Return to Transcripts main page

CNN Newsroom

Ballot Bowl '08 - Following the Candidates as Super Tuesday Approaches

Aired February 03, 2008 - 16:00   ET


JOHN KING, CNN, CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Welcome back to another hour of special edition of CNN's "Ballot Bowl 808." I'm John King reporting live from Boston, Massachusetts.
So much to do in the hour ahead. The presidential candidates out from coast to coast, north to south, in advance of the big super Tuesday primary. Coming up just two days from now, contests in 24 states critical to the Democratic and the Republican candidates for president. Close races on both sides being hard-fought. All across the country. California the biggest prize but New York and New Jersey in the east, Illinois and Missouri in the Midwest. The candidates are out everywhere and so is our CNN team of political correspondents.

In the hour ahead, you'll hear from my co-anchor Candy Crowley. She's in Missouri. Dana Bash is in Fairfield, Connecticut, Jessica Yellin will join us from California, Bill Schneider in California as well. And as we listen to the candidates unscripted in their own words making their case to the voters, let's begin this hour with my colleagues Candy Crowley in Bridgeton, Missouri.

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN, SENIOR POLITIAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, John, we really do have a busy schedule for this final hour of "Ballot Bowl." And on the game plan, a trifecta for Barack Obama, out in Los Angeles, his wife, Michelle Obama, Caroline Kennedy who is the daughter of the assassinated president John Kennedy and a woman who needs no introduction, Oprah Winfrey. She has been out, of course, for Barack Obama before just once. But she managed to hit those early states of Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina. She was a huge draw for Barack Obama. And in California, where the African-American vote will count a lot, this is a major appearance, of course, for Obama.

Now, he's on the other coast earlier, was in Wilmington, Delaware, where he gave his normal rally speech. We talked a little earlier that these are really kitchen sink speeches. This is their closing argument before the run-up of the all-important super Tuesday. In this particular speech he ran the gamut. This was about health care. It was also about tax breaks, mortgage health, and education. Here's Barack Obama.


SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: If you are ready for change then we can start restoring a sense of balance to this economy. I believe in the free market. I believe in capitalism. I believe in entrepreneurship and opportunity. But when you've got a CEO who's making more in ten minutes than ordinary workers are making in an entire year, and the CEO's the one getting the tax breaks, then something is out of balance. Something has to change. So I've already said, we are going to take those tax breaks away from companies that ship jobs overseas. We're going to give those tax breaks to companies that invest right here in Wilmington, right here in the United States of America.

We're going to roll back those Bush tax cuts on the wealthiest Americans. We're going to give those tax breaks to hard-working families who deserve them. If you're making less than $75,000, we're going to give you a $1,000 offset on your payroll tax. If you're a senior citizen making less than $50,000, you won't have to pay an income tax because you're already having a tough time. If you own a home but you don't itemize your deductions, we're going to give you an extra mortgage deduction because we want people to stay in their homes and folks need help. We're going to have a $10 billion fund to help prevent foreclosures that can spill over into the community. We're going to have trade agreements that have labor standards and environmental standards so U.S. workers are not undermined and safety standards so that we don't have our children chewing on toys with lead paint brought in from other countries.

And I will not raise the minimum wage every ten years, we will raise it to keep pace with inflation every year. Because I believe that if you work in this country, you should not be poor. And when I am president of the United States, we are going to work on making sure that everybody has a living wage. If you are ready for change, we can make sure that every child in America has the best education this country has to offer from the day they are born from the day they graduate from college. We know what to do. The problem is not that we don't know how to teach the problem is we don't have the sense of urgency. We think, well, some child in the inner city, that's not my child, that's not my problem, that's those children. Some child in rural communities in an under funded school, that's not my problem. That's those children. They are not "those children." They are all our children. We all have responsibilities to make sure every child in America gets an education.


CROWLEY: Barack Obama in Wilmington, Delaware. The truth of the matter is that many of these people who come to these rallies, whether it's Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama, don't see that much difference between the two on the issues. They both want to improve education. They both want to do something about the mortgage crisis. They both want to do something to reduce America's dependence on foreign oil. When it gets right down to it, both of these campaigns believe that this is about who can best make those changes. Barack Obama arguing that Washington needs a sea change and therefore they don't need an insider, read that Hillary Clinton. They need someone who will come in and really turn the whole way Washington works on its head.

