt thanks. And to any who'd rather have a different result, I say, don't get your hopes up just yet.

So we know that Teddy's legendary sense of humor is as strong as ever, and I have no doubt that his equally legendary fighting spirit will carry him through this latest challenge. He is our friend. He is our champion. And we hope and pray for his return to good health. Now, the topic of his speech today was common for a commencement. We heard some of the themes from President Roth, but one that nobody could discuss with more authority or more inspiration than Ted Kennedy, and that is the topic of service to one's country. A cause that is synonymous with his family's name and legacy.

I was born the year that his brother John called the generation of Americans to ask their country what they could do. And I came of age at a time when they did. They were the peace corps volunteers who won a generation of goodwill towards America at a time when America's ideals were challenged. They were the teenagers and college students not much older than you who watched the civil rights movement unfold on their television sets who saw the dogs and the fire hoses and the footage of marchers being beaten within an inch of their lives who knew it was probably smarter and safer to stay home, but decided to get on those buses and get in their cars and get on those trains anyway and take those freedom rides down south, who still decided to march. And because they did, they changed the world.

I bring this up today because you are about to enter a world that makes it easier to get caught up in the notion that there are actually two different stories at work in our lives. The first is the story of our everyday cares and concerns, the responsibilities we have to our jobs and our families, the bustle and the busyness of what happens in our lives. The second is the story of what happens in the life of our country, of what happens in the wider world is the story you see when you catch a glimpse of the day's headlines or turn on the news at night, the story of big challenges like war and recession, hunger and climate change, injustice and inequality. It's a story that sometimes can seem separate and distant from our own. A destiny to be shaped by forces beyond our control. And yet the history of this nation tells us that it isn't so.

It tells us that we are a people whose destiny has never been written for us but by us, by generations of men and women, young and old, who have always believed that their story and the American story are not separate but shared. For more than two centuries they've served this country in ways that have forever enriched both. I say this to you as someone who couldn't be standing here if it were not for the service of others. And wouldn't be standing here today if it were not for the purpose that service gave my own life.


ACOSTA: And so there you have it, you get a sense there of the close political relationship that has developed between Senator Kennedy and Senator Obama. Ted Kennedy calling Barack Obama to say hey I got this commencement speech up in Connecticut, do you think you can fill in for me, Barack Obama? And the response from the Illinois senator, essentially yes, I can, Mary. And just to squeeze in a little of political news. We should note that Senator Obama on his campaign plane last night essentially decided to give Senator Clinton a pass on this controversy that developed on Friday when Senator Clinton invoked the assassination of Robert Kennedy when she was talking about the timeline as to when these nomination contests wrap up. Obama saying that essentially this matter is over and finished with as far as he's concerned. But he did take a shot politically at Senator Clinton over the issue of the disputed delegates from Florida and Michigan, calling it a last sliver of hope for Senator Clinton to remain in this race. And he accused her of stirring up anger on the democratic side and that is a side show that I know the republicans, Mary, has been watching with some delight.

SNOW: Oh, certainly, Jim. And they certainly want that side show to go on for a long time. And, you know, Jim, as you mentioned, Senator Clinton's remarks, we're going to take a look in a little bit at what she told "The Daily News" today about why she's staying in the race. But those remarks came at a time when there was a lot of speculation about whether or not Barack Obama would consider her as a vice presidential candidate. So, a lot of questions about whether or not those remarks, while he's putting them aside, will eventually quash that talk about whether they will be on the same ticket. Jim, thank you very much.


SNOW: We'll get back to you later.

ACOSTA: You bet.

SNOW: All right, coming up, we're going to take a look at a brewing feud between Senator Barack Obama and Senator John McCain. This over benefits to veterans. Stay with us. We'll take a quick break.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He was a very warm hearted person, and you could see the caring in his eyes when he would talk about his family and he'd talk about his children and his wife and how he was worried about them, but that he was very upbeat about preparing to go to Iraq.