Now, Hillary Clinton tends to go after her experience. She says, I am the one that can best make change because I know the system, I understand the system, and I've fought Republicans before, which obviously is a big applause line when you're talking to Democrats. She was in Bridgeton, Missouri, just a little while ago where she made the experience argument.


SEN. HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Let me start out by saying, I think it's always better to vote for the person you think would be the best president because in the cauldron of the campaign I think that's the most important factor. If you think that I would be the best president, you have to believe that I Demonstrate that to the rest of the country and I will do that. And secondly, I, you know, I hear all these folks talking about who is or isn't electable. Well, they said the same thing about me when I starting running in New York. You're from New York. Do you remember that? Nobody would vote for me. Good grief, I was wasting my time and my money. But I trust the voters. Frankly, that's who matters. This election's not so much about me, it's about you and about your families and your futures and so I went to work.

And I traveled all over that state. And I went to events like this. Small and large. Answering questions, telling people what I want to do. And I won. And it was a tough campaign. You know, one thing you know about me, I've already been through tough campaigns. And I think that says something. I was accused of everything you can imagine. And we were able to stand up to it and win. And then six years later, I ran for re-election. And I carried all but four counties in New York, including 36 that George Bush had carried two years before with Republicans and independents.

You know, I won 67% of the vote. And anybody who knows anything about New York politics knows it's no cakewalk. It's a tough environment. And it needs to be. Because these are hard jobs we're asking people to fill. You know, my opponent hasn't had to go through that kind of baptism by fire. And I think that in a general election, you know what's going to happen to whoever we nominate. Let's not kid ourselves here. This is going to be open season once again. And we need to nominate somebody with the experience and the fortitude and the know-how to take whatever they send our way and send it right back.

And you know, I have also Demonstrated unequivocally that I not only can but will work with Republicans. You know, when I was elected, the leader of the Republicans in the Senate famously said, "oh, maybe lightning will strike before she comes." Well, I came. And I came to work. You know, I didn't come to get more publicity. I don't need that. I came to produce results for the people who voted for me. So I rolled up my sleeves and that's what I did. And by the end of my first term, that same Republican leader was thanking me for helping him. And the people of Mississippi whom he represented after Katrina. So I have made alliances with Republicans on many issues. And I know how to do that to produce results. It's important that we find common ground. But it's also important that we stand our ground.

You know, there are a lot of bad ideas out there. I don't think we want unity for the sake of unity. We want unity for the sake of the right kind of progress that will move our country forward together.

CROWLEY: Hillary Clinton arguing that she is the most electable because she has the better resume. And the battle scars to prove that she can be tough against Republicans. You know, John, I want to tell you that Hillary Clinton is now headed toward Minnesota where we are told she will watch the "Super Bowl" and the press is invited. Barack Obama is headed back home to Chicago where he'll watch the "Super Bowl" with the Secret Service. So really an interesting life when you're a candidate on the campaign trail.

KING: Candy, you hear the voices getting crackly, the candidates look exhausted. We don't of course take sides covering politics but I will say that one thing I will disagree with Senator Clinton today, is her choice for the team in the "Super Bowl." We'll save that one for a bit later today. You mentioned the candidates going to so many places. Let's show our viewers what we're talking about and why super Tuesday is such an amazing enterprise.

It is essentially a national primary, 24 states will hold contests. And as you can see, all the way from Massachusetts in the east out to Alaska and California on the west, we could project that out a bit further to American Samoa. It is simply stunning the stakes in this giant super Tuesday, effectively a national primary. As you see, more than 1,600 Democratic delegates at stake. More than 1,000 Republican delegates at stake. That is why our team is spread across the country. That is why the candidates are crisscrossing the country this Sunday with just two days to go. And we remind you as we try to sort all this out and what it means, you want to stay with CNN, our special super Tuesday coverage all throughout the day on super Tuesday.

There you see the Election Center in New York. We'll start this all day long and we'll go all night as necessary to give you the results, count the victories from east coast to west, and rack up the delegates and break it down to see what it means for the contests as they go on on ahead. Both competitive, Democratic and Republican contests, excuse me. And if you're still in the mood for more politics late tonight and say not distracted by another bowl under way, you can tune in right here at CNN. Beginning in our 5:00 hour, a replay of the two debates that we held this week, a fascinating debate, the Democrats and the Republicans out in California this week. Back to back, they start right here at 5:00 Eastern on CNN.

Stay with us now, we're going to take a quick break. But when we come back, more of our "Ballot Bowl" coverage. The Democrats and the Republicans all across the country on this Sunday in advance of the big super Tuesday that we just talked about. Do stay with us. The CNN "Ballot Bowl" will continue in just a minute.


KING: Back to back to our special edition of the "CNN Ballot Bowl." I'm John King reporting live from my favorite place in the world, my hometown of Boston, Massachusetts, just on the edge of Boston Harbor here. The historic north end behind me, the financial district, perhaps you can see the Custom House Tower behind me. A beautiful city, many here anticipating the "Super Bowl" later tonight. We're having a little more "Ballot Bowl" coverage at this moment. I'm on the east coast in Massachusetts. Out on the west coast, we'll get to it soon, a big live event, campaigning for Senator Barack Obama, his wife Michelle Obama, Caroline Kennedy, the son of the slain president John F. Kennedy, and Oprah Winfrey. A little political and Hollywood star power out on the trail in California for Barack Obama. We'll get to that rally in just a little bit. But we want to bring your focus back to the east coast, and from the Democrats to the Republicans.

Down in Connecticut, another one of the New England battle ground at stake on this super Tuesday as my colleague Dana Bash and Senator John McCain, the Republican candidate who hopes, hopes, to take command of the Republican race on Tuesday was in Connecticut a short time ago. Dana.

DANA BASH, CNN, CORRESPONDENT: He was here. He gave pretty much his standard stump speech. Talking a lot about the economy, which is kind of a new thing for him. Over the past week or two, a little bit more given the fact that number one Mitt Romney has been hitting him hard on the economy saying he doesn't really understand it. But also because it is of course the dominant issue that voters really care a lot about. Also talking about what he thinks is his best quality, which is his leadership, his experience on national security, and what he calls the transcendent issue that e wants voters to look to him for, and that is the war in Iraq and national security. But despite what he is saying on the stump, he is still getting a lot of questions. Really stoked by his chief opponent Mitt Romney, whether or not he is conservative enough to be president.

And John, we just got information about an interesting tactic that's going on, especially at this point, just a couple of days away from any kind of election. You get something what's called "Robo calls," that's what it's called in political parlance but they're automated phone calls that some campaigns, pretty much all campaigns have recorded and they go to homes of key Republican voters. Well, former Senator Rick Santorum, a very conservative former senator from Pennsylvania. He has now endorsed Mitt Romney. He has now got a call that he has recorded that talks about the fact that he does not think John McCain has the temperament to be president or that he is conservative enough to be president. So that is an interesting development that's going on. It really is telling as to what kind of campaign Mitt Romney is waging against John McCain to stop his momentum. On that issue of whether or not he is conservative, just like at every single stop that he makes every time he engages with reporters, it was one of the questions that was asked to him here in Fairfield, Connecticut.


SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: First of all, we'll have people look at who are surrounding me, people like Jack Kemp and Phil Graham and Steve Forbes and so many others. Senator Tom Coburn. And a broad variety of conservatives. I also say that my record is one of being a strong conservative and that record I think is deserving in consideration. I think we won the last few primaries getting the support of many people of our party who believe that the transcendent challenge is radical Islamic extremism and that I can keep America safe. So, I'm confident that we will do well with all of the Republican party. Hold on, hold on, one second. I know you're courteous to this person here -- thank you.

We've had those many times before. But it's usually -- passes and town hall meetings and these kinds of rallies, everybody's welcome. I just - I let them speak. And I am sure that they -- and I tell them I respect their views.