(END VIDEO CLIP) SNOW: Welcome back. You're watching CNN's "Ballot Bowl," a chance for you to hear directly from the candidates out here on the campaign trail. This week Senator John McCain and Senator Barack Obama have been trading exchanges over a bill to extend military benefits for veterans. Senator McCain opposes the bill and was not in Washington on Thursday to vote for it. Senator Obama has taken target at him for opposing it. Basically Senator John McCain has said that he does not support this bill, because he's concerned about retaining members of the military. And it also got a bit personal. Senator McCain talked about the fact that Senator Obama chose not to serve in the military. The exchanges have been continuing throughout the weekend from their campaigns. But we want to go to Stockton, California, where Senator McCain was on Thursday, where he talked about military - about benefits to members of the military.


SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I am always honored to be in the company of veterans. I am always deeply honored. It's the great honor of my life. And those who I know best and love most are those that I've had the honor of serving with far away and long ago. And I cherish my memories of my comrades that I had the honor of serving with. And sometimes people say that I had a difficult time in prison, and I did. But I also want to tell you that the great honor of my life was to serve in the company of heroes. I was privileged to observe 1,000 acts of courage and love and compassion, and, my friends, I understand our veterans' needs, but I also understand the needs of the active-duty military. And we just had a bill on veterans' educational benefits. And I am in favor of increasing dramatically are the benefits that our - that our veterans have earned for educational benefits. But I also want to tell you that I want to encourage people to stay in the military and make careers of it.

That's very important. And someone who has never served may not understand the absolute vital importance of a noncommissioned officer, the great strength of the military is our noncommissioned officers. The ones I know best and have learned the most about leadership was our noncommissioned officers. Those brave Americans who decided to make a career out of the military. And I want to encourage people to do that. I want to give them additional benefits as they serve longer. And I want them to be able to transfer those educational benefits to their family members so that after they've served a period of time. And we can honor them best by increasing their educational benefits, taking care of their health care, but also encouraging retention.

And, my friends, I don't need anybody to tell me about what veterans needs. I know them, and I understand them, and I understand them very well, and so do you. So, let me just - let me say to you again, I believe that our veterans' health care is a requirement and an obligation. And what happened at Walter Reed is a disgrace and it can never happen again. And I believe, my friends, as you know that unfortunately we're going to have a lot of PTSD out of this war, and they have to be treated and helped. And there's going to be the grievous wounds that are associated with the IEDs which are such a terrible, terrible way of fighting a war and so difficult to cope with in this kind of enemy that we're dealing with, who has no respect for the lives of innocent people. But I can also tell you that one of the things we're going to fix and we're going to fix soon is that today, at the Phoenix VA, or here in the VA facilities in California is that our veterans have to go down to get an appointment, to get an appointment, to stand in line, to stand in line.

I want to give every veteran that has a routine health care need a plastic card to take with them wherever they need to go to get the health care they need and never stand in line to stand in line again or wait again. And we've got to take care of our veterans, my friends, and that's our first and foremost obligation in addressing health care issues in America. Now, I'm grateful you're here. This is going to be a tough race. I thank you for your support. I need every one of you to go out and call your friends and register people to vote and understand that California could decide who the next president of the United States is. It's a humbling experience. To get the nomination of the party of Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt and your own Californian, Ronald Reagan. It's a humbling experience, but I'm up to the task. And I've spent my life in public service, and I've spent my life serving this country.


SNOW: Senator John McCain in Stockton, California, on Thursday defending why he has projected a bill to extend benefits to members of the military basically saying that would hurt retention levels because it only applies to people who have been in the military for three years. We also should mention that Senator Barack Obama was asked and did reply to Senator McCain's criticism that he did not serve in the military. He said, he does not think it makes any sense that he can't speak out on veterans' benefits just because he didn't serve in the military and points out that when he came of age to serve, the Vietnam war had long been over. But we expect this feud to continue throughout this next week.

Up next, we're going to go to Colorado. That is where the libertarian party is holding its convention right now, it's going through the process of picking its presidential nominee. Stay with us. We'll be right back.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're looking at a picture of Corporal Albert Gettings and his former wife Stephanie. Corporal Albert Gettings had his life taken on January 5th, 2006. He embodied what it meant to be a United States marine.