MCCAIN: I didn't. Thank you. I supported tax cuts -- hang on one second. I -- hang on one second. I supported tax cuts back in the Reagan revolution. I supported them and voted for them. And I also had spending restraints. I had a proposal for significant tax cuts and spending restraints. If we hadn't let spending it get completely out of control and adopted my proposal, we'd be looking at further tax cuts today. These tax cuts need to be made permanent. I've already voted twice to make them permanent. It's important to the future economic stability of the country.


BASH: There you heard John McCain once again defending the fact that he voted against President Bush's tax cuts back in the beginning of President Bush's presidency. That is something that has dogged Senator McCain in this Republican race and continues to dog him. Once again you see him there promising, promising that he would try to make those tax cuts permanent, even though he voted against them. You saw also saw a little bit of the raucous nature of what we do here during that press conference. Certainly, it was jam packed. Senator McCain was trying to navigate between all the reporters. Pretty much screaming over each other to get a question in to Senator McCain.

One other note, John, is it's interesting, we've been talking over the past couple of days about the fact that part of the strategy inside the McCain campaign is to sort of have this air, an aura of inevitability. That to sort of keep the momentum going. But you're starting to see a little bit of sort of a yellow light about on for John McCain. You saw it in that press conference, and him talking to reporters on his bus, the so-called "Straight Talk Express." He's knocking wood a lot, saying that he's not entirely sure. He said he's seen this movie before. You see him kind of dialing back a little bit. Because this is all about the expectations game. Expectations at this point as you know are pretty high for John McCain. And he has been down this road before. Given the fact that he was so, so, so down, incredibly down, left for absolutely politically dead just a few months ago. He understands that this is something that he might be on the cusp of. But he might not. So he's dialing back just a little bit at least in the last couple of hours. It's quite interesting, John.

KING: Well, Dana, stay with me on that very point. Because as you know, Senator McCain left where you are in their Connecticut to come a little bit further north in New England, to this state, Massachusetts. Which is, of course, the home base of the former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney. And Governor Romney was asked about that a short time ago, campaigning out in Illinois. I want you to listen to the question put to Governor Romney, what do you make of John McCain coming to campaign in your backyard?


MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You know, I don't know why he's campaigning in Massachusetts. There are 22 states going. You know, he can - I guess he's spending like a day there. That's fine too. I expect that I'm going to win in Massachusetts. And you know, I'm going to I think the most delegates are that are up for grabs. And I expect to get a lot of delegates from Massachusetts. For me, this is not about trying to tweak somebody or get in their head. This is about winning delegates and becoming the nominee. So you can expect me to be in places where I think I got a real shot at winning a lot of delegates and by making that appearance in that state, bringing some people over to my side and helping me win the nomination. But if he wants to spend time in Massachusetts, fine. I don't think it will help him a lot.

KING: So Dana, Governor Romney shrugging off Senator McCain's visit here with his words. But if you listen to the tone of voice and watch the body language, he also seemed a bit annoyed at it.

BASH: Yes, he says don't tweak me but he certainly seems to be tweaked. You know, during that exchange there with reporters. Senator McCain as you know is heading your way right now to Massachusetts. He is coming -- his campaign understands that look, this is sort of a psychological warfare underlying the real vote, which is -- the real war, which is the war for votes. And senator McCain understands that by going there, he is sort of trying to get under his skin. As we talked about earlier, you know, in the best of all worlds, if you talk to McCain's campaign aides they say they could potentially beat Mitt Romney in his own backyard and really embarrass him and really have that as an avenue to forcing him out of the race. Will that happen? You know, privately, they say that it's really unclear. Maybe even at some point you can get them to admit it's probably unlikely that they can do that. But this is an interesting tactic for John McCain to go right there in Mitt Romney's backyard. You don't see Mitt Romney campaigning in Arizona, John McCain's home state. And that is definitely one of the super Tuesday states as well. John.

KING: Yes, it is. Dana Bash in Connecticut for us. You don't see John McCain in Arizona tonight, an odd choice given that I bet he could get a pretty good ticket to the "Super Bowl." Instead, he will be watching the "Super Bowl" here in the home of the New England Patriots. Dana Bash in Connecticut, we'll check back with Dana a little bit. And it is worth noting and remembering there are not just two candidates in the Republican race, there is a third Republican running in this race. And while he trails in the delegate chase he will still have an impact in this race, still is having an impact on this race. He is Mike Huckabee, the former Arkansas governor. Remember, he won the Iowa caucuses a month ago. He has struggled since. But there are a number of critical southern battle grounds on the super Tuesday map. And Mike Huckabee campaigning today in Macon, Georgia. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MIKE HUCKABEE (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: One of my opponents in this race today was on television. He actually had the audacity to suggest that I should drop out of the race. Well, you're being even more polite about it than I felt. And my first thought was, how presumptuous and arrogant must a man be to assume that if I did drop out of the race, that the people who voted for me would vote for him. And I'm going to say something to Mitt Romney. If the people that are supporting me support me because they know where I stand on the issue of human life and they don't know where you stand. People who are supporting me support me because they know where I stand on the fair tax and they know you have not taken a stand for it. And you're going to just have the same old system we've had. People who support me know that I support the second amendment.

In fact was the first sitting governor in America to have a conceal- carry permit as was my wife. And I'm not confused about the fact that the second amendment is not about hunting, it's about freedom. It's about protecting ourselves, our families, and our property. And nobody has a right to infringe upon that. People are supporting me because they know that I'm not confused about the meaning of marriage. And they know that I'm not confused about whether or not the future of this country ought to belong to hard-working people who drive trucks and who lift heavy things and who get their hands dirty every day. And if our country doesn't work for folks like that it doesn't work for anybody. I know where I've come from. I know it wasn't from the top. It started at the bottom. I want -- everybody, I don't care where they are now, they have a chance to reach for the next rung on the ladder. If we don't have that kind of America, we don't have the kind of America our parents made so many sacrifices to give us. And let's have that kind of America for our kids.

Mr. Romney has spent about $100 million to have basically the same number of delegates that I have. And I've spent about $7 million. You know, with the business background he has, you'd think at this point with his Harvard-educated M.B.A, he'd come to the conclusion that he's not selling his soap very well if it takes that kind of money to have no more market share than I've got for about a fifteenth of his expenditure. So, I've got a suggestion, Mr. Romney. Rather than me drop out, why don't you give it up and go back to Boston.


KING: Some tough words and a sense of humor but mostly tough barbs pointed at the former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, from the former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee. The two of them having a battle, if you will, to say who is the top conservative in this race. Although Governor Huckabee at times and it is very important to note defends John McCain from Mitt Romney's attacks. Still, three Republican candidates in this race. It is fascinating to watch the interplay between them. Governor Huckabee hoping to get some fresh momentum with strong showing in some of the southern states up this super Tuesday. When our "Ballot Bowl" continues, we will flip back to the Democratic side and look at a big celebrity event out in Los Angeles. Michelle Obama, the wife of Barack Obama, campaigning with Oprah Winfrey and Caroline Kennedy, the daughter of the late president John F. Kennedy. That event out there in Los Angeles, you see it right there, women for Obama signs, change signs. We'll check in on that the minute we come back.

We'll also touch base with our senior political analyst Bill Schneider. What is this all about? 24 states in play on super Tuesday. Well, it's about getting delegates. We'll check in on the latest delegate map as we look at these very close contests for both the Democratic and the Republican nominations when we get to come back with our special edition of the CNN "Ballot Bowl." Please stay with us.


CROWLEY: I'm Candy Crowley in Bridgeton, Missouri. Welcome to back to CNN's BALLOT BOWL. We're in our final half hour here, but have we got a show for you, including out in Los Angeles where we are awaiting a kind of trifecta for Barack Obama. His wife Michelle, Caroline Kennedy, daughter of the late President Kennedy, and Oprah Winfrey who of course needs no explanation as to who she is.

We are talking about going into a community that has been very important to the Obama campaign that is very important to California as well. The African-American community, Oprah Winfrey has been out there before drawing in not just African-Americans but women. Also a group that Barack Obama needs to reach out to. Hillary Clinton doing much better among women than he does. So we are awaiting all of this as the candidate's kind of fly to their next position. I want to take it back to John King.