MALVEAUX: Welcome back to CNN's "Ballot Bowl." I'm Suzanne Malveaux, in San Juan, Puerto Rico. We are following all the live activities, live events from the candidates. Also following Senator Hillary Clinton an editorial in the "New York Daily News" today, when she talks about two things. One of the things that seemed to throw her a bit off message when she was responding to a question why it was that she was still in the race, the primary race lasting this long. She mentions her husband Bill Clinton who was also in the race in June as well as the late Robert Kennedy who was assassinated. She was criticized by some for not being sensitive, for being offensive in those comments. She had apologized afterwards.

But in the op-ed today she states very clearly, she says, "I want to set the record straight. I was making the simple point that given our history, the length of this year's primary contest is nothing unusual. She went on to say I was deeply dismayed and disturbed that my comment could be construed in a way that flies in the face of everything I stand for and everything I'm fighting for in this election." Curiously enough, also, some people coming to her defense, some members of the Kennedy family, as well as Senator Barack Obama, essentially saying that he took her for her word, at her word, that she meant no offense by the comment.

She also said in the op-ed page, taking on directly those who are challenging her, questioning her why is she still in the race given the odds that she cannot, or will not get the nomination. They do not believe that. She responds saying that "I am not unaware of the challenges or the odds of my securing the nominee, but this race remains extraordinarily close and hundreds of thousands of people in upcoming primaries are still waiting to vote. As I have said so many times over the course of this primary, and Senator Barack Obama, if Senator Barack Obama, wins the nomination, I will support him and work my heart out for him against John McCain. But that has not happened yet." And there's still three contests remaining, one here in Puerto Rico. That coming up just one week from today. And then also two following, Montana and South Dakota, on Tuesday.

I want to bring in my co-host, Mary Snow, who is looking at all of this. And obviously, a very different situation on the republican side. A very focused John McCain. Mary.

SNOW: Yes, Suzanne, it really is such a different situation. And also, Suzanne, we want to take a look at also something that is very different from either republicans and democrats, and that is the libertarians. They're holding their convention as we speak in Denver, Colorado. They're voting in the final processes of voting for their candidate to be president. So, late in the game. We're looking at live pictures right now.

One of the big names, or the best-known names, among the 14 people vying for that spot, Bob Barr, former republican congressman. He was the congressman who led the way to try and impeach President Clinton. And he has departed with republicans over the war in Iraq. He announced about two weeks ago that he would run for president. Whether or not that will be a spoiler position in the 2008 elections remain to be seen. Let's listen to what former Congressman Bob Barr had to say earlier today to this convention.


BOB BARR (L), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: There has been more discussion of substantive constitutional issues here over the three days that I have been with you here at the Libertarian Party Convention than in 30 years of working for that other party! This is the party of substance! Now, when I sat down - and I have had the honor and the pleasure - I mean, I'm a lawyer, I don't mind talking. But I really enjoy listening. I've had the opportunity out here and on the floor of this great, great hall to talk with many of you over the course of the weekend. And many of you have been - have come up and thanked me for the work as Mike mentioned for the Libertarian Party serving on the LNC for the last couple of years and traveling from California to Connecticut to Michigan to Indiana, back down to my great home state of Georgia and Tennessee and everything in between.

They've also thanked me for the work that I've done over the last several years trying to undo the damage of the Patriot Act and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and the whole range, on the real I.D. was mentioned also. We need to get rid of these pieces of legislation, and I've been working to do that.


SNOW: Bob Barr earlier today in Denver, Colorado, at the Libertarian convention, as delegates there choose their person to be the presidential candidate representing their party.

The big question would be, though, would Republicans, who are disenchanted with Senator John McCain, switch over to that Libertarian Party? And there have been some protest votes. We saw Ron Paul who ran on the Republican ticket, but has a lot of libertarian policies, still picking up double-digit numbers at some of these primaries despite the fact that Senator McCain is the presumptive Republican nominee.