KING: And Candy stay with me, because first I want to say, wow, the Oprah can draw a crowd. That's a pretty good crowd. We're going to go through the delegate maps. We know math is not my strong suit. I want to look first; we'll get to Bill Schneider in just a second out in Los Angeles. Let me show you what's at stake.

There you see the Super Tuesday states, 24 states and American Samoa. From east to west as we have been talking about, north to the Canadian border, all the way down to the Mexican border, 24 states in play. There are 1,681 delegates on the Democratic side, 1,020 at stake on the Republican side. Here's what it takes to win now. You need 2,025 to clinch the Democratic nomination, 1,191 to clinch the Republican nomination.

Heading into Super Tuesday, Bill Schneider you join us from Los Angeles, it is incredibly close between the candidates right now. Senator Clinton -- let's do the Republicans first. Senator McCain a slight lead with 97 delegates. Governor Romney with 74. Governor Huckabee with 29. Ron Paul with six. We can show the Democratic scorecard very quickly here I think, Senator Clinton at 232, Senator Obama at 158. The former Alaska senator still in the race but he has no delegates.

So Bill Schneider let me ask you this, from the Republican side, so much has been made in the past week that John McCain has the momentum, John McCain is slowly taking control and command of the Republican race. Maybe he's getting more endorsements. Maybe he's leading in the national polls. And more and more state polls. But if you look at the delegate count right now heading into Super Tuesday he has a lot to prove.

SCHNEIDER: That's right. The number of delegates decided is very small right now. All they can really claim is momentum. Even if John McCain were to win every single delegate at stake in the race across the country, he'd be short of the majority he needs at the convention to clinch the nomination. He's not going to get every delegate. He'll have to divide them with Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee. Some Republican states -- New York, Connecticut, Missouri, are winner take all. If he wins those states and he is ahead in the polls in those states at least in the north eastern states right now, he'll get a big chunk of delegates about 183. But there's still a long way to go before he can claim a solid majority for the nomination.

CROWLEY: Bill, on the Democratic side it's a lot more complicated as you know. Because they are given delegates proportionately as we saw in Nevada in those caucuses. Hillary Clinton won the state and Barack Obama got more delegates. Always difficult to explain to viewers. But the simplest way to put it is that it is a proportional representation. So the delegates are given out that way.

So as you look at the map and as you look at where they are in the delegate count now, what is there that leans you one direction or the other? I say that with the caveat that I tell you both campaigns expect it will be close enough coming out of Super Tuesday that they will move on. What do you see there that gives you any inkling of what might happen?

SCHNEIDER: I think you're right, and here's what I'm seeing that's interesting. We're seeing the Clinton lead in most of the states, and she's ahead in most but not all of the Super Tuesday states. Her lead is in single digits. And except for the two native states or the two states that these two senators represent, Illinois and New York, neither one of them has over 50 percent anywhere.

Even when they're leading, they are leading with less than 50 percent of the vote. Which means it's going to be tough for anybody to claim a solid majority of the delegates if they are divided proportionately. Coming out of Super Tuesday, we're likely to see a very close balance of delegates between Clinton and Obama, and all that means is the race is going to go on and on until one of them is able to clinch a majority.

KING: Bill, John King again. Talk to me specifically about California in the sense that it will be, even though American Samoa might come in later, and Alaska might come in later, it is the biggest prize of the night because it's on the west coast. We'll get the vote tallies. I was looking at the polls, the Democratic race is essentially a dead heat, and the Republican race is essentially a dead heat. Delegates are spread out by congressional districts. If you win a congressional district you win a delegate, this is very complicated for the biggest prize on Super Tuesday. SCHNEDIER: It is. And let me tell you one reason why it's so complicated. The Republicans award three delegates to the winner of each directional district. Whoever gets the largest number of votes in a district? And there are 53 districts in California, 53 districts. So it is 53 separate primaries. Whoever gets the largest number of votes gets all three delegates. But think of it this way, there are some congressional districts in California, like say Nancy Pelosi's district in San Francisco, where there are about 30,000 registered Republicans. And only registered Republicans can participate in the primary.