A couple of factors to watch for, what states will let the Libertarian Party candidate on their ballots at this stage in the game, and also just how close the race might be in November. But whoever the candidate is could prove to be a spoiler.

We're going to take a quick break. When we come back, Fredricka Whitfield is going to be joining us with a look at other news on this Memorial Day weekend. Stay with us.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My name is Dave and on behalf of my four brothers and sister, I want to salute our brother, Corporal Richard J. Nelson, who died in a roadside bombing on April 14th, 2008. I salute Rick for his courage to join the military and become a marine in time of war. I salute him for his honorable life that he lived, the respect he showed people. That we love you, Rick. We think about you every day. And we'll see you again some day.


FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: And we are honoring fallen heroes throughout the weekend thanks to your i-Reports. Hello, I'm Fredricka Whitfield at the CNN headquarters in Atlanta. More BALLOT BOWL in a moment. But first, a look at the top stories.

China's Sichuan Province rattled by one of the strongest aftershocks since the killer quake nearly two weeks ago today. At least two people were killed today and 400 hurt. The official death toll topped 62,000 with nearly 24,000 still missing.

Here at home, many on the plains have an eye on the sky after tornadoes raked through Oklahoma yesterday. A number of twisters were caught on tape by storm chasers. Today emergency officials are checking out the damage, much of it to this hog farm. Despite the destruction, the farm's owner says all his animals are OK and thankfully no human deaths or injuries have been reported either.

More severe weather could be on tap this afternoon. Meteorologist Jacqui Jeras in the Severe Weather Center, shaking your head because it is never ending.


WHITFIELD: With Americans still in war in Iraq and Afghanistan, the nation is settling in for its annual tribute for the troops who have died for its country. Tonight at the U.S. Capitol, military bands will join the National Symphony Orchestra for a Memorial Day concert. Solemn commemorations will take place tomorrow in towns and cities across the nation.

And as we salute our fallen heroes, this Memorial Day weekend, we also pay tribute to their families and to U.S. troops recently returned from battle. To learn how to get involved in supporting the efforts, go to

Cooler temperatures and calmer winds are helping crews battling a wildfire in the Santa Cruz mountains in California. The 3,800-acre blaze is about half contained. And authorities hope to surround it in the next few days. The fire has destroyed at least 20 homes.

And rebuilding from a tragedy in Minnesota. Piece by piece, workers are putting together a new bridge to replace the span that was destroyed in last year's deadly collapse in Minneapolis. Two concrete slabs weighing nearly 200 tons are being attached today to the main piers of the new I-35 west bridge. Thirteen people died when the original bridge fell into the Mississippi River last August -- 145 others were hurt.

And some of you are already there, and now the price of gas is nearing an average of $4 a gallon nationwide. According to AAA, it is now at $3.93, up two cents from yesterday. That's a 70-cent jump from what we were paying last Memorial Day weekend. And half of that jump has come in just last month alone.

A new generation of kings is born. In Atlanta, Baby Yolanda is the first grandchild of the late civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his wife Coretta. New dad, Martin Luther King III said in a statement today his parents are smiling down from heaven at their beautiful new baby girl born today this morning.

I'm Fredricka Whitfield in Atlanta. BALLOT BOWL returns right after this.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Peter Burks, he was really not only one of my best friends. But he was very honorable and a very trustworthy person. He was a very big patriot. He said, I'm a soldier. My country demands of me to go to Iraq to fight for freedom. And this is my duty to serve my country. I just wish there were more guys like Pete in the world.


SNOW: Welcome back. You're watching CNN's BALLOT BOWL, a chance for you to hear directly from the candidates, unfiltered and a chance to come out with us on the campaign trail. I'm Mary Snow in Sedona, Arizona, where Senator John McCain has just wrapped up a weekend with more than two dozen guests including three names widely seen as potential vice presidential choices. No comment on what happened there. But also right now we're going to be joined by my co-host, Suzanne Malveaux. Suzanne, no news out of this meeting, but I'm certainly not going to be complaining about being here in beautiful Sedona.

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I am not going to complain about Puerto Rico either, actually. I think we've got a pretty good gig here, Mary, this weekend. We have seen Barack Obama here yesterday, but we also saw Hillary Clinton. She's making four stops today, because obviously underscoring the importance of Puerto Rico and what that would mean in terms of a win for her. She is favored here to win in next Sunday's primary. That's a week from today. 55 delegates are up for grabs here. This is the so-called 51st state and Puerto Ricans, this being a commonwealth, they can vote in the primary election but not the general election.

A lot of people looking to the status of Puerto Rico wondering whether or not they should move ahead when it comes to independence or statehood. That really is issue number one for the people who live here. So, no question, and no surprise that Hillary Clinton addressed that today just a few hours ago. Take a listen.


SEN. HILLARY CLINTON (D-NY), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: My family gave me my faith, gave me my values, gave me the blessings that I have enjoyed, and I want to be sure that every child here in Puerto Rico has the chance to live up to his or her god-given potential.

And as your president, that's what I would get up every morning working to achieve. I've also proposed a universal health care plan. I'm the only candidate who has such a plan. Because I believe health care is a right, not a privilege. I believe that it is a violation of our relationship with one another and what is expected of us from God, that we would allow people to suffer, that we would not give people access to quality, affordable health care.

The plan I have proposed would include every Puerto Rican. No one would be left out. And if health care is important to you, I hope you will support me, because I am committed to making that happen. I will also work with your elected officials and leaders to provide more resources to battle crime. No one should feel unsafe in their home, in their neighborhoods, in their communities. So we will get back to doing what we were doing, federally funded police officers, more support for those in law enforcement because public safety is an important part of taking care of people. And, of course, it's also a goal and promise of mine that I will put the question of status on the national agenda from the very first day I become president.


MALVEAUX: Senator Hillary Clinton speaking before a group in church talking about the importance of the issue of the status of Puerto Rico, that is issue number one for the people who live here so -- very close attention to what she says about that.

And then we also saw Hillary Clinton later in the day on her way to a rally, this was in Boqueron. And it was very interesting to see. This is kind of what a lot of people call here the boricua style of campaigning. It involves music, maracas, dancing and the whole bit. So Hillary Clinton taking a little bit of the flavor in, of the island. A lot of Puerto Ricans very prideful, proud of doing things just a little bit differently here on the island than the mainland when it comes to the campaign season and campaigning in general.

Today we also took a look at what Barack Obama was up to. He gave a commencement speech at Wesleyan University in Connecticut. That is where he was filling in for Senator Ted Kennedy who as you know it was discovered he had a malignant brain tumor just this past week. So, the senator asking for Barack Obama to take his place, to fill in. Barack Obama very graciously doing so, talking about the need for community service and really standing on the shoulders of people like Senator Kennedy and others who have come before him.

After that speech, on his way back, on his way back from Puerto Rico, that is, rather, he was asked a question about looking ahead here to the status of Florida and Michigan, and those delegates, what is going to happen to those delegates, are they going to be seated? It is the DNC's rules and bylaws committee that is going to be meeting at the end of the week to make a decision about what happens to those delegates. Hillary Clinton very adamant about having those delegates seated as she sees fit. Barack Obama having a different perspective on how that should all shake out. Let's take a listen and hear what he had to say about how he believes this should all be handled.


QUESTION: The elephant in the room during your two days in Florida was the Florida votes and wondering why you didn't talk about it. SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D-IL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It wasn't the elephant in the room. I had -- I have probably 15 interviews with local press, and that was the first question every single one of them talked -- asked. So -- and the last rally we had, I specifically brought it up.

QUESTION: What do you hope to come out of the rules and bylaws committee meeting at the end of this month.

OBAMA: Resolution. Just -- I just want them to decide how to approach this in a way in which the Florida and Michigan delegates are seated, and they're happy. And if that happens, if they feel that they've been treated fairly and they are seated, then I'm happy. I want to be looking at them when I'm standing on stage in Denver in August.

QUESTION: Senator, I've personally spoken to several delegates from Florida who said there's a lot of animosity towards you for not being more aggressive up to this point compared to Senator Clinton in trying to get a solution solved. So is there a way you can try to address that anger?