There are other districts in Orange County here in southern California, with 300,000 registered Republicans. You know what, Nancy Pelosi's district, three Republican delegates. Orange County district, three Republican delegates. When you look at the vote total for California that can be misleading. You can have a huge pile of votes for Mitt Romney or Mike Huckabee in Orange County but it won't mean as much as getting a small handful of votes in a district where there aren't many Republican voters.

KING: Bill Schneider helping us all break down the very complicated math here. There is a quiz in the morning so take notes at home. Bill thank you very much. To underscore the point Bill is making about California, John McCain adding a stop in California on Tuesday morning. He was initially going to go from New York to his home state of Arizona. Added another stop in the San Diego area, hoping that he can win some of the congressional districts down there in southern California.

Incredibly complicated delegate map heading into an incredibly important Super Tuesday contest from coast to coast. When we come back, we'll dip into another one of the events trying to shape the vote. Just before then, a key event in Los Angeles. Michelle Obama, the wife of Senator Barack Obama, Ophrah Winfrey, and Caroline Kennedy. A little star power politically and otherwise at that event in Los Angeles. We will check in when the CNN BALLOT BOWL returns in just few moments, stay with us please.


CROWEY: Welcome back to CNN's BALLOT BOWL 08. I'm Candy Crowley. We are standing by at this mall, awaiting a rally. Look at that crowd. Everybody asks me when I'm on the campaign trail why do these candidates make such a big deal about the stars who support them? Look at that crowd and I will tell you why Barack Obama is so happy to have Oprah Winfrey on his side. Also going to appear at this rally, Michelle Obama, his wife, as well as Caroline Kennedy who recently endorsed him. She a memory of Camelot, the daughter of JFK.

So we are standing by for that. But no slouch in the crowd department is former President Bill Clinton. He is also working California for his wife. Today he has done tours of several African-American churches, reaching out to that community which so far has been more favorable to Barack Obama. But the Clintons have deep roots in the African-American community. He is a reminder of those roots as he is out there stumping for his wife. Today, a little earlier he was at a Baptist church in Los Angeles. A little bit of what he had to say.


BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Ladies and gentlemen, Tuesday is an election day and a great election day. At least for those of us who are Democrats. In churches all over America today, people are saying this is the day the lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it. Sometimes we almost have too much to rejoice for. We are breaking all the ceilings at once in this election. When I was a little boy in hope, Arkansas, my grandfather ran a store in an African-American neighborhood. Before food stamps.

And when he died, my mother found his account books with a lot of people who owed him money for groceries. Because he said, if someone was working for a living, they deserved to be able to feed their children. And all my life I've been waiting to vote for an African- American for president. All my life. When I was born, my mother was a widow. My father had died in a car wreck three months before. And she went off to school and left me with my grandparents. My grand mother worked every day for peanuts. When my mother came home, she worked as a nurse every day of my childhood my mother got up before the sun and went to work. So that I could have the chances she never had.

All my life I've been waiting to vote for a woman for president. So god is saying to me, OK, you got what you asked for. I say that to remind us that we have to find a way to choose without division. To disagree without discord. To celebrate the shattering of all these phony categories that has kept Americans apart for too long. To debate and discuss and disagree and come together.


CROWLEY: Former President Bill Clinton with mellow words, with healing words. As you may recall, the former president really became kind of a flash point in South Carolina. A number of people in the African- American community feeling that he was being dismissive of Barack Obama. You hear none of that today. In fact, what you see today in that church is the kind of politician that Bill Clinton has always been. The kind of politician that made him a huge favorite in the Democratic Party.

Again, we are waiting for Oprah Winfrey, Caroline Kennedy, and Michelle Obama to show up at a huge rally there in Los Angeles. Also at that rally our own Jessica Yellin. We're going to talk to her when we come back right after this break.


CROWLEY: This is CNN BALLOT BOWL '08. I'm Candy Crowley. We are awaiting an event in Los Angeles. Looking for Michelle Obama, an accomplished woman in her own right who has been quite a force for her husband on the campaign trail. We are waiting for Caroline Kennedy to also show up at this same rally, she having just endorsed Barack Obama. We are waiting for Oprah Winfrey, who for the first time in her public career is endorsing a candidate and that candidate of course, Barack Obama. We have our Jessica Yellin on the phone with us. She is at that event. Jessica, I know after one covers politicians for months on end these sort of events are pretty fun to watch. Give us a feel for the crowd and what it's like there.