OBAMA: I think that anger will go away once it's resolved and, of course, I would have to find out who you were speaking to. It might have been, for example, Clinton supporters.

QUESTION: Uncommitted superdelegates.

OBAMA: Yeah right, you know, OK, I'm just saying, yes, you know, the Clinton campaign has been stirring this up for fairly transparent reasons. They weren't stirring it up when they didn't need the delegates, right? So, I think, you know, let's not be, you know, sort of pretend that we don't know what's going on. I mean, this is from their perspective, their last glimmer of hope to make arguments about how they can win. And I understand that. What I've said is I want to make the Florida delegates seated. And once they're seated, then I think this is going to be a story that nobody's thinking about come August.


MALVEAUX: You're listening to Barack Obama.

Coming up next after this quick break, Jeanne Moos will give us a sense of what the astrologists are looking at what they take a look at the stars and see who they're predicting will be the next president.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is a picture of my brother, Sergeant Jason Vaughn. The thing I most admired about my brother was his kindness and compassion for others. We always said he should be a politician because he could really work a room. He was killed May the 10th, 2007, in Baqubah, Iraq. And we will always miss him. (END VIDEO CLIP)

SNOW: Welcome back to CNN's BALLOT BOWL. I'm Mary Snow. You know, there's been so much debate over the delegates, a lot of pundits predicting who will win. But could the answer be in the stars? Our very own Jeanne Moos takes a look at what astrologists are predicting for the November election.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Look to the stars.

CLINTON: Celestial choirs will be singing.

MOOS: I see a new president in our future.

And who needs an election when there's an astrologers' convention to tell us the winner?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hillary being a Scorpio, you can never count her out.

MOOS: Fifteen hundred astrologers gathered for the United Astrology Conference in Denver -- the perfect spot to pick up vibes from the upcoming Democratic convention Denver will be hosting. While the political world fixates on John McCain's age, the astrologers were more interested in the exact time of McCain's birth, which his mom helpfully supplied in this Mother's Day video.

ROBERTA MCCAIN, JOHN MCCAIN'S MOTHER: Well, anyway, this baby came out, I think, about 11:00.

MOOS: Astrologists need birth times to chart the future. Forget John King's magic wall -- astrologists have their own charts, though this guy predicted Hillary would win Super Tuesday, when Barack Obama and Hillary actually split.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So Jupiter is coming and saying, Hillary, hey, here I am to protect you.

MOOS: Protect us from John McCain's chart, which sounds vaguely obscene.

JON STEVENS, ASTROLOGER: He has transiting Uranus directly on top of his natal Saturn.

MOOS: The prediction, please.

STEVENS: The person holding the highest office in the land will be referred to as Madam President.

MOOS: That prediction was made about two months ago. This one came about two years ago.


MOOS: A self-proclaimed prophet called the ancient one.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Our current president will be running again.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're kidding me?

MOOS: Or maybe you prefer Tarot cards.


MOOS: Obama's card suggested charity. Hillary's card, with three swords plunged into a heart...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Emotional pain.

MOOS: And McCain's card indicated an aggressive, take charge attitude, suggesting he might win.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: King of swords.

MOOS: The most accurate reading so far came from psychic Sylvia Browne almost six months ago, predicting the Democratic frontrunner.

SYLVIA BROWNE, PSYCHIC: I think Obama. I think she's going to look like she's going to run away with everything and then all of a sudden she flattens out.

MOOS: A Gallup poll showed that 25 percent of Americans believe in astrology. But, hey, if candidates can predict the future -- say, the year 2013.

MCCAIN: ...which led to the capture or death of Osama bin Laden.

MOOS: ...why not astrologists -- or even kids?

(on camera): Is John McCain going to be the next president?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is John McCain going to be the next president?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is Hillary Clinton going to be the next president?


MOOS: Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.


SNOW: Jeanne Moos never failing to make us smile.

We're going to take a quick break. But up next we're going to take a look at what Hillary Clinton is now saying about why she is staying in this race. Stay with us.