YELLIN (via telephone): Candy, there's an enormous amount of enthusiasm inside and sort of real excitement that you sort of tend to see more at concerts than at political events. The crowd is a big mix of young and old, black, white, Latino. But I have to say very heavily female. Because Oprah Winfrey, of course, draws women. And that is a demographic that Barack Obama is looking to attract to his ballot. He really is competing with Senator Clinton, who has such an advantage as you know among women.

And with the race so tight in California, there's a real hope with in the Obama campaign that bringing Oprah Winfrey here could help improve his standing with women here and possibly help deliver him success in California. The crowd right now is thinking -- I'm not convinced they're really thinking about Super Tuesday at the moment. They seem to be thinking Oprah Winfrey, when she is going to get here, I want to see her.

CROWLEY: And it's hard to tell, Jessica how many people show up because they really want to vote for Obama, and how many want to gawk at Oprah. Nonetheless people always say, what's difference do these endorsements make? It's not a direct, I'll vote for him so you should vote for him. What's the biggest thing that Oprah's support brings to Barack Obama?

YELLIN: It introduced a lot of people to Barack Obama who really had no idea who he was. Unlike Senator Clinton, who's so well known. Barack Obama was an unknown entity to most people, a mystery. And at least Oprah Winfrey has the name power, the celebrity power, to draw people out so that they're here. Once they're here, they can hear the Obama message.

This event's slightly different from the other times Oprah's been out. Senator Obama will not be here, his wife will be here. I can tell you they've already played some videos of some of his speeches with rap music, with celebrities. People will get a real sense of what his message is. It's designed to turn people on to Barack Obama who might not have known him already. Boy, Oprah Winfrey really is about the biggest draw you can get. What an endorsement. She really has made a difference for him.

CROWLEY: She really has. We're seeing now Oprah Winfrey in Cedar Rapids with both Barack Obama and Michelle. This is a tape, however. What we are waiting for is for her to arrive live. Thanks so much, Jessica Yellin. We're going to be back with some final words after this break.


CROWLEY: I'm Candy Crowley. We are in the final minutes of CNN BALLOT BOWL '08. We want to take you quickly to Los Angeles at a rally for Barack Obama. He's not there but Caroline Kennedy, Oprah Winfrey, and Michelle Obama are there. Hear a little bit of Caroline. CAROLINE KENNEDY: To make child care affordable, he'll require employers to give workers seven paid sick days a year and make sure every state adopts paid leave so we can give women the support we need to balance work and family. And when it comes to education, which is the issue I care about, and so do many other women, Barack Obama has a vision for our children's future. He'll invest in early childhood education. Give our teachers more pay and support. And make college affordable by offering a $4,000 tax credit to anyone -- to anyone who's willing to spend time serving their community.

So I hope on Tuesday, you and all your friends will vote for the candidate who stands for the future of our party and the future of this country. Barack Obama. This is a big day for me because I get to introduce somebody who is not my Uncle Teddy. Let's hear it for Uncle Teddy. He's done a great job out here. In a few minutes we're going to hear from the amazing Michelle Obama. But before we do, I'd like to say a few words about another phenomenal woman.

CROWLEY: We're going to have to leave Caroline Kennedy here. We're sorry. But the clock is always running against us. John, we are of course waiting for Oprah Winfrey. Our viewers can see her tonight 10:00, our newscast here on CNN. John, I know you're exactly where you want to be tonight.

KING: I am. That Kennedy smile, very well known where I am here in Boston, Massachusetts. As we've been the campaign trail farewell today, we know some of you have interest in another bowl coming up. We also hope you're still keeping an interest in politics. Our BALLOT BOWL coverage ends for today. But after a quick break, the Democrat and the Republican debates earlier this week in California will be replayed. If you're interested in more politics, please stay right here.

Thanks for spending some of your Sunday with us. And for Candy Crowley, I'm John King in Boston, Massachusetts. Have a great day